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Full text of "The diplomatic correspondence of the American Revolution, being the letters of Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, John Adams, John Jay, Arthur Lee, William Lee, Ralph Izard, Francis Dana, William Carmichael, Henry Laurens, John Laurens, M. de Lafayette, M. Dumas, and others, concerning the foreign relations of the United States during the whole Revolution; together with the letters in reply from the secret committee of Congress, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, also the entire correspondence of the French ministers, Gerard and Luzerne, with Congress"

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Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from 

the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably 

to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818. 





1830. /, 

SleeUn tOwer Preei^W. L. Lewis, Fiinief/ 
No. 6, CongKBt Street, Boston. 






— ^<©©— 


To tlie President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 

16th, 1781, 3 

Diplomatic arts of the English. — A war in Holland 
is not to be expected, unless there should be an 
acknowledgment of the independence of America. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 

■ 21st, 1781, - - 6. 

Ordinance of Prussia relative to navigation and com- 
^o B. Franklin. Amsterdam, May 23d, 1781, - 13 

Drafts made on him by Congress. — Encloses des- 
patches for Dr Franklin and Mr Jay. — Thinks it 
advisable to obtain the acknowledgment of inde- 
pendence from other powers, before opening the 
conferences for peace. — His mission is a subject 
of deliberation. — Taxation in America. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 
24th, 1781, 15 

Proposition of Amsterdam in the States of Holland, 

urging the speedy adoption of measures of defence 

and protection. — The example of Amsterdam has 

great influence on the rest of the country. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 

25th, 1781, 21 

Enclosing the convention concerning recaptures be- 
tween France and Holland. 



To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 

27th, 1781, 24 

Report of a Committee of the States- General on the 
petition of the East India Company for convoy 
and for the defence of the India possessions, re- 
commending aid. — Timidity and irresolution of 
the Dutch government. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 

29th, 1781, '-29 

The English, by the capture of St Eustatia, break 
up a trade in British manufactures to North Amer- 
ica. — The property seized tliere principally Eng- 
lish. — Much of it taken by the French on its pas- 
sage to England. — Inactivity of the Dutch naval 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 
31st, 1781, 30 

Memorial of the Danish Minister, requesting their 
High Mightinesses to evacuate certain forts in the 
vicinity of the Danish settlements in Africa. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 
31st, 1781, -..--- 32 

Declaration of Dort, approving tlie proposition of 
Amsterdam to adopt measures of defence. — Note 
of the Deputies of Haerlem, complaining of the 
silence of the States of Holland in regard to the 
proposition of Amsterdam. 
To the President of the Assembly of the States- 
General. Amsterdam, June 1st, 1781, - 34 

Informing him of the final ratification of the con- 
federation by the Thirteen United States, and re- 
questing him to communicate it to their High 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 
5th, 1781, - - - - - - - 35 

Declaration of the Deputies of Middleburg in the 
States of Zealand, approving the proposed in- 
crease of bounty to those engaged in the naval 
service, and recommending measures to increase 
the activity of the States-General in preparing 
means of defence. — The States of Zealand recom- 
mend to the States-General tlie erection of bat- 
teries on the coast, and also resol-ve to raise a loan. 
To M. Berenger, Secretary of the French Embassy 
at the Hague. Amsterdam, June 8th, 1781, - 37 
Requests to be informed why his presence is re- 
quired at Paris by the Count de Vergennes. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 

11th, 1781, 39 

Petition of the inhabitants of Antwerp, urging the 


opening of the Scheldt. — Remarks ot'M. Cerisier 
on the petition ; true causes of the decUne of the 
Austrian Low Countries, and of the prosperity of 
the Dutch Provinces ; absurdity of the preten- 
sions of tlie Austrian Provinces to the free nav- 
igation of the Scheldt ; the other powers would op- 
pose the measure. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 

12th, 1781, 49 

Petition of the Deputies of Dort, Haerlem, Amster- 
dam, and Rotterdam, to the States of Holland and 
West Friesland, with a petition of the same to the 
States-General, praying for protection of the com- 
merce to Surinam. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 

I5th, 1781, __ - - - - 59 

Arrival at the Hague of a courier from St Peters- 
burg, supposed to bring despatches denying as- 
sistance from the armed neutrality. — Probable 
consequences. — Obstacles to an alliance between 
Holland and France. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 
23d, 1781, 60 

Answer of Russia above referred to. — Remarks of 
Mr Adams on the answer. — America must not 
look to European negotiations for safety. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 

23d, 1781, • 63 

Advice of the Deputies of Zieriksee to the States 
of Zealand, complaining of the inactivity of the 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 
26th, 1781, _-.--- 67 

The Emperor takes measures to revive commerce 
in the Austrian Low Countries ; grants privileges 
to Nieuport ; advantages of that city for foreign 
and domestic trade. — Great quantities of British 
manufactures are introduced into America in neu- 
tral bottoms and by clandestine channels. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 
26th, 178T, 69 

The Regency of Amsterdam in an interview with 
the Stadtholder, charge the Duke of Brunswick 
with hostility to the welfare of the country, and 
devotion to the interests of England, and demand 
his dismission. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 

27th, 1781, - ''^ 

Major Jackson's services in the purchasing and ship- 
ping of goods for the United States. 



To the iTesident of Congress. Amsterdam, June 
29th, 1781, 76 

The Duke of Brunswick's reply to the memorial of 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 

0th, 17S1, 83 

Speech of the Stadtholder to the States-General on 
the subject of naval and military preparations. — 
Letter from the same to the Provincial States, on 
the same subject, recommending augmentations 
of the land and sea forces for the purpose of ex- 
tending the protection of convoy to all vessels 
whatsoever. — Answer of the States-General to 
the proposition of the Stadtholder abovementioned. 

To the Count de Vergennes. Versailles, July 7th, 

1781, ------- 92 

Informing him of his arrival, and requesting an 
interview. — The Count refers him to M. de Ray- 
neval. — Conversation with M. de Rayneval on 
the proposition of the mediation of Russia and 

M. Ja Rayneval to John Adams. Versailles, July 
9lh, 1781, ------- 93 

Appointing a time for an interview with Count de 

To M. de Rayneval. Pari.s, July 9th, 17SI, - 94 

Interview with Count de Vergennes. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 
7lh, 1781, - - - - - - - 94 

Report of a Committee on the Duke of Brunswick's 
reply to the Amsterdam memorial, declaring that 
there appears no ground for the charges made 
against him. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 
7th, 1781, - 96 

Representations of the French Minister at Peters- 
burg, complaining of the violation of the princi- 
ples of the convention of neutrality, by the Eng- 
lish. — Mr Dana leaves Amsterdam for Petersburg. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 

lOth, 1781, 97 

The Duke of Brunswick requests a more formal ex- 
amination of the charges made against him. — The 
request referred by the States-General to the 
Provincial States. 

To the President ot Congress. Paris, July Uth, 

• 1781, 98 

Proposition of the mediation of Austria and Rus- 
sia between the European belligere: t*, the Amer- 
icans being left to treat separately. T'lS t^-o pre- 


liminaries on condition of which England pro- 
poses the mediation ; a rupture of France with 
America, and the return of the latter to obedience. 

To the Count deVergennes. Paris, July 13th, 1781, 102 

Enclosing his remarks on the proposed articles of a 
basis for the negotiations. 

To the President of Congress. Paris, July 15th, 

1781, .------ 107 

Thinks there is no objection to sending a Minister 
of the United States to the proposed Congress at 
Vienna, without a previous acknowledgment of 
their independence. — Little prospect of obtaining 
anything by negotiation- without successes in 
America, and the expulsion of the English from 
the United States. 

To the Count deVergennes. Paris, July 16th, 1781, 109 

Further remarks on the proposed basis of negotia- 
tion. — The imperial Courts have omitted the two 
preliminaries of the British Court, to which the 
latter will probably adhere. — The English policy 
is to amuse the powers with a pretended desire for 
peace. — No objection to the presence of a Minis- 
ter of the United States at Vienna without a 
previous acknowledgment of independence.— His 
instructions forbid him to agree to the armistice 
or statu quo. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 

17ih, 1781, 112 

Memorial of Amsterdam against the Duke of Bruns- 

Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, 
July 1 8th, 1781, - - - - • - 124 

The United States cannot appear in the proposed 
negotiation until certain preliminaries are settled. 

To the Count deVergennes. Paris, July ISth, 1781, 125 

Feels little disposed to engage in the proposed nego- 
tiations. — An American Minister ought not to 
appear at Vienna, unless the propositions of the 
Imperial Courts are communicated to Congress. 

To the Count deVergennes. Paris, July 19th, 1781, 127 

An American Minister at Vienna, must be re- 
ceived as Minister Plenipotentiary from tiie Unit- 
ed States, and by his commission can only treat 
with Ministers vested with equal powers, which 
would be a virtual acknowledgment of indepen- 
dence. — Object.s to the expression "American 
Colonies" in the articles.— The United States 
can never "consent to appear as subjects of Great 
Britain, nor allow their sovereignty to be called 
in question by any Congress of Ministers.— No 
such Congress has ever ventured to interfere in 


the domestic concerns of any power, or to aid a 
sovereign in reducing his rebellious subjects. 

To tlie Count de Vergemies. Paris, July 21st, 1781, 133 

A proposition has been made, that each State of the 
Union should send an agent to Vienna. — The 
States have no authority to negotiate with for- 
eign powers. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 
21st, 17S1, - - - - - - 135 

Sentiments of the Quarter of Westergo in regard 
to the Amsterdam Memorial against the Duke of 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 3d, 17S1, ------ 137 

Extract from the King's speech at the prorogation 
of Parliament ; the English Court will probably 
insist on their two preliminaries, as conditions of 
accepting the Imperial mediation. — Indications 
of the Emperor's favorable disposition towards 
America, while visiting the Low Countries. — 
Expressed a desire to meet Mr Adams incog. 

B.Franklin to John Adams. Passy, Aug. 6th, 17S1, 140 

Relative to Mr Adams's accounts. — The Ministers 
will no longer be paid from the supplies furnished 
by the French Court. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 6ih, 1781, ... - - - 141 
Courier from Petersburg to the English Court, sup- 
posed to bear representations concerning the war 
against Holland. — The answer of England to the 
proposed preliminaries arrives in Russia ; purport 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 6ih, 178 1, - - - - - - 142 

Quotes a paragraph from a London paper, stating 
that Messrs Curson and Gouverneur are to be 
tried for high treason. — Mr Adams's connexion 
with them. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 8th, 1781, - - - - - - 144 

The Dutch privateers are permitted to co-operate 
with the American in any joint enterprise. — This 
amounts to a virtual acknowledgment of the in- 
dependence of America. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 16th, 1781, 145 

Mr Temple, his character, services, and sufferings. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 

gu,st 16th, 1781, . - - . - 147 

Offer of the mediation of the two Imperial Courts, 
made to the Dutcli Ambassador at Petersburg. 


To the President of Congress. Ainslerdam, Au- 
gust 18th, 17S1, 149 

Admiral Parker's account of his action with Admiral 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Au- 
gust 22d, 1781, ------ 150 

Favorable influence of Amsterdam in animating the 
To the President of Congress; Amsterdam. Au- 
gust 22d, 1781, - - - - - 152 

Gradual progress of events in Holland. — The decla- 
ration of the Stadtholder, that the vessels which 
did not join the squadron of the Texel were de- 
tained by the winds, and not by counter orders. — 
The Princes letter of thanks to the crews of Ad- 
miral Zoutman's vessels. 
To B.Franklin. Amsterdam, Aug. 25th, 1781, - 156 

Acknowledges the receipt of his new commission. — 
Proceedings under his former commission. — Spec- 
ulations on the policy of the Courts at the proposed 

James Lovell to John Adams. Philadelphia, Sep- 
tember 1st, 1781, 159 

Enclosing instructions from Congress. 
To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Oct. 4th, 1781, - 160 

His correspondence has been interrupted by sick- 
ness. — Expresses his satisfaction with the new 
commission. — Recommends the official communi- 
cation of it to Count de Vergennes, and some in- 
timation of it in the French journals. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Octo- 
ber 15th, 1781, ------ 161 

Loss of his despatches. — Difficulty of safe transmis- 
sion. — Recent interruption by sickness. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Oc- 
tober ISth, 1781, 163 

The English will not treat with America at pres- 
ent. — Has been unsuccessful in his attempts to 
obtain a loan. — It is held out to the public as 
full. — Uncertainty and delays of Dutch politics. — 
Views of the English party in Holland. — Obsta- 
cles to their success. — Thinks his remaining lon- 
ger in Europe unnecessary. 
To the President of Congress. Amsl'jrdam, Oc- 
tober 17th, 1781, 169 

Excitement in Holland. — Placard of the States of 
Utrecht, offering a reward for the discovery of 
the author of a seditious pamphlet "To the Pt'ople 
of the Low Countries." 



To ilie President ot Congress. Amsterdam, Oc- 
tober ISih, 1781, - - - - - 172 
Various petitions from the commercial interest in 
Holland to the States- General ; from certain fish- 
eries ; from the merchants of Amsterdam, pray- 
ing indemnification for the loss occasioned by the 
delay of the convoy ; from the merchants of 
Amsterdam and Rotterdam, trading to the Le- 
vant ; from the proprietors of plantations in Sur- 
inam and Curacao ; from the East India Com- 
pany, praying assistance. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, October 23d, 1781, - - - - 17S 
Informing Mr Adams of his appointment as Secre- 
tary of Foreign Affairs. — Requests information. — 
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Oc- 
tober 25th, 1781, 182 

Placard of Holland against the pamphlet '-To the 
People of the Low Countries." — Progress of de- 
mocratical principles in Europe, caused by the 
American war. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, No- 
vember 1st, 1781, 187 

Debates in the States of Guelderland relative to 
an alliance with France and America. — The Baron 
Van der Cappellen in favor of acknowledging the 
independence of America. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, November 20th, 1781, - - - - 188 
Requesting information of the parties in Holland. — 
Has received indirect information that Mr Adams 
has presented his credentials to the States-General 
and printed his memorial. — Advises him to con- 
duct as a private individual. 

To the Due de la Vauguyon, Ambassador of France 
at the Hague. Amsterdam, Nov. 24th, 1781, - 192 

Requesting an interview with him for the purpose 
of communicating despatclies from Congress. 
Account of the interview. 

Resolves of Congress, comprising the Instructions to 
John Adams. In Congress, Aug. I6th, 1781, - 194 

Instructions to Mr Adams, respecting a Treaty of 
Alliance with the United Provinces- — Commis- 
sion to the same for the same object. 
To the Due de la Vauguyon. Amsterdam, Novem- 
ber 25th, 1781, 197 

Communicating the instructions and commission 
above given. — Manner of proceeding in compli- 
ance therewith. 



To John Jay, American Minister at Madrid. Am- 
•sterdarn, November 26tli, 17S1, - _ _ igt) 

Communicating his new instructions, and desiring 
to open a correspondence with Mr Jay. — The 
Dutch are well disposed, but cautious. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Nov. 26th, 1781, 200 

His instructions have probably arrived in season to 
prevent a separate peace between Holland and 
England. — Capture of Cornwallis. — Co-operation 
of Spain and Holland with France and America, 
would quickly reduce England to submit. 

To John Jay. Amsterdam, Nov. 28th, 17S1, - 201 

The late successes in America have produced a great 
impression in Europe. — Prospect of a triple alli- 
ance. — General Greene's successes in the South 
have delivered Georgia and South Carolina. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 4th, 1781, - - , . _ 203 

Effect of the late successes in America. — General 
desire in Holland for the triple alliance. — Remits 
money to Mr Laurens in the Tower. — Has re- 
ceived intimations that the English are secretly 
supplied with masts from the United States. — The 
Continental goods, left in Holland by Commodore 
Gillon detained for freight and damages. 

The Due de la Vanguyon to John Adams. The 
Hague, December 7th, 1781, - - - 205 

Waits for orders in regard to the proposed neo-otia- 
tions in Holland. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 1 3th, 1781, 206 

Answer of Lord Stormont to M. Simolin, accepting 
the mediation of Russia, in negotiating a peace 
between England and Holland. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 14th, 1781, 209 

The proposition of the Quarter of Oostergo to the 
States of Friesland, urging the acknowledgment 
of the independence of the United States. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 18th, 1781, 212 

Interview with the Due de la Vauguyon, who 
recommends a visit to the Hague, and after- 
ward to the Regencies ol' the several cities. 

To the Due de la Vauguyon. The Hague, De- 
cember 19th, 1781, - - - . - 214 

Requests to know if the Spanisli Ambassador lias 
instructions to enter into a treaty with Holland. — 
Is in favor of communicating the project of a triple 



or quadruple ylliance to some confidential mem- 
bers of the States. — The mediation of Russia is 
only a pretence of England, to prevent Holland 
from joining the other belligerents. 

The Due de la Vaugtiyon to John Adams. The 
Hague, December 20th, 1781, - - - 216 
Desires to see Mr Adams. 

To the President of Congress. Amsierdam, De- 
cember 25th, 1781, - - - - - 210 

Ulterior declaration of Prussia concernino- the navi- 
gation of Prussian subjects. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 25th, 1781, 220 

Lord Stormont's answer to the Swedish Envoy, de- 
clining the mediation of Sweden, and accepting 
that of Russia. 
Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, December 26tl), 1781, - - - 223 

Military operations in the United States. — Encloses 
resolutions of Congress, relating to captures and 
recaptures, and prohibiting all commerce in Brit- 
ish manufactures. — Requests information from 
Mr Adams. 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, De- 
cember 29th, 1781, 226 

Containing the act of accession to the armed neu- 
trality on the part of Austria, with the note of the 
Imperial Minister to their Hjgh Mightinesses. — 
Strength of the armed neutrality, if conducted 
wisely and honestly. 
The Due de la Vaugnyon to John Adams. Ver- 
sailles, December 30th, 1731, - - - 230 
Count de Vergennes approves of Mr Adams's pro- 
posed visit to members of government, on the sub- 
ject of his memorial, but advises that nothing be 
done in writing. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, January 9th, 1782, - - - - 231 

Military affairs. — The Marquis de Bouillo. — Contrast 
of the conduct of the English and French in 
To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 14th, 1782, 233 

Interview with the President of their High Mighti- 
nesses, in which Mr Adams demands a categorical 
answer to his former request of an audience of 
the States — Visit to the Secretary of the States 
on the same subject, who assures him that his re- 
quest had been taken ad referendum. — Similar 


visits to the Deputies of all the cities. — Consti- 
tutions of the municipal governments in Holland. 
— The nation favors the triple alliance ; the policy 
of the rulers is to propose the mediation of Rus- 
sia and the triple alliance at the same time. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 15th, 1782, 23a 

Transmitting the note of the Russian Ambassador, 
proposing to the States that the neutral powers 
provide their Ministers at the belligerent Courts 
with full powers, in regard to aiFairs arising under 
the convention of neutrality. 

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, Jan- 
uary 16th, 1782, 240 

Memorial from the Swedish Envoy at London to 
Lord Stormont, offering the mediation of Swe- 
den in negotiating a peace between Holland and 
England. — The English Court complains of the 
refusal of a Swedish captain to allow vessels un- 
der his convoy to be visited. — The Swedish Court 
approves the measure. — The same principle ap- 
proved by Russia. — The Russian Ministers at the 
ijelligerent Courts are instructed, in similar cases, 
to make immediate demands of reparation from 
the offending party. 

To Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign Af- 
fairs. Amsterdam, February 14th, 1782, - 244 

Congratulates Mr I^ivingston on his appointment. 
— State of affairs in Holland. — Diihcult for an 
American Minister to communicate with the Min- 
isters of other powers. — Mr Barclay purchases 
goods for the United States in Holland. — British 
manufactures bought without the knowledge of 
Mr Adams. 
To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, February 

19th, 1782, - 248 

The English will not be easily discouraged by the 
successes of the Americans. — Complicated state 
of parties in Holland. — Inclinations of the Stadt- 
holder in favor of England. — Parties on subjects 
of domestic policy. — Justification of tiie presenta- 
tion of his credentials. — Motives for printing his 
memorial. — Conducts himself as a private individ- 
ual. — The States have accepted the mediation of 
Piussia. — Policy of France in relation to Holland 
and Spain. 
To Robert R. Living.slon. Amsterdam, February 

21st, 1782, - - - - - - 2n5 

Unable to understand the cypher. — Recapitulation 
of events in Holland before the presentation of his 
memorial. — Great change produced by that paper. 


— \t has obtained universal approbation in Eu- 
rope. — Mr Adams's proposition to the Due de la 
Vauguyon, produced the offer from France to 
Congress to assist in effecting a treaty between 
Holland and the United States. — Influence of the 
memorial on the policy and late measures of the 
Emperor. — Other effects of the memorial. — Con- 
versation v\dlh the Due de la Vauguyon on the 
subject, previous to its presentation. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, February 
27th, 17S2, 2G7 

The Province of Friesland acknowledges the inde- 
pendence of the United States. — Holland will not 
probably enter into an alliance with the bellitve- 
rents. — Buys a house at the Hague on the public 

The Due de la Vauguyon to John Adams. The 
Hague, March 4th, 1782, - - - . 2G9 

Objects to a proposition of Mr Adams as impolitic. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Phihidel- 

phia, March 5th, 1782, - - - - 270 

Holland can gain no advantage by a peace with 
England. — Requests information on the naval 
force ; the public men and their sentiments in 
Holland. — Recommends frequent visits to the 
Hague. — Military operations in America. — Pros- 
perous state of the country. — Lord Cornwallis. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, March 10th, 

1782, 275 

Resolution of the House of Commons, that an ofi'en- 
sive war in America against the sense of the 
House would be highly criminal. — Other indica- 
tions of a disposition for peace. — Causes of this 
state of feeling. — Probable policy of the British 

To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, March 1 Ith, 

1782, 277 

Transmitting the Resolution of Friesland, instruct- 
ing the Deputies in the States-General to receive 
Mr Adams in his official capacity. — Causes of the 
change of sentiments on this point in the Regen- 
cy of Amsterdam. — Character and influence of 
To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, March 19th, 

1782, 280 

Proceedings of the county of Zutphen, on the sub- 
ject of the official reception of Mr Adams. — Peti- 
tion of the merchants and manufacturers of J^ey- 
den to the grand council of the city, represent- 
ing the languishing condition of their manufac- 
tures, and urging a treaty with America as a 


means of reviving them. — Petition of the mer- 
chants and manufacturers of Amsterdam to the 
States- General, urging the speedy acknowledg- 
ment of American independence. — Petition of the 
same to the Regency of the city, soliciting the Re- 
gency to exert itself in obtaining an immediate 
decision of the States of the Province in favor of 
America. — Petition of the commercial interest of 
Rotterdam to the Regency of the city, praying 
them to insist on a speedy decision in favor of a 
treaty with the United States, by the Sutes of the 
Province. — Petition of the merchants and manu- 
facturers of Holland and West Friesland to the 
States of the Province, for the adoption of meas- 
ures in the States-General, and for securing the 
commerce of America. — Resolution of the States 
of Holland and West Friesland, to insist on the 
immediate reception of Mr Adams by the States- 
General. — Petition of Zwoll. — Addresses of thanks 
ftom the citizens of Amsterdam ; from the com- 
mercial interest of Leyden ; and from that of 
Utrecht, to the States of the Province, for their 
abovementioned Resolution. 

To Peter Van Bleiswick, Grand Pensionary of Hol- 
land. Amsterdam, March 31st, 1782, - - 328 

Mr Adams acknowledges the Resolution of the 
States of Holland and West Friesland, recom- 
mending his official reception by the Generality. 

To the Due de la Vaugiiyon. Amsterdam, April 

10th, 1782, 329 

Lord Shelburne is not satisfied with the communi- 
cation of all subjects discussed, to the allies of 
America. — Holland will not probably treat sepa- 
rately with England. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, April 19th, 

1782, - - - - .- . - - 330 

Resolutions of the respective Provinces in favor of 
the reception of Mr Adams, in his official capac- 
ity. — Resolutions of the States-General, acknowl- 
edging Mr Adams as Minister of the United States. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, April 22d, 

1782, 339 

Presentation to the Prince of Orange. 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, April 23d, 
1782, - - - - - - - 341 

In a conference with the President of the States- 
General, he proposes a treaty of amity and com- 
merce on the principle of reciprocity. Presents 
a plan of a treaty to the committee of the States, 
appointed to treat. 



To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, April 23ci, 
1782, - - 342 

Is introduced to the foreign Ministers at a dinner 
made in honor of the United States by the French 
Ambassador. — Receives visits in a private charac- 
ter from the Spanish Minister. 

To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, May 2d, 1782, - 344 

Considers it doubtful whether he shall be present at 
the negotiations in Paris. — Difficulties in regard 
to the loan. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 16th, 

1782, ----... 346 

Mr Adams removes to the Hague. — Great obstacles, 
that have bet-n surmounted in Holland. — Diffi- 
culties in the way of a loan. — Recommends to 
the attention of Congress Messrs Dumas, Thax- 
ter, Jennings, and Cerisier. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, May 22d, 1782, - - - - 351 

The change of Ministry and measures in England 
will have no effect on the determination of Amer- 
ica. — Congress refuses General Carleton's re- 
quest of a passport for his Secretary. — The sala- 
ries of the Ministers will be paid quarterly in 
Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, May 29th, 1782, - - - - 353 

Complains of not receiving answers to his commu- 
nications. — The policy of England to separate 
France and America. 
Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, May 30th, 1782, 354 

Acknowledges the receipt of several letters. — Trans- 
mits a new cypher — Victory of Admiral Rodney. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, June 9th, 

1782, 356 

Report of the Admiralty on the plan of a treaty of 
commerce, taken ad referendum by the Provinces. 
— Has opened a loan, but with little prospect of 
success. — Holland will not treat separately with 
England. — Mr Laurens declines serving in the 
commission for peace. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 14th, 
1782, 358 

Answer of France to the request of -Russia, not to 
oppose a separate peace between Holland and 
To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 15th, 

1782, 360 

Conference with the Grand Pensionary on the plan 




of a treaty of commerce.— Mr Adams proposes the 
sending to the United States an Ambassador and 
Consuls on the part of Holland. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Piiiladel- 
phia, July 4th, 1782, 361 

Recommends great precision in the terms of the 
treaty -with Holland. — Importance of securing the 
West India trade. — Securities of a loan to the 
United States. — Value of American commerce. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 5th, 

Desires the ratification by Congress of his contract 
for a loan. — Terms of the loan. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 5th, 
1782, ------- 

Address of the merchants of Schiedam to Con- 

To John Jay. The Hague, August 10th, 1782, - 369 

Impolitic for the three American jVIinisters to ap- 
penr together at Paris, unless to meet an English 
Minister with full powers to treat with the United 
States as an independent nation. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 

18th, I7S2, ------ 371 

M. Brantzen appointed Minister of Holland to nego- 
tiate a treaty of peace. — The States of Holland 
and West Friesland approve the project of a treaty 
of commerce. — Instructions of the States-General 
to their Ministers for negotiating a peace at Paris. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 

22d, 1782, - 376 

The States- General have received their instructions 
relative to the treaty of commerce from all the 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, August 29ih, 1782, - - - - 376 

Complains of the infrequency and delay of despatches 
from Mr Adams. — Importance of the trade to the 
West Indies. — Evacuation of Charleston. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, September 
4th, 1782, - - 380 

Sketches of the prominent characters in Holland. — 
The Due de la Vauguyon. — Sketches of the for- 
eign Ministers at the Hague. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Septem- 
ber 6th, 1782, - - - - - - 394 

State of the connexion between France and Hol- 
land. — Policy of France toward the United Slates. 
Influence of the memorial of Mr Adauio to the 



States-General. — The Count de Vergennes op- 
poses the proposition of the triple alliance. — Thfe 
American Ministers in Europe ought not to be 
subject to the control of the French Court. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Septem- 
ber 7th, 1782, 401 

Enclosing his accounts. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, September 15th, 1782, _ _ _ 404 

Enclosing certain financial resolutions of Congress. 
— Recommends the use of English language by 
the American Ministers. — M. Dumas. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Septem- 
ber 17th, 1782, ------ 407 

Conference with the Secretary of the States- Gen- 
eral for correcting tlie treaty of commerce. — Con- 
versation with the French Ambassador on the 
Dutch naval forces. 
Extracts from the Records of the Resolutions of 
their High JMightinesscs the States-General of the 
United Netherlands, - - ' - - - 410 
Authorising the Deputies for Foreign Affairs to con- 
clude and sign the treaty of commerce, and the 
convention on the subject of recaptures, with Mr 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, Septem- 
ber 17th, 1782, 412 

Probability of the continuance of the armed neutral- 
ity. — The acknowledgment of American Inde- 
pendence is not a violation of its principles. — 
Jealousies of some powers against the House of 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, September 
23d, 1782, 416 

Conversation with the Spanish Minister. — English, 
Dutch, Spanish, and American Ministers at Paris, 
without any appearance of a sincere desire to treat 
on the part of England. — Visit to the Due de la 
Vauguyon. — The Duke instructed to propose the 
concert of the Dutch naval forces with the 
French, in intercepting the English West India 

A Memorial concerning the Bank of Amsterdam, - 419 

Giving an account of its funds, mode of transacting 
business, &c. Note on the above, correcting a 

To M. de Lafayette. The Hague, Sept. 29th, 1782, 429 

Slate of American aifairs in Holland. — Conduct of 
the different foreign Ministers towards Mr Adams 



To John Jay. The Hague, October 7ih, 1782, - 431 

Causes which delay his going to Paris. 

To Robert R. Livingston. . The Hague, October 
8th, 1782, - . - - - ^ 7 - 432 

The treaty of commerce, and the convention con- 
cerning recaptures executed. — Remarks on some 
of the clauses, and some rejected articles. 

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, October 

12th, 1782, - - - - - - 435 

Preparing to set out for Paris. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Oct. 31st, 1782, 436 

Arrival in Paris. — Conference with Mr Jay. — Differ- 
ence of opinion as to the true sense of the instruc- 
tions to the Ministers, requiring them to act only 
with the consent of the French Ministry. — Con- 
tested points. — Visits the Dutch Minister, who in- 
forms him that little progress has been made in 
the negotiations between Holland and England. — 
M. Rayneval's visit to England. 

To Robert R. "Livingston. Paris, Nov. 6th, 1782, 439 

Mr Jay and Mr Adams have declined treating with- 
out a previous acknowledgment of independence. 
— Information from Holland reaches America by 
the way of France, before it can be transmitted 
directly. — The affairs of the Foreign Department 
ought "to be kept secret from France. — Character 
of the English agents for negotiating the peace. — 
Real disposition of Lord Shelburne. — Have agreed 
on boundaries, and the payment of British debts 
due before the war. — Indemnification of tories 
and Eastern boundary, points of dispute. — Secret 
influence of France. — Negotiations at Versailles 
secret. — The Dutch Ambassador suspects the sin- 
cerity of the English. — Mr Oswald proposes that 
the British army should be allowed to evacuate 
New York unmolested. 

Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, November 6th, 1782, - - - - 445 

Mihtary operations have ceased. — Mr Fitzherbert's 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. Slh, 1782, 447 

Importance of insisting upon points of etiquette. — 
Thinks the instructions to communicate every- 
thing to the French Minister is not to be under- 
stood literally. — Good effects which have been 
produced by disobeying them. — Submission of 
Dr Franklin. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 1 1th, 1782, 451 

Conversation with Count de Vergennes on the con- 
troverted points. Eastern boundary, compensation 
to tories. — Suspicions of the motives of France. — 



All points should be definitively settled, so as to 
leave America totally unconnected with any Eu- 
ropean power. 

Robert K. Livingston to John Adams. Philadel- 
phia, November 18th, 1782, - - _ _ 457 

Mr Jefferson added to the commission. — The resig- 
nation of Mr Laurens not accepted by Congress. 
— Affair of Captain Asgill. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 1 8th, 1782, 459 

Embarrassments occasioned by the instruction to 
communicate on all matters with the French Min- 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 24ih, 1782, 462 

Speculations on the probable disposition of the Brit- 
ish Cabinet, in case of change. — The acknowl- 
edgment of independence still leaves room for 
disputes on other points. 

To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Dec. 4th, 1782, 464 

Transmits the preliminary treaty. — Desires to re- 
sign his commission in Holland. — Recommends 
Mr Laurens as his successor. 
Extracts from a Journal, - - - _ _ 4^5 

Propositions in regard to the Northern and Eastern 
boundaries.— Mr Adams observes, that the ques- 
tions of compensation to the tories, and of allow- 
ing the claims of British creditors are different 
in principle.— Mr Jay refuses to treat with the 
Spanish Minister without e-xchan^ing powers. — 
Mr Jay's refusal to treat with the British, without 
a previous acknowledgment of independence. — 
Mr Jay thinks the French Court oppose the 
claims of the American Ministers. — Visit to Count 
de Vergennes. — Conversation with Mr Whiteford 
on the policy of France.— Mr Adams called the 
Washington of the negotiation. — Conversation 
with Mr Oswald relative to the compensation of 
the tories. — Conversation with Mr Vaughan on 
the same subject. — Conversation with M. de La- 
fayette on the subject of a loan. — Danger to Amer- 
ica from European politics. — Mr Strachey returns 
from London with the adhesion of the Cabinet to 
the compensation of the tories. — The fisheries. — 
Consultation of the American Ministers. — Mr 
Fitzherbert's negotiations concerning the fisher- 
ies. — Mr Adams proposes an article relative to 
the right of fishing and curing fish. — Discus- 
ri-n of the article. — The American Ministers 
propose restoration of all goods carried off or de- 
stroyed in America, if the compensation is in- 
sisted on. — The English Ministers assent to the 
American ultimatum respecting the fishery and 
the tories. — P^inal meeting — Mr Laurens proposes 


an article, that the English should carry off no 
American property. — Reflections on the negotia- 
tion. — State of the Dutch negotiations. — '-Letters 
of a distinguished American," by Mr Adams. — 
Conversation with Mr Oswald on the true policy 
of England toward America. — :Dr Franklin desires 
to enter upon the negotiation of the definitive 
treaty. — Mr Adams and Mr Jay prepare the joint 
letter to Congress. 














Amsterdam, May 16th, 1781. 


There has been much said in the public papers con- 
cerning conferences for peace, concerning the mediation, 
of the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia, 
Sic. &£C. he. 

1 have never troubled Congress with these reports, be- 
cause I have never received any official information or 
intimation of any such negotiation, either from England or 
France, or any other way. If any such negotiation has 
been going on, it has been carefully concealed from me. 
Perhaps something has been expected from the United 
States, which was not expected from me. For my own 
part, I know from so long experience, at the first glance of 
reflection, the real designs of the English government, that 
it is no vanity to say they cannot deceive me, if they can 
the Cabinets of Europe. I have fully known, that all 
their pretensions about peace were insidious, and therefore 


have paid no other attention to them, than to pity the na- 
tions of Europe, who, having not yet experience enough 
of Britisli mancBuvres, are still imposed on to their own 
danger, disgrace, and damage. The British JMinistry are 
exhausting all the resources of their subtility, if not of their 
treasures, to excite jealousies and diversions among the 
neutral, as well as belligerent powers. The same arts 
precisely, that they liave practised so many years to se- 
duce, deceive, and divide America, they are now exert- 
ing among the powers of Europe ; but the voice of God 
and man is too decidedly against them to permit them 
much success. 

As to a loan of monlsy in this Republic, after havinsi 
tried every expedient and made every proposition, that 
I could be justified or excused for making, I am in abso- 
lute despair of obtainijig any, until the States-General 
shall have acknowledged our independence. The bills 
already accepted by me are paying oft' as they become 
due, by the orders of his Excellency Dr Franklin ; but he 
desires^ me to represent to Congress the danger and incon- 
venience of drawing before Congress have information that 
their bills can be honored. I must entreat Congress not 
to draw upon me, until they know 1 have money. At 
present. I have none, not even for my subsistence, but what 
1 derive from Paris. 

The true cause of the obstruction of our credit here is 
fear, which can never be removed but by the States-Gen- 
eral acknowledging our independence ; which, perhaps, in 
the course of twelve months they may do, but I do not ex- 
pect it sooner. This country is indeed in a melancholy 
situation, sunk in ease, devoted to the pursuits of gain, 
overshadowed on all sides by more powerful neighbors, 



unanimated by a love of military glory, or any aspiring 
spirit, feeling little enthusiasm for the public, terrified at 
the loss of an old friend, and equally terrified at the pros- 
pect of being obliged to form connexions with a new one ; 
incumbered with a complicated and perplexed constitution, 
divided among themselves in interest and sentiment, they 
seem afraid of everything. Success on the part of 
France, Spain, and especially of America, raises their 
spirits, and advances the good cause somewhat, but re- 
verses seem to sink them much more. 

The war has occasioned such a stagnation of business, 
and thrown such numbers of people out of employment, 
that 1 think it is impossible things should remain long in the 
present insipid state. One system or another will be pur- 
sued ; one party or another will prevail ; much will depend 
on the events of the war. We have one security, and I 
fear but one, and that is the domineering character of the 
English, who will make peace with the Republic upon no 
other terms, than her joining them against all their ene- 
mies in the war, and this I think it is impossible she ever 
should do. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, May 21st, 1781. 

On the 30th of April, tiie King of Prussia published the 
following ordinance, relative to the navigation and com- 
merce of his subjects, during the whole course of the pres- 
ent war between the maritime powers. 



"From the commencement of the maritime war, almost 
generally spread through the southern part of Europe, the 
King has applied himself with particular care to procure to 
those of his subjects who traffic by sea, or who engage in 
navigation, all the security possible, and to this end he has ' 
caused to be required of the belligerent powers to give 
exact orders to their vessels of war and privateers, to re- 
spect the Prussian flag, and to suffer peaceably to pass all 
the Prussian vessels, which should be loaded with mer- 
chandises, which, according to the law of nations, are re- 
puted lawful and not contraband, and not cause to them 
any damage or delay, and much less still to conduct them 
without necessity or right into foreign ports ; to which these 
powers have answered by assurances friendly and proper 
to make things easy in this regard. To attain still more 
certainly to this end, his Majesty has ordered his Ministers, 
residing near the belligerent powers, to interest themselves 
as much as possible, and by representations the most en- 
ergetic in favor of Prussian subjects, who trade at sea, and 
whose vessels might be taken, conducted into foreign ports, 
or as has often happened, pillaged even upon the high seas, 
and to insist on their speedy release, and that the processes 
at law, occasioned by their capture, should be decided 
without delay, and with the requisite impartiality. To the 
end, therefore, that the Ministers of the King may be in a 
condition to acquit themselves of these orders in this re- 
spect, it is necessary that the subjects of his Majesty, who 
find themselves in such a case, announce themselves, or by 
attorney, to the Envoy of the King, at the Court where the 
complaints ought to be carried, and that they may give 


him information in detail of their subjects of complaint, 
that he may be able to support them there, where they be- 
long. They ought not, however, to repose themselves 
entirely on a similar intercession, but carry also their com- 
plaints themselves to the Admiralties, or Maritime Colleges 
of the country, where their vessel has been conducted, or 
in which they have caused him damage, support his com- 
plaints with requisite proofs, follow the judiciary order, 
and the different trials established in each country, and 
solicit and pursue with diligence their causes by advocates 
and attornies ; by means of which, it is to be hoped, that 
they will obtain a prompt and impartial decision ; in default 
of which, it shall be permitted to them to address them- 
selves to the Envoys of the King, to carry to each Court 
the complaints, which the case may require, and obtain the 
redress of it. 

"But to secure still more the navigation of his subjects, 
the King has caused to be demanded by his Ministers, of 
her Majesty the Empress of Russia, and the two other 
Maritime Powers of the North, who, as is well known, 
have united to maintain the maritime neutrality, to be so 
good, as powers with whom the King has the satisfac- 
tion to live in the strictest union, as to order the com- 
manders of their vessels of war, to take the Prussian mer- 
chant vessels, which they may meet in their courses, iu 
their sight, and vi^ithin reach of their cannon, under their 
convoy and protection, in case they shall be attacked or 
molested by the vessels of war, or privateers, of the bel- 
ligerent powers. Her Majesty, the Empress of Russia, 
has assured the King, by ^ declaration written by her Min- 
istry, that she had not only given precise orders to the 
commanders of her vessels of war, to protect, against all 


attacks and molestations, the vessels of Prussian merchants 
and navigators, that they may encounter in their course, 
as belonging to a power allied to Russia, and who observe 
exactly the rules of the maritime neutrality founded upon 
the law of nations, but that she would enjoin it also upon 
her Ministers at the Courts of the belligerent powers, that 
as often as the Envoys of the King of Prussia should have 
claims and complaints to carry to the Courts where they 
reside, relative to the hinderances occasioned to the mari- 
time commerce of the Prussian subjects, they should sup- 
port such complaints in the name of her Majesty, the 
Empress of Russia, by their good offices, and that she 
expected in return from his Majesty, the King, that he 
would equally furnish his Ministers to the belligerent pow- 
ers with instructions, conformable to the maritime conven- 
tion of the Powers of the North, with orders to accede by 
energetic representations to the complaints of the Ministers 
of the powers allied for the defence of the maritime neu- 
trality, in case they shall have certain satisfaction to de- 
mand for the subjects of their sovereigns. 

"The King has accepted this friendly declaration of her 
Majesty, the Empress, with gratitude, and by a counter 
declaration, which is conformable to it, he has caused his 
Ministers to be instructed at foreign Courts. His Majesty 
has before, on occasion of another negotiation with the 
Court of Denmark, required his Danish Majesty to grant 
to Prussian merchant vessels the protection of his military 
marine, and has received the friendly assurances of it, that 
the Danish vessels of war should take under convoy and 
protection the Prussian merchant vessels, which should 
conform themselves to the treaties, which subsist between 
the Court of Denmark and the belligerent powers, with 


relation to merchandises of contraband. The King has 
addressed the same demand to the Court of Sweden, and 
promised himself from the friendship of his Swedish Ma- 
jesty an answer as favorable as that of their Majesties, the 
Empress of Russia and the King of Denmark. 

"We give notice of those arrangements to all the sub- 
jects of the King, who exercise navigation and maritime 
commerce, to the end that they and their captains of ves- 
sels and skippers may conform themselves to them, and in 
case they shall be attacked, molested, or taken by the ves- 
sels of war and privateers of tlie belligerent nations, address 
themselves to the Russian, Swedish, or Danish vessels of 
war, which may be found within their reach, demand their 
protection and assistance, and join themselves as much as 
possible to the fleets and convoys of these maritime powers 
of the north. 

"But as the intention of his Majesty is simply to assure, 
by the beforementioned arrangements, the ]awi''ul maritime 
commerce of his subjects, and not to do any prejudice to 
the rights of the belligerent powers witii whom he is in 
perfect harmony, or to favor on illicit comn-.erce, which 
might be dangerous to them, ail the subjects of his Majesty 
who exercise navigation and maritime commerce, ought to 
conduct themselves in such a manner as to observe an ex- 
act neutrality, such as is founded on the law of nature, and 
. in the general laws of nations almost universally acknowl- 
edged. But the diflisrent treaties which several powers 
have concluded witii each other relative to maritime com- 
merce, occasioning a difference of law in this legard, it is 
principally to the known declaration which her Majesty, 
the Empress of Russia, caused to be presented the last 
year to the belligerent powers, and to the ordinance which 

VOL. VI. 2 


she caused to be addressed in consequence to her College 
of Commerce on the 8di of March, 1780, that the subjecti 
of the King will have to conform themselves with regard to 
their maritime commerce, the jiriuciples which are there 
announced being those which his INlajesty finds the most 
conformable to the law of nations, and to his in particular. 
It is in consequence ordained by the present edict to all the 
subjects of the King, who exercise navigation or maritime 

"Article i. Not to take any part, under any pretence 
whatever, in the present war, and not to carry to any of the 
belligerent powers, under the Prussian flag, merchandises 
generally acknowledged to be prohibited and contraband, 
and which properly constitute warlike stores, as cannons, 
mortars, bombs, grenades, fusils, pistols, bullets, flints, 
matches, powder, saltpetre, sulphur, pikes, swords, and 
saddles. The subjects of the King ought to have on board 
their merchant vessels only so much of these articles as is 
necessary for their own use. 

"Art. II. The subjects of the King may, on the con- 
trary, carry in Prussian vessels as well to belligerent as to 
neutral nations, all the merchandises which are not com- 
prehended in the preceding article, and which not properly 
belonging to warlike stores, are not prohibited, and particu- 
larly the productions of all the Provinces of the States of 
the King ; his Majesty promising himself from the equity 
and the friendship of the belligerent powers, that they will 
not permit their armed vessels to molest or take the Prus- 
sian vessels loaded with masts, timbei', pitch, corn, and 
other materials, which, without being warlike stores, may, 
nevertheless, in the sequel be converted into such stores, 
and which make the principal and almost the only object 


of Prussian commerce. These powers are too just to re- 
quire that the commerce of a neutral nation should cease, 
or be entirely suspended on account of the war. After 
these principles, it is hoped that the belligerent powers will 
suffer freely to pass without seizure or confiscation, the 
lawful merchandises and cargoes of the Prussian subjects, 
which may be found on board the vessels of belligerent 
nations, as also the lawful cargoes and merchandises of bel- 
ligerent nations loaded in Prussian vessels, and in all these 
cases, his Majesty will interest himself eflectually in favor 
of his subjects trading by sea. It is, however, the part of 
prudence for these last to load as much as possible their 
merchandises and effects in Prussian vessels, and to trans- 
port them under the Prussian flag ; not to employ them- 
selves much in the coasting trade, but to apply themselves 
principally to a Prussian commerce without mixture, the 
better to avoid all accidents, misunderstandings, and diffi- 

Art. III. All the Prussian vessels which shall put to 
sea, ought to furnish themselves with passports and attes- 
tations of the Aduiiralties, Chambers of War, and tiie do- 
mains of each Proviiice, or of the magistrates of each city, 
as also with charter-parties, recognizances, and other certi- 
ficates of common usage, which ought to express the quality 
and the quantity of the cargo, the name of the proprietor, 
and of him to whom the merchandises are consigned, as 
well as the place of the destination. These sea-papers ought 
to be clear, and to contain no equivocation. They ought to 
be found on board every vessel, and they ought not, under 
any pretence whatsoever, to throw them into the sea. The 
captains of vessels and skippers wili take care above all, 
not to have in their vessels any sea-pnpers, double, eqnivo- 


cal, or t'albe, by vvliicii they would render theiDselves un- 
vvortliy of all proteclion. 

"AuT. IV. Every Prussian vessel loaded in a foreign 
port, ought to furnish herself in the said port with sea-pa- 
pers necessary, and in the Ibrni used in the place where 
she loads, to the end to be able to prove everywhere of 
what nation she is, what is her cargo, from whence she 
coraes, and whither she goes. 

"Art. v. There ought not to be found on board of 
Prussian vessels, neither officers of marine, nor persons 
employed in it of the belligerent nations, nor more than 
one third of the crew of those nations. 

"Art. VI. It is forbidden to Prussian navigators to 
transport cargoes or merchandises of any sort whatever to 
places or ports besieged, blocked, or shut up closely by 
any one of the belligerent powers. 

Art. VII. It is forbidden to Prussian navigators, or 
merchants, to lend their names to foreign nations, and they 
ought to exercise commerce in general in a manner con- 
formable to the rights and customs of nations, so that they 
commit no infringement of the rights of any of the belligerent 
powers, and that they may have no just subject of complaint. 

"The subjects of the King who shall conform exactly to 
the present edict, may promise themselves on the part of 
his Majesty all possible protection and assistance, instead 
of which, those who may contravene it, ought not to expect 
it, but to attribute to themselves the dangers and damages, 
which they may draw upon themselves, by a conduct con- 
trary to this ordinance. Given at Berlin, the 30th of 
April, 1781. 

"By express order of the King. HERTZBERG." 

I have the lionor to be, &:c. 




Amsterdam, May 23d, 1781. 


I have the honor of youi- lettei" of the 19th with its en- 
closures, and I thank your Excellency for the pains you 
have taken to communicate the news from America, which 
I think can scarcely be called bad, though General Greene 
lost the field. I had before received and published in the 
Amsterdam Gazette the same accounts. The gazetteers 
are so earnest after American news, that I find it the short- 
est method of communicating the newspapers to all. 

I have received from Congress their resolution of the 3d 
of January, 1781, to draw bills upon me in favor of Lee &£ 
Jones, at six months sight, for the full amount of the bal- 
ance due on the contract made with them for a quantity 
of clothing for the army. I have also a letter from Mv 
Gibson, of the treasury office, of January 28th, which in- 
forms me that the amount of Jones &; Lee's account is six- 
teen thousand two hundred and fortyfour pounds one shil- 
ling sterling. 

I have just received from Gottenburg the enclosed letters, 
one to your Excellency and one to Mr Jay. I received 
both unsealed, with a direction to take copies. I have put 
my own seal upon that to your Excellency, and request the 
favor of you to put yours upon that to Mr Jay, and to con- 
vey it in the safest manner. It contains matter of great 
importance, which ought to be carefully concealed from 
every eye but yours and Mr Jay's ; for which reason I 
should be cautious of conveying it, even with the des- 
patches of the Spanish Ambassador, especially as thei'e are 
intimations in Mr Lovell's letter of too much curiosity with 


regard to Mr Jay's desjiatches, and as Mr Jay himself 
complains that his letters are opened. I hope this instruc- 
tion will remove all the difficulties with Spain, whose acces- 
sion to the treaty would he of great service to the repu- 
tation of our cause in every part of Eurooe. 

It seems to me of vast importance to us to obtain an 
acknowledgment of our independence from as many other 
Sovereigns as possible, before any conferences for peace 
shall be opened ; because, if that event should take place 
first, and the powers at war with Great Britain, their ar- 
mies, navies, and people weary of the war, and clamoring 
for peace, there is no knowing what hard conditions may 
be insisted on from us, nor into what embarrassments Brit- 
ish arts and obstinacy may plunge us. 

By the tenth article of the Treaty of Alliance, the con- 
tracting parties agree to invite or admit other powers who 
may have received injuries from Great Britain, to accede 
to that treaty. If Russia and the northern powers, or any 
of them, should he involved in the w^ir in support of the 
Dutch, would it not be a proper opportunity for the execu- 
tion of this article ? Or, why would it not be proper now 
to invite the Dutch ? 

I have the honor to enclose a memorial to their High 
Mightinesses. My mission is now a subject of deliberation 
among the Regencies of the several cities and the bodies 
of nobles who compose the sovereignly of this country. 
It is not probable that any determination will be had soon. 
They will probably confer with Russia, and the north- 
ern powers, about it first. Perhaps, if these come into 
the war, nothing will be done but in concert with them. 
But if these do not come into the war, this Republic, I 
think, in that case will readily accede to the Treatv of 


Alliance between France and America ; for all ideas of 
peace with England are false and delusive. England will 
make peace with the Dutch upon no other condition than 
their joining her in the war against all her enemies, which 
it is impossible for them to do, even if their inclinations 
were that way, which they are not. The public voice 
here is well decided against England. 

I have the honor to be much of your Excellency's opin- 
ion respecting duties. I mentioned tobacco, to show what 
duties America was able to bear. Whatever sums a peo- 
ple are able to bear, in duties upon exports or imports upon 
the decencies, conveniences, or necessaries of life, they are 
undoubtedly able to raise by a dry tax upon polls and 
estates, provided it is equally proportioned. Nay more, 
because the expense of collecting and guarding against 
frauds is saved. 

Our countrymen are getting right notions of revenue, 

and whenever these shall become general, I think there can 

be no difficulty in carrying on the war. 

I have the honor to be, fee. 



Amsterdam, May 24th, 1781. 


A proposition of very great consequence has been made 
in the Assembly of the States of Holland, by the city of 
Amsterdam. It is conceived in these words ; 

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of the city of Amster- 
dam, have, by the express orders of the gentlemen their 
principals, represented in the Assembly, that the venerable 


magistrates had flattered themselves that they should see 
the effects of the efforts attempted for some time hy the 
Admiralties, to put to sea a quantity of vessels of war capa- 
ble of protecting the commerce and the navigation of the 
inhabitants of this State, or at least some branches of them j 
that the gentlemen, their principals, had had reason to be 
confirmed in their ex|)ectation, above all when they were 
informed that a number sufficiently considerable of vessels 
of war, provided with things necessary, were ready to put 
to sea, and that orders had been positively given upon this 
subject ; but, to their extreme astonishment they had learn- 
ed some time after, that the officers who commanded the 
said vessels, upon the point of executing the said orders, 
had given notice that the want of stores, provisions, and 
victuals put them out of a condition to obey the said orders, 
that the gentlemen, their constituents, having considered 
that not only this want of stores, &ic. ought not to have ex- 
isted, but that it might have been seasonably obviated ; 
they had been so struck with this unexpected delay in an 
affair, which they judged of the last importance for this 
country, especially on account of certain particular circum- 
stances, that they could not refrain from declaring freely, 
that they had lawful reasons to fear that such inactivity 
left little hope of seeing effected a protection which is of 
the last necessity for the commerce and navigation, (he 
total interruption of which cannot fail to occasion a great 
dearness, and to bring on very soon a most sensible scar- 
city, without speaking of the impossibility of striking blows 
to an enemy who has for five months attacked this State 
by an unjust war, and has already rendered himself master 
by surprise of a great number of rich vessels of war, and 
merchant ships, and of some of our distant possessions. 


"That the gentlemen, the principals, in virtue of these 
reasons, and of others not less pressing, have judged that 
they could not longer delay to lay before the eyes of the 
members of the Assembly of your Noble and Grand 
Mightinesses, in a manner the most pressing and the most 
lively, the terrible consequences, which this deplorable 
state of things makes them apprehend for their dear 
country. That the powers of the north, with whom the 
Republic is entered into alliance, and from whom she has 
sufficient reasons to expect succors, have marked more 
than once their astonishment at our inactivity, and at the 
affected tranquillity with whicli the Republic suffers all the 
insults of her enemy, without making the least preparation 
to repel them. That, from time to time, advices have 
come from our Ambassadors Extraordinary to the Court 
of Petersburg, that we had not to expect, neither from that 
Court, nor from her allies, succors, but in proportion to the 
efforts which the Republic should make on her part. 
That these things have appeared to the gentlemen, the 
principals, of so great importance, and of so extensive con- 
sequence, that it is more than time, that this sovereign As- 
sembly pass, as soon as possible, to a scrupulous examina- 
tion of the true causes of such inactivity ; that she cause to 
be given instructions, and an explanation of the state of 
defence of the country, relative to the necessary orders 
which she has given ; that she obtain information concern- 
ing the reasons of the extreme sloth and lukewarmness, 
with which they proceed to the protection of the country 
against an enemy tbrmidable, especially for his activity, 
and concerning the means which we may and ought to 
employ, to shut up the source of these evils, and make 
them disappear. 

VOL. VI. 3 


"That the gentlemen, the constituents, have desired to 
put themselves out of the reach of all reproach from the 
inhabitants of this country, whose total ruin advances with 
rapid strides, and who, to this day, have not ceased to 
pour out with joy into the public treasury, the imposts and 
taxes, which we have imposed on them, demanding in re- 
turn, with the greatest justice, to be protected by the 
fathers of the country. To this end, and to ward off as 
much as it is in their power, the ruin of this Republic, 
formerly so flourishing and so respected by its neighbors, 
they have charged in the manner tlie most express their 
Deputies to these Stales to insist in the strongest manner, 
that we proceed to the beforementioned examination, and 
that on the part of this Province things be directed in the 
generality in such a manner, that we demand, as soon as 
possible, to enter into negotiation with the Court of France, 
which has not ceased to give us such numerous and shin- 
ing marks of her good will, and of her inclination to succor 
us against the common enemy, and has already shown us, 
by the effects, that her offers of service do not consist in 
vain words ; to deliberate with this Court concerning the 
manner in which it will be convenient and practicable to 
act, by communicating to each other the reciprocal plans 
of operation, which we may attempt during this summer. 

"That at the same time, it is not expedient to neg- 
lect to instruct our Ministers at the Courts of Russia, 
Sweden, and Denmark, of the state of things in this coun- 
try, and of the means of defence, which the Republic puts 
in motion, with the express orders to make, without re- 
laxation, to the said Courts, pressing and redoubled in- 
stances to send us a large number of vessels of war well 
equipped, to which at least one of them has already shown 


befself disposed ; representing to them, at the same time, 
in a pressing manner, the present necessity of sending us, 
conformably to the stipulations of the convention lately 
concluded and ratified, as soon as possible, the succors 
promised in the said convention. 

"That, besides the propositions, which we have pointed 
out, and from the success of which the gentlemen, the 
constituents, promise themselves all sorts of advantages, the 
venerable magistrates are still in the opinion, that this State, 
although abandoned to itself, against all expectation and all 
hope, does not yet cease to have numerous and sufficient re- 
sources, not to consider its defence as absolutely desperate ; 
for it is very true, that after a long peace, the first alarm of 
a war, and of an unforeseen attack, may at first throw 
men's minds into terror, disorder, and consternation ; but 
it is not less true, that the riches and the resources of the 
nation in general, having received a considerable increase 
by the enjoyment of the fruits of this peace, the supreme 
government finds itself, by employing them in a useful 
and salutary manner, in a condition to make head for a 
long time against an enemy already exhausted by a long 
and expensive war, and to take so good measures, that we 
may force her to renew an honorable and advantageous 

"In fine, the gentlemen, the said constituents, are of 
opinion, that, to give a ready effect to the resolutions tend- 
ing to the said objects, and which may serve for the pro- 
tection of the State, and of its establishments in the other 
parts of the world, and to discuss the resolutions with all 
the secrecy requisite, there be formed by the Lords the 
States, a committee of some gentlemen of the respective 
Provinces, giving them the power and instructions necessary 

20 •'<->H^'^ ADAMS. 

to labor conjointly with his Highness, the Prince Heredi- 
tary Stadtholder, to contrive, prescribe, and put in execu- 
tion, all the measures, which shall appear the most proper 
and the most convenient, to the end that we may, under 
the benediction of God Almighty, repair die past, and 
wash out the shame and the dishonor, with which this Re- 
public is stained in the eyes of foreigners, and by a vigor- 
ous defence of the country, and of all which it holds most 
dear and precious, and to maintain it in the advantages 
of a liberty purchased so dear, against all further evils and 

"Finally, die gentlemen, the said Deputies, find them- 
selves, moreover, expressly charged to cause to be laid in 
the records of Holland die said proposition for the apology 
and the discharge of the gentlemen, their constituents, and 
to insist in all the ways possible, that we take in this regard 
prompt resolutions, whereof we may see the effects ; in 
the view of accomplishipg their salutary designs, to pray in 
the manner the most earnest and pressing the other mem- 
bers to labor to obtain in favor of this proposition, the suf- 
frage of the gentlemen, their principals, to carry it into the 
approaching Assembly." 

Thus ends this manly address, in which there is the 
appearance of the old Batavian spirit. In my excursions 
through the various parts of this country, 1 have found the 
eyes of all parties turned towards Amsterdam, and all true 
patriots said, that the salvation of this country depended 
upon the firmness of that city. There has indeed been 
in this city the appearance of feebleness and irresolution, 
but it has stood its ground. The presentation and publi- 
cation of my Memorial to the States-General, which was 
more universally and highly applauded than was expected 


-by me or any one else, furnished the regency of the city 
an opportunity to discover the general sense of the public 
voice, and they have not failed to take an early advantage 
of it. They have not mentioned a treaty with America, 
the reason of which was, that this subject was already 
taken ad referendum, and under the consideration of the 
several branches of the sovereignty. They mention only 
a negotiation with France, knowing very well, that this 
would necessarily draw on the other ; so that things seem 
at present in a good train ; but a long time will necessarily 
be taken up, according to the constitution, and in the pre- 
sent disposition of this country, before anything can be 
done to effect. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amsterdam, May 25tli, 1781. 

The following convention, concerning recaptures made 
from the English, is, it is hoped, the first step towards 
more intimate connexions between this Republic, on one 
side, and France and the United States of America on 
the other. 


"The Lords the States-General, having judged, that it 
^ould be of reciprocal utility to establish between France 
and the United Provinces of the Low Countries, uniform 
principles with relation to captures and recaptures, which 
their respective subjects might make upon those of Great 


liritain, their common enemy, ihey have proposed to the 
Most Christian King to agree with them on a regulation 
concerning this matter. His Most Christian Majesty, ani- 
mated with the same views, and desiring to consolidate 
more and more the good correspondence, which subsists 
between him and the United Provinces, has well received 
the overture of the Lords the States-General. In conse- 
quence, his said Most Christian Majesty, and the said 
Lords the States-General have given their full powers, to 
wit; His Most Christian Majesty to the Sieur Gravier, 
Count de Vergennes, &ic. his Counsellor of State of the 
Sword, his Counsellor in all his Councils, Commander of 
his Orders, Minister and Secretary of State, and of his 
commands and finances ; and the Lords the States-Gene- 
rtl to the Sieur de Berkenrode, their Ambassador to the 
Most Christian King, who, after having duly communicated 
their respective powers, have agreed on the following 

"Article i. The vessels of one of the two nations, 
French and Dutch, retaken by the privateers of the other, 
shall be restored to the first owner, if they have not been 
in the power of the enemy during the space of twenty four 
hours, at the charge of the said owner, to pay one third of 
the value of the vessel recaptured, as well as of her cargo, 
cannon, and apparel, which shall be estimated by agree- 
ment between the parties interested, and if they cannot 
agree among themselves, they shall apply to the ofiicers of 
the Admiralty of the place where the recaptor shall have 
conducted the vessel retaken. 

"Art. II. If the vessel retaken has been in the power 
of the enemy more than tvventyfour hours, it shall belong 
entirely to the recaptor. 


"Art. III. In case a vessel shall have been retaken 
by a vessel of war belonging to the Most Christian King, 
or to the United Provinces, it shall be restored to the first 
proprietor, paying the thirtieth part of the value of the 
vessel, of the cargo, cannon, and apparel, if it has been 
retaken in twentyfour hours ; and the tenth, if it has been 
taken after the twentyfour hours; which sums shall be dis- 
tributed as a gratification to the crews of the vessels recap- 
tured. The estimation of the thirtieth and tenth, before- 
mentioned shall be regulated conformably to the tenor of 
the article first of the present Convention. 

"Art. IV. The vessels of war and privateers of the 
one and the other of the two nations shall be admitted re- 
ciprocally both in Europe, and in the other parts of the 
world, in the respective ports with their prizes, which' may 
be there unloaded, and sold according to the formalities 
used in the State where the prize shall have been conduct- 
ed ; provided, nevertheless, that the lawfulness of the 
prizes made by the French vessels shall be decided con- 
formably to the laws and regulations established in France 
concerning this matter, in the same manner as that of 
prizes made by Dutch vessels shall be judged according 
to the laws and regulations established in the United Prov- 

"Art. v. Moreover, it shall be free t(^ His Most 
Christian Majesty, as well as to the Lords the States- 
General, to make such regulations as they shall judge good 
relative to the conduct, which their vessels and privateers 
respectively shall hold in regard to the vessels, which they 
shall have taken and carried into one of the ports of the 
two dominions. 

"In faith of which, the aforesaid Plenipotentiaries of His 


Most Christian Majesty, and of the Lords the States-Gen- 
eral, in virtue of our powers respectively, have signed 
these presents, and have hereunto affixed the seal of our 
arms. Done at Versailles, the first of the month of May, 

I have the honor to he, he. 



Amsterdam, May 27th, 1781. 


In the Assembly of the States-General, the following 
Report has lately been made. 

"Messrs de Lynden de Hemmen, and other Deputies of 
their High Mightinesses for Maritime Affairs, have, in con- 
sequence of the commissorial Resolution of the 27th of the 
last month, examined a letter of the Directors named in 
the commission by the respective chambers of the granted 
general company of the Dutch East Indies, to the Assem- 
bly of Seventeen, held the 23d of the same month at Am- 
sterdam, representing the great inconveniences to which it 
would be exposed by the delay of the expedition of the 
vessels of the company, if it were not soon provided with 
the customary provisions, at least as much as in ordinary 
times, as well as the possibility that the enemy may attempt 
an attack in that country, upon which the Directors would 
be exposed to answer for it, having in the different cham- 
bers seven vessels ready to put to sea, with the hope that 
ere long this number will be still further augmented ; solic- 


4ting to this end, a convenient number of vessels of war, to 
give a safe escort to the ships of the company, while the 
Directors on their parts will put all in motion to watch over 
the safety of their vessels ; wishing to this end to arm some 
of these vessels in an extraordinary manner, to the end that 
they may be able to oppose some resistance both for them- 
selves and for the others, scattered over the sea of the In- 
dies. That, nevertheless, if their High Mightinesses could 
not determine themselves to this, they, the Directors, hoped 
that they should not be responsible for the consequences 
which might result. That on the contrary, all the sharers 
in general, and their High Mightinesses in particular, would 
agree that in this the Directors have done all that could be 
required of persons to whom had been confided the direc- 
tion of the goods of so many widows and orphans, of per- 
sons who, under the immediate auspices of their High 
Mightinesses, had the honor to direct a Colony whose 
prosperity is essentially connected with that of this country. 
"Upon which, having demanded and received the con- 
siderations and the advice of the committees of the Col- 
leges of the respective Admiralties, which are at present 
here, we have reported to the Assembly, that the gentle- 
men, the Deputies, should be of opinion, diat notwithstand- 
ing the most ardent wishes to employ a sufficient number 
of vessels of war, not only for the defence of tlie ships but 
also that of the possessions of the company of the East 
Indies of this country, it would, however, be impracticable 
at this time, considering the present situation of the navy 
of this State, universally known, which could not appenr 
strange to any one instructed in the natural represe>.tations 
so often repealed from time to time by the Colleges of the 
Admiralty in this respect ; especially if he considers, that a 

VOL. VI. 4 


navy, fallen into so great a decay, could not be rebuilt so 
suddenly, and placed so soon upon a respectable footing ; 
that, moreover, this navy already so enfeebled, was become 
still more so by the surprise and capture of different vessels 
of war, by casual disasters happened to others, and because 
the rest were dispersed into so many different places, that 
for the equipment projected for this year, there was want- 
ing a great quantity of vessels and frigates well equipped 
and provided, at least such as in the case in question could 
be used ; that besides the vessels ready to act, which are 
actually in the ports of the Republic, ought in the first 
place, and before all things, to serve for the defence of the 
coasts and harbors (or mouths of the rivers) as well as for 
the protection of the navigation towards the North Sea and 
the Baltic, and of the ships, which return from thence • 
that principally by reason of the unheard of scarcity of sea- 
men, occasioned in a great measure by the capture of so 
enormous a quantity of Dutch merchant ships, which had 
been manned by the best seamen of the nation, it was 
almost impossible to determine the lime when the other 
vessels of war in commissions should be able to act. 

"That, nevertheless, the Company of the East Indies was 
of too great importance to this country, for us to be able to 
reject entirely her demand ; and by so much the less as the 
Directors do not request to be protected to the detriment 
of the Republic, but they demonstrate also that they are 
really willing on their part to make their last efforts for 
their own defence, and contented themselves to require the 
suitable support of the State, to sustain the forces which 
the company was about to put in action ; that from the re- 
fusal of a requisition of this nature it might result, that in 
losing all hope in the protection of the State, they may 


neglect also those efforts, which otherwise might be em- 
ployed with some appearance of success ; that, besides, the 
national establishments in this distant part of the globe 
would also fall, and without the least resistance, into the 
hands of the enemy, and that this Republic at the end of 
the present war would find itself destitute of all its re- 
sources ; that this presentiment, apparently, ought to effect 
a close union of all the forces, to fulfil as far as possible the 
desire of the said Directors, and that to the end to try all 
practicable means, expecting at the same time the celestial 
benediction, and the prompt and effectual succor of our 
high allies, in default of ordinary remedies, it is necessary 
to have recourse without the smallest loss of time to extra- 
ordinary remedies, and to this effect his Most Serene High- 
ness, in his quality of Stadtholder and Admiral-General of 
the Republic, ought to be solicited and authorised, if it was 
possible, either by borrowing vessels of war, their equi- 
pages, or by purchasing or hiring here or elsewhere, other 
suitable ships, which might be appropriated to this, or 
finally in every other practicable manner to reinforce at 
the expense of the country, the marine of the State, with 
the greatest celerity, and as much as possible ; in conse- 
quence of which, in concert with the said Directors of the 
East India Company, we may regulate the time, the man- 
ner, and the force of the protection to be procured for the 
company in question ; the Vi'hole, as his Most Serene High- 
ness, saving the sense of the resolution of their High Mighti- 
nesses of the 26th of March last, shall judge the most con- 
venient for the greatest utility of the Republic, and of the 
said company. Finally, that it would be convenient also 
to intimate to the Colleges of the Admirally respectively of 
this country, to co-operate as much as possible with his 


Most Serene Highness, not only to put and hold with the 
greatest expedition in a convenient state the vessels of the 
Republic, but also in particular for everything that may 
contribute to accelerate their equipment and sailing, and to 
the greatest success of the enrolments; with a promise, 
that the extraordinary expenses which shall result from it 
and be advanced with the advice of his Most Serene High- 
ness, shall be restored and made good to them. 

"Upon which, having deliberated, the Deputies of the 
Province of Zealand have taken a copy of this report, to 
be able to communicate more amply." 

I do myself the honor to transmit such state papers en- 
tire, because Congress will be able from them to collect 
the real state of things better than from any remarks of 
mine. The state of the Republic is deplorable enough. 
There is but one sure path for it to pursue, that is, instantly 
to accede to the Treaty of Alliance between France and 
America. They see this, but have not firmness to ven- 
ture upon the measure. Indeed, the military character 
both at land and sea, seems to be lost out of this nation. 
' The love of fame, the desire of glory, the love of country, 
the regard for posterity, in short, all the brilliant and sub- 
lime passions are lost, and succeeded by nothing but the 
love of ease and money ; but the character of this people 
must change, or they are finally undone. 

1 have the honor to be, &ic. 




Amsterdam, May 29tli, 1781. 

Sir, • 

The English, by the capture of St Euslatia, seem to 
have committed the most complete blunder of all. There 
was found in that Island a greater quantity of property 
belonging to the Britons themselves, than to the French, 
Dutch, or Americans. They have broken up a trade, 
which was more advantageous to them, than to any of their 
enemies, as it was a channel through which British manu- 
factures were conveyed to North America, and much pro- 
visions and assistance to their fleets and armies in the West 
Indies. As the British merchants were warranted by an 
act of Parliament to trade to this Island, all those who are 
sufferers by its capture are clamoring against government 
and especially against Rodney and Vaughan, for illegally 
seizing their property and threatening these commanders 
with as many law-suits as there are losess. But what 
completes the jest is, that M. de la Motte ^Piquet has car- 
ried safe into Brest two and twenty of the vessels loaded 
with the spoils of St Eustatia, which Rodney had sent 
under convoy of Commodore Hotham and four ships of 
the line ; so that Rodney after having lost his booty is 
likely to have law-suits to defend, and very probably the 
whole to repay to the owners. 

Thus the cards are once more turned against the gam- 
bler ; and the nation has gained nothing but an addition 
to their reputation for iniquity. This is good justice. 
There is room to hope for more instances of it ; because 
their fleets are coming home from the West Indies, and 
the Spanish fleet of thirty sail of the line under Cordova is 


again at sea, and it is hoped the French fleet will soon go 
. out again. 

The English fleets are so fully employed by the French 
and Spaniards, that the Dutch might do a great deal if 
they would ; but something in this machine is fatally amiss. 
The patriots weep, but all in vain. The fleets and ships 
that sail, are said to have orders to act only on the defen- 
sive. The courtiers say, that Amsterdam is the cause of 
the war ; the friends of Amsterdam say, the courtiers are 
corrupted by the English. Some say, the Prince declares 
he will never do anything against the English ; others say, 
that he has authorised the French Ambassador to assure 
the King his master, that he was ready to make arrange- 
ments with him ; others report sayings of the Princess, 
that the conduct of some of the courtiers will be the ruin 
of her family. All these reports serve to no purpose, but 
to show the confusion and distraction of the country. 
However, there must be a change soon for the better or 
worse, for hunger will break down all ordinary fences. 
I have the honor to be, Sic. 



Arasterdain, May 31st, 1781. 

The following memorial lays open a dispute between 
two nations. 

"High and Mighty Lords, 
"It is well known to your High Mightinesses, with wliat 
constancy and for how long a time, the subscriber has had 
the honor to lay before you, by order of his Court, how 


much she desires to accomplish a settlement of the differ- 
ences, which exist upon the Rio Volta between her sub- 
jects and yours, who have by little and little wrongfully 
occupied and fortified the posts of Creve Coeur and of 
Good Hope, which at present incommode and restrain the 
Danish establishments upon that coast to a degree almost to 
destroy the existence of them, to put them to expenses for 
their maintenance, which absorb their utility, and to render 
more and more necessary measures, which his Majesty 
would desire not to be obliged to think of. In conse- 
quence, although the subscriber has rendered a faithful 
account of the assurances, which have been repeatedly 
given him, of the desire, which your High Mightinesses 
have to take away even from its source all subject of mis- 
understanding reciprocally, a desire very conformable with 
that of the King his master; nevertheless, as nothing has 
resulted from these general assurances he finds himself at 
present obliged to execute the orders, which he has receiv- 
ed ; to demand of your High Mightinesses to cause to be 
evacuated the said forts of Creve Coeur and Good Hope, 
the existence of which cannot consist with diat of the 
establishment of Denmark. He has express orders to 
make this requisition, and to give to understand, that as 
his Majesty will be very sensible of this friendly manner of 
terminating the present differences upon the coast of 
Guinea, so will he see with sincere regret that you will 
oblige him to give to this affair a more serious attention. 

The Hague, April 2Sth. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 




Amsterdam, May 31st, 1781 


The cities of Haerlem and Doit have seconded Amster- 
dam, ahhough the other cities of Holland have hitherto 
heen silent, as appears hy the following declarations. 

"A declaration of the gentlemen, the Deputies of Dort, 
concerning the proposition of the city of Amsterdam, made 
at the assembly of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses on 
the 18th of May, 1781. 

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of Dcrt, have declared 
to the assembly, that they had been earnest to transmit to 
the Regency of their city the propositions of the gende- 
men, the Burgomasters and Counsellors of Amsterdam, 
communicating to them at the same time, that with regard 
to the matter, which makes the object of it, the gendemen, 
the Deputies, had beforehand declared, that since the sub- 
stance of the said proposition was entirely conformable to 
that, which for some time had formed among the gende- 
men, the Constituents, the object of preliminary delibera- 
tions, the Deputies had believed themselves tacidy author- 
ised to adopt immediately the said proposition in all its 
points, which determined them also to testify their very 
sincere gratitude to the gendemen, the Deputies of Am- 
sterdam, and in their persons to the gendemen, the Bur- 
gomasters and Regents of the same city, for the enlightened 
and vigilant zeal with which these gentlemen in taking this 
step, so salutary and so necessary, had shown that they 
have at heart the true interests of their dear country, 
which had already experienced so many injuries. That at 
present, the gentlemen, the Deputies, after the communica- 


tions alleged, found themselves expressly instructed to 
cause to be inserted in the minutes of their Noble and 
Grand Mightinesses, for the justification of the Regency of 
their city before posterity, that the venerable Magistracy 
of Dort, approving what is before mentioned, had learned 
with a lively satisfaction the proposition before mentioned ; 
that it was ready and disposed in the name of that city, to 
concur efficaciously in all the means, Vv'hich may be judged 
the most convenient, to save with alacrity this country, now 
threatened and surrounded with the greatest and most ter- 
rible dangers ; that to this end the venerable Regents of 
Dort would not fail to deliberate immediately upon the par- 
ticular points, which the proposition in question presents, 
and to cause in course their resolution to be transmitted to 
the assembly of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses." 

Note of tlie Deputies of Haerlem, touching the provi- 
sional resolution taken by their Noble and Grand Mighti- 
nesses, upon tlie proposition of Amsterdam. 

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of the city of Haerlem, 
resuming the extension of the 18th of May, have declared, 
that in accepting the proposition of the gentlemen, the 
Deputies of the city of Amsterdam, their advice had been, 
that since the said proposition ought to be attributed to a 
laudable desire to vvatcii over the common interests, the 
gentlemen, the Deputies of Amsterdam, and in their per- 
sons, the gentlemen their constituents, ought to be thanked 
for the zeal and marked attention upon this occasion for the 
utility of tlieir dear country. But, as at that time almost 
all the members relished this advice in such a manner, that 
the assembly had converted it into a provisional resokitioi), 
the gentlemen, the Deputies, had a good right to presume, 
that, in imitation of many antecedinit facts, this advice would 

VOL. VI. 5 


have become an essential measure, to cause to be passed 
the beforementioned provisional resolution. But the gen- 
tlemen, the Deputies, seeing the contrary, and their re- 
marks made in this regard, answered by a frozen silence 
on the part of the other members, they have, both on ac- 
count of this circumstance, and to ascertain what really 
passed in consequence of the proposition in question, and 
to justify the report made to the gentlemen, their princi- 
pals, upon this object, judged necessary to cause this note 
to be inserted in the minutes of their Noble and Grand 
Mightinesses." ' 

With hearty wishes that this dumb spirit may be soon 
cast out, I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amstcidarn, June 1st, 1781. 


1 have received from my Sovereign, the United States 
of America, in Congress assembled, their express instruc- 
tions to notify to their High Mightinesses, the States-Gene- 
ral, the complete and final ratification of the confederation 
of the Thirteen United Stales, from New Hampshire to 
Georgia, both included, on the 1st day of March last. 

I do myself the honor to enclose an authentic copy of 
this important act, and to request the favor of you. Sir, to 
communicate it to their High Mightinesses in such a man- 
ner as you shall judge most convenient ; as in the present 
circumstances of affairs I know of no more proper mode 
of discharging this part of my duty. 

} have the lionor to be, &tc. 




Amsterdam, June 5th, 1781. 


The Deputies of MIddleburg, in the assembly of the 
States of Zealand, on tne 14th of May, consented to the 
petition for granting larger bounties to those who shall en- 
gage in the service of the Republic by sea. Their advice 
has been given in this manner ; 

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of Middleburg, have said 
that they were authorised by the gentlemen, their princi- 
pals, to conform themselves to the report in question, iu all 
its parts. They are further specially instructed and or- 
dered, (renewing the advice of their city, communicated 
with their consent to the two States of war of the 9lh of 
last month,) to represent upon this occasion, in the name 
of the gentlemen, their principals, and to insist strongly, 
that without delay it should be deliberated by a commit- 
tee, concerning the measures the most prompt and the 
niost efficacious to be taken by this Province, to direct 
things in course in the generality, in such a manner, that in 
the critical and disastrous situation in which the Republic 
is, we should apply pur attention conjointly, with redoubled 
zeal, activity, and wisdom, in defence of the territory, com- 
merce, and possessions of the Republic ; that we finally 
awake out of that unexpected inaction, in which as is too 
apparent the Republic is still found, the causes of which 
cannot, and ought not in any degree, to be attributed to 
this Province ; or that at least, without delay and without 
reserve, the true reasons of this dangerous and disgracefid 
situation should be comniunicated to the Lords, the States 
of Zealand, from w'hom nothing, which concerns the Union 


ought. to be concealed ; to the end, that in course they may- 
deliberate sincerely with the other confederates upon tlie 
means of deliverance and of precaution, the most prompt, 
and the most convenient for the common advantage, safety, 
and preservation. 

"The Lords, the Stales of Zealand, have also repre- 
sented to their High Mightinesses, the propriety of estab- 
lishing batteries upon the coast of Flanders, upon the 
places the most exposed, and to provide them with cannon 
and necessary stores, that they may be able to act, with 
the armed vessels stationed upon the river, against any en- 
terprises which may be attempted by the enemy's vessels. 

"On the 22d of last month, their Noble and Grand 
Mightinesses deliberated upon the proposition of the Coun- 
sellor Pensionary, made on the 18th of the same month, 
in the name of the gentlemen, the counsellors' committees, 
viz. tljat it having been resolved, by a resolution of their 
Noble and Grand Mightinesses of (he 16th of January, to 
negotiate a sum of eight millions, at two and a half per 
cent interest, this negotiation had had so happy a success, 
that it was almost filled up, as the treasury general and the 
other treasuries of the quarter of the south of this Province 
have received seven millions fortysix thousand six hundred 
and fifty florins, and those of the quarter of the north, five 
hundred and seventyeight thousand eight hundred florins. 
That the Counsellor Pensionary, seeing that the present 
situation of affairs requires in all respects, that the treasury 
of the State sliould be provided of a larger quantity of 
money, has proposed to the consideration of their Noble 
and Grand Mightinesses, whether they did not judge it 
convenient to augment the negotiation in question by four 
other millions, and, consequently, to extend it to twelve 


millions, upon the same footing and with the same interest, 
as determined by their resolution of the 16th of January 

"Upon which it was thought fit, and resolved, to consent 
to the negotiation of these eight millions, and to increase it 
with four others, so as to make twelve millions upon the 
same footing. The Prince has made a tour to the Brille, 
Helvoetsluys, Goeree, and Willemstadt, where he has re- 
viewed the troops and vessels of war, and returned to the 
Hague on the third of this month." 

I send to Congress an account of these faint and feeble 
symptoms of life, because there is no appearance of any 
more vigorous. I am told that this vis inerticB is pio- 
found policy. If it is policy at all, it is so profound, 
as to be perfectly incomprehensible. However, their 
property and dominion, their honor and dignity, their sove- 
reignty and independence are their own, and if they 
choose to throw them all away, for aught I know, they 
have a right to do it. There is one comfort, if other na- 
tions have nothing to hope, they have nothing to fear from 
such policy. 

1 have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amsterdam, June Sth, J781. 


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 

to write me, on the Sth of this month, informing me, that 

you have received a letter from the Count de Vergennes, 

by which his Excellency directs you to tell nie, that the 


interests of the United States require rny presence at Paris, 
and that he should desire that I should go there, as soon 
as my affairs in Holland will permit mc. 

I should be extremely obliged to you, Sir, if you would 
confide to me the nature of the business that requires me 
at Paris, that I might be able to form some judgment, 
whether it is of so much importance, and so pressing, as to 
make it necessary for mc to go forthwith. 

His Excellency Dr Franklin, and Colojiel Laurens, 
have arranged affairs in such a manner, that the accounts 
of the Indian are to be produced to me, and I am to draw 
bills to discharge them, so that it would retard the depart- 
ure of that interesting vessel, if I were to go now ; and it 
is of some importance to the public that I should complete 
my despatches to go to Congress by her. I am also un- 
fortunately involved in a good deal of business, in accept- 
ing and discharging bills of exchange, a course of business 
which would be put into some confusion, if I were to go 
immediately ; and the general affairs of Congress in this 
Republic might suffer somewhat by my absence. But 
notwitiistanding all, if I 'v*ere informed that it is anything 
respecting a g^feeral pacification, or an invitation of this 
Republic to accede to the alliance between France and 
the United States, or any other affair of sufficient weight 
to justify my quitting this port immediately, I v.'ould do it. 
Otherwise it would, as I humbly conceive, be more for the 
public interest, that 1 should wait until some of the busi- 
ness that lies upon me here is despatched, and the rest put 
into a better order. Let me beg the favor of your senti- 
ments, Sir. Whenever I go, I must beg the favor of you 
to furnish me with a passport. 
I have the honor to be, he. 




Amsterdam, June 11th, 1781. 


The following petition is too curious in itself, and too 
much attended to by the public at this tinie, to be omitted. 

"To the Gentlemen, the Burgomasters, Sheriffs and 
Counsellors of tlie city of Antwerp. 

"The inhabitants of the city of Antwerp in general, and 
those who are there concerned in commerce, in particular, 
should think that they injured their own interests, if they neg- 
lected, at a time when all Europe talks of the advantages, 
which the opening of the Scheldt would produce, to address 
themselves to you, Gentlemen, to make known their desire, 
that you would please to take the necessary measures for 
this purpose. While all nations fix at present their atten- 
tion upon the liberty of navigation, shall we he the only 
people, who, although having a greater interest in it than 
others, should remain quiet, and suffer to pass away, un- 
improved, the moment, which appears to be now arrived 
to deliver ourselves from the yoke, which the Republic of 
Holland imposed upon us in the days of their first celebra- 
tion ? No ! It is time that we awake ! Since the treaty of 
Munster, this city and its commerce are fallen into a great 
decay, but we have still the means in our hands to revive 
them, because the inhabitants have ever continued to have 
an indirect portion in commerce. It was they, who after 
the suppre.ssion of the Company of Ostend,have assisted in 
the establishment of the East India Companies of Sweden 
and Denmark ; and it would not be difficult to prove, that 
projects of all sorts have taken place in their speculations. 
What could ihey not do, therefore, when it shall be free to 
them to make a direct and unre.strained commerce ? The 

40 JOH-^' ADAMS. 

simple hope, which they have of it, causes among them a 
revival of the spirit of commerce. When we compare the 
situation of the cities of Amsterdam and Antwerp, we shall 
find that that of the latter has many advantages over the 
former. The commerce of corn, which makes of Holland 
the factory of Europe, and all the trade of the North, offers 
itself to the city of Antwerp. We should soon find there 
magazines provided with everything necessary to extend 
commerce, and equal that of Amsterdam. This com- 
merce alone would be sufficient to make a revival of the 
bright days, Vi^hich preceded the peace of Munster. 

"But what afflicts us, Gentlemen, is, that there are per- 
sons who would divide the interests of provinces, and give 
birth to a rivalry between the ports of Ostend and Ant- 
werp, as if one port the more would be too much for the 
States of his Majesty. If this could be a question, no man 
could doubt that the city of Antwerp is much better situated 
to make an extensive commerce, than the city of Ostend. 
Experience alone is sufficient to demonstrate it. The 
commerce, which Antwerp has made heretofore, came 
there naturally of itself, although it had been formerly at 
Bruges, because the port of Antwerp was better, and in all 
respects more advantageous. But these cities have noth- 
ing in common, and if the Scheldt was open, and remained 
open, Ostend would not suffer any damage from it. We 
have the advantage to have in our Sovereign a Prince, 
whose whole application tends to render his subjects hap- 
py ; nothing can contribute more to their pros])erity than 
commerce. The fine arts, which have supported them- 
selves at Antwerp, in spite of the decay of commerce, for 
near one hundred and forty years, would acquire here a 
new degree of perfection and lustre. 


- "We hope, Gentlemen, that your caie and zeal for 
everything, which can contribute to the prosperity of a 
city, which you have already lately delivered from beg- 
gary, will make you discover, with particular satisfaction, 
new means of procuring labor for the poor and needy, 
diminish thereby the expense of their maintenance, with- 
out reckoning all the other advantages, and especially the 
augmentation of our population, which would be the result 
of our demand." 

This petition discloses objects of so much weight in 
those scales, in which the political and commercial interests 
of the nations of Europe are now balancing, that it is 
worth while to transmit some observations, which have 
been made upon it, which will lay open the whole subject, 
with all its connexions. They were written in French by 
M. Cerisier. 

"It is to have a false idea of things, to think and to say, 
that Holland and Zealand, taking an unjust advantage of 
their victories, and of the weakness of their enemies, have 
dictated, with arms in their hands, the outrageous and des- 
potic conditions of holding their ports shut up. We have 
only to cast our eyes upon the geographical situation of 
Antwerp, we have only to recollect the first events of the 
Belgic Revolution, to acknowledge this error. Tiie city 
of Antwerp for a long time made a part of the Belgic 
confederation ; she entered into the union of Utrecht, as 
she had entered into the pacification of Ghent, she was 
even for several years the centre of the new Republic ; it 
was not until 1585, that she fell back under the yoke of 
the Spaniards. But the Duke of Parma, in retaking 
Antwerp, could not equally make himself master of all the 
forts situaled below that city, tow;u-(ls the inout'i of the 


Scheldt. The confederates continued masters of these, 
and even retook some places, which had been taken from 
them in the course of the war. Thus they remained 
masters of the lower navigation of this river, an advantage, 
which they caused to be confirmed to them in the treaty 
of peace. In casting our eyes, on the other hand, on the 
memorable siege of Antwerp, it is to this city that it is 
necessary to impute the misfortune of having an useless 
port, since, by :\ more vigorous and wise defence, she 
would have remained in the union, with all the advantages 
which resulted from it. 

"Zealand and the city of Amsterdam, have always held 
the slavery of the port of Antwerp of much importance. But 
it is v^ery far from being true, that this city, by recovering 
the liberty of her navigation, would be able to draw away 
any considerable part of their commerce. The maritime 
places of the United Provinces have had for several ages, 
and many years before the revolution, a great navigation 
and a flourishing commerce ; this has been demonstrated 
by modern authors. See the Tableau de VHistoire des 
Provinces Unies, et la Richesse de la HoUande. It is 
an error then to believe, that they were raised upon the 
ruins of Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp ; although we can- 
not deny, that they have received some augmentation from 

"But it is England, which has drawn the greatest ad- 
vantages from them. The cause is evident ; it is. that the 
same troubles, which chased commerce from these cities, 
agitated at the same lime Holland, Zealand, Friesland, 
and the neighboring Provinces. The factions of the 
Houcks and the Cabeliaux, the Schieringers, and the 
Vetkopers, the Litchembergs, and the Gunterlings, the 


Hekeren, and the Bronkhoist, liave nearly at the same time 
for many years, torn almost the whole country, which 
formsdit this day the Republic of the United Provinces, in 
the times when Flanders was a prey to the most violent 
intestine dissensions, when Ghent and Bruges held the 
Emperor Maximilian in prison ; and when the chastise- 
ments inflicted on these two cities, drove out the industry 
and commerce, which enriched them. The United Prov- 
inces were the centre of the rebellion and the theatre of the 
most afflicting calamities, when the cruelties of the Span- 
iards chased commerce fron) the city of Antwerp. The 
most violent causes, in fact, are necessary to drive com- 
merce from a country where she has fixed her residence. 
The powerful houses of commerce, the immense funds 
necessary to carry it on, the credit, the industry, do not 
transplant themselves easily from one country to another. 

"We ought not to impute to slavery the fall of the com- 
merce of the Austrian Low Countries. We must ascend 
to that epocha, when the fiscal and religious despotism of 
Spain carried into the Low Countries the yoke of civil ser- 
vitude and the flames of the inquisition. Commerce can- 
not harmonise with slavery, with the tyrannical exaction of 
imposts, with persecutors, or with hangmen. It was princi- 
pally to London, that industry, and the merchants of Lou- 
vain, Ghent, Bruges, and Antwerp, fled. Although Hol- 
land and Zealand were at the same time a prey to similar 
misfortunes, and even still more terrible, they found them- 
selves in a condition to raise a powerful marine, to bent 
their ancient masters, and to seize upon their spoils in the 
Indies. It was upon their courage, upon their navigation, 
upon their establishments in the Indies, and not upon 
the mouth of the Scheldt, that they laid the foundations 


of a commerce, the richest and inost extensive that ever 

"If all the Low Countries had remained attachedlo the 
confederation, they would all have partaken of the riches, 
the industry, the power, and the grandeur of the United 
Provinces. The Austrian Low Countries were not able 
to recover their brilliant commerce, because they had lost 
it. To repair this loss, it would have been necessary, that 
Holland and England, filled with their manufactures, 
should have had the complaisance to send them back all 
these manufactures with their riches, their workmen, and 
their raw materials. It was only Louis the Fourteenth 
who could in this respect take Philip the Second for a 
model. If the Flemish and the Brabsntians, should have 
again a source of raw materials, and of workmen, would it 
be easy to recall industry and naturalise it there, after so 
long an exile ? The little progress of commerce in those 
countries has many other causes, besides the subjugation of 
one of its brooks. It is necessary to look for them in the 
multitude and enormity of the duties imposed upon mer- 
chandises, which enter, or go out of the Austrian domin- 
ions, duties, which are repeated from one Province, and 
even from one city to another ; it is necessary to look for 
them in the tyrannical and insolent inquisition of officers, 
with whom the frontiers are covered, in the fiscal and in- 
iquitous subjection, to which packages and travellers are 
exposed ; the former to a search, which exposes the goods 
to be spoiled, and the other to an indecent and odious in- 
spection. They have forced women to strip themselves, 
even to their shifts, to discover, with a scandalous avidity, 
effects subject to these odious taxes. 

"A part of the commerce of Germany, and several 


Provinces of France with Holland, would have no other 
market than the Low Countries, if the imposts and the 
collection of them were not tyrannical. The merchants of 
St Quentin, of Rheims, of Paris, will all tell 3^ou, that the 
lawns, wines, and modes, which they send into the coun- 
tries situated upon the Baltic, would be embarked at Os- 
tend, without those armies of inquisitors like highwaymen, 
who drive away, by a perpetual, restraint, commerce, the 
friend of liberty. Add to this, the delays, and the dear- 
ness of land-carriage, interrupted v\'ith barriers, in the 
countries, where there are no nanals ; ail these obstacles 
do not only hurt the commerce of transportation, but also 
that of importation and exportation. The foreigner, find- 
ing so many difficulties in spreading his superfluities in 
those countries, is the less capable of taking off theirs. 

"Moreover, how many ameliorations may be made in 
the natural resources of that country ? Before they allow 
themselves in uncertain speculations abroad, they should 
carry to the highest point, industry at home. There are 
even reformations, which are very difficult, and without 
which these countries will never hold the balance against 
countries, in which the number, the celibacy, the riches, 
and the laziness of the clergy, do not devour the industry 
of the people. Is the slavery of the Scheldt then the 
cause, that Lonvain is peopled only with students and pro- 
fessors ? Malines filled with attornies and judges? That 
Mons, Tournay, Ypres, Ghent, and Bruges, are no longer 
more than carcasses? If there were a means of reviving 
these cities, would it not be by the enlargement and the 
safety of the port of Ostend ? 

"Even if the ports of Ostend, of Nieuport, and Ant- 
werp offered roads free, safe, and commodious, would 


business fly to them foi- refuge, and abandon the ports of 
Hamburg, Dantzick, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Middle- 
burg. Dunkirk, Rouen, Nantes, Rochelle, Bordeaux, the 
Elbe, the Somme, the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and 
the ports of the three kingdoms of Great Britain, where it 
enjoys all the advantages and facililies, which it can desire? 
The English themselves, who dazzle at this day the Aus- 
trian Low Countries with the hope of a free and flourish- 
ing commerce, would not they be the first to oppose this 
revolution, if it had any appearance of success? It is their 
jealousy of the prosperity of Amsterdam, which makes 
them clamor against the subjection of the Scheldt. But 
they would clamor much louder, if the liberty of the 
Scheldt should restore to the Low Countries the hope of 
recovering their ancient commerce. All States seek with 
emulation to augment the national industry. Russia, and 
even other northern States, are making efforts and sacri- 
fices to procure for themselves manufactures. All coun- 
tries, even Spain and Portugal, begin to perceive that 
these things are more useful than autos-da-fe. The Aus- 
trian Low Countries have them also. But could they 
augment them nt the expense of other countries ; espe- 
cially at a tim.e, when so many States pique themselves in 
having a warlike marine to maintain their commerce and 
their national industry ? 

"But, it will be said, is it not manifest that the naviga- 
tion of Antwerp being opened, commerce, by reascending 
the river, would diffuse her benign influence throughout all 
the extent of an agreeable and fertile territory, full of 
canals and great roads, Sic. ? I answer again, why would 
not the ports of Bruges, Ghent, Ostend, and Nieuport 
produce the same effect? It is even apparent, that these 


-ports would lose by the new outlet of Antwerp, the little 
commerce which remained to ihem. la that case, Era- 
bant would only raise itself on the ruins or at the expense 
of Flanders. The liberty of this river would enrich per- 
haps the interior of the country, but it would certainly im- 
poverish the coasts of the sea. They say it is unjust to 
hold the Scheldt shut up ; but would it not, on the con- 
trary, be the height of injustice to open again a navigation, 
assured to the Hollanders by the natural consequence of a 
revolution universally ratified, and by a long possession ? 
What man, what State, would be authorised to appropriate 
a thing to itself because it was for his convenience ? This 
rule, it is true, has in our days effected the dismember- 
ment of Poland, the invasion of Silesia, and the present 
war of England against Holland. But in taking away the 
property of the Dutch, with what right can one find fault 
with the violence of Russia ? 

"It will be said, that the restraint of a river dug by 
nature, for the use of the inhabitants who live upon the 
banks, is contrary to natural right, against which no pre- 
scription ever runs. But do not the turnpikes, or fall- 
stops, with which these rivers are thickset, contravene also 
the rights of nature ? The house of my neighbor intercepts 
the light, of which I have great occasion ; have I the right 
for this reason to pull it down ? 

"In one word, the mouth of the Scheldt is in the terri- 
tory of the United Provinces. The Republic, according 
to received principles, may interdict the navigation of it 
to foreigners, as well as to its own subjects. She excludes 
only the former; because she finds her advantage in it, as 
the English find theirs in their famous act of navigation, 
much more tyrannical than the subjection of the Scheldt. 


The Belgians will say, the waters of this river wash and 
fertilize our country in passing through it. But have not 
the French still a better right to the same navigation, be- 
cause this river takes its rise in France ? The Swiss would 
have a good grace to wish to arrogate to themselves the 
free navigation of the whole course of the Rhorie, the Po, 
the Danube, and the Rhine, because these rivers flow from 
the mountains of Helvetia. The subjection of the Scheldt 
was ratified in 1648, in the famous treaty of Munster, or 
Westphalia, whereof all the powers of Europe are war- 
ranties, and which still passes for the basis of the political 
system of Europe, and for a fundamental law of the em- 
pire. We have seen in 1778, the Emperor himself obli- 
ged to renounce a succession supported upon authentic 
titles, because the powers, warranties of the peace of 
Westphalia, sustained, that this succession was contrary to 
that treaty. And yet it is wished, that in full peace, with- 
out title, without pretence, the Emperor should wrest from 
the Dutch a property, the fruits of which will never indem- 
nify them for the sacrifices tiiey have made for his house. 
"They would have the Emperor an ambitious Prince, 
rolling the vastest projects in his head. But with what 
eye will the other powers view an usurpation, which they 
ought to seek to prevent by all the motives of honor and 
of interest ; even although it should be from the ambitious 
idea of acting their part in the affairs of Europe? How ? 
Shall he expose hinjself in the present moment to spread 
the flames of a general war in Europe, and to lose perhaps 
the Low Countries, which would be from that moment 
surrounded by inimical powers. For what? To procure 
to the inhabitants of Antwerp, the facility of conducting a 
few ships into the German ocean. 


"Holland is in the last degree of weakness, embarrass- 
ment, and disunion ; she has fear. Oh ! yes ; but the 
King of Prussia, but die electors of Saxony and Palatine, 
but the King of France, would have fear also ; fear would 
unite them ; and when one has a great deal, he begins to 
have less fear. 

"That which would make of Antwerp a new Sidon, or 
a new Carthage, which would render this city the rival of 
Bordeaux, of Rouen, of Amsterdam, and of London, 
would be infinitely prejudicial to the French and the Rus- 
sians. Either this business would be a part detached from 
that of the ports of the channel, and of the Baltic sea, and, 
in that case, France and Russia would not consent to build 
up a place of commerce, which would flourish at their ex- 
pense ; they would oppose the opening of a port, which 
would draw away the inhabitants from those, which they 
are laboring to make flourish ; or it would be composed of 
branches torn from that which is done at the Texel, 
upon the Meuse, and the Thames, and, in that case, they 
will refuse their consent to this transplantation. If it is 
necessary, that the commerce of the Dutch and the En- 
glish should fall, Russia and France will choose to take 
advantage of its decay, to transport it into their harbors." 

I have the honor to he, &c. 



Amsterdam, June 12tli, 1781. 

The States of Holland and West Friesland are adjourn- 
ed to the 27th. In their last session, they consented to 
the augmentation of seventeen thousand six hundred ;uul 
VOL. VI. 7 


eightysiK land forces, according to the plan, which the 
Council of State, in concert with the Stadtholder, had 
formed, on the ISth of April, and which had been carried 
on the 19th of the same month, to the Assembly oi the 
States of the Province. They have also taken the reso- 
lution to lend to the East India Company the sum c ^ne 
million two hundred thousand florins, at three per cent in- 
terest, to be reimbursed in thirtythree years, in pa} i (^nts 
of thirtysix thousand florins. The affairs of the Colony of 
Surinam are about to engage the attention of governrnent, 
according to a petition, which the Deputies of the mer- 
chants of Dort, Haerlem, Amsterdam, and Rotterdanr?, 
presented on the 6th, to the States of Holland and West 
Friesland, and for which the merchants have demanded, in 
an audience, which they have had of the Stadtholder, the 
support of His Most Serene Highness. This petition was 
conceived in these terms. 


"The merchants, deputies of the cities of Dort, Haer- 
lem, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam, represent in the most 
respectful manner, that the mortal stagnation of navigation 
and of commerce, which cannot preserve their well-being 
but by continual activity, has forced the petitioners not to 
disguise any longer the fatal effects, and in circumstances, 
when the naval force of the Republic is not yet in a state 
to procure them a suflicient protection, to seek for them- 
selves a succor, which, in the extreme danger in which the 
colonies, which yet remain to the State, and even the State 
itself, are found at this day, may serve apparently to ad- 


vance in more than one manner, the general interest of 
this Republic ; that the supplicants, both for themselves, 
and speaking in favor and in the name of several thou- 
sands of their fellow-citizens, have taken the part to pre- 
sent to their High Mightinesses the States-General of the 
United Provinces, the petition, a copy of which is here 
joined, and to which they respectfully refer, as follows. 


"That as your Noble and Grand Mightinesses, have al- 
ways testified, that the well-being of your fellow-citizens in 
general, and that of merchants in particular, ought to be 
supported in every manner, the petitioners assure them- 
selves, that the more the danger becomes imminent, the 
more the zeal of your Noble and Grand Mightinesses will 
animate itself to prevent, under the divine blessing, the 
total ruin of the essential sources of the existence of the 
country ; so that this danger being at present so great, and 
becoming from day to day more pressing, the petitioners 
dare to promise themselves, on the part of your Noble and 
Grand Mightinesses, all the succor and assistance requisite, 
and to hope, that they shall not invoke in vain their pow- 
erful support, relative to the prayer beforementioned. It 
is for this, that the petitioners address themselves to this 
Sovereign Assembly, in the manner the most respectful, 
and in a confidence the most entire in the inclination of 
your Noble and Grand Mightinesses for the protection of 
the citizens of the Republic, seriously praying, that it may 
pk. 5 3 your Noble and Grand Mightinesses, to authorise 
yorr Deputies in the Assembly of the Slates-Genernl to 
CL jr in directing, with all the earnestness possible, things 
in such a manner, that there be given to the petition afoic- 

52 JOlIiN ADAMS. • 

said a proiupt and I'avorable answer, ami iliat uieasiires be 
taken, to the end liiat the petitioners and those who are 
otherwise interested with tliem, may enjoy without delay 
the effect of a definitive determination, &c. 

"To their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the 
United Provinces give respectfully to understand, the un- 
dersigned proprietors, and owners of vessels navigating to 
the Colony of Surinam, owners of plantations, situated 
there, merchants and others interested in the commerce of 
the said colony ; 

"That this Colony, independently of the interest^ which 
the undersigned, and a great number of others equally in- 
terested, take in it, may be regarded as of the greatest 
importance for the Republic itself, by reason of the very 
considerable revenues, which, for a long course of years, 
it has procured, not only to the direction privileged by 
grant, but also to the Republic itself, and which become 
every day more lucrative, by the enormous expenses, 
which the proprietors of plantations have made to culti- 
vate new lands, and to improve the culture of several ter- 
ritorial productions. 

"To this effect, the petitioners refer to the estimate an- 
nexed, containing the quantity of productions, which for 
some years have been transported from the Colony into the 
ports of the country. That these productions, after hav- 
ing been transported from this country, some wrought up 
here, and others as they were received, procure continu- 
ally to the treasury of the Republic very important sums, 
proceeding from different duties, which are directly or in- 
directly relative to them. That the necessity to go in 
search of all these productions of die Colony, and that of 
transporting thither provisions and other effects, employs 


-annually a large number of great ships, which are for the 
most part fine frigates, solidly built, the number of which 
amounted to more than fourscore, which all pay every 
voyage the duties of lesl, which are considerable, and 
serve, at the same time, for the maintenance of a numerous 
body of navigators, which amount to about three thousand 
well experienced seamen. That, moreover, the impor- 
tance of this Colony does not fall short in point of utility 
of any other, both with relation to what has JDeen alleged, 
and because, in exchange for its productions, we receive 
here the precious metals, and the cash of other nations, 
which remain in the bosom of the United Provinces j 
while, on the contrary, it is necessary to export them to 
the East Indies, there to pay for territorial productions, the 
manufactures of the Indies ; and the payments, which 
foreigners make to us, to procure themselves merchandises, 
must equally return to the Indies for new purchases. That 
thus the navigation and the commerce with this Colony 
serve not only to the amelioration of the finances of the 
Republic, and to the augmentation of the national cash ; 
but they are still an abundant source of general prosperity 
for the inhabitants, scattered in the Seven Provinces. 

"Many, by means of the free property of their planta- 
tions, draw from thence important revenues, and encour- 
aged by success make them largely circulate ; while a 
much larger number of our countrymen are the bearers of 
obligations, carrying large interests negotiated upon mort- 
gages, the preservation of which is of the greatest weight, 
considering that the sustenance of so many thousands of 
our fellow-citizens depends upon them. That, moreover, 
all which serves for housekeeping, all which is wanted for 
the culture of the land, the building and repairing of edi- 


fices, and even eatables, must be transported from hence 
into this Colony. This commerce, therefore, cannot fail 
to procure to a great, number of manufacturers, mercers, 
and traders, a continual outlet, which even surpasses all 
belief, and which is by so much the more useful, as this 
commerce consists for the most part in objects furnished 
by our territory, either in raw materials, or in things manu- 
factured here. This article alone procures the mainte- 
nance of an infinite number of artisans in the cities, and of 
the cultivators of the field ; without mentioning the con- 
struction and repairs of a great number of vessels employed 
in this navigation ; of their provisions, both for the voyage 
and the return, which gives a living to several thousands of 

"That thus the public prosperity and that of individuals, 
so intimately connected together, would both receive an 
irreparable blow, if they were deprived of the advantages, 
whicli they draw from this abundant source. That this 
misfortune has already denounced itself, and in the most 
sensible manner from the commencement of this war, the 
further consequences of which are so alarming, that they 
deserve to be v.arded off or prevented by all means imagi- 
nable. That, nevertheless, the petitioners on their part 
cannot otherwise obviate them, than by putting the vessels 
they use in this navigation, in a necessary state of defence, 
and in equipping them sufficiently for the war ; which will 
render them strong enough to repel all the enemy's priva- 
teers, of whatever size, and that they may be able to de- 
fend themselves even against the English men-of-war, and 
thereby assist and relieve the niilitary marine of the Re- 

"But that the excessively increased prices of every- 


thing, which ooncerns the equipment of vessels, the boun- 
ties and the pay, risen to near double, which must now be 
given to seamen, would render an equipment of this nature 
so expensive, that the charges would never be repaid by 
the freight. That, nevertheless, without an equipment of 
such vessels, we should risk too much ; this consideration 
has even determined the ov.'ners, whose vessels were 
loaded before the hostile attack of the English, to unload 
them and suspend the voyages, to the great prejudice of 
the Colony, of themselves, and of their freighters. That, 
moreover, they still find great difficulties to expedite their 
ships ; on the one hand, from the certainty that the passage 
to the Colony and in the West Indies themselves, is infested 
with the enemy's vessels of war and privateers, who by 
surprise have already made themselves masters of a great 
number of our merchant vessels, and have even invaded 
the defenceless possessions of the State, such as St Eusta- 
tia, St Martins, Essequebo, and Demerara ; on the other 
hand, in the uncertainty whether this excellent Colony, in 
the neighborhood of which, as they have learned, the ene- 
my's squadrons cruise without opposition, has not undergone 
the same fate ; in which case their valuable vessels with 
their rich cargoes, would fall into the power of an enemy, 
who from the heights of fortresses, taken by surprise, con- 
tinue to display the Dutch flag, under shelter of which, 
and by means of a certain number of vessels of war, he 
seizes upon merchant ships destitute of defence, who, con- 
fiding in the public faith, go in there without fear. 

"That, nevertheless, if by these considerations and others 
of the same nature, the navigation to this Colony is longer 
suspended, the well-being of the Republic cannot avoid the 
most sensible prejudice, and the Colony must be considered 


as abandoned ; her inhabitants will see tlietnselves even 
reduced to deliver themselves into the hands of their ene- 
mies, to the ruin and total loss not only of the classes the 
most at their ease, but of all the inhabitants whatsoever of 
the United Provinces ; so that we ought not to delay a 
single moment, nor neglect any means of encouragement 
or precaution to preserve them ; so much the rather, as it 
appears scarcely convenient under this embarrassment, to 
invoke the assistance of foreign nations, to make the trans- 
portation, and to go to the Colony and to return ; because, 
that in that case, we should lose this navigation, and we 
should lend our own hand to the entire declension, not only 
of the aid furnished to the treasury of the Republic, by the 
activity of this commerce and this navigation, but. also to 
the interruption of the sales of so many manufacturers, 
mercers, and traders, and even to the entire privation of 
the sustenance of an immense number of workmen and 
artisans, to whom this construction of vessels and this navi- 
gation so extended, procured their daily gain, which they 
cannot forego without being reduced to the most deplorable 
situation. That this repugnance to navigate on one's own 
account will be further followed by the desertion of a great 
number of sailors, who for want of finding employment 
here, and tempted by the advantageous promises of the 
enemy, will go there in search of service, to the double 
detriment of the public interest of the Republic. That the 
respectable fleet, composed of valuable vessels destined to 
this navigation, would lot in our ports, and the officers who 
command thetn, many of whom have not been thought un- 
worthy to be called to the service of their country, would 
be obliged to abandon with their families this country, 
where all the other means of gaining a livelihood fail more 


and more ; and as they have solely applied themselves to 
navigation, they would go in search of their subsistence into 
places, where, by our interruption, navigation makes new 
advances every day. That this method, indicated by ne- 
cessity, of recurring to foreign flags, by the more consider- 
able expenses which arise from it, would so absorb the 
revenues, that not only no planter would be able, with the 
litde which should remain to him, to support his plantation, 
but, moreover, there would remain no well-grounded hope 
for the great number of bearers of obligations to flatter 
themselves with obtaining any payment, still less the entire 
payment of the interests promised them ; since without 
having j'et supported these additional expenses, and not- 
withstanding the excessive prices at which the productions 
have been sold, they have seen themselves forced to di- 
minish considerably the interests, and in some cases to sus- 
pend even tlie entire payment ; without mentioning so 
many other political considerations relative to this object, 
which cannot escape the penetrating eye of the Sovereign, 
so that without hope of a full protection, this single means 
of obtaining something, in ever so small a degree, is even 
considered as very precarious, and as augmenting more 
and more an inaction so fatal to a country, which under 
the divine blessing, owes its prosperity so envied, to its 
application, its valor, and the fortitude of its inhabitants. 
Time may pass away, (and certainly the moments are too 
precious) before they may dare to flatter themselves with a 
protection so eflicacious, as the danger of the crews, the 
valuable cargoes, and the pressing necessity of the Colony 

"That to this effect, the jjclitioners take the liberty to 
solicit your High Mightinesses with profound respect, in 

VOL. VI, 8 


case it is impossible to grant immediately a sufficient escort 
to go to the Colony and return, that in that case, as upon 
other occasions, it has been graciously granted by your 
Higli Mightinesses, for the support of trade, the equipment 
of vessels, societies, Sec, to be so good also, as to grant gen- 
erously in favor of the equipments to make for this Colony, 
Berbicia, and the interesting establishment of Curasao, an 
encouragement equivalent to the design of the considerable 
disbursements, which they will be obliged to make, to put 
their vessels in a certain state of defence ; and, moreover, 
for better order and direction, to cause to be escorted, 
their ships sailing in company, by as many vessels of war 
as it will be possible to spare for this expedition. In fine, 
that under the good pleasure of your High Mightinesses, 
and that these ships well armed may also serve to molest 
as much as possible the enemy, there may be granted them 
letters of marque and reprisals, under the customary con- 
dition, to the end that they make use of them upon occa- 
sion, by the brave officers, which the subscribers dare boast 
that they will employ in their ships." 

This petition has been referred to the respective Depu- 
ties of the Colleges of the Admiralty, to make report on it 
as soon as possible. The Deputies of the merchants hav- 
ing beforehand solicited, in the most pressing manner, the 
Prince Stadtholder, to support with his powerful recom- 
mendation an affair of so great importance. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 




Ainslerdam, June 15th, 1781. 


The long expected coiuier has at last arrived at the 
Hague from St Petersburg. The contents of his despatches 
are not public, but all hopes of assistance from the armed 
neutrality seem to be dissipated. The question now is, what 
is to be done next. Some are for alliances with the house 
of Bourbon and America, but a thousand fears arise. 
France, the Emperor, and the Republic, have Provinces 
so intermixed together in Brabant and Flanders, that it is 
supposed the Emperor would be much alarmed at an alli- 
ance between France and Holland, lest they should soon 
agree to divide his Provinces between them. The people 
in these Provinces would, it is supposed, have no objection. 
They all speak the French language, are of the same reli- 
gion, and the policy of France in governing conquered 
Provinces, according to their ancient usages, and with 
great moderation, has taken away all aversion to a change 
of masters. 

Some people think, that an alliance between France and 

Holland would occasion a general war. This I think 

would be an advantage to America, although philanthropy 

would wish to prevent the further effusion of human blood. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Amsterdam, Jiiiie 23(1, 1781. 


Tlie answer Irom Si Petersburg, as it is given to the 
public, is this ; 

"Her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, declares, 
That as much as she has been satisfied with the zeal with 
which their High Mightinesses have accepted her medi- 
ation, so much and more has iier compassionate heart been 
affected with the difficulties formed by the Court of Lon- 
don, in referring the reconciliation with the Republic to a 
subsequent and general negotiation of peace between all 
the belligerent powers, under the combined mediation of 
Her Imperial Majesty, and His Majesty, the Roman Em- 
peior. As soon as this negotiation shall take place, her 
Majesty promises beforehand to the Republic, all the as- 
sistance, which depends upon her, to the end, that the 
Republic may without delay, return into the rank of neu- 
tral powers, and thereby enjoy entirely, and without re- 
straint, all the rights and advantages, which her accession 
to the engagements between Her Imperial Majesty and the 
Kings, her high allies, ought to assure to her. 

"In this expectation, the intention of Her Imperial Ma- 
jesty is, conjointly with their IVIajesties, to persuade that 
Court to that moderation, and those pacific sentiments, 
which their High Mightinesses, on their part have mani- 
fested. The Empress flatters herself, that the times and 
the events, which may unexpectedly happen, will bring 
forth circumstances of such a nature, as will put her in a 
situation to make appear, in a manner the most efficacious, 
her good will and her affection, of which she sincerely 


desires to be able to give proof to their High Mighti- 

This answer- gives great scope to speculation and con- 
jecture, but I shall trouble Congress with a very few re- 
marks upon it. 

1. In the first place, and without insinuating her opinioc 
concerning the justice or injustice of the war, between 
Great Britain and the United Provinces, she imputes the 
ill success of her mediation between them, to the Court of 
London, and not at all to the Re[)ublic. 

2. She applauds the moderation and pacific sentiments 
of their High Mightinesses, and implicitly censures the 
Court of London, for opposite dispositions. 

Thns far the declaration is unfavorable to the English, 
and a pledge of her Imperial honor, at least not to take 
any part in their favor. 

3. It appears, that the Court of London has proposed 
a negotiation for peace between all the belligerent powers, 
under the mediation of the Empress and the Emperor. 
But, as it is certain the Court of London does not admit 
the United States of America to be one of the belligerent 
powers, and as no other power of Europe, except France, 
as yet admits it to be a power, it is very plain to me, that 
the British Ministry mean nothing but chicanery, to unman 
and disarm their enemies with delusive dreams of peace, or 
to intrigue them, or some of them, into a peace separately 
from America, and without deciding our question. 

4. The declaration says not, that the Empress has ac- 
cepted this mediation, nor upon what terms she would 
accept it. Here we are left to conjecture. The Dutch 
Ambassadors at St Petersburg wrote last winter to the 
Hague, that the Empress would not accept of this media- 


tion with the Emperor, but upon two preliminary condi- 
titnis, viz. that the Court of London should acknowledge 
the independence of America, and accede to the princi- 
ples of the late marine treaty, concerning the rights of neu- 
trals. To this she may have since added, that Holland 
should previously be set at peace, and become a neutral 
power, or she may have altered her sentiments. Here we 
can only conjecture. 

5. It appears, that the Kings of Denmark and Sweden 
have joined, or are to juin, the Empress in a new effort 
with the Court of London, to persuade it to make peace 
with Holland. But how vigorous, or decisive this effort is 
to be, or what will be their conduct, if they should still be 
unsuccessful, is left only to conjecture. 

6. There are hints at future events, and circumstances, 
which her Majesty foresees, but the rest of the world do 
not, which may give her occasion to show her good will. 
Here is nothing declared, nothing promised, yet it leaves 
room to suppose, that her Majesty and her high alhes may 
have insisted on conditions from the Court of London, 
which accepted, may give peace to the Republic, or re- 
jected, may oblige Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, to join 
Holland in the war. But all this is so faint, reserved, and 
mysterious, thnt no dependence whatever can be placed 
upon it. I am sorry to see the idea of a negotiation for a 
general peace held up, because I am as well persuaded it 
is only an insidious manoeuvre of the British Ministry, as I 
am that many powers of Europe, and especially Holland, 
will be the dupe* of it. I confess I should dread a nego- 
tiation for a general peace at this titnc, because I should 
expect propositions for short truces, uti possidetis, and 
other conditions, which would leave our trade more em- 


- barrassed, our union more precarious, and our liberties at 
greater hazard, than they can be in a continuance of the 
war, at the same time it would put us to as constant, and 
almost as great an expense. Nevertheless, if proposals of 
peace, or of conferences and negotiations to that end, 
should be proposed to me, which they have not as yet 
from any quarter, it will be my duty to attend to them 
with as much patience and delicacy too, as if I believed 
them sincere. 

Americans must wean themselves from tl>e hope of anv 
signal assistance from Europe. If all the negotiations of 
Congress can keep up the reputation of the United States 
so far as to prevent any nation from joining England, it 
will be much. But there are so many difficuhies in doing 
this, and so many deadl}' blows are aimed at our reputa- 
tion for honor, faith, integrity, union, fortitude, and power, 
even by persons who ought to have the highest opinion of 
them, and the tenderest regard for them, that 1 confess 
myself sometimes almost discouraged, and wish myself 
returning through all the dangers of the enemy to America, 
where I could not do less, and possibly might do more for 
the public good. 

T have the honor to be, Scr. 



Amsterdam, June 2od, 1781. 

The Deputies of the city of Zieriksee have presented 
to their Noble Mightinesses, the Lords, the States of 
Zealand, on the 12th of this month, their advice con- 

64 -JOHN ADAMS. . 

cerning the report of the State, of the 19th of April last, 
relative to the building of vessels of war, to be done by 
the College of the Admiralty of this Province, in these 
words, viz. 

"That the venerable Regency having seen, by the Me- 
morial of the gentlemen, the committees of the Admiralty of 
this Province, annexed to the said report, the serious diffi- 
culties which appear to oppose themselves to the resolution 
of building a larger number of vessels of war and frigates, 
has thought itself obliged to declare, that it is greatly 
afflicted at the dangerous situation in which the Republic 
and this Province are at present, being involved in a ruin- 
ous war, and almost entirely destitute of all convenient 
means, which could be employed for the safety and de- 
fence of the country ; that this great distress might furnish 
to the venerable Regency, one of the best occasions to en- 
large in reflections, how, by prompt directions and active 
foresight, in case that the re-establishment of our marine 
liad really been taken to heart, the greatest obstacles al- 
leged in the Memorial in question might have been pre- 
vented in lime ; but, that a repetition of what ought to 
have been executed in time, would in no degree ameliorate 
the present situation of affairs ; and so much the more, as 
it is indispensably necessary that the deliberations concern- 
ing the further building of ships, should be at length termi- 
nated ; the venerable Regency, then, for the present, 
would abstain from making even well founded observations, 
which, nevertheless, they might allege, both with regard to 
the contents of the Memorial in question, and to the means 
of advancing with greater vigor the construction, or to put 
the marine upon a more respectable footing by another 
way ; they content themselves then, with declaring simply. 


that they are ready to concur in the completion of the 
aforesaid point of construction, either by conforming to the 
disposition of this report, or in any other manner whatso- 
ever, that a general deliberation of all the members of the 
State may find the most convenient. 

"That, nevertheless, the venerable Regency cannot ab- 
stain from remarking further here, that at the beginning of 
this war, they had always been persuaded that the oiher 
confederates, whose sentiments concerning the first causes 
of this war have continually influenced those of Zealand, 
had taken the precautions necessary to be able to oppose 
the enemy conveniently, either by the national forces, or 
by the efficacious assistance of their allies, but that the 
issue of affairs already shows visibly with how much luke- 
warmness and levity, notwithstanding the serious exhorta- 
tions and informations repeatedly made by this Province, 
we have conducted ourselves both with regard to the one 
and the other. The venerable Regency now sees the Re- 
public at this moment deprived of all foreign succor, and 
abandoned to herself against a formidable enemy. 

"That, as such a dangerous situation ought naturally to 
excite in all those who participate in the public government, 
and really take to heart the true interests of their coun- 
try, a redoubled zeal to set immediately at work, and in 
proportion to the danger, all the ineans of defence imag- 
inable, and to employ them to protect, in the most effectual 
manner, their country, her commerce and possessions, and 
to annoy the enemy ; the venerable Regency, seeing on 
the contrary, that the indolence, the inactivity, and even 
the continual indifference, are only increasing more and 
more, and that public affairs are administered in a manner, 
which cannot be reconciled with the danger to which the 

VOL,. VI. 9 


Republic is exposed, judge, in consequence, that the 
Lords, the States of this Province, will not be able longer 
to see, without speaking out, a situation so perilous ; but 
that they ought to examine seriously the true causes and 
reasons of all this, to the end, that when we have obtained 
the explanations which we have a right to require, we may 
take, with the most serious zeal, the resolutions proper to 
maintain the excellent prerogatives, which we yet possess, 
and to guard against stich misfortunes. 

"That the venerable Regency, having learnt with a great 
deal of satisfaction that similar observations have been 
made by other members of the body politic, hope that the 
deliberations concerning an object of this importance will 
be no longer delayed ; but they trust that the affair, for 
which the advice of ll)e gentlemen of Middleburg carried 
on the 15th of May to the Assembly of the States has been 
sent back, will be discussed as soon as possible, and with- 
out delay. The venerable Regency declaring, that they 
shall be always disposed to co-operate in taking every 
measure proper to obtain an end so salutary." 

Thus we see, that two cities of Zealand, Middleburg 
and Zieriksee, are co-operating with Amsterdam, Haerlem, 
Dort, Delft, &lc. in order to arouse the Republic to ac- 
tion ; iiow many months or years rrtay roll away before 
they succeed, it is impossible for me to say, because it will 
depend upon events of war, reports of peace, and the 
councils of other sovereigns in Europe, as yet inscrutable, 
but it will depend upon nothing more than the fate of Clin- 
ton and Cornwallis in America. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 




Amsterdam, June 26ih, 1781. 


The Emperor appears to be more intent at present 
upon taking a fair advantage ol the present circumstances, 
to introduce a flourishing commerce into the Austrian 
Flanders, than upon making treaties with England, or 
waging war in its favor. His Imperial, Royal, and Apos- 
tolical Majesty, has condescended to take off and break the 
shackles, which restrained the commerce and the commu- 
nication of the port of Nienport, in the interior of the coun- 
try, and to discharge by his gracious decree, the commerce 
from the charges and impositions which were raised on the 
lands bordering upon the said port, under the denomination 
of Vate, Geld, Hast-Geld, Myle-Geld, &;c. The frequen- 
tation of the port of Nieuport presents all the facilities 
which the merchants can require. Thus the city of Nieu- 
port enjoys the most extensive privileges, both for storage 
and transportation to foreigners. 

We find there good magazines, merchants, factors, and 
commissioners, who will all serve punctually. The com- 
munications, both to the interior parts of the country and 
to foreigners, are free and easy, both by land, by means of 
the new causeway of Nieuport, which communicates with 
all the roads, and by water by means of the direct canals 
of Nieuport, to Bruges, to Ostend, to Ypres, to Dixmuide, 
to Fumes, and to Dunkirk, and from thence further on. 
One passes by the canal from Nieuport to Bruges, nearly 
in the same space of time, that we pass by the canal from 
Ostend to Bruges. All these canals have daily barks 
ready, easy and convenient for travellers, merchandises, 


and effects. The fishery of the sea, both of h'esh fish, and 
of all sorts ot" herring and cod, is at Nieuport, in the most 
flourishing state, and enjoys there every privilege and ex- 
emption. The distillery of gin in the Dutch way, estab- 
lished at Nieuport, makes excellent gin, the transportation 
and expedition of which enjoys the greatest facilities. 
And the government of his Imperial Majesty, in the Low 
Countries, does not cease to grant all the privileges and 
facilities, which can tend to the well-being of the inhabit- 
ants, and of the commerce of the city and port of Nieuport. 
I should rejoice at these measures, for tiie benefit which 
American commerce would receive from them, provided 
the Emperor could oblige Americans to take their goods 
from Germany and not from England ; but immense quan- 
tities of British manufactures will go to America from 
Nieuport, Ostend, and Bruges. 

This is a subject, which deserves the serious considera- 
tion of every American. British raanufactures are going 
in vast quantities to America, from Holland, the Austrian 
Flanders, France, and Sweden, as well as by the way of 
New York and Charleston, &;c. Whether it is possible to 
check it, much less to put a stop to it, I know not ; and 
whether it would be good policy to put an end to it, if that 
were practicable, is made a question by many. If the 
Germans, the Dutch, the French, and Spaniards, or any 
other nations, would learn a little commercial policy, and 
give a credit to Anaericans, as the British merchants do, 
and encourage in their own countries manufactures, adapt- 
ed to the wants and tastes of our countrymen, it is certain 
that in such a case, it would be our interest and duty to 
put an end to the trade in British goods, because nothing 
would weaken and distress the enemy so much, and there- 


fore nothing would conlribute more to bring the war to a 
conclusion. At present manufactures flourish in England, 
and the duties paid at tlie custom houses have been in- 
creasing these two or three years, merely owing to their 
recovering more and more of the American trade by neu- 
tral bottoms, and by other clandestine channels. 

Any American merchant by going over to London, ob- 
tains a credit. The language of the London merchants to 
the American merchants is, "Let us understand one an- 
other, and let the governments squabble." But Americans 
ought to consider, if we can carry on the war forever, our 
allies cannot, and without their assistance we should find it 
very difficult to do it. 

I wish the taste for British manufactures may not cost 

us more blood, than the difterence between them and 

others is worth. 

I have the honor to be, Stc. 



Aaisterdam, June 26tl), 1781. 

The rubicon is passed. A step has been at last taken 
by the Regency of Amsterdam, vvhich ^must decide the 
fate of the Republic. The city of Amsterdam, finding 
that their proposition of the 18th of last month was not suf- 
ficient to change the conduct of administration, have ven- 
tured on another manoeuvre. On the Sth of this month, as 
soon as the States of Holland were separated, two Burgo- 
masters of Amsterdam, M. Tenminck and M. Rendorp, 
accompanied with M. Vesser, the Pensionary of the city, 
demanded an audience of the Prince Stadtholder, who 


granted it, at his house in the grove. In this audience, 
they made to the Prince, by word of mouth, a rejDresenta- 
tion, which they repeated in a memorial sent on the 14th, 
to the Counsellor Pensionary of the Province, the sub- 
stance of which is as follows. The gentlemen of Amster- 
dam, said, 

"That their proposition of the 18th of May last, founded 
perhaps upon former examples, did not result from any 
suspicions with regard to the good dispositions and inten- 
tions of his Most Serene Highness, which they had no rea- 
son to distrust, although the Regency of the city of Am- 
sterdam had learned with the most profound grief, that evil 
minded persons had endeavored to insinuate the contrary 
to his Most Serene Highness ; but that their distrust fell 
solely upon him, whose influence over the mind of his Most 
Serene Highness was held for the most immediate cause, 
of the sloth and weakness in the administration of affairs, 
which as they could not but be extremely prejudicial to 
the well-being of the public, they had a long time expected, 
but in vain, that the dangerous circumstances in which the 
Republic found itself involved, would have, in the end, 
given rise to serious deliberations upon the means, which 
we ought to employ in their order and with more vigor ; 
but that these hopes had hitherto been fi'uiiless, and, that 
as the question now in agitation was concerning the safety 
of their dear country, of her dear bought liberty, of that of 
his IMost Serene Highness and his house, in one word, of 
everything which is dear to the inhabitants of the Republic, 
the Regency of Amsterdam had judged, that they ought 
not any longer to render themselves guilty by their silence, 
of a neglect of their duty, 

"That, although with regret, they see themselves obliged 


to take this step, and to represent to his Highness with all 
due respect, but at the s^me time with all that frankness 
and freedom, which the importance of the affair requires, 
and to declare to him openly, that, according to the gene- 
ral opinion, the Field Marechal, the Duke Louis of Bruns- 
wick Wolfenbuttel, is held for the primary cause of the 
miserable and defective state in which this country finds 
itself, in regard to its defence, of all the negligence of duty, 
which has taken place with respect to this subject, and of 
all the perverse measures, which have been taken for a 
long time, with all the fatal consequences which have pro- 
ceeded from them ; and that they could assure his High- 
ness, that the hatred and aversion of the nation for the per- 
son and administration of the Duke, were risen to such a 
height, that there was reason to apprehend from them, 
events the most melancholy, and the most disagreeable for 
the public prosperity and the general tranquillity. 

"That there was no doubt that the same assertion had 
been made to his Highness from other quarters ; but that in 
case this had not been, it ought to be attributed solely to 
the fear of the effects of the resentment of the Duke, 
while, at the same time, they dared to appeal in this res- 
pect, with the firmest confidence, to the testimony of all 
the members of government, gendemen of honor and 
frankness, that his Serene Highness would interrogate 
upon this subject, after having assured them of the neces- 
sary liberty of speaking without reserve, and after having 
exhorted them to tell him the truth, according to their duty 
and their conscience. 

"That the Regents of Amsterdam, bad learned more 
than once with grief, that the Counsellor Pensionary of the 
Province had complained, in presence of divers members 


of the Regency of Holland, of the misunderstanding which 
took place between liiin, the Counsellor Pensionary, and 
the Duke, as also of the influence which the Duke has 
upon the spirit of his Highness, and by which his efibrts for 
the good of the country had often been rendered fruitless. 

"That this discord, and this difference of views and sen- 
timents between tiie principal Counsellor of his Serene 
Highness and the first Minister of this Province, might not 
only have consequences the most prejudicial, but that it 
furnished also a motive sufficient to make the strongest in- 
stances, to the end, to remove the source of this distrust 
and discord, while that, without the previous re-establish- 
ment of confidence and unanimity, there remained no 
longer any means of saving the Republic. 

"That nothing was more necessary for the well-being of 
the illustrious House of his Highness, to maintain his au- 
thority, to preserve to him the esteem and the attachment 
of the nation, and for his own reputation with the neighbor- 
ing powers, since they could assure, and they ought to ad- 
vertise his Highness, tliat it is possible he may become one 
day the object of the indifference and distrust of the pub- 
lic, instead of being and continuing always the worthy 
object of the love and esteem of the people ; and the Re- 
gencies, as they made the sincerest wishes, that his High- 
ness and his illustrious posterity might constantly enjoy 
them, considering, that thereon depended in a great meas- 
ure, the conservation of the well-being of their country, and 
of the House of Orange. 

"That although they know very well, that the members 
of the sovereignty have always a right, and that their duty 
requires them even to expose their sentiments to his High- 
ness and their co-regents, concerning the state and admin- 


istration of public affairs, they should, however, have now 
voluntarily spared the present measure, if there had been 
only the smallest hope of amendment or alteration, but that 
from the aforesaid reasons, they diired not longer flatter 
themselves, and that the necessity having arisen to the 
highest point, it appeared that there was no other part to 
take, but to lay open in this manner to his Highness the real 
situation of affairs, praying him most earnestly to take it 
into serious consideration, and no longer listen to the coun- 
sels and insinuations of a man, upon whom the hatred of 
the great and the little was accumulated, and whom they re- 
gard as a stranger, not having a sufficient knowledge of our 
form of government, and not having a sincere affection for 
the Republic. 

"That the Regents of Amsterdam were very far from 
desiring to accuse this nobleman of that of which, how- 
ever, he was too publicly charged ; or to consider as well 
founded, the suspicions of an excessive attachment to the 
Court of London, of badJaith and of corruption, that they 
assure themselves, that a person of so illustrious a birth and 
so high rank, is incapable of such baseness ; but that they 
judge, that the unfortunate ideas, which have been unhap- 
pily conceived with regard to him, and which have caused 
a general distrust, have rendered him absolutely useless 
and hurtful to the service of the country, and of his High- 

"That thus it was convenient to dismiss him from the 
direction of affairs, from the person and Court of his High- 
ness, as being a perpetual obstacle to the re-establishment 
of that good harmony, so highly necessary between his 
Highness and the principal members of the State, while 
his continuance would but too much occasion the distrust 

VOL. VI. 10 


conceived of his counsels, to fall, whether with or without 
reason, upon the person, and the administration of his 
Highness himself. 

"That these representations did not proceed from a 
principle of personal hatred or private rancor against the 
Duke, who, in former times, has had reason to value him- 
self on the benevolence and real proofs of the affection of 
the Regency of Amsterdam ; but that they ought to pro- 
test before God and the world, that the conservation of 
their country, and of the illustrious House of his Highness, 
and the desire to prevent their approaching ruin, had been 
the only motives of these representations. 

"That they had seen themselves obliged to them, both in 
quality of citizens of the country, and as an integral mem- 
ber of its sovereign Assembly, to the end to make by this 
step one last effort, and to furnish yet, perhaps in lime, a 
means of saving, under the blessing of the Almighty, the 
vessel of the State from the most imminent dangers, and 
conduct it to a good port, or at least, in every case, to 
acquit themselves of their duty, and to satisfy their con- 
sciences, and to place themselves in safety from all re- 
proach from the present age, and from posterity." 

To this representation, the Duke has made an answer 
to their High Mightinesses, in which he demands an inquiry 
and a vindication of his honor, as dearer to him than his 
life. This answer will be transmitted as soon as possible. 
The transaction will form a crisis, but what will be the re- 
sult of this, or any other measure taken in this country, I 
cannot pretend to foretel. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Amsterdam, June 2Tth, 1781. 


Major Jackson has been some time here, in pursuance of 
instructions from Colonel Laurens, in order to despatch the 
purchase of the goods, and the shipping of the goods and 
cash, for the United States, which are to go by the South 

But when all things appeared to be ready, I received a 
letter from his Excellency Dr Franklin, informing me that 
he feared his funds would not admit of his accepting bills 
for more than fifteen thousand pounds sterling, the accounts 
of the Indian and the goods amounted to more than fifty 
thousand pounds, which showed that there had not been 
an understanding sufficiendy precise and explicit between 
the Doctor, and the Colonel. There was, however, no 
remedy but a journey to Passy, which Major Jackson un- 
dertook, despatched the whole business, and returned to 
Amsterdam in seven days, so that I hope now there will 
be no more delays. 

Major Jackson has conducted, through the whole of his 

residence here, as far as I have been able to observe, with 

great activity and accuracy in business, and an exemplary 

zeal for the public service. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Amsterdam, June 29th, 1781. 


On the 21st of this month, the Field Marechal, Duke 
Louis, of Brunswick, presented to the States-General the 
following paper. 

"High and Mighty Lords, 

"It is not without the greatest reluctance, that 1 see my- 
self forced to interrupt the important deliberations of your 
High Mightinesses, and to have recourse to you in an 
affair, which indeed regards me personally, but the simple 
explanation of which, I assure myself, will prove, that if I 
should neglect this step, I should be essentially wanting to 
the dignity of character, with which your High Mighti- 
nesses have clothed me. 

"After having passed in 1750 into the service of the 
State, it pleased your High Mightinesses, by your resolu- 
tion of the 13th of November of the same year, to create 
me Field Marechal of your troops. When, afterwards, 
the arrangements for the tuition of the Stadtholder in his 
minority were resolved on, by express resolutions of all the 
High Confederates, and it was resolved, that his Highness 
should be represented in the administration of his military 
employments, your High Mightinesses then condescended, 
by honoring me with their distinguished confidence, to con- 
fer upon me, by your resolution of the 13th of January, 
1759, the title of the representative of the Prince Stadt- 
holder, as Captain-General during the time of his mi- 

"I shall say nothing of the resolutions, which your High 
Mightinesses and the respective Provinces took on the 

DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE. 77 of March, 1766, the day of the majority of the Prince, 
and in the sequel, under different dates, relative to the 
manner in which I had answered to the confidence, which 
you had condescended to put in me. These resolutions 
are too flattering to be recited here ; they are, however, 
sure pledges, that at that time, at least, I had the good 
fortune to see my conduct and my services rendered to 
the State, approved by the high government. In fine, 
your High Mightinesses continued to honor me with your 
confidence, even after the time of the minority of the 
Stadiholder. You took on the same 8th of March, 1766, 
the resolution to cause to be solicited by your Envoy Extra- 
ordinary at the Court of Vienna, the consent of her Impe- 
rial and Royal Majesty, in whose service I was also en- 
gaged as Field Marechal, to continue me still in the same 
quality in the service of your High Mightinesses. The 
pleasure of her Majesty being obtained, I did not refuse 
this honor, but continued vested with the character of 
Field Marechal of the troops of the State, In the service 
of your High Mightinesses. 

"Having thus filled for more than thirty years, under the 
eyes of their High Mightinesses, and in a manner which is 
sufficiently known to you, the employments which you 
had confided to me, could I have expected that they 
would one day render my person the object of the public 
hatred to such a degree, that I could be exposed to the 
step which they have taken upon my subject ; a step the 
most dishonorable to the character, with which your High 
Mightinesses have condescended to invest me, and wliich 
puts me in the absolute necessity of addressing myself this 
day to you. 

*'In effect, High and Mighty Lords, after having seen 


myself in public, the object of accusations and calum- 
nies the most atrocious, (but which I have always despised 
as such, and of which I shall never take notice, while no 
one presents himself to support them) after that they had 
excited against me a general cry, as if my person could be 
no longer endured, it was necessary for me still further to 
suffer, that the gentlemen, the Deputies of the city of Am- 
sterdam, and namely the two reigning Burgomasters, Mes- 
sieurs Temminck and Rendorp, accompanied with the 
Pensionary Vischer, should have addressed themselves to 
my Lord, the Prince of Orange, and in presence of the 
Counsellor Pensionary of Holland, should have read to 
him a certain memorial, in the name and by the order of 
their constituents, who are therein throughout introduced 
as speaking in the name of the Regency of Amsterdam, 
and in which I receive an affront the most sensible for an 
upright heart. It is true, that the Deputies whom I have 
just named, took back with them this memorial ; but, 
since, changing their plan, they have thought fit to trans- 
mit it, on the 14th of the month, by the Burgomaster Ren- 
dorp, not indeed in the name of the Regency of Amsterdam, 
but in that of the gentlemen the Burgomasters to the 
Counsellor Pensionary, praying him to transmit it to the 
Prince, to whom they left the liberty to make such use of 
it as should seem to him convenient. 

"Informed in this way, and by the communication which 
his Highness made to me of it, of the contents of this me- 
morial, I there found so long a concatenation of expressions 
and reasonings, each more insulting than the other, against 
my person, which I should be afraid to abuse the attention 
of your High Mightinesses by inserting them here ; lest, 
however, 1 should represent them out of their order, and 


the chain which connects them together, your High Might- 
inesses will pardon me, I hope, if I transcribe from the 
memorial, the periods which relate to me, and by which 1 
am attacked. 

"After having made several reflections, which in nowise 
concern me, and which I ought, consequently, to leave to 
be answered by those who are attacked by them, but which 
tend to justify the proposition, which the p;entlemen, the 
Deputies of the city of Amsterdam, made the 18th of May 
last, in the Assembly of the States of Holland in particular, 
to join to his Highness a privy council or committee, the 
gentlemen, the Burgomasters, continue to address them- 
selves to the Prince literally in these terms." 

[Here follows the substance of the representations of the 
Burgomasters, contained in my letter to Congress, of the 
26th of June, 1781.] 

*'In those pieces, which I have just now literally re- 
lated, your High Mightinesses will perceive, and probably 
not without indignation, that after a train of reflections, 
each more injurious than the other, in which there is no 
accusation against me as Field Marechal, and which, 
moreover, are only grounded upon pretended public senti- 
ments and reports artfully circulated, that nevertheless the 
gentlemen, the Burgomasters, have judged it necessary to 
insist that his Highness would remove me from his person 
and Court, in a manner the most disgraceful, and condemn 
me without further examination, as a criminal attainted and 
convicted to dishonorable exile. 

"I cannot then but consider a proceeding, accompanied 
with so many odious and humiliating expressions, wliich is 
not made by simple individuals, but a deputation of two 
reigning Burgomasters, with the Pensionary of one of the 


most considerable cities of Holland, in the name and by 
the order of the Regency of that city, (according to the 
terms of the memorial, although according to the letter 
whereof I liave spoken of the Burgomaster Rendorp, it 
was only in the name of the gentlemen, the Burgomasters 
of that city) and that in a formal manner, after mature 
deliberation, and after having confirmed this action in the 
most injurious manner, by taking back the memorial, and 
causing it to be sent to his Highness, 1 cannot, I say, 
but consider this proceeding as wounding, in the most 
violent manner, my character and my person ; and in 
this same writing, where they dare not specify any crime 
to my charge, and where they are obliged to acknowl- 
edge the falsity of the reports which have circulated 
against me, and of llie suspicions of an excessive and 
illicit attachment to the English Court, of bad faith and 
of corruption, they appear, notwithstanding, to give credit 
to these calumnies, and to be willing to cast upon me 
the blame of the evils of the times, to the end, to excul- 
pate those who are the true causes of it. I should think 
myself unworthy of bearing any longer the character that 
your High Mightinesses have confided to me, if I tes- 
tified upon this article an indifference or an insensibility. 
"I dare also assure myself, that your High Miglitinesses 
will consider my proceeding in the same point of light, and 
that they will agree with me, that it is of the highest im- 
portance to know, if he, whom your High Mightinesses 
have clodied with the dignity of Field Marechal, whom 
they have engaged and continued in their service in the 
manner abovementioned, is in fact the true cause of the 
deplorable state of the weakness of the Republic, of all 
the negligence they suppose to have taken place, of all the 


false steps, that ihey say have been taken, and of all 
the unhappy consequences, that have resulted from them. 
Your High Mightinesses are to examine in the most exact 
manner, things so interesting, and to see if this person is 
the source of the distrust and disunion ; for what reasons 
he would be totally unuseful and prejudicial to the service 
of the State and of his Highness ; what are the proofs of 
his want of affection to the country ; in one word, for what 
reason he should be hereafter unworthy of the confidence 
of the Prince, who is placed at the head of this Republic, 
to whose testimony I here take the liberty of appealing ; 
finally, for what reason he hath merited to be removed 
from the person of his Highness, and of his Court, as a 
perpetual obstacle to the good intelligence between his 
Highness and the Court. 

"And as rny honor is more dear to me than life, and as 
I am attacked in a part so sensible, it is also for this reason, 
and in consideration of that, which I owe to myself even, 
and to the relations, which I have, as well with this State 
and to your High Mightinesses, as to those which I still 
have with his Imperial and Royal Majesty, to which other- 
wise I should be too much wanting, that I see myself 
obliged to address myself to your High Mightinesses, and 
by them to all the confederates, to supplicate them respect- 
fully, and to insist in the most express manner, that your 
High Mightinesses would deign, after the most severe and 
scrupulous examination, to take such measures in protecting 
efficaciously the character, which your High Mightinesses 
have confided to me, that I n)ay be justified in a pi-opci- 
manner from the blame, that the abovementioned proceed I- 
ing hath cast upon me, and that so sensible an affront as 
hath been offered me by it, may be suitably repaired ; that 
VOL. n. 11 


to this end it may please your High JVIightinesses to direct 
things in such a manner, that the four reigning Burgomas- 
ters of Amsterdam, who have caused to be delivered in 
their name the said Memorial, according to the letter of 
Burgomaster Rendorp, be obliged, as well as the Pension- 
ary Vischer, to allege the reasons they have had of injur- 
ing me so grievously as they have done by the said pro- 
ceeding, and by the accusation therein contained, and to 
verify the whole in a suitable manner, which I cannot but 
consider all that, which is there said as calumnies, and that 
they may be obliged, moreover, to specify more precisely 
the other heads of accusation, that they pretend to allege 
to my charge, and to bring the requisite judiciary proofs of 
them ; and in case that they can specify nothing, or that 
they cannot prove sufficiently their allegations, that the 
authors of the infamous reports circulated against me may 
be sought out, tu the end, that they may be punished as 
calumniators, according to their deserts ; finally, that your 
High Mightinesses will then, conjointly with all the confed- 
erates, take such justificatory resolutions, as will save my 
honor and my reputation in the nation, and in the eyes of 
all Europe ; that thus I may be placed in a situation to 
support with proper dignity the character, which your 
High Mightinesses have given me, and that I may obtain 
the satisfaction, that your High IMightinesses, according to 
their profound wisdom and known equity, shall judge equiv- 
alent to the affront offered to my character and my relations. 
"1 have the honor to be, with the most sincere and re- 
spectful attachment, High and Mighty Lords, your High 
Mightinesses' most humble, most obedient, and faithful 
servant, L. DUG DE BRUNSVIC." 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Amsterdam, July 5th, 1781* 

The following is an extract from the registry of the 
resolutions of their High Mightinesses, the States-General 
of the United Provinces of the Low Countries. 

Thursday, June the 20th, 1781. His Serene High- 
ness, the Prince of Orange and Nassau, having appeared 
in the Assembly, made to their High Mightinesses the fol- 
lowing proposition. 

"High and Mighty Lords, 
"I have judged necessary to propose to your High 
Mightinesses to examine, with the greatest care, if, since 
the present troubles have arisen, proper attention has been 
paid to the placing the marine of the State in that situa- 
tion, that it had been able to act efficaciously against an 
enemy, particularly one so strongly armed by sea as the 
kingdom of Great Britain is, or if any negligence or su- 
pineness hath had place in that respect, and in that case, 
to what it ought to be attributed ; and to the end to re- 
ceive the necessary information on thnt head, to write to 
the respective Colleges of Admiralty, that they may make 

* Mr Adams arrived at Paris on the 6th of July, and consequently 
could not have written this letter in Amsterdam on the 5th, although 
it is thus dated in the original. He was abseni during the whole 
month of July, and yet several letters, as will be seen, are dated at 
Amsterdam in that time. These letters contain chiefly intelligence, 
which was probably collected by his Secretary, under diflerent dates 
during Mr Adams' absence, and forwarded by liim on iiis return with- 
out altering the dates. This will account lor the circumstance of letters 
being dated throughout the month of July, both at Amsterdam and 


report, and declare how many vessels they had in 1776, 
and how many were then equipped, and with how many 
men, what they have done since the English have begun to 
molest the ships of the inhabitants of this country, em- 
ployed in the West India trade, under pretext of the dis- 
putes arisen with their colonies in North America, and by 
consequence from the end of 1776 and the beginning of 
1777, to place themselves as much as was possible and in 
their power, in a state to protect the commerce of this 
country, and what they have done since the troubles have 
begun in Europe, and that it was to be feared, that the Re- 
public would have a share in them, for to put it as much 
as depended on them, in a state of not only protecting her 
commerce, but also to be able to assist in defending the 
country, and in attacking the enemy ; if they have been 
active to effect that, which hath been resolved by your 
High Mightinesses for this object, or if there has been a 
negligence in this respect ; and in that case, for what rea- 
son they have not executed these resolutions ; if it has 
been possible for them to furnish the ships put in commis- 
sion and equip them, to the end, that it may appear from 
whence it arises, that the Republic finds itself in so de- 
plorable a state of defence by sea, which is certainly the 
point the most interesting in this war, and upon which all 
the inhabitants of this country have an eye. Although 
on this occasion I make only mention of the defence by 
sea, 1 esteem it necessary to represent to your High 
Mightinesses, that I am very far from avowing by that, that 
the land forces of this State are "sufficient to assure us, 
that the country is in a respectable state of defence by 

"I do not think myself under the necessity of justifying 


my conduct, and that your High Mightinesses are ignorant 
of the efforts I have made since my majority to place eve- 
rything, which regards this Repubhc, in a respectable pos- 
ture of defence ; nevertheless, I have thought it in my 
power to represent to your High Mightinesses, that I have 
on more than one occasion, given it as my opinion, that this 
Republic ought to be placed not only by land but also by 
sea, in a proper slate of defence, to the end to be able to 
maintain its liberty and independence, and not to be obliged 
to take measures contrary to the true interests of the coun- 
try, but conformable to those qf a power from whose men- 
aces it has at length more to fear, because it is not in a 
state to resist it. 

"It is for tliat reason that even in the beginning of 1771, 
I have given to understand, that the Deputies of the Prov- 
ince of Holland and West Friesland had proposed in the 
assembly of your High Mightinesses, by the express orders 
of the gentlemen, the States their constituents, to cause to 
be formed a petition for the construction of twentyfour ves- 
sels of war ; that I have not neglected to insist upon all 
occasions, as well upon the re-establishment of the marine 
as upon the augmentation of the land forces, and to press 
particularly more than once the conclusion of the petition 
for the construction of vessels. 

"It is for the same reason, that in the beginning of the 
year 1775, upon occasion of the exertions made by the 
gentlemen, the Commissaries of your High Mightinesses 
for the affairs of war, with some members of the Council 
of State, to conciliate the different sentiments of the les- 
pective confederates, in regard to the plan of augmentation 
of the land forces, proposed by the Council of State, the 
19th of July, 1773, I have made a conciliatory proposition 

86 JOH.\ ADAMS. 

lo tilis purport, viz. 'that the sum for tlie department of 
war should be fixed at six hundred thousand florins for the 
marine, and to make amends for that, that the sum of one 
million five hundred thousand florins demanded in 1773, 
for an augmentation to be made of the land forces, should 
be reduced to nine hundred thousand florins ;' which pro- 
position was embraced at that time by the gentlemen, the 
States of Guelderland, Friesland, Overyssel, and Gronin- 
gen, but hath had no further operation. 

"I shall not allege here the entreaties that I have annu- 
ally made with the Council of State by the general peti- 
tion ; but shall communicate only to your High Mighti- 
nesses the proposition that I have made to the assembly 
of the gentlemen, the States of Holland and West Fries- 
land, the lOth of March, 1779, which is of the same tenor 
with the letter I wrote the same day to the gentlemen, the 
States of Guelderland, Zealand, Utrecht, Friesland, Over- 
yssel, and Groningen, a copy of which I have the honor 
to remit to your High Mightinesses. I cannot disguise 
that in my opinion it was to have been wished, that what 
I then proposed had been more attended to, since I dare 
assure myself that if the republic had found it good at that 
time to have caused to be armed fifty or sixty vessels well 
equipped, and provided with every necessary, whereof not 
less than twenty or thirty should have been of the line, 
and to have augmented the land forces to fifty or sixty 
thousand men of foot, it would not have found itself in its 
present unhappy circumstances, but it would have been 
respected as an independent State by all the powers, it 
would have been able to maintain the system of neutrality, 
which it had embraced ; and it would have seen itself in a 
state to promise itself with reason, under the divine bene- 


diction, that in giving great weight to the party to which it 
should be joined, it would not have been to be feared tliat 
any power whatsoever would have attacked it, but that it 
would have been managed by each, and that her friendship 
being sought by all, and not giving to any one of them just 
causes of complaint, it would have obtained the esteem and 
confidence of all the powers, which would have produced 
the best effects for the true interests of this State, cer- 
tainly and in every case, if it had been attacked by an un- 
just war, to which a State is always exposed, it would have 
seen itself in a state to make an opposition with hopes of 
success, and of obliging the enemy to seek the friendship 
of this State, upon honorable terms for the Republic." 

The following is the letter from his Serene Highness to 
the Lords, the States of Guelderland, Zealand, Utrecht, 
Friesland, Overyssel, and Groningen, dated March lOih, 

"Noble and Mighty Lords, intimate and good Friends ; — 
We think ourselves obliged to communicate to your Noble 
Mightinesses our sentiments respecting one of the most im- 
portant objects of your deliberadons, viz. we are very far 
from judging that it would be expedient that this Republic 
should renounce the lawful rights, which appertain to its in- 
habitants in virtue of solemn treaties ; we think, on the 
contrary, that they ought to be maintained by all the means 
that Providence hath placed in the hands of this Republic, 
but that it belongs only to your Noble Mightinesses, and to 
the Noble Mighty Lords, the States of the other Provinces 
to decide, when it is time that their High Mightinesses 
ought to take the resolution of granting an unlimited pro- 
tection to their commercial inhabitants, and that their High 
Mightinesses not having engaged themselves by any treaty 


whatsoever with any foreign power, to protect all branches 
of commerce witliout distinction, no one hath a right to 
exact from them, that, in granting protection, they ought to 
grant it to all vessels without distinction, witlwDut leaving to 
their prudence to decide if they are in a condition to pro- 
tect all the branches of commerce, and if they can do it in 
the present moment without hazarding important interests, 
and exposing themselves to the greatest danger. 

"We think, then, that in this case it will be proper to 
pay no regard to anything else tlian the true interests of 
the Republic, and it is for this reason that before a final 
resolution is taken to convoy vessels loaded with wood, it 
would be necessary to examine the state of the Republic, 
both by land and sea. In our opinion, nothing will be more 
expedient for this Republic than an exact and punctual 
neutrality, without prejudicing the treaties v^•hich it has with 
foreign j)owers, but we think that to maintain and support 
it efficaciously, and not only for so long a time as it may 
please one of the belligerent powers to require of the lie- 
public, in a violent and threatening manner, that it takes a 
part, that it will be proper that the Republic be put in 
an armed state, that to this end it will be necessary to 
equip at least fifty or sixty vessels, not less than twenty or 
thirty of them of the line, and to augment the land forces 
to filty or sixty thousand men, and that the frontier places 
should be put in a proper state of defence, and the maga- 
zines provided with the requisite munitions of war. In 
which case we are of opinion, that the Republic would be 
respected by all the powers, and could do, without obsta- 
cle, what is permitted it by the treaties, or would not be 
prevented from doing and acting what it should judge pro- 
per to its true interests. 


"For these reasons we judge, that the fidelity we owe 
to our country requires us lo offer this consideration to the 
enlightened minds of your Noble Mightinesses, and to 
give your Noble Mightinesses the deliberation of it, to take 
a resolution, to the end that by the construction of a con- 
siderable number of vessels, and particularly of the line, 
the marine may be reinforced, and jhat by the augmenta- 
tion of the monthly pay or premiums, or by such other 
arrangements as your Noble Mightinesses, and the Lords, 
the States of the other Provinces, shall judge proper, it may 
be effected that the sailors necessary to equip them be 
procured, and that at the same time your Noble Mighti- 
nesses grant the sums for the necessary augmentation, to 
the end lo carry the land forces to the number of fifty or 
sixty thousand men, and for the petitions respecting the 
fortifications and magazines. 

"When your Noble Mightinesses and the Lords the 
States of the other Provinces shall have done that, and this 
reinforcement, both by sea and land, shall have been car- 
ried into execution, we think that this is the epoch when 
the Republic may with advantage, and as an independent 
State, take the resolution of maintaining the rights which 
appertain to their inhabitants according to the treaties, and 
particularly that of Marine, in 1G74. But before the Re- 
public is put in a respectable state of defence, ^ve should 
fear, that a resolution to take under convoy all vessels in- 
discriminately, according to the letter of the said treaty, 
and particularly vessels loaded with ship timber, might 
have very bad consequences for the true interests of this 
State, and expose the honor of its (lag to an affront. And 
it is for this reason we are of opinion, that it would be pro- 
per, that it should be resojved hy an ulterior resnlction, 
vol.. VI. 12 


that the vessels loaded with masts, knees, beams, and other 
kinds of wood necessary to the construction of ships of war 
should not be taken under convoy, before an equipment of 
fifty or sixty vessels, (not less than twenty or thirty of them 
of the line,) is ready, and before having augmented the 
land forces to fifty or sixty thousand men of foot ; but tnat 
in the meantime, to the end to protect as much as possible, 
the general commerce of this country, without exposing 
the important interests of the State, the necessary convoys 
as they were announced, shall be granted to all other ves- 
sels not loaded with contraband effects, to the end that al! 
the branches of commerce may not be suspended and left 
without protection, during the time of the deliberation upon 
the protection of one branch only. We expect, that when 
the Republic shall be put into this armed stale, all the 
powers w^ill leave her to exercise the right which belongs 
to her of keeping an exact neutrality, and of observing also 
on their part, everything which the treaties it hath made 
may require, &;c.'" 

Which having been deliberated, their High Mightinesses 
have thanked his Serene Highness for the said proposi- 

"They regard it as a new mark of his assiduous zeal 
and solicitude for the interests of the State, in declaring 
that their High Mightinesses acknowledged with gratitude, 
all the efforts that his Serene Highness hath employed 
since his majority, and in particular since the commence- 
[nent of the war between the two neighboring kingdoms, to 
put the Republic in a proper state of de.^'ence, both by sea 
and land, and could have wished that these efforts might 
have had the desired effect in every respect ; and besides, 
it has been found good and resolved, that conformably to 


the proposition of his Serene Highness, it shall be notified 
to the respective Colleges of the Admiralty, (in sending to 
them a copy of the said proposition,) that they make re- 
port and render an account how many vessels they had in 
1776, in what condition they were, and how many of them 
were equipped with the number of men ; afterwards what 
they have done since the English have begun to molest the 
ships of the inhabitants of this country trading to the West 
Indies, under pretext of disputes arisen with their Colonies 
in North America, and thus from the end of the year 1776, 
and at the beginning of 1777, to put themselves in a condi- 
tion, as much as was possible and in their power, to protect 
the commerce of this country, and what they have done 
since the troubles have begun in Europe, and that it was 
to be feared^ that the Republic would become a party, to 
put themselves in a condition for what depended upon 
them, to protect not only their commerce, but also to be 
able to aid in defending the country and attacking the ene- 
my ; if they have been active to carry into effect what your 
High Mightinesses have resolved upon this subject, and if 
any negligence hath had place in this regard, and in this 
case, for what reasons they have not executed those reso- 
lutions ; if they have been in a possibility of supporting and 
equipping the vessels put in commission, to the end that it 
may appear to what we ought to attribute the present situa- 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 




Versailles, July 7tli, 17S1. 


I have the honor to inform your Excellency, that upon 
an intimation from you, signified to me by M. Berenger, 
and afterwards by the Due de la Vauguyon, that the in- 
terest of the United States required me here, I arrived last 
night in Paris, and am come today to Versailles, to pay 
my respects to your Excellency, and receive your further 
communications. As your Excellency was in council 
when I had the honor to call at your ojffice, and as it is 
very possible that some other day may be more agreeable, 
I have the honor to request you to appoint the time, which 
will be most convenient for me to wait on you. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir, your 
most obedient, and most humble servant, 


The foregoing letter I sent by my servant, who waited 
until the Count descended from council, when he delivered 
it into his hand. He broke the seal, read the letter, and 
said he was very sorry he could not see Mr Adams, but he 
was obliged to go into the country immediately after din- 
ner ; that Mv Adams seroit dans le cos de voir M. de 
RaynevaJ, who lived at such a sign in such a street. After 
dinner, I called on M. Rayneval, who said ; M. le Due de 
la Vauguyon has informed me, that there is a question of 
a pacification, under the mediation of the Emperor of Ger- 
many and the Empress of Russia, and that it was necessary 
that I should have some consujtations at leisure with the 


Count de Vergennes, that we might understand each 
other's views ; that he would see the Count tomorrow 
morning, and write me when he would meet me ; that they 
had not changed their principles nor their system ; that 
the treaties were the foundation of all negotiation. I said, 
that I lodged at the hotel de Valois, where I did formerly ; 
that I should be ready to wait on the Count when it would 
be agreeable to him, and to confer with him upon every- 
thing relative to any proposition, which the English might 
have made. He said the English had not made any pro- 
positions, but it was necessary to consider certain points, 
and make certain preparatory arrangements ; to know 
whether we were British subjects, or in what light we were 
to be considered, &lc. Smiling, I said, I was not a Briiish 
subject, that I had renounced that character many years 
ago, forever ; and that I shiauld rather be a fugitive in 
China or Malabar, than ever reassume that character. 

On the 9th, was brought me by one of the Count de 
Vergennes' ordinary commissaries the following billet. 



Versailles, July 9tli, 1781. 

I have had the honor to inform you, that the Count de 
Vergennes desired to have an interview with you, and it 
will give him pleasure if you can meet him on Wednesday 
next, at nine o'clock in the morning. 
Meantime, I have the honor to be, he. 




Paris, July Ptlv, 1781. 

I have this moment the honor of your billet of this day's 
date, and will do myself the honor to wait on his Excel- 
lency the Count de Vergennes at his office, on Wednesday 
next, at nine of the clock in the morning according to his 

I have the honor to be, k,c. 


Accordingly on Wednesday I went to Versailles, and met 
the Count at his office, with M. de Rayneval, at nine 
o'clock, who communicated to me the following articles 
proposed by the two Imperial Courts. That Spain had 
prepared her answers ; that of France was nearly ready ; 
but did not know that England had yet answered. 


Amsterdam, July 7tli, 1781. 


The followiiig Resolution was passed at the Hague, the 
2d of this month, by their High Mightinesses the States- 
General, respecting the Duke of Brunswick. 

"Heard the report of Messrs de Lynden, de Hemmen, 
and other deputies of their High Mightinesses for marine 
affairs, who, in consequence and conformably to a cornmis- 
sorial resolution of their High Mightinesses of the 21st of 
last month, have examined a letter of the Duke of Bruns- 
wick, dated at the Hague the same day, and containing 
serious complaints upon the proposition, that the gentlemen, 
the Deputies of the city of Amsterdam, have made to his 


Highness, after that many calumnies and atrocious accusa- 
tions had been circulated against him in public ; upon 
which, having deliberated, it hath been found good and 

"That, saving the deliberations of the Lords, the States 
of the respective Provinces, upon the complaints relative 
to the proceeding of the gentlemen, the Deputies of Am- 
sterdam, their High Mightinesses, not being able to see 
with indifference, that my Lord the Duke of Brunswick, 
in quality of Field ]\Iarechal of this State, be publicly 
accused in so enormous a manner, it may from this time 
be declared, and it is declared by the present, that it is 
not manifest to their High Mightinesses that there are any 
reasons, which could furnish any ground for such accusa- 
tions and suspicions of bad faith and of corruption as have 
been alleged to the charge of rny Lord the Duke, and that 
have been circulated abroad in anonymous writings, de- 
famatory libels, and dishonorable reports ; that, on the con- 
trary, their High IMightinesses regard them as false and 
injurious calumnies, spread with design to disgrace and 
wound the honor and reputation of my Lord the Duke ; 
whilst that their High Mightinesses hold the said Lord the 
Duke entirely innocent and exempt from the blame, with 
which the libels and reports alleged endeavor to disgrace 

"That in consequence, the gentlemen, the States of the 
respective Provinces, should be required by writing, and 
that it should be submitted to their consideration, if they 
could not find it good each in their Provinces, conformably 
to the placards of the country, to make the necessary regu- 
lations to restrain the authors, printers, and distributors of 
such like defamatory libels and malicious and calumnious 


writings, by which the said Lord the Duke is so sensibly 
attacked and wounded in his honor and reputation." 
I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, July 7th, 1781. 


Under the head of St Petersburg is the following article. 

"On the 8th of June, the JMinister of the Court of Ver- 
sailles had a conference with the Count Osterman, Vice 
Chancellor of the empire, and remitted to him a memorial, 
containing representations upon the continued proceedings 
of the English against the commerce and navigation of 
neuters ; upon the little activity of these last to prevent 
these arbitrary proceedings, and supporting tliereby the 
principles of their declarations made to the belligerent pow- 
ers, and the convention of neutrality which has been agreed 
upon between them ; upon the prejudice which ought nat- 
urally to result from it to the whole world, and upon the 
desire which the King his master has that it should be 
remedied by the vigorous co-operation of her Imperial 
JVlajesty, seeing that without that the said association of 
neutrality would turn only to the advantage of the enemies 
of France, and that the King, who to this moment has con- 
fined himself exactly to the principle of the abovementioned 
declaration and convention of neutrality, would see himself, 
although with regret, in the indispensable necessity of chang- 
ing in like manner the system which he had hitherto fol- 
lowed, with respect to the connnerce and navigation of neu- 
ters, and of measuring and regulating it upon the conduct 
which the English shall allow themselves, and which was 


SO patiently borne by the neuters. Objects, in regard to 
vvlilch his Majesty has nevertheless judged it his duty to 
suspend his final resolution, until he can concert upon this 
subject with her Imperial Majesty." 

Mr Dana left Amsterdam tbis day, and is gone to 
Utrecht, and from thence he will proceed on his journey 
to Petersburg without delay. Mr Jennings does not ac- 
company him. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Amsterdam, July 10th, 1781. 


On Wednesday, the 4th of July, JM. de Lynden Blitters- 
wyk, presiding in the Assembly, hath related and acquaint- 
ed their High Mightinesses, that the Duke of Brunswick 
had been with him that morning and given him to under- 

"That he had been informed of the resolution, that their 
High Mightinesses had taken the 2(1 of July upon the letter, 
that he had the honor of remitting to them, the 2 1st of 
June last j that he was extremely sensible of the marks of 
confidence and alFection, that their High ]\iightinesses had 
been pleased to give him on this occasion, and that in an 
affair, to the subject of which he had not directly carried 
his complaints to their Higli IMighiinesses ; that he was 
nevertheless not less persuaded, that the intention of their 
High ]\Iightinesses coukl not be by that to let the affair 
rest provisionally, much less that thereby they should havo 
satisfied the respectful demand and requisition contained in 
his said letter, by which he had required an exact and vig- 

\C-L. VI. 13 


orous examination, and demanded for that purpose of their 
High Mightinesses such steps as had been more amply 
mentioned in the said letter ; and that then only he had 
required such a justificatory resolution and satisfaction as 
had been afterwards demanded by- that letter ; that he 
ought to insist upon that so much the more, as by that pro- 
visional resolution, as taken without previous inquiry, one 
could by no means think him cleared from the blame and 
affront, which bad been offered him, for which reason he 
had conceived that he could and ought to implore the res- 
olution of all the High Confederates themselves, as he still 
continued to implore it with earnestness ;" praying M. de 
Lynden, as President of the Assembly of their High Migh- 
tinesses, to be pleased to acquaint them therewith. 

Which having been deliberated, it hath been resolved 
and concluded, 

To pray by the present, the gentlemen, the Deputies of 
the respective Provinces, to be pleased to acquaint tlie gen- 
tlemen, the States, their principals, with the above, to the 
end that in the deliberations upon the letter of the Duke of 
Brunswick, such reflections may be made upon the above 
as they shall judge proper." 

I have the honor to be, Stc. 



Paris, Jiilv Utli, 178!. 


I have only time by Major Jackson, to inform Congress, 

that upon information from the Count de Vergennes, that 

questions concerning peace under the mediation of the 

two Imperial Courts were in agitation, that required my 


presence here, I undertook the journey, and arrived here 
last Friday night, the 6th of the month, and have twice 
waited on the Count de Vergennes at Versailles, who 
this day communicated to me the enclosed propositions. 

These propositions are made to all the belligerent pow- 
ers, by the Courts of Petersburg and Vienna, in conse- 
quence of some wild propositions made to them by the 
Court of London, "that they would undertake the office of 
mediators upon condition, that the league as they call it, 
between France and their rebel subjects in America should 
be dissolved, and these left to make their terms with Great 
Britain, after having returned to their allegiance and obe- 

France and Spain have prepared their answers to these 
propositions of the Empress and Emperor, and I am de- 
sired to give my answer to the articles enclosed. It is 
not in my power at this time to enclose to Congress my 
answer, because I have not made it, nor written it, 
but Congress must see, that nothing can come of this 
manoeuvre, at least for a long time. Thus much I may 
say to Congress, that I have no objection to the proposition 
of treating with the English separately- in the manner pro- 
posed, upon a peace, and a Treaty of Comtnerce with 
them, consistent with our engagements with France and 
Spain ; but that the armistice never can be agreed to by 
me. The objections against it are as numerous as they 
are momentous and decisive. I may say further, that as 
there is no judge upon earth, of a Sovereign Power, but 
the nation that composes it, I can never agree to the me- 
diation of any powers, however respectable, until they 
have acknowledged our sovereignty, so far at least as to 
admit a Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, as 


the representative of a free and independent power. Af- 
ter this, we might discuss questions of peace or truce with 
Great Britain, without her acknowledging our sovereignty, 
but not before. 

1 fancy, however, that Congress will be applied to for 
their sentiments, and I shall be ever ready and happy to 
obey their instructions, because I have a full confidence, 
that nothing will be decided by them, but what will be 
consistent with their character and dignity. Peace will 
only be retarded by relaxations and concessions, whereas 
firmness, patience, and perseverance will ensure us a good 
and lasting one in the end. The English are obliged to 
keep up the talk of peace, to lull their enemies, and to 
sustain their credit. But I hope the people of America 
will not be deceived. Nothing will obtain them real peace 
but skilful and successful war. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



To serve as a Basis to the Negotiation for the Re-estab- 
lishment of Peace. 



The re-establishment of peace in America shall be ne- 
gotiated between Great Britain and the American Colonies, 
but without the intervention of any of the other belligerent 
parties, nor even with that of the two Imperial Courts, 
unless their mediation should be formally asked and granted 
upon this object. 



Tliis separate peace cannot, however, be signed, but 
conjointly, and at the same lime with that of those powers 
whose interests shall have been negotiated by the mediat- 
ing Courts, for this reason, although each peace may be 
separately treated, yet they cannot be concluded without 
each other. Care shall be taken to inform the mediators 
with certainty of liie measures and state of that, which 
regards Great Britain and the Colonies, to the end. that the 
mediation may be able to regulate the measures intrusted 
to it, by the state of the negotiation relating to the colonies, 
and both of the pacifications, which shall have been con- 
cluded at the same time, aUhougli separately, shall be sol- 
emnly guarantied by the mediating Courts, and every 
other neutral power, whose guarantee the belligerent par- 
ties may think proper to claim. 


To render the negotiations for peace independent of the 
events of war, always uncertain, which may put a stop to, 
or at least retard their progress, there shall be a general 
ar.mistice between all parties during the term of a year, 
reckoning from of the month of of the 

present year, or of ye^'is, reckoning from of the 

month of of the year 1782, should it happen that 

peace should not be re-established in the first period, and 
whilst the duration of either of these periods continue, 
everything shall remain in the state in which they shall be 
found at signing the present preliminary articles. 



Paris, July 13th, 1781. 


I have the honor to enclose to your Excellency some 
remarks upon the articles, to serve as a basis of the nego- 
tiation for the re-establishment of peace, wjiich you did 
ine the honor to communicate to me. 

As I am unacquainted, whether you desired my senti- 
ments upon these articles merely for your own govern- 
ment, or with a design to communicate them to the Im- 
perial Couris, I should be glad of your Excellency's ad- 
vice concerning them. If your Excellency is of opinion 
there is anything exceptionable, or which ought to be 
altered, I should be glad to correct it ; or if I have not 
perceived the points, or questions, upon which you desired 
my opinion, I shall be ready to give any further answers. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Of the Minuicr Plenipotentiary of the United States 
of America, to the Articles to serve as a Basis to the 
Negotiation for the Re-estahlishment of Peace. 

Article i. The United States oT America have no 
objection, provided their allies have none, to a treaty with 
Great Britain, concerning the re-establishment of peace in 
America, or to another concerning the re-establishment of 
commerce between the two nations, consistent with their 
obligations to France and Spain, without the intervention 
of any of the other belligerent parties, and even without 


that of the two Imperial Courts, at least, unless their medi- 
ation should be formally demanded and granted upon this 
object, according to the first article communicated to me. 

Art. II. The United States have nothing to say, pro- 
vided their allies have not, against the second article. 

Art. I! I. To the armistice, and the statu quo, in the 
third article, the United States have very great objections, 
which indeed are so numerous and decisive, and at the 
same time so obvious, as to make it unnecessary to s*ate 
them in detail. 

The idea of a truce is not suggested in these articles ; 
but as it is mentioned in some observations shown me by 
his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes, it may be neces- 
sary for me to add, that the United States are so deeply 
impressed with an apprehension, that any truce whatso- 
ever would not fail to he productive of another long and 
bloody war at the termination of it, and that a short truce 
would be in many ways highly dangerous to them, that it 
would be with great reluctance that they should enter into 
any discussion at all upon such a subject. 

Two express conditions would be indispensable prelimi- 
naries to their taking into consideration the subject of a 
truce at all. The first is, that their allies agree, that the 
treaties now subsisting remain in full force diu'ing and after 
the truce, until the final acknowledgment of their indepen- 
dence by Great Britain. The second is, the antecedent 
removal of the British land and naval armaments from 
every part of the United States. Upon these two express 
conditions as preliminaries, if a truce should be proposed 
for so long a period, or for an indefinite period, requiring 
so long notice, previous to a renewal of hostilities, as to 
evince that it is on the part of Great Britain a virtual re- 

104 •'^^^^ ADAMS. 

linquishment of the object of the war, and an expedient 
only to avoid the mortification of an express acknowledg- 
ment of the independence and sovereignty of the United 
Slates, they, with the concurrence of their allies, might 
accede to it. 

It is requisite, however, to add ; first, that the United 
States cannot consider themselves bound by this declara- 
tion, unless it should be agreed to before the opening of 
another campaign. Secondly, that it is not in the power 
of the Crown of Great Britain, by the constitution of that 
kingdom, to establish any truce, or even armistice with the 
United States, which would not be illusory without the in- 
tervention of an act of Parliament, repealing or suspending 
all their statutes, which have any relation to the United 
States, or any of ihem. Without this, every officer of the 
navy would be bound by the laws, according to the max- 
ims of their constitution, to seize every American vessel 
that he should find, whose papers and distinction should 
not be found conformable to those statutes, and every 
French, Spanish, Dutch, or other foreign vessel, which he 
should find going to, or coming from America ; notwith- 
standing any convention that is in the power of the Crown 
to make. 

After all, the greatest difficulty does not lie in anything 
as yet mentioned. The great question is, in what char- 
acter are the United States to be considered ? They 
know themselves to be a free, sovereign, and independent 
State, of right and in fact. 

They are considered and acknowledged as such by 
France. They cannot be represented in a Congress of 
Ministers from the several powers of Europe, whether 
their representative is called Ambassador, Minister, or 


-Agentj without an acknowledgment of their independence, 
of which the very admission of a representative from them 
is an avowal. Great Britain cannot agree with their rep- 
resentative upon a truce, or even an armistice, without 
admitting their freedom and independence. 

As there is upon earth no JLidge of a sovereign State, 
but the nation that composes it, the United States can 
never consent, that their independence shall be discussed 
or called in question by any sovereign or sovereigns, how- 
ever respectable, nor can their interests be made a ques- 
tion in any Congress, in which their character is not ac- 
knowledged, and their Minister admitted. If, therefore, 
the two Imperial Courts would acknowledge and lay down 
as a preliminary, the sovereignty of the United States, 
and admit their Minister to a Congress, after this, a treaty 
might be commenced between the Minister of Great 
Britain and the Minister of the United States, relative to 
a truce, or peace and commerce, in the manner pro- 
posed, without any express acknowledgment of their sov- 
ereignty by Great Britain, until the treaty should be con- 

The sovereigns of Europe have a right to negotiate 
concerning their own interests, and to deliberate concern- 
ing the question, whether it is consistent with their dignity 
and interests, to acknowledge expressly the sovereignty 
of the United States, and to make treaties with them, by 
their Ministers in a Congress, or otherwise ; and America 
could make no objection to it ; but neither the United 
States nor France can ever consent, that the existence 
of their sovereignty shall be made a question in such 
Congress; because, let that Congress determine as it 

VOL. VI. 14 


might, their sovereignty, with submission only to Divine 
Providence, never can, and never will be given up. 

As the British Court, in first suggesting the idea of a 
Congress to the Imperial Courts, insisted upon the annihi- 
lation of the league, as they were pleased to call it, be- 
tween France and their rebel subjects, as they were 
pleased again to phrase it, and upon the return of these to 
their allegiance and obedience, as preliminaries to any 
Congress or mediation ; there is too much reason to fear, 
that the British iMinistry have no serious intentions or sin- 
cere dispositions for peace, and that they mean nothing but 
amusement. Because, the support of the sovereignty of 
the United States was the primary object of the war, on 
the part of France and America ; the destruction of it, 
that of Great Britain. If, therefore, the treaty between 
France and America were annulled, and the Americans 
returned to the domination and monopoly of Great Brit- 
ain, there would be no need of troubling all Europe with a 
Congress to make peace. x'VU points between France, 
Spain, and Great Britain, might be easily adjusted among 
themselves. Surely the affairs of Great Britain are, in no 
part of the world so triumphant, nor those of any of their 
enemies so adverse, as to give this Ministry any serious 
hopes, that France and America will renounce the object 
of the war. There must, therefore, be some other view. 

It is not difficult to penetrate the design of the British 
Ministry upon this, any more than upon many former occa- 
sions. They think that a distrust of them, and a jealousy 
that they would not adhere with good faith to the proposi- 
tions of reconciliation, which they have made from time to 
time, were, in the minds of the Americans, the true cause 
why these propositions were not accepted. They now 


think, that by prevailing on the two Imperial Courts, and 
other Courts, to warranty to the Americans any similar 
terms they may propose to them, they shall remove this 
obstacle ; and by this means, although they know that no 
public authority in America will agree to such terms, they 
think they shall be able to represent things in such a light, 
as to induce many desertions from the American army, 
and many apostates from the American independence and 
alliance. In this way, they pursue their long practised arts 
of seduction, deception, and division. In these again, as in 
so many former attempts, they would find themselves dis- 
appointed, and would make very few deserters or apos- 
tates. But it is to be hoped, that the powers of Europe 
will not give to these superficial artifices, with which that 
Ministry have so long destroyed the repose of the United 
States, and of the British dominions at home and abroad, 
and disturbed the tranquillity of Europe, so much attention 
as to enable them to continue much longer such evils to 




Paris, July 15th, 1781. 

I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter to the 
Count de Vergennes, and of certain articles and their an- 
swers. The British Court proposed to the Imperial 
Courts, a Congress, upon two preliminary conditions, the 
rupture of the treaty with France, and the return of Ame- 
rica to their obedience. The two Imperial Courts have 
since proposed the enclosed articles. Spain and France 
have prepared their answers. England has not answered 


yet, and no Ministers are yet commissioned or appointed 
by any power. If she accepts the terms, I should not 
scruple to accept them too, excepting the armistice and 
the statu quo. I mean I should not insist upon a previous 
explicit acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the United 
States, before 1 went to Vienna. I see nothing inconsist- 
ent with the character or dignity of the United States, in 
their Minister going to Vienna, at the same time when 
Ministers from the other powers are there, and entering 
into treaty with a British Minister without any explicit ac- 
knowledgment of our independence, before the conclusion 
of the treaty. The very existence of such a Congress 
would be of use to our reputation. 

But I cannot yet believe that Britain will wave her pre- 
liminaries. She will still insist upon the dissolution of the 
treaty, and upon the return of the Americans under her 
government. This, however, will do no honor to her 
moderation or pacific sentiments, in the opinion of the 
powers of Europe. 

Something may grow out of these negotiations in time, 
but it will probably be several years before anything can be 
done. Americans can only quicken these negotiations by 
decisive strokes. No depredations upon their trade, no 
conquests of their possessions in the East or West Indies 
will have any effect upon the English to induce them to 
make peace, while they see they have an army in the 
United States, and can flatter themselves with the hope of 
conquering or regaining America ; because they think that 
with America under their government, they can easily re- 
gain whatever they may lose now in any part of the world. 
Whereas, the total expulsion of their forces in the United 
States would extingush their hopes, and persuade them to 


peace, sooner than the loss of everything less. The bel- 
ligerent powers and the neutral powers may flatter tliem- 
selves with the hopes of a restoration of- peace, but they 
will all be disappointed while the English have a soldier in 
America. It is amazing to me that France and Spain do 
not see it, and direct their forces accordingly. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Paris, July 16th, 1781. 


Since my letter of the 13th, upon further reflection, I 
have thought it necessary to explain myself a little more, 
particularly in some points, to your Excellency. If Icom- 
preliend the facts, the British Court first proposed to the 
Imperial Courts a Congress and a mediation, upon two 
conditions. 1st. The dissolution of the treaties between 
France and the United States. 2d. The return of the 
Americans under the British government. 

In consequence of this proposal from the Court of St 
James, the two Imperial Courts have made the proposition 
of the articles, which were shown to me, to the Courts of 
France, Spain, and England, neither of which has yet 
given its answer. Their Imperial Majesties hare omitted 
the two conditions, which the British Court insisted on as 
preliminaries, and mean to admit a representative of the 
United States to the Congress, to negotiate separately with 
the British Minister, without ascertaining the tide or char- 
acter of the American representative, until the two pacifi- 
cations shall be accomplished. 


I am in my own mind apprehensive, though I devoutly 
wish I may be mistaken, that the British Court in their 
answer to the articles, will adhere to their two prelimina- 
ries. It is very convenient for the English to hold up the 
idea of peace ; it serves them to relieve their credit at cer- 
tain times when it is in distress ; it serves to disconcert the 
projects of the neutral powers to their disadvantage ; 't 
enables their friends in the United Provinces, to keep the 
Dutch nation in that state of division, sloth and inactivity, 
from which they derive so much plunder, with so much 
safety. But I cannot persuade myself, that the English 
will soberly think of peace, while they have any military 
force in the United States, and can preserve a gleam of 
hope of conquering or regaining America. While this 
hope remains, no depredations on their commerce, no loss 
of dominions in the East or West Indies, will induce them 
to make peace ; because they think, that with America re- 
united to them they could easily regain whatever they may 
now lose. This opinion of theirs may be extravagant and 
enthusiastical, and they would not find it so easy to recover 
their losses ; but they certainly entertain it, and while it 
remains, I fear they will not make peace. 

Yet it seems they have negotiated themselves into a 
delicate situation. If they should obstinately adhere to 
their two preliminaries, against the advice of the two Im- 
perial Courts, this might seriously affect their reputation, if 
they have any, for moderation and for pacific dispositions, 
not only in those Courts, but in all the Courts and coun- 
tries of Europe, and they would not easily answer it to 
their own subjects, who are weary of the war. Peace is 
so desirable an object, that humanity, as well as policy, 
demands of every nation at war a serious attention to every 


proposition, which seems to have a tendency to it, although 
there may be grounds to suspect, that the first proposer of 
it was not sincere. I think, that no power can judge tlie 
United States unreasonable in not agreeing to the statu 
quo, or the armistice. But perhaps I have not been suf- 
ficiently explicit upon another point. 

The proposal of a separate treaty between the British 
Minister and the Representative of the United States, 
seems to be a benevolent invention to avoid several difficul- 
ties ; among others, first, that England may be allowed to 
save her national pride, to think and to say, that the inde- 
pendence of America was agreed to voluntarily, and was 
not dictated to her by France and Spain ; secondly, to 
avoid the previous acknowledgment of American indepen- 
dence, and the previous ascertaining the title and charac- 
ter of the American Representative, which the Imperial 
Courts may think would be a partiality inconsistent with 
the character of mediators, and even of neutrals, espe- 
cially as England has uniformly considered any such step 
as a hostility against them ; though I know not upon what 
law of nations, or of reason. 

I cannot see, that the United States would make any 
concession, or submit to any indignity, or do anything in- 
consistent with their character, if their Minister should ap- 
pear at Vienna, or elsewhere, with the Ministers of other 
powers, and conduct any negotiation with a British Minis- 
ter, without having the independence of the United Slates 
or his own tide and character acknowledged or ascertained, 
by any other power, except France, until the pacification 
should be concluded. I do not see, that America would 
lose anything by this, any more than by having a Minister 
in any part of Europe, with his character unacknowledged 


by all the powers of Europe. In order to remove every 
embarrassment, therefore, as much as possible, if your Ex- 
cellency should be of the same opinion, and advise me to 
it, I would withdraw every objection to the Congress on 
the part of the United States, and decline nothing but the 
statu quo, and the armistice, against which such reasons 
might be given, as I think would convince all men, that the 
United States are bound to refuse them. If your Excel- 
lency should think it necessary for me to assign these rea- 
sons particularly, I will attempt some of them ; but it is 
sufficient for me to say to your Excellency, that my posi- 
tive instructions forbid me to agree either to the armistice, 
or statu quo. 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 



Amsterdam, July 17tli, 1781. 


Since my letter of the 26di of June last, the Memorial 
of the Deputies of the City of Amsterdam, of the Sth of 
June, has appeared entire, and is conceived in the follow- 
ing terms. 

"Most Serene and Illustrious Prince and Lord, 

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of the City of Amster- 
dam, in the name and by the order of the gendemen, 
their constituents, have the honor to represent to your 
Most Serene Highness, that the said constituents having 
learnt, with much uneasiness the discontent, that your 
Highness had taken, on the subject of their last proposi- 
tion, made in the Assembly of their Noble and Grand 


Mightinesses, although it had been contrary to their inten- 
tion to give your Highness the least offence, or to offer 
him any insult or displeasure, they have seized with great 
satisfaction, an opportunity to give your Highness the most 
sincere assurances of it ; that they flatter themselves, that, 
from what they shall have the honor of laying before you 
your Highness will be able to deduce the reasons, for 
which they have not previously acquainted him with the 
contents of the said proposition, before it hath been remit- 
ted to the Assembly of their Noble and Grand Mighti- 
nesses ; that they should feel a real chagrin, if your High- 
ness attributed this silence to any particular distrust towards 
his person ; they declare, that they are absolutely divested 
of it, and that they have nothing so much at heart as to 
excite and cherish between your Highness and their City 
that confidence, that the well-being and advancement of 
the public cause render inevitably necessary ; that" by their 
proposition they have only wished to open a way to find 
out and carry into execution, such measures as the critical 
situation of affairs most pressingly requires for the safety 
and preservation of their dear country. 

"That placed at the head of the government of a very 
populous city, in which the lower class of the people begin 
already to feel that indigence, which results from a want 
of business, they are obliged to show in effect, and in the 
best manner possible, that they desire not to let any op- 
portunity escape of encouraging and promoting the well- 
being of the country, and of its good citizens, unless tliey 
would run the risk of entirely destroying the proper au- 
thority, and the good order, which in a popular govern- 
ment are founded only upon the confidence of the people, 
and of the Burgesses in its Regents, and of seeing in a 

VOL. VI. 15 


little time a total anarchy, that they had thought that affairs 
had, for a long time, and particularly since the rupture 
with England, appeared in the eyes of the whole nation, 
and not without reason, to be administered in a strange 
and inconceivable manner, seeing, that notwithstanding the 
extreme condescendence to the wishes of England, we 
had only experienced from that kingdom, each year con- 
tempt, affronts, and insults, which have been lately crown- 
ed by an open war, commenced by the capture of a con- 
siderable number of our vessels, and the invasion of our 
foreign possessions, and that, nevertheless, we had re- 
mained in a defenceless state, and taken no sufficient steps 
to place the Republic in a situation to protect its liberty, its 
well acquired rights, its extensive navigation, and its lawful 

"That, nevertheless, it is an incontestible truth, that the 
members of government have for a long time been of 
opinion, that it is principally by sea, that it is necessary to 
place themselves upon a respectable footing, as it evidently 
appears by the different resolutions taken in the year 1778, 
and following, by different reports, petitions, and assents to 
augment and reinforce the equipages of vessels of war, 
and particularly by the report of the 30th of March, 1779, 
that notwithstanding the said opinions and resolutions of the 
confederates, to equip all the vessels of war of the State, 
and to construct new ones, yet at this moment, after so 
much time has elapsed, and some things have taken so 
disadvantageous a turn, there hath not been put to sea the 
thirtytwo vessels stipulated in the month of April, 1779, 
much less still the fiftytwo, whose armament had been re- 
solved upon the last year, so that to this moment none of 
the precautions, proposed in the month of March, 1779, to 


the generality for the defence of our coasts, and the mouths 
of our rivers, have been taken. 

"That the regency of our city, with all the good citizens 
of the Republic, who discover the best disposition possible 
to pay the ordinary and extraordinary imposts, has been 
much surprised at the little promptitude and at the slowness 
in the executions of resolutions so important for the Sove- 
reign ; for it is impossible to believe that the situation in 
which the respective admiralties found themselves, should 
be so bad that 'hey could not effect in two years the equip- 
ments that they themselves had proposed ; as they had no 
want of money, and as the necessity of them became more 
and more pressing daily , that in consequence, one could 
not conceive what were the causes of this slowness and 
inactivity no more than of the non-execution of the resolu- 
tions and orders to secure the coasts and harbors, and 
above all, one could not form an idea of the unforeseen 
obstacles and difficulties which have prevented the sailing 
of few vessels, which had been supposed perfectly in a 
state of putting to sea, even when your Highness after a 
suitable examination of things, had given the necessary 
orders to this effect. 

"That seeing it is to this state of inactivity and incapa- 
city of defending themselves, that it is necessary to attribute 
in the greatest measure the evils and calamities which have 
happened to the Republic, and which still threaten it, and that 
to this moment we have not been able to observe that any 
vio^orous measures are taken to prevent future misfortunes, 
and to repair those already suffered, (without which we 
ought soon to expect the total ruin of the Republic,) we 
have judged it the indispensable duty of the brave regents, 
and that they cannot dispense themselves from searching 

lib Jt)HIN ADAMS. 

out to what one ought to attribute this inexcusable negli- 
gence ? And by what means one may remedy it, and 
direct and re-establisli still affairs, as much as possible, for 
the safety of the State ? 

"That this having been attempted from lime to time, 
privately, but in vain, and affairs becoming more and more 
disadvantageous and critical, it was so much the more 
necessary to take vigorous resolutions, and one could not 
longer defer the concerting of suitable measures ; that from 
a mature and deliberate consideration of the whole of this 
had resulted the proposition, made by order of the Re- 
gency of Amsterdam the 18th of May last to the Assembly 
of Holland, and submitted to the judgment and delibera- 
tions of the other members, to the end that these delibera- 
tions might give rise to resolutions the most useful and the 
most salutary to the country ; that the said Regency are 
still of opinion, that duty to themselves, to their country, 
and to its good citizens, who for a long time had expected 
a similar measure on their part, required them to make the 
said proposition. 

"That, nevertheless, it was very far from their intention 
to give your Highness any uneasiness or discontent, or to 
introduce innovations, or to diminish and circumscribe in 
more narrow limits the authority lawfully acquired of my 
Lord the Stadtholder ; that on the contrary, they could 
assure solemnly, that they would assist constantly with all 
their power, to maintain the present constitution of govern- 
ment with which they judge the well-being of the Repub- 
lic is intimately connected ; that they considered at the 
same time, that in the present circumstances of affairs 
nothing would be more necessary or more useful, for the 
direction and execution of the operations of the present 


war, and lor to combine them with more secrecy and des- 
patch than to form and establish a small council or com- 
mittee, composed of the regencies of the respective Prov- 
inces, to assist your Highness with the advice and labors, 
and to co-operate conjointly to the preservation of the 

"That this proposition, (founded perhaps upon former 
examples,) proceeded not from any motive of distrust of 
the good intentions and designs of your Serene Highness, 
of which there is no reason to suspect their purity, although 
according to the information of the Regency of that city, 
some evil minded persons have endeavored to insinuate the 
contrary to your Serene Highness. 

"That such a distrust fell only upon him, whose influ- 
ence over the mind of your Serene Highness is regarded, 
as the first cause of the slowness and indolence in the 
administration of affairs, and as that cannot but be very 
prejudicial to the general good, one had in vain expected 
for a long time, that the dangerous circumstances in which 
the Republic finds itself at present, would at length have 
given rise to serious deliberations upon the measures neces- 
sary to be employed in future, and with more vigor than 
the past ; but that this expectation having been vain to the 
present moment, and as the question in agitation was con- 
cerning the preservation of the country, of its dear bought 
liberty, of your Serene Highness, of his illustrious House, 
in one word, of everything dear and precious to the inhabi- 
tants of the Republic, it is for these reasons that the Re- 
gency of Amsterdam have judged that they could no lon- 
ger by silence be wanting in their duty, but saw themselves 
forced, although with regret, to the present measure. 
"It is therefore with all the respect that they owe to 


your Serene Highness, but at the same time with the can- 
dor and honest freedom that the importance of the affair 
requires, that they represent to your Serene Highness, and 
declare to him expressly, that, according to the general 
opinion, the Lord the Duke is regarded as the principal 
cause of the deplorable state of weakness in which the Re- 
public finds itself at this day, of all the negligence which 
hath had place, of all the false measures that have been 
taken for a long time, and of all the fatal consequences that 
have resulted from them ; that your Serene Highness may 
be assured that the aversion and hatred of the nation against 
the person and administration of the Duke, are arisen to 
such a degree that one ought to dread an event the most 
grievous and the most disagreeable for the public iran- 

"That without doubt your Serene Highness has been 
already informed by others of all these things ; but in case 
your Serene Highness is still ignorant of them, it is neces- 
sary to attribute it solely to a fear of the effects of the re- 
sentment of the Duke. We dare, nevertheless, to appeal 
with confidence upon everything now advanced, to the tes- 
timony of all the honest and sincere members of the Re- 
gency, that your Serene Highness shall deign to interro- 
gate, after granting tiiem full liberty of speech, and sum- 
moning them to answer according to their duty and their 

"That they had heard many times with much regret, 
M. the Counsellor Pensionary, complain, in presence of 
divers members of the Province of Holland, of the mis- 
understanding which existed between him and the Lord 
the Duke, as well as of the ascendancy that the said Lord 
has over the mind of your Serene Highness, whereby 


all his effects for the good of the country were rendered 

"That this disunion and this diversity of sentiments and 
views between the principal Counsellor of your Serene 
Highness and the first Minister of this Province must have 
not only consequences the most fatal, but furnished also a 
sufficient motive to make the strongest instances to remove 
the source of that distrust and of that discord ; seeing it is 
only a previous re-establishment of confidence and concord 
that can save the Republic ; that nothing is also more 
necessary for the happiness of your Most Serene House, 
for the support of your authority, the preservation of the 
esteem and confidence of the nation, and of your consider- 
ation among the neighboring powers ; for we can assure 
your Serene Highness, and we are obliged to apprise him, 
that he might indeed lose one day the esteem and confi- 
dence of the people, instead of being and continuing the 
worthy object of the love and the veneration of this people, 
and of its Regents ; which we pray and wish ardently that 
your Serene Highness may ever experience, seeing upon 
that depends, in a great measure, the preservation and the 
happiness of our dear country and of the House of Orange. 

"That as well persuaded as we may be, that the mem- 
bers of the sovereignty have always the liberty, and that 
it is sometimes even their duty to communicate to your 
Serene Highness and to the other members, their senti- 
ments upon the state and administration of public affairs, 
we should have preferred, nevertheless, to have abstained 
from the present measure, if we had been able to conceive 
any hope, amelioration, and change ; but since we can no 
longer flatter ourselves with that, for the reasons above 
alleged, and the danger has arisen to its highest degree, 


there remains no other part to take than that of laying be- 
fore your Serene Highness the true state of things, of pray- 
ing hioi, in the most solemn manner, to reflect seriously upon 
them, and of no longer listening to the councils and insin- 
uations of a man loaded as he is with the hatred of the 
great and the small, regarded as a stranger destitute of a 
sufficient knowledge of the form of our government, and 
not possessed of a true afTection to our country. 

"That we are very far from wishing to accuse this Lord 
of what he is but too openly charged, or of considering as 
founded, the suspicions circulated against him of an exces- 
sive and illicit attachment to the Court of England, or of 
bad faith and corruption ; that we believe, that a Lord of 
so high a birth and so distinguished a rank, is incapable of 
such baseness, but that we think, that the unhappy ideas 
that have been unfortunately entertained of him, and which 
have caused a general distrust, render him totally unuseful 
and pernicious, even to the service of the State and of your 
Serene Highness, that he consequently be removed from 
the direction of affairs, and from the Court of your Serene 
Highness, as being a perpetual obstacle to the re-establish- 
ment of the good intelligence so necessary between your 
Serene Highness and the principal members of the State ; 
seeing that on the contrary, his presence cannot but for the 
future, occasion the distrust conceived, whether with or 
without reason, of his counsels to fall upon your Serene 

"That these representations do not spring from a prin- 
ciple of hatred or of ill will against the Lord, the Duke, 
who has formerly had occasion to be well satisfied, even 
with the benevolence and the real marks of affection of 
the Regency of Amsterdam, but that we protest before 


God and the whole world, that the only motives which have 
dictated them to us, are the preservation of the country and 
of the illustrious House of your Most Serene Higlmess, and 
to prevent their approaching total ruin ; that the Regency of 
our city have seen themselves obliged to take this measure, 
both in quality of inhabitants of this country, and as a 
member of its sovereign Assembly ; to the end to make 
by this means the last effort, and to point out, perhaps, 
yet in time, a means of saving, with the blessing of the 
Almighty,, the vessel of State from the most imminent 
danger, and of conducting it into a safe port, or of acquit- 
ting themselves at least in every case of their duty, and of 
exculpating themselves in the eyes of their fellow citizens 
and posterity. 

"That, in truth, it is not necessary to despair of the safety 
of the country ; but that, nevertheless, affairs appear to have 
arrived to such an extremity, that it cannot be saved without 
the use of extraordinary means, and, that for this reason, 
we ought still, with the approbation of your Serene High- 
ness, to take the liberty to submit to his consideration, if 
the best means of managing hereafter afiairs with success 
would not be, that your Serene Highness should associate 
to himself a small number of persons, chosen from among 
the most distinguished and the most experienced citizens 
born in die country, to concert assiduously with them 
everytiiing which should be the most necessary or the most 
useful for the preservation and the service of the coun- 
try during the present war, witli such powers and such re- 
strictions, as should be judged requisite to fulfil effectually 
the object of this commission ; that we expect therefrom 
the two following effects, as important as useful. 

"1st. That, in a conjuncture like tlie jjresent, in which 

VOL. VI. 10 


every moment is precious, no delay occasioned by deliber- 
ations of long duration shall take place, and the requisite 
despatch would be given to the execution of that which 
shall have been resolved. 

"2dly. That thereby the confidence of the nation would 
be re-established, an universal tranquillity and content pro- 
moted, and each one would be encouraged and animated 
lo contribute v;ith joy everything in his power to the exe- 
cution of the measures of the sovereign, whilst, that at 
present, we see the contrary take place, and hear every- 
where of the general complaints of the division and of the 
inactivity of the government. 

"That this proposition appears of the highest necessity, 
not only to the Regency of Amsterdam, but we have rea- 
son to think, that it is considered in the same point of 
light by the principal members of this Province, and of all 
the others. 

"Besides, nothing is more necessary than to adopt a 
fixed system and plan of conduct, seeing that the Repub- 
lic ought to choose between two conditions ; either to re- 
establish the peace with England, or to prosecute the war 
with all our forces, to the end to accelerate by this means 
an honorable peace ; which ought to be the sincere wish 
of every good citizen, and to which alone, without any 
further views, (as we can assure your Serene Highness in 
the most serious manner) has tended the overture made 
bv our proposition of concerting with France the op- 
erations for this campaign. We desire nothing more 
ardently on our part, than to deliberate seriously with your 
Serene Highness upon the option between the two con- 
ditions alleged, and what means it will be necessary to 
employ to arrive at the end which shall be chosen ; but we 


are absolutely of opinion, ihaL above all things, we must 
never lose sight, although a reconciliation may be pre- 
ferred, that nothing ought to be neglected or omitted, to 
place in every respect, the Republic in sucii a position that 
it has nothing to fear from its enemies, but, on the con- 
trary, that it may be in a state to force them to wish the 
re-establishment of that peace, which, without any lawful 
cause, they have so unjustly and wickedly broken. 

"That the above piece is word for word the same with- 
out any addition or omission, as that which has been read 
to his Serene Highness, the 8th of June, 1781, by the 
order of the gentlemen, the Burgomasters, by the Pension- 
ary Vischer, in presence of the Counsellor Pensionary of 
Holland, and which is written with the hand of the said 
Pensionary, is that which we attest. 

"Amsterdam, June I2d), 1781. 

E. DE VRY TEAIMINCK, > Reigning 
J. RENDORP, ^ Burgomasters. 

C. W. VISCHER, Pensionary. 

"Deposed in the cabinet of the gentlemen, the burgo- 
masters, the said 12th of June, 1781." 

"The original of this memorial, which after the reading 
has been put into the hands of his Most Serene Highness, 
but taken back during the audience, has been sent, the 
14th of June, to the Counsellor Pensionary, accompanied 
with a letter in the name of the Burgomasters, written by 
the Burgomaster Rendorp to the snid Counsellor Pen- 

"By a resolution of llie Giii of this mouih, the States- 
General have revoked the order, that their High Mighti- 
nesses had given, at the begiiming ot the war, to all cap- 
tains or patrons of merchant-ships belonging to the subjects 


of this Republic, to remain in the ports where they found 
themselves, and not to make sail from them, either for their 
destination or to return into this country. Their High 
Mightinesses have this day given to the proprietors and 
captains of these vessels, the liberty of navigating and em- 
ploying them in such a manner, and when they shall judge 

1 have the honor to be, &.c. 




Versailles, July 18th, 1781. 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write to me the 13th instant. It was owing to the con- 
fidence I placed in your judgment and zeal for your coun- 
try, that I intrusted to you the propositions of the two Im- 
perial Courts, and requested that you would make such 
observations as you might think them susceptible of. 
Things are not yet sufficiently advanced to admit of com- 
municating them to the two mediating Courts. As you 
have seen in the sketch of our answer, there are prelimina- 
ries to be adjusted with respect to the United States, and 
until they are adjusted you cannot appear, and conse- 
quently you cannot transact anything officially with res- 
pect to the two mediators. By so doing you would hazard 
and expose the dignity of the character with which you 
are invested. 

I have the honor to be, &,c. 




Paris, July 18th, 1781. 

I have received the letter, which your Excellency did 
nie the honor to write uie this day. I assure your Excel- 
lency, I never had a thought of appearing upon the scene, 
or of taking ministerially or otherwise any step towards the 
two mediators. 1 must confess to your Excellency that I 
have too many jealousies of the motives, and too many 
apprehensions of the consequences of this negotiation to be 
willing to take any part in it, without an express vocation. 
The English are tottering on such a precipice, and arc in 
such a temper, that they will not hesitate at any measure, 
which they think can move every latent passion, and awa- 
ken every dormant interest in Europe, in order to embroil 
all the world. Without looking much to consequences, or 
weighing whether the quarrels they wish to excite will be 
serviceable to them or not, they seem to think the more 
confusion they can make the better ; for which reason my 
fears from tlie proposed mediation are greater than my 

Nevertheless, if properly called upon, it will be my duty 
to attend to every step of it ; but there are many questions 
arise in my mind, upon which in due time I should wish to 
know your Excellency's opinion. 

The two Imperial Courts have proposed, that there 
should be an American Representative at the Congress. 
This is not merely by implication, but expressly acknowl- 
edging, that there is a belligerent power in America, of 
sufficient importance to be taken notice of by them and 
the other powers of Europe. One would think after this. 

126 JOlJiN ADAMS. 

that the two Imperial Courts would havo communicated 
their propositions to Congress. The propositions they 
have made and communicated to the Courts of France, 
Spain and England, imply that America is a Power, a free 
and Independent Power, as much as if they had communi- 
cated them also to Congress at Philadelphia. Without 
such a formal communication and an invitation to the 
United States in Congress, or to their Representative here 
by the two Imperial Courts, I do not see how an American 
Minister can with strict propriety appear at the proposed 
Congress at Vienna at all. I have never heard it intima- 
ted, that they have transmitted their propositions to Phila- 
delphia ; certainly I have received no instruciions from 
thence, nor have I received any intimation of such proposi- 
tions from any Minister of either of the mediating Courts, 
although as my mission has been long public and mucii 
talked of, I suppose it was well known to both that there 
was a person in Europe vested by America with power to 
make peace. 

It seems, therefore, that one step more might iiave been 
taken, perfectly consistent with the first, and that it may 
yet be taken, a id that it is but reasonable to expect that it 
will be. Ho\v is the American Minister to know that 
there is a Congress, and that it is expected that he sliould 
repair to it ? And that any Minister from Great Britain 
will meet him there ? Is the British Court, or their Am- 
bassador, to give him notice .-' This seems less probable, 
than that the mediators should do it. 

The dignity of North America does not consist in diplo- 
matic ceremonials, or any of the subtleties of etiquette ; it 
consists solely in reason, justice, truth, the rights of man- 
kind, and the interests of the nations of Europe ; all of 


which well understood, are clearly in her favor. I shall 
therefore never make unnecessary difficulties on the score 
of etiquette, and shall never insist upon anything of this 
sort, which your Excellency or some other INIinister of our 
allies does not advise me to as indispensable ; and there- 
fore I shall certainly go to Vienna or elsewhere, if your 
Excellency should invite or advise me to go. But as 
these reflections occurred to me upon the point of proprie- 
ty, I thought it my duty to mention them to your Excel- 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Paris, July 19tb, 1781. 


In my letter of the ]8th, I had the honor to mention 
some things, which lay upon my mind ; but still I am ap- 
prehensive, that in a former letter, I have not conveyed 
my full meaning to your Excellency. 

In mv letter of tlie 16th, I submitted to your Excellen- 
cy's opinion and advice, whether an American Minister 
could appear at the Congress at Vienna, without having 
his character acknowledged by airy power, more expressly 
than it is now. This was said upon the supposition, and 
taking it for granted, that it was the intention of the me- 
diating Courts to admit a representative of the United 
States to the Congress, with such a commission and such 
a tide as the United States should think fit to give him, 
and that during his whole residence and negotiations at 
Vienna, whether they should terminate in peace or not, he 
should enjoy all the prerogatives, which the law of nations 

128 -'OHiN ADAMS. 

has annexed to the character, person, habitation, and at- 
tendants of such a IMinister. It is impossible that there 
should be a treaty at Vienna between Great Britain and 
the people of America, whether they are called United 
States or American Colonies, unless both nations appear 
there by representatives, who must be authorised by com- 
missions or full powers, which must be mutually exchanged, 
and consequently admitted to be, what upon the face of 
them they purport to be. The commission from the 
United States for making peace, which has been in Eu- 
rope almost two years, is that of a Minister Plenipotentiary, 
and it authorises him to treat only with Ministers vested 
with equal powers. If he were to appear at Vienna, lie 
would certainly assume the title and character of a IMinister 
Plenipotentiary, and could enter into no treaty or confer- 
ence with any Minister from Great Britain, until they had 
mutually exchanged authenlic copies of their full powers. 
This it is true, would be an implied acknowledgment of his 
character and title, and of those of the United States too ; 
but such an acknowledgment is indispensable, because 
without it there can be no treaty at all. In consequence he 
would expect to enjoy all the j)rerogatives of that charac- 
ter, and the moment they should be denied him, he must 
quit the Congress, let the consequences be what they 

And I rely upon it, this is the intention of the two Impe- 
rial Courts ; because otherwise, they would have proposed 
the Congress upon the basis of the two British prelimina- 
ries, a rupture of the treaty with France, and a return of 
the Americans to their submission to Great Britain ; and 
because I cannot suppose it possible, that the Imperial 
Courts could believe the Americans capable of such in- 


finite baseness, as to appear upon the stage of the universe, 
acknowledge themselves guilty of rebellion, and supplicate 
for grace ; nor can I suppose they meant to fix a brand of 
disgrace upon the Americans in the sight of all nations, or 
to pronounce judgment against them ; one or all of which 
suppositions must be made, before it can be believed, that 
these Courts did not mean to protect the American Repre- 
sentative in the enjoyment of the privileges attached to the 
ciiaracter he must assume ; and because, otherwise, all 
their propositions would be to no effect, for no Congress at 
V'^ienna can make either the one or the other of the two 
proposed peaces, without the United States. But upon 
looking over again the words of the first article, there 
seems to be room for dispute, of which a British Minister, 
in the present state of his country, would be capable of 
taking advantage. The terms used seems to be justly ex- 
ceptionable. There are no "American Colonies" at war 
with Great Britain. The power at war is the United 
States of America. No American Colonies have any 
Representative in Europe, unless Nova Scotia or Quebec, 
or some of the West India Islands, may have an agent in 
London. The word Colony, in its usual acceptation, im- 
plies a metropolis, a mother country, a superior political 
Governor, ideas which the United Stales have long since 
renounced forever. 

I em therefore clear in my opinion, that a more explicit 
declaration ought to be insisted on, and that no American 
Representative ought to appear, without an express assur- 
ance, that while the Congress lasts, and in going to it, and 
returning from it, he shall be considered as a I\]inister 
Plenipotentiary from the United States of Americr., and 
entitled to all the prerogatives of such a Minister, from a 

VOL. VI. 17 


sovereign power. The Congress might be to him and to 
his country but a snare, unless the substance of this is bona 
fide intended, and if it is intended, there can be no suffi- 
cient reason for declining to express it in words. 

If there is a Power upon earth, that imagines that Ame- 
rica will ever appear at a Congress, before a Minister of 
Great Britain, or any otiier power in llie character of re- 
penting subjects, soliciting an atTinesty, or a warranty of an 
amnesty, that Power is infinitely deceived. There are few 
Americans who would hold their lives upon such terms. I 
know of none who would not rather choose to appear upon 
a scaffold in their own country, or in Great Britain. All 
such odious ideas ought to be laid aside by the British 
Ministry, before they propose mediations. The bare men- 
tion of such a thing to the United States by Great Britain 
would be considered only as another repetition of injury 
and insult. The proposal of a rupture of the treaty is little 
less to France. But it is possible, that in the future course 
of this negotiation, there may be a proposal of a Congress 
of Ministers of the several mediating and belligerent pow- 
ers, exclusive of the United States, to deliberate on the 
question, in what character the United States are to be 
considered, whether a Representative of the people of 
North America can be admitted, and what shall be his 
title and privileges. 

All that 1 can say to this case at present is this. The 
United Slates have assumed their equal station among the 
nations. They have assumed a sovereignty, which they 
acknowledge to hold only from God and their own swords. 
They can be represented only as a sovereign ; and, there- 
fore, although they might not be able to prevent it, they 
can never consent that any of these things shall be made 


questions. To give their consent, would be to aiake the 
surrender of their sovereignty their own act. 

France has acknowledged all these things, and bound 
her honor and faith to the support of them, and, therefore, 
although she might not be able to prevent it, she can never 
consent that they should be disputed. Her consent would 
make the surrender of the American sovereignty her act. 
And what end can it answer to dispute them, unless it be 
to extend the flames of war? If Great Britain had a 
color of reason for pretending, that France's acknowledg- 
ment of American independence was a hostility against 
her, the United States would have a stronger reason to 
say, thai a denial of their sovereignty was a declaration of 
war against them. And as France is bound to support 
their sovereignty, she would have reason to say, that a 
denial of it is a hostility against her. If any power of 
Europe has an inclination to join England, and declare 
war against France and the United States, there is no need 
of a previous Congress to enable her to do it with more 
solemnity, or to furnish her with plausible pretexts. But 
on the other hand, if the powers of Europe are persuaded 
of the justice of the American pretensions, and think it 
their duty to humanity to endeavor to bring about peace, 
they may easily propose, that the character of. the United 
States shall be acknowledged, und their Minister admitted. 

I cannot but persuade myself, that the two Imperial 
Courts are convinced o( the justice of the American cause, 
of the stability of the American sovereignty, and of the 
propriety and necessity of an acknowledgment of it by all 
the powers of Europe. This, I think, may be fairly and 
conclusively inferred from the propositions themselves. 
Was there ever an example of a Congress of the powers 


of Europe to exhort, to influence, to overawe the rebel- 
lious subjects of any one of them into obedience ? Is not 
every sovereign adequate to the government, punishment, 
or pardon of its own criminal subjects ? Would it not be 
a precedent mischievous to mankind, and tending to uni- 
versal despotism, if a sovereign, which has been proved to 
be unequal to the reformation or chastisement of the pre- 
tended crimes of its own subjects, should be countenanced 
in calling in the aid of all or any of the other powers of 
Europe to assist them ? It is quite sufficient, that England 
has already been permitted to hire twenty thousand Ger- 
man troops, and to have the number annually recruited for 
seven years, in addition to her own whole force j it is quite 
sufficient, that she has been permitted to seduce innumer- 
able tribes of savages, in addition to both, to assist her in 
propagating her system of tyranny, and commiliing her 
butcheries in America, without being able to succeed. 

After all this, which is notorious to all Europe, it is 
impossible to believe, that the Imperial Courts mean to 
give their influence in any degree towards bringing Amer- 
ica to submission to Great Britain. It seems to ine, there- 
fore, most certain, that the Imperial Courts perceive, that 
American independence must be acknowledged ; and if this 
is so, I think there can be no objection against ascertaining 
the character of the American Minister before any Con- 
gress meets, so that he may take his place in it as soon as 
it opens. 

But if any sentiments of delicacy should induce ti)ose 
Courts to think it necessary to wait for Great Britain to set 
the example of such acknowledgment, one would think it 
necessary to wait until that power shall discover some 
symptoms of an inclination that way. A Congress would 


have no tendency, that I know of. to give her such a dis- 
position ; on the contrary, a Congress in which Great 
Britain should be represented, and France and the United 
States not, would only give her an opportunity of forming 
parties, propagating prejudices and partial notions, and 
blowing up the coals of war. 
I have the honor to be, 8cc. 



Paris, July 21st, 1781. 


Since my letter of the 19th, another point has occuned 
to me, upon which it seems necessary, that I should say 
something to your Excellency, before my departure for 
Holland, which will be on Monday morning. 

An idea has, 1 perceive, been suggested of the several 
States of America choosing agents separately to attend the 
Congress at Vienna, in order to make peace with Great 
Britain ; so that there would be thirteen instead of one. 
The constitution of the United States, or their confedera- 
tion, which has been solemnly adopted and ratified by each 
of them, has been officially and authentically notified to 
their IMajesties, the Kings of France and Spain, and to their 
High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United 
Provinces of the Low Countries, and communicated to all 
the Courts and nations of the world, as far as all the gaz-. 
ettes of Europe are able to spread it ; so that it is now as 
well and universally known as any constitution of govern- 
ment in Europe. By this constitution, all power and 
authority of negotiating with foreign powers is expressly 

134 ■'OH^ ADAMS. 

delegated to the United States in Congress assembled. It 
would, therefore, be a public disrespect and contempt of- 
fered to the constitution of the nation, if any power should 
make any application whatever to the Governors, or Legis- 
lature of the separate States. In this respect, the Ameri- 
can Conslitution is very different from the Batavian. If 
the two Imperial Courts should address their articles to the 
States separately, no Governor or President of any one 
of those Commonv/eaUhs could even communicate it to 
the Legislature. No President of a Senate could lay it 
before the body over which he presides. No Speaker of 
a House of Representatives could read it to the House. 
It would be an error, and a misdemeanor in any one of 
these officers to receive and communicate any such letter. 
All that he could do would be, after breaking the seal and 
reading it, to send it back. He could not even legally 
transmit it to Congress. If such an application, therefore, 
should be made and sent back, it would consume much 
time to no purpose, and perhaps have other worse effects. 

There is no method for the Courts of Europe to convey 
anything to the people of America but through the Con- 
gress of the L^nited States, nor any way of negotiating with 
them but by means of that body. 1 must, therefore, en- 
treat your Excellency, that the idea of summoning Minis- 
ters from the thirteen States may not be countenanced 
at all. 

I know very well, that if each State had in the confedera- 
tion reserved to itself a right of negotiating with foreign pow- 
ers, and such an application should have been made to them 
separately upon this occasion, they would all of them sep- 
arately refer it to Congress, because the people universally 
know and are well agreed, that all connexions with foreign 


countries must, in their circumstances, be made under one 

But all these things were very minutely considered in 
framing the confederation, by which the people of each 
State have taken away from themselves even the right of 
deliberating and debating upon these affairs, unless they 
should be referred to them by Congress for their advice, 
or unless they should think proper to instruct their dele- 
gates in Congress of their own accord. 

This matter may not appear to your Excellency in so 
important a light as it does to me, and the thought of such 
an application to the United States may not have been 
seriously entertained ; but as it has been mentioned, al- 
though only in a way of transient speculation, I thought I 
could not excuse myself from saying something upon it, 
because I know it would be considered in so unfavorable a 
light in America, that I am persuaded Congress would 
think themselves bound to remonstrate against it in the 
most solemn manner. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 



Amsterdam, July 21st, 1781. 


From the Hague, there is an article of the following 

"As to the affair of the Field Marechal, the Duke of 
Brunswick, which makes an object of deliberation in the 
Assemblies of the Provinces, one sees in public a copy of 
the opinion of the Quarter of Westergo, (one of the four 
Chambers which form the States of Friesland,) in which 


it is joined by four Manors or Intendancies of the Quarter 
of Sevenwonde, wliich have protested against the opinion of 
the plurality of their Chamber; this opinion is of the fol- 
lowing tenor." 

'The Quarter having examined with all due attention the 
memorial, presented by the Duke to their High Mighti- 
nesses, is of opinion, that the paragraphs of the memorial, 
remitted to his Highness in the name of the Burgomasters 
of Amsterdam, of which the said Lord the Duke com- 
plains, contain not the least thing by which the Lord the 
Duke may be considered to have been any way hurt in his 
character ; but rather, that the paragraphs or complaints 
contained in the said Memorial, exhibit an accusation 
against the Duke in his quality of Counsellor of his High- 
ness, and that they express the sentiments of the people, 
which the gentlemen, the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, 
have infused into the breast of our well beloved hereditary 
Stadtholder ; by means of which, they have manifested an 
evident proof of their sincere attachment to his Highness 
and to his illustrious House. The Quarter is therefore of 
opinion, that in case the Lord Duke thinks himself ag- 
grieved by the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, he ought to 
address himself to their ordinary and competent jud^e, 
seeing that the Assembly of their High Mightinesses is not 
a competent judge in this matter ; and that, therefore, it is 
proper to charge the gentlemen, the Deputies in the As- 
sembly of the States-General, not to enter into any delib- 
erations upon this matter." 

I have the lionor to be, &ic. 




Amsterdam, August 3d, 1781. 


I have the honor to enclose copies of some papers, 
which passed between the Count de Vergennes and me, 
lately at Paris. The conjecture, that the British Court 
would insist upon their two preliminaries, is become more 
probable by the publication of the King's speech at the 
prorogation of Parliament. 

"The zeal and ardor, whicli you have shown for the 
honor of my Crown," says the King, "your firm and steady 
support of a just cause, and the great efforts you have 
made to enable me to surmount all the difficulties of this 
extensive and complicated war, must convince the world, 
that the ancient spirit of the British nation is not abated or 

"While I lament the continuance of the present troubles, 
and the extension of the war, I have the conscious satis- 
faction to reflect, that the constant aim of all my counsels 
has been to bring back my deluded subjects in America to 
the happiness and liberty they formerly enjoyed, and to 
see the tranquillity of Europe restored. 

"To defend the dominions, and to maintain the rights of 
this country, was on my part the sole cause, and is the 
object of the war. Peace is the earnest wish of my 
heart, but I have too firm a reliance on the spirit and re- 
sources of the nation, the powerful assistance of my Par- 
liament, and the protection of a just and all ruling Provi- 
dence^ to accept it upon any other terms or conditions than 
such as may consist with the honor and dignity of my 
voLi. VI. 18 


Crown, and the permanent interest and security of mv 

We all know very well what his meaning is when he 
mentions "the honor and dignity of his Crown, and the per- 
manent interest and security of his people." Could the 
Minister who composed this speech expect that anybody 
would believe him when he said, that the constant aim of 
all his counsels had been to bring back the Americans to 
the happiness and liberty they formerly enjoyed ? 

The whole of this speech is in a strain, which leaves no 
room to doubt that the cabinet of St James is yet resolved 
to persevere in the war to the last extremity, and to insist 
still upon the return of America to British obedience, and 
upon the rupture ol the treaty with France, as prelimina- 
ries to the Congress at Vienna. Thus the two Imperial 
Courts will find themselves trifled with by the British. It 
is not to be supposed that either will be the voluntary bub- 
ble of such irickish policy. The Empress of Russia is 
supposed to be as sagacious as she is spirited ; yet she 
seems to have given some attention to the pacific profes- 
sions of the English. If she could see herself intentionally 
deceived, she will not probably be very patient. 

The Emperor, in his late journey through Holland, made 
himself the object of the esteem and admiration of all; 
affable and familiar, as a great sovereign can ever allow 
himself to be with dignity, he gave to many persons une- 
quivocal intimations of his sentiments upon public affairs. 
Patriotism seemed to be the object which he wished to dis- 
tinguish. Whoever espoused with zeal the honor and 
interest of his own country, was sure of some mark of his 
approbation ; whoever appeared to countenance another 
country in preference to his own, found some symptom of 


his dislike ; even the ladies, French or Dutch, who had 
any of the English modes in their dress, received from his 
Majesty some intimation of his disapprobation of their 
taste. Everybody here, since his departure, is confident 
of his entire detestation of the principles on which the 
English have conducted this war, and of his determination 
to take no part in it, in their favor. His sentiments con- 
cerning America are inferred from a very singular anec- 
dote, which is so well attested, that it may not be improper 
to mention to Congress. 

His Majesty condescended, in a certain company, to 
inquire after the Minister of the United Stales of Americci 
to their High Mightinesses, said he was acquainted with 
his name and character, and should be glad to see him ; a 
lady in company, asked his Majesty if he would drink tea 
with him at het house ? He replied in the affirmative, in 
the character of the Count of Falkenstein. j^ lady in 
company undertook to form the party ; but upon inquiry, 
the American was at Paris. It is supposed with good rea- 
son, that there could be nothing personal in this curiosity, 
and therefore that it was intended as a political significa- 
tion of a certain degree of complaisance towards America. 

Thus it is, that the words, gestures, and countenances of 
sovereigns are watched, and political inferences drawn from 
them ; but there is too much uncertainty in this science, to 
depend much upon it. It seems, however, that the Em- 
peror made himself so popular here, as to excite some 
appearance of jealousy in Prussia. For my own part, I 
think that the greatest political stroke which the two Impe- 
rial Courts could make, would be upon receiving the an- 
swer from England adhering to her preliminaries, imme- 
diately to declare the United States independent. It would 


be to their immortal honor ; it would be in the character 
of each of these extraordinary geniuses ; it would be a 
blessing to mankind ; it would even be friendship to Eng- 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Passy, August 6th, 1781. 

1 sometime since gave orders, as you desired, to Mr 
Grand to furnish you with a credit in Holland for the re- 
mainder of your salary to November next. But I am now 
told that your account having been mixed with Mr Dana's 
he finds it difficult to know the sum due to you. Be 
pleased therefore to state your account for two years, giv- 
ing credit for the sums you have received, that an order 
may be made for the balance. Upon this occasion, it is 
right to acquaint you that I do not think we can depend on 
receiving any more money here, applicable to the support 
of tile Congress Ministers. 

What aids are hereafter granted, will probably be trans- 
mitted by the government directly to America. It will, 
therefore, be proper to inform Congress, that care may be 
taken to furnish their servants by remittances from thence. 
I have the honor to be. Sec. 




Amsterdam, August 6th, 1781. 


In the Utrecht Gazette of this morning is an article from 
Petersburg, of the 13th of July, in these words. 

"Saturday last, the government despatched a courier for 
London. He carries, it is assured, instructions to M. 
Simolin, our Minister to the King of England, to make to 
his Britannic ^fajesty, conjointly with the Ministers of 
Sweden and Denmark, certain representations concerning 
the war, which he has thought fit to declare against the 
Republic of the United Provjpces. 

"The Minister of England, at our Court, received a 
courier from London, the day before yesterday, with the 
answer of the British Ministry to the preliminary articles 
of a Treaty of Peace to be concluded between the bel- 
ligerent powers of Europe under the high mediation of her 
Majesty, the Empress, our Sovereign, and of his Majesty, 
the Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia ; but noth- 
ing has transpired of the contents of this answer." 

"It is said, that the Grand Duke and the Grand 
Dutchess of Russia, will set off from hence for the Courts 
of Europe, which their Imperial Highnesses propose to 
visit, about the end of August or the beginning of Sep- 

A man, who is master of the history of England for the 
last twenty years, would be at no loss to conjecture the an- 
swer to the preliminary articles of the two Imperial Courts. 
Indeed the King's speech has already answered them be- 
fore all the world. The King has not probably given one 
answer to Parliament, and his Ministers another to the 
mediating Courts. 


Thus all Europe is to be bubbled by a species of chica- 
nery, that has been the derision of America for a number 
of years. In time, the Courts of Europe will learn the 
nature of these British tricks by experience, and receive 
them with the contempt or the indignation they deserve. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amsterdam, August 6th, 1781. 


In several of the London newspapers of July the 26tb, 
appeared the following paragraph. 

"Au order has been sent from Lord Hillsborough's of- 
fice for bringing Curson and Gouverneur, (whom we some- 
time ago mentioned to have been confined by command of 
Sir George Rodney, and General Vaughan, for having car- 
ried on a traitorous correspondence with the enemy at St 
Eustatia,) to town, to be confined in Newgate, (o take their 
trial for the crime of high treason. The whole circumstances 
of their case, and all their correspondence has been submit- 
ted to the inspection of the Attorney and Solicitor-General, 
and they consi(!er the offence in so serious a light, that a 
direct refusal has been given to a petition from Mr Curson 
to be indulged with the privilege of giving bail for appear- 
ance, on account of the ill-health, which he has expe- 
rienced on board the Vengeance, where he and his col- 
league have been for some months confined, and which is 
now lying at Spithead. It has been discovered, from an 
inspection of their papers, that Mr Adams, the celebrated 
negbtiator to Holland, was the man, with whom they held 
their illicit correspondence, and it is said, that the appear- 


ance of proof against them, has turned out much stronger 
than was originally supposed." 

Last fall Mr Searle informed me, that Messrs Curson 
and Gouverneur were Continental Agents at Eustatia, and 
advised me to send my despatches to their care, as worthy 
men, a part of whose duty it was to forward such things to 
Congress. I accordingly sent several packets of letters, 
newspapers, and pamphlets to their address, accompanied 
only with a line, simply requesting their attention to for- 
ward them by the first safe opportunity. I never saw 
those gentlemen, or received a line from either. It must 
have been imprudence, or negligence, to suffer my letters 
to fall into the hands of the enemy. I have looked over all 
the letters, which I wrote about that time, and I find no 
expression in any, that could do harm to the public, if 
printed in the gazettes, yet there are some things, which 
the English would not choose to publish, I fancy. What 
other correspondences of Messrs Curson and Gouverneur 
might have been discovered, I know not. 

The British Ministry seem to be growing outrageous. 
The more they despair, the more angry they are. They 
think not at all of peace. America should think of it as 
little ; sighing, and longing for peace, will not obtain it. No 
terras short of eternal disgrace and irrecoverable ruin 
would be accepted. We must brace up our laws and our 
military discipline, and renounce that devoted and aban- 
doned nation for ever. America must put an end to a 
foolish and disgraceful correspondence and intercourse, 
which some have indulged, but at which all ought to blush, 
as inconsistent with the character of man. 

I have the honor to be. &ic. 




Amsterdam, August 8lh, 1781. 

This people inust have their own way. They proceed 
like no other. There cannot be a more striking example 
of this, than the instructions given to privateers and letters 
of marque. 

The commander is ordered to bring his prizes into some 
port of the United Provinces, or into the ports or roads 
of the allies and friends of this Republic, especially France, 
Sweden, North America, or Spain ; and the ship shall be 
at liberty to join, under a written convention, with one or 
more privateers or other similar ships of war, belonging to 
Hollanders, Zealanders, French, Americans, or Spanish, 
to undertake jointly anything advantageous, &c. This is 
not only an acknowledgment of the independence of North 
America, but it is avowing it to be an ally and friend. 
But I suppose, in order to elude and evade, it would be 
said, that these are only the instructions given by owners 
to their commanders ; yet these instructions are required 
to be sworn to, and produced to the Admiralty for their 

It is certain, that the King of Spain, when he declared 
war against Great Britain, sent orders to all his officers to 
treat the Americans, as the best friends of Spain, and 
the King's pleasure, being a law to his subjects, they are 
bound by it. But what is there to oblige a citizen of the 
United Provinces to consider the Americans as the friends 
of the Republic? There is no such law, and these in- 
structions cannot bind. Yet it is very certain, that no 
Dutchman will venture lo take an American. 
1 have the honor to be, &,c. 




I |V Amsterdam, August 16th, 1781. 

Sir, ^.i> 
Mr Temple lias held offices of such iir.portance, and a 
rank so considerable in America, before the revolution, 
that his return to his native country at this time, cannot fail 
to cause much speculation, and it is to be feared some di- 
versity of sentiments concerning him. As he came from 
London to Amsterdam, and did me the honor of a visit, in 
which he opened to me his design of returning, and his 
sentiments upon many public affairs, it will be expected in 
America by many, although it has not been requested by 
Mr Temple, that I should say something concerning him. 

I was never before personally acquainted with this gen- 
tleman, but I have long known his public character and 
private reputation. He was ever reputed a man of very 
delicate sentiments of honor, of integrity, and of attachment' 
to his native country, although his education, his long resi- 
dences in England, his numerous connexions tliere, and 
the high offices he held under the British government, did 
not even admit of a general opinion, that his sentiments 
were in all respects perfectly conformable to those of the 
most popular party in the Colonies. Nevertheless, he was 
never suspected, to my knowledge, of concurring in, or 
countenancing any of those many plots which were laid by 
other officers of the Crown, against our liberties, but on the 
contrary, was known to be the object of their jealousy, re- 
venge, and malice, because he would not. He was, how- 
ever, intimate with several gentlemen, who stood foremost 
in opposition, particularly Mr 0(is, who has often cc>mmu- 
nicated to me intelligence of very great in)portance, which 
VOL. VI, 19 


he had from Mr Temple, and which he certainly could 
have got no other way, as early I believe as 17G3 and 
1764, and onwards. 

I cannot undertake to vindicate Mr Temple's policy in 
remaining so long in England ; but it will l)e easily in his 
power to show what kind of company he has kept there ; 
what kind of sentiments and conversation he has main- 
tained, and in what occupations he has employed his time. 
It is not with a view to recommend Mr Temple to honors 
or emoluments, that I write this. It would not be proper 
for me, and Congress know very well, that I have not ven- 
tured upon this practice, even in cases where I have much 
more personal knowledge than in this. But it is barely to 
prevent, as far as my poor opinion may go, jealousies and 
alarms upon Mr Temple's arrival. Many may suspect 
that he comes with secret and bad designs, in the confi- 
dence of the British Ministry, of which I do not believe 
liim capable. 

Mr Temple it is most certain, has fallen from high rank 
and ample emoluments, merely because he would not join 
in hostile designs against his country. This I think should 
at least entitle hitn to the quiet enjoyment of the liberties of 
his country, and to ihe esteem of his fellow-citizens, pro- 
vided there are no just grounds of suspicion of him. And 
1 really think it a testimony due to truth, to say, that after 
a great deal of the very freest conversation with him, I see 
no reason to suspect his intentions. 

I have taken the liberty to give Mr Temple my own sen- 
timents concerning the suspicions which have been, and 
are entertained concerning him, and the causes of them, 
and of all parts of his conduct, which have come to my 
knowledge, with so little disguise, that he will be well ap- 


prised of the disappointments he may meet with, if any. 
1 hope, however, that lie will meet a more friendly recep- 
tion in America, and better prospects of a happy life there, 
than I have been able to assure him. Whether any ser- 
vices or sufferings of Mr Temple could support any claim 
upon the justice, gratitude, or generosity of the United 
States, or of that of Massachusetts in particular, is a ques- 
tion upon which it would be altogether improper for me to 
give my opinion, as I know not the facts so well as they 
may be made known, and as I am no judge, if I knew the 
facts. But this I know, that whenever the facts shall be 
laid before either the great Council of the United States, 
or that of Massachusetts, they will be judged of by the 
worthy Representatives of a just, grateful, and generous 
people, and therefore Mr Temple will have no reason to 
complain if the decision should be against him. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, August 16th, 1781. 


The following verbal insinuation, made to the Ambas- 
sador of Holland at the Court of Russia, was transmitted to 
Congress in my absence, and is now repeated by me, in 
order to complete the setts already forwarded. 

"Tiie affection of the Empress to the interests of the 
Republic of the United Provinces, and her desire to see 
re-established, by a prompt reconciliation, a peace and 
good harmony between the two maritime powers, have 
been sufficiently manifested by the step, which she has 
taken, in offering them her separate mediation. 


"If she has not had ihe desired success, her Imperial 
Majesty has only been for that reason the more attentive to 
search out the means capable of conducting her to it. 
One such means offers itself in the combined mediation of 
the two Imperial Courts, under the auspices of which it is 
to be treated at Vienna of a general pacification of the 
Courts actually at war. 

"It belongs only to the Republic to regulate itself in the 
same manner. Her Imperial Majesty by an effect of her 
friendship for it, imposing upon herself the task to bring 
her co-mediator into an agreement to share with her the 
cares and the good offices, which she has displayed in its 
favor. As soon as it shall please their High Mightinesses 
to make known their intentions in this regard to the Prince 
de Gallitzin, the Envoy of the Empress at the Hague, 
charged to make to them the same insinuation, this last will 
write of it immediately to the Minister of her Imperial 
Majesty at Vienna, who will not fail to take with that 
Court the arrangements, which aire prescribed to him, to the 
end to proceed in this affair by the same forjnalities, which 
we have made use of with the other powers. 

"Her Imperial Majesty flatters herself, that the Repub- 
lic will receive this overture, as a fresh proof of her benev- 
olence, and of the attention, which she preserves, to culti- 
vate the ties of that friendship, and of that alliance, which 
subsists between them." 

It does not appear by this insinuation, that the articles 
proposed b)' the two Imperial Courts, to serve as a basis 
for the negotiations of peace at Vienna, were communica- 
ted to the Dutch Minister at Petersburg, or the Russian 
Minister at the Hague, or by either to their High Might- 
inesses ; as the word, Courts at war, is used, and no hint 


about the United States in it, the probability is that the 
articles are not conimunicated. 

I must confess, I like the insinuation very much, because 
it may be in time an excellent precedent for making such 
an insinuation to the Minister of the United States of Amer- 

I have the honor to be, &c. 



Amsterdam, August 18th, 1781. 


We have received at last, Parker's account of the action 
with Admiral Zoutman ; according to which, the battle 
was maintained with a continual fire for three hours and 
forty minutes, when it became impossible to work his ships. 
He made an attempt to recommence the action, but found 
it impracticable. The Bienfaisant had lost her maintop- 
mast, and the Buffalo her mizzen-yard, and the other ves- 
sels were not less damaged in their masts, rigging, and 
sails. The enemy did not appear in a better condition. 
The two squadrons remained some time over against each 
other ; at length the Dutch retired, taking with their con- 
voy the course to the Texel. He was not in a condition 
to follow them. The oiiicers and all on board behavejd 
with great bravery, and the enemy did not discover less 
courage. He encloses the particulars of the number 
killed and wounded, and of the damages which the vessels 
have sustained. The last is prudently suppressed by the 

The following is a list of the killed and wounded in the 
action of the 5th of August. 



















Princess Amelia, 























Admiral de 

Ruyter, 43 


















Admiral Ret Hein 




I liave the honor to be, &;:c. 





Amsterdam, August 22d, 1781. 

The late glorious victory, obtained by Admiral Zout- 
man over Admiral Parker, is wholly to be ascribed to the 
exertions of Amsterdam. Pretences and excuses would 
have been devised for avoiding to send out the fleet, and 
indeed for avoiding an action when at sea, if it had not 
been for the measures which have been taken to arouse the 


attention and aninoate the zeal of the nation. The officers 
and men of the army, and especially of the navy, appear to 
have been as much affected and influenced by tlie procepd- 
jngs of the Reg.ency of Amsterdam, as any other parts of 
the community. Notwithstanding the apparent ill success 
of the enterprises of the great city, it is certain that a flame 
of patriotism and of valor has been kindled by them, which 
has already produced great effects, and will probably much 

It is higlily probable, however, that if the Regency of 
Amsterdam had taken another course, they would have 
succeeded better. If instead of a complaint of sloth in the 
Executive department, and a personal attack upon the 
Duke, they had taken the lead in a system of public mea- 
sures, they would have found more zealous supporters, 
fewer powerful opposers, and perhaps would have seen the 
ardor of the nation increase with equal rapidity. For ex- 
ample, as the sovereignty of the United States was a ques- 
tion legally before them, they migiit have made a proposi- 
tion in the States of Holland to acknowledge it, and make 
a treaty with them. This measure would have met with 
general applause among the people, throughout the Seven 
Provinces, and their example would have been followed by 
the Regencies of other cities, or they might have proposed 
in the States to accede to the treaty of alliance between 
France and America. However, we ought to presume, 
that these gentlemen know their own countrymen, and their 
true policy, belter than strangers, a.^d it may be their in- 
tention to propose other things in course. It is certain, 
that they have animated the nation to a high degree, so 
that a separate peace, or any mean concessior.s to Great 
Britain, cannot now be made. 


The good party have the upperhand, and patriotic coun- 
sels begin to prevail. 

I have the l)onor to be, &c. 



Amsterdam, August 22d, 1781, 

The constitution of this country is such, that it is diffi- 
cult to discover the general sense. There have been all 
along circumstances in which it might be discerned, but 
these were so feeble, and so susceptible of contradiction 
and disguise, that some extraordinary exertions were ne- 
cessary to strike out unquestionable proofs of the temper 
and opinion of the nation. 

Last spring, the part of this people, which was most 
averse to war, was for making propositions and conces- 
sions to England, in order to obtain peace. This policy 
was not only injudicious, but would have been fruidess, 
because the English would have made peace upon no 
other terms, than this nation's joining them against France, 
Spain, and America, which would have been its ruin. 
Nevertheless, if the party bad prevailed, and sent Ambas- 
sadors to London to solicit peace, the Court of London 
would have found so many arts and pretences for spinning 
out the negotiation, and would have obstructed the com- 
merce of Holland so much, as to bring on a discourage- 
ment and despair among the people. 

Tn these critical circumstances, something uncommon 
was necessary to arouse the nation, and bring forth the 
public voice. The first step of this kind, was the propo- 
siiion of the United States of America lo their Hish 


Mightinesses, which being taken ad referendum, became a 
subject of deliberation in every city of the Republic, and 
the publication of the memorial of the 19th of April, 1781, 
which made the American cause, the primary object and 
main spring of the war, the topic of conversation in every 
private circle, as well as in every public assembly. 

This memorial gave all parties an opportunity to know 
with certainty the public opinion ; and accordingly, such a 
general and decided approbation was discovered every- 
where, that the few who detested it in their hearts, never 
dared to open their mouths. Emboldened by this, M. 
Van Berckel came forward with his application to 4he» 
States for a vindication of his character, and ahhough he 
has not obtained an answer, yet it has been discovered 
that his enemies have not been powerful enough either to 
condemn or to censure him. Not long after, followed 
the manly proposition of the Regency of Amsterdam for 
an inquiry into the causes of the inactivity of the State, 
and, in course, their direct attack upon the Duke of Bruns- 

The American memorial has not obtained, and probably 
will n6t obtain for a long time, an acknowledgment of 
American independence, but it discovered with absolute 
certainty the sentiments of the nation. M. Van Berckel's 
petition has not procured him a formal justification, but it 
has proved that his enemies are too weak to punish or 
to censure him. The proposition of Amsterdam has not 
obtained an inquiry into the causes of the sloth of the 
State, nor the appointment of a committee to assist tho 
Prince ; but it has occasioned a universal declaration of 
the people's sentiments, that the State has been too in- 
active, and llie ooimsels of lh" C' urt ion slow, l^'.'r ;■•«,- 
vol,. VI. 20 


plication of Amsterdam against the Duke has not procured 
his removal, but it has procured a universal avowal, that 
the public counsels have been defective, and a universal 
cry for an alteration, and has obliged the Court to adopt a 
different system. When the public counsels of a country 
have taken a wrong bias, the public voice, pronounced 
with energy, will sometimes correct the error, without any 
violent remedies. The voice of the people, which had 
been so often declared, by the late sea action was found to 
be so clear, that it has produced many remarkable effects. 
Among which, none deserve more attention than the fol- 
loviing declarations of the Prince. The first was inserted 
by order in the newspapers in these words. 

"As pains are taken to draw the public into an opin- 
ion, that the vessels of the Meuse, (Rotterdam) and oi 
Middleburg, (Zealand) which at first had orders to join the 
squadron of the Texel, (only those of Amsterdam) had 
afterwards received counter orders, as it is given out in 
some cities almost in so many words, and which is propa- 
gated, (God knows with what design) it is to us a particu- 
lar satisfaction to be able to assure the public, after authen- 
tic information, and even from the supreme authority, that 
such assertions are destitute of all foundation, and abso- 
lutely contrary to the truth ; that the orders, given and 
never revoked, but, on the contrary, repeated more than 
once to the vessels of the Meuse, to join the convoy of the 
Texel, could not be executed, because it did not please 
Providence to grant a wind and the other favorable cir- 
cumstances necessary to this jsffect, while the Province of 
Zealand, threatened at the same time with an attack from 
an English squadron, would not willingly have seen dimin- 
ished the number of vessels, which lay at that time in iheir 


Road. It is, nevertheless, much to be regretted, that cir- 
cumstances have not permitted us to render the Dutch 
squadron sufficiently strong, to have obtained over the 
enemy a victory as useful as it was glorious." 

On the 14th of August, the Prince wrote the following 
letter to the crews of the vessels of the State. 

"Noble, respectable, and virtuous, our faithful and well 
beloved ; We have learned with the greatest satisfaction, 
that the squadron of the State, under the command of 
Rear Admiral Zoutman, although weaker by a great deal 
in ships, guns, and men, than the English squadron of Vice 
Admiral Parker, has resisted so courageously on the 5th 
of this month his attack, that the English squadron, after 
a most obstinate combat, which lasted from eight o'clock 
in the morning to half past eleven, has been obliged to desist 
and to retire. The heroic courage, with which Vice Admiral 
Zoutman, the captains, officers, petty officers, and common 
sailors and soldiers, who have had a part in the action, and 
who, under the blessing of God Almighty, have so well 
discharged their duty in this naval combat, merits the 
praises of all, and our particular approbfition ; it is for this 
cause, we have thought fit by the present, to write to you, 
to thank publicly in our name, the said Vice Admiral, 
captains, officers, petty officers, and common sailors and 
soldiers, by reading this letter on board of each ship, which 
took part in the action, and whose captains and crews have 
fought with so much courage and valor, and to ti'ansmit by 
the Secretary of the fleet of the State an authentic copy, 
as well to the said Rear Admiral Zoutman, as to the com- 
manders of the ships under his orders, of the conduct of 
whom the said Rear Admiral had reason to be satisfied ; 
testifying, moreover, that we doubt not, that ihcy and all 


the other officers ol' the State, and soldiers, in those occa- 
sions, which may present, will give proofs that the State is 
not destitute of defenders of our dear country and of her 
liberty, and that die ancient heroic valor of the Batavians 
still exists, and will not be extinguished. Whereupon, 
noble, respectable, virtuous, our faithful and well beloved, 
we recommend you to the divine protection." 

"Your affectionate friend, 

WILLIAM, Prince of Orange:' 
Thus, although the enemies of England in this Republic 
do not appear to have carried any particular point against 
the opposite party, yet it appears that they have forced into 
execution their system by means of the national voice, and 
against all the measures of the Anglomanes. The national 
spirit is now very high ; so high that it will be dangerous to 
resist it. In time, all things must give way to it. This 
will make a fine diversion, at least for America and her 
allies. I hope in time we may derive other advantages 
from it. But we must wait with patience here, as we are 
still obliged to do in Spain, and as we were obliged to do 
in France, where we waited years before we succeeded. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amsterdam, August 25th, 1781. 

Last evening I received your Excellency's letter of the 
16th of this month, accompanied with a letter from the 
President of Congress, containhig the commissions you 



You desire to know what steps have already been taken 
in this business. There has been no step taken by me in 
pursuance of my former commission, until my late journey 
to Paris, at the invitation of the Count de Vergennes, who 
communicated to me certain articles proposed by the me- 
diating Courts, and desired me to make such observations 
upon them as should occur to me. Accordingly, I wrote a 
number of letters to his Excellency of the following dates ; 
July 13th, enclosing an answer to the articles sixteen, eigh- 
teen, nineteen, twentyone. I would readily send you 
copies of the articles, and of those letters, but there are 
matters in them, which had better not be trusted to go so 
long a journey, especially as there is no necessity for it. 
The Count de Vergennes will readily give you copies of 
the articles and of my letters, which will prevent all risk. 

I am very apprehensive that our new commission will 
be as useless as my old one. Congress might very safely, 
I believe, permit us all to go home, if we had no other 
business, and stay there some years ; at least, until every 
British soldier in the United States is killed or captivated. 
Till then, Britain will never think of peace, but for the pur- 
poses of chicanery. 

I see in the papers, that the British Ambassador at Pe- 
tersburg has received an answer from his Court to the arti- 
cles. What this answer is, we may conjecture from the 
King's speech. Yet the Empress of Russia has made an 
insinuation to their High Mightinesses, which deserves 
attention. Perhaps you may have seen it ; but, lest you 
should not, I will add a translation of it, which I sent to 
Congress in the time of it, not having the original at hand.* 

* See pp. 147 and 148. 


I nuist beg the favor of your Excellency to communicate 
to me whatever you may learn, which has any connexion 
with this negotiation ; particularly the French, Spanish, 
and British answers to the articles, as soon as you can ob- 
tain them. In my situation, it is not likely that 1 shall ob- 
tain any information of consequence, but from the French 
Court. Whatever may come to my knowledge, 1 will 
communicate to you without delay. 

If Britain persists in her two preliminaries, as I presume 
she does, what will be the consequence ? Will the two 
Imperial Courts permit this great plan of a Congress at 
Vienna, which is public and made the common talk of Eu- 
rope, to become another sublime bubble, like the armed 
neutrality ? In what a light will these mediating Courts 
appear, after having listened to a proposition of England, 
so far as to make propositions themselves, and to refer to 
them in many public acts, if Britain refuses to agree to 
them ? and insists upon such j)reliminaries as are at least 
an insult to France and America, and a kind of contempt 
to the common sense of all Europe ? I am weary of 
such round-about and needless negotiations, as that of the 
armed neulraliiv, and this of the Congress at Vienna. I 
think the Dutih have at last discovered the only effectual 
method of negotiation, that is, by fighting the British fleets 
until every ship is obliged to answer the signal for renewing 
the battle by the signal of distress. There is no room for 
British chicanery in this. If I ever did any good, it was 
in stirring up the pure minds of the Dutchmen, and setting 
the old Batavian spirit in motion, after having slept so long. 

Our dear country will go fast asleep, in full assurance 
of having news of peace by winter, if not by the first ves- 
sel. Alas ! what a disa{)pointmcnt they will meet. I be- 


lieve I had better go home, and wake up our countrymen 
out of their reveries about peace. Congress have done 
very well to join others in the commission for peace, who 
have some faculties for it. My talent, if I have one, lies 
in making war. The Grand Seignior will finish the proces 
des trois rois, sooner than the Congress of Vienna will 
make peace, unless the two Imperial Courts act with dig- 
nity and consistency upon the occasion, and acknowledge 
American independency at once, upon Britain's insisting 
on her two insolent preliminaries. 

1 have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, September 1st, 1781. 


Enclosed you have some important instructions, passed 

in Congress upon the 16th of last month.* They will 

probably reach you first through our Minister at Versailles, 

an opporttuiity to France having earliest presented itself. 

Should that not be the case, you will be careful to furnish 

copies to Dr Franklin and Mr Jay. 

I remain, he. 


For the Covimittee of Foreign Affairs. 

* See the Stcrel .Tournals of Congress, Vol. II. p. 470, 47'2. 



Amsterdam, October 4th, 1781. 


Since the 25th of August, when I had the honor to 
write to you, this is the first time I have taken a pen in 
hand to write to anybody, having been confined and re- 
duced too low, to do any kind of business, by a nervous 

The new commission for peace has been a great conso- 
lation to me, because it removed from the public all danger 
of suffering any inconvenience, at a time, when, for many 
days together, there were many chances to one, that I 
should have nothing more to do with commissions of any 
sort. It is still a great satisfaction, because I think it a 
measure essentially right, both as it is a greater demonstra- 
tion of respect to the powers, whose Ministers may assem- 
ble to make peace, and as it is better calculated to give 
satisfaction to the people of America in all parts, as the 
Commissioners are chosen from the most considerable 
places in that country. 

It is probable, that the French Court is already informed 
of the alteration. Nevertheless, I should think it proper, 
that it should be officially notified to the Count de Ver- 
gennes, and, if you are of the same opinion, as you are 
near, I should be obliged to you if you would communi- 
cate to his Excellency an authentic copy of the new com- 

I should think, too, ihat it would be proper to give some 
intimation of it to the public, in the Gazette, or Mercure 
de France, the two papers, which are published with the 
consent of the Court, and, if you are of the same opinion, 


upon consulting the Count de Vergennes, I should be glad 
to see it done. 

Have you any information concerning Mr Jefferson, 
whether he has accepted the trust ? Whether he has em- 
barked ? Or proposes soon to embark ? I saw a para- 
graph in a Maryland paper, which expressed an apprehen- 
sion, that he was taken prisoner, by a party of horse, in 

I feel a strong curiosity to know the answer of the 
British Court, to the articles to serve as a basis, he. and 
should be much obliged to your Excellency for a copy of 
it, if to be procured, and for your opinion, whether there 
will be a Congress or not. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Amsterdam, October 15tl), 1781. 


I am very sorry to learn, that Congress have received 
no letters from me from October to June. It is not that 
I wrote less than usual in that period, but that I was more 
unfortunate. Two vessels, which sailed from hence for 
Boston, each of which had despatches from me for Con- 
gress, destroyed them, one upon being taken, and the other 
upon being chased. But the most of my despatches were 
lost at St Eustatia, I fear. 

While that island was in the possession of the Dutch, I 
sent a great number of letters, packets of papers, &c. by 
several vessels, to the care of Curson and Gouveineur, to 
be forwarded to Congress. It is very certain, the enemy 

VOL. VI. 21 

162 iOHN ADAMS. 

have got possession of some, one very short and insif^nifi- 
cant one they have published, and the London papers "-ive 
intimations of more; but 1 fancy they will not choose to 
publish them. 

I liope Commodore Gillon has arrived before tliis day, 
who had letters from me, and all the public papers for 
some time. I sent despatches also by several other ves- 
sels, which have sailed from hence. It is extremely diffi- 
cult for me to send letters by the way of Nantes, L'Orient, 
he. or by the way of Spain. There is so much bad faith 
in the public posts, that it would not be possible for me to 
write vvithout having my letters opened, perhaps copied, 
and there is scarcely ever an opportunity by a private hand 
to any sea-port in France. 

But I have a further apology to make to Congress for 
the kw letters 1 have lately written. On the 2d of July 
I left Amsterdam at the invitation of the Count de Ver- 
gennes for Paris, for a conference upon the subject of 
peace, at the mediation of the two Imperial Courts, and 
the Congress at Vienna. After despatching all that was 
necessary relative to these sublime bubbles, I returned to 
Amsterdam. Not long after I got home, I found myself 
attacked by a fever, of which at first I made light, but 
which increased very gradually and slowly, until it was 
found to be a nervous fever of a very malignant kind, and 
so violent as to deprive me of almost all sensibility for four 
or five days, and all those who cared anything about me, 
of the hopes of my life. 

By the help, however, of great skill, and all powerful 
bark, I am still alive ; but this the first time I have felt the 
courage to attempt to write to Congress. Absence and 
sickness are my apologies to Congress for the (ew letters 


they will receive from me since June. Whether it was 
the uncommon heat of the summer, or whether it was the 
mass of pestilential exhalations from the stagnant waters of 
this country, that brought this disorder upon me, I know 
not ; but I have every reason to apprehend, that 1 shall 
not be able to re-establish my health in this country. A 
constitution ever infirm, and almost half a hundred years 
old, cannot expect to fare very well amidst such cold 
damps and putrid steams as arise from the immense quan- 
tities of dead water, that surround it. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amsterdam, October 15th, 1781. 

I wish it were possible to communicate to Congress the 
present state of every aftair, which they have been pleased 
to confide in any measure to me. I have received the 
new commission for peace, and the revocation of my com- 
mission and instructions of the 29th of September, 1779.* 
To both of these measures of Congress, as to the com- 
mands of my sovfereign,,! shall pay the most exact atten- 
tion. The present commission for peace, is a demonstra- 
tion of greater respect to the powers of Europe, and must 
be more satisfactory to the people of America, than any 
former one ; besides that it guards against accidents, which 

" The new commission fo.- negotiating peace was given to Joiin Ad- 
ams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jef- 
ferson. See the Commission and Instructions in the Secret Journals of 
Covgreu. Vol. IL pp. 443, 447. 

154 '^i^ ADAMS. 

in my late sickness 1 had reason to think may well happen. 
I am, however, apprehensive that this commission will lie 
a long time neglected, and as useless as the former one. 

I am myself seriously of opinion, that the English will 
not treat with the United States for many years. They 
will see all their dominions in the East and West Indies 
conquered by the French and Spaniards j they will see 
their government reduced to the limits of their own island 
before they will do it. The present Ministers must die 
off, and the King too, before there will be any treaty be- 
tween Britain and America. The nation will stand by the 
King and Ministry through every loss, while they perse- 
vere ; whereas both would sink into total contempt and 
ridicule, if they were to make peace. While they perse- 
vere, they are masters of the purses and commerce too of 
the whole nation. Make peace and they lose a great part 
of this influence. National pride, when it lias become a 
habitual passion by long indulgence, is the most obstinate 
thing in the world ; and this war has been made so com- 
pletely, though so artfully the national act, as well as that of 
King and Ministers, that the pride of the nation was never 
committed more entirely to the support of anything. It is 
not to be supposed that the present Ministry v^ill treat with 
America, and if there should be a change, and the leaders 
of opposition should come in, they will not treat with Ame- 
rica in any character, that she can with honor or safety 
assume. They might propose a peace separate from 
France, or they might withdraw their troops from the 
United States, but they would not make a general peace. 
The Congress at Vienna will prove but a magnificent 
chimera, as the British Ministry ever intended it should 


It has already answered iheir insidious ends, and now 
they are giving it a dismission, by insisting upon their two 
preliminaries ; so that upon the whole, according to the 
best judgment 1 can form, it will not be worth while Tor 
Congress to be at the expense of continuing me in Europe, 
with a view to my assisting at any conferences for peace, 
especially as Dr Franklin has given me intimations, that I 
cannot depend upon him for my subsistence in future. 

My commission for borrowing money has hitherto been 
equally useless. It would fill a small volume to give a 
history of my negotiations with people of various stations 
and characters, in order to obtain a loan, and it would 
astonish Congre£s to see the imanimity with which all have 
refused to engage in the business, most of them declaring 
ihey were afraid to undertake it. I am told that no new 
loan was ever undertaken here, without meeting at first 
with all sorts of contradiction and opposition for a long 
time ; but my loan is considered not only as a new one, 
but as entering deep into the essence of all the present j)o- 
litical systems of the world, and no man dares engage in it, 
until it is clearly determined what characters are to bear 
rule, and what system is to prevail in this country. 

There is no authority in Europe more absolute, not even 
that of the two empires, not that of the simple monarchies, 
than that of the States-General is in their dominions, and 
nobody but M. de Neufville dares advance faster in a po- 
litical manoeuvre than the States. M. de Neufville has 
done his utmost, and has been able to do nothing ; three 
thousand guilders, less than three hundred pounds, is all 
that he has obtained. Notwithstanding this, there is a 
universal wish that the world may be made to believe that 
my loan is full. It is upon 'Change, by a unanimous dis- 

166 -fOHN ADAMS. 

simulation, pretended to be full, and there are persons, 
(who tliey are I know not,) who write to London, and fill 
the English papers with paragraphs that my loan is full. 
M. de Neufville has advertised in the customary form, for 
all persons possessed of American coupons, to come and 
receive the money at the end of the first six months. 
These persons cannot be more than three in number. 

My letters of credence to their High Mightinesses have 
been taken ad referendum by the several Provinces, and 
are now under consideration of the several branches of the 
sovereignty of this country ; but no one city or body of 
nobles has as yet determined upon them. None have 
declared themselves in favor of my admission to an au- 
dience, and none have decided against it; and it is much 
to be questioned whether any one will determine soon. 

I have often written to Congress, that I never could pre- 
tend to foretell what the States-General would do. I never 
found anybody here who guessed right; and upon reading 
over all the negotiations of Jeannin, Torcy, d'Avaux, and 
d'Estrades, in this country, I found every one of those 
Ministers were, at the several periods of their residence 
here, in the same uncertainty. It appears to have been 
for this century and a half, at least, the national character, 
to manage all the world as long as they could, to keep 
things undetermined as long as they could, and finally to 
decide suddenly upon some fresh motive of fear. It is 
very clear to me, that I shall never borrow money until I 
have had an audience ; and if the Stales pursue their old 
maxims of policy, it may be many years before this is 
agreed to. I am much inclined to believe that nothing de- 
cisive will be done for two or three years, perhaps longer ; 
yet it may be in a month. Parties are now very high, 


and their passions against each other warm ; and to all ap- 
pearance, the good party is vastly the most numerous ; but 
we must remember, that the supreme Executive is sup- 
posed to be determined on the other side, so that there is 
real danger of popular commotions and tragical scenes. 

The question really is, whether the Republic fhall make 
peace with England, by furnishing her ships and troops 
according to old treaties, and joining her against all her 
enemies, France, Spain, America, and as many more as 
may become enemies in the course of the war ? The Eng- 
lish party dare not speak out and say this openly ; but if 
they have common sense they must know that England 
will make peace with them upon no other terms. They 
pretend that upon some little concessions, some trifling con- 
descendencies, England would make peace with Holland 
separately. Some pretend that a separate peace might be 
had upon the single condition of agreeing not to trade with 
America ; others upon the condition of considering naval 
stores as contraband goods ; but the commercial cities are 
almost unanimously against both of these articles. The 
English party are sensible of this, yet they entertain hopes 
by keeping the Republic in a defenceless state, that com- 
merce will be so far ruined, and the common people in 
the great trading cities reduced to such want and misery, 
as to become furious, demand peace at any rate, and fall 
upon the houses and persons of those who will not pro- 
mote it. 

The English party, I think, will never carry their point 
so far as to induce the nation to join the English. There 
are three considerations, which convince me of this beyond 
a doubt. First, corrupted and abandoned as a great part 
of this nation, as well as every other in Europe is, there is 


Still a public national sense and conscience, and the general, 
die almost universal sense of this nation is, that the English 
are wrong and the Americans right in this war. The con- 
duct of the Americans is so like that of their venerable and 
heroic ancestors, it is evidently founded in such principles 
as are uniformly applauded in their history, and as every 
man has been educated in a habitual veneration for, that 
it is impossible for them to take a part in the war against 
America, This was universally conspicuous upon the 
publication of my memorial to the States. Secondly ; the 
commercial part of these Provinces, 1 think, will never 
give up the American trade. Thirdly ; England is so ex- 
hausted and so weak, and France, Spain, and America so 
strong, that joining the former against the three latter, 
would be the total ruin of the Republic. Nevertheless, 
the court party will find means of delay, and will embarrass 
the operations of war in so many ways, that it will be long 
before any decisive measures will be taken in favor of 

Whether, under all these circumstances. Congress will 
think proper to continue rne in Europe, whether it will be 
in their power to furnish me with the means of subsistence, 
as Dr Franklin in his letter to me thinks 1 cannot depend 
upon him, and I have no hopes at all of obtaining any 
here, I know not, and must submit to their wisdom. 
But after all, the state of my health, which I have little 
reason to hope will be restored without a voyage home, and 
more relaxation from care and business than I can have in 
Europe, makes it very uncertain whether I shall be able 
to remain here. In short, my prospects both for the pub- 
lic and for myself are so dull, auc\ the life 1 am likely to 
lead in Europe so gloomy and melancholy, and of so little 


use to the public, that I cannot but wish it may suit with 

the views of Congress to recall me. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, October 17th, 1781. 


There is at present a fermentation in this nation, which 
may arise to violent extremities. Hundreds of pamphlets 
have appeared, all of which must be adjudged to be se- 
ditious libels ; some against the Court, and some against 
the city and sovereign magistrates of Amsterdam. At 
length, a large pamphlet has appeared in Dutch, and been 
distributed through the streets of the Hague, Leyden, Rot-" 
terdam, and other cities, which has occasioned a great 
alarm to the government, and a great agitation of spirits 
among the people. All parties speak of it as a compo- 
sition, in the strongest terms of admiration. The sub- 
stance of it will appear from the following placard against it. 

"We, the Deputies of the States of Utrecht, make 
known, that as it is come to our knowledge, that, notwith- 
standing the strong and serious advertisements and publi- 
cations against the composition, sale, and distribution of 
lampoons, scandalous pamphlets, or libels, and defamatory 
writings of whatever sort, or in whatever form they may 
be, to the prejudice of the high sovereignty of these Prov- 
inces, and of those who are placed in any administration or 
direction of public affairs already, heretofore, and Inioly 
promulgated, both by the Lords, the States of this Prov- 
ince, and by others, and the rigorous penalty thciein de- 
creed against transgressors ; nevertheless, the spirit of 
VOL. VI. 22 


discord, of wickedness, of calumny, and of sedition has 
burst fortii. and spread itself in this State so far, that it 
has not been possible, hitherto to restrain it by such ad- 
vertisements, but, on the contrary, it has arrived at such 
a height, that there has been printed and dispersed 
within a few days a most pernicious libel, under the title of 
Aan het Volkvan Nederland, (to the people of the Low 
Countries) containing a great number of wicked and slan- 
derous imputations against the Most Serene Person of his 
Most Serene Highness, our Lord, the Prince of Orange 
and Nassau, Hereditary Stadtholder, Captain and Admi- 
ral-General of these Provinces, against his Most Serene 
father and mother of glorious memory, as also our Lords, 
the Princes of Orange, William the First, Maurice, Fred- 
erick, Henry, William the Second, and William the Third, 
illustrious predecessors of his Most Serene Highness, and 
interspersing efforts the most seditious, tending to overturn 
not only the present form of the Regency, but even to in- 
troduce, instead of the Regency in the Slate, which also is 
therein painted, in the most hateful manner, a democracy, 
or Regency of the people, and thus to cause the Repiblic 
to fall into an entire anarchy, which would increase and 
multiply still more extremely, the dangers to which the 
dear country is exposed at present by a foreign war, joined 
to an intestine division ; and taking into consideration that 
such most detestable wickedness, if not restrained, can 
have no other consequences, than the total ruin and des- 
truction of the dear country, if God by his grace does not 
prevent it, and that it is incumbent on us to employ all the 
means possible to hinder it, and to punish offences accord- 
ing to their demerit ; for these causes, we renew that which 
has been heretofore and lately ordained in this respect by 
the publication of their Noble Mightinesses, of the 4th of 


July of the present year, 1781, and not only the punish- 
ments by fine, but also of discretionary correction, accord- 
ing to the exigence of the case against the transgressors 
there mentioned, to discover the author or the authors, 
and the distributor or the distributors of such a dangerous 
libel as that before mentioned, and to the end that they be 
punished, as examples to others, according to the magni- 
tude of such a crime, tending to the ruin of the country ; 
we have thought fit to promise, as we do by these presents, 
a premium of a hundred ryders (fourteen hundred guil- 
ders) in favor of those who may discover or make known, 
the author or authors, distributor or distributors, in such 
manner that they may be juridically convicted and pun- 
ished, concealing the name of the informer if he requires 
it. And we ordain, moreover, to all the officers and 
judges in the city, cities, and countries of this Province, to 
make all possible search, and to endeavor, without any 
negligence, dissimulation, or connivance, to discover and 
arrest the aforesaid malefactor, or malefactors, and to pro- 
ceed and to cause to be proceeded, as is convenient, 
against them, as seditious persons, and disturbers of the 
public repose, guilty of overturning the foundations of the 
government of these Provinces, and of the sovereignty of 
the Lords, the States of the Provinces respectively, and as 
the enemies the most dangerous of the country ; and to 
the end, that no man may pretend ignorance, these pres- 
ents shall be published and posted up in convenient places. 

"Done at Utrecht, the 3d of October, 1781. 


"By order of the said Lords Deputies, 

C. A. VOS." 
I have the honor to be, he. 




Amsterdam, October 18th, 1781. 


The Committees of the Fisheries of Vlaardingen and 
Maaslleys have presented to their High Mightinesses a pe- 
tition to give them to understand, "that they learned with 
the most lively sensibility that the gentlemen, the commit- 
tees of the respective colleges of Admiralty had proposed 
to their High IMightinesses to permit the free navigation of 
the ports of the Republic, with or without convoy, except- 
ing, nevertheless, until further order, the vessels destined to 
the greater and lesser fisheries. The petitioners represent 
the inevitable losses, with which they are more and more 
threatened, in case that all the fishery, without exception, 
remain longer suspended ; that they might very well find a 
remedy in a certain manner by excepting from this pro- 
hibition the ships employed in taking fish for salting, and in 
the fishery of fresh cod. They solicit, that it may please 
their High Mightinesses to. revoke in this regard the placard 
of the 2Gth of January, 1781, or at least to make in it such 
alteration as their High Mightinesses may find convenient." 

This petition, accepted by the Province of Holland, has 
been rendered commissorial, and sent to the colleges of the 
Admiralty respectively. 


From divers Merchants, Bookkeepers, and Owners of 
Shijjs of Amsterdam, containing in substance, 

"That the petitioners having caused their vessels and 
cargoes, for the most part loaded beforehand, to sail under 
the escort of the convoy, there has resulted from it on the 


5th of August, the famous rencounter between this convoy, 
commanded by the Vice Admiral Zoutman, and the British 
Vice Admiral Parker ; a rencounter, wiiich in truth had 
covered the naval forces of the Republic with immortal 
glory, but at the same time given to commerce a terrible 
blow, the merchant vessels having seen themselves obliged 
to return into the ports of the State. That the petitioners 
seeing themselves disappointed of their just and equitable 
expectation, of being able to obtain an escort sufficient and 
seasonably ready, found themselves forced to submit to 
necessity, and consequently to call back their ships, which 
without running the greatest danger, could not remain lon- 
ger in their then station j that the petitioners could not re- 
frain from representing to their High Mightinesses in the 
most pressing manner, the enormous prejudice which re- 
sulted from it to the petitioners and the freighters of ves- 
sels, who, after having for so many months held their ves- 
sels and crews ready, must now pay the expense of equip- 
ping them, the wages, the monthly pay and subsistence of 
their crews, as well as all the other charges that result from 

"But as all these disbursements are lost, the petitioners 
for the causes alleged, and others particularised in the peti- 
tion, pray that it may please their High Mightinesses to 
assign to the petitioners, and especially to the proprietors 
and freighters of vessels, a convenient indemnification and 
sufficient for the cost, damages, and interest borne and suf- 
fered, because the said convoy has not set sail ; from 
whence it has resulted, that they have detained the vessels 
belonging to the petitioners, who, at the first requisition, 
are ready to produce the particulars to their High Mighti- 
nesses, that it may also please their High Mightinesses to 


give ihe necessary orders, to the end that the convoy des- 
tined for this purpose may be ready early enough to be 
able to set sail next spring, even by the month of INIarch, 
to the end that by accelerating their departure, the loss of 
lime suffered in the current year may be, at least in some 
degree, compensated, and that there may be an opportu- 
nity that the ships which are now in Norway and at Elsi- 
nore, supposing they should be obliged to pass the winter 
there, may then profit of this convoy for their return. 
Finally, that they would please to give, concerning all 
these objects, precise orders, and such as their High 
IVlighiinesses may judge the most proper to fulfil the wishes 
of the petitioners, and for the greatest utility of commerce." 
This petition has been rendered commissorial for the 
respective Admiralties. 


"The undersigned, merchants trading to the Levant, liv- 
ing at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, give respectfully to un- 
derstand, that the petitioners acknowledge with the most 
lively gratitude the paternal care which your High Mighti- 
nesses have always manifested for the prosperity of the 
commerce of ti;a Levant, and particularly the advantages 
procured to the Belgic navigation by the resolutions of 
your High Mightinesses of the 2 1st of May, 1770, and of 
the first of April, 1776 ; the first of which authorises the 
directors of the commerce of the Levant, and of the navi- 
gation of the Mediterranean, besides the accustomed im- 
position of six per cent of freight, to require of all foreign 
vessels coming from the Levant, five per cent of the value 
of the effects ; and the second of which tends to raise con- 
siderably the tariff, after which they always tax the above- 


mentioned effects ; which has also fully answered to the 
salutary end of your High Mightinesses, to wit, to inspire 
a general aversion in foreign ships to suffer themselves to 
be employed in the transportation of productions from the 
Levant into the ports of these countries. But, the situa- 
tion of the navigation of this country by the unfortunate 
and cruel war, which the King of England unjustly makes 
upon our dear country, is in fact entirely changed, and 
almost entirely interrupted and ruined ; in such sort, that 
by the present impossibility to make use of those siiips 
which have not been taken, business in general, and that of 
the Levant in particular, is in the deplorable condition, 
even for the account of neutral foreigners, (for that upon 
our own account is entirely stopped) either to be wholly 
abandoned, or to be carried on by the means of foreign 

"The petitioners think it unnecessary to enumerate par- 
ticularly the disadvantages of the first points alleged, that is 
to say, the abandoning of this commerce, because in all 
times the considerable importance of the Levant trade has 
been universally acknowledged, and your High Mightinesses 
yourselves have always shown that you have been intimately 
persuaded of it. Il is then manifest, that in the present 
situation of affairs, there remains only the second means, 
which is to employ foreign ships ; nevertheless, as the small 
quantity of these vessels joined to the inclination on all 
sides to employ them, has already occasioned an enormous 
rise of their freights, and since moreover they cannot be 
ensured, but by paying a premium three times larger than 
in past limes, we encounter here obstacles the most discour- 
aging and invincible, considering, that besides all this, the 
extraordinary imposition beforementionea of five per cent 


of the value of the merchandises calculated after the aug- 
mented tariff renders almost impracticable this manner of 
negotiating, and deprives it of all advantage ; which in this 
critical situation of affairs, must ruin absolutely the com- 
merce of the Levant ; for since at this time it cannot be car- 
ried on, but for the account of neutral foreigners, it is in- 
contestible that their enterprises being in all cases so much 
confined, they will find themselves in the indispensable 
necessity to suspend this commerce with us, and to trans- 
rait it to other places ; besides this, there will be found 
many foreigners, who for these causes will excuse them- 
selves from remitting to the petitioners what they justly owe 
because at present, by the enormous rise of bills of exchange 
this cannot be effected but by sending merchandises, which 
still augments and extends, in an aggravating manner, the 
risk of the petitioners. 

"But finally to ward off this misfortune in season, if 
possible, the petitioners take the liberty respectfully to 
address themselves to your High Mightinesses, praying that 
you would please, during the course of this war, conse- 
quently as long as the Belgic vessels cannot be employed, 
to exempt the effects, loaded upon foreign ships and coming 
from the Levant to the ports of this country, from the said 
extraordinary imposition of five j)er cent of their value, and 
that you would also give the same advantages to the mer- 
chandises loaded on board the Pisano, a Venetian vessel, 
commanded by Captain Antonio Ragusin, from Smyrna, 
and lately arrived at the Texel ; to the end that this branch 
of commerce, so important, may not perish entirely, and 
that it may be preserved for the general well-being of the 
dear country. 

Divers freighters and part owners of vessels, fitted out 


for the Colony of Surinam, by the proprietors of planta- 
tions, merchants, and others interested in this commerce, as 
well as that of Curacao, have addressed a petition to their 
High Mightinesses, and laid open the "deplorable condition 
of the two Colonies ; that i i consequence of the Resolution 
of the 14th of last Jdne, in virtue of the petition, which they 
then presented, they equipped their vessels with despatch, 
and that in two months they had put in order a fleet of 
seventeen vessels, armed with four hundred guns, and 
manned with twelve hundred men, expecting a suitable 
convoy ; but that several circumstances having without 
doubt hindered it from being ready, they pray first, their 
High Mightinesses, that they would prepare as soon as pos- 
sible a convenient convoy, to go out with their ships, at a 
certain day, and conduct them to the West Indies ; sec- 
ondly, that their High Mightinesses, in case of delay, would 
be so good as to grant them an indemnification ; thirdly, 
that their High Mightinesses, upon the exhibition of a cer- 
tificate, as it was stipulated by their resolution of the iJlst 
of July last, would be so good as to cause to be given to those 
who shall have made the armaments required, the bounties 
which they shall judge convenient, the petitioners being 
ready to give convenient sureties, and even to engage their 
vessels, in case they are not ready to sail at the time appoint- 

At the requisition of his Highness, the request has been 
rendered commissorial in the respective Admiralties. 

The representative and the directors of the East India 
Company have notified to their High Mightinesses, "ihat 
their finances are diminished, and that they are in ib.e in- 
dispensable necessity of denir:nr!ing of llicir High Midni- 
nesses a succor of at least 050,000 florins ; adding, lliat 
vol.. VI. 23 

178 Jt)HN ADAMS. 

if some favorable change does not take place, they will 
soon be obliged to have again recourse to their High 

This petition has been rendered commissorial. 

These papers will sufficiently show Congress how much 

the trade of this country is affected by the war, and what 

discontents must arise from it. Yet the British Ministry 

are amusing the government with their delusive ideas of 

mediation, armistices, Congresses, peace, and anything to 

lay them asleep. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



Philadelphia, October 23(1, 1781. 

Dear Sir, 

The enclosed resolution will inform you that Congress 
have thought it advisable to new model their department of 
foreign affairs, by the appointment of a Secretary, through 
whose hands the communications with their Ministers 
abroad are to pass. Though they did me the honor to 
elect me so long since as August last, I but lately deter- 
mined to accept, and did not enter upon business till two 
days ago, so that you must not expect those minute com- 
munications, which I shall think it my duty to make to you 
when I have had leisure to arrange my department, and to 
acquaint myself more fully with the sentiments of Con- 
gress, which must upon the whole be my direction. 

I can only say in general, that we consider your situa- 
tion as extremely delicate, the state you are in, divided by 
powerful parties, and the bias that every man has to his 


own country, naturally gives him a predilection for that 
which most favors its interests. But this, though the child 
of virtue, is often the greatest obstacle to successful nego- 
tiations ; it creates distrust and jealousies; it excites preju- 
dices, which unfit us for conciliating the affections of those 
whose assistance we require, and induce too fond a reli- 
ance upon the information of those who wish to serve us. 
Aristocratic governments are, of all others, the most jealous 
of popular commotions ; the rich and the powerful are 
equally engaged to resist them, and nothing will, in my 
opinion, so soon contribute to a peace between England 
and the United Provinces as the commotions which now 
clog the government of the latter. 

You must, Sir, be infinitely better acquainted with the 
interior of the State you are in than I can pretend to be, 
and I rely much on your information for light, which I can- 
not attain here. If 1 venture to give you my sentiments, 
it is with the hope that you will correct my errors when I 
have discovered them by my freedom. 

The United Provinces appear to me one of those gov- 
ernments whose very constitution disposes them to peace ; 
the ambition of making conquests, either is or ought to be 
unknown to them. A war for the extension of commerce 
is a solecism in politics, since the shocks that the established 
trade sustains, infinitely overbalance any new accession 
that may be made by it. War, then, while the true inter- 
est of the United Provinces is considered, will be the child 
of necessity. That necessity happily exists at present, and 
will exist till Great Britain ceases to be the tyrant of the 
ocean. We are greatly interested in its continuance ; but 
let us always bear in mind that the moment Great Britain 
makes the sacrifices, which prudence and justice require, 


the United Provinces will be drawn by the interest of com- 
merce and the love of peace to close with them. Their 
acknowledgment of our independence would be an im- 
portant and a leading object. Success here, and the injus- 
tice and cruelty of the British may affect it, but do not let 
us appear to be dissatisfied if it is delayed. They have a 
right to judge for themselves ; from the very nature of their 
government, they must be slow in determining. Every 
appearance of dissatisfaction on our part, gives room to the 
British to believe the United Provinces disinclined to us, 
and paves the way to negotiations, which may end in a 
peace, which we are so much interested in preventing. 

Your first object, then, if I may venture my opinion, is to 
be well with the government ; your second, to appear to 
be so, and to take no measures, which may bring upon you 
a public affront. You will naturally treat the friends we 
have with the politeness and attention that they justly merit, 
and even with that cordiality which your heart must feel 
for those who wish your country well, but your prudence 
will suggest to you to avoid giving offence to government, 
by the appearance of intrigue. 1 know nothing of the re- 
finements of politics, nor do 1 wish to see them enter into 
our negotiations. Dignity of conduct, the resources of our 
country, and the value of our commerce, must render us 
respectable abroad. You will not fail to lay the foundation 
of your alliances in these, by displaying them in the strong- 
est point of view. The spirit of injustice and cruelty, which 
characterise the English, must also afford you advantages, 
of which I dare say you avail yourself. 

I make no apology for the length or freedom of this ; it 
is of the last importance to you (and I am satisfied you will 
think it so,) to be intimately acquainted with the sentiments 


enterlained on this side of the water. In return, Su', you 
will let me know, minutely, everything that can in any way 
be of use to us, particularly if either of the belligerent pow- 
ers takes measures that may tend to establish a partial or 
general peace. At your leisure, acquaint me with the inte- 
rior of the government you are in, and everything else 
interesting, which you may learn relative to others. Re- 
member that Ministers are yet to be formed in this coun- 
try, and let them want no light, which your situation ena- 
bles you to afford them. 

I would submit it to you, whether it would not be most 
advisable to spend as much time as possible at the Hague, 
and to form connexions with the Ministers of the powers 
not interested in our affairs. They are frequently best 
informed, because least suspected, and while your public 
character is unacknowledged, and you can visit without the 
clog of ceremony, I should conceive it no difficult task to 
engage the friendship of some among them. 

But it is time to let you breathe ; this I shall do without 
closing my letter, reserving the remainder of it for the com- 
munication of the most agreeable intelligence you ever re- 
ceived from America. The enclosed prints will announce 
one important victory to you, and we are in hourly expec- 
tation of the particulars of another, which will enable you 
to open your negotiations ihis winter with the utmost advan- 

October 2Ath. 1 congratulate you, Sir, upon the pleas- 
ing intelligence which, agreeable to my hopes, I am ena- 
bled to convey to you ; enclosed you have a letter from 
General Washington to Congress ; the terms granted to 
Lord Cornwallis, his fleet and army, and the letters that 
passed previous to the surrender of both. I make no com- 


nients upon this event, but rely upon your judgment to im- 
prove it to the utmost; perhaps, this is the moment in 
which a loan may be opened with most advantage. The 
want of money is our weak side, and even in the high day 
of success we feel its pressure. 

As you may not perhaps be fully acquainted with the 
steps that led to this important victory, I enclose also an 
extract of my last letter to Dr Franklin. The British fleet 
consisting of twentysix sail of the line, including three fifties 
as such, with five thousand land forces, and General Clin- 
ton himself on board, sailed the 19ih for the relief of 
Cornwallis. Count de Grasse is also out with thirty four 
sail of the line. I shall keep this open as long as possible, 
from the hopes of communicating an interesting account of 
their meeting. 

JVovember 1st. 1 am under the necessity of closing this 
without being able to give you any other account of the 
fleets, than that the British have not yet returned to New- 
York ; nor are we certain that the Count de Grasse has 
yet left the Chesapeake. If anything in the nature of a 
Court calendar is published at the Hague, you will be 
pleased to send me one or two impressions of it, as it may 
be of use to us. 

I am, Sir, Sic. 



Amsterdam, October 25tli, 1781. 

I see in the London Courant, which arrived today, an 
adrertiseraent of a translation into English of the address 


to the people of the Netherlands ; so that this work is likely 
to be translated into all languages, and read by all the 
world, notwithstanding the placards against it. 1 have be- 
fore sent that of Utrecht; that of Holland is as follows. 

"The States of Holland and of West Friesland, to all 
those who shall see these prese its, or hear them read, 
Greeting. As it is come to our knowledge, that notwith- 
standing the placards and ordinances, from one time to an- 
other, issued against the impression and dissemination of 
seditious and slanderous writings, there iias been lately dis- 
persed in various places of this Province, a certain very 
seditious and slanderous libel, entitled Aan het Volk van 
JVederland, (To the People of the Low Countries) in which 
the supreme government of this country, his Most Serene 
Highness, our Lord the Prince Hereditary Stadtholder, as 
well as his illustrious predecessors, to whom under God, 
we are indebted for the foundation and maintenance of our 
Republic, as well as of its liberty, are calumniated in the 
most scandalous and enormous manner, and in which the 
good people are invited to an ii;surrection and to seditious 

"For these causes, being desirous to make provision in 
this case, without derogating from our former placards against 
lampoons, and other defamatory and scandalous writings, 
issued from time to time, and in particular from our reno- 
vation of the 18th of January, 1691, and our placard of the 
17th of March, 1754, we have thought fit for the discovery 
of the author or authors of the said seditious and slanderous 
libel, entitled Aan het Volk van JS'edcrland, and of his or 
their accomplices, to promise a reward of a thousand 
ryders of gold, (fourteen thousand florins) to him who shall 
give the necessary indications by which the author, writer^ 


or printer of the said libel, or all those who may have had SL 
part in it in any other manner, may fall into the hands of 
justice, and may be convicted of the fact ; and in case 
that the informer was an accomplice in it, we declare by 
these presents, that we will pardon him for whatever upon 
this occasion he may have done amiss against his sovereign ; 
moreover, he shall also enjoy the reward in question, and 
his name shall not be pointed out, but kept secret. 

"Forbidding, consequently, in the most solemn manner 
by these presents, every one of what estate, quality or con- 
dition soever he may be, to reprint in any manner the said 
seditious and slanderous libel, to distribute, scatter, or spread 
it, upon pain of the confiscation of the copies, and a fine 
of six thousand florins, besides at least, an everlasting 
banishment from the Province of Holland and West Fries- 
land, which fine shall go, one third to the officer who shall 
make the seizure; another third to the informer; and 
the remaining third to the use of the poor of the place 
where the seizure shall be made. And whereas, some 
persons, to keep their unlawful practices Concealed, may be 
tempted to pretend, that the libel in question had been ad- 
dressed to them under a simple cover, they know not by 
whom, nor from what place, we ordain and decree, that all 
printers, booksellers, and moreover all and every one, to 
whom the said seditious and slanderous libel, entitled Aan 
het Volk van JYcchrland, may be sent, whether to be sold, 
given as a present, distributed, lent or read, shall be held 
to carry it forthwith, and deliver it to the officer or the 
magistrate of the place of tiieir residence, or of tlie place 
where they may receive it, under penalty of being held for 
disseminators of it, and as such punished in the manner be- 
fore pointed out. Ordaining most expressly to our Attor- 


ney-General, and to all our other officers, to execute strict- 
ly and exactly the present placard, according to the form 
and contents of it, without dissimulation or connivance, 
under pain of being deprived of their employments. And 
to the end, that no one may pretend cause of ignorance, 
but that every one may know how he ought to conduct 
himself in this regard, we order that these presents be pub- 
lished, and posted up everywhere, where it belongs, and 
where it is customary to do it. 

"Done at the Hague, under the small seal of the coun- 
try, the 19th of October, 1781. By order of the States. 


Such are the severe measures, which this government 
think themselves bound to take to suppress this libel. They 
will have, however, a contrary effect, and will make a pam- 
phlet, which otherwise perhaps would have been known in 
a small circle, familiar to all Europe. The press cannot 
be restrained ; all attempts of that kind in France and Hol- 
land are every day found to be inefTectual. 

I consider the disputes in the city of Geneva as arising 
from the progress of democratical principles in Europe. I 
consider this libel as a demonstration that there is a party 
here, and a very numerous one, too, who are proselytes to 
democratical principles. Who and what has given rise to 
the assuming pride of the people, as it is called in Europe, in 
every part of which they have been so thoroughly abased ? 
The American revolution. The precepts, tlie reasonings 
and example of the United States of America, disseminated 
by the press through every part of the world, have con- 
vinced the understanding, and have touched the heart. 
When I say democratical principles, I do not mean that 
the world is about adopting simple democracies, for these 
VOL. VI. 24 


are impracticable, but multitudes are convinced that the 
people should have a voice, a share, and be made an in- 
tegral part ; and that the government should be such a 
mixture, and such a combination of the powers of one, the 
few and the many, as is best calculated to check and con- 
trol each other, and oblige all to co-operate in this one de- 
mocratical principle, that the end of all government is the 
happiness of the people ; and in this other, that the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number is the point to be obtained. 
These principles are now so widely spread, that despotisms, 
monarchies, and aristocracies must conform to them in 
some degree in practice, or hazard a total revolution in re- 
ligion and government throughout all Europe. The longer 
the American war lasts, the more the spirit of American 
government will spread in Europe, because the attention of 
the world will be fixed there, while the war lasts. I have 
often Wondered that the Sovereigns of Europe have not 
seen the danger to their authority, which arises from a 
continuance of this war. It is their interest to get it fin- 
ished, that their subjects may no longer be employed in 
speculating about the principles of government. 

The people of the Seven United Provinces appear to 
me of such a character, that they would make wild steer- 
age at the first admission to any share in government; and 
whether any intimations of a desire of change at this time 
will not divide and weaken the nation, is a problem. I 
believe rather it will have a good effect, by convincing 
the government that they must exert themselves for the 
good of the people, to prevent them from exerting them- 
selves in innovations. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Amsterdam, November 1st, 1781.'- 


It is still as problematical as ever, what is the political 
system of this Republic, and indeed whether it has any 
system at all. They talk much, and deliberate long, but 
execute nothing. By the violence with which they speak 
and write of each other, a stranger would think them ripe 
for a civil war. In the Assembly of the States of Gueld- 
erland, held to consider the requisition of the King of 
France of a negotiation of five millions of florins, under the 
warranty of the Republic, the debates were sustained with 
great warmtli. Some were for an alliance with France. 
•The Baron de NageJ, Senechal of Zutphen, evaded the 
putting of the question, and said among other things, "that 
he had rather acknowledge the independence of the Amer- 
icans, than contract an alliance with France." 

The Baron Van der Cappellen de Marsch, was for an 
alliance with France and America too. He observed, 
*'that nothing being more natural, than to act in concert 
with the enemies of our enemy, it was an object of serious 
deliberation to see if the interest of the Republic did not 
require to accept, without further tergiversation, the invita- 
tions and offers of the Americans ; that no condescension 
for England could hinder us at present from uniting cur- 
selves against a common enemy, with a nation so brave 
and so virtuous, a nation, which, after our example, owes 
its liberty to its valor, and even at this moment, is employed 
in defending itself from the tyranny of the enemy of the 
two nations ; that, consequently, nothing could restrain us 
from acknowledging the independence of this new Repub- 


lie ; that oui" conduct differed very niucli from that held 
by our ancestors, who allied themselves to the Portuguese, 
as soon as they shook off the yoke of the Spaniards ; that 
there was no doubt that the said alliances with the enemies 
of our enemy would soon restrain his fury, and operate a 
general peace advantageous for us." 

As this is the first opinion given openly, which has been 
published, in favor of acknowledging American indepen- 
dence, it deserves to be recorded, but it will be long, very 
long, before the Republic will be unanimously of this 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, November 20th, 1781. 

Since my last of the 23d of October, nothing material 
has happened here, unless it be the return of Digby to 
New York, where he has relanded great part of his 
troops, and, as is said, proceeded to the West Indies with 
the fleet, though this is not fully ascertained. Nor have 
we any authentic account, that the Count de Grasse sailed 
from the Chesapeake on the 4th instant. 

It gives me pleasure, however, to mention an incident 
to you, which shows how much the yeomanry of this 
country have improved in military discipline, and must 
defeat every hope that Britain entertains of conquering a 
country so defended. It has been the custom of the 
enemy to move a large body of troops every fall, from 
Canada to Ticonderoga, while a light corps, with a num- 
ber of Indians, entered the State from the westward, and 


destroyed the frontier settlements, burning the houses and 
barns, and scalping the old men, women, and children. 
Last year, they effected the destruction of Scoharie, and 
most of the settlements on the Mohawk River, before the 
militia could assemble to oppose diem. This year, a small 
body of State troops, drafted from the militia for three 
months, about sixty New Hampshire levies, part of the 
militia of the country, and forty Oneida Indians, to the 
number of four hundred and eighty in all, under the com- 
mand of Colonel Willet, hastily collected, upon the report 
of the enemy's coming from the westward to oppose them, 
while the rest of the militia, and some Continental troops 
marched upon Hudson's River, (the enemy having about 
two thousand men at Ticonderoga.) Willet met the 
enemy, who consisted of a picked corps of British troops, 
to the amount of six hundred and six, besides a number of 
Indians and tories ; he fought and defeated them twice with 
his militia, killed their leader. Major Ross, and young But- 
ler, as is said, made a number of prisoners, and pursued 
them three days, till he had driven them into the thickest 
part of the wilderness, whence fatigue and want of provis- 
ion will prevent many of them from returning. Those at 
Ticonderoga have remained inactive ever since. 

It must be a mortifying circumstance to the proudest 
people in the world, to find themselves foiled, not only by 
the American regular troops, but by the rough undisci- 
plined militia of the country. 

Admiral Zoutman's combat must also, I should imagine, 
have some effect in humbling their pride, and, what is of 
more consequence, in raising the spirits of the Dutch. 

We find from your letters, as well as from other ac- 
counts of the United Provinces, that tliey are divided into 


powerful parties for and against the war, and we are sorry 
to see some of the most distinguished names among what 
you call the Anglomanes. But your letters leave us in the 
dark relative to the principles and views of each party, 
which is no small inconvenience to us, as we know not 
how to adapt our measures to them. It is so important to 
the due execution of your mission, to penetrate the views 
of all parties, without seeming to be connected with either, 
that I have no doubt you have insinuated yourself into the 
good graces and confidence of the leaders, and that you 
can furnish the information we require ; you may be per- 
suaded no ill use will be made of any you give, and that it 
is expected from you. 

We learn from M. Dumas, that you have presented 
your credentials to the Slates-General j we are astonished, 
that you have not written on so important a subject, and 
developed the principle, that induced you to declare your 
public character before the States were disposed to acknow- 
ledge it. There is no doubt from your known prudence 
and knowledge of the world, that some peculiarity in your 
situation, or that of the politics and parties in the United 
Provinces, furnished you with the reasons, that overbal- 
anced the objections to the measure, which arise from the 
humiliating light in which it places us. Congress would, 
1 believe, wish to have them explained, and particularly 
your reason for printing your Memorial. I may form im- 
proper ideas of the government, interest, and policy of the 
United Provinces, but 1 frankly confess, that 1 have no 
hope, that they will recognise us as an independent State, 
and embarrass themselves in making their wished for peace, 
with our affairs. What inducements can we hold out to 
them ? They know, that our own interest will lead us to 


trade with them, and we do not propose to purchase their 
alliance, by giving them any exclusive advantage in com- 

Your business, therefore, I think lies in a very narrow 
compass ; it is to conciliate the affection of the people, 
to place our cause in the most advantageous light, to re- 
move the prejudices, that Britain may endeavor to excite, 
to discover the views of the different parties, to watch 
every motion, diat leads to peace between England and 
the United Provinces, and to get the surest aid of govern- 
ment in procuring a loan, which is almost the only thing 
wanting, to render our affairs respectable at home and 
abroad. To these objects I am satisfied you pay the 
strictest attention, because I am satisfied no man has more 
the interest of his country at heart, or is better acquainted 
with its wants. As our objects in Holland must be very 
similar to those of France, I should suppose it would be 
prudent for you to keep up the closest connexion with her 
Minister ; to advise with him on great leading objects, and 
to counteract his opinion only upon the most mature de- 

You were informed, before I came into office, that Mr 
Jay and Mr Franklin are joined in commission with you, 
and have received copies of the instructions, that Congress 
have given their conunissioners; this whole business being 
terminated before I came down, I make no observations 
upon it, lest I should not enter fully into the views of Con- 
gress, and by that means help to mislead you in so import- 
ant a subject. I enclose you a resolution, discharging the 
commission for establishing a Commercial Treaty with 
Britain. This also being a business of long standing, I 
for the same reason, transmit it without any observations 


I would recommend it to you, to be, in your language 
and conduct, a private gentleman. This will give you 
many advantages in making connexions, tliat will be lost on 
your insisting upon the assumption of a public character, 
and the rather, as this sentiment prevails generally among 
the members of Congress, though, for reasons of delicacy 
with respect to you, I have not chosen to ask the sense of 
Congress, to whom it is my sincere wish, as well as my 
leading object, in the free letters I wrote you, to enable you 
to render your measures acceptable. A number of your 
letters, written last winter and spring, have this moment 
come to hand. 

This letter will be sent to Europe by the Marquis de 
Lafayette, who has obtained leave of absence during the 
winter season. He wishes to correspond with you, and 
as from his connexion, his understanding, and attachment 
to this country he may be serviceable to you, I would wish 
you to write as freely to him, as you conceive those con- 
siderations may render pixjdent. 
I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Amsterdam, November 24tb, 17S1. 

Mr Adams presents his most respectful compliments to 
his Excellency the Due de la Vauguyon, and begs leave 
to acquaint him, that by the last night's post he received 
from Congress some important despatches, which it is his 
duty to communicate to the Ambassador of France. Mr 
A(iains requests his Excellency to inform him, what hour 


will be most convenient foi- him to wait on him at the 
Arms of x\msterdam. Meantime, he most sincerely con- 
gratulates his Excellency on the glorious nevA's from Ameri- 
ca by the Due de Lauzun, of the surrender of Lord Corn- 
wallis with his whole army, to the arms of the allies. 

This card I sent by my secretary Mr Thaxter. The 
Duke returned for answer, that he would call upon me at 
my house, between twelve and one, to congratulate me on 
the news from America. Accordingly about one, he came 
and spent with me about an hour and a half. 

I communicated to him my fresh instructions, and agreed 
to send him a copy of them tomorrow or next day, by the 
post waggon (chariot-de-poste.) He said he had not 
received any instructions from Versailles, upon the subject ; 
but might receive some by next Tuesday's post. He asked 
me, what, step I proposed to take in consequence of these 
instructions ? 1 ansvvered none, but with his participation 
and approbation ; tiiat I would be always ready to attend 
him at the Hague, or elsewhere, for the purpose of the most 
candid and confidential consultations, &lc. He said that he 
thought that, the subject was very well seen {tres bien vu) 
and the measure very well concerted, [t7-es bien combine) 
and that it would have a good effect at this time, to coun- 
teract the artifice of the British Ministry, in agreeing to the 
mediation of Russia, for a separate peace with this Repub- 




In Congress, August 16th, 1781. 

On the Report of the Committee, to whpm was recom- 
mitted their report on the communications from the Hon- 
orable tlie Minister of France, and who are instructed to 
report instructions to the Honorable Joini Adams, respect- 
ing a Treaty of Alliance with the United Provinces of the 

Resolved, That the Minister Plenipotentiary of these 
United States at the Court of Versailles, be directed to in- 
form His Most Christian Majesty, that the tender of his 
endeavors to accomplish a coalition between the United 
Provinces of the Netherlands, and these States, has been 
received by Congress, as a fresh proof of his solicitude for 
their interests. That previous to the communication of 
this His Most Christian Majesty's friendly purpose. Con- 
gress, impressed with the importance of such a connexion, 
had confided to Mr John Adams full powers to enter, on 
the part of the United States, into a Treaty of Amity and 
Commerce with the United Provinces, with a special in- 
struction to conform himself therein to the treaties subsist- 
ing between His Most Christian Majesty and the United 
States. That Congress do, with pleasure, accept His 
Most Christian Majesty's interposition, and will transmit 
further powers to their Minister at the Hague, to form a 
Treaty of Alliance between His Most Christian Majesty, 
the United Provinces, and the United States, having for 
its object, and limited in its duration to, the present war 
with Great Britain. That he will be enjoined to confer, 


on all occasions, in the most confidential manner, with His 
Most Christian Majesty's Minister, at the Hague ; and that 
provisional authority will also be sent to admit his Catholic 
Majesty as a party. 

Resolved, That the Minister Plenipotentiary of these 
United States at the Hague, be, and he is hereby instruct- 
ed to propose a Treaty of Alliance between His Most 
Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Nether- 
lands, and the United States of America, having for its 
object, and limited ia its duration to, the present war 
with Great Britain, and conformed to the treaties sub- 
sisting between His Most Christian Majesty and the United 

That the indispensable conditions of the Alliance be, 
that their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the 
United Provinces of the Netherlands, shall expressly re- 
cognise the sovereignty and independence of the United 
States of America, absolute and unlimited, as well in mat- 
ters of government as of commerce. That the war with 
Great Britain shall be made a common cause, each party 
exerting itself according to its discretion in the most effec- 
tual hostility against the common enemy ; and that no party 
shall conclude either truce or peace with Great Britain, 
without the formal consent of the whole first obtained ; 
nor lay down their arms, until the sovereignty and inde- 
pendence of these United States shall be formally or tacitly 
assured by Great Britain, in a Treaty, which shall termi- 
nate the war. 

That the said Minister be, and he hereby is further in- 
structed, to unite the two Republics by no stipulations of 
offence, nor guaranty any possessions of the United Prov- 
inces. To inform himself, from the Minister of these 


United States at the Court of Spain, of the progress ol his 
negotiations at the said Court ; and if an alliance shall 
iiave been entered into between his Catholic Majesty and 
these United States, to invite his Catholic Majesty into the 
Alliance herein intended ; if no such alliance shall have 
been formed, to receive his Catholic Majesty, should he 
manifest a disposition to become a party to the alliance 
herein intended, according to the instructions given to the 
said Minister at the Court of Spain. 

That in all other matters, not repugnant to these instruc- 
tions, the said Minister at the Hague do use his best dis- 

Resolved, That the Minister Plenipotentiary of these 
United States at the Hague, be, and he hereby is instructed 
to confer in the most confidential manner with His Most 
Christian Majesty's Minister there. 

Ordered, That the foregoing resolutions be communi- 
cated to our Ministers at the Courts of Versailles and iMad- 
rid, that they may furnish every information and aid in 
their power to our Minister at the Hague, in the accom- 
plishment of this business. 

Resolved, That the following commission be issued to 
Mr John Adams, for the purpose aforesaid. 

The United States in Congress assembled, to all who 
shall see these presents, send, greeting. 

Whereas a union of the force of the several powers 
engaged in the war against Great Britain may have a 
happy tendency to bring the said war to a speedy and 
favorable issue ; and it being the desire of these United 
States to form an alliance between them and the United 
Provinces of the Netherlands; know ye, therefore, that 
we, confiding in the integrity, prudence, and ability of the 


Honorable John Adams, have nominated, constituted, and 
appointed, and by these presents do nominate, constitute, 
and appoint him, the said John Adams, our Minister Pleni- 
potentiary, giving him full powers, general and special, to 
act in that quality, to confer, treat, agree, and conclude, with 
the person or persons vested with equal powers, by His ]Most 
Christian Majesty, and their High I\Iiglitinesses, the States- 
General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, of 
and concerning a Treaty of Alliance between His Most 
Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Nether- 
lands, and the United States of America; and whatever 
shall be so agreed and concluded for us, and in our name, 
to sign, and thereupon to make such treaty, convention, 
and agreements as he shall judge comformable to the ends 
we have in view ; hereby promising, in good faith, that we 
will accept, ratify, and execute, whatever shall be agreed, 
concluded, and signed by him our said ]\linister. 

In witness whereof we have caused these presents to be 
signed by our President, and sealed with his seal. 

Done at Philadelphia, this sixteenth day of August, in 
the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 
eightyone, and in the sixth year of our independence, by 
the United States in Congress assembled. 

THOMAS M'KEAN, President. 


Amsterdam, November 25tli, 1781. 

I have the honor to enclose to your Excellency a copy 
of the fresh instructions of Congress of the 16th of Aug- 
ust last, which I received by the post on the 23d instant. 


I have also received a I'uriher commission from Congress, 
with full powers to confer, treat, agree, and conclude, with 
the person or persons vested with equal powers by His 
Most Christian Majesty, and their High Mightinesses, the 
States-General of the United Provinces of the Nether- 
lands, of and concerning a Treaty of Alliance between His 
Most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Neth- 
erlands, and the United States of America. 

This measure was apparently concerted between the 
Congress and the French Minister residing near them, and 
seems to be very happily adapted to the present times and 

I beg leave to assure your Excellency, that I shall be at 
all times ready to attend you, at the Hague, or elsewhere, 
to confer with you, in the most entire confidence, respect- 
ing this negotiation, and shall take no material step in it, 
without your approbation and advice. 

There are three ways of proposing this business to their 
High Mightinesses ; 1st, your Excellency may alone pro- 
pose it in the name of His Most Christian Majesty ; 2dly, 
it may be proposed jointly by the Minister of his Majesty, 
and the Minister of the United States; or 3dly, it may 
be proposed by the Minister of the United States alone, 
and as a consequence of his former proposal of a Treaty 
of Commerce. I beg leave to submit these three mea- 
sures to your Excellency's consideration, and shall very 
cheerfully comply with any, which you may most approve. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Amsterdam, November 26th, 1781. 


By the last post, I received from L'Orient a set of fresh 
instructions from Congress, dated the 16th of August, and 
with the more pleasure, as I am enjoined to open a corres- 
pondence with your Excellency upon the subject of them. 

I presume you have a copy by the same vessel ; but as 
it is possible it may have been omitted, I shall venture to 
enclose a copy, and hope it may pass unopened. I have 
communicated it to the French Ambassador here, who says 
it is ^'tres bien vu ; tres bien combine." I shall take no 
step in it, without his knowledge and approbation. I shall 
hope for your Excellency's communications as soon as con- 

The Dutch have an inclination to ally themselves to 
France and America, but they have many v/himsical fears, 
and are much embarrassed with party quarrels. In time, 
I hope, they will agree better with one another, and see 
their true interests more clearly. This measure of Con- 
gress is very well timed. 

I congratulate you on the glorious news of the surrender 
of Cornwallis. Some are of opinion it will produce a Con- 
gress at Vienna ; but I cannot be of that sentiment. The 
English must have many more humiliations before they 
will agree to meet us upon equal terms, or upon any 
terras, that we can approve. 

What is the true principle of the policy of Spain, in de- 
laying so long to declare themselves explicitly ? Her de- 
lay has a bad effect here. 

Mr Dana has been gone northward these four months, but 


T have no letters from him. Whether the post is unfaith- 
ful, or whether he chooses to be talked about as little as 
possible at present, which I rather suspect, I do not know. 
My respects to Mr Carmichael, and to your family, if 
you j)lease. 

With great esteem. Sic. 



Amsterdam, November 26th, 1781. 


I presume you have a copy from Congress of their in- 
structions to me of the 1 6th of August ; but, as it is possi- 
ble it may be otherwise, I have enclosed one. I have com- 
municated ihetn to the Due de la Vauguyon. I shall do 
nothing in the business without communicating it before- 
hand to him, with the most entire confidence, and receiving 
his approbation and advice. He informs me, that he has 
not yet received any instructions from his Court respecting 

These instructions liave arrived at a very proper time to 
counteract another insidious trick of the British Ministry, 
in agreeing to the mediation of Russia l"or a separate peace 
with Holland. 

With unfeigned joy I congratulate your Excellency on 
the glorious news of the surrender of Cornwallis to the 
arms of the allies. How easy a thing would it be to bring 
this war to a happy conclusion, if Spain and Holland would 
adopt the system of France, and co-operate in it with tiic 
same honor and sincerity. There is nothing wanting but a 
constant naval superiority in the West Indies, and on the 
coast of the United Stales, to obtain triumphs upon tri- 


umphs over the English, in all quarters of the globe. The 
allies now carry on the war in America with an infinite 
advantage over the English, whose infatuation, neverthe- 
less, will continue to make them exhaust themselves there, 
to the neglect of all their possessions in other parts of the 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, November 28th, 1781. 


I had the honor to write to 3^ou on the 26th instant by the 
post, a conveyance which I am determined to try until I 
am certainly informed of its infidelity ; in which case I will 
ask the favor of the French or Spanish Ambassador, to en- 
close my despatches. 

I received, by the last post, a duplicate of despatches 
from Congress, the originals of which I received some time 
ago. I presume you have received the same from Con- 
gress, or from Passy ; but, if otherwise, I will enclose in a 
future letter a commission and instructions for assisting at 
the conferences for peace, at Vienna or elsewhere, when- 
ever they may take place. In this commission, Congress 
have added Mr Franklin, President Laurens, your Excel- 
lency, and Mr Jefferson ; a measure which has taken off 
my mind a vast load, which, if I had ever at any time ex- 
pected I should be called to sustain alone, would have been 
too heavy for my forces. 

The capture of Cornwallis and his army is the most 
masterly measure, both in the conception and exocuiion, 
which has been tak^n this war. When Franc? a-);! Spr;iii 
VOL. vr. 26 V 


shall consider the certain triumphant success, which will 
ever attend them while they maintain a naval superior- 
ity in the West Indies and on the coast of \orth Amer- 
ica, it is to be hoped, they will never depart from that 
policy. Many here are of opinion, that this event will 
bring peace ; but I am not of that mind, although it is very 
true that there are distractions in the British Cabinet, a 
formidable faction against Lord G. Germain, and, it is said, 
the Bedford party are determined to move for peace. 

Our late triuuiphs have had an effect here. 1 have re- 
ceived several visits of congratulation, in consequence of 
them, from persons of consequence, from whom I did not 
ex[)ect them. But they are invisible fairies, who discon- 
cert in the night all the operations of the patriots in the 

There will, probably, be a proposal soon of a triple alli- 
ance between France, America, and Holland. If Spain 
would join, and make it quadruple, it would be so much 
the belter. 

General Green's last action in South Carolina, in conse- 
quence of which, that State and Georgia have both re-es- 
tablished their governments, is quite as glorious for the 
American arms as the capture of Cornwallis. The action 
was supported, even by the militia, with a noble constancy. 
The victory on our side was complete, and the English lost 
twelve hundred men. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Amsterdam, December 4th, 1781. 


I have received those instructions, with which I was 
honored by Congress on the 16lh of August, and com- 
nuinicated them forthwith to the French Ambassador, to 
their High I\Jightinesses, and to the American Ministers at 
Versailles and Madrid.* The Due de la Vauguyon was 
of opinion, that they were very well considered and very 
well timed, to counteract another trait of Brilish policy, in 
agreeing to the mediation of Russia for a separate peace 
Avith Holland. The British iNlinistry mean only to aid the 
stocks, and lull the Dutch. 

There is no longer any talk of a Congress at Vienna. 
The late news of General Washington's^ triumphs in Vir- 
ginia, and of the friendly and effectual aid of the Counts 
de Rochambeau and de Grasse, have niade a great im- 
pression here, and all over Europe. I shall punctually ob- 
serve my instructions, and consult in perfect confidence 
with the Due de la Vauguyon, in the execution of my late 
commission. A quadruple alliance, for the duration of the 
war, would, probably, soon bring it to a conclusion ; but 
the Dutch are so indolent, so divided, so animated with 
party spirit, and above all so entirely in the power of their 
Chief, that it is very certain that they will take the propo- 
sition ad referendum immediately, and then deliberate 
upon it a long time. 

This nation is not blind ; it is bound and cannot get 

* For these instructions, and Mr Adams' new commission to form a 
treaty of alliance with tlie United Provinces, see the Secret Journals of 
Congress, Vol. II. pp. 470, 472. 

204 JOilN ADAMS. 

loose. There is great reason to I'ear, that they will be 
held inactive, until they are wholly ruined. Cornwallis' 
fate, however, has somewhat emboldened them, and I have 
received unexpected visits of congratulation from several 
persons of note ; and there are appearances of a grow- 
ing interest in favor of an alliance with France and 
America. If I were now to make the proposition, I think 
it would have a great effect. 1 must, however, wait for 
the approbation of the Duke, and he, perhaps, for instruc- 
tions from Versailles, and, indeed, a little delay will per- 
haps do no harm, but give opportunity to prepare the way. 
The general cry at this time in pamphlets and public 
papers, is for an immediate connexion with France and 

The consent of Zealand is expected immediately to the 
loan of five millions for his Most Christian Majesty. My 
loan rests as it was, at a few thousand guilders, which, by 
the advice of Dr Franklin, I reserve for the relief of our 
countrymen, who escape from prison in England in distress. 
1 have ordered a hundred pounds for President Laurens 
in the Tower, at the earnest solicitation of his daughter, 
who is in France, and of some of his friends in England ; 
but for further supplies have referred them to Dr Frank- 
lin. I some time since had an intimation that the British 
Ministry were endeavoring to form secret contracts with 
traitorous Americans to supply the masts for the royal 
navy. According to my information, the British naviga- 
tion in all parts of the world is at present distressed for 
masts, especially those of the largest size. Congress will 
take such measures as to their wisdom shall appear proper 
to prevent Americans from this wicked and infamous com- 
merce. I wrote to Dr Franklin upon the subject, who 


communicated my letter, as I requested, at Court, and his 
Excellency supposes that the Count de Vergennes will 
write to Congress, or to the Chevalier de la Luzerne upon 
the suhject. 

The Continental goods left here by Commodore Gillon, 
are detained for freight and damages, and very unjustly as 
1 conceive. I am doing all in my power to obtain pos- 
session of them, and send them to America, or dispose of 
them here, at as little loss as possible, according to the 
desire and advice of Dr Franklin. It is not necessary to 
trouble Congress to read a volume of letters upon the sub- 
ject of these goods. All that can be done by me, has 
been and shall be done to save the public interest. This 
piece of business has been managed as ill as any that has 
ever been done for Congress in Europe, whether it is 
owing to misfortune, want of skill, or anything more disa- 

The Court of Russia does not at present appear to be 
acting that noble part, which their former conduct gave 
cause to expect. Mr Dana is at Petersburg, but he pru- 
dently avoids writing. If he sees no prospect of advan- 
tage in staying there, he will be very silent, I believe, 
and not stay very long. 

1 have the honor to be, he. 




The Hague, December 7tli, 1781. 

I have received the letter you did me the honor to 
write me, and the copy of the resolutions of Congress, of 


the 16th of August last. 1 flatter myself, that you will not 
doubt of my zeal to concert with you the ulterior measures, 
which they may require, as soon as the King has author- 
ised me. But until his Majesty has transmitted to me his 
orders on this point, I can only repeat to you the assuran- 
ces of my zeal for everything interesting to the common 
cause of France and North America, and the peculiar sat- 
isfaction I shall derive from my connexions with you in all 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, December 13th, 1781. 


The answer of my Lord Stormont to M. Simolin is as 

"The alliance, which has subsisted so many years be- 
tween Great Britain and the Slates-General, has always been 
considered by his Majesty as a connexion founded on the 
most natural relations, and which was not only conformable 
to the interests of the two nations, but as essential to their 
mutual well-being. The King has done everything on his 
part to maintain these connexions and to strengthen them ; 
and if the conrluct of their High Mightinesses had been an- 
swerable to that of his Majesty, they would have subsisted 
at this hour in all their force. But from the commence- 
ment of the present troubles, the single return with which 
the Republic has requited the constant friendship of the 
King, has been the renunciation of the principles of an alli- 
ance, the primary object of which was the mutual defence 
of the two nations ; an obstinate refusal to fulfil the most 


sacred obligations ; a daily violation of the most solemn 
treaties ; an assistance given to those very enemies against 
whom the King had a right to demand succor ; an asylum 
granted to American pirates in the ports of Holland, in 
public violation of the clearest stipulations; and to fill up 
the measure, a denial of justice and of satisfaction for the 
affront offered to the dignity of the King by a secret league 
with his rebel subjects. 

"All these accumulated grievances have not permitted 
the King to act any other part, than that which he has taken 
with the most sensible reluctance. When we laid before 
the public the motives which had rendered this rupture in- 
evitable, the King attributed the conduct of the Republic 
to its true cause, viz. the unfortunate influence of a faction, 
which sacrificed the interest of the nation to private views ; 
but the King at the same time manifested the sincerest de- 
sire to be able to draw back the Republic to a system of 
strict union, efficacious alliance and reciprocal protection, 
which has so greatly contributed to the well-being and to 
the glory of the two nations. 

"When the Empress of Russia offered her good offices 
to effectuate a reconciliation by a particular peace, the 
King testified his gratitude for this fresh proof of a friend- 
ship, which is to him so precious, and avoided to expose 
the mediation of her Majesty to the danger of a fruidess 
negotiation ; he explained the reasons which convinced 
him, that in the then prevailing disposition of the Republic, 
governed by a faction, any reconciliation during the war 
with France, would be but a reconciliation in appearance, 
and would give to the party which rule in the Republic, an 
opportunity to re-assume the part of a secret auxiliary of 
all the King's enemies, under the mask of a feigned alii- 


ance with Great Britain. But if there are certain indica- 
tions of an alteration in this disposition j if the powerful in- 
tervention of her Imperial Majesty can accomplish this 
change, and reclaim the Republic to principles, which the 
wisest part of the nation has never abandoned ; his Majesty 
will be ready to treat of a separate peace with their High 
Mightinesses ; and he hopes that the Empress of all the 
Russias may be the sole mediatrix of this peace. She 
was the first to offer her good offices ; and an intervention 
so efficacious and so powerful as her's, cannot gain in 
weight and influence by the accession of the most respect-' 
able allies. The friendship of the Empress towards the 
two nations, the interest which her empire has in their re- 
ciprocal welfare, her known impartiality, and her elevated 
views, are so many securities for the manner in which she 
will conduct this salutary work, and in a negotiation, which 
has for its end the termination of a war, caused by the 
violation of treaties, and an affront offered to the Crown of 
a King, his Majesty refers himself with equal satisfaction 
and confidence to the mediation of a Sovereign, who holds 
sacred the faith of treaties, who knows so well the value of 
the dignity of Sovereigns, and who has maintained her 
own, during her glorious reign, with so much firmness and 

Thus the mediation of Russia is accepted, and that of 
Sweden and Denmark refused. The instructions of Con- 
gress and their new commission of last August are arrived 
in most happy time, to counteract this insidious manoeuvre, 
and I hope the Due de la Vauguyon will receive his in- 
structions on the same subject before it be loo late. 
1 have the honor to bo, &c. 




Amsterdam, December 14th, 1781. 


The first public body, which has proposed a connexion 
with the United States, is the Quarter of Oostergo, in the 
Province of Friesland. The proposition is in these words; 

"Every impartial patriot has a long time perceived, that 
in the direction of affairs relative to this war with England, 
there has been manifested an inconceivable lukewarmness 
and sloth ; but they discover themselves still more at this 
moment, by the little inclination which in general the Re- 
gencies of the Belgic Provinces testify to commence a 
treaty of commerce and friendship with the new Republic 
of the Thirteen United States of North America ; and to 
contract engagements, at least during the continuance of this 
common war with the Crowns of France and Spain. Never- 
theless, the necessity of these measures appears clearly, 
since according to our judgments, nothing was more natu- 
ral, nor more conformable to sound policy, founded upon 
the laws of nature the most precise, than that this Repub- 
lic immediately after the formal declaration of war by the 
English, (not being yet able to do anything by military ex- 
ploits, not being in a state of defence sufficiently respecta- 
ble to dare at sea to oppose one fleet or squadron to our 
perfidious enemy,) should have commenced by acknowl- 
edging, by a public declaration, the independence of North 

"This would have been from that time the greatest step 
to the humiliation of England, and our own re-establish- 
ment, and by this measure, tho Republic would have 
proved her firm resolution to act with vigor. Every one 
VOL. VI. 27 


of our inhabitants, all Europe, who have their eyes fixed 
upon us, the whole world expected, with just reason, this 
measure from the Republic. It is true, that before the 
formal declaration of war by England, one might perhaps 
have alleged some plausible reasons to justify in some de- 
gree the backwardness in this great and interesting affair. 
But, as at present Great Britain is no longer our secret, 
but our declared enemy, which dissolves all the connexions 
between the two nations ; and as it is the duty not only of 
all the Regencies, but also of all the citizens of this Repub- 
lic to reduce by all imaginable annoyances this enemy, so 
unjust to reason, and to force him if possible, to conclude 
an honorable peace ; why should we hesitate any longer 
to strike, by this measure so reasonable, the most sensible 
blow to the common enemy ? Will not this delay occasion 
a suspicion, that we prefer the interest of our enemy, to 
that of our country ? North America, so sensibly offended 
by the refusal of her offer ; France and Spain, in the midst 
of a war supported with activity, must tliey not regard us 
as the secret friends and favorers of their and our com- 
mon enemy ? Have they not reason to conclude from it, 
that our inaction ought to be less attributed to our weak- 
ness, than to our affection for England ? Will not this opin- 
ion destroy all confidence in our nation heretofore so re- 
nowned in this respect ? And our allies, at this time natural, 
must they not imagine, that it is better to have in us de- 
clared enemies, than pretended friends ; and shall we not 
be involved in a ruinous war, which we might have ren- 
dered advantageous, if it had been well directed ? 

"While, on the other hand, it is evident that by a new 
connexion with the States of North America, by engage- 
ments at least during this war with France and Spain, 


we shall obtain not only the confidence of these formidable 
powers instead of their distrust, but by this means we shall, 
moreover, place our Colonies in safety against every insult ; 
we shall have a well-grounded hope of recovering with the 
aid of the allied powers, our lost possessions, if the Eng- 
lish should make themselves masters of them, and our 
commerce, at present neglected and so shamefully pillaged, 
would reassume a new vigor, considering that in such case 
as it is manifestly proved by solid reasons, this Republic 
would derive from this commerce the most signal advan- 
tages. But since our interest excites us forcibly to act in 
concert with the enemies of our enemy ; since the Thirteen 
United States of NoVth America invited us to it long ago ; 
since France appears inclined to concert her military ope- 
rations with ours, although this power has infinitely less in- 
terest to ally itself with us, whose weakness manifests itself 
in so palpable a manner than we are to form an alliance 
the most respectable in the universe ; it is indubitably the 
duty of every regency to promote it with all its forces, and 
with all the celerity imaginable. 

"To this effect we have thought it our duty to lay before 
your Noble Mightinesses, in the firm persuasion that the 
zeal of your Noble Mightinesses will be as earnest as ours, 
to concur to the accomplishment of this point, which is for 
us of the greatest importance ; that consequently, your 
Noble jMightinesses will not delay to co-operate with us, 
that upon this important object there may be made to their 
High Mightinesses a proposition so vigorous, that it may 
have the desired success ; and that this affair, of an im- 
portance beyond all expression for our common country, 
may be resolved and decided by unanimous suffrages, and 
in preference to every particular interest." 

212 Jt)HN ADAMS. 

M. Van der Capellan de Marscli was the first individual 
who ventured to propose in public a treaty with the United 
States, and the Quarter of Oostergo the first public 
body. This, indeed, is but a part of one branch of the 
sovereignty. But these motions will be honored by pos- 
terity. The whole Republic must follow. It is necessi- 
tated to it by a mechanism, as certain as clockwork ; but 
its operations are and will be studiously and zealously 
slow. It will be a long time before the measure can be 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amsteidani, December IStli, 1781. 


Having received an invitation to the Hague, in order to 
have some conversation with some gentlemen in the gov- 
ernment, concerning the further steps proper for me to 
take in the present conjuncture, I had determined to have 
undertaken the journey today ; but the arrival in town of 
the Due de la Vauguyon, determined me to postpone it 
until tomorrow. 

At noon, today, his Excellency did me the honor of a 
visit, and a long conversation upon the state of affairs at my 
house. He informed me, that upon the communication I 
had made to him, when he was here last, in person, and 
afterwards by letter, of my new commission and instruc- 
tions, he had written to the Count de Vergennes ; that he 
had explained to that Minister his own sentiments, and ex- 
pected an answer. His own idea is, that I should go to 


the Hague in some week, when there is a President whose 
sentiments and disposition are favorable, and demand an 
answer to my former proposition, and afterwards, lliat I 
should go round to the cities of Holland, and apply to the 
several Regencies. 

He thinks that I may now assume a higher tone, which 
the late Cornwallization will well warrant. I shall, how- 
ever, take care not to advance too fast, so as to be unable to 
retreat. His advice is, to go to the Hague tomorrow, and 
meet the gentlemen who wish to see me there ; this I 
shall do. 

I have been very happy hitherto, in preserving an entire 
good understanding with this Minister, and nothing shall 
ever be wanting on my part, to deserve his confidence and 

I have transmitted by two opportunities, one by Captain 
Trowbridge, from hence, another by Dr Dexter by the 
way of France, despatches from Mr Dana, at Petersburg, 
by which Congress will perceive that material advantages 
will arise from that gentleman's residence in that place, 
whether he soon communicates his mission to that Court 
or not. 

The English papers, which I forward by this opportu- 
nity, will inform Congress of the state of things and parties 
in England. The Ministry talk of a new system. Per- 
haps they may attempt Rhode Island once more in ex- 
change for Charleston, and try their skill in intercepting 
our trade. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




The Hague, December 19th, 1781. 


It has been insimiated to me, that the Spanish Ambassa- 
dor here lias instructions from his Court to enter into a 
negotiation with their High Mightinesses, concerning an 
alliance between Spain and the Republic. If this fact has 
come to your Excellency's knowledge, and there is no 
inconvenience nor iinpropriety in communicating it to me, 
I should be very much obliged to you for the information ; 
not from curiosity merely, but for my government, in the 
steps I may have to take. 

By my late instructions, of which your Excellency has 
a copy, I am to inform myself concerning the progress of 
American negotiations at the Court of Spain, and, if an 
alliance shall have been entered into between his Catholic 
Majesty and the United States, to invite his Catholic Ma- 
jesty into the alliance proposed between France, their High 
Mightinesses, and the Congress. If no such alliance shall 
have been formed, to receive his Catholic IMajesty, should 
he manifest a disposition to become a party, &;c. 

Congress have wisely enjoined it upon me, to confer in 
the most confidential manner with your Excellency, and I 
have made it a law to myself, to take no material step in 
this negotiation without your approbation ; but my instruc- 
tions seem to make it necessary to take some measures, at 
least, to sound the disposition of the Spanish Ambassador. 
I would, therefore, beg leave to propose to your considera- 
tion, and to request your opinion, wliether you think it 
advisable for me to do myself the honor of making a visit 
to the Spanish Ambassador, and communicating to him 
the substance of my instructions, as far as it relates to the 


Court of Madrid ; or whether it would be better to com- 
municate it by letter ; or whether your Excellency will be 
so good as to take upon yourself this communication, and 
inform me of the result of it ? 

1 am advised here to wait on the President of their High 
Mightinesses as soon as possible, and demand a categorical 
answer to my former proposition, and then to wait on the' 
Grand Pensionary and Mr Secretary Fagel, and, in turn, 
upon the Pensionaries of all the cities of Holland, to inform 
them of the demand made to the President. But I sub- 
mit to your consideration, whether it will not be expedient to 
communicate the project of a triple or quadruple alliance, 
to some confidential members of the States ; as to the Pen- 
sionary of Port, Haerlem, and Amsterdam, for example, 
with permission to them to communicate it, where they 
shall think it necessary, in order to give more weight to my 
demand ? 

The Court of Great Britain are manifestly availing them- 
selves of the mediation of Russia, in order to amuse this 
Republic, and restrain it from exerting itself in the war, 
and forming connexions with the other belligerent powers, 
without-intending to make peace with her upon any condi- 
tions, which would not be ruinous to her. It is, therefore, 
of the last importance to Holland, as well as of much con- 
sequence to the other belligerent powers, to draw her out 
of the snare, which one should think might be now easily 
done by a proposition of a triple or quadruple alliance. 

Tomorrow morning at ten, 1 propose to do myself the 
honor of waiting on your Excellency, if that hour is agree- 
able, in order to avail myself more particularly of your 
sentiments upon these points. 

In the meantime, I have the honor to be, &lc. 





The Hague, December 20th, 1781. 

I have received the letter you did me the honor to ad- 
dress me. I shall be impatient to converse with you on 
the subject to which it relates, and shall expect to see you 
at ten o'clook tomorrow morning, as you desire. 

Receive, Sir, my renewed assurances of the profound 
respect with which I have the honor to be, &cc. 



Amsterdam, December 25th, 1781. 


There has appeared an ulterior declaration, in addition 
to the ordinances of the 30th of April and the 3d of Novem- 
ber, concerning the navigation and the maritime commerce 
of the subjects of Prussia during the present war. 

"The ordinances, which the King has caused to be pub- 
lished of the 30th of April and 3d of November of this 
year, have, in truth, already prescribed to the subjects of 
his Majesty, the manner in which they ought, for their 
greatest safety, to direct their navigation and their com- 
merce ; nevertheless, as several doubts have arisen in this 
re<^ard, his Majesty, in order to obviate them, and to direct 
his subjects who trade by sea, has thought fit to establish, 
ordain, and declare, as follows. 

"Article i. It cannot be doubted, and it is under- 
stood, that the Prussian vessels, which have put to sea be- 
fore the publication of the ordinance of the 3d of Novem- 


ber, and which, by consequence, could not be furnished 
with passports expedited by the Minister of foreign affairs, 
which are therein prescribed, cannot be taken or molested, 
by reason of the want of such passports, but that the pass- 
ports heretofore in use, which they have taken at their de- 
parture, ought to have^ until their return, their force and 
value, and to procure them, until that time, a sufficient se- 
curity. To remove, however, still more effectually, all 
difficulties, which might exist in this regard, the obligation 
to furnish themselves with immediate passports from Ber- 
lin, is not to commence until after the 1st of January, 
1 782, to the end that every one may have time to take his 
mea^res in consequence. 

"Art. II. It is repeated and ordained, that small 
vessels, which do not carry more than fifty lasts, as well as 
those which navigate only in the Baltic Sea, and in the 
North Sea, and which do not pass the Channel, which sep- 
arates France and England, are not obliged, at least jf 
they do not themselves think it proper, to take passports 
from Berlin ; but to gain time, it is permitted to them to 
take them as heretofore, at their convenience, from the 
Admiralties, the Chambers of War, and of the Domains of 
each Province, and from the magistrates of the cities. In 
consequence of which, it is ordained to these Colleges 
in the most express manner, not to grant these passports 
but to the real and actual subjects of the King, with the 
greatest precaution, providing carefully against all abuses 
which may be made of them, and observing strictly the 
ordinances published upon this object. The end which 
his Majesty proposed to himself in publishing the declara- 
tion ol the 3d of November, hns been, and is, singly, to 
procure to Prussian vessels, wliiclj navigate beyond the 
vol., vr. 28 


Channel in the ocean or the Atlantic Sea, and which carry 
their commerce into these distant seas and regions, a safety 
so much the greater against all prejudicial accidents, in 
causing to be expedited to them passports by his IMinister 
of Foreign Affairs, who, by his knowledge of the stale of 
public affairs, is the most in a condition to take the neces- 
sary precautions. 

"Art. III. Tiie navigators, not being able to send to 
Berlin complete bills of lading of the cargoes of their 
vessels, before they are entirely loaded, there is not required 
of those who have occasion for immediate passports of the 
Court, any other thing, except that they produce certifi- 
cates, and general attestations from the Admiralties, the 
Chambers of Domains, or the magistrates of the cities, 
concerning the property of the vessel, and when the pass- 
port should express also the cargo, concerning the quality 
of the cargo, that is to say, in what it consists ; which is 
sufficient to judge, whether the merchandises are lawful, 
and whether the passports requested can be granted. The 
bills of lading, and complete and specific attestations of 
the quantity of each merchandise may be expedited as 
heretofore, in the usual manner, to places where the load- 
ing is made by the Admiralties, the Chambers of Finan- 
ces, or the magistrates of the cities. 

"Art. IV. In the ordinance of the 30th of April, his 
Majesty has been pleased, to encourage his subjects to the 
national commerce, to advise ihem to engage in maritime 
commerce as much as possible upon their own account, 
and with their own merchandises ; and it has been estab- 
lished in consequence, in the declaration of the 3d of 
Noveiriber, that to obtain passports from the Court, it was 
necessary to prove, by requisite certificates, that the owners 


both of the vessel and the cargo were Prussian subjects ; 
nevertheless, all this was done properly in the form of 
advice, and to render them so much the more attentive to 
the precautions which they ought to take ; it is not, for 
this the less free and lawful to the subjects of the King, 
who have obtained requisite passports, to transport also in 
their vessels, in conformity to the ordinance of the 30th of 
April, to places and ports which are not besieged, nor 
close blocked, merchandises and effects belonging to for- 
eign nations, and even to belligerent nations, provided that 
these merchandises are of the nature of those, which, ac- 
cording to the 2d article of the declaration of the 30th of 
April, and conformably to the customs and rights of 
nations, are permitted and not of contraband ; his Majesty 
will not fail to protect them in such cases according to the 
principles which he has adopted and established in this re- 
gard with other powers, allies, and friends, and he has 
judged necessary to declare all which goes before, for 
preventing all abusive interpretation of the declaration of 
the 3d of November. 

"Art. v. The captains and commanders of Prussian 
vessels ought, when they arrive in ports or places, where 
reside consuls of the King, to present to them their pass- 
ports, and demand of them attestations, which certify that 
their vessels are still furnished with passports expedited to 

"Art, VI. The commanders of these vessels would do 
well also, to take with them the ordinances of the 30th of 
April and the 3d of November, and the present declara- 
tion, to follow so much the belter the precepts of it, and to 
be able, in case of need, to show them, and justify their 
conduct by them. Nevertheless, those two ordinances, as 


well as ibis, whicli renews them, and serves lo explain 
ihem, have not been published but for the direction of 
Prussian subjects, who exercise navigation and maritime 
commerce ; and in cases even where they may fail in 
some point of their observation, and where they may not 
be furnished with passports requisite, they are not respon- 
sible for their negligence, but to his Majesty, their lawful 
sovereign, and the commanders of armed vessels of the 
belligerent powers cannot think themselves authorised 
thereby to stop them, or to take them, when they have not 
acted openly in a manner contrary to the principles of the 
maritime neutrality, adopted by his Majesty. 

"Given at Berlin, the 8th of December, 1781, by ex- 
press order of the King. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, December 25tli, 1781. 


On the 1 1th of September, Lord Stormont delivered to 
the Baron de Noleken, Envoy of Sweden, the following 
notification of the refusal of the mediation of the Court of 
Stockholm, and the acceptation of that of Russia. 

"The conservation of the public tranquillity has been the 
first object of the care of his Majesty, during the whole 
course of his reign. The commencement of this reign 
has been signalised by the return of peace. The King has 
made great sacrifices to procure this blessing to humanity, 
and he had reason to flatter himself, that, by this raodera- 


tion in the midst of victory, lie was establishing the public 
tranquillity upon solid and durable foundations ; but these 
hopes have been disappointed, and these foundations have 
been shaken by the ambitious policy of the Court of Ver- 
sailles. This Court, after having secretly fomented the 
rebellion enkindled in America, has leagued herself openly 
with the rebel subjects of his Majesty ; and by this viola- 
tion of the public faith, by this direct act of hostility, she 
began the war. 

"The conduct of the Republic of Holland, during the 
whole course of this war, has excited a general indigna- 
tion. This nation presents itself under an aspect very dif- 
ferent from that of a nation simply commercial. It is a 
respectable power, connected for a long time with Great 
Britain by the strictest alliance. The principal object of 
this alliance was their common safety, and especially their 
mutual protection against the ambitious designs of a dan- 
gerous neighbor, which their united efforts have so often 
defeated, to their mutual prosperity, and that of all Eu- 

"The desertion of all the principles of this alliance, 
which the King on his part had constantly maintained ; an 
obstinate refusal to fulfil the most sacred engagements ; a 
daily infraction of the most sacred treaties ; succors fur- 
nished to those very enemies, against whom the King had 
a right to demand succor ; an asylum and protection 
granted in the ports of Holland to American pirates, in 
direct violation of stipulations, the most clear and the most 
precise; and, to fill up the measure, a denial of satisfaction 
and of justice, for the afiiont committed to the dignity of 
the King, by a clandestine league with his rebel subjects ; 
all these accumulated grievances have not left to the King 


any other part to take, than thai which he has taken with 
the most sensible reluctance. In laying before the public 
the reasons, which have rendered this rupture inevitable, 
his Majesty attributed the conduct of the Republic to its 
true cause, the fatal influence of a faction, which sacrificed 
the national interest to private views ; but the King has 
marked at the same time, the most sincere desire to draw 
back the Republic to the system of strict union, of effica- 
cious alliance, and of mutual protection, which has so 
much contributed to the prosperity and the glory of the 
two States. 

"When the Empress of all the Russias offered her good 
offices to effectuate a reconciliation by a separate peace, 
the King signifying his just gratitude for this new proof of 
a friendship, which is so precious to him, avoided to in- 
volve the mediation of her Imperial Majesty in a fruitless 
negotiation ; but at present, as there are certain indications 
of an alteration of disposition in the Republic, some marks 
of a desire to return to those principles, which the wisest 
part of the Batavian nation lias never forsaken, a negotia- 
tion for a separate peace between the King and their 
High Mightinesses, may be opened with some hopes of 
success under the mediation of the Empress of all the 
Russias, who was the first to offer her good offices for this 
salutary work. If his Majesty did not at first take advan- 
tage of it, it was because he had every reason to believe, 
that the Republic at that time sought only to amuse, by an 
insidious negotiation ; but the King would think, that he 
answered ill the sentiments, which dictated those first of- 
fers, and that he was wanting to those regards so justly due 
to her Imperial Majesty, and to the confidence, which she 
inspires, if he associated in this mediation any other, even 


that of an ally most respectable, and for whom the King 
has the sincerest friendship." 
I have the honor to be, &-c. 



Philadelphia, December 26th, 178L 


It is very long since we had the pleasure of hearing 
from you. Before this you will probably have received 
two letters of mine ; a duplicate of the last goes with this. 

Nothing material has happened since the date of that, 
except the evacuation of Wilmington, which was, as you 
know, a very important post, as it checked the trade of 
North Carolina, and kept up a dangerous connexion with 
almost the only tories on the Continent, who have shown 
spirit enough to support their principles openly. 

This new sacrifice by Britain of their partizans, con- 
spiring with that made by the capitulation of York, must 
open their eye?, and teach them what the experience of 
ages should have taught, that those friendships are weak, 
which arise from a fellowship in guilt. 

Our army, and the French troops are in quarters. The 
first in the Jerseys, and upon the Hudson river ; the last in 
Virginia. General Greene will be reinforced by about 
eighteen hundred men, under St Clair. The enemy 
are shut up in New York, Savannah, and Charleston, 
though I believe they may yet have one or two posts, near 
the latter, which they will keep till St Clair joins Greene. 
Count de Grasse is in the West Indies, with so formidable 
an armament as promises the most important successes, 
during the winter; when joined by the force, that has sailed 


from Brest, and so many of the Spanish fleet as are pre- 
pared to co-operate with him, he will have about fifty sail 
of tiie line under his command. 

I enclose several resolutions of Congress, which will 
convince you that their late successes have not rendered 
them supine or negligent. The spirit which animates them 
will pervade most of the States. I need not suggest to 
you, the use (hat should be made of this information. I 
am persuaded, that your own knowledge of the world, and 
the particular situation of the government you are* in, will 
direct you to the best means of rendering them useful to 
this country. I also enclose an ordinance relative to cap- 
tures and recaptures lately passed by Congress. You will 
observe, that it is formed upon the plan recommended by 
the armed neutrality. It does credit in diat view to our 
moderation. Perhaps the conduct of Britain, and the 
neglect of the neutral powers to enforce their own regida- 
tions, may render the policy of the measure doubtful. 
This, however, gives new force to the deductions drawn 
from it in favor of our moderation and justice. 

You will also observe, that it uses means to put an en- 
tire stop to all kind of commerce with Britain, or in British 
manufactures. In consequence of this, new habits and new 
fashions must be introduced. Wise nations will not neglect 
this favorable moment to render them subservient to tho 
interest of iheir own commerce and manufactures. This 
affords you a topic which need not be urged to enlarge 
upon. I :im very fearful that you will not fully understand 
the cyphers in which my last letters are written. I had 
them from the late committee of Foreign Affairs, though 
they say they never received any letters from you in them. 
iSIr [jovell has enclosed what he thinks mnv serve as au 


explanation. I would recommend it to you to write to me 
in M. Dumas's cypher, till I can send you, or you send 
me one, by a safe hand. Should you be at Paris, Dr 
Franklin has Dumas's cypher. 

And now, Sir, for all this American intelligence, let me 
receive from you a full return in European commodities of 
the like kind. I do not hesitate to impose this task upon 
you, because I know it is one diat you have never neg- 
lected, and that you are fully impressed with the idea of 
its importance to us. Among other things, I am persuaded 
Congress would wish to know die success of your loan, 
and your prospects ; the disposition of the government, and 
the strength of the Marine of the United Provinces; its 
objects and preparations for the ensuing campaign ; the 
negotiations which may be carrying on at present, either 
for peace or war ; the designs, finances^ and Marine of 
Russia. 1 shall also apply to Mr Dana for information on 
this subject, as it will be much more practicable to corres- 
pond with him through you, than to get letters to him at 
this season of the year from here, 1 shall, however, at- 
tempt both. 

I am too well acquainted with your industry and patriot- 
ism to think that you will repine at any trouble that this 
may give you. You know that Congress have a right to 
the fullest information from their Ministers, and that their 
Ministers have similar demands njX)n them. I shall endea- 
vor, as far as lies in my power, to satisfy the last in future, 
since that charge has devolved upon me. 

I enclose a number of newspapers that may aftbrd yon 
some information and amusement, and have the honor to 
be, Sir, &c. 

VOL. VI. 29 



Amsterdam, December 29ll), 1781. 

The Minister of the Court of Vienna has announced to 
their High Mightinesses, the accession of the Emperor to 
the armed neutrality, in the following manner. 


"The Emperor having been invited by her Imperial 
Majesty of all the Russias, to accede to the principles of 
neutrality, which have been laid down in her declaration of 
the 28th of February, 1780, transmitted to the belligerent 
powers, his Majesty has accepted of this invitation, so much 
the more willingly, as he is convinced of the justice and 
equity of these principles. In consequence, their Imperial 
Majesties have resolved between themselves, and caused to 
' be exchanged at St Petersburg, acts of accession on one 
part, and of acceptation on the other, of which the subscri- 
ber, Envoy Extraordinary, has the honor to transmit copies, 
by order of his Court, to their High Mightinesses, request- 
ing them to accept of this communication, as a fresh testi- 
mony which the Emperor is pleased to give them of his 
affection, and of his most perfect confidence. 

"His lujperial Majesty hopes that this step will be con- 
sidered as a new proof of his sincere and unalterable in- 
tentions to observe the strictest neutrality, and the most 
exact impartiality towards the belligerent powers. And as 
he has not ceased to give proofs of it through the whole 
course of this war, he flatters himself he shall be able to 
find in it suflicient pledges of that attention and regard, 


which he has a right to require in return on tlieir part ibr 
the rights and liberties of neutral nations. 

"Done at the Hague, this 11th day of December, 1781. 

The act of accession, presented with the foregoing note, 
is of the following tenor. 

"Joseph the Second, by the grace of God, &.c. having 
been invited amicably by her Majesty, the Empress of all 
the Russias, to concur with her in the consolidation of the 
principles of the neutrality upon the sea, tending to the 
maintenance of the liberty of t!ie maritime commerce, and 
of the navigation of neutral powers, which she has laid 
down in her declaration of the 28th of February, 1780, 
presented on her part to the belligerent powers, which 
principles imply in substance, 

"1. That neutral vessels may navigate freely from port 
to port, and upon the coasts of the nations at war ; 

"2. That effects belonging to the subjects of powers at 
war be free upon neutral vessels, excepting merchandises 
of contraband ; 

"3. That no merchandises be considered as such, but 
those enumerated in the tenth and eleventh articles of the 
Treaty of Commerce, concluded between Russia and 
Great Britain the 28th of June, 1766 ; 

"4. That to determine what characterises a port block- 
ed, this denomination is only to be given to that, where, 
by the disposition of the power, which attacks it, with 
vessels sufficiently near, there is an evident danger of 
entering ; 

"5. Finally, that these principles serve as rules in pro- 
ceedings and judgments concerning the legality of prizes. 


"And lier said Imperial Majesty of all the Russias, hav- 
ing proposed to us, to this effect, to manifest by a formal 
act of accession, not only our full adhesion to these same 
principles, but also our immediate concurrence in the mea- 
sures to assure the execution of them, that we would adopt 
on our part, by contracting reciprocally with her said Ma- 
jesty, the engagements and stipulations, following, viz. 

"I. That on one part and on the other, we will continue 
to observe the most exact neutrality, and will carry into the 
most rigorous execution the prohibitions declared against 
the commerce of contraband of their respective subjects, 
with any of the powers already at war, or which may enter 
into the war in the sequel ; 

"11. That if, in spite of all the cares employed to this 
effect, the merchant vessels of one of the two powers 
should be taken, or insulted, by any vessels whatsoever of 
the belligerent powers, the complaints of the injured power 
shall be supported in the most efficacious manner by the 
other; and that, if they refuse to render justice upon these 
complaints, they shall concert immediately upon the most 
proper manner of procuring it by just reprisals ; 

"III. That if it should happen, that one or the other of 
the two powers, or both together, on occasion, or in resent- 
ment of this present agreement, should be disturbed, mo- 
lested, or attacked, in such case they shall make common 
cause between themselves for their mutual defence, and 
labor in concert to procure themselves a full and entire 
satisfaction, both for the insult offered to their flag, and for 
the losses caused to their subjects ; 

"IV. That these stipulations shall be considered on one 
part, and on the other, as permanent, and as making a rule, 
whenever it shall come in question to determine the rights 
of neutrality; 


"V. That the two powers shall communicate amicably 
their present mutual concert to all the powers who are 
actually at war. 

"We, willing, by aa eifect of the sincere Iriendship, 
which happily unites us to her Majesty, the En)press of all 
the Russias, as well as for the well-being of Europe in 
general, and of our countries and subjects in particular, to 
contribute on our part to the execution of views, of prin- 
ciples, and measures, as salutary as they are conformable 
to the most evident notions of the law of nations, have 
resolved to 'accede to them, as we do formally accede to 
them, in virtue of the present act, promising and engaging 
solemnly, as her Imperial Majesty of all the Russias en- 
gages herself to us, to observe, execute, and warrant all 
the foregoing points and stipulations. In faith of which, 
we have signed these presents with our own hand, and 
have hereto affixed our seal. 

"Given at Vienna, the 9th of October, 1781. 

The Prince de Gallitzin has notified the acceptation of 
Russia nearly in the same words. By the fifth article 
the two Imperial Courts ought to notify diis to Congress, 
for it is most certain that the United States are one of the 
powers actually at war. Whether they will or no, time 
must discover ; but by the articles, to serve as a basis of 
peace at the proposed Congress at Vienna, these two 
Courts have certainly acknowledged the American Colo- 
nies to be a power at war, and a power sufficiently free to 
appear at Vienna, and make peace with Great Britain. 

The confederation for the liberty of navigation of neutral 
nations, is now one of the most formidable that ever was 
formed in the world. The only question is, whether it is 


tiot loo complicated and various lo be managed to effect. 
The conduct of the Empress of Russia towards this Re- 
public, and especially in offering her mediation for a sepa- 
rate peace between England and Holland, has excited 
some jealousies of her sincerity or her constancy. But I 
think it will appear in the end, that she intends that Hol- 
land shall enjoy the full benefit of this confederation, which 
will effectually deprive England of that sovereignty of the 
sea, which she so presumptuously claims and boasts. But 
if it should appear, which I do not expect, that the Em- 
press should advise the Dutch to give up the right of car- 
rying naval stores, after the example of Denmark, her glory 
will suffer no small diminution, and I presume that Hol- 
land, humble as she is, will not submit to it, but make im- 
mediately common cause with the enemies of her enemy. 

I have the honor to be, Sic. 




Versailles, December 30th, 1781. 


You desired that on my arrival at Versailles, I should 
communicate to the Count de Vergennes your disposition 
to adopt the measure you have been advised to pursue by 
several well disposed members of the States of Holland, 
and that 1 should at the same time make known to him 
your determination not to take that step without his appro- 

The Minister directs me to inform you, that he sees no 
objection to the visit, which you wish to make to the Piesi- 


dent of the Assembly of the States-General, to the Minis- 
ters of the Republic, and to the deputies of the principal 
cities of the Province of Holland, provided that, without 
leaving with either of them any official writing, you limit 
yourself to the inquiry, whether the memorial, which you 
transmitted to them several months since has been made 
the subject of deliberation by their High Mightinesses, and 
what answer you may communicate to the Congress of 
the United States of North America. 

I do not know the precise time of my return to the 
Hague, but see no reason to suppose that my absence will 
be longer than I expected. 

Receive, Sir, my renewed assurance of the profound 
respect with which I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Philadelphia, January ytli, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

I write merely to put you on your guard against any 
falsehood the enemy may think it necessary to publish 
about the time of opening their budget. All is well here. 
There has been no action to the southward. Many of the 
tories in North Carolina, enraged at being deserted, have 
joined our army, and, as is said, executed some of their 
leaders. The enemy have drawn all their troops into 
Ciiarleston, and our advanced parties are as low down as 
Haddell's point. 

I congratulate you upon the brilliant expedition of the 
Marquis de Bouille. It does him the highest honor, and 
his stibsequent conduct forms such a contrast to that of the 


English, as must, I should suppose, have great influence 
upon the minds of the people with you, and forward your 
negotiations. The one fighting to oppress and enslave a 
free people, the other to establish their rights ; the one 
attempting to tyrannize over the ocean, and fetter the com- 
merce of the world, the other resisting that tyranny, and 
rendering trade as free as nature made it ; the one insult- 
ing, plundering, and abusing an old friend, an ally, in the 
midst of profound peace, the other extending in war mercy 
to their bitterest enemies, and marching 1o conquest with 
domestic peace in their train ; the one burning defenceless 
towns and peaceful villages, where they have been hospit- 
ably entertained, the other guarding from violence with 
scrupulous attention the firesides of their inveterate foes; 
the one murdering in cold blood, or more cruelly by want 
and misery in prison ships, those wiio speak the same lan- 
guage, profess the same religion, and spring from the same 
ancestors ; the other forgetting difference of religion, lan- 
guage, and hereditary enmity, spare the vanquished, admin- 
ister to their wants, offer consolation to their distress, and 
prove more by their conduct than by their professions, that 
they are armed in the cause of humanity. 

The one, without regard to truth or decency, boasts 
of victories never gained, and ostentatiously exaggerates 
the little advantages, which superior numbers have some- 
times given, while the other leaves the debility of their ene- 
my to express the brilliancy of their actions. The one — 
but I should never have done if I were to mark the points 
in which the British differ from a brave, humane, and pol- 
ished nation. The recapture of St Eustatia in all its cir- 
cumstances, and the disgraceful defence of iforktown, 
prove that they are no longer the people we once thoucht 


them.; if ever they were brave and generous, they have 
lost those virtues with the spirit of freedom. Adieu, my 
Dear Sir, may your exertions in the cause of your country 
be attended with all the success they merit. 
I have the honor to be, &£c. 



Amsterdam, January 14(h, 1782. 


Having received the advice of several gentlemen, mem- 
bers of the States, and also of the opinion of the Due de 
la Vauguyon and the Count de Vergennes, I went to the 
Hague on Tuesday, the 8th day of this month, and the 
next morning at ten, waited on the President of their High 
Mightinesses, M. Van der Sandheuvel of Dort, a city of 
Holland, to whom I made a verbal requisition in the fol- 
lowing words. 

"The 4lh of May last I had the honor of a conference 
with the President of their High Mightinesses, in which I 
iniormed him that I had received a commission from the 
United States of America, witli full powers and instructions 
to propose and conclude a treaty of amity and commerce 
between the United States of America and the United 
Provinces of the Netherlands. I had the honor in the 
same conference to demand an audience of their Hic'h 
Mightinesses, for the purpose of presenting my credentials 
and full powers. The President assured me, that he would 
report everything that I had told him, to their High Mighti- 
nesses, so that the matter might be transmitted to the sev- 
eral members of the sovereignly, to be subiDiited to their 
VOL. VI. 30 


deliberation and decision. I have not yet been honored 
with an answer, and for this reason I have the honor of 
addressing myself to you, Sir, to demand from you as 1 do 
demand, a categorical answer, which I may transmit to my 

The President assured me, that he would not fail to 
make report to their High Mightinesses. After this, I sent 
a servant to the Grand Pensionary Bleiswick, to know at 
what hour I should have the honor of a conversation with 
him. The answer returned to me, with the compliments 
of the Grand Pensionary, was, that he was sick, unable to 
attend the Assembly of the States, and to receive any 
visits at home from anybody ; but if my business was of a 
public nature, I might communicate it to his Secretary, 
which would be as well as to himself. Upon this, I re- 
quested M. Dumas to call upon the Secretary, and com- 
municate my intentions to him, which he did. 

I went next morning at ten, to the Secretary of their 
High Mightinesses, M. Fagel, and communicated to him 
the step 1 had taken the day before, who told me that 
he had already been informed of it, for that the President, 
according to his promise, had made his report to their 
High Mightinesses ; that it was true, that the Baron de 
Lynden de Hemmen had made his report to their High 
Mightinesses, on the 4th of last May, of my proposition to 
him, and that it had been forthwith taken ad referendum 
by all the Provinces, but that no member of the sover- 
eignty had yet returned any answer at all, either in the 
affirmative or negative ; that my proposition of yesterday 
had in like manner been taken ad referendum by all the 
Provinces, and that it was necessary to wail to see what 
answer they would give. 


The Secretary, who is perfectly well with the Court, as 
his ancestors and family have been for a long course of 
years, and who is as complaisant to England as any man 
in this country, received me with perfect politeness, and 
when I took leave, insisted upon accompanying me through 
all the anti-chambers and long entries quite to my chariot 
door in the street, where he waited until we entered and 
drove off. 

After this, 1 went to the House of Dort, the Pensionary 
of which city, M. Gyselaer, received me with confidence 
and affection ; told me, that all he could say to me in his 
public character was, that he thanked me for the com- 
munication I had made to him, and would communicate it 
to the deputation and to the Regency of his city, and that he 
hoped I should have as friendly an answer as f desired, 
for that he personally saw me with great pleasure, and 
very readily acknowledged my character, and that of my 

I went next, at the hour agreed on, to the House of 
Haerlem, where I was received by the whole deputation, 
consisting of two Burgomasters, two Schepins, and a Pen- 
sionary. Here passed a scene, which really affected my 
sensibility, and gave me great pleasure. The five gentle- 
men were all aged and venerable magistrates, who re- 
ceived me with an affection and cordiality, which discovered, 
in their air and countenance, the sincerity and satisfaction 
they felt in the word of their Pensionary when he told me, 
that they were only Deputies ; that by the constitution of 
Haerlem, like all the others in the Republic, the sover- 
eignty resided in their constituents, the Regency ; that they 
thanked me for the communication I had made to them, 
that they would communicate it to the Regency of their 

236 J^JJJ-^ ADAMS 

city, ami that for iheniselves, ihey heartily wished it suc- 
cess ; loi- that the United Stales, as sufferers for, and de- 
fenders of the great cause of liberty, might depend upon 
the esteem, affection, and friendship, of the city of Haer- 
lem, and that they heartily wished a connexion between 
the two Republics, and they congratulated us on the cap- 
ture of Lord Cornwallis, to which we returned to them a 
congratulation for the recapture of St Eustatia, and took 
our leave. 

At the House of Leyden, we were received by the 
Pensionary, who told us he had the orders of his Burgo- 
masters to receive me, to thank me for the communica- 
tion, and to promise to communicate it to their Regency. 

At the House of Rotterdam, we were received by the 
whole deputation, consisting of two Burgomasters, two 
Schepins, or Judges, and the Pensionary. We received 
thanks for the communication, and a promise to lay it 
before the Regency. 

At the House of Gouda and the Brille, the same recep- 
tion and the same answer. At another House, where 
the Deputies of five small cities lived together, the same 
answer. At the House, where the Deputies of Alcmaer 
and Enkhuisen reside, we were received by the whole 
deputations, obtained the same answers, with the addition 
of professions of esteem and wishes, that in time there 
might be a closer connexion between the two nations. 

Thus I had been introduced to the Ministers of the Re- 
public, and to the Deputies of all the cities of Holland, 
except Amsterdam. In my messages to the deputation?, 
1 had followed the order of the cities, according to the 
rank they held in the confederation. 1 had sent to the 
House of Amsterdam in its course. The messenger, the 


first lime, I'ound only one of ihe Burgomasters at home, 
M. Rendorp, wlio returned for answer, that the gentlemen 
were not then togetiier, but that they would send me word 
at what time they would receive me ; but no answer came 
for a day or two. I sent again. The messenger found 
only the same Burgomaster, who returned the same answer. 
On Friday morning, having no answer, I sent a third time. 
The answer from the same Burgomaster was, that the 
gentlemen were then setting off for Amsterdam, being 
obliged (0 return upon business, and could not then see me, 
but would send me word. Upon this, I concluded to re- 
turn to Amsterdam too, and to make the communication 
there in writing to the Regency ; but reflecting that this 
step would occasion much speculation and many reflections 
upon Amsterdam, I desired M. Dumas to wait on M. 
Vischer, the Pensionary, who remained in town, and con- 
sult with him. The result was, that I made my visit to 
the House of Amsterdam, and made the communication to 
M. Vischer, who received me like a worthy Minister of 
the great city. 

It may not be amiss to conclude this letter by observing, 
that every city is considered as an independent Republic. 
The Burgomasters have the administration of the executive, 
like little kings. There is in the great council, consisting 
of the Burgomasters and Counsellors, a limited legislative 
authority. The Schepins are the judges. The Deputies 
are appointed by the Regency, which consists of the Bur- 
gomasters, Counsellors, and Schepins ; and in the large 
cities, the Deputies consist of, two Burgomasters, two 
Schepins or Counsellors, and one Pensionary. The Pen- 
sionary is the Secretary of State, or the Minister of the 
city. The Pensionaries are generally the sjieakers upon 


all occasions, even in the Assembly of the States of the 

These operations at the Hague have been received by 
the public with great appearance of approbation and plea- 
sure, and the gazettes and pamphlets universally cry ao-ainst 
the mediation of Russia, and for an immediate alliance with 
France and America. But the leaders of the Republic, 
those of them I mean who are well intentioned, wish to 
have the two negotiations, that for peace under the media- 
tion of Russia, and that for an alliance with France, Spain, 
and America, laid before the States and the public to- 
gether, not so much with an expectation of accomplishing 
speedily an alliance with Bourbon and America, as with a 
hope of checking the English party, and preventing them 
from accepting a peace with England, or die mediation of 
Russia to that end, upon dangerous or dishonorable terms. 
If It was in any other country, I should conclude from all 
appearances, that an alliance with America and France, at 
least would be finished in a (ew weeks ; but I have been lon^- 
enough here to know the nation better. The constitution 
of government is so complicated and whimsical a thing, and 
the temper and character of the nation so peculiar, that this 
is considered everywhere as the most difficult embassy in 
Europe. But at present it is more so than ever; the 
nation is more divided dsan usual, and they are afraid of 
everybody, afraid of France, afraid of America, England, 
Russia, and the Northern powers, and above all of the 
Emperor, who is taking measures, that will infallibly ruin 
the commerce of this country, if thev do not soon chano-e 
their conduct. 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 




Amsterdam, January 15th, 1782. 


The following note was presented to the Secretary Fa- 
gel, by the Prince Gallitzin, and by the Secretary to the 
Assembly of their High JMightinesses, the 10th of this 

"Her Imperial Majesty of all the Russias, having re- 
flected upon the loss of time, which is occasioned by a cor- 
respondence relative to complaints formed by the subjects 
of neutral powers, her allies, concerning the vexations and 
violations which they may suffer sometimes in their com- 
mercial navigation, has perceived that it will be essential to 
provide the Ministers of the allied pov/ers with instructions 
sufficient for all cases of this nature. To this effect, her 
Imperial Majesty has thought fit to propose also to their 
High INIightinesses, the necessity and utility of general or- 
ders and instructions upon this object, with which they 
ought to provide their Ministers residing near the belliger- 
ent powers. Her Imperial Majesty is even of opinion that 
it will be indispensably necessary to detail the instructions 
in question in a manner so ample, that the Ministers may 
never be reduced to wait foi' ulterior orders ; but on the 
contrary, that in all cases of this nature, they may be au- 
thorised to sustain each other efficaciously in their com- 
plaints and operations in making a common cause, and in 
interesting themselves without hesitation in the first com- 
plaints of the respective subjects of their Sovereigns, who 
claim their assistance. 

"Her Imperial Majesty has already exerted herself to 
despatch to her Ministers residing at the belligerent Courts, 


the necessary instructions to this effect. Certainly none of 
them will fail to contribute to the good of the common 
cause, conformably to mutual engagements, ^nd to that 
which her Imperial Majesty has caused to be proposed to 
her other allies." 

I have transmitted this, as well as all other State papers, 
relative to the maritime confederation, because I hope it 
will be finally established, as it appears to be for the good 
of mankind in general, and of the United States in particu- 
lar. The Dutch are so attached to it, that I think they 
will not give it up, and if the Empress has it sincerely at 
heart, she will not consent that the Dutch should relinquish 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Amsterilam, January 16th, 1782. 


The following verbal insinuation made by the Baron de 
Noleken, Envoy of Sweden at London, to my Lord Stor- 
mont, the 31st of August, 1781, is of importance to show 
the intentions of the maritime confederacy. 

"The King has no occasion at this time to declare the 
principles, which have determined his conduct, from the 
time when he ascended the throne of his ancestors. He 
has been guided by the love of peace ; and he would have 
wished to see all the powers of Europe enjoy the same 
happiness, equally constant and durable. These wishes 
dictated by the sentiments of humanity, which are natural to 
him, have not been satisfied. The flames of war, enkindled 


in another hemisphere, have communicated themselves to 
Europe, but the King still flattered himself that this con- 
flagration, would not pass the bounds to which it was con- 
fined, and above all that a nation merely commercial, which 
had announced a neutrality as an invariable foundation of 
her conduct, would not be involved in it. Nevertheless, 
the contrary has happened ahiiost at the very moment, 
when this power had contracted the most innocent engage- 
ments with the King and his two allies in the north. 

"If a neutrality the most exact, which was ever observed 
has not been able to warrant the King from feeling at first 
the inconveniences of the war, by the considerable losses, 
which were sustained by his trading subjects ; by a 
stronger reason he was able to foresee the vexatious con- 
sequences when these disorders should become more 
extensive, when an open war, between Great Britain and 
the Republic of Holland should multiply them ; finally, 
when the commerce of neuters was about to suffer new 
shackles by the hostilities, which were to be committed 
between these two powers. Accordingly the King did 
not fail soon to perceive it, and sincerely to wish, that the 
measures taken by the Empress of Russia, for extinguish- 
ing in its beginning the flame of this new war, had been fol- 
lowed with a perfect success. But as this salutary work 
has not been carried to perfection, the King has resolved 
to join himself to his allies, the Empress of Russia and 
the King of Denmark, to endeavor to dispose his Britan- 
nic Majesty to adopt those pacific sentiments, which their 
High Mightinesses, the States-General, have already mani- 
fested by their consent, to open a negotiation of peace. 

"If such were the disposiilons of this monarch, ns it 
ought not to be doubted, it seems tii-^t a <;;!«|)on---;nn of Um- 

VOL. VI. 31 


tilities should be a preliminary, by so much the more 
essential to their accomplishment, as military operations 
necessarily influencing a negotiation of this nature, would 
only serve to embarrass and to prolong it, while the 
allied Courts would not wish for anything so much, as to 
be able to accelerate it by all the means, which might serve 
for the satisfaction 'and advantage of the two belligerent 
parties. In the sincerity and the rectitude of the inten- 
tions, wliich animate his Majesty, as well as his allies, he 
cannot conceal the apprehension he is in, with regard to the 
continuation of the war, from whence may arise vexatious 
incidents, capable of exciting all sorts of wrangles and most 
disagreeable disputes. 

"This motive, and still more, that of preventing a still 
greater effusion of blood, are proper to operate upon the 
heart of the King of Great Britain ; and in the entire con- 
fidence, which his Majesty places in it, he would feel a 
real satisfaction, if by his good offices and by his mediation 
joined to that of his allies, he could succeed in terminating 
the differences, which have arisen between his Britannic 
Majesty and the States-General of the United Provinces." 

They write from Stockholm, that the Court of London 
has thought proper to make representations to that ol Swe- 
den, concerning the rencounter, which a convoy of mer- 
chant ships, under the escort of the Swedish frigate, the 
Jaranias, had with the English squadron of Commodore 
Stewart, who would have visited these merchant ships. 
The Court of London pretends, that he was authorised to 
make such a visit, even in virtue of the articles of the con- 
vention of the armed neutrality, concluded between the 
three powers of the north ; but that the Court of Stock- 
holm, far from blaming the refusal of the Captain of the 


Jaranias, to permit the visit, had highly approved his con- 
duct, and answeredj "that this officer had acted, confor- 
mably to his duty, for that the regulation in one of the arti- 
cles of the convention of the armed neutrality in regard to 
the visits of merchant ships, respected only the vessels, 
which navigated without convoy, but not at all those which 
should be found under convoy, and consequently under the 
protection of a sovereign flag (Pavilion,) the warranty of 
the nature of their cargo, and of the property." 

Petersburg, December 14th, 1781. "The Minister of 
Sweden having communicated, by express order of the 
King his master, to our Court, the complaints which that of 
London had made, concerning the rencounter of the Swed- 
ish frigate, the Jaramas, with the squadron of Commodore 
Keith Stewart, as well as the answer, which had been given 
to those complaints, the Vice Chancellor, the Count d'Os- 
termann, declared the day before yesterday to this Minister, 
'that her Imperial Majesty highly approved the answer of 
the Court of Stockholm, and found it in all points con- 
formable to the principle, which she herself would follow in 
a parallel case. In consequence, if contrary to all appear- 
ance, the Court of London should not be satisfied with it, 
and should pretend to be able to visit neutral merchant 
ships, which should be found under the protection of the 
King, or under that of the sovereign flag of one of the 
allies, her Imperial Majesty would be always ready to con- 
cur, and to co-operate with his Swedish Majesty and the 
other allies, to oppose themselves to it, as well as to main- 
tain the independence and respect due to their respective 
flags.' At the same time, orders have been sent to all the 
Ministers of the Empress, at the belligerent powers, that 
'in case there should arise just complaints or difficulties, 


with relation to the detention, the capture, the carrying off, 
or the ill treatment, which merchant ships, navigating under 
the flag of this empire, or under that of one of the allies of 
the convention of neutrality, shall have suffered, from ships 
of war or armed vessels, of one or another of the belligerent 
powers, they should make at first, in such case, every one 
in his place, the necessary representations and requisitions, 
for reclaiming the said vessels, the reparation of losses, he. 
and concur and concert to this effect with the other Minis- 
ters of the contracting Courts, without asking or waiting for 
further orders. The allied Courts will be requested, 
moreover, to give the orders to their respective Ministers 
residing near the belligerent powers.' A courier, des- 
patched this day to the Hague and to London, carries 
these orders to the Ministers of the Empress, as well as the 
acts of accession of the Emperor to the principles of the 
convention of neutrality. The day before yesterday, the 
usual day of the conferences with the Vice Chancellor, he 
communicated the same acts to the foreign Ministers." 
With great respect, I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, February 14th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
Yesterday the duplicate of your letter of the 23d of Oc- 
tober was brought to me, the original is not yet arrived. It 
is with great pleasure I learn, that a Minister is appointed 
for foreign affairs, who is so capable of introducing into that 
department an order, a constancy, and an actkity, which 


could never be espected from a committee of Congress, so 
often changing, and so much engaged in other great affairs, 
however excellent their qualifications or dispositions. In- 
deed, Sir, it is of infinite iniportance to me to know the 
sentiments of Congress ; yet I have never known them in 
any detail or with any regularity, since I have been in Eu- 
rope. 1 fear Congress- have heard as little from me since 
I have been in Holland. IVly despatches by the way of 
St Eustatia, and by several private vessels, and by the 
South Carolina, have been vastly unfortunate. 

My situation, Sir, has been very delicate ; but as my 
whole life from my infancy has been passed through an 
uninterrupted series of delicate situations, when I find my- 
self suddenly translated into a new one, the view of it nei- 
ther confounds nor dismays me. I am very sensible, how- 
ever, that such a habit of mind borders very nearly upon 
presumption, and deserves very serious reflections. My 
health is still precarious. My person has been thought by 
some to have been in danger ; but at present I apprehend 
nothing to myself or the public. 

This nation will have peace with England, if they can 
obtain it upon honorable terms ; but upon no other. They 
cannot obtain it upon any other, without giving offence to 
France, and England will not make peace upon such con- 
ditions. I shall, therefore, probably remain here in a very 
insipid and insignificant state a long time, without any 
affront or answer. In die parties, which divide the nation, 
I have never taken any share. I have treated all men of 
all parties whom I saw alike, and have been used quite as 
well by the Court party as their antagonists. Both parties 
have been in bodily fear of popular commotions, and the 
politics of both appear to me to be too much influenced by 


alternate fears, and 1 must add, hopes ot popular commo- 
tions. Both parties aj^ree in their determinations to obtain 
peace with England, if they can ; but Great Britain will 
not cease to be the tyrant of the ocean until she ceases to 
be the tyrant of America. She will only give up her claims 
of empire over both together. 

The Dutch have an undoubted right to judge for them- 
selves, whether it is for their interest to connect themselves 
with us or not. At present I have no reason to be dissat- 
isfied. I have, in pursuance of the advice of the Count de 
Vergennes and the Due de la Vauguyon, added to that of 
several members of the States, demanded an answer. I 
was received politely by all parties, though you will hear 
great complaints from others that I am not received well. 
They have their views in this j they know that this is a good 
string for them to touch. I stand now in an honorable 
light, openly and candidly demanding an answer in my 
public character. But it is the Republic that stands in a 
less respectable situation, not one member of the sover- 
eignty having yet ventured to give an answer in the neg- 
ative. The dignity of the United States is, therefore, per- 
fectly safe, and if that of this Republic is questionable, 
this is their own fault, not ours. Your advice, to be well 
with the government, and to take no measures which may 
bring upon nv-j a public affront, is perfectly just. All ap- 
pearance of intrigue, and all the refinements of politics, 
have been as distant from my conduct as you know them 
to be from my natural and habitual character. 

Your advice to spend much of my time at the Hague, 
I shall in future pursue, though I have had reasons for a 
different conduct hitherto. As to connexions with the 
Ministers of other powers, it is a matter of great delicacy. 


There is no power but what is interested directly or indi- 
rectly in our affairs at present. Every Minister has at his 
own Court a competitor, who keeps correspondences and 
spies, to be informed of every step ; and open visits to or 
from any American Minister are too dangerous for them to 
venture on. It must be managed with so much art, and 
be contrived in third places, and with so much unmeaning 
intrigue, that it should not be too much indulged, and after 
all, nothing can come of it. There is not a Minister of 
them all, that is intrusted with anything, but from time to 
time to execute positive instructions from his Court. 

A. loan of money has given me vast anxiety. I have 
tried every experiment and failed in all ; and am fully of 
opinion, that we never shall obtain a credit here until we 
have a treaty. When this will be, I know not. If France 
has not other objects in view of more importance, in my 
opinion she may accomplish it in a short time. Whether 
she has or not, time must discover. 

Mr Barclay is here doing his utmost to despatch the 
public effects here ; but these will turn out the dearest 
goods that Congress ever purchased if they ever arrive 
safe. It has been insinuated, I perceive, that I was 
privy to the purchase of a parcel of English manufactures 
among these goods. This is a mistake. It was carefully 
concealed from me, who certainly should not have counte- 
nanced it, if I had known it. Mr Barclay will exchange 
them all for the manufactures of Germany or Holland, or 
sell them here. The ordinance of Congress against Brit- 
ish manufactures, is universally approved as far as I know, 
as a hostility against their enemies of more importance 
than the exertions of an army of twenty thousand men. 

With great esteem, he. 




Amsterdam, February 10th, 1782. 


On the 14th instant, I had the honor to acknowledge 
the receipt of your duplicate of the 23d of October. To- 
day Major Porter brought me your favor of the 20th of 
November, and the original of that of the 23d of October. 

I congratulate you, Sir, on the glorious news contained 
in these despatches ; but I cannot be of your opinion, that, 
great as it is, it will defeat every hope that Britain enter- 
taips of conquering a country so defended. Vanity, Sir, 
is a passion capable of inspiring illusions, which astonish 
all other men; and the Britons are, without exception, the 
vainest people upon earth. By examining such a witness 
as Arnold, the Ministry can draw from him evidence, 
which will fully satisfy the people of England, that the 
conquest of America is still practicable. Sensible men 
see the error ; but they have seen it these twenty years, 
and lamented it till their hearts are broken. The inten- 
tion of government seems to be to break the spirit of the 
nation, and to bring aflairs into so wretched a situation, 
that all men shall see that they cannot be made better by 
new Ministers, or by the punishment of the old ones. 

It is suggested, that some plan of conciliation will be 
brought into Parliament ; but it will be only as deceitful as 
all the former ones. They begin to talk big, and threaten 
to send Arnold with seventeen thousand men to burn and 
destroy in the northern States ; but this will prove but an 
annual vapor. I rejoice the more in Colonel Willel's glo- 
rious services, for a personal knowledge and esteem I have 
for that officer. Zoul man's battle on Doggerbank shows 


what the nation could do. But .... It is somewhat dan- 
gerous to write with perfect freedom concerning the views 
and principles of each party, as you desire. Indeed, the 
views of all parlies are enveloped in clouds and darkness. 
There are unerring indications, that all parties agree 
secretly in this principle, that the Americans are right if 
they have power. There is here and there an indi- 
vidual who says the Americans are wrong ; but these are 
very few. The English party are suspected to have it 
in view to engage the Republic to join the English in 
the war against France, Spain, and America. 

The Prince is supposed to wish that this were practi- 
cable, but to despair of it. Some of the great propri- 
etors of English stocks, several great mercantile houses in 
the service of the British Ministry, are thought to wish it 
too; but if they are guilty of wishes so injurious to their 
country and humanity, none of them dares openly avow 
them. The Stadtholder is of opinion, that his house has 
been supported by England ; that his office was created, 
and is preserved by her. But I do not see why his office 
would not be as sale in an alliance with France as with 
England, unless he apprehends that the republican party 
would in that case change sides, connect itself with Eng- 
land, and by her means overthrow him. There are 
jealousies, that the Stadtholder aspires to be a sovereign ; 
but these are the ordinary jealousies of liberty, and 1 
should think, in this case, groundless. The opposite, 
which is called the republican party, is suspected of desires 
and designs of introducing innovations. Some are sup- 
posed to aim at the demolition of the Stadtholdcrship ; 
others, of introducing the people to tiic right of choosing 
the Regencies; but 1 tliink these are very lew in number, 
VOL.. vi. 32 

250 JOH^^' ADAMS. 

and vp.ry inconsiderable in jjower, tlioiigli some of lliein 
may liave wit and 2>enius. 

There is another party, at the head of which is Amster- 
dam, who think the Stadtholdership necessary, but wish to 
have some further restraints or check upon it. Hence the 
proposition for a committee to assist his Highness. But 
there is no appearance that the project will succeed. All 
the divisions of the Republican party are thought to think 
well of America, and to wish a connexion with her and 
France. The opposite party do not openly declare them- 
selves against this ; but peace is the only thing in which all 
sides agree. No party dares say anything against peace ; 
yet there are individuals very respectable, who think that it 
is not for the public interest to make peace. 

As to Congress' adapting measures to the views and in- 
terest of both parties, they have already done it in the most 
admirable manner. They could not have done better if 
they had been all present here, and I know of nothing to 
be added. They have a Plenipotendary here, with in- 
structions ; they have given power to invite the Republic 
to accede to the alliance between France and America, 
with a power to admit Spain. All this is con)municated to 
the Count de Vergennes and the Due de la Vauguyon, 
and I wait only their advice for the time of making the 
proposition. I have endeavored to have the good graces of 
the leaders, and I have no reason to suspect that 1 do not 
enjoy their esteem, and I have received from the Prince 
repeatedly, and in strong terms by his Secretary the Haron 
de Larray, assurances ot his personal esteem. 

[ wrote. Sir, on the 3d and 7th of May, as full an ac- 
rounl of my presenting my credentialfc, as it was proper to 
wiite, and am asionished thai neither duplicates nor tripli- 


cates have arrived. I will venture a secret. I had the 
secret advice of our best friends in the Republic to take 
the step I did, though the French Ambassador thought the 
time a little too early. My situation would have been 
ridiculous and deplorable indeed, if 1 had not done it, and 
the success of tiie measure, as far ;i:5 universal applause 
coidd be called success, has jusiitied it. Those wlio de- 
tested the measure. Sir, were obliged to applaud it in 
wordi. I am surprised, to see you think it places us in a 
liumiiiating light. I am sure it raised me out of a very 
humiliating position, such as I never felt before, and shall 
never feel again, I believe. I have lately by the express 
advice of all our best friends, added to that of the Duo de 
la Vauguyon and the Count de Vergennes, demanded a 
categorical answer. I knew very well I should not have 
it ; but it has placed the United States and their Minister 
in a glorious light, demanding candidly an answer, and the 
Republic has not yet equal dignity to give it. 

In this manner we may remain with perfect safety to the 
dignity of the United States, and the reputation of her 
Minister, until their High Mightinesses shall think fit to 
answer, or until we shall think it necessary to repeat the 
demand, or make a new one, which 1 shall not do vi'ithout 
tile advice of the French Ambassador, with whom I shall 
consult with perfect confidence. 

My motives for printing the Memorial were, that 1 had 
no other way to communicate my preposition to the Sov- 
ereign of the country. The gentlemen at the Hague, who 
are called their High Mightinesses, are not the Sovereign, 
they are only Deputies of the States-General, who com- 
pose the Sovereignly. These joint Deputies form only a 
diplomatic body, not a legislative nor an executive one. 


The States-General are the Regencies of cities and bodies 
of nobles. The Regencies of cities are the Burgomasters 
and SchepinSj or Judges and Counsellors, composing in 
the whole a number of four or five thousand men, scattered 
all over the Republic. 1 had no way to come at thera but 
by the press, because the President refused to receive my 
memorial. If he had received it, it would have been trans- 
mitted of course to all the Regencies ; but in that case it 
would have been printed ; for there is no memorial of a 
public Minister in this Republic, bat what is printed. 

When the President said, "Sir, we have no authority to 
receive your memorial until your title and character are 
acknowledged by our constituents and sovereigns ; we are 
not the sovereign ;" 1 answered, "In that case. Sir, it will 
be my duty to make the memorial public in print, because 
I have no other possible way of addressing myself to the 
sovereign, your constituents." 

The President made no objection, and there has been 
no objection to this day. Those who dreaded the conse- 
quence to the cause of Anglomany, have never ventured to 
hint a word against it. The Anglomanes would have had 
a triumph if it had not been printed, and 1 should before 
this -day have met with many disagreeable scenes, if not 
public affronts. This openness has protected me. To 
conciliate the affections of the people, to place our cause in 
an advantageous light, to remove the prejudices that Great 
Britain and her votaries excite, to discover the views of the 
different parties, to watch the motives that lead to peace 
between England and Holland, have been my constant aim 
since I have resided here. The secret aid of government 
in obtaining a loan, I have endeavored to procure, but it 
can never be obtained until there is a treaty. I have 


hitherto kept a friendly connexion with the French Am- 
bassador, and that without interruption. The' new com- 
tnisslon for peace, and the revocation of that for a treaty of 
commerce with Great Britain I have received. 

My language and conduct are those of a private gentle- 
man ; but those members of Congress who think this pro- 
per, know that I have held public places in Europe, too 
public and conspicuous for me to be able to remain incog- 
nito in this country, nor is it for the interest of the public 
that I should attempt it. 

I should be extremely obliged to you, Sir, if you would 
let me know the dates of all the letters that have been re- 
ceived from n»e, since I have been in Holland, that I may 
send further copies of such as have miscarried. The 
States of Holland have accepted the mediation of Russia, 
on condition of saving the rights of the armed neutrality. 
There has been a balancing between a treaty with France, 
and the acceptance of this mediation. Amsterdam said 
nothing. The mediation was accepted ; but several pro- 
vinces have declared for a treaty with France. People* of 
the best intentions are jealous of a peace with England 
upon dishonorable terms ; but France will prevent this, 
though she does not choose to prevent the acceptance of 
the mediation, as she might have done by consenting to my 
making the proposition of a triple or quadruple alliance. 
Her Ambassador says, the King must not oppose the Em- 
press of Russia, who will be of importance in the final set- 
tlement of peace. 

France has never discovered much inclination to a treaty 
with the Republic. The demolition of the barrier towns 
may explain this, as well as tlie Ambassador's opinion 
against presenting my memorial at the time it was done. 


1 believe that France too can explain the reason of the de- 
lay of Spain, where ue make a less respectable appearance 
than in this Republic. The delay of Spain is fatal to our 
affairs. Yet I know the American Minister there to bo 
equal to any service, which makes me regret the more the 
deluy of that kingdom. The constant cry is, why is Spain 
silent? We must wait for Spain. Nothing §ives greater 
ndvantag,e to the English jiatty. 

The nature of the government in an absoiiiie monarchy, 
would render it improper to make any application or me- 
morial public. The nature of this government rendered it 
indispensably necessary. The business must begin in the 
public, that is in all the Regencies. De Witt and Temple 
it is true, made a treaty in five days ; but De Witt risked his 
head by it, upon the pardon and confirmation of the lie- 
gencies. But it was a time and a measure, which he knew 
to be universally wished for. The case at present is dif- 
ferent. M. Van Bleiswick, though he told me he thought 
favorably of my first application, would not have dared to 
take a single step without the previous orders of his masters, 
as he told me. 

It is the United States of America, which must save this 
Republic from ruin. It is the only power that is externally 
respected by nil parlies, although no party dares as yet 
declare openly for it. One half the Republic nearly de- 
clares every day very indecently against France, the other 
against England ; but neither one nor the other declares 
against America, which is more beloved and esteemed than 
any other nation of the world. 

We must wait, however, with patience. Alter oscillating 
a little longer, and grasping at peace, finding it unattainable, 
I think they w'ill seek an alliance with America, if not with 


France. I had a week ago a visit from one of the first 

personages in Friesland, who promised me tliat in three 

weeks 1 should have an answer from that Province. 

I have the lionor to be, &.c. 



Anistcrilam, February 21st, 1782. 


I know very well the name of the family where I spent 

tlie evening with my worthy friend Mr before we set 

off, and have made my alphabet accordingly ; but I am, 
on this occasion, as on all others hitherto, utterly unable to 
comprehend the sense of the passages in cypher. The 
cypher is certainly not taken regularly under the two first 
letters of that name. I have been able sometimes to de- 
cypher words enougli to show that I have the letters right ; 
but, upon the whole, I can make nothing of it, which I 
regret very much upon this occasion, as I suppose the 
cyphers are a very material part of the letter. 

The friendly and patriotic anxiety with which you in- 
quire after my motives and reasons for making the propo- 
sition of the 4th of I\Iay, and for printing the memorial, has 
put me upon recollecting tiie circumstances. If the series of 
my letters had arrived, I think the reasons would have ap- 
peared, but not with that force in which they existed at the 
time. I have never expressed in writing those rea.sons so 
strongly as I felt them. The hopes have never been 
strong in anybody of inducing the Republic to a sudden 
alliance with France and Americn. The utniosi cxpecia- 
tioM, thnl miinv of the well intentioncd hu\c entertained 


has been to prevent the government from joining England. 
I am sorry to be obliged to say it, and if it ever should be 
made public, it might be ill taken. But there is no man- 
ner of doubt, that the most earnest wish of the cabinet has 
been to induce the nation to furnish the ships and troops 
to the English according to their interpretation of the 
treaty. Amsterdam distinguished itself, and its ancient 
and venerable Burgomaster, Temmink, and its eldest 
Pensionary, Van Berckel, have distinguished themselves in 

When Mr Laurens's papers were discovered, they were 
sent fortluvitii to the Hague. The Prince, in person, laid 
them before the States. Sir Joseph Yorke thundered with 
his memorials against Amsterdam, her Burgomasters, and 
Pensionary. The nation was seized with amazement, 
and flew to the armed neutrality for shelter against the 
fierce vi^rath of the King. Instantly Sir Joseph Yorke is 
recalled, and a declaration of war appears, levelled against 
the city, against the Burgomasters, and M. Van Berckel. 
Sir George Rodney, in his despatches pursues the same 
partiality and personality against Amsterdam. What was 
the drift of all this? Manifestly to excite seditions against 
Temmink and Van Berckel. Here then, is a base and 
scandalous system of policy, in which the King of Great 
Britain, and his Ministry and Admiral, all condescended to 
engage, manifestly concerted by Sir Joseph Yorke, at the 
Hague ; and } am sorry to add, too much favored by the 
cabinet, and even openly by the Prince, by his presenting 
Laurens's papers to the States, to sacrifice Temmink and 
Van Berckel to the fury of an enraged pojiulace. 

This plan was so daringly supported by writers of the 
first fame on the side of the Court, that mukitudes of 


writings appeared, attempting to show that what Temmink 
and Van Berckel had done was high treason. All this 
had such an effect, that all the best men seemed to shud- 
der with fear. I should scarcely find credit in America, if 
I were to relate anecdotes. It would be ungenerous to 
mention names, as well as unnecessary. I need only say, 
that I was avoided like a pestilence by every man in gov- 
ernment. Those gentlemen of the rank of Burgomasters, 
Schepins, Pensionaries, and even lawyers, who had treated 
me with great kindness and sociability, and even familiarity 
before, dared not see me, dared not be at home when I 
visited at their houses; dared not return my visit ; dared not 
answer in writing, even a card that I wrote them. I had 
several messages in a roundabout way, and in confidence, 
that they were extremely sorry they could not answer my 
cards and letters in writing, because "ow fait tout son pos- 
sible pour me sacrijier aux Anglomanes.^^ 

"Not long after, arrived the news of the capture of St 
Eustatia, &ic. This filled up the measure. You can have 
no idea. Sir ; no man, who was not upon the spot, can 
have any idea of the gloom and terror that was spread by 
this event. The creatures of the Court openly rejoiced in 
this, and threatened some of them in the most impudent 
terms. I had certain information, that some of them 
talked high of their expectations of popular insurrections 
against the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, and M. Van 
Berckel, and did Mr Adams the honor to mention him as 
one, that was to be hanged by the mob in such company. 
In the midst of this confusion and terror, my credentials 
arrived from Paris, through a hundred accidents and 
chances of being finally lost. As soon as I read my des- 
patches, and heard the history of their escape by post, dili- 
voL. VI. 33 

258 JOHI^' ADAMS. 

gence and treck-schoots, it seemed to me as if the hand 
of Providence had sent them on purpose to dissipate all 
these vapors. 

With my despatches, arrived from Paris intimations of 
their contents, for there are no secrets kept at Paris. The 
people, who are generally eager for a connexion with 
America, began to talk, and paragraphs appeared in all the 
gazettes in Dutch, and French, and German, containing 
a thousand ridiculous conjectures about the American Am- 
bassador and his errand. One of my children could 
scarcely go to school without some pompous account of it 
in the Dutch papers. I had been long enough in this coun- 
try to see tolerably well where the balance lay, and to know 
that America was so much respected by all parties, that no 
one would dare to offer any insult to her Minister, as soon 
as he should be known. I wrote my memorial and pre- 
sented it, and printed it in English, Dutch, and French. 
There was immediately the most universal and unanimous 
approbation of it expressed in all companies, pamphlets 
and newspapers, and no criticism ever appeared against it. 
Six or seven months afterwards a pamphlet appeared in 
Dutch, which was afterwards translated into French, called 
Considerations on the Memorial ; but it has been read by 
very few, and is indeed not worth reading. 

The proposition to the President being taken ad referen- 
dum, it became a subject of ihe deliberation of the sov- 
ereignty. The Prince, therefore, and the whole Court, are 
legally bound to treat it with respect, and me with decency, 
at least it would be criminal in them to treat me or the 
subject with indecency. If it had not been presented and 
printed, I am very sure 1 could not long have resided in 
the Republic, and what would have been the consequence 


to the friends of liberty, I know not. They were so dis- 
heartened and intimidated, and the Anglomanes were so 
insolent, that no man can say, that a sudden frenzy might 
not have been excited among the soldiery and people, to 
demand a junction with England, as there was in the year 
1748. Such a revolution would have injured America and 
her allies, have prolonged the war, and have been the total 
loss and ruin of the Republic. 

Immediately upon the presentation of my memorial, M. 
Van Berckel ventured to present his requite and demand 
for a trial. This contributed still further to raise the spirits 
of the good people, and soon after the Burgomasters of 
Amsterdam appeared with their proposition for giving the 
Prince a committee for a council, and in course their 
attack upon the Duke ; all which together excited such an 
enthusiasm in the nation, and among the officers of the 
navy, as produced the battle of the Doggerbank, which 
never would have happened, in all probability, but would 
have been eluded by secret orders and various artifices, if 
the spirit raised in the nation by the chain of proceedings, 
of which the American memorial was the first and an 
essential link, had not rendered a display of the national 
bravery indispensable for the honor of the navy, and per- 
haps for the safety of the Court. 

The memorial as a composition, has very liftle merit ; 
yet almost every gazette in Europe has inserted it, and 
most of them with a compliment, none without any criti- 
cism. When I was in Paris and Versailles afterwards, no 
man ever expressed to me the smallest disapprobation of 
it, or the least apprehension that it could do any harm. 
On the contrary, several gentlemen of letters expressed 
higher compliments upon it than it deserved. The King 


of Sweden has done it a most illustrious honor, by quoting 
one of the most material sentiments in it, in a public an- 
swer to the King of Great Britain ; and the Emperor of 
Germany has since done the author of it the honor to de- 
sire in the character of Count Falkenstein to see him, and 
what is more remarkable, has adopted the sentiments of it 
concerning religious liberty into a code of laws for his do- 
minions ; the greatest effort in favor of humanity, next to 
the American revolution, which has been produced in the 
eighteenth century. 

As my mission to this Republic was wisely communi- 
cated to the Court of Versailles, who can say that this 
transaction of Congress had not some influence in bring- 
ing De Grasse into the Chesapeake Bay ? Another thing 
I ought to mention ; I have a letter from Mr Jay, inform- 
ing me that in the month of June last M. Del Campo was 
appointed by the Court of Madrid to treat with him ; the 
exact time when my memorial appeared at Madrid. You 
may possibly say, that my imagination and self-love carry 
me extraordinary lengths; but when one is called upon to 
justify an action, one should look all round. All I contend 
for is, that the memorial has certainly done no harm ; that 
it is probable it has done some good, and that it is possible 
it has done much more than can be proved. A man always 
makes an awkward figure when he is justifying himself and 
his own actions, and I hope I shall be pardoned. It is 
easy to say, "i7 abonde trop dans son sens ; il est vain et 
glorieux ; il est plein de lui-meme ; il ne voit que lid ;" 
and other modest things of that sort, with which even your 
Malesherbes, your Turgots, and Neckers, are sometimes 
sacrificed to very small intrigues. 

Your veterans in diplomacy and in affairs of State, con- 


sider us as a kind of militia, and hold us, perhaps, as is 
natural, in some degree of contempt ; but wise men know 
that militia sometimes gain victories over regular troops, 
even by departing from the rules. Soon after I had i pre- 
sented the memorial, I wrote to the Due de la Vauguyon 
upon the subject of inviting or admitting in concert, the 
Republic to accede to the alliance between France and 
America. The Duke transmitted that letter to the Count 
de Vergennes, which produced the offer to Congress from 
the King, to assist us in forming a connexion with the Re- 
public, and the instructions upon the subject, which I shall 
execute as £Oon as the French Ambassador thinks proper. 
With him it now lies, and with him, thank God, I have 
hitherto preserved a perfectly good understanding, although 
1 differed from him in opinion concerning the point of time 
to make the former proposition. 

The evacuation of the barrier towns has produced an 
important commentary upon the conversation 1 had with 
the Duke, and his opinion upon that occasion. How few 
weeks was it, after the publication of my memorial, that the 
Roman Emperor made that memorable visit to Brussels, 
Ostend, Bruges, Antwerp, and all the considerable. maritime 
towns in his Provinces of Brabant and Flanders? How 
soon afterwards his memorable journies to Holland and to 
Paris ? Was not the American memorial full of matter 
for the Emperor's contemplation, when he was at Ostend, 
Antwerp, and Bruges ? Was it not full of matter, calcu- 
lated to stimulate him to hasten his negotiations with 
France concerning the abolition of the barrier towns ? 
Was not the same matter equally calculated to stimulate 
France to finish such an agreement with him, as we have 
seen the evidence of in the actual evacuation of those 


towns ? If this evacuation is an advantage to France 
and to America, as it undoubtedly is, by putting this Re- 
public more in the power of France, and more out of a 
possibility of pursuing the system of Orange by joining- 
England, and my memorial is supposed to have contrib- 
uted anything towards it, surely it was worth the while. 

The period since the 4th of May, 1781, has been 
thick sown with good events, all springing out of the Ame- 
rican revolution, and connected with the matter contained 
in my memorial. The memorial of M. Van Berckel, 
the proposition of the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, their 
attack upon die Duke of Brunswick, and the battle of 
Doggerbank, the appointment of Senor del Campo, to 
treat with Mr Jay ; the success of Colonel Laurens, in 
obtaining orders for the French fleet to go upon the coast 
of America ; their victory over Graves, and the capture of 
Cornvvallis; the Emperor's journey to his maritime towns, 
to Holland, and to Paris ; his new regulations for encour- 
aging the trade of his maritime towns ; his demolition of the 
barrier fortifications; and his most liberal and sublime 
ecclesiastical reformation ; and the King of Sweden's re- 
proach to the Ming of England for continuing the war, in 
the very words of my memorial ; these traits are all sub- 
sequent to that memorial, and they are too sublime and 
decisive proofs of the prosperity and glory of the Ameri- 
can cause, to admit the belief, that the memorial has done 
it any material harm. 

By comparing facts and events, and dates, it is impossi- 
ble not to believe, that the memorial had some influence in 
producing some of them. When Courts, Princes, and 
nations, have been long contemplating a great system of 
affairs, and their judgments begin to ripen, and they begin 


to see how things ought to go, and are going, a small pub- 
lication, holding up these objects in a clear point of view, 
sometimes sets a vast machine in motion at once like the 
springing of a mine. What a dust we raise, said the fly 
upon the chariot wheel ? It is impossible to prove, that 
this whole letter is not a similar delusion to that of the fly. 
The Councils of Princes are enveloped in impenetrable 
secrecy. The true motives and causes, which govern their 
actions, little or great, are carefully concealed. But I 
desire only that these events may be all combined together, 
and then, that an impartial judge may say, if he can, that 
he believes that that homely, harmless memorial had no 
share in producing any part of this great complication of 

But be all these speculations and conjectures as they 
will, the i'oresight of which could not have been sufiiciently 
clear to have justified the measure, it is sufficient for me to 
say, that the measure was absolutely necessary and una- 
voidable. I should have been contemptible and ridiculous 
without it. By it I have secured to myself and my mis- 
sion universal decency and respect, though no open ac- 
knowledgment or avowal. I write this to you in confi- 
dence. You may entirely suppress it, or communicate it 
iu confidence, as you judge, for the public good. 

I might have added, that many gentlemen of letters, of 
various nations, have expressed their approbation of this 
measure, I will mention only two. M. d'Alembert and M. 
Raynal, I am well informed, have expressed their sense of 
it in terms too flattering for me to repeat. 1 might add 
the opinion of many men of letters in this Republic. 

Tiie charge of vanity is the last resource of little wits 
and mercenary quacks, the vainest men alive, against men 


and measures, that they can find no other objection to. 
I doubt not but letters have gone to America, containing 
their weighty charge against me ; but this charge, if sup- 
ported only by the opinion of those who make it, may be 
brought against any man or thing. It may be said, that 
this memorial did not reach the Court of Versailles, until 
after Colonel Luurens had procured the promise of men 
and ships. But let it be considered, Colonel Laurens 
brought with him my credentials to their High Mighti- 
nesses, and instructions to Dr Franklin, to acquaint the 
Court of Versailles with it, and request their countenance 
and aid to me. Colonel Laurens arrived in ^larch. On 
the 16th of April, I acquainted the Due de la Vauguyon 
at the Hague, that I had received such credentials, and 
the next day waited on him in person, and had that day 
and the next two hours' conversation with him each day 
upon the subject, in which I informed him of my intention 
to goto their High Mightinesses. All this he transmitted to 
the Count de Vergennes; and though it might procure me 
the reputation of vanity and obstinacy, 1 shall forever be- 
lieve, that it contributed to second and accelerate Colonel 
Laurens's negotiations, who succeeded to a marvel, though 
Dr Franklin says he gave great offence.* 

The earnest opposition made by the Due de la Vau- 
guyon, only served to give me a more full and ample 
persuasion and assurance of the utility and necessity of the 
measure. His zeal convinced me, that he had a stronger 
apprehension, that I should make a great impression some- 
where, than I had myself. "Sir." says he, "(he King and 
the United States are upon very intimate terms of friend- 

* See Dr Franklin's loiters to Major Jackson, on this subject, in 
Franklin's Correspondence, Vol. III. jip. 227, 229. 


ship. Had not you better wait until we can make the prop- 
osition in concert?" "God grant they may ever continue 
in perfect friendship,'' said I ; "but this friendship does not 
prevent your Excellency from conducting your negotia- 
tions without consulting me. )^^hy then am I obliged, in 
proposing a simple treaty of commerce, which the United 
States have reserved the entire right of proposing, to con- 
sult your Excellency ? If I were about to propose an 
alliance, or to invite or admit the Dutch to accede to the 
alliance between the King and the States, I should think 
myself obliged to consult your Excellency." "But," said 
he, "there is a loan talked of, to be opened by the United 
States here, under the warranty of the King. How will it 
look for you to go to the States without my concurrence ?" 
"Of this I know nothing," said I, "but one thing T know, 
that if such a loan should be proposed, the proposition I 
design to make to the States, instead of obstructing, will 
facilitate it, and your proposal of a loan will rather coun- 
tenance me." 

"Is there not danger," said he, "that the Empress of 
Russia, and the other northern powers, will take offence at 
your going to the States-General before them ?" "Im- 
possible," said I ; "they all know, that the Dutch have 
been our old friends and allies, that we shall have more 
immediate connexions of commerce with Holland than 
with them. But what is decisive in this matter is, Amer- 
ica and Holland have now a common enemy in England 
at open war, which is not the case with the northern 

"Had you not better wait, until I can write to the Count 
de Vergennes, and have his opinion ?" "I know already- 
beforehand," said I, "what his opinion vvijl be.'' "Aye, 
VOL. VI.' 34 


what ?" "Why, directly against it." "For what reason i"' 
"Because the Count de Vergennes will not commit the 
dignity of the King, or his own regulation, by advising me 
to apply until he is sure of success ; and in this he may 
be right; but the United States stand in a different pre- 
dicament. They have nothing to lose by such a measure, 
and may gain a great deal." 

"But," said he, "if Holland should join England in the 
war, it will be unfortunate." "If there was danger of 
this," said I, "a proposition from the United States would 
be one of the surest means of preventing it ; but the situ- 
ation of Holland is such, that I am persuaded they dare 
not join England. It is against their consciences, and they 
are in bodily fear of a hundred thousand men from 
France." "True," said he, "you have used an argument 
now, that you ought to speak out boldly, and repeat 
peremptorily in all companies, for this people are governed 
very much by fear." "I have, however, spoken upon this 
subject with delicacy, upon all occasions, and shall continue 
to do so," said I, "but shall make no secret, that I am 
sensible of it." 

After turning the subject in all the lights it could bear 

I told him, that I believed he had urged every objection 

against the measure, that could be thought of, but that I 

was still clear in my former opinion. "Are you decided 

logo to the States?" "Yes, Sir. I must think it my 

duty." "Very well ; in that case," said he, "you may 

depend upon it, I will do all in my power, as a man, to 

countenance and promote your application." 

I have the honor to be, Sz-c. 




Amsterdam, February 27th, 1782. 


Friesland has at last taken the provincial resolution to 
acknowledge the independence, of which United America 
is in full possession. It is thought that several cities of 
Holland will soon follow this example, and some say it will 
be followed forthwith by the whole Republic. The first 
Burgomaster of this city has said, within a few days past, 
that in six weeks at farthest the independence of America 
would be acknowledged by all seven of the United Provin- 
ces ; but I have no expectation of such haste. This gov- 
ernment does nothing with such celerity. 

By what I hear and read of their speculations, it seems 
to me, that the general sense is at present not to shackle 
themselves with any treaties either with France or Spain, 
nor to make any treaty of alliance with America, nor to 
make even a treaty of commerce with America, as yet for 
a considerable time, but for the several members of the 
Sovereignty, one after another, to acknowledge the Inde- 
pendence of America in the manner that Friesland has 
done ; and for the States, the Prince and the Admiralties 
to exert themselves in preparing a fleet to command the 
North Sea, and wash out some of the stains in their charac- 
ter, wliich the English have so unjustly thrown upon it in 
their blood. There is a loud cry for vengeance, a stern 
demand of a fleet and battle with the English; and if the 
Court contrive to elude it, the Stadtholder will run a great 
risk of his power. 

Sensible and candid men tell me, "we wait for Spain, 
and we wait for Russia. We will not make any treaty 


with you. It is of no great importance to us or to you. We 
see there is a tremendous power arising in the West. We 
cannot meddle much ; but we will at all events be your 
good friends. Whoever quarrels with you, we will not." 

In short I expect no treaty. I do not expect that our 
independence will be acknowledged by all the Provinces for 
a long time. Nevertheless, it appears to me of indispen- 
sable importance that a Minister should reside constantly 
here, vested with the same powers from Congress, with 
which they have honored me ; for which reason, having 
the offer of a large and elegant house in a fine situation, on 
a noble spot of ground at the Hague, at a very reasonable 
rate, I have, in pursuance of the advice of jMr Barclay, M. 
Dumas, and other friends, purchased it and shall remove 
into it on or before the first of May. In case I should be 
recalled, or obliged to go away upon other services, any 
Minister that Congress may appoint here in my room, will 
find a house furnished at the Hague ready for him. 

The negotiation for the purchase was conducted secretly, 
but when it came to be known, I am informed, it gave a 
great deal of satisfaction in general. 

To pay for it, I have applied all the money I had of M. 
de Neufville's loan, and some cash of my own, which I 
brought with me from America ; and for the second pay- 
ment, I must borrow of a friend, if Dr Franklin cannot 
furnish the money, for which indeed I do not love to ask 
him, he has so many demands upon him from every quar- 
ter. The house, including purchase charges. Sic. will 
amount to about sixteen thousand guilders, ten thousand of 
which I paid yesterday. 1 have been obliged to take the 
title in my own name, but shall transfer it to the United 
States as soon as they are acknowledged and the account 


settled, provided Congress approve of the transaction ; other- 
wise I shall take the risk upon myself, and sell it again. I 
shall live hereafter at a smaller rent than I ever did hefore, 
though in a house much superior. 

I have the honor to be, &z.c. 




The Hague, March 4th, 17S2. 


I have received the letter you did me the honor to ad- 
dress to me from Amsterdam, the 1st instant. I cannot 
answer it officially, in the capacity of King's ftlinister, not 
having any ulterior instructions on the subject to which it 
relates ; but as you request my private opinion, I will give 
it to you with the greatest sincerity. 

After having seriously reflected on the views, which you 
have communicated to m,e, whatever inclination I may have 
to adopt your opinions, 1 cannot conceal from myself the 
inconveniences attending the plan, which you appear dis- 
posed to follow. I think and I believe, that I have suffi- 
cient reason to lead me to the conclusion, that it will retard 
rather than accelerate the ultimate success. I shall have 
the honor of explaining myself more fully by word of 
mouth, if, as M. Dumas gives me to hope, you visit the 
Hague in the course of a few days. 

Receive, Sir, my renewed assurances of inviolable at- 
lachujent, and profound respect, &.c. 




Philadelphia, March 5th, 1782. 
Dear Sir, 

1 have now before me your letters of the 15th, 17th, 
and 18th of October last. I am sorry to find that your 
health has suffered by the climate, but hope that the set- 
ling in of the winter has ere this re-established it. 1 am 
not directed to return any answer to your request to come 
home. Should I obtain the sense of Congress upon it be- 
fore this is closed, it will be transmitted by this convey- 

The success of the allied arms in America, the recovery 
of the Dutch Islands, and the avowed superiority of the 
French in the West Indies, have so changed the face of 
affairs, that there is strong reason to believe negotiations 
will be set on foot this winter. Whether Britain is yet 
sufficiently humbled to desire peace is still doubtful ; but 
whether she is or is not, she will probably negotiate, in 
which case your presence in Europe will be necessary ; so 
that I believe you cannot at the most flatter yourself with 
anything more than a conditional leave to return. 

Your statement of the decline of commerce in the United 
Provinces, agrees exactly with that which we have received 
from other hands. I lament that a nation, which has such 
important reasons for exertion, and such means in their 
power, should want vigor to call them forth. They must 
and will, however, sooner or later, be brought to it. A 
separate peace with England is now^ inipossible, without 
degrading the character of the nation, and exposisg it to 
greater evils than they are threatened with from England. 
Besides, what advantages are to be derived from such a 


peace ? Can Britain restore her conquests, now in the 
hands of the French? Can she give back the plunder of 
St Eustatia, or the cargoes of the Indiamen divided among 
the captors ? Can she afford them a compensation for the 
loss of last year's commerce ? Or can she draw from her 
exhausted purse sufficient sums to defend the barrier 
against the troops of France, who would certainly avenge 
herself for such ingratitude ? 

The distress of the nation, then, must in the end force 
them to exertions, and however reluctantly they may go 
into the war, they must still go into it with vigor. But, 
Sir, though your letters detail the politics of the country, 
though they very ably explain the nature and general prin- 
ciples of the government, they leave us in the dark with 
respect to more important facts. They have not led us 
into the dock yards or arsenals ; they have not told us what 
ships are prepared for sea, what are preparing, what the 
naval force will be this spring, or iiovv it is to be applied. 
You have not yet introduced us to any of the leading mem- 
bers of the great council ; you have not repeated your 
private conversations with them, from which infinitely more 
is to be collected, than from all the pamphlets scattered 
about the streets of Amsterdam. 

If they avoid your company and conversation, it is a 
more unfavorable symptom than any you have mentioned ; 
and shows clearly that your public character should have 
been concealed till your address had paved the way for its 
being acknowledged. If you have formed connexions with 
any of these people, and 1 cannot but presume that you 
have attended to so important a point, it will be very inter- 
esting to us to have their most striking features delineated, 
their sentiments with respect to us and to our opponents 


detailed, and the influence of each in the Assembly of the 
States. This will best acquaint us with the principles of 
the government, and direct our course towards tliem. 

Among other things, I wish to know in what light they 
view our cause, as just or unjust? What influence they 
imagine our independence will have upon the general sys- 
tem of Europe, or their own States ? What expectations 
they form from our commerce ; whether the apprehension 
of its being altogether thrown into another channel, if in- 
fused with address, would not awaken them into action? 
What are their ideas of the comparative power of France 
and Britain, so far as it may affect them? Whetiier they 
have entered into any treaty with France since the war ; if 
they have, what are its objects? If they have not, whether 
any such thing is in contemplation ? 

None of your letters takes the least notice of the French 
Ambassador at the Hague ; is there no intercourse be- 
tween you ? If not, to what is it to be attributed ? It ap- 
pears to me, that our interests in Holland are similar to 
those of France. They are interested with us in forward- 
ing our loans ; in procuring a public acknowledgment of 
our independence ; in urging the States to exertion. They 
have considerable influence on the government, as appears 
from the success that the loan, opened under their guaran- 
tee, met with. 

1 must again, therefore, request you to spend much of 
your time at the Hague, that great centre of politics, to 
cultivate the acquaintance and friendship of the French 
Ambassador, to confer with him freely and candidly upon 
the state of our affairs ; and by his means, to extend your 
acquaintance to the other representatives of crowned heads 
at the Hague. Your having no public character, together 


with our avowed contempt for rank and idle ceremony, 
will greatly facilitate your intercourse with them, and en- 
able you to efface the ill impressions they daily receive of 
us from our enemies. 

You see, Sir, 1 rely so much upon your good sense, as 
to write with freedom to you, and to mark out that line, 
which I conceive will best tend to render your mission use- 
ful. Should I suggest anything, which you may not ap- 
prove, I should be happy to be informed of it, and the 
reasons upon which you act ; so that 1 may be able fully 
to justify your measures, if, at any time, they should not be 
entirely approved on this side of the water. I commu- 
nicated to Congress the letter of Dr Franklin, relative to 
your salary, in consequence of which, they have directed 
the superintendent of the finances to make provision for it 
in future. 

We have no intelligence of importance at this time, but 
have our eyes fixed with anxious expectation on the 
West Indies, whence we hourly expect to hear the particu- 
lars of the engagement between the Count de Grasse and 
Hood ; and the issue of the attack upon St Christopher's. 

To the southward, things remain in the state they were, 
though we have some reason to believe the enemy enter- 
tain serious thoughts of withdrawing their troops from 
Charleston. Thirty empty transports have sailed from 
New York, with a view, as is said, to fetch them to that 
place, which will be the last they quit on the Continent. 
This we ought not to lament, since there is no situation 
better adapted to concentre our force, and no part of 
America so easily defended wilh inferior force, as the 
ridge of hills which shut it in, nt the same time that it is 
totally indefensible against a ro;n' lined nttnck by land and 
VOL. VI. 35 

274' J<>HN ADAMS. 

water. So that we may reasonably hope, that York will 
again be fatal to the British arms. Every preparation 
is making to render it so. 

I write nothing to yoti on the subject of a negotiation, 
conveyances to Dr Franklin being more easily obtained, 
as well as more secure. Every instruction on that head 
is sent to him, and will, of course, be communicated to 
you by the time you need it. 

Nothing can be more pleasing, after the chaos into 
which our affairs were plunged, than the order which 
begins now to be established in every department. Paper 
ceases to be a medium, except the bank paper, which is 
in equal credit with specie ; gold and silver have found 
their passage into the country ; restrictions on commerce 
are removed ; it flows in a thousand new channels, and has 
introduced the greatest plenty of every necessary, and even 
every luxury of life. Our harvests have been so abundant, 
that provisions are in the utmost plenty. All the supplies 
of the army are procured by contracts, and the heavy load 
of purchasing and issuing commissaries is discharged. In 
short, our affairs wear such a face here, at present, that if 
we are only supported this year by foreign loans, we shall 
not be under the necessity of calling for them again. 
Would to heaven, that the present aspect of aflairs might 
render your endeavors on this head successful. The use 
it would be of to the community, would amply compensate 
you for all the pain and distress, which your fruitless en- 
deavors have occasioned you. 

Among other articles of intelligence, I ought to in- 
form you, that Burgoyne is exchanged, and that an ex- 
change is now on foot for Cornvvallis, in which it is 
designed that Mr Laurens shall be included. The Brit- 


ish seem extremely anxious to have him, and to give him 
the command of their army in America. We, who know 
him best, have no objection to the measure. If they wish 
to carry on an active war, his precipitation will lead them 
into new difficulties. If to defend particular posts, they 
cannot put them into the hands of a man who knows less 
about the matter. His defence of York was a most con- 
temptible series of blunders. We shall, besides these, 
derive two decisive advantages from his command ; while 
a detestation of his cruelty has united the whigs, the tenth 
article of the capitulation at York lias destroyed the con- 
fidence of the tories. 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Amsterdam, March 10th, 1782. 


By the address of the House of Commons to the King, 
his Majesty's answer, and the resolution of the House in 
consequence of it, "that he would be highly criminal and an 
enemy to his country, who should attem])t to carry on an 
offensive war in America against the sense of the House ;" 
by the surrender of Minorca, and the disastrous face of 
British affairs in Ireland, as well as in the East and West 
Indies, and by the uncommon difficulties wiiich my Lord 
North finds in raising the loan, I think we may fairly con- 
clude that the United States are not to expect those horrid 
scenes of fire and sword in future, which they have so often 
seen heretofore. 

Among the causes, which have operated to this effect, 


may be reckoned the late ordinance of Congiess against 
British manufactures, and the prospect which has been 
opened to them, in Holland, of a sudden revival of the 
Dutch manufactures of Delft, Leyden, Utrecht, and in- 
deed all the other cities of the Republic. The English 
have found all their artifices to raise mobs in their favor, 
in the Republic, to be vain ; they found that there began 
to be an appearance of danger of popular tumults against 
them ; they have seen their friends in this country driven 
out of all their strong holds, and forced to combat on the 
retreat; they have found that the American cause gained 
ground upon them every day, and that serious indications 
were given of a disposition to acknowledge our indepen- 
dence, for the sake of reviving their manufactures and 
extending their commerce, all which together has raised a 
kind of panic in the nation, and such a fermentation in Par- 
liament, as has produced a formal renunciation of the prin- 
ciples of the American war. 

The question now arises, what measures will the Cabi- 
net of St James pursue ? Will they agree to the Congress 
at Vienna ? I believe not. Will they treat with the Amer- 
ican peace Ministers now in Europe .'' I fancy not. They 
will more probably send agents to America, to propose 
some bad plan of American viceroys, and American no- 
bility, and what not, except common sense and common 

1 presume, with submission, however, that Congress will 
enter into no treaty or conference with them, but refer 
them to their Ministers in Europe. 

France and Spain, 1 think, cannot mistake their interest 
and duty upon this occasion, which is, to strike the most 
decided strokes, to take the British armies in New York 


and Charleston prisoners. Without this, in all probability, 
before another revolution of the seasons, all the United 
States will be evacuated, the British forces sent to Quebec, 
Halifax and the West India Islands, where it will cost 
France and Spain more time, blood, and treasure to dis- 
pose of them than it will this campaign to capture them in 
New York and Charleston. 

With the greatest respect and esteem, I have the honor 

to be, &;c. 



Amsterdam, March 11th, 1782. 


The promise, which was made me by M. Bergsma, that 
I should have an answer from the Province of Friesland in 
three weeks, has been literally fulfilled. This gentleman, 
who, as well as his Province, deserves to be remembered 
in America, sent me a copy of the resolution in Dutch as 
soon as it passed. It is now public in all the gazettes, and 
is conceived in these terms; 

"The requisition of Mr Adams, for presenting his letters 
of credence from the United States of North America to 
their High Mightinesses, having been brought into the As- 
sembly and put into deliberation, as also the ulterior Ad- 
dress to the same purpose, with a demand of a categorical 
answer made by him, as is more amply mentioned in the 
minutes of their High Mightinesses of the 4th of May, 
1781, and the 9th of January, 1782, whereupon, it hav- 
ing been taken into consideration, that the said Mr Adams 
would probably have some propositions to make to their 
High Mightinesses, and to present to them the principal 


articles and foundations upon which the Congress, on their 
part, would enter into a treaty of commerce and friend- 
ship, or other affairs to propose, in regard to which des- 
patch would be requisite; 

"It has been thought fit and resolved, to authorise the 
gendemen, the Deputies of this Province at the generality, 
and to instruct them to direct things at the table of their 
High Mightinesses in such a manner, that the said JNIr 
Adams be admitted forthwith as Minister of the Congress 
of North America, with further order to the said Deputies, 
that if there should be made, moreover, any similar propo- 
silJons by the same, to inform immediately their Noble 
Mightinesses of them. And an extract of the present reso- 
lution shall be sent them for their information, that they 
may conduct themselves conformably. 

"Thus resolved at the Province House, the 26th of Feb- 
ruary, 1782. 

A. T. V. SMINIA." 

This resolution has, by the Deputies of Friesland, been 
laid before their High Mightinesses at the Hague, and after 
deliberation, the Deputies of the Provinces of Guelderland, 
Zealanrl, Utreclit, and Groningen, have taken copies of it, 
to be communicated more amply to their constituents. In 
the States of the Province of Holland and West Friesland, 
the requisition of the 9th of January had been committed 
to the Committee of Grand Affairs, and taken into deliber- 
ation by the body of Nobles, and ad referendum by all the 
eighteen cities. 

The sovereignty of the United States of America would 
undoubtedly be acknowledged by the Seven United Prov- 
inces, and their Minister received to an audience in state 
in the course of a few weeks, if the Regency of the city 


of Amsterdam had not visibly altered its sentiments, but all 
things are embroiled. The opposition to M. Van Berckel, 
and the glittering charms of an embassy to Petersburg or 
Vienna, which have been artfully displayed, as it is said, 
before the eyes of one man, and many secret reasonings of 
similar kind with others, have placed the last hopes of the 
English and Dutch Courts in a city, which had long been 
firm in opposition to the desires of both. The public in 
general, however, expect that the example of the Friesians 
will be followed. Wherever I go, everybody, almost, con- 
gratulates me upon the prospect of my being soon received 
at the Hague. The French gazettes all give their opinions 
very decidedly that it will be done, and the Dutch gazettes 
all breathe out, God grant that it may be so. I confess, 
however, that I doubt it, at least I am sure that a very lit- 
tle thing may prevent it. It is certain, that the Court will 
oppose it in secret with all their engines, although they are 
already too unpopular to venture to increase the odium, by 
an open opposition. 

Friesland is said to be a sure index of the national 
sense. The people of that Province have been ever 
famous for the spirit of liberty. The feudal system never 
was admitted among them ; they never would submit to it, 
and they have preserved those privileges, which all others 
have long since surrendered. The Regencies are chosen 
by the people, and on all critical occasions the Friesians 
have displayed a resolution and an activity beyond the 
other members of the State. I am told that the Friesians 
never undertake anything but they carry it through, and, 
therefore, that I may depend upon it, they will force their 
way to a connexion with America. This may he the 
case if the war continues, and the enemies of Great Britain 


continue to be successful ; but I have no expectations of 
anytliing very soon, because I have much better informa- 
tion than the public, of the secret intrigues both at the 
Hague and Amsterdam. Patience, however. We have 
nothing to fear. Courtiers and aristocrats, as well as the 
people, all say, "you know very well we love the Ameri- 
cans, and will ever be their good friends." This love and 
friendship consists, however, rather too much in mere 
words, "Be ye warmed," &.c. ; and a strong desire of 
gain by your commerce. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Amsterdam, March 19th, 1782. 


I have before transmitted to you the resolution of Fries- 
land of the iJ6th of February, 1782, by which that Province 
acknowledged the independence of the United States, and 
directed their Minister to be received ; but some proceed- 
ings in Guelderland deserve to follow. In an extraordinary 
assembly of the county of Zutphen, held at Nimeguen the 
23d of February, the following measures were taken. 

"After the report of the committees of this Province to 
the generality, laid this day upon the table, relative to what 
passed in the precedent assembly, and after an examina- 
tion of an extract of the register of the Resolutions of 
their High Mightinesses the States-General of (he Low 
Countries, of the 9th of last month, in relation to the ulte- 
rior address of Mr Adams to the President of their High 
Mightinesses, concerning the presentation of his letters of 


credence to their High Mightinesses, in behalf of llie 
United States of North America, for, and demanding a 
categorical answer, whereof the gentlemen, the Deputies 
of the respective Provinces, have taken copies, the Baron 
Robert Jasper Van der Capellan de Marsch, first by word 
of mouth, and afterwards in writing, proposed and insisted 
at the Assembly of this Quarter, that at present and with- 
out delay, we should make a point of deliberation, and that 
we should make upon the table the necessary overture, 
conceived more at length in the advice of this nobleman, 
inserted in these terms ; 

"Noble and Mighty Lords, 
"The subscriber judges, upon good grounds, and without 
fear of being contradicted, that he is able to affirm, that it 
is more than time that we should give a serious attention 
to the offer and invitation, in every sense honorable and 
advantageous for the Republic, of friendship and reciprocal 
connexions with the Thirteen American Provinces, now 
become free at the point of the sword ; in such sort that 
the categorical answer demanded by their Minister, Mr 
Adams, may become a subject of the deliberations of your 
High Mightinesses, and that they may decide as soon as 
possible concerning their respective interests. He judges 
that he ought not to have any further pcruple in this regard, 
and the uncertain consequences of the mediation offered by 
Russia cannot, when certain advantages for this Republic 
are in question, hinder that out of regard for an enemy, 
with whom we (however salutary the views of her Imperial 
Majesty are represented) cannot make any peace at the 
expense of a negligence ?o irreparable ; that the longer 
delay to unite ourselves to a nation already so power- 
ful, will have for its consequence, that our inhabitants will 
VOL. vi. 36 


lose the means of extending, in a manner the most advan- 
tageous, their commerce and their prosperity ; that by (he 
rigorous prohibition to import English manufactures into 
America, our manufactures, by means of precautions taken 
in time, will rise out of their state of languor ; and that, 
by delaying longer to satisfy the wishes of the nation, her 
leaders will draw upon them the reproach of having neg- 
lected and rejected the favorable offers of Providence ; 
that, on the contrary, by adopting these measures, the 
essential interests of this unfortunate people will be taken 
to heart. 

"The subscriber declaring, moreover, that he will aban- 
don this unpardonable negligence of an opportunity favor- 
able to the Republic, to the account of those whom it may 
coTiicern ; protesting against all the fatal consequences, that 
a longer refusal of these necessary measures will certainly 
occasion. Whereupon he demanded that for his dis- 
charge, this note should be inserted in the registers of the 
Quarter. R. I. VAN DER CAPELLAN." 

"This advice having been read, Jacob Adolf de Heeck- 
eren d'Enghuisen, Counsellor, and FirstMaster of Accounts 
in Guelderland, President at this time of the Assembly of 
the Quarter, represented to the said Robert Jasper Van 
der Capellan de Marsch, 'that although he must agree to 
the justice of all that he had laid down, besides several 
other reasons equally strong, which occurred to his mind, 
the deliberation upon the point in question appeared to him 
premature ; considering that the Lords, the States of Hol- 
land, of West Friesland, and Zealand, as the principal 
commercial Provinces, who are directly interested, had 
not, nevertheless, as yet explained themselves in this re- 


gard ; consequently, that it would not be so convenient foi- 
the States of this Dutchy and County, who are not inter- 
ested in it, but in a consequential and indirect manner, to 
form the first their resolutions in this respect. For this 
reason he proposed to consideration, whether it would not 
be more proper to postpone the deliberations upon this 
matter to a future opportunity ? 

"Nevertheless, the beforementioned Robert Jasper Van 
der Capellan de Marsch, insisting that the voices should 
be collected upon the proposition and advice in question, 
and thereupon having deliberated, their Noble Mightinesses 
have thought fit to resolve, that although the motives al- 
leged by this nobleman in his advice, appear to merit a 
serious consideration, nevertheless, for the reasons before 
alleged, they judge that they ought to suspend the decision 
of it, until the commercial Provinces have formed their 
resolutions concerning it, and that upon the requisition of 
Robert Jasper Van der Capellan de Marsch, there be de- 
livered to him an extract of the present, upon one as well 
as the other. 



"To the Noble, Great, and Venerable Lords of the 
Grand Council of the city of Leyden. 

"The undersigned, all manufacturers, merchants, and 
other traders, interested in the manufactures of this city, 
most respectfully give to understand, that it is a truth as 
melancholy as it is universally known, that the declension 
of the said manufactures, which all the well disposed citi- 
zens have remarked with the most lively grief, from the be- 
ginning of this century, has increased more and more for 


several years ; and that this principal branch of the sub- 
sistence of the good citizens has fallen into such a state of 
languor, that our city, once so flourishing, so populous, so 
celebrated on account of its commerce, and of its traders, 
appears to be threatened with total ruin ; that the diminu- 
tion of its merchant houses, on one hand, and, on the other, 
the total loss or the sensible decrease of several branches 
of commerce, furnish an evident proof of it ; which the 
petitioners could demonstrate by several examples, if there 
were need of them to convince your Noble and Grand 
Lordships, to whom the increase of the liiultitude of the 
poor ; the deplorable situation of several families, hereto- 
fore in easy circumstances ; the depopulation of the city, 
which we cannot observe without emotion, in the ruins of 
several streets, once neat and well inhabited, are fully 
known, will recollect no doubt upon this occasion, with 
grief, that this state of languor must appear so much the 
more desperate, if your Noble and Grand Lordships will 
take into consideration, that in this decay of trades and 
manufactures, we find a new reason of their further fall, 
considering, that from the time, that there is not continual 
employment, and an uninterrupted sale, the workmen 
desert in such a manner, that when considerable commis- 
sions arrive, we cannot find capable hands, and we see 
ourselves entirely out of a condition to execute these 

"That the petitioners, with all the true friends of their 
country, extremely affected with this alarming situation of 
so rich a source of the public prosperity, have, indeed, 
sought the means of a remedy, in amending some defects 
from which it seemed to arise, at least in part ; but that 
the measures taken in this view, as is well known to your 


Noble and Grand Lordships, have not had the desired 
effect ; at least, that they have not produced a re-establish- 
ment so effectual, that we have been able to observe a 
sensible influence in the increase of the sales of the manu- 
factures of Leyden, as appears most evidently by a com- 
parison of the pieces fabricated here, which have been 
heretofore carried to the divers markets of this city, with 
those, which are carried there at this day ; a comparison 
which a true citizen cannot consider without regret. 

"That experience lias also taught the petitioners, that 
the principal cause of the decay of the manufactures of 
Holland, particularly those of Leyden, is not to be found 
in any internal vice, either in the capacity or the economy 
of the inhabitants, but in circumstances, which have hap- 
pened abroad, and to which it is, consequently, beyond 
the power of the petitioners, or of any citizen whatever, to 
provide a remedy ; that we might cite, for example, the 
commerce of our manufactures with Dantzick, and, through 
that commercial city, with all Poland ; a commerce which 
was carried on with success and advantage heretofore in 
our city, but is absolutely interrupted at this day, and van- 
ished by the revolution, which has happened in that king- 
dom, and by the burthensome duties, to which the naviga- 
tion of the Vistula has been subjected, but that, without 
enterino- into a detail of similar particular shackles, of 
which we might reckon a great number, the principal cause 
of the languishing state of our manufactures, consists in the 
jealous emulation of the neighboring nations, or rather of 
all the people of Europe, considering that in this age, the 
several Princes and governments, enlightened in the real 
sources of the public prosperity and the true interests of 
their subjects, attach themselves with emulation, to revive 


in their kingdoms and states, the national industry, com- 
merce, and navigation ; to encourage them and promote 
them, even by exclusive privileges, or by heavy impositions 
upon foreign merchandises, which tend equally to the pre- 
judice of the commerce and manufactures of our country, 
as your Noble and Grand Lordships will easily recollect 
the examples in the Austrian States and elsewhere ; that 
in the midst of these powers and nations, emulous, or 
jealous, it is impossible for the citizens of our Republic, 
however superior their manufactures may be in quality and 
fineness, to resist a rivalry so universal, especially con- 
sidering the dearness of labor, caused by that of the means 
of subsistence, which, in its turn, is a necessary conse- 
quence of tl>e taxes and imposts, which the inhabitants of 
this State pay in a greater number and a higher rate, than 
in any other country, by reason of her natural situation, 
and of its means to support itself; so that, by the continual 
operation of this principal, but irreparable cause of decline, 
it is to be feared, that the impoverishment and the diminu- 
tion of the good citizens increasing with want of employ- 
ment, the Dutch nation, heretofore the purveyor of all Eu- 
rope, will be obliged to content itself with the sale of its 
own productinr.s in the interior of the country ; (and how 
much does not even this resource suffer by the importation 
of foreign manufactures?) and that Leyden, lately so rich 
and flourishing, will furnish in its declining streets, desola- 
ted quarters, and its multitude disgraced with want and 
misery, an affecting proof of the sudden fall of countries 
formerly overflowing with prosperity. 

"That, if we duly considej: these motives, no citizen, 
whose heart is upright, (as the petitioners assure them- 
selves) much less your Noble and Great Mightinesses, 


whose good dispositions they acknowledge with gratitude, 
will take it amiss, that we have fixed our eyes, in the pres- 
ent conjuncture of affairs, to inquire, whether these times 
might not furnish them some means of reviving the lan- 
guishing manufactures of.Levden; and that, after a con- 
sideration well matured, they flatter themselves with a 
hope, (a hope, which unprejudiced men will not regard as 
a vain chimera) that in fact, by the present circumstances, 
there opens in their favor an issue for arriving at the re- 
establishment desired. 

"That from the time, when the rupture between Great 
Britain and the Colonies upon the Continent of North 
America, appeared to be irreparable, every attentive spec- 
tator of this event perceived, or at least was convinced, 
that this rupture, by which there was born a Republic, as 
powerful as industrious, in the new world, would have the 
most important consequences for commerce and navigation, 
and that the other commercial nations of Europe would 
soon share in a very considerable commerce, whereof the 
kingdom of England had reserved to itself, until that time, 
the exclusive possession by its act of navigation, and by 
the other acts of Parliament prescribed to the colonies ; 
that, in the time of it, this reflection did not escape your 
petitioners, and that they foresaw from that time the ad- 
vantage, which might arise in the sequel from a revolution 
so important for the United Provinces in general, and for 
their native city in particular ; but they should have been 
afraid to place this favorable occasion before the eyes of 
your Noble and Grand Lordships at an epoch, when the 
relations, which connected our Republic with Great Brit- 
ain, her neighbors seemed to forbid all measures of this 
nature, or at least ought to make them be considered as out 
of season. 


"That, in the meantime, this reason of silence has en- 
tirely ceased, by the hostilities, which the said kingdom 
has commenced against our Republic, under pretences, 
and in a manner, the injustice of which has been demon- 
strated by the supreme government of the State, with an 
irrefragable evidence in the eyes of impartial Europe j 
whilst the petitioners themselves, by the illegal capture of 
so large a number of Dutch ships, and afterwards by the 
absolute stagnation of navigation, and of voyages to foreign 
countries, have experienced in the most grievous manner, 
the consequences of this hostile and unforeseen attack, and 
feci them still every day, as is abundantly known to your 
Noble and Grand Lordships ; that, since that epoch, a 
still more considerable number of workmen must have re- 
mained without employment, and that several fathers of 
families have quitted the city, abandoning to the further 
expense of the treasury of the poor, their wives and their 
children, plunged in misery. 

"That during this rupture, which has subsisted now for 
fifteen months, there lias occiu'red another circumstance, 
which has encouraged the petitioners still more, and which 
10 them appears to be of such a nature, that they would be 
guilty of an excessive indifference, and an unpardonable 
negligence towards liie city, towards the lower class of in- 
habitants, towards their own families, and towards tiiem- 
selves, if they should delay any longer to lay open their 
interests to your Noble and Grand Lordships, in a man- 
ner the most respectful, but the most energetic, to wit, that 
the United States of America have very rigorously forbid, 
by a resolution of Congress, agreed to in all the Thirteen 
States, the importation of all English manufactures, and, 
in general all the merchandises fabricated in the dominions, 


which yet remain to Great Britain ; that the effect of this 
prohibition must necessarily be a spirit of emulation be- 
tween all the conmiercial nations, to take place of the 
British merchants and manufacturers in this important 
branch of exportation, which is entirely cut off from them 
at this day ; that, nevertheless, among all the nations, there 
is none which can entertain a hope better founded, and 
more sure in this respect, than the citizens of this free Re- 
public, whether on account of the identity of religion, the 
fashion of living, the manners, whether because of the 
extent of its commerce, and the convenience of its navi- 
gation, but above all, by the reason of the activity and the 
good faith, which still at this day distinguishes (without 
boasting too much) the Dutch nation, above all other peo- 
ple; qualities, in consideration of which the citizens of Uni- 
ted America are inclined, even at present, to prefer, in 
equal circumstances, the citizens of our free States to 
every other nation. 

"That, nevertheless, all relations and connexions of 
commerce between the two people cannot but be uncertain 
and fluctuating, as long as their offers and reciprocal en- 
gagements are not fixed and regulated by a Treaty of 
Commerce ; that, at this day, if ever, (according to the 
lespectful opinion of the petitioners) there exists a neces- 
sity the most absolute for the conclusion of a similar Treaty 
of Commerce, there, where we may say with truth, that 
there arises for the Re|)ui)ijc', for our Leyden, especially, a 
moment, which, once escaped, perhaps never will return ; 
since the National Assembly of Great Britain, convinced 
by n terrible and fatal experience, of the absolute ijjipossi- 
bility of re-attaching United America to the British Crown, 
lias laid before the Throne its desire to conclude a neces- 
V0I-. VI. 37 


sary peace with a people, free at this day al the price of 
their blood, so that, if this peace should be once con- 
cluded, the Dutch nation would see itself perhaps ex- 
cluded from all advantages of commerce wit!) this new 
Republic ; or, at least would be treated by her with an in- 
difference, which the small value, which we should have 
put upon its friendship in former times, would seem to 

"That, supposing for a moment a peace between Eng- 
land and United America were not so near as we have 
reason to presume not without probability, there would be 
found, in that case, nations enough, who will be jealous of 
acquiring, after the example of France, the earliest right 
to commerce with a country, which, already peopled by 
several millions of inhabitants, augments every day in 
population, in a manner incredible ; but, as a new people, 
unprovided as yet with several necessary articles, will pro- 
cure a rich, even an immense outlet for the fabrics and 
manufactures of Europe. That, however manifest the 
interest, which the petitioners and all the citizens of Ley- 
den would have in the conclusion of such a treaty of com- 
merce, they would, however, have made a scruple to lay 
before the paternal eyes of your Noble and Grand Lord- 
ships the utility, or rather the necessity of such a mea- 
sure in respect to them, if they could believe, that their 
particular advantage would be in anywise contrary to the 
more universal interests of all the Republic ; but, as far as 
the petitioners may judge, as citizens, of the situation and 
the political existence of their country, they are ignorant of 
any reasons of this kind ; but, on the contrary, they dare 
appeal to the unanimous voice of their fellow-citizens, well 
intenfioned in the other cities and provinces, even of the 


Regents of the most distinguished, since it is universally 
known, that the Province of Friesland has already pre- 
ceded the other confederates, by a resolution for opening 
negotiations with America ; and that in other provinces, 
which have an interest less direct in commerce and manu- 
factures, celebrated Regents appear to wait merely for the 
example of the commercial Provinces for taking a similar 

"That the petitioners will not detain the attention of your 
Noble and Grand Mightinesses, by a more ample detail of 
the reasons and motives, since on one hand, they assure 
themselves that these reasons and motives will not escape 
(he enlightened and attentive judgment of your Noble and 
Grand Lordships ; and on the other, they know by expe- 
rience that your Noble and Grand Lordships are disposed 
not to suffer any occasion to pass for promoting the well- 
being of their city, for advancing the prosperity of the citi- 
zens, to render their names dear to their contemporaries, 
and make them blessed by posterity. 

"In which firm expectation the petitioners address them- 
selves to this Grand Council, with the respectful, but serious 
request, that it may please your Noble and Grand Lord- 
ships to direct by their powerful influence, things in such 
sort, that in the Assembly highly respected of their Noble 
and Grand Mightinesses, the Lords the States of Holland 
and West Friesland, there be opened deliberations, or if 
already opened, carried as speedily as possible to an effec- 
tual conclusion, such as they shall find the most proper for 
obtaining the lawful end, and fulfilling the desires of the 
petitioners, or as they shall judge conformable to the gene- 
ral interest." 

292 JOHiN ADAiMS. 


"To their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the 
United Provinces, 

"The undersigned, mercliaiits, manufacturers, and otlier 
inhabitants living by commerce in this country, give re- 
spectfully to understand ; 

"That although the petitioners have always relied with 
entire confidence upon the administration and the resolu- 
tions of your High JMightinesses, and it is against their in- 
clinations to interrupt your important deliberations, they 
think, however, that they ought at this time to take the lib- 
erty, and believe, as well-intentioned inhabitants, that it is 
their indispensable duty in the present moment, which is 
most critical for the Republic, to lay humbly before your 
High Mightinesses their interests. 

"What good citizen in the Republic, having at heart the 
interest of his dear country, can dissemble, or represent to 
himself without dismay, llie sad situation to which we are 
reduced by the attack, equally sudden, unjust, and perfid- 
ious of the English ? Who would have dared two years ago 
to foretell, and, notwithstanding the dark clouds, which even 
then began to form themselves, could even have imagined 
that our commerce and our navigation, with the immense 
affairs which depend upon it, the support and the pros- 
perity of this Republic, could have fallen and remained in 
such a terrible decay ? That in 17S0 more than two thou- 
sand of Dutch vessels having passed the Sound, not one 
was found upon the list in 1731 ? That the ocean, hereto- 
fore covered with our vessels, shall see at present scarcely 
any, and that we may be reduced to see our navigation, 
formerly so much respected, and preferred by all the 
nations, pass entirely into the hands of other powers ? 


"It would be superfluous to etideavor to explain at 
length, the damages, the enormous losses, which our in- 
habitants experienced by the sudden invasion and pillage of 
the Colonies, and of their ships ; disasters, which not only 
fall directly upon the merchant, but whicli have also a gen- 
eral influence, and make tiiemselves felt in the most melan- 
choly manner, even upon the lowest artisans and laborers, 
by the languor which they occasion in commerce. But 
how great soever they may be, it might perhaps be possi- 
ble, by the aid of the paternal cares of your High Mighti- 
nesses, and by opposing a vigorous resistance to the ene- 
my, already enervated, to repair in time all the losses, 
(without mentioning indemnifications,) if this stagnation of 
commerce was only momentary, and if the industrious 
merchant did not see beforehand the sources of his future 
felicity dried up. It is this gloomy foresight, which in this 
moment afflicts in the highest degree the petitioners ; for it 
would be the height of folly and inconsideration to desire 
slill to flatter ourselves, and to remain quiet in the expec- 
tation that after the conclusion of the peace, the business at 
present, turjied out of its direction, should return entirely 
into this country, for experience shows the contrary, in a 
manner the most convincing, and it is most probable that 
the same nations, who are actually in possession of it, will 
preserve at that time the greatest part of it. The petition- 
ers, terrified, throw their eyes round everywhere to dis- 
cover new sources, capable of procuring them more success 
in future ; they even flatter themselves, that they have 
found them upon the new theatre of commerce, which the 
United States of America offer them, a commerce of which 
in this moment, but in this moment only, they believe them- 
selves to be in a condition, to be able to assure to them- 


selves a good share, and the great importance of which, 
joined to the fear of seeing escape from their hands this 
only and last resource, has induced them to lake the reso- 
lution to lay open respectfully their observations concern- 
ing this important object, to your High Mightinesses, with 
tlie earnest prayer, that you would consider them with a 
serious attention, and not interpret in ill part this measure 
of the petitioners, especially, as their future well-being, 
perhaps even that of the whole Republic, depends on the 
decision of this affair. 

"No man can call in question, that England has derived 
her greatest forces from her commerce with America. 
Those immense treasures, which that commerce has thrown 
into the coffeis of the State, the uncommon prosperity of 
several of her commercial houses, the extreme reputation 
of her manufactures, the consumption of which, in quanti- 
ties beyond all bounds, contributes efficaciously to their 
perfection, are convincing proofs of it. However it may 
be, and notwithstanding the supposition too lightly adopted, 
that we cannot imitate the British manufactures, the manu- 
facture of painted linens of Rouen, those of wool of Amiens, 
of Germany, of Overyssel, the pins of Zwoll, prove visibly, 
that all 'things need not be drawn from England; that, 
moreover, we are as well in condition, or shall be soon, 
to equal them i;) several respects. 

"Permit us. High and Mighty Lords, to the end to 
avoid all further digression, to request, in this regard, the 
attention of your High Mightinesses to the situation of 
commerce in France at the beginning of the war. Con- 
tinual losses had almost ruined it altogether, like ours; 
several of her merchants failed of capitals, and others 
wanted courage to continue their commerce ; her manu- 


factures languished ; the people groaned ; in one word, 
everything marked out the horrors of war ; but, at present, 
her maritime towns overpeopled, have occasion to be en- 
larged ; her manufactures, having arrived at a degree of 
exportation unknown before, begin to perfect themselves 
more and more ; in such a degree, that the melancholy 
consequences of the war are scarcely felt in that kingdom. 
But since it is incontestible, that this favorable alteration 
results almost entirely from its commerce with America ; 
that even this has taken place in time of war, which, more- 
over, is ever prejudicial, we leave it to the enlightened 
judgment of your High Mightinesses to decide, what it is 
we may expect from a commerce of this nature, even at 
present, but especially in time of peace. 

"In the meantime, we have had the happiness to make 
a trial of short duration, it is true, but very strong in 
proportion to its continuance, in our Colony of St Eustatia, 
of the importance of the commerce, though not direct, 
with North America. The registers of the West India 
Company may furnish proofs of it very convincing to your 
High Mightinesses. In fact, their productions are infinitely 
beneficial to our markets ; whilst, on our side, we have 
to send them several articles of convenience and of neces- 
sity, whether from our country, or from the neighboring 
States of Germany. Moreover, several of our languish- 
ing manufactures, scattered in the Seven United Prov- 
inces, may perhaps be restored to their former vigor, by 
the means of bounties, or the ditninution of imposts. The 
importance of manufactures for a country is sufficiently 
proved, by the considerable gratifications promised and 
paid by British policy for the encouragement of manufac- 
tures, which that kingdom has procm-ed to itself, beyond 
even what had been expected. 


"The petitioners know perfectly well the obstacles al- 
most insurmountable, which always oppose themselves to 
the liabitual use of new manufactures, although certainly 
better in quality ; and they dare advance, without hesita- 
tion, that several of our manufactures are superior to those 
of the English. And for this end, a moment more favor- 
able can never offer itself than the present, when, by a reso- 
lution of Congress, the importation of all the efiects of the 
produce of Great Britain, and of her Colonies, is forbidden, 
which reduces the merchant and purchaser to the necessity 
of recurring to other merchandises, the use of which will 
serve to dissipate the prejudice conceived against them. It 
is not only the manufactures. High and Mighty Lords, 
which promise a permanent advantage to our Republic ; 
the navigation will derive also great advantages ; for it is 
very far from being true, (as several would maintain,) that 
the Americans, being once in the tranquil possession of 
their independence, would exercise thewiselves with vigor 
in these two branches, and that in the sequel, we shall be 
wholly frustrated of them. Whoever has the least knowl- 
edge of the country of America, and of its vast extent, 
knows that the number of inhabitants is not there in pro- 
portion ; that the two banks of the Mississippi, even the 
most beautiful tract of this country, otherwise so fertile, 
remain still uncultivated ; and as there are wanted so many 
hands, it is not at all jirobable to ]iresume, that they will, 
or can occupy themselves to establish new manufactiu'es, 
both in consequence of tlie new charges, which are thereto 
attached, and bectiusc of the shackles, which they would 
])i!t upon the augmentation and cxporlation of their pro- 

"It is then for this sanin reason, (ihr* want of popula- 


tion,) that they will scarcely find the hands necessary to 
take advantage of the fisheries, which arc the property of 
their own country ; which wiil certainly oblige them to 
abandon to iis the navigation of freight. There is not, 
therefore, any one of our Provinces, much less any one of 
our cities, which cannot enjoy the advantage of this com- 
merce. No, High and Mighty Lords, the petitioners are 
persuaded, that the utility and the benefit of it will spread 
itself over all the Provinces and countries of the Gener- 
ality. Guelderland and Overyssel cannot too much ex- 
tend their manufactures of wool, of mouleton, and other 
things ; even the shoemakers of La Mairie and of Lang 
Straat, will find a considerable opening ; almost all the 
manufactures of Utrecht, and those of Leyden, will flourish 
anew ; Haerlem will see revive its manufactures of stuffs, 
of laces, of ribbands, of twist [de cordons), at present in 
the lowest state of decay ; Delft will see vastly augmented 
the sale of its [porcelaine) earthen ware, and Gouda, that 
of its tobacco pipes. 

"However great may be the advantages foreseen by the 
petitioners from a legal commerce duly protected with Amer- 
ica, their fear is not less, lest we should suffer to escape 
the happy moment of assuring to themselves, and to all the 
Republic, these advantages. The present moment would 
determine the whole. The English nation is weary of the 
war ; and, as that people run easily into extremes, the pe- 
titioners are afraid, witli strong probable appearances, that 
a complete acknowledgment of independence will soon 
take place; above all, if the English see an opportunity of 
being able sull to draw from America some conditions fa- 
vorable for them, or, at least, something to our disarivan- 
tage. Ah ! what is it which should instigate the Ameri- 
voL. VI. 38 


cans, in making peace and renewing friendship with Great 
Britain, to have any regard for the interests of our Repub- 
lic ? If England could only obtain for a condition, that we 
should be obliged to pay duties more burthensome for our 
vessels, this would be not only a continual and permanent 
prejudice, this would be sufficient to transmit to posterity, 
a lamentable proof of our excessive deference for unbridled 

"The petitioners dare flatter themselves, that a measure, 
so frank in this Republic, may powerfully serve for the 
acceleration of a general peace. A general ardor to ex- 
tinguish the flames of war reigns in England ; an upright 
and vigorous conduct, on the part of this Republic, will 
contribute to accelerate the accomplishment of the wishes 
for peace. 

"We flatter ourselves, High and Mighty Lords, that we 
have in tliis regard alleged sufficient reasons for immediate 
decision, and that we have so visibly proved the danger of 
delay, that we dare to hope, from the paternal equity of 
your High Mightinesses, a reasonable attention to the res- 
pectful proposition which we have made. It proceeds 
from no other motive than a sincere affection for the pre- 
cious interests of our dear country, since we consider it as 
certain, that as soon as the step taken by ns shall be known 
by the English, and that they shall have the least hope of 
preventing us, they will not fail, as soon as possible, to ac- 
knowledge American Independence. Supported by all 
these reasons, the petitioners address themselves to your 
High Mightinesses, humbly requesting that it may please 
your High Mightinesses, after the occurrences and affairs 
abovementioned, to lake for the greatest advantage of this 
country, as soon as possible, such resolution as your High 
Mightinesses shall judge most convenient." 



*'The subscribers, all merchants and manufacturers of 
this city, with nil due respect, give to understand, that the 
difference arisen between the kingdom of Great Britain 
and the United States of America, has not only given 
occasion for a long and violent war, but that the arms of 
America have covered themselves with a success so happy, 
that the Congress, assisted by the Courts of France and 
Spain, have so well established their liberty and indepen- 
dence, and reduced Great Britain to extremities so crit- 
ical, that the House of Commons in England, notwith- 
standing all the opposition of the British Ministry, have 
lately formed the important resolution to turn the King 
from an offensive war against America, with no other de- 
sign dian to accelerate, if it is possible, a reconciliation with 

"That, to this happy revolution in the dispositions of the 
English in favor of the liberty and independence of Amer- 
ica, according to all appearances, the resolution taken by 
Congress towards the end of the last year, to wit, to forbid 
in all America the importation of British manufactures and 
productions, has greatly contributed ; a resolution, of which 
they perceive in England, too visibly, the consequences 
ruinous to their manufactures, trades, commerce, and navi- 
gation, to be able to remain indifferent in this regard ; for 
all other commercial nations, who take to heart ever so 
little of their own prosperity, will apply themselves ardently 
to collect from it all the fruit possible. To this effect, it 
would be unpardonable for the business and commerce of 
this Republic in general, and for those of this city in par- 

300 »■ JOHN ADAMS. 

ticular, (o suffer to escape this occasion, so favorable for 
the encouragement of our manufactures, so declined and 
languishing in the interior cities, as well as that of the com- 
merce and of navigation in the maritime cities; or to suffer 
that other commercial nations, even with a total exclusion 
of the mercantile interests of this Republic, should profit 
of it, and this upon an occasion, when by reason of the 
war equally unjust and ruinous, in which the kingdom of 
Great Britain has involved this Republic, we cannot and 
ought not to have the least regard or condescension for 
that jealous State, being able to oblige this arrogant neigh- 
bor in the just fear of the consequences, which a more inti- 
mate connexion between this Republic and North Amer- 
ica would undoubtedly have, to lay down the sooner her 
arms, and restore tranquillity to all Europe. 

"That the petitioners, notwithstanding the inclination 
they have for it, ought not, nevertheless, to explain them- 
selves further upon this object, nor make a demonstration 
in detail of the important advantages, which this Rei)ublic 
may procure itself by a connexion and a relation more inti- 
mate with North America, both because no well informed 
man can easily call the thing in question, but also because 
the States of Friesland themselves have very lately ex- 
plained themselves in a manner so remarkable in this res- 
pect; and which is still more remarkable, because in very 
different circumstances, with a foresight, which posterity 
will celebrate by so much the more, as il is attacked in 
our time by ill designing citizens, the gentlemen, your pre- 
decessors, thought four years ago upon the means of hin- 
dering this Republic from being excluded from the busi- 
ness of the new world, and falling into the disagreeable situa- 
tion in which the kingdom of Portugal is at present ; con- 


sidering, that, according to the information ol your petition- 
ers, the Congress has excluded that kingdom from all com- 
merce and business with North America, solely because it 
had perceived that it suffered itself to be too strongly 
directed by llie influence of the British Court. But this 
example makes us fear with reason, that if the propositions 
made in the name of America by Mr Adams to this Re- 
public, should remain as they still are, without- an answer, 
or if, contrary to all expectation, they should be rejected, 
in that case, the Republic ought not to expect a better 

"That, for these reasons and many others, the petitioners 
had flattered themselves, that we should long ago have 
opened negotiations, and a closer correspondence with the 
United States of America ; but that this important work 
appeared to meet with difficulties with some, as incompati- 
ble with the accession of this Republic to the armed neu- 
trality, and in course with the accepted mediation ; whilst 
others cannot be persuaded to make this, so necessary 
step, in the opinion that we cannot draw any advantage, or, 
at least, of much importance, from a more strict connexion 
with America ; reasons, according to the petitioners, the 
frivolty of which is apparent to every one, who is not filled 
with prejudice, without having occasion to en^.ploy many 
words to point it out ; for as to the first point, supposing 
for a moment that it might be made a question, whether 
the Republic, after her accession to the armed neutrality 
before the war with England, could take a step of this na- 
ture without renouncing at the same time, the advantages 
of the armed neutrality, which it had etnbraced, it is, at 
least, very certain that every difficulty concerning the com- 
petency of the Republic to take a similar step, vanishes 


and disappears of itself at present, when it finds itself 
involved in a war with Great Britain, since from that 
moment she could not only demand the assistance and 
succor of all the confederates in the armed neutrality, but 
that thereby she finds herself authorised, for her own de- 
fence, to employ all sorts of means, violent and others, 
which she could not before adopt and put in use, while she 
was in the position of a neutral power, which would profit 
of the advantages of the armed neutrality. 

"This reasoning, then, proves evidently that in the pres- 
ent situation of affairs, the Republic might acknowledge 
the indej)endence of North Ainerica, and notwithstand- 
ing this, claim of full right the assistance of her neutral 
allies, at least, if we would not maintain one of the follow- 
ing absurdities ; that, notwithstanding the violent aggression 
of England, in resentment of our accession to the armed 
neutrality, we dare not defend ourselves, until our confed- 
erates should think proper to come to om* assistance ; or, 
otherwise, that being attacked by the English, it should be 
permitted us, conformably to the rights of the armed neu- 
trality, to resist thetn in arms, either on the Doggerbank or 
elsewhere, but not by contracting alliances ; which cer- 
tainly do no iujiuy or harm to the convention of the armed 
neutrality, notwithstanding even the small hope we have of 
being succored by the allies of the armed confederation. 

"The argument of the mediation is still more contrary to 
common sense in this, that it supposes the Republic, by 
accepting the mediation, to have also renounced the em|)loy- 
ment of all the means, by way of arms, of alliances, or other- 
wise, which it must judge useful or necessary to annoy !ier 
enemy ; a supposition, which certainly is destitute of all 
foundation, and which would reduce itself simply to a real 


suspension of hostilities on the part of the Republic only ; 
to w-hich the Republic can never have consented, neither 
directly, nor indirectly. Besides this last argument, the 
petitioners must still observe, in the first place, that by 
means of a good harmony and friendship with the United 
States of America, there will spring up, not only different 
sources of business for this Republic, founded solely on 
commerce and navigation, but, in particular, the manufac- 
tures and trade will assume a new activity in the interior 
cities, for they may consume the amount of millions of our 
manufactures, in that new country of so vast extent. In 
the second place, abstracted from all interests of com- 
merce, the friendship or the enmity of a nation, which, 
after having made prisoners of two English armies, has 
known how to render herself respectable and formidable, 
if it were only in relation to the western possessions of tliis 
State, is not, and cannot be, in any manner indifferent for 
our Republic. 

"In the last place, it is necessary, that the petitioners 
remark further in this respect, tliat several inhabitants of 
this Republic, in the present situation of affairs, suffer very 
considerable losses and damages, which might be wholly 
prevented, or in part, at least, hereafter, in case we should 
make with the United Slates of America, in relation to 
vessels and effects recaptured, a convention similar to that, 
which lias been made with the Crown of France the last 
year ; for, Venerable Regents, if a convention of this na- 
ture bad been contracted in the beginning of this war, the 
inhabitants of the Republic would have already derived 
important advantages from it, considering, that several 
ships and cargoes, taken by the English from the inhabit- 
ants of this State, have fallen into the hands of the Ameri- 

304 JOH'^ ADAMS.' 

cans, among others, two vessels from the West Indies, richly 
loaded, and making sail for the ports of the Republic, and 
both estimated at more than a million of florins of Holland ; 
which, captured by the English at the commencement of 
the year past, were carried into North America, where, 
after the capitulation of General Cornwallis, they passed 
from the hands of the English into others. That, although 
the petitioners are fully convinced, that the interests of 
the commerce of this comnion country, and of this city, 
have constantly, but especially in these last years, attracted, 
and still attract every day, a great part of tlie cares of the 
Venerable Regency ; nevertheless, having regard to the 
importance of the affair, the petitioners have thought, that 
they could, and that they ought to take the liberty to ad- 
dress themselves with this petition to you, Venerable Re- 
gents, and to inform you, according to truth, that the 
moments are precious ; that we cannot lose any time, how 
little soever it may be, without running the greatest risk of 
losing all ; since, by hesitating longer, the Republic, ac- 
cording to all appearances, would not derive any advan- 
tage, not even more than it has derived from its accession 
to the armed neutrality, because in the fear of British 
menaces, we did not determine to accede to it, until the 
opportunity of improving the advantage of it was passetl. 

"For these causes, the petitioners address themselves to 
you, Venerable Regents, respectfully soliciting, that your 
efficacious influence may condescend, at the Assembly of 
their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, the States of this 
Province, to direct affairs in such a manner, that upon this 
important object there may be taken, as soon as possible, 
and, if possible, even during the continuance of this As- 
sembly, a final and decisive resolution, such as you, Vene- 


rable Regents, and their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, 
according to their high wisdom shall judge the most con- 
venient ; and if, contrary to all expectation, this important 
operation may meet with any obstacle on tlie part of one 
or more of the confederates, that, in that case, you, Vene- 
rable Regents, in concert with the Province of Friesland, 
and those of the other Provinces, who make no difficulty 
to open a negotiation with America, will condescend to 
consider the means, which shall be found proper and con- 
venient, to effectuate, that the commerce of this Province, 
as well as that of Friesland, and the other members adopt- 
ing the same opinion, may not be prejudiced by any dila- 
tory deliberations, nor too late resolved for the conclusion 
of a measure, as important as necessary." 


"The petition of the merchants, cnsurers, and freighters 
of Rotterdam to the Regency of that city, gives to under- 
stand, in the most respectful manner; that it is sufficiently 
notorious, that the inhabitants of this Republic have, as well 
as any other nation, an interest, that they give us an oppor- 
tunity to open a free correspondence with the inhabitants 
of America, by making a Treaty of Commerce, as Mr 
Adams has represented in his Memorial ; to which they 
add, that the advantages, which must result from it, are 
absolutely the only means of reviving the fallen commerce 
of this country, for re-establishing the navigation, and for 
repairing the great damages, which the perfidious proceed- 
ings of the English have, for so many years, caused to the 
commercial part of this country. 

"That, with all due respect, they represent to the Ven- 
erable Regency the danger we run in prolonging further 
VOL. VI. 39 


ihe deliberations concerning ihe article of an alliance of 
commerce with North America ; being, moreover, certain, 
that the interposition of this State cannot add anything 
more to the solidity of its independence ; and that the 
English Ministry have even made to the Deputies of the 
American Congress propositions to what point they would 
establish a correspondence there to our prejudice, and 
thereby deprive the inhabitants of this country of the cer- 
tain advantages, which might result from this reciprocal 
commerce ; and that thus we ought not to delay cue day, 
nor even one hour, to try all efforts, that we may pursue 
the negotiation offered by Mr Adams, and that we may 
decide finally upon it. 

"Whereupon, the petitioners represent, with all the re- 
spect possible, but at the same time with the strongest con- 
fidence, to the venerable Regency of this city, that they 
would authorise and qualify the gentlemen, their Deputies 
at the Assembly of their Noble and Great Mightinesses, 
to the end, that in the name of this city they insist, in a 
manner the most energetic, at the Assembly of their Noble 
and Great Mightinesses, that the resolution demanded may 
be taken without the least delay, to the end, that on the 
part of this Province, it be effected at the Assembly of the 
States-General, that the American Minister, Mr Adams, 
be, as soon as possible, admitted to the audience, which he 
has demanded, and that they take, with him, the determi- 
nations necessary to render free and open to the reciprocal 
inhabitants, the correspondence demanded." 

The petitions of the merchants and manufacturers of 
Haerlem, Leyden and Amsterdam, which have been pre- 
sented, on the 20ih of ]March, to their High Mightinesses, 
were accompanied by another for the States of Holland 
and West Friesland, conceived in these terms ; 


•'The subscribers, inhabitants of this country, merchants, 
manufacturers, and others, living by commerce, give, with 
all respect, to understand, that they, the petitioners, have 
the honor to annex hereto a copy of a petition presented 
by them to their High Mightinesses, the States-General 
of the United Low Countries. The importance of the 
thing which it contains, the considerable commerce, which 
these countries might establish in North America; the 
profits, which we might draw from it, and the importance 
of industry and manufactures, in the relation which they 
have with commerce in general, as well as the commerce 
of that extensive country ; all these objects have made 
them take the liberty to represent, in the most respectful 
manner, this great afiair for them, and for the connexions, 
which the petitioners may have in quality of manufacturers 
with the merchants; most humbly praying your Noble and 
Grand Mightinesses, for the acquisition of those important 
branches of commerce, and for the advantage of all the 
manufactures and other works of labor and traffic, to be so 
good as to take this petition, and the reasons which it con- 
tains, into your high consideration, and to favor it with 
your powerful support and protection, and by a favorable 
resolution, which may be taken at the Assembly of their 
High Mightinesses, to direct, on the part of this Province, 
things in such a manner, that, for obtaining this com- 
merce, so desired and so necessary for this Republic, there 
be concerted such efficacious measures, as the high wis- 
dom and patriotic sentiments of your Noble and Grand 
Mightinesses may find convenient for the well-being of so 
great a number of inhabitants, and for the prejudice of their 



At Dort, there hns not been presented any petition ; 
but in a letter written from that city, on the 20th of March, 
it is observed, "diat the merchants, convinced by redoubled 
proofs of the zeal and of the efforts of their Regency for 
the true interests of commerce, had judged it necessary to 
present a petition, after the example of the merchants of 
other cities ; that they had contented themselves with tes- 
tifying verbally their desire, that there might be contracted 
connexions of commerce with the United Slates of Amer- 
ica; that this step had been crowned with such happy 
success, that the same day, the 20th of March, it was re- 
solved by the ancient council, to authorise their Deputies 
at the Assembly of Holland, to concur in every manner 
possible, that without delay, Mr Adams be acknowledged 
in his quality of Minister Plenipotentiary ; that his letters 
of credence be accepted, and conferences opened upon 
this object." 

Resolution of their Noble and Grand JMightinesses, the 
Lords the States of Holland and West Friesland, March 
29th, 17S2. 

"It has been judged fit and resolved, that the affair be 
directed, on the part of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses 
at the Generality, to such an end, and that diey diere insist 
in the strongest manner, that Mr Adams be admitted and 
acknowledged, as soon as possible, by their High IMighti- 
nesses, as the Ambassador of the United States of Amer- 
ica ; and the Counsellor Pensionary is charged to give 
knowledge, under hand, to the said Mr Adams, of this 
resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses." 



"The subscribers, all merchants, manufacturers, and 
factors of the city of Zwoll, give respectfully to understand ; 
that every one of them in his private concerns, finds by 
experience, as well as the inhabitants of the Republic in 
general, the grievous effects of the decay into which the 
commerce and the manufactures of this country are fallen 
by little and little, and, above all, since the hostile attack of 
the kingdom of England against this State ; that it being 
their duty to their country, as well as to themselves, to 
make use of all the circumstances, which might contribute 
to their re-establishment, the requisition made '"t long 
since, by Mr Adams to the Republic, to wit, to conclude a 
Treaty of Commerce with the United States of North 
America, could not escape their attention ; an affair, whose 
utility, advantage, and necessity, for these Provinces are 
so evident, and so often proved in an incontestible manner, 
that the petitioners will not fatigue your Noble Lordships, 
by placing them before you, nor the general interests of 
this city, nor the particular relations of the petitioners, con- 
sidering that they are convinced in the first place, that 
England, making against the Republic the most ruinous 
war, and having broken every treaty with her, all kind of 
complaisance for that kingdom is unreasonable. 

"In the second place, that America, which ought to be 
considered as become free at the point of the sword, being 
willing, by the prohibition of all the productions and 
manufactures of England, to break absolutely with that 
kingdom ; it is precisely the time, and perhaps the only 
time, in which we may have a favorable opportunity to enter 
into connexion with this new and powerful Republic ; a 
time which we cannot neglect, without running the greatest 


risk of being irrevocably prevented by ihe other powers, 
and even by England. Thus we take the liberty respect- 
fully to supplicate your Noble Lordships, that having 
shown, for a long time, that you set a value upon the 
formation of alliances with powerful States, you may have 
the goodness, at the approaching Assembly of the Nobility, 
and of the cities forming the States of this Province, to re- 
double your efforts ; to the end, that in the name of this 
country, it may be decided at the Generality, that Mi- 
Adams be acknowledged, and the proposed negotiations 
opened as soon as possible." 


Request of the Merchants, <^c. to their Regency. 

"Noble, Great, and Venerable Lords, 
"It is for us a particular satisfaction to be able to ofler 
to your Noble and Great Lordships, as heads of the Re- 
gency of this city, this well-intentioned request, that a mul- 
titude of our most respectable fellow-citizens have signed. 
It was already ready and signed by many, when we learnt, 
as well by the public papers, as otherwise, the propositions 
of a particular peace, with an ofter of an immediate sus- 
pension of hostilities, on the part of Great Britain, made 
to this State by the mediation of the Russian Ambassador. 
This is the only reason why no immediate mention was 
made of it in the address itself j it is by no means the idea, 
that these offers would have made any impression upon 
the merchants, since we can, on the contrary, in truth 
assure your Noble and Great Lordships, that the unani- 
mous sentiment, nearly, of the exchange of Amsterdam, at 
least, as much as that interests it, is entirely conformable to 
that, which the merchants of Rotterdam have made known 


in so energetic a manner. Tiiat we have, consequently, 
the greatest aversion to like offers, as artful as dangerous, 
which being adopted, would very probably throw this Re- 
public into other situations very embarrassing, the imme- 
diate consequences of which would be to ruin it utterly ; 
whereas, on the other hand, these offers show, that we 
have only to deal with an enemy ejthausted, that we could 
force to a general and durable peace in the end, by follow- 
ing only the example of France, Spain, and North 
America, and by using the means, which are in our own 

"It is improper for us, however, to enlarge further upon 
this project, important as it may be, being well assured, 
that your Noble and Grand Lordships see those grievous 
consequences more clearly than we can trace them. 

"The merchants continue to recommend the commerce 
and the navigation to the constant care and protection of 
your Noble and Great Lordships, and to insist only, that in 
case, that these offers of the Court of England should be 
at any time the cause, that the affair of the admission of 
Mr Adams, in quality of Minister Plenipotentiary of the 
United States of North America, met with any difficulty 
or delay, on the part of the other confederates, that your 
Noble and Great Lordships, according to the second arti- 
cle of our requisition inserted in this request, would have 
the goodness to think upon measures, which would warrant 
this Province from the ruinous consequences of such a 

To this request was joined the address presented to the 
Burgomasters, and to the Council, which is of the follow- 
ing tenor. 


"Noble, Great, Venerable, and Noble and Venerable 

"The undersigned, merchants, citizens, and inhabitants 
of the city of Amsterdam, have learnt, with an inexpressi- 
ble joy, the news of the resolution taken the 28th of March 
last, by their Noble and Grand JMightinesses, the Lords, 
the States of Holland and West Friesland. Their Noble 
and Grand Mightinesses have, thereby, not only satisfied the 
general wishes of the greatest and best part of the inhabit- 
ants of this Province, but they have laid the foundations of 
ulterior alliances and correspondences of friendship and of 
good understanding with the United States of North Ame- 
rica, which promise new life to the languishing state of 
our commerce, of our navigation, and of our manufac- 

"The unanimity, with which the resolution was decided 
in the Assembly of Holland, gives us a well founded hope, 
that the States of the other Provinces will not delay to 
take a similar resolution ; whilst that the same unanimity 
fills with the most lively satisfaction the well-intentioned 
inhabitants of this city, and, without doubt, those of the 
whole country, in convincing them fully, that the union 
among the sage and venerable fathers of the country in- 
creases more and more; whilst that the promptness and 
activity, with which it has been concluded, make us hope, 
with reason, that we shall reap in time, from a step so im- 
portant and so necessary for this Republic, the desired 
fruits. Who then can call in question or disavow, that the 
moment seems to approach nearer and nearer, when this 
Republic shall enter into new relations with a people, 
which finds itself in circumstances, which differ but little 
from those in v/liich our ancestors found themselves two 


centuries ago, with a people, which conciliates, more and 
more, general affection and esteem? 

"The conformity of religion and government, which is 
found between us and America, joined to the indubitable 
marks, that she has already long since given, of the pre- 
ference, that she feels for our friendship, makes the under- 
signed not only suppose, but inspires them with a confi- 
dence even, that our connexions with her will be as solid as 
advantageous, and salutary to the interests of the two na- 
tions. The well-being and the prosperity, which will very 
probably result from them, the part which you, Noble, 
Great, Venerable, and Noble and Venerable Lords, have 
had in the conclusion of a resolution so remarkable ; the 
conviction, that the Venerable Council of this city already 
had of it, upon the proposition of the Noble, Great, and 
Venerable Lords, almost consented to, before the request 
relative to this project, presented not long since to you, 
Noble, Great, and Venerable Lords, had come to the 
knowledge of the Council ; finally, the remembrance of 
that, which was done upon this matter in the year 1778, 
with the best intentions and most laudable views, finding 
itself at present crowned with an approbation as public as 
general, indispensably oblige the undersigned to approach 
you. Noble, Great, Venerable, and Noble and Venerable 
Lords, with this address, not only to congratulate them 
upon so remarkable an event, but to thank them at the 
same time, with as much zeal as solemnity, for all those 
well intentioned cares, and those well concerted measures, 
for that inflexible attachment, and that faithful adherence 
to the true interests of the country in general, and of this 
city in particular, which manifest themselves in so striking 
p. manner in all the proceedings and resolutions of your 
VOL. VI. 40 


Noble, Great, and Venerable Lordships, and of the Ven- 
erable Council of this city, and which certainly will attract 
the esteem and veneration of the latest posterity, when, 
comparing the annals and events of the present, with those 
of former times, it shall discover, that Amsterdam might 
still boast itself of possessing patriots, who dare sacrifice 
generously all views of private interest, of grandeur, and 
of consideration, to the sacred obligations, that their coun- 
try requires of them. 

"We flatter ourselves, Noble, Great, and Venerable, No- 
ble and Venerable Lords, that the |)resent public demon- 
stration of our esteem and attachment will be so much the 
more agreeable, as it is more rare in our Republic, and 
perhaps even it is without example, and as it is more pro- 
per to efface all the odious impressions that the calumny 
and malignity of the English Ministry, not long ago so ser- 
vilely adored by many, but whose downfall is at present 
consummated, had endeavored to spread, particularly a 
little before, and at the beginning of this war, insinuations, 
which have since found partizans in the United Provinces, 
among those who have not been ashamed to paint the Ex- 
. change of Amsterdam, (that is to say, the most respectable 
and the most useful part of the citizens of this city, and at 
the same lime the principal support of the well-being of 
the United Provinces,) as if it consisted, in a great part, of 
'a contemptible herd of vile interested souls, having no 
other object than to give loose to their avidity and to their 
desire of amassing treasures, in defrauding the public 
revenues, and in transporting contraband articles against 
the faith of treaties ; calumniators, who have had at the 
same time, and have still, the audacity to affront the most 
upright Regency of the most considerable city of the Re- 


public, and to expose it to public contemi)t, as if it partici- 
pated by connivance and other ways, in so shameful a com- 
merce ; insinuations and accusations, which liave been 
spread with as much falsehood as wickedness, and which 
ought to excite so much the more the indignation of every 
sensible heart, when one considers with all this, that not 
only the merchants of this city, but also those of the whole 
Republic, have so inviolably respected the faith of treaties, 
that, to the astonishment of every impartial man, one cannot 
j)roduce any proofs, at least no sufficient proofs, that there 
has ever been transported from this country contraband 
merchandises ; whilst that the conjuncture, in which impu- 
tations of this kind have been spread, rendered a like pro- 
ceeding still more odious, seeing that one has done it at 
an epoch, when the commerce and navigation of Amster- 
dam, and of the whole Republic, would have experienced 
the first and almost the only attack of an unjust and ])er- 
fidious ally, for want of necessary j)rotection, upon which 
you, Noble, Great, Venerable, and Noble and Venerable 
Lords, have so often and so seriously insisted, even before 
the commencement of the troubles between Great Britain 
and the United States of North America ; at an epoch, 
when the merchant, formed for enterprises, was obliged to 
see the fruit of his labor and of his cares, the recompense 
of his indefatigable industry, and the patrimony destined to 
bis posterity, ravished from his hands by foreign violence, 
and unbounded rapacity; at an epoch, finally, when the 
wise and prudent politicians, who had exhausted them- 
selves, and spared no pains,ifor the jjublic good, saw their 
patriotic views dissipate, and their })rojects vanish. 

"Receive, then. Noble, Great, and Venerable, Noble and 
Venerable Lords, this solemn testimony of our lively grati- 


tude, as graciously as it is sincere on our part ; receive it 
as a proof of our attachment to your persons ; an attach- 
ment which is not founded upon fear, nor an exterior rep- 
resentation of authority and grandeur, but which is founded 
upon more noble and immovable principles, those ol 
esteem and respect, arising from a sentiment of true great- 
ness and of generosity. Be assured, that when contempti- 
ble discord, with its odious attendants, artifice and impos- 
ture, could effectuate nothing, absolutely nothing, at the 
moment when the present war broke out, to prejudice in 
the least the fidelity of the citizens of the Amstel, or to 
shake them in the observation of their duties, the incon- 
veniences and the evils that a war naturally and necessarily 
draws after it, will not produce the effect neither ; yes, we 
will submit more willingly to them, according as we shall 
perceive, that the means that God and nature have put into 
our hands, are more and more employed to reduce and 
humble a haughty enemy. Continue, then, Noble, Great, 
and Venerable, Noble and Venerable Lords, to proceed 
with safety in the road you follow, the only one, which in 
our opinion, can, under divine benediction, tend to save the 
country from its present situation. Let nothing divert or 
intimidate you from it ; you have already surmounted the 
greatest difficulties and most poignant cares. A more 
pleasing perspective already opens. 

"Great Britain, not long since so proud of its forces, that 
she feared not to declare war against an ancient and faith- 
ful ally, already repents of that unjust and rash proceed- 
ing ; and succumbing under the weight of a war, which 
becomes more and more burdensome, she sighs after 
peace, whilst the harmony among the members of the 
supreme government of this country increases with our 


arms, according as your political system, whose necessity 
and salutary influence were heretofore less acknowledged, 
gains every day more numerous imitators. The resolu- 
tion lately taken by the States of Friesland, and so unani- 
mously adopted by our Province, furnishes, among many 
others, one incontestible proof of it, whilst that the naval 
combat, delivered last year on the Doggerbank, has shown 
to astonished Europe that so long a peace has not made 
the Republic forget the management of arms, but that on 
the contrary, it nourishes in its bosom warriors, who tread 
in the footsteps of the Tromps and Ruiters, from whose 
prudence and intrepidity, after a beginning so glorious, we 
may promise ourselves the most heroic actions ; that their 
invincible courage, little afiected with an evident superior- 
ity, will procure one day to our country an honorable and 
permanent peace, which, in eternizing their military glory, 
will cause the wise policy of your Noble, Great, and Vener- 
able, Noble and Venerable Lordships to be blessed by the 
latest posterity." 


^'To the Noble, Great and Venerable Lords, the Great 
Council of the city of Ley den. 

"The undersigned, manufacturers, merchants, and other 
traders, interested in the manufactures and fabrics of this 
city, give respectfully to understand ; that a number of 
the undersigned, having taken, on the 18th of March, the 
liberty to present to your Noble and Great Lordships a res- 
pectful request, 'to obtain the conclusion of connexions 
of commerce with United America,' the petitioners judge, 
that they ought to hold it for a duty, as agreeable as indis- 
pensable, to testify their sincere gratitude, not only for the 
gracious manner in which your Noble and Great Lordships 


have been pleased to accept that request, but also for the 
patriotic resolution, that your Noble and Great Lordships 
have taken upon its object ; a resolution in virtue of which 
the city of Leyden (as the petitioners have the best reasons 
to su[)pose) has been one of the first cities of this prov- 
ince, from whose unanimous co-operation has originated 
the resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, of 
the date of the 2Sih of March last, 'to direct things on the 
part of their Noble and Grand IMighlinesses in the Assem- 
bly of the States-General, and to make there the strongest 
instances, to the end that Mr Adams may be admitted and 
acknowledged, as soon as possible, by their High Mighti- 
nesses, as Minister of the United States of America.' 

"That the petitioners regard, with all honest hearted citi- 
zens, the present epoch as one of the most glorious in die 
annals of our dear country, seeing that there has been 
manifested in a most signal manner, on one hand, a confi- 
dence the most cordial oi the good citizens towards their 
Regents ; on the other, a paternal attention and deference 
of the Regents to the respectful, but well founded prayers 
of their faithful citizens, and, in general, the most exem- 
plary unanimity throughout the whole nation, to the confu- 
sion of those, who, having endeavored to sow the seeds of 
discord, would have rejoiced If they could say with truth, 
that a dissension so fatal had rooted itself to the ruin of the 
country and of the people. 

"That the petitioners, feeling themselves penetrated with 
the most pleasing emotions by a harmony so universal, 
cannot pass over in silence the reflection, that your Noble 
and Great Lordships, taking a resolution tlie most favor- 
able upon the said request, have discovered thereby, that 
they would not abandon the footsteps of their ancestors. 


who found in the united sentiments of magistrates and citi- 
zens, the resources necessary to resist a powerful op- 
pressor, who even would not have undertaken that difficult, 
but glorious task, if they had not been supported by the 
voice of the most respectable part of the nation. 

"That, encouraged by this reflection, the petitioners 
assure themselves, that your Noble and Great Lordships 
will honor with the same approbation the step, which they 
take to day, to recommend to your Noble and Great Lord- 
ships, in a manner the most respectful, but at the same 
time the most pressing, the prompt and efficacious execu- 
tion of the aforesaid resolution of their Noble and Grand 
Mightinesses, of the 28th of March last, with everything 
which depends thereon, a proceeding, which does not spring 
from a desire, on the part of the petitioners, to raise them- 
selves above the sphere of their duties and vocations, or to 
interfere indiscreetly in the affairs of government ; but only 
from a conviction, that it cannot but be agreeable to well- 
intentioned Regents (such as your Noble and Grand Lord- 
ships have shown yourselves by deeds to the good citi- 
zens) to see themselves applauded in their salutary efforts 
and patriotic designs, and supported against the perverse 
views and secret machinations of the ill disposed, who, 
however small their number, are always found in a nation. 

"That, although the petitioners may be convinced, that 
their Noble and Grand jNIightinesses, having taken a reso- 
lution so agreeable to all true patriots, will not neglect to 
employ means to carry it to an efficacious conclusion 
among the other confederates, and to procure to the good 
citizens the real enjoyment of the commerce with United 
America, they cannot, nevertheless, dissemble, that lately 
some new reasons have arisen, which make them conceive 


some fears respecting the prompt consummation of this de- 
sirable affair. 

"That the probability of an offer of peace, on the part of 
Great Britain, to United America, whereof the petitioners 
made mention in their former request, having at present 
become a full certainty, by the revolution arrived since in 
the British Ministry, they have not learnt without uneasi- 
ness, the attempt made at the same time by the new Min- 
isters of die Court of London, to involve this State in a 
negotiation for a separate peace, the immediate consequence 
of which would be (as the petitioners fear) a cessation of 
all connexions with the American Republic ; whilst, that 
in the meantime, our Republic, deprived on the one hand 
of the advantages, which it reasonably promises itself from 
those connexions, might, on the other, be detained by ne- 
gotiations, spun out to a great length, and not effect till late, 
perhaps after the other belligerent powers, a separate 
peace with England. 

"That, in effect, the difficulties which oppose themselves 
to a like partial pacification, are too multiplied for one to 
promise himself to see them suddenly removed ; such as 
the restitution of the possessions taken from the State, and 
retaken from the English by France, a restitution, which 
thereby is become impracticable ; the indemnification of 
the immense losses, that the unexpected and perfidious 
attack of England has caused to the Dutch nation in gen- 
eral, to the petitioners in particular ; the assurance of a 
free navigation for the future, upon the principles of the 
armed neutrality, and conformably to the law of nations, 
the dissolution of the bonds, which, without being produc- 
tive of any utility to the two nations, have been a source of 
contestations always springing up, and which in every war 


between Great Britain and any other power, have threatened 
to involve our Republic in it, or have, in effect, done it ; 
the annihilation (if possible) of the act of navigation, an act, 
which carries loo evident marks of the supremacy affected 
by England over all other maritime people, not to attract 
attention at the approaching negotiation of peace ; finally, 
the necessity of breaking the yoke, that Great Britain would 
impose upon our flag, to make hers respected in the North- 
ern Ocean, as the seat of her maritime empire ; and other 
objects of this nature, which, as the petulant proceedings 
of the Court of London even have given rise to them, with 
certainty furnish matter for claims and negotiations. 

"That, as by these considerations, even a speedy con- 
summation of a separate peace with England is out of all 
probability, especially when one compares with them the 
dubious and limited manner in which it is offered ; on the 
other hand, a general peace appears not to be so far dis- 
tant, as that to obtain a more prompt reconciliation with 
England, tiie Republic has occasion to abandon its inter- 
ests relative to North America, seeing that the British gov- 
ernment has resolved, upon the request of the National 
Assembly, even to discontinue offensive hostilities against 
the new Republic, and that even under the present ad- 
ministration of the Ministers, it appears ready to acknowl- 
edge positively its independence ; an acknowledgment, 
which, in removing the principal stumbling block of a ne- 
gotiation of a general peace, will pave the way to a prompt 
explication of all the difficulties between the belligerent 

"That the petitioners should exceed much the bounds 
of their plan, if they entered into a more ample detail of 
the reasons, which might be alleged noon this subject, and 

VOL. VI. 41 


which certainly will not escape the political penetration of 
your Noble and Great Lordships ; among others, the en- 
gagennents recently entered into with the Court of France, 
and which will not be violated by our Republic, which ac- 
knowledges the sanctity of its engagennents and respects 
them, but which will serve much rather to convince the 
Empress of Russia of the impossibility of entering, in the 
present juncture of affairs, into such a negotiation as the 
Court of London proposes, when it will not be permitted 
to presume, but that sovereign will feel herself the change 
of circumstances, which have happened with legard to 
America, since the offer of her mediation, by the revolution 
of the British Ministry ; and that she ought even to regard 
a separate peace between our States and England, as the 
most proper mean to retard the general tranquillity, that 
she has endeavored to procure to all the commercial 
nations now at war. 

"That, from these motives, the petitioners respectfully 
hope, that the aforesaid offer of England will occasion no 
obstacle, which may prevent, that the resolution of their 
Noble and Grand Mightinesses, to acknowledge the inde- 
pendence of North America, and to conclude with that 
power a treaty of commerce, may not have a prompt exe- 
cution, nor that even one only of the other confederates 
will sufler itself to be diverted thereby, from the design of 
opening unanimously with this Province and the others, 
which have declared themselves conformably to Holland, 
negotiations with the United States, and of terminating 
them as soon as may be. 

"That the favorable resolutions already taken for this 
effect in Zealand, Utrecht, Overyssel, and at present (as 
the petitioners learn) in the Province of Groningen, after 


the example of Holland and Friesland, confirm them in 
that hope, and seem to render entirely superfluons a re- 
quest, that in every other case the petitioners would have 
found themselves obliged to make with the commercial 
citizens of the other cities, to the end, that by the resist- 
ance of one Province, not immediately interested in com- 
merce and navigation, they might not be deprived of the 
advantages and of the protection, that the Sovereign As- 
sembly of their proper Province had been disposed to pro- 
cure them without that ; but that to the end to provide for 
it, their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, and the States of 
the other Provinces, in this respect unanimous with them, 
should make use of the power, which belongs to each 
free State of our Federative Republic, at least in regard 
to treaties of commerce, of which there exists an example 
in 1649, not only in a treaty of redemption of the toll of 
the Sound, but also in a defensive treaty, concluded with 
the Crown of Denmark by the three Provinces of Guel- 
derland, Holland, and Friesland. 

"But as every apprehension of a similar dissension 
among the members of the confederation appears at pres- 
ent absolutely unseasonable, the petitioners will confine 
themselves rather to another request, to wit, that after the 
formation of connexions of commerce with North Amer- 
ica, the effectual enjoyment of it may be assured to the 
commercial citizens of this country by a suflicient protec- 
tion of the navigation, seeing, that without the protection of 
the navigation, the conclusion even of such a treaty of 
commerce would be absolutely illusory ; that since a long 
time, especially last year, the petitioners have tasted the 
bitter fruits of the defenceless state in which the Dutch 
flag has been incessantly found, as thsy have already said, 


conformably to the trutl), in iheli' first request, 'that by the 
total stagnation of the navigation and of expeditions, tiiey 
have felt in the most painful manner the effects of the hos- 
tile and unforeseen attack of Great Britain, and that they 
feel them still every day ;' that in the meantime this stag- 
nation of commerce, absolutely abandoned to the rapacity 
of an enemy, greedy of pillage, and destitute of all pro- 
tection whatsoever, has appeared to the petitioners, as well 
as to all the other commercial inhabitants, yes, even to all 
true citizens, so much the more hard and afflicting, as they 
not only have constantly contributed with a good heart all 
the public imposts, but that, at the time even that com- 
merce was absolutely abandoned to itself, and deprived of 
all safeguard, it supported a double charge to obtain that 
protection, which it has never enjoyed, seeing that the 
hope of such a protection, (the Republic not being entirely 
without maritime force) has appeared indeed more than 
once, but has always vanished in the most unexpected 
manner, by accidents and impediments, which if they have 
given rise, perhaps wrongfully, to discontent and to distrust 
among the good citizens, will not, nevertheless, be read 
and meditated by posterity, without surprise. 

"That, without intention to legitimate in any fashion the 
suspicions arising from this failure of protection, the pe- 
titioners believe themselves, nevertheless, with all proper 
respect, warranted in addressing their complaints on this 
head to the bosoms of your Great and Noble Lordships, 
and (seeing the commerce with North America cannot 
subsist without navigation, no more than navigation without 
a safeguard) of reckoning upon the active direction, the 
useful employment, and prompt augmentation of our naval 
forces, in proportion to the means, which shall be the most 


proper effectually to secure, to the commerce of this Re- 
public, the fruits of its connexions with United North 

"For which reasons, the petitioners, returning to your 
Noble and Great Lordships their solemn thanks for the 
favorable resolution taken upon their request, the 18th of 
March last, address themselves anew to them on this oc- 
casion, with the respectful prayer, that it may graciously 
please your Noble and Great Lordships to be willing to 
efiectuate, by your powerful influence, whether in the illus- 
trious Assembly of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, 
whether among the other confederates, or elsewhere, there, 
and in such manner as your Noble and Great Lordships 
shall judge the most proper, that the resolution of their 
Noble and Grand Mightinesses, of the date of the 2Sth of 
March last, for the admission of Mr Adams in quality of 
Minister of the United States of America, be promptly 
executed, and that the petitioners, with the other commer- 
cial citizens, obtain the effectual enjoyment of a treaty of 
commerce with the said Republic, as well by the activity 
of the marine of the State, and the protection of the com- 
merce and of the navigation, as well as by all other mea- 
sures, that your Noble and Great Lordships, with the other 
members of the sovereign government of the Republic, shall 
judge to tend to the public good, and to serve to the pros- 
perity of the dear country, as well as to the maintenance 
of its precious liberty." 

UTRECHT, APRIL 28tH, 1782. 

Wednesday last, was presented to their Noble Mighti- 
nesses, the Lords the States of this Province, the follow- 
ing address of thanks, signed by a considerable number of 
merchants, he. of this city. 


"To their Noble JMightinesses, the Lords the Slates of 
the country of Utrecht. 

"The undersigned, manufacturers, merchants, and other 
traders of this city give, with due respect, to understand, 
that the petitioners, placing their confidence in the interest 
that your Noble Mightinesses have always appeared to 
take in the advancement of manufactures and commerce, 
have not been at all scrupulous to recommend to the vigi- 
lant attention of your Noble Mightinesses, the favorable 
occasion that offers itself in this moment, to revive the 
manufactures, the commerce, and the trade, fallen into 
decay in this city and Province, in case that your Noble 
Mightinesses acknowledged, in the name of this city, Mr 
Adams as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of 
North America, to the end that there might be formed 
with them a treaty of commerce for this Republic. As 
the petitioners founded themselves thus upon the intimate 
sentiment of the execution of that, which your Noble 
Mightinesses judged proper to the advancement of the 
well-being of the petitioners and of their interests, the pe- 
titioners have further the satisfaction of feeling the most 
agreeable proofs of it, when your Noble Mightinesses, in 
your last Assembly, resolved unanimously to consent, not 
only to the admission of the said Mr Adams, in quality of 
Minister of the Congress of North America, but to author- 
ise the gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province at the 
Generality, to conform themselves, in the name of this 
Province, to the resolutions of the Lords, the States of 
Holland and West Friesland, and of Friesland, and 
doing this, to consent to the acknowledgment and ad- 
mission of Mr Adams as JMinister of the United States of 
North America ; or, as that resolution furnishes the proofs 


the best intentioned, the most patriotic for the advance- 
ment of that, which may serve to the well-being, to the 
encouragement of manufactures, of commerce, and of de- 
cayed trades, as well in general, as of this city and Prov- 
ince in particular, and which had been so ardently de- 
sired ; the petitioners think themselves indispensably 
obliged to testify, in the most respectful manner, their grat- 
itude for it, to your Noble Mightinesses. 

"The petitioners find themselves absolutely unable to 
express in words, the general satisfaction that this event 
has caused, not only to them, but also to the great and 
small of this Province ; joined to the confirmation of the 
perfect conviction, in which they repose themselves also 
for the future upon the paternal care of your Noble Mighti- 
nesses, that the consummation of the desired treaty of com- 
merce widi the Americans may be soon effected. The 
petitioners attest by the present before your Noble Mighti- 
nesses, their solemn and well meant gratitude, that they 
address also at the same time to your Noble Mightinesses, 
as the most sincere marks of veneration and respect for 
the persons and the direction of public affairs of your 
Noble JMightinesses 5 wishing that Almighty God may deign 
to bless the efforts and the councils of your Noble Mighti- 
nesses, as well as those of the other confederates ; that, 
moreover, this Province, and our dear country, by the 
propositions of an armistice and that which depends upon 
it, should not be involved in any negotiations for a particu- 
lar peace with our perfidious enemy, but that we obtain no 
other peace than a general peace, which (as your Noble 
Mightinesses express yourselves in your resolution) may 
be compatible with our honor and dignity ; and serve, not 
only for this generation, but also for the latest posterity, as 


a monument of glory, of eternal gratitude to, and esteem 

for, the persons and public administration of the present 


I have the honor to be, Ste. 



Amsterdam, March 31st, 1782. 

' Sir, 

I have received the letter, which you did me the honor 
to write me on the 30th, enclosing the resolution of the 
States of Holland and West Friesland, taken on the 28th 
of this month, upon the subject of my admission to the 
audience demanded on tiie 4th of May, and 9th of January 

I am very sensible of the honor that is done me, by this 
instance of personal attention to me in their Noble and 
Grand Mightinesses, and 1 beg of you, Sir, to accept of 
my acknowledgments for the obliging manner, in which 
you have communicated to me their resolution. 

But my sensibility is above all affected by those unequivo- 
cal demonstrations, which appear everywhere, of national 
harmony and unanimity in this important measure ; which 
cannot fail to have the happiest efiects in America, and in 
all Europe ; even in England itself, as well as in this Re- 
public, and which there is great reason to Iiope, will forci- 
bly operate towards the accomplishment of a general 

In the pleasing hope, that all the other Provinces will 
soon follow the examples of Holland and Friesland, I have 
the honor to be, &c. 




Amsterdam, April 10th, 1782. 


I have this moment received the letter, which you did 
me the honor to write me yesterday, with a letter enclosed 
from Dr Franklin. 

The approbation of the Count de Vergennes is a great 
satisfaction to me, and I shall be very happy to learn from 
you, Sir, at Amsterdam, the details you allude to. 

I have a letter from Digges, at London, 2d of April, 
informing me, that he had communicated what had passed 
between him and me, to the Earl of Shelburne, who did 
not like the circumstance, that everything must be- commu- 
nicated to our allies. He says, that Lord Carmaerthen is 
to be sent to the Hague, to negotiate a separate peace with 
Holland. But, according to all appearances, Holland, as 
well as America, will have too much discretion to enter 
into any separate negotiations. 

I have the pleasure to inform you, that Gillon has arrived 
at the Havana, with five rich Jamaica ships as prizes. M. 
Le Roy writes, that the English have evacuated Charleston. 

The enclosed fresh requite of Amsterdam will show 
your Excellency, that there is little probability of the 
Dutchmen being deceived into separate conferences. 

With the most profound respect and esteem, I have the 

honor to be, Sir, he. 

VOL. VI. 4.2 



Amsterdam, April 19th, 1782. 

I have the honor to transmit you the following Resolu- 
tions of the respective Provinces, relative to my admission 
in quality of Minister Plenipotentiary, together with two 
Resolutions of their High Mightinesses, upon the same sub- 
ject, all in the order in which they were taken. 


Extract from the Register Book of the Lords, the States 
of Friesland. 

"The" requisition of Mr Adams, for presenting his let- 
ters of credence from the United States of North America 
to their High Mightinesses, having been brought into the 
assembly and put into deliberation, as also the ulterior ad- 
dress to the same purpose, with a demand of a categorical 
answer, made by him, as is more amply mentioned in the 
minutes of their High Mightinesses, of the 4th of May, 
1781, and the 9th of January, 1782, whereupon, it having 
been taken into consideration, that the said Mr Adams 
would have, probably, some propositions to make to their 
High Mightinesses, and to present to them the principal 
articles and foundations, upon which the Congress, on their 
part, would enter into a treaty of commerce and friend- 
ship, or other affairs to propose, in regard to which, des- 
patch would be requisite, 

"It has been thought fit and resolved, to authorise the 
gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province at the Generality, 
and to instruct them to direct things, at the table of their 
High Mightinesses, in such a manner that the said Mr 


Adams be admitted forthwith, as Minister of the Congress 
of North America, with further order to the said Deputies, 
that if there should be made, moreover, any similar propo- 
sitions by the same, to inform immediately their Noble 
Mightinesses of them. And an extract of the present 
Resolution shall be sent them for their information, that 
they may conduct themselves conformably. 

"Thus resolved, at the Province House, the 26th of 
February, 1782. 

"Compared with the aforesaid book, to my knowledge. 
' A. J. V. SMINJA." 


Extract of the Resolutions of the Lords, the States of 
Holland and West Friesland, taken in the assembly of 
their Noble and Grand Mightinesses. Thursday, March 
2Sth, 1782. 

"Deliberated by resumption upon the address and the 
ulterior address of Mr Adams, made the 4th of May, 1781, 
and the 9th of January, 1782, to the President of the 
States-General, communicated to the assembly, the 9th of 
May, 1781, and the 22d of last month, to present his let- 
ters of credence, in the name of the United States of Amer- 
ica, to their High Mightinesses, by which ulterior address 
the said Mr Adams has demanded a categorical answer, 
that he may acquaint his constituents thereof; deliberated 
also upon the petitions of a great number of merchants, 
manufacturers, and others, inhabitants of this Province in- 
terested in commerce, to support their request presented 
to the States-General the 20th current, to the end that effi- 
cacious measures might be taken to establish a commerce 
between this country and North America, copies of which 


petitions have been given to the members the 21st ; it has 
been thought fit, and resolved, that the affliirs shall be 
directed, on the part of their Noble and Grand Mighti- 
nesses, at the Assembly of the States-General, and that 
there shall be there made the strongest instances that INlr 
Adams be admitted and acknowledged, as soon as possible, 
by their High Mightinesses, in quality of Envoy of the 
United States of America. And the Counsellor Pension- 
ary has been charged to inform under his hand the said Mr 
Adams of this Resolution of their Noble and Grand Might- 


Extract of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses 
the States-General of the United Provinces. Monday, 
April 8th, 1782. 

"The Deputies of the Province of Zealand have brought 
to the Assembly and caused to be read there the Resolu- 
tion of the States of the said Province, their principals, to 
cause to be admitted as soon as possible, Mr Adams, in 
quality of Envoy of the Congress of North America in the 
following terms. 

"Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of the 
Lords the States of Zealand. April 4th, 1782. 

"It has been thought fit and ordered, that the gentle- 
men, the ordinary Deputies of this Province at the Gener- 
ality, shall be convoked and authorised, as it is done by the 
present, to assist in the direction of affairs at the Assembly 
of their High Mightinesses, in such a manner, that IMr 
Adams may be acknowledged as soon as possible, as En- 
voy of the Congress of North America ; that his letters of 
credence be accepted, and that he be admitted in that 
quality according to the ordinary form, enjoining further 


upon the said Lords, the ordinary Deputies, (0 take such 
propositions as should he made to this Republic, by the said 
Mr Adams, for the information and the deliberation of their 
High Mightinesses, to the end to transmit them here as 
soon as possible. And an extract of this Resolution of 
their Noble Mightinesses shall be sent to the gentlemen, 
their ordinary Deputies, to serve them as an instruction. 


"Upon which, having deliberated, it has been thought fit 
and resolved to pray, by the present, the gentlemen, the 
Deputies of the Provinces of Guelderland, Utrecht, and 
Groningen, and Ommelanden, who have not as yet explain- 
ed themselves upon this subject, to be pleased to do it, as 
soon as possible." 


Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of the 
Equestrian order, and of the cities composing the States 
of Overyssel. Zwoll, 5th of April, 1782. 

"The Grand Bailiff de Sallande, and the other com- 
missions of their Noble Mightinesses for the affairs of 
finance, having examined, conformably to their commissorial 
resolution of the 3d of this month, the addresses of Mr 
Adams, communicated to the Assembly the 4th of May, 
1781, and the 22d of February, 1782, to present his let- 
ters of credence to their High Mightinesses, in the name 
of the United States of North America ; as well as the 
resolution of the Lords, the States of Holland and West 
Friesland, dated the 2Sth of jNIarch, 1782, carried the 
29th of the same month, to the Assembly of their High 
INIightinesses, for the admission and acknowledgment of 
Mr Adams, have reported to the Assembly, that they 

334 Jt)HN ADAMS. 

should be ot" opinion, that the gentlemen, the Deputies of 
this Province in the States-General, ought to be authorised 
and charged to declare in the Assembly of their High 
Mightinesses, that the Equestrian Order and the cities 
judge, that it is proper to acknowledge, as soon as possible, 
Mr Adams, in quality of Minister of the United States of 
North America, to their High Mightinesses. Upon which, 
having deliberated, the Equestrian Order and the cities 
have conformed themselves to the said report. 
"Compared with the aforesaid Register. 



Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of their 
Noble Mightinesses, the States of Groningen and Omme- 
landen. Tuesday, 9th of April, 1782. 

"The Lords, the States of Groningen and Ommelan- 
den, having heard the report of the Gentlemen, the Com- 
missioners for the Petidons of the Council of State, and 
the Finances of the Province, and having carefully exam- 
ined the demand of Mr Adams, to present his letters of 
credence from the United States of North America, to 
their High Mightinesses, have, after deliberation upon the 
subject, declared themselves of opinion, that in the critical 
circumstances, in which the Republic finds itself at present, 
it is proper to take, without loss of time, such efficacious 
measures as may not only repair the losses and damages, 
djat the kingdom of Great Britain has caused, in a man- 
ner so unjust, and against every shadow of right, to the 
commerce of the Republic, as well before as after the war, 
but particularly such as may establish the free navigation 
and the commerce of the Republic, for the future, upon 


the most solid foundations, as may confirm and re-assure 
it by the strongest bonds of reciprocal interest, and that, in 
consequence, the Gentlemen, the Deputies at the Assembly 
of their High Mightinesses, ought to be authorised on the 
part of the Province, as they are by the present, to admit 
Mr Adams to present his letters of credence from the 
United States of North America, and to receive the pro- 
positions, which he shall make, to make report of them to 
the Lords, the States of this Province. 

E. LEWE, Secretary:' 

The States-General, having deliberated the same day 
upon this Resolution, have resolved, '-that the Deputies of 
the Province of Guelderland, which has not yet declared 
itself upon the same subject, should be requested to be 
pleased to do it as soon as possible." 


Extract of the Resolutions of their Noble IMightinesses 
the States of the Province of Utrecht. 10th of April, 

"Heard the report of M. de Westerveld, and other 
Deputies of their Noble Mightinesses for the Department 
of War, who, in virtue of the commissorial resolutions, of 
the 9th of May, 17S1, the 16th of January, and the 20th 
of March, of the present year, 1782, have examined the 
resolution of their High Mightinesses of the 4th of May, 
1781, containing an overture, that the President of the 
Assembly of their High Mightinesses had made, 'that 
a person, styling himself J. Adams, had been with him, and 
had given him to understand, that he had received letters 
of credence for their High Mightinesses from the United 


States of North America, with a request, that he would be 
pleased to communicate them to their High Mightinesses,' 
as well as the resolution of their High Mightinesses, of 
the 9th of January, containing an ulterior overture of the 
President, 'that the said Mr Adams had been with him. 
and had insisted upon a categorical answer, whether his 
said letters of credence would be accepted, or not ;' finally, 
the resolution of their High Mightinesses, of the 5th of 
March last, with the insertion of the resolution of Fries- 
land, containing a proposition 'to admit Mr Adams in qual- 
ity of Minister of the Congress of North America.' 

"Upon which, having deliberated, and remarked, that 
the Lords, the States of Holland and West Friesland, by 
their resolution, carried the 29th of March to the States- 
General, have also consented to the admission of the said 
Mr Adams, in quality of Minister of the Congress of North 
America, it has been thought fit, and resolved, that the 
Gendemen, the Deputies of this Province in the States- 
General, should be authorised, as their Noble Highnesses 
authorise them by the present, to conform themselves, in the 
name of this Province, to the resolution of the Lords, the 
States of Holland and West Friesland, and of Friesland, and 
to consent, by consequence, that Mr Adams be acknowl- 
edged and admitted as Minister of the United States of 
North America, their Noble Mightinesses being at the same 
time of opinion, that it would be necessary to acquaint her 
Majesty, the Empress of Russia, and the other neutral 
powers, with the resolution to be taken by their High 
Mightinesses, upon this subject, in communicating to them 
(as much as shall be necessary) the reasons, which have 
induced their High Mightinesses to it, and in giving them 
«he strongest assurances, that the intention of their High 


Mightinesses is by no means to prolong thereby the war, 
which they would have willingly prevented and terminated 
long since ; but that, on the contrary, their High JMighti- 
nesses wish nothing with more ardor, than a prompt re- 
establishment of peace, and that they shall be always 
ready, on their purt, to co-operate in it, in all possible 
ways, and with a suitable readiness, so far as that shall be 
any way compatible with their honor and their dignity. 
And to this end, an extract of this shall be carried by mis- 
sive to the Gentlemen, the Deputies at the Generality." 


Extract from the Precis of the ordinary Diet, held in the 
city of Nimeguen in the month of April, 1782. Wednes- 
day, 17th of April, 1782. 

"The requisition of Mr Adams to present his letters of 
credence to their High Mightinesses, in the name of the 
United States of North America having been brought to 
the Assembly and read, as well as an ulterior address 
made upon this subject, with the demand of a categorical 
answer by the said Mr Adams, more amply mentioned in 
the registers of their High Mightinesses, of the date of 
the 4ih of May, 1781, and the 9th of January, 1782, 
moreover, the resolutions of the Lords, the States of the 
six other Provinces, carried successively to the Assembly 
of their High Mightinesses, and all tending to admit Mr 
Adams, in quality of Envoy of the United States of North 
America, to this Republic ; upon which their Noble JMighti- 
nesses, after deliberation, have resolved to authorise the 
Deputies of this Province, as they authorise them by the 
present, to conform themselves in the name of this Prov- 
ince, to the resolution of the Lords, the States of Holland 
VOL. VI. 43 


and West Friesland, and to consent, by consequence, that 
Mr Adams may be acknowledged and admitted, in quality 
of Envoy of the United States of North America, to this 
Republic. In consequence, an extract of the present shall 
be sent to the said Deputies, to make, as soon as possible, 
the requisite overture of it to the Assembly of their High 

This resolution of Guelderland was no sooner remitted, 
on the 19th, to their High Mightinesses, than they took im- 
mediately a resolution conformable to the unanimous wish of 
the Seven Provinces, conceived in the following terms ; 

"Extract from the register of the resolutions of their 
High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Prov- 
inces. Friday, April 19th, 1782. 

"Deliberated by resumption upon the address and the 
ulterior address, made by Mr Adams, the 4th of May, 
1781, and the 9th of January of the current year, to 
the President of the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, 
to present to their High Mightinesses his letters of cre- 
dence, in the name of the United States of North America, 
and by which ulterior address the said Mr Adams has 
demanded a categorical answer, to the end to be able to 
acquaint his constituents thereof; it has been thought fit 
and resolved, that IMr Adams shall be admitted and ac- 
knowledged in quality of Envoy of the United States of 
North America to their High Mightinesses, as he is ad- 
mitted and acknowledged by the present." 


"Compared with the aforesaid register. 




Extract from the register of the resolutions of their 
High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United 
Provinces. JMonday, April 22d, 1782. 

"M. Boreel, who presided in the Assembly the last 
week, has reported to their High Mightinesses and noti- 
fied them, that Mr John Adams, Envoy of the United 
States of America, had been v/ith him last Saturday, and 
had presented to him a letter from the Assembly of Con- 
gress, written at Philadelphia, the 1st of January, 1781, 
containing a credence for the said Mr Adams, to the end 
to reside in quality of its Minister Plenipotentiary near 
their High Mightinesses. Upon which having deliberated, 
it has been thought fit and resolved, to declare by the 
present, that the said l\Ir Adams is agreeable to their High 
Mightinesses ; that he shall be acknowledged in quality of 
Minister Plenipotentiary, and that there shall be granted 
to him an audience, or assigned Commissioners, when he 
shall demand it. Information of the above shall be given 
to the said Mr Adams by the agent, Van der Burch jle 



"Compared with the aforesaid register. 



The Hague, April 22d, 1782. 

On the 22d day of April I was introduced, by the 
Chamberlain, to His Most Serene Highness, the Prince 
of Orange. 


Knowing that his Highness spoke English, I asked his 
permission to speak to him in that language, to which he 
answered, smiling, "if you please, Sir." Although French 
is the language of the Court, he seemed to be pleased, and 
to receive as a compliment my request to speak to him in 

I told him I was happy to have the honor of presenting 
the respects of the United States of America, and a letter 
of credence from them to his Most Serene Highness, and 
to assure him of the profound veneration in which the 
House of Orange had been held in America, even from its 
first settlement, and that I should be happier still to be the 
instrument of further cementing the new connexions be- 
tween two nations, professing the same religion, animated 
by the same spirit of liberty, and having reciprocal interests 
both political and commercial, so extensive and important ; 
and that in the faithful and diligent discharge of the duties 
of my mission, I flattered myself with hopes of the appro- 
bation of His Most Serene Highness. 

His Highness received the letter of credence, which he 
opened and read. The answer that he made to me was in 
a voice so low and so indistinctly pronounced, that I com- 
prehended only the conclusion of it, which was, that "he 
had made no difKculty against my reception." He then 
fell into familiar conversation with me, and asked me many 
questions about indifferent things, as is the custom of 
Princes and Princesses upon such occasions. How long I 
had been in Europe ? How long I had been in this coun- 
try ? Whether I had purchased a house at the Hague ? 
Whether I had not lived some time at Leyden ? How long 
I had lived at Amsterdam ? How I liked this country ? &;c. 

This conference passed in the Prince's chamber of an- 


dience with bis Highness alone. I had waited some time 
in the antichamber, as the Due de la Vauguyon was in 
conference with the Prince. The Duke, on his return 
through the antichamber, meeting me unexpectedly, pre- 
sented me his hand with an air of cordiality, which was 
remarked by every courtier, and had a very good effect. 

The Prince has since said to the Due de la Vauguyon, 
that he was obliged to me for not having pressed him upon 
the affair of my reception in the beginning. He had rea- 
son ; for if I had, and he had said or done anything offen- 
sive to the United States or disagreeable to me, it would 
now be remembered much to the disadvantage of the 

I have the honor to be, &lc. 



The Hague, April 23d, 1782. 


On the 23d of April I had the honor of a conference 
with M. Van Citters, President of their High Mightinesses, 
to whom I presented the following Memorial. 

"High and Mighty Lords ; — The underwritten. Minister 
Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, has the 
honor to inform your High Mightinesses, that he is charged 
by the instructions of his sovereign to propose to the States- 
General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, a 
treaty of amity and commerce between the two Republics, 
founded upon the principle of equal and reciprocal advan- 
tage, and compatible with the engagements already entered 
into by the United States with their allies, as also with 
such other treaties, which they design to form with other 


powers. The undersigned has therefore the lionor to pro- 
pose, that your High Mightinesses would nominate some 
person or persons with full power, to confer and treat with 
him on this important subject. 


Their High Mightinesses, on the same day, appointed a 
grand committee to treat, to whom I was introduced with 
great formality by two noblemen, and before whom I laid 
a project of a treaty,* which I had drawn up conformable 
to the instructions of Congress. I prayed the gentlemen 
to examine it, and propose to me their objections, if they 
should have any, and to propose any further articles, which 
they should think proper. It has been examined, trans- 
lated, printed, and sent to the members of the sovereignty. 

The greatest part of my time, for several days, has been 
taken up in receiving and paying of visits, from all the 
members and officers of government, and of the Court, 
to the amount of one hundred and fifty or more. 
I have the honor to be, he. 



The Hague, April 23d, 1782. 

I ought not to omit to inform Congress, that on the 23d 

of April, the French Ambassador made an entertainment 

for the whole Corps Diplomatique, in honor of the United 

States, at which he introduced their Minister to all the 

foreign Ministers at this Court. 

* The plan of a treaty sent to Mr Adams by Congress, may be 
found in the Secret Journals of Congress, Vol. II. p. 378. 


There is nothing, I suppose, in the whole voluminous 
ceremonial, nor in all the idle farce of etiquette, which 
should hinder a Minister from making a good dinner in 
good company, and therefore I believe they were all pres- 
ent, and 1 assure you I was myself as happy as I should 
have been, if I had been publicly acknowledged a Minister 
by every one of them ; and the Due de la Vauguyon more 
than compensated for all the stiffness of some others, by 
paying more attention to the new brother than to all the old 

Etiquette, when it becomes too glaring by affectation, 
imposes no longer either upon the populace or upon the 
courtiers, but becomes ridiculous to all. This will soon 
be the case everywhere with respect to American Minis- 
ters. To see a Minister of such a State as and 
assume a distant mysterious air towards a Minister ot the 
United States, because his Court has not yet acknowledged 
their independence, when his nation is not half equal to 
America in any one attribute of sovereignty, is a spectacle 
of ridicule to any man who sees it. 

I have had the honor of making and receiving visits in a 
private character from the Spanish Minister here, whose 
behavior has been polite enough. He was pleased to 
make me some very high compliments upon our success 
here, which he considers as the most important and deci- 
sive stroke which could have been struck in Europe. 

I have the honor to be, he. 




Amsterdam, May 2d, l'i82. 

1 am honored with your favor of the 20th of April, and 
Mr Laurens's son proposes to carry the letter to his father 
forthwith. The instructions by the courier from Versailles 
came safe, as all other despatches by that channel no 
doubt will do. The correspondence by Mr Hartley I re- 
ceived by Captain Smedley, and will take the first good 
opportunity by a private hand to return it, as well as that 
with the Earl of Shelburne. 

Mr Laurens and jMr Jay will, 1 hope, be able to meet at 
Paris, but when it will be in my power to go, I know 
not. Your present negotiation about peace falls in very 
well to aid a proposition, which I am instructed to make, 
as soon as the Court of Versailles shall judge proper, of a 
tripple or quadruple alliance. This matter, the treaty of 
commerce, which is now under deliberation, and the loan, 
will render it improper for me to quit this station, unless in 
case of necessity. If there is a real disposition to permit 
Canada to accede to the American association, I should 
think there could be no great difficulty in adjusting all 
things between England and America, provided our allies 
also are contented. In a former letter, I hinted that 1 
thought an express acknowledgment of our independence 
might now be insisted on ; but I did not mean, that we 
should insist upon such an article in the treaty. If they 
make a treaty of peace with the United States of America, 
tliis is acknowledgment enough for me. 

The affair of a loan gives me much anxiety and fatigue. 
It is true, I may open a loan for five millions, but I confess 


I have no hopes of obtaining so much. The money is not 
to be had. Cash is not infinite in this country. Their 
profits by trade have been ruined for two or three years ; 
and there are loans open for France, Spain, England, Rus- 
sia, Sweden, Denmark, and several other powers as well 
as their own national, provincial, and collegiate loans. The 
undertakers are already loaded with burthens greater than 
they can bear, and all the brokers in the Republic are so 
engaged, that there is scarcely a ducat to be lent, but Vv'hat 
is promised. This is the true cause why we shall not suc- 
ceed ; yet they will seek a hundred other pretences. It 
is considered such an honor and such an introduction to 
American trade to be the house, that the eagerness to 
obtain the title of American banker, is prodigious. Va- 
rious houses have pretensions, which they set up very 
high ; and let me choose which I will, 1 am sure of a cry 
and clamor. I have taken some measures to endeavor to 
calm the heat, and give general satisfaction, but have as 
yet small hopes of success. I would strike with any house 
that would ensure the money, but none will undertake it, 
now it is offered, although several were very ready to 
affirm that they could, when it began to be talked of. 
Upon inquiry, they do not find the money easy to obtain, 
which I could have told them before. It is to me, per- 
sonally, indifferent which is the house, and the only ques- 
tion is, which will be able to do best for the interests of tlie 
United States. This question, however simple, is not easy 
to answer. But I think it clear, after very painful and 
laborious inquiries for a year and a half, that no houoe 
whatever will be able to do much. Enthusiasm, at some 
times and in some countries, may do a great deal ; but 
there has as yet been no enthusiasm in this country for 
VOL. VI, 44 


America, strong enough to untie many purses. Another 
year, if the war should continue, perhaps we may do 

I have the honor to be, &;c. 



The Hague, May 16th, 1782. 

On the 12th of this month, I removed into the Hotel 
des Etats-Unis de VAmerique, situated upon the canal, 
called the Fleweele Burgwal, at the Hague, where I hope 
the air will relieve my health in some degree from that 
weak state, to which the tainted atmosphere of Amsterdam 
has reduced it. 

The American cause has gained a signal triumph in this 
country. It has not persuaded an ancient rival and an 
avowed natural hereditary enemy to take a part against 
Great Britain ; but it has torn from her bosom an intimate 
affectionate friend, and a faithful ally, of a hundred years 
continuance. It has not persuaded an absolute monarchy 
to follow the dictates of its own glory and interest, and the 
unanimous wish of the people, by favoring it ; but, availing 
itself only of the still small voice of reason, urging general 
motives and national interests, without money, without in- 
trigue, without imposing pomp, or more imposing fame, it 
has prevailed against the utmost efforts of intrigue and cor- 
ruption, against the almost universal inclination of persons 
in government, against a formidable band of capitalists and 
the most powerful mercantile houses in the Republic, in- 
terested in English funds, and too deeply leagued in Eng- 
lish affairs. 


Although these obstacles are overcome so far, as to 
have obtained an acknowledgment of our independence, 
yet it is easy to see, that they are not annihilated, and, 
therefore, we cannot expect to receive such cordial and 
zealous assistance, as we might receive, if the government 
and the people had but one heart. 

I wish it were in my power to give Congress, upon this 
occasion, assurances of a loan of money, but I cannot. I 
have taken every measure in my power to accomplish it, 
but I have met with so many difBculties, that I almost 
despair of obtaining anything. I have found the avidity of 
friends as great an obstacle as the ill will of enemies, I can 
represent my situation in this affair of a loan, by no other 
figure than that of a man in the midst of the ocean 
negotiating for his life among a shoal of sharks. I am 
sorry to use expressions, which must appear severe to you ; 
but the truth demands them. 

The title of American banker, for the sake of the dis- 
tinction of it, the profit of it, and the introduction to Ameri- 
can trade, is solicited with an eagerness beyond descrip- 
tion. In order to obtain it, a house will give out great 
words, and boast of what it can do ; but not one will con- 
tract to furnish any considerable sum of money ; and I 
certainly know, let them deceive themselves as they will, 
and deceive as many others as they may by their confident 
affirmations, that none of them can obtain any considerable 
sum. The factions that are raised here about it between 
die French interest, the Republican interest, the Stadt- 
holderian interests, and the Anglomane interest, have been 
conducted with an indecent ardor, thwarting, contradict- 
ing, calumniating each other, until it is easy to foresee the 
effect will be to prevent us from obtaining even the small 


sums, that otherwise might have been found. But the true 
and decisive secret is, there is very little money to be had. 
The profits of their trade have been annihilated by the 
English for several years. There is, therefore, no money 
but the interest of their capitalists, and all this is promised 
for months and years beforehand, to book-keepers, brokers, 
and undertakers, who have in hand loans open for France, 
Spain, England, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, for the States- 
General, the States of Holland, the States of Friesland, 
the East and West India Companies, Sic. he. he. 

But the circumstance, which will be fatal to my hopes 
at this time, is this ; there is just now unexpectedly 
opened a loan of nine millions for the India Company, 
under the warranty of the Stales, in which they have 
raised the interest one per cent above the ordinary rate. 
I had obtained an agreement of the undertakers for two 
millions ; but before it was completed, this loan appeared, 
which frightened the undertakers, so as to induce them to 
fly off. I must, therefore, entreat Congress to make no de- 
pendence upon me for money. 

There is one subject more, upon which I beg leave to 
submit a few hints to Congress. It is that of M. Dumas, 
whose character is so well known to Congress, that 1 need 
say nothing of it. He is a man of letters, and of good 
character ; but he is not rich, and his allowance is too 
small at present for him to live with decency. He has 
been so long known here to have been in American afi'airs. 
although in no public character, that I know of, but that of 
an agent or correspondent appointed by Dr Franklin, or 
perhaps by a committee of Congress, that, now our char- 
acter is acknowledged, it will have an ill effect, if M. 
Dumas remains ir, the situation he has been in. To pre- 


vent it, in some measure, I have taken him and his family 
into this house ; but I think it is the interest and duty of 
America, to send him a commission as Secretary to this 
Legation, and Charge des Afiaires, with a salary of five 
hundred a year sterling, while a Minister is here, and at 
the rate of a thousand a year, while there is none. 

There is another gentleman, whose indefatigable applica- 
tion to the affairs of the United States, and whose faithful 
friendship for me in sickness and in health, demand of me, 
by the strongest claims of justice and of gratitude, that I 
should mention him to Congress, and recommend him to 
their favor. This gentleman is Mr Thaxter, whose merit, 
in my opinion, is greater than I dare express. 

Edmund Jennings, of Brussels, has honored me with his 
correspondence, and been often serviceable to the United 
States, as well as friendly to me. His manners and dispo- 
sition are very amiable, and his talents equal to any service, 
and I cannot but wish that it might be agreeable to the 
views of Congress to give him some mark of their esteem. 

How shall I mention another gentleman, whose name, 
perhaps. Congress never heard, but who, in my oj)inion, 
has done more decided and essential service to die Ameri- 
can cause and reputation within these last eighteen months, 
than any other man in Europe. 

It is M. A. M. Cerisier, beyond all contradiction one of 
the greatest historians and political characters in Europe, 
author of the Tableau de VHistoire des Provinces Unies 
des Pays Bas, of the Politique Hollandois, and many other 
writings in high esteem. By birth a Frenchman, educa- 
ted in the University of Paris, but possessed of the most 
genuine principles and sentiments of liberty, and exceed- 
ingly devoted by principle and affection to the American 


cause. Having read some of his writings, and heard 
much of his fame. 1 sought and obtained an acquaintance 
with him, and have furnished him with intelligence and in- 
formation in American affairs, and have introduced him to 
the acquaintance of all the Americans who have come to 
this country, from whom he has picked up a great deal of 
true information about our affairs, and, perhaps, some mis- 
takes. His pen has erected a monument to the American 
cause, more glorious and more durable than brass or mar- 
ble. His writings have been read like oracles, and his 
sentiments weekly echoed and re-echoed in gazettes and 
pamphlets, both in French and Dutch, for fifteen months. 
The greatest fault I know in him, is his too zealous friend- 
ship for me, which has led him to flatter me with express- 
ions, which will do him no honor, however sincerely and 
disinterestedly they [night fiow from his heart. 

Congress must be very sensible, that I have had no 
money to lay out in secret services, to pay pensions, to put 
into the hands of Continental agents, or in any other way, 
to make friends. I have had no money but my salary, 
and that has never been paid me without grudging. If I 
have friends in Europe, they have not most certainly been 
made by power, nor money, nor any species of corruption, 
nor have they been made by making promises, or holding- 
out alluring hopes. I have made no promises, nor am 
under any obligation, but that of private friendship and 
simple civility to any man, having mentioned such as have 
been my friends, because they have been friends to the 
United States, and I have no other in Europe at least, and 
recommended them to the attention of Congress, as having 
rendered important services to our country, and able to 
render still greater. I have done my duty, whatever effect 


it may have. If some small part of those many mil- 
lions, which have been wasted by the most worthless of 
men, could have been applied to the support and encour- 
agement of men of such great value, it would have been 
much better. It is high time ; it is more than time, that 
a proper discernment of spirits and distinction of char- 
acters were made ; that virtue should be more clearly 
distinguished from vice, wisdom from folly, ability from 
imbecility, and real merit from proud imposing impudence, 
which, while it pretends to do everything, does nothing 
but mischief. 

The treaty of commerce is under consideration, and 
will not, that I foresee, meet with any obstacle. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, May 22d, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

It is so important to let you know that the late change in 
the British Ministry, and the conciliatory measures they 
propose, have occasioned no alteration in the sentiments 
of the people here ; that though I am too much hurried 
(this conveyance going sooner than was intended) to take 
particular notice of the letters we have received from you, 
and which remain unanswered, yet I cannot but avail my- 
self of it to inform you, that it will not have the least effect 
upon the sentiments or wishes of our people, who remain 
invariably attached to their independence, and to the alli- 
ance, as the best means to obtain it. 

Sir Guy Carleton has written to General Washington a 
very polite letter, complaining of the manner in which the 


war has been carried on, proposing to conduct it in future 
upon more liberal principles, and observing, that "they were 
both equally concerned to preserve the character of Eng- 
lishmen ;" and concluding with the request of a passport 
for Mr Morgan, his Secretary, to carry a similar letter of 
compliment to Congress. Congress have' directed that no 
such passport be given. The State of Maryland, whose 
legislature happened to be sitting, have come to resolutions, 
which show their determination not to permit any negotia- 
tion except through Congress ; and their sense of the im- 
portance of the alliance. 

No military operations are carrying on at present. The 
enemy, having received no reinforcements, and growing 
weaker every day, of course afford us a fine opportunity of 
striking to advantage, if we are not disappointed in our ex- 
pectations of a naval armament, or even without such arma- 
ment, if we have sufficient vigor of mind to rely on our 
own strength. 

I commit the enclosed for Mr Dana to your care ; I 
wish it could get to him, if possible, without inspection. 

Congress have determined in future to pay your salaries 
here quarterly. I shall consider myself as your agent, un- 
less you should choose to appoint some other, and make 
out your account quarterly, and vest the money in bills 
upon Dr Franklin, to whom I will remit them, giving you 
advice thereof, so that you may draw on him. By the 
next vessel I shall send bills for one quarter, commencing 
the 1st of January last. I wish to have a statement of your 
account previous to that, so that I may get it settled, and 
remit the balance. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 




Philadelphia, May 29th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 
It is with equal surprise and concern that I find not the 
least attention paid to the several letters I have written you, 
since 1 have had the honor to be in office. I attribute this 
to their not having reached you, till I saw an extract of a 
letter written to M. Dumas, that went by the same convey- 
ance with one to you, published in the Courier de VEu- 
rope^ from which circumstance I conclude it must have 
been received. It would give me pleasure to learn that I 
had been deceived in this particular, because the punctual- 
ity, with which your correspondence with Congress had 
hitherto been maintained, would otherwise lead me to con- 
clude, that you were not satisfied with the present arrange- 
ment of the Department of Foreign Affairs, a reflection 
which would be painful to me in proportion to the value I 
put upon your esteem. 

I have seen your letter of the 26th of March to Dr 
Franklin, in which you speak of the application you have 
had on the score of your power to treat of a truce ; this, 
together with similar applications to Dr Franklin, and the 
proposals made at the Court of Versailles, convinces me 
that it is their wish to endeavor to detach us from each 
other. What an insult it is to our intellect to suppose, that 
we can be cntched by this cabinet system of politics. I 
entertain hopes that your answer, together with that of the 
Count de Vergennes, will teach them to think more honor- 
ably of us. Our expectations with respect to the success 
of your mission are considerably raised, as well by your 
letter as by odier circumstances, that we have learned 
VOL. VL 45 


through different channels ; by this time 1 hope you are in 
full possession of your diplomatic rights. 

I wrote to you three days ago ; since which we have 
nothing that deserves your attention, except what you will 
learn by reading the enclosed to Mr Dana, sent you under 
a flying seal. It may be well to take notice of this affair 
in the Leyden Gazette, as I doubt not if Asgill is executed, 
that it will make some noise in Europe. We are dis- 
tracted here by various relations of a battle fought between 
the fleets in the West Indies, on the' 12th of April. The 
Antigua and New York account is, that the British have 
been victorious, that the Ville de Paris, and six other ships, 
were taken or destroyed ; the French account is, that 
Rodney was defeated, and that Count de Grasse had gone 
to leeward with his transports. Though it is six weeks 
since the action, we have nothing that can be depended 

I am, Sir, with great respect, &ic. 



Philadelphia, May 30th, 1782. 
After I had written the letter of yesterday, and sent it off, 
I received your favors of tlie 4th, 21st. and 27th of Feb- 
ruary ; and the 10th and 11th of IMarch. The three last 
I laid before Congress this morning, that of the 2 1st I have 
kept by me, for further consideration ; though I think, upon 
the wliole, as you have submitted this to my discretion, 
that I shall lay it also before Congress. 

I know they have been solicitous tp have some explana- 


tions of the reasons, which induced you to take the step 
you did. Those you assign in your letter are very fullj 
and I see nothing in it, which it will not be proper for you 
to state to them ; and it may remove some objections, that 
have been raised to the measure. 

I frankly confess to you, that the style of that letter 
pleases me better than any other you have written, so far 
as it goes into minutiae, which we ought to exact from all 
our Ministers, since nothing short of this can give us a just 
idea of our foreign politics. As for a general state of 
them, it may be got through various channels. But every 
word or look of a foreign Minister, or popular leader, may 
serve to explain matters, which are otherwise inexpli- 

' I am sorry for the difficulty the cypher occasions you. 
It was one found in the office, and is very incomplete. I 
enclose one, that you will find easy in the practice, and 
will therefore write with freedom, directing that your letter 
be not sunk in case of danger, as many are lost by that 
means. Want of time induces me to send you a set of 
blanks for Mr Dana, which you will oblige me by having 
filled up from yours with some cyphers, and transmitted by 
a careful hand to him. This will make one cypher com- 
mon to all three, which I think will, on many occasions, be 
of use to you and Mr Dana. 

I am very glad to hear of your proposed removal to the 
Hague, as it is the proper stage on which to display your 
abilities and address. I cannot hope to get any determina- 
tion of Congress on the subject of your purchase, in time 
to be transmitted by this conveyance. When another 
offers, you shall hear from me. Can nothing be done 
towards procuring a loan from Holland on account of the 


public. Ten millions of livres would set our affairs here 
on the most respectable footing. 

We have received an account from Charleston, of the 
victory obtained by Rodney. This is a severe blow, but I 
hope will come too late to affect the politics of the United 

In the United States, it will, I hope, have no other 
effect than to urge us to greater exertions, and a reliance 
upon our own strength, rather than on foreign aid. You 
will be pleased to furnish me with the most minute details 
of every step, that Britain may take towards a negotiation 
for a general or partial peace. 

I am, Sir, with great respect, 



Amsterdam, June 9tli, 1782. 


The Admiralty have reported to their High Mightinesses 
their remarks upon the plan of a treaty of commerce, 
which I had the honor to lay before them, together with 
such additions and alterations as they propose. This re- 
port has been taken ad referendum by all the Provinces, 
except Overyssel, which has determined to vote as Holland 
shall vote, this being the principal maritime Province, and 
the other inland. 

The forms of proceeding according to this constitution, 
are so circuitous, that I do not expect this treaty will be 
finished and signed in less than three months, though some 
of the most active members of the government tell me, 
they think it may be signed in six weeks. I have not 


yet proposed the Treaty of Alliance, because I wait for the 
advice of the Due de la Vauguyon. His advice will not 
be wanting in the season for it, for his Excellency is ex- 
tremely well disposed. * 

I have, after innumerable vexations, agreed with three 
houses, which are well esteemed here, to open a loan. 
The extreme scarcity of money will render it impossible to 
succeed to any large amount. 1 dare not promise any- 
thing, and cannot advise Congress to draw. I shall trans- 
mit the contract, for the ratification of Congress, as soon 
as it is finished, and then 1 hope to be able to say at what 
time, and for how much Congress may draw. 

The nation is now very well fixed in its system, and 
will not make a separate peace. England is so giddy with 
Rodney's late success in the West Indies, that I think she 
will renounce the idea of peace for the present. The 
conduct of Spain is not at all changed. This is much to 
be lamented on public account, and indeed on account of 
the feelings of my friend, Mr Jay ; for I perfectly well 
know the cruel torment of such a situation, by experience, 
and I know too, that he has done as much, and as well as 
any man could have done in that situation. 

The late President Laurens made me a visit at the 
Hague last week, in his way to his family in France. He 
informed me, that he had written from Ostend to Dr 
Franklin, declining to serve in the commission for peace. 
I had great pleasure in seeing my old friend perfectly at 
liberty, and perfectly just in his political opinions. Neither 
the air of England, nor the seducing address of her inhabi- 
tants, nor the terrors of the Tower, have made any change 
in him. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



P. S. I hope Congress will receive a collection of all 
the resolutions of the Provinces, and the petitions of the 
inerchants, manufacturers, &z;c. respecting the acknowledg- 
ment of American independence, and my reception as 
Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, by their 
High Mightinesses. I shall transmit duplicates and tripli- 
cates of them as soon as health will permit. But Mr 
Thaxter has been ill of a fever, and myself with the influ- 
enza, ever since our removal from Amsterdam to the 
Hague. This collection of resolutions and petitions, is 
well worth printing together in America. It is a complete 
refutation of all the speculations of the small half-toryfied 
politicians among the Americans, &lc. of the malevolent in- 
sinuations of Anglomanes through the world, against the 
American cause. The partisans of England, sensible of 
this, have taken great pains to prevent an extensive circu- 
lation of them. J. A. 


The Hague, June 14th, 1782. 


The Court of Petersburg, is very industrious in its en- 
deavors to accomplish a separate peace between England 
and Holland. Her Minister at Versailles has made an in- 
sinuation to the French Court, that her Majesty would be 
much obliged to the King, if he would not make any fur- 
t!i:.r opposition to such a separate peace. To this insinu- 
ation, the following wise and firm answer has been given 
by the Court of France. 

"The King is sensibly impressed with the fresh proof of 


confidence, which the Empress has given in communi- 
cating to him her measures and ideas respecting a separate 
peace between England and tiie States-General. His 
Majesty perceives therein the sentiments of humanity, 
which actuate her Imperial Majesty, and he takes the 
earliest opportunity to answer, with the same degree of 
freedom, what particularly concerns him in the verbal in- 
sinuations communicated by Prince Baralinski. 

"Faithful to the rule he has established, of never con- 
troling the conduct of any power, the King has not sought 
to direct the deliberations of the States-General, either to 
incline them to war, or to prevent them from making a 
separate peace ; England having unexpectedly attacked 
the Provinces of the United Netherlands, his Majesty has- 
tened to prevent the ill consequences by every means in 
his power ; his services have been gratuitous, his Majesty 
has never exacted any acknowledgment on their part. 
Should the States-General think that the obligations they 
owe to his Majesty, as well as the interest of the Republic, 
impose it on them as a duty, not to separate their cause 
from the King's and his allies, the Empress of Russia is 
too wise and too just not to acknowledge, that it is not for 
his Majesty to divert them from such a resolution, and that 
all that he can do, is to refer to their wisdom, to conclude 
on what best suits with their situation. 

"The Empress is not ignorant, that circumstances have 
induced the States-General to concert operations with the 
King. His Majesty flatters himself, that this Princess has 
no views of prevailing on them to desist from this arrange- 
jnent, which necessarily results from the position of the two 
powers with respect to England, and which must naturally 
contribute to the re-establishment of the general tranquillity, 


the object both of her Imperial Majesty's and the King's 

I have the honor to be, he. 



The Hague, June loth, 1782. 


This morning I made a visit to the Grand Pensionary, 
M. Van Bleiswick, and had a long conference with him 
concerning the plan of a treaty of commerce, which is now 
under consideration, and endeavored to remove some of 
his objections, and to explain to him the grounds and 
reasons of certain articles, which have been objected to by 
others ; particularly the article which respects France, and 
that which respects Spain. He made light of most of the 
objections, which had been started to the plan, and thought 
it would be easy to agree upon it ; but there must be time 
for the cities to deliberate. 

I asked him, if they did not intend to do us the honor 
soon, of sending an Ambassador to Congress, and consuls, 
at least, to Boston and Philadelphia .'' He thought it would 
be very proper, but said they had some difficulty in finding 
a man who was suitable, and, at the same time, willing to 
undertake so long a voyage. I asked hini, if it would not 
be convenient to send a frigate to America to carry the 
treaty, their Ambassador, and consuls, all together, when 
all should be ready ? He said, he could not say whether a 
frigate could be spared. 

"Very well," said I, smiling, and pointing to the Prince's 
picture, "I will go and make my Court to his Highness, 
and pray him to send a frigate to Philadelphia, with a 


treaty, an Ambassador, and two consuls, and to take under 
her convoy all merchant vessels ready to go." "Excel- 
lent," said he, smiling, "I wish you good luck." 

We had a great deal of conversation, too, concerning 
peace, but as I regard all this as idle, it is not worth while 
to repeat it. When a Minister shall appear at Paris, or 
elsewhere, with full powers from the King of England, to 
treat with the United States of America, I shall think there 
is something more than artifice to raise the stocks, and lay 
snares for sailors to be caught by press gangs. 
I have the honor to be, Sic. 

JOHN ada:ms. 


Philadelphia, July 4th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

By every late advice from Holland, we learn their dis- 
position to enter into a treaty with us ; and though we have 
no intelligence from you since the 11th of March, we still 
presume, that you have, ere this been received in your 
public character. No wise government, constituted as 
that of the United Provinces is, will venture long to oppose 
the wishes of the people. I am very solicitous to know 
how you have availed yourself of the opening this has 

If you have been unconditionally received, it will give 
you more leisure, to mature the plan of a subsequent 
treaty, which is too important in all its consequences to be 
hurried. If possible, it w^ere to be wished, that the heads 
of it, as proposed on either side, could be sent here and 
submitted to the judgment of Congress, before anything 
Avas absolutely agreed. The independency, to which each 
VOL. VI. 46 


of the States is entitled, renders great caution in all com- 
mercial engagements, not provided for particularly by the 
confederation, absolutely necessary, for which reason, I 
should prefer definite articles, to loose expressions of 
standing on the same ground with the most favored nations. 

Our connexion with the West Indies, renders it proper 
to lay that trade as open to us as possible. Great benefit 
would result both to us and the Dutch from giving us one 
or two free ports in such of their Colonies as raise sugars, 
where we could exchange the produce of both countries, 
and check that monopoly, which other nations will endea- 
vor to create at our expense. Nothing will encourage the 
growth of such colony, or enable it to raise sugars to more 
advantage than the cheap and easy rates, at which they 
would thereby receive the produce of this country. 

I need not urge the propriety of availing yourself of your 
present situation to procure a loan. You may easily con- 
vince the government of the validity of the security, which 
it is in the power of a growing country, as yet very little 
incumbered with debt to give. That security will derive 
new force from our being a commercial people, with whom 
public credit is almost invariably preserved with the most 
scrupulous attention. And such is our present situation, 
that a twentieth part of what Great Britain expends annu- 
ally in her attempt to enslave us, would be more than suf- 
ficient to enable us to defeat all her attempts, and to place 
our affairs on the most respectable footing. 

I see the people of the United Provinces are struck 
with the importance of forming a commercial connexion 
with us, when ours with Great Britain is dissolved. Not 
only Congress, as appears by their public acts, but the 
whole body of the people, are strongly opposed to the 


least intercourse with Britain. This opposition would 
effectually prevent it, if in addition thereto three or four 
large frigates, or two fifties, could be stationed in the Del- 
aware, or Chesapeake, so as to protect our commerce 
against the British frigates from New York. In such a' 
case, a voyage to this country, and from thence to the 
Islands, where our flour and lumber command the highest 
price, either in money or produce, affords the fairest j)ros- 
pect to the European merchants of the most profitable 
returns. Tobacco and bills offer a more direct return to 
those, whose capitals will not permit them to engage in the 
circuitous commerce I have mentioned. 

This letter is hastily written, as the express that carries 
it is to go off this evening, and 1 have several others to 
write. I mention this, that you may not consider anything 
it contains as an instruction from Congress, to whom it has 
not been submitted. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



The Hague, July 5tl), 1782. 

I have the honor to enclose copies in Dutch and English 
of the negotiation, which I have entered into for a loan of 
money. My commission for borrowing money, promises 
to ratify what I should do ; and the money lenders require 
such a ratification, which Messrs Willinks, Van Staphorsls 
and De la Lande and Fynje, have engaged shall be trans- 
mitted. Authentic copies of the original contracts, in 
Dutch and English, are enclosed for the ratification o' 


Congress, which 1 must entreat iheni to transmit forthwith 
by various opportunities, that we may be sure of receiving 
it in time, for I suppose the gentlemen will not think it safe 
for them to pay out any considerable sum of the money, 
until it arrives. 

Although T was obliged to engage with them to open the 
loan for five millions of guilders, I do not expect we shall 
obtain that sum for a long time. If we get a million and 
a half by Christmas, it will be more than I expect. I 
shall not venture to dispose of any of this money, except 
for relief of escaped prisoners, the payment of the bills 
heretofore drawn on Mr Laurens, which are every day 
arriving, and a few other small and unavoidable demands, 
but leave it entire to the disposition of Congress, whom I 
must entreat not to draw, until they receive Information 
from the directors of the loan, how much money they are 
sure of; and then to draw immediately upon them. 
These directors, are three houses, well esteemed in this 
Republic, ]Messrs Wilhem^ and Jan Willink, Nicholas and 
Jacob Van Staphorsts, and De la Lande and Fynje. 

I have made the contract, upon as good terms as I could 
obtain. Five per cent interest. Two per cent to the 
House, or rather to the Society of Houses. Two per cent 
to the undertakers ; and half per cent for brokerage and 
other charges. This four and a half per cent, together 
with one per cent for receiving and paying ofF the annual 
interest, is to include all the expenses of the loan of every 
sort. These are as moderate terms as any loan is done 
for. France gives at least as much, and other powers 
much more. 

I must beg that the ratifications of the obligations may 
be transmitted immediately by the way of France, as well 


as Holland, by several opportunities. The form of ratifi- 
cation must be submitted to Congress ; but would it not be 
sufficient to certify by the Secretary in Congress, upon 
each of the copies enclosed in English and Dutch, that they 
had been received and read in Congress, and thereupon 
resolved that the original instruments, executed by me 
before the said notary, be and hereby are ratified and 
confirmed ? 

The form of the obligation is such as was advised by 
the ablest lawyers and most experienced notaries, and is 
conformable to the usage when loans are made here, for 
the Seven Provinces. It is adapted to the taste of this 
country, and therefore lengthy and formal, but it signifies 
no more in substance, than, "that the money being bor- 
rowed must be paid." 

I have the honor to be. Sic. 



The Hague, July 5th, 1782. 
Soon after my public reception by their High Mighti- 
nesses, the body of merchants of the city of Schiedam, 
were pleased to send a very respectable deputation from 
among their members, to the Hague, to pay their respects 
to Congress, and to me, as their representative, with a very 
polite invitation to a public entertainment in their city, to 
be made upon the occasion. As I had several other invi- 
tations from various places and Provinces about the same 
time, and had too many affairs upon my hands to be able 
to accept of them, I prevailed upon all to excuse me, for 
such reasons as ought to be, and, I suppose, were satisfac- 


The Deputies from Schiedam requested me to transmit 

from them to Congress, the enclosed compliment, which, 

with man}' other things of a similar kind, convinced me that 

there is in this nation a strong affection for America, and a 

kind of religious veneration for her just cause. 

I hav^ the honor to be, he. 



Of the merchants of the town of Schiedam in Holland, to 
his Excellency John Adams, after their High Mightinesses 
the Lords, the States-General of the United Provinces 
of the Netherlands, had acknowledged the freedom and 
Independency of the United States of North America, and 
admitted the said John Adams, as Minister Plenipotentiary 
and Envoy of the Congress of the said United States. 

"If ever any circumstances were capable of recalling to 
the minds of the people of these Provinces, the most lively 
remembrance of the cruel situation to which their forefathers 
found themselves once reduced, under the oppressive yoke 
of Spanish tyranny, it was, no doubt, that terrible and 
critical moment, when the Colonies of North America, 
groaning under the intolerable weight of the chains, with 
which the boundless ambition of Great Britain had loaded 
them, were forced into a just and lawful war, to recover 
the use and enjoyment of that liberty, to which they were 
entitled by the sacred and unalienable laws of nature. 

"If ever the citizens of this Repubhc have had an occa- 
sion to remember, with sentiments of the liveliest gratitude, 
the visible assistance and protection of a Being, who, after 
having constantly supported them during the course of a 
long, bloody war, which cost their ancestors eighty years' 
hard struggles and painful labors, deigned by the strength 


of his powerful arm to break the odious fetters under 
which we had so long groaned, and who, from that happy 
era to the present time, has constantly maintained us in the 
possession of our precious liberties ; if ever the citizens of 
these Provinces have been bound to remember those un- 
speakable favors of the Almighty, it was no doubt at that 
moment when haughty Britain began to feel the effects of 
divine indignation, and when the vengeance of heaven de- 
feated her sanguinary schemes ; it was, when treading 
under foot the sacred lies of blood and nature, and medi- 
tating the destruction of her own offspring, her arms were 
everywhere baffled in the most terrible and exemplary 
manner, her troops defeated, and her armies led into cap- 
tivity, and at last, that haughty power, humbled by that 
heaven, which she had provoked, sav/ the sceptre, which 
she had usurped, fall from her enfeebled hands; and Amer- 
ica, shaking off the cruel yoke, which an unnatural step- 
mother had endeavored to impose forever upon her, 
thanked bounteous heaven for her happy deliverance. 

"If ever the inhabitants of this country, and those of 
this city in particular, have had a just cause for joy, and 
good grounds to conceive the highest hopes of prosperity 
and happiness, it was undoubtedly at that so much wished- 
for moment, when, with a unanimous voice, the fathers of 
the country declared the United States of America to be 
free and independent, and acknowledged your Excellency 
as Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy of the illustrious 

"Impressed with the various sentiments of respect, joy, 
and gratitude, with which the unspeakable favors of the 
Almighty towards both countries must ins[)ire every feeling 
and sensible mind ; encouraged besides, by so many happy 


omens, the subscribers, in behalf of the merchants and in- 
inhabitants of this city, have the honor to congratulate your 
Excellency as the Representative of the illustrious Amer- 
ican Congress, and to assure you in the strongest terms, 
that if any event, recorded in the annals of our country, is 
capable of impressing us with the liveliest joy, and of open- 
ing to our minds the happiest prospect, it is that glorious 
and ever memorable day, when our august sovereigns, the 
Lords States-General of the United Provinces of the Neth- 
erlands, solemnly acknowledged the independence of the 
United States of America ; a step which, under the pleas- 
ure of God. must become the foundation of an unalterable 
friendship, and the source of mutual prosperity to the two 
Republics, whose union being cemented by interests hence- 
forth common and inseparable, must forever subsist, and be 
constantly and religiously preserved by our latest posterity. 

"Allow us then, ye deliverers of America, ye generous 
defenders of her infant liberties, to congratulate your illus- 
trious Envoy, and to express to him the liveliest satisfac- 
tion that we feel for an event, which crowns the wishes of 
the nation. Accept also of the fervent prayers, which we 
address to heaven, beseeching the Almighty to shower 
down his blessings on your Republic and her allies. 

"Permit us also to recommend to you, in the strongest 
manner, the interests of our country, and of this city in par- 
ticular. Let those of our citizens who have been the most 
zealous in promoting the acknowledgment of your inde- 
pendence, enjoy always a particular share of your affection. 

"That among those who may follow our example, no one 
may ever succeed in detracting from the good failli and 
integrity of Holland, or causing the sincerity of our efforts 
to advance our mutual interests to be suspected, which 


are founded on the unalterable principles of pure virtue, 
and a religion common to both of us. 

"Permit us, in fine, that faithful to ourselves, and atten- 
tive to whatever can interest our commerce, the only 
source of our prosperity, we may flatter ourselves, that the 
produce of this flourishing city, our distilled liquors and 
other merchandise, may be freely imported to your States 
without any hinderance, or without being subjected to heavy 
duties; and may the protection, with which you shall honor 
us, and the privileges that you shall grant us, rivet the 
bonds of our mutual friendship, and be to both nations the 
source of an unceasing prosperity." 


The Hag-iie, August 10th, 1782. 


It was with very great pleasure that I received, this 
morning, your kind favor of the 2d. I am surprised to 
learn, that yours and INIr Jay's health have been disordered 
in France, where the air is so fine. 

That your anxieties have been very great, I doubt not. 
That most of them were such as you ought not to have 
met with, I can easily conceive. I can sincerely say, that 
all mine, but my fever, were such as I ought not to have 
had. Thank God they are passed, and never shall return, 
for nothing that can liappen shall ever make me so anxious 
again. I hnvc assumed the felicis animi immola tran- 

Nodiing would give me more satisfitction, than a free 
conversation between you and me upon the subjects you 
mention, and all others direcdy or indirectly connected 

VOL. VT. 47 


with it, or with any of our affairs ; but I do not see a pos- 
sibility of taking such a journey. Tiie march of this peo- 
ple is so slow, that it will be some time before the treaty 
of commerce can be finished, and after that I have other 
orders to execute, and must be here in person to attend 
every step. But besides this, I think I ought not to go to 
Paris, while there is any messenger there from England, 
unless he has full powers to treat with the Ministers of 
the United States of America. If the three American 
Ministers should appear at Paris, at the same time, with a 
real or pretended Minister from London, all the world 
would instantly conclude a peace certain, and would fill at 
once another year's loan for the English. In Lord Shel- 
burne's sincerity, I have not the smallest confidence, and I 
think that we ought to take up Fox's idea, and insist upon 
full powers to treat with us in character, before we have a 
word more to say upon the subject. They are only amus- 
ing us. I would rather invite you to come here. This 
country is worth seeing, and you would lay me under great 
obligations to take your residence, during your stay, in the 
Hotel des Etats-Unis. Many people would be glad to see 
you. I should be very glad, however, to be informed, 
from step to step, how things proceed. 

As you justly observe, further accessions of power to the 
House of Bourbon may excite jealousies in some powers 
of Europe, but who is to blame but themselves? Why 
are they so short sighted or so indolent, as to neglect to 
acknowledge the United States, and make treaties with 
them ? Why do they leave the House of Bourbon to con- 
tend so long and spend so much ? Why do they leave 
America and Holland under so great obligations ? France 
has, and ought to have, a great weight with America and 


Holland, but other powers might have proportionable 
weight if they would have proportional merit. 

If the powers of the neutral maritime confederation, 
would admit the United States to accede to that treaty, 
and declare America independent, they would contribute 
to prevent America at least from being too much under 
the direction of France. But if any powers should take 
the part of England, they will compel America and Hol- 
land too, to unite themselves ten times more firmly than 
ever to the House of Bourbon. 

I do not know, however, that America and Holland are 
too much under the direction of France, and I do not be- 
lieve they will be, but they must be dead to every gener- 
ous feeling as men, and to every wise view as statesmen, 
if they were not much attached to France, in the circum- 
stances of the times. 

I received two letters from you in the spring, one I 
answered, but have not the dates at present ; the other 
kindly informed m'e of the arrival of my son in America, 
for which 1 thank you. 

With great regard and esteem, I am, dear Sir, your 

most obedient, he. 



The Hague, August ISlh, 1782. 


I have the honor to enclose, for the information of Con- 
gress, a copy of Mr Fitzherberl's commission. 

The States-General have appointed M. Brantzen their 
Minister Plenipotentiary to treat concerning peace, and he 
will set off for Paris in about three weeks. His instruc- 


lions are such as we should wish. The States of Holland 
and West Friesland have determined the last week upon 
our project of a treaty of commerce, and I expect to enter 
into conferences with the States-General this week, in 
order to hring it to a conclusion. I hope for the ratifica- 
tion of the contract for a loan, which has been sent five 
different ways. Upon the receipt of this ratification, there 
will be thirteen or fourteen hundred thousand guilders 
ready to be paid to the orders of Congress by Messrs Wil- 
hem and Jean Willink, Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst, 
and De la Lande and Fynje. 

The States and the Regencies are taking such measures 
with the Stadtholder, by demanding his orders and corres- 
pondence about naval afiairs, and by re-assuming their 
own constitutional rights in the appointment of officers, Stc. 
as will bring all things right in this Republic, which we 
shall find an affectionate and a useful friend. The com- 
munication of the followina; instructions to me is such a 

piece of friendship and such a mark of confidence, as 

makes it my duty to request of Congress that it may be 
kept secret. 


Projected and passed for the Ambassador Lestevenon de 
Berkenrode, and M. de Brantzen. 

"1. His Most Christian Majesty, having manifested in 
the most obliging manner by his Ambassador Extraordi- 
nary, the Due de la Vauguyon, who resides here, his 
favorable intention to have an eye to the interests of the 
Republic in the negotiation for a general peace, the afore- 
said Ministers will neglect nothing, but, on the contrary, 
will employ all their diligence and all their zeal to preserve 


and fortify more and more this favorable disposition of his 
Majesty towards this State. 

"2. To this end those gentlemen, in all which concerns 
the objects of their conunission, or which may have any 
relation to them, will act in a communicative manner, and 
in concert with the Ministry of his said Majesty, and will 
make confidential communications of all things with them. 

"3. They will not enter into any negotiation of peace 
between the British Court and the Republic, nor have any 
conferences thereupon with the Ministers of the said Court, 
before they are assured beforehand, in the clearest manner, 
and without any equivocation, that his British Majesty has 
in fact, and continues to have, a real intention to acquiesce, 
without reserve, that the Republic be in full possession and 
indisputable enjoyment of the rights of the neutral flag, 
and of a free navigation, in conformity to, and according to 
the tenor of, the points enumerated in the declaration of 
her Imperial Majesty of Russia, dated the 28ih of Febru- 
ary, 1780. 

"4. When these gentlemen shall be certain of this, and 
shall have received the requisite assurances of it, they shall 
conduct in such a manner in the conferences, which shall 
then be held thereupon with the Ministers of his Britannic 
Majesty, as to direct things to such an end, that, in pro- 
jecting the treaty of peace £nd friendship between his said 
Majesty and the Republic, all the points concerning the 
free navigation be adopted word for word, and literally 
from the said declaration of her Imperial Majesty, and 
inserted in d)e said treaty ; and, moreover, in regard to 
contraband, (upon the subject of which the said decla- 
ration refers to the treaties of commerce then subsisting 
between the respective powers) that they establish hence- 


forward a limitation, so precise and so distinct, that it may- 
appear most clearly in future, that all naval stores, {les 
munitions on. matieres navales) be held free merchandises, 
and may not by any means be comprehended under the 
denomination of contraband ; as also, that with re^-ard to 
the visitation of merchant vessels, they establish the two 
following rules as perpetual and immutable, viz ; first, that 
the masters (patrons) of merchant ships shall be dis- 
charged upon exhibiting their documents, from whence their 
cargoes m.ay be known, and to which faith ought to be 
given, without pretending to molest them by any visitation j 
secondly, that when merchant ships shall be convoyed by 
vessels of war, all faith shall be yielded to the commanding 
officers, who shall escort the convoy, when they shall de- 
clare and affirm, upon their word of honor, the nature of 
their cargoes, without being able to require of vessels con- 
voyed, any exhibition of papers, and still less to visit them. 
"5. These gentlemen shall insist also, in the strongest 
manner, and as upon a condition sine qua non, upon this, 
that all the possessions conquered from the Republic by 
the ships of war or privateers of his British Majesty, or by 
the arms of the English East India Company during the 
course of this war, or which may be further conquered 
from it before the conclusion of the peace, be restored to 
it, under the eventual obligation of reciprocity ; and this, 
as far as possible, in the same state in which they were at 
the time of the invasion. And, whereas the greatest part 
of these possessions have been retaken from the common 
enemy, by the arms of His Most Christian Majesty, these 
gentlemen will insist, in the strongest manner, with his 
Majesty and his Ministry, that, by the promise of restitu- 
tion of these possessions to the State, immediately a^ter the 


conclusion of the peace, the Republic may receive real 
proofs of the benevolence and of the affection, which his 
Majesty has so often testified for it. 

"6. These gentlemen will insist also, in the strongest 
manner, upon the just indemnification for all the losses un- 
justly caused by Great Britain, to the State and to its in- 
habitants, both in Europe and elsewhere. 

"7. In the affairs concerning the interests of the Com- 
pany of the East Indies of this country, these gentlemen 
ought to demand and receive the considerations of the 
commissaries, who are now at Paris on the part of the 
Company, and act in concert with them in relation to these 

"8. In all respects, these gendemen will hold a good 
correspondence with the Ministers of the other belligerent 
powers ; and it is very specially enjoined upon them, and 
recommended, to direct things to this, that in the said nego- 
tiations, there be given no room to be able to conclude or 
resolve either treaty or cessation of hostilities, if it be not 
with the common and simultaneous concurrence of all the 
belligerent powers. 

"9. Finally, and in general, these gentlemen, during 
the course of all this negotiation, will have always before 
their eyes, that the conferences at Paris, at least for the 
present, ought to be looked upon but as preparatory and 
preliminary ; and that the decision of points, which may 
remain in litigation, ought to be reserved to a general 
Congress, together with the final adjustment of the defini- 
tive treaty of peace ; the whole, at least, until their High 
Mightinesses, further informed of the success of these ne- 
gotiations, and of the inclination of the belligerent powers, 
shall find good to qualify these gentlemen for the final and 
peremptory conclusion of a treaty." 


These instructions will show Congress, in a clear light, 

the disposition of this Republic to be as favorable for us 

and our allies as we could wish it. 

I have the lionor to be, &ic. 



The Hague, August 22d, 1V82. 


Their High Mightinesses have at length received their 
instructions from all the Provinces, and I have this day 
been in conference with the Grand Committee, who com- 
municated to me the remarks and propositions on their 
part. To this, I shall very soon give my replication, and I 
hope the affair will be soon ended. 

I was received in State by two of the Lords at the head 
of the stairs, and by them conducted into the committee 
room, where the business is transacted. The committee 
consisted of one or more Deputies from each Province, to- 
gether with the Grand Pensionary, Bleiswick, and the 
Secretary Fagel. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



PhiUulclphia, August 29tli, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

Near five months have elapsed, since I have been 
favored with a line from you. Your letter of the 4th of 
March, is the last that has as yet found its way to America. 

Let me entreat you. Sir, to reflect on the disgrace and 
discredit it brings upon this department, (o be kept thus in 


the dark relative to matters of the utmost moment, and 
how impossible it is, without better information, to declare 
the designs or wishes of Congress, since they must be in 
some measure directed by the state of their affairs in Eu- 
rope ; and, yet, Sir, they have hitherto been left, in a great 
measure, to collect that state from private letters, com- 
mon newspapers, or the communications of the Minister of 

There is another circumstance, in which the reputation 
of our Ministers themselves, is materially concerned. Let- 
ters, announcing a fact, that is well known before their 
arrival, lose half their force and beauty. They cease to 
be interesting, and are read with indifference. You have 
done yourself great injustice frequently in this way, for 
though your letters have generally been particular, yet, 
from not being sufficiently attentive to the means of con- 
veyance, we frequently have had the facts they related, 
published in the newspapers a month before then- arrival. 
As one instance out of many, we received with your letter 
of the 11th of March, Amsterdam papers of the 30th, 
which informed us of the determination of Holland relative 
to your reception. We are told that you were received 
in your public character the 19th of April, and yet. Sir, 
we have not to this hour had any official information on 
that head. I am ready to make every allowance for the 
miscarriage of letters ; but this should only urge our Min- 
isters to multiply the number of their copies, particularly 
where the subject of them is important. I feel myself so 
hurt at this neglect. Congress are so justly dissatisfied at 
seeing vessels arrive every day from France without pub- 
lic letters at this very critical period ;^. from any of our 
Ministers, that I fear I have pressed the subject further 
VOL. VI. 48 


than 1 ought to have done. If so, be pleased to pardon 
my earnestness, and to impute it to my wish, as well to 
render this office more useful to the public, as to enable 
you to give Congress more ample satisfaction. 

The advantages, which will be derived to these States 
from,the acknowledgment of their political existence, as an 
independent nation, are too many and too obvious, not to 
he immediately and sensibly felt by them. I sincerely 
congratulate you on having been the happy means of 
effecting tliis beneficial connexion. We may reasonably 
hope, that your official letters will detail the progress of so 
interesting an event, and thereby enable us to form some 
judgment of the nature and principles of the government 
of the United Provinces. From the zeal they manifest to 
DSj I should hope, that you would find no great difficulty 
in the accomplishing of one great object of your mission, 
the procuring a loan, which neither the probability or the 
conclusion of a peace will render unnecessary. On the 
contrary, I am inclined to believe, that our wants will be 
more pressing at (he close of the war, when our troops 
are to be paid and disbanded, than at any other period ; 
and as it seems to have been your sentiment hitherto, that 
money could be procured when our political character was 
fully known, I venture to hope, that you have availed 
yourself of your present situation to obtain it. 

General Carleton and Admiral Digby, presuming, I 
suppose, that our Ministers were not the most punctual 
correspondents, have been pleased to inform us, through the 
commander-in-chief, that negotiations for a general peace 
are on foot. If so, I presum6 this will find ypu in France. 
In addition to the great objects, which will become the 
subjects of discussion, and on which you are fully in- 


structed, I could wish again to repeat one, that I have 
mentioned in my last to you, which materially interests us. 
1 mean the procuring a market for lumber and provisions 
of every kind in the West Indies. Should France pursue 
her usual system with respect to her Colonies, and Eng- 
land follow her example, the shock will be severely felt 
here, particularly in the States, whose staples are flour, 
beef and pork. But should either of them be so fully 
apprised of their true interest as to set open this market, 
at least for these articles, the advantage they will derive 
from it must compel the others to adopt the same 

I need only mention this matter to you. The argu- 
ments to show the mutual advantage of this commerce to 
this country, the Colonies and the parent States will sug- 
gest themselves readily to you, and be suggested by you 
to those we are interested in convincing. The turtle and 
fruity of the Bahama Islands have formed- powerful con- 
nexions among the good eaters and drinkers of this coun- 
try. I recommend their interests to your care. They 
flatter themselves their friends, the Spaniards, will not in- 
terrupt their ancient alliance, if these islands should remain 
in their hands. 

I have already transmitted you an account of the evacu- 
ation of Savannah. The enclosed papers contain a pro- 
clamation of General Scott, announcing that of Charleston, 
and generously offering to provide for the transportation 
of the royalists to East Florida, where the climate will 
doubtless aid administration, in the proposed reduction of 
the list of pensioners. The fleet under the Marquis de 
Vaudreuil has unfortunately lost a seventy four, by striking 
a rock in the harbor of Boston. Congress have endeav- 


ored to compensate this loss, by presenting His Most 
Christian Majesty with the America. 

I have caused two quarters' salary to be remitted to Dr 
Franklin on your account, for which you will be so oblig- 
ing as to send me your receipt. I must again press you 
to appoint an agent to receive your money here, as I act 
without any authority at present, which 1 must decline the 
hazard of doing in future. 

1 have the honor to be, &lc. 



The Hague, September 4Ui, 1782. 


Your triplicate of the 5th of March, No 5, triplicate of 
the 22d of May, No. 6, duplicate of the 29th of May, 
No. 7, and duplicate of May the 30th, No. 8, together 
with the despatches for Mr Dana, came to hand yester- 

The judicious inquiries in thai of the 5th of March, are 
chiefly answered by the enclosed pamphlet, which I have 
caused to be printed, in order to be sent into England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, as well as America. You will find 
most of your questions answered by great bodies of mer- 
chants, manufacturers, and others, in the first instance, and 
by the States of the several separate Provinces in the 
next place, and lastly by their High Mightinesses. 

I wish the truth would warrant a more satisfactory 
account of the ships prepared, and preparing for sea. 
Those prepared are employed by concert with France, in 
the North Sea, where they make a useful diversion, having 
lately obliged Lord Howe to detach a considerable number 


of ships, and the last accounts say, to go himself with four- 
teen ships of the line, in order to protect their trade from 
the Baltic, which has certainly retarded, possibly wholly 
prevented, the relief of Gibraltar. This, however, is not 
certain. I cannot assure Congress of more than twelve 
Dutch ships of the line, ready for sea. Some of that 
number are not in a good condition ; not more than two 
or three can be depended on to be added, in the course of 
this season. 

As to the leading members of the Great Council, wo 
must distinguish between the Assembly of the Deputies of 
the States-General, and the Assembly of the Deputies of 
Holland and West Friesland. The Grand Pensionary of 
Holland, who is always a member of the Assembly of 
their High Mightinesses, is constitutionally the most lead* 
ing member. M. Van Bleiswick is the present Grand 
Pensionary. With him 1 have frequent conferences, and 
they have always been agreeable ; but the situation of this 
Minister is at present extremely critical and embarrassing. 
In former times, when there was no Stadtholder, or at 
least when his authority was less extensive, the Grand 
Pensionaries of Holland have been in effect Stadtholders. 
They have been a centre of union for all the Provinces ; 
but being more immediately connected with, and depend- 
ent on, the Province of Holland, they have been suspected 
by the other Provinces to give too much weight to that, 
which has caused them to attach themselves to the Stadt- 
holders, as a more impartial support to the whole States. 

To speak candidly, a competition between these two 
great interests and these two high offices, seems to have 
been the cause of the violent storms in this country ; but 
as the Stadtholders have had the military power by sea 


aud land at their disposal, and by the pomp and splendor 
of a Court, have had the means of imposing more upon 
!lie nation, they have by decrees prevailed. At critical, 
ilangerous times, tragical scenes have been exhibited, and 
Barnevelt's head was struck off at one time, Grotius es- 
caped by a kind of miracle, and the De Witts were torn in 
pieces, it is scarcely too bold to say by the open or secret 
commands, or connivance of the Stadtholders. The 
Stadtholder's power, since 1758, until this year, has been 
so augmented, and the Grand Pensionary's so diminished, 
that M. Van Bleiswick is to be pitied. More is expected 
of him than he can perform. He is between two fires. 
The Stadtholderian party on the one side, and the Repub- 
lican on the other. The consequence is, that he manages 
both as well as he can ; is extremely cautious and re- 
served, never explains himself, but in cases of absolute 
necessity, and never attempts to assume the lead. If 
he were to attempt to act the part of some former Grand 
Pensionaries, the consequence would be, either he would 
not be supported, and would perish like Barnevelt, or De 
Witt, or being supported, the Stadtholdership must give 
way, and the Prince fly to his estates, in Germany. M. 
Van Bleiswick is a great scholar, linguist, natural philoso- 
pher, mathematician, and even physician ; has great ex- 
perience in public affairs, and is able and adroit enough in 
the conduct of them ; but not having a temper bold and 
firm enough, or perhaps loving his ease too much, or not 
having ambition, or patriotism, or zeal, or health enough, 
to assume a great and decided conduct, he is fallen in his 
reputation. They suspect him of duplicity, and in short, 
measures are prepared and brought into the States of 
Holland without his consent, or previous knowledge, and 
there carried j a thing unknown until these days. 


Another great officer of state, who constitutionally has 
influence in the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, is 
the Secretary M. Fagel. This gentleman is of a fam- 
ily, which has ever been zealously attached to the Stadt- 
holder, and consequently to England, and strongly preju- 
diced against France. His ancestor was made Grand 
Pensionary, in place of the murdered and immortal De 
Witt; and from that time to this, the family have been in- 
variably friends to the Princes of Orange, and to England, 
and enemies to Fi'ance. The present Secretary does not 
belie his lineage. He is supposed to be the least satisfied 
with the new conventions with us and with France, of any 
man. 1 have had several conferences with him. He is a 
venerable man of seventy, is polite, and has always been 
complaisant enough to me ; but Congress will easily see, 
from this sketch of bis character, that he is not the man 
for me to be intimate with. There is a new President of 
their High Mightinesses every week. I have had confer- 
ences vs'ith several, M. Ijassens, M. Van Citters, M. Bo- 
reel, M. Van den Sandheuvel, and the Baron Lynden de 
Hemmen ; but this continual variation prevents any one 
from acquiring esteem and weight from the office ; so 
that they ape to be considered only as common members of 
the Assembly. 

There is a nobleman, the Baron de Lynden, who be- 
longs to the Province of Zealand, and who was formerly 
Ambassador in Sweden, and afterwards appointed to 
Vienna, but refused to go. I have had the pleasure of a 
great deal of conversation with him, and his advice has 
been useful to me. He is a sensible and worthy man, and 
his sentiments are very just. He has been now for some 
months in Zealand, and the world has seen several striking 


effects of his presence in that Province. He is much in 
opposition to the Duke of Brunswick, and consequently 
to the Court, to whose cause this nobleman's rank, former 
offices, and connexions, have done much damage. There 
are several other members of the Assembly of their High 
Mightinesses, that I have some acquaintance with, the 
Baron Van Schwartenbourg, M. Kuffeler of Friesland, 
M. Brantzen of Guelderland, and others, whom it is not 
necessary to name at present. But Holland, being full 
half the nation, the Assembly of that Province gives al- 
ways, sooner or later^ the tone to the whole. The Pen- 
sionaries of the cities are the principal speakers, and most 
active members of this Assembly, for which reason I have 
cultivated the acquaintance of these gentlemen, and will 
continue to do so more and more. There are three among 
them, with whom I have been the most conversant, M. 
Gyzelaer of Dort, M. Visscher of Amsterdam, and I\I. 
Van Zeeberg, of Haerlem. 

M. Gyzelaer is a young gentleman of about thirty ; but 
of a genius and activity, a candor and prudence, which, if 
his health is not too delicate, must make him the man of 
the first consideration in this Republic. 1 am happy in a 
friendly and familiar acquaintance with him, and shall cer- 
tainly continue it, because his abilities and integrity, his in- 
dustry, his great and growing popularity, and his influence 
in the Assembly of the States of Holland, as well as in all 
the provinces and cities, will render him an important 
man, in spite of all the opposition of the Court. 

Nevertheless, although I cultivate the friendship of the 
patriots, I shall not give offence to the Court. The friend- 
ship of this Court we never had, and never shall have, 
until we have that of Kngland. This gentleman's friend- 


ship has already been of vast service to the cause of Con- 
gress as well as to tne, and will continue to be so. There 
is no intelligence in a political line, which I ought to know, 
but what I can easily obtain in this way. To detail the 
conversations, would be to relate all the measures taken or 
proposed, relative to the negotiations for a separate peace, 
to the concert with France, the general peace, he. as well 
as from step to step, the advancement to the acknowledg- 
ment of our independence. There are some of these 
conversations, which ought never to be put on paper, 
until the measures and events, which are the fruit of them, 
have taken place. 

M. Visscher is a respectable character, an amiable 
man, and steady in the good system. With him also, I 
have been invariably upon good terms ; but I cannot but 
lament the absence of M. Van Berckel, an excellent 
character, of solid judgment, sound learning, great expe- 
rience, delicate honor, untainted virtue, and steady firm- 
ness, sacrificed to the most frivolous whimsies, and raiser- 
able intrigues of private pique, the jealousy and envy of 
weak, I cannot here add wicked old age, and individual 
ambition. Van Berckel and Visscher together vv:.uld be 
noble Ministers for Amsterdam ; but the elder of the ^'Par 
nobile fratruni'^ is wanting. 

M. Van Zeeberg is another excellent c:::;;acter; of 
great reputation as a lawyer, a man of integrity, and a 
patriot, with whom I have been, and am, upon the best 
terms. It is odd enough, that most of these Pensionaries 
have been deacons of tiie English church in this place, 
Dv I\lc Lane's. En passant, young lawyers seek an elec- 
tion to be deacons in the churches, as a first step to ad- 
vancement in their profession, as well as in the State. M. 
VOL. VI. 49 


Van Berckel, M. Van Zeeberg and others, have been dea- 
cons of this church, yet neither speaks English ; nor is any 
of them less an enemy to England for having passed 
through this stage in their career of life, and I shall be 
the more so, for hearing once a week, an admirable moral 
lecture in the English language, from one of the best 
preachers in Europe. 

I hope this will be sufficient at present as a sample of 
sketches of characters that you demand of me, among the 
leading members of the Assembly. I might mention sev- 
eral Burgomasters, as M. Hooft, of Amsterdam, Van 
Berckel, of Rotterdam, he. 8ic. &ic. ; but I must not give 
too much at once. 

You inquire whether there is no intercourse between the 
French Ambassador and me } I answer, there is a con- 
stant, uninterrupted harmony and familiarity between the 
Due de la Vauguyon and his family, and me. I visit him, 
and he visits me. I dine with him, and he and his family 
dine w'ith me as often as you can wish ; and he is ever 
ready to enter into conversation and consultation with me 
upon public affairs. He is an amiable man, whom I es- 
teem very much. He is able, attentive, and vigilant, as a 
Minister ; but he has been under infinite obligations to 
the United States of America and her Minister, for the 
success he has had in this country. Nothing on this earth 
but the American cause, could ever have prevented this 
Republic from joining England in ihe war, and nothing but 
the memorial of the I9th of April, 178J, and the other in- 
numerable measures taken in consequence of it by the 
same hand, could ever have prevented this Republic from 
making a separate peace with England. The Ameri- 
can cause and Minister have done more to introduce a 


familiarity between the French Ambassador and some 
leading men here, than any other thing could ; and if any- 
body denies it, it must be owing to ignorance or ingratitude. 
It is at the same limc true, and I acknowledge it with 
pleasure and gratitude, that our cause could not have suc- 
ceeded here without the aid of France. Her aid in tlie 
East Indies, West Indies, and upon the barrier frontiers, 
her general benevolence, and concert of operations, as 
well as the favorable and friendly exertions of her Ambas- 
sador, after the decisive steps taken by me, contributed 
essentially to the accomplishment of the work. I have an 
opportunity of meeting at his house, too, almost as often as 
I desire, the other foreign Ministers ; but of this more 

You desire also to know the popular leaders 1 have 
formed acquaintance with. The two noblemen, the Baron 
Van der Capellan de Pall, of Overyssel, and the Baron 
Van der Capellan ue Marsch, of Guelderland, i have 
formed an acquaintance with ; the former, very early after 
my first arrival. I have had frequent and intimate conver- 
sations with him, and he has been of the utmost service lo 
our cause. His unhappy situation, and unjust expulsion 
from his seat in government, the opposition of the Court, 
and of his colleagues in the Regency, make it delicate to 
write freely cojicerning this nobleman. He has an inde- 
pendent fortune, though not called rich in this country. 
His parts and learning are equal to any, his zeal and activ- 
ity superior. I dare not say in wiiat a multitude of ways 
he has served us ; posterity will, perhaps, know them all. 

Two years ago, upon my first arrival at Amsterdam, 1 
fell acquainted, at M. Van Staphorsl's, with M. Calkoen, the 
first gentleman of the bar, at Am.stcrunm j a man of letters, 


well read in law and history, and an elegant writer. He 
desired to be informed of American affairs. I gave him a 
collection of our constitutions, and a number of pamphlets 
and papers, and desired him to commit to writing his ques- 
tions. In a iew days, he sent me thirty questions in 
Dutch, which show him to be a man of profound reflection 
and sagacity. I got them translated, and determined to 
seize the opportunity to turn his attention to our affairs, 
and gain his confidence. 1 wrote him a distinct letter 
upon each question, and endeavored to give him ss com- 
prehensive an insight into our affairs as I could.* He was 
much pleased with the answers, and composed out of them 
a comparison between the American and Batavian Revo- 
lutions, which he read with applause to a society of forty 
gentlemen of letters, who meet in a club at Amsterdam. 
I lent him Burgoyne's and Howe's pamphlets in vindication 
of themselves, which he communicated also. By this 
means, this society, whose influence must be very exten- 
sive, were made hearty converts to the opinion of the im- 
practicability of a British conquest, and the certainty of 
American success ; points very dubious in the minds of 
this nation in general, when I first came here, as I can 
easily prove. With this gentleman, I have ever preserved 
an agreeable acquaintance. It was he who drew up the 
petition of the merchants of Amsterdam in favor of Ameri- 
can independence. 

About the time of presenting my memorial, I became 
acquainted with another lawyer at the Hague, M. Van 
Zoon, who has been also from time to time active in our 
favor, and drew up the petitions of Rotterdam. 

• These letters were afterwards printed under the title of Twentysix 
Letters upon Interesiing Subjects, respecting the Revolution in America. 


The gazetteers of this country are not nnere printers, 
they are men cf letters ; and as these vehicles have a vast 
influence in forming the public opinion, they were not to 
be neglected by me, whose only hopes lay in the public 
opinion, to resist the torrent of a court and government. I 
therefore became naturally acquainted with the family of 
the Luzacs, in Leyden, whose gazette has been very use- 
ful to our cause, and who are excellent people. M. John 
Luzac, drew up the two petitions of Leyden to their Re- 

At Amsterdam, my acquaintance with M. Cerisier en- 
abled me to render the Politique HoUandais, and the 
French Gazette of Amsterdam, useful on many occasions ; 
and by means of one friend and another, particularly M. 
Dumas, I have been able to communicate anything that 
was proper to the public, by means of the Dutch gazettes 
of Amsterdam, Haerlem, and Delft. By means of these 
secret connexions with printers and writers, I have had an 
opportunity to cause to be translated and printed, many 
English pamphlets tending to elucidate our afiairs, particu- 
larly those valuable documents of Howe and Burgoyne, 
than which nothing has contributed more to fortify our 
cause. They are considered as the decisive testimonies 
of unwilling witnesses and cruel enemies. With these per- 
sons, and others whom I could not have conversations 
with, I have had correspondence as frequent as my time 
would allow. 

At Amsterdam, I was acquainted with several mercan- 
tile houses, M. de Neufville Sz. Son, M. Crommelin h Sons, 
Messieurs Van Staphorsts, De la Lande h Fynje, Madame 
Chabanel h Son &, Nephew, M. Hodshon, M. Van Arp, 
M. Teagler, and several others, who, in their several ways, 
were useful to our affairs. 


I come now to the most diliicult task of ali, the descrip- 
tion of the foreign Ministers. The Minister of the Empe- 
ror is ninety years of age, and never appears at Court, or 
unywhere elss. I have never seen him or his secretary. 
The Ministers from Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, 
Sardinia, and Liege, I see every week at Court, where I 
sup regularly when the others do, though it is very visible 
that 1 am not the guest the most favored by the Prince. 
I dine with them all, sometimes at the French Ambassa- 
dor's and Spanish Minister's, but have not dined at any of 
their houses, nor they at mine. Not one of them would 
dare to give or receive an invitation, except France, 
Spain, and Liege. The Minister from Sweden, the Baron 
d' Ehrenswerd, is lately removed to Berlin, to my great 
regret, as he appeared to me a very good character, and 
behaved very civilly to me several times when I met him 
at Court and at the French Ambassador's. The Secre- 
tary of Legation does the business, now M. Van Arp, 
who appears to be a worthy man, and is not afraid to 
converse with me. The ISIinister from Prussia, M. de 
Thulemeyer, is very civil, attacks me, (as he expresses 
it) in English, and wishes to meet tne on horseback, being 
both great riders ; will converse freely with me upon as- 
tronomy, or natural history, or any mere common affairs ; 
will talk of news, battles, sieges, &ic. ; but these person- 
ages are very reserved in politics and negotiations. They 
must wait for instructions. 

M. de St Saphorin, the Envoy from Denmark, is a per- 
sonage of very odd behavior ; a Swiss by birth, but an 
open and not very discreet advocate for England. It 
sliould be observed, that the Queen Dowager of Den- 
mark, is sister to the Due Louis de Brunswick ; and as 


the King is not a distinguished character among crowned 
heads, she is supposed to have much influence at Court, 
and the Minister here may be complaisant to her. But 
neitiier that power nor its Minister is able to do more than 
influence a gazette or two, to publish some very injudi- 
cious speculations. I am not the only foreign Minister that 
converses or corresponds with gazetteers ; though it at 
least is certain, that I never give them money. I hope 
I am not singular in this. This gentleman has been 
much with another since his arrival, M. Markow, the 
adjoint Minister from Russia, another advocate for the 
English, without being able to do them any service. Ho 
was never more than a Secretary of Legation before. He 
has been here formerly in that character, and in the par- 
tition of Poland. He was preceded here, by reports of 
his great talents at negotiations and intrigue, and it was 
said, that he had never failed of success ; but his resi- 
dence here has made no sensation or impression at all. 
He talks in some companies indiscreetly in favor of Eng- 
land, but is not much attended to. His behavior to me, 
is a distant bow, an affected smile sometimes, and now 
and then, a '^ Comment vous portez-vous T^ One evening 
at Court, when the Northern Epidemy was here, he put 
me this question after supper, in great apparent good hu- 
mor ; ^'terriblement afflige de Pinfluenpa,^' said I ; ^^C^est 
en Angleterre,''^ says he, laughing, ^^qu'on a donne ce nom, 
et U ne feroit point du vial, si vous voudriez vous laisser 
gagner un peu par Vinjiuence de PAngleterre." I had ^t 
my tongue's end to answer, " Cest assez d'etre tourmente 
de Vinjiuence qui vient de Russie ! ! but I reflected very 
suddenly, if he is indiscreet, I will not be ; so 1 contented 
myself to answer, very gravely, "jamais, Monsieur Jamais." 


The Prince de Gallitzin, his colleague, is of a different 
character ; a good man, and thinks justly ; but his place 
is too important to his family to be hazarded ; so he keeps 
a great reserve, and behaves with great prudence. Know- 
ing his situation, I have avoided all advances to him, lest 
I should embarrass him. The Sardinian Minister is very 
ready to enter into conversation at all times ; but his Court 
and system are wholly out of the present question. The 
Portuguese Envoy Extraordinary, D. Joas Theolonico 
d'Almeida, is a young nobleman glittering with stars, and, 
as they say, very rich. He has twice, once at Court, and 
once at the Spanish Minister's, entered familiarly into con- 
versation with me, upon the climates of America and Por- 
tugal, and the commerce that has been, and will be be- 
tween our countries, and upon indifferent subjects ; but 
there is no appearance that he is profoundly versed in po- 
litical subjects, nor any probability that he could explain 
himself, until all the neutral powers do, of whom Portugal 
is one. 

The Spanish Minister, D. Llano, Count de Sanafee, has 
at last got over all his punctilios, and I had the honor to 
dine with him, in company with all the foreign Ministers 
and four or five officers of rank in the Russian service, on 
Tuesday last. He and his Secretary had dined with me 
some time ago. I shall, therefore, be upon a more free, 
if not familiar, footing with him in future. He has indeed 
been always very complaisant and friendly, though embar- 
rassed with his punctilios of etiquette. There is one anec- 
dote, that in justice to myself and my country I ought not 
to omit. The first time I ever saw him was at his house, 
a day or two after my reception by the States. He sent 
for me. I went, and had an hour's conversation with him. 


He said to me, "Sir, you have struck the greatest blow of 
all Europe. It is the greatest blow that has been struck in 
the American cause, and the most decisive. It is you 
who have filled this nation with enthusiasm ; it is you who 
have turned all their heads." Next morning he returned 
my visit at my lodgings, for it was before my removal to 
this house. In the course of conversation upon the sub- 
ject of my success here, he turned to a gentlemen in com- 
pany, and said to him, "this event is infinitely honorable to 
Mr Adams. It is the greatest blow [le plus grand coup) 
which could have been struck in all Europe. It is he, 
who has filled this nation with enthusiasm ; it is he, who 
has disconcerted the admirers of England {Jlnglomanes) ; 
it is he, who has turned the heads of the Hollanders. It 
is not for a compliment to Mr Adams that I say this, but 
because I believe it to be his due." 

I wish for some other historiographer, but I will not, for 
fear of the charge of vanity, omit to record things, which 
were certainly said with deliberation, and which prove the 
sense, which the Ministers of the House of Bourbon had of 
the stream of prejudice here against them, and of the 
influence of America and her Minister, in turning the tide. 

I hope, Sir, that these sketches will satisfy you for the 
present ; if not, another time I will give you portraits at 
full length. In the meantime, I have the honor to be, &tc. 


VOL. VI. 50 



The Hague, September 6tli, 1782. 

In your letter of the 5th of March, you ask "whether 
this power has entered into any treaty with France since 
the war, and whether any such thing is in contemplation ?" 

They have made no treaty, but a convention concern- 
ing recaptures, which you must have seen in the papers. 
The East India Company have concerted operations with 
France in the East Indies, and the Prince, by the resolu- 
tion of the States, has concerted operations in these Euro- 
pean seas for this campaign, and the city of Amsterdam 
has lately proposed in the States of Holland, to renew the 
concert for next year, and to revive an old treaty of com- 
inerce with France. In my letter of the 18th of August, 
I have sent you a copy of the instructions to their Minis- 
ters for peace, "not to make peace, truce, or armistice, 
but with the simultaneous concurrence of all the belligerent 
powers," among whom the United States of America are 
certainly one in the sense and meaning of their High 

You observe, Sir, "that France is interested with us, in 
procuring a public acknowledgment of our independence." 
You desire me to write freely, and my own disposition 
inclines me to do so. This is a delicate subject, and 
requires to be cautiously handled. Political jealousy is 
very different from, a suspicious temper. We should con- 
template the vices naturally allied to the greatest virtues. 
We should consider the fevers that lie near a high state of 
health. We should consider the maxim that is laid down 
by all the political writers in the world, and the fact that is 


found in all histories, "that in cases of alliance between 
unequal powers, alniost all the advantages ever did and 
ever will aceruq to the greatest." We should observe ia 
the Abbe Raynal's history of this revolution, that there is a 
party in France that blames the Ministry for putting them- 
selves into the chains (fers) of Congress, and for not keep- 
ing us dependent enough upon them. Is it not natural for 
them to wish to keep us dependent upon them, that we 
might be obliged to accept such terms of peace as they 
should think would do for us ? If the House of Bourbon 
should be suspected by any neutral power to grow too fast 
in wealth and force, and be disposed to form a league 
against it, is it not natural for it to wish that we may be 
kept from any connexions with such powers, and wholly 
connected with it, so as to be obliged to engage with it in 
all its wars. 

It is impossible for me to prove, that the delay of Spain 
to acknowledge our independence, has been concerted be- 
tween the French and Spanish Ministry ; but I candidly 
ask any man, who has attended to the circumstances of 
this war, if he has not seen cause to suspect it ! For my 
own part, I have no doubt of it, and I do not know that 
we can justly censure it. I have ten thousand reasons, 
which convince me that one Minister at least has not 
wished that we should form connexions with Holland, even 
so soon as we did, or with any power ; although he had 
no right, and therefore would not appear openly to oppose 
it. When I took leave of that Minister to return to x\mer- 
ica, in the spring of 1779, he desired me expressly to 
advise Congress to attend to the affairs of the war, and 
leave the politics of Europe to them, {et laisser la poli- 
tique a nous.) In 1778 or 1779, when Mr Lee and I pro- 


posed to Dr Franklin to go to Holland, or to consent that 
one of us should go, the Doctor would not, but wrote to 
that Minister upon it, and received an answer, which he 
showed me, advising against it ; and when I received my 
letter of credence here, the Minister here, who follows 
the instructions communicated by that Minister, took all 
possible pains to persuade me against communicating it ; 
and Dr Franklin, without reserve in word or writing, has 
constantly declared, that Congress were wrong in sending 
a Minister to Berlin, Vienna, Tuscany, Spain, Holland, 
and Petersburg, and Dr Franklin is as good an index of 
that Minister's sentiments as I know. 

Now I avow myself of a totally opposite system, and 
think it our indispensable duty, as it is our undoubted 
right, to send Ministers to other Courts, and endeavor to 
extend our acquaintance, commerce, and political con- 
nexions with all the world, and have pursued this system, 
which I took to be also the wish of Congress and the sense 
of America, with patience and perseverance against all 
dangers, reproaches, misrepresentations, and oppositions, 
until, I thank God, he has enabled me to plant the stand- 
ard of the United States at the Hague, where it will wave 

I am now satisfied, and dread nothing. The connexion 
with Holland is a sure stay. Connected with Holland and 
the House of Bourbon, we have nothing to fear. 

I have entered into this detail, in answer to your inquiry, 
and the only use of it I would wish to make is this, to 
insist upon seeing with our own eyes, using our own judg- 
ment, and acting an independent part ; and it is of the last 
importance we should do it now thus early, otherwise we 
should find it very difficult to do it hereafter. I hope I 


have e^iven you my sentiments, as you desired, with free- 
dom, and that freedom, I hope, will give no offence, either 
in America or France, for certainly none is intended. 

In your favor of the 22d of May, you direct me to draw 
upon Dr Franklin for my salary, and to send my accounts 
to you. My accounts. Sir, are very short, and shall be 
sent as soon as the perplexity of the treaty is over. As to 
drawing on Dr Franklin, I presume this was upon suppo- 
sition, that we had no money here. There is now near 
a million and a half of florins, so that I beg I may be per- 
mitted to receive my salary here. 

I have transmitted to Mr Dana your despatches, as 
desired in yours of the 29th of May, reserving an extract 
for publication in the gazettes, which the French AmbaS' 
sador is of opinion, as well as others, will have a great 
effect in Europe. Your letter is extremely well written, 
and M. Dumas has well translated it, so that it will appear 
to advantage. Yours of the 30th of May aflbrds me the 
pleasure of knowing, that you have received some letters 
from me this year, and I am glad you are inclined to lay 
that of the 21st of February before Congress. By this 
time I hope that all objections are removed to the memo- 
rial ; but in order to judge of the full effect of that memorial, 
three volumes of the Politique HoUandais, several volumes 
of X)e Post Van JVeder Rhin, all the Dutch gazettes for a 
whole year, and the petitions of all the cities should be 
read, for there is not one of them but what clearly shows 
the propriety of presenting that memorial, whose influence 
and effect, though not sudden, has been amazingly exten- 
sive. Indeed the French Ambassador has often signified 
to me lately, and more than once in express words, Moii- 
sieur voire fermeie a fait un tres bon effet ici. 


The cypher was not put up in this duplicate, and 1 sup- 
pose the original is gone on to Mr Dana in a letter I trans- 
mitted him from you sometime ago, so that I should be 
obliged to you for another of the same part. 

Rodney's victory came, as you hoped it would, too late 
to obstruct me. I was well settled at the Hague, and pub- 
licly received by the States and Prince before we received 
that melancholy news. If it had arrived sooner, it might 
have deranged all our systems, and this nation possibly 
might have been now separately at peace, which shows the 
importance of watching the time and tide, which there is 
in the affairs of men. 

You require, Sir, to be furnished with the most minute 
detail of every step, that Britain may take towards a nego- 
tiation for a general or partial peace. All the details 
towards a partial peace, are already public in the news- 
papers, and have all been ineffectual. The States-Gen- 
eral are firm against it, as appears by their instructions to 
iheir Ministers. Since the conversations between me and 
Digges first, and Mr Laurens afterwards, there has never 
been any message, directly or indirectly, by word or 
writing, from the British Ministry to me. It was my de- 
cided advice, and earnest request by both, that all mes- 
sages might be sent to Paris to Dr Franklin and the 
Count de Vergennes, and this has been done. Dr Frank- 
lin wrote me, that he should keep me informed of every- 
thing that passed by expresses ; but I have had no advice 
from him since the 2d of June. Your despatches have all 
gone the same way, and I have never had a hint of any of 
them. I hope that Dr Franklin and Mr Jay have had 
l>ositive instructions to consent to no truce or armistice, 
and'to enter into no conferences with any British Minister, 


who is not auihorised to treat with the United States of 

Some weeks ago I agreed with the Due de la Vauguy- 
on to draw up a project of a memorial to their High Mighti- 
nesses, proposing a triple or quadruple alliance, according 
to my instructions to that purpose. The Duke, in his pri- 
vate capacity, has declared to me often that he is of opin- 
ion, that it would be advisable to make this proposition as 
soon as the treaty of commerce is signed ; but could not 
give me any ministerial advice without consuhing the 
Count de Vergennes. We agreed that he should transmit 
the project to the Count. Two days ago, the Duke called 
upon me, and informed me, lliat he had the Count's answer, 
which was, that he did not think this the time, because it 
would tend to throw obscurity upon the instructions lately 
given by the States-General to M. Branlzen, not to make 
any treaty or armistice, but simultaneously with all the 
belligerent powers. 

By the tenth article of the Treaty of Alliance, the invi- 
tation or admission is to be made by concert. From my 
instructions, I supposed, and suppose still, that the concert 
was made at Philadelphia, between Congress and the 
Chevalier de la Luzerne, by the order of the King, his 
master ; and my instructions being positive and uncondi- 
tional to make the proposition, I shall be somewhat embar- 
rassed. On the one hand, I would preserve not only a 
real harmony, but the appearance of it, between all steps 
of mine, and the Councils of the French Ministers. On 
the other, I would obey my instructions, especially when 
they are so fully agreeable to me, at all events. The pro- 
position would have a good effect in England, in Holland, 
in France, America, and in all the neutral countries, as 1 


think, and it could do no harm, diat I can foresee. Nay, 
further, I am persuaded, that the French Ministry them- 
seh'es, if they were to give me their private opinions, as 
the Due de la Vauguyon does, would be glad if I should 
make the proposition against their advice. 

It is possible, however, that they may secretly choose 
(notwithstanding the offer made at Philadelphia) not to be 
bound in an alliance with America and Holland. They 
may think they shall have more influence with their hands 
unbound, even to a system that they approve and mean 
to pursue. It is amidst all these doublings and windings of 
European politics, that American Ministers have to decide 
and act. The result is clear in my mind, that although it 
is proper to be upon good terms, and be communicative 
and confidential with the French Ministers, yet we ought to 
have opinions, principles, and systems of our own, and that 
our Ministers should not be bound to follow their advice, 
but when it is consonant to our own ; and that Congress 
should firmly support their own Ministers against all secret 
insinuations. They must see, that a Minister of theirs, 
who is determined, as he is bound in honor, to be free and 
independent, is not in a very delectable or enviable situa- 
tion in Europe, as yet. 

There is but one alternative. Either Congress should 
recall all their Ministers from Europe, and leave all nego- 
tiations to the French Ministry, or they must support their 
Ministers against all insinuations. If Congress will see with 
their own eyes, I can assure tliem, without fear of being 
contradicted, that neither the color, figure, nor magnitude of 
objects will always appear to them exactly as they do to 
their allies. To send Ministers to Europe, who are sup- 
posed by the people of America to see for themselves, 


while in efiect they see, or pretend to see nothing, but 

what appears through the glass of a French Minister, is 

to betray the just expectations of that people. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



The H?igue, September 7th, 1782. 


In answer to your letters, demanding my accounts, I 
have the honor to enclose the three numbers, 1, 2, 3. 

No 1, is the account of my salary for two years and a 
half, and the payment of it by Dr Franklin, in obedience 
to the orders of Congress, the whole amounting to £6,250 

No 2, is the account for the purchase of the Hotel des 
Etats-Unis de VAmerique, which amounts to fifteen thou- 
sand two hundred and seven florins, seven sdvers, and 
eight duits. Over against it I have given credit for the 
cash I received of Messrs de Neufvilles' loan, six thousand 
six hundred and fifty florins. I have also given credit for 
twelve thousand four hundred and twentyeight French 
livres and five sols, which I received of M. Lagoanere in 
Spain. I have been informed, it was the intention of Con- 
gress, that the expenses of their Ministers to the places of 
their destination, should be borne in addition to their sal- 
aries. The expenses, made by the Continental Navy 
Board, for the accommodations of the voyage, were, no 
doubt, intended to be so, for which reason I have taken no 

* The salary allowed the iMinisters abroad at that time, was two 
thousand five hundred pounds sterling a year. 
VOL. VI. 51 


notice of them in my accounts, either of the first or second 
voyage. But whether the expenses of our horrid journey 
through Spain come within the intention of Congress or 
not, 1 cannot tell. It was our misfortune to be cast, in a 
leaky ship, on the Spanish coast, and to make a very dis- 
tressing, and very expensive journey by land to Paris ; but 
whether it is the design of Congress to allow us this ex- 
pense or not, I know not, and very cheerfully submit to 
their decision. If they should allow it, they will erase it 
from this account. No. 2. But in that case they should 
erase another article from No. 3. 

No. 3. That article is the first ; four hundred dollars 
stolen out of my chest at Dr Franklin's. After I received 
ray commission from Congress to borrow money in Hol- 
land, Mr Thaxter was obliged to come to assist me ; but 
as it was not certain I should stay in Holland, it was not 
proper to remove my baggage from Paris. Accordingly, 
I wrote to Dr Franklin, requesting^ him to give house-room 
to my chests, which he was kind enough to agree to. They 
were all accordingly carried there ; but while there, some 
thief broke out the bottom of one of my chests and carried 
oft' four hundred dollars, which I could never hear of. Mr 
Dana and Mr Thaxter knew, that the money was there, 
and Dr Franklin knows it was stolen ; and as this misfor- 
tune has happened from my having two commissions, that 
called my attention different ways, and from no fault of 
mine, I think it is but reasonable I should be allowed it, 
provided Congress shall charge me with the whole sum of 
money received of M. Lagoanere. If they allow me that 
sum, I do not desire to be allowed ibis four hundred 

The second article in No. 3, is my journey to Paris. 


As this was an additional and double expense, arising 
necessarily IVoni my having two departments, one tor 
peace, and one tor Holland ; and as it was a heavy ex- 
pense, I submit to Congress the propriety of allowing it. 

The other articles in No. 3, are deductions from my 
salary, which Dr Franklin wrote me ought to be allowed 
me by Congress, but he did not think himself authorised 
to pay any more than my net salary ; so that all charges 
must fall upon me ; whereas I apprehended the intention 
of Congress was, that the net salary should be paid me, 
and all necessary charges attending the payment of it, to 
be borne by the public. ! submit it, however, to their 

The other articles, of house rent, stationary, salaries of 
clerks, postage of letters, and extra entertainments, are 
articles, which Dr Franklin wrote me he had charged to 
Congress, and since told me, that Mr Jay was of the same 
opinion with him and me, that they ought to be. I 
have not sent any particular account of these things, and 
shall not, until I know the determination of Congress ; 
because it is extremely difficult for me to make out an 
account of them. My life has been such a wandering 
pilgrimage, that I have not been able to keep any distinct 
account of then). They are scattered about in thousands 
of receipts, with other things, which will require more time 
to bring together than I will spend upon it, until I know 
the pleasure of Congress. My house rent has, on an 
average, cost me more than one himdred and fifty pounds 
sterling a year, although mostly I have lived in furnished 
lodgings. I have had but one clerk, Mr Thaxter, to 
whom I hope Congress will make some compensation for 
his faithful and industrious service?, in addition to what I 


have paid him, which has been only one hundred pounds 
sterling a year. If Congress will allow ihis to me, it may 
be easily added by them to the account. 

The purchase of the house is a very good bargain. If 
Congress should pay the house rent of their jNlinisters, it 
will be cheaper here than anywhere, by reason of this pur- 
chase J if not, their Minister here may pay interest of the 
purchase money for rent, to Congress, as well as another. 
But in that case he will live at a cheaper rate than any 
other Minister. I have been at a small additional expense 
for repairs, which has put the house in order ; but as the 
accounts are not yet brought in, I cannot exactly tell the 
sum. When they come in, I shall draw on the Messrs. 
Willinks, Van Staphorsts, and de la Lande and Fynje, for 
the money, unless I shall have contrary orders from Con- 

I have ever made a large expense for newspapers, for 
the sake of public intelligence, and have sent them as 
often as I could, and in great numbers, to America. As I 
ever have, I ever shall send them all there, and if Congress 
shall think this a proper charge to the public, it may be 
added hereafter. 

I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Philadelphia, September 15th, 17S2. 

Dear Sir, 
I have been favored with your letters from the 19th of 
April to the 5th of July, by the Heer Adams. How im- 
patiently they have been expected, you will be able to 


judge, by mine of the 29th ult. which you will receive 
with this. The events they announce, are considered of 
the utmost importance here, and have been directed to be 
officially communicated to the different States. 

Your loan is approved, and the ratification herewith 
transmitted. The resolution, which will accompany this, 
will be a sufficient spur to induce you to extend every 
nerve to get it filled ; for if the war continues, it will be 
essential to our exertions ; if it should terminate, it will not 
be less necessary to enable us to discharge our army ; in 
every view it is necessary. In the present situation of the 
States, money can be raised but slowly by taxation. New 
systems must be introduced, which cannot without difficulty 
be adopted in the hurry, confusion, and distress of a war. 
They will, however, be adopted. Congress are constantly 
employed in discussing the means for a regular payment of 
the interest, and the gradual discharge of the principal 
of their debt. 

The other resolution arises from the difficulty of ascer- 
taining what are really the funds of the United States in 
Europe, when more than one person can dispose of them. 
I am satisfied this resolution will meet your approbation, 
from the rule which you say you have prescribed to your- 
self. It will, I dare say, be equally agreeable to our Min- 
isters to be released from the troublesome task of bankers 
to tlie United States. 

You mention the negotiations on the tapis in Paris, but 
so slightly, as to leave us in the dark concerning their pro- 
gress, presuming, (as, indeed, you might have done, on 
probable grounds) that we should receive information on 
that subject from Dr Franklin, but, unfortunately, we have 
learnt nothing from him. I must beg, therefore, in order 


to open as many channels ol information as possible, tlial 
you vvonld give me, not only the state of your own aftairs, 
but every other information, which you may receive from 
our other Ministers, or through any other authentic channel. 

I observe your last memorial, or note, is in French. 
Would it not be expedient, and more for our honor, if 
all our Ministers at every Court were to speak the lan- 
guage of our own courjtry, which would at least preserve 
tliem from errors, which an equivocal term might lead 
them into. I mention this, merely as a hint, which is sub- 
mitted to your judgment. 

We are informed that the Aigle and Gloire, two frigates 
from France, have just entered the Capes, closely pur- 
sued by a British ship of the line, and three frigates. It 
is strongly apprehended from the situation in which they 
were left, that they must either be destroyed, or fall into 
the enemy's hands. 

Pigot is arrived at New York, widi twentysix sail of the 
line. The late changes in administration seem to have 
made such a change here, that I much doubt whether they 
will quit us this fall, at least, till they hear again from Eng- 
land, though they certainly were making every disposition 
for it before. I will keep this letter open till I hear the 
fate of the frigates, and know whether our despatches by 
them can be preserved. 

M. Dumas's application is before Congress. They may 
possibly appoint him Secretary to the Legation, which I 
heartily wish they may, as he certainly has been an assidu- 
ous and fitithful servant. But there is no probability of 
tiieir going further, as tliey would not choose to appoint 
any but an American to so important an office, as that of 
Charge des Affaires. Nor will their present system of 


economy permit them to make so great an addition to his 
salary as you mention, which is much greater than is 
usually allowed lo secretaries, as their circumstances re- 
quire it to be less. 

September 13th. The Aigle, Captain La Fouche, has 
been driven on shore, and is lost within the Capes ; her 
despatches, money, and passengers, have, however, hap- 
pily been saved. The Gloire, the other frigate, has arrived 
at Chester. I find no despatches from you among the 
letters that have come to hand ; nor anything from Hol- 
land, but duplicates of letters from M. Dumas. Congress 
yesterday passed the annexed resolution, which needs no 

I am. Sir, &,c. 



The Hague, September 17th, 1782. 

This morning, I was in conference with M. Fagel, in 
order to make the last corrections in the language of the 
treaty, which is to be executed in English and Dutch, as 
that with the Crown of France, was in English and French. 
We have now, I hope, agreed upon every word, if not 
every point, and nothing remains, but to make five fair 
copies of it for signature, which, however, is no little labor. 
The Secretary thinks he shall accomplish them in the 
course of this week, and part of the next, so that they 
may be signed by the latter end of next week, or perhaps 
the middle. The Secretary, who has always been com- 
plaisant, was more so than ever today. He congratu- 


lated me, upon the prospect of a speedy conclusion of this 
matter ; hoped it would be highly beneficial to both 
nations ; and that our posterity might have cause to rejoice 
in it even more than we. He says the usage is, for two 
Deputies to sign it, on the part of Holland, and one on the 
part of each other Province, so that there will be eight 
signers in behalf of the Republic. 

It is now nearly five months since I was publicly re- 
ceived, and proposed a project of a treaty. All this time 
it has taken the several Provinces and cities to examine, 
make their remarks, and fresh propositions, and bring 
the matter to a conclusion. It would not have been so 
long, however, if the Court had been delighted with the 
business. But, in a case where unanimity was requisite, 
and the Court not pleased, it was necessary to proceed 
with all the softness, caution, and prudence, possible, that 
no ill humors might be stirred. Yet, in a case, where the 
nation's heart is so engaged, in which its commerce and 
love of money is so interested, what wretched policy is it 
in this Court, to show even a lukewarmness, much more 
an aversion. Yet, such is the policy, and such it will be. 
The Prince of Orange is, to all appearance, as incurable 
as George the Third, his cousin. 

I was afterwards an hour with the French Ambassador, 
at his house. He tells me, his last letters from the Count 
de Vergennes say, that he has yet seen no appearance of 
sincerity on the part of the British Ministry, in the negoti- 
ations for peace. Of this, Congress will be easily con- 
vinced by the copies I have transmitted of the commissions 
of Mr Fitzherbcrt and Oswald. 

The subject of our conversation was the means of get- 
ting out the Dutch fleet, which is now in the Texel, 


although the British fleet, under Milbank, is returned to 
Portsmouth, and probably sailed with Lord Howe for Gib- 
raltar. I asked the Duke, where was the combined fleet ? 
His last accounts were, that they were off Cape Ortegal, 
endeavoring to get round Cape Finisterre to Cadiz. He 
speaks of it, as doubtful, whether they will give battle to 
Lord Howe, because the Spanish ships, with an equal 
number of guns, are of a smaller caliber than the English ; 
but hopes that the blow will be struck before Howe arrives. 
The means of getting the fleet out of the Texel to inter- 
cept a fleet of English ships from the Baltic, came next 
under consideration. But the wind is not fair. It might 
have gone out, but they had not intelligence. 

I asked, who it was that governed naval matters ? He 
answered, the Prince. But surely the Prince must have 
some assistance, some confidential minister, oflicer, clerk, 
secretary, or servant. If he were a Solomon, he could 
not manage the fleet, and the whole system of intelligence, 
and orders concerning it, without aid. He said, it is the 
College of the Admiralty, and sometimes M. Bisdom, who 
is a good man, and sometimes M. Van der Hope, who 
may be a good man, he has sense and art, but is sus- 
pected. Very well, said I, IM. Bisdom and M, Van der 
Hope ought to be held responsible, and the eyes of the 
public ought to be turned towards them, and diey ought to 
satisfy the public. The Duke said, the Prince is afraid of 
the consequences. He knows that the sensations of the 
people are very lively at present, and nobody knows what 
may be the consequence of their getting an opinion, that 
there has been negligence, or anything worse, which may 
have prevented them from striking a blow. I asked, if 
ihey had any plan for obtaining intelligence, the soul of 
VOL. VI. 52 


war, from England ? And he said the Grand Pensionary 
told him, he paid very dear lor intelligence. 

However, I cannot learn, and do not believe that they 
have any rational plan for obtaining intelligence necessary 
from every quarter, as they ought. They should have in- 
telligence from every seaport in France, England, Scot- 
land, Germany, and all round the Baltic, and they should 
have light frigates and small vessels out. But when war 
is unwillingly made, everything is not done. The next 
subject was the proposition from Amsterdam, for renewing 
the concert of operations for the next campaign. 

Congress may hear of some further plans for a separate 
peace between Holland and England, but they will not 
succeed. The Republic will stand firm, though it will 
not be so active as we could wish, and the concert of ope- 
rations will be renewed. 

I have the honor to be, &:c. 


Extract from the Records of the Resolutions of their 
High Mightinesses the States- General of the United 

Tuesday, September 17 th, 1 782. "The Lord Van Rand- 
wyk and others. Deputies of their High Mightinesses for 
the Department of Foreign Affairs, in obedience to, and in 
compliance with their resolution of the 23d of April of the 
present year, having conferred with Mr Adams, Minister 
Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, re- 
specting the entering into a treaty of amity and commerce 
with the said States, reported to this Assembly, that the 
said Mr Adams, on the 26th of April thereafter, did de- 
liver to them a plan of such a treaty, requesting the same 


might be examined, and that such articles might be added, 
as might be deemed most serviceable. That the said gen- 
tlemen, Deputies, after having consulted and advised with 
the committees of the respective colleges of the Admiralty 
upon the said plan or sketch of a treaty, made sundry ob- 
servations thereon, and also sundry separate propositions, 
all which on the 26th of August last they communicated 
to the said Mr Adams, who, on xhS 27th following, re- 
turned his answer thereto ; which having compared with 
the said propositions, and finding the same in substance 
conformable thereto, and all difficulties that had occurred 
entirely removed, they drew up a new treaty, and also a 
new convention on the subject of retaken prizes, in con- 
formity to the determination that has been previously 
adopted and resolved on, and the treaties so prepared, they 
handed to Mr Adams, on the 6th of this current month, 
who, since, has declared himself perfectly satisfied therewith. 
"Wherefore, the said gentlemen. Deputies for Foreign 
Affairs, submit it to the consideration of their High Mighti- 
nesses to determine, whether it would not be proper and 
necessary to authorise them to conclude and sign with Mr 
Adams, the treaty and convention aforesaid. 

"Whereupon having deliberated, it is found and judged 
right, that the said treaty and convention be drawn out 
afresh, and fair copies thereof made, in order that the 
finishing hand may be put thereto ; and the said Lord Van 
Randwyk, and others, their High Mightinesses' Deputies 
for Foreign Affairs, are hereby requested and authorised to 
conclude and sign the said treaty and convention with the 
aforesaid Mr Adams. 

Compared with the record. 




The Hague, September 17th, 1782. 


You will naturally inquire, whether the neutral powers 
will continue their neutrality, or whether the neutral con- 
federacy will be broken ? 

No certain answer«can be given to these questions. We 
must content ourselves with probabilities, which are strong 
for the continuance of the neutrality. Who indeed should 
break it ? The Emperor was thought to be the most 
unlikely potentate to accede to it ; but he has acceded and 
has taken several steps, which prove that he will not break 
it, at least by leaning towards England. Sweden is the 
steady friend to France. The King of Prussia, whose 
affections and inclinations are certainly towards France and 
Holland, and alienated from England, would certainly at 
this age of life be too cautious a politician to wage war for 
England, against the Houses of Bourbon and Austria, 
Holland and America. 

There remains only Russia and Denmark. What can 
Russia do ? This is a maritime war. She cannot assist 
the English with land forces ; a hundred thousand men 
would do no good to England, on land. Her boasted 
fleet, added to that of England, would only weaken it- for 
several reasons. Among the rest, because England must 
maintain it with money, if not with officers and men, for 
cash is wanting in Russia. Denmark remains, but what 
can she do ? Her Islands in the West Indies, and her 
trade are at our mercy, and she would not have force 
enough to defend her own, much less to assist England, if 
she sliould declare war. 


A doctrine prevails that the acknowledgment of the 
independence of America, is a hostility against England, 
and consequently a breach of the neutrality. Our friends 
have sometimes favored this idea. The Due de la Vau- 
guyon has often expressed this sentiment to me ; and if I 
am not mistaken, the Marquis de Verac has said the same 
10 Mr Dana. If this opinion is not clear, it is very impoli- 
tic to favor it. The Court of France, in their public 
memorials, have denied it, and it would be difficult to 
prove it, either by the law or practice of nations. Sending 
or receiving Ambassadors, entering into peaceful commer- 
cial treaties, or at least negotiating at Philadelphia, the 
rights of neutral nations, is not taking arms against Great 

But if an acknowledgment of our independence is a 
hostility, a denial of it is so too, and if the maritime con- 
federation forbids the one, it forbids both. None of the 
neutral nations can take the part of Great Britain, there- 
fore, without breaking to pieces that great system, which 
has cost so much negotiation, and embraces so great a part 
of mankind. 

The neutral powers set. so high a value upon it, and 
indeed make so great profit by it, that I think none of them 
will take the part of Great Britain. The connexions of 
the Duke Louis of Brunswick in Denmark and Russia, 
have set some little machines in motion, partly to favor him, 
and partly to hold out an appearance of something ferment- 
ing for the benefit of Great Britain. But these will never 
succeed so far as to draw any nation into the war, or to 
incline this Republic to make a separate j)eace. 

It is to this source that I attribute certain observations 
that are circulated in pamphlets and in conversation, "that 


ihere is at present an incoherence in the general system of 
Europe. That the Emperor has deranged the whole sys- 
tem of the equilibrium of Europe, so that if ever the Nor- 
thern Powers should think of stopping by a confederation 
the preponderance of the Southern Powers, Holland will 
be unable, on account of the demolition of the barriers, to 
accede to that confederation." 

M. iMagis, who has been eight and twenty years Envoy 
r.t the Hague from the Bishop of Liege, and who converses 
more with all the foreign Ministers here, than any other, 
has said to me, not long since, "Sir, the wheel rolls on too 
long and too rapidly one way ; it must roll back again, 
somewhat, to come to its proper centre. The power of 
the House of Bourbon rises, and that of Great Britain sinks 
too fast, and I believe, the Emperor, although he seems 
perfectly still at present, will come out at length, and take 
the greatest part of any power in the final adjustment of 

The Count de Mirabel, the Sardinian Minister, said to 
me, upon another occasion, "your country, Sir, will be 
obliged in the vicisitudes of things, to wheel round and 
take part with England, and such allies, as she may obtain, 
in order to form a proper balance in the world." My 
answer to botli was, "these sentiments betray a jealousy 
of a too sudden growth of the power of the House of Bour- 
bon ; but whose fault is it, if it is a fact, (which it does not 
appear to be as yet) and whose fault will it be, if it should 
hereafter become a fact ? Why do the neutral powers 
stand still and see it, or imagine they see it, when it is so 
easy to put a stop to it ? They have only to acknowledge 
American independence, and then, neither the House of 
Bourbon nor England will have a colorable pretence for 


continuing the war, from which alone the jealousy can 

The Prince de Gallitzin said, not long since, that the 
conduct of this Republic, in refusing a separate peace, fcc. 
he feared would throw all Europe into a war, there were 
so many pretensions against England. I quote these say- 
ings of foreign Ministers, because you express a desire to 
hear them, and because they show all the color of argu- 
ment in favor of England that anybody has- advanced. All 
these Ministers allow that American independence is de- 
cided, even the Ministers from Portugal, within a few 
days said it to me expressly. It is therefore very unrea- 
sonable in them to grumble at what happens, merely in 
consequence of their neutrality. 

It is the miserable policy of the Prince of Orange's 
counsellors, as I suppose, which has set a few springs in 
motion here. M. Markow, one of the Ministers of Rus- 
sia, and M. St Saphorin, the Minister from Denmark, are 
the most openly and busily in favor of England. But if, 
instead of endeavoring to excite jealousies and foment pre- 
judices against the House of Bourbon, or compassion to- 
wards England, they would endeavor to convince her of 
the necessity of acknowledging American independence, 
or to persuade the neutral powers to decide the point, by 
setting the example, they would really serve England, and 
the general cause of mankind. As it goes at present, their 
negotiations serve no cause whatever, that I can conceive 
of, unless it be that of the Duke of Brunswick, and, in the 
end, it will appear that even he is not served by it. 

I have the honor to be, Sec. 




The Hague, September 23d, 1782. 

As this is a moment of great expectation, news of the 
greatest importance from the East Indies, from the West 
Indies and North America, from Gibraltar, from Lord 
Howe's fleet, and the combined fleet, being hourly looked 
for, I took this opportunity to return to the Spanish Minis- 
ter a visit, which I owed him. 

He told me, that he trembled for the news we should 
have from Gibraltar. I asked him if he thought there 
would be a battle at sea. He answered, yes. He be- 
lieved the combined fleet would meet Lord Howe, and 
give him battle. I said, in this case it will probably be but 
a running fight. His Lordship's object was to protect his 
convoy and get into the port, and he would not stop to 
fight more than should be unavoidable. D. Llano, how- 
ever, said, that he believed the fate of Gibraltar would be 
decided before Howe could arrive, either the place taken, 
or the assault given over. By his advices, the attack was 
to begin the 4th or 5th of September. Howe sailed the 
12th, and would be probably twenty days at least on his 
way, which would leave a space of tvvcntyseven or twenty- 
eight days for the attack, which would decide it one way 
or the other. 

1 did not think proper to tell him my own apprehen- 
sions, and I wish I may be mistaken, hut I have no expec- 
tation at all, in my own mind, that the combined fleet will 
meet Howe ; that there will be any naval engagement; or 
that Gibraltar will surrender. Tliey will make a horrid 
noise with their artillery against the place; but this noise 


will not terrify Elliot, and Gibraltar will remain to the En- 
glish another year, and Lord Howe return to England, 
and all Europe will laugh. England, however, if she were 
wise, would say, what is sport to you, is death to us, who 
are ruined by these expenses. The earnest zeal of Spain 
to obt-ain that impenetrable rock, what has it not cost the 
House of Bourbon this war ? And what is the importance 
of it? A mere point of honor ! a trophy of insolence to 
England, and of humiliation to Spain ! It is of no utility, 
unless as an asylum for privateers in time of war ; for it is 
not to be supposed, that the powers of Europe, now that 
the freedom of commerce is so much esteemed, will per- 
mit either England or Spain to make use of this fortress 
and asylum as an instrument to exclude any nation from 
the navigation of the Mediterranean. 

From the Hotel d^ Espagne, I went to that of France, 
and die Due de la Vauguyon informed me that he had a 
letter from the Count de Vergennes, informing him that he 
had received, in an indirect manner, a set of preliminary 
propositions, as from the British Ministry, which they were 
said to be ready to sign, that he had sent M. de Ray- 
neval to London, to know with certainty whether those 
preliminaries came from proper authority or not. 

Thus we see, that two Ministers from England, and 
another from Holland, are at Paris to make peace. The 
Count d'Aranda is said to have powers to treat on the part 
of Spain. Mr Franklin and Mr Jay are present on the part 
of the United States, and I\L Gerard de Rayneval is at 
London. Yet, with all this, the British Ministry have never 
yet given any proof of their sincerity, nor any authority 
to any one to treat with tlie United States. I believe the 
British Ministry, even my Lord Shelbume would give such 
VOL. VI. 53 


powers if he dared. But they dare not. They are afraid 
of the King, of the old Ministry, and a great party in the 
nation, irritated every moment by the refugees, who spare 
no pains, and hesitate at no impostures, to revive offensive 
hostilities in America. If Gibraltar should be relieved, 
and their fleets should arrive from the West Indies and the 
Baltic, and they should not have any very bad news from 
the East Indies, the nation will recover from its fright, 
occasioned by the loss of Cornwallis, Minorca, and St 
Kitts, and the Ministry will not yet dare to acknowledge 
American independence. In this case, Mr Fox and Mr 
Burke will lay their foundation of opposition, and the state 
of the finances will give them great weight. But the Min- 
istry will find means to provide for another campaign. 

But to return to the Due de la Vauguyon, who informed 
me further, that he had received instructions to propose 
to the Prince of Orange a new plan of concert of opera- 
tions, viz ; that the Dutch fleet, or at least a detachment 
of it, should now, in the £bsence of Lord Howe, sail from 
the Texel to Brest, and join the French ships there, in a 
cruise to intercept the British West India fleet. The 
Prince does not appear pleased with the plan. He has 
not yet accepted it. The Grand Pensionary appears to 
approve it, and support it with warmth. There is now a 
fine opportunity for the Dutch fleet to strike a blow, either 
alone, upon the Baltic fleet, or in conjunction with the 
French, or even alone upon the West India fleet. But 
the main spring of the machine is broken or unbent. 
There is neither capacity nor good will among those that 
direct the navy. 

At dinner, in the course of the day, with M. Gyzelaar, 
M. Visscher, and a number of the co-patriots, at the Hotel 


de Dort, they lamented this incurable misfortune. Some 
of them told me, that the sums of money, granted and ex- 
pended upon their marine, ought to have produced them 
a hundred and twenty vessels of war of all sizes ; whereas 
they have not one quarter of the number. They have no 
more than twelve of the line in the Texel, reckoning in the 
number two fifties ; and they have not more than six or 
seven in all the docks of Amsterdam, Zealand, the Meuse 
and Friesland, which can be ready next year. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



The Bank of Amsterdam is much more simple than the 
denomination implies, in general, in the ideas of foreigners. 

It differs widely from those of Venice, London, and 
others, which have a capital, formed by proprietors (ac- 
tionaries) to whose profit these banks operate. That of 
Amsterdam makes neither commerce nor loan, but upon 
real specie, upon their intrinsic value, and upon matters in 
bars (ingots) of gold and silver. 

This bank was erected in 1609. The magistrates of 
the city opened the project of the bank for the con- 
venience of the merchants ; but it is probable it was 
invented by the merchants themselves, as a remedy for the 
difficulty of payments, which became more and more con- 
siderable and embarrassing. 

1. Because there was a great deal of foreign money in 
the city, with which they made payments reciprocally, 

* From Mr Adams's reir.arks, at the end of this Memorial, it would 
seem to have been furnished him by another hand. 


amidst eternal disputes, concerning the value to be given 
or received. 

2. Because, in the great number of coins struck by the 
States, diversely altered, and singularly divided, they had 
not all a constant circulation, notwithstanding the orders of 
the sovereign. Some were declined, even below the fixed 
value, and others were worth more. 

3. The external cashiers, which the merchants em- 
ployed in those times, as they do at present to receive the 
money, which is due to them in the city, and to pay in 
their turn what they owe, profiled, of the two inconve- 
niences beforementioned to make to themselves gain, 
which augmented the disorder and the vexation of pay- 
ments, as well as in writings. 

The merchants contrived then to make reciprocal pay- 
ments, by a simple transposition of debit from one, to the 
credit of the other; but to this end, it was necessary to 
assure the validity of payments made in this manner, by a 
known and real value, and solidly placed under the 
authority and warranty of the city. The magistracy lent 
themselves to arrangements, which answered to all these 
conditions, so that a number of merchants and cashiers 
deposited at first at their pleasure, a sum in specie, more 
or less considerable, which was then designated by the 
commissaries of the bank, as ducats, or rix dollars and 
others, which money was placed in one of the vaults of the 
State-House, under the departments assigned for the car- 
rying on of this bank. Those, who carried there their 
money, were credited for it, upon a leaf of the great book, 
which was shown to them, and from that time they might 
make reciprocal payments, as is practised at this day 
without handling any cash, with this simple formula, viz. 


"Gentlemen, the commissioners of the banlc ; please to 
pay N. N. five thousand florins. P. G. 

Amsterdam, this ." 

By means of which, the book-keepers had not, and 
have not still, anything to do, but to debit P. G. with five 
thousand florins, and credit N. N. for the same sum ; so 
that, if they had deposited each one ten thousand florins in 
cash, there would remain of it, to the credit of P. G. only 
five thousand florins, and N. N. would have fifteen thou- 
sand florins to his, whereof he might dispose, in his turn, 
the next day, in favor of one or more others having ac- 
counts open in the bank. This manner of making payments 
was found so convenient, and they look such a confidence 
in it, that all the bankers and merchants, even down to the 
petty traders, made haste to open an account, and to carry 
there money, more or less, relatively to approaching pay- 
ments, which they had to make in bank ; so that there was 
soon a sufficiency of specie deposited for a foundation of 
all the payments, which were from that time designed to 
be made in bank, viz. all the bills of exchange of above 
three hundred florins, drawn by foreigners upon Amster- 
dam, and in Amsterdam upon foreigners, all the merchan- 
dises of the East Indies, the wools of Spain, and some 
other articles. 

ft happened then, that they ceased to carry thither the 
monies of Holland, because the merchants, having occa- 
sion alternately, some of the money in bank for current 
money, and others, of current money for money in bank, 
they found a great facility in selling one for the other. 
From thence arose a commerce of agiotage, {pow' Vagio) 
which had been already prepared, because it had been 
resolved, for good reasons without doubt, as in case of a 


flood of specie, &£c. that the bank would not receive the 
monies, which they would deposit, but at five per cent 
below the current value ; so that to have one thousand 
florins in bank to one's credit, it was necessary to deposit 
one thousand and fifty florins in current cash. Behold 
thus this agio establishment, and the money of the bank, 
worth five per cent more than the current money. This 
value of five per cent soon varied, because some one, who 
found that he had too much money in bank, and was in 
want of current, sought to sell the first for the second, 
found a purchaser, who would not give him more than four 
seveneighths per cent ; that is to say, one thousand and 
fortyeight florins and fifteen stivers, for one thousand in 
bank. Thus of the rest in such sort, that at all times, 
when one would buy or sell the money in bank, there is no 
question but to agree upon the price of the agio, which is 
subject to a perpetual variation, and which is more or less 
high, according to the wants of epochs ; as for example, 
when the company makes its sales, the merchants have 
greater want of money in bank to pay their purchases, 
which raises the agio, which falls again, when the company 
would sell that, which is come into them for current 
money, in which all payments are made for fitting out of 

The payments of bills of exchange, being to be made, 
as it has been said, in bank money, the price of all ex- 
changes of current money, which were heretofore fixed in 
bank money, for example, a crown tournois, of sixty sols, 
the intrinsic value of which, founded upon the price of the 
money mark, amounted to fiftyseven sols and threefourths, 
current money of Holland, was placed at fiftyfive sols of 
bank money ; and thus of all the exchanges with all 


foreign countries ; from whence it results, that having sold 
merchandises of a man of Bordeaux, the amount of 
which produces net one thousand and fifty florins cur- 
rent, or the credit of one thousand bank, the agio at one 
hundred and five, when they make him a remittance, or 
when he draws, they purchase so many crowns as are 
necessary for the one thousand florins bank, at fiftyfive sols 
fifteen derniers, which comes to the same thing as if they 
bought crowns for one thousand and fifty florins current, at 
fiftyseven and threefourths sols current. When any one 
would open himself an account in the bank, he goes there 
himself, and puts his signature upon a book to make it 
known, and they give him the page upon which his account 
shall be opened, which he ought always to place at the 
head of the billet, by which he pays. 

They begin with debiting him with ten florins, once for 
all, after which he pays no more to the bank, but two sols 
for each bill that he writes, with which they debit him 
twice a year, when they make the balance of the books, 
viz. in January and July, at which epochs, each one is 
obliged to settle accounts with the bank, and to go and de- 
mand his pay, to see if they accord with the bank, under 
the penalty, after six weeks, if they fail or neglect, of pay- 
ing a fine of twentyfive florins. The bank is shut at these 
epochs, and continues shut during fourteen or fifteen 
days, during which time, the bills of exchange sleep, and 
although they fall due the first day of the shutting, or any 
day following, they cannot be protested until the second or 
third day after the opening. There are other little shut- 
tings of the bank, at the feasts, Christmas, Lent, Pentacost, 
and at the fair, which continue but a few days. One can- 
not dispose, till the next day, of the money, which enters 


by the bank, except the second days of the openings, and 
that of Pentacost. They call these days, the "returns of 
bills" [revirement de parties) or the "recounting," because 
they pay with that which they receive. One ought^to 
take care, not to dispose beyond one's credit, for not only 
all the drafts whereof one has disposed are that day stop- 
ped, that is to say they are invalid, but one is con- 
demned and obliged to pay a fine of triple of the whole, 
which one has disposed of more than that which one has 
in bank. 

The person who writes, ought himself to carry his draft 
to the bank, or at least his attorney, between eight and 
eleven o'clock in the morning ; those who come after until 
three o'clock, pay six sols fine for each draft. The mer- 
chants ordinarily pass a procuration, which it is necessary 
to renew once a year, to one of their clerks to carry their 
drafts and demand their payments, which no other person 
can do. 

They transfer every day in the week, except Sunday, 
and during the shuttings, which are announced some weeks 

For arranging the merchants, and also for maintaining 
and favoring the price of matters, and specie of gold and 
silver, both foreign and that of the country, which are in 
strictness only of mere commerce, as our ducats and rix 
dollars, the bank receives them at a value determined and 
relative to the weight and the title known by the pay- 
master of the bank, but the sum which they there receive 
ought not to be below two thousand five hundred florins. 
The bank gives receipts for the specie, &.c. which they 
deposit there for six months, which are to the bearer ; so 
that, within the time, if tho specie or matters exceed, the 


proprietor may sell his receipt to another, who pays him 
the surplus of what they are worth of the price at which 
the bank has received them, and this receipt may thus 
pass through several hands, as often happens by the idea 
which they form of the excess or of the deficiency. He 
who is the bearer of this receipt, may go and take away 
these matters or specie when he will, in paying at the 
bank, the value which it has advanced to him who has de- 
posited them, and, moreover, lialf of a florin for the keeping 
of them the six months, both upon gold and upon bars of 
silver, and quarter of a florin upon Mexican dollars, rix 
dollars, and some other species of money. When this 
term is expired, one may cause to be renewed the receipts, 
in paying at the bank the half or quarter florin due thus 
from six months to six months ; but if one let pass that 
time without taking away his deposit, or without renewing 
it, it is devolved to the bank, which keeps it to its profit. 

The bank is governed under the inspection of the Bur- 
gomasters, by six commissaries, chosen and named by the 
Burgomasters from among the magistrates and principal 
merchants, under the care of whom is the deposited treas- 
ure. They furnish every year in the month of February, 
a balance of the bank to the Burgomasters, the youngest of 
Avhom goes down with them into the vaults, to verify and 
take account of the number of sacks, and of the specie 
contained in said balance, and forming the real and effec- 
tive fund that each one has in the bank ; and whatever 
may have been said or suspected upon this subject, it is 
very certain, that the fund rolling through the bank, is 
really there deposited in specie, ingots, and bars of gold 
and silver. This treasure is not, moreover, so immense as 
many people imagine. Some authors have written, (with- 
voL. VI. 54 


out doubt by estimation) that it went as far as three hundred 
millions of florins, which is not credible, when we con- 
sider the returns of the bills {revirements de parties) which 
are continually made, between those who have reciprocal 
payments to make among themselves. We know very 
nearly, that there are scarcely m.ore than two thousand 
accounts open upon the books of this bank ; so that in 
order to make three hundred millions of florins, it is neces- 
sary that these two thousand persons should have, one with 
another, one hundred and fifty thousand florins each in 
bank, which is beyond all probability, especially, if we 
consider that A and B having there each one, ten thousand 
florins, might reciprocally pay themselves sixty thousand 
florins per week, and thus make a circulation of transpo- 
sition of one hundred and twenty thousand per week, with 
twenty thousand of sign effective. So that reducing the 
vear to forty weeks of payment, with regard to the inter- 
vals which take place in the times of the shuttings, which 
is too large an allowance, it would result, that with fifty mil- 
lions, there might be made twelve thousand millions of florins 
of payments per annum. According to this, and consider- 
ing that the money in bank brings in no benefit, it is easy 
to imagine, that there is not much more than is necessary 
for the circulation of payments in bank, and that its treasure 
cannot be so considerable as many people imagine. 

The bank never lends upon any species of merchandise, 
nor discounts any paper, nor makes any other profit than 
the half or quarter of a florin upon the gold and silver 
there deposited, and which, added to the ten florins for the 
opening of accounts, and two stivers for each draft of 
which I have spoken, serves to pay all the expenses of 
clerks and others, which is occasioned by the bank. The 


overplus, vvhicli is not very considerable, goes to the profit 
of the city. 

No arrest or attachment can be made of any moneys 
which are in bank, under any pretext ; the commissaries, 
book keepers, and others, who are in the service of the 
bank, are bound by oath to say nothing of what passes 
there. No man has a right to require of the bank, the re- 
imbursement in specie of the sum with which he is cred- 
ited ; (a) each one having his account only in the receipts 
of the commissaries, which are in the term of six months. 
It is certain, that the primitive fund, the receipts for which 
they have suffered to be extinguished, is no longer de- 
mandable, and that one cannot force tlie commissioners to 
give specie, but it is not, therefore, the less true, that this 
fund exists really, and one ought not, and cannot doubt, 
that if the city was threatened with an inevitable invasion, 
and if the merchants should require their money, to place 
it elsewhere in safety, that the Burgomasters would cause 
it to be paid, by giving so many florins in current money, 
or value in bars or ingots, with which one should be 

(a) The author is here mistaken. All those who have 
an account in bank, may demand to be paid in ready 
money, but they cannot require the agio. By conse- 
quence, while the bank shall have credit, and there shall 
be commerce at Amsterdam, which cannot be carried on 
without the money of the bank, and while there shall be, 
consequently, an agio, no man will go and demand in 
ready money, a sum which is worth five per cent more. 
The author has not well distinguished between the sum of 
money, or rather the specie, which one may redemand in 


the term of six months, by means of a receipt, and the 
money for which one is credited in bank. Behold the 

When they have received at the bank a certain quality 
of gold or silver, whether in money or in bars, for tiie 
value of which the bank has credited upon its books the 
proprietor, (not according to the value which this money 
has in commerce, but according to its weight and denomi- 
nation,) in this case, the depositor, or he who holds the 
receipt, has the right, by means of this receipt, and in re- 
storing to the bank the sum for which the first depositor 
had been credited, to withdraw this gold or silver, paying 
one half per cent for the keeping. But, the six months 
elapsed, the receipt becomes useless, the gold or silver re- 
mains in propriety to the bank, and the depositor must 
content himself to have received in its place, the sum 
which this gold or silver has been valued at, by which sum 
he has been credited upon the books, and whereof he 
might have disposed as he saw good. It is tliis sum that 
he has the faculty of redemanding in ready money, when, 
and as often as he judges proper, and as he is acknowl- 
edged upon the books to be a creditor for that sum ; but 
they are not bound to restore him more than the net sura 
without agio. 

No man will be, by consequence, mad enough to cause 
himself to be paid four or five per cent less than the money 
of the bank is worth in commerce. But if the money of 
the bank should be so discredited, that there should be no 
longer an agio, in that case, all the world would have a right 
to come and demand at the bank, the amount of the sums 
for which they are credited ; and the bank, whose credit 
would be ruined, would be obliged, without controversy 


to make this payment, or to commit bankruptcy. It cao 
never acquire a right of propriety in the capitals for which 
it has credit upon its books ; but in case of restitution, it is 
not obliged to restore the same matters, or the same 
money for which it originally gave these credits. Over 
these the right is lost, with the expiration of the time es- 
tablished for the duration of the receipts, but it is held to 
the restitution of the amounts of the credits, such as they 
appear upon the books. 

September 26th, 1782. 

For the use of Congress, from 



The Hague, September 29th, 1782. 

My Dear General, 

I should have written you since the 29th of May, when 
I wrote you a letter, that I hope you received, if it had not 
been reported sometimes that you were gone, and at other 
times, that you were upon the point of going to America. 

This people must be indulged in their ordinary march, 
which you know is with the slow step. We have at length, 
however, the consent of all the cities and Provinces, and 
have adjusted and agreed upon every article, word, sylla- 
ble, letter, and point, and clerks are employed in making 
out five fair copies for the signature, which will be done 
this week. 

Amidst the innumerable crowd of loans, which are open 
in this country, many of which have little success, 1 was 
much afraid that ours would have failed. I have, how- 
ever, the pleasure to inform you, that I am at least one 
million and a half in cash, about three millions of livres, 


which will be a considerable aid lo the operations of our 
financier at Philadelphia, and I hope your Court, with 
their usual goodness, will make up the rest that may be 

I am now as well situated as I ever can be in Europe. I 
have the honor to live upon agreeable terms of civility with 
the Ambassadors of France and Spain ; and the Ministers 
of all the other powers of Europe, whom I meet at the 
houses of the French and Spanish Ministers, as well as at 
Court, are complaisant and sociable. Those from Russia 
and Denmark are the most reserved. Those from Sar- 
dinia and Portugal are very civil. The Ministers of all 
the neutral powers consider our independence as decided. 
One of those even from Russia, said so not long ago, and 
that from Portugal said it to me within a few days. You 
and I have known this point to have been decided a long 
time ; but it is but lately, that the Ministers of neutral 
powers, however they might think, have frankly expressed 
their opinions ; and it is now an indication, that it begins 
to be the sentiment of their Courts, for they do not often 
advance faster than their masters, in expressing their senti- 
ments upon political points of this magnitude. 

Pray what are the sentiments of the Corps Diplomatiqiie, 
at Versailles? What progress is made in the negotiation for 
peace ? Can anything be done before the British Parlia- 
ment, or at least the Court of St James, acknowledge the 
sovereignty of the United States, absolute and unlimited ? 

It would give me great pleasure to receive a line from 
you, as often as your leisure will admit. 

With great esteem, I have the honor to be, Sir, your 
most obedient servant, 




The Hague, October 7th, 1782. 

Dear Sir, 

Your favor of the 28th ultimo, was brought me last 
night. On Friday last I was notified, by the messenger of 
their High Mightinesses, that the treaties would be ready 
for signature on Monday, this day. I am, accordingly, at 
noon, to go to the Assembly, and finish the business. But 
when this is done, some time will be indispensable, to pre- 
pare my despatches for Congress, and look out for the 
most favorable conveyances for them. I must also sign 
another thousand of obligations at least, that the loan may 
not stand still. All this shall be despatched with all the 
diligence in my power, but it will necessarily take up some 
time, and my health is so far from being robust, that it will 
be impossible for me to ride with as much rapidity as I 
could formerly, although never remarkable for a quick 
traveller. If anything in the meantime should be in agita- 
tion, concerning peace, in which there should be any dif- 
ference of opinion between you and your colleague, you 
have a right to insist upon informing me by express, or 
waiting till j. come. 

8^^. The signature was put off yesterday until today, 
by the Prince being in conference with their High Mighti- 
nesses, and laying his orders to the navy before them. 

With great regard, your humble servant, 




The Hague, October 8th, 1782. 

At twelve o'clock today I proceeded, according to 
appointment, to the State-House, where I was received 
with the usual formalities, at the head of the stairs, ty M. 
Van Santheuvel, a Deputy from the Province of Holland, 
and M. Van Lynden, the first noble of Zealand, and a Dep- 
uty from that Province, and by them conducted into the 
Chamber of Business, [chamh-e de besogne) an apartment 
belonging to the Truce Chamber, [chambre de trive) where 
were executed the Treaty of Commerce and the conven- 
tion concerning recaptures, after an exchange of full 

The Treaty and Convention are both closed, or at least 
an authentic copy of each. If the copy should arrive 
before the original, which I shall reserve to be sent by the 
safest opportunity I can find, it will be a sufficient founda- 
tion for the ratification of Congress. I hope the treaty 
will be satisfactory to Congress. It has taken up much 
time to obtain the remarks and the consent of all the mem- 
bers of this complicated sovereignty. Very little of this 
time has been taken up by me, as Congress will see by the 
resolution of their High IMightinesses, containing the power 
to the Deputies to conclude the treaty ; for although all 
communications were made to rne in Dutch, a language in 
which I was not sufficiently skilled to depend upon my own 
knowledge, M. Dumas was ever at hand, and ever ready 
to interpret to me everything in French, by which means 
I was always able to give my answers without loss of lime. 
The papers, in which the whole progress of this negotia- 


tion is contained in Dutch, French, and English, make a 
large bundle, and after all, they contain nothing worth 
transmitting to Congress. To copy them would be an 
immense labor to no purpose, and to send the originals, at 
once would expose them to loss. 

Several propositions were made to me, which I could 
not agree to, and" several were made on my part, which 
could not be admitted by the States. The final result 
contained in the treaty, is as near the spirit of my instruc- 
tions as I could obtain, and I think it is nothing materially 
variant from them. The Lords, the Deputies, proposed 
to me to make the convention a part of the treaty. My 
answer was, that I thought the convention, which is nearly 
conformable with that lately made with France, would be 
advantageous on both sides; but as 1 had no special 
instructions concerning it, and as Congress might have ob- 
jections, that 1 could not foresee, it would be more agree- 
able to have the convention separate ; so that Congress, if 
they should find any difficulty, might ratify the treaty with- 
out it. This was accordingly agreed to. It seemed at 
first to be insisted on, that we should be confined to the 
Dutch ports in Europe, but my friend, M. Van Berckel, 
and the merchants of Amsterdam, came in aid of me, in 
convincing all, that it was their interest to treat us upon 
the footing gentis amicissimce, in all parts of the world. 

Friesland proposed, that a right should be stipulated for 
the subjects of this Republic to purchase lands in any of 
our States ; but such reasons were urged as convinced 
them, that this was too extensive an object for me to agree 
to; 1st. It was not even stipulated for France. 2dly. If 
it should be now introduced into this treaty, all other 
nations would expect the same, and although at present it 
VOL. VI. 55 



might not be impolitic to admit of this, yet nobody would 
think it wise to bind ourselves to it forever. 3dly. What 
rendered all other considerations unnecessary, was, that 
Congress had not authority to do this, it being a matter of 
the interior policy of the separate States. This was given 
up. A more extensive liberty of engaging seamen in this 
country was a favorite object ; but it could not be obtained. 
The refraction, as they call it, upon tobacco, in the weigh- 
houses, is a thing, that enters so deeply into their com- 
mercial policy, that I could not obtain anything, more par- 
ticular or more explicit, than what is found in the treaty. 
Upon the whole, I think the treaty is conformable to the 
principles of perfect reciprocity, and contains nothing, that 
can possibly be hurtful to America, or offensive to our 
allies, or to any other nation, except Great Britain, to 
whom it is indeed, without a speedy peace, a mortal 


The rights of France and Spain are sufficiently secured 
by the twentysecond article ; although it is not in the very 
words of the project, transmitted me by Congress, it is 
the same in substance and effect. The Due de la Vau- 
guyon was very well contented with it, and the States were 
so jealous of unforeseen consequences from the words 
of the article as sent me by Congress, and as first proposed 
by me, that I saw it would delay the conclusion without 
end. After several conferences, and many proposals, we 
finally agreed upon the article as it stands, to the satisfac- 
tion of all parties. 

The clause reserving to the Dutch their rights in the 
East and West Indies, is unnecessary, and I was averse 
to it, as implying a jealousy of us. But as it implies too 
a compliment to our power and importance, was much 


insisted on, and amounted to no more than we should have 
been bound to without it, I withdrew my objection. 

The proviso of conforming to the laws of the country, 
respecting the external show of public worship, I wished 
to have excluded ; because I am an enemy to every ap- 
pearance of restraint in a matter so delicate and sacred as 
the liberty of conscience ; but the laws here do not permit 
Roman Cathohcs to have steeples to their churches, and 
these laws could not be altered. I shall be impatient to 
receive the ratification of Congress, which I hope may be 
transmitted within the time limited.* 

I have the honor to be, he. 



The Hague, October 12th, 1782. 


Yesterday afternoon M. Van der Burg Van Spiering- 
shock, the Agent of their High Mightinesses, brought me 
the enclosed resolution, relative to a vessel of M. Dubble- 
demuts. I promised to enclose it to Congress. I would 
have it translated here, but I have not time. I presume 
Congress has, or will have, an interpreter for the Low 

It is much to be desired, that Congress would take some 
measures to inquire into this matter. The cause for my 
being so pressed for time, is, that 1 am preparing to set 

* The Treaty mentioned in this letter, and tlie Convention respect- 
ing vessels recaptured, were ratified by Congress, on the 23d of Jan- 
uary, 1783. The Treaty and Convention are printed at large, together 
with the form of ratification, in the Journal of Congress under thU 

436 • JOHN ADAMS. 

off for Paris, and have not only all my despatches to make 
up, to send the treaty, but have obligations to sign respect- 
ing the loan, that so essential a business may not stand 
still in my absence. 

Mr Jay writes me, that Mr Oswald has received a com- 
mission to treat of peace with the Commissioners of the 
United States of America. I shall set off for Paris next 

I have the honor to be,- &c. 



Paris, October 31st, 1782. 


Having executed the treaty of commerce at the Hague, 
and despatched four copies of it, by four different vessels 
bound to America from the Texel, and having signed a 
sufficient number of obligations to leave in the hands of 
Messrs Willinks, Van Staphorsts, and de la Lande and 
Fynje, and having received information from Mr Jay, that 
Mr Oswald had received a commission from the King his 
master, under the Great Seal of Great Britain, to treat 
with the Commissioners of the United States of America, 
I set off for Paris, where I arrived on Saturday, the 26th 
of this month, after a tedious journey ; the roads being, on 
account of long continued rains, in the worst condition I 
ever knew them. 

I waited forthwith on Mr Jay, and from him learned the 
state of the conferences. It is not possible, at present, to 
enter into details. All I can say is in general, that I had 
the utmost satisfaction in finding, that he had been all along 


acting here upon the same principles upon which I had 
ventured to act in Holland, and that we were perfectly 
agreed in our sentiments and systems. I cannot express 
it better than in his own words ; "to be honest and grate- 
ful to our allies, but to think for ourselves." I find a con- 
struction put upon one article of our instructions by some 
persons, which I confess I never put upon it myself. It 
is represented by some, as subjecting us to the French 
Ministry, as taking away from us all right of judging for 
ourselves, and obliging us to agree to whatever the French 
Ministers shall advise us to, and to do nothing without 
their consent. I never supposed this to be the intention 
of Congress ; if I had, I never would have accepted the 
commission, and if I now thought it their intention, I 
could not continue in it. I cannot think it possible to be 
the design of Congress ; if it is, I hereby resign my place 
in the commission, and request that another person may 
be immediately appointed in my stead. 

Yesterday we met Mr Oswald at his lodgings ; Mr Jay, 
Dr Franklin, and myself, on one side, and Mr Oswald, as- 
sisted by Mr Strachey, a gendeman whom I had the honor 
to meet in company with Lord Howe upon Staten Island 
in the year 1776, and assisted also by a Mr Roberts, a 
clerk in some of the public offices, with books, maps, and 
papers, relative to the boundaries. 

I arrived in a lucky moment for the boundary of the 
Massachusetts, because I brought with me all the essential 
documents relative to that object, which are this day to be 
laid before my colleagues in conference at my house, and 
afterwards before Mr Oswald. 

It is now apparent, at least to Mr Jay and myself, that, 
in order to obtain the western lands, the navigation of the 


Mississippi, and the fisheries, or any of them, we must act 
■with firmness and independence, as well as prudence and 
delicacy. With these, there is little doubt we may obtain 
them all. 

Yesterday I visited M. Brantzen, the Dutch Minister, 
and was by him very frankly and candidly informed of the 
whole progress of the negotiation on their part. It is very 
shortly told. They have exchanged full powers with Mr 
Fitzherbert, and communicated to him their preliminaries, 
according to their instructions, which I have heretofore 
transmitted to Congress. Mr Fitzherbert has sent them 
to London and received an answer, but has communicated 
to them no more of this answer than this, that those pre- 
liminaries are not relished at St James'. He excused his 
not having seen them for six or seven days, by pretence of 
indisposition, but they are informed that he has made fre- 
quent visits to Versailles during these days, and sent off 
and received several couriers. 

How the negotiation advances between Mr Fitzherbert, 
and the Count de Vergennes, and the Count d'Aranda, we 
know not. 

The object of M. de Rayneval's journey to London, is 
not yet discovered by any of us. It is given out, that he 
was sent to see whether the British Ministry were in 
earnest.* But this is too general. It is suspected that he 
went to insinuate something relative to the fisheries and 
the boundaries, but it is probable he did not succeed re- 
specting the former, and perhaps not entirely, with respect 
to the latter. 

With great resp act, &.c. 


* See Franklins Correspondence, Vol. IV. p. 48. Also the Nordi 
American Review for January, 1830, p. 21. 



Paris, November 6th, 1782. 


Two days ago arrived by Captain Barney, the letters 
you did me the honor to write me, the 22d, 29th, 30th, 
triplicate of May, 4th of July, 29th of August, and 15th of 

I was unconditionally received in Holland, and promised 
upon record conferences and audiences, whenever I should 
demand them, before I entered into any treaty, and with- 
out this I should never have entered into any; and full 
powers were given to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, 
before I entered into any conferences with them. I have 
ventured upon the same principle in the affair of peace, and 
uniformly refused to come to Paris, until our independence 
•was unconditionally acknowledged by the King of Great 
Britain. Mr Jay has acted on the same principle with 
Spain, and with Great Britain. The dignity of the United 
States, being thus supported, has prevailed in Holland and 
Great Britain; not indeed as yet in Spain, but we are in a 
better situation in relation to her, than we should have been 
if the principle had been departed from. The advice of 
the Count de Vergennes has been contrary ; but however 
great a Minister he may be in his own department, his 
knowledge is insufficient and his judgment too often erro- 
neous in our affairs, to be an American Minister. 

Intelligence from Holland is impossible through France. 
Events in Holland can seldom be foreseen one day. When 
they happen, they are inserted in the gazettes, transferred 
to the Courier de V Europe, the English and French ga- 
zettes, and get to America before it is possible for me to 


transmit them directly. Besides, Sir, I have sometimes 
thought, that my time was better employed in doing busi- 
ness, that might produce other events, than in multiplying 
copies and conveyances of despatches, which would contain 
nothing, but what I knew the newspapers would announce 
as soon ; my reputation may not be so well husbanded by 
this method, but the cause of my country is served. 1 am 
not insensible to reputation ; but I hope it has not been a 
principal object. Perhaps it has not been enough an 
object. I see so much of the omnipotence of reputation, 
that I begin to think so. I know very well, however, that 
if mine cannot be supported by facts, it will not be by 

If it were in my power to do anything for the honor of 
the department or Minister of Foreign Affairs, I would 
cheerfully do it, because I am a friend to both ; and to this 
end, you will, I am sure, not take it amiss if I say, that it is 
indispensably necessary for the service of Congress, and 
the honor of the office, diat it be kept impenetrably secret 
from the French Minister in many things. The office will 
be an engine for the ruin of the reputation of your Ministers 
abroad, and for injuring our cause in material points, the 
fishery, the western lands, and the Mississippi, &;c. if it is 

1 thank you, Sir, for the hint about the English lan- 
guage. I think with you, that we ought to make a point 
of it, and after some time, I hope it will be an instruction 
from Congress to all their Ministers. 

As to the negotiations for peace, we have been night and 
day employed in them ever since my arrival on the 26th 
of October. Doctor Franklin, without saying anything to 


me, obtained of Mr Jay a promise of his vote * for Mr W. 
T. Franklin, to be Secretary to the commission for peace ; 
and as the Doctor and his Secretary are in the same house, 
and there are other clerks enough, I suppose he will trans- 
mit to Congress details of the negotiations. I shall be 
ready to lend them any assistance in my power ; and I will 
endeavor as soon as I can to transmit them myself; but 
after spending forenoon, afternoon, and evening, in discus- 
sions, it is impossible to transmit all the particulars. No 
man's constitution is equal to it. 

The English have sent Mr Oswald, who is a wise and 
good man, and, if untrammelled, would soon settle all, and 
Mr Strachey, who is a keen and subtle one, although not 
deeply versed in such things ; and a Mr Roberts, who is a 
clerk in the Board of Trade, and Mr Whithead,who is pri- 
vate Secretary to Mr Oswald. These gentlemen are very 
profuse in their professions of national friendship; of earnest 
desires to obliterate the remembrance of all unkindnesses, 
and to restore peace, harmony, friendship, and make them 
perpetual, by removing every seed of future discord. All 
this, on die part of Mr Oswald personally, is very sincere. 
On the part of the nation, it may be so in some sense at 
present ; but I have my doubts, whether it is a national 
disposition, upon which we can have much dependence, 
and still more, whether it is the sincere intention of the 
Earl of Shelburne. 

" This proved (o be an error. Mr Jay wrote to Doctor Franklin, on 
the 26th of January, 17§3, as follows. "It having been suspected, that 
I concurred in the appointment of your grandson to the place of Secre- 
tary to the American Commission for Peace, at your imlance, I think it 
right thus unsolicited to put it in your power to correct the mistake, fcc' 
See the whole letter in Franklin's Correspondence, Vol. IV. p. 73. 
VOL. VI. 56 


He has been compelled to acknowledge American inde- 
pendence, because the Rockingham Administration had 
resolved upon it, and Carleton and Digby's letter to Gen- 
eral Washington, had made known that resolution to the 
world ; because the nation demanded that negotiations 
should be opened Avith the American Ministers, and they 
refused to speak or hear, until their independence was ac- 
knowledged unequivocally and without conditions, because 
Messrs Fox and Burke had resigned their offices, point- 
edly, on account of the refusal of the King, and my Lord 
Shelburne, to make such an acknowledgment ; and these 
eloquent senators were waiting only for the session of Par- 
liament to attack his Lordship on this point ; it was, there- 
fore, inevitable to acknowledge our independence, and no 
Minister could have stood his ground without it. But still 
I doubt, whether his Lordship means to make a general 
peace. To express myself more clearly, I fully believe he 
intends to try another campaign, and that he will finally 
refuse to come to any definitive agreement with us, upon 
articles to be inserted in the general peace. 

We have gone the utmost lengths to favor the peace. 
We have at last agreed to boundaries with the greatest mod- 
eration. We have offered them the choice of a line through 
the middle of all the great lakes, or the line of 45 degrees 
of latitude, the Mississippi, with a free navigation of it at 
one end, and the river St Croix at the other. We have 
agreed, that the courts of justice be opened for the recov- 
ery of British debts due before the war, to a general am- 
nesty for all the royalists, against whom there is no judgment 
rendered, or prosecution commenced. We have agreed, 
that all the royalists, who may remain at the evacuation of 
the States, shall have six months to sell their estates, and to 
remove with them. 


These are such immense advantages to the Minister, 
that one would think he could not refuse them. The 
agreement to pay British debts, will silence the clamors of 
all the body of creditors, and separate them from the 
tories, with whom they have hitherto made common cause. 
The amnesty and the term of six months will silence all 
the tories, except those who have been condemned, ban- 
ished, and whose property has been confiscated ; yet I do 
not believe they will be accepted. 

I fear they will insist a little longer upon a complete in- 
demnification to all the refugees, a point, which, without 
express instructions from all the States, neither we nor 
Congress can give up ; and how the States can ever agree 
to it, I know not, as it seems an implicit concession of all 
the religion and morality of the war. They will also in- 
sist upon Penobscot as the eastern boundary. I am not 
sure that the tories, and the Ministry, and the nation, are 
not secretly stimulated by French eniisaries, to insist upon 
Penobscot, and a full indemnification to the tories. It is 
easy to see, that the French Minister, the Spanish and the 
Dutch Ministers would not be very fond of having it 
known through the world, that all points for a general 
peace were settled between Great Britain and America, 
before all parties are ready. It is easy to comprehend, 
how French, Spanish, and Dutch emisaries, in London, 
in Paris, and Versailles, may insinuate, that the support of 
the tories is a point of national and royal honor, and propa- 
gate so many popular arguments in favor of it, as to em- 
barrass the British I\Iinister. It is easy to see, that the 
French may naturally revive their old assertions, that Pe- 
nobscot and Kennebec are the boundary of Nova Scotia, 
although against the whole stream of British authorities, 


and the most authentic acts of the Governors, Sliirley, 
Pownal, Bernard, and Hutchinson. Mr Fitzherbert, who 
is constantly at Versailles, is very sanguine for the refu- 
gees. Nevertheless, if my Lord Shelburne should not 
agree with us, these will be only ostensible points. He 
cares little for either. It will be to avoid giving any cer- 
tain weapons against himself, to the friends of Lord North, 
and the old Ministry. 

The negotiations at Versailles .between the Count de 
Vergennes and Mr Fitzherbert, are kept secret, not only 
from us, but from the Dutch Ministers, and we hear noth- 
ing about Spain. In general, I learn, that the French 
insist upon a great many fish. 1 dined yesterday with M. 
Berkenrode, the Dutch Ambassador, and M. Brantzen, 
his colleague. They were both very frank and familiar, 
and confessed to me, that nothing iiad been said to them, 
and that they could learn nothing as yet of the progress of 
the negotiation. Berkenrode told me, as an honest man, 
that he had no faith in the sincerity of the English for 
peace as yet j on the contrary, he thought that a part of 
Lord Howe's fleet had gone to America, and that there 
was something meditated against the French West India 
Islands. I doubt this, however ; but we shall soon know 
where my Lord Howe is. That something is meditating 
against the French or Spaniards, and that they think of 
evacuating New York for that end, I believe. Berken- 
rode seemed to fear the English, and said, like a good 
man, that in case any severe stroke should be struck 
against France, it would be necessary for Holland and 
America to discover a firmness. This observatio!|4iad my 
heart on its side ; but without an evacuation of New York, 
they can strike no blow at all, nor any very great one 
with it. 


Mr Oswald has made very striking overtures to us ; to 
agree to the evacuation of New York, to write a letter to 
General Washington, and another to Congress, advising 
them to permit this evacuation, to agree, that nei^ther the 
people nor tlie army should oppose this evacuation, or 
molest the British army in attempting it ; nay, further, that 
we should agree, that the Americans should afford them all 
sorts of aid, and even supplies of provisions. These propo- 
sitions he made to us, in obedience to an instruction from 
the Minister, and he told us their army were going against 
West Florida, to reconquer that from the Spaniards. 
Our answer was, that we could agree to no such things ; 
that General Washington could enter into a convention 
with them, for the terms upon which they should surrender 
the city of New York, and all its dependencies, as Long 
Island, Staten Island, &ic. to the arms of the United States. 
All that we could agree to was, that the effects and persons 
of those, who should stay behind, should have six months 
to go off, nor could we agree to this, unless as an article 
to be inserted in the general peace. 

I have the honor to be, he. 



Philadelphia, November 6th, 1782. 


The scene of action is so entirely transferred to your 
side of the Atlantic, that scarce any occurrence among us 
at present is sufficiently interesting to furnish matter for a 
public letter. 

The resolutions, which have from time to time evinced 
the steady determination of Congress, in no event to re- 


linquish the great object of the war, or tliink of peace but 
in connexion with their allies, have been already transmit- 
ted to you. The military force on both sides is perfectly 
inactive. By the enclosed extracts from General Carle- 
ton's, and General Washington's letters, you will see that 
the first is so bent on peace, that, notwithstanding the opin- 
ion of his superiors, he does not see that the war has any 
longer an object. It is high time that he disavows them, 
for their conduct is a direct disavowal of him. 

The clauses of the commission to Mr Filzherbert, which 
are designed to include us, are strong indications of the 
extreme reluctance of the British to give up their sup- 
posed dominion over this country. You have great credit 
with me for the judgment you have formed, from time to 
time, of the Court of Great Britain ; though your opinions 
sometimes run counter to those generally received. 

Nothing can be more conformable to our wishes, than 
the instructions you have transmitted ; keep up that spirit 
in and we have nothing to fear from that quarter, but 

lengthy negotiations, even after they shall commence in 

We have yet no accounts of the evacuation of Charles- 
ton, and that event begins daily to grow more uncertain. 
Such is the inconstancy of the enemy, that one may as 
well predict what appearances a cloud will put on two 
hours hence, by our knowledge of the wind, as reduce 
their conduct to any settled shape, by knowing their pro- 
fessions. Our troops have gone into winter quarters at 
West Point. 

The French have marched to the eastward to be nearer 
their fleet, which lies at Boston. Part of the British fleet, 
consisting of fourteen sail of the line, and eight frigates, 


including a ship of forty guns, sailed from New York the 
26th ultimo. They have such a decided superiority in 
the American seas, that if they had correspondent land 
forces, or even knew how to apply those they keep cooped 
up in America, they might render themselves very formi- 
dable in the West Indies. This however is, I hope, an 
evil, which will be ere long remedied. 

Bills for the amount of your salary from January last 
have been regularly transmitted to Dr Franklin. You will 
receive with this the amount of the last quarter, ending the 
first of October. Mr Morris, my Secretary, will enclose 
you a state of your accounts. I should be glad if you 
would acknowledge the receipt of these moneys, as they 
come to hand, since I stand charged with them in the 
Treasury books. 

The enclosed resolution will shov/ you, that Mr Bou- 
dinolt has succeeded Blr Hanson, as President of Con- 

1 have the honor to be, he. 



Paris, November 8th, 1782. 

In one of your letters you suppose, that I have an open 
avowed contempt of all rank. Give me leave to say, you 
are much mistaken in my sentiments. There are times, 
and I have often seen such, when a man's duty to his 
country demands of him the sacrifice of his rank, as well 
as his fortune and life, but this must be an epoch, and 
for an object worthy of the sacrifice. In ordinary times. 


the same duty to his country obliges him to contend for his 
rank, as the only means indeed, sometimes, by which he 
can do service, and the sacrifice would injure his country 
more than himself. When the world sees a man reduced 
to the necessity of giving up his rank, merely to serve the 
public, they will respect him, and his opinions will have the 
more weight for it ; but when the same world sees a man 
yield his rank for the sake of holding a place, he becomes 
ridiculous. This, you may depend upon it, will not be my 

Ranks, titles, and etiquettes, and every species of punc- 
tilios, even down to the visits of cards, are of infinitely 
more importance in Europe, than in America, and there- 
fore Congress cannot be too tender of disgracing their 
Ministers abroad in any of these things, nor too deter- 
mined not to disgrace themselves. Congress will, sooner 
or later, find it necessary to adjust the ranks of all their 
servants, .with relation to another, as well as to the magis- 
trates and officers of the separate governments. 

For example, if, when Congress abolished my commis- 
sion to (he king of Great Britain, and my commission for 
peace, and issued a new commission for peace, in which 
they associated four other gentlemen with me, they had 
placed any other at the head of the commission, they 
would have thrown a disgrace and ridicule upon me in 
Europe, that I could not have withstood. It would have 
injured me in the minds of friends and enemies, the French 
and Dutch, as well as the English. 

It is the same thing with the States. If Mr Jay and I 
had yielded the punctilio of rank, and taken the advice of 
the Count de Vergennes and Dr Franklin, by treating 
with the English or Spaniards, before we were piU upon 


the equal footing, that our rank demanded, we should have 
sunk in the minds of the English, French, Spaniards, 
Dutch, and all the neutral powers. The Count de Ver- 
gennes certainly knows this ; if he does not, he is not even 
an European statesman ; if he does know it, what infer- 
ence can we draw, but that he means to keep us down if 
he can ; to keep his hand under our chin to prevent us 
from drowning, but not to lift our heads out of water? 

The injunctions upon us to communicate, and to follow 
the advice that is given us, seem to be too strong, and too 
universal. Understood with reasonable limitations and 
restrictions, they may do very well. For example, I 
wrote a speculation, and caused it to be printed, in the 
Courier du Bas Rhine, showing the interest, policy, and 
humanity of the neutral confederation's acknowledging 
American independence, and admitting the United States 
to subscribe to the principles of their Marine Treaty. 
This was reprinted in the Gazette of Leyden,the Politique 
Hollandais, the Courier de VEurope, and all the Dutch 
gazettes. At the same time I caused to be transmitted to 
England some pieces on the same subject, and further 
showing the probability, that the neutral powers might 
adopt this measure, and the impolicy of Great Britain, in 
permitting all the powers of Europe to get the start of her, 
and having more merit with America than she, by ac- 
knowledging her independence first. These pieces were 
printed in the English papers, in the form of letters to the 
Earl of Shelburne, and can never be controverted, because 
they are in writing, and in print, with their dates. These 
fears thus excited, added to our refusal to treat on an 
unequal footing, probably produced his Lordship's resolu- 
voL. VI. 57 


tion, to advise the King to issue the commission, under the 
great seal, to Mr Oswald ; by which Great Britain has got 
the start, and gone to the windward of the other European 
powers. No man living, but myself, knew, that all these 
speculations, in various parts of Europe, came from me. 
Would it do for me to communicate all this to the French 
Ministers ? Is it possible for me to communicate all these 
things to Congress? Believe me it is not, and give me 
leave to say it will not do to communicate them to my 
friend, the Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor my friend, M. 
Marbois. If they should be, long letters will lay all open 
to the Count de Vergennes, who, I assure you, I do not 
believe will assist me, or anybody else, in such measures 
of serving our country. When the French Ministers in 
America, or Europe, communicate everything to us, we 
may venture to be equally communicative with them. But 
when everything is concealed from us, more cautiously 
than it is from England, we shall do ourselves injustice, if 
we are not upon our guard. 

If we conduct ourselves with caution, prudence, moder- 
ation, and firmness, we shall succeed in every great point ; 
but if Congress, or their Ministers abroad suffer them- 
selves to be intimidated by threats, slanders, or insinuations, 
we shall be duped out of the fishery, the Mississippi, much 
of the western lands, compensation to the tories, and 
Penobscot at least, if not Kennebec. This is my solemn 
opinion, and I will never be answerable to my country, 
posterity, or my own mind, for the consequences, that might 
happen from concealing it. 

It is for the determinate purpose of carrying these 
points, that one man, who is submission itself, is puffed up 
to the top of Jacob's ladder in the clouds, and every other 


man depressed to the bottom of it in the dust. This is 
my opinion, let me be punished for it, for assuredly I am 

With great respect, &£c. 



Paris, November 11th, 1782. 


On my first arrival at Paris, I found my colleagues en- 
gaged in conferences with Mr Oswald. They had been 
before chiefly conducted by Mr Jay, Dr Franklin having 
been mostly confined for three months, by a long and 
painful illness. At this time, however, he was so much 
better, although still weak and lame, as to join us in most 
of our subsequent conferences, and we were so constantly 
engaged forenoon, afternoon, and evening, that I had not 
been out to Versailles, nor anywhere else. 

On Saturday last, the Marquis de Lafayette called upon 
me, and told me he had been to Versailles, and the Count 
de Vergennes had said to him, that he had been informed 
by the returns of the Police, that I was in Paris, but not 
officially, and he should take it well if I would come to 
see him. 

I went out to dine with Dr Franklin the same day, who 
had just returned from delivering his memorial, and re- 
peated to me the same message. I said to both, I would 
go the next morning, and, accordingly, on Sunday, the 
9th, I went to make my court to his Excellency. He re- 
ceived me politely, and asked me questions about our j)ro- 
gress. I answered him, that the English Minister appeared 
to me to divide with us upon ostensible points ; that I still 


doubted his intentions to make a universal peace ; that the 
cry of the nation was for something to be done or said 
with the American Ministers ; and to satisfy this, the King 
of Great Britain had been advised to be the third power 
in Europe to acknowledge our independence. As this 
was a royal act, and under the great seal of his kingdom, 
it would never be denied or revoked ; but still it did not 
render the nation unanimous, and to avoid,, finally, disgust- 
ing any great party, the Minister would still pursue his 
usual studied obscurity of policy. Points must be con- 
ceded to the Americans, before a complete agreement 
could be made with them, even on terms to be inserted in 
the universal peace, which would open the full cry of a 
powerful party upon him, among which were the refugees. 
It could not be supposed, that the refugees and Penobscot 
were such points with the nation or Minister, that they 
would continue the war for them only, if they were ready 
to strike with France, Spain, and Holland. 

The Count then asked me some questions respecting 
Sagadehock, which 1 answered, by showing him the 
records, which I had in my pocket, particularly that of 
Governor Pownal's solemn act of possession in 1759 ; the 
grants and settlements of Mount Desert, Machias, and all 
the other townships east of Penobscot river ; the original 
grant of James the First, to Sir William Alexander of 
Nova Scotia, in which it is bounded on St Croix river ; 
(this grant I had in Ladn, French, and English) the dis- 
sertations of Governor Shirley, and Governor Hutchinson, 
and the authority of Governor Bernard, all showing the 
right of Massachusetts to this tract to be incontestable. I 
added, that I did not think any British Minister would 
ever put his hand to a written claim of that tract of land, 


their own national acts were so numerous, and so clear 
against them. The Count said, Mr Fitzherbert had told 
him, that it was for the masts, that a point was made of 
that tract. But the Count said, Canada was an immense 
resource for masts. I said, there were few masts there ; 
that this could not be the motive ; that the refugees were 
still at the bottom of this ; several of them had pretensions 
to lands in Sagadehock, and the rest hojjed for grants 

The Count said, it was not at all surprising, that the 
British Ministry should insist upon compensation to the 
tories, for that all the precedents were in their favor ; in 
the case of the United Provinces with Spain, all were re- 
stored to their possessions, and that there never had been an 
example of such an affair terminated by treaty, but all 
were restored. He said, it was a point well settled by 
precedents. I begged his Excellency's pardon for this, 
and thought there was no precedent in point. A resti- 
tution of an estate not alienated, although confiscated to a 
Crown or State, could not be a precedent in point, be- 
cause, in our case, these estates had not only been con- 
fiscated, but alienated by the State, so that it was no 
longer in the power of the State to restore them. And 
when you come to the question of compensation, there 
is every argument of national honor, dignity of the State, 
public and private justice and humanity, for us to insist 
upon a compensation for all the plate, negroes, rice, and to- 
bacco stolen, and houses and substance consumed, as there 
is for them to demand compensation to the tories ; and 
thi^ was so much the stronger in our favor, as our sufferers 
were innocent people, and theirs guilty ones. 

M. Rayneva), who was present, said something about 


the King and nation being bound to support their ad- 
herents. 1 answered, that I could not comprehend this 
doctrine. Here was a set of people, whose bad faith and 
misrepresentations had deceived the King and deluded the 
nation, to follow their all-devouring ambition, until they had 
totally failed of their object ; had brought an indelible re- 
proach on the British name, and almost irretrievable ruin 
on the nation, and yet that nation is bound to support their 
deceivers and miners. If the national honor was bound at 
all, it was bound still to follow their ambition, to conquer 
America, and plant the refugees there in pomp and power, 
and in such case, we all know whose estates would be 
confiscated, and what compensation would be obtained. 
All this M. Rayneval said was very true. 

The Count asked me to dine, which I accepted, and 
was treated with more attention and complaisance than 
ever, both by him and the Countess. As it is our duty to 
penetrate, if we can, the motives and views of our allies, as 
well as our enemies, it is worth while for Congress to con- 
sider what may be the true motives of these intimations 
in favor of the lories. History shows, that nations have 
generally had as much difficulty to arrange their affairs 
with their allies as with their enemies. France has had as 
much this war with Spain as with England. Holland and 
England, whenever they have been allies, have always 
found many difficulties, and from the nature of things, it 
must ever be an intricate task, to reconcile the notions, 
prejudices, principles, &tc. of two nations in one concert of 
councils and operations. 

We may well think, that the French would be very glad 
ti) have the Americans join with them in a future war. 
Suppose, for example, they should think the tories men of 


monarchical principles, or men of more ambition than prin- 
ciple, or men corrupted and of no principle, and should, 
therefore, think them more easily seduced to their pur- 
poses than virtuous Republicans, is it not easy to see the 
policy of a French Minister in wishing them amnesty and 
compensation ? Suppose that a French Minister foresees, 
that the presence of the tories in America will keep up 
perpetually two parties, a French and an English party, 
and that this will compel the patriotic and independent 
men to join the French side, is it not natural for him to 
wish them restored ? Is it not easy too to sec, that a 
French Minister cannot wish to have the English and 
Americans perfectly agreed upon all points, before they 
themselves, the Spanish and the Dutch are agreed too ? 
Can they be sorry then to see us split upon such a point as 
the tories ? What can be their motives to become the advo- 
cates of the tories ? It seems the French Minister, at Phi- 
ladelphia, has made some representations to Congress, in 
favor of a compensation to the royalists, and that the Count 
de Vergennes' conversation with me was much in favor of 
it. The Count probably knows, that we are instructed 
against it, or rather, have not a constitutional authority to 
make it; that we can only write about it to Congress, and 
they to the States, who may, and probably will, deliberate 
upon it a year or eighteen months before they all decide, 
and then every one of them will determine against it. In 
this way, there is an insuperable obstacle to any agree- 
ment between the English and Americans, even upon 
terms to be inserted in the general peace, before all are 
ready, and, indeed, after. It has been upon former occa- 
sions the constant practice of the French, to have some of 
their subjects in London, and the English some of theirs in 


Paris, during conferences for peace, in order to propagate 
such sentiments as they wished to prevail. I doubt not 
there are such there now. M. Rayneval has certainly been 
there. It is reported, I know not how truly, that M. Gerard 
has been there, and probably others are there, who can 
easily prompt the tories to clamor, and to cry that the 
King's dignity and nation's honor are compromised, to 
support their demands. 

America has been long enough involved in the wars of 
Europe. She has been a football between contending 
nations from the beginning, and it is easy to foresee, that 
France and En2:land both will endeavor to involve us in 
their future wars. It is our interest and duty to avoid them 
as much as possible, and to be completely independent, and 
to have nothing to do with either of them, but in com- 
merce. My poor thoughts and feeble eflbrts, have been 
from the beginning constantly employed to arrange all our 
European connexions to this end, and will continue to be 
so employed, whether they succeed or not. My hopes Of 
success are stronger now than they ever have been, because 
I find Mr Jay precisely in the same sentiments, after all the 
observations and reflections he has made in Europe, and 
Dr Franklin at last, at least appears to coincide with us. 
We are all three perfectly united in the affair of the tories, 
and of the Sagadehock, the only points in which the Brit- 
ish Minister pretends to differ from us. 

The enclosed papers will show Congress the substance 
of the negotiation. The treaty, as first projected between 
Mr Oswald on one side, and Dr Franklin and Mr Jay on 
the other before my arrival ; the treaty as projected after 
my arrival, between Mr Oswald and the three American 
Ministers, my Lord Shelburne having disagreed to the 


first ; Mr Oswald's letter and our answer ; Mr Strachey's 
letter and our answer.* Mr Strachey has gone to London 
with the whole, and we are waiting his return, or the arri- 
val of some other, with further instructions. 

If Congress should wish to know my conjecture, it is, 
that the iMinistry will still insist upon compensation to the 
tories, and thus involve the nation every month of the war 
in an expense sufficient to make a full compensation to all 
the tories in question. They would not do this, however, 
if they were ready with France and Spain. 
I have the honor to be, &ic. 



Philadelphia, November 18th, 1782. 


Since my letter of the fith. Congress have been pleased 
to appoint Mr Jefferson one of their Ministers Plenipoten- 
tiary for negotiating peace. I have not yet received an 
answer to my letter informing him of this event, though I 
have some reason to believe he will accept the appoint- 

I believe I mentioned to you, that Congress had refused 
to accept Mr Laurens' resignation. Many members have 
since seen with great pain, the petition published in the 
Parliamentary debates as his. I sincerely wish, that it 
may prove to be a forgery, since the language it speaks does 
not consist with the dignified character he holds. He has 
since informed Congress, that he purposes to return to 
England, and come out to this country by the way of New 

* These papers will be found in tlie Correspondence of the Ministers 
for negotiating a peace. 

VOL. VI. 58 

458 JOHN ADAMS. » 

York. I hope the determination of Congress will reach 
him before he leaves France, as it will have an awkward 
appearance to send to England for an American Minister. 

All the contracts we have received from you, have been 
sent back with the ratification endorsed. Some of them 
have, I hope, reached you before this. So that the last 
hand may be put to the important business of the loan. 

So much has been said of Captain Asgill, upon whom, 
as you have been informed, the lot fell, when it was deter- 
mined to avenge the death of Captain Huddy, that I should 
let you know the issue of this business, which you may in 
part collect, from the enclosed resolve, though you may be 
ignorant of the reasons which induced Congress to pass it, 
and again render abortive their determination to punish the 
unexampled cruelty of the enemy. Mrs Asgill, the mother 
of this unfortunate young m^n, had suificient influence at 
the Court of France to obtain its interposition in his favor ; 
a letter was written on the subject by Count de Vergennes 
to General Washington, enclosing one from Mrs Asgill to 
the Count, which was extremely pathetic. The Minister 
of France had orders from his master to support this appli- 
cation. It was thought advisable, that this should not be 
formally done, but that the discharge of Asgill, should be 
grounded upon the reasons expressed in the preamble of the 
resolution. Congress the more readily acquiesced in this 
measure, as there is ground to hope, from the late conduct 
of the enemy, that they have determined to adopt a more 
civilized mode of carrying on the war in future. They 
have called off the savages, and a large number of prisoners 
have returned on parole from Canada. 

We have yet no certain account of the evacuation of 
Charleston, though we know, that the first division of the 


troops, and a considerable number of the inhabitants sailed 
on the 19th ultimo, as is said, for Augustine; it is probably 
evacuated by this time. 

It would give me pleasure to receive from you an accu- 
rate account of the differences, which have arisen between 
the Court of Denmark and the United Provinces, and the 
effects they may probably produce. We are imperfectly 
acquainted with facts here, and still less with the politics of 
the Northern Courts ; you will sometimes extend your 
observations to them. 

I confide too much in the wisdom of the States-Gen- 
eral to believe, that they will omit any honorable means 
to prevent an accession of strength to Great Britain, at this 
critical moment. 

I have the honor to be, &.c. 



Paris, November 18tli, 1782. 

The instructions from Congress, which direct us to pay 
so strict an attention to the French Ministry, and to follow 
their advice, are conceived in terms so universal and unlim- 
ited, as to give a great deal of anxiety to my mind. 

There is no man more impressed with the obligation of 
obedience to instructions ; but, in ordinary cases, the prin- 
cipal is so near the Deputy, as to be able to attend to the 
whole progress of the business, and to be informed of 
every new fact, and every sudden thought. Ambassadors 
in Europe can send expresses to their Courts, and give 
and receive intelligence in a few days, wiih the utmost 


certainty. In such cases there is no room for mistake, 
misunderstanding, or surprise. But, in our case, it is very 
different. We are at an immense distance. Despatches 
are liable to foul play, and vessels are subject to accidents. 
New scenes open, the time presses, various nations are in 
suspense, and necessity forces us to act. 

What can we do ? If a French Minister advises us to 
cede to the Spaniards the whole river of the Mississippi, 
and five hundred miles of territory to the eastward of it, 
are we bound by our instructions to put our signature to 
the cession, when the English themselves are willing we 
should extend to the river, and enjoy our natural right to 
its navigation ? If we should be counselled to relinquish 
our right to the fishery on the Grand Bank of Newfound- 
land, when the British Ministry are ready, by treaty, to 
acknowledge our right to it, are we obliged to relinquish it? 
If we are advised to restore and compensate the tories, are 
we to comply ? If we know, or have reasons to believe, 
that things, which will have weight upon the minds of the 
British Ministry against us upon some points, will be com- 
municated to them in some way or other, secret or open, 
if we communicate it to this Court, are we bound to 
do it? 

I cannot think, that a construction, so literal and severe, 
was ever intended to be put upon it ; and, therefore, I see 
no way of doing my duty to Congress, but to interpret the 
instruction, as we do all general precepts and maxims, by 
such restrictions and limitations, as reason, necessity, and 
the nature of things demand. 

It may sometimes be known to a deputy, that an instruc- 
tion from his principal was given upon information of mis- 
taken facts, what is he to do ? When he knows, that if 


the truth had been known, his principal would have given 
a directly contrary order, is he to follow that, which issued 
upon mistake ? When he knows, or has only good reason 
to believe, that, if his principal were on the spot, and fully 
informed of the present state of facts, he would give con- 
trary directions, is he bound by such as were given before ? 
It cannot be denied, that instructions are binding, that it is 
a duty to obey them, and that a departure from them can- 
not be justified ; but I think it cannot be denied on the 
other hand, that in our peculiar situation, cases may hap- 
pen, in which it might become our duty to depend upon 
being excused, (or, if you will, pardoned) for presuming, 
that if Congress were upon the spot, they would judge as 
we do. 

I presume not to dictate, nor to advise, but I may ven- 
ture to give my opinion, as I do freely, and with much real 
concern for the public, that it would be better, if every 
instruction in being were totally repealed, which enjoins 
upon any American Minister to follow, or ask the advice, 
or even to communicate with any French, or other Min- 
ister, or Ambassador in the world. It is an inextricable 
embarrassment everywhere. Advice would not be more 
seldom asked, nor communication less frequent. It would 
be more freely given. A communication of information, 
or a request of council would then be received as a com- 
pliment, and a mark of respect ; it is now considered as 
a duty and a right. Your Ministers would have more 
weight, and be the more respected through the world. 
Congress cannot do too much to give weight to their own 
Ministers, for, they may depend upon it, great and unjus- 
tifiable pains are taken to prevent them from acquiring 
reputation, and even to prevent an idea taking root in any 


l)art of Europe, that anything has been, or can be done 
by them. And there is nothing, that humbles and de- 
])resses, nothing that shackles and confines, in short, noth- 
ing that renders totally useless all your Ministers in 
Europe, so much as these positive instructions, to consult 
and communicate with French Ministers, upon all occa- 
sions, and follow their advice. And I really think it would 
be better to constitute the Count de Vergennes, our sole 
Minister, and give him full powers to make peace and 
treat with all Europe, than to continue any of us in the 
service, under the instructions in being, if they are to be 
understood in that unlimited sense, which some persons 
contend for. 

I hope, that nothing indecent has escaped me upon this 
occasion. If any expressions appear too strong, the great 
importance of the subject, and the deep impression it has 
made on my mind and heart, must be my apology. 

I am, Sir, your humble servant, 



Paris, November 24tli, 1782. 

We live in critical moments. Parliament is to meet, and 
the King's speech will be delivered on the 26th. If the 
speech announces Mr Oswald's commission, and the two 
Houses in their answers thank him for issuing it, and there 
should be no change in the JMinistry, the prospect of peace 
will be flattering. Or if there should be a change in the 
Ministry, and the Duke of Portland, with Mr Fox and Mr 
Burke, should come in, it will be still more so. But if 
Richmond, Carabden, Keppel, and Townshend should re- 


tire, and my Lord North and company come in, wi h or 
without the Earl of Shelburne, the appearances of peace 
will be very unpromising. My Lord. North, indeed, can- 
not revoke the acknowledgment of our independence, and 
w^ould not probably renounce the negotiations for peace, but 
ill will to us is so habitual to him and his master, that he 
would fall in earnestly with the wing-clipping system ; join 
in attempts to deprive us of the fisheries and the Missis- 
sippi, and to fasten upon us the tories, and in every other 
measure to cramp, stint, impoverish and enfeeble us. 
Shelburne is not so orthodox as he should be, but North is 
a much greater heretic in American politics. 

It deserves much consideration what course we should 
take, in case the old Ministry should come in wholly, or in 
part. It is certain, at present, that to be obnoxious to the 
Americans, and their Ministers, is a very formidable popu- 
lar cry against any Minister or candidate for the Ministry 
in England, for the nation is more generally for recovering 
the good will of the Americans than they ever have been. 
Nothing would strike such a blow to any Ministry, as to 
break off the negotiations for peace ; if the old Ministry 
come in, they will demand terms of us, at first, probably, 
that we can never agree to. 

It is now eleven or twelve days, since the last result of 
our conferences were laid before the Ministry in London. 
Mr Vaughan went off on Sunday noon, the ITth. So 
that he is, no doubt, before this time with my Lord Shel- 
burne. He is possessed of an ample budget of arguments 
to convince his Lordship, that he ought to give up all the 
remaining points between us. Mr Oswald's letters will 
suggest the same arguments in a different light, and Mr 
Strachey, if he is disposed to do it, is able to enlarge upon 
them all in conversation. 


The fundamental point of the sovereignty of the United 
States being settled in England, the only question now is, 
whether they shall pursue a contracted, or a liberal, a 
good natured, or an ill natured plan towards us. If they 
are generous, and allow us all we ask, it will be the better 
for them ; if stingy, the worse. That France does not wish 
them to be very noble to us, may be true. But we should 
be dupes indeed, if we did not make use of every argu- 
ment with them, to show them that it is their interest to 
be so. And they will be the greatest bubbles of all, if 
they should suffer themselves to be deceived by their pas- 
sions, or by any arts, to adopt an opposite tenor of conduct. 
I have the honor to be, Stc. 



Paris, December 4tli, 1782, 


It is with much pleasure, that I transmit you the prelimi- 
nary treaty between the King of Great Britain and the 
United States of America. The Mississippi, the western 
lands, Sagadehock, and the fisheries, are secured as 
well as we could, and I hope what is done for the refugees 
will be pardoned. 

As the objects, for which I ever consented to leave my 
family and country, are thus far accomplished, I now beg 
leave to resign all my employments in Europe. They are 
soon enumerated ; the first, is my commission to borrow 
money in Holland, and the second, is my credence to their 
High Mightinesses. These two should be filled up imme- 
diately, and as Mr Laurens was originally designed to that 
country, and my mission there was merely owing to his 


misfortune, I hope that Congress will send him a full 
power for that Court. 

The commission for peace I hope will be fully executed 
before this reaches you. But, if it should not, as the 
terms are fixed, 1 should not choose to stay in Europe, 
merely for the honor of affixing my signature to the defini- 
tive treaty, and I see no necessity of filling up my place ; 
but if Congress should think otherwise, I hope they will 
think Mr Dana the best entided to it. 

With great esteem, I have the honor to be, &;c. 



Saturday, November 2d, 1782.^ — Almost every moment 
of this week has been employed in negotiation with the 
English gentlemen, concerning peace. We have two 
propositions, one, the line of fortyfive degrees, the other, a 
line through the middle of the Lakes. And for the bound- 
ary between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, a line from 
the mouth of St Croix to its source, and from its source 
to the Highlands. 

Sunday, November od. — In my first conversation with 
Dr Franklin, on Tuesday last, he told me of Mr Oswald's 
demand of the payment of debts, and compensation to the 
tories ; he said their answer had been, that we had not 
power, nor had Congress. I told him, I had no notion of 
cheating anybody. The question of paying debts, and 
compensating tories, were two. I had made the same ob- 
servation that forenoon to Mr Oswald and Mr Strachey, in 
VOL. VI. 59 

466 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

company with Mr Jay, at his house. I saw it struck Mr 
Strachey with peculiar pleasure ; I saw it instantly smiling 
in every line of his face. Mr Oswald was apparently 
pleased with it too. In a subsequent conversation with my 
colleagues, I proposed to them, that we should agree that 
Congress should recommend it to the States, to open their 
courts of justice for the recovery of all just debts. They 
gradually fell into this opinion, and we all expressed these 
sentiments to the English gentlemen, who were much 
pleased with it, and with reason ; because it silences the 
clamors of all the British creditors against the peace, and 
prevents them from making common cause with the refu- 
gees. Mr Jay came in and spent two hours in conversa- 
tion upon our affairs, and we attempted an answer to Mr 
Oswald's letter. He is perfectly of my opinion, or I am 
of his, respecting Mr Dana's true line of conduct, as well 
as his with Spain, and ours with France, Spain, and Eng- 

Vergennes has endeavored to persuade him to treat 
with d'Aranda, without exchanging powers. He refuses. 
Vergennes also pronounced Oswald's first commission suffi- 
cient, and was for making the acknowledgment of Ameri- 
can independence, the first article of the treaty. Jay 
would not treat ; the consequence was, a complete ac- 
knowledgment of our independence by Oswald's new com- 
mission, under the great seal of Great Britain, to treat 
with the Commissioners of the United States of America. 
Thus a temperate firmness has succeeded everywhere, but 
the base system nowhere. 

D'Estaing has set off for Madrid and Cadiz ; reste a 
savoir what his object is, whether to take the command 
of a squadron, and in that case, where to go, whether to 


Rhode Island, to join Vaudreuil, and go against New 
York, or to the West Indies. Will they take New York, 
or only prevent the English from evacuating it ? Oswald 
proposed solemnly to all three of us yesterday, at his 
house, to agree not to molest the British troops in the 
evacuation ; but we did not. This, however, shows they 
have it in contemplation. Suppose they are going against 
West Florida. How far are we bound to favor the Span- 
iards ? Our treaty with France must, and shall be sacredly 
fulfilled, and we must admit Spain to accede when she 
will ; but until she does, our treaty does not bind us to 
France to assist Spain. 

The present conduct of England and America, resem- 
bles that of the eagle and cat. An eagle, scaling over a 
farmer's yard, espied a creature that he thought a hare. 
He pounced upon and took him up in the air, the cat 
seized him by the neck with her teeth, and round the body 
with her fore and hind claws. The eagle, finding himself 
scratched and pressed, bids the cat let go, and fall down. 
No, says the cat, I will not let go and fall, you shall stoop 
and set me down. 

Monday, November 4th. — All the forenoon, from eleven 
till three, at Mr Oswald's, Mr Jay and I. In the evening 
there again, until near eleven. Strachey is as artful and 
insinuating a man as they could send ; he pushes and 
presses every point as far as it can possibly go ; he has a 
most eager, earnest, pointed spirit. 

Tuesday, KovemJjer 5th. Mr Jay told me our allies 
did not play fair. They were endeavoring to deprive us 
of the fishery, the western lands, and the navigation of the 
Mississippi. They would even bargain with the English, 
to deprive us of them. They want to lay the western 

46S JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

lands, Mississippi, and the whole Gulf of Mexico into the 
hands of Spain. 

Oswald talks of Pultney, and a plot to divide America 
between France and England. France to have New 
England. They tell a story about Vergennes, and his 
agreeing that the English might propose such a division, 
but reserving a right to deny it all. These whispers ought 
not to be credited by us. 

Saturday, November 9th. — M. de Lafayette came in, 
and told me he had been at Versailles, and in consultation 
about the affair of money, as he and I agreed he should. 
He said he found, that the Count de Vergennes and their 
JNlinistry were of the same opinion with me, that the Eng- 
lish were determined to evacuate New York. After 
some time, he told me, in a great air of confidence, that 
he was afraid the Count took it amiss, that I had not been 
to Versailles to see him. The Count told him, that he 
had not been officially informed of my arrival, he had only 
learned it from the returns of the police. I went out to 
Passy to dine with Dr Franklin, who had been to Ver- 
sailles, and presented his Memorial, and the papers accom- 
panying it. The Count said he would have the papers 
translated to lay them before the King, but the affair 
would meet with many difficulties. Franklin brought the 
same message to me from the Count, and said he believed 
it would be taken kindly if I went. I told both the 
Marquis and the Doctor, that 1 would go tomorrow morn- 

Sunday, November 10th. — Accordingly, at eight this 
morning, I went and waited on the Count. He asked me 
how we went on with the English. I told him we divided 
upon two points, the tories and Penobscot, two ostensible 


points; for it was impossible to believe, that my Lord 
Shelburne, or the nation, cared much about such points. 
I took out of my pocket, and showed him, the record of 
Governor Pownal's solemn act of burying a leaden plate, 
with this inscription ; 'May 23d, 1759. Province of Mas- 
sachusetts Bay. Penobscot dominions of Great Britain. 
Possession confirmed by Thomas Povvnal, Governor.' 
This was planted on the east side of the river of Penob- 
scot, three miles above marine navigation. I showed him 
also all the other records, the laying out of Mount Desert, 
Machias, and all the other towns to the east of Penobscot 
river, and told him, that the grant of Nova Scotia, by 
James the First, to Sir William Alexander, bounded it on 
the river St Croix, and that I was possessed of the au- 
thorities of four of the greatest Governors the King of 
England ever had, Shirley, Pownal, Bernard, and Hutch- 
inson, in favor of our claim, and of learned writings of 
Shirley and Hutchinson in support of it. The Count said, 
that Mr Fitzherbert told him they wanted it for the masts. 
But the Count said, that Canada had an immense quan- 
tity. I told him I thought there were few masts there, but 
that I fancied it was not masts, hut tories, that again made 
the difficulty. Some of them claimed lands in that ter- 
ritory, and others hoped for grants there. 

The Count said, it was not astonishing, that the British 
Ministry should insist upon compensation to them, for 
that all the precedents were in favor of it ; that there had 
been no example of an affair like this terminated by a 
treaty, without re-establishing those who had adhered to 
the old government, in all their possessions. I begged 
his pardon in this, and said, that in Ireland at least 
there had been a multitude of confiscations without resti- 

470 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

tution. Here we ran into some conversation concerning 
Ireland, he. M. Rayneval, who was present^ talked about 
the national honor, and the obligation they were under to 
support their adherents. Here I thought I might indulge 
a litde more latitude of expression, than I had done with 
Oswald and Strachey, and I answered, if the nation 
thought itself bound in honor to compensate these people, 
it might easily do it, for it cost the nation more money to 
carry on this war one month, than it would cost it to com- 
pensate them all. But I could not comprehend this doc- 
trine of national honor. Those people, by their misrep- 
resentations had deceived the nation, who had followed the 
impulsion of their devouring ambition, until it had brought 
an indelible stain on the British name, and almost irretriev- 
able ruin on the nation, and now that very nation was 
thought to be bound in honor to compensate its dishonorers 
and destroyers. Rayneval said it was very true. 

The Count invited me to dine ; I accepted. When I 
came, I found M. de Lafayette in conference with him. 
When they came out, the Marquis took me aside, and told 
me he had been talking with the Count upon the affair of 
money. He had represented to him Mr Morris's argu- 
ments, and the things 1 had said to him, as from himself, 
he. That he feared the arts of the English, that our 
army would disband, and our governments relax, &tc. 
That the Count feared many difficulties ; that France had 
expended two hundred and fifty millions in this war, Sic. 
Tliat he talked of allowing six millions, and my going to 
Holland with the scheme I had projected, and having the 
King's warranty, &;c. to get the rest ; that he had already 
spoken to some of M. de Fleury's friends, and intended to 
speak to him, he. 


We went up to dinner. I went up with the Count 
alone. He showed me into the room where were the 
ladies and the company. I singled out the Countess, and 
went up to her to make her my compliment. The Coun- 
tess, and all die ladies rose up. I made ray respects to 
them all, and turned and bowed to the rest of the com- 
pany. The Count, who came in after me, made his bows 
to the ladies, and to the Countess last. When he came to 
her, he turned round and called out, Mons. Mams, 
venez id, voild la Comtesse de Vergtnnes. A nobleman 
in company said, Mr Adams has already made his court 
to Madame la Comtesse. I went up again, however, and 
spoke again to the Countess, and she to me. When din- 
ner was served, the Count led Madame de Montmorin, and 
left me to conduct the Countess, who gave me her hand 
with extraordinary condescension, and I conducted her to 
table. She made me sit next to her, on her right hand, 
and was remarkably attentive to me the whole time. The 
Count, who sat opposite, was constantly calling out to me, 
to know what I would eat, and to offer me petits gateaux, 
claret, and Madeira, &;c. &tc. In short, I was never 
treated with half the respect at Versailles in my life. In 
the antichamber, before dinner, some French gentlemen 
came to me, and said they had seen me two years ago, 
and that I had shown in Holland, that thef Americans un- 
derstood negotiation, as well as war. 

Monday, JYovember lith. Mr Whiteford the Secretary 
of Mr Oswald, came a second time, not having found me 
at home yesterday, when he left a card, with a copy of Mr 
Oswald's commission, attested by himself (Mr Oswald). 
He delivered the copy, and said Mr Oswald was ready to 
compare it with the original with me. I said Mr Oswald's 

472 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

attestation was sufficient, as he had already shown me the 
original. He sat down, and we fell into conversation about 
the weather, and the vapors and exhalations from Tar- 
tary, which had been brought here last spring by the winds, 
and given us all the influenza. Thence to French fash- 
ions and the punctuality, with which they insist upon peo- 
ple's wearing thin clothes in spring and fall, though the 
weather is ever so cold, &c. I said it was often carried to 
ridiculous lengths, but that it was at bottom an admirable 
policy, as it rendered all Europe tributary to the city of 
Paris, for its manufactures. 

We fell soon into politics. I told him, that there was 
something in the minds of the English and French, which 
impelled them irresistibly to war every ten or fifteen years. 
He said the ensuing peace would, he believed, be a long 
one. I said it would, provided it was well made, and 
nothing left in it to give future discontents. But if any- 
thing was done, which the Americans should think hard or 
unjust, both the English and French would be continually 
blowing it up, and inflaming the American minds with it, 
in order to make them join one side or the other in a 
future war. Suppose for example, they should think the 
tories men of monarchical principles, or men of more ambi- 
tion than principle, or men corrupted and of no principle, 
and should therefore think them more easily seduced to 
their purposes, than virtuous republicans, is it not easy to 
see the policy of a French JVlinister in wishing them am- 
nesty and compensation ? Suppose a French Minister 
foresees, that the presence of the tories in America will 
keep up perpetually tvyo parties, a French party, and an 
English party, and that this will compel the patriotic and 
independent party to join the French party, is it not natural 


for him to wish them restored ? Is it not easy to see, that a 
French Minister cannot wish to have the English and Amer- 
icans perfectly agreed upon all points before they them- 
selves, the Spaniards and the Dutch are agreed too ? Can 
they be sorry then to see us split upon such a point as the 
tories ? What can be their motives to become the advo- 
cates of the tories ? 

The French Minister at Philadelphia has made some 
representations to Congress, in favor of a compensation to 
the royalists, and the Count de Vergennes no longer than 
yesterday said much to me in theii* favor. The Count 
probably knows, that we are instructed against it, that Con- 
gress are instructed against it, or rather have not constitu- 
tional authority to do it ; that we can only v/rite about it to 
Congress, and they to the States, who may, and probably 
will, deliberate upon it eighteen months before they all de- 
cide, and then every one of them will determine against it. 
In this way there is an insuperable obstacle to any agree- 
ment between the English and Americans, even upon terms 
to be inserted in the general peace, before all are ready. 
It was the constant practice of the French to have some of 
their subjects in London during the conferences for peace 
in ord^r to propagate such sentiments there as they wished 
to prevail. I doubted not such were there now ; M. Ray- 
neval had been there. M. Gerard, I had heard, is there 
now, and probably others. They can easily persuade the 
tories to set up their demands, and tell them and the Min- 
isters, that the King's dignity and nation's honor are com- 
promised in it. 

For my own part, I thought America liad been long 
enough involved in the wars of Europe. She had been a 
football between contending nations from the beginning, 
VOL. VI. 60 

474 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

and it was easy to foresee, that France and England both 
would endeavor to involve us in their future wars. I 
thought it our interest and duty, to avoid them as much 
as possible, and to be completely independent, and have 
nothing to do but in commerce with either of them ; that 
my thoughts had been from the beginning to arrange all 
our European connexions to this end, and that they would 
continue to be so employed. And I thought it so impor- 
tant to us, that if my poor labors, my little estate, or (smil- 
ing) sizy blood, could effect it, it should be done. But 1 
had many fears. 

I said, the King of France might think it consistent with 
his station to favor people, who had contended for a Crown, 
though it was the Crown of his enemy. Whiteford said, 
they seem to be through the whole of their course, fighting 
for reputation. I said, they had acquired it, and more, they 
had raised themselves high from a low estate by it, and 
they were our good friends and allies, and had conducted 
generously, and nobly, and we should be just and grateful, 
but they might have political wishes, whicli we were not 
bound by treaty, nor in justice or gratitude to favor, and 
these we ought to be cautious of. He agreed that they 
had raised themselves very suddenly and surprisingly by it. 

Tuesday, JVovember 12th. — The compliment of ^^Mon- 
sieur, vom etes le Washington de la negotiation,^^ was re- 
peated to me, by more tlian one person. I answered, 
^^Monsieur, vous mefaites.le plus grand honneur, ct le com- 
pliment le plus sublim,e possible." ^^Eh ! Monsieur, en 
verite, vous V avez bicn merite." 

Friday, JVovember Ibth. — Mr Oswald came to visit me, 
and entered wiiii some freedom, into conversation. I said 
many things to him to convince him, tliat it was the policy 


of my Lord Shelburne, and the interest of the nation, to 
agree with us upon the advantageous terms, which Mr 
Strachey carried away on the 5th ; showed him the ad- 
vantages of the boundary, the vast extent of land, and the 
equitable provision for the payment of debts, and even the 
great benefits stipulated for the tories. 

He said he had been reading Mr Paine's answer to the 
Abbe Raynal, and had found there an excellent argu- 
ment in favor of the tories. Mr Paine says, that before 
the battle of Lexington, we were so blindly prejudiced in 
favor of the English, and so closely attached to them, that 
we went to war at any time, and for any object, when they 
bid us. Now this being habitual to the Americans, it was 
excusable in the lories to behave on this occasion, as all of 
us had ever done upon all others. He said, if he were a 
member of Congress, he would show a magnanimity upon 
this occasion, and v.'ould say to the refugees, take your 
property, we scorn to make any use of it in building up 
our system. 

I replied, that we had no power, and Congress had no 
power, and, therefore, we must consider how it would be 
reasoned upon in the several Legislatures of the separate 
States, if, after being sent by us to Congress, and by them 
to the several States, in the course of twelve or fifteen 
months, it should be there debated. You must carry on 
the war six or nine months certainly, for this compensa- 
tion, and consequently spend, in the prosecution of it, six 
or nine times the sum necessary to make the compensa- 
tion ; for I presume this war costs every month to Great 
Britain, a larger sum than would be necessary to pay for 
the forfeited estates. 

"How," said I, "wih an independent man in one of our 

476 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

Assemblies consider this ? We will take a man, who is no 
partisan of England or France, one who wishes to do jus- 
tice to both, 'and to all nations, but is the partisan only of 
his own." "Have you seen," -said he, "a certain letter 
written to the Count de Vergennes, wherein Mr Samuel 
Adams is treated pretty freely?" "Yes," said I, "and 
several other papers, in which Mr John Adams has been 
treated so too. 1 do not know what you may have heard 
in England of Mr Samuel Adams. You may have been 
taught to believe, for what I know, that he eats little chil- 
dren. But I assure you, he is a man of humanity and 
candor, as well as integrity ; and further, that he is devoted 
to the interest of his country, and, I believe, wishes 
never to be, after a peace, the partisan to France or Eng- 
land, but to do justice and all the good he can to both. 
I thank you for mentioning him, for I will make him my 
orator. What will he say, when the question of amnesty 
and compensation to the tories comes before the Senate 
of Massachusetts, and when he is informed, that England 
makes a point of it, and that France favors her ? He will 
say, here are two old sagacious Courts, both endeavoring to 
sow the seeds of discord among us, each endeavoring to 
keep us in hot water ; to keep up continual broils between 
an English party and a French party, in hopes of obliging 
the independent and patriotic party to lean to its side. 
England wishes them here, and compensated, not merely 
to get rid of them, and to save herself, the money, but 
to plant among us instruments of her own, to make divis- 
ions among us, and between us and France, to be continu- 
ally crying down the religion, the government, the manners 
of France, and crying up the language, the fashions, the 
blood, &;c. of England. England also means, by insisting 


' on our compensating these worst of enemies, to obtain 
from us a tacit acknowledgment of the right of the war, an 
implicit acknowledgment, that the tories have been justi- 
fiable, or at least excusable, and that we, only by a fortu- 
nate coincidence of events, have carried a wicked rebellion 
into a complete revolution. At the very time, when 
Britain professes to desire peace, reconciliation, perpetual 
oblivion of all past unkindnesses, can she wish to send in 
among us a number of persons, whose very countenances 
will bring fresh to our remembrance the whole history of 
the rise and progress of the war, and of all its atrocities ? 
Can she think it conciliatory, to oblige us to lay taxes upon 
those, whose habitations have been consumed, to reward 
those who have burned them ? Upon those, whose relations 
have been cruelly destroyed, to compensate the murderers? 
What can be the design of France, on the other hand, by es- 
pousing the cause of those men? Indeed, her motives may 
be guessed at. She may wish to keep up in our minds a 
terror of England, and a fresh remembrance of all we 
have suffered. Or she may wish to prevent our Ministers 
in Europe from agreeing with the British Ministers, until 
she shall say, that she and Spain are satisfied in all points." 
I entered largely with Mr Oswald into the consideration 
of the influence this question would have upon the coun- 
cils of the British cabinet, and the debates in Parliament. 
The King and the old Ministry might think their personal 
reputations concerned, in supporting men who had gone 
such lengths, and suffered so much in their attachment to 
them. The King may say, "I have other dominions 
abroad, Canada, Nova Scotia, Florida, the West India 
Islands, the East Indies, Ireland. It will be a bad ex- 
ample to abandon these men. Others will lose their 

478 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

encouragement to adhere to my government." But the 
shortest answer to this is the best, let the King by a mes- 
sage recommend it to Parliament to compensate them. 

But how will my Lord Shelburne sustain the shock of 
opposition, when Mr Fox and Mr Burke shall demand a 
reason, why the essential interests of the nation are sac- 
rificed to the unreasonable demands of those very men, 
who have done this great mischief to the empire ? Should 
these orators indulge themselves in Philippics against the 
refugees, show their false representations, their outrageous 
cruelties, their innumerable demerits against the nation, 
and then attack the First Lord of the Treasury for con- 
tinuing to spend the blood and treasure of the nation for 
their sakes ? 

Sunday, November 11 th. — I\Ir Vaughan came to me 
yesterday, and said, that Mr Oswald had that morning 
called upon Mr Jay, and told him, if he had known as 
much the day before, as he had since learned, he would 
have written to go home. Mr Vaughan said, Mr Fitzher- 
bert had received a letter from Mr Townshend, that the 
compensation would be insisted on. IMr Oswald wanted 
Mr Jay to go to England ; thought he could convince the 
Ministry. Mr Jay said, he must go with or without the 
knowledge and advice of the Court, and, In either case, it 
would give rise to jealousies. He could not go. Mr 
Vaughan said, he had determined to go, on account of the 
critical state of his family, his wife being probably abed. 
He should be glad to converse freely with me, and obtain 
from me all the lights and arguments against the tories, 
even the history of their worst actions. Tiiat, in case it 
should be necessary to run them down, it might be done, 
or at least expose them, for their true history was little 


known in England. I told him, I must be excused, it was 
a subject that 1 had never been desirous of obtaining in- 
formation upon ; that I pitied those people too much, to be 
willing to aggravate the sorrows and sufferings, even of 
those who had deserved the worst. It might not be amiss 
to reprint the letters of Bernard, Hutchinson, and Oliver, 
to show their rise. It might not be amiss to read the his- 
tory of Wyoming, in the annual register for 1778 or 9, to 
recollect the prison ships, and the churches at New York, 
where the garrison of Fort Washington were starved, in 
order to make them enlist in refugee corps, it might not 
be amiss to recollect the burning of cities, and the thefts of 
plate, negroes, and tobacco. 

I entered into the same arguments with him that I had 
used with Mr Oswald, to show that we could do nothing ; 
Congress nothing ; the time it would take to consult the 
States, and the reason to believe, that all of them would at 
last decide against it. I showed him, that it would be a 
religious question with some ; a moral one with others ; 
and a political one with more ; an economical one with 
very few. I shewed him the ill effect which would be 
produced upon the American mind by this measure ; how 
much it would contribute to perpetuate alienation against 
England, and how French emissaries might, by means of 
these men, blow up the flames of animosity and war. 1 
showed him how the whig interest, and the opposition, 
might avail themselves of this subject in Parliament, and 
how they might embarrass the Minister- 
He went out to Passy for a passport, and in the evening 
called upon mo again ; he said he found Dr Franklin's 
sentiments to be the same with Mr Jay's and mine, and 

5 ho 

hoped he should be able to convince Lord Shelburne. 

480 •'OHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

He was pretty confident it would work right. The INlinis- 
try and nation were not informed upon the subject. Lord 
Shelburne had told him, that no part of his office gave him 
so much pain, as the levee he held for these people, and 
hearing their stories of their families and estates, their 
losses, sufferings, and distresses. Mr Vaughan said, he 
had picked up here a good deal of information about 
these people from Mr Allen, and other Americans. 

In the evening, M. de Lafayette came in and told me. 
he had been to see M. de Fleury on the subject of a 
loan. He told him, he must afford America this year a 
subsidy of twenty millions. M. de Fleury said, France 
had already spent two hundred and fifty millions in the 
American war, and that they could not allow any more 
money to her ; that there was a great deal of money in 
America ; that the King's troops had been paid and sub- 
sisted there ; that the British army had been subsisted 
and paid there, &;c. The Marquis said, that little of the 
subsistence or pay of the British had gone into any hands, 
but those of the torie§ within the lines. I said, that more 
money went in for their goods, than came out for pro- 
visions, or anything. The MarqQis added to M. de Fleury, 
that Mr Adams had a plan for going to the States-Gene- 
ral for a loan, or a subsidy. M. de Fleury said, he did not 
want the assistance of Mr Adams, to get money in Hol- 
land, he could have what he would. The Marquis said, 
Mr Adams would be glad of it, he did not want to go, 
but was willing to take the trouble, if necessary. 

The Marquis said, that he should dine with the Queen 
tomorrow, and would give her a hint to favor us, that he 
should take leave in a few days, and should ep in the fleet 
that was to sail from Brest 5 that he wanted the advice of Dr 


Franklin, Mr Jay, and me, before he went, he. said that 
there was a report, that M. Gerard had been in England, 
and that M. de Rayneval was gone. I told him, I saw M. 
Gerard at Mr Jay's a few evenings ago. He said, he did 
not believe M. Gerard had been ; that he had mentioned 
it to Count de Vergennes, and he did not appear confused 
at all, but said M. Gerard was here about the limits of 
Alsace. The Marquis said, that he believed the reason 
why Count de Vergennes said so little about the progress 
of Mr Fitzherbert with him was, because the difficulty 
about peace was made by the Spaniards, and he was 
afraid of making the Americans still more angry with 
Spain. He knew the Americans were very angry with 
the Spaniards. 

Monday, November I8th. — Returned Mr Oswald's visit. 
He says, Mr Strachey, who sat out the 5th, did not reach 
London until the 10th. Couriers are three, four, or five 
days in going, according as the winds are. 

We went over the old ground concerning the tories. He 
began to use arguments with me to relax. I told him, he 
must not think of that ; but must bend all his tlioughts to 
convince and persuade his Court to give it up ; that if the 
terms now before his Court were not accepted, the whole 
negotiation would be broken off, and this Court would 
probably be so angry with Mr Jay and me, that they 
would set their engines to work upon Congress, get us re- 
called, and some others sent, who would do exactly as this 
Court would have them. He said, he thought that very 
probable. In another part of his conversation he said, we 
should all have gold snuff boxes, set with diamonds ; you 
will certainly have the picture. 1 told him no, I had dealt 
too freely with this Court, I had not concealed from them 

VOL. VI. 61 

482 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

any useful and necessary truth, although it was disagree- 
able. In'deed, I neither expected, or desired any favors 
from them, nor would I accept any ; I should not refuse 
any customary compliment of that sort, but it never had 
been, or would be offered to me. My fixed principle, 
never to be the tool of any man, nor the partisan of any 
nation, would forever exclude me from the smiles and 
favors of Courts. 

In another part of the conversation 1 said, that when 
I was young and addicted to reading, I had heard about 
dancing upon the points of metaphysical needles ; but, 
by mixing in the world, I had found the points of politi- 
cal needles finer and sharper than the metaphysical ones. 
I told him the story of Josiah Quincy's conversation with 
Lord Shelburne, in 1774, in which he pointed out to him 
the plan of carrying on the war, which has been pursued 
this year, by remaining inactive on land, and cruising upon 
the coast to distress our trade. 

He said he had been contriving an artificial truce, since 
he found we were bound by treaty not to agree to a sepa- 
rate truce. He had proposed to the Ministry, to give 
orders to their men-of-war, and privateers, not to take any 
unarmed American vessels. 

I said to him, supposing the armed neutrality should ac- 
knowledge American independence, by admitting Mr Dana, 
who is now at Petersburg with a commission in his pocket 
for that purpose, to subscribe to the principles of their ma- 
rine treaty ; the King of Great Britain could find no fault 
with it ; he could never hereafter say it was an affront or 
hostility ; he had done it himself. Would not all neutral 
vessels have a right to go to America ? And could not all 
American trade be carried on in neutral bottoms ? I said 


lo him, that England would always be a country, which 
would deserve much of the attention of America, indepen- 
dently of all consideration of blood, origin, language, mor- 
als, &c. ; merely as a commercial people, she would forever 
claim the respect of America, because a great part of her 
commerce would be with her, provided she came to her 
senses, and made peace with us, without any points in the 
treaty, that should ferment in the minds of the people. 
If the people should think themselves unjustly treated, they 
would never be easy, and they are so situated as to be 
able to hurt any power. The fisheries, the Mississippi, the 
tories, were points that would rankle, and that nation that 
should offend our people in any of tiiem, would sooner or 
later feel the consequences. 

Mr Jay, M. Couteulx, and Mr Grand, came in. Mr 
Grand says there is a great fermentation in England, and 
that they talk of uniting Lord North and IMr Fox in admin- 
istration ; the Duke of Portland to come in, and Keppel to 
go out. But this is wild. 

You are afraid, said Mr Oswald today, of being made 
the tools of the powers of Europe. Indeed I am, said I. 
What powers, said he ? All of them, said I. It is obvious 
that all the powers of Europe will be continually manoeuvring 
with us, to work us into their real or imaginary balances 
of power. They will all wish to make of us a makeweight 
candle, when they are making out ibeir pounds. Indeed 
it is not surprising ; for we shall very often, if not always 
be able to turn the scale. But I think it ought to be our 
rule not to meddle, and that of all the powers of Europe, 
not to desire us, or perhaps even to permit us to interfere, if 
they can help it. I beg of you, said he, to get out of your 
head the idea, that we shall disturb you. What, said 1, do 

484 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

you yourself believe, that your Ministers, Governors, and 
even nation, will not wish to get us of your side in any fu- 
ture war ? As for the Governors, said he, we will take off 
their heads if they do an improper thing towards you. 
Thank you for your good will, said I, which I feel to be 
sincere. But nations do not feel as you and I do. And 
your nation, when it gets a little refreshed from the fatigues 
of the war ; when men and money are become plenty, and 
allies at hand, will not feel as it does now. We never can 
be such sots, said he, as to think of differing again with 
you. Why, said I, in truth I have never been able to com- 
prehend the reason, why you ever thought of differing 
with us. 

Monday, November 25ih. Doctor Franklin, Mr Jay, 
and myself, at 11 o'clock, met at Mr Oswald's lodgings. 
Mr Strachey told us, he had been to London, and waited 
personally on every one of the King^s cabinet council, and 
had communicated the last propositions to them. They 
every one of them unanimously condemned that respecting 
the tories, so that that unhappy affair stuck, as he foresaw 
and foretold it would. 

The affair of the fishery too was somewhat altered. 
They could not admit us to dry on the shores of Nova 
Scotia, nor to fish within three leagues of the coast of 
Cape Breton. The boundary they did not approve. They 
thought it too extended, too vast a country; but they would 
not make a difficulty. That if these terms were not ad- 
mitted, the whole affair must be thrown into Parliament, 
where every man would be for insisting on restitution to 
the refugees. He talked about excepting a few, by name, 
of the most obnoxious of the refugees. 

I could not help observing, that the ideas respecting the 


fishery appeared to me to come piping hot from Versailles. 
I quoted to them the words of our treaty with France, in 
which the indefinite and exclusive right to the fishery on 
the western side of Newfoundland was secured against us, 
according to the true construction of the treaties of Utrecht 
and Paris. I showed them the 12th and 13th articles of 
the treaty of Utrecht, by which the French were admitted 
to fish from Cape Bonavista to Point Riche. I related to 
them the manner in which the cod and haddock came into 
the rivers, harbors, creeks, and up to the very wharves, on all 
the northern coasts of America, in the spring, in the month 
of April, so that you have nothing to do, but step into a 
boat, and bring in a parcel of fish in a few hours. But 
that in May they began to withdraw. We have a saying 
in Boston, that, "when the blossoms fall, the haddock begin 
to crawl," i. e. to move into deep water ; so that in sum- 
mer you must go out some distance to fish ; at Newfound- 
land it was the same. The fish in March and April were in 
shore, in all the creeks, bays, and harbors, i. e. within 
three leagues of the coasts or shores of Newfoundland and 
Nova Scotia ; that neither French nor English, could go 
from Europe and arrive early enough for the first fare ; 
that our vessels could, being so much nearer, an advantage 
which God and nature had put into our hands ; but this 
advantage of ours had been an advantage to England ; be- 
cause our fish had been sold in Spain and Portugal for 
gold and silver, and that gold and silver sent to London 
for manufactures ; that this would be the course again ; 
that France foresaw it, and wished to deprive England of 
it, by persuading her to deprive us of it ; that it would be a 
master stroke of policy if she could succeed ; but England 
must be completely the dupe before she could succeed. 

486 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

There were three lights in which it might be viewed. 
1st. As a nursery for seamen. 2d. As a source of profit. 
3d. As a source of contention. As a nursery of seamen, 
did England consider us as worse enemies than France ? 
Had she rather France should have the seamen than Amer- 
ica ? The French marine was nearer and more menacing 
than ours. As a source of profit, had England rather 
France should supply the markets of Lisbon and Cadiz 
with fish, and take the gold and silver, than we ? France 
would never spend any of that money in London. We 
should spend it all there, very nearly. As a source of con- 
tention, how could we restrain our fishermen (the boldest 
men alive) from fishing in prohibited places ? How could 
our men see the French admitted to fish, and themselves 
excluded by the English ? It would then be a cause of 
disputes, and such seeds France might wish to sow. That 
I wished for two hours' conversation on the subject with 
one of the King's council. If I did not convince him he 
was undesignedly betraying the interest of his Sovereign, 1 
was mistaken. Strachey said, perhaps I would put down 
some observations in writing upon it ; I said, with all my 
heart, provided I had the approbation of my colleagues ; 
but I could do nothing of the kind without submitting it to 
their judgments ; and that whatever I had said or should 
say, upon the subject, however strongly I might express 
myself was always to be understood, with submission to my 
colleagues. I showed them Captain Coffin's letter, and 
gave them his character. His words are ; 

"Our fishermen from Boston, Salem, ]\ewbury, Mar- 
blehead. Cape Ann, Cape Cod, and Nantucket, have fre- 
quently gone out on the fisheries to the Straits of Belle- 
isle, north part of Newfoundland, and the banks adjacent 


thereto, there to continue the whole season, and have 
made use of the north part of Newfoundland, the Labra- 
dor coast, in the Straits of Belleisle, to cure their fish, 
which they have taken in and about those coasts. I have 
known several instances of vessels going there to load in 
the fall of the year, with the fish taken and cured at these 
places, for Spain, Portugal, &ic. I was once concerned in 
a voyage of that kind myself, and speak from my own 

"From Cape Sables, to the Isle of Sables, and so on to 
the Banks of Newfoundland, are a chain of banks, ex- 
tending all along the coast, and almost adjoining each 
other, and those banks are vyhere our fishermen go for the 
first fare, in the early part of the season. Their second 
fare is on the Banks of Newfoundland, where they con- 
tinue to fish, till prevented by the tempestuous and bois- 
terous winds, which prevail in the fall of the year on that 
coast. Their third and last fare is generally made near 
the coast of Cape Sables, or banks adjoining thereto, 
where they are not only relieved from those boisterous 
gales, but have an asylum to fly to in case of emergency, 
as that coast is lined, from the head of Cape Sables to 
Halifax, with most excellent harbors. The sea-cow fish- 
ery was, before the present war, carried on to great advan- 
tage, particularly from Nantucket and Cape Cod, in and 
about the river St Lawrence, at the Island St Johns and 
Anticosti, Bay of Chaleurs, and the Magdalen Islands, 
which were the most noted of all for that fishery. This 
oil has the preference to all others, except spermaceti." 

Mr Jay desired to know whether Mr Oswald had now 
power to conclude and sign with us. Strachcy said he 
had, absolutely. Mr Jay desired to know if the proposi- 

488 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

tions now delivered us, were their ultimatum. Strachey 
seemed loath to answer, but at last said, no. We agreed 
these were good signs of sincerity. Bancroft came in this 
evening, and said, it was reported, that a courier had ar- 
rived from M. Rayneval, in London, and that after it, the 
Count de Vergennes told the King, that he had the peace 
in his pocket, that he was now master of the peace. 

Tuesday, November 26th. Breakfasted at Mr Jay's, 
with Dr Franklin, in consultation upon the propositions 
made to us yesterday, by Mr Oswald. We agreed unan- 
imously, to answer him, that we could not consent to the 
article respecting the refugees, as it now stands. Dr 
Franklin read a letter upon the subject, which he had pre- 
pared to Mr Oswald, upon the subject of the tones, which 
we had agreed with him, that he should read, as containing 
his private sentiments. We had a vast deal of conversa- 
tion upon the subject. My colleagues opened themselves, 
and made many observations concerning the conduct, 
crimes, and demerits of those people. Before dinner Mr 
Fitzherbert came in, whom I had never seen before, a 
gentleman of about thirtythree ; seems pretty discreet and 
judicious, and did not discover those airs of vanity, which 
are imputed to him. He came in consequence of the 
desire I expressed yesterday, of knowing the state of the 
negotiation between him and the Count de Vergennes, re- 
specting the fishery. He told us, that the Count was for 
fixing the boundaries where each nation should fish ; he 
must confess he thought the idea plausible, for that there 
had been great dissensions among the fishermen of the 
two nations ; that the French Marine Oflice had an apart- 
ment full of complaints and representations of disputes; 
that the French pretended, that Cape Ray was the Point 


I asked him, if the French demanded of him an exclu- - 
sive right to fish and dry between Cape Bonavista and the 
Point Riche. He said they had not expressly, and he in- 
tended to follow the words of the Treaty oi Utrecht and 
Paris, without stirring the point. I showed him an extract 
of a letter from the Earl of Egremont, to the Duke of Bed- 
ford, of March the 1st, 1763, in which it is said, that, by 
the 13th article of the Treaty of Utrecht, a liberty was 
left to the French to fish, and to dry their fish on shore ; 
and for that purpose to erect the necessary stages and 
buildings, but with an express stipulation, "de ne pas 
sejourner dans la dite Isle, au deld du dit terns necessaire 
pour pecker et secher les poisso7is.^^ That it is a received 
law among the fishermen, that whoever arrives first shall 
have his choice of the stations ; that the Due de Nivernois 
insisted, that by the Treaty of Utrecht, the French had an 
exclusive right to the fishery, from Cape Bonavista to 
Point Riche ; that the King gave to his Grace, the Duke 
of Bedford, express instructions to come to an eclaircisse- 
ment upon the point with the French Ministry, and to 
refuse the exclusive construction of the Treaty of Utrecht. 
I also showed him a letter from Sir Stamier Porteen, Lord 
Weymouth's Secretary, to Lord Weymouth, enclosing an 
extract of Lord Egreniont's letter to the Duke of Bed- 
ford, by which it appears, that the Due de Nivernois 
insisted "that the French had an exclusive right to the 
fishery, from Cape Bonavista to point Riche, and that they 
had, on ceding the island of Newfoundland to Great Brit- 
ain, by the thirteenth article of the Treaty. of Utrecht, 
expressly reserved to themselves such an exclusive right, 
which they had constantly been in possessiori of till they 
were entirely driven from North America, in the last war." 
VOL. VI. G2 

490 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

For these papers I am obliged to Mr Izard. ]\Ir Fitz- 
herbert said it was the same thing now, word for word ; 
but he should endeavor to have the treaty conformable 
to those of Utrecht and Paris. But he said we had given 
it up by admitting the word "e.rc/«5U'e" into our treaty. I 
said, perhaps not ; for the whole was to be conformable to 
the true construction of the treaties of Utrecht and Paris, 
and that if the English did not now admit the exclusive 
construction, they could not contend for it against us. We 
had only contracted not to disturb them, he. I said it 
was the opinion of all the fishermen in America, that Eng- 
land could not prevent our catching a fish, without prevent- 
ing themselves from getting a dollar ; that the first fare was 
our only advantage ; that neither the English nor French 
could have it ; it must be lost if we had it not. He said, 
he did not think much of the fishery, as a source of 
profit, but as a nursery of seamen. I told hira, the Eng- 
lish could not catch a fish the more, or make a sailor the 
more, for restraining us ; even the French would rival 
them in the markets of Spain and Portugal. It was our 
fish they ought to call their own ; because we should spend 
the profit with them ; that the Southern States had staple 
commodities ; but New England had no other remittances 
than the fishery, no other way to pay for their clothing ; 
that it entered into our distilleries and West India trade, as 
well as our European trade, in such a manner, that it 
could not be taken out or diminished without tearing and 
rending; that, if it should be left to its natural course, we 
could hire or purchase spots of ground, on which to erect 
stages and buildings ; but if we were straitened by treaty, 
that treaty would be given in instructions to Governors 
and Commodores, whose duty it would be to execute it ; 


that it would be very difficult to restrain our fishermen, 
they would be frequently transgressing and making dis- 
putes and troubles. 

He said, his principal object was to avoid sowing seeds 
of future wars. I said, it was equally my object, and that 
I was persuaded, that if the germ of a war was left any- 
w,here, there was the greatest danger of its being left in 
the article respecting the fishery. The rest of the day 
was spent in endless discussions about the tories. Dr 
Franklin is very staunch against them, more decided a 
great deal on this point, than Mr Jay or myself. 

Wednesday, JYovember 21th. — ]Mr Benjamin Vaughan 
came in, returned from London, where he had seen Lord 
Shelburne. He says, he finds the Ministry much embar- 
rassed with the tories, and exceedingly desirous of saving 
their honor and reputation in this pouit ; that it is reputa- 
tion more than money, Stc. Dined with Mr Jay, and 
spent some time before dinner with him and Dr Franklin, 
and all the afternoon with them and Mr Oswald, endeavor- 
ing to come together concerning the fisheries and the 

Thursday, JVovember 2Sth. — This morning I have drawn 
up the following project. 

Art. III. " That the subjects of his Britannic Majesty, 
and the people of the said United States, shall continue to 
enjoy, unmolested, the right to take fish of every kind, on 
the Grand Bank, and on all the other banks of Newfound- 
land ; also in the Gulf of St Lawrence, and in all other 
places, where the inhabitants of both countries used at any 
time heretofore to fish ; and the citizens of the said United 
States, shall have liberty to cure and dry tlicir fish on the 
shores of Cape Sables, and of any of the unsettled bays, 

492 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

harbors, or creeks of Nova Scotia, or any of the shores of 
the Magdalen Islands, and (^f the Labrador coast. And 
they shall be permitted, in time of peace, to hire pieces of 
land for terms of years, of the legal proprietors, in any of 
the dominions of his said Majesty, whereon to erect the 
necessary stages and buildings, and to cure and dry their 

Friday, JVovember 2^th. — Met Mr Fitzherbert, Mr Os- 
wald, Dr Franklin, Mr Jay, Mr Laurens, and Mr Stra- 
chey, at Mr Jay's, Hotel tV Orleans, and spent the whole 
day, in discussions about the fishery and the tories. I 
proposed a new article concerning the fishery, it was dis- 
cussed and turned in every light, and multitudes of amend- 
ments proposed on each side, and, at last, the article 
drawn as it was finally agreed to. The other English 
gentlemen being withdrawn upon some occasion, I asked 
Mr Oswald, if he could not consent to leave out the limi- 
tation of three leagues from all their shores, and the fifteen 
from those of Louisbourg. 

He said, in his own opinion, he was for it ; but his in- 
structions were such that he could not do it. I perceived 
by this, and by several incidents and little circumstances 
before, which I had remarked to my colleagues, who were 
much of the same opinion, that Mr Oswald had an in- 
struction, not to settle the articles of the fishery and refu- 
gees, without the concurrence of Mr Fitzherbert and Mr 

Upon the return of the other gentlemen, Mr Strachey 
proposed to leave out the word right of fishing, and make 
it liberty. Mr Fitzherbert said the word right was an ob- 
noxious expression. Upon this, I rose up and said, gen- 
tlemen, is there, or can there be, a clearer right ? In former 


treaties, that of Utrecht, and that of Paris, France and 
England have claimed the right, and used the word. 
When God Almighty made the Banks of Newfoundland at 
three hundred leagues distance from the people of Amer- 
ica, and at six hundred leagues distance from those of 
France and England, did he not give as good a right to 
the former as to the latter ? If Heaven in the creation gave 
a right, it is ours at least as much as yours. If occupation, 
use, and possession give a right, we have it as clearly as 
you. If war, and blood, and treasure give a right, ours is 
as good as yours. 

We have constantly been fighting in Canada, Cape 
Breton, and Nova Scotia, for the defence of this fishery, 
and have expended beyond all proportion more than you ; 
if then the right cannot be denied, why should it not be 
acknowledged, and put out of dispute ? Why should we 
leave room for illiterate fishermen to wrangle and chicane ? 

Mr Fitzherbert said, the argument is in your favor. 
I must confess your reasons appear to be good ; but Os- 
wald's instructions were such, that he did not see how he 
could agree with us ; "and, for ray part, I have not the 
honor and felicity to be a man of that weight and authority 
in my country, that you, gentlemen, are in yours ; (this 
was very genteely said) I have the accidental advantage of 
a little favor with the present Minister, but I cannot depend 
upon the influence of my own opinion, to reconcile a mea- 
sure to my countrymen. We can consider ourselves as 
little more than pens in the hands of government at home, 
and Mr Oswald's instructions are so particular." 

I replied to this ; "the time is not so pressing upon us, 
but that we can wait until a courier goes to London with 
your representations upon this subject, and others that 

494 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

remain between us, and I think the Ministers must be con- 

JNIr Fitzherbert said, "to send again to London, and 
have all laid loose before Parliament, was so uncertain a 
measure, it was going to sea again." 

Upon this, Dr Franklin said, that "if another messen- 
ger was to be sent to London, he ought to carry some- 
thing more respecting a compensation to the sufferers in 

He produced a paper from his pocket, in which he had 
drawn up a claim, and he said the first principle of the 
treaty was equality and reciprocity. Now they demanded 
of us payment of debts, and restitution, or compensation 
to the refugees. If a draper had sold a piece of cloth to 
a man upon credit, and then sent a servant to take it from 
him by force, and afterwards should bring his action for 
the debt, would any court of law or equity give him his 
demand, without obliging him to restore the cloth ? Then 
he stated the carrying off of goods from Boston, Philadel- 
phia, and the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, &;c., and the 
burning of the towns, &;c. and desired, that this might be 
sent with the rest. 

Upon this, I recounted the history of General Gage's 
agreement with the inhabitants of Boston, that they should 
remove with their effects, upon condition, that they would 
surrender their arms ; but as soon' as the arms were 
secured, the goods were forbid to be carried out, and were 
finally carried off in large quantities to Halifax. Dr 
Franklin mentioned the case of Philadelphia, and the car- 
rying off of effects tb.ere, even his own library. Mr Jay 
mentioned several other things, and Mr Laurens added the 
plunders in Carolina, of negroes, plate, &ic. 


After hearing all this, Mr Fitzherbert, Mr Oswald, and 
Mr Strachey retired for some time, and returning, Mr 
Fitzherbert said, that upon consulting together, and weigh- 
ing everything as maturely as possible, Mr Strachey and 
himself had determined to advise Mr Oswald to strike 
with us, according to the terms we had proposed as our 
ultimatum, respecting the fishery and the loyalists. Ac- 
cordingly, we all sat down, and read over the whole treaty, 
and corrected it, and agreed to meet tomorrow, at Mr 
Oswald's house, to sign and seal the treaties, which the 
Secretaries were to copy fair in the mean time. 

I forgot to mention, that when we were upon the fish- 
ery, and jMr Strachey and Mr Fitzherbert were urging us 
to leave out the word right, and substitute the word lib- 
erty, I told them at last, in answer to their proposal to 
agree upon all other articles, and leave that of the fish- 
ery to be adjusted at the Definitive Treaty, that I could 
never put my hand to any articles, without satisfaction 
about the fishery ; that Congress had three or four years 
ago, when they did me the honor to give me a commis- 
sion to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, 
given me a positive instruction not to make any such 
treaty, without an article in the Treaty of Peace, acknow- 
ledging our right to the fishery ; that I was happy Mr 
Laurens was now present, who, I believed, was in Con- 
gress at the time, and must remember it. ]\Ir Laurens, 
upon this, said with great firmness, that he was in the same 
case, and could never give his voice for any articles with- 
out this. Mr Jay spoke up, and said, it could not be a 
peace, it would only be an insidious truce without it. 

Saturday, JVovemher 30ih. St Jlndrews' Day. — We 
met first at JMr Jay's, then at Mr Oswald's, examined and 

496 " JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

compared the treaties. Mr Strachey had left out the lim- 
itation of time, the twelve months, that the refugees were 
allowed to reside in America, in order to recover their 
estates, if they could. Dr F/anklin said this was a sur- 
prise upon us. Mr Jay said so too. We never had con- 
sented to leave it out, and they insisted upon putting it in, 
which was done. 

Mr Laurens said, there ought to be a stipulation, that 
the British troops should carry off no negroes, or other 
American property. We all agreed. Mr Oswald con- 

Then the treaties were signed, sealed, and delivered, 
and we all went out to Passy to dine with Dr Franklin. 
Thus far has proceeded this great affair. The unravelling 
of the plot has been to me the most affecting and aston- 
ishing part of the whole piece. 

As soon as I arrived in Paris, I waited on Mr Jay, and 
learned from him the rise and progress of the negotiations. 
Nothing, that has happened since the beginning of the 
controversy in 1761, has ever struck me more forcibly, or 
affected me more intimately, than that entire coincidence 
of principles and opinions between him and me. In about 
three days I went out to Passy, and spent the evening with 
Dr Franklin, and entered largely into conversation with 
him upon the course and present state of our foreign 
affairs. 1 told him, without reserve, my opinion of the 
policy of this Court, an'd of the principles, wisdom, and 
firmness, with which IMr Jay had conducted the negotia- 
tion in his sickness and my absence, and that I was de- 
termined to support Mr Jay to the utmost of my power in 
the pursuit of the same system. The Doctor heard me 
patiently, but said nothing. 


The first conference we had afterwards with Mr Os- 
wald, in considering one point and another, Dr Franklin 
turned to Mr Jay, and said, I am of your opinion, and will 
go on with these gentlemen in the business, without con- 
sulting this Court. He accordingly met with us in most of 
our conferences, and has gone with us, in entire harmony 
and unanimity throughout, and has been able and use- 
ful, both by his sagacity and his reputation in the whole 

I was very happy, that Mr Laurens came in, although 
it was the last day of the conferences, and wish he could 
have been sooner. His apprehension, notwithstanding his 
deplorable affliction under the recent loss of so excellent a 
son, is as quick, his judgment as sound, and his heart as 
firm as ever. He had an opportunity of examining the 
whole, and judging and approving, and the article, which 
he caused to be inserted at the very last, that no property 
should be carried ofF, which would most probably in the 
multiplicity and hurry of affairs have escaped us, was 
worth a longer journey, if that had been all. But his 
name and weight is added, which is of much greater con- 
sequence. These miserable minutes may help me to 
recollect, but I have not found time, amidst the hurry of 
business and crowd of visits, to make a detail. 

I should have before noted, that at our first conference 
about the fishery, 1 related the facts,, as well as I under- 
stood them ; but knowing nothing myself, but as a hearsay 
witness, I found it had not the weight of occular testi- 
mony ; to supply which defect, 1 asked Dr Franklin, if 

* For some account of the part taken by Dr Franklin, in regard to 
the Treaty, before the arrival of Mr Jay and Mr Adams in Paris, see 
the North American Review, for January, 1830, No. 66, p. 15. 
VOL. VI. 63 

498 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

Mr Williams of Nantes could not give us light. He said 
Mr Williams was on the road to Paris, and as soon as he 
arrived he would ask him. In a few days, Mr Williams 
called on me, and said Dr Franklin had, as I desired him, 
inquired of him about the fishery, but he was not able to 
speak particularly upon that subject ; but there was at 
Nantes a gentleman of ]Marblehead, Mr Samuel White, 
son-in-law to Mr Hooper, who was master of the subject, 
and to him he would write. 

Mr Jeremiah Allen, a merchant of Boston, called on me 
about the same time. I inquired of him. He was able 
only to give such a hearsay account as I could give my- 
self. But 1 desired him to write to Mr White, at Nantes, 
which he undertook to do, and did. Mr White answered 
Mr Allen's letter by referring him to his answer to Mr 
Williams, which Mr Williams received and delivered to 
Dr Franklin, who communicated it to us, and it contained 
a good account. 

I desired Mr Thaxter to write to Messrs Ingraham and 
Bromfield, and Mr Storer to write to Captain Coffin at 
Amsterdam. They delivered me the answers, both con- 
tained information, but Coffin's was the most particular, 
and of the most importance, as he spoke as a witness. 
We made the best use of these letters with the English 
gentlemen, and they appeared to have a good deal of 
weight with them. 

From first to last, I ever insisted upon it with the Eng- 
lish gentlemen, that the fisheries and the Mississippi, if 
America was not satisfied in those points, would be the 
sure and certain sources of a future war, showed them the 
indispensable necessity of both to our affairs, and that no 
treaty we could make, which should be unsatisfactory to 


our people upon those points, could be observed ; that the 
population near the Mississippi would be so rapid, and the 
necessities of the people for its navigation so pressing, that 
nothing could restrain them from going down, and if the 
force of arms should be necessary, it would not be want- 
ing; that the fishery entered into our distilleries, our 
coasting trade, our trade widi the Southern States, with 
the West India Islands, with the coast of Africa, and with 
every part of Europe in such a manner, and especially 
with England, that it could not be taken from us, or 
granted us stingily, without tearing and rending ; that the 
other States had staples, we had none but fish, no other 
means of remittances to London, or paying those very 
debts they had insisted upon so seriously ; that if we were 
forced off, at three leagues distance, we should smuggle 
eternally, that their men-of-war might have the glory of 
sinking, now and then, a fishing schooner, but this Vvould 
not prevent a repetition of the crime, it would only inflame, 
and irritate, and enkindle a new war, that in seven years 
we should break through all restraints, and conquer from 
them the island of Newfoundland itself, and Nova Scotia 

]Mr Fitzherbert always smiled, and said it was very ex- 
traordinary that the British IMinistry and we should see it 
in so different a light. That they meant the restriction, in 
order to prevent disputes, and kill the seeds of war, and 
we should think it so certain a source of disputes, and so 
strong a seed of war ; but that our reasons were such, that 
he thought the probability on our side. 

I have not time to minute the conversation about the 
sea-cow fishery, the whale fishery, the Magdalen Islands, 
the Labrador coasts, and the coasts of Nova Scotia. It is 



sufficient to say, they were explained to the utmost of our 
knowledge, and finally conceded. 

I should have noted before, the various deliberations 
between the English gentlemen and us, relative to the 
words, "indefinite and exclusive right," which the Count 
de Vergennes and M. Gerard had the precaution to insert 
in our treaty with France. I observed often to the Eng- 
lish gentlemen, that, aiming at excluding us from fishing 
upon the north side of Newfoundland, it was natural for 
them to wish that the English would exclude us from the 
south side. This would be making both alike, and take 
away an odious distinction. French statesmen must see 
the tendency of our fishermen being treated kindly and 
hospitably, like friends, by the English on their side of the 
Island, and unkindly, inhospitably, and like enemies, on the 
French. I added, further, that it was my opinion, neither 
our treaty with the French, nor any treaty or clause to the 
same purpose, which the English could make, would be 
punctually observed. Fishermen, both from England and 
America, would smuggle, especially the Americans, in the 
early part of the spring, before the Europeans could ar- 
rive. This, therefore, must be connived at by the French, 
or odious measures must be recurred to by them or us to 
suppress it, and, in either case, it was easy to see what 
would be the efTect upon the American mind. They, no 
doubt, therefore, wished the English to put themselves 
upon as odious a footing at least as they had done. 

Dr Franklin said, that there was great weight in this ob- 
servation, and the Englishmen showed plainly enough that 
they felt it. 

I have not attempted, in these notes, to do justice to the 
arguments of my colleagues ; all of whom were throughout 


the whole business, when they attended, very attentive and 
very able, especially Mr Jay, to whom the French, if they 
knew as much of his negotiations as they do of mine, 
would very justly give the title, with which they have in- 
considerately decorated me, that of "Le Washington de la 
negotiation,''^ a very flattering compliment indeed, to which 
I have not a right ; but sincerely think it belongs to Mr 

Tuesday, December 2d. — Visited M. Brantzen, Hotel 
de la Chine. M. Brantzen asked me, how we went on ? 
I told him we had come to a full stop, by signing and seal- 
ing the preliminaries the 30th of November. I told him, 
that we had been very industrious, having been at it fore- 
noon, afternoon, and evening, ever since my arrival, either 
with one another, or with the English gendemen. He 
asked if it was definitive and separate? I said by no 
means. They were only articles to be inserted in the de- 
finitive treaty. He asked, if there was to be any truce or 
armistice in the mean time ? I said again, by no means. 

He then said, that he believed France and England had 
agreed too ; that the Count de Vergennes' son was gone 
to England with M. de Rayneval; but he believed the 
Spaniards had not yet agreed, and the Dutch were yet a 
great way off, and had agreed upon nothing. They had 
had several conferences. At the first, he had informed 
Mr Fitzherbert, that their High Mightinesses insisted upon 
the freedom of navigation as a preliminary and a sine qua 
non. Mr Fitzherbert had communicated this to his Court, 
but the answer received was, that his Court did not ap- 
prove of conceding this as a sine qua non, but chose to 
have all the demands of their High Mightinesses stated 
together. M. Brantzen answered, that his instructions 

502 ^otm ADAMS. [Journal. 

were, nob to enter into any conferences upon other points, 
until this was agreed. That it was the intention of the 
British Court to agree to this. That he could not con- 
sider any changes in the Ministry as making any altera- 
tion. They were all Ministers of the same King, and ser- 
vants of the same nation. That Mr Fox, when he was 
Secretary of State, by his letter to the Russian Minister, 
had declared the intention of the King to consent to the 
freedom of navigation, &c. 

M. Brantzen said, however, that he had in his private ca- 
pacity and without compromising his ministerial character, 
entered into explanations with Mr Fitzherbert, and had told 
him that he should insist upon three points, the freedom of 
navigation, tlie restitution of territories in the East and 
West Indies, and compensation for damages. The two 
first points could not be disputed, and the third ought not be ; 
for the war against them had been unjust, the pretences for 
it were groundless, their accession to the armed neutrality 
must now be admitted, even by Britain's accession to it, to 
have been an illegitimate cause of war, and the object of a 
treaty with America could not be seriously pretended to 
be a just cause of war; and many members of Parliament 
had in the time of it declared the war unjust, and some of 
those members were now Ministers ; even the prime Minis- 
ter, my Lord Shelburne himself, had freely declared the 
war unjust in the House of Peers ; and if the war was un- 
just, the damages and injustice ought to be repaired. 

Mr Fitzherbert said, that there was no precedent of 
compensation for damages in a treaty of peace. INI. Brant- 
zen begged his pardon, and thought there had been instan- 
ces. One example in particular, which the English them- 
selves had set against the Dutch, which just then came into 


bis bead. Cromwell bad demanded compensation of tbem, 
and they bad agreed, as. now appears by the treaty, to pay 
a bundred thousand pounds sterling as a compensation. 

JNI. Brantzen was not furnished with a full account of all 
the losses of individuals, and therefore could not precisely 
say what the amount would be. That perhaps they might 
not insist upon prompt payment, nor upon a stated sum, but 
might leave both the sum and tiihe of payment to be ascer- 
tained by commissioners at their leisure after the peace. 

I observed to him, that we intended to write to Mr 
Dana, and send him a copy of our preliminaries, that be 
might commence his negotiations with the neutral powers, 
and if be succeeded we could then make common cause 
with Holland, and insist on an article to secure the freedom 
of navigation. This idea be received with great pleasure, 
and said he would write about it to the States. Upon this 
I asked him, with whom he and the other Dutch Ministers 
abroad, held their correspondence? He answered, that the 
Secretary Fagel was properly speaking the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs. That their principal correspondence was 
with him ; but that they had a correspondence with the 
Grand Pensionary Bleiswick too. That the letters receiv- 
ed by the Secretary were laid before the Besogne Secrete, 
or Committee of Secresy. This committee consisted of so 
many members, one at least for each Province, that it was 
very difficult to keep anything secret. Foreign Ministers 
were very inquisitive, and the Due de la Vauguyon would 
be likely to get at it. So that if they bad any to write, 
which they wished secret, they wrote it to the Grand 
Pensionary, who is not obliged to lay before the States 
letters entire. He selects such parts as be judges proper, 
and prints them, to be taken ad referendum, and laid be- 

504 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

fore the Regencies of the cities. That they had sometimes 
a httle diffidence of this Court (quelque mefiance), for this 
Court was very fine [diablement fine), and when this hap- 
pened, they wrote to the Grand Pensionary, that it might 
not be communicated to the French Minister, and conse- 
quently to his Court. "These people are vastly profound. 
They will not favor the Spaniards in obtaining the Floridas. 
They will play England against Spain, and Spain against 
England. England against you, and you against England, 
and all of you against us, and us against all of you, accord- 
ing to their own schemes and interests. They are closely 
buttoned up about Gibraltar, and as to Jamaica, they 
will not favor Spain in that view. I expect they will get 
their own affairs arranged, and then advise England to agree 
to the freedom of navigation and a restitution of territory, 
and then advise us to be very easy about compensation." 
Thus M. Brantzen. 

I next visited Mr Jay, to talk about writing to Mr Dana, 
and communicating to the neutral powers the preliminary 
articles. Mr Jay says, that Mr Oswald is very anxious 
that his Court should do that, and he has been writing to 
the ministry to persuade them to it. Had a long conver- 
sation with Mr Jay about the manner of settling the western 
lands. This 1 cannot now detail. 

Went next to Mr Laurens, upon the subject of writing to 
Mr Dana, and found him full in my sentiments, and at my 
return found answers from Dr Franklin and Mr Laurens 
to the letters 1 wrote them, both agreeing that this is the 
critical moment for BIr Dana to commence his negotia- 
tions. Doctor Franklin promises to have an authentic 
copy made to send to Mr Dana. 

In the evening many gentlemen came in, among the rest 


Mr Bourse, the agent of the Dutch East India company, 
who expressed a good deal of anxiety about their negotia- 
tions, and feared they should not have justice in the East 

Wednesday, December Ath. — It is proper that I should 
note here, that in the beginning of the year 1780, soon 
after my arrival at Paris, Mr Galloway's pamphlets fell into 
my hands. I wrote a long series of letters to a friend, in 
answer to them. That friend sent them to England, but 
the printers dared not publish them. They remained there 
until last summer, when they were begun to be printed, 
and are continued to this day, (not being yet quite fin- 
ished,) in Parker's General Advertiser, but with false dates, 
being dated in the months of January and February last, 
under the tide of "Letters from a distinguished American." 
They appear to have been well received, and to have con- 
tributed somewhat to unite the nation in accelerating the 
acknowledgment of American independence, and to con- 
vince the nation of the necessity of respecting our alli- 
ances, and making peace. 

I hope it will be permitted to me, or to some other who 
can do it better, some ten or fifteen years hence, to collect 
together in one view, my little negotiations in Europe. 
Fifty years hence it may be published, perhaps twenty. I 
will venture to say, however feebly I may have acted my 
part, or whatever mistakes I may have committed, yet the 
situations I have been in, between angry nations and more 
angry factions, have been some of the most singular and 
interesting, that ever happened to any man. The fury of 
enemies, as well as of elements, the subdety and arrogance 
of allies, and, what has been worse than all, the jealousy, 
envy, and little pranks of friends and copatriots, would form 
voii. VI. 64 

50G JOHN ADAMS. - [Journal. 

one of the most instructive lessons in morals and politics, 
that ever was committed to paper. 

Monday, December 9th. — Visited Mr Jay. ]\Ir Oswald 
came in. We slided from one thing to another, into a 
very lively conversation upon politics. He asked me what 
the conduct of his Court and nation ought to be in relation 
to America. I answered, the alpha and omega of British 
policy towards America was summed up in this one 
maxim, see that American independence is independent, — 
independent of all the world, — independent of yourselves, 
as well as of France, — and independent of both, as well 
as the rest of Europe. Depend upon it, you have no 
chance for salvation, but by setting up America very high ; 
take care to remove from the American mind all cause of 
fear of you ; no other motive but fear of you will ever 
produce in the Americans any unreasonable attachment to 
the House of Bourbon. "Is it possible," says he, "that 
the people of America should be afraid of us, or hate us ?" 
"One would think, Mr Oswald," said I, "that you had 
been out of the world for these twenty years past ; yes, 
there are three millions of people in America, who hate 
and dread you more than anything in the world." "What," 
said he, "now we have come to our senses?" "Your 
change of system is not yet known in America," said I. 
"Well," said he, "what shall we do to remove those fears 
and jealousies ?" "In one word," said I, "favor and pro- 
mote the interest, reputation, and dignity of the United 
States, in everything that is consistent with your own. If 
you pursue the plan of cramping, clipping, and weakening 
America, on the supposition, that she will be a rival to 
you, you will make her really so ; you will make her the 
natural and perpetual ally of your natural and perpetual 


enemies." "But in what instance," said he, "have we 
discovered such a disposition ?" "In the three leagues 
from your shores, and the fifteen leagues from Cape 
Breton," said I, "to which your Ministry insisted so earn- 
estly to exclude our fishermen. Here was a point, that 
would have done us great harm, and you no good ; on the 
contrary, harm ; so that you would have hurt yourselves to 
hurt us ; this disposition must be guarded against." "I 
am fully of your mind, about that," said he, "but what else 
can we do ?" "Send a Minister to Congress," said I, "at 
the peace, a clever fellow, who understands himself, and 
will neither set us bad examples, nor intermeddle in our 
parties. This will show, that you are consistent with 
yourselves ; that you are sincere in your acknowledgment 
of American independence ; and that you do not enter- 
tain hopes and designs of overturning it. Such a Minis- 
ter will dissipate many fears, and will be of more service 
to the least obnoxious refugees, than any other measure 
could be. Let the King send a Minister to Congress, and 
receive one from that body. This will be acting consist- 
ently, and with dignity, in the face of the universe." 
"Well, what else shall we do?" said he. "I have more 
than once already," said I, "advised you- to put your Min- 
isters upon negotiating the acknowledgment of our inde- 
pendence by the neutral powers." "True," said he, "and 
I have written about it, and in my answers," said he, 
Jaughing, "I am charged with speculation ; but 1 do not 
care, I will write them my sentiments. I will not take 
any of their money. I have- spent already twelve or thir- 
teen hundred pounds, and all the reward I will have for it 
shall be the pleasure of writing as I think. My opinion 
is, that our Court should sign the armed neutrality, and 

508 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

announce to thero what they have done with you, and ne- 
gotiate to have you admitted to sign too. But I want to 
write more fully on the subject, I want you to give me 
your thoughts upon it, for I do not understand it so fully 
as I wish. What motives can be thrown out to the Em- 
press of Russia ? Or what motives can she be supposed 
to have to acknowledge your independence ? And what 
motives can our Court have to interfere, or intercede with 
the neutral powers, to receive you into their confedera- 
tion .?" 

"I will answer all these questions," said I, "to the best 
of my knowledge, and with the utmost candor. In the 
first place, there has been, with very litde interruption, a 
jealousy between the Court of Petersburg and Versailles 
for many years. France is the old friend and ally of the 
Sublime Porte, the natural enemy of Russia. France, not 
long since, negotiated a peace between Russia and the 
Turks ; but upon the Empress' late offers of mediation, 
and especially her endeavors to negotiate Holland out of 
the war, France appears to have been piqued, and, as the 
last revolution in the Crimea happened soon after, there is 
reason to suspect that French emissaries excited the re- 
volt against the new independent government, which the 
Empress had taken so much pains to establish. Poland 
has been long a scene of competition between Russian and 
French politics, both parties having spent great sums in 
pensions to partisans, until they have laid all virtue and 
public spirit prostrate in that country. Sweden is another 
region of rivalry between France and Russia, where both 
parlies spent such sums in pensions, as to destroy the prin- 
ciples of liberty, and prepare the way for that revolution, 
which France favored from a principle of economy, rather 


than any other. These hints are sufficient to show the 
opposition of views and interests between France and Rus- 
sia, and we see the consequence of it, that England has 
more influence at Petersburg than France. The Em- 
press, therefore, would have two motives, one, to oblige 
England, if they should intercede for an acknowledgment 
of American independence, and another, to render Amer- 
ica less dependent upon France. The Empress, more- 
over, loves reputation, and it would be no small addition to 
her glory to undertake a negotiation with all the neutral 
Courts, to induce them to admit America into their con- 
federacy. The Empress might be further tempted ; she 
was bent upon extending her commerce, and the com- 
merce of America, if it were only in duck and hemp, 
would be no small object to her. As to the motives of 
your Court, Princes often think themselves warranted, il 
not bound, to fight for their glory ; surely they may lawfully 
negotiate for reputation. If the neutral powers should ac- 
knowledge our independence now, France will have the 
reputation, very unjustly, of having negotiated it ; but if 
your Court now takes a decided part in favor of it, your 
Court will have the glory of it, in Europe and in America, 
and this will have a good effect upon American gratitude." 
"But," said he, "this would be negotiating for the honor 
and interest of France, for no doubt France wishes all the 
world to acknowledge your independence." "Give me 
leave to tell you. Sir," said I, "you are mistaken. If I 
have not been mistaken in the policy of France, from my 
first observation of it to this hour, they have been as averse 
to other powers acknowledging our independence as you 
have been." Mr Jay joined me in the same declaration. 
"I understand it now," said he ; "there is a gentleman 

510 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

going to London this day, I will go home and write upon 
the subject by him." 

Tuesday, December \Qth. — Visited Mr Oswald, to in- 
quire the news from England. He had the Courier de 
VEurope, in which is Mr Secretary Townshend's letter to 
the Lord Mayor of London, dated the 3d instant, in which 
he announces the signature of the preliminaries, on the 30th 
of November, between the Commissioners of his Majesty, 
and the Commissioners of the United States of America. 
He had also the King's speech, announcing the same thing. 

Mr Oswald said, that France would not separate her 
affiirs from Spain ; that he had hoped that America would 
iiave assisted them somewhat, in compromising affairs with 
France ; and Dr Franklin, who was present, said he did 
not know anything of the other negotiations. He said that 
neither Mr Fitzherbert, nor the Count de Vergennes, nor 
the Count d'Aranda, communicated anything to him, that 
he understood the Dutch were farthest from an agreement. 
Upon this, I said, "Mr Oswald, Mr Fitzherbert cannot, 
I think, have any difficulty to agree with M. Brantzen. 
There are three points, viz. the liberty of navigation ; res- 
titution of possessions ; and compensation for damages. 
The liberty of navigation, I suppose, is the point that sticks. 
But why should it stick ? When all nations are agreed 
in the principle, why should England stand out ? England 
must agree to it, she has already in effect agreed to it ; as 
it affects all nations but Holland and America, and, if she 
were disposed, she could not prevent them from having 
the benefit." Upon this, Dr Franklin said, "the Dutch 
would be able in any future war, to carry on their com- 
merce, even of naval stoi'es, in the bottoms of other neutral 
powers." "Yes," said Mr Oswald, "and I am of opinion. 


that England ought to subscribe the armed neutrality." 
"Very well," said I, "then let IMr Fitzherbert agree to this 
point with M. Brantzen, and let Mr Harris, at Petersburg, 
take Mr Dana in his hand, and go to the Prince Potemkin, 
or the Count d'Ostermann, and say, the king, my master, 
has authorised me to subscribe the principles of the armed 
neutrality, and instructed me to introduce to you, IVIr 
Dana, Minister from the United States of America, to do 
the same. Let him subscribe his name under mine." 

At this, they all laughed very heartily. Mr Oswald, 
however, recollecting himself, and the conversation be- 
tween him and me, yesterday, on the same subject, very 
gravely turned it off, by saying, "he did not see a neces- 
sity to be in a hurry about that, America was well enough." 
I said, "as to restitution of the Dutch territories, I suppose 
your Court will not make much difficulty about that, if this 
Court does not, as it is not probable they will, and as to 
compensation for damages, the Dutch will probably be as 
easy as they can about that." 

Dr Franklin said, he was for beginning early to think 
about the articles of the definitive treaty. We had been so 
happy as to be the first in the preliminaries, and he wished 
to be so in the definitive articles. Thus we parted. 

Thursday, December I2th. — Met at Mr Laurens', and 
signed the letter I had drawn up to Mr Dana, which I sent 
off, enclosed with a copy of the preliminaries, and con- 
sulted about articles to be inserted in the definitive treaty. 
Agreed that Mr Jay and 1 should prepare a joint letter to 
Congress. At seven o'clock, I met Mr Jay at his house, 
and we drew up a letter. 

Friday, December i3th. — I went first to Mr Jay, and 
made some addition to the joint letter, which I carried first 

512 JOHN ADAMS. [Journal. 

to Mr Laurens, who made some corrections and additions, 
and then to Passy, to Dr Franklin, who proposed a few 
other corrections, and showed me an article he had drawn 
up for the definitive treaty, to exempt fishermen, husband- 
men, and merchants, as much as possible, from the evils 
of future wars. This is a good lesson to mankind, at least. 
All agreed to meet at my house, at eleven o'clock tomor- 
row, to finish the joint letter. 


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