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Title: A Collection of State-Papers, Relative to the First Acknowledgment of the Sovereignty of the United States of America
Author: Adams, John, 1735-1826 [Compiler]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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A

COLLECTION

OF

STATE-PAPERS.

[Price Two Shillings.]



A

COLLECTION

OF

STATE-PAPERS,

Relative to the First Acknowledgment of the

SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

And the Reception of their

Minister Plenipotentiary, by their High Mightinesses the

STATES GENERAL OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS

To which is prefixed, the Political Character of

JOHN ADAMS,

Ambassador Plenipotentiary from the States of North America, to their
High Mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces of the
Netherlands.

BY AN AMERICAN.

LIKEWISE,

AN ESSAY ON CANON AND FEUDAL LAW,

BY JOHN ADAMS, ESQ;

LONDON:

Printed for JOHN FIELDING, No. 23, Pater-noster-row; JOHN DEBRETT,
opposite Burlington-House, Piccadilly; and JOHN SEWELL, No. 32,
Cornhill. 1782.

[Entered at Stationers-Hall.]



INTRODUCTION


As the States General of the United Provinces have acknowledged the
independency of the United States of North America, and made a treaty of
commerce with them, it may not be improper to prefix a short account of
John Adams, Esq; who, pursuing the interests of his country, hath
brought about these important events.

Mr. Adams is descended from one of the first families which founded the
colony of the Massachusets Bay in 1630. He applied himself early to the
study of the laws of his country; and no sooner entered upon the
practice thereof, but he drew the attention, admiration, and esteem of
his countrymen, on account of his eminent abilities and probity of
character. Not satisfied with barely maintaining the rights of
individuals, he soon signalized himself in the defence of his country,
and mankind at large, by writing his admirable Dissertation on the Canon
and Feudal Laws; a work so well worth the attention of every man who is
an enemy to ecclesiastical and civil tyranny, that it is here subjoined.
It showed the author at an early period capable of seconding
efficaciously the formation of republics on the principles of justice
and virtue. Such a man became most naturally an object of Governor
Barnard's seduction. The perversion of his abilities might be of use in
a bad cause; the corruption of his principles might tarnish the best.
But the arts of the Governor, which had succeeded with so many, were
ineffectual with Mr. Adams, who openly declared he would not accept a
favour, however flatteringly offered, which might in any manner connect
him with the enemy of the rights of his country, or tend to embarrass
him, as it had happened with too many others, in the discharge of his
duty to the public. Seduction thus failing of its ends, calumny,
menaces, and the height of power were made use of against him. They lost
the effect proposed, but had that, which the show of baseness and
violence ever produce on a mind truly virtuous. They increased his
honest firmness, because they manifested, that the times required more
than ordinary exertions of manliness. In consequence of this conduct,
Mr. Adams obtained the highest honours which a virtuous man can receive
from the good and the bad. He was honoured with the disapprobation of
the Governor, who refused his admission into the council of the
province; and he met with the applause of his countrymen in general, who
sent him to assist at the Congress in 1774, in which he was most active,
being one of the principal promoters of the famous resolution of the 4th
of July, when the colonies declared themselves FREE AND INDEPENDENT
STATES.

This step being taken, Mr. Adams saw the inefficacy of meeting the
English Commissioners, and voted against the proposition; Congress,
however, having determined to pursue this measure, sent him, together
with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Rutledge, to General Howe's head quarters.
These Deputies, leading with them, in a manly way, the hostages which
the general had given for their security, marched to the place of
conference, in the midst of twenty thousand men ranged under arms.
Whether this military shew was meant to do honour to the Americans, or
to give them an high idea of the English force, is not worth enquiry. If
its object was to terrify the Deputies of Congress, it failed; making no
more impression on them, than the sudden discovery of elephants did upon
certain embassadors of old. The utmost politeness having passed on both
sides, the conference ended, as had been foreseen, without any effect.

Mr. Adams having been fifteen months one of the Commissioners of the War
department, and a principal suggestor of the terms to be offered to
France, for forming treaties of alliance and commerce, he was sent to
the court of Versailles, as one of the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the
United States. After continuing some time invested with this important
trust, he returned to America; where he no sooner appeared, than he was
called upon by the State of Massachusets Bay, to assist in forming a
system of government, that might establish the rights of all on clear,
just, and permanent grounds. He was never employed in a business more
agreeable to himself; for, the happiness of his Fellow-Citizens is his
great object. He sought not honour in this arduous undertaking, but it
fell ultimately upon _Him_. He has gained it all over Europe. If he
endeavoured to obtain by it the esteem and love of his countrymen, he
has succeeded; for they know they are chiefly indebted to him for the
constitution of the State of Massachusets Bay, as it stands at this day.

This important business being completed to the satisfaction of all, he
came back to Europe, with full powers from Congress to assist at any
conferences which might be opened for the establishment of peace; and
had sent him, soon after, other powers to negociate a loan of money for
the use of the United States; and to represent them, as their Minister
Plenipotentiary, to their High Mightinesses the States General of the
United Provinces. Such important trusts shew, in what estimation he is
held by his country; and his manner of executing them, that confidence
is well placed.

On his arrival in Holland, nothing could have been more unpromising to
the happy execution of his mission, than were the affairs of that
country. The influence of the Court of St. James's over a certain set of
men, the interest that many had in the funds and commerce of England,
and the dread of her power, which generally prevailed throughout the
Provinces, obliged him to act with the utmost circumspection. Unknown,
and at first unnoticed, (at least but by a few) he had nothing to do but
to examine into the state of things, and characters of the leading men.
This necessary knowledge was scarcely acquired, when the conduct of the
British Ministry afforded him an opportunity of shewing himself more
openly. The contempt, insult and violence, with which the whole Belgic
nation was treated, gave him great advantages over the English
Embassador at the Hague. He served himself of his rivals rashness and
folly with great coolness and ability; and, by consequence, became so
particularly obnoxious to the prevailing party, that he did not dare to
go to a village scarcely a day's journey from his residence, but with
the utmost secrecy: the fate of Dorislaus was before his eyes. Having
been therefore under the necessity of making himself a Burgher of
Amsterdam, for protection against the malice of the times, he soon
gained the good opinion of the Magistrates by his prudent conduct as a
private Citizen. The bad policy of England, enabled him to step forward
as a public character. As such he presented to the States General his
famous Memorial, dated the 19th of April, 1781, wherein the declaration
of the independency of America on the 4th of July, 1776, was justified;
the unalterable resolution of the United States to abide thereby
asserted; the interest that all the powers of Europe, and particularly
the States General, have in maintaining it, proved; the political and
natural grounds of a commercial connection between the two Republics
pointed out; and information given that the Memorialist was invested
with full powers from Congress to treat with their High Mightinesses for
the good of both countries.

The presenting this Memorial was a delicate step; Mr. Adams was
sensible, that he alone was answerable for its consequences, it being
taken not merely from his own single suggestion, but contrary to the
opinion and advice of some of great weight and authority. However,
maturely considering the measure, he saw it in all its lights, and
boldly ventured on the undertaking. The full and immediate effect of it
was not expected at once. The first object was, that the nation should
consider the matter thoroughly; it being evident, that the more it was
ruminated on, the more obvious would be the advantages and necessity of
a connection between the two countries. When, therefore, the Memorial
was taken by the States General _ad referendum_, the first point was
gained; the people thought of, and reasoned on the matter set before
them; many excellent writings appeared, and they made the greatest
impression; a weekly paper in particular, entitled Le Politique
Hollandois, drew the attention of all, on account of its information,
the soundness of its argument, and its political judgment and
patriotism. At length the time came when the work was to be compleated:
the generality of the people of Holland, seeing the necessity of opening
a new course to their trade, which the violent aggression of England,
and the commercial spirit of other nations tended to diminish, demanded
an immediate connection with the United States of America, as a means of
indemnifying themselves for the loss which a declared enemy had brought
on them, and the rivalship of neighbouring nations might produce.

Mr. Adams seized the occasion which the public disposition afforded him,
and presented his Ulteriour Address of the 9th of January, 1782;
referring therein to his Memorial of the 19th of April, 1781, and
demanding a categorical answer thereto. The Towns, Cities, Quarters, and
States of the several Provinces took the whole matter into immediate
deliberation, and instructed their several Deputies, in the States
General, to concur in the admission of Mr. Adams in quality of Minister
Plenipotentiary of the United States of North America. This was done by
a resolution, passed by their High Mightinesses the 19th of April, 1782;
and on the 22d of the same month, Mr. Adams was admitted accordingly,
with all the usual ceremonies.

This event seems to have been as great a blow as any that has been given
to the pride and interests of England during the war. It shewed the
Dutch were no longer over-awed by the power of their enemy, for they
dared to brave him to his teeth. It set an example to other nations, to
partake of the commerce of those countries, which England had lost by
her inconsiderate conduct. It confounded at once the English partisans
in Holland, and proved that Sir Joseph Yorke was not the great minister
he had hitherto been supposed to be. It gave occasion to an ambassador
of one of the greatest monarchs of Europe to say to Mr. Adams: _Vous
avez frappé, Monsieur, le plus grand coup de tout l' Europe. C'est le
plus grand coup, qui à etè frappé dans le cause Americain. C'est vous
qui à effrayé et terrasse les Anglomannes. C'est vous qui à rempli
cette nation d'enthousiasme._ And then turning to another gentleman, he
said, _Ce n'est pas pour faire compliment a Monsieur Adams, que je dis
cela: c'est parcequ'en verité, je crois que c'est sa due._

This diplomatic compliment has been followed by others. I transcribe
with pleasure a convivial one contained in the following lines, which an
ingenious and patriotic Dutchman addressed to his excellency Mr. Adams,
on drinking to him out of a large beautiful glass, which is called a
_baccale_, and had inscribed round its brim, _Aurea Libertas_:

  AUREA LIBERTAS! _gaude! pars altera mundi
      Vindice te renuit subdere colla jugo.
  Hæc tibi legatum quem consors Belga recepit
      Pectore sincero pocula plena fero.
  Utraque gens nectet, mox suspicienda tyrannis,
      Quæ libertati vincula sacra precor!_

They who have an opportunity of knowing his Excellency Mr. Adams trace
in his features the most unequivocal marks of probity and candour. He
unites to that gravity, suitable to the character with which he is
invested, an affability, which prejudices you in his favour. Although of
a silent turn, as William the Prince of Orange was, and most great men
are, who engage in important affairs, he has nevertheless a natural
eloquence for the discussion of matters which are the objects of his
mission, and for the recommending and enforcing the truths, measures,
and systems, which are dictated by sound policy. He has neither the
corrupted nor corrupting principles of Lord Chesterfield, nor the
qualities of Sir Joseph Yorke, but the plain and virtuous demeanor of
Sir William Temple. Like him too he is simple in negociation, where he
finds candour in those who treat with him. Otherwise he has the severity
of a true republican, his high idea of virtue giving him a rigidness,
which makes it difficult for him to accommodate himself to those
intrigues which European politics have introduced into negociation. "_Il
sait que l'art de negocier n'est pas l'art d'intriguer et de tromper;
quil ne consiste pas à corrompre; à se jouer des sermens et à semer les
alarmes et les divisions; qu'un negociateur habile peut parvenir à son
but sans ces expediens, qui sont la triste ressource des intriguans,
sans avoir recours à des manoeuvres detournès et extraordinaires. Il
trouve dans la nature même des affaires quil négocie des incidens
propres à faire réussir tous ses projéts._"



MEMORIAL

TO THEIR

HIGH MIGHTINESSES

THE

STATES GENERAL

OF THE

United Provinces of the Low Countries.


_High and Mighty Lords_;

The Subscriber has the honour to propose to your High Mightinesses, that
the United States of America, in Congress assembled, have lately thought
fit to send him a commission (with full powers and instructions) to
confer with your High Mightinesses concerning a treaty of amity and
commerce, an authentic copy of which he has the honour to annex to this
memorial.

At the times when the treaties between this Republic and the Crown of
Great Britain were made, the people, who now compose the United States
of America, were a part of the English nation; as such, allies of the
Republic, and parties to those treaties; entitled to all their benefits,
and submitting chearfully to all their obligations.

It is true, that when the British Administration, renouncing the ancient
character of Englishmen for generosity, justice, and humanity, conceived
the design of subverting the political systems of the Colonies;
depriving them of the rights and liberties of Englishmen, and reducing
them to the worst of all forms of government; starving the people by
blockading the ports, and cutting off their fisheries and commerce;
sending fleets and armies to destroy every principle and sentiment of
liberty, and to consume their habitations and their lives; making
contracts for foreign troops, and alliances with savage nations to
assist them in their enterprise; casting formally, by act of parliament,
three millions of people at once out of the protection of the Crown:
Then, and not till then, did the United States of America, in Congress
assembled, pass that memorable act, by which they assumed an equal
station among the nations.

This immortal declaration, of the 4th of July, 1776, when America was
invaded by an hundred vessels of war, and, according to estimates laid
before parliament, by 55,000 of veteran troops, was not the effect of
any sudden passion or enthusiasm; but a measure which had been long in
deliberation among the people, maturely discussed in some hundreds of
popular assemblies, and by public writings in all the states. It was a
measure which Congress did not adopt, until they had received the
positive instructions of their constituents in all the States: It was
then unanimously adopted by Congress, subscribed by all its members,
transmitted to the assemblies of the several States, and by them
respectively accepted, ratified, and recorded among their archives; so
that no decree, edict, statute, placart, or fundamental law of any
nation was ever made with more solemnity, or with more unanimity or
cordiality adopted, as the act and consent of the whole people, than
this: And it has been held sacred to this day by every state, with such
unshaken firmness, that not even the smallest has ever been induced to
depart from it; although the English have wasted many millions, and vast
fleets and armies, in the vain attempt to invalidate it. On the
contrary, each of the Thirteen States has instituted a form of
government for itself, under the AUTHORITY OF THE PEOPLE; has erected
its legislature in the several branches; its executive authority with
all its offices; its judiciary departments and judges; its army,
militia, revenue, and some of them their navy: And all those departments
of government have been regularly and constitutionally organized under
the associated superintendency of Congress, now these five years, and
have acquired a consistency, solidity, and activity equal to the oldest
and most established governments. It is true, that in some speeches and
writings of the English it is still contended that the people of America
are still in principle and affection with them: But these assertions are
made against such evident truth and demonstration, that it is surprising
they should find at this day one believer in the world. One may appeal
to the writings and recorded speeches of the English for the last
seventeen years, to shew that similar misrepresentations have been
incessantly repeated through that whole period; and that the conclusion
of every year has in fact confuted the confident assertions and
predictions of the beginning of it. The subscriber begs leave to say
from his own knowledge of the people of America, (and he has a better
right to obtain credit, because he has better opportunities to know,
than any Briton whatsoever) that _they are unalterably determined to
maintain their Independence_. He confesses, that, notwithstanding his
confidence through his whole life in the virtuous sentiments and
uniformity of character among his countrymen, their unanimity has
surprised him. That all the power, arts, intrigues, and bribes which
have been employed in the several States, should have seduced from the
standard of virtue so contemptible a few, is more fortunate than could
have been expected. This independence stands upon so broad and firm a
bottom of the people's interests, honour, consciences, and affections,
that it will not be affected by any successes the English may obtain
either in America, or against the European powers at war, nor by any
alliances they can possibly form; if indeed, in so unjust and desperate
a cause they can obtain any. Nevertheless, although compelled by
necessity, and warranted by the fundamental laws of the colonies, and of
the British constitution, by principles avowed in the English laws, and
confirmed by many examples in the English history; by principles
interwoven into the history and public right of Europe, in the great
examples of the Helvetic and Belgic confederacies, and many others; and
frequently acknowledged and ratified by the diplomatic body; principles
founded in eternal justice, and the laws of God and nature, to cut
asunder for ever all the ties which had connected them with Great
Britain: Yet the people of America did not consider themselves as
separating from their allies, especially the Republic of the United
Provinces, or departing from their connections with any of the people
under their government; but, on the contrary, they preserved the same
affection, esteem and respect, for the Dutch nation, in every part of
the world, which they and their ancestors had ever entertained.

When sound policy dictated to Congress the precaution of sending persons
to negotiate natural alliances in Europe, it was not from a failure in
respect that they did not send a minister to your High Mightinesses,
with the first whom they sent abroad: but, instructed in the nature of
the connections between Great Britain and the Republic, and in the
system of peace and neutrality, which she had so long pursued, they
thought proper to respect both so far, as not to seek to embroil her
with her allies, to excite divisions in the nation, or lay
embarrassments before it. But, since the British administration, uniform
and persevering in injustice, despising their allies, as much as their
colonists and fellow-subjects; disregarding the faith of treaties, as
much as that of royal charters; violating the law of nations, as they
had before done the fundamental laws of the Colonies and the inherent
rights of British subjects, have arbitrarily set aside all the treaties
between the Crown and the Republic, declared war and commenced
hostilities, the settled intentions of which they had manifested long
before; all those motives, which before restrained the Congress, cease:
and an opportunity presents itself of proposing such connections, as the
United States of America have a right to form, consistent with the
treaties already formed with France and Spain, which they are under
every obligation of duty, interest and inclination, to observe sacred
and inviolate; and consistent with such other treaties, as it is their
intention to propose to other sovereigns.

If there was ever among nations a natural alliance, one may be formed
between the two Republics. The first planters of the four northern
States found in this country an asylum from persecution, and resided
here from the year 1608 to the year 1620, twelve years preceding their
migration. They ever entertained and have transmitted to posterity, a
grateful remembrance of that protection and hospitality, and especially
of that religious liberty they found here, having sought it in vain in
England.

The first inhabitants of two other States, New-York and New-Jersey, were
immediate emigrants from this nation, and have transmitted their
religion, language, customs, manners and character: And America in
general, until her connections with the House of Bourbon, has ever
considered this nation as her first friend in Europe, whose history, and
the great characters it exhibits, in the various arts of peace, as well
as atchievements of war by sea and land, have been particularly
studied, admired and imitated in every State.

A similitude of religion, although it is not deemed so essential in this
as in former ages to the alliance of nations, is still, as it ever will
be thought, a desirable circumstance. Now it may be said with truth,
that there are no two nations, whose worship, doctrine and discipline,
are more alike than those of the two Republics. In this particular
therefore, as far as it is of weight, an alliance would be perfectly
natural.

A similarity in the forms of government, is usually considered as
another circumstance, which renders alliances natural: And although the
constitutions of the two Republics are not perfectly alike, there is yet
analogy enough between them, to make a connection easy in this respect.

In general usages, and in the liberality of sentiments in those
momentous points, the freedom of enquiry, the right of private judgment
and the liberty of conscience, of so much importance to be supported in
the world, and imparted to all mankind, and which at this hour are in
more danger from Great Britain and that intolerant spirit which is
secretly fomenting there, than from any other quarter, the two nations
resemble each other more than any others.

The originals of the two Republics are so much alike, that the history
of one seems but a transcript from that of the other: so that every
Dutchman instructed in the subject, must pronounce the American
revolution just and necessary, or pass a censure upon the greatest
actions of his immortal ancestors: actions which have been approved and
applauded by mankind, and justified by the decision of Heaven.

But the circumstance, which perhaps in this age has stronger influence
than any other in the formation of friendships between nations, is the
great and growing interest of commerce; of the whole system of which
through the globe, your High Mightinesses are too perfect masters for me
to say any thing that is not familiarly known. It may not, however, be
amiss to hint, that the central situation of this country, her extensive
navigation, her possessions in the East and West Indies, the
intelligence of her merchants, the number of her capitalists, and the
riches of her funds, render a connection with her very desirable to
America: and, on the other hand, the abundance and variety of the
productions of America, the materials of manufactures, navigation and
commerce; the vast demand and consumption in America of the manufactures
of Europe, of merchandises from the Baltic, and from the East Indies,
and the situation of the Dutch possessions in the West Indies, cannot
admit of a doubt, that a connection with the United States would be
useful to this Republic. The English are so sensible of this, that
notwithstanding all their professions of friendship, they have ever
considered this nation as their rival in the American trade; a sentiment
which dictated and maintained their severe act of navigation, as
injurious to the commerce and naval power of this country, as it was
both to the trade and the rights of the Colonists. There is now an
opportunity offered to both, to shake off this shackle for ever. If any
consideration whatever could have induced them to have avoided a war
with your High Mightinesses, it would have been the apprehension of an
alliance between the two Republics: and it is easy to foresee, that
nothing will contribute more to oblige them to a peace, than such a
connection once completely formed. It is needless to point out,
particularly, what advantages might be derived to the possessions of the
Republic in the West Indies from a trade opened, protected and
encouraged, between them and the Continent of America; or what profits
might be made by the Dutch East India Company, by carrying their effects
directly to the American market; or how much even the trade of the
Baltic might be secured and extended by a free intercourse with America;
which has ever had so large a demand, and will have more for hemp,
cordage, sail-cloth, and other articles of that commerce: how much the
national navigation would be benefited by building and purchasing ships
there: how much the number of seamen might be increased, or how much
more advantageous it would prove to both countries, to have their ports
mutually opened to their men of war and privateers, and to their prizes.

If, therefore, an analogy of religion, government, origin, manners, and
the most extensive and lasting commercial interests, can form a ground
and an invitation to political connections, the subscriber flatters
himself that, in all these particulars, the union is so obviously
natural, that there has seldom been a more distinct designation of
Providence to any two distant nations to unite themselves together.

It is further submitted to the wisdom and humanity of your High
Mightinesses, whether it is not visibly for the good of mankind, that
the powers of Europe, who are convinced of the justice of the American
cause, (and where is one to be found that is not?) should make haste to
acknowledge the independence of the United States, and form equitable
treaties with them, as the surest means of convincing Great Britain of
the impracticability of her pursuits? Whether the late marine treaty
concerning the rights of neutral vessels, noble and useful as it is, can
be established against Great Britain, who will never adopt it, nor
submit to it, but from necessity, without the independence of America?
Whether the return of America, with her nurseries of seamen and
magazines of materials for navigation and commerce, to the domination
and monopoly of Great Britain, if that were practicable, would not put
the possessions of other nations beyond seas wholly in the power of that
enormous empire, which has been long governed wholly by the feeling of
its own power, at least without a proportional attention to justice,
humanity, or decency. When it is obvious and certain that the Americans
are not inclined to submit again to the British government, on the one
hand, and that the powers of Europe ought not and could not with safety
consent to it, if they were so inclined, on the other; why should a
source of contention be left open, for future contingencies to involve
the nations of Europe in still more bloodshed, when, by one decisive
step of the maritime powers, in making treaties with a nation long in
possession of sovereignty by right and in fact, it might be closed?

The example of your High Mightinesses would, it is, hoped, be followed
by all the maritime powers, especially those which are parties to the
late marine treaty: nor can the apprehension that the independence of
America would be injurious to the trade of the Baltic, be any objection.
This jealousy is so groundless that the reverse would happen. The
freight and insurance in voyages across the Atlantic are so high, and
the price of labour in America so dear, that tar, pitch, turpentine, and
ship-timber never can be transported to Europe at so cheap a rate, as it
has been and will be afforded by countries round the Baltic. This
commerce was supported by the English before the revolution with
difficulty, and not without large parliamentary bounties. Of hemp,
cordage, and sail-cloth there will not probably be a sufficiency raised
in America for her own consumption in many centuries, for the plainest
of all reasons, because these articles may be imported from Amsterdam,
or even from Petersburg and Archangel, cheaper than they can be raised
at home. America will therefore be for ages a market for these articles
of the Baltic trade.

Nor is there more solidity in another supposition, propagated by the
English to prevent other nations from pursuing their true interests,
that the colonies of other nations will follow the example of the United
States. Those powers, who have as large possessions as any beyond seas,
have already declared against England, apprehending no such
consequences. Indeed there is no probability of any other power of
Europe following the example of England, in attempting to change the
whole system of the government of colonies, and reducing them by
oppression to the necessity of governing themselves: and, without such
manifest injustice and cruelty on the part of the metropolis, there is
no danger of colonies attempting innovations. Established governments
are founded deep in the hearts, the passions, the imaginations and
understandings of the people; and without some violent change from
without, to alter the temper and character of the whole people, it is
not in human nature to exchange safety for danger, and certain happiness
for very precarious benefits.

It is submitted to the consideration of your High Mightinesses, whether
the system of the United States, which was minutely considered and
discussed, and unanimously agreed on in Congress in the year 1776, in
planning the treaty they proposed to France, to form equitable
commercial treaties with all the maritime powers of Europe, without
being governed or monopolized by any: a system which was afterwards
approved by the king, and made the foundation of the treaties with his
majesty: a system to which the United States have hitherto constantly
adhered, and from which they never will depart, unless compelled by some
powers declaring against them, which is not expected, is not the only
means of preventing this growing country from being an object of
everlasting jealousies, rivalries, and wars among the nations. If this
idea be just, it follows, that _it is the interest of every state in
Europe to acknowledge American independency immediately_. If such
benevolent policy should be adopted, the new world will be a
proportional blessing to every part of the old.

The subscriber has the farther honour of informing your High
Mightinesses, that the United States of America, in Congress assembled,
impressed with an high sense of the wisdom and magnanimity of your High
Mightinesses, and of your inviolable attachment to the rights and
liberties of mankind, and being desirous of cultivating the friendship
of a nation, eminent for its wisdom, justice, and moderation, have
appointed the subscriber to be their minister plenipotentiary to reside
near you, that he may give you more particular assurances of the great
respect they entertain for your High Mightinesses; beseeching your High
Mightinesses to give entire credit to every thing, which their said
minister shall deliver on their part, especially when he shall assure
you of the sincerity of their friendship and regard. The original letter
of credence, under the seal of Congress, the subscriber is ready to
deliver to your High Mightinesses, or to such persons as you shall
direct to receive it. He has also a similar letter of credence to his
most Serene Highness the Prince Stadtholder.

All which is respectfully submitted to the consideration of your High
Mightinesses, together with the propriety of appointing some person, or
persons, to treat on the subject of his mission, by

LEYDEN 19 April 1781.

J. ADAMS



GUELDERLAND.


In the assembly of the States of Guelderland, holden in October 1781, to
consider of the requisition of the king of France, of a negotiation of
five millions of florins, under the warranty of the Republic, some were
for an alliance with France. The Baron Nagel, Seneschal of Zutphen,
avoided putting of the question, and said among other things, "That he
had rather acknowledge the independence of the Americans, than contract
an alliance with France."

The Baron van der Capellen 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 farther tergiversations, the invitations and offers of
the Americans: that no condescension for England could hinder us, at
present, from uniting ourselves against a common enemy, with a nation so
brave and so virtuous: a nation, which, after our example, owes its
liberty to its valour, 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 Republic: that our conduct differed very much
from that holden by our ancestors, who allied themselves with 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."



The QUARTER

of

OOSTERGO.

_The Quarter of Oostergo, in the Province of Friesland, in December,
1781, was the first public Body which proposed a Connection with the
United States of America in these Words._


Every impartial Patriot has a long time perceived that, in the direction
of affairs relative to this war with England, there have been manifested
an inconceivable lukewarmness and sloth; but they discover themselves
still more, at this moment, by the little inclination which, in general,
the Regencies 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.
Nevertheless, the necessity of these measures appears clearly, since,
according to our judgments, nothing was more natural, nor more
conformable to sound policy, founded upon the laws of the nature the
most precise, than that this Republic, immediately after the formal
declaration of war by the English (not being yet able to do any thing by
military exploits, not being in a state of defence sufficiently
respectable to dare, at sea, to oppose one fleet or squadron, to our
perfidious enemy) should have commenced by acknowledging, by a public
declaration, the Independence of North America. This would have been
from that time the greatest step to the humiliation of England, and our
own re-establishment; and by this measure, the Republic would have
proved her firm resolution to act with vigour. Every one 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 reason, to justify, in some degree,
the backwardness in this great and interesting affair. But, as at
present Great Britain is no longer our secret, but declared enemy, which
dissolves all the connections between the two nations; and as it is the
duty, not only of all the Regencies, but also of all the Citizens of
this Republic, to reduce, by all imaginable annoyances, this enemy so
unjust to reason, and to force him, if possible, to conclude an
honourable 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 they not regard us as the secret friends, and
favourers of their and our common enemy? Have they not reason to
conclude from it, that our inaction ought to be less attributed to our
weakness, than to our affection for England? Will not this opinion
destroy all confidence in our nation heretofore so renowned in this
respect? And our allies, at this time natural, must they not imagine,
that it is better to have in us declared enemies than pretended friends?
And shall we not be involved in a ruinous war, which we might have
rendered advantageous, if it had been well directed? While on the other
hand it is evident, that by a new connection with the States of North
America, by engagements 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 any insult; we shall have a well grounded
hope, of recovering, with the aid of the allied powers, our lost
possessions, if the English should make themselves masters of them; and
our commerce at present neglected, and so shamefully pillaged, would
reassume a new vigour; considering that in such case, as it is
manifestly proved by solid reasons, this Republic would derive from this
commerce the most signal advantages. But, since our interest excites us
forcibly to act in concert with the enemies of our enemy; since the
United States of America invited us to it long ago; since France
appears inclined to concert her military operations with ours (although
this power has infinitely less interest to ally itself with us, whose
weakness manifests itself in so palpable a manner, than we have to form
an alliance, the most respectable in the universe) it is indubitably the
duty of every Regency, to promote it with all their forces, and with all
the celerity imaginable. To this end, we have thought it our duty, to
lay it 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 Mightinesses will not delay
to co-operate with us, that, upon this important subject, 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 importance beyond
all expression for our common country, may be resolved and decided by
unanimous suffrages, and in preference to every particular interest.



ULTERIOUR ADDRESS.

_On the 9th January, 1782, Mr. ADAMS waited on the President VAN DEN
SANDHEUVEL, and addressed him as follows._


On the fourth of May, I had the honour of a conference with the
President of their High Mightinesses, in which I informed him, that I
had received from the United States of America a commission, with full
powers and instructions to propose and conclude a treaty of amity and
commerce, between the said United States of America and the United
Provinces of the Netherlands.

At the same conference, I had the honour to demand an audience of their
High Mightinesses, in order to present to them my letters of credence
and full powers.

The President assured me, that he would make report of all that I had
said to him to their High Mightinesses, in order that it might be
transmitted to the several members of the sovereignty of this country,
for their deliberations and decisions.--I have not yet been honoured
with an answer. I now do myself the honour to wait on you, Sir, to
demand, as I do, a categorical answer, that I may be able to transmit it
to the United States of America.



GUELDERLAND.


In an extraordinary assembly of the county of Zutphen, held at Nimeguen
the 23d of February, 1782, the following measures were taken.

After the report of the Committee of this Province to the Generality,
laid this day upon the table, relative to what passed in the precedent
assembly, and after the examination of an extract of the register of the
resolutions of their High Mightinesses the States General of the Low
Countries, of the ninth of last month, in relation to the Ulteriour
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 the United States of America, demanding a
categorical answer, whereof the Lords the Deputies of the respective
Provinces have taken copies; the Baron Robert Jasper van der Capellen de
Marsch, first by word of mouth, and afterwards in writing, proposed, and
insisted, at the assembly of this Quarter, that, at present, and without
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 with out 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 the invitation, in
every sense honourable and advantageous for this Republic, of
friendship, and reciprocal connections 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 Grand Mightinesses, and
that you may decide as soon as possible, concerning their respective
interests. He judges, that he ought not to have any farther scruple in
this regard; and that 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 expence of a negligence so irreparable:
that a longer delay, to unite ourselves to a nation already so powerful,
will have for its consequence, that our inhabitants will lose the means
of extending, in a manner the most advantageous, their commerce and
their prosperity: That by the vigorous 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 neglected and rejected the
favourable 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 abandon this
unpardonable negligence of an opportunity favourable for the Republic,
to the account of those whom it may concern; protesting against all the
fatal consequences that a longer refusal of these necessary measures
will certainly occasion: whereupon he demanded, that for his discharge,
this note should be inserted in the registers of the Quarter.

_Signed_

R. J. VAN DER CAPELLEN.


This advice having been read, Mr. Jacob Adolf de Heekeren d'Enghuisen,
Counsellor and first Master of Accounts in Guelderland, President at
this time of the Assembly of the Quarter, represented to the said Robert
Jasper van der Capellen 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 Holland and West Friesland, and of Zealand, as the
principal commercial Provinces, who are directly interested, had not
nevertheless as yet explained themselves in this regard; consequently
that it would not be so convenient for the States of this Duchy and
County, who are not interested 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 before-mentioned 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 alledged 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 delivered to him an extract of the present, upon one as well
the other.

_Signed_

HERM. SCHOMAKER.



PETITION OF LEYDEN.


To the noble, great, and venerable Lords of the Grand Council of the
city of Leyden.

The undersigned, all manufacturers, merchants, and other traders of this
city, most respectfully give to understand, that it is a truth, as
melancholy, as it is universally known, that the declension of
manufactures, which all the well-disposed citizens have remarked with
the most lively grief, from the beginning of this century, has increased
more and more for several years; and that this principal branch of the
subsistence 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 trades, appears to be threatened
with total ruin; that the diminution of its merchants houses, on the one
hand, and on the other, a 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 multitude of the poor, the deplorable situation of several
families, heretofore in easy circumstances, the depopulation of the
city, which one 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 farther fall, considering,
that from the time there is not continual employment, and an
uninterrupted sale, the workmen desert in such manner, that when
considerable commissions arrive, we cannot find capable hands, and we
see ourselves entirely out of a condition to execute these orders.

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 know to your noble
and grand Lordships, have not had the desired effect; at least, that
they have not produced a re-establishment so effectual, that we have
been able to observe a sensible influence in the increase of the sales
of the manufactures of Leyden, as appears most evidently, by a
comparison 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 of consider
without regret.

That experience has 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 oeconomy of the inhabitants, but in circumstances which have
happened abroad; and to which it is, consequently, beyond the power of
the petitioners, or of any citizen whatsoever, to provide a remedy. That
we might cite, for example, the commerce of our manufactures with
Dantzic; 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 vanished, by the
revolution which has happened in that kingdom, and by the burthensome
duties to which the navigation of the Vistula has been subjected. But
that, without entering 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 neighbouring 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, commerce, and
navigation; to encourage them, and promote them even by exclusive
privileges, or by heavy impositions upon foreign merchandizes;
privileges and impositions, which tend equally to the prejudice of the
commerce and the 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 considering the dearness of labour, caused by that
of the means of subsistence; which, in its turn, is a necessary
consequence of the 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
diminution of the good citizens increasing with the want of employment,
the Dutch nation, heretofore the purveyor of all Europe, will be obliged
to content itself with the sale of its own productions 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 exhibit desolated quarters in its declining
streets; 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 consider these motives, no citizen, whose heart is
upright, (as the petitioners assure themselves) much less your noble and
grand Lordships, whose good dispositions they acknowledge with
gratitude, will take it amiss, that we have fixed our eyes on the
present conjuncture of affairs, to enquire whether these times might not
furnish them some means of reviving the languishing manufactures of
Leyden; and that after a consideration well matured, they flatter
themselves with the hope (a hope which unprejudiced men will not regard
as a vain chimera) that in fact, by the present circumstances, there
opens in their favour 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 spectator 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 Great Britain 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 they foresaw,
from that time, the advantage 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 that they should have been afraid
to have placed this favourable occasion before the eyes of your noble
and grand Lordships, at an epoch when the relations which connected our
Republic with Great Britain, her neighbour, seemed to forbid all
measures of this nature, or at least ought to make them be considered as
out of season.

That, in the mean time, this reason of silence has entirely 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 demonstrated by the supreme government of the State, with an
irrefragable evidence, in the eyes of impartial Europe; 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 feel 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 remained without employment, and several fathers of
families have quitted the city, abandoning, to the farther 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 has occurred another circumstance, which has encouraged the
petitioners still more, and which to them appears to be of such a
nature, that they would be guilty of an excessive indifference, and an
unpardonable negligence towards the city, towards the lower class of
inhabitants, towards their own families, and towards themselves, if
they should delay any longer to lay open their interests to your noble
and grand Lordships, in a manner the most respectful, but the most
energetic; to wit, that the United States of America have very
rigorously forbidden, by a resolution of Congress, agreed to in all the
Thirteen States, the importation of all English manufactures, and in
general, all the merchandizes fabricated in the dominions which yet
remain to Great Britain. That the effect of this prohibition must
necessarily be a spirit of emulation between all the commercial 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 Republic, whether on account of the
identity of religion, the fashion of living, and the manners, whether
because of the extent of its commerce, and the convenience of its
navigation, but above all, by reason of the activity and good faith,
which still distinguishes (without boasting too much) the Dutch nation
above all other people; qualities in consideration of which, the
citizens of United 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 connections of commerce between
the two people, cannot but be uncertain and fluctuating, as long as
their offers and reciprocal engagements are not fixed and regulated by a
treaty of commerce. That at this day, if ever, (according to the
respectful opinion of the petitioners) there exists a necessity the most
absolute for the conclusion of a similar treaty of commerce, there,
where we may say with truth, that there arises for the Republic, for our
Leyden especially, a moment, which once escaped, perhaps never will
return; since the national assembly of Great Britain, convinced, by a
terrible and fatal experience, of the absolute impossibility of
re-attaching united America to the British crown, has laid before the
throne its desire to conclude a necessary peace with a people, free as
this day at the price of their blood: So that if this peace should be
once concluded, the Dutch nation would see itself perhaps excluded from
all advantages of commerce with this new Republic, or at least would be
treated by her with an indifference, which the small value which we
should have put upon its friendship in former times, would seem to
merit.

That, supposing, for a moment, that a peace between England 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 procure a rich, even an immense outlet, for the fabricks and
manufactures of Europe.

That, however manifest the interest which the petitioners and all the
citizens of Leyden would have in the conclusion of such a treaty of
commerce, they would however have made a scruple to lay before the
paternal eyes of your noble and grand Lordships the utility, or rather
the necessity of such a measure, in respect to them, if they could
believe, that their particular advantage would be, in any wise, 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 intentioned, in the other cities and
provinces, even of the Regents the most distinguished; since it is
universally known that the Province of Friesland has already preceded
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 manufactures, celebrated Regents appear to wait merely
for the example of the commercial Provinces, for taking a similar
resolution.

That the petitioners will not detain the attention of your noble and
grand Mightinesses by a more ample detail of their reasons and motives,
since, on one hand, they assure themselves, that these reasons and
motives will not escape the enlightened and attentive judgment of your
grand and noble Lordships; and on the other, they know by experience,
that your grand and noble Lordships are disposed not to suffer any
occasion to pass for promoting the well-being of their city, for
advancing the prosperity of the citizens, to render their names dear to
their contemporaries, and make them blessed by posterity.

In which firm expectation, the petitioners address themselves to this
grand Council with the respectful but serious request, that it may
please your noble and great Lordships, to direct, by their powerful
influence, thing 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 effectual 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 general interest.

So doing, &c.



LEYDEN.

_AN ADDRESS of Thanks, with a farther Petition_.


To the noble, great, and venerable lords, the great council of the city
of Leyden,

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, the 18th of March, the
liberty to present to your noble and great Lordships, a respectful
request to obtain the conclusion of connections of commerce with United
America, "the petitioners judge that they ought to hold it for a duty,
as agreeable as indispensible, 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 suppose) hath been one of the first
cities of this province, from whose unanimous co-operation has
originated the resolution of their noble and grand Mightinesses, of the
date of the 28th of March last, to direct things on the part of their
noble and grand Mightinesses, in the assembly of the States General, and
to make there the strongest instances, to the end that Mr. Adams may be
admitted and acknowledged as Minister of the United States of America."

That the petitioners regard, with all honest-hearted citizens, the
present epoch as one of the most glorious in the annals of our dear
country, seeing that there has been manifested, in a most signal manner,
on the one hand, a confidence the most cordial of the good citizens
towards their regents, and on the other hand a paternal attention and
deference of the regents to the respectful but well-founded prayers of
their faithful citizens; and, in general, the most exemplary unanimity
throughout the whole nation, to the confusion of those who, having
endeavoured to sow the seeds of discord, would have rejoiced if they
could say, with truth, that a dissention 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 an harmony so universal, cannot pass over in
silence the reflection that your noble and great Lordships, taking a
resolution the most favourable 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 citizens, the
resources necessary to resist a powerful oppressor, 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 honour, with the same
approbation, the step which they take to day, to recommend to your noble
and great Lordships, in a manner the most respectful, but at the same
time the most pressing, the prompt and efficacious execution of the
aforesaid resolution of their noble and grand Mightinesses of the 28th
of March last, with every thing which depends thereon; a proceeding
which does not spring from a desire, on the part of the petitioners, to
raise themselves 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 great Lordships have shewn yourselves by deeds
to your good citizens) 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 Mightinesses, having taken a resolution 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 desirable 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 learned without
uneasiness the attempt made, at the same time, by the new ministers of
the court of London, to involve this state in a negociation for a
separate peace, the immediate consequence of which would be (as the
petitioners fear) a cessation of all connections with the American
Republic, whilst that in the mean time our Republic, deprived on the one
hand of the advantages which it reasonably promises itself from these
connections, might, on the other hand, be detained by negociations, 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 is become thereby impracticable, the indemnification
of the immense losses that the unexpected and perfidious attack of
England hath caused to the Dutch nation in general, 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 productive 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 too evident marks of the supremacy
affected by England over all other maritime people, not to attract
attention at the approaching negociation of peace; finally, the
necessity of breaking the yoke that Great-Britain would impose on our
flag, to make her's respected in the Northern Ocean, as the seat of her
maritime empire; and other objects of this nature, which, as the
petulant proceedings of the court of London have given rise to them,
will certainly furnish matter for claims and negociations.

That as, by these considerations, a speedy consummation 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
distant, as that to obtain a more prompt reconciliation with England,
the Republic hath occasion to abandon its interests relative to North
America, seeing that the British government hath resolved, upon the
request of the national assembly, even to discontinue offensive
hostilities against the new Republic; and that, even under the present
administration of the new ministers, it appears ready to acknowledge
positively its independence; an acknowledgment which, in removing the
principal stumbling block of a negociation of a general peace, will pave
the way to a prompt explication of all the difficulties between the
belligerent powers.

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 upon this subject, and which certainly will not escape the
political penetration of your noble and great Lordships; among others,
the engagements recently entered into with the Court of France, and
which will not be violated by our Republic, which acknowledges the
sanctity of its engagements, 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 negociation as
the court of London proposes, when even it will not be permitted to
presume but that Sovereign will feel herself the change of circumstances
which have happened with regard to America since the offer of her
mediation, by the revolution in the British ministry, and that she ought
even to regard a separate peace between our State and England, as the
most proper mean to retard the general tranquillity, that she hath
endeavoured to procure to all the commercial nations now in 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 independence of North America, and to conclude with that power a
treaty of commerce, may not have a prompt execution, nor that even one
only of the other confederates will suffer itself to be diverted thereby
from the design of opening unanimously with this Province, and the
others which have declared themselves conformably with Holland,
negociations with the United States, and of terminating them as soon as
possible.

That the favourable resolutions already taken for this effect in
Zealand, Utrecht, Overyssel, and at present (as the petitioners learn)
in the Province of Groningen after the examples of Holland and
Friesland, confirm them in that hope, and seem to render entirely
superfluous, a request 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 resistance of one Province,
not immediately interested in commerce and navigation, they might not be
deprived of the advantages and of the protection, that the sovereign
Assembly of their proper Provinces had been disposed to procure them,
without it; 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 Guelderland, Holland, and Friesland.

But as every apprehension of a similar dissension, among the members of
the confederation, appears at present absolutely unseasonable, the
petitioners will confine themselves rather to another request, to wit,
that after the formation of connections of commerce with North America,
the effectual enjoyment of it may be assured to the commercial Citizens
of this country, by a sufficient protection of their navigation; without
which the conclusion even of such a treaty of commerce would be
absolutely illusory. That, for a long time, especially the last year,
the petitioners have tasted the bitter fruits of the defenceless state
in which the Dutch flag has been incessantly found; as they have already
said, conformably to the truth, in their first request, "that by the
total stagnation of the navigation, and of expeditions, they have felt,
in the most painful manner, the effects of the hostile and unexpected
attack of Great Britain, and that they feel them still every day." That,
in the mean time, this stagnation of commerce, absolutely abandoned to
the rapacity of an enemy greedy of pillage, and destitute of all
protection whatever, hath 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, to all the public imports, but that, at
the time even that the commerce was absolutely abandoned to itself, and
deprived of all safeguard, it supported a double charge to obtain that
protection which it hath never enjoyed; seeing that the hope of such a
protection (the Republic not being entirely without maritime force) hath
appeared indeed more than once, but 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 surprize.

That, without intention to legitimate, in any manner, the suspicions
arising from this failure of protection, the petitioners believe
themselves, nevertheless, with all proper respect, warranted in
addressing their complaints on this head, to the bosoms of your noble
and great Lordships, and (seeing that the commerce with North America
cannot subsist without navigation, no more than navigation without a
safeguard) in 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 Republic the fruits of its connections with United
North America.

For which reasons, the petitioners, returning their solemn thanks to
your noble and great Lordships, for the favourable resolution taken upon
their request the 18th of March last, address themselves anew to you on
this occasion, with the respectful prayer, "That it may graciously
please your noble and great Lordships to be willing to effectuate by
your powerful influence, whether in the illustrious 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 most proper, that the resolution of their noble and grand
Mightinesses of the date of the 28th 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 commercial
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 commerce and navigation, as by all other measures,
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 prosperity of our dear country, as well as to
the maintenance of its precious liberties."

_So doing, &c._



ROTTERDAM.

_PETITION of the Merchants, Insurers, and Freighters of Rotterdam to the
Regency of that City_.


Give to understand, 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 opportunity
to open a free communication and 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 proceedings 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 venerable Regency the
danger we run, in prolonging farther the deliberations concerning the
article of an alliance of commerce with North America; being moreover
certain that the interposition of this State cannot add any thing more
to the solidity of its independence, and that the English Ministry has
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 certain
advantages which might result from this reciprocal commerce; and that
thus we ought not to delay one day, nor even one hour, to try all the
efforts, that we may pursue the negociation offered by Mr. Adams, and
that we may decide finally upon it. Whereupon the petitioners represent,
with all respect possible, but at the same time with the firmest
confidence, to the venerable Regency of this City, that they would
authorize and qualify the Lords theirs Deputies at the Assembly of their
noble and grand Mightinesses, to the end, that they insist in a manner
the most energetic, at the Assembly of their noble and grand
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 determinations
necessary to render free and open to the reciprocal inhabitants, the
correspondence demanded.

_So doing, &c._



_The PETITIONS of the Merchants, and Manufacturers of HAERLEM, LEIDEN,
and AMSTERDAM, which have been presented, on the twentieth of March, to
their HIGH MIGHTINESSES, were accompanied with another to 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 have the honour 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, by the relation which they have with commerce
in general, as well as the navigation to that extensive country; all
these objects have made them take the liberty to represent, in the most
respectful manner, this great affair for them, and for the connections
which the petitioners may have, in quality of manufacturers, with the
merchants, most humbly praying your noble and grand Mightinesses, for
the acquisition of these important branches of commerce, and for the
advantage of all the manufactures, and other works of labour and of
traffic, to be so good as to take this petition, and the reasons which
it contains, into your high consideration, and to favour it with your
powerful support and protection, and by a favourable 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 commerce so desired and so necessary for this Republic, that there
be concerted such efficacious measures, as the high wisdom 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 enemies.

_So doing, &c._



DORDRECHT.


At Dordrecht there has not been presented any petition. But on the
twentieth of March, the merchants, convinced by redoubled proofs of the
zeal, and of the efforts of their Regency, for the true interests of
commerce, judged it unnecessary to present a petition after the example
of the merchants of other cities. They contented themselves with
testifying verbally their desire that there might be contracted
connections of commerce with the United States of America: That this
step had been crowned with such happy success, that the same day 20th of
March, 1782, it was resolved, by the ancient Council, to authorize 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.



ZWOLL

IN OVERYSSEL.


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
commerce, and the manufactures of this country are fallen, little by
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 not
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, the utility, advantage, and necessity of which,
for these Provinces, are so evident, and have been 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, considering 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 unseasonable.

In the second place, that America, which ought to be regarded as become
free at the point of the sword, and as 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 favourable opportunity to enter into connection
with this new and powerful Republic; a time which we cannot neglect
without running the greatest risque of being irrevocably prevented by
the other powers, and even by England. Thus we take the liberty
respectfully to supplicate your noble Lordships, that, having shewn, 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 redouble your efforts, to the end that, in the name of this country,
it may be decided at the Generality, that Mr. Adams be acknowledged, and
the proposed negotiations opened as soon as possible.

So doing, &c.



PETITION OF AMSTERDAM.


To their High Mightinesses, the States General of the United Provinces,
the undersigned, merchants, manufacturers, and others, inhabitants
living by commerce in this country, give respectfully to understand:

That, although the petitioners have always relied, with entire
confidence, upon the administration and the resolutions of your High
Mightinesses, and it is against their inclinations to interrupt your
important deliberations, they think, however, that they ought, at this
time to take the liberty; and believe as well intentioned inhabitants,
that it is their indispensible 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, the
sad situation to which we are reduced by the attack, equally sudden,
unjust, and perfidious 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 them, the
support and the prosperity of this Republic, could have fallen and
remained in such a terrible decay? that in 1780, more than two thousands
of Dutch vessels having passed the Sound, not one was found upon the
list in 1781? That the ocean, heretofore covered with our vessels,
should 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 endeavour to explain at length the damages, the enormous
losses, which our inhabitants have sustained by the sudden invasion and
the pillage of the colonies, and of their ships; disasters, which not
only fall directly upon the merchant, but which have also a general
influence, and make themselves felt in the most melancholy manner, even
by the lowest artisans and labourers, by the languor which they occasion
in commerce. But, how great soever they may be, it might, perhaps, be
possible, by the aid of the paternal cares of your High Mightinesses,
and by opposing a vigorous resistance to the enemy, already enervated,
to repair in time all these 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 still to flatter
ourselves, and to remain quiet, in the expectation that, after the
conclusion of the peace, the business, at present turned out of its
direction, should return entirely into this country; for experience
shews 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. Your alarmed
petitioners throw their eyes round every where, to discover 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 themselves to be in a
condition to be able to assure to themselves 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 take the
resolution to lay open respectfully their observations concerning this
important object to your High Mightinesses, with the 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 poured into the coffers of the state; the uncommon
prosperity of several of her commercial houses, the extreme reputation
of her manufactures, the consumption of which, in quantities 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 manufacture of painted linens of Rouen; those of wool of Amiens, of
Germany, of Overyssel; and the Pins of Zwoll prove visibly that all
things need not be drawn from England; and that, moreover, we are as
well in a condition, or shall soon be, to equal them in 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. Continual losses had almost ruined it altogether. Like ours,
several of her merchants failed of capitals; and others wanted courage
to continue their commerce; her manufactures languished; the people
groaned; in one word, every thing there marked out the horrors of war.
But, at present, her maritime towns, overpeopled, have occasion to be
enlarged; 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 favourable
alteration results almost entirely from its commerce with America, that
even this has taken place in time of war; which, moreover, is ever
prejudicial, we leave it to the enlightened judgment of your High
Mightinesses to decide, what it is that we may expect from a commerce of
this nature, even at present, but especially in time of peace. In the
mean time, 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 suitable to our market; whilst, on our
side, we have to send them several articles of convenience and of
necessity from our own country; or from the neighbouring states of
Germany. Moreover, several of our languishing manufactures, scattered
in the seven United Provinces, may perhaps be restored to their former
vigour, by means of bounties, or the diminution of imposts. The
importance of manufactures for a country is sufficiently proved, by the
considerable gratifications promised and paid by British policy for
their encouragement, and by the advantages which that kingdom has
procured to itself by this means, even beyond what had been expected.

The petitioners know perfectly well the obstacles, almost
insurmountable, which always oppose themselves to the habitual use of
new manufactures, although certainly better in quality; and they dare
advance, without hesitation, that several of our manufactures are
superior to those of the English. A moment more favourable can never
offer itself than the present, when, by a resolution of Congress, the
importation of all the effects of the produce of Great Britain, and of
her colonies, is forbidden; which reduces the merchant and the 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 themselves exercise with vigour these two
branches; and that in the sequel, we shall be wholly frustrated of them.
Whoever has the least knowledge of the country of America, and of its
vast extent, knows that the number of inhabitants is not there in
proportion. That even the two banks of the Mississippi, 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
probable to presume, that they will or can occupy themselves to
establish new manufactures, both because of the new charges, which they
would put upon the augmentation and exportation of their productions.

It is then for these same reasons (the want of population) that they
will scarcely find the hands necessary to take advantage of the
fisheries, which are the property of their country; which will certainly
oblige them to abandon to us 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 commerce: 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
Generality. Guelderland and Overyssel cannot too much extend their
manufactures of wool, of swanskin, and other things; even the shoemakers
of the mayoralty, and of Langstret, will find a considerable opening;
almost all the manufactures of Utrecht and of Leyden will flourish anew.
Harlem will see revive its manufactures of stuffs, of laces of ribbons,
of twist, at present in the lowest state of decay. Delft will see vastly
augmented the sale of its 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 America, their fear is not less, lest
we should suffer to escape the happy moment of assuring to them, and to
all the Republic, these advantages. The present moment must determine
the whole. The English nation is weary of the war; and as that people
runs easily into extremes, the petitioners are afraid, with strong
probable appearances, that a compleat acknowledgment of American
independence will soon take place; above all, if the English see an
opportunity of being able still to draw from America some conditions
favourable for them, or at least something to our disadvantage. Ah! what
is it which should instigate the Americans in making peace, and renewing
friendship with Great Britain, to have any regard for the interests of
our republic? 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; but would be
sufficient to transmit to posterity, a lamentable proof of our excessive
deference for unbridled enemies.

The petitioners dare flatter themselves that a measure so frank of this
Republic, may powerfully serve for the acceleration of a general peace.
A general ardour to extinguish 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 this regard
alleged sufficient reasons for an 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
respectful proposition which we have made. It proceeds from no other
motive than a sincere affection for the precious interests of our dear
country; since we consider it as certain, that as soon as the step taken
by us 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
acknowledge 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 above-mentioned, to take, for the greatest
advantage of this country, as soon as possible, such resolution as your
High Mightinesses shall judge most convenient.

This doing, &c.



PETITION

To the Burgomasters and Regents of

AMSTERDAM:


The subscribers, all merchants and manufacturers of this city, with all
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 independence, and reduced Great Britain to extremities
so critical, that the House of Commons in England, notwithstanding 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 design than to accelerate, if it is possible, a reconciliation
with America.

That to this happy revolution in the dispositions of the English in
favour of the liberty and independence of America, according to all
appearances, the resolution taken by the 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, trade, commerce, and
navigation, to be able to remain indifferent in this regard. For all
other commercial nations, who take to heart, ever so little, 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 particular, to suffer to escape this occasion so favourable for
the encouragement of our manufactures so declined, and languishing in
the interior cities, as well as that of the commerce and 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 even to
oblige this arrogant neighbour, in the just fear of the consequences
which a more intimate connection between this Republic and North America
would undoubtedly have, to lay down the sooner her arms, and restore
tranquility to all Europe.

That the petitioners, notwithstanding the inclination they have for it,
ought not nevertheless to explain themselves farther upon this object,
nor make a demonstration in detail of the important advantages which
this Republic may procure itself by a connection and a relation more
intimate with North America; both, because that no well-informed man can
easily call the thing in question, or contradict it; but also, because
the States of Friesland themselves have very lately explained
themselves, in a manner so remarkable, in this respect; and which is
still more remarkable, because in very different circumstances, with a
foresight, which posterity will celebrate by so much the more, as it is
attacked in our time by ill designing citizens, the Lords your
predecessors thought, four years ago, upon the means of hindering this
Republic from being excluded from the business of the new world, and
from falling into the disagreeable situation in which the kingdom of
Portugal is at present, considering that according to the informations
of your petitioners, the Congress has excluded that kingdom from all
commerce and business with North America, solely, because it had
perceived that it suffered itself to be too strongly directed by the
influence of the British Court. This example makes us fear with reason
that if the propositions made, in the name of America, by Mr. Adams to
this Republic, should remain, as they still are, without an answer, or
that, if, contrary to all expectation, they should be rejected, in that
case the Republic ought not to expect a better treatment.

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 this
important work appeared to meet with difficulties with some, as
incompatible with the accession of this Republic to the armed
neutrality, and, in course, with the accepted mediation; whilst that
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 connection with America: Reasons,
according to the petitioners, the frivolity of which is apparent to
every one who is not filled with prejudice, without having occasion to
employ 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 nature, without renouncing at
the same time the advantages of the armed neutrality which it had
embraced; it is at least very certain, that every difficulty concerning
the competency 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 succour of all the confederates in the armed neutrality,
but that thereby the finds herself authorized, for her own defence, to
employ all sorts of means, violent and others, which she could not
before adopt nor put in use, while she was really 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 present
situation of affairs, the Republic might acknowledge the independence of
America; and, notwithstanding this, claim of full right the assistance
of her neutral allies, at least, if we would not maintain one of the two
following absurdities: That, notwithstanding the violent aggression of
England in resentment of our accession to the armed neutrality, we dare
not defend ourselves, until our confederates shall think proper to come
to our assistance; or, otherwise, that being attacked by the English, it
should be permitted us, conformably to the rights of the armed
neutrality, to resist them in arms, whether on the Doggers-bank or
elsewhere, but not by contracting alliances, which certainly do no
injury 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, that the
Republic, by accepting the mediation, has also renounced the employment
of all the means, by the way of arms, of alliances, or otherwise, which
it might judge useful or necessary to annoy her enemy: a supposition,
which certainly is destitute of all foundation, and which would reduce
it simply to a real suspension of hostilities on the part of the
Republic only; to which the Republic can never have consented, neither
directly nor indirectly.

Besides this last argument, the petitioners ought to 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 manufactures 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 commerce, 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
this State, is not and cannot be in any manner indifferent for our
Republic. In the last place, it is necessary that the petitioners remark
farther in this respect, that several inhabitants of this Republic, in
the present situation of affairs, suffer very considerable losses and
damages, which at least hereafter might be wholly prevented, or in part,
in case we should make with the United States of America, with relation
to vessels and effects recaptured, a convention similar to that which
has been made with the Crown of France the last year; for, venerable
Regents, if a convention of this nature had 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 inhabitants of this
State, have fallen into the hands of the Americans; 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 common country, and of this city, have
constantly, but especially in these last years, attracted, and still
attract every day, a great part of the cares of the venerable Regency;
nevertheless, having regard to the importance of the affair, the
petitioners have thought that they might, and that they ought to take
the liberty to address themselves with this petition to you, venerable
Regents, 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 risque of losing all; since, by hesitating
longer, the Republic, according to all appearances, would not derive any
advantage, not even more than it has derived from its accession to the
armed neutrality; because that in the fear of British menaces, we did
not determine to accede to it, until the opportunity of improving the
advantage of it was passed.

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 Assembly, a final and
decisive resolution, such as you, venerable Regents, and their noble and
grand Mightinesses, according to their high wisdom, shall judge the most
convenient: and if, contrary to all expectation, this important
operation should meet with any obstacle on the part of one or more of
the confederates, that in that case you, venerable 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 convenient to
effectuate, that the commerce of this Province, as well as that of
Friesland, and the other members adopting the same opinion, may not be
prejudiced by any dilatory deliberations, nor too late resolved, for the
conclusion of a measure as important as necessary.

So doing, &c.



AMSTERDAM

_ADDRESS of the Merchants, &c. to their Regency_.


NOBLE, GREAT, AND VENERABLE LORDS!

It is for us a particular satisfaction to be able to offer to your noble
and great lordships, as heads of the regency of this city, this well
intentioned address that a multitude of our most respectable
fellow-citizens have signed. It was already prepared and signed by many,
when we learned, as well by the public papers as otherwise, the
propositions of a particular peace, with an offer of an immediate
suspension 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. 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 unanimous sentiment
nearly of the Exchange of Amsterdam, as much as that is interested in
it, is entirely conformable to that which the merchants of Rotterdam
have made known in so energetic a manner: that consequently we have the
greatest aversion to like offers, as artful as dangerous, which, being
adopted, would very probably throw this Republic into other situations
very embarrassing, the immediate consequences of which would be, to ruin
it totally: whereas, on the other hand, these offers shew that we have
only to deal with an enemy exhausted; whom we could force to a general
and durable peace in the end, by following only the example of France,
Spain, and North America; and by using the means which are in our hands.

It is improper for us, however, to enlarge farther upon this project,
important as it may be, being well assured, that your noble and great
Lordships see those grievous consequences more clearly than we can trace
them.

The merchants continue to recommend their commerce and navigation to the
constant care and protection of your noble and great Lordships, and to
insist only, that in case 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
America, should meet with any difficulty or delay on the part of the
other confederates, that your noble and great lordships, conformably to
the second article of our requisition, inserted in this request, would
have the goodness to think upon measures which would secure this
province from the ruinous consequences of such a proceeding.


_To the foregoing was joined the Address presented to the Burgomasters
and the Council, which is of the following tenor._

NOBLE, GREAT, VENERABLE, AND NOBLE AND VENERABLE LORDS!

The undersigned merchants, citizens, and inhabitants of the city of
Amsterdam, have learned with an inexpressible joy, the news of the
resolution taken the 28th of March last by their noble and grand
Mightinesses, 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 inhabitants of this
province, but they have laid the foundations of ulteriour alliances and
correspondencies of friendship and of good understanding with the United
States of America, which promise new life to the languishing state of
our commerce, navigation, and manufactures. The unanimity with which
that resolution was decided in the assembly of Holland, gives us grounds
to hope that the States of the other provinces will not delay to take a
similar resolution; whilst 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 increases
more and more; whilst that the promptness and activity with which it
hath been concluded, make us hope, with reason, that we shall reap, in
time, from a step so important 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, who find themselves in
circumstances which differ but little from those in which our ancestors
found themselves two centuries ago, with a people which conciliates more
and more the general affection and esteem.

The conformity of religion and government, which is found between us and
America, joined to the indubitable marks that she hath already long
since given of the preference that she feels for our friendship, makes
the undersigned not only suppose, but inspires them with a confidence
that our connections with her will be equally solid, advantageous, and
salutary to the interests of the two nations. The well-being and
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 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 the most laudable views, finding
itself at present crowned with an approbation as public as it is
general, indispensibly oblige the undersigned to approach you with this
address; not only to congratulate you upon so remarkable an event, but
to thank you 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 a manner, in all the
proceedings and resolutions of your noble, great, and venerable
Lordships, and of the venerable 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 dared sacrifice generously all
views of private interests, of grandeur and consideration to the sacred
obligations that their country requires of them.

We flatter ourselves, noble, great, venerable, noble and venerable
Lords, that the present public demonstration 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
proper to efface all the odious impressions that the calumny and
malignity of the English ministry, not long ago so servilely adored by
many, but whose downfal is at present consummated, had endeavoured to
spread, particularly a little before and at the beginning of this war,
insinuations, which have since found partisans in the United Provinces,
among those who have not been ashamed to paint the Exchange of Amsterdam
(that is to say the most respectable and the most useful part of the
citizens of this city, and at the same time 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
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 Republic, and to expose it
to public contempt, as if it participated by connivance, and otherwise,
in so shameful a commerce; insinuations and accusations which have been
spread with as much falshood as wickedness, and which ought to excite so
much the more the indignation of every sensible heart, when it is
considered 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 produce any
proofs, at least no sufficient proofs; that there hath ever been
transported from this country contraband merchandizes; whilst that the
conjuncture in which imputations of this kind have been spread rendered
the proceeding still more odious, seeing it has been done at an epoch
when the commerce and navigation of Amsterdam, and of the whole
Republic, would have experienced the first and almost the only attack of
an unjust and perfidious ally, for want of necessary protection, 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 America; at an
epoch, when the merchant, formed for enterprises, was obliged to see the
fruit of his labour, and of his cares, the recompence of his
indefatigable industry, and the patrimony destined to his posterity,
ravished from his hands by foreign violence and an unbounded rapacity;
at an epoch finally, when the wise and prudent politicians, who had
exhausted themselves and spared no pains for the public good, saw their
patriotic views dissipated, and their projects vanish.

Receive then, noble, great, venerable, and noble and venerable Lords,
this solemn testimony of our lively gratitude, as graciously as it is
given sincerely on our part. Receive it as a proof of our attachment to
your persons; an attachment which is not founded upon fear, nor an
exteriour representation of authority and grandeur, but which is founded
on more noble and immoveable principles, those of esteem and respect,
arising from a sentiment of true greatness and of generosity. Be assured
that when contemptible discord, with its odious attendants, artifice and
imposture, 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 observance of
their duties; the inconveniencies 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 an haughty enemy. Continue then, noble,
great, venerable, noble and venerable Lords, to proceed with safety in
the road that you follow, the only one, which in our opinion can, under
the 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 the most pointed
cares. A more pleasing perspective already opens. Great Britain, not
long since so proud of her forces, that she feared not to declare war
against an ancient and faithful Ally, already repents of that unjust and
rash proceeding; and, succumbing under the weight of a war, which
becomes more and more burthensome, she sighs after peace; whilst that
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 resolution lately taken by
the States of Friesland, and so unanimously adopted by our Province,
furnishes, among many others, one incontestible proof of it; whilst the
naval combat fought the last year on Doggersbank, hath shewn to
astonished Europe, that so long a peace hath 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 affected with an evident superiority, will
procure, one day, to our country an honourable and permanent peace,
which, in eternizing their military glory, will cause the wise policy of
your noble, great, venerable, and noble and venerable Lordships, to be
blessed by the latest posterity.



UTRECHT.

_24th April, 1782._

TO THEIR NOBLE MIGHTINESSES, THE LORDS THE STATES 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 vigilant attention
of your noble Mightinessess, the favourable occasion that offers itself
in this moment, to revive the manufactures, commerce, and trades 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 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 judge
proper to the advancement of the well-being of the petitioners and of
their interests, the petitioners have further the satisfaction of seeing
the most agreeable proofs of it, when your noble Mightinesses, in your
last Assembly, resolved unanimously to consent, not only to the
admission of Mr. Adams in quality of Minister of the Congress of North
America, but to authorise the Lords 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
admission of Mr. Adams, as Minister of the United States of America. As
that resolution furnishes the proofs the best intentioned, the most
patriotic, for the advancement of that which may serve to the well-being
and to the encouragement of manufactures, of commerce, and of decayed
trades, as well in general, as of this City and Province in particular,
and which had been so ardently desired; the petitioners think themselves
indispensibly obliged to testify, in the most respectful manner, their
gratitude for it to your noble Mightinesses. The petitioners find
themselves absolutely unable to express, in words, the general
satisfaction that this event hath 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 Mightinesses, that the
consummation of the desired treaty of commerce with the Americans may be
soon effected. The petitioners attest by the present, before your noble
Mightinesses, their solemn and well-meant gratitude, which they address
at the same time to your noble Mightinesses, as the most sincere mark of
veneration and respect for the persons, and the direction of public
affairs, of your noble Mightinesses; praying that Almighty God may deign
to bless the efforts and the councils of your noble Mightinesses, as
well as those of the Confederates; that moreover this Province, and our
dear country, by the propositions of an Armistice, and that which
depends thereon, should not be involved in any negotiations for a
particular 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 their honour 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 time.



FRIESLAND.

_EXTRACT from the Register-Book of the Lords the States of Friesland_.


The requisition of Mr. Adams, for presenting his letters of credence
from the United States of America to their High Mightinesses, having
been brought into the assembly, and put into deliberation, as also the
ulteriour address 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 probably have some propositions to make to their High
Mightinesses, and to present to them the principle articles and
foundations upon which the Congress, on their part, would enter into a
treaty of commerce and friendship, or other affairs to propose, in
regard to which dispatch would be requisite.

It has been thought fit and resolved to authorize the Lords 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 propositions 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 February, 1782.

Compared with the aforesaid book to my knowledge.

_Signed_

A. J. V. SMINIA.



HOLLAND

AND

WESTFRIESLAND.

_EXTRACT of the Resolutions of the Lords the States of Holland and
Westfriesland, taken in the Assembly of their Noble and Grand
Mightinesses, Thursday 28th March, 1782_.


Deliberated by resumption upon the address and the ulteriour 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 May, 1781, and the 22d of last month, to present his letters of
credence, in the name of the United States of America, to their High
Mightinesses; by which ulteriour address, the said Mr. Adams hath
demanded a categorical answer, that he may acquaint his constituents
thereof: deliberated also upon the petitions of a great number of
merchants, manufacturers and other inhabitants of this Province,
interested in commerce to support their request presented to the States
General, the twentieth current, to the end, that efficacious measures
might be taken to establish a commerce between this country and North
America, copy of which petitions have been given to the members, the
twenty-first; it hath been thought fit and resolved that the affair
shall be directed on the part of their noble and grand Mightinesses, at
the assembly of the States General, and that there shall be made the
strongest instances that Mr. Adams be admitted and acknowledged, as soon
as possible, by their High Mightinesses, in quality of Ambassador of the
United States of America. And the Counsellor Pensionary hath been
charged to inform under hand the said Mr. Adams of this resolution of
their noble and grand Mightinesses.



ZEALAND.


_EXTRACT of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses the States
General of the United Provinces. Monday 8th April, 1782_.


The Deputies of the Province of Zealand have brought to the Assembly,
and have caused to be read there, the resolution of the States of the
said Province, their principals, to cause to be admitted, as soon as
possible, Mr. Adams in quality of Ambassador of the Congress of North
America, according to the following resolution.


_EXTRACT from the Register of the Resolutions of the Lords the States of
Zealand, 4th of April, 1782_.


It hath been thought fit and ordered, that the Lords, the ordinary
Deputies of this Province at the Generality, shall be 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 Mr. Adams
may be acknowledged, as soon as possible, as Ambassador 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, to take such
propositions, as should be made to this Republic by the said Mr. Adams,
for the information and 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 Lords, their
ordinary Deputies, to serve them as an instruction.

_Signed_

J. M. CHALMERS.


Upon which having deliberated, it hath been thought fit and resolved to
pray, by the present, the Lords the Deputies of the Province of
Guelderland, Utrecht, and Groningen and Ommelanden, who have not yet
explained themselves upon the subject, to be pleased to do it as soon as
possible.



OVERYSSEL.

_EXTRACT from the Register of the Resolutions of the Equestrian Order,
and of the Cities composing the States of Overyssel. Zwoll, 5th April,
1782._


Mr. the Grand Bailiff of Saalland, and the other Commissioners of their
noble Mightinesses for the affairs of finance, having examined,
conformably to their commissorial resolution of the third 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 letters of credence
to their High Mightinesses, in the name of the United States of America;
as well as the resolution of the Lords the States of Holland and
Westfriesland, dated the 28th of March, 1782, carried the 29th of the
same month to the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, for the admission
and acknowledgment of Mr. Adams, have reported to the Assembly, that
they should be of opinion, that the Lords 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.

_Signed_

DERK DUNBAR.



GRONINGEN.

_EXTRACT from the Register of the Resolutions of their noble
Mightinesses, the States of Groningen and Ommelanden. Tuesday 9th April,
1782._


The Lords the States of Groningen and Ommelanden, having heard the
report of the Lords the Commissioners for the petitions of the Council
of State and the Finances of the Province, and having carefully examined
the demand of Mr. Adams, to present his letters of credence from the
United States of 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 that the kingdom
of Great Britain hath caused in a manner 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 on the
most solid foundations, as may confirm and re-assure it, by the
strongest bonds of reciprocal interest; and that, in consequence, the
Lords 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 America, and to receive the propositions which he shall make,
to make report of them to the Lords the States of this Province.

_Signed_

E. LEWE, Secretary.

The States General, having deliberated the same day upon the resolution,
have resolved, that the Deputies of this 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.



UTRECHT.

_EXTRACT of the Resolutions of their noble Mightinesses, the States of
the Province of Utrecht, 10 April 1782_.


Heard the report of Mr. 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 1781, 16th January and 20th
March of the present year 1782, have examined the resolutions of their
High Mightinesses of the 4th of May 1781, containing an overture, that
Mr. 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 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 ulteriour overture of Mr. 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 Friesland, containing a
proposition to admit Mr. Adams in quality 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 hath been thought fit and resolved, that the Lords the Deputies of
this Province in the States General should be authorised, as their noble
Mightinesses 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 Westfriesland, and of Friesland, and to consent by
consequence, that Mr. Adams be acknowledged and admitted as Minister of
the United States of America; their noble Mightinesses being, in the
mean 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 giving them the
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 on the contrary, that their
High Mightinesses with nothing with more ardor, than a prompt
re-establishment of peace; and that they shall be always ready, on their
part, 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 honour
and their dignity, and for this end an extract of this shall be carried
by Missive to the Lords the Deputies at the Generality.



GUELDERLAND.

_EXTRACT from the Recès of the ordinary Diet, holden in the City of
Nimeguen, in the Month of April 1782. Wednesday, 17 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 America,
having been brought to the assembly and read, as well as an ulteriour
address made upon this subject, with a 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 4th of May 1781, and of the 9th of
January 1782; moreover the resolutions of the Lords the States of the
five other provinces, carried successively to the assembly of their High
Mightinesses, and all tending to admit Mr. Adams in quality of
Ambassador of the United States of America to this Republic; upon which
their noble Mightinesses, after deliberation, have resolved to authorise
the deputies of this Province at the States General, as they 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 Westfriesland,
and to consent, by consequence, that Mr. Adams may be acknowledged and
admitted in quality of Ambassador of the United States of 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 Mightinesses.

In fidem extracti.

_Signed_

J. IN DE BETOUW.



THE STATES GENERAL.

_EXTRACT from the Register of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses
the States General of the United Provinces. Friday 19 April, 1782._


Deliberated by resumption, upon the address and the ulteriour address,
made by Mr. Adams the 4th of May 1781, and the 9th of January of the
current year to Mr. the President of the Assembly of their High
Mightinesses, to present to their High Mightinesses his letters of
credence in the name of the United States of North America; and by which
ulteriour address the said Mr. Adams hath demanded a categorical answer,
to the end to be able to acquaint his Constituents thereof; it hath been
thought fit and resolved that Mr. Adams shall be admitted and
acknowledged in quality of Ambassador of the United States of North
America to their High Mightinesses, as he is admitted and acknowledged
by the present.

_Signed_

W. BOREEL, _President_.


_Lower down_

Compared with the aforesaid Register.

_Signed_

H. FAGEL.



_EXTRACT from the Register of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses
the States General of the United Provinces, Monday, 22d April, 1782_.


Mr. Boreel, who presided in the Assembly the last week, hath reported to
their High Mightinesses, and notified to them, that Mr. John Adams,
Ambassador of the United States of America, had been with him last
Saturday, and presented to him a letter from the Assembly of Congress,
written at Philadelphia, the first 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 hath been thought fit and resolved, to declare by the
present: "That the said Mr. 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
de Spieringshoek.

_Signed_

W. VAN CITTERS, _President_.


_Lower down_

Compared with the aforesaid Register.

_Signed_

H. FAGEL.



MEDAL.

TO THE NOBLE AND MIGHTY LORDS, THE STATES OF FRIESLAND,


The Society of Citizens, established at Leeuwarden, under the motto, "By
Liberty and Zeal," most humbly represents, that it desires to have an
opportunity of testifying publicly, by facts, to your noble
Mightinesses, the most lively, but, at the same time, the most
respectful sentiments of gratitude, which not only animate them, but
also, as they assure themselves, all the well intentioned Citizens,
especially, with relation to the resolutions equally important, and full
of wisdom; which your noble Mightinesses have taken upon all the points,
in regard to which the critical circumstances, in which our dear country
finds itself plunged, have furnished to your noble Mightinesses, objects
equally numerous and disagreeable, particularly, at the ordinary Diet of
the year 1782, and at the extraordinary Diet holden in the month of
April last; resolutions which bear not only the characters of wisdom,
but also those of the best intentioned solicitude, and the purest love
of our country; and which prove, in the most convincing manner, that
your noble Mightinesses have no greater ambition than its universal
prosperity; assiduously proposing to yourselves, as the most important
object of your attention, of your enterprises, and of your attachment,
the rule, _Salus Populi suprema Lex esto_; resolutions, in fine, which
ought perfectly to re-assure the good Citizens of this Province, and
encourage them to persevere in that full and tranquil confidence which
has hindered them from representing to your noble Mightinesses the true
interests of the country, and to exhort them, at the same time, by their
supplications, to act with courage, and to fulfil their duties;
considering that the said resolutions have fully assured them, that
their possessions, with that which is above all things dear to them,
their Liberty (that right which is more precious to them than their
lives; to which the smallest injury cannot be done, without doing wrong
and dishonour to humanity; a right, nevertheless, which, if we consider
the world in general, has been, alas! almost every where equally
violated) are deposited in safety, under the vigilant eye of your noble
Mightinesses.

The Society has thought that it might accomplish its wishes, in the most
convenient and decent manner, in causing to be stricken, at its expence,
a Medal of silver, which may remain to posterity a durable monument of
the perfect harmony which at the present dangerous epoch has reigned
between the government and the people. It has conceived, for this
purpose, a sketch or project, as yet incomplete, according to which one
of the sides of the Medal should bear the Arms of Friesland, held by an
hand, which descends from the clouds, with an inscription in the
following terms: _To the States of Friesland, in grateful Memory of the
Diets of February and of April, 1782, dedicated by the Society_ LIBERTY
AND ZEAL. An inscription, which would thus contain a general applause of
all the resolutions taken in these two Diets; whilst upon the reverse,
one should distinguish, more particularly, the two events which interest
the most our common country, in regard of which your noble Mightinesses
have given the example to the States of the other Provinces, and which
merit, for this reason, as placed in the foremost situation, to shew
itself the most clearly to the fight: to wit, "The admission of Mr.
Adams in quality of Minister of the United States of America to this
Republic; and the refusal of a separate peace with Great Britain."
Events which should be represented symbolically by a Frisian, dressed
according to the ancient characteristic custom of the Frisians, holding
out his right-hand to an inhabitant of North America, in token of
friendship and brotherly love; whilst with the left-hand he rejects the
peace which England offers him. The whole with such convenient
additions, and symbolical ornaments, which the Society, perhaps, would
do well to leave to the invention of the medalist, &c.

[_The remainder of this request relates to other subjects._]

Done at Leeuwarden the 8th May, 1782.

The Society "BY LIBERTY AND ZEAL."

_Signed at its request_

W. WOPKENS,

_in the absence of the Secretary_.



AN

ESSAY

ON

CANON AND FEUDAL LAW.

BY JOHN ADAMS,

AMBASSADOR PLENIPOTENTIARY

FROM THE

UNITED AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF NORTH AMERICA,

TO THEIR

HIGH MIGHTINESS THE STATES GENERAL OF THE UNITED PROVINCES OF HOLLAND.



AN

ESSAY

ON

CANON AND FEUDAL LAW.


"Ignorance and inconsideration, are the two great causes of the ruin of
mankind."--This is an observation of Dr. _Tillotson_, with relation to
the interest of his fellow-men, in a future and immortal state: But it
is of equal truth and importance, if applied to the happiness of men in
society, on this side the grave.--In the earliest ages of the world,
_absolute Monarchy_ seems to have been the universal form of
government.--Kings, and a few of their great counsellors and captains,
exercised a cruel tyranny over the people who held a rank in the scale
of intelligence, in those days, but little higher than the camels and
elephants, that carried them and their engines to war.

By what causes it was brought to pass, that the people in the middle
ages, became more _intelligent_ in general, would not perhaps be
possible in these days to discover: But the fact is certain, and
wherever a general knowledge and sensibility have prevailed among the
people, arbitrary government and every kind of oppression have lessened
and disappeared in proportion.--Man has certainly an exalted soul! and
the same principle in human nature; that aspiring noble principle,
founded in benevolence and cherished by knowledge; I mean the love of
power, which has been so often the cause of _slavery_, has, whenever
freedom has existed, been the cause of freedom. If it is this principle,
that has always prompted the princes and nobles of the earth, by every
species of fraud and violence, to shake off all the limitations of their
power; it is the same that has always stimulated the common people to
aspire at independency, and to endeavour at confining the power of the
great, within the limits of equity and reason.

The poor people, it is true, have been much less successful than the
great--They have seldom found either leisure or opportunity to form an
union and exert their strength--ignorant as they were of arts and
letters, they have seldom been able to frame and support a regular
opposition. This, however, has been known, by the great, to be the
temper of mankind, and they have accordingly laboured, in all ages, to
wrest from the populace, as they are contemptuously called, the
knowledge of their rights and wrongs, and the power to assert the former
or redress the latter. I say RIGHTS, for such they have, undoubtedly,
antecedent to all earthly government--_Rights_, that cannot be repealed
or restrained by human laws--_Rights_, derived from the great Legislator
of the universe.

Since the promulgation of christianity, the two greatest systems of
tyranny, that have sprung from this original, are the _cannon_ and the
_feudal_ law--The desire of dominion, that great principle by which we
have attempted to account for so much good, and so much evil, is, when
properly restrained, a very useful and noble movement in the human mind:
but when such restraints are taken off, it becomes an encroaching,
grasping, restless and ungovernable power. Numberless have been the
systems of iniquity, contrived by the great, for the gratification of
this passion in themselves: but in none of them were they ever more
successful, than in the invention and establishment of the _canon_ and
the _feudal_ law.

By the former of these, the most refined, sublime, extensive, and
astonishing constitution of policy, that ever was conceived by the mind
of man, was framed by the Romish clergy for the aggrandisement of their
own order. All the epithets I have here given to the Romish policy are
just; and will be allowed to be so, when it is considered, that they
even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that GOD
ALMIGHTY had intrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they
might open and close at pleasure--with a power of dispensation over all
the rules and obligations of morality--with authority to license all
sorts of sins and crimes--with a power of deposing princes, and
absolving subjects from allegiance--with a power of procuring or
withholding the rain of heaven, and the beams of the sun--with the
management of earthquakes, pestilence and famine.----Nay, with the
mysterious, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and
wine, the flesh and blood of GOD himself.--All these opinions they were
enabled to spread and rivet among the people, by reducing their minds to
a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity; and by infusing into
them a _religious_ horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was human
nature chained fast for ages, in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable
servitude, to him and his subordinate tyrants; who, it was foretold,
would exalt himself above all that was called GOD, and that was
worshipped.----

In the latter we find another system similar in many respects to the
former; which, although it was originally formed perhaps for the
necessary defence of a barbarous people, against the inroads and
invasions of her neighbouring nations; yet, for the same purposes of
tyranny, cruelty and lust, which had dictated the _canon_ law, it was
soon adopted by almost all the Princes of Europe, and wrought into the
constitutions of their government.--It was originally a code of laws,
for a vast army in a perpetual encampment.--The general was invested
with the sovereign propriety of all the lands within the territory.--Of
him, his servants and vassals, the first rank of his great officers held
the lands; and in the same manner, the other subordinate officers held
of them; and all ranks and degrees, held their lands, by a variety of
duties and services, all tending to bind the chains the faster, on every
order of mankind. In this manner, the common people were holden
together, in herds and clans, in a state of servile dependance on their
Lords; bound, even by the tenure of their lands to follow them, whenever
they commanded, to their wars; and in a state of total ignorance of
every thing divine and human, excepting the use of arms, and the culture
of their lands.

But, another event still more calamitous to human liberty, was a wicked
confederacy, between the two systems of tyranny above described.--It
seems to have been even stipulated between them, that the temporal
grandees should contribute every thing in their power to maintain the
ascendency of the priesthood; and that the spiritual grandees, in, their
turn, should employ that ascendency over the consciences of the people,
in impressing on their minds, a blind, implicit obedience to civil
magistracy.--

Thus, as long as this confederacy lasted, and the people were held in
ignorance; Liberty, and with her, knowledge, and virtue too, seem to
have deserted the earth; and one age of darkness succeeded another, till
GOD, in his benign Providence, raised up the champions, who began and
conducted the Reformation.--From the time of the Reformation, to the
first settlement of America, knowledge gradually spread in Europe, but
especially in England; and in proportion as that increased and spread
among the people, ecclesiastical and civil tyranny, which I use as
synonymous expressions, for the _canon_ and _feudal_ laws, seem to have
lost their strength and weight. The people grew more and more sensible
of the wrong that was done them, by these systems; more and more
impatient under it; and determined at all hazards to rid themselves of
it; till, at last, under the execrable race of the Stuarts, the struggle
between the people and the confederacy aforesaid of temporal and
spiritual tyranny, became formidable, violent and bloody.----

It was this great struggle that peopled America.--It was not religion
alone, as is commonly supposed; but it was a love of _universal_
liberty, and an hatred, a dread, an horror of the infernal confederacy
before described, that projected, conducted, and accomplished the
settlement of America.----

It was a resolution formed by a sensible people, I mean the _Puritans_
almost in despair. They had become intelligent in general, and many of
them learned.--For this fact I have the testimony of Archbishop _King_
himself, who observed of that people, that they were more intelligent,
and better read than even the members of the church whom he censures
warmly for that reason.--This people had been so vexed, and tortured by
the powers of those days, for no other crime than their knowledge, and
their freedom of enquiry and examination; and they had so much reason to
despair of deliverance from those miseries on that side the ocean, that
they at last resolved to fly to the _wilderness_ for refuge, from the
temporal and spiritual principalities and powers, and plagues, and
scourges of their native country.

After their arrival here, they began their settlement, and formed their
plan both of ecclesiastical and civil government, in direst opposition
to the _canon_ and the _feudal_ systems.----The leading men among them,
both of the clergy and the laity were men of sense and learning: To many
of them, the historians, orators, poets and philosophers of Greece and
Rome were quite familiar: and some of them have left libraries that are
still in being, consisting chiefly of volumes, in which the wisdom of
the most enlightened ages and nations is deposited, written however in
languages, which their great grandsons, _though educated in European
Universities_, can scarcely read.

Thus accomplished were many of the first planters of these colonies.--It
may be thought polite and fashionable, by many modern fine gentlemen,
perhaps, to deride the characters of these persons as enthusiastical,
superstitious and republican: But such ridicule is founded in nothing
but foppery and affectation, and is grosly injurious and
false.----Religious to some degree of enthusiasm, it may be admitted
they were; but this can be no peculiar derogation from their character,
because it was at that time almost the universal character, not only of
England but of Christendom. Had this however been otherwise, their
enthusiasm, considering the principles in which it was founded, and the
ends to which it was directed, far from being a reproach to them, was
greatly to their honour: for I believe it will be found universally
true, that no great enterprize, for the honour or happiness of mankind,
was ever atchieved without a large mixture of that noble
infirmity. Whatever imperfections may be justly ascribed to them, which
however are as few as any mortals have discovered, their judgment in
framing their policy was founded in wise, humane and benevolent
principles. It was founded in revelation and in reason too: It was
consistent with the principles of the best, and greatest, and wisest
legeslators of antiquity.----Tyranny in every form, shape and
appearance, was their disdain and abhorrence; no fear of punishment, nor
even of death itself, in exquisite tortures, had been sufficient to
conquer that steady, manly, pertinacious spirit, with which they had
opposed the tyrants of those days, in church and state. They were very
far from being enemies to monarchy; and they knew as well as any men,
the just regard and honour that is due to the character of a dispenser
of the mysteries of the gospel of grace: But they saw clearly, that
popular powers must be placed as a guard, a controul, a balance, to the
powers of the monarch and the priest in every government; or else it
would soon become the man of sin, the whore of Babylon, the mystery of
iniquity, a great and detestable system of fraud, violence and
usurpation. Their greatest concern seems to have been to establish a
government of the church more consistent with the Scriptures, and a
government of the state more agreeable to the dignity of human nature,
than any they had seen in Europe: and to transmit such a government down
to their posterity, with the means of securing and preserving it for
ever. To render the popular power in their new government as great and
wise as their principles of theory, i. e. as human nature and the
christian religion require it should be, they endeavoured to remove from
it as many of the feudal inequalities and dependencies as could be
spared, consistently with the preservation of a mild limited monarchy.
And in this they discovered the depth of their wisdom, and the warmth of
their friendship to human nature.--But the first place is due to
religion.----They saw clearly, that of all the nonsense and delusion
which had ever passed through the mind of man, none had ever been more
extravagant than the notions of absolutions, indelible characters,
uninterrupted successions, and the rest of those fantastical ideas,
derived from the canon law, which had thrown such a glare of mystery,
sanctity, reverence and right, reverend eminence, and holiness around
the idea of a priest, as no mortal could deserve and as always must,
from the constitution of human nature, be dangerous in society. For this
reason, they demolished the whole system of Diocesan episcopacy, and
deriding, as all reasonable and impartial men must do, the ridiculous
fancies of sanctified effluvia from episcopal fingers, they established
sacerdotal ordination on the foundation of the Bible and common
sense.----This conduct at once imposed an obligation on the whole body
of the clergy, to industry, virtue, piety and learning; and rendered
that whole body infinitely more independent on the civil powers, in all
respects, than they could be where they were formed into a scale of
subordination, from a Pope down to Priests and friars and confessors,
necessarily and essentially, a sordid, stupid, and wretched herd; or
than they could be in any other country, where an archbishop held the
place of an universal bishop, and the vicars and curates that of the
ignorant, dependent, miserable rabble aforesaid; and infinitely more
sensible and learned than they could be in either.----This subject has
been seen in the same light by many illustrious patriots, who have lived
in America, since the days of our forefathers, and who have adored their
memory for the same reason.----And methinks there has not appeared in
New England, a stronger veneration for their memory, a more penetrating
insight into the grounds and principles and spirit of their policy, nor
a more earnest desire of perpetuating the blessings of it to posterity,
than that fine institution of the late Chief Justice Dudley, of a
lecture against popery, and on the validity of presbyterian ordination.
This was certainly intended by that wise and excellent man, as an
eternal memento of the wisdom and goodness of the very principles that
settled America. But I must again return to the feudal law.----The
adventurers so often mentioned, had an utter contempt of all that dark
ribaldry of hereditary indefeasible right,--the Lord's anointed,--and
the divine miraculous original of government, with which the priesthood
had inveloped the feudal monarch in clouds and mysteries, and from
whence they had deduced the most mischievous of all doctrines, that of
passive obedience and non-resistance. They knew that government was a
plain, simple, intelligible thing, founded in nature and reason, and
quite comprehensible by common sense.----They detested all the base
services, and servile dependencies of the feudal system.----They knew
that no such unworthy dependencies took place in the ancient seats of
liberty, the republic of Greece and Rome: and they thought all such
slavish subordinations were equally inconsistent with the constitution
of human nature, and that religious liberty with which Jesus had made
them free. This was certainly the opinion they had formed, and they were
far from being singular or extravagant in thinking so.----Many
celebrated modern writers in Europe have espoused the same
sentiments.--Lord Kaims, a Scottish writer of great reputation, whose
authority in this case ought to have the more weight, as his countrymen
have not the most worthy ideas of liberty, speaking of the feudal law,
says, "A constitution so contradictory to all the principles which
govern mankind, can never be brought about, one should imagine, but by
foreign conquest or native usurpations." Brit. Ant. p. 2.--Rousseau
speaking of the same system, calls it, "That most iniquitous and absurd
form of government, by which human nature was so shamefully degraded."
Social compact, Page 164.----It would be easy to multiply authorities;
but it must be needless, because as the original of this form of
government was among savages, as the spirit of it is military and
despotic, every writer, who would allow the people to have any right to
life or property or freedom, more than the beasts of the field, and who
was not hired or inlisted under arbitrary lawless power, has been always
willing to admit the feudal system to be inconsistent with liberty and
the rights of mankind.

To have holden their lands allodially, or for every man to have been the
sovereign lord and proprietor of the ground he occupied, would have
constituted a government, too nearly like a commonwealth.--They were
contented, therefore, to hold their lands of their King, as their
sovereign lord, and to him they were willing to render homage: but to no
mesne and subordinate lords, nor were they willing to submit to any of
the baser services.--In all this they were so strenuous, that they have
even transmitted to their posterity, a very general contempt and
detestation of holdings by quit rents: As they have also an hereditary
ardour for liberty, and thirst for knowledge.--

They were convinced by their knowledge of human nature derived from
history and their own experience, that nothing could preserve their
posterity from the encroachments of the two systems of tyranny, in
opposition to which, as has been observed already, they erected their
government in church and state, but knowledge diffused generally through
the whole body of the people.--Their civil and religious principles,
therefore, conspired to prompt them to use every measure, and take every
precaution in their power to propagate and perpetuate knowledge. For
this purpose they laid very early the foundations of colleges, and
invested them with ample privileges and emoluments; and it is
remarkable, that they have left among their posterity, so universal an
affection and veneration for those seminaries, and for liberal
education, that the meanest of the people contribute chearfully to the
support and maintenance of them every year, and that nothing is more
generally popular than productions for the honour, reputation, and
advantage of those seats of learning. But the wisdom and benevolence of
our fathers rested not here. They made an early provision by law, that
every town, consisting of so many families, should be always furnished
with a grammar school.--They made it a crime for such a town to be
destitute of a grammar school-master for a few months, and subjected it
to an heavy penalty.--So that the education of all ranks of people was
made the care and expence of the public in a manner, that I believe has
been unknown to any other people ancient or modern.

The consequences of these establishments we see and feel every day.--A
native of America who cannot read and write, is as rare an appearance as
a Jacobite, or a Roman Catholic, i. e. as rare as a comet or an
earthquake.--It has been observed, that we are all of us lawyers,
divines, politicians, and philosophers.--And I have good authorities to
say, that all candid foreigners who have passed through this country,
and conversed freely with all sorts of people here, will allow, that
they have never seen so much knowledge and civility among the common
people in any part or the world.--It is true there has been among us a
party for some years, consisting chiefly, not of the descendants of the
first settlers of this country, but of high churchmen and high
statesmen, imported since, who affect to censure this provision for the
education of our youth as a needless expence, and an imposition upon
the rich in favour of the poor;--and as an institution productive of
idleness and vain speculation among the people, whose time and
attention, it is said, ought to be devoted to labour, and not to public
affairs, or to examination into the conduct of their superiors. And
certain officers of the crown, and certain other missionaries of
ignorance, foppery, servility, and slavery, have been most inclined to
countenance and encrease the same party.--Be it remembered, however,
that liberty must at all hazards be supported. _We have a right to it,
derived from our_ MAKER! But if we had not, our fathers have earned and
bought it for us at the expence of their ease, their estates, their
pleasure, and their blood.--And Liberty cannot be preserved without a
general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of
their nature, to knowledge, as their great CREATOR, who does nothing in
vain, has given them understandings and a desire to know; but besides
this they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible,
divine right, to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean
of the characters and conduct of their rulers. _Rulers are no more than
attornies, agents, and trustees for the people_: and if the cause, the
interest, and trust are insidiously betrayed, or wantonly trifled away,
the people have a right to revoke the authority that they themselves
have deputed, and to constitute abler and better agents, attornies, and
trustees. And the preservation of the means of knowledge, among the
lowest rank, is of more importance to the public, than all the property
of all the rich men in the country. It is even of more consequence to
the rich themselves, and to their posterity.--The only question is,
whether it is a public emolument? and if it is, the rich ought
undoubtedly to contribute in the same proportion as to all other public
burdens, i. e. in proportion to their wealth, which is secured by public
expences.--But none of the means of information are more sacred, or have
been cherished with more tenderness and care by the settlers of America,
than the press. Care has been taken that the art of printing should be
encouraged, and that it should be easy and cheap, and safe for any
person to communicate his thoughts to the Public.--And you, Messieurs
Printers, whatever the tyrants of the earth may say of your Paper, have
done important service to your country, by your readiness and freedom
in publishing the speculations of the curious. The stale, impudent
insinuations of slander and sedition, with which the gormandizers of
power have endeavoured to discredit your Paper, are so much the more to
your honour; for the jaws of power are always opened to devour, and her
arm is always stretched out, if possible to destroy, the freedom of
thinking, speaking, and writing.--And if the public interest, liberty
and happiness have been in danger, from the ambition or avarice of any
great man, or number of great men, whatever may be their politeness,
address, learning, ingenuity, and in other respects integrity and
humanity, you have done yourselves honour, and your country service, by
publishing and pointing out that avarice and ambition.--These views are
so much the more dangerous and pernicious, for the virtues with which
they may be accompanied in the same character, and with so much the more
watchful jealousy to be guarded against.

"Curse on such virtues, they've undone their country."

_Be not intimidated, therefore, by any terrors, from publishing, with
the utmost freedom whatever can be warranted by the laws of your
country; nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberty by any
pretences of politeness, delicacy, or decency._ These, as they are often
used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and
cowardice. Much less, I presume, will you be discouraged by any
pretences, that malignants on this side the water[A] will represent your
Paper as facetious and seditious, or that the Great on the other side
the water will take offence at them. This dread of representation has
had for a long time in this province effects very similar to what the
physicians call an _hydrophobia_, or dread of water.--It has made us
delirious--and we have rushed headlong into the water, till we are
almost drowned, out of simple or phrensical fear of it. Believe me, the
character of this country has suffered more in Britain, by the
pusillanimity with which we have borne many insults and indignities from
the creatures of power at home, and the creatures of those creatures
here, than it ever did, or ever will by the freedom and spirit that has
been or will be discovered in writing or action. Believe me, my
countrymen, they have imbibed an opinion on the other side the water,
that we are an ignorant, a timid, and a stupid people; nay, their tools
on this side have often the impudence to dispute your bravery.--But I
hope in God the time is near at hand, when they will be fully convinced
of your understanding, integrity, and courage. But can any thing be more
ridiculous, were it not too provoking to be laughed at, than to pretend
that offence should be taken at home for writings here?--Pray let them
look at home. Is not the human understanding exhausted there? Are not
reason, imaginations, wit, passion, senses and all, tortured to find out
satire and invective against the characters of the vile and futile
fellows who sometimes get into place and power?--The most exceptionable
paper that ever I saw here is perfect prudence and modesty, in
comparison of multitudes of their applauded writings. Yet the high
regard they have for the freedom of the Press, indulges all.--I must and
will repeat it, Newspapers deserve the patronage of every friend to his
country. And whether the defamers of them are arrayed in robes of
scarlet or sable, whether they lurk and skulk in an insurance office,
whether they assume the venerable character of a priest, the sly one of
a scrivener, or the dirty, infamous, abandoned one of an informer, they
are all the creatures and tools of the lust of domination.----

[Footnote A: Boston in America.]

The true source of our sufferings, has been our timidity.

We have been afraid to think.--We have felt a reluctance to examining
into the grounds of our privileges, and the extent in which we have an
indisputable right to demand them, against all the power and authority
on earth.--And many who have not scrupled to examine for themselves,
have yet, for certain prudent reasons, been cautious, and diffident of
declaring the result of their enquiries.

The cause of this timidity is perhaps hereditary, and to be traced back
in history, as far as the cruel treatment the first settlers of this
country received, before their embarkation for America, from the
government at home.--Every body knows how dangerous it was, to speak or
write in favour of any thing, in those days, but the triumphant system
of religion and politicks. And our fathers were, particularly, the
objects of the persecutions and proscriptions of the times.--It is not
unlikely therefore, that, although they were inflexibly steady in
refusing their positive assent to any thing against their principles,
they might have contracted habits of reserve, and a cautious diffidence
of asserting their opinions publicly.--These habits they probably
brought with them to America, and have transmitted down to us.--Or, we
may possibly account for this appearance, by the great affection and
veneration, Americans have always entertained for the country from
whence they sprang--or by the quiet temper for which they have been
remarkable, no country having been less disposed to discontent than
this--or by a sense they have that it is their duty to acquiesce under
the administration of government, even when in many smaller matters
grievous to them, and until the essentials of the great compact are
destroyed or invaded. These peculiar causes might operate upon them; but
without these, we all know, that human nature itself, from indolence,
modesty, humanity or fear, has always too much reluctance to a manly
assertion of its rights. Hence perhaps it has happened, that nine-tenths
of the species, are groaning and gasping in misery and servitude.

But whatever the cause has been, the fact is certain, we have been
excessively cautious of giving offence by complaining of
grievances.----And it is as certain, that American governors, and their
friends, and all the crown officers, have availed themselves of this
disposition in the people.--They have prevailed on us to consent to many
things, which were grossly injurious to us, and to surrender many others
with voluntary tameness, to which we had the clearest right. Have we not
been treated formerly, with abominable insolence, by officers of the
navy?----I mean no insinuation against any gentleman now on this
station, having heard no complaint of any one of them to his
dishonour.--Have not some generals, from England, treated us like
servants, nay, more like slaves than like Britons?--Have we not been
under the most ignominious contribution, the most abject submission, the
most supercilious insults of some custom-house officers? Have we not
been trifled with, browbeaten, and trampled on, by former governors, in
a manner which no King of England since James the Second has dared to
indulge towards his subjects? Have we not raised up one family, placed
in them an unlimited confidence, and been soothed, and flattered, and
intimidated by their influence, into a great part of this infamous
tameness and submission?----"These are serious and alarming questions,
and deserve a dispassionate consideration."--

This disposition has been the great wheel and the main spring in the
American machine of court politics.--We have been told, that "the word
_Rights_ is an offensive expression." That "the King, his Ministry, and
Parliament, will not endure to hear Americans talk of their _Rights_."
That "Britain is the mother and we the children, that a filial duty and
submission is due from us to her," and that "we ought to doubt our own
judgment, and presume that she is right, even when she seems to us to
shake the foundations of government." That "Britain is immensely rich,
and great, and powerful, has fleets and armies at her command, which
have been the dread and terror of the universe, and that the will force
her own judgment into execution, right or wrong." But let me intreat
you, Sir, to pause--Do you consider yourself as a missionary of loyalty
or of rebellion? Are you not representing your K--, his Ministry and
Parliament, as tyrants, imperious, unrelenting tyrants, by such
reasoning as this?--Is not this representing your most gracious
Sovereign, as endeavouring to destroy the foundations of his own
throne?--Are you not representing every Member of Parliament as
renouncing the transactions at _Runyn Mead_; [the meadow, near Windsor,
where _Magna Charta_ was signed,] and as repealing in effect the bill of
rights, when the Lords and Commons asserted and vindicated the rights of
the people and their own rights, and insisted on the King's assent to
that assertion and vindication? Do you not represent them, as forgetting
that the Prince of Orange was created King William by the People, on
purpose that their rights might be eternal and inviolable?--Is there not
something extremely fallacious, in the common place images of mother
country and children colonies? Are we the children of Great Britain, any
more than the cities of London, Exeter and Bath? Are we not brethren and
fellow-subjects, with those in Britain, only under a somewhat different
method of legislation, and a totally different method of taxation? But
admitting we are children, have not children a right to complain when
their parents are attempting to break their limbs, to administer poison,
or to sell them to enemies for slaves? Let me intreat you to consider,
will the mother be pleased, when you represent her as deaf to the cries
of her children? When you compare her to the infamous miscreant, who
lately stood on the gallows for starving her child? When you resemble
her to Lady Macbeth in Shakespear, (I cannot think of it without horror)

  Who "had given suck, and knew
      "How tender 'twas to love the babe that milk'd her."
  But yet, who could
      "Even while 'twas smiling in her face,
  "Have pluck'd her nipple from the boneless gums,
      "And dash'd the brains out."

Let us banish for ever from our minds, my countrymen, all such unworthy
ideas of the K--g, his Ministry, and Parliament. Let us not suppose,
that all are become luxurious, effeminate and unreasonable, on the other
side the water, as many designing persons would insinuate. Let us
presume, what is in fact true, that the spirit of liberty is as ardent
as ever among the body of the nation, though a few individuals may be
corrupted.--Let us take it for granted, that the same great spirit,
which once gave Cæsar so warm a reception; which denounced hostilities
against John, 'till Magna Charta was signed; which severed the head of
Charles the First from his body, and drove James the Second from his
kingdom; the same great spirit (MAY HEAVEN PRESERVE IT TILL THE EARTH
SHALL BE NO MORE!) which first seated the great grandfather of his
present most gracious Majesty on the throne of Britain, is still alive
and active, and warm in England; and that the same spirit in America,
instead of provoking the inhabitants of that country, will endear us to
them for ever, and secure their good-will.

This spirit, however, without knowledge, would be little better than a
brutal rage.----Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore the means
of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.----Let every
order and degree among the people rouse their attention and animate
their resolution.--Let them all become attentive to the grounds and
principles of government, ecclesiastical and civil.--Let us study the
law of nature; search into the spirit of the British constitution; read
the histories of ancient ages; contemplate the great examples of Greece
and Rome; set before us the conduct of our own British ancestors, who
have defended, for _us_, the inherent rights of mankind against foreign
and domestic tyrants and usurpers, against arbitrary kings and cruel
priests, in short against the gates of earth and hell.--Let us read and
recollect, and impress upon our souls the views and ends of our own more
immediate forefathers, in exchanging their native country for a dreary,
inhospitable wilderness. Let us examine into the nature of that power,
and the cruelty of that oppression which drove them from their homes.
Recollect their amazing fortitude, their bitter sufferings! The hunger,
the nakedness, the cold, which they patiently endured! The severe
labours of clearing their grounds, building their houses, raising their
provisions, amidst dangers from wild beasts and savage men, before they
had time or money, or materials for commerce! Recollect the civil and
religious principles, and hopes, and expectations, which constantly
supported and carried them through all hardships, with patience and
resignation! Let us recollect it was liberty! The hope of liberty for
themselves and us and ours, which conquered all discouragements, dangers
and trials!----In such researches as these, let us all in our several
departments chearfully engage! But especially the proper patrons and
supporters of law, learning and religion.

Let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious
liberty.----Let us hear the danger of thraldom to our consciences, from
ignorance, extream poverty and dependance, in short from civil and
political slavery.--Let us see delineated before us, the true map of
man. Let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds
among the works of GOD! that consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious
breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of GOD, as it is derogatory
from our own honour, or interest or happiness; and that GOD ALMIGHTY has
promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good-will to man!----

Let the Bar proclaim, "the laws, the rights, the generous plan of
power," delivered down from remote antiquity; inform the world of the
mighty struggles, and numberless sacrifices, made by our ancestors, in
the defence of freedom.--Let it be known, that British liberties are not
the grants of princes or parliaments, but original rights, conditions of
original contracts, co-equal with prerogative, and co-eval with
government.--That many of our rights are inherent and essential, agreed
on as maxims and established as preliminaries, even before a parliament
existed.--Let them search for the foundation of British laws and
government in the frame of human nature, in the constitution of the
intellectual and moral world.--There let us see, that truth, liberty,
justice, and benevolence, are its everlasting basis; and if these could
be removed, the superstructure is overthrown of course.--

Let the colleges join their harmony, in the same delightful
concert.--Let every declamation turn upon the beauty of liberty and
virtue, and the deformity, turpitude and malignity of slavery and
vice.--Let the public disputations become researches into the grounds
and nature and ends of government, and the means of preserving the good
and demolishing the evil.--Let the dialogues and all the exercises
become the instruments of impressing on the tender mind, and of
spreading and distributing, far and wide, the ideas of right and the
sensations of freedom.

In a word, let every sluice of knowledge be opened and set a flowing.
The encroachments upon liberty, in the reigns of the first James and the
first Charles, by turning the general attention of learned men to
government, are said to have produced the greatest number of consummate
statesmen, which has ever been seen in any age, or nation. The Brooke's,
Hamden's, Falkland's, Vane's, Milton's, Nedham's, Harrington's,
Neville's, Sydney's, Locke's, are all said to have owed their eminence
in political knowledge, to the tyrannies of those reigns. The prospect,
now before us, in America, ought, in the same manner, to engage the
attention of every man of learning to matters of power and of right,
that we may be neither led nor driven blindfolded to irretrievable
destruction.----_Nothing less than this seems to have been meditated for
us, by somebody or other in Great Britain._ There seems to be a direct
and formal design on foot, to enslave all America.--This however must
be done by degrees.----The first step that is intended seems to be an
entire subversion of the whole system of our Fathers, by the
introduction of the canon and feudal law, into America.----The canon and
feudal systems though greatly mutilated in England, are not yet
destroyed. Like the temples and palaces, in which the great contrivers
of them were once worshiped and inhabited, they exist in ruins; and much
of the domineering spirit of them still remains.--The designs and
labours of a certain society, to introduce the former of them into
America, have been well exposed to the public by a writer of great
abilities; and the further attempts to the same purpose that may be made
by that society, or by the ministry or parliament, I leave to the
conjectures of the thoughtful.--But it seems very manifest from the
Stamp Act itself, that a design is formed to strip us in a great measure
of the means of knowledge, by loading the Press, the Colleges, and even
an Almanack and a News-Paper, with restraints and duties; and to
introduce the inequalities and dependencies of the feudal system, by
taking from the poorer sort of people all their little subsistence, and
conferring it on a set of stamp officers, distributors and their
deputies.--But I must proceed no farther at present.--The sequel,
whenever I shall find health and leisure to pursue it, will be a
"disquisition of the policy of the stamp act."----In the mean time,
however, let me add, These are not the vapours of a melancholy mind, nor
the effusions of envy, disappointed ambition, nor of a spirit of
opposition to government: but the emanations of an heart that burns for
its country's welfare. No one of any feeling, born and educated in this
once happy country, can consider the numerous distresses, the gross
indignities, the barbarous ignorance, the haughty usurpations, that we
have reason to fear are meditating for ourselves, our children, our
neighbours, in short for all our countrymen, and all their posterity,
without the utmost agonies of heart, and many tears.

FINIS.



Transcriber's Notes:
18th Century English typography has been modernized for ease of reading,
for example, long-s has been rendered using an ordinary s. Spelling
conventions of the times have been maintained.

Several misprints and punctuation errors corrected.

Page 7, Added close quotes to end of quotation.

Page 13, "achievements" spelled "atchievements" Left as is.

Page 26, Added close quotes to end of quotation.

Page 43, "necessay" changed to "necessary".

Page 77, "extrardinary" changed to "extraordinary".

Page 87, "achieved" spelled "atchieved" Left as is.

Ligatures removed in ASCII Version: man[oe]oeuvres to manoeuvres,
[oe]conomy to oeconomy.





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