By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (Volume VI)
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (Volume VI)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(This file was produced from images generously made
available by the Bibliothèque nationale de France
(BnF/Gallica) at http://gallica.bnf.fr)
















Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from
the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably
to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818.








Steam Power Press--W. L. Lewis, Printer.

No. 6, Congress Street, Boston.







     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 16th, 1781,        3

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 21st,
     1781,                                                           5

       Ordinance of Prussia relative to navigation and

     To B. Franklin, Amsterdam, May 23d, 1781,                      13

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

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

       Proposition of Amsterdam in the States of Holland,
       urging the speedy adoption of measures of defence and
       protection.--The example of Amsterdam has great
       influence on the rest of the country.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 25th,
     1781,                                                          21

       Enclosing the convention concerning recaptures
       between France and Holland.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 27th,
     1781,                                                          24

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, May 29th,
     1781,                                                          29

       The English, by the capture of St Eustatia, break up
       a trade in British manufactures to North
       America.--The property seized there principally
       English.--Much of it taken by the French on its
       passage to England.--Inactivity of the Dutch naval

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

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

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

       Declaration of Dort, approving the proposition of
       Amsterdam to adopt measures of defence.--Note of the
       Deputies of Haerlem, complaining of the silence of
       the States of Holland in regard to the proposition of

     To the President of the Assembly of the States-General.
     Amsterdam, June 1st, 1781,                                     34

       Informing him of the final ratification of the
       confederation by the Thirteen United States, and
       requesting him to communicate it to their High

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

       Declaration of the Deputies of Middleburg in the
       States of Zealand, approving the proposed increase of
       bounty to those engaged in the naval service, and
       recommending measures to increase the activity of the
       States-General in preparing means of defence.--The
       States of Zealand recommend to the States-General the
       erection of batteries on the coast, and also resolve
       to raise a loan.

     To M. Berenger, Secretary of the French Embassy at the
     Hague. Amsterdam, June 8th, 1781,                              37

       Requests to be informed why his presence is required
       at Paris by the Count de Vergennes.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 11th,
     1781,                                                          39

       Petition of the inhabitants of Antwerp, urging the
       opening of the Scheldt.--Remarks of M. Cerisier on
       the petition; true causes of the decline of the
       Austrian Low Countries, and of the prosperity of the
       Dutch Provinces; absurdity of the pretensions of the
       Austrian Provinces to the free navigation of the
       Scheldt; the other powers would oppose the measure.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 12th,
     1781,                                                          49

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 15th,
     1781,                                                          59

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

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

       Answer of Russia above referred to.--Remarks of Mr
       Adams on the answer.--America must not look to
       European negotiations for safety.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 23d,
     1781,                                                          63

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

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

       The Emperor takes measures to revive commerce in the
       Austrian Low Countries; grants privileges to
       Nieuport; advantages of that city for foreign and
       domestic trade.--Great quantities of British
       manufactures are introduced into America in neutral
       bottoms and by clandestine channels.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 26th,
     1781,                                                          69

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, June 27th,
     1781,                                                          75

       Major Jackson's services in the purchasing and
       shipping of goods for the United states.

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

       The Duke of Brunswick's reply to the memorial of

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 5th,
     1781,                                                          83

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

     To the Count de Vergennes. Versailles, July 7th, 1781,         92

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

     M. de Rayneval to John Adams. Versailles, July 9th,
     1781,                                                          93

       Appointing a time for an interview with Count de

     To M. de Rayneval. Paris, July 9th, 1781,                      94

       Interview with Count de Vergennes.

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

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

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

       Representations of the French Minister at Petersburg,
       complaining of the violation of the principles of the
       convention of neutrality, by the English.--Mr Dana
       leaves Amsterdam for Petersburg.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 10th,
     1781,                                                          97

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

     To the President of Congress. Paris, July 11th, 1781,          98

       Proposition of the mediation of Austria and Russia
       between the European belligerents, the Americans
       being left to treat separately.--The two
       preliminaries on condition of which England proposes
       the mediation; a rupture of France with America, and
       the return of the latter to obedience.

     To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 13th, 1781,            102

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

     To the President of Congress. Paris, July 15th, 1781,         107

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

     To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 16th, 1781,            109

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 17th,
     1781,                                                         112

       Memorial of Amsterdam against the Duke of Brunswick.

     Count de Vergennes to John Adams. Versailles, July
     18th, 1781,                                                   124

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

     To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 18th, 1781,            125

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

     To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 19th, 1781,            127

       An American Minister at Vienna, must be received as
       Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, and
       by his commission can only treat with Ministers
       vested with equal powers, which would be a virtual
       acknowledgment of independence.--Objects to the
       expression "American Colonies" in the articles.--The
       United States can never consent to appear as subjects
       of Great Britain, nor allow their sovereignty to be
       called in question by any Congress of Ministers.--No
       such Congress has ever ventured to interfere in the
       domestic concerns of any power, or to aid a sovereign
       in reducing his rebellious subjects.

     To the Count de Vergennes. Paris, July 21st, 1781,            133

       A proposition has been made, that each State of the
       Union should send an agent to Vienna.--The States
       have no authority to negotiate with foreign powers.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, July 21st,
     1781,                                                         135

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 3d,
     1781,                                                         137

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

     B. Franklin to John Adams. Passy, Aug. 6th, 1781,             140

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 6th,
     1781,                                                         141

       Courier from Petersburg to the English Court,
       supposed to bear representations concerning the war
       against Holland.--The answer of England to the
       proposed preliminaries arrives in Russia; purport

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 6th,
     1781,                                                         142

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 8th,
     1781,                                                         144

       The Dutch privateers are permitted to co-operate with
       the American in any joint enterprise.--This amounts
       to a virtual acknowledgment of the independence of

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 16th,
     1781,                                                         145

       Mr Temple, his character, services, and sufferings.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 16th,
     1781,                                                         147

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 18th,
     1781,                                                         149

       Admiral Parker's account of his action with Admiral

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 22d,
     1781,                                                         150

       Favorable influence of Amsterdam in animating the

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, August 22d,
     1781,                                                         152

       Gradual progress of events in Holland.--The
       declaration of the Stadtholder, that the vessels
       which did not join the squadron of the Texel were
       detained by the winds, and not by counter
       orders.--The Prince's letter of thanks to the crews
       of Admiral Zoutman's vessels.

     To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Aug. 25th, 1781,                   156

       Acknowledges the receipt of his new
       commission.--Proceedings under his former
       commission.--Speculations on the policy of the Courts
       at the proposed Congress.

     James Lovell to John Adams. Philadelphia, September
     1st, 1781,                                                    159

       Enclosing instructions from Congress.

     To B. Franklin. Amsterdam, Oct. 4th, 1781,                    160

       His correspondence has been interrupted by
       sickness.--Expresses his satisfaction with the new
       commission.--Recommends the official communication of
       it to Count de Vergennes, and some intimation of it
       in the French journals.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, October 15th,
     1781,                                                         161

       Loss of his despatches.--Difficulty of safe
       transmission.--Recent interruption by sickness.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, October 15th,
     1781,                                                         163

       The English will not treat with America at
       present.--Has been unsuccessful in his attempts to
       obtain a loan.--It is held out to the public as
       full.--Uncertainty and delays of Dutch
       politics.--Views of the English party in
       Holland.--Obstacles to their success.--Thinks his
       remaining longer in Europe unnecessary.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, October 15,
     1781,                                                         169

       Excitement in Holland.--Placard of the States of
       Utrecht, offering reward for the discovery of the
       author of a seditious pamphlet "To the People of the
       Low Countries."

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, October 18th,
     1781,                                                         172

       Various petitions from the commercial interest in
       Holland to the States-General; from certain
       fisheries; from the merchants of Amsterdam, praying
       indemnification for the loss occasioned by the delay
       of the convoy; from the merchants of Amsterdam and
       Rotterdam, trading to the Levant; from the
       proprietors of plantations in Surinam and Curaçao;
       from the East India Company, praying assistance.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     October 23d, 1781,                                            178

       Informing Mr Adams of his appointment as Secretary of
       Foreign Affairs.--Requests information.--Surrender of
       Lord Cornwallis.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, October. 25th,
     1781,                                                         182

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, November 1st,
     1781,                                                         187

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

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     November 20th, 1781,                                          188

       Requesting information of the parties in
       Holland.--Has received indirect information that Mr
       Adams has presented his credentials to the
       States-General and printed his memorial.--Advises him
       to conduct as a private individual.

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

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

     Resolves of Congress, comprising the Instructions to
     John Adams. In Congress, Aug. 16th, 1781,                     194

       Instructions to Mr Adams, respecting a Treaty of
       Alliance with the United Provinces.--Commission to
       the same for the same object.

     To the Duc de la Vauguyon. Amsterdam, November 25th,
     1781,                                                         197

       Communicating the instructions and commission above
       given.--Manner of proceeding in compliance

     To John Jay, American Minister at Madrid. Amsterdam,
     November 26th, 1781,                                          199

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

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

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

     To John Jay. Amsterdam, Nov. 28th, 1781,                      201

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 4th,
     1781,                                                         203

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

     The Duc de la Vauguyon to John Adams. The Hague,
     December 7th, 1781,                                           205

       Waits for orders in regard to the proposed
       negotiations in Holland.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 13th,
     1781,                                                         206

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 14th,
     1781,                                                         209

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 18th,
     1781,                                                         212

       Interview with the Duc de la Vauguyon, who recommends
       a visit to the Hague, and afterward to the Regencies
       of the several cities.

     To the Duc de la Vauguyon. The Hague, December 19th,
     1781,                                                         214

       Requests to know if the Spanish Ambassador has
       instructions to enter into a treaty with Holland.--Is
       in favor of communicating the project of a triple or
       quadruple alliance to some confidential members of
       the States.--The mediation of Russia is only a
       pretence of England, to prevent Holland from joining
       the other belligerents.

     The Duc de la Vauguyon to John Adams. The Hague,
     December 20th, 1781,                                          216

       Desires to see Mr Adams.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 25th,
     1781,                                                         216

       Ulterior declaration of Prussia concerning the
       navigation of Prussian subjects.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 25th,
     1781,                                                         220

       Lord Stormont's answer to the Swedish Envoy,
       declining the mediation of Sweden, and accepting that
       of Russia.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     December 26th, 1781,                                          223

       Military operations in the United States.--Encloses
       resolutions of Congress, relating to captures and
       recaptures, and prohibiting all commerce in British
       manufactures.--Requests information from Mr Adams.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 29th,
     1781,                                                         226

       Containing the act of accession to the armed
       neutrality on the part of Austria, with the note of
       the Imperial Minister to their High
       Mightinesses.--Strength of the armed neutrality, if
       conducted wisely and honestly.

     The Duc de la Vauguyon to John Adams. Versailles,
     December 30th, 1781,                                          230

       Count de Vergennes approves of Mr Adams's proposed
       visit to members of government, on the subject of his
       memorial, but advises that nothing be done in

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     January 9th, 1782,                                            231

       Military affairs.--The Marquis de Bouillé.--Contrast
       of the conduct of the English and French in America.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, January 14th,
     1782,                                                         233

       Interview with the President of their High
       Mightinesses, in which Mr Adams demands a categorical
       answer to his former request of an audience of the
       States.--Visit to the Secretary of the States on the
       same subject, who assures him that his request had
       been taken _ad referendum_.--Similar visits to the
       Deputies of all the cities.--Constitutions of the
       municipal governments in Holland.--The nation favors
       the triple alliance; the policy of the rulers is to
       propose the mediation of Russia and the triple
       alliance at the same time.

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, January 15th,
     1782,                                                         239

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

     To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, January 16th,
     1782,                                                         240

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

     To Robert R. Livingston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
     Amsterdam, February 14th, 1782,                               244

       Congratulates Mr Livingston on his
       appointment.--State of affairs in Holland.--Difficult
       for an American Minister to communicate with the
       Ministers of other powers.--Mr Barclay purchases
       goods for the United States in Holland.--British
       manufactures bought without the knowledge of Mr

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, February 19th,
     1782,                                                         248

       The English will not be easily discouraged by the
       successes of the Americans.--Complicated state of
       parties in Holland.--Inclinations of the Stadtholder
       in favor of England.--Parties on subjects of domestic
       policy.--Justification of the presentation of his
       credentials.--Motives for printing his
       memorial.--Conducts himself as a private
       individual.--The States have accepted the mediation
       of Russia.--Policy of France in relation to Holland
       and Spain.

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, February 21st,
     1782,                                                         255

       Unable to understand the cypher.--Recapitulation of
       events in Holland before the presentation of his
       memorial.--Great change produced by that paper.--It
       has obtained universal approbation in Europe.--Mr
       Adams's proposition to the Duc de la Vauguyon,
       produced the offer from France to Congress to assist
       in effecting a treaty between Holland and the United
       States.--Influence of the memorial on the policy and
       late measures of the Emperor.--Other effects of the
       memorial.--Conversation with the Duc de la Vauguyon
       on the subject, previous to its presentation.

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, February 27th,
     1782,                                                         267

       The Province of Friesland acknowledges the
       independence of the United States.--Holland will not
       probably enter into an alliance with the
       belligerents.--Buys a house at the Hague on the
       public account.

     The Duc de la Vauguyon to John Adams. The Hague, March
     4th, 1782,                                                    269

       Objects to a proposition of Mr Adams as impolitic.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, March
     5th, 1782,                                                    270

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, March 10th, 1782,         275

       Resolution of the House of Commons, that an offensive
       war in America against the sense of the House would
       be highly criminal.--Other indications of a
       disposition for peace.--Causes of this state of
       feeling.--Probable policy of the British Cabinet.

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, March 11th, 1782,         277

       Transmitting the Resolution of Friesland, instructing
       the Deputies in the States-General to receive Mr
       Adams in his official capacity.--Causes of the change
       of sentiments on this point in the Regency of
       Amsterdam.--Character and influence of Friesland.

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, March 19th, 1782,         280

       Proceedings of the county of Zutphen, on the subject
       of the official reception of Mr Adams.--Petition of
       the merchants and manufacturers of Leyden to the
       grand council of the city, representing the
       languishing condition of their manufactures, and
       urging a treaty with America as a means of reviving
       them.--Petition of the merchants and manufacturers of
       Amsterdam to the States-General, urging the speedy
       acknowledgment of American independence.--Petition of
       the same to the Regency of the city, soliciting the
       Regency to exert itself in obtaining an immediate
       decision of the States of the Province in favor of
       America.--Petition of the commercial interest of
       Rotterdam to the Regency of the city, praying them to
       insist on a speedy decision in favor of a treaty with
       the United States, by the States of the
       Province.--Petition of the merchants and
       manufacturers of Holland and West Friesland to the
       States of the Province, for the adoption of measures
       in the States-General, and for securing the commerce
       of America.--Resolution of the States of Holland and
       West Friesland, to insist on the immediate reception
       of Mr Adams by the States-General.--Petition of
       Zwoll.--Addresses of thanks from the citizens of
       Amsterdam; from the commercial interest of Leyden;
       and from that of Utrecht, to the States of the
       Province, for their abovementioned Resolution.

     To Peter Van Bleiswick, Grand Pensionary of Holland.
     Amsterdam, March 31st, 1782,                                  328

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

     To the Duc de la Vauguyon. Amsterdam, April 10th, 1782,       329

       Lord Shelburne is not satisfied with the
       communication of all subjects discussed, to the
       allies of America.--Holland will not probably treat
       separately with England.

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, April 19th, 1782,         330

       Resolutions of the respective Provinces in favor of
       the reception of Mr Adams, in his official
       capacity.--Resolutions of the States-General,
       acknowledging Mr Adams as Minister of the United

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, April 22d, 1782,          339

       Presentation to the Prince of Orange.

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, April 23d, 1782,          341

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

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

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

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

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 16th, 1782,           346

       Mr Adams removes to the Hague.--Great obstacles, that
       have been surmounted in Holland.--Difficulties in the
       way of a loan.--Recommends to the attention of
       Congress Messrs Dumas, Thaxter, Jennings, and

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, May
     22d, 1782,                                                    351

       The change of Ministry and measures in England will
       have no effect on the determination of
       America.--Congress refuses General Carleton's request
       of a passport for his Secretary.--The salaries of the
       Ministers will be paid quarterly in America.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, May
     29th, 1782,                                                   353

       Complains of not receiving answers to his
       communications.--The policy of England to separate
       France and America.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, May
     30th, 1782,                                                   354

       Acknowledges the receipt of several
       letters.--Transmits a new cypher.--Victory of Admiral

     To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, June 9th, 1782,           356

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

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

       Answer of France to the request of Russia, not to
       oppose a separate peace between Holland and England.

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 15th, 1782,          360

       Conference with the Grand Pensionary on the plan of
       a treaty of commerce.--Mr Adams proposes the sending
       to the United States an Ambassador and Consuls on the
       part of Holland.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia, July
     4th, 1782,                                                    361

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 5th, 1782,           363

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, July 5th, 1782,           365

       Address of the merchants of Schiedam to Congress.

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

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 18th, 1782,        371

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 22d, 1782,         376

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

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     August 29th, 1782,                                            376

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

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

       Sketches of the prominent characters in Holland.--The
       Duc de la Vauguyon.--Sketches of the foreign
       Ministers at the Hague.

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, September 6th,
     1782,                                                         394

       State of the connexion between France and
       Holland.--Policy of France toward the United States.
       Influence of the memorial of Mr Adams to the
       States-General.--The Count de Vergennes opposes the
       proposition of the triple alliance.--The American
       Ministers in Europe ought not to be subject to the
       control of the French Court.

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, September 7th,
     1782,                                                         401

       Enclosing his accounts.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     September 15th, 1782,                                         404

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, September 17th,
     1782,                                                         407

       Conference with the Secretary of the States-General
       for correcting the treaty of commerce.--Conversation
       with the French Ambassador on the Dutch naval forces.

     Extracts from the Records of the Resolutions of their
     High Mightinesses the States-General of the United
     Netherlands,                                                  410

       Authorising the Deputies for Foreign Affairs to
       conclude and sign the treaty of commerce, and the
       convention on the subject of recaptures, with Mr

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, September 17th,
     1782,                                                         412

       Probability of the continuance of the armed
       neutrality.--The acknowledgment of American
       Independence is not a violation of its
       principles.--Jealousies of some powers against the
       House of Bourbon.

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

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

     A Memorial concerning the Bank of Amsterdam,                  419

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

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

       State of American affairs in Holland.--Conduct of the
       different foreign Ministers towards Mr Adams.

     To John Jay. The Hague, October 7th, 1782,                    431

       Causes which delay his going to Paris.

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

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, October 12th, 1782,       435

       Preparing to set out for Paris.

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

       Arrival in Paris.--Conference with Mr
       Jay.--Difference of opinion as to the true sense of
       the instructions to the Ministers, requiring them to
       act only with the consent of the French
       Ministry.--Contested points.--Visits the Dutch
       Minister, who informs him that little progress has
       been made in the negotiations between Holland and
       England.--M. Rayneval's visit to England.

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

       Mr Jay and Mr Adams have declined treating without a
       previous acknowledgment of independence.--Information
       from Holland reaches America by the way of France,
       before it can be transmitted directly.--The affairs
       of the Foreign Department ought to be kept secret
       from France.--Character of the English agents for
       negotiating the peace.--Real disposition of Lord
       Shelburne.--Have agreed on boundaries, and the
       payment of British debts due before the
       war.--Indemnification of tories and Eastern boundary,
       points of dispute.--Secret influence of
       France.--Negotiations at Versailles secret.--The
       Dutch Ambassador suspects the sincerity of the
       English.--Mr Oswald proposes that the British army
       should be allowed to evacuate New York unmolested.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     November 6th, 1782,                                           445

       Military operations have ceased.--Mr Fitzherbert's

     To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 8th, 1782,               447

       Importance of insisting upon points of
       etiquette.--Thinks the instructions to communicate
       everything to the French Minister is not to be
       understood literally.--Good effects which have been
       produced by disobeying them.--Submission of Dr

     To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 11th, 1782,              451

       Conversation with Count de Vergennes on the
       controverted points, Eastern boundary, compensation
       to tories.--Suspicions of the motives of
       France.--All points should be definitively settled,
       so as to leave America totally unconnected with any
       European power.

     Robert R. Livingston to John Adams. Philadelphia,
     November 18th, 1782,                                          457

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

     To Robert R. Livingston. Paris, Nov. 18th, 1782,              459

       Embarrassments occasioned by the instruction to
       communicate on all matters with the French Ministers.

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

       Speculations on the probable disposition of the
       British Cabinet, in case of change.--The
       acknowledgment of independence still leaves room for
       disputes on other points.

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

       Transmits the preliminary treaty.--Desires to resign
       his commission in Holland.--Recommends Mr Laurens as
       his successor.

     Extracts from a Journal,                                      465

       Propositions in regard to the Northern and Eastern
       boundaries.--Mr Adams observes, that the questions of
       compensation to the tories, and of allowing the
       claims of British creditors are different in
       principle.--Mr Jay refuses to treat with the Spanish
       Minister without exchanging powers.--Mr Jay's refusal
       to treat with the British, without a previous
       acknowledgment of independence.--Mr Jay thinks the
       French Court oppose the claims of the American
       Ministers.--Visit to Count de
       Vergennes.--Conversation with Mr Whiteford on the
       policy of France.--Mr Adams called the Washington of
       the negotiation.--Conversation with Mr Oswald
       relative to the compensation of the
       tories.--Conversation with Mr Vaughan on the same
       subject.--Conversation with M. de Lafayette on the
       subject of a loan.--Danger to America from European
       politics.--Mr Strachey returns from London with the
       adhesion of the Cabinet to the compensation of the
       tories.--The fisheries.--Consultation of the American
       Ministers.--Mr Fitzherbert's negotiations concerning
       the fisheries.--Mr Adams proposes an article relative
       to the right of fishing and curing fish.--Discussion
       of the article.--The American Ministers propose
       restoration of all goods carried off or destroyed in
       America, if the compensation is insisted on.--The
       English Ministers assent to the American ultimatum
       respecting the fishery and the tories.--Final
       meeting.--Mr Laurens proposes an article, that the
       English should carry off no American
       property.--Reflections on the negotiation.--State of
       the Dutch negotiations.--"Letters of a distinguished
       American," by Mr Adams.--Conversation with Mr Oswald
       on the true policy of England toward America.--Dr
       Franklin desires to enter upon the negotiation of the
       definitive treaty.--Mr Adams and Mr Jay prepare the
       joint letter to Congress.






VOL. VI. 1






                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 16th, 1781.


There has been much said in the public papers concerning conferences
for peace, concerning the mediation of the Emperor of Germany and the
Empress of Russia, &c. &c. &c.

I have never troubled Congress with these reports, because I have
never received any official information or intimation of any such
negotiation, either from England or France, or any other way. If any
such negotiation has been going on, it has been carefully concealed
from me. Perhaps something has been expected from the United States,
which was not expected from me. For my own part, I know from so long
experience, at the first glance of reflection, the real designs of the
English government, that it is no vanity to say they cannot deceive
me, if they can the Cabinets of Europe. I have fully known, that all
their pretensions about peace were insidious, and therefore have paid
no other attention to them, than to pity the nations of Europe, who,
having not yet experience enough of British manoeuvres, are still
imposed on to their own danger, disgrace, and damage. The British
Ministry are exhausting all the resources of their subtility, if not
of their treasures, to excite jealousies and diversions among the
neutral, as well as belligerent powers. The same arts precisely, that
they have practised so many years to seduce, deceive, and divide
America, they are now exerting among the powers of Europe; but the
voice of God and man is too decidedly against them to permit them much

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

The true cause of the obstruction of our credit here is fear, which
can never be removed but by the States-General acknowledging our
independence; which, perhaps, in the course of twelve months they may
do, but I do not expect it sooner. This country is indeed in a
melancholy situation, sunk in ease, devoted to the pursuits of gain,
overshadowed on all sides by more powerful neighbors, unanimated by a
love of military glory, or any aspiring spirit, feeling little
enthusiasm for the public, terrified at the loss of an old friend, and
equally terrified at the prospect of being obliged to form connexions
with a new one; incumbered with a complicated and perplexed
constitution, divided among themselves in interest and sentiment, they
seem afraid of everything. Success on the part of France, Spain, and
especially of America, raises their spirits, and advances the good
cause somewhat, but reverses seem to sink them much more.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 21st, 1781.


On the 30th of April, the King of Prussia published the following
ordinance, relative to the navigation and commerce of his subjects,
during the whole course of the present war between the maritime


"From the commencement of the maritime war, almost generally spread
through the southern part of Europe, the King has applied himself with
particular care to procure to those of his subjects who traffic by
sea, or who engage in navigation, all the security possible, and to
this end he has caused to be required of the belligerent powers to
give exact orders to their vessels of war and privateers, to respect
the Prussian flag, and to suffer peaceably to pass all the Prussian
vessels, which should be loaded with merchandises, which, according to
the law of nations, are reputed lawful and not contraband, and not
cause to them any damage or delay, and much less still to conduct them
without necessity or right into foreign ports; to which these powers
have answered by assurances friendly and proper to make things easy in
this regard. To attain still more certainly to this end, his Majesty
has ordered his Ministers, residing near the belligerent powers, to
interest themselves as much as possible, and by representations the
most energetic in favor of Prussian subjects, who trade at sea, and
whose vessels might be taken, conducted into foreign ports, or as has
often happened, pillaged even upon the high seas, and to insist on
their speedy release, and that the processes at law, occasioned by
their capture, should be decided without delay, and with the requisite
impartiality. To the end, therefore, that the Ministers of the King
may be in a condition to acquit themselves of these orders in this
respect, it is necessary that the subjects of his Majesty, who find
themselves in such a case, announce themselves, or by attorney, to the
Envoy of the King, at the Court where the complaints ought to be
carried, and that they may give him information in detail of their
subjects of complaint, that he may be able to support them there,
where they belong. They ought not, however, to repose themselves
entirely on a similar intercession, but carry also their complaints
themselves to the Admiralties, or Maritime Colleges of the country,
where their vessel has been conducted, or in which they have caused
him damage, support his complaints with requisite proofs, follow the
judiciary order, and the different trials established in each country,
and solicit and pursue with diligence their causes by advocates and
attornies; by means of which, it is to be hoped, that they will obtain
a prompt and impartial decision; in default of which, it shall be
permitted to them to address themselves to the Envoys of the King, to
carry to each Court the complaints, which the case may require, and
obtain the redress of it.

"But to secure still more the navigation of his subjects, the King has
caused to be demanded by his Ministers, of her Majesty the Empress of
Russia, and the two other Maritime Powers of the North, who, as is
well known, have united to maintain the maritime neutrality, to be so
good, as powers with whom the King has the satisfaction to live in the
strictest union, as to order the commanders of their vessels of war,
to take the Prussian merchant vessels, which they may meet in their
courses, in their sight, and within reach of their cannon, under their
convoy and protection, in case they shall be attacked or molested by
the vessels of war, or privateers, of the belligerent powers. Her
Majesty, the Empress of Russia, has assured the King, by a declaration
written by her Ministry, that she had not only given precise orders to
the commanders of her vessels of war, to protect, against all attacks
and molestations, the vessels of Prussian merchants and navigators,
that they may encounter in their course, as belonging to a power
allied to Russia, and who observe exactly the rules of the maritime
neutrality founded upon the law of nations, but that she would enjoin
it also upon her Ministers at the Courts of the belligerent powers,
that as often as the Envoys of the King of Prussia should have claims
and complaints to carry to the Courts where they reside, relative to
the hinderances occasioned to the maritime commerce of the Prussian
subjects, they should support such complaints in the name of her
Majesty, the Empress of Russia, by their good offices, and that she
expected in return from his Majesty, the King, that he would equally
furnish his Ministers to the belligerent powers with instructions,
conformable to the maritime convention of the Powers of the North,
with orders to accede by energetic representations to the complaints
of the Ministers of the powers allied for the defence of the maritime
neutrality, in case they shall have certain satisfaction to demand for
the subjects of their sovereigns.

"The King has accepted this friendly declaration of her Majesty, the
Empress, with gratitude, and by a counter declaration, which is
conformable to it, he has caused his Ministers to be instructed at
foreign Courts. His Majesty has before, on occasion of another
negotiation with the Court of Denmark, required his Danish Majesty to
grant to Prussian merchant vessels the protection of his military
marine, and has received the friendly assurances of it, that the
Danish vessels of war should take under convoy and protection the
Prussian merchant vessels, which should conform themselves to the
treaties, which subsist between the Court of Denmark and the
belligerent powers, with relation to merchandises of contraband. The
King has addressed the same demand to the Court of Sweden, and
promised himself from the friendship of his Swedish Majesty an answer
as favorable as that of their Majesties, the Empress of Russia and the
King of Denmark.

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

"But as the intention of his Majesty is simply to assure, by the
beforementioned arrangements, the lawful maritime commerce of his
subjects, and not to do any prejudice to the rights of the belligerent
powers with whom he is in perfect harmony, or to favor an illicit
commerce, which might be dangerous to them, all the subjects of his
Majesty who exercise navigation and maritime commerce, ought to
conduct themselves in such a manner as to observe an exact neutrality,
such as is founded on the law of nature, and in the general laws of
nations almost universally acknowledged. But the different treaties
which several powers have concluded with each other relative to
maritime commerce, occasioning a difference of law in this regard, it
is principally to the known declaration which her Majesty, the Empress
of Russia, caused to be presented the last year to the belligerent
powers, and to the ordinance which she caused to be addressed in
consequence to her College of Commerce on the 8th of March, 1780, that
the subjects of the King will have to conform themselves with regard
to their maritime commerce, the principles which are there announced
being those which his Majesty finds the most conformable to the law of
nations, and to his in particular. It is in consequence ordained by
the present edict to all the subjects of the King, who exercise
navigation or maritime commerce,

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

"ART. II. The subjects of the King may, on the contrary, carry in
Prussian vessels as well to belligerent as to neutral nations, all the
merchandises which are not comprehended in the preceding article, and
which not properly belonging to warlike stores, are not prohibited,
and particularly the productions of all the Provinces of the States of
the King; his Majesty promising himself from the equity and the
friendship of the belligerent powers, that they will not permit their
armed vessels to molest or take the Prussian vessels loaded with
masts, timber, pitch, corn, and other materials, which, without being
warlike stores, may, nevertheless, in the sequel be converted into
such stores, and which make the principal and almost the only object
of Prussian commerce. These powers are too just to require that the
commerce of a neutral nation should cease, or be entirely suspended on
account of the war. After these principles, it is hoped that the
belligerent powers will suffer freely to pass without seizure or
confiscation, the lawful merchandises and cargoes of the Prussian
subjects, which may be found on board the vessels of belligerent
nations, as also the lawful cargoes and merchandises of belligerent
nations loaded in Prussian vessels, and in all these cases, his
Majesty will interest himself effectually in favor of his subjects
trading by sea. It is, however, the part of prudence for these last to
load as much as possible their merchandises and effects in Prussian
vessels, and to transport them under the Prussian flag; not to employ
themselves much in the coasting trade, but to apply themselves
principally to a Prussian commerce without mixture, the better to
avoid all accidents, misunderstandings, and difficulties.

ART. III. All the Prussian vessels which shall put to sea, ought to
furnish themselves with passports and attestations of the Admiralties,
Chambers of War, and the domains of each Province, or of the
magistrates of each city, as also with charter-parties, recognizances,
and other certificates of common usage, which ought to express the
quality and the quantity of the cargo, the name of the proprietor, and
of him to whom the merchandises are consigned, as well as the place of
the destination. These sea-papers ought to be clear, and to contain no
equivocation. They ought to be found on board every vessel, and they
ought not, under any pretence whatsoever, to throw them into the sea.
The captains of vessels and skippers will take care above all, not to
have in their vessels any sea-papers, double, equivocal, or false, by
which they would render themselves unworthy of all protection.

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

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

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

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

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

"By express order of the King.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                             Amsterdam, May 23d, 1781.


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

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

I have just received from Gottenburg the enclosed letters, one to your
Excellency and one to Mr Jay. I received both unsealed, with a
direction to take copies. I have put my own seal upon that to your
Excellency, and request the favor of you to put yours upon that to Mr
Jay, and to convey it in the safest manner. It contains matter of
great importance, which ought to be carefully concealed from every eye
but yours and Mr Jay's; for which reason I should be cautious of
conveying it, even with the despatches of the Spanish Ambassador,
especially as there are intimations in Mr Lovell's letter of too much
curiosity with regard to Mr Jay's despatches, and as Mr Jay himself
complains that his letters are opened. I hope this instruction will
remove all the difficulties with Spain, whose accession to the treaty
would be of great service to the reputation of our cause in every part
of Europe.

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

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

I have the honor to enclose a memorial to their High Mightinesses. My
mission is now a subject of deliberation among the Regencies of the
several cities and the bodies of nobles who compose the sovereignty of
this country. It is not probable that any determination will be had
soon. They will probably confer with Russia, and the northern powers,
about it first. Perhaps, if these come into the war, nothing will be
done but in concert with them. But if these do not come into the war,
this Republic, I think, in that case will readily accede to the Treaty
of Alliance between France and America; for all ideas of peace with
England are false and delusive. England will make peace with the Dutch
upon no other condition than their joining her in the war against all
her enemies, which it is impossible for them to do, even if their
inclinations were that way, which they are not. The public voice here
is well decided against England.

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

Our countrymen are getting right notions of revenue, and whenever
these shall become general, I think there can be no difficulty in
carrying on the war.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 24th, 1781.


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

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

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

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

"That at the same time, it is not expedient to neglect to instruct our
Ministers at the Courts of Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, of the state
of things in this country, and of the means of defence, which the
Republic puts in motion, with the express orders to make, without
relaxation, to the said Courts, pressing and redoubled instances to
send us a large number of vessels of war well equipped, to which at
least one of them has already shown herself disposed; representing to
them, at the same time, in a pressing manner, the present necessity of
sending us, conformably to the stipulations of the convention lately
concluded and ratified, as soon as possible, the succors promised in
the said convention.

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

"In fine, the gentlemen, the said constituents, are of opinion, that,
to give a ready effect to the resolutions tending to the said objects,
and which may serve for the protection of the State, and of its
establishments in the other parts of the world, and to discuss the
resolutions with all the secrecy requisite, there be formed by the
Lords the States, a committee of some gentlemen of the respective
Provinces, giving them the power and instructions necessary to labor
conjointly with his Highness, the Prince Hereditary Stadtholder, to
contrive, prescribe, and put in execution, all the measures, which
shall appear the most proper and the most convenient, to the end that
we may, under the benediction of God Almighty, repair the past, and
wash out the shame and the dishonor, with which this Republic is
stained in the eyes of foreigners, and by a vigorous defence of the
country, and of all which it holds most dear and precious, and to
maintain it in the advantages of a liberty purchased so dear, against
all further evils and calamities.

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

Thus ends this manly address, in which there is the appearance of the
old Batavian spirit. In my excursions through the various parts of
this country, I have found the eyes of all parties turned towards
Amsterdam, and all true patriots said, that the salvation of this
country depended upon the firmness of that city. There has indeed been
in this city the appearance of feebleness and irresolution, but it has
stood its ground. The presentation and publication of my Memorial to
the States-General, which was more universally and highly applauded
than was expected by me or any one else, furnished the regency of the
city an opportunity to discover the general sense of the public voice,
and they have not failed to take an early advantage of it. They have
not mentioned a treaty with America, the reason of which was, that
this subject was already taken _ad referendum_, and under the
consideration of the several branches of the sovereignty. They mention
only a negotiation with France, knowing very well, that this would
necessarily draw on the other; so that things seem at present in a
good train; but a long time will necessarily be taken up, according to
the constitution, and in the present disposition of this country,
before anything can be done to effect.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 25th, 1781.


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


"The Lords the States-General, having judged, that it would be of
reciprocal utility to establish between France and the United
Provinces of the Low Countries, uniform principles with relation to
captures and recaptures, which their respective subjects might make
upon those of Great Britain, their common enemy, they have proposed
to the Most Christian King to agree with them on a regulation
concerning this matter. His Most Christian Majesty, animated with the
same views, and desiring to consolidate more and more the good
correspondence, which subsists between him and the United Provinces,
has well received the overture of the Lords the States-General. In
consequence, his said Most Christian Majesty, and the said Lords the
States-General have given their full powers, to wit; His Most
Christian Majesty to the Sieur Gravier, Count de Vergennes, &c. his
Counsellor of State of the Sword, his Counsellor in all his Councils,
Commander of his Orders, Minister and Secretary of State, and of his
commands and finances; and the Lords the States-General to the Sieur
de Berkenrode, their Ambassador to the Most Christian King, who, after
having duly communicated their respective powers, have agreed on the
following articles.

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

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

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

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

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

"In faith of which, the aforesaid Plenipotentiaries of His Most
Christian Majesty, and of the Lords the States-General, in virtue of
our powers respectively, have signed these presents, and have hereunto
affixed the seal of our arms. Done at Versailles, the first of the
month of May, 1781.

                                           GRAVIER DE VERGENNES,
                                           LESTEVENON VAN BERKENRODE."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 27th, 1781.


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

"Messrs de Lynden de Hemmen, and other Deputies of their High
Mightinesses for Maritime Affairs, have, in consequence of the
commissorial Resolution of the 27th of the last month, examined a
letter of the Directors named in the commission by the respective
chambers of the granted general company of the Dutch East Indies, to
the Assembly of Seventeen, held the 23d of the same month at
Amsterdam, representing the great inconveniences to which it would be
exposed by the delay of the expedition of the vessels of the company,
if it were not soon provided with the customary provisions, at least
as much as in ordinary times, as well as the possibility that the
enemy may attempt an attack in that country, upon which the Directors
would be exposed to answer for it, having in the different chambers
seven vessels ready to put to sea, with the hope that ere long this
number will be still further augmented; soliciting to this end, a
convenient number of vessels of war, to give a safe escort to the
ships of the company, while the Directors on their parts will put all
in motion to watch over the safety of their vessels; wishing to this
end to arm some of these vessels in an extraordinary manner, to the
end that they may be able to oppose some resistance both for
themselves and for the others, scattered over the sea of the Indies.
That, nevertheless, if their High Mightinesses could not determine
themselves to this, they, the Directors, hoped that they should not be
responsible for the consequences which might result. That on the
contrary, all the sharers in general, and their High Mightinesses in
particular, would agree that in this the Directors have done all that
could be required of persons to whom had been confided the direction
of the goods of so many widows and orphans, of persons who, under the
immediate auspices of their High Mightinesses, had the honor to direct
a Colony whose prosperity is essentially connected with that of this

"Upon which, having demanded and received the considerations and the
advice of the committees of the Colleges of the respective
Admiralties, which are at present here, we have reported to the
Assembly, that the gentlemen, the Deputies, should be of opinion, that
notwithstanding the most ardent wishes to employ a sufficient number
of vessels of war, not only for the defence of the ships but also that
of the possessions of the company of the East Indies of this country,
it would, however, be impracticable at this time, considering the
present situation of the navy of this State, universally known, which
could not appear strange to any one instructed in the natural
representations so often repeated from time to time by the Colleges of
the Admiralty in this respect; especially if he considers, that a
navy, fallen into so great a decay, could not be rebuilt so suddenly,
and placed so soon upon a respectable footing; that, moreover, this
navy already so enfeebled, was become still more so by the surprise
and capture of different vessels of war, by casual disasters happened
to others, and because the rest were dispersed into so many different
places, that for the equipment projected for this year, there was
wanting a great quantity of vessels and frigates well equipped and
provided, at least such as in the case in question could be used; that
besides the vessels ready to act, which are actually in the ports of
the Republic, ought in the first place, and before all things, to
serve for the defence of the coasts and harbors (or mouths of the
rivers) as well as for the protection of the navigation towards the
North Sea and the Baltic, and of the ships, which return from thence;
that principally by reason of the unheard of scarcity of seamen,
occasioned in a great measure by the capture of so enormous a quantity
of Dutch merchant ships, which had been manned by the best seamen of
the nation, it was almost impossible to determine the time when the
other vessels of war in commissions should be able to act.

"That, nevertheless, the Company of the East Indies was of too great
importance to this country, for us to be able to reject entirely her
demand; and by so much the less as the Directors do not request to be
protected to the detriment of the Republic, but they demonstrate also
that they are really willing on their part to make their last efforts
for their own defence, and contented themselves to require the
suitable support of the State, to sustain the forces which the company
was about to put in action; that from the refusal of a requisition of
this nature it might result, that in losing all hope in the protection
of the State, they may neglect also those efforts, which otherwise
might be employed with some appearance of success; that, besides, the
national establishments in this distant part of the globe would also
fall, and without the least resistance, into the hands of the enemy,
and that this Republic at the end of the present war would find itself
destitute of all its resources; that this presentiment, apparently,
ought to effect a close union of all the forces, to fulfil as far as
possible the desire of the said Directors, and that to the end to try
all practicable means, expecting at the same time the celestial
benediction, and the prompt and effectual succor of our high allies,
in default of ordinary remedies, it is necessary to have recourse
without the smallest loss of time to extraordinary remedies, and to
this effect his Most Serene Highness, in his quality of Stadtholder
and Admiral-General of the Republic, ought to be solicited and
authorised, if it was possible, either by borrowing vessels of war,
their equipages, or by purchasing or hiring here or elsewhere, other
suitable ships, which might be appropriated to this, or finally in
every other practicable manner to reinforce at the expense of the
country, the marine of the State, with the greatest celerity, and as
much as possible; in consequence of which, in concert with the said
Directors of the East India Company, we may regulate the time, the
manner, and the force of the protection to be procured for the company
in question; the whole, as his Most Serene Highness, saving the sense
of the resolution of their High Mightinesses of the 26th of March
last, shall judge the most convenient for the greatest utility of the
Republic, and of the said Company. Finally, that it would be
convenient also to intimate to the Colleges of the Admiralty
respectively of this country, to co-operate as much as possible with
his Most Serene Highness, not only to put and hold with the greatest
expedition in a convenient state the vessels of the Republic, but also
in particular for everything that may contribute to accelerate their
equipment and sailing, and to the greatest success of the enrolments;
with a promise, that the extraordinary expenses which shall result
from it and be advanced with the advice of his Most Serene Highness,
shall be restored and made good to them.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 29th, 1781.


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

Thus the cards are once more turned against the gambler; and the
nation has gained nothing but an addition to their reputation for
iniquity. This is good justice. There is room to hope for more
instances of it; because their fleets are coming home from the West
Indies, and the Spanish fleet of thirty sail of the line under Cordova
is again at sea, and it is hoped the French fleet will soon go out

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 31st, 1781.


The following memorial lays open a dispute between two nations.

"High and Mighty Lords,

"It is well known to your High Mightinesses, with what constancy and
for how long a time, the subscriber has had the honor to lay before
you, by order of his Court, how much she desires to accomplish a
settlement of the differences, which exist upon the Rio Volta between
her subjects and yours, who have by little and little wrongfully
occupied and fortified the posts of Creve Coeur and of Good Hope,
which at present incommode and restrain the Danish establishments upon
that coast to a degree almost to destroy the existence of them, to put
them to expenses for their maintenance, which absorb their utility,
and to render more and more necessary measures, which his Majesty
would desire not to be obliged to think of. In consequence, although
the subscriber has rendered a faithful account of the assurances,
which have been repeatedly given him, of the desire, which your High
Mightinesses have to take away even from its source all subject of
misunderstanding reciprocally, a desire very conformable with that of
the King his master; nevertheless, as nothing has resulted from these
general assurances he finds himself at present obliged to execute the
orders, which he has received; to demand of your High Mightinesses to
cause to be evacuated the said forts of Creve Coeur and Good Hope,
the existence of which cannot consist with that of the establishment
of Denmark. He has express orders to make this requisition, and to
give to understand, that as his Majesty will be very sensible of this
friendly manner of terminating the present differences upon the coast
of Guinea, so will he see with sincere regret that you will oblige him
to give to this affair a more serious attention. The Hague, April

                                                         ST SAPHORIN."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, May 31st, 1781.


The cities of Haerlem and Dort have seconded Amsterdam, although the
other cities of Holland have hitherto been silent, as appears by the
following declarations.

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

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of Dort, have declared to the assembly,
that they had been earnest to transmit to the Regency of their city
the propositions of the gentlemen, the Burgomasters and Counsellors of
Amsterdam, communicating to them at the same time, that with regard to
the matter, which makes the object of it, the gentlemen, the Deputies,
had beforehand declared, that since the substance of the said
proposition was entirely conformable to that, which for some time had
formed among the gentlemen, the Constituents, the object of
preliminary deliberations, the Deputies had believed themselves
tacitly authorised to adopt immediately the said proposition in all
its points, which determined them also to testify their very sincere
gratitude to the gentlemen, the Deputies of Amsterdam, and in their
persons to the gentlemen, the Burgomasters and Regents of the same
city, for the enlightened and vigilant zeal with which these gentlemen
in taking this step, so salutary and so necessary, had shown that they
have at heart the true interests of their dear country, which had
already experienced so many injuries. That at present, the gentlemen,
the Deputies, after the communications alleged, found themselves
expressly instructed to cause to be inserted in the minutes of their
Noble and Grand Mightinesses, for the justification of the Regency of
their city before posterity, that the venerable Magistracy of Dort,
approving what is before mentioned, had learned with a lively
satisfaction the proposition before mentioned; that it was ready and
disposed in the name of that city, to concur efficaciously in all the
means, which may be judged the most convenient, to save with alacrity
this country, now threatened and surrounded with the greatest and most
terrible dangers; that to this end the venerable Regents of Dort would
not fail to deliberate immediately upon the particular points, which
the proposition in question presents, and to cause in course their
resolution to be transmitted to the assembly of their Noble and Grand

Note of the Deputies of Haerlem, touching the provisional resolution
taken by their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, upon the proposition of

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of the city of Haerlem, resuming the
extension of the 18th of May, have declared, that in accepting the
proposition of the gentlemen, the Deputies of the city of Amsterdam,
their advice had been, that since the said proposition ought to be
attributed to a laudable desire to watch over the common interests,
the gentlemen, the Deputies of Amsterdam, and in their persons, the
gentlemen their constituents, ought to be thanked for the zeal and
marked attention upon this occasion for the utility of their dear
country. But, as at that time almost all the members relished this
advice in such a manner, that the assembly had converted it into a
provisional resolution, the gentlemen, the Deputies, had a good right
to presume, that, in imitation of many antecedent facts, this advice
would have become an essential measure, to cause to be passed the
beforementioned provisional resolution. But the gentlemen, the
Deputies, seeing the contrary, and their remarks made in this regard,
answered by a frozen silence on the part of the other members, they
have, both on account of this circumstance, and to ascertain what
really passed in consequence of the proposition in question, and to
justify the report made to the gentlemen, their principals, upon this
object, judged necessary to cause this note to be inserted in the
minutes of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses."

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                            Amsterdam, June 1st, 1781.


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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, June 5th, 1781.


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

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of Middleburg, have said that they were
authorised by the gentlemen, their principals, to conform themselves
to the report in question, in all its parts. They are further
specially instructed and ordered, (renewing the advice of their city,
communicated with their consent to the two States of war of the 9th of
last month,) to represent upon this occasion, in the name of the
gentlemen, their principals, and to insist strongly, that without
delay it should be deliberated by a committee, concerning the measures
the most prompt and the most efficacious to be taken by this Province,
to direct things in course in the generality, in such a manner, that
in the critical and disastrous situation in which the Republic is, we
should apply our attention conjointly, with redoubled zeal, activity,
and wisdom, in defence of the territory, commerce, and possessions of
the Republic; that we finally awake out of that unexpected inaction,
in which as is too apparent the Republic is still found, the causes of
which cannot, and ought not in any degree, to be attributed to this
Province; or that at least, without delay and without reserve, the
true reasons of this dangerous and disgraceful situation should be
communicated to the Lords, the States of Zealand, from whom nothing,
which concerns the Union ought to be concealed; to the end, that in
course they may deliberate sincerely with the other confederates upon
the means of deliverance and of precaution, the most prompt, and the
most convenient for the common advantage, safety, and preservation.

"The Lords, the States of Zealand, have also represented to their High
Mightinesses, the propriety of establishing batteries upon the coast
of Flanders, upon the places the most exposed, and to provide them
with cannon and necessary stores, that they may be able to act, with
the armed vessels stationed upon the river, against any enterprises
which may be attempted by the enemy's vessels.

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                            Amsterdam, June 8th, 1781.


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write me, on
the 5th of this month, informing me, that you have received a letter
from the Count de Vergennes, by which his Excellency directs you to
tell me, that the interests of the United States require my presence
at Paris, and that he should desire that I should go there, as soon as
my affairs in Holland will permit me.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, June 11th, 1781.


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

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

"The inhabitants of the city of Antwerp in general, and those who are
there concerned in commerce, in particular, should think that they
injured their own interests, if they neglected, at a time when all
Europe talks of the advantages, which the opening of the Scheldt would
produce, to address themselves to you, Gentlemen, to make known their
desire, that you would please to take the necessary measures for this
purpose. While all nations fix at present their attention upon the
liberty of navigation, shall we be the only people, who, although
having a greater interest in it than others, should remain quiet, and
suffer to pass away, unimproved, the moment, which appears to be now
arrived to deliver ourselves from the yoke, which the Republic of
Holland imposed upon us in the days of their first celebration? No! It
is time that we awake! Since the treaty of Munster, this city and its
commerce are fallen into a great decay, but we have still the means in
our hands to revive them, because the inhabitants have ever continued
to have an indirect portion in commerce. It was they, who after the
suppression of the Company of Ostend, have assisted in the
establishment of the East India Companies of Sweden and Denmark; and
it would not be difficult to prove, that projects of all sorts have
taken place in their speculations. What could they not do, therefore,
when it shall be free to them to make a direct and unrestrained
commerce? The simple hope, which they have of it, causes among them a
revival of the spirit of commerce. When we compare the situation of
the cities of Amsterdam and Antwerp, we shall find that that of the
latter has many advantages over the former. The commerce of corn,
which makes of Holland the factory of Europe, and all the trade of the
North, offers itself to the city of Antwerp. We should soon find there
magazines provided with everything necessary to extend commerce, and
equal that of Amsterdam. This commerce alone would be sufficient to
make a revival of the bright days, which preceded the peace of

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

"We hope, Gentlemen, that your care and zeal for everything, which can
contribute to the prosperity of a city, which you have already lately
delivered from beggary, will make you discover, with particular
satisfaction, new means of procuring labor for the poor and needy,
diminish thereby the expense of their maintenance, without reckoning
all the other advantages, and especially the augmentation of our
population, which would be the result of our demand."

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

"It is to have a false idea of things, to think and to say, that
Holland and Zealand, taking an unjust advantage of their victories,
and of the weakness of their enemies, have dictated, with arms in
their hands, the outrageous and despotic conditions of holding their
ports shut up. We have only to cast our eyes upon the geographical
situation of Antwerp, we have only to recollect the first events of
the Belgic Revolution, to acknowledge this error. The city of Antwerp
for a long time made a part of the Belgic confederation; she entered
into the union of Utrecht, as she had entered into the pacification of
Ghent, she was even for several years the centre of the new Republic;
it was not until 1585, that she fell back under the yoke of the
Spaniards. But the Duke of Parma, in retaking Antwerp, could not
equally make himself master of all the forts situated below that city,
towards the mouth of the Scheldt. The confederates continued masters
of these, and even retook some places, which had been taken from them
in the course of the war. Thus they remained masters of the lower
navigation of this river, an advantage, which they caused to be
confirmed to them in the treaty of peace. In casting our eyes on the
other hand, on the memorable siege of Antwerp, it is to this city that
it is necessary to impute the misfortune of having an useless port,
since, by a more vigorous and wise defence, she would have remained in
the union, with all the advantages which resulted from it.

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

"But it is England, which has drawn the greatest advantages from them.
The cause is evident; it is, that the same troubles, which chased
commerce from these cities, agitated at the same time Holland,
Zealand, Friesland, and the neighboring Provinces. The factions of the
Houcks and the Cabeliaux, the Schieringers, and the Vetkopers, the
Litchembergs, and the Gunterlings, the Hekeren, and the Bronkhorst,
have nearly at the same time for many years, torn almost the whole
country, which forms at this day the Republic of the United Provinces,
in the times when Flanders was a prey to the most violent intestine
dissensions, when Ghent and Bruges held the Emperor Maximilian in
prison; and when the chastisements inflicted on these two cities,
drove out the industry, and commerce, which enriched them. The United
Provinces were the centre of the rebellion and the theatre of the most
afflicting calamities, when the cruelties of the Spaniards chased
commerce from the city of Antwerp. The most violent causes, in fact,
are necessary to drive commerce from a country where she has fixed her
residence. The powerful houses of commerce, the immense funds
necessary to carry it on, the credit, the industry, do not transplant
themselves easily from one country to another.

"We ought not to impute to slavery the fall of the commerce of the
Austrian Low Countries. We must ascend to that epocha, when the fiscal
and religious despotism of Spain carried into the Low Countries the
yoke of civil servitude and the flames of the Inquisition. Commerce
cannot harmonise with slavery, with the tyrannical exaction of
imposts, with persecutors, or with hangmen. It was principally to
London, that industry, and the merchants of Louvain, Ghent, Bruges,
and Antwerp, fled. Although Holland and Zealand were at the same time
a prey to similar misfortunes, and even still more terrible, they
found themselves in a condition to raise a powerful marine, to beat
their ancient masters, and to seize upon their spoils in the Indies.
It was upon their courage, upon their navigation, upon their
establishments in the Indies, and not upon the mouth of the Scheldt,
that they laid the foundations of a commerce, the richest and most
extensive that ever was.

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

"A part of the commerce of Germany, and several Provinces of France
with Holland, would have no other market than the Low Countries, if
the imposts and the collection of them were not tyrannical. The
merchants of St Quentin, of Rheims, of Paris, will all tell you, that
the lawns, wines, and modes, which they send into the countries
situated upon the Baltic, would be embarked at Ostend, without those
armies of inquisitors like highwaymen, who drive away, by a perpetual
restraint, commerce, the friend of liberty. Add to this, the delays,
and the dearness of land-carriage, interrupted with barriers, in the
countries, where there are no canals; all these obstacles do not only
hurt the commerce of transportation, but also that of importation and
exportation. The foreigner, finding so many difficulties in spreading
his superfluities in those countries, is the less capable of taking
off theirs.

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

"Even if the ports of Ostend, of Nieuport, and Antwerp offered roads
free, safe, and commodious, would business fly to them for refuge,
and abandon the ports of Hamburg, Dantzick, Amsterdam, Rotterdam,
Middleburg, Dunkirk, Rouen, Nantes, Rochelle, Bordeaux, the Elbe, the
Somme, the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the ports of the three
kingdoms of Great Britain, where it enjoys all the advantages and
facilities, which it can desire? The English themselves, who dazzle at
this day the Austrian Low Countries with the hope of a free and
flourishing commerce, would not they be the first to oppose this
revolution, if it had any appearance of success? It is their jealousy
of the prosperity of Amsterdam, which makes them clamor against the
subjection of the Scheldt. But they would clamor much louder, if the
liberty of the Scheldt should restore to the Low Countries the hope of
recovering their ancient commerce. All States seek with emulation to
augment the national industry. Russia, and even other northern States,
are making efforts and sacrifices to procure for themselves
manufactures. All countries, even Spain and Portugal, begin to
perceive that these things are more useful than _autos-da-fe_. The
Austrian Low Countries have them also. But could they augment them at
the expense of other countries; especially at a time, when so many
States pique themselves in having a warlike marine to maintain their
commerce and their national industry?

"But, it will be said, is it not manifest that the navigation of
Antwerp being opened, commerce, by reascending the river, would
diffuse her benign influence throughout all the extent of an
agreeable, and fertile territory, full of canals and great roads, &c.?
I answer again, why would not the ports of Bruges, Ghent, Ostend, and
Nieuport produce the same effect? It is even apparent, that these
ports would lose by the new outlet of Antwerp, the little commerce
which remained to them. In that case, Brabant would only raise itself
on the ruins or at the expense of Flanders. The liberty of this river
would enrich perhaps the interior of the country, but it would
certainly impoverish the coasts of the sea. They say it is unjust to
hold the Scheldt shut up; but would it not, on the contrary, be the
height of injustice to open again a navigation, assured to the
Hollanders by the natural consequence of a revolution universally
ratified, and by a long possession? What man, what State, would be
authorised to appropriate a thing to itself because it was for his
convenience? This rule, it is true, has in our days effected the
dismemberment of Poland, the invasion of Silesia, and the present war
of England against Holland. But in taking away the property of the
Dutch, with what right can one find fault with the violence of Russia?

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

"In one word, the mouth of the Scheldt is in the territory of the
United Provinces. The Republic, according to received principles, may
interdict the navigation of it to foreigners, as well as to its own
subjects. She excludes only the former; because she finds her
advantage in it, as the English find theirs in their famous act of
navigation, much more tyrannical than the subjection of the Scheldt.
The Belgians will say, the waters of this river wash and fertilize our
country in passing through it. But have not the French still a better
right to the same navigation, because this river takes its rise in
France? The Swiss would have a good grace to wish to arrogate to
themselves the free navigation of the whole course of the Rhone, the
Po, the Danube, and the Rhine, because these rivers flow from the
mountains of Helvetia. The subjection of the Scheldt was ratified in
1648, in the famous treaty of Munster, or Westphalia, whereof all the
powers of Europe are warranties, and which still passes for the basis
of the political system of Europe, and for a fundamental law of the
empire. We have seen in 1778, the Emperor himself obliged to renounce
a succession supported upon authentic titles, because the powers,
warranties of the peace of Westphalia, sustained, that this succession
was contrary to that treaty. And yet it is wished, that in full peace,
without title, without pretence, the Emperor should wrest from the
Dutch a property, the fruits of which will never indemnify them for
the sacrifices they have made for his house.

"They would have the Emperor an ambitious Prince, rolling the vastest
projects in his head. But with what eye will the other powers view an
usurpation, which they ought to seek to prevent by all the motives of
honor and of interest; even although it should be from the ambitious
idea of acting their part in the affairs of Europe? How? Shall he
expose himself in the present moment to spread the flames of a general
war in Europe, and to lose perhaps the Low Countries, which would be
from that moment surrounded by inimical powers. For what? To procure
to the inhabitants of Antwerp, the facility of conducting a few ships
into the German ocean.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, June 12th, 1781.


The States of Holland and West Friesland are adjourned to the 27th. In
their last session, they consented to the augmentation of seventeen
thousand six hundred and eightysix land forces, according to the
plan, which the Council of State, in concert with the Stadtholder, had
formed, on the 18th of April, and which had been carried on the 19th
of the same month, to the Assembly of the States of the Province. They
have also taken the resolution to lend to the East India Company the
sum of one million two hundred thousand florins, at three per cent
interest, to be reimbursed in thirtythree years, in payments of
thirtysix thousand florins. The affairs of the Colony of Surinam are
about to engage the attention of government, according to a petition,
which the Deputies of the merchants of Dort, Haerlem, Amsterdam, and
Rotterdam, presented on the 6th, to the States of Holland and West
Friesland, and for which the merchants have demanded, in an audience,
which they have had of the Stadtholder, the support of His Most Serene
Highness. This petition was conceived in these terms.


"The merchants, deputies of the cities of Dort, Haerlem, Amsterdam,
and Rotterdam, represent in the most respectful manner, that the
mortal stagnation of navigation and of commerce, which cannot preserve
their well-being but by continual activity, has forced the petitioners
not to disguise any longer the fatal effects, and in circumstances,
when the naval force of the Republic is not yet in a state to procure
them a sufficient protection, to seek for themselves a succor, which,
in the extreme danger in which the colonies, which yet remain to the
State, and even the State itself, are found at this day, may serve
apparently to advance in more than one manner, the general interest
of this Republic; that the supplicants, both for themselves, and
speaking in favor and in the name of several thousands of their
fellow-citizens, have taken the part to present to their High
Mightinesses the States-General of the United Provinces, the petition,
a copy of which is here joined, and to which they respectfully refer,
as follows.


"That as your Noble and Grand Mightinesses, have always testified,
that the well-being of your fellow-citizens in general, and that of
merchants in particular, ought to be supported in every manner, the
petitioners assure themselves, that the more the danger becomes
imminent, the more the zeal of your Noble and Grand Mightinesses will
animate itself to prevent, under the divine blessing, the total ruin
of the essential sources of the existence of the country; so that this
danger being at present so great, and becoming from day to day more
pressing, the petitioners dare to promise themselves, on the part of
your Noble and Grand Mightinesses, all the succor and assistance
requisite, and to hope, that they shall not invoke in vain their
powerful support, relative to the prayer beforementioned. It is for
this, that the petitioners address themselves to this Sovereign
Assembly, in the manner the most respectful, and in a confidence the
most entire in the inclination of your Noble and Grand Mightinesses
for the protection of the citizens of the Republic, seriously praying,
that it may please your Noble and Grand Mightinesses, to authorise
your Deputies in the Assembly of the States-General to concur in
directing, with all the earnestness possible, things in such a manner,
that there be given to the petition aforesaid a prompt and favorable
answer, and that measures be taken, to the end that the petitioners
and those who are otherwise interested with them, may enjoy without
delay the effect of a definitive determination, &c.

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

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

"To this effect, the petitioners refer to the estimate annexed,
containing the quantity of productions, which for some years have been
transported from the Colony into the ports of the country. That these
productions, after having been transported from this country, some
wrought up here, and others as they were received, procure continually
to the treasury of the Republic very important sums, proceeding from
different duties, which are directly or indirectly relative to them.
That the necessity to go in search of all these productions of the
Colony, and that of transporting thither provisions and other effects,
employs annually a large number of great ships, which are for the
most part fine frigates, solidly built, the number of which amounted
to more than fourscore, which all pay every voyage the duties of lest,
which are considerable, and serve, at the same time, for the
maintenance of a numerous body of navigators, which amount to about
three thousand well experienced seamen. That, moreover, the importance
of this Colony does not fall short in point of utility of any other,
both with relation to what has been alleged, and because, in exchange
for its productions, we receive here the precious metals, and the cash
of other nations, which remain in the bosom of the United Provinces;
while, on the contrary, it is necessary to export them to the East
Indies, there to pay for territorial productions, the manufactures of
the Indies; and the payments, which foreigners make to us, to procure
themselves merchandises, must equally return to the Indies for new
purchases. That thus the navigation and the commerce with this Colony
serve not only to the amelioration of the finances of the Republic,
and to the augmentation of the national cash; but they are still an
abundant source of general prosperity for the inhabitants, scattered
in the Seven Provinces.

"Many, by means of the free property of their plantations, draw from
thence important revenues, and encouraged by success make them largely
circulate; while a much larger number of our countrymen are the
bearers of obligations, carrying large interests negotiated upon
mortgages, the preservation of which is of the greatest weight,
considering that the sustenance of so many thousands of our
fellow-citizens depends upon them. That, moreover, all which serves
for housekeeping, all which is wanted for the culture of the land, the
building and repairing of edifices, and even eatables, must be
transported from hence into this Colony. This commerce, therefore,
cannot fail to procure to a great number of manufacturers, mercers,
and traders, a continual outlet, which even surpasses all belief, and
which is by so much the more useful, as this commerce consists for the
most part in objects furnished by our territory, either in raw
materials, or in things manufactured here. This article alone procures
the maintenance of an infinite number of artisans in the cities, and
of the cultivators of the field; without mentioning the construction
and repairs of a great number of vessels employed in this navigation;
of their provisions, both for the voyage and the return, which gives a
living to several thousands of men.

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

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

"That, nevertheless, if by these considerations and others of the same
nature, the navigation to this Colony is longer suspended, the
well-being of the Republic cannot avoid the most sensible prejudice,
and the Colony must be considered as abandoned; her inhabitants will
see themselves even reduced to deliver themselves into the hands of
their enemies, to the ruin and total loss not only of the classes the
most at their ease, but of all the inhabitants whatsoever of the
United Provinces; so that we ought not to delay a single moment, nor
neglect any means of encouragement or precaution to preserve them; so
much the rather, as it appears scarcely convenient under this
embarrassment, to invoke the assistance of foreign nations, to make
the transportation, and to go to the Colony and to return; because,
that in that case, we should lose this navigation, and we should lend
our own hand to the entire declension, not only of the aid furnished
to the treasury of the Republic, by the activity of this commerce and
this navigation, but also to the interruption of the sales of so many
manufacturers, mercers, and traders, and even to the entire privation
of the sustenance of an immense number of workmen and artisans, to
whom this construction of vessels and this navigation so extended,
procured their daily gain, which they cannot forego without being
reduced to the most deplorable situation. That this repugnance to
navigate on one's own account will be further followed by the
desertion of a great number of sailors, who for want of finding
employment here, and tempted by the advantageous promises of the
enemy, will go there in search of service, to the double detriment of
the public interest of the Republic. That the respectable fleet,
composed of valuable vessels destined to this navigation, would rot in
our ports, and the officers who command them, many of whom have not
been thought unworthy to be called to the service of their country,
would be obliged to abandon with their families this country, where
all the other means of gaining a livelihood fail more and more; and
as they have solely applied themselves to navigation, they would go in
search of their subsistence into places, where, by our interruption,
navigation makes new advances every day. That this method, indicated
by necessity, of recurring to foreign flags, by the more considerable
expenses which arise from it, would so absorb the revenues, that not
only no planter would be able, with the little which should remain to
him, to support his plantation, but, moreover, there would remain no
well-grounded hope for the great number of bearers of obligations to
flatter themselves with obtaining any payment, still less the entire
payment of the interests promised them; since without having yet
supported these additional expenses, and notwithstanding the excessive
prices at which the productions have been sold, they have seen
themselves forced to diminish considerably the interests, and in some
cases to suspend even the entire payment; without mentioning so many
other political considerations relative to this object, which cannot
escape the penetrating eye of the Sovereign, so that without hope of a
full protection, this single means of obtaining something, in ever so
small a degree, is even considered as very precarious, and as
augmenting more and more an inaction so fatal to a country, which
under the divine blessing, owes its prosperity so envied, to its
application, its valor, and the fortitude of its inhabitants. Time may
pass away, (and certainly the moments are too precious) before they
may dare to flatter themselves with a protection so efficacious, as
the danger of the crews, the valuable cargoes, and the pressing
necessity of the Colony require.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, June 15th, 1781.


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

Some people think, that an alliance between France and Holland would
occasion a general war. This I think would be an advantage to America,
although philanthropy would wish to prevent the further effusion of
human blood.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, June 23d, 1781.


The answer from St Petersburg, as it is given to the public, is this;

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

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

This answer gives great scope to speculation and conjecture, but I
shall trouble Congress with a very few remarks upon it.

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

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

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

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

4. The declaration says not, that the Empress has accepted this
mediation, nor upon what terms she would accept it. Here we are left
to conjecture. The Dutch Ambassadors at St Petersburg wrote last
winter to the Hague, that the Empress would not accept of this
mediation with the Emperor, but upon two preliminary conditions, viz.
that the Court of London should acknowledge the independence of
America, and accede to the principles of the late marine treaty,
concerning the rights of neutrals. To this she may have since added,
that Holland should previously be set at peace, and become a neutral
power, or she may have altered her sentiments. Here we can only

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

6. There are hints at future events, and circumstances, which her
Majesty foresees, but the rest of the world do not, which may give her
occasion to show her good will. Here is nothing declared, nothing
promised, yet it leaves room to suppose, that her Majesty and her high
allies may have insisted on conditions from the Court of London, which
accepted, may give peace to the Republic, or rejected, may oblige
Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, to join Holland in the war. But all this
is so faint, reserved, and mysterious, that no dependence whatever can
be placed upon it. I am sorry to see the idea of a negotiation for a
general peace held up, because I am as well persuaded it is only an
insidious manoeuvre of the British Ministry, as I am that many
powers of Europe, and especially Holland, will be the dupe of it. I
confess I should dread a negotiation for a general peace at this time,
because I should expect propositions for short truces, _uti
possidetis_, and other conditions, which would leave our trade more
embarrassed, our union more precarious, and our liberties at greater
hazard, than they can be in a continuance of the war, at the same time
it would put us to as constant, and almost as great an expense.
Nevertheless, if proposals of peace, or of conferences and
negotiations to that end, should be proposed to me, which they have
not as yet from any quarter, it will be my duty to attend to them with
as much patience and delicacy too, as if I believed them sincere.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, June 23d, 1781.


The Deputies of the city of Zieriksee have presented to their Noble
Mightinesses, the Lords, the States of Zealand, on the 12th of this
month, their advice concerning the report of the State, of the 19th
of April last, relative to the building of vessels of war, to be done
by the College of the Admiralty of this Province, in these words, viz.

"That the venerable Regency having seen, by the Memorial of the
gentlemen, the committees of the Admiralty of this Province, annexed
to the said report, the serious difficulties which appear to oppose
themselves to the resolution of building a larger number of vessels of
war and frigates, has thought itself obliged to declare, that it is
greatly afflicted at the dangerous situation in which the Republic and
this Province are at present, being involved in a ruinous war, and
almost entirely destitute of all convenient means, which could be
employed for the safety and defence of the country; that this great
distress might furnish to the venerable Regency, one of the best
occasions to enlarge in reflections, how, by prompt directions and
active foresight, in case that the re-establishment of our marine had
really been taken to heart, the greatest obstacles alleged in the
Memorial in question might have been prevented in time; but, that a
repetition of what ought to have been executed in time, would in no
degree ameliorate the present situation of affairs; and so much the
more, as it is indispensably necessary that the deliberations
concerning the further building of ships, should be at length
terminated; the venerable Regency, then, for the present, would
abstain from making even well founded observations, which,
nevertheless, they might allege, both with regard to the contents of
the Memorial in question, and to the means of advancing with greater
vigor the construction, or to put the marine upon a more respectable
footing by another way; they content themselves then, with declaring
simply, that they are ready to concur in the completion of the
aforesaid point of construction, either by conforming to the
disposition of this report, or in any other manner whatsoever, that a
general deliberation of all the members of the State may find the most

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

"That, as such a dangerous situation ought naturally to excite in all
those who participate in the public government, and really take to
heart the true interests of their country, a redoubled zeal to set
immediately at work, and in proportion to the danger, all the means of
defence imaginable, and to employ them to protect, in the most
effectual manner, their country, her commerce and possessions, and to
annoy the enemy; the venerable Regency, seeing on the contrary, that
the indolence, the inactivity, and even the continual indifference,
are only increasing more and more, and that public affairs are
administered in a manner, which cannot be reconciled with the danger
to which the Republic is exposed, judge, in consequence, that the
Lords, the States of this Province, will not be able longer to see,
without speaking out, a situation so perilous; but that they ought to
examine seriously the true causes and reasons of all this, to the end,
that when we have obtained the explanations which we have a right to
require, we may take, with the most serious zeal, the resolutions
proper to maintain the excellent prerogatives, which we yet possess,
and to guard against such misfortunes.

"That the venerable Regency, having learnt with a great deal of
satisfaction that similar observations have been made by other members
of the body politic, hope that the deliberations concerning an object
of this importance will be no longer delayed; but they trust that the
affair, for which the advice of the gentlemen of Middleburg carried on
the 15th of May to the Assembly of the States has been sent back, will
be discussed as soon as possible, and without delay. The venerable
Regency declaring, that they shall be always disposed to co-operate in
taking every measure proper to obtain an end so salutary."

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, June 26th, 1781.


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

We find there good magazines, merchants, factors, and commissioners,
who will all serve punctually. The communications, both to the
interior parts of the country and to foreigners, are free and easy,
both by land, by means of the new causeway of Nieuport, which
communicates with all the roads, and by water by means of the direct
canals of Nieuport, to Bruges, to Ostend, to Ypres, to Dixmuide, to
Furnes, and to Dunkirk, and from thence further on. One passes by the
canal from Nieuport to Bruges, nearly in the same space of time, that
we pass by the canal from Ostend to Bruges. All these canals have
daily barks ready, easy and convenient for travellers, merchandises,
and effects. The fishery of the sea, both of fresh fish, and of all
sorts of herring and cod, is at Nieuport, in the most flourishing
state, and enjoys there every privilege and exemption. The distillery
of gin in the Dutch way, established at Nieuport, makes excellent gin,
the transportation and expedition of which enjoys the greatest
facilities. And the government of his Imperial Majesty, in the Low
Countries, does not cease to grant all the privileges and facilities,
which can tend to the well-being of the inhabitants, and of the
commerce of the city and port of Nieuport. I should rejoice at these
measures, for the benefit which American commerce would receive from
them, provided the Emperor could oblige Americans to take their goods
from Germany and not from England; but immense quantities of British
manufactures will go to America from Nieuport, Ostend, and Bruges.

This is a subject, which deserves the serious consideration of every
American. British manufactures are going in vast quantities to
America, from Holland, the Austrian Flanders, France, and Sweden, as
well as by the way of New York and Charleston, &c. Whether it is
possible to check it, much less to put a stop to it, I know not; and
whether it would be good policy to put an end to it, if that were
practicable, is made a question by many. If the Germans, the Dutch,
the French, and Spaniards, or any other nations, would learn a little
commercial policy, and give a credit to Americans, as the British
merchants do, and encourage in their own countries manufactures,
adapted to the wants and tastes of our countrymen, it is certain that
in such a case, it would be our interest and duty to put an end to the
trade in British goods, because nothing would weaken and distress the
enemy so much, and therefore nothing would contribute more to bring
the war to a conclusion. At present manufactures flourish in England,
and the duties paid at the custom houses have been increasing these
two or three years, merely owing to their recovering more and more of
the American trade by neutral bottoms, and by other clandestine

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

I wish the taste for British manufactures may not cost us more blood,
than the difference between them and others is worth.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, June 26th, 1781.


The rubicon is passed. A step has been at last taken by the Regency of
Amsterdam, which must decide the fate of the Republic. The city of
Amsterdam, finding that their proposition of the 18th of last month
was not sufficient to change the conduct of administration, have
ventured on another manoeuvre. On the 8th of this month, as soon as
the States of Holland were separated, two Burgomasters of Amsterdam,
M. Tenminck and M. Rendorp, accompanied with M. Vesser, the Pensionary
of the city, demanded an audience of the Prince Stadtholder, who
granted it, at his house in the grove. In this audience, they made to
the Prince, by word of mouth, a representation, which they repeated in
a memorial sent on the 14th, to the Counsellor Pensionary of the
Province, the substance of which is as follows. The gentlemen of
Amsterdam, said,

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

"That, although with regret, they see themselves obliged to take this
step, and to represent to his Highness with all due respect, but at
the same time with all that frankness and freedom, which the
importance of the affair requires, and to declare to him openly, that,
according to the general opinion, the Field Maréchal, the Duke Louis
of Brunswick Wolfenbuttel, is held for the primary cause of the
miserable and defective state in which this country finds itself, in
regard to its defence, of all the negligence of duty, which has taken
place with respect to this subject, and of all the perverse measures,
which have been taken for a long time, with all the fatal consequences
which have proceeded from them; and that they could assure his
Highness, that the hatred and aversion of the nation for the person
and administration of the Duke, were risen to such a height, that
there was reason to apprehend from them, events the most melancholy,
and the most disagreeable for the public prosperity and the general

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

"That the Regents of Amsterdam, had learned more than once with grief,
that the Counsellor Pensionary of the Province had complained, in
presence of divers members of the Regency of Holland, of the
misunderstanding which took place between him, the Counsellor
Pensionary, and the Duke, as also of the influence which the Duke has
upon the spirit of his Highness, and by which his efforts for the good
of the country had often been rendered fruitless.

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

"That nothing was more necessary for the well-being of the illustrious
House of his Highness, to maintain his authority, to preserve to him
the esteem and the attachment of the nation, and for his own
reputation with the neighboring powers, since they could assure, and
they ought to advertise his Highness, that it is possible he may
become one day the object of the indifference and distrust of the
public, instead of being and continuing always the worthy object of
the love and esteem of the people; and the Regencies, as they made the
sincerest wishes, that his Highness and his illustrious posterity
might constantly enjoy them, considering, that thereon depended in a
great measure, the conservation of the well-being of their country,
and of the House of Orange.

"That although they know very well, that the members of the
sovereignty have always a right, and that their duty requires them
even to expose their sentiments to his Highness and their co-regents,
concerning the state and administration of public affairs, they
should, however, have now voluntarily spared the present measure, if
there had been only the smallest hope of amendment or alteration, but
that from the aforesaid reasons, they dared not longer flatter
themselves, and that the necessity having arisen to the highest point,
it appeared that there was no other part to take, but to lay open in
this manner to his Highness the real situation of affairs, praying him
most earnestly to take it into serious consideration, and no longer
listen to the counsels and insinuations of a man, upon whom the hatred
of the great and the little was accumulated, and whom they regard as a
stranger, not having a sufficient knowledge of our form of government,
and not having a sincere affection for the Republic.

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

"That thus it was convenient to dismiss him from the direction of
affairs, from the person and Court of his Highness, as being a
perpetual obstacle to the re-establishment of that good harmony, so
highly necessary between his Highness and the principal members of the
State, while his continuance would but too much occasion the distrust
conceived of his counsels, to fall, whether with or without reason,
upon the person, and the administration of his Highness himself.

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, June 27th, 1781.


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

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

Major Jackson has conducted, through the whole of his residence here,
as far as I have been able to observe, with great activity and
accuracy in business, and an exemplary zeal for the public service.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, June 29th, 1781.


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

"High and Mighty Lords,

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

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

"I shall say nothing of the resolutions, which your High Mightinesses
and the respective Provinces took on the 8th of March, 1766, the day
of the majority of the Prince, and in the sequel, under different
dates, relative to the manner in which I had answered to the
confidence, which you had condescended to put in me. These resolutions
are too flattering to be recited here; they are, however, sure
pledges, that at that time, at least, I had the good fortune to see my
conduct and my services rendered to the State, approved by the high
government. In fine, your High Mightinesses continued to honor me with
your confidence, even after the time of the minority of the
Stadtholder. You took on the same 8th of March, 1766, the resolution
to cause to be solicited by your Envoy Extraordinary at the Court of
Vienna, the consent of her Imperial and Royal Majesty, in whose
service I was also engaged as Field Maréchal, to continue me still in
the same quality in the service of your High Mightinesses. The
pleasure of her Majesty being obtained, I did not refuse this honor,
but continued vested with the character of Field Maréchal of the
troops of the State, in the service of your High Mightinesses.

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

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

"Informed in this way, and by the communication which his Highness
made to me of it, of the contents of this memorial, I there found so
long a concatenation of expressions and reasonings, each more
insulting than the other, against my person, which I should be afraid
to abuse the attention of your High Mightinesses by inserting them
here; lest, however, I should represent them out of their order, and
the chain which connects them together, your High Mightinesses will
pardon me, I hope, if I transcribe from the memorial, the periods
which relate to me, and by which I am attacked.

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

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

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

"I cannot then but consider a proceeding, accompanied with so many
odious and humiliating expressions, which is not made by simple
individuals, but a deputation of two reigning Burgomasters, with the
Pensionary of one of the most considerable cities of Holland, in the
name and by the order of the Regency of that city, (according to the
terms of the memorial, although according to the letter whereof I have
spoken of the Burgomaster Rendorp, it was only in the name of the
gentlemen, the Burgomasters of that city) and that in a formal manner,
after mature deliberation, and after having confirmed this action in
the most injurious manner, by taking back the memorial, and causing it
to be sent to his Highness, I cannot, I say, but consider this
proceeding as wounding, in the most violent manner, my character and
my person; and in this same writing, where they dare not specify any
crime to my charge, and where they are obliged to acknowledge the
falsity of the reports which have circulated against me, and of the
suspicions of an excessive and illicit attachment to the English
Court, of bad faith and of corruption, they appear, notwithstanding,
to give credit to these calumnies, and to be willing to cast upon me
the blame of the evils of the times, to the end, to exculpate those
who are the true causes of it. I should think myself unworthy of
bearing any longer the character that your High Mightinesses have
confided to me, if I testified upon this article an indifference or an

"I dare also assure myself, that your High Mightinesses will consider
my proceeding in the same point of light, and that they will agree
with me, that it is of the highest importance to know, if he, whom
your High Mightinesses have clothed with the dignity of Field
Maréchal, whom they have engaged and continued in their service in the
manner abovementioned, is in fact the true cause of the deplorable
state of the weakness of the Republic, of all the negligence they
suppose to have taken place, of all the false steps, that they say
have been taken, and of all the unhappy consequences, that have
resulted from them. Your High Mightinesses are to examine in the most
exact manner, things so interesting, and to see if this person is the
source of the distrust and disunion; for what reasons he would be
totally unuseful and prejudicial to the service of the State and of
his Highness; what are the proofs of his want of affection to the
country; in one word, for what reason he should be hereafter unworthy
of the confidence of the Prince, who is placed at the head of this
Republic, to whose testimony I here take the liberty of appealing;
finally, for what reason he hath merited to be removed from the person
of his Highness, and of his Court, as a perpetual obstacle to the good
intelligence between his Highness and the Court.

"And as my honor is more dear to me than life, and as I am attacked in
a part so sensible, it is also for this reason, and in consideration
of that, which I owe to myself even, and to the relations, which I
have as well with this State and to your High Mightinesses, as to
those which I still have with his Imperial and Royal Majesty, to which
otherwise I should be too much wanting, that I see myself obliged to
address myself to your High Mightinesses, and by them to all the
confederates, to supplicate them respectfully, and to insist in the
most express manner, that your High Mightinesses would deign, after
the most severe and scrupulous examination, to take such measures in
protecting efficaciously the character, which your High Mightinesses
have confided to me, that I may be justified in a proper manner from
the blame, that the abovementioned proceeding hath cast upon me, and
that so sensible an affront as hath been offered me by it, may be
suitably repaired; that to this end it may please your High
Mightinesses to direct things in such a manner, that the four reigning
Burgomasters of Amsterdam, who have caused to be delivered in their
name the said Memorial, according to the letter of Burgomaster
Rendorp, be obliged, as well as the Pensionary Vischer, to allege the
reasons they have had of injuring me so grievously as they have done
by the said proceeding, and by the accusation, therein contained, and
to verify the whole in a suitable manner, which I cannot but consider
all that, which is there said as calumnies, and that they may be
obliged, moreover, to specify more precisely the other heads of
accusation, that they pretend to allege to my charge, and to bring the
requisite judiciary proofs of them; and in case that they can specify
nothing, or that they cannot prove sufficiently their allegations,
that the authors of the infamous reports circulated against me may be
sought out, to the end, that they may be punished as calumniators,
according to their deserts; finally, that your High Mightinesses will
then, conjointly with all the confederates, take such justificatory
resolutions, as will save my honor and my reputation in the nation,
and in the eyes of all Europe; that thus I may be placed in a
situation to support with proper dignity the character, which your
High Mightinesses have given me, and that I may obtain the
satisfaction, that your High Mightinesses, according to their profound
wisdom and known equity, shall judge equivalent to the affront offered
to my character and my relations.

"I have the honor to be, with the most sincere and respectful
attachment, High and Mighty Lords, your High Mightinesses' most
humble, most obedient, and faithful servant, L. DUC DE BRUNSVIC."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                         Amsterdam, July 5th, 1781.[1]


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

_Thursday, June the 20th, 1781._ His Serene Highness, the Prince of
Orange and Nassau, having appeared in the Assembly, made to their High
Mightinesses the following proposition.

  "High and Mighty Lords,

"I have judged necessary to propose to your High Mightinesses to
examine, with the greatest care, if, since the present troubles have
arisen, proper attention has been paid to the placing the marine of
the State in that situation, that it had been able to act
efficaciously against an enemy, particularly one so strongly armed by
sea as the kingdom of Great Britain is, or if any negligence or
supineness hath had place in that respect, and in that case, to what
it ought to be attributed; and to the end to receive the necessary
information on that head, to write to the respective Colleges of
Admiralty, that they may make report, and declare how many vessels
they had in 1776, and how many were then equipped, and with how many
men, what they have done since the English have begun to molest the
ships of the inhabitants of this country, employed in the West India
trade under pretext of the disputes arisen with their colonies in
North America, and by consequence from the end of 1776 and the
beginning of 1777, to place themselves as much as was possible and in
their power, in a state to protect the commerce of this country, and
what they have done since the troubles have begun in Europe, and that
it was to be feared, that the Republic would have a share in them, for
to put it as much as depended on them, in a state of not only
protecting her commerce, but also to be able to assist in defending
the country, and in attacking the enemy; if they have been active to
effect that, which hath been resolved by your High Mightinesses for
this object, or if there has been a negligence in this respect; and in
that case, for what reason they have not executed these resolutions;
if it has been possible for them to furnish the ships put in
commission and equip them, to the end, that it may appear from whence
it arises, that the Republic finds itself in so deplorable a state of
defence by sea, which is certainly the point the most interesting in
this war, and upon which all the inhabitants of this country have an
eye. Although on this occasion I make only mention of the defence by
sea, I esteem it necessary to represent to your High Mightinesses,
that I am very far from avowing by that, that the land forces of this
State are sufficient to assure us, that the country is in a
respectable state of defence by land.

"I do not think myself under the necessity of justifying my conduct,
and that your High Mightinesses are ignorant of the efforts I have
made since my majority to place everything, which regards this
Republic, in a respectable posture of defence; nevertheless, I have
thought it in my power to represent to your High Mightinesses, that I
have on more than one occasion, given it as my opinion, that this
Republic ought to be placed not only by land but also by sea, in a
proper state of defence, to the end to be able to maintain its liberty
and independence, and not to be obliged to take measures contrary to
the true interests of the country; but conformable to those of a power
from whose menaces it has at length more to fear, because it is not in
a state to resist it.

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

"It is for the same reason, that in the beginning of the year 1775,
upon occasion of the exertions made by the gentlemen, the Commissaries
of your High Mightinesses for the affairs of war, with some members of
the Council of State, to conciliate the different sentiments of the
respective confederates, in regard to the plan of augmentation of the
land forces, proposed by the Council of State, the 19th of July, 1773,
I have made a conciliatory proposition to this purport, viz. 'that
the sum for the department of war should be fixed at six hundred
thousand florins for the marine, and to make amends for that, that the
sum of one million five hundred thousand florins demanded in 1773, for
an augmentation to be made of the land forces, should be reduced to
nine hundred thousand florins;' which proposition was embraced at that
time by the gentlemen, the States of Guelderland, Friesland,
Overyssel, and Gronigen, but hath had no further operation.

"I shall not allege here the entreaties that I have annually made with
the Council of State by the general petition; but shall communicate
only to your High Mightinesses the proposition that I have made to the
assembly of the gentlemen, the States of Holland and West Friesland,
the 10th of March, 1779, which is of the same tenor with the letter I
wrote the same day to the gentlemen, the States of Guelderland,
Zealand, Utrecht, Friesland, Overyssel, and Groningen, a copy of which
I have the honor to remit to your High Mightinesses. I cannot disguise
that in my opinion it was to have been wished, that what I then
proposed had been more attended to, since I dare assure myself that if
the republic had found it good at that time to have caused to be armed
fifty or sixty vessels well equipped, and provided with every
necessary, whereof not less than twenty or thirty should have been of
the line, and to have augmented the land forces to fifty or sixty
thousand men of foot, it would not have found itself in its present
unhappy circumstances, but it would have been respected as an
independent State by all the powers, it would have been able to
maintain the system of neutrality, which it had embraced; and it would
have seen itself in a state to promise itself with reason, under the
divine benediction, that in giving great weight to the party to which
it should be joined, it would not have been to be feared that any
power whatsoever would have attacked it, but that it would have been
managed by each, and that her friendship being sought by all, and not
giving to any one of them just causes of complaint, it would have
obtained the esteem and confidence of all the powers, which would have
produced the best effects for the true interests of this State,
certainly and in every case, if it had been attacked by an unjust war,
to which a State is always exposed, it would have seen itself in a
state to make an opposition with hopes of success, and of obliging the
enemy to seek the friendship of this State, upon honorable terms for
the Republic."

The following is the letter from his Serene Highness to the Lords, the
States of Guelderland, Zealand, Utrecht, Friesland, Overyssel, and
Groningen, dated March 10th, 1779.

"Noble and Mighty Lords, intimate and good Friends;--We think
ourselves obliged to communicate to your Noble Mightinesses our
sentiments respecting one of the most important objects of your
deliberations, viz. we are very far from judging that it would be
expedient that this Republic should renounce the lawful rights, which
appertain to its inhabitants in virtue of solemn treaties; we think,
on the contrary, that they ought to be maintained by all the means
that Providence hath placed in the hands of this Republic, but that it
belongs only to your Noble Mightinesses, and to the Noble Mighty
Lords, the States of the other Provinces to decide, when it is time
that their High Mightinesses ought to take the resolution of granting
an unlimited protection to their commercial inhabitants, and that
their High Mightinesses not having engaged themselves by any treaty
whatsoever with any foreign power, to protect all branches of commerce
without distinction, no one hath a right to exact from them, that, in
granting protection, they ought to grant it to all vessels without
distinction, without leaving to their prudence to decide if they are
in a condition to protect all the branches of commerce; and if they
can do it in the present moment without hazarding important interests,
and exposing themselves to the greatest danger.

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

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

"When your Noble Mightinesses and the Lords the States of the other
Provinces shall have done that, and this reinforcement, both by sea
and land, shall have been carried into execution, we think that this
is the epoch when the Republic may with advantage, and as an
independent State, take the resolution of maintaining the rights which
appertain to their inhabitants according to the treaties, and
particularly that of Marine, in 1674. But before the Republic is put
in a respectable state of defence, we should fear, that a resolution
to take under convoy all vessels indiscriminately, according to the
letter of the said treaty, and particularly vessels loaded with ship
timber, might have very bad consequences for the true interests of
this State, and expose the honor of its flag to an affront. And is for
this reason we are of opinion, that it would be proper, that it should
be resolved by an ulterior resolution, that the vessels loaded with
masts, knees, beams, and other kinds of wood necessary to the
construction of ships of war should not be taken under convoy, before
an equipment of fifty or sixty vessels, (not less than twenty or
thirty of them of the line,) is ready, and before having augmented the
land forces to fifty or sixty thousand men of foot; but that in the
meantime, to the end to protect as much as possible, the general
commerce of this country, without exposing the important interests of
the State, the necessary convoys as they were announced, shall be
granted to all other vessels not loaded with contraband effects, to
the end that all the branches of commerce may not be suspended and
left without protection, during the time of the deliberation upon the
protection of one branch only. We expect, that when the Republic shall
be put into this armed state, all the powers will leave her to
exercise the right which belongs to her of keeping an exact
neutrality, and of observing also on their part, everything which the
treaties it hath made may require, &c."

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

"They regard it as a new mark of his assiduous zeal and solicitude for
the interests of the State, in declaring that their High Mightinesses
acknowledged with gratitude, all the efforts that his Serene Highness
hath employed since his majority, and in particular since the
commencement of the war between the two neighboring kingdoms, to put
the Republic in a proper state of defence, both by sea and land, and
could have wished that these efforts might have had the desired effect
in every respect; and besides, it has been found good and resolved,
that conformably to the proposition of his Serene Highness, it shall
be notified to the respective Colleges of the Admiralty, (in sending
to them a copy of the said proposition,) that they make report and
render an account how many vessels they had in 1776; in what condition
they were, and how many of them were equipped with the number of men;
afterwards what they have done since the English have begun to molest
the ships of the inhabitants of this country trading to the West
Indies, under pretext of disputes arisen with their Colonies in North
America, and thus from the end of the year 1776, and at the beginning
of 1777, to put themselves in a condition, as much as was possible and
in their power, to protect the commerce of this country, and what they
have done since the troubles have begun in Europe, and that it was to
be feared that the Republic would become a party, to put themselves in
a condition for what depended upon them, to protect not only their
commerce, but also to be able to aid in defending the country and
attacking the enemy; if they have been active to carry into effect
what your High Mightinesses have resolved upon this subject, and if
any negligence hath had place in this regard, and in this case, for
what reasons they have not executed those resolutions; if they have
been in a possibility of supporting and equipping the vessels put in
commission, to the end that it may appear to what we ought to
attribute the present situation."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[1] Mr Adams arrived at Paris on the 6th of July, and consequently
could not have written this letter in Amsterdam on the 5th, although
it is thus dated in the original. He was absent during the whole month
of July, and yet several letters, as will be seen, are dated at
Amsterdam in that time. These letters contain chiefly intelligence,
which was probably collected by his Secretary, under different dates
during Mr Adams' absence, and forwarded by him on his return without
altering the dates. This will account for the circumstance of letters
being dated throughout the month of July, both at Amsterdam and

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                           Versailles, July 7th, 1781.


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

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

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

The foregoing letter I sent by my servant, who waited until the Count
descended from council, when he delivered it into his hand. He broke
the seal, read the letter, and said he was very sorry he could not see
Mr Adams, but he was obliged to go into the country immediately after
dinner; that Mr Adams, _seroit dans le cas de voir M. de Rayneval_,
who lived at such a sign in such a street. After dinner, I called on
M. Rayneval, who said; M. le Duc de la Vauguyon has informed me, that
there is a question of a pacification, under the mediation of the
Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia, and that it was
necessary that I should have some consultations at leisure with the
Count de Vergennes, that we might understand each other's views; that
he would see the Count tomorrow morning, and write me when he would
meet me; that they had not changed their principles nor their system;
that the treaties were the foundation of all negotiation. I said, that
I lodged at the hotel de Valois, where I did formerly; that I should
be ready to wait on the Count when it would be agreeable to him, and
to confer with him upon everything relative to any proposition, which
the English might have made. He said the English had not made any
propositions, but it was necessary to consider certain points, and
make certain preparatory arrangements; to know whether we were British
subjects, or in what light we were to be considered, &c. Smiling, I
said, I was not a British subject, that I had renounced that character
many years ago, forever; and that I should rather be a fugitive in
China or Malabar, than ever reassume that character.

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

                    M. DE RAYNEVAL TO JOHN ADAMS.


                                           Versailles, July 9th, 1781.


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

Meantime, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                   GERARD DE RAYNEVAL.

                          TO M. DE RAYNEVAL.

                                                Paris, July 9th, 1781.


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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

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

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, July 7th, 1781.


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

"Heard the report of Messrs de Lynden, de Hemmen, and other deputies
of their High Mightinesses for marine affairs, who, in consequence and
conformably to a commissorial resolution of their High Mightinesses of
the 21st of last month, have examined a letter of the Duke of
Brunswick, dated at the Hague the same day, and containing serious
complaints upon the proposition, that the gentlemen, the Deputies of
the city of Amsterdam, have made to his Highness, after that many
calumnies and atrocious accusations had been circulated against him in
public; upon which, having deliberated, it hath been found good and

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

"That in consequence, the gentlemen, the States of the respective
Provinces, should be required by writing, and that it should be
submitted to their consideration, if they could not find it good each
in their Provinces, conformably to the placards of the country, to
make the necessary regulations to restrain the authors, printers, and
distributors of such like defamatory libels and malicious and
calumnious writings, by which the said Lord the Duke is so sensibly
attacked and wounded in his honor and reputation."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                            Amsterdam, July 7th, 1781.


Under the head of St Petersburg is the following article.

"On the 8th of June, the Minister of the Court of Versailles had a
conference with the Count Osterman, Vice Chancellor of the empire, and
remitted to him a memorial, containing representations upon the
continued proceedings of the English against the commerce and
navigation of neuters; upon the little activity of these last to
prevent these arbitrary proceedings, and supporting thereby the
principles of their declarations made to the belligerent powers, and
the convention of neutrality which has been agreed upon between them;
upon the prejudice which ought naturally to result from it to the
whole world, and upon the desire which the king his master has that it
should be remedied by the vigorous co-operation of her Imperial
Majesty, seeing that without that the said association of neutrality
would turn only to the advantage of the enemies of France, and that
the King, who to this moment has confined himself exactly to the
principle of the abovementioned declaration and convention of
neutrality, would see himself, although with regret, in the
indispensable necessity of changing in like manner the system which he
had hitherto followed, with respect to the commerce and navigation of
neuters, and of measuring and regulating it upon the conduct which the
English shall allow themselves, and which was so patiently borne by
the neuters. Objects, in regard to which his Majesty has nevertheless
judged it his duty to suspend his final resolution, until he can
concert upon this subject with her Imperial Majesty."

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, July 10th, 1781.


On Wednesday, the 4th of July, M. de Lynden Blitterswyk, presiding in
the Assembly, hath related and acquainted their High Mightinesses,
that the Duke of Brunswick had been with him that morning and given
him to understand,

"That he had been informed of the resolution, that their High
Mightinesses had taken the 2d of July upon the letter, that he had the
honor of remitting to them, the 21st of June last; that He was
extremely sensible of the marks of confidence and affection, that
their High Mightinesses had been pleased to give him on this occasion,
and that in an affair, to the subject of which he had not directly
carried his complaints to their High Mightinesses; that he was
nevertheless not less persuaded, that the intention of their High
Mightinesses could not be by that to let the affair rest
provisionally, much less that thereby they should have satisfied the
respectful demand and requisition contained in his said letter, by
which he had required an exact and vigorous examination, and demanded
for that purpose of their High Mightinesses such steps as had been
more amply mentioned in the said letter; and that then only he had
required such a justificatory resolution and satisfaction as had been
afterwards demanded by that letter; that he ought to insist upon that
so much the more, as by that provisional resolution, as taken without
previous inquiry, one could by no means think him cleared from the
blame and affront, which had been offered him, for which reason he had
conceived that he could and ought to implore the resolution of all the
High Confederates themselves, as he still continued to implore it with
earnestness;" praying M. de Lynden, as President of the Assembly of
their High Mightinesses, to be pleased to acquaint them therewith.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, July 11th, 1781.


I have only time by Major Jackson, to inform Congress, that upon
information from the Count de Vergennes, that questions concerning
peace under the mediation of the two Imperial Courts were in
agitation, that required my presence here, I undertook the journey,
and arrived here last Friday night, the 6th of the month, and have
twice waited on the Count de Vergennes at Versailles, who this day
communicated to me the enclosed propositions.

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

France and Spain have prepared their answers to these propositions of
the Empress and Emperor, and I am desired to give my answer to the
articles enclosed. It is not in my power at this time to enclose to
Congress my answer, because I have not made it, nor written it, but
Congress must see, that nothing can come of this manoeuvre, at least
for a long time. Thus much I may say to Congress, that I have no
objection to the proposition of treating with the English separately
in the manner proposed, upon a peace, and a Treaty of Commerce with
them, consistent with our engagements with France and Spain; but that
the armistice never can be agreed to by me. The objections against it
are as numerous as they are momentous and decisive. I may say further,
that as there is no judge upon earth, of a Sovereign Power, but the
nation that composes it, I can never agree to the mediation of any
powers, however respectable, until they have acknowledged our
sovereignty, so far at least as to admit a Minister Plenipotentiary
from the United States, as the representative of a free and
independent power. After this, we might discuss questions of peace or
truce with Great Britain, without her acknowledging our sovereignty,
but not before.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


           _To serve as a Basis to the Negotiation for the
                     Re-establishment of Peace._


                              ARTICLE I.

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

                             ARTICLE II.

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

                             ARTICLE III.

To render the negotiations for peace independent of the events of war,
always uncertain, which may put a stop to, or at least retard their
progress, there shall be a general armistice between all parties
during the term of a year, reckoning from ---- of the month of ---- of
the present year, or of ---- years, reckoning from ---- of the month
of ---- of the year 1782, should it happen that peace should not be
re-established in the first period, and whilst the duration of either
of these periods continue, everything shall remain in the state in
which they shall be found at signing the present preliminary

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                               Paris, July 13th, 1781.


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

As I am unacquainted, whether you desired my sentiments upon these
articles merely for your own government, or with a design to
communicate them to the Imperial Courts, I should be glad of your
Excellency's advice concerning them. If your Excellency is of opinion
there is anything exceptionable, or which ought to be altered, I
should be glad to correct it; or if I have not perceived the points,
or questions, upon which you desired my opinion, I shall be ready to
give any further answers.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


_Of the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, to
the Articles to serve as a Basis to the Negotiation for the
Re-establishment of Peace._

ARTICLE I. The United States of America have no objection, provided
their allies have none, to a treaty with Great Britain, concerning the
re-establishment of peace in America, or to another concerning the
re-establishment of commerce between the two nations, consistent with
their obligations to France and Spain, without the intervention of any
of the other belligerent parties, and even without that of the two
Imperial Courts, at least, unless their mediation should be formally
demanded and granted upon this object, according to the first article
communicated to me.

ART. II. The United States have nothing to say, provided their allies
have not, against the second article.

ART. III. To the armistice, and the _statu quo_, in the third article,
the United States have very great objections, which indeed are so
numerous and decisive, and at the same time so obvious, as to make it
unnecessary to state them in detail.

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

Two express conditions would be indispensable preliminaries to their
taking into consideration the subject of a truce at all. The first is,
that their allies agree, that the treaties now subsisting remain in
full force during and after the truce, until the final acknowledgment
of their independence by Great Britain. The second is, the antecedent
removal of the British land and naval armaments from every part of the
United States. Upon these two express conditions as preliminaries, if
a truce should be proposed for so long a period, or for an indefinite
period, requiring so long notice, previous to a renewal of
hostilities, as to evince that it is on the part of Great Britain a
virtual relinquishment of the object of the war, and an expedient
only to avoid the mortification of an express acknowledgment of the
independence and sovereignty of the United States, they, with the
concurrence of their allies, might accede to it.

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

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

They are considered and acknowledged as such by France. They cannot be
represented in a Congress of Ministers from the several powers of
Europe, whether their representative is called Ambassador, Minister,
or Agent, without an acknowledgment of their independence, of which
the very admission of a representative from them is an avowal. Great
Britain cannot agree with their representative upon a truce, or even
an armistice, without admitting their freedom and independence.

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

The sovereigns of Europe have a right to negotiate concerning their
own interests, and to deliberate concerning the question, whether it
is consistent with their dignity and interests, to acknowledge
expressly the sovereignty of the United States, and to make treaties
with them, by their Ministers in a Congress, or otherwise; and America
could make no objection to it; but neither the United States nor
France can ever consent, that the existence of their sovereignty shall
be made a question in such Congress; because, let that Congress
determine as it might, their sovereignty, with submission only to
Divine Providence, never can, and never will be given up.

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

It is not difficult to penetrate the design of the British Ministry
upon this, any more than upon many former occasions. They think that a
distrust of them, and a jealousy that they would not adhere with good
faith to the propositions of reconciliation, which they have made from
time to time, were, in the minds of the Americans, the true cause why
these propositions were not accepted. They now think, that by
prevailing on the two Imperial Courts, and other Courts, to warranty
to the Americans any similar terms they may propose to them, they
shall remove this obstacle; and by this means, although they know that
no public authority in America will agree to such terms, they think
they shall be able to represent things in such a light, as to induce
many desertions from the American army, and many apostates from the
American independence and alliance. In this way, they pursue their
long practised arts of seduction, deception, and division. In these
again, as in so many former attempts, they would find themselves
disappointed, and would make very few deserters or apostates. But it
is to be hoped, that the powers of Europe will not give to these
superficial artifices, with which that Ministry have so long destroyed
the repose of the United States, and of the British dominions at home
and abroad, and disturbed the tranquillity of Europe, so much
attention as to enable them to continue much longer such evils to

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                               Paris, July 15th, 1781.


I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter to the Count de
Vergennes, and of certain articles and their answers. The British
Court proposed to the Imperial Courts, a Congress, upon two
preliminary conditions, the rupture of the treaty with France, and the
return of America to their obedience. The two Imperial Courts have
since proposed the enclosed articles. Spain and France have prepared
their answers. England has not answered yet, and no Ministers are yet
commissioned or appointed by any power. If she accepts the terms, I
should not scruple to accept them too, excepting the armistice and the
_statu quo_. I mean I should not insist upon a previous explicit
acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the United States, before I went
to Vienna. I see nothing inconsistent with the character or dignity of
the United States, in their Minister going to Vienna, at the same time
when Ministers from the other powers are there, and entering into
treaty with a British Minister without any explicit acknowledgment of
our independence, before the conclusion of the treaty. The very
existence of such a Congress would be of use to our reputation.

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

Something may grow out of these negotiations in time, but it will
probably be several years before anything can be done. Americans can
only quicken these negotiations by decisive strokes. No depredations
upon their trade, no conquests of their possessions in the East or
West Indies will have any effect upon the English to induce them to
make peace, while they see they have an army in the United States, and
can flatter themselves with the hope of conquering or regaining
America; because they think that with America under their government,
they can easily regain whatever they may lose now in any part of the
world. Whereas, the total expulsion of their forces in the United
States would extinguish their hopes, and persuade them to peace,
sooner than the loss of everything less. The belligerent powers and
the neutral powers may flatter themselves with the hopes of a
restoration of peace, but they will all be disappointed while the
English have a soldier in America. It is amazing to me that France and
Spain do not see it, and direct their forces accordingly.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                               Paris, July 16th, 1781.


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

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

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

Yet it seems they have negotiated themselves into a delicate
situation. If they should obstinately adhere to their two
preliminaries, against the advice of the two Imperial Courts, this
might seriously affect their reputation, if they have any, for
moderation and for pacific dispositions, not only in those Courts, but
in all the Courts and countries of Europe, and they would not easily
answer it to their own subjects, who are weary of the war. Peace is so
desirable an object, that humanity, as well as policy, demands of
every nation at war a serious attention to every proposition, which
seems to have a tendency to it, although there may be grounds to
suspect, that the first proposer of it was not sincere. I think, that
no power can judge the United States unreasonable in not agreeing to
the _statu quo_, or the armistice. But perhaps I have not been
sufficiently explicit upon another point.

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

I cannot see, that the United States would make any concession, or
submit to any indignity, or do anything inconsistent with their
character, if their Minister should appear at Vienna, or elsewhere,
with the Ministers of other powers, and conduct any negotiation with a
British Minister, without having the independence of the United States
or his own title and character acknowledged or ascertained, by any
other power, except France, until the pacification should be
concluded. I do not see, that America would lose anything by this, any
more than by having a Minister in any part of Europe, with his
character unacknowledged by all the powers of Europe. In order to
remove every embarrassment, therefore, as much as possible, if your
Excellency should be of the same opinion, and advise me to it, I would
withdraw every objection to the Congress on the part of the United
States, and decline nothing but the _statu quo_, and the armistice,
against which such reasons might be given, as I think would convince
all men, that the United States are bound to refuse them. If your
Excellency should think it necessary for me to assign these reasons
particularly, I will attempt some of them; but it is sufficient for me
to say to your Excellency, that my positive instructions forbid me to
agree either to the armistice, or _statu quo_.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, July 17th, 1781.


Since my letter of the 26th of June last, the Memorial of the Deputies
of the City of Amsterdam, of the 8th of June, has appeared entire, and
is conceived in the following terms.

    "Most Serene and Illustrious Prince and Lord,

"The gentlemen, the Deputies of the City of Amsterdam, in the name and
by the order of the gentlemen, their constituents, have the honor to
represent to your Most Serene Highness, that the said constituents
having learnt, with much uneasiness the discontent, that your Highness
had taken, on the subject of their last proposition, made in the
Assembly of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, although it had been
contrary to their intention to give your Highness the least offence,
or to offer him any insult or displeasure, they have seized with great
satisfaction, an opportunity to give your Highness the most sincere
assurances of it; that they flatter themselves, that, from what they
shall have the honor of laying before you your Highness will be able
to deduce the reasons, for which they have not previously acquainted
him with the contents of the said proposition, before it hath been
remitted to the Assembly of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses; that
they should feel a real chagrin, if your Highness attributed this
silence to any particular distrust towards his person; they declare,
that they are absolutely divested of it, and that they have nothing so
much at heart as to excite and cherish between your Highness and their
City that confidence, that the well-being and advancement of the
public cause render inevitably necessary; that by their proposition
they have only wished to open a way to find out and carry into
execution, such measures as the critical situation of affairs most
pressingly requires for the safety and preservation of their dear

"That placed at the head of the government of a very populous city, in
which the lower class of the people begin already to feel that
indigence, which results from a want of business, they are obliged to
show in effect, and in the best manner possible, that they desire not
to let any opportunity escape of encouraging and promoting the
well-being of the country, and of its good citizens, unless they would
run the risk of entirely destroying the proper authority, and the good
order, which in a popular government are founded only upon the
confidence of the people, and of the Burgesses in its Regents, and of
seeing in a little time a total anarchy, that they had thought that
affairs had, for a long time, and particularly since the rupture with
England, appeared in the eyes of the whole nation, and not without
reason, to be administered in a strange and inconceivable manner,
seeing, that notwithstanding the extreme condescendence to the wishes
of England, we had only experienced from that kingdom, each year
contempt, affronts, and insults, which have been lately crowned by an
open war, commenced by the capture of a considerable number of our
vessels, and the invasion of our foreign possessions, and that,
nevertheless, we had remained in a defenceless state, and taken no
sufficient steps to place the Republic in a situation to protect its
liberty, its well acquired rights, its extensive navigation, and its
lawful commerce.

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

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

"That seeing it is to this state of inactivity and incapacity of
defending themselves, that it is necessary to attribute in the
greatest measure the evils and calamities which have happened to the
Republic, and which still threaten it, and that to this moment we have
not been able to observe that any vigorous measures are taken to
prevent future misfortunes, and to repair those already suffered,
(without which we ought soon to expect the total ruin of the
Republic,) we have judged it the indispensable duty of the brave
regents, and that they cannot dispense themselves from searching out
to what one ought to attribute this inexcusable negligence? And by
what means one may remedy it, and direct and re-establish still
affairs, as much as possible, for the safety of the State?

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

"That, nevertheless, it was very far from their intention to give your
Highness any uneasiness or discontent, or to introduce innovations, or
to diminish and circumscribe in more narrow limits the authority
lawfully acquired of my Lord the Stadtholder; that on the contrary,
they could assure solemnly, that they would assist constantly with all
their power, to maintain the present constitution of government with
which they judge the well-being of the Republic is intimately
connected; that they considered at the same time, that in the present
circumstances of affairs nothing would be more necessary or more
useful, for the direction and execution of the operations of the
present war, and for to combine them with more secrecy and despatch
than to form and establish a small council or committee, composed of
the regencies of the respective Provinces, to assist your Highness
with the advice and labors, and to co-operate conjointly to the
preservation of the country.

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

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

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

"That without doubt your Serene Highness has been already informed by
others of all these things; but in case your Serene Highness is still
ignorant of them, it is necessary to attribute it solely to a fear of
the effects of the resentment of the Duke. We dare, nevertheless, to
appeal with confidence upon everything now advanced, to the testimony
of all the honest and sincere members of the Regency, that your Serene
Highness shall deign to interrogate, after granting them full liberty
of speech, and summoning them to answer according to their duty and
their conscience.

"That they had heard many times with much regret, M. the Counsellor
Pensionary, complain, in presence of divers members of the Province of
Holland, of the misunderstanding which existed between him and the
Lord the Duke, as well as of the ascendancy that the said Lord has
over the mind of your Serene Highness, whereby all his effects for
the good of the country were rendered fruitless.

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

"That as well persuaded as we may be, that the members of the
sovereignty have always the liberty, and that it is sometimes even
their duty to communicate to your Serene Highness and to the other
members, their sentiments upon the state and administration of public
affairs, we should have preferred, nevertheless, to have abstained
from the present measure, if we had been able to conceive any hope,
amelioration, and change; but since we can no longer flatter ourselves
with that, for the reasons above alleged, and the danger has arisen to
its highest degree, there remains no other part to take than that of
laying before your Serene Highness the true state of things, of
praying him, in the most solemn manner, to reflect seriously upon
them, and of no longer listening to the councils and insinuations of a
man loaded as he is with the hatred of the great and the small,
regarded as a stranger destitute of a sufficient knowledge of the form
of our government, and not possessed of a true affection to our

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

"That these representations do not spring from a principle of hatred
or of ill will against the Lord, the Duke, who has formerly had
occasion to be well satisfied, even with the benevolence and the real
marks of affection of the Regency of Amsterdam, but that we protest
before God and the whole world, that the only motives which have
dictated them to us, are the preservation of the country and of the
illustrious House of your Most Serene Highness, and to prevent their
approaching total ruin; that the Regency of our city have seen
themselves obliged to take this measure, both in quality of
inhabitants of this country, and as a member of its sovereign
Assembly; to the end to make by this means the last effort, and to
point out, perhaps, yet in time, a means of saving, with the blessing
of the Almighty, the vessel of State from the most imminent danger,
and of conducting it into a safe port, or of acquitting themselves at
least in every case of their duty, and of exculpating themselves in
the eyes of their fellow citizens and posterity.

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

"1st. That, in a conjuncture like the present, in which every moment
is precious, no delay occasioned by deliberations of long duration
shall take place, and the requisite despatch would be given to the
execution of that which shall have been resolved.

"2dly. That thereby the confidence of the nation would be
re-established, an universal tranquillity and content promoted, and
each one would be encouraged and animated to contribute with joy
everything in his power to the execution of the measures of the
sovereign, whilst, that at present, we see the contrary take place,
and hear everywhere of the general complaints of the division and of
the inactivity of the government.

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

"Besides, nothing is more necessary than to adopt a fixed system and
plan of conduct, seeing that the Republic ought to choose between two
conditions; either to re-establish the peace with England, or to
prosecute the war with all our forces, to the end to accelerate by
this means an honorable peace; which ought to be the sincere wish of
every good citizen, and to which alone, without any further views, (as
we can assure your Serene Highness in the most serious manner) has
tended the overture made by our proposition of concerting with France
the operations for this campaign. We desire nothing more ardently on
our part, than to deliberate seriously with your Serene Highness upon
the option between the two conditions alleged, and what means it will
be necessary to employ to arrive at the end which shall be chosen; but
we are absolutely of opinion, that above all things, we must never
lose sight, although a reconciliation may be preferred, that nothing
ought to be neglected or omitted, to place in every respect, the
Republic in such a position that it has nothing to fear from its
enemies, but, on the contrary, that it may be in a state to force them
to wish the re-establishment of that peace, which, without any lawful
cause, they have so unjustly and wickedly broken.

"That the above piece is word for word the same without any addition
or omission, as that which has been read to his Serene Highness, the
8th of June, 1781, by the order of the gentlemen, the Burgomasters, by
the Pensionary Vischer, in presence of the Counsellor Pensionary of
Holland, and which is written with the hand of the said Pensionary, is
that which we attest.

    "Amsterdam, June 12th, 1781.
    E. DE VRY TEMMINCK, }   _Reigning_
    J. RENDORP,         } _Burgomasters._
    C. W. VISCHER, _Pensionary._

"Deposed in the cabinet of the gentlemen, the Burgomasters, the said
12th of June, 1781."

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

"By a resolution of the 6th of this month, the States-General have
revoked the order, that their High Mightinesses had given, at the
beginning of the war, to all captains or patrons of merchant-ships
belonging to the subjects of this Republic, to remain in the ports
where they found themselves, and not to make sail from them, either
for their destination or to return into this country. Their High
Mightinesses have this day given to the proprietors and captains of
these vessels, the liberty of navigating and employing them in such a
manner, and when they shall judge proper.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *



                                          Versailles, July 18th, 1781.


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write to me
the 13th instant. It was owing to the confidence I placed in your
judgment and zeal for your country, that I intrusted to you the
propositions of the two Imperial Courts, and requested that you would
make such observations as you might think them susceptible of. Things
are not yet sufficiently advanced to admit of communicating them to
the two mediating Courts. As you have seen in the sketch of our
answer, there are preliminaries to be adjusted with respect to the
United States, and until they are adjusted you cannot appear, and
consequently you cannot transact anything officially with respect to
the two mediators. By so doing you would hazard and expose the dignity
of the character with which you are invested.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                         DE VERGENNES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                               Paris, July 18th, 1781.


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

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

The two Imperial Courts have proposed, that there should be an
American Representative at the Congress. This is not merely by
implication, but expressly acknowledging, that there is a belligerent
power in America, of sufficient importance to be taken notice of by
them and the other powers of Europe. One would think after this, that
the two Imperial Courts would have communicated their propositions to
Congress. The propositions they have made and communicated to the
Courts of France, Spain and England, imply that America is a Power, a
free and Independent Power, as much as if they had communicated them
also to Congress at Philadelphia. Without such a formal communication
and an invitation to the United States in Congress, or to their
Representative here by the two Imperial Courts, I do not see how an
American Minister can with strict propriety appear at the proposed
Congress at Vienna at all. I have never heard it intimated, that they
have transmitted their propositions to Philadelphia; certainly I have
received no instructions from thence, nor have I received any
intimation of such propositions from any Minister of either of the
mediating Courts, although as my mission has been long public and much
talked of, I suppose it was well known to both that there was a person
in Europe vested by America with power to make peace.

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

The dignity of North America does not consist in diplomatic
ceremonials, or any of the subtleties of etiquette; it consists solely
in reason, justice, truth, the rights of mankind, and the interests of
the nations of Europe; all of which well understood, are clearly in
her favor. I shall therefore never make unnecessary difficulties on
the score of etiquette, and shall never insist upon anything of this
sort, which your Excellency or some other Minister of our allies does
not advise me to as indispensable; and therefore I shall certainly go
to Vienna or elsewhere, if your Excellency should invite or advise me
to go. But as these reflections occurred to me upon the point of
propriety, I thought it my duty to mention them to your Excellency.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                               Paris, July 19th, 1781.


In my letter of the 18th, I had the honor to mention some things,
which lay upon my mind; but still I am apprehensive, that in a former
letter, I have not conveyed my full meaning to your Excellency.

In my letter of the 16th, I submitted to your Excellency's opinion and
advice, whether an American Minister could appear at the Congress at
Vienna, without having his character acknowledged by any power, more
expressly than it is now. This was said upon the supposition, and
taking it for granted, that it was the intention of the mediating
Courts to admit a representative of the United States to the Congress,
with such a commission and such a title as the United States should
think fit to give him, and that during his whole residence and
negotiations at Vienna, whether they should terminate in peace or not,
he should enjoy all the prerogatives, which the law of nations has
annexed to the character, person, habitation, and attendants of such a
Minister. It is impossible that there should be a treaty at Vienna
between Great Britain and the people of America, whether they are
called United States or American Colonies, unless both nations appear
there by representatives, who must be authorised by commissions or
full powers, which must be mutually exchanged, and consequently
admitted to be, what upon the face of them they purport to be. The
commission from the United States for making peace, which has been in
Europe almost two years, is that of a Minister Plenipotentiary, and it
authorises him to treat only with Ministers vested with equal powers.
If he were to appear at Vienna, he would certainly assume the title
and character of a Minister Plenipotentiary, and could enter into no
treaty or conference with any Minister from Great Britain, until they
had mutually exchanged authentic copies of their full powers. This it
is true, would be an implied acknowledgment of his character and
title, and of those of the United States too; but such an
acknowledgment is indispensable, because without it there can be no
treaty at all. In consequence he would expect to enjoy all the
prerogatives of that character, and the moment they should be denied
him, he must quit the Congress, let the consequences be what they

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

I am therefore clear in my opinion, that a more explicit declaration
ought to be insisted on, and that no American Representative ought to
appear, without an express assurance, that while the Congress lasts,
and in going to it, and returning from it, he shall be considered as a
Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, and
entitled to all the prerogatives of such a Minister from a sovereign
power. The Congress might be to him and to his country but a snare,
unless the substance of this is _bona fide_ intended, and if it is
intended, there can be no sufficient reason for declining to express
it in words.

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

All that I can say to this case at present is this. The United States
have assumed their equal station among the nations. They have assumed
a sovereignty, which they acknowledge to hold only from God and their
own swords. They can be represented only as a sovereign; and,
therefore, although they might not be able to prevent it, they can
never consent that any of these things shall be made questions. To
give their consent, would be to make the surrender of their
sovereignty their own act.

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

I cannot but persuade myself, that the two Imperial Courts are
convinced of the justice of the American cause, of the stability of
the American sovereignty, and of the propriety and necessity of an
acknowledgment of it by all the powers of Europe. This, I think, may
be fairly and conclusively inferred from the propositions themselves.
Was there ever an example of a Congress of the powers of Europe to
exhort, to influence, to overawe the rebellious subjects of any one of
them into obedience? Is not every sovereign adequate to the
government, punishment, or pardon of its own criminal subjects? Would
it not be a precedent mischievous to mankind, and tending to universal
despotism, if a sovereign, which has been proved to be unequal to the
reformation or chastisement of the pretended crimes of its own
subjects, should be countenanced in calling in the aid of all or any
of the other powers of Europe to assist them? It is quite sufficient,
that England has already been permitted to hire twenty thousand German
troops, and to have the number annually recruited for seven years, in
addition to her own whole force; it is quite sufficient, that she has
been permitted to seduce innumerable tribes of savages, in addition to
both, to assist her in propagating her system of tyranny, and
committing her butcheries in America, without being able to succeed.

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

But if any sentiments of delicacy should induce those Courts to think
it necessary to wait for Great Britain to set the example of such
acknowledgment, one would think it necessary to wait until that power
shall discover some symptoms of an inclination that way. A Congress
would have no tendency, that I know of, to give her such a
disposition; on the contrary, a Congress in which Great Britain should
be represented, and France and the United States not, would only give
her an opportunity of forming parties, propagating prejudices and
partial notions, and blowing up the coals of war.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

                                               Paris, July 21st, 1781.


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

An idea has, I perceive, been suggested of the several States of
America choosing agents separately to attend the Congress at Vienna,
in order to make peace with Great Britain; so that there would be
thirteen instead of one. The constitution of the United States, or
their confederation, which has been solemnly adopted and ratified by
each of them, has been officially and authentically notified to their
Majesties, the Kings of France and Spain, and to their High
Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces of the Low
Countries, and communicated to all the Courts and nations of the
world, as far as all the gazettes of Europe are able to spread it; so
that it is now as well and universally known as any constitution of
government in Europe. By this constitution, all power and authority of
negotiating with foreign powers is expressly delegated to the United
States in Congress assembled. It would, therefore, be a public
disrespect and contempt offered to the constitution of the nation, if
any power should make any application whatever to the Governors, or
Legislature of the separate States. In this respect, the American
Constitution is very different from the Batavian. If the two Imperial
Courts should address their articles to the States separately, no
Governor or President of any one of those Commonwealths could even
communicate it to the Legislature. No President of a Senate could lay
it before the body over which he presides. No Speaker of a House of
Representatives could read it to the House. It would be an error, and
a misdemeanor in any one of these officers to receive and communicate
any such letter. All that he could do would be, after breaking the
seal and reading it, to send it back. He could not even legally
transmit it to Congress. If such an application, therefore, should be
made and sent back, it would consume much time to no purpose, and
perhaps have other worse effects.

There is no method for the Courts of Europe to convey anything to the
people of America but through the Congress of the United States, nor
any way of negotiating with them but by means of that body. I must,
therefore, entreat your Excellency, that the idea of summoning
Ministers from the thirteen States may not be countenanced at all.

I know very well, that if each State had in the confederation reserved
to itself a right of negotiating with foreign powers, and such an
application should have been made to them separately upon this
occasion, they would all of them separately refer it to Congress,
because the people universally know and are well agreed, that all
connexions with foreign countries must, in their circumstances, be
made under one direction.

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, July 21st, 1781.


From the Hague, there is an article of the following tenor.

"As to the affair of the Field Maréchal, the Duke of Brunswick, which
makes an object of deliberation in the Assemblies of the Provinces,
one sees in public a copy of the opinion of the Quarter of Westergo,
(one of the four Chambers which form the States of Friesland,) in
which it is joined by four Manors or Intendancies of the Quarter of
Sevenwonde, which have protested against the opinion of the plurality
of their Chamber; this opinion is of the following tenor."

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                           Amsterdam, August 3d, 1781.


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

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

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

"To defend the dominions, and to maintain the rights of this country,
was on my part the sole cause, and is the object of the war. Peace is
the earnest wish of my heart, but I have too firm a reliance on the
spirit and resources of the nation, the powerful assistance of my
Parliament, and _the protection of a just and all ruling Providence_,
to accept it upon any other terms or conditions than such as may
consist with the honor and dignity of my Crown, and the permanent
interest and security of my people."

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

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

The Emperor, in his late journey through Holland, made himself the
object of the esteem and admiration of all; affable and familiar, as a
great sovereign can ever allow himself to be with dignity, he gave to
many persons unequivocal intimations of his sentiments upon public
affairs. Patriotism seemed to be the object which he wished to
distinguish. Whoever espoused with zeal the honor and interest of his
own country, was sure of some mark of his approbation; whoever
appeared to countenance another country in preference to his own,
found some symptom of his dislike; even the ladies, French or Dutch,
who had any of the English modes in their dress, received from his
Majesty some intimation of his disapprobation of their taste.
Everybody here, since his departure, is confident of his entire
detestation of the principles on which the English have conducted this
war, and of his determination to take no part in it, in their favor.
His sentiments concerning America are inferred from a very singular
anecdote, which is so well attested, that it may not be improper to
mention to Congress.

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

Thus it is, that the words, gestures, and countenances of sovereigns
are watched, and political inferences drawn from them; but there is
too much uncertainty in this science, to depend much upon it. It
seems, however, that the Emperor made himself so popular here, as to
excite some appearance of jealousy in Prussia. For my own part, I
think that the greatest political stroke which the two Imperial Courts
could make, would be upon receiving the answer from England adhering
to her preliminaries, immediately to declare the United States
independent. It would be to their immortal honor; it would be in the
character of each of these, extraordinary geniuses; it would be a
blessing to mankind; it would even be friendship to England.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      B. FRANKLIN TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                              Passy, August 6th, 1781.


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

What aids are hereafter granted, will probably be transmitted by the
government directly to America. It will, therefore, be proper to
inform Congress, that care may be taken to furnish their servants by
remittances from thence.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                          B. FRANKLIN.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Amsterdam, August 6th, 1781.


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

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

"The Minister of England, at our Court, received a courier from
London, the day before yesterday, with the answer of the British
Ministry to the preliminary articles of a Treaty of Peace to be
concluded between the belligerent powers of Europe under the high
mediation of her Majesty, the Empress, our Sovereign, and of his
Majesty, the Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia; but nothing has
transpired of the contents of this answer."

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Amsterdam, August 6th, 1781.


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

"An order has been sent from Lord Hillsborough's office for bringing
Curson and Gouverneur, (whom we sometime ago mentioned to have been
confined by command of Sir George Rodney, and General Vaughan, for
having carried on a traitorous correspondence with the enemy at St
Eustatia,) to town, to be confined in Newgate, to take their trial for
the crime of high treason. The whole circumstances of their case, and
all their correspondence has been submitted to the inspection of the
Attorney and Solicitor-General, and they consider the offence in so
serious a light, that a direct refusal has been given to a petition
from Mr Curson to be indulged with the privilege of giving bail for
appearance, on account of the ill-health, which he has experienced on
board the Vengeance, where he and his colleague have been for some
months confined, and which is now lying at Spithead. It has been
discovered, from an inspection of their papers, that Mr Adams, the
celebrated negotiator to Holland, was the man, with whom they held
their illicit correspondence, and it is said, that the appearance of
proof against them, has turned out much stronger than was originally

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Amsterdam, August 8th, 1781.


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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                      A   msterdam, August 16th, 1781.


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

I was never before personally acquainted with this gentleman, but I
have long known his public character and private reputation. He was
ever reputed a man of very delicate sentiments of honor, of integrity,
and of attachment to his native country, although his education, his
long residences in England, his numerous connexions there, and the
high offices he held under the British government, did not even admit
of a general opinion, that his sentiments were in all respects
perfectly conformable to those of the most popular party in the
Colonies. Nevertheless, he was never suspected, to my knowledge, of
concurring in, or countenancing any of those many plots which were
laid by other officers of the Crown, against our liberties, but on the
contrary, was known to be the object of their jealousy, revenge, and
malice, because he would not. He was, however, intimate with several
gentlemen, who stood foremost in opposition, particularly Mr Otis, who
has often communicated to me intelligence of very great importance,
which he had from Mr Temple, and which he certainly could have got no
other way, as early I believe as 1763 and 1764, and onwards.

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

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

I have taken the liberty to give Mr Temple my own sentiments
concerning the suspicions which have been, and are entertained
concerning him, and the causes of them, and of all parts of his
conduct, which have come to my knowledge, with so little disguise,
that he will be well apprised of the disappointments he may meet
with, if any. I hope, however, that he will meet a more friendly
reception in America, and better prospects of a happy life there, than
I have been able to assure him. Whether any services or sufferings of
Mr Temple could support any claim upon the justice, gratitude, or
generosity of the United States, or of that of Massachusetts in
particular, is a question upon which it would be altogether improper
for me to give my opinion, as I know not the facts so well as they may
be made known, and as I am no judge, if I knew the facts. But this I
know, that whenever the facts shall be laid before either the great
Council of the United States, or that of Massachusetts, they will be
judged of by the worthy Representatives of a just, grateful, and
generous people, and therefore Mr Temple will have no reason to
complain if the decision should be against him.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                         Amsterdam, August 16th, 1781.


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

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

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

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

"Her Imperial Majesty flatters herself, that the Republic will receive
this overture, as a fresh proof of her benevolence, and of the
attention, which she preserves, to cultivate the ties of that
friendship, and of that alliance, which subsists between them."

It does not appear by this insinuation, that the articles proposed by
the two Imperial Courts, to serve as a basis for the negotiations of
peace at Vienna, were communicated to the Dutch Minister at
Petersburg, or the Russian Minister at the Hague, or by either to
their High Mightinesses; as the word, Courts at war, is used, and no
hint about the United States in it, the probability is that the
articles are not communicated.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                         Amsterdam, August 18th, 1781.


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

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


                      Killed.     Wounded.   Total.
Fortitude,              20           67        87
Bienfaisant,             6           21        27
Berwick,                18           58        76
Princess Amelia,        19           56        75
Preston,                10           40        50
Buffalo,                20           64        84
Dolphin,                11           33        44
                       ---          ---       ---
                       104          339       443


                      Killed.      Wounded.   Total.
Admiral de Ruyter,      43           90       133
Admiral-General,         7           41        48
Batavier,               18           48        66
Argo,                   11           87        98
Holland,                                       64
Admiral Ret Hein,        9           58        67

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Amsterdam, August 22d, 1781.


The late glorious victory, obtained by Admiral Zoutman over Admiral
Parker, is wholly to be ascribed to the exertions of Amsterdam.
Pretences and excuses would have been devised for avoiding to send out
the fleet, and indeed for avoiding an action when at sea, if it had
not been for the measures which have been taken to arouse the
attention and animate the zeal of the nation. The officers and men of
the army, and especially of the navy, appear to have been as much
affected and influenced by the proceedings of the Regency of
Amsterdam, as any other parts of the community. Notwithstanding the
apparent ill success of the enterprises of the great city, it is
certain that a flame of patriotism and of valor has been kindled by
them, which has already produced great effects, and will probably much

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

The good party have the upperhand, and patriotic counsels begin to

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                          Amsterdam, August 22d, 1781.


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

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

In these critical circumstances, something uncommon was necessary to
arouse the nation, and bring forth the public voice. The first step of
this kind, was the proposition of the United States of America to
their High Mightinesses, which being taken _ad referendum_, became a
subject of deliberation in every city of the Republic, and the
publication of the memorial of the 19th of April, 1781, which made the
American cause, the primary object and main spring of the war, the
topic of conversation in every private circle, as well as in every
public assembly.

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

The American memorial has not obtained, and probably will not obtain
for a long time, an acknowledgment of American independence, but it
discovered with absolute certainty the sentiments of the nation. M.
Van Berckel's petition has not procured him a formal justification,
but it has proved that his enemies are too weak to punish or to
censure him. The proposition of Amsterdam has not obtained an inquiry
into the causes of the sloth of the State, nor the appointment of a
committee to assist the Prince; but it has occasioned a universal
declaration of the people's sentiments, that the State has been too
inactive, and the counsels of the Court too slow. The application of
Amsterdam against the Duke has not procured his removal, but it has
procured a universal avowal, that the public counsels have been
defective, and a universal cry for an alteration, and has obliged the
Court to adopt a different system. When the public counsels of a
country have taken a wrong bias, the public voice, pronounced with
energy, will sometimes correct the error, without any violent
remedies. The voice of the people, which had been so often declared,
by the late sea action was found to be so clear, that it has produced
many remarkable effects. Among which, none deserve more attention than
the following declarations of the Prince. The first was inserted by
order in the newspapers in these words.

"As pains are taken to draw the public into an opinion, that the
vessels of the Meuse, (Rotterdam) and of Middleburg, (Zealand) which
at first had orders to join the squadron of the Texel, (only those of
Amsterdam) had afterwards received counter orders, as it is given out
in some cities almost in so many words, and which is propagated, (God
knows with what design) it is to us a particular satisfaction to be
able to assure the public, after authentic information, and even from
the supreme authority, that such assertions are destitute of all
foundation, and absolutely contrary to the truth; that the orders,
given and never revoked, but, on the contrary, repeated more than once
to the vessels of the Meuse, to join the convoy of the Texel, could
not be executed, because it did not please Providence to grant a wind
and the other favorable circumstances necessary to this effect, while
the Province of Zealand, threatened at the same time with an attack
from an English squadron, would not willingly have seen diminished the
number of vessels, which lay at that time in their Road. It is,
nevertheless, much to be regretted, that circumstances have not
permitted us to render the Dutch squadron sufficiently strong, to have
obtained over the enemy a victory as useful as it was glorious."

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

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

"Your affectionate friend,

                                          WILLIAM, _Prince of Orange_.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                         Amsterdam, August 25th, 1781.


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

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

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

I see in the papers, that the British Ambassador at Petersburg has
received an answer from his Court to the articles. What this answer
is, we may conjecture from the King's speech. Yet the Empress of
Russia has made an insinuation to their High Mightinesses, which
deserves attention. Perhaps you may have seen it; but, lest you should
not, I will add a translation of it, which I sent to Congress in the
time of it, not having the original at hand.[2]

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

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

Our dear country will go fast asleep, in full assurance of having news
of peace by winter, if not by the first vessel. Alas! what a
disappointment they will meet. I believe I had better go home, and
wake up our countrymen out of their reveries about peace. Congress
have done very well to join others in the commission for peace, who
have some faculties for it. My talent, if I have one, lies in making
war. The Grand Seignior will finish the _procès des trois rois_,
sooner than the Congress of Vienna will make peace, unless the two
Imperial Courts act with dignity and consistency upon the occasion,
and acknowledge American independency at once, upon Britain's
insisting on her two insolent preliminaries.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[2] See pp. 147 and 148.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     JAMES LOVELL TO JOHN ADAMS.

                                    Philadelphia, September 1st, 1781.


Enclosed you have some important instructions, passed in Congress upon
the 16th of last month.[3] They will probably reach you first through
our Minister at Versailles, an opportunity to France having earliest
presented itself. Should that not be the case, you will be careful to
furnish copies to Dr Franklin and Mr Jay.

I remain, &c.

                                                         JAMES LOVELL,
                               _For the Committee of Foreign Affairs._


[3] See the _Secret Journals of Congress_, Vol. II. p. 470, 472.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                         Amsterdam, October 4th, 1781.


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

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

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

I should think, too, that it would be proper to give some intimation
of it to the public, in the Gazette, or _Mercure de France_, the two
papers, which are published with the consent of the Court, and, if you
are of the same opinion, upon consulting the Count de Vergennes, I
should be glad to see it done.

Have you any information concerning Mr Jefferson, whether he has
accepted the trust? Whether he has embarked? Or proposes soon to
embark? I saw a paragraph in a Maryland paper, which expressed an
apprehension, that he was taken prisoner, by a party of horse, in

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, October 15th, 1781.


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

While that island was in the possession of the Dutch, I sent a great
number of letters, packets of papers, &c. by several vessels, to the
care of Curson and Gouverneur, to be forwarded to Congress. It is very
certain, the enemy have got possession of some, one very short and
insignificant one they have published, and the London papers give
intimations of more; but I fancy they will not choose to publish them.

I hope Commodore Gillon has arrived before this day, who had letters
from me, and all the public papers for some time. I sent despatches
also by several other vessels, which have sailed from hence. It is
extremely difficult for me to send letters by the way of Nantes,
L'Orient, &c. or by the way of Spain. There is so much bad faith in
the public posts, that it would not be possible for me to write
without having my letters opened, perhaps copied, and there is
scarcely ever an opportunity by a private hand to any sea-port in

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

By the help, however, of great skill, and all powerful bark, I am
still alive; but this the first time I have felt the courage to
attempt to write to Congress. Absence and sickness are my apologies to
Congress for the few letters they will receive from me since June.
Whether it was the uncommon heat of the summer, or whether it was the
mass of pestilential exhalations from the stagnant waters of this
country, that brought this disorder upon me, I know not; but I have
every reason to apprehend, that I shall not be able to re-establish my
health in this country. A constitution ever infirm, and almost half a
hundred years old, cannot expect to fare very well amidst such cold
damps and putrid steams as arise from the immense quantities of dead
water, that surround it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, October 15th, 1781.


I wish it were possible to communicate to Congress the present state
of every affair, which they have been pleased to confide in any
measure to me. I have received the new commission for peace, and the
revocation of my commission and instructions of the 29th of September,
1779.[4] To both of these measures of Congress, as to the commands of
my sovereign, I shall pay the most exact attention. The present
commission for peace, is a demonstration of greater respect to the
powers of Europe, and must be more satisfactory to the people of
America, than any former one; besides that it guards against
accidents, which in my late sickness I had reason to think may well
happen. I am, however, apprehensive that this commission will lie a
long time neglected, and as useless as the former one.

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

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

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

There is no authority in Europe more absolute, not even that of the
two empires, not that of the simple monarchies, than that of the
States-General is in their dominions, and nobody but M. de Neufville
dares advance faster in a political manoeuvre than the States. M. de
Neufville has done his utmost, and has been able to do nothing; three
thousand guilders, less than three hundred pounds, is all that he has
obtained. Notwithstanding this, there is a universal wish that the
world may be made to believe that my loan is full. It is upon 'Change,
by a unanimous dissimulation, pretended to be full, and there are
persons, (who they are I know not,) who write to London, and fill the
English papers with paragraphs that my loan is full. M. de Neufville
has advertised in the customary form, for all persons possessed of
American _coupons_, to come and receive the money at the end of the
first six months. These persons cannot be more than three in number.

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

I have often written to Congress, that I never could pretend to
foretell what the States-General would do. I never found anybody here
who guessed right; and upon reading over all the negotiations of
Jeannin, Torcy, d'Avaux, and d'Estrades, in this country, I found
every one of those Ministers were, at the several periods of their
residence here, in the same uncertainty. It appears to have been for
this century and a half, at least, the national character, to manage
all the world as long as they could, to keep things undetermined as
long as they could, and finally to decide suddenly upon some fresh
motive of fear. It is very clear to me, that I shall never borrow
money until I have had an audience; and if the States pursue their old
maxims of policy, it may be many years before this is agreed to. I am
much inclined to believe that nothing decisive will be done for two or
three years, perhaps longer; yet it may be in a month. Parties are now
very high, and their passions against each other warm; and to all
appearance, the good party is vastly the most numerous; but we must
remember, that the supreme Executive is supposed to be determined on
the other side, so that there is real danger of popular commotions and
tragical scenes.

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

The English party, I think, will never carry their point so far as to
induce the nation to join the English. There are three considerations,
which convince me of this beyond a doubt. First, corrupted and
abandoned as a great part of this nation, as well as every other in
Europe is, there is still a public national sense and conscience, and
the general, the almost universal sense of this nation is, that the
English are wrong and the Americans right in this war. The conduct of
the Americans is so like that of their venerable and heroic ancestors,
it is evidently founded in such principles as are uniformly applauded
in their history, and as every man has been educated in a habitual
veneration for, that it is impossible for them to take a part in the
war against America. This was universally conspicuous upon the
publication of my memorial to the States. Secondly; the commercial
part of these Provinces, I think, will never give up the American
trade. Thirdly; England is so exhausted and so weak, and France,
Spain, and America so strong, that joining the former against the
three latter, would be the total ruin of the Republic. Nevertheless,
the court party will find means of delay, and will embarrass the
operations of war in so many ways, that it will be long before any
decisive measures will be taken in favor of America.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[4] The new commission for negotiating peace was given to John Adams,
Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson. See
the Commission and Instructions in the _Secret Journals of Congress_.
Vol. II. pp. 445, 447.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, October 17th, 1781.


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

"We, the Deputies of the States of Utrecht, make known, that as it is
come to our knowledge, that, notwithstanding the strong and serious
advertisements and publications against the composition, sale, and
distribution of lampoons, scandalous pamphlets, or libels, and
defamatory writings of whatever sort, or in whatever form they may be,
to the prejudice of the high sovereignty of these Provinces, and of
those who are placed in any administration or direction of public
affairs already, heretofore, and lately promulgated, both by the
Lords, the States of this Province, and by others, and the rigorous
penalty therein decreed against transgressors; nevertheless, the
spirit of discord, of wickedness, of calumny, and of sedition has
burst forth, and spread itself in this State so far, that it has not
been possible, hitherto to restrain it by such advertisements, but, on
the contrary, it has arrived at such a height, that there has been
printed and dispersed within a few days a most pernicious libel, under
the title of Aan het Volkvan Nederland, (to the people of the Low
Countries) containing a great number of wicked and slanderous
imputations against the Most Serene Person of his Most Serene
Highness, our Lord, the Prince of Orange and Nassau, Hereditary
Stadtholder, Captain and Admiral-General of these Provinces, against
his Most Serene father and mother of glorious memory, as also our
Lords, the Princes of Orange, William the First, Maurice, Frederick,
Henry, William the Second, and William the Third, illustrious
predecessors of his Most Serene Highness, and interspersing efforts
the most seditious, tending to overturn not only the present form of
the Regency, but even to introduce, instead of the Regency in the
State, which also is therein painted, in the most hateful manner, a
democracy, or Regency of the people, and thus to cause the Republic to
fall into an entire anarchy, which would increase and multiply still
more extremely, the dangers to which the dear country is exposed at
present by a foreign war, joined to an intestine division; and taking
into consideration that such most detestable wickedness, if not
restrained, can have no other consequences, than the total ruin and
destruction of the dear country, if God by his grace does not prevent
it, and that it is incumbent on us to employ all the means possible to
hinder it, and to punish offences according to their demerit; for
these causes, we renew that which has been heretofore and lately
ordained in this respect by the publication of their Noble
Mightinesses, of the 4th of July of the present year, 1781, and not
only the punishments by fine, but also of discretionary correction,
according to the exigence of the case against the transgressors there
mentioned, to discover the author or the authors, and the distributor
or the distributors of such a dangerous libel as that before
mentioned, and to the end that they be punished, as examples to
others, according to the magnitude of such a crime, tending to the
ruin of the country; we have thought fit to promise, as we do by these
presents, a premium of a hundred ryders (fourteen hundred guilders) in
favor of those who may discover or make known, the author or authors,
distributor or distributors, in such manner that they may be
juridically convicted and punished, concealing the name of the
informer if he requires it. And we ordain, moreover, to all the
officers and judges in the city, cities, and countries of this
Province, to make all possible search, and to endeavor, without any
negligence, dissimulation, or connivance, to discover and arrest the
aforesaid malefactor, or malefactors, and to proceed and to cause to
be proceeded, as is convenient, against them, as seditious persons,
and disturbers of the public repose, guilty of overturning the
foundations of the government of these Provinces, and of the
sovereignty of the Lords, the States of the Provinces respectively,
and as the enemies the most dangerous of the country; and to the end,
that no man may pretend ignorance, these presents shall be published
and posted up in convenient places.

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

                                               I. TACTS VAN AMERONGEN.

"By order of the said Lords Deputies,

                                                            C.A. VOS."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, October 18th, 1781.


The Committees of the Fisheries of Vlaardingen and Maaslleys have
presented to their High Mightinesses a petition to give them to
understand, "that they learned with the most lively sensibility that
the gentlemen, the committees of the respective colleges of Admiralty
had proposed to their High Mightinesses to permit the free navigation
of the ports of the Republic, with or without convoy, excepting,
nevertheless, until further order, the vessels destined to the greater
and lesser fisheries. The petitioners represent the inevitable losses,
with which they are more and more threatened, in case that all the
fishery, without exception, remain longer suspended; that they might
very well find a remedy in a certain manner by excepting from this
prohibition the ships employed in taking fish for salting, and in the
fishery of fresh cod. They solicit, that it may please their High
Mightinesses to revoke in this regard the placard of the 26th of
January, 1781, or at least to make in it such alteration as their High
Mightinesses may find convenient."

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

                          ANOTHER PETITION,

_From divers Merchants, Bookkeepers, and Owners of Ships of Amsterdam,
containing in substance_,

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

"But as all these disbursements are lost, the petitioners for the
causes alleged, and others particularised in the petition, pray that
it may please their High Mightinesses to assign to the petitioners,
and especially to the proprietors and freighters of vessels, a
convenient indemnification and sufficient for the cost, damages, and
interest borne and suffered, because the said convoy has not set sail;
from whence it has resulted, that they have detained the vessels
belonging to the petitioners, who, at the first requisition, are ready
to produce the particulars to their High Mightinesses, that it may
also please their High Mightinesses to give the necessary orders, to
the end that the convoy destined for this purpose may be ready early
enough to be able to set sail next spring, even by the month of March,
to the end that by accelerating their departure, the loss of time
suffered in the current year may be, at least in some degree,
compensated, and that there may be an opportunity that the ships which
are now in Norway and at Elsinore; supposing they should be obliged to
pass the winter there, may then profit of this convoy for their
return. Finally, that they would please to give, concerning all these
objects, precise orders, and such as their High Mightinesses may judge
the most proper to fulfil the wishes of the petitioners, and for the
greatest utility of commerce."

This petition has been rendered commissorial for the respective

                           ANOTHER PETITION.

"The undersigned, merchants trading to the Levant, living at Amsterdam
and Rotterdam, give respectfully to understand, that the petitioners
acknowledge with the most lively gratitude the paternal care which
your High Mightinesses have always manifested for the prosperity of
the commerce of the Levant, and particularly the advantages procured
to the Belgic navigation by the resolutions of your High Mightinesses
of the 21st of May, 1770, and of the first of April, 1776; the first
of which authorises the directors of the commerce of the Levant, and
of the navigation of the Mediterranean, besides the accustomed
imposition of six per cent of freight, to require of all foreign
vessels coming from the Levant, five per cent of the value of the
effects; and the second of which tends to raise considerably the
tariff, after which they always tax the abovementioned effects; which
has also fully answered to the salutary end of your High Mightinesses,
to wit, to inspire a general aversion in foreign ships to suffer
themselves to be employed in the transportation of productions from
the Levant into the ports of these countries. But, the situation of
the navigation of this country by the unfortunate and cruel war, which
the King of England unjustly makes upon our dear country, is in fact
entirely changed, and almost entirely interrupted and ruined, in such
sort, that by the present impossibility to make use of those ships
which have not been taken, business in general, and that of the Levant
in particular, is in the deplorable condition, even for the account of
neutral foreigners, (for that upon our own account is entirely
stopped) either to be wholly abandoned, or to be carried on by the
means of foreign vessels.

"The petitioners think it unnecessary to enumerate, particularly the
disadvantages of the first points alleged, that is to say, the
abandoning of this commerce, because in all times the considerable
importance of the Levant trade has been universally acknowledged, and
your High Mightinesses yourselves have always shown that you have been
intimately persuaded of it. It is then manifest, that in the present
situation of affairs there remains only the second means, which is to
employ foreign ships; nevertheless, as the small quantity of these
vessels joined to the inclination on all sides to employ them, has
already occasioned an enormous rise of their freights, and since
moreover they cannot be ensured, but by paying a premium three times
larger than in past times, we encounter here obstacles the most
discouraging and invincible, considering, that besides all this, the
extraordinary imposition beforementioned of five per cent of the
value of the merchandises calculated after the augmented tariff
renders almost impracticable this manner of negotiating, and deprives
it of all advantage; which in this critical situation of affairs, must
ruin absolutely the commerce of the Levant; for since at this time it
cannot be carried on, but for the account of neutral foreigners, it is
incontestible that their enterprises being in all cases so much
confined, they will find themselves in the indispensable necessity to
suspend this commerce with us, and to transmit it to other places;
besides this, there will be found many foreigners, who for these
causes will excuse themselves from remitting to the petitioners what
they justly owe because at present, by the enormous rise of bills of
exchange this cannot be effected but by sending merchandises, which
still augments and extends, in an aggravating manner, the risk of the

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

"Divers freighters and part owners of vessels, fitted out for the
Colony of Surinam, by the proprietors of plantations, merchants, and
others interested in this commerce, as well as that of Curaçao, have
addressed a petition to their High Mightinesses, and laid open the
"deplorable condition of the two Colonies; that in consequence of the
Resolution of the 14th of last June, in virtue of the petition, which
they then presented, they equipped their vessels with despatch, and
that in two months they had put in order a fleet of seventeen vessels,
armed with four hundred guns, and manned with twelve hundred men,
expecting a suitable convoy; but that several circumstances having
without doubt hindered it from being ready, they pray first, their
High Mightinesses, that they would prepare as soon as possible a
convenient convoy, to go out with their ships, at a certain day, and
conduct them to the West Indies; secondly, that their High
Mightinesses, in case of delay, would be so good as to grant them an
indemnification; thirdly, that their High Mightinesses, upon the
exhibition of a certificate, as it was stipulated by their resolution
of the 31st of July last, would be so good as to cause to be given to
those who shall have made the armaments required, the bounties which
they shall judge convenient, the petitioners being ready to give
convenient sureties, and even to engage their vessels, in case they
are not ready to sail at the time appointed."

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

The representative and the directors of the East India Company have
notified to their High Mightinesses, "that their finances are
diminished, and that they are in the indispensable necessity of
demanding of their High Mightinesses a succor of at least 550,000
florins; adding, that if some favorable change does not take place,
they will soon be obliged to have again recourse to their High

This petition has been rendered commissorial.

These papers will sufficiently show Congress how much the trade of
this country is affected by the war, and what discontents must arise
from it. Yet the British Ministry are amusing the government with
their delusive ideas of mediation, armistices, Congresses, peace, and
anything to lay them asleep.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                      Philadelphia, October 23d, 1781.

  Dear Sir,

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

I can only say in general, that we consider your situation as
extremely delicate, the state you are in, divided by powerful parties,
and the bias that every man has to his own country, naturally gives
him a predilection for that which most favors its interests. But this,
though the child of virtue, is often the greatest obstacle to
successful negotiations; it creates distrust and jealousies; it
excites prejudices, which unfit us for conciliating the affections of
those whose assistance we require, and induce too fond a reliance upon
the information of those who wish to serve us. Aristocratic
governments are, of all others, the most jealous of popular
commotions; the rich and the powerful are equally engaged to resist
them, and nothing will, in my opinion, so soon contribute to a peace
between England and the United Provinces as the commotions which now
clog the government of the latter.

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

The United Provinces appear to me one of those governments whose very
constitution disposes them to peace; the ambition of making conquests,
either is or ought to be unknown to them. A war for the extension of
commerce is a solecism in politics, since the shocks that the
established trade sustains, infinitely overbalance any new accession
that may be made by it. War, then, while the true interest of the
United Provinces is considered, will be the child of necessity. That
necessity happily exists at present, and will exist till Great Britain
ceases to be the tyrant of the ocean. We are greatly interested in its
continuance; but let us always bear in mind that the moment Great
Britain makes the sacrifices, which prudence and justice require, the
United Provinces will be drawn by the interest of commerce and the
love of peace to close with them. Their acknowledgment of our
independence would be an important and a leading object. Success here,
and the injustice and cruelty of the British may affect it, but do not
let us appear to be dissatisfied if it is delayed. They have a right
to judge for themselves; from the very nature of their government,
they must be slow in determining. Every appearance of dissatisfaction
on our part, gives room to the British to believe the United Provinces
disinclined to us, and paves the way to negotiations, which may end in
a peace, which we are so much interested in preventing.

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

I make no apology for the length or freedom of this; it is of the last
importance to you (and I am satisfied you will think it so,) to be
intimately acquainted with the sentiments entertained on this side of
the water. In return, Sir, you will let me know, minutely, everything
that can in any way be of use to us, particularly if either of the
belligerent powers takes measures that may tend to establish a partial
or general peace. At your leisure, acquaint me with the interior of
the government you are in, and everything else interesting, which you
may learn relative to others. Remember that Ministers are yet to be
formed in this country, and let them want no light, which your
situation enables you to afford them.

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

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

_October 24th._ I congratulate you, Sir, upon the pleasing
intelligence which, agreeable to my hopes, I am enabled to convey to
you; enclosed you have a letter from General Washington to Congress;
the terms granted to Lord Cornwallis, his fleet and army, and the
letters that passed previous to the surrender of both. I make no
comments upon this event, but rely upon your judgment to improve it
to the utmost; perhaps, this is the moment in which a loan may be
opened with most advantage. The want of money is our weak side, and
even in the high day of success we feel its pressure.

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

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

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, October 25th, 1781.


I see in the London Courant, which arrived today, an advertisement of
a translation into English of the address to the people of the
Netherlands; so that this work is likely to be translated into all
languages, and read by all the world, notwithstanding the placards
against it. I have before sent that of Utrecht; that of Holland is as

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

"For these causes, being desirous to make provision in this case,
without derogating from our former placards against lampoons, and
other defamatory and scandalous writings, issued from time to time,
and in particular from our renovation of the 18th of January, 1691,
and our placard of the 17th of March, 1754, we have thought fit for
the discovery of the author or authors of the said seditious and
slanderous libel, entitled _Aan het Volk van Nederland_, and of his or
their accomplices, to promise a reward of a thousand ryders of gold,
(fourteen thousand florins) to him who shall give the necessary
indications by which the author, writer, or printer of the said
libel, or all those who may have had a part in it in any other manner,
may fall into the hands of justice, and may be convicted of the fact;
and in case that the informer was an accomplice in it, we declare by
these presents, that we will pardon him for whatever upon this
occasion he may have done amiss against his sovereign; moreover, he
shall also enjoy the reward in question, and his name shall not be
pointed out, but kept secret.

"Forbidding, consequently, in the most solemn manner by these
presents, every one of what estate, quality or condition soever he may
be, to reprint in any manner the said seditious and slanderous libel,
to distribute, scatter, or spread it, upon pain of the confiscation of
the copies, and a fine of six thousand florins, besides at least, an
everlasting banishment from the Province of Holland and West
Friesland, which fine shall go, one third to the officer who shall
make the seizure; another third to the informer; and the remaining
third to the use of the poor of the place where the seizure shall be
made. And whereas, some persons, to keep their unlawful practices
concealed, may be tempted to pretend, that the libel in question had
been addressed to them under a simple cover, they know not by whom,
nor from what place, we ordain and decree, that all printers,
booksellers, and moreover all and every one, to whom the said
seditious and slanderous libel, entitled _Aan het Volk van Nederland_,
may be sent, whether to be sold, given as a present, distributed, lent
or read, shall be held to carry it forthwith; and deliver it to the
officer or the magistrate of the place of their residence, or of the
place where they may receive it, under penalty of being held for
disseminators of it, and as such punished in the manner before pointed
out. Ordaining most expressly to our Attorney-General, and to all our
other officers, to execute strictly and exactly the present placard,
according to the form and contents of it, without dissimulation or
connivance, under pain of being deprived of their employments. And to
the end, that no one may pretend cause of ignorance, but that every
one may know how he ought to conduct himself in this regard, we order
that these presents be published, and posted up everywhere, where it
belongs, and where it is customary to do it.

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

                                                     C. CLOTTERBOOKE."

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

I consider the disputes in the city of Geneva as arising from the
progress of democratical principles in Europe. I consider this libel
as a demonstration that there is a party here, and a very numerous
one, too, who are proselytes to democratical principles. Who and what
has given rise to the assuming pride of the people, as it is called in
Europe, in every part of which they have been so thoroughly abased?
The American revolution. The precepts, the reasonings, and example of
the United States of America, disseminated by the press through every
part of the world, have convinced the understanding, and have touched
the heart. When I say democratical principles, I do not mean that the
world is about adopting simple democracies, for these are
impracticable, but multitudes are convinced that the people should
have a voice, a share, and be made an integral part; and that the
government should be such a mixture, and such a combination of the
powers of one, the few and the many, as is best calculated to check
and control each other, and oblige all to co-operate in this one
democratical principle, that the end of all government is the
happiness of the people; and in this other, that the greatest
happiness of the greatest number is the point to be obtained. These
principles are now so widely spread, that despotisms, monarchies, and
aristocracies must conform to them in some degree in practice, or
hazard a total revolution in religion and government throughout all
Europe. The longer the American war lasts, the more the spirit of
American government will spread in Europe, because the attention of
the world will be fixed there, while the war lasts. I have often
wondered that the Sovereigns of Europe have not seen the danger to
their authority, which arises from a continuance of this war. It is
their interest to get it finished, that their subjects may no longer
be employed in speculating about the principles of government.

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                     TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, November 1st, 1781.


It is still as problematical as ever, what is the political system of
this Republic, and indeed whether it has any system at all. They talk
much, and deliberate long, but execute nothing. By the violence with
which they speak and write of each other, a stranger would think them
ripe for a civil war. In the Assembly of the States of Guelderland,
held to consider the requisition of the King of France of a
negotiation of five millions of florins, under the warranty of the
Republic, the debates were sustained with great warmth. Some were for
an alliance with France. The Baron de Nagel, Senechal of Zutphen,
evaded the 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 Cappellen de Marsch, was for an alliance with France
and America too. He observed, "that nothing being more natural, than
to act in concert with the enemies of our enemy, it was an object of
serious deliberation to see if the interest of the Republic did not
require to accept, without further tergiversation, the 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 valor, and even at this moment, is
employed in defending itself from the tyranny of the enemy of the two
nations; that, consequently, nothing could restrain us from
acknowledging the independence of this new Republic; that our conduct
differed very much from that held by our ancestors, who allied
themselves to the Portuguese, as soon as they shook off the yoke of
the Spaniards; that there was no doubt that the said alliances with
the enemies of our enemy would soon restrain his fury, and operate a
general peace advantageous for us."

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, November 20th, 1781.


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

It gives me pleasure, however, to mention an incident to you, which
shows how much the yeomanry of this country have improved in military
discipline, and must defeat every hope that Britain entertains of
conquering a country so defended. It has been the custom of the enemy
to move a large body of troops every fall, from Canada to Ticonderoga,
while a light corps, with a number of Indians, entered the State from
the westward, and destroyed the frontier settlements, burning the
houses and barns, and scalping the old men, women, and children. Last
year, they effected the destruction of Scoharie, and most of the
settlements on the Mohawk River, before the militia could assemble to
oppose them. This year, a small body of State troops, drafted from the
militia for three months, about sixty New Hampshire levies, part of
the militia of the country, and forty Oneida Indians, to the number of
four hundred and eighty in all, under the command of Colonel Willet,
hastily collected, upon the report of the enemy's coming from the
westward to oppose them, while the rest of the militia, and some
Continental troops marched upon Hudson's River, (the enemy having
about two thousand men at Ticonderoga.) Willet met the enemy, who
consisted of a picked corps of British troops, to the amount of six
hundred and six, besides a number of Indians and tories; he fought and
defeated them twice with his militia, killed their leader, Major Ross,
and young Butler, as is said, made a number of prisoners, and pursued
them three days, till he had driven them into the thickest part of the
wilderness, whence fatigue and want of provision will prevent many of
them from returning. Those at Ticonderoga have remained inactive ever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                       Amsterdam, November 24th, 1781.

Mr Adams presents his most respectful compliments to his Excellency
the Duc de la Vauguyon, and begs leave to acquaint him, that by the
last night's post he received from Congress some important despatches,
which it is his duty to communicate to the Ambassador of France. Mr
Adams requests his Excellency to inform him, what hour will be most
convenient for him to wait on him at the Arms of Amsterdam. Meantime,
he most sincerely congratulates his Excellency on the glorious news
from America by the Duc de Lauzun, of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis
with his whole army, to the arms of the allies.

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

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

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                       In Congress, August 16th, 1781.

On the Report of the Committee, to whom was recommitted their report
on the communications from the Honorable the Minister of France, and
who are instructed to report instructions to the Honorable John Adams,
respecting a Treaty of Alliance with the United Provinces of the

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

_Resolved_, That the Minister Plenipotentiary of these United States
at the Hague, be, and he is hereby instructed to propose a Treaty of
Alliance between His Most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of
the Netherlands, and the United States of America, having for its
object, and limited in its duration to, the present war with Great
Britain, and conformed to the treaties subsisting between His Most
Christian Majesty and the United States.

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

That the said Minister be, and he hereby is further instructed, to
unite the two Republics by no stipulations of offence, nor guaranty
any possessions of the United Provinces. To inform himself, from the
Minister of these United States at the Court of Spain, of the
progress of his negotiations at the said Court; and if an alliance
shall have been entered into between his Catholic Majesty and these
United States, to invite his Catholic Majesty into the Alliance herein
intended; if no such alliance shall have been formed, to receive his
Catholic Majesty, should he manifest a disposition to become a party
to the alliance herein intended, according to the instructions given
to the said Minister at the Court of Spain.

That in all other matters, not repugnant to these instructions, the
said Minister at the Hague do use his best discretion.

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

_Ordered_, That the foregoing resolutions be communicated to our
Ministers at the Courts of Versailles and Madrid, that they may
furnish every information and aid in their power to our Minister at
the Hague, in the accomplishment of this business.

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

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

Whereas a union of the force of the several powers engaged in the war
against Great Britain may have a happy tendency to bring the said war
to a speedy and favorable issue; and it being the desire of these
United States to form an alliance between them and the United
Provinces of the Netherlands; know ye, therefore, that we, confiding
in the integrity, prudence, and ability of the Honorable John Adams,
have nominated, constituted, and appointed, and by these presents do
nominate, constitute, and appoint him, the said John Adams, our
Minister Plenipotentiary, giving him full powers, general and special,
to act in that quality, to confer, treat, agree, and conclude, with
the person or persons vested with equal powers, by His Most Christian
Majesty, and their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United
Provinces of the Netherlands, of and concerning a Treaty of Alliance
between His Most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the
Netherlands, and the United States of America; and whatever shall be
so agreed and concluded for us, and in our name, to sign, and
thereupon to make such treaty, convention, and agreements as he shall
judge conformable to the ends we have in view; hereby promising, in
good faith, that we will accept, ratify, and execute, whatever shall
be agreed, concluded, and signed by him our said Minister.

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

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

                                           THOMAS M'KEAN, _President_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE DUC DE LA VAUGUYON,

                                       Amsterdam, November 25th, 1781.


I have the honor to enclose to your Excellency a copy of the fresh
instructions of Congress of the 16th of August last, which I received
by the post on the 23d instant. I have also received a further
commission from Congress, with full powers to confer, treat, agree,
and conclude, with the person or persons vested, with equal powers by
His Most Christian Majesty, and their High Mightinesses, the
States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, of and
concerning a Treaty of Alliance between His Most Christian Majesty,
the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United States of

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

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

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

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                       Amsterdam, November 26th, 1781.


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

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

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

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

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

Mr Dana has been gone northward these four months, but I have no
letters from him. Whether the post is unfaithful, or whether he
chooses to be talked about as little as possible at present, which I
rather suspect, I do not know.

My respects to Mr Carmichael, and to your family, if you please.

With great esteem, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                       Amsterdam, November 26th, 1781.


I presume you have a copy from Congress of their instructions to me of
the 16th of August; but, as it is possible it may be otherwise, I have
enclosed one. I have communicated them to the Duc de la Vauguyon. I
shall do nothing in the business without communicating it beforehand
to him, with the most entire confidence, and receiving his approbation
and advice. He informs me, that he has not yet received any
instructions from his Court respecting it.

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

With unfeigned joy I congratulate your Excellency on the glorious news
of the surrender of Cornwallis to the arms of the allies. How easy a
thing would it be to bring this war to a happy conclusion, if Spain
and Holland would adopt the system of France, and co-operate in it
with the same honor and sincerity. There is nothing wanting but a
constant naval superiority in the West Indies, and on the coast of the
United States, to obtain triumphs upon triumphs over the English, in
all quarters of the globe. The allies now carry on the war in America
with an infinite advantage over the English, whose infatuation,
nevertheless, will continue to make them exhaust themselves there, to
the neglect of all their possessions in other parts of the world.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                       Amsterdam, November 28th, 1781.


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

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

The capture of Cornwallis and his army is the most masterly measure,
both in the conception and execution, which has been taken this war.
When France and Spain shall consider the certain triumphant success,
which will ever attend them while they maintain a naval superiority in
the West Indies and on the coast of North America, it is to be hoped,
they will never depart from that policy. Many here are of opinion,
that this event will bring peace; but I am not of that mind, although
it is very true that there are distractions in the British Cabinet, a
formidable faction against Lord G. Germain, and, it is said, the
Bedford party are determined to move for peace.

Our late triumphs have had an effect here. I have received several
visits of congratulation, in consequence of them, from persons of
consequence, from whom I did not expect them. But they are invisible
fairies, who disconcert in the night all the operations of the
patriots in the day.

There will, probably, be a proposal soon of a triple alliance between
France, America, and Holland. If Spain would join, and make it
quadruple, it would be so much the better.

General Green's last action in South Carolina, in consequence of
which, that State and Georgia have both re-established their
governments, is quite as glorious for the American arms as the capture
of Cornwallis. The action was supported even by the militia, with a
noble constancy. The victory on our side was complete, and the English
lost twelve hundred men.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, December 4th, 1781.


I have received those instructions, with which I was honored by
Congress on the 16th of August, and communicated them forthwith to the
French Ambassador, to their High Mightinesses, and to the American
Ministers at Versailles and Madrid.[5] The Duc de la Vauguyon was of
opinion, that they were very well considered and very well timed, to
counteract another trait of British policy, in agreeing to the
mediation of Russia for a separate peace with Holland. The British
Ministry mean only to aid the stocks, and lull the Dutch.

There is no longer any talk of a Congress at Vienna. The late news of
General Washington's triumphs in Virginia, and of the friendly and
effectual aid of the Counts de Rochambeau and de Grasse, have made a
great impression here, and all over Europe. I shall punctually observe
my instructions, and consult in perfect confidence with the Duc de la
Vauguyon, in the execution of my late commission. A quadruple
alliance, for the duration of the war, would, probably, soon bring it
to a conclusion; but the Dutch are so indolent, so divided, so
animated with party spirit, and above all so entirely in the power of
their Chief, that it is very certain that they will take the
proposition _ad referendum_ immediately, and then deliberate upon it a
long time.

This nation is not blind; it is bound and cannot get loose. There is
great reason to fear, that they will be held inactive, until they are
wholly ruined. Cornwallis' fate, however, has somewhat emboldened
them, and I have received unexpected visits of congratulation from
several persons of note; and there are appearances of a growing
interest in favor of an alliance with France and America. If I were
now to make the proposition, I think it would have a great effect. I
must, however, wait for the approbation of the Duke, and he, perhaps,
for instructions from Versailles, and, indeed, a little delay will
perhaps do no harm, but give opportunity to prepare the way. The
general cry at this time in pamphlets and public papers, is for an
immediate connexion with France and America.

The consent of Zealand is expected immediately to the loan of five
millions for his Most Christian Majesty. My loan rests as it was, at a
few thousand guilders, which, by the advice of Dr Franklin, I reserve
for the relief of our countrymen, who escape from prison in England in
distress. I have ordered a hundred pounds for President Laurens in the
Tower, at the earnest solicitation of his daughter, who is in France,
and of some of his friends in England; but for further supplies have
referred them to Dr Franklin. I some time since had an intimation that
the British Ministry were endeavoring to form secret contracts with
traitorous Americans to supply the masts for the royal navy. According
to my information, the British navigation in all parts of the world is
at present distressed for masts, especially those of the largest size.
Congress will take such measures as to their wisdom shall appear
proper to prevent Americans from this wicked and infamous commerce, I
wrote to Dr Franklin upon the subject, who communicated my letter, as
I requested, at Court, and his Excellency supposes that the Count de
Vergennes will write to Congress, or to the Chevalier de la Luzerne
upon the subject.

The Continental goods left here by Commodore Gillon, are detained for
freight and damages, and very unjustly as I conceive. I am doing all
in my power to obtain possession of them, and send them to America, or
dispose of them here, at as little loss as possible, according to the
desire and advice of Dr Franklin. It is not necessary to trouble
Congress to read a volume of letters upon the subject of these goods.
All that can be done by me, has been and shall be done to save the
public interest. This piece of business has been managed as ill as any
that has ever been done for Congress in Europe, whether it is owing to
misfortune, want of skill, or anything more disagreeable.

The Court of Russia does not at present appear to be acting that noble
part, which their former conduct gave cause to expect. Mr Dana is at
Petersburg, but he prudently avoids writing. If he sees no prospect of
advantage in staying there, he will be very silent, I believe, and not
stay very long.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[5] For these instructions, and Mr Adams' new commission to form a
treaty of alliance with the United Provinces, see the _Secret Journals
of Congress_, Vol. II pp. 470, 472.

                  *       *       *       *       *



                                        The Hague, December 7th, 1781.


I have received the letter you did me the honor to write me, and the
copy of the resolutions of Congress, of the 16th of August last. I
flatter myself, that you will not doubt of my zeal to concert with you
the ulterior measures, which they may require, as soon as the King has
authorised me. But until his Majesty has transmitted to me his orders
on this point, I can only repeat to you the assurances of my zeal for
everything interesting to the common cause of France and North
America, and the peculiar satisfaction I shall derive from my
connexions with you in all circumstances.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       DE LA VAUGUYON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Amsterdam, December 13th, 1781.


The answer of my Lord Stormont to M. Simolin is as follows.

"The alliance, which has subsisted so many years between Great Britain
and the States-General, has always been considered by his Majesty as a
connexion founded on the most natural relations, and which was not
only conformable to the interests of the two nations, but as essential
to their mutual well-being. The King has done everything on his part
to maintain these connexions and to strengthen them; and if the
conduct of their High Mightinesses had been answerable to that of his
Majesty, they would have subsisted at this hour in all their force.
But from the commencement of the present troubles, the single return
with which the Republic has requited the constant friendship of the
King, has been the renunciation of the principles of an alliance, the
primary object of which was the mutual defence of the two nations; an
obstinate refusal to fulfil the most sacred obligations; a daily
violation of the most solemn treaties; an assistance given to those
very enemies against whom the King had a right to demand succor; an
asylum granted to American pirates in the ports of Holland, in public
violation of the clearest stipulations; and to fill up the measure, a
denial of justice and of satisfaction for the affront offered to the
dignity of the King by a secret league with his rebel subjects.

"All these accumulated grievances have not permitted the King to act
any other part, than that which he has taken with the most sensible
reluctance. When we laid before the public the motives which had
rendered this rupture inevitable, the King attributed the conduct of
the Republic to its true cause, viz. the unfortunate influence of a
faction, which sacrificed the interest of the nation to private views;
but the King at the same time manifested the sincerest desire to be
able to draw back the Republic to a system of strict union,
efficacious alliance and reciprocal protection, which has so greatly
contributed to the well-being and to the glory of the two nations.

"When the Empress of Russia offered her good offices to effectuate a
reconciliation by a particular peace, the King testified his gratitude
for this fresh proof of a friendship, which is to him so precious, and
avoided to expose the mediation of her Majesty to the danger of a
fruitless negotiation; he explained the reasons which convinced him,
that in the then prevailing disposition of the Republic, governed by a
faction, any reconciliation during the war with France, would be but a
reconciliation in appearance, and would give to the party which rule
in the Republic, an opportunity to re-assume the part of a secret
auxiliary of all the King's enemies, under the mask of a feigned
alliance with Great Britain. But if there are certain indications of
an alteration in this disposition; if the powerful intervention of her
Imperial Majesty can accomplish this change, and reclaim the Republic
to principles, which the wisest part of the nation has never
abandoned; his Majesty will be ready to treat of a separate peace with
their High Mightinesses; and he hopes that the Empress of all the
Russias may be the sole mediatrix of this peace. She was the first to
offer her good offices; and an intervention so efficacious and so
powerful as her's, cannot gain in weight and influence by the
accession of the most respectable allies. The friendship of the
Empress towards the two nations, the interest which her empire has in
their reciprocal welfare, her known impartiality, and her elevated
views, are so many securities for the manner in which she will conduct
this salutary work, and in a negotiation, which has for its end the
termination of a war, caused by the violation of treaties, and an
affront offered to the Crown of a King, his Majesty refers himself
with equal satisfaction and confidence to the mediation of a
Sovereign, who holds sacred the faith of treaties, who knows so well
the value of the dignity of Sovereigns, and who has maintained her
own, during her glorious reign, with so much firmness and grandeur."

Thus the mediation of Russia is accepted, and that of Sweden and
Denmark refused. The instructions of Congress and their new commission
of last August are arrived in most happy time, to counteract this
insidious manoeuvre, and I hope the Duc de la Vauguyon will receive
his instructions on the same subject before it be too late.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Amsterdam, December 14th, 1781.


The first public body, which has proposed a connexion with the United
States, is the Quarter of Oostergo, in the Province of Friesland. The
proposition is in these words;

"Every impartial patriot has a long time perceived, that in the
direction of affairs relative to this war with England, there has been
manifested an inconceivable lukewarmness and sloth; but they discover
themselves still more at this moment, by the little inclination which
in general the 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 nature the most precise, than that this Republic immediately after
the formal declaration of war by the English, (not being yet able to
do anything 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

"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 vigor. 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 reasons 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 our declared enemy, which dissolves all the
connexions between the two nations; and as it is the duty not only of
all the Regencies, but also of all the citizens of this Republic to
reduce by all imaginable annoyances this enemy, so unjust to reason,
and to force him if possible, to conclude an honorable peace; why
should we hesitate any longer to strike, by this measure so
reasonable, the most sensible blow to the common enemy? Will not this
delay occasion a suspicion, that we prefer the interest of our enemy,
to that of our country? North America, so sensibly offended by the
refusal of her offer; France and Spain, in the midst of a war
supported with activity, must they not regard us as the secret friends
and favorers 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 connexion 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 every 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 vigor, 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 Thirteen United States of North
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 are to form an
alliance the most respectable in the universe; it is indubitably the
duty of every regency to promote it with all its forces, and with all
the celerity imaginable.

"To this effect we have thought it our duty to lay before your Noble
Mightinesses, in the firm persuasion that the zeal of your Noble
Mightinesses will be as earnest as ours, to concur to the
accomplishment of this point, which is for us of the greatest
importance; that consequently, your Noble Mightinesses will not delay
to co-operate with us, that upon this important object there may be
made to their High Mightinesses a proposition so vigorous, that it may
have the desired success; and that this affair, of an importance
beyond all expression for our common country, may be resolved and
decided by unanimous suffrages, and in preference to every particular

M. Van der Capellan de Marsch was the first individual who ventured to
propose in public a treaty with the United States, and the Quarter of
Oostergo the first public body. This, indeed, is but a part of one
branch of the sovereignty. But these motions will be honored by
posterity. The whole Republic must follow. It is necessitated to it by
a mechanism, as certain as clockwork; but its operations are and will
be studiously and zealously slow. It will be a long time before the
measure can be completed.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Amsterdam, December 18th, 1781.


Having received an invitation to the Hague, in order to have some
conversation with some gentlemen in the government, concerning the
further steps proper for me to take in the present conjuncture, I had
determined to have undertaken the journey today; but the arrival in
town of the Duc de la Vauguyon, determined me to postpone it until

At noon, today, his Excellency did me the honor of a visit, and a long
conversation upon the state of affairs at my house. He informed me,
that upon the communication I had made to him, when he was here last,
in person, and afterwards by letter, of my new commission and
instructions, he had written to the Count de Vergennes; that he had
explained to that Minister his own sentiments, and expected an answer.
His own idea is, that I should go to the Hague in some week, when
there is a President whose sentiments and disposition are favorable,
and demand an answer to my former proposition, and afterwards, that I
should go round to the cities of Holland, and apply to the several

He thinks that I may now assume a higher tone, which the late
_Cornwallization_ will well warrant. I shall, however, take care not
to advance too fast, so as to be unable to retreat. His advice is, to
go to the Hague tomorrow, and meet the gentlemen who wish to see me
there; this I shall do.

I have been very happy hitherto, in preserving an entire good
understanding with this Minister, and nothing shall ever be wanting on
my part, to deserve his confidence and esteem.

I have transmitted by two opportunities, one by Captain Trowbridge,
from hence, another by Dr Dexter by the way of France, despatches from
Mr Dana, at Petersburg, by which Congress will perceive that material
advantages will arise from that gentleman's residence in that place,
whether he soon communicates his mission to that Court or not.

The English papers, which I forward by this opportunity, will inform
Congress of the state of things and parties in England. The Ministry
talk of a new system. Perhaps they may attempt Rhode Island once more
in exchange for Charleston, and try their skill in intercepting our

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE DUC DE LA VAUGUYON.

                                       The Hague, December 19th, 1781.


It has been insinuated to me, that the Spanish Ambassador here has
instructions from his Court to enter into a negotiation with their
High Mightinesses, concerning an alliance between Spain and the
Republic. If this fact has come to your Excellency's knowledge, and
there is no inconvenience nor impropriety in communicating it to me, I
should be very much obliged to you for the information; not from
curiosity merely, but for my government, in the steps I may have to

By my late instructions, of which your Excellency has a copy, I am to
inform myself concerning the progress of American negotiations at the
Court of Spain, and, if an alliance shall have been entered into
between his Catholic Majesty and the United States, to invite his
Catholic Majesty into the alliance proposed between France, their High
Mightinesses, and the Congress. If no such alliance shall have been
formed, to receive his Catholic Majesty, should he manifest a
disposition to become a party, &c.

Congress have wisely enjoined it upon me, to confer in the most
confidential manner with your Excellency, and I have made it a law to
myself, to take no material step in this negotiation without your
approbation; but my instructions seem to make it necessary to take
some measures, at least, to sound the disposition of the Spanish
Ambassador. I would, therefore, beg leave to propose to your
consideration, and to request your opinion, whether you think it
advisable for me to do myself the honor of making a visit to the
Spanish Ambassador, and communicating to him the substance of my
instructions, as far as it relates to the Court of Madrid; or whether
it would be better to communicate it by letter; or whether your
Excellency will be so good as to take upon yourself this
communication, and inform me of the result of it?

I am advised here to wait on the President of their High Mightinesses
as soon as possible, and demand a categorical answer to my former
proposition, and then to wait on the Grand Pensionary and Mr Secretary
Fagel, and, in turn, upon the Pensionaries of all the cities of
Holland, to inform them of the demand made to the President. But I
submit to your consideration, whether it will not be expedient to
communicate the project of a triple or quadruple alliance to some
confidential members of the States; as to the Pensionary of Dort,
Haerlem, and Amsterdam, for example, with permission to them to
communicate it, where they shall think it necessary, in order to give
more weight to my demand?

The Court of Great Britain are manifestly availing themselves of the
mediation of Russia, in order to amuse this Republic, and restrain it
from exerting itself in the war, and forming connexions with the other
belligerent powers, without intending to make peace with her upon any
conditions, which would not be ruinous to her. It is, therefore, of
the last importance to Holland, as well as of much consequence to the
other belligerent powers, to draw her out of the snare, which one
should think might be now easily done by a proposition of a triple or
quadruple alliance.

Tomorrow morning at ten, I propose to do myself the honor of waiting
on your Excellency, if that hour is agreeable, in order to avail
myself more particularly of your sentiments upon these points.

In the meantime, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *



                                       The Hague, December 20th, 1781.


I have received the letter you did me the honor to address me. I shall
be impatient to converse with you on the subject to which it relates,
and shall expect to see you at ten o'clock tomorrow morning, as you

Receive, Sir, my renewed assurances of the profound respect with which
I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       DE LA VAUGUYON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Amsterdam, December 25th, 1781.


There has appeared an ulterior declaration, in addition to the
ordinances of the 30th of April and the 3d of November, concerning the
navigation and the maritime commerce of the subjects of Prussia during
the present war.

"The ordinances, which the King has caused to be published of the 30th
of April and 3d of November of this year, have, in truth, already
prescribed to the subjects of his Majesty, the manner in which they
ought, for their greatest safety, to direct their navigation and their
commerce; nevertheless, as several doubts have arisen in this regard,
his Majesty, in order to obviate them, and to direct his subjects who
trade by sea, has thought fit to establish, ordain, and declare, as

"ARTICLE I. It cannot be doubted, and it is understood, that the
Prussian vessels, which have put to sea before the publication of the
ordinance of the 3d of November, and which, by consequence, could not
be furnished with passports expedited by the Minister of foreign
affairs, which are therein prescribed, cannot be taken or molested, by
reason of the want of such passports, but that the passports
heretofore in use, which they have taken at their departure, ought to
have, until their return, their force and value, and to procure them,
until that time, a sufficient security. To remove, however, still more
effectually, all difficulties, which might exist in this regard, the
obligation to furnish themselves with immediate passports from Berlin,
is not to commence until after the 1st of January, 1782, to the end
that every one may have time to take his measures in consequence.

"ART. II. It is repeated and ordained, that small vessels, which do
not carry more than fifty lasts, as well as those which navigate only
in the Baltic Sea, and in the North Sea, and which do not pass the
Channel, which separates France and England, are not obliged, at least
if they do not themselves think it proper, to take passports from
Berlin; but to gain time, it is permitted to them to take them as
heretofore, at their convenience, from the Admiralties, the Chambers
of War, and of the Domains of each Province, and from the magistrates
of the cities. In consequence of which, it is ordained to these
Colleges in the most express manner, not to grant these passports but
to the real and actual subjects of the King, with the greatest
precaution, providing carefully against all abuses which may be made
of them, and observing strictly the ordinances published upon this
object. The end which his Majesty proposed to himself in publishing
the declaration of the 3d of November, has been, and is, singly, to
procure to Prussian vessels, which navigate beyond the Channel in the
ocean or the Atlantic Sea, and which carry their commerce into these
distant seas and regions, a safety so much the greater against all
prejudicial accidents, in causing to be expedited to them passports by
his Minister of Foreign Affairs, who, by his knowledge of the state of
public affairs, is the most in a condition to take the necessary

"ART. III. The navigators, not being able to send to Berlin complete
bills of lading of the cargoes of their vessels, before they are
entirely loaded, there is not required of those who have occasion for
immediate passports of the Court, any other thing, except that they
produce certificates, and general attestations from the Admiralties,
the Chambers of Domains, or the magistrates of the cities, concerning
the property of the vessel, and when the passport should express also
the cargo, concerning the quality of the cargo, that is to say, in
what it consists; which is sufficient to judge, whether the
merchandises are lawful, and whether the passports requested can be
granted. The bills of lading, and complete and specific attestations
of the quantity of each merchandise may be expedited as heretofore, in
the usual manner, to places where the loading is made by the
Admiralties, the Chambers of Finances, or the magistrates of the

"ART. IV. In the ordinance of the 30th of April, his Majesty has been
pleased, to encourage his subjects to the national commerce, to advise
them to engage in maritime commerce as much as possible upon their own
account, and with their own merchandises; and it has been established
in consequence, in the declaration of the 3d of November, that to
obtain passports from the Court, it was necessary to prove, by
requisite certificates, that the owners both of the vessel and the
cargo were Prussian subjects; nevertheless, all this was done properly
in the form of advice, and to render them so much the more attentive
to the precautions which they ought to take; it is not, for this the
less free and lawful to the subjects of the King, who have obtained
requisite passports, to transport also in their vessels, in conformity
to the ordinance of the 30th of April, to places and ports which are
not besieged, nor close blocked, merchandises and effects belonging to
foreign nations, and even to belligerent nations, provided that these
merchandises are of the nature of those, which, according to the 2d
article of the declaration of the 30th of April, and conformably to
the customs and rights of nations, are permitted and not of
contraband; his Majesty will not fail to protect them, in such cases
according to the principles which he has adopted and established in
this regard with other powers, allies, and friends, and he has judged
necessary to declare all which goes before, for preventing all abusive
interpretation of the declaration of the 3d of November.

"ART. V. The captains and commanders of Prussian vessels ought, when
they arrive in ports or places, where reside consuls of the King, to
present to them their passports, and demand of them attestations,
which certify that their vessels are still furnished with passports
expedited to them.

"ART. VI. The commanders of these vessels would do well also, to take
with them the ordinances of the 30th of April and the 3d of November,
and the present declaration, to follow so much the better the precepts
of it, and to be able, in case of need, to show them, and justify
their conduct by them. Nevertheless, those two ordinances, as well as
this, which renews them and serves to explain them, have not been
published but for the direction of Prussian subjects, who exercise
navigation and maritime commerce; and in cases even where they may
fail in some point of their observation, and where they may not be
furnished with passports requisite, they are not responsible for their
negligence, but to his Majesty, their lawful sovereign, and the
commanders of armed vessels of the belligerent powers cannot think
themselves authorised thereby to stop them, or to take them, when they
have not acted openly in a manner contrary to the principles of the
maritime neutrality, adopted by his Majesty.

"Given at Berlin, the 8th of December, 1781, by express order of the

                                                        DE HERTZBERG."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Amsterdam, December 25th, 1781.


On the 11th of September, Lord Stormont delivered to the Baron de
Noleken, Envoy of Sweden, the following notification of the refusal of
the mediation of the Court of Stockholm, and the acceptation of that
of Russia.

"The conservation of the public tranquillity has been the first object
of the care of his Majesty, during the whole course of his reign. The
commencement of this reign has been signalised by the return of peace.
The King has made great sacrifices to procure this blessing to
humanity, and he had reason to flatter himself, that, by this
moderation in the midst of victory, he was establishing the public
tranquillity upon solid and durable foundations; but these hopes have
been disappointed, and these foundations have been shaken by the
ambitious policy of the Court of Versailles. This Court, after having
secretly fomented the rebellion enkindled in America, has leagued
herself openly with the rebel subjects of his Majesty; and by this
violation of the public faith, by this direct act of hostility, she
began the war.

"The conduct of the Republic of Holland, during the whole course of
this war, has excited a general indignation. This nation presents
itself under an aspect very different from that of a nation simply
commercial. It is a respectable power, connected for a long time with
Great Britain by the strictest alliance. The principal object of this
alliance was their common safety, and especially their mutual
protection against the ambitious designs of a dangerous neighbor,
which their united efforts have so often defeated, to their mutual
prosperity, and that of all Europe.

"The desertion of all the principles of this alliance, which the King
on his part had constantly maintained; an obstinate refusal to fulfil
the most sacred engagements; a daily infraction of the most sacred
treaties; succors furnished to those very enemies, against whom the
King had a right to demand succor; an asylum and protection granted in
the ports of Holland to American pirates, in direct violation of
stipulations, the most clear and the most precise; and, to fill up the
measure, a denial of satisfaction and of justice, for the affront
committed to the dignity of the King, by a clandestine league with his
rebel subjects; all these accumulated grievances have not left to the
King any other part to take, than that which he has taken with the
most sensible reluctance. In laying before the public the reasons,
which have rendered this rupture inevitable, his Majesty attributed
the conduct of the Republic to its true cause, the fatal influence of
a faction, which sacrificed the national interest to private views;
but the King has marked at the same time, the most sincere desire to
draw back the Republic to the system of strict union, of efficacious
alliance, and of mutual protection, which has so much contributed to
the prosperity and the glory of the two States.

"When the Empress of all the Russias offered her good offices to
effectuate a reconciliation by a separate peace, the King signifying
his just gratitude for this new proof of a friendship, which is so
precious to him, avoided to involve the mediation of her Imperial
Majesty in a fruitless negotiation; but at present, as there are
certain indications of an alteration of disposition in the Republic,
some marks of a desire to return to those principles, which the wisest
part of the Batavian nation has never forsaken, a negotiation for a
separate peace between the King and their High Mightinesses, may be
opened with some hopes of success under the mediation of the Empress
of all the Russias, who was the first to offer her good offices for
this salutary work. If his Majesty did not at first take advantage of
it, it was because he had every reason to believe, that the Republic
at that time sought only to amuse, by an insidious negotiation; but
the King would think, that he answered ill the sentiments, which
dictated those first offers, and that he was wanting to those regards
so justly due to her Imperial Majesty, and to the confidence, which
she inspires, if he associated in this mediation any other, even that
of an ally most respectable, and for whom the King has the sincerest

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, December 26th, 1781.


It is very long since we had the pleasure of hearing from you. Before
this you will probably have received two letters of mine; a duplicate
of the last goes with this.

Nothing material has happened since the date of that, except the
evacuation of Wilmington, which was, as you know, a very important
post, as it checked the trade of North Carolina, and kept up a
dangerous connexion with almost the only tories on the Continent, who
have shown spirit enough to support their principles openly.

This new sacrifice by Britain of their partizans, conspiring with that
made by the capitulation of York, must open their eyes, and teach them
what the experience of ages should have taught, that those friendships
are weak, which arise, from a fellowship in guilt.

Our army, and the French troops are in quarters. The first in the
Jerseys, and upon the Hudson river; the last in Virginia. General
Greene will be reinforced by about eighteen hundred men, under St
Clair. The enemy are shut up in New York, Savannah, and Charleston,
though I believe they may yet have one or two posts, near the latter,
which they will keep till St Clair joins Greene. Count de Grasse is in
the West Indies, with so formidable an armament as promises the most
important successes, during the winter; when joined by the force, that
has sailed from Brest, and so many of the Spanish fleet as are
prepared to co-operate with him, he will have about fifty sail of the
line under his command.

I enclose several resolutions of Congress, which will convince you
that their late successes have not rendered them supine or negligent.
The spirit which animates them will pervade most of the States. I need
not suggest to you, the use that should be made of this information. I
am persuaded, that your own knowledge of the world, and the particular
situation of the government you are in, will direct you to the best
means of rendering them useful to this country. I also enclose an
ordinance relative to captures and recaptures lately passed by
Congress. You will observe, that it is formed upon the plan
recommended by the armed neutrality. It does credit in that view to
our moderation. Perhaps the conduct of Britain, and the neglect of the
neutral powers to enforce their own regulations, may render the policy
of the measure doubtful. This, however, gives new force to the
deductions drawn from it in favor of our moderation and justice.

You will also observe, that it uses means to put an entire stop to all
kind of commerce with Britain, or in British manufactures. In
consequence of this, new habits and new fashions must be introduced.
Wise nations will not neglect this favorable moment to render them
subservient to the interest of their own commerce and manufactures.
This affords you a topic which need not be urged to enlarge upon. I am
very fearful that you will not fully understand the cyphers in which
my last letters are written. I had them from the late committee of
Foreign Affairs, though they say they never received any letters from
you in them. Mr Lovell has enclosed what he thinks may serve as an
explanation. I would recommend it to you to write to me in M. Dumas's
cypher, till I can send you, or you send me one, by a safe hand.
Should you be at Paris, Dr Franklin has Dumas's cypher.

And now, Sir, for all this American intelligence, let me receive from
you a full return in European commodities of the like kind. I do not
hesitate to impose this task upon you, because I know it is one that
you have never neglected, and that you are fully impressed with the
idea of its importance to us. Among other things, I am persuaded
Congress would wish to know the success of your loan, and your
prospects; the disposition of the government, and the strength of the
Marine of the United Provinces; its objects and preparations for the
ensuing campaign; the negotiations which may be carrying on at
present, either for peace or war; the designs, finances, and Marine of
Russia. I shall also apply to Mr Dana for information on this subject,
as it will be much more practicable to correspond with him through
you, than to get letters to him at this season of the year from here.
I shall, however, attempt both.

I am too well acquainted with your industry and patriotism to think
that you will repine at any trouble that this may give you. You know
that Congress have a right to the fullest information from their
Ministers, and that their Ministers have similar demands upon them. I
shall endeavor, as far as lies in my power, to satisfy the last in
future, since that charge has devolved upon me.

I enclose a number of newspapers that may afford you some information
and amusement, and have the honor to be, Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                       Amsterdam, December 29th, 1781.


The Minister of the Court of Vienna has announced to their High
Mightinesses, the accession of the Emperor to the armed neutrality, in
the following manner.


"The Emperor having been invited by her Imperial Majesty of all the
Russias, to accede to the principles of neutrality, which have been
laid down in her declaration of the 28th of February, 1780,
transmitted to the belligerent powers, his Majesty has accepted of
this invitation, so much the more willingly, as he is convinced of the
justice and equity of these principles. In consequence, their Imperial
Majesties have resolved between themselves, and caused to be exchanged
at St Petersburg, acts of accession on one part, and of acceptation on
the other, of which the subscriber, Envoy Extraordinary, has the honor
to transmit copies, by order of his Court, to their High Mightinesses,
requesting them to accept of this communication, as a fresh testimony
which the Emperor is pleased to give them of his affection, and of his
most perfect confidence.

"His Imperial Majesty hopes that this step will be considered as a new
proof of his sincere and unalterable intentions to observe the
strictest neutrality, and the most exact impartiality towards the
belligerent powers. And as he has not ceased to give proofs of it
through the whole course of this war, he flatters himself he shall be
able to find in it sufficient pledges of that attention and regard,
which he has a right to require in return on their part for the rights
and liberties of neutral nations.

"Done at the Hague, this 11th day of December, 1781.

                                              THE BARON DE KEISCHACH."

The act of accession, presented with the foregoing note, is of the
following tenor.

"Joseph the Second, by the grace of God, &c. having been invited
amicably by her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, to concur
with her in the consolidation of the principles of the neutrality upon
the sea, tending to the maintenance of the liberty of the maritime
commerce, and of the navigation of neutral powers, which she has laid
down in her declaration of the 28th of February, 1780, presented on
her part to the belligerent powers, which principles imply in

"1. That neutral vessels may navigate freely from port to port, and
upon the coasts of the nations at war;

"2. That effects belonging to the subjects of powers at war be free
upon neutral vessels, excepting merchandises of contraband;

"3. That no merchandises be considered as such, but those enumerated
in the tenth and eleventh articles of the Treaty of Commerce,
concluded between Russia and Great Britain the 28th of June, 1766;

"4. That to determine what characterises a port blocked, this
denomination is only to be given to that, where, by the disposition of
the power, which attacks it, with vessels sufficiently near, there is
an evident danger of entering;

"5. Finally, that these principles serve as rules in proceedings and
judgments concerning the legality of prizes.

"And her said Imperial Majesty of all the Russias, having proposed to
us, to this effect, to manifest by a formal act of accession, not only
our full adhesion to these same principles, but also our immediate
concurrence in the measures to assure the execution of them, that we
would adopt on our part, by contracting reciprocally with her said
Majesty, the engagements and stipulations, following, viz.

"I. That on one part and on the other, we will continue to observe the
most exact neutrality, and will carry into the most rigorous execution
the prohibitions declared against the commerce of contraband of their
respective subjects, with any of the powers already at war, or which
may enter into the war in the sequel;

"II. That if, in spite of all the cares employed to this effect, the
merchant vessels of one of the two powers should be taken, or
insulted, by any vessels whatsoever of the belligerent powers, the
complaints of the injured power shall be supported in the most
efficacious manner by the other; and that, if they refuse to render
justice upon these complaints, they shall concert immediately upon the
most proper manner of procuring it by just reprisals;

"III. That if it should happen, that one or the other of the two
powers, or both together, on occasion, or in resentment of this
present agreement, should be disturbed, molested, or attacked, in such
case they shall make common cause between themselves for their mutual
defence, and labor in concert to procure themselves a full and entire
satisfaction, both for the insult offered to their flag, and for the
losses caused to their subjects;

"IV. That these stipulations shall be considered on one part, and on
the other, as permanent, and as making a rule, whenever it shall come
in question to determine the rights of neutrality;

"V. That the two powers shall communicate amicably their present
mutual concert to all the powers who are actually at war.

"We, willing, by an effect of the sincere friendship, which happily
unites us to her Majesty, the Empress of all the Russias, as well as
for the well-being of Europe in general, and of our countries and
subjects in particular, to contribute on our part to the execution of
views, of principles, and measures, as salutary as they are
conformable to the most evident notions of the law of nations, have
resolved to accede to them, as we do formally accede to them, in
virtue of the present act, promising and engaging solemnly, as her
Imperial Majesty of all the Russias engages herself to us, to observe,
execute, and warrant all the foregoing points and stipulations. In
faith of which, we have signed these presents with our own hand, and
have hereto affixed our seal.

"Given at Vienna, the 9th of October, 1781.


The Prince de Gallitzin has notified the acceptation of Russia nearly
in the same words. By the fifth article the two Imperial Courts ought
to notify this to Congress, for it is most certain that the United
States are one of the powers actually at war. Whether they will or no,
time must discover; but by the articles, to serve as a basis of peace
at the proposed Congress at Vienna, these two Courts have certainly
acknowledged the American Colonies to be a power at war, and a power
sufficiently free to appear at Vienna, and make peace with Great

The confederation for the liberty of navigation of neutral nations, is
now one of the most formidable that ever was formed in the world. The
only question is, whether it is not too complicated and various to be
managed to effect. The conduct of the Empress of Russia towards this
Republic, and especially in offering her mediation for a separate
peace between England and Holland, has excited some jealousies of her
sincerity or her constancy. But I think it will appear in the end,
that she intends that Holland shall enjoy the full benefit of this
confederation, which will effectually deprive England of that
sovereignty of the sea, which she so presumptuously claims and boasts.
But if it should appear, which I do not expect, that the Empress
should advise the Dutch to give up the right of carrying naval stores,
after the example of Denmark, her glory will suffer no small
diminution, and I presume that Holland, humble as she is, will not
submit to it, but make immediately common cause with the enemies of
her enemy.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *



                                      Versailles, December 30th, 1781.


You desired that on my arrival at Versailles, I should communicate to
the Count de Vergennes your disposition to adopt the measure you have
been advised to pursue by several well disposed members of the States
of Holland, and that I should at the same time make known to him your
determination not to take that step without his approbation.

The Minister directs me to inform you, that he sees no objection to
the visit, which you wish to make to the President of the Assembly of
the States-General, to the Ministers of the Republic, and to the
deputies of the principal cities of the Province of Holland, provided
that, without leaving with either of them any official writing, you
limit yourself to the inquiry, whether the memorial, which you
transmitted to them several months since has been made the subject of
deliberation by their High Mightinesses, and what answer you may
communicate to the Congress of the United States of North America.

I do not know the precise time of my return to the Hague, but see no
reason to suppose that my absence will be longer than I expected.

Receive, Sir, my renewed assurance of the profound respect with which
I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                       DE LA VAUGUYON.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                      Philadelphia, January 9th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I write merely to put you on your guard against any falsehood the
enemy may think it necessary to publish about the time of opening
their budget. All is well here. There has been no action to the
southward. Many of the tories in North Carolina, enraged at being
deserted, have joined our army, and, as is said, executed some of
their leaders. The enemy have drawn all their troops into Charleston,
and our advanced parties are as low down as Haddell's point.

I congratulate you upon the brilliant expedition of the Marquis de
Bouillé. It does him the highest honor, and his subsequent conduct
forms such a contrast to that of the English, as must, I should
suppose, have great influence upon the minds of the people with you,
and forward your negotiations. The one fighting to oppress and enslave
a free people, the other to establish their rights; the one attempting
to tyrannize over the ocean, and fetter the commerce of the world, the
other resisting that tyranny, and rendering trade as free as nature
made it; the one insulting, plundering, and abusing an old friend, an
ally, in the midst of profound peace, the other extending in war mercy
to their bitterest enemies, and marching to conquest with domestic
peace in their train; the one burning defenceless towns and peaceful
villages, where they have been hospitably entertained, the other
guarding from violence with scrupulous attention the firesides of
their inveterate foes; the one murdering in cold blood, or more
cruelly by want and misery in prison ships, those who speak the same
language, profess the same religion, and spring from the same
ancestors; the other forgetting difference of religion, language, and
hereditary enmity, spare the vanquished, administer to their wants,
offer consolation in their distress, and prove more by their conduct
than by their professions, that they are armed in the cause of

The one, without regard to truth or decency, boasts of victories never
gained, and ostentatiously exaggerates the little advantages, which
superior numbers have sometimes given, while the other leaves the
debility of their enemy to express the brilliancy of their actions.
The one--but I should never have done if I were to mark the points in
which the British differ from a brave, humane, and polished nation.
The recapture of St Eustatia in all its circumstances, and the
disgraceful defence of Yorktown, prove that they are no longer the
people we once thought them; if ever they were brave and generous,
they have lost those virtues with the spirit of freedom. Adieu, my
Dear Sir, may your exertions in the cause of your country be attended
with all the success they merit.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, January 14th, 1782.


Having received the advice of several gentlemen, members of the
States, and also of the opinion of the Duc de la Vauguyon and the
Count de Vergennes, I went to the Hague on Tuesday, the 8th day of
this month, and the next morning at ten, waited on the President of
their High Mightinesses, M. Van der Sandheuvel of Dort, a city of
Holland, to whom I made a verbal requisition in the following words.

"The 4th of May last I had the honor of a conference with the
President of their High Mightinesses, in which I informed him that I
had received a commission from the United States of America, with full
powers and instructions to propose and conclude a treaty of amity and
commerce between the United States of America and the United Province
of the Netherlands. I had the honor in the same conference to demand
an audience of their High Mightinesses, for the purpose of presenting
my credentials and full powers. The President assured me, that he
would report everything that I had told him, to their High
Mightinesses, so that the matter might be transmitted to the several
members of the sovereignty, to be submitted to their deliberation and
decision. I have not yet been honored with an answer, and for this
reason I have the honor of addressing myself to you, Sir, to demand
from you as I do demand, a categorical answer, which I may transmit to
my sovereign."

The President assured me, that he would not fail to make report to
their High Mightinesses. After this, I sent a servant to the Grand
Pensionary Bleiswick, to know at what hour I should have the honor of
a conversation with him. The answer returned to me, with the
compliments of the Grand Pensionary, was, that he was sick, unable to
attend the Assembly of the States, and to receive any visits at home
from anybody; but if my business was of a public nature, I might
communicate it to his Secretary, which would be as well as to himself.
Upon this, I requested M. Dumas to call upon the Secretary, and
communicate my intentions to him, which he did.

I went next morning at ten, to the Secretary of their High
Mightinesses, M. Fagel, and communicated to him the step I had taken
the day before, who told me that he had already been informed of it,
for that the President, according to his promise, had made his report
to their High Mightinesses; that it was true, that the Baron de Lynden
de Hemmen had made his report to their High Mightinesses, on the 4th
of last May, of my proposition to him, and that it had been forthwith
taken _ad referendum_ by all the Provinces, but that no member of the
sovereignty had yet returned any answer at all, either in the
affirmative or negative; that my proposition of yesterday had in like
manner been taken _ad referendum_ by all the Provinces, and that it
was necessary to wait to see what answer they would give.

The Secretary, who is perfectly well with the Court, as his ancestors
and family have been for a long course of years, and who is as
complaisant to England as any man in this country, received me with
perfect politeness, and, when I took leave, insisted upon accompanying
me through all the anti-chambers and long entries quite to my chariot
door in the street, where he waited until we entered and drove off.

After this, I went to the House of Dort, the Pensionary of which city,
M. Gyselaer, received me with confidence and affection; told me, that
all he could say to me in his public character was, that he thanked me
for the communication I had made to him, and would communicate it to
the deputation and to the Regency of his city, and that he hoped I
should have as friendly an answer as I desired, for that he personally
saw me with great pleasure, and very readily acknowledged my
character, and that of my country.

I went next, at the hour agreed on, to the House of Haerlem, where I
was received by the whole deputation, consisting of two Burgomasters,
two Schepins, and a Pensionary. Here passed a scene, which really
affected my sensibility, and gave me great pleasure. The five
gentlemen were all aged and venerable magistrates, who received me
with an affection and cordiality, which discovered, in their air and
countenance, the sincerity and satisfaction they felt in the word of
their Pensionary when he told me, that they were only Deputies; that
by the constitution of Haerlem, like all the others in the Republic,
the sovereignty resided in their constituents, the Regency; that they
thanked me for the communication I had made to them, that they would
communicate it to the Regency of their city, and that for themselves,
they heartily wished it success; for that the United States, as
sufferers for, and defenders of the great cause of liberty, might
depend upon the esteem, affection, and friendship, of the city of
Haerlem, and that they heartily wished a connexion between the two
Republics, and they congratulated us on the capture of Lord
Cornwallis, to which we returned to them a congratulation for the
recapture of St Eustatia, and took our leave.

At the House of Leyden, we were received by the Pensionary, who told
us he had the orders of his Burgomasters to receive me, to thank me
for the communication, and to promise to communicate it to their

At the House of Rotterdam, we were received by the whole deputation,
consisting of two Burgomasters, two Schepins, or Judges, and the
Pensionary. We received thanks for the communication, and a promise to
lay it before the Regency.

At the House of Gouda and the Brille, the same reception and the same
answer. At another House, where the Deputies of five small cities
lived together, the same answer. At the House, where the Deputies of
Alcmaer and Enkhuisen reside, we were received by the whole
deputations, obtained the same answers, with the addition of
professions of esteem and wishes, that in time there might be a closer
connexion between the two nations.

Thus I had been introduced to the Ministers of the Republic, and to
the Deputies of all the cities of Holland, except Amsterdam. In my
messages to the deputations, I had followed the order of the cities,
according to the rank they held in the confederation. I had sent to
the House of Amsterdam in its course. The messenger, the first time,
found only one of the Burgomasters at home, M. Rendorp, who returned
for answer, that the gentlemen were not then together, but that they
would send me word at what time they would receive me; but no answer
came for a day or two. I sent again. The messenger found only the same
Burgomaster, who returned the same answer. On Friday morning, having
no answer, I sent a third time. The answer from the same Burgomaster
was, that the gentlemen were then setting off for Amsterdam, being
obliged to return upon business, and could not then see me, but would
send me word. Upon this, I concluded to return to Amsterdam too, and
to make the communication there in writing to the Regency; but
reflecting that this step would occasion much speculation and many
reflections upon Amsterdam, I desired M. Dumas to wait on M. Vischer,
the Pensionary, who remained in town, and consult with him. The result
was, that I made my visit to the House of Amsterdam, and made the
communication to M. Vischer, who received me like a worthy Minister of
the great city.

It may not be amiss to conclude this letter by observing, that every
city is considered as an independent Republic. The Burgomasters have
the administration of the executive, like little kings. There is in
the great council, consisting of the Burgomasters and Counsellors, a
limited legislative authority. The Schepins are the judges. The
Deputies are appointed by the Regency, which consists of the
Burgomasters, Counsellors, and Schepins; and in the large cities, the
Deputies consist of two Burgomasters, two Schepins or Counsellors, and
one Pensionary. The Pensionary is the Secretary of State, or the
Minister of the city. The Pensionaries are generally the speakers
upon all occasions, even in the Assembly of the States of the

These operations at the Hague have been received by the public with
great appearance of approbation and pleasure, and the gazettes and
pamphlets universally cry against the mediation of Russia, and for an
immediate alliance with France and America. But the leaders of the
Republic, those of them I mean who are well intentioned, wish to have
the two negotiations, that for peace under the mediation of Russia,
and that for an alliance with France, Spain, and America, laid before
the States and the public together, not so much with an expectation of
accomplishing speedily an alliance with Bourbon and America, as with a
hope of checking the English party, and preventing them from accepting
a peace with England, or the mediation of Russia to that end, upon
dangerous or dishonorable terms. If it was in any other country, I
should conclude from all appearances, that an alliance with America
and France, at least would be finished in a few weeks; but I have been
long enough here to know the nation better. The constitution of
government is so complicated and whimsical a thing, and the temper and
character of the nation so peculiar, that this is considered
everywhere as the most difficult embassy in Europe. But at present it
is more so than ever; the nation is more divided than usual, and they
are afraid of everybody, afraid of France, afraid of America, England,
Russia, and the Northern powers, and above all of the Emperor, who is
taking measures, that will infallibly ruin the commerce of this
country, if they do not soon change their conduct.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, January 15th, 1782.


The following note was presented to the Secretary Fagel by the Prince
Gallitzin, and by the Secretary to the Assembly of their High
Mightinesses, the 10th of this month.

"Her Imperial Majesty of all the Russias, having reflected upon the
loss of time, which is occasioned by a correspondence relative to
complaints formed by the subjects of neutral powers, her allies,
concerning the vexations and violations which they may suffer
sometimes in their commercial navigation, has perceived that it will
be essential to provide the Ministers of the allied powers with
instructions sufficient for all cases of this nature. To this effect,
her Imperial Majesty has thought fit to propose also to their High
Mightinesses, the necessity and utility of general orders and
instructions upon this object, with which they ought to provide their
Ministers residing near the belligerent powers. Her Imperial Majesty
is even of opinion that it will be indispensably necessary to detail
the instructions in question in a manner so ample, that the Ministers
may never be reduced to wait for ulterior orders; but on the contrary,
that in all cases of this nature, they may be authorised to sustain
each other efficaciously in their complaints and operations in making
a common cause, and in interesting themselves without hesitation in
the first complaints of the respective subjects of their Sovereigns,
who claim their assistance.

"Her Imperial Majesty has already exerted herself to despatch to her
Ministers residing at the belligerent Courts, the necessary
instructions to this effect. Certainly none of them will fail to
contribute to the good of the common cause, conformably to mutual
engagements, and to that which her Imperial Majesty has caused to be
proposed to her other allies."

I have transmitted this, as well as all other State papers, relative
to the maritime confederation, because I hope it will be finally
established, as it appears to be for the good of mankind in general,
and of the United States in particular. The Dutch are so attached to
it, that I think they will not give it up, and if the Empress has it
sincerely at heart, she will not consent that the Dutch should
relinquish it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                    TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

                                        Amsterdam, January 16th, 1782.


The following verbal insinuation made by the Baron de Noleken, Envoy
of Sweden at London, to my Lord Stormont, the 31st of August, 1781, is
of importance to show the intentions of the maritime confederacy.

"The King has no occasion at this time to declare the principles,
which have determined his conduct, from the time when he ascended the
throne of his ancestors. He has been guided by the love of peace; and
he would have wished to see all the powers of Europe enjoy the same
happiness, equally constant and durable. These wishes dictated by the
sentiments of humanity, which are natural to him, have not been
satisfied. The flames of war, enkindled in another hemisphere, have
communicated themselves to Europe, but the King still flattered
himself that this conflagration, would not pass the bounds to which it
was confined, and above all that a nation merely commercial, which had
announced a neutrality as an invariable foundation of her conduct,
would not be involved in it. Nevertheless, the contrary has happened
almost at the very moment, when this power had contracted the most
innocent engagements with the King and his two allies in the north.

"If a neutrality the most exact, which was ever observed has not been
able to warrant the King from feeling at first the inconveniences of
the war, by the considerable losses, which were sustained by his
trading subjects; by a stronger reason he was able to foresee the
vexatious consequences when these disorders should become more
extensive, when an open war, between Great Britain and the Republic of
Holland should multiply them; finally, when the commerce of neuters
was about to suffer new shackles by the hostilities, which were to be
committed between these two powers. Accordingly the King did not fail
soon to perceive it, and sincerely to wish, that the measures taken by
the Empress of Russia, for extinguishing in its beginning the flame of
this new war, had been followed with a perfect success. But as this
salutary work has not been carried to perfection, the King has
resolved to join himself to his allies, the Empress of Russia and the
King of Denmark, to endeavor to dispose his Britannic Majesty to adopt
those pacific sentiments, which their High Mightinesses, the
States-General, have already manifested by their consent, to open a
negotiation of peace.

"If such were the dispositions of this monarch, as it ought not to be
doubted, it seems that a suspension of hostilities should be a
preliminary, by so much the more essential to their accomplishment, as
military operations necessarily influencing a negotiation of this
nature, would only serve to embarrass and to prolong it, while the
allied Courts would not wish for anything so much, as to be able to
accelerate it by all the means, which might serve for the satisfaction
and advantage of the two belligerent parties. In the sincerity and the
rectitude of the intentions, which animate his Majesty, as well as his
allies, he cannot conceal the apprehension he is in, with regard to
the continuation of the war, from whence may arise vexatious
incidents, capable of exciting all sorts of wrangles and most
disagreeable disputes.

"This motive, and still more, that of preventing a still greater
effusion of blood, are proper to operate upon the heart of the King of
Great Britain; and in the entire confidence, which his Majesty places
in it, he would feel a real satisfaction, if by his good offices and
by his mediation joined to that of his allies, he could succeed in
terminating the differences, which have arisen between his Britannic
Majesty and the States-General of the United Provinces."

They write from Stockholm, that the Court of London has thought proper
to make representations to that of Sweden, concerning the rencounter
which a convoy of merchant ships, under the escort of the Swedish
frigate, the Jaramas, had with the English squadron of Commodore
Stewart, who would have visited these merchant ships. The Court of
London pretends, that he was authorised to make such a visit, even in
virtue of the articles of the convention of the armed neutrality,
concluded between the three powers of the north; but that the Court of
Stockholm, far from blaming the refusal of the Captain of the
Jaramas, to permit the visit, had highly approved his conduct, and
answered, "that this officer had acted, conformably to his duty, for
that the regulation in one of the articles of the convention of the
armed neutrality in regard to the visits of merchant ships, respected
only the vessels, which navigated without convoy, but not at all those
which should be found under convoy, and consequently under the
protection of a sovereign flag (Pavillon,) the warranty of the nature
of their cargo, and of the property."

_Petersburg, December 14th, 1781._ "The Minister of Sweden having
communicated, by express order of the King his master, to our Court,
the complaints which that of London had made, concerning the
rencounter of the Swedish frigate, the Jaramas, with the squadron of
Commodore Keith Stewart, as well as the answer, which had been given
to those complaints, the Vice Chancellor, the Count d'Ostermann,
declared the day before yesterday to this Minister, 'that her Imperial
Majesty highly approved the answer of the Court of Stockholm, and
found it in all points conformable to the principle, which she herself
would follow in a parallel case. In consequence, if contrary to all
appearance, the Court of London should not be satisfied with it, and
should pretend to be able to visit neutral merchant ships, which
should be found under the protection of the King, or under that of the
sovereign flag of one of the allies, her Imperial Majesty would be
always ready to concur, and to co-operate with his Swedish Majesty and
the other allies, to oppose themselves to it, as well as to maintain
the independence and respect due to their respective flags.' At the
same time, orders have been sent to all the Ministers of the Empress,
at the belligerent powers, that 'in case there should arise just
complaints or difficulties, with relation to the detention, the
capture, the carrying off, or the ill treatment, which merchant ships,
navigating under the flag of this empire, or under that of one of the
allies of the convention of neutrality, shall have suffered, from
ships of war or armed vessels, of one or another of the belligerent
powers, they should make at first, in such case, every one in his
place, the necessary representations and requisitions, for reclaiming
the said vessels, the reparation of losses, &c. and concur and concert
to this effect with the other Ministers of the contracting Courts,
without asking or waiting for further orders. The allied Courts will
be requested, moreover, to give the orders to their respective
Ministers residing near the belligerent powers.' A courier, despatched
this day to the Hague and to London, carries these orders to the
Ministers of the Empress, as well as the acts of accession of the
Emperor to the principles of the convention of neutrality. The day
before yesterday, the usual day of the conferences with the Vice
Chancellor, he communicated the same acts to the foreign Ministers."

With great respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                       Amsterdam, February 14th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

Yesterday the duplicate of your letter of the 23d of October was
brought to me, the original is not yet arrived. It is with great
pleasure I learn, that a Minister is appointed for foreign affairs,
who is so capable of introducing into that department an order, a
constancy, and an activity, which could never be expected from a
committee of Congress, so often changing, and so much engaged in other
great affairs, however excellent their qualifications or dispositions.
Indeed, Sir, it is of infinite importance to me to know the sentiments
of Congress; yet I have never known them in any detail or with any
regularity, since I have been in Europe. I fear Congress have heard as
little from me since I have been in Holland. My despatches by the way
of St Eustatia, and by several private vessels, and by the South
Carolina, have been vastly unfortunate.

My situation, Sir, has been very delicate; but as my whole life from
my infancy has been passed through an uninterrupted series of delicate
situations, when I find myself suddenly translated into a new one, the
view of it neither confounds nor dismays me. I am very sensible,
however, that such a habit of mind borders very nearly upon
presumption, and deserves very serious reflections. My health is still
precarious. My person has been thought by some to have been in danger;
but at present I apprehend nothing to myself or the public.

This nation will have peace with England, if they can obtain it upon
honorable terms; but upon no other. They cannot obtain it upon any
other, without giving offence to France, and England will not make
peace upon such conditions. I shall, therefore, probably remain here
in a very insipid and insignificant state a long time, without any
affront or answer. In the parties, which divide the nation, I have
never taken any share. I have treated all men of all parties whom I
saw alike, and have been used quite as well by the Court party as
their antagonists. Both parties have been in bodily fear of popular
commotions, and the politics of both appear to me to be too much
influenced by alternate fears, and I must add, hopes of popular
commotions. Both parties agree in their determinations to obtain peace
with England, if they can; but Great Britain will not cease to be the
tyrant of the ocean until she ceases to be the tyrant of America. She
will only give up her claims of empire over both together.

The Dutch have an undoubted right to judge for themselves, whether it
is for their interest to connect themselves with us or not. At present
I have no reason to be dissatisfied. I have, in pursuance of the
advice of the Count de Vergennes and the Duc de la Vauguyon, added to
that of several members of the States, demanded an answer. I was
received politely by all parties, though you will hear great
complaints from others that I am not received well. They have their
views in this; they know that this is a good string for them to touch.
I stand now in an honorable light, openly and candidly demanding an
answer in my public character. But it is the Republic that stands in a
less respectable situation, not one member of the Sovereignty having
yet ventured to give an answer in the negative. The dignity of the
United States is, therefore, perfectly safe, and if that of this
Republic is questionable, this is their own fault, not ours. Your
advice, to be well with the government, and to take no measures which
may bring upon me a public affront, is perfectly just. All appearance
of intrigue, and all the refinements of politics, have been as distant
from my conduct as you know them to be from my natural and habitual

Your advice to spend much of my time at the Hague, I shall in future
pursue, though I have had reasons for a different conduct hitherto. As
to connexions with the Ministers of other powers, it is a matter of
great delicacy. There is no power but what is interested directly or
indirectly in our affairs at present. Every Minister has at his own
Court a competitor, who keeps correspondences and spies, to be
informed of every step; and open visits to or from any American
Minister are too dangerous for them to venture on. It must be managed
with so much art, and be contrived in third places, and with so much
unmeaning intrigue, that it should not be too much indulged, and after
all, nothing can come of it. There is not a Minister of them all, that
is intrusted with anything, but from time to time to execute positive
instructions from his Court.

A loan of money has given me vast anxiety. I have tried every
experiment and failed in all; and am fully of opinion, that we never
shall obtain a credit here until we have a treaty. When this will be,
I know not. If France has not other objects in view of more
importance, in my opinion she may accomplish it in a short time.
Whether she has or not, time must discover.

Mr Barclay is here doing his utmost to despatch the public effects
here; but these will turn out the dearest goods that Congress ever
purchased if they ever arrive safe. It has been insinuated, I
perceive, that I was privy to the purchase of a parcel of English
manufactures among these goods. This is a mistake. It was carefully
concealed from me, who certainly should not have countenanced it, if I
had known it. Mr Barclay will exchange them all for the manufactures
of Germany or Holland, or sell them here. The ordinance of Congress
against British manufactures, is universally approved as far as I
know, as a hostility against their enemies of more importance than the
exertions of an army of twenty thousand men.

With great esteem, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       Amsterdam, February 19th, 1782.


On the 14th instant, I had the honor to acknowledge the receipt of
your duplicate of the 23d of October. Today Major Porter brought me
your favor of the 20th of November, and the original of that of the
23d of October.

I congratulate you, Sir, on the glorious news contained in these
despatches; but I cannot be of your opinion, that, great as it is, it
will defeat every hope that Britain entertains of conquering a country
so defended. Vanity, Sir, is a passion capable of inspiring illusions,
which astonish all other men; and the Britons are, without exception,
the vainest people upon earth. By examining such a witness as Arnold,
the Ministry can draw from him evidence, which will fully satisfy the
people of England, that the conquest of America is still practicable.
Sensible men see the error; but they have seen it these twenty years,
and lamented it till their hearts are broken. The intention of
government seems to be to break the spirit of the nation, and to bring
affairs into so wretched a situation, that all men shall see that they
cannot be made better by new Ministers, or by the punishment of the
old ones.

It is suggested, that some plan of conciliation will be brought into
Parliament; but it will be only as deceitful as all the former ones.
They begin to talk big, and threaten to send Arnold with seventeen
thousand men to burn and destroy in the northern States; but this will
prove but an annual vapor. I rejoice the more in Colonel Willet's
glorious services, for a personal knowledge and esteem I have for that
officer. Zoutman's battle on Doggerbank shows what the nation could
do. But ... It is somewhat dangerous to write with perfect freedom
concerning the views and principles of each party, as you desire.
Indeed, the views of all parties are enveloped in clouds and darkness.
There are unerring indications, that all parties agree secretly in
this principle, that the Americans are right if they have power. There
is here and there an individual who says the Americans are wrong; but
these are very few. The English party are suspected to have it in view
to engage the Republic to join the English in the war against France,
Spain, and America.

The Prince is supposed to wish that this were practicable, but to
despair of it. Some of the great proprietors of English stocks,
several great mercantile houses in the service of the British
Ministry, are thought to wish it too; but if they are guilty of wishes
so injurious to their country and humanity, none of them dares openly
avow them. The Stadtholder is of opinion, that his house has been
supported by England; that his office was created, and is preserved by
her. But I do not see why his office would not be as safe in an
alliance with France as with England, unless he apprehends that the
republican party would in that case change sides, connect itself with
England, and by her means overthrow him. There are jealousies that the
Stadtholder aspires to be a sovereign; but these are the ordinary
jealousies of liberty, and I should think, in this case, groundless.
The opposite, which is called the republican party, is suspected of
desires and designs of introducing innovations. Some are supposed to
aim at the demolition of the Stadtholdership; others, of introducing
the people to the right of choosing the Regencies; but I think these
are very few in number, and very inconsiderable in power, though some
of them may have wit and genius.

There is another party, at the head of which is Amsterdam, who think
the Stadtholdership necessary, but wish to have some further
restraints or check upon it. Hence the proposition for a committee to
assist his Highness. But there is no appearance that the project will
succeed. All the divisions of the Republican party are thought to
think well of America, and to wish a connexion with her and France.
The opposite party do not openly declare themselves against this; but
peace is the only thing in which all sides agree. No party dares say
anything against peace; yet there are individuals very respectable,
who think that it is not for the public interest to make peace.

As to Congress' adapting measures to the views and interest of both
parties, they have already done it in the most admirable manner. They
could not have done better if they had been all present here, and I
know of nothing to be added. They have a Plenipotentiary here, with
instructions; they have given power to invite the Republic to accede
to the alliance between France and America, with a power to admit
Spain. All this is communicated to the Count de Vergennes and the Duc
de la Vauguyon, and I wait only their advice for the time of making
the proposition. I have endeavored to have the good graces of the
leaders, and I have no reason to suspect that I do not enjoy their
esteem, and I have received from the Prince repeatedly, and in strong
terms by his Secretary the Baron de Larray, assurances of his personal

I wrote, Sir, on the 3d and 7th of May, as full an account of my
presenting my credentials, as it was proper to write, and am
astonished that neither duplicates nor triplicates have arrived. I
will venture a secret. I had the secret advice of our best friends in
the Republic to take the step I did, though the French Ambassador
thought the time a little too early. My situation would have been
ridiculous and deplorable indeed, if I had not done it, and the
success of the measure, as far as universal applause could be called
success, has justified it. Those who detested the measure, Sir, were
obliged to applaud it in words. I am surprised, to see you think it
places us in a humiliating light. I am sure it raised me out of a very
humiliating position, such as I never felt before, and shall never
feel again, I believe. I have lately by the express advice of all our
best friends, added to that of the Duc de la Vauguyon and the Count de
Vergennes, demanded a categorical answer. I knew very well I should
not have it; but it has placed the United States and their Minister in
a glorious light, demanding candidly an answer, and the Republic has
not yet equal dignity to give it.

In this manner we may remain with perfect safety to the dignity of the
United States, and the reputation of her Minister, until their High
Mightinesses shall think fit to answer, or until we shall think it
necessary to repeat the demand, or make a new one, which I shall not
do without the advice of the French Ambassador, with whom I shall
consult with perfect confidence.

My motives for printing the Memorial were, that I had no other way to
communicate my proposition to the Sovereign of the country. The
gentlemen at the Hague, who are called their High Mightinesses, are
not the Sovereign, they are only Deputies of the States-General, who
compose the Sovereignty. These joint Deputies form only a diplomatic
body, not a legislative nor an executive one. The States-General are
the Regencies of cities and bodies of nobles. The Regencies of cities
are the Burgomasters and Schepins, or Judges and Counsellors,
composing in the whole a number of four or five thousand men,
scattered all over the Republic. I had no way to come at them but by
the press, because the President refused to receive my memorial. If he
had received it, it would have been transmitted of course to all the
Regencies; but in that case it would have been printed; for there is
no memorial of a public Minister in this Republic, but what is

When the President said, "Sir, we have no authority to receive your
memorial until your title and character are acknowledged by our
constituents and sovereigns; we are not the sovereign;" I answered,
"In that case, Sir, it will be my duty to make the memorial public in
print, because I have no other possible way of addressing myself to
the sovereign, your constituents."

The President made no objection, and there has been no objection to
this day. Those who dreaded the consequence to the cause of Anglomany,
have never ventured to hint a word against it. The Anglomanes would
have had a triumph if it had not been printed, and I should before
this day have met with many disagreeable scenes, if not public
affronts. This openness has protected me. To conciliate the affections
of the people, to place our cause in an advantageous light, to remove
the prejudices that Great Britain and her votaries excite, to discover
the views of the different parties, to watch the motives that lead to
peace between England and Holland, have been my constant aim since I
have resided here. The secret aid of government in obtaining a loan, I
have endeavored to procure, but it can never be obtained until there
is a treaty. I have hitherto kept a friendly connexion with the
French Ambassador, and that without interruption. The new commission
for peace, and the revocation of that for a treaty of commerce with
Great Britain I have received.

My language and conduct are those of a private gentleman; but those
members of Congress who think this proper, know that I have held
public places in Europe, too public and conspicuous for me to be able
to remain incognito in this country, nor is it for the interest of the
public that I should attempt it.

I should be extremely obliged to you, Sir, if you would let me know
the dates of all the letters that have been received from me, since I
have been in Holland, that I may send further copies of such as have
miscarried. The States of Holland have accepted the mediation of
Russia, on condition of saving the rights of the armed neutrality.
There has been a balancing between a treaty with France, and the
acceptance of this mediation. Amsterdam said nothing. The mediation
was accepted; but several provinces have declared for a treaty with
France. People of the best intentions are jealous of a peace with
England upon dishonorable terms; but France will prevent this, though
she does not choose to prevent the acceptance of the mediation, as she
might have done by consenting to my making the proposition of a triple
or quadruple alliance. Her Ambassador says, the King must not oppose
the Empress of Russia, who will be of importance in the final
settlement of peace.

France has never discovered much inclination to a treaty with the
Republic. The demolition of the barrier towns may explain this, as
well as the Ambassador's opinion against presenting my memorial at the
time it was done. I believe that France too can explain the reason of
the delay of Spain, where we make a less respectable appearance than
in this Republic. The delay of Spain is fatal to our affairs. Yet I
know the American Minister there to be equal to any service, which
makes me regret the more the delay of that kingdom. The constant cry
is, why is Spain silent? We must wait for Spain. Nothing gives greater
advantage to the English party.

The nature of the government in an absolute monarchy, would render it
improper to make any application or memorial public. The nature of
this government rendered it indispensably necessary. The business must
begin in the public, that is in all the Regencies. De Witt and Temple
it is true, made a treaty in five days; but De Witt risked his head by
it, upon the pardon and confirmation of the Regencies. But it was a
time and a measure, which he knew to be universally wished for. The
case at present is different. M. Van Bleiswick, though he told me he
thought favorably of my first application, would not have dared to
take a single step without the previous orders of his masters, as he
told me.

It is the United States of America, which must save this Republic from
ruin. It is the only power that is externally respected by all
parties, although no party dares as yet declare openly for it. One
half the Republic nearly declares every day very indecently against
France, the other against England; but neither one nor the other
declares against America, which is more beloved and esteemed than any
other nation of the world.

We must wait, however, with patience. After oscillating a little
longer, and grasping at peace, finding it unattainable, I think they
will seek an alliance with America, if not with France. I had a week
ago a visit from one of the first personages in Friesland, who
promised me that in three weeks I should have an answer from that

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       Amsterdam, February 21st, 1782.


I know very well the name of the family where I spent the evening with
my worthy friend Mr ---- before we set off, and have made my alphabet
accordingly; but I am, on this occasion, as on all others hitherto,
utterly unable to comprehend the sense of the passages in cypher. The
cypher is certainly not taken regularly under the two first letters of
that name. I have been able sometimes to decypher words enough to show
that I have the letters right; but, upon the whole, I can make nothing
of it, which I regret very much upon this occasion, as I suppose the
cyphers are a very material part of the letter.

The friendly and patriotic anxiety with which you inquire after my
motives and reasons for making the proposition of the 4th of May, and
for printing the memorial, has put me upon recollecting the
circumstances. If the series of my letters had arrived, I think the
reasons would have appeared, but not with that force in which they
existed at the time. I have never expressed in writing those reasons
so strongly as I felt them. The hopes have never been strong in
anybody of inducing the Republic to a sudden alliance with France and
America. The utmost expectation, that many of the well intentioned
have entertained has been to prevent the government from joining
England. I am sorry to be obliged to say it, and if it ever should be
made public, it might be ill taken. But there is no manner of doubt,
that the most earnest wish of the cabinet has been to induce the
nation to furnish the ships and troops to the English according to
their interpretation of the treaty. Amsterdam distinguished itself,
and its ancient and venerable Burgomaster, Temmink, and its eldest
Pensionary, Van Berckel, have distinguished themselves in Amsterdam.

When Mr Laurens's papers were discovered, they were sent forthwith to
the Hague. The Prince, in person, laid them before the States. Sir
Joseph Yorke thundered with his memorials against Amsterdam, her
Burgomasters, and Pensionary. The nation was seized with amazement,
and flew to the armed neutrality for shelter against the fierce wrath
of the King. Instantly Sir Joseph Yorke is recalled, and a declaration
of war appears, levelled against the city, against the Burgomasters,
and M. Van Berckel. Sir George Rodney, in his despatches pursues the
same partiality and personality against Amsterdam. What was the drift
of all this? Manifestly to excite seditions against Temmink and Van
Berckel. Here then, is a base and scandalous system of policy, in
which the King of Great Britain, and his Ministry and Admiral, all
condescended to engage, manifestly concerted by Sir Joseph Yorke, at
the Hague; and I am sorry to add, too much favored by the cabinet, and
even openly by the Prince, by his presenting Laurens's papers to the
States, to sacrifice Temmink and Van Berckel to the fury of an enraged

This plan was so daringly supported by writers of the first fame on
the side of the Court, that multitudes of writings appeared,
attempting to show that what Temmink and Van Berckel had done was high
treason. All this had such an effect, that all the best men seemed to
shudder with fear. I should scarcely find credit in America, if I were
to relate anecdotes. It would be ungenerous to mention names, as well
as unnecessary. I need only say, that I was avoided like a pestilence
by every man in government. Those gentlemen of the rank of
Burgomasters, Schepins, Pensionaries, and even lawyers, who had
treated me with great kindness and sociability, and even familiarity
before, dared not see me, dared not be at home when I visited at their
houses; dared not return my visit; dared not answer in writing, even a
card that I wrote them. I had several messages in a roundabout way,
and in confidence, that they were extremely sorry they could not
answer my cards and letters in writing, because "_on fait tout son
possible pour me sacrifier aux Anglomanes_."

"Not long after, arrived the news of the capture of St Eustatia, &c.
This filled up the measure. You can have no idea, Sir; no man, who was
not upon the spot, can have any idea of the gloom and terror that was
spread by this event. The creatures of the Court openly rejoiced in
this, and threatened some of them in the most impudent terms. I had
certain information, that some of them talked high of their
expectations of popular insurrections against the Burgomasters of
Amsterdam, and M. Van Berckel, and did Mr Adams the honor to mention
him as one, that was to be hanged by the mob in such company.

In the midst of this confusion and terror, my credentials arrived from
Paris, through a hundred accidents and chances of being finally lost.
As soon as I read my despatches, and heard the history of their escape
by post, diligence and treck-schoots, it seemed to me as if the hand
of Providence had sent them on purpose to dissipate all these vapors.

With my despatches, arrived from Paris intimations of their contents,
for there are no secrets kept at Paris. The people, who are generally
eager for a connexion with America, began to talk, and paragraphs
appeared in all the gazettes in Dutch, and French, and German,
containing a thousand ridiculous conjectures about the American
Ambassador and his errand. One of my children could scarcely go to
school without some pompous account of it in the Dutch papers. I had
been long enough in this country to see tolerably well where the
balance lay, and to know that America was so much respected by all
parties, that no one would dare to offer any insult to her Minister,
as soon as he should be known. I wrote my memorial and presented it,
and printed it in English, Dutch, and French. There was immediately
the most universal and unanimous approbation of it expressed in all
companies, pamphlets and newspapers, and no criticism ever appeared
against it. Six or seven months afterwards a pamphlet appeared in
Dutch, which was afterwards translated into French, called
_Considerations on the Memorial_; but it has been read by very few,
and is indeed not worth reading.

The proposition to the President being taken _ad referendum_, it
became a subject of the deliberation of the sovereignty. The Prince,
therefore, and the whole Court, are legally bound to treat it with
respect, and me with decency, at least it would be criminal in them to
treat me or the subject with indecency. If it had not been presented
and printed, I am very sure I could not long have resided in the
Republic, and what would have been the consequence to the friends of
liberty, I know not. They were so disheartened and intimidated, and
the Anglomanes were so insolent, that no man can say, that a sudden
frenzy might not have been excited among the soldiery and people, to
demand a junction with England, as there was in the year 1748. Such a
revolution would have injured America and her allies, have prolonged
the war, and have been the total loss and ruin of the Republic.

Immediately upon the presentation of my memorial, M. Van Berckel
ventured to present his _requête_ and demand for a trial. This
contributed still further to raise the spirits of the good people, and
soon after the Burgomasters of Amsterdam appeared with their
proposition for giving the Prince a committee for a council, and in
course their attack upon the Duke; all which together excited such an
enthusiasm in the nation, and among the officers of the navy, as
produced the battle of the Doggerbank, which never would have
happened, in all probability, but would have been eluded by secret
orders and various artifices, if the spirit raised in the nation by
the chain of proceedings, of which the American memorial was the first
and an essential link, had not rendered a display of the national
bravery indispensable for the honor of the navy, and perhaps for the
safety of the Court.

The memorial as a composition, has very little merit; yet almost every
gazette in Europe has inserted it, and most of them with a compliment,
none without any criticism. When I was in Paris and Versailles
afterwards, no man ever expressed to me the smallest disapprobation of
it, or the least apprehension that it could do any harm. On the
contrary, several gentlemen of letters expressed higher compliments
upon it than it deserved. The King of Sweden has done it a most
illustrious honor, by quoting one of the most material sentiments in
it, in a public answer to the King of Great Britain; and the Emperor
of Germany has since done the author of it the honor to desire in the
character of Count Falkenstein to see him, and what is more
remarkable, has adopted the sentiments of it concerning religious
liberty into a code of laws for his dominions; the greatest effort in
favor of humanity, next to the American revolution, which has been
produced in the eighteenth century.

As my mission to this Republic was wisely communicated to the Court of
Versailles, who can say that this transaction of Congress had not some
influence in bringing De Grasse into the Chesapeake Bay? Another thing
I ought to mention; I have a letter from Mr Jay, informing me that in
the month of June last M. Del Campo was appointed by the Court of
Madrid to treat with him; the exact time when my memorial appeared at
Madrid. You may possibly say, that my imagination and self-love carry
me extraordinary lengths; but when one is called upon to justify an
action, one should look all round. All I contend for is, that the
memorial has certainly done no harm; that it is probable it has done
some good, and that it is possible it has done much more than can be
proved. A man always makes an awkward figure when he is justifying
himself and his own actions, and I hope I shall be pardoned. It is
easy to say, "_il abonde trop dans son sens; il est vain et glorieux;
il est plein de lui-même; il ne voit que lui_;" and other modest
things of that sort, with which even your Malesherbes, your Turgots,
and Neckers, are sometimes sacrificed to very small intrigues.

Your veterans in diplomacy and in affairs of State, consider us as a
kind of militia, and hold us, perhaps, as is natural, in some degree
of contempt; but wise men know that militia sometimes gain victories
over regular troops, even by departing from the rules. Soon after I
had presented the memorial, I wrote to the Duc de la Vauguyon upon the
subject of inviting or admitting in concert, the Republic to accede to
the alliance between France and America. The Duke transmitted that
letter to the Count de Vergennes, which produced the offer to Congress
from the King, to assist us in forming a connexion with the Republic,
and the instructions upon the subject, which I shall execute as soon
as the French Ambassador thinks proper. With him it now lies, and with
him, thank God, I have hitherto preserved a perfectly good
understanding, although I differed from him in opinion concerning the
point of time to make the former proposition.

The evacuation of the barrier towns has produced an important
commentary upon the conversation I had with the Duke, and his opinion
upon that occasion. How few weeks was it, after the publication of my
memorial, that the Roman Emperor made that memorable visit to
Brussels, Ostend, Bruges, Antwerp, and all the considerable maritime
towns in his Provinces of Brabant and Flanders? How soon afterwards
his memorable journies to Holland and to Paris? Was not the American
memorial full of matter for the Emperor's contemplation, when he was
at Ostend, Antwerp, and Bruges? Was it not full of matter, calculated
to stimulate him to hasten his negotiations with France concerning the
abolition of the barrier towns? Was not the same matter equally
calculated to stimulate France to finish such an agreement with him,
as we have seen the evidence of in the actual evacuation of those
towns? If this evacuation is an advantage to France and to America, as
it undoubtedly is, by putting this Republic more in the power of
France, and more out of a possibility of pursuing the system of Orange
by joining England, and my memorial is supposed to have contributed
anything towards it, surely it was worth the while.

The period since the 4th of May, 1781, has been thick sown with good
events, all springing out of the American revolution, and connected
with the matter contained in my memorial. The memorial of M. Van
Berckel, the proposition of the Burgomasters of Amsterdam, their
attack upon the Duke of Brunswick, and the battle of Doggerbank, the
appointment of Señor del Campo, to treat with Mr Jay; the success of
Colonel Laurens, in obtaining orders for the French fleet to go upon
the coast of America; their victory over Graves, and the capture of
Cornwallis; the Emperor's journey to his maritime towns, to Holland,
and to Paris; his new regulations for encouraging the trade of his
maritime towns; his demolition of the barrier fortifications; and his
most liberal and sublime ecclesiastical reformation; and the King of
Sweden's reproach to the King of England for continuing the war, in
the very words of my memorial; these traits are all subsequent to that
memorial, and they are too sublime and decisive proofs of the
prosperity and glory of the American cause, to admit the belief, that
the memorial has done it any material harm.

By comparing facts and events, and dates, it is impossible not to
believe, that the memorial had some influence in producing some of
them. When Courts, Princes, and nations, have been long contemplating
a great system of affairs, and their judgments begin to ripen, and
they begin to see how things ought to go, and are going, a small
publication, holding up these objects in a clear point of view,
sometimes sets a vast machine in motion at once like the springing of
a mine. What a dust we raise, said the fly upon the chariot wheel? It
is impossible to prove, that this whole letter is not a similar
delusion to that of the fly. The Councils of Princes are enveloped in
impenetrable secrecy. The true motives and causes, which govern their
actions, little or great, are carefully concealed. But I desire only
that these events may be all combined together, and then, that an
impartial judge may say, if he can, that he believes that that homely,
harmless memorial had no share in producing any part of this great
complication of good.

But be all these speculations and conjectures as they will, the
foresight of which could not have been sufficiently clear to have
justified the measure, it is sufficient for me to say, that the
measure was absolutely necessary and unavoidable. I should have been
contemptible and ridiculous without it. By it I have secured to myself
and my mission universal decency and respect, though no open
acknowledgment or avowal. I write this to you in confidence. You may
entirely suppress it, or communicate it in confidence, as you judge,
for the public good.

I might have added, that many gentlemen of letters, of various
nations, have expressed their approbation of this measure, I will
mention only two. M. d'Alembert and M. Raynal, I am well informed,
have expressed their sense of it in terms too flattering for me to
repeat. I might add the opinion of many men of letters in this

The charge of vanity is the last resource of little wits and mercenary
quacks, the vainest men alive, against men and measures, that they
can find no other objection to. I doubt not but letters have gone to
America, containing their weighty charge against me; but this charge,
if supported only by the opinion of those who make it, may be brought
against any man or thing. It may be said, that this memorial did not
reach the Court of Versailles, until after Colonel Laurens had
procured the promise of men and ships. But let it be considered,
Colonel Laurens brought with him my credentials to their High
Mightinesses, and instructions to Dr Franklin, to acquaint the Court
of Versailles with it, and request their countenance and aid to me.
Colonel Laurens arrived in March. On the 16th of April, I acquainted
the Duc de la Vauguyon at the Hague, that I had received such
credentials, and the next day waited on him in person, and had that
day and the next two hours' conversation with him each day upon the
subject, in which I informed him of my intention to go to their High
Mightinesses. All this he transmitted to the Count de Vergennes; and
though it might procure me the reputation of vanity and obstinacy, I
shall forever believe, that it contributed to second and accelerate
Colonel Laurens's negotiations, who succeeded to a marvel, though Dr
Franklin says he gave great offence.[6]

The earnest opposition made by the Duc de la Vauguyon, only served to
give me a more full and ample persuasion and assurance of the utility
and necessity of the measure. His zeal convinced me, that he had a
stronger apprehension, that I should make a great impression
somewhere, than I had myself. "Sir," says he, "the King and the United
Slates are upon very intimate terms of friendship. Had not you better
wait until we can make the proposition in concert?" "God grant they
may ever continue in perfect friendship," said I; "but this friendship
does not prevent your Excellency from conducting your negotiations
without consulting me. Why then am I obliged, in proposing a simple
treaty of commerce, which the United States have reserved the entire
right of proposing, to consult your Excellency? If I were about to
propose an alliance, or to invite or admit the Dutch to accede to the
alliance between the King and the States, I should think myself
obliged to consult your Excellency." "But," said he, "there is a loan
talked of, to be opened by the United States here, under the warranty
of the King. How will it look for you to go to the States without my
concurrence?" "Of this I know nothing," said I, "but one thing I know,
that if such a loan should be proposed, the proposition I design to
make to the States, instead of obstructing, will facilitate it, and
your proposal of a loan will rather countenance me."

"Is there not danger," said he, "that the Empress of Russia, and the
other northern powers, will take offence at your going to the
States-General before them?" "Impossible," said I; "they all know,
that the Dutch have been our old friends and allies, that we shall
have more immediate connexions of commerce with Holland than with
them. But what is decisive in this matter is, America and Holland have
now a common enemy in England at open war, which is not the case with
the northern powers."

"Had you not better wait, until I can write to the Count de Vergennes,
and have his opinion?" "I know already beforehand," said I, "what his
opinion will be." "Aye, what?" "Why, directly against it." "For what
reason?" "Because the Count de Vergennes will not commit the dignity
of the King, or his own regulation, by advising me to apply until he
is sure of success; and in this he may be right; but the United States
stand in a different predicament. They have nothing to lose by such a
measure, and may gain a great deal."

"But," said he, "if Holland should join England in the war, it will be
unfortunate." "If there was danger of this," said I, "a proposition
from the United States would be one of the surest means of preventing
it; but the situation of Holland is such, that I am persuaded they
dare not join England. It is against their consciences, and they are
in bodily fear of a hundred thousand men from France." "True," said
he, "you have used an argument now, that you ought to speak out
boldly, and repeat, peremptorily in all companies, for this people are
governed very much by fear." "I have, however, spoken upon this
subject with delicacy, upon all occasions, and shall continue to do
so," said I, "but shall make no secret, that I am sensible of it."

After turning the subject in all the lights it could bear I told him,
that I believed he had urged every objection against the measure, that
could be thought of, but that I was still clear in my former opinion.
"Are you decided to go to the States?" "Yes, Sir. I must think it my
duty." "Very well; in that case," said he, "you may depend upon it, I
will do all in my power, as a man, to countenance and promote your

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[6] See Dr Franklin's letters to Major Jackson, on this subject, in
Franklin's Correspondence, Vol. III. pp. 227, 229.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       Amsterdam, February 27th, 1782.


Friesland has at last taken the provincial resolution to acknowledge
the independence, of which United America is in full possession. It is
thought that several cities of Holland will soon follow this example,
and some say it will be followed forthwith by the whole Republic. The
first Burgomaster of this city has said, within a few days past, that
in six weeks at farthest the independence of America would be
acknowledged by all seven of the United Provinces; but I have no
expectation of such haste. This government does nothing with such

By what I hear and read of their speculations, it seems to me, that
the general sense is at present not to shackle themselves with any
treaties either with France or Spain, nor to make any treaty of
alliance with America, nor to make even a treaty of commerce with
America, as yet for a considerable time, but for the several members
of the Sovereignty, one after another, to acknowledge the Independence
of America in the manner that Friesland has done; and for the States,
the Prince and the Admiralties to exert themselves in preparing a
fleet to command the North Sea, and wash out some of the stains in
their character, which the English have so unjustly thrown upon it in
their blood. There is a loud cry for vengeance, a stern demand of a
fleet and battle with the English; and if the Court contrive to elude
it, the Stadtholder will run a great risk of his power.

Sensible and candid men tell me, "we wait for Spain, and we wait for
Russia. We will not make any treaty with you. It is of no great
importance to us or to you. We see there is a tremendous power arising
in the West. We cannot meddle much; but we will at all events be your
good friends. Whoever quarrels with you, we will not."

In short I expect no treaty. I do not expect that our independence
will be acknowledged by all the Provinces for a long time.
Nevertheless, it appears to me of indispensable importance that a
Minister should reside constantly here, vested with the same powers
from Congress, with which they have honored me; for which reason,
having the offer of a large and elegant house in a fine situation, on
a noble spot of ground at the Hague, at a very reasonable rate, I
have, in pursuance of the advice of Mr Barclay, M. Dumas, and other
friends, purchased it and shall remove into it on or before the first
of May. In case I should be recalled, or obliged to go away upon other
services, any Minister that Congress may appoint here in my room, will
find a house furnished at the Hague ready for him.

The negotiation for the purchase was conducted secretly, but when it
came to be known, I am informed, it gave a great deal of satisfaction
in general.

To pay for it, I have applied all the money I had of M. de Neufville's
loan, and some cash of my own, which I brought with me from America;
and for the second payment, I must borrow of a friend, if Dr Franklin
cannot furnish the money, for which indeed I do not love to ask him,
he has so many demands upon him from every quarter. The house,
including purchase charges, &c. will amount to about sixteen thousand
guilders, ten thousand of which I paid yesterday. I have been obliged
to take the title in my own name, but shall transfer it to the United
States as soon as they are acknowledged and the account settled,
provided Congress approve of the transaction; otherwise I shall take
the risk upon myself, and sell it again. I shall live hereafter at a
smaller rent than I ever did before, though in a house much superior.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *



                                           The Hague, March 4th, 1782.


I have received the letter you did me the honor to address to me from
Amsterdam, the 1st instant. I cannot answer it officially, in the
capacity of King's Minister, not having any ulterior instructions on
the subject to which it relates; but as you request my private
opinion, I will give it to you with the greatest sincerity.

"After having seriously reflected on the views, which you have
communicated to me, whatever inclination I may have to adopt your
opinions, I cannot conceal from myself the inconveniences attending
the plan, which you appear disposed to follow. I think and I believe,
that I have sufficient reason to lead me to the conclusion, that it
will retard rather than accelerate the ultimate success. I shall have
the honor of explaining myself more fully by word of mouth, if, as M.
Dumas gives me to hope, you visit the Hague in the course of a few

Receive, Sir, my renewed assurances of inviolable attachment, and
profound respect, &c.

                                                       DE LA VAUGUYON.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                        Philadelphia, March 6th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I have now before me your letters of the 15th, 17th, and 18th of
October last. I am sorry to find that your health has suffered by the
climate, but hope that the setting in of the winter has ere this
re-established it. I am not directed to return any answer to your
request to come home. Should I obtain the sense of Congress upon it
before this is closed, it will be transmitted by this conveyance.

The success of the allied arms in America, the recovery of the Dutch
Islands, and the avowed superiority of the French in the West Indies,
have so changed the face of affairs, that there is strong reason to
believe negotiations will be set on foot this winter. Whether Britain
is yet sufficiently humbled to desire peace is still doubtful; but
whether she is or is not, she will probably negotiate, in which case
your presence in Europe will be necessary; so that I believe you
cannot at the most flatter yourself with anything more than a
conditional leave to return.

Your statement of the decline of commerce in the United Provinces,
agrees exactly with that which we have received from other hands. I
lament that a nation, which has such important reasons for exertion,
and such means in their power, should want vigor to call them forth.
They must and will, however, sooner or later, be brought to it. A
separate peace with England is now impossible, without degrading the
character of the nation, and exposing it to greater evils than they
are threatened with from England. Besides, what advantages are to be
derived from such a peace? Can Britain restore her conquests, now in
the hands of the French? Can she give back the plunder of St Eustatia,
or the cargoes of the Indiamen divided among the captors? Can she
afford them a compensation for the loss of last year's commerce? Or
can she draw from her exhausted purse sufficient sums to defend the
barrier against the troops of France, who would certainly avenge
herself for such ingratitude?

The distress of the nation, then, must in the end force them to
exertions, and however reluctantly they may go into the war, they must
still go into it with vigor. But, Sir, though your letters detail the
politics of the country, though they very ably explain the nature and
general principles of the government, they leave us in the dark with
respect to more important facts. They have not led us into the dock
yards or arsenals; they have not told us what ships are prepared for
sea, what are preparing, what the naval force will be this spring, or
how it is to be applied. You have not yet introduced us to any of the
leading members of the great council; you have not repeated your
private conversations with them from which infinitely more is to be
collected, than from all the pamphlets scattered about the streets of

If they avoid your company and conversation, it is a more unfavorable
symptom than any you have mentioned; and shows clearly that your
public character should have been concealed till your address had
paved the way for its being acknowledged. If you have formed
connexions with any of these people, and I cannot but presume that you
have attended to so important a point, it will be very interesting to
us to have their most striking features delineated, their sentiments
with respect to us and to our opponents detailed, and the influence
of each in the Assembly of the States. This will best acquaint us with
the principles of the government, and direct our course towards them.

Among other things, I wish to know in what light they view our cause,
as just or unjust? What influence they imagine our independence will
have upon the general system of Europe, or their own States? What
expectations they form from our commerce; whether the apprehension of
its being altogether thrown into another channel, if infused with
address, would not awaken them into action? What are their ideas of
the comparative power of France and Britain, so far as it may affect
them? Whether they have entered into any treaty with France since the
war; if they have, what are its objects? If they have not, whether any
such thing is in contemplation?

None of your letters takes the least notice of the French Ambassador
at the Hague; is there no intercourse between you? If not, to what is
it to be attributed? It appears to me, that our interests in Holland
are similar to those of France. They are interested with us in
forwarding our loans; in procuring a public acknowledgment of our
independence; in urging the States to exertion. They have considerable
influence on the government, as appears from the success that the
loan, opened under their guarantee met with.

I must again, therefore, request you to spend much of your time at the
Hague, that great centre of politics, to cultivate the acquaintance
and friendship of the French Ambassador, to confer with him freely and
candidly upon the state of our affairs; and by his means, to extend
your acquaintance to the other representatives of crowned heads at the
Hague. Your having no public character, together with our avowed
contempt for rank and idle ceremony, will greatly facilitate your
intercourse with them, and enable you to efface the ill impressions
they daily receive of us from our enemies.

You see, Sir, I rely so much upon your good sense, as to write with
freedom to you, and to mark out that line, which I conceive will best
tend to render your mission useful. Should I suggest anything, which
you may not approve, I should be happy to be informed of it, and the
reasons upon which you act; so that I may be able fully to justify
your measures, if, at any time, they should not be entirely approved
on this side of the water. I communicated to Congress the letter of Dr
Franklin, relative to your salary, in consequence of which, they have
directed the superintendent of the finances to make provision for it
in future.

We have no intelligence of importance at this time, but have our eyes
fixed with anxious expectation on the West Indies, whence we hourly
expect to hear the particulars of the engagement between the Count de
Grasse and Hood; and the issue of the attack upon St Christopher's.

To the southward, things remain in the state they were, though we have
some reason to believe the enemy entertain serious thoughts of
withdrawing their troops from Charleston. Thirty empty transports have
sailed from New York, with a view, as is said, to fetch them to that
place, which will be the last they quit on the Continent. This we
ought not to lament, since there is no situation better adapted to
concentre our force, and no part of America so easily defended with
inferior force, as the ridge of hills which shut it in, at the same
time that it is totally indefensible against a combined attack by land
and water. So that we may reasonably hope, that York will again be
fatal to the British arms. Every preparation is making to render it

I write nothing to you on the subject of a negotiation, conveyances to
Dr Franklin being more easily obtained, as well as more secure. Every
instruction on that head is sent to him, and will, of course, be
communicated to you by the time you need it.

Nothing can be more pleasing, after the chaos into which our affairs
were plunged, than the order which begins now to be established in
every department. Paper ceases to be a medium, except the bank paper,
which is in equal credit with specie; gold and silver have found their
passage into the country; restrictions on commerce are removed; it
flows in a thousand new channels, and has introduced the greatest
plenty of every necessary, and even every luxury of life. Our harvests
have been so abundant, that provisions are in the utmost plenty. All
the supplies of the army are procured by contracts, and the heavy load
of purchasing and issuing commissaries is discharged. In short, our
affairs wear such a face here, at present, that if we are only
supported this year by foreign loans, we shall not be under the
necessity of calling for them again. Would to heaven, that the present
aspect of affairs might render your endeavors on this head successful.
The use it would be of to the community, would amply compensate you
for all the pain and distress, which your fruitless endeavors have
occasioned you.

Among other articles of intelligence, I ought to inform you, that
Burgoyne is exchanged, and that an exchange is now on foot for
Cornwallis, in which it is designed that Mr Laurens shall be included.
The British seem extremely anxious to have him, and to give him the
command of their army in America. We, who know him best, have no
objection to the measure. If they wish to carry on an active war, his
precipitation will lead them into new difficulties. If to defend
particular posts, they cannot put them into the hands of a man who
knows less about the matter. His defence of York was a most
contemptible series of blunders. We shall, besides these, derive two
decisive advantages from his command; while a detestation of his
cruelty has united the whigs, the tenth article of the capitulation at
York has destroyed the confidence of the tories.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          Amsterdam, March 10th, 1782.


By the address of the House of Commons to the King, his Majesty's
answer, and the resolution of the House in consequence of it, "that he
would be highly criminal and an enemy to his country, who should
attempt to carry on an offensive war in America against the sense of
the House;" by the surrender of Minorca, and the disastrous face of
British affairs in Ireland, as well as in the East and West Indies,
and by the uncommon difficulties which my Lord North finds in raising
the loan, I think we may fairly conclude that the United States are
not to expect those horrid scenes of fire and sword in future, which
they have so often seen heretofore.

Among the causes, which have operated to this effect, may be reckoned
the late ordinance of Congress against British manufactures, and the
prospect which has been opened to them, in Holland, of a sudden
revival of the Dutch manufactures of Delft, Leyden, Utrecht, and
indeed all the other cities of the Republic. The English have found
all their artifices to raise mobs in their favor, in the Republic, to
be vain; they found that there began to be an appearance of danger of
popular tumults against them; they have seen their friends in this
country driven out of all their strong holds, and forced to combat on
the retreat; they have found that the American cause gained ground
upon them every day, and that serious indications were given of a
disposition to acknowledge our independence, for the sake of reviving
their manufactures and extending their commerce, all which together
has raised a kind of panic in the nation, and such a fermentation in
Parliament, as has produced a formal renunciation of the principles of
the American war.

The question now arises, what measures will the Cabinet of St James
pursue? Will they agree to the Congress at Vienna? I believe not. Will
they treat with the American peace Ministers now in Europe? I fancy
not. They will more probably send agents to America, to propose some
bad plan of American viceroys, and American nobility, and what not,
except common sense and common utility.

I presume, with submission, however, that Congress will enter into no
treaty or conference with them, but refer them to their Ministers in

France and Spain, I think, cannot mistake their interest and duty upon
this occasion, which is, to strike the most decided strokes, to take
the British armies in New York and Charleston prisoners. Without
this, in all probability, before another revolution of the seasons,
all the United States will be evacuated, the British forces sent to
Quebec, Halifax and the West India Islands, where it will cost France
and Spain more time, blood, and treasure to dispose of them than it
will this campaign to capture them in New York and Charleston.

With the greatest respect and esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          Amsterdam, March 11th, 1782.


The promise, which was made me by M. Bergsma, that I should have an
answer from the Province of Friesland in three weeks, has been
literally fulfilled. This gentleman, who, as well as his Province,
deserves to be remembered in America, sent me a copy of the resolution
in Dutch as soon as it passed. It is now public in all the gazettes,
and is conceived in these terms;

"The requisition of Mr Adams, for presenting his letters of credence
from the United States of North America to their High Mightinesses,
having been brought into the Assembly and put into deliberation, as
also the ulterior 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 principal 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 despatch would be

"It has been thought fit and resolved, to authorise the gentlemen, the
Deputies of this Province at the generality, and to instruct them to
direct things at the table of their High Mightinesses in such a
manner, that the said Mr Adams be admitted forthwith as Minister of
the Congress of North America, with further order to the said
Deputies, that if there should be made, moreover, any similar
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

"Thus resolved at the Province House, the 26th of February, 1782.

                                                     A. I. V. SMINIA."

This resolution has, by the Deputies of Friesland, been laid before
their High Mightinesses at the Hague, and after deliberation, the
Deputies of the Provinces of Guelderland, Zealand, Utrecht, and
Groningen, have taken copies of it, to be communicated more amply to
their constituents. In the States of the Province of Holland and West
Friesland, the requisition of the 9th of January had been committed to
the Committee of Grand Affairs, and taken into deliberation by the
body of Nobles, and _ad referendum_ by all the eighteen cities.

The sovereignty of the United States of America would undoubtedly be
acknowledged by the Seven United Provinces, and their Minister
received to an audience in state in the course of a few weeks, if the
Regency of the city of Amsterdam had not visibly altered its
sentiments, but all things are embroiled. The opposition to M. Van
Berckel, and the glittering charms of an embassy to Petersburg or
Vienna, which have been artfully displayed, as it is said, before the
eyes of one man, and many secret reasonings of similar kind with
others, have placed the last hopes of the English and Dutch Courts in
a city, which had long been firm in opposition to the desires of both.
The public in general, however, expect that the example of the
Friesians will be followed. Wherever I go, everybody, almost,
congratulates me upon the prospect of my being soon received at the
Hague. The French gazettes all give their opinions very decidedly that
it will be done, and the Dutch gazettes all breathe out, God grant
that it may be so. I confess, however, that I doubt it, at least I am
sure that a very little thing may prevent it. It is certain, that the
Court will oppose it in secret with all their engines, although they
are already too unpopular to venture to increase the odium, by an open

Friesland is said to be a sure index of the national sense. The people
of that Province have been ever famous for the spirit of liberty. The
feudal system never was admitted among them; they never would submit
to it, and they have preserved those privileges, which all others have
long since surrendered. The Regencies are chosen by the people, and on
all critical occasions the Friesians have displayed a resolution and
an activity beyond the other members of the State. I am told that the
Friesians never undertake anything but they carry it through, and,
therefore, that I may depend upon it, they will force their way to a
connexion with America. This may be the case if the war continues, and
the enemies of Great Britain continue to be successful; but I have no
expectations of anything very soon, because I have much better
information than the public, of the secret intrigues both at the Hague
and Amsterdam. Patience, however. We have nothing to fear. Courtiers
and aristocrats, as well as the people, all say, "you know very well
we love the Americans, and will ever be their good friends." This love
and friendship consists, however, rather too much in mere words, "Be
ye warmed," &c.; and a strong desire of gain by your commerce.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          Amsterdam, March 19th, 1782.


I have before transmitted to you the resolution of Friesland of the
26th of February, 1782, by which that Province acknowledged the
independence of the United States, and directed their Minister to be
received; but some proceedings in Guelderland deserve to follow. In an
extraordinary assembly of the county of Zutphen, held at Nimeguen the
23d of February, the following measures were taken.

"After the report of the committees of this Province to the
generality, laid this day upon the table, relative to what passed in
the precedent assembly, and after an examination of an extract of the
register of the Resolutions of their High Mightinesses the
States-General of the Low Countries, of the 9th of last month, in
relation to the ulterior 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
North America, for, and demanding a categorical answer, whereof the
gentlemen, the Deputies of the respective Provinces, have taken
copies, the Baron Robert Jasper Van der Capellan de Marsch, first by
word of mouth, and afterwards in writing, proposed and insisted at the
Assembly of this Quarter, that at present and 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 without fear of being
contradicted, that he is able to affirm, that it is more than time
that we should give a serious attention to the offer and invitation,
in every sense honorable and advantageous for the Republic, of
friendship and reciprocal connexions with the Thirteen American
Provinces, now become free at the point of the sword; in such sort
that the categorical answer demanded by their Minister, Mr Adams, may
become a subject of the deliberations of your High Mightinesses, and
that they may decide as soon as possible concerning their respective
interests. He judges that he ought not to have any further scruple in
this regard, and the uncertain consequences of the mediation offered
by Russia cannot, when certain advantages for this Republic are in
question, hinder that out of regard for an enemy, with whom we
(however salutary the views of her Imperial Majesty are represented)
cannot make any peace at the expense of a negligence so irreparable;
that the 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 rigorous prohibition to
import English manufactures into America, our manufactures, by means
of precautions taken in time, will rise out of their state of languor;
and that, by delaying longer to satisfy the wishes of the nation, her
leaders will draw upon them the reproach of having neglected and
rejected the favorable offers of Providence; that, on the contrary, by
adopting these measures, the essential interests of this unfortunate
people will be taken to heart.

"The subscriber declaring, moreover, that he will abandon this
unpardonable negligence of an opportunity favorable to 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

                                              R. I. VAN DER CAPELLAN."

"This advice having been read, Jacob Adolf de Heeckeren 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 Capellan de Marsch, 'that although he must agree
to the justice of all that he had laid down, besides several other
reasons equally strong, which occurred to his mind, the deliberation
upon the point in question appeared to him premature; considering that
the Lords, the States of Holland, of West Friesland, and 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 Dutchy 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 beforementioned Robert Jasper Van der Capellan de
Marsch, insisting that the voices should be collected upon the
proposition and advice in question, and thereupon having deliberated,
their Noble Mightinesses have thought fit to resolve, that although
the motives alleged 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
as the other.

                                                     HERM. SCHOMAKER."


"To the Noble, Great, and Venerable Lords of the Grand Council of the
city of Leyden.

"The undersigned, all manufacturers, merchants, and other traders,
interested in the manufactures of this city, most respectfully give to
understand, that it is a truth as melancholy as it is universally
known, that the declension of the said manufactures, which all the
well disposed 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 traders, appears to be threatened with total
ruin; that the diminution of its merchant houses, on one hand, and, on
the other, the total loss or the sensible decrease of several branches
of commerce, furnish an evident proof of it; which the petitioners
could demonstrate by several examples, if there were need of them to
convince your Noble and Grand Lordships, to whom the increase of the
multitude of the poor; the deplorable situation of several families,
heretofore in easy circumstances; the depopulation of the city, which
we cannot observe without emotion, in the ruins of several streets,
once neat and well inhabited, are fully known, will recollect no doubt
upon this occasion, with grief, that this state of languor must appear
so much the more desperate, if your Noble and Grand Lordships will
take into consideration, that in this decay of trades and
manufactures, we find a new reason of their further fall, considering,
that from the time, that there is not continual employment, and an
uninterrupted sale, the workmen desert in such a manner, that when
considerable 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 known 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
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 economy 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 whatever, to provide a
remedy; that we might cite, for example, the commerce of our
manufactures with Dantzick, and, through that commercial city, with
all Poland; a commerce which was carried on with success and advantage
heretofore in our city, but is absolutely interrupted at this day, and
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 neighboring nations, or rather of all
the people of Europe, considering that in this age, the several
Princes and governments, enlightened in the real sources of the public
prosperity and the true interests of their subjects, attach themselves
with emulation, to revive in their kingdoms and states, the national
industry, commerce, and navigation; to encourage them and promote
them, even by exclusive privileges, or by heavy impositions upon
foreign merchandises, which lend equally to the prejudice of the
commerce and manufactures of our country, as your Noble and Grand
Lordships will easily recollect the examples in the Austrian States
and elsewhere; that in the midst of these powers and nations, emulous,
or jealous, it is impossible for the citizens of our Republic, however
superior their manufactures may be in quality and fineness, to resist
a rivalry so universal, especially considering the dearness of labor,
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
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 furnish in its
declining streets, desolated quarters, and its multitude disgraced
with want and misery, an affecting proof of the sudden fall of
countries formerly overflowing with prosperity.

"That, if we duly consider these motives, no citizen, whose heart is
upright, (as the petitioners assure themselves) much less your Noble
and Great Mightinesses, whose good dispositions they acknowledge with
gratitude, will take it amiss, that we have fixed our eyes, in the
present conjuncture of affairs, to inquire, 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 a hope, (a hope, which unprejudiced men will not
regard as a vain chimera) that in fact, by the present circumstances,
there opens in their favor an issue for arriving at the
re-establishment desired.

"That from the time, when the rupture between Great Britain and the
Colonies upon the Continent of North America, appeared to be
irreparable, every attentive 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 England had reserved to
itself, until that time, the exclusive possession by its act of
navigation, and by the other acts of Parliament prescribed to the
colonies; that, in the time of it, this reflection did not escape your
petitioners, and that they foresaw from that time the 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 they should have been afraid to place this favorable occasion
before the eyes of your Noble and Grand Lordships at an epoch, when
the relations, which connected our Republic with Great Britain, her
neighbors seemed to forbid all measures of this nature, or at least
ought to make them be considered as out of season.

"That, in the meantime, this reason of silence has 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 that several fathers of families have quitted the city; abandoning
to the further expense of the treasury of the poor, their wives and
their children, plunged in misery.

"That during this rupture which has subsisted now for fifteen months,
there 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 forbid, by a resolution of Congress, agreed to in all the
Thirteen States, the importation of all English manufactures, and, in
general all the merchandises fabricated in the dominions, which yet
remain to Great Britain; that the effect of this prohibition must
necessarily be a spirit of emulation 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, the manners,
whether because of the extent of its commerce, and the convenience of
its navigation, but above all, by the reason of the activity and the
good faith, which still at this day distinguishes (without boasting
too much) the Dutch nation, above all other 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 connexions 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 at 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 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 fabrics 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 anywise contrary to the more
universal interests of all the Republic; but, as far as the
petitioners may judge, as citizens, of the situation and the political
existence of their country, they are ignorant of any reasons of this
kind; but, on the contrary, they dare appeal to the unanimous voice of
their fellow-citizens, well intentioned in the other cities and
provinces, even of the Regents of the most distinguished, since it is
universally known, that the Province of Friesland has already 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 the 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
Noble and Grand Lordships; and on the other, they know by experience
that your Noble and Grand Lordships are disposed not to suffer any
occasion to pass for promoting the well-being of their city, for
advancing the prosperity of the 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 Grand Lordships to direct by their powerful
influence, things in such sort, that in the Assembly highly respected
of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, the Lords the States of Holland
and West Friesland, there be opened deliberations, or if already
opened, carried as speedily as possible to an 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."


"To their High Mightinesses, the States-General of the United

"The undersigned, merchants, manufacturers, and other
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 indispensable duty in the present moment, which is
most critical for the Republic, to lay humbly before your High
Mightinesses their interests.

"What good citizen in the Republic, having at heart the interest of
his dear country, can dissemble, or represent to himself without
dismay, 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 it, the support and the prosperity of this Republic, could
have fallen and remained in such a terrible decay? That in 1780 more
than two thousand of Dutch vessels having passed the Sound, not one
was found upon the list in 1781? That the ocean, heretofore covered
with our vessels, shall see at present scarcely any, and that we may
be reduced to see our navigation, formerly so much respected, and
preferred by all the nations, pass entirely into the hands of other

"It would be superfluous to endeavor to explain at length, the
damages, the enormous losses, which our inhabitants experienced by the
sudden invasion and 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 upon the lowest artisans and laborers, by the
languor which they occasion in commerce. But how great soever they may
be, it might perhaps be 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 the losses, (without
mentioning indemnifications,) if this stagnation of commerce was only
momentary, and if the industrious merchant did not see beforehand the
sources of his future felicity dried up. It is this gloomy foresight,
which in this moment afflicts in the highest degree the petitioners;
for it would be the height of folly and inconsideration to desire
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 shows the contrary, in a manner the most convincing,
and it is most probable that the same nations, who are actually in
possession of it, will preserve at that time the greatest part of it.
The petitioners, terrified, throw their eyes round everywhere 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 thrown 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, the pins of Zwoll, prove
visibly, that all things need not be drawn from England; that,
moreover, we are as well in condition, or shall be soon, to equal them
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, everything 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 favorable
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 we may expect from a commerce of
this nature, even at present, but especially in time of peace.

"In the meantime, we have had the happiness to make a trial of short
duration, it is true, but very strong in proportion to its
continuance, in our Colony of St Eustatia, of the importance of the
commerce, though not direct, with North America. The registers of the
West India Company may furnish proofs of it very convincing to your
High Mightinesses. In fact, their productions are infinitely
beneficial to our markets; whilst, on our side, we have to send them
several articles of convenience and of necessity, whether from our
country, or from the neighboring States of Germany. Moreover, several
of our languishing manufactures, scattered in the Seven United
Provinces, may perhaps be restored to their former vigor, by the 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 the
encouragement of manufactures, which that kingdom has procured to
itself, beyond even 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. And for this end, a moment more
favorable 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 purchaser to the necessity of recurring to
other merchandises, the use of which will serve to dissipate the
prejudice conceived against them. It is not only the manufactures,
High and Mighty Lords, which promise a permanent advantage to our
Republic; the navigation will derive also great advantages; for it is
very far from being true, (as several would maintain,) that the
Americans, being once in the tranquil possession of their
independence, would exercise themselves with vigor in 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 the two banks of the Mississippi, even the most
beautiful tract of this country, otherwise so fertile, remain still
uncultivated; and as there are wanted so many hands, it is not at all
probable to presume, that they will, or can occupy themselves to
establish new manufactures, both in consequence of the new charges,
which are thereto attached, and because of the shackles, which they
would put upon the augmentation and exportation of their productions.

"It is then for this same reason, (the want of population,) that they
will scarcely find the hands necessary to take advantage of the
fisheries, which are the property of their own 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 mouleton, and other things; even
the shoemakers of La Maire and of Lang Straat, will find a
considerable opening; almost all the manufactures of Utrecht, and
those of Leyden, will flourish anew; Haerlem will see revive its
manufactures of stuffs, of laces, of ribbands, of twist (_de
cordons_), at present in the lowest state of decay; Delft will see
vastly augmented the sale of its (_porcelaine_) earthen ware, and
Gouda, that of its tobacco pipes.

"However great may be the advantages foreseen by the petitioners from
a legal commerce duly protected with America, their fear is not less,
lest we should suffer to escape the happy moment of assuring to
themselves, and to all the Republic, these advantages. The present
moment would determine the whole. The English nation is weary of the
war; and, as that people run easily into extremes, the petitioners are
afraid, with strong probable appearances, that a complete
acknowledgment of Independence will soon take place; above all, if the
English see an opportunity of being able still to draw from America
some conditions favorable 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, this would be sufficient to transmit to
posterity, a lamentable proof of our excessive deference for unbridled

"The petitioners dare flatter themselves, that a measure, so frank in
this Republic, may powerfully serve, for the acceleration of a general
peace. A general ardor to 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 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 abovementioned, to take for the greatest
advantage of this country, as soon as possible, such resolution as
your High Mightinesses shall judge most convenient."


"The subscribers, all merchants and manufacturers of this city, with
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
favor of the liberty and independence of America, according to all
appearances, the resolution taken by Congress towards the end of the
last year, to wit, to forbid in all America the importation of British
manufactures and productions, has greatly contributed; a resolution,
of which they perceive in England, too visibly, the consequences
ruinous to their manufactures, trades, commerce, and navigation, to be
able to remain indifferent in this regard; for all other commercial
nations, who take to heart ever so little of their own prosperity,
will apply themselves ardently to collect from it all the fruit
possible. To this effect, it would be unpardonable for the business
and commerce of this Republic in general, and for those of this city
in particular, to suffer to escape this occasion, so favorable for
the encouragement of our manufactures, so declined and languishing in
the interior cities, as well as that of the commerce and of navigation
in the maritime cities; or to suffer that other commercial nations,
even with a total exclusion of the mercantile interests of this
Republic, should profit of it, and this upon an occasion, when by
reason of the war equally unjust and ruinous, in which the kingdom of
Great Britain has involved this Republic, we cannot and ought not to
have the least regard or condescension for that jealous State, being
able to oblige this arrogant neighbor in the just fear of the
consequences, which a more intimate connexion between this Republic
and North America would undoubtedly have, to lay down the sooner her
arms, and restore tranquillity to all Europe.

"That the petitioners, notwithstanding the inclination they have for
it, ought not, nevertheless, to explain themselves further upon this
object, nor make a demonstration in detail of the important
advantages, which this Republic may procure itself by a connexion and
a relation more intimate with North America, both because no well
informed man can easily call the thing in question, but also because
the States of Friesland themselves have very lately 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 gentlemen, your
predecessors, thought four years ago upon the means of hindering this
Republic from being excluded from the business of the new world, and
falling into the disagreeable situation in which the kingdom of
Portugal is at present; considering, that, according to the
information 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. But 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 if, contrary to all expectation, they should be
rejected, in that case, the Republic ought not to expect a better

"That, for these reasons and many others, the petitioners had
flattered themselves, that we should long ago have opened
negotiations, and a closer correspondence with the United States of
America; but that this important work appeared to meet with
difficulties with some, as incompatible with the accession of this
Republic to the armed neutrality, and in course with the accepted
mediation; whilst others cannot be persuaded to make this, so
necessary step, in the opinion that we cannot draw any advantage, or,
at least, of much importance, from a more strict connexion with
America; reasons, according to the petitioners, the frivolty of which
is apparent to every one, who is not filled with prejudice, without
having occasion to 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 succor of all the
confederates in the armed neutrality, but that thereby she finds
herself authorised, for her own defence, to employ all sorts of means,
violent and others, which she could not before adopt and put in use,
while she was in the position of a neutral power, which would profit
of the advantages of the armed neutrality.

"This reasoning, then, proves evidently that in the present situation
of affairs, the Republic might acknowledge the independence of North
America, and notwithstanding this, claim of full right the assistance
of her neutral allies, at least, if we would not maintain one of the
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 should 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, either on the Doggerbank 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 the Republic, by accepting the mediation, to
have also renounced the employment of all the means, by way of arms,
of alliances, or otherwise, which it must judge useful or necessary to
annoy her enemy; a supposition, which certainly is destitute of all
foundation, and which would reduce itself simply to a real suspension
of hostilities on the part of the Republic only; to which the Republic
can never have consented, neither directly, nor indirectly. Besides
this last argument, the petitioners must still observe, in the first
place, that by means of a good harmony and friendship with the United
States of America, there will spring up, not only different sources of
business for this Republic, founded solely on commerce and navigation,
but, in particular, the 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
further in this respect, that several inhabitants of this Republic, in
the present situation of affairs, suffer very considerable losses and
damages, which might be wholly prevented, or in part, at least,
hereafter, in case we should make with the United States of America,
in 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
could, and that they ought to take the liberty to address themselves
with this petition to you, Venerable Regents, and to inform you,
according to truth, that the moments are precious; that we cannot lose
any time, how little soever it may be, without running the greatest
risk of losing all; since, by hesitating longer, the Republic,
according to all appearances, would not derive any advantage, not
even more than it has derived from its accession to the armed
neutrality, because in the fear of British menaces, we did not
determine to accede to it, until the opportunity of improving the
advantage of it was 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 may 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."


"The petition of the merchants, ensurers, and freighters of Rotterdam
to the Regency of that city, gives 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
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 further the deliberations concerning
the article of an alliance of commerce with North America; being,
moreover, certain, that the interposition of this State cannot add
anything more to the solidity of its independence; and that the
English Ministry have even made to the Deputies of the American
Congress propositions to what point they would establish a
correspondence there to our prejudice, and thereby deprive the
inhabitants of this country of the 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 efforts, that we may
pursue the negotiation offered by Mr Adams, and that we may decide
finally upon it.

"Whereupon, the petitioners represent, with all the respect possible,
but at the same time with the strongest confidence, to the venerable
Regency of this city, that they would authorise and qualify the
gentlemen, their Deputies at the Assembly of their Noble and Great
Mightinesses, to the end, that in the name of this city they insist,
in a manner the most energetic, at the Assembly of their Noble and
Great Mightinesses, that the resolution demanded may be taken without
the least delay, to the end, that on the part of this Province, it be
effected at the Assembly of the States-General, that the American
Minister, Mr Adams, be, as soon as possible, admitted to the audience,
which he has demanded, and that they take, with him, the
determinations necessary to render free and open to the reciprocal
inhabitants, the correspondence demanded."

The petitions of the merchants and manufacturers of Haerlem, Leyden
and Amsterdam, which have been presented, on the 20th of March, to
their High Mightinesses, were accompanied by another for the States of
Holland and West Friesland, conceived in these terms;

"The subscribers, inhabitants of this country, merchants,
manufacturers, and others, living by commerce, give, with all respect,
to understand, that they, the petitioners, have the honor to annex
hereto a copy of a petition presented by them to their High
Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Low Countries. The
importance of the thing which it contains, the considerable commerce,
which these countries might establish in North America; the profits,
which we might draw from it, and the importance of industry and
manufactures, in the relation which they have with commerce in
general, as well as the commerce of that extensive country; all these
objects have made them take the liberty to represent, in the most
respectful manner, this great affair for them, and for the connexions,
which the petitioners may have in quality of manufacturers with the
merchants; most humbly praying your Noble and Grand Mightinesses, for
the acquisition of those important branches of commerce, and for the
advantage of all the manufactures and other works of labor and
traffic, to be so good as to take this petition, and the reasons which
it contains, into your high consideration, and to favor it with your
powerful support and protection, and by a favorable resolution, which
may be taken at the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, to direct, on
the part of this Province, things in such a manner, that, for
obtaining this commerce, so desired and so necessary for this
Republic, 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."


At Dort, there has not been presented any petition; but in a letter
written from that city, on the 20th of March, it is observed, "that
the merchants, convinced by redoubled proofs of the zeal and of the
efforts of their Regency for the true interests of commerce, had
judged it necessary to present a petition, after the example of the
merchants of other cities; that they had contented themselves with
testifying verbally their desire, that there might be contracted
connexions of commerce with the United States of America; that this
step had been crowned with such happy success, that the same day, the
20th of March, it was resolved by the ancient council, to authorise
their Deputies at the Assembly of Holland, to concur in every manner
possible, that without delay, Mr Adams be acknowledged in his quality
of Minister Plenipotentiary; that his letters of credence be accepted,
and conferences opened upon this object."

Resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, the Lords the States
of Holland and West Friesland, March 29th, 1782.

"It has been judged fit and resolved, that the affair be directed, on
the part of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses at the Generality, to
such an end, and that they there insist in the strongest manner, that
Mr Adams be admitted and acknowledged, as soon as possible, by their
High Mightinesses, as the Ambassador of the United States of America;
and the Counsellor Pensionary is charged to give knowledge, under
hand, to the said Mr Adams, of this resolution of their Noble and
Grand Mightinesses."

                         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 the commerce and the manufactures of this country are
fallen by little and little, and, above all, since the hostile attack
of the kingdom of England against this State; that it being their duty
to their country, as well as to themselves, to make use of all the
circumstances, which might contribute to their re-establishment, the
requisition made 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, whose utility,
advantage, and necessity, for these Provinces are so evident, and so
often proved in an incontestible manner, that the petitioners will not
fatigue your Noble Lordships, by placing them before you, nor the
general interests of this city, nor the particular relations of the
petitioners, 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 unreasonable.

"In the second place, that America, which ought to be considered as
become free at the point of the sword, being willing, by the
prohibition of all the productions and manufactures of England, to
break absolutely with that kingdom; it is precisely the time, and
perhaps the only time, in which we may have a favorable opportunity to
enter into connexion with this new and powerful Republic; a time which
we cannot neglect, without running the greatest risk of being
irrevocably prevented by the other powers, and even by England. Thus
we take the liberty respectfully to supplicate your Noble Lordships,
that having shown, for a long time, that you set a value upon the
formation of alliances with powerful States, you may have the
goodness, at the approaching Assembly of the Nobility, and of the
cities forming the States of this Province, to 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."


          _Request 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 request, that a multitude of our most respectable
fellow-citizens have signed. It was already ready and signed by many,
when we learnt, as well by the public papers, as otherwise, the
propositions of a particular peace, with an 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, at least, as much as
that interests it, is entirely conformable to that, which the
merchants of Rotterdam have made known in so energetic a manner. That
we have, consequently, 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 utterly; whereas, on the
other hand, these offers show, that we have only to deal with an enemy
exhausted, that 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 own hands.

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

"The merchants continue to recommend the commerce and the navigation
to the constant care and protection of your Noble and Great Lordships,
and to insist only, that in case, that these offers of the Court of
England should be at any time the cause, that the affair of the
admission of Mr Adams, in quality of Minister Plenipotentiary of the
United States of North America, met with any difficulty or delay, on
the part of the other confederates, that your Noble and Great
Lordships, according to the second article of our requisition inserted
in this request, would have the goodness to think upon measures, which
would warrant this Province from the ruinous consequences of such a

To this request was joined the address presented to the Burgomasters,
and to the Council, which is of the following tenor.

    "Noble, Great, Venerable, and Noble and Venerable Lords,

"The undersigned, merchants, citizens, and inhabitants of the city of
Amsterdam, have learnt, 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 ulterior
alliances and correspondences of friendship and of good understanding
with the United States of North America, which promise new life to the
languishing state of our commerce, of our navigation, and of our

"The unanimity, with which the resolution was decided in the Assembly
of Holland, gives us a well founded hope, that the States of the other
Provinces will not delay to take a similar resolution; whilst that the
same unanimity fills with the most lively satisfaction the
well-intentioned inhabitants of this city, and, without doubt, those
of the whole country, in convincing them fully, that the union among
the sage and venerable fathers of the country increases more and more;
whilst that the promptness and activity, with which it has been
concluded, make us hope, with reason, that we shall reap in time, from
a step so 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, which finds itself 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, general affection and esteem?

"The conformity of religion and government, which is found between us
and America, joined to the indubitable marks, that she has already
long since given, of the preference, that she feels for our
friendship, makes the undersigned not only suppose, but inspires them
with a confidence even, that our connexions with her will be as solid
as advantageous, and salutary to the interests of the two nations. The
well-being and the prosperity, which will very probably result from
them, the part which you, Noble, Great, Venerable, and Noble and
Venerable Lords, have had in the conclusion of a resolution so
remarkable; the conviction, that the Venerable Council of this city
already had of it, upon the proposition of the Noble, Great, and
Venerable Lords, almost consented to, before the request relative to
this project, presented not long since to you, Noble, Great, and
Venerable Lords, had come to the knowledge of the Council; finally,
the remembrance of that, which was done upon this matter in the year
1778, with the best intentions and most laudable views, finding itself
at present crowned with an approbation as public as general,
indispensably oblige the undersigned to approach you, Noble, Great,
Venerable, and Noble and Venerable Lords, with this address, not only
to congratulate them upon so remarkable an event, but to thank them at
the same time, with as much zeal as solemnity, for all those well
intentioned cares, and those well concerted measures, for that
inflexible attachment, and that faithful adherence to the true
interests of the country in general, and of this city in particular,
which manifest themselves in so striking 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 dare sacrifice generously all
views of private interest, of grandeur, and of consideration, to the
sacred obligations, that their country requires of them.

"We flatter ourselves, Noble, Great, and 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 downfall is at present consummated, had endeavored to
spread, particularly a little before, and at the beginning of this
war, insinuations, which have since found partizans in the United
Provinces, among those who have not been ashamed to paint the 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 contraband articles against the faith of
treaties; calumniators, who have had at the same time, and have still,
the audacity to affront the most upright Regency of the most,
considerable city of the Republic, and to expose it to public
contempt, as if it participated by connivance and other ways, in so
shameful a commerce; insinuations and accusations, which have been
spread with as much falsehood as wickedness, and which ought to excite
so much the more the indignation of every sensible heart, when one
considers with all this, that not only the merchants of this city, but
also those of the whole Republic, have so inviolably respected the
faith of treaties, that, to the astonishment of every impartial man,
one cannot produce any proofs, at least no sufficient proofs, that
there has ever been transported from this country contraband
merchandises; whilst that the conjuncture, in which imputations of
this kind have been spread, rendered a like proceeding still more
odious, seeing that one has done it 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 North America;
at an epoch, when the merchant, formed for enterprises, was obliged to
see the fruit of his labor and of his cares, the recompense of his
indefatigable industry, and the patrimony destined to his posterity,
ravished from his hands by foreign violence, and 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 dissipate, and their projects vanish.

"Receive, then, Noble, Great, and Venerable, Noble and Venerable
Lords, this solemn testimony of our lively gratitude, as graciously
as it is sincere on our part; receive it as a proof of our attachment
to your persons; an attachment which is not founded upon fear, nor an
exterior representation of authority and grandeur, but which is
founded upon more noble and immovable 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 observation of their duties, the inconveniences
and the evils that a war naturally and necessarily draws after it,
will not produce the effect neither; yes, we will submit more
willingly to them, according as we shall perceive, that the means that
God and nature have put into our hands, are more and more employed to
reduce and humble a haughty enemy. Continue, then, Noble, Great, and
Venerable, Noble and Venerable Lords, to proceed with safety in the
road you follow, the only one, which in our opinion, can, under divine
benediction, tend to save the country from its present situation. Let
nothing divert or intimidate you from it; you have already surmounted
the greatest difficulties and most poignant cares. A more pleasing
perspective already opens.

"Great Britain, not long since so proud of its forces, that she feared
not to declare war against an ancient and faithful ally, already
repents of that unjust and rash proceeding; and succumbing under the
weight of a war, which becomes more and more burdensome, she sighs
after peace, whilst the harmony among the members of the supreme
government of this country increases with our arms, according as your
political system, whose necessity and salutary influence were
heretofore less acknowledged, gains every day more numerous imitators.
The resolution lately taken by the States of Friesland, and so
unanimously adopted by our Province, furnishes, among many others, one
incontestable proof of it, whilst that the naval combat, delivered
last year on the Doggerbank, has shown to astonished Europe that so
long a peace has not made the Republic forget the management of arms,
but that on the contrary, it nourishes in its bosom warriors, who
tread in the footsteps of the Tromps and Ruiters, from whose prudence
and intrepidity, after a beginning so glorious, we may promise
ourselves the most heroic actions; that their invincible courage,
little affected with an evident superiority, will procure one day to
our country an honorable and permanent peace, which, in eternizing
their military glory, will cause the wise policy of your Noble, Great,
and Venerable, Noble and Venerable Lordships to be blessed by the
latest posterity."


"To the Noble, Great and Venerable Lords, the Great Council of the
city of 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 on the 18th of March, the liberty to present to your Noble and
Great Lordships a respectful request, 'to obtain the conclusion of
connexions of commerce with United America,' the petitioners judge,
that they ought to hold it for a duty, as agreeable as indispensable,
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) has 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 soon as possible, by their High Mightinesses, 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 one hand, a confidence the most cordial of the good
citizens towards their Regents; on the other, a paternal attention and
deference of the Regents to the respectful, but well founded prayers
of their faithful citizens, and, in general, the most exemplary
unanimity throughout the whole nation, to the confusion of those, who,
having endeavored to sow the seeds of discord, would have rejoiced if
they could say with truth, that a dissension so fatal had rooted
itself to the ruin of the country and of the people.

"That the petitioners, feeling themselves penetrated with the most
pleasing emotions by a harmony so universal, cannot pass over in
silence the reflection, that your Noble and Great Lordships, taking a
resolution the most favorable 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 honor 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 everything 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 Grand
Lordships have shown yourselves by deeds to the 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
learnt without uneasiness, the attempt made at the same time by the
new Ministers of the Court of London, to involve this State in a
negotiation for a separate peace, the immediate consequence of which
would be (as the petitioners fear) a cessation of all connexions with
the American Republic; whilst, that in the meantime, our Republic,
deprived on the one hand of the advantages, which it reasonably
promises itself from those connexions, might, on the other, be
detained by negotiations, spun out to a great length, and not effect
till late, perhaps after the other belligerent powers, a separate
peace with England.

"That, in effect, the difficulties which oppose themselves to a like
partial pacification, are too multiplied for one to promise himself to
see them suddenly removed; such as the restitution of the possessions
taken from the State, and retaken from the English by France, a
restitution, which thereby is become impracticable; the
indemnification of the immense losses, that the unexpected and
perfidious attack of England has caused to the Dutch nation in
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
negotiation of peace; finally, the necessity of breaking the yoke,
that Great Britain would impose upon our flag, to make hers 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 even have given rise to them, with certainty furnish
matter for claims and negotiations.

"That, as by these considerations, even 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 has occasion to abandon its interests relative to North
America, seeing that the British government has 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 Ministers, it appears ready to acknowledge
positively its independence; an acknowledgment, which, in removing the
principal stumbling block of a negotiation 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 negotiation
as the Court of London proposes, when it will not be permitted to
presume, but that sovereign will feel herself the change of
circumstances, which have happened with regard to America, since the
offer of her mediation, by the revolution of the British Ministry; and
that she ought even to regard a separate peace between our States and
England, as the most proper mean to retard the general tranquillity,
that she has endeavored to procure to all the commercial nations now
at war.

"That, from these motives, the petitioners respectfully hope, that the
aforesaid offer of England will occasion no obstacle, which may
prevent, that the resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, to
acknowledge the 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 to
Holland, negotiations with the United States, and of terminating them
as soon as may be.

"That the favorable resolutions already taken for this effect in
Zealand, Utrecht, Overyssel, and at present (as the petitioners learn)
in the Province of Groningen, after the example of Holland and
Friesland, confirm them in that hope, and seem to render entirely
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 Province had been disposed to
procure them without that; but that to the end to provide for it,
their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, and the States of the other
Provinces, in this respect unanimous with them, should make use of the
power, which belongs to each free State of our Federative Republic, at
least in regard to treaties of commerce, of which there exists an
example in 1649, not only in a treaty of redemption of the toll of the
Sound, but also in a defensive treaty, concluded with the Crown of
Denmark by the three Provinces of 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 connexions 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 the navigation,
seeing, that without the protection of the navigation, the conclusion
even of such a treaty of commerce would be absolutely illusory; that
since a long time, especially last year, the petitioners have tasted
the bitter fruits of the defenceless state in which the Dutch flag has
been incessantly found, as 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 unforeseen attack of Great
Britain, and that they feel them still every day;' that in the
meantime this stagnation of commerce, absolutely abandoned to the
rapacity of an enemy, greedy of pillage, and destitute of all
protection whatsoever, has appeared to the petitioners, as well as to
all the other commercial inhabitants, yes, even to all true citizens,
so much the more hard and afflicting, as they not only have constantly
contributed with a good heart all the public imposts, but that, at the
time even that commerce was absolutely abandoned to itself, and
deprived of all safeguard, it supported a double charge to obtain that
protection, which it has never enjoyed, seeing that the hope of such a
protection, (the Republic not being entirely without maritime force)
has appeared indeed more than once, but has always vanished in the
most unexpected manner, by accidents and impediments, which if they
have given rise, perhaps wrongfully, to discontent and to distrust
among the good citizens, will not, nevertheless, be read and meditated
by posterity, without surprise.

"That, without intention to legitimate in any fashion the suspicions
arising from this failure of protection, the petitioners believe
themselves, nevertheless, with all proper respect, warranted in
addressing their complaints on this head to the bosoms of your Great
and Noble Lordships, and (seeing the commerce with North America
cannot subsist without navigation, no more than navigation without a
safeguard) of reckoning upon the active direction, the useful
employment, and prompt augmentation of our naval forces, in proportion
to the means, which shall be the most proper effectually to secure,
to the commerce of this Republic, the fruits of its connexions with
United North America.

"For which reasons, the petitioners, returning to your Noble and Great
Lordships their solemn thanks for the favorable resolution taken upon
their request, the 18th of March last, address themselves anew to them
on this 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 the 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 the commerce and of the
navigation, as well 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 the dear country, as well as to the maintenance of
its precious liberty."

                     UTRECHT, APRIL 28TH, 1782.

Wednesday last, was presented to their Noble Mightinesses, the Lords
the States of this Province, the following address of thanks, signed
by a considerable number of merchants, &c. of this city.

"To their Noble Mightinesses, the Lords the States of the country of

"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 Mightinesses, the favorable occasion that
offers itself in this moment, to revive the manufactures, the
commerce, and the trade, fallen into decay in this city and Province,
in case that your Noble Mightinesses acknowledged, in the name of this
city, Mr Adams as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of
North America, to the end that there might be formed with them a
treaty of commerce for this Republic. As the petitioners founded
themselves thus upon the intimate sentiment of the execution of that,
which your Noble Mightinesses judged proper to the advancement of the
well-being of the petitioners and of their interests, the petitioners
have further the satisfaction of feeling the most agreeable proofs of
it, when your Noble Mightinesses, in your last Assembly, resolved
unanimously to consent, not only to the admission of the said Mr
Adams, in quality of Minister of the Congress of North America, but to
authorise the gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province at the
Generality, to conform themselves, in the name of this Province, to
the resolutions of the Lords, the States of Holland and West
Friesland, and of Friesland, and doing this, to consent to the
acknowledgment and admission of Mr Adams as Minister of the United
States of North America; or, as that resolution furnishes the proofs
the best intentioned, the most patriotic for the advancement of that,
which may serve to the well-being, 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 indispensably
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 has caused, not only
to them, but also to the great and small of this Province; joined to
the confirmation of the perfect conviction, in which they repose
themselves also for the future upon the paternal care of your Noble
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, that they address also at the same time to your Noble
Mightinesses, as the most sincere marks of veneration and respect for
the persons and the direction of public affairs of your Noble
Mightinesses; wishing that Almighty God may deign to bless the efforts
and the councils of your Noble Mightinesses, as well as those of the
other confederates; that, moreover, this Province, and our dear
country, by the propositions of an armistice and that which depends
upon it, should not be involved in any negotiations for a 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 our honor and
dignity; and serve, not only for this generation, but also for the
latest posterity, as a monument of glory, of eternal gratitude to,
and esteem for, the persons and public administration of the present

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                          Amsterdam, March 31st, 1782.


I have received the letter, which you did me the honor to write me on
the 30th, enclosing the resolution of the States of Holland and West
Friesland, taken on the 28th of this month, upon the subject of my
admission to the audience demanded on the 4th of May, and 9th of
January last.

I am very sensible of the honor that is done me, by this instance of
personal attention to me in their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, and I
beg of you, Sir, to accept of my acknowledgments for the obliging
manner, in which you have communicated to me their resolution.

But my sensibility is above all affected by those unequivocal
demonstrations, which appear everywhere, of national harmony and
unanimity in this important measure; which cannot fail to have the
happiest effects in America, and in all Europe; even in England
itself, as well as in this Republic, and which there is great reason
to hope, will forcibly operate towards the accomplishment of a general

In the pleasing hope, that all the other Provinces will soon follow
the examples of Holland and Friesland, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                      TO THE DUC DE LA VAUGUYON.

                                          Amsterdam, April 10th, 1782.


I have this moment received the letter, which you did me the honor to
write me yesterday, with a letter enclosed from Dr Franklin.

The approbation of the Count de Vergennes is a great satisfaction to
me, and I shall be very happy to learn from you, Sir, at Amsterdam,
the details you allude to.

I have a letter from Digges, at London, 2d of April, informing me,
that he had communicated what had passed between him and me, to the
Earl of Shelburne, who did not like the circumstance, that everything
must be communicated to our allies. He says, that Lord Carmaerthen is
to be sent to the Hague, to negotiate a separate peace with Holland.
But, according to all appearances, Holland, as well as America, will
have too much discretion to enter into any separate negotiations.

I have the pleasure to inform you, that Gillon has arrived at the
Havana, with five rich Jamaica ships as prizes. M. Le Roy writes, that
the English have evacuated Charleston.

The enclosed fresh _requête_ of Amsterdam will show your Excellency,
that there is little probability of the Dutchmen being deceived into
separate conferences.

With the most profound respect and esteem, I have the honor to be,
Sir, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          Amsterdam. April 19th, 1782.


I have the honor to transmit you the following Resolutions of the
respective Provinces, relative to my admission in quality of Minister
Plenipotentiary, together with two Resolutions of their High
Mightinesses, upon the same subject, all in the order in which they
were taken.


Extract from the Register Book of the Lords, the States of Friesland.

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

"It has been thought fit and resolved, to authorise the gentlemen, the
Deputies of this Province at the Generality, and to instruct them to
direct things, at the table of their High Mightinesses, in such a
manner that the said Mr Adams be admitted forthwith, as Minister of
the Congress of North America, with further order to the said
Deputies, that if there should be made, moreover, any similar
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

"Thus resolved, at the Province House, the 26th of February, 1782.

"Compared with the aforesaid book, to my knowledge.

                                                     A. J. V. SMINIA."

                     HOLLAND AND WEST FRIESLAND.

Extract of the Resolutions of the Lords, the States of Holland and
West Friesland, taken in the assembly of their Noble and Grand
Mightinesses. Thursday, March 28th, 1782.

"Deliberated by resumption upon the address and the ulterior address
of Mr Adams, made the 4th of May, 1781, and the 9th of January, 1782,
to the President of the States-General, communicated to the assembly,
the 9th of May, 1781, and the 22d of last month, to present his
letters of credence, in the name of the United States of America, to
their High Mightinesses, by which ulterior address the said Mr Adams
has demanded a categorical answer, that he may acquaint his
constituents thereof; deliberated also upon the petitions of a great
number of merchants, manufacturers, and others, inhabitants of this
Province interested in commerce, to support their request presented to
the States-General the 20th current, to the end that efficacious
measures might be taken to establish a commerce between this country
and North America, copies of which petitions have been given to the
members the 21st; it has been thought fit, and resolved, that the
affairs shall be directed, on the part of their Noble and Grand
Mightinesses, at the Assembly of the States-General, and that there
shall be there made the strongest instances that Mr Adams be admitted
and acknowledged, as soon as possible, by their High Mightinesses, in
quality of Envoy of the United States of America. And the Counsellor
Pensionary has been charged to inform under his hand the said Mr Adams
of this Resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses."


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

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

"Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of the Lords the States
of Zealand. April 4th, 1782.

"It has been thought fit and ordered, that the gentlemen, the ordinary
Deputies of this Province at the Generality, shall be convoked and
authorised, as it is done by the present, to assist in the direction
of affairs at the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, in such a
manner, that Mr Adams may be acknowledged as soon as possible, as
Envoy 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 the
deliberation of their High Mightinesses, to the end to transmit them
here as soon as possible. And an extract of this Resolution of their
Noble Mightinesses shall be sent to the gentlemen, their ordinary
Deputies, to serve them as an instruction.

                                                      J. M. CHALMERS."

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


Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of the Equestrian order,
and of the cities composing the States of Overyssel. Zwoll, 5th of
April, 1782.

"The Grand Bailiff de Sallande, and the other commissions of their
Noble Mightinesses for the affairs of finance, having examined,
conformably to their commissorial resolution of the 3d of this month,
the addresses of Mr Adams, communicated to the Assembly the 4th of
May, 1781, and the 22d of February, 1782, to present his letters of
credence to their High Mightinesses, in the name of the United States
of North America; as well as the resolution of the Lords, the States
of Holland and West Friesland, dated the 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
gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province in the States-General, ought
to be authorised and charged to declare in the Assembly of their High
Mightinesses, that the Equestrian Order and the cities judge, that it
is proper to acknowledge, as soon as possible, Mr Adams, in quality of
Minister of the United States of North America, to their High
Mightinesses. Upon which, having deliberated, the Equestrian Order and
the cities have conformed themselves to the said report.

"Compared with the aforesaid Register.

                                                         DERK DUMBAR."


Extract from the Register of the Resolutions of their Noble
Mightinesses, the States of Groningen and Ommelanden. Tuesday, 9th of
April, 1782.

"The Lords, the States of Groningen and Ommelanden, having heard the
report of the Gentlemen, 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 North America, to their High
Mightinesses, have, after deliberation upon the subject, declared
themselves of opinion, that in the critical circumstances, in which
the Republic finds itself at present, it is proper to take, without
loss of time, such efficacious measures as may not only repair the
losses and damages, that the kingdom of Great Britain has 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 the most solid foundations, as may
confirm and re-assure it by the strongest bonds of reciprocal
interest, and that, in consequence, the Gentlemen, the Deputies at the
Assembly of their High Mightinesses, ought to be authorised on the
part of the Province, as they are by the present, to admit Mr Adams to
present his letters of credence from the United States of North
America, and to receive the propositions, which he shall make, to make
report of them to the Lords, the States of this Province.

                                                E. LEWE, _Secretary_."

The States-General, having deliberated the same day upon this
Resolution, have resolved, "that the Deputies of the Province of
Guelderland, which has not yet declared itself upon the same subject,
should be requested to be pleased to do it as soon as possible."


Extract of the Resolutions of their Noble Mightinesses the States of
the Province of Utrecht. 10th of April, 1782.

"Heard the report of M. de Westerveld, and other Deputies of their
Noble Mightinesses for the Department of War, who, in virtue of the
commissorial resolutions, of the 9th of May, 1781, the 16th of
January, and the 20th of March, of the present year, 1782, have
examined the resolution of their High Mightinesses of the 4th of May,
1781, containing an overture, that the President of the Assembly of
their High Mightinesses had made, 'that a person, styling himself J.
Adams, had been with him, and had given him to understand, that he had
received letters of credence for their High Mightinesses from the
United States of North America, with a request, that he would be
pleased to communicate them to their High Mightinesses,' as well as
the resolution of their High Mightinesses, of the 9th of January,
containing an ulterior overture of the President, 'that the said Mr
Adams had been with him, and had insisted upon a categorical answer,
whether his said letters of credence would be accepted, or not;'
finally, the resolution of their High Mightinesses, of the 5th of
March last, with the insertion of the resolution of 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 has been thought fit, and resolved, that the
Gentlemen, the Deputies of this Province in the States-General, should
be authorised, as their Noble Highnesses authorise them by the
present, to conform themselves, in the name of this Province, to the
resolution of the Lords, the States of Holland and West Friesland, and
of Friesland, and to consent, by consequence, that Mr Adams be
acknowledged and admitted as Minister of the United States of North
America, their Noble Mightinesses being at the same time of opinion,
that it would be necessary to acquaint her Majesty, the Empress of
Russia, and the other neutral powers, with the resolution to be taken
by their High Mightinesses, upon this subject, in communicating to
them (as much as shall be necessary) the reasons, which have induced
their High Mightinesses to it, and in giving them 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 that, on the contrary, their
High Mightinesses wish 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 honor and their dignity. And to this end, an extract of this
shall be carried by missive to the Gentlemen, the Deputies at the


Extract from the _Précis_ of the ordinary Diet, held in the city of
Nimeguen in the month of April, 1782. Wednesday, 17th of April, 1782.

"The requisition of Mr Adams to present his letters of credence to
their High Mightinesses, in the name of the United States of North
America having been brought to the Assembly and read, as well as an
ulterior address made upon this subject, with the demand of a
categorical answer by the said Mr Adams, more amply mentioned in the
registers of their High Mightinesses, of the date of the 4th of May,
1781, and the 9th of January, 1782, moreover, the resolutions of the
Lords, the States of the six other Provinces, carried successively to
the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, and all tending to admit Mr
Adams, in quality of Envoy of the United States of North America, to
this Republic; upon which their Noble Mightinesses, after
deliberation, have resolved to authorise the Deputies of this
Province, as they authorise them by the present, to conform themselves
in the name of this Province, to the resolution of the Lords, the
States of Holland and West Friesland, and to consent, by consequence,
that Mr Adams may be acknowledged and admitted, in quality of Envoy of
the United States of North America, to this Republic. In consequence,
an extract of the present shall be sent to the said Deputies, to make,
as soon as possible, the requisite overture of it to the Assembly of
their High Mightinesses.

                                                      J. INDE BETOUW."

This resolution of Guelderland was no sooner remitted, on the 19th, to
their High Mightinesses, than they took immediately a resolution
conformable to the unanimous wish of the Seven Provinces, conceived in
the following terms;

"Extract from the register of the resolutions of their High
Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces. Friday,
April 19th, 1782.

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

                                                            W. BOREEL.

"Compared with the aforesaid register.

                                                            H. FAGEL."


Extract from the register of the resolutions of their High
Mightinesses, the States-General of the United Provinces. Monday,
April 22d, 1782.

"M. Boreel, who presided in the Assembly the last week, has reported
to their High Mightinesses and notified them, that Mr John Adams,
Envoy of the United States of America, had been with him last
Saturday, and had presented to him a letter from the Assembly of
Congress, written at Philadelphia, the 1st of January, 1781,
containing a credence for the said Mr Adams, to the end to reside in
quality of its Minister Plenipotentiary near their High Mightinesses.
Upon which having deliberated, it has been thought fit and resolved,
to declare by the present, that the said 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.

                                                       W. VAN CITTERS.

"Compared with the aforesaid register.

                                                            H. FAGEL."

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, April 22d, 1782.


On the 22d day of April I was introduced, by the Chamberlain, to His
Most Serene Highness, the Prince of Orange.

Knowing that his Highness spoke English, I asked his permission to
speak to him in that language, to which he answered, smiling, "if you
please, Sir." Although French is the language of the Court, he seemed
to be pleased, and to receive as a compliment my request to speak to
him in English.

I told him I was happy to have the honor of presenting the respects of
the United States of America, and a letter of credence from them to
his Most Serene Highness, and to assure him of the profound veneration
in which the House of Orange had been held in America, even from its
first settlement, and that I should be happier still to be the
instrument of further cementing the new connexions between two
nations, professing the same religion, animated by the same spirit of
liberty, and having reciprocal interests both political and
commercial, so extensive and important; and that in the faithful and
diligent discharge of the duties of my mission, I flattered myself
with hopes of the approbation of His Most Serene Highness.

His Highness received the letter of credence, which he opened and
read. The answer that he made to me was in a voice so low and so
indistinctly pronounced, that I comprehended only the conclusion of
it, which was, that "he had made no difficulty against my reception."
He then fell into familiar conversation with me, and asked me many
questions about indifferent things, as is the custom of Princes and
Princesses upon such occasions. How long I had been in Europe? How
long I had been in this country? Whether I had purchased a house at
the Hague? Whether I had not lived some time at Leyden? How long I had
lived at Amsterdam? How I liked this country? &c.

This conference passed in the Prince's chamber of audience with his
Highness alone. I had waited some time in the antichamber, as the Duc
de la Vauguyon was in conference with the Prince. The Duke, on his
return through the antichamber, meeting me unexpectedly, presented me
his hand with an air of cordiality, which was remarked by every
courtier, and had a very good effect.

The Prince has since said to the Duc de la Vauguyon, that he was
obliged to me for not having pressed him upon the affair of my
reception in the beginning. He had reason; for if I had, and he had
said or done anything offensive to the United States or disagreeable
to me, it would now be remembered much to the disadvantage of the

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, April 23d, 1782.


On the 23d of April I had the honor of a conference with M. Van
Citters, President of their High Mightinesses, to whom I presented the
following Memorial.

"High and Mighty Lords;--The underwritten, Minister Plenipotentiary of
the United States of America, has the honor to inform your High
Mightinesses, that he is charged by the instructions of his sovereign
to propose to the States-General of the United Provinces of the
Netherlands, a treaty of amity and commerce between the two Republics,
founded upon the principle of equal and reciprocal advantage, and
compatible with the engagements already entered into by the United
States with their allies, as also with such other treaties, which they
design to form with other powers. The undersigned has therefore the
honor to propose, that your High Mightinesses would nominate some
person or persons with full power, to confer and treat with him on
this important subject.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS."

Their High Mightinesses, on the same day, appointed a grand committee
to treat, to whom I was introduced with great formality by two
noblemen, and before whom I laid a project of a treaty,[7] which I had
drawn up conformable to the instructions of Congress. I prayed the
gentlemen to examine it, and propose to me their objections, if they
should have any, and to propose any further articles, which they
should think proper. It has been examined, translated, printed, and
sent to the members of the sovereignty.

The greatest part of my time, for several days, has been taken up in
receiving and paying of visits, from all the members and officers of
government, and of the Court, to the amount of one hundred and fifty
or more.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, April 23d, 1782.


I ought not to omit to inform Congress, that on the 23d of April, the
French Ambassador made an entertainment for the whole Corps
Diplomatique, in honor of the United States, at which he introduced
their Minister to all the foreign Ministers at this Court.

There is nothing, I suppose, in the whole voluminous ceremonial, nor
in all the idle farce of etiquette, which should hinder a Minister
from making a good dinner in good company, and therefore I believe
they were all present, and I assure you I was myself as happy as I
should have been, if I had been publicly acknowledged a Minister by
every one of them; and the Duc de la Vauguyon more than compensated
for all the stiffness of some others, by paying more attention to the
new brother than to all the old fraternity.

Etiquette, when it becomes too glaring by affectation, imposes no
longer either upon the populace or upon the courtiers, but becomes
ridiculous to all. This will soon be the case everywhere with respect
to American Ministers. To see a Minister of such a State as ---- and
---- assume a distant mysterious air towards a Minister of the United
States, because his Court has not yet acknowledged their independence,
when his nation is not half equal to America in any one attribute of
sovereignty, is a spectacle of ridicule to any man who sees it.

I have had the honor of making and receiving visits in a private
character from the Spanish Minister here, whose behavior has been
polite enough. He was pleased to make me some very high compliments
upon our success here, which he considers as the most important and
decisive stroke which could have been struck in Europe.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[7] The plan of a treaty sent to Mr Adams by Congress, may be found in
the _Secret Journals of Congress_, Vol. II. p. 378.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                           TO B. FRANKLIN.

                                              Amsterdam, May 2d, 1782.


I am honored with your favor of the 20th of April, and Mr Laurens's
son proposes to carry the letter to his father forthwith. The
instructions by the courier from Versailles came safe, as all other
despatches by that channel no doubt will do. The correspondence by Mr
Hartley I received by Captain Smedley, and will take the first good
opportunity by a private hand to return it, as well as that with the
Earl of Shelburne.

Mr Laurens and Mr Jay will, I hope, be able to meet at Paris, but when
it will be in my power to go, I know not. Your present negotiation
about peace falls in very well to aid a proposition, which I am
instructed to make, as soon as the Court of Versailles shall judge
proper, of a triple or quadruple alliance. This matter, the treaty of
commerce, which is now under deliberation, and the loan, will render
it improper for me to quit this station, unless in case of necessity.
If there is a real disposition to permit Canada to accede to the
American association, I should think there could be no great
difficulty in adjusting all things between England and America,
provided our allies also are contented. In a former letter, I hinted
that I thought an express acknowledgment of our independence might now
be insisted on; but I did not mean, that we should insist upon such an
article in the treaty. If they make a treaty of peace with the United
States of America, this is acknowledgment enough for me.

The affair of a loan gives me much anxiety and fatigue. It is true, I
may open a loan for five millions, but I confess I have no hopes of
obtaining so much. The money is not to be had. Cash is not infinite in
this country. Their profits by trade have been ruined for two or three
years; and there are loans open for France, Spain, England, Russia,
Sweden, Denmark, and several other powers as well as their own
national, provincial, and collegiate loans. The undertakers are
already loaded with burthens greater than they can bear, and all the
brokers in the Republic are so engaged, that there is scarcely a ducat
to be lent, but what is promised. This is the true cause why we shall
not succeed; yet they will seek a hundred other pretences. It is
considered such an honor and such an introduction to American trade to
be the house, that the eagerness to obtain the title of American
banker, is prodigious. Various houses have pretensions, which they set
up very high; and let me choose which I will, I am sure of a cry and
clamor. I have taken some measures to endeavor to calm the heat, and
give general satisfaction, but have as yet small hopes of success. I
would strike with any house that would ensure the money, but none will
undertake it, now it is offered, although several were very ready to
affirm that they could, when it began to be talked of. Upon inquiry,
they do not find the money easy to obtain, which I could have told
them before. It is to me, personally, indifferent which is the house,
and the only question is, which will be able to do best for the
interests of the United States. This question, however simple, is not
easy to answer. But I think it clear, after very painful and laborious
inquiries for a year and a half, that no house whatever will be able
to do much. Enthusiasm, at some time and in some countries, may do a
great deal; but there has as yet been no enthusiasm in this country
for America, strong enough to untie many purses. Another year if the
war should continue, perhaps we may do better.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            The Hague, May 16th, 1782.


On the 12th of this month, I removed into the _Hôtel des Etats-Unis de
l'Amérique_, situated upon the canal, called the Fleweele Burgwal, at
the Hague, where I hope the air will relieve my health in some degree
from that weak state, to which the tainted atmosphere of Amsterdam has
reduced it.

The American cause has gained a signal triumph in this country. It has
not persuaded an ancient rival and an avowed natural hereditary enemy
to take a part against Great Britain; but it has torn from her bosom
an intimate affectionate friend, and a faithful ally, of a hundred
years continuance. It has not persuaded an absolute monarchy to follow
the dictates of its own glory and interest, and the unanimous wish of
the people, by favoring it; but, availing itself only of the still
small voice of reason, urging general motives and national interests,
without money, without intrigue, without imposing pomp, or more
imposing fame, it has prevailed against the utmost efforts of intrigue
and corruption, against the almost universal inclination of persons in
government, against a formidable band of capitalists and the most
powerful mercantile houses in the Republic, interested in English
funds, and too deeply leagued in English affairs.

Although these obstacles are overcome so far, as to have obtained an
acknowledgment of our independence, yet it is easy to see, that they
are not annihilated, and, therefore, we cannot expect to receive such
cordial and zealous assistance, as we might receive, if the government
and the people had but one heart.

I wish it were in my power to give Congress, upon this occasion,
assurances of a loan of money, but I cannot. I have taken every
measure in my power to accomplish it, but I have met with so many
difficulties, that I almost despair of obtaining anything. I have
found the avidity of friends as great an obstacle as the ill will of
enemies, I can represent my situation in this affair of a loan, by no
other figure than that of a man in the midst of the ocean negotiating
for his life among a shoal of sharks. I am sorry to use expressions,
which must appear severe to you; but the truth demands them.

The title of American banker, for the sake of the distinction of it,
the profit of it, and the introduction to American trade, is solicited
with an eagerness beyond description. In order to obtain it, a house
will give out great words, and boast of what it can do; but not one
will contract to furnish any considerable sum of money; and I
certainly know, let them deceive themselves as they will, and deceive
as many others as they may by their confident affirmations, that none
of them can obtain any considerable sum. The factions that are raised
here about it between the French interest, the Republican interest,
the Stadtholderian interests, and the Anglomane interest, have been
conducted with an indecent ardor, thwarting, contradicting,
calumniating each other, until it is easy to foresee the effect will
be to prevent us from obtaining even the small sums, that otherwise
might have been found. But the true and decisive secret is, there is
very little money to be had. The profits of their trade have been
annihilated by the English for several years. There is, therefore, no
money but the interest of their capitalists, and all this is promised
for months and years beforehand, to book-keepers, brokers, and
undertakers, who have in hand loans open for France, Spain, England,
Russia, Sweden, Denmark, for the States-General, the States of
Holland, the States of Friesland, the East and West India Companies,
&c. &c. &c.

But the circumstance, which will be fatal to my hopes at this time, is
this; there is just now unexpectedly opened a loan of nine millions
for the India Company, under the warranty of the States, in which they
have raised the interest one per cent above the ordinary rate. I had
obtained an agreement of the undertakers for two millions; but before
it was completed, this loan appeared, which frightened the
undertakers, so as to induce them to fly off. I must, therefore,
entreat Congress to make no dependence upon me for money.

There is one subject more, upon which I beg leave to submit a few
hints to Congress. It is that of M. Dumas, whose character is so well
known to Congress, that I need say nothing of it. He is a man of
letters, and of good character; but he is not rich, and his allowance
is too small at present for him to live with decency. He has been so
long known here to have been in American affairs, although in no
public character, that I know of, but that of an agent or
correspondent appointed by Dr Franklin, or perhaps by a committee of
Congress, that, now our character is acknowledged, it will have an ill
effect, if M. Dumas remains in the situation he has been in. To
prevent it, in some measure, I have taken him and his family into
this house; but I think it is the interest and duty of America, to
send him a commission as Secretary to this Legation, and Chargé des
Affaires, with a salary of five hundred a year sterling, while a
Minister is here, and at the rate of a thousand a year, while there is

There is another gentleman, whose indefatigable application to the
affairs of the United States, and whose faithful friendship for me in
sickness and in health, demand of me, by the strongest claims of
justice and of gratitude, that I should mention him to Congress, and
recommend him to their favor. This gentleman is Mr Thaxter, whose
merit, in my opinion, is greater than I dare express.

Edmund Jennings, of Brussels, has honored me with his correspondence,
and been often serviceable to the United States, as well as friendly
to me. His manners and disposition are very amiable, and his talents
equal to any service, and I cannot but wish that it might be agreeable
to the views of Congress to give him some mark of their esteem.

How shall I mention another gentleman, whose name, perhaps, Congress
never heard, but who, in my opinion, has done more decided and
essential service to the American cause and reputation within these
last eighteen months, than any other man in Europe.

It is M. A. M. Cerisier, beyond all contradiction one of the greatest
historians and political characters in Europe, author of the _Tableau
de l'Histoire des Provinces Unies des Pays Bas_, of the _Politique
Hollandois_, and many other writings in high esteem. By birth a
Frenchman, educated in the University of Paris, but possessed of the
most genuine principles and sentiments of liberty, and exceedingly
devoted by principle and affection to the American cause. Having read
some of his writings, and heard much of his fame, I sought and
obtained an acquaintance with him, and have furnished him with
intelligence and information in American affairs, and have introduced
him to the acquaintance of all the Americans who have come to this
country, from whom he has picked up a great deal of true information
about our affairs, and, perhaps, some mistakes. His pen has erected a
monument to the American cause, more glorious and more durable than
brass or marble. His writings have been read like oracles, and his
sentiments weekly echoed and re-echoed in gazettes and pamphlets, both
in French and Dutch, for fifteen months. The greatest fault I know in
him, is his too zealous friendship for me, which has led him to
flatter me with expressions which will do him no honor, however
sincerely and disinterestedly they might flow from his heart.

Congress must be very sensible, that I have had no money to lay out in
secret services, to pay pensions, to put into the hands of Continental
agents, or in any other way, to make friends. I have had no money but
my salary, and that has never been paid me without grudging. If I have
friends in Europe, they have not most certainly been made by power,
nor money, nor any species of corruption, nor have they been made by
making promises, or holding out alluring hopes. I have made no
promises, nor am under any obligation, but that of private friendship
and simple civility to any man, having mentioned such as have been my
friends, because they have been friends to the United States, and I
have no other in Europe at least, and recommended them to the
attention of Congress, as having rendered important services to our
country, and able to render still greater. I have done my duty,
whatever effect it may have. If some small part of those many
millions, which have been wasted by the most worthless of men, could
have been applied to the support and encouragement of men of such
great value, it would have been much better. It is high time; it is
more than time, that a proper discernment of spirits and distinction
of characters were made; that virtue should be more clearly
distinguished from vice, wisdom from folly, ability from imbecility,
and real merit from proud imposing impudence, which, while it pretends
to do everything, does nothing but mischief.

The treaty of commerce is under consideration, and will not, that I
foresee, meet with any obstacle.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                          Philadelphia, May 22d, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

It is so important to let you know that the late change in the British
Ministry, and the conciliatory measures they propose, have occasioned
no alteration in the sentiments of the people here; that though I am
too much hurried (this conveyance going sooner than was intended) to
take particular notice of the letters we have received from you, and
which remain unanswered, yet I cannot but avail myself of it to inform
you, that it will not have the least effect upon the sentiments or
wishes of our people, who remain invariably attached to their
independence, and to the alliance, as the best means to obtain it.

Sir Guy Carleton has written to General Washington a very polite
letter, complaining of the manner in which the war has been carried
on, proposing to conduct it in future upon more liberal principles,
and observing, that "they were both equally concerned to preserve the
character of Englishmen;" and concluding with the request of a
passport for Mr Morgan, his Secretary, to carry a similar letter of
compliment to Congress. Congress have directed that no such passport
be given. The State of Maryland, whose legislature happened to be
sitting, have come to resolutions, which show their determination not
to permit any negotiation except through Congress; and their sense of
the importance of the alliance.

No military operations are carrying on at present. The enemy, having
received no reinforcements, and growing weaker every day, of course
afford us a fine opportunity of striking to advantage, if we are not
disappointed in our expectations of a naval armament, or even without
such armament, if we have sufficient vigor of mind to rely on our own

I commit the enclosed for Mr Dana to your care; I wish it could get to
him, if possible, without inspection.

Congress have determined in future to pay your salaries here
quarterly. I shall consider myself as your agent, unless you should
choose to appoint some other, and make out your account quarterly, and
vest the money in bills upon Dr Franklin, to whom I will remit them,
giving you advice thereof, so that you may draw on him. By the next
vessel I shall send bills for one quarter, commencing the 1st of
January last. I wish to have a statement of your account previous to
that, so that I may get it settled, and remit the balance.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                         Philadelphia, May 29th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

It is with equal surprise and concern that I find not the least
attention paid to the several letters I have written you, since I have
had the honor to be in office. I attribute this to their not having
reached you, till I saw an extract of a letter written to M. Dumas,
that went by the same conveyance with one to you, published in the
_Courier de l'Europe_, from which circumstance I conclude it must have
been received. It would give me pleasure to learn that I had been
deceived in this particular, because the punctuality, with which your
correspondence with Congress had hitherto been maintained, would
otherwise lead me to conclude, that you were not satisfied with the
present arrangement of the Department of Foreign Affairs, a reflection
which would be painful to me in proportion to the value I put upon
your esteem.

I have seen your letter of the 26th of March to Dr Franklin, in which
you speak of the application you have had on the score of your power
to treat of a truce; this, together with similar applications to Dr
Franklin, and the proposals made at the Court of Versailles, convinces
me that it is their wish to endeavor to detach us from each other.
What an insult it is to our intellect to suppose, that we can be
catched by this cabinet system of politics. I entertain hopes that
your answer, together with that of the Count de Vergennes, will teach
them to think more honorably of us. Our expectations with respect to
the success of your mission are considerably raised, as well by your
letter as by other circumstances, that we have learned through
different channels; by this time I hope you are in full possession of
your diplomatic rights.

I wrote to you three days ago; since which we have nothing that
deserves your attention, except what you will learn by reading the
enclosed to Mr Dana, sent you under a flying seal. It may be well to
take notice of this affair in the Leyden Gazette, as I doubt not if
Asgill is executed, that it will make some noise in Europe. We are
distracted here by various relations of a battle fought between the
fleets in the West Indies, on the 12th of April. The Antigua and New
York account is, that the British have been victorious, that the Ville
de Paris, and six other ships, were taken or destroyed; the French
account is, that Rodney was defeated, and that Count de Grasse had
gone to leeward with his transports. Though it is six weeks since the
action, we have nothing that can be depended upon.

I am, Sir, with great respect, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                         Philadelphia, May 30th, 1782.


After I had written the letter of yesterday, and sent it off, I
received your favors of the 4th, 21st, and 27th of February; and the
10th and 11th of March. The three last I laid before Congress this
morning, that of the 21st I have kept by me, for further
consideration; though I think, upon the whole, as you have submitted
this to my discretion, that I shall lay it also before Congress.

I know they have been solicitous to have some explanations of the
reasons, which induced you to take the step you did. Those you assign
in your letter are very full, and I see nothing in it, which it will
not be proper for you to state to them; and it may remove some
objections, that have been raised to the measure.

I frankly confess to you, that the style of that letter pleases me
better than any other you have written, so far as it goes into
minutiæ, which we ought to exact from all our Ministers, since nothing
short of this can give us a just idea of our foreign politics. As for
a general state of them, it may be got through various channels. But
every word or look of a foreign Minister, or popular leader, may serve
to explain matters, which are otherwise inexplicable.

I am sorry for the difficulty the cypher occasions you. It was one
found in the office, and is very incomplete. I enclose one, that you
will find easy in the practice, and will therefore write with freedom,
directing that your letter be _not_ sunk in case of danger, as many
are lost by that means. Want of time induces me to send you a set of
blanks for Mr Dana, which you will oblige me by having filled up from
yours with some cyphers, and transmitted by a careful hand to him.
This will make one cypher common to all three, which I think will, on
many occasions, be of use to you and Mr Dana.

I am very glad to hear of your proposed removal to the Hague, as it is
the proper stage on which to display your abilities and address. I
cannot hope to get any determination of Congress on the subject of
your purchase, in time to be transmitted by this conveyance. When
another offers, you shall hear from me. Can nothing be done towards
procuring a loan from Holland on account of the public. Ten millions
of livres would set our affairs here on the most respectable footing.

We have received an account from Charleston, of the victory obtained
by Rodney. This is a severe blow, but I hope will come too late to
affect the politics of the United Provinces.

In the United States, it will, I hope, have no other effect than to
urge us to greater exertions, and a reliance upon our own strength,
rather than on foreign aid. You will be pleased to furnish me with the
most minute details of every step, that Britain may take towards a
negotiation for a general or partial peace.

I am, Sir, with great respect,

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Amsterdam, June 9th, 1782.


The Admiralty have reported to their High Mightinesses their remarks
upon the plan of a treaty of commerce, which I had the honor to lay
before them, together with such additions and alterations as they
propose. This report has been taken _ad referendum_ by all the
Provinces, except Overyssel, which has determined to vote as Holland
shall vote, this being the principal maritime Province, and the other

The forms of proceeding according to this constitution, are so
circuitous, that I do not expect this treaty will be finished and
signed in less than three months, though some of the most active
members of the government tell me, they think it may be signed in six
weeks. I have not yet proposed the Treaty of Alliance, because I wait
for the advice of the Duc de la Vauguyon. His advice will not be
wanting in the season for it, for his Excellency is extremely well

I have, after innumerable vexations, agreed with three houses, which
are well esteemed here, to open a loan. The extreme scarcity of money
will render it impossible to succeed to any large amount. I dare not
promise anything, and cannot advise Congress to draw. I shall transmit
the contract, for the ratification of Congress, as soon as it is
finished, and then I hope to be able to say at what time, and for how
much Congress may draw.

The nation is now very well fixed in its system, and will not make a
separate peace. England is so giddy with Rodney's late success in the
West Indies, that I think she will renounce the idea of peace for the
present. The conduct of Spain is not at all changed. This is much to
be lamented on public account, and indeed on account of the feelings
of my friend, Mr Jay; for I perfectly well know the cruel torment of
such a situation, by experience, and I know too, that he has done as
much, and as well as any man could have done in that situation.

The late President Laurens made me a visit at the Hague last week, in
his way to his family in France. He informed me, that he had written
from Ostend to Dr Franklin, declining to serve in the commission for
peace. I had great pleasure in seeing my old friend perfectly at
liberty, and perfectly just in his political opinions. Neither the air
of England, nor the seducing address of her inhabitants, nor the
terrors of the Tower, have made any change in him.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

_P. S._ I hope Congress will receive a collection of all the
resolutions of the Provinces, and the petitions of the merchants,
manufacturers, &c. respecting the acknowledgment of American
independence, and my reception as Minister Plenipotentiary of the
United States, by their High Mightinesses. I shall transmit duplicates
and triplicates of them as soon as health will permit. But Mr Thaxter
has been ill of a fever, and myself with the influenza, ever since our
removal from Amsterdam to the Hague. This collection of resolutions
and petitions, is well worth printing together in America. It is a
complete refutation of all the speculations of the small half-toryfied
politicians among the Americans, &c. of the malevolent insinuations of
Anglomanes through the world, against the American cause. The
partisans of England, sensible of this, have taken great pains to
prevent an extensive circulation of them.

                                                                 J. A.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, June 14th, 1782.


The Court of Petersburg, is very industrious in its endeavors to
accomplish a separate peace between England and Holland. Her Minister
at Versailles has made an insinuation to the French Court, that her
Majesty would be much obliged to the King, if he would not make any
further opposition to such a separate peace. To this insinuation, the
following wise and firm answer has been given by the Court of France.

"The King is sensibly impressed with the fresh proof of confidence,
which the Empress has given in communicating to him her measures and
ideas respecting a separate peace between England and the
States-General. His Majesty perceives therein the sentiments of
humanity, which actuate her Imperial Majesty, and he takes the
earliest opportunity to answer, with the same degree of freedom, what
particularly concerns him in the verbal insinuations communicated by
Prince Baratinski.

"Faithful to the rule he has established, of never controlling the
conduct of any power, the King has not sought to direct the
deliberations of the States-General, either to incline them to war,
or to prevent them from making a separate peace; England having
unexpectedly attacked the Provinces of the United Netherlands, his
Majesty hastened to prevent the ill consequences by every means in his
power; his services have been gratuitous, his Majesty has never
exacted any acknowledgment on their part. Should the States-General
think that the obligations they owe to his Majesty, as well as the
interest of the Republic, impose it on them as a duty, not to separate
their cause from the King's and his allies, the Empress of Russia is
too wise and too just not to acknowledge, that it is not for his
Majesty to divert them from such a resolution, and that all that he
can do, is to refer to their wisdom, to conclude on what best suits
with their situation.

"The Empress is not ignorant, that circumstances have induced the
States-General to concert operations with the King. His Majesty
flatters himself, that this Princess has no views of prevailing on
them to desist from this arrangement, which necessarily results from
the position of the two powers with respect to England, and which must
naturally contribute to the re-establishment of the general
tranquillity, the object both of her Imperial Majesty's and the
King's wishes."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           The Hague, June 15th, 1782.


This morning I made a visit to the Grand Pensionary, M. Van Bleiswick,
and had a long conference with him concerning the plan of a treaty of
commerce, which is now under consideration, and endeavored to remove
some of his objections, and to explain to him the grounds and reasons
of certain articles, which have been objected to by others;
particularly the article which respects France, and that which
respects Spain. He made light of most of the objections, which had
been started to the plan, and thought it would be easy to agree upon
it; but there must be time for the cities to deliberate.

I asked him, if they did not intend to do us the honor soon, of
sending an Ambassador to Congress, and consuls, at least, to Boston
and Philadelphia? He thought it would be very proper, but said they
had some difficulty in finding a man who was suitable, and, at the
same time, willing to undertake so long a voyage. I asked him, if it
would not be convenient to send a frigate to America to carry the
treaty, their Ambassador, and consuls, all together, when all should
be ready? He said, he could not say whether a frigate could be spared.

"Very well," said I, smiling, and pointing to the Prince's picture, "I
will go and make my Court to his Highness, and pray him to send a
frigate to Philadelphia, with a treaty, an Ambassador, and two
consuls, and to take under her convoy all merchant vessels ready to
go." "Excellent," said he, smiling, "I wish you good luck."

We had a great deal of conversation, too, concerning peace, but as I
regard all this as idle, it is not worth while to repeat it. When a
Minister shall appear at Paris, or elsewhere, with full powers from
the King of England, to treat with the United States of America, I
shall think there is something more than artifice to raise the stocks,
and lay snares for sailors to be caught by press gangs.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                         Philadelphia, July 4th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

By every late advice from Holland, we learn their disposition to enter
into a treaty with us; and though we have no intelligence from you
since the 11th of March, we still presume, that you have, ere this
been received in your public character. No wise government,
constituted as that of the United Provinces is, will venture long to
oppose the wishes of the people. I am very solicitous to know how you
have availed yourself of the opening this has afforded.

If you have been unconditionally received, it will give you more
leisure, to mature the plan of a subsequent treaty, which is too
important in all its consequences to be hurried. If possible, it were
to be wished, that the heads of it, as proposed on either side, could
be sent here and submitted to the judgment of Congress, before
anything was absolutely agreed. The independency, to which each of
the States is entitled, renders great caution in all commercial
engagements, not provided for particularly by the confederation,
absolutely necessary, for which reason, I should prefer definite
articles, to loose expressions of standing on the same ground with the
most favored nations.

Our connexion with the West Indies, renders it proper to lay that
trade as open to us as possible. Great benefit would result both to us
and the Dutch from giving us one or two free ports in such of their
Colonies as raise sugars, where we could exchange the produce of both
countries, and check that monopoly, which other nations will endeavor
to create at our expense. Nothing will encourage the growth of such
colony, or enable it to raise sugars to more advantage than the cheap
and easy rates, at which they would thereby receive the produce of
this country.

I need not urge the propriety of availing yourself of your present
situation to procure a loan. You may easily convince the government of
the validity of the security, which it is in the power of a growing
country, as yet very little incumbered with debt to give. That
security will derive new force from our being a commercial people,
with whom public credit is almost invariably preserved with the most
scrupulous attention. And such is our present situation, that a
twentieth part of what Great Britain expends annually in her attempt
to enslave us, would be more than sufficient to enable us to defeat
all her attempts, and to place our affairs on the most respectable

I see the people of the United Provinces are struck with the
importance of forming a commercial connexion with us, when ours with
Great Britain is dissolved. Not only Congress, as appears by their
public acts, but the whole body of the people, are strongly opposed to
the least intercourse with Britain. This opposition would effectually
prevent it, if in addition thereto three or four large frigates, or
two fifties, could be stationed in the Delaware, or Chesapeake, so as
to protect our commerce against the British frigates from New York. In
such a case, a voyage to this country, and from thence to the Islands,
where our flour and lumber command the highest price, either in money
or produce, affords the fairest prospect to the European merchants of
the most profitable returns. Tobacco and bills offer a more direct
return to those, whose capitals will not permit them to engage in the
circuitous commerce I have mentioned.

This letter is hastily written, as the express that carries it is to
go off this evening, and I have several others to write. I mention
this, that you may not consider anything it contains as an instruction
from Congress, to whom it has not been submitted.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            The Hague, July 5th, 1782.


I have the honor to enclose copies in Dutch and English of the
negotiation, which I have entered into for a loan of money. My
commission for borrowing money, promises to ratify what I should do;
and the money lenders require such a ratification, which Messrs
Willinks, Van Staphorsts and De la Lande and Fynjè, have engaged shall
be transmitted. Authentic copies of the original contracts, in Dutch
and English, are enclosed for the ratification of Congress, which I
must entreat them to transmit forthwith by various opportunities, that
we may be sure of receiving it in time, for I suppose the gentlemen
will not think it safe for them to pay out any considerable sum of the
money, until it arrives.

Although I was obliged to engage with them to open the loan for five
millions of guilders, I do not expect we shall obtain that sum for a
long time. If we get a million and a half by Christmas, it will be
more than I expect. I shall not venture to dispose of any of this
money, except for relief of escaped prisoners, the payment of the
bills heretofore drawn on Mr Laurens, which are every day arriving,
and a few other small and unavoidable demands, but leave it entire to
the disposition of Congress, whom I must entreat not to draw, until
they receive information from the directors of the loan, how much
money they are sure of; and then to draw immediately upon them. These
directors, are three houses, well esteemed in this Republic, Messrs
Wilhem and Jan Willink, Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorsts, and De la
Lande and Fynjè.

I have made the contract, upon as good terms as I could obtain. Five
per cent interest. Two per cent to the House, or rather to the Society
of Houses. Two per cent to the undertakers; and half per cent for
brokerage and other charges. This four and a half per cent, together
with one per cent for receiving and paying off the annual interest, is
to include all the expenses of the loan of every sort. These are as
moderate terms as any loan is done for. France gives at least as much,
and other powers much more.

I must beg that the ratifications of the obligations may be
transmitted immediately by the way of France, as well as Holland, by
several opportunities. The form of ratification must be submitted to
Congress; but would it not be sufficient to certify by the Secretary
in Congress, upon each of the copies enclosed in English and Dutch,
that they had been received and read in Congress, and thereupon
resolved that the original instruments, executed by me before the said
notary, be and hereby are ratified and confirmed?

The form of the obligation is such as was advised by the ablest
lawyers and most experienced notaries, and is conformable to the usage
when loans are made here, for the Seven Provinces. It is adapted to
the taste of this country, and therefore lengthy and formal, but it
signifies no more in substance, than, "that the money being borrowed
must be paid."

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            The Hague, July 5th, 1782.


Soon after my public reception by their High Mightinesses, the body of
merchants of the city of Schiedam, were pleased to send a very
respectable deputation from among their members, to the Hague, to pay
their respects to Congress, and to me, as their representative, with a
very polite invitation to a public entertainment in their city, to be
made upon the occasion. As I had several other invitations from
various places and Provinces about the same time, and had too many
affairs upon my hands to be able to accept of them, I prevailed upon
all to excuse me, for such reasons as ought to be, and, I suppose,
were satisfactory.

The Deputies from Schiedam requested me to transmit from them to
Congress, the enclosed compliment, which, with many other things of a
similar kind, convinced me that there is in this nation a strong
affection for America, and a kind of religious veneration for her just

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


Of the merchants of the town of Schiedam in Holland, to his Excellency
John Adams, after their High Mightinesses the Lords, the
States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, had
acknowledged the freedom and Independency of the United States of
North America, and admitted the said John Adams, as Minister
Plenipotentiary and Envoy of the Congress of the said United States.

"If ever any circumstances were capable of recalling to the minds of
the people of these Provinces, the most lively remembrance of the
cruel situation to which their forefathers found themselves once
reduced, under the oppressive yoke of Spanish tyranny, it was, no
doubt, that terrible and critical moment, when the Colonies of North
America, groaning under the intolerable weight of the chains, with
which the boundless ambition of Great Britain had loaded them, were
forced into a just and lawful war, to recover the use and enjoyment of
that liberty, to which they were entitled by the sacred and
unalienable laws of nature.

"If ever the citizens of this Republic have had an occasion to
remember, with sentiments of the liveliest gratitude, the visible
assistance and protection of a Being, who, after having constantly
supported them during the course of a long, bloody war, which cost
their ancestors eighty years' hard struggles and painful labors,
deigned by the strength of his powerful arm to break the odious
fetters under which we had so long groaned, and who, from that happy
era to the present time, has constantly maintained us in the
possession of our precious liberties; if ever the citizens of these
Provinces have been bound to remember those unspeakable favors of the
Almighty, it was no doubt at that moment when haughty Britain began to
feel the effects of divine indignation, and when the vengeance of
heaven defeated her sanguinary schemes; it was, when, treading under
foot the sacred ties of blood and nature, and meditating the
destruction of her own offspring, her arms were everywhere baffled in
the most terrible and exemplary manner, her troops defeated, and her
armies led into captivity, and at last, that haughty power, humbled by
that heaven, which she had provoked, saw the sceptre, which she had
usurped, fall from her enfeebled hands; and America, shaking off the
cruel yoke, which an unnatural stepmother had endeavored to impose
forever upon her, thanked bounteous heaven for her happy deliverance.

"If ever the inhabitants of this country, and those of this city in
particular, have had a just cause for joy, and good grounds to
conceive the highest hopes of prosperity and happiness, it was
undoubtedly at that so much wished-for moment, when, with a unanimous
voice, the fathers of the country declared the United States of
America to be free and independent, and acknowledged your Excellency
as Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy of the illustrious Congress.

"Impressed with the various sentiments of respect, joy, and gratitude,
with which the unspeakable favors of the Almighty towards both
countries must inspire every feeling and sensible mind; encouraged
besides, by so many happy omens, the subscribers, in behalf of the
merchants and inhabitants of this city, have the honor to congratulate
your Excellency as the Representative of the illustrious American
Congress, and to assure you in the strongest terms, that if any event,
recorded in the annals of our country, is capable of impressing us
with the liveliest joy, and of opening to our minds the happiest
prospect, it is that glorious and ever memorable day, when our august
sovereigns, the Lords States-General of the United Provinces of the
Netherlands, solemnly acknowledged the independence of the United
States of America; a step which, under the pleasure of God, must
become the foundation of an unalterable friendship, and the source of
mutual prosperity to the two Republics, whose union being cemented by
interests henceforth common and inseparable, must forever subsist, and
be constantly and religiously preserved by our latest posterity.

"Allow us then, ye deliverers of America, ye generous defenders of her
infant liberties, to congratulate your illustrious Envoy, and to
express to him the liveliest satisfaction that we feel for an event,
which crowns the wishes of the nation. Accept also of the fervent
prayers, which we address to heaven, beseeching the Almighty to shower
down his blessings on your Republic and her allies.

"Permit us also to recommend to you, in the strongest manner, the
interests of our country, and of this city in particular. Let those of
our citizens who have been the most zealous in promoting the
acknowledgment of your independence, enjoy always a particular share
of your affection.

"That among those who may follow our example, no one may ever succeed
in detracting from the good faith and integrity of Holland, or causing
the sincerity of our efforts to advance our mutual interests to be
suspected, which are founded on the unalterable principles of pure
virtue, and a religion common to both of us.

"Permit us, in fine, that faithful to ourselves, and attentive to
whatever can interest our commerce, the only source of our prosperity,
we may flatter ourselves, that the produce of this flourishing city,
our distilled liquors and other merchandise, may be freely imported to
your States without any hinderance, or without being subjected to
heavy duties; and may the protection, with which you shall honor us
and the privileges that you shall grant us, rivet the bonds of our
mutual friendship, and be to both nations the source of an unceasing

                  *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                         The Hague, August 10th, 1782.


It was with very great pleasure that I received, this morning, your
kind favor of the 2d. I am surprised to learn, that yours and Mr Jay's
health have been disordered in France, where the air is so fine.

That your anxieties have been very great, I doubt not. That most of
them were such as you ought not to have met with, I can easily
conceive. I can sincerely say, that all mine, but my fever, were such
as I ought not to have had. Thank God they are passed, and never shall
return, for nothing that can happen shall ever make me so anxious
again. I have assumed the _felicis animi immota tranquilitas_.

Nothing would give me more satisfaction, than a free conversation
between you and me upon the subjects you mention, and all others
directly or indirectly connected with it, or with any of our affairs;
but I do not see a possibility of taking such a journey. The march of
this people is so slow, that it will be some time before the treaty of
commerce can be finished, and after that I have other orders to
execute, and must be here in person to attend every step. But besides
this, I think I ought not to go to Paris, while there is any messenger
there from England, unless he has full powers to treat with the
Ministers of the United States of America. If the three American
Ministers should appear at Paris, at the same time, with a real or
pretended Minister from London, all the world would instantly conclude
a peace certain, and would fill at once another year's loan for the
English. In Lord Shelburne's sincerity, I have not the smallest
confidence, and I think that we ought to take up Fox's idea, and
insist upon full powers to treat with us in character, before we have
a word more to say upon the subject. They are only amusing us. I would
rather invite you to come here. This country is worth seeing, and you
would lay me under great obligations to take your residence, during
your stay, in the _Hôtel des Etats-Unis_. Many people would be glad to
see you. I should be very glad, however, to be informed, from step to
step, how things proceed.

As you justly observe, further accessions of power to the House of
Bourbon may excite jealousies in some powers of Europe, but who is to
blame but themselves? Why are they so short sighted or so indolent, as
to neglect to acknowledge the United States, and make treaties with
them? Why do they leave the House of Bourbon to content so long and
spend so much? Why do they leave America and Holland under so great
obligations? France has, and ought to have, a great weight with
America and Holland, but other powers might have proportionable
weight if they would have proportional merit.

If the powers of the neutral maritime confederation, would admit the
United States to accede to that treaty, and declare America
independent, they would contribute to prevent America at least from
being too much under the direction of France. But if any powers should
take the part of England, they will compel America and Holland too, to
unite themselves ten times more firmly than ever to the House of

I do not know, however, that America and Holland are too much under
the direction of France, and I do not believe they will be, but they
must be dead to every generous feeling as men, and to every wise view
as statesmen, if they were not much attached to France, in the
circumstances of the times.

I received two letters from you in the spring, one I answered, but
have not the dates at present; the other kindly informed me of the
arrival of my son in America, for which I thank you.

With great regard and esteem, I am, dear Sir, your most obedient, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                         The Hague, August 18th, 1782.


I have the honor to enclose, for the information of Congress, a copy
of Mr Fitzherbert's commission.

The States-General have appointed M. Brantzen their Minister
Plenipotentiary to treat concerning peace, and he will set off for
Paris in about three weeks. His instructions are such as we should
wish. The States of Holland and West Friesland have determined the
last week upon our project of a treaty of commerce, and I expect to
enter into conferences with the States-General this week, in order to
bring it to a conclusion. I hope for the ratification of the contract
for a loan, which has been sent five different ways. Upon the receipt
of this ratification, there will be thirteen or fourteen hundred
thousand guilders ready to be paid to the orders of Congress by Messrs
Wilhem and Jean Willink, Nicholas and Jacob Van Staphorst, and De la
Lande and Fynjè.

The States and the Regencies are taking such measures with the
Stadtholder, by demanding his orders and correspondence about naval
affairs, and by re-assuming their own constitutional rights in the
appointment of officers, &c. as will bring all things right in this
Republic, which we shall find an affectionate and a useful friend. The
communication of the following instructions to me is such a piece of
friendship and such a mark of confidence, as makes it my duty to
request of Congress that it may be kept secret.


_Projected and passed for the Ambassador Lestevenon de Berkenrode, and
M. de Brantzen._

"1. His Most Christian Majesty, having manifested in the most obliging
manner by his Ambassador Extraordinary, the Duc de la Vauguyon, who
resides here, his favorable intention to have an eye to the interests
of the Republic in the negotiation for a general peace, the aforesaid
Ministers will neglect nothing, but, on the contrary, will employ all
their diligence and all their zeal to preserve and fortify more and
more this favorable disposition of his Majesty towards this State.

"2. To this end those gentlemen, in all which concerns the objects of
their commission, or which may have any relation to them, will act in
a communicative manner, and in concert with the Ministry of his said
Majesty, and will make confidential communications of all things with

"3. They will not enter into any negotiation of peace between the
British Court and the Republic, nor have any conferences thereupon
with the Ministers of the said Court, before they are assured
beforehand, in the clearest manner, and without any equivocation, that
his British Majesty has in fact, and continues to have, a real
intention to acquiesce, without reserve, that the Republic be in full
possession and indisputable, enjoyment of the rights of the neutral
flag, and of a free navigation, in conformity to, and according to the
tenor of, the points enumerated in the declaration of her Imperial
Majesty of Russia, dated the 28th of February, 1780.

"4. When these gentlemen shall be certain of this, and shall have
received the requisite assurances of it, they shall conduct in such a
manner in the conferences, which shall then be held thereupon with the
Ministers of his Britannic Majesty, as to direct things to such an
end, that, in projecting the treaty of peace and friendship between
his said Majesty and the Republic, all the points concerning the free
navigation be adopted word for word, and literally from the said
declaration of her Imperial Majesty, and inserted in the said treaty;
and, moreover, in regard to contraband, (upon the subject of which the
said declaration refers to the treaties of commerce then subsisting
between the respective powers) that they establish henceforward a
limitation, so precise and so distinct, that it may appear most
clearly in future, that all naval stores, (_les munitions ou matières
navales_) be held free merchandises, and may not by any means be
comprehended under the denomination of contraband; as also, that with
regard to the visitation of merchant vessels, they establish the two
following rules as perpetual and immutable, viz; first, that the
masters (_patrons_) of merchant ships shall be discharged upon
exhibiting their documents, from whence their cargoes may be known,
and to which faith ought to be given, without pretending to molest
them by any visitation; secondly, that when merchant ships shall be
convoyed by vessels of war, all faith shall be yielded to the
commanding officers, who shall escort the convoy, when they shall
declare and affirm, upon their word of honor, the nature of their
cargoes, without being able to require of vessels convoyed, any
exhibition of papers, and still less to visit them.

"5. These gentlemen shall insist also, in the strongest manner, and as
upon a condition _sine qua non_, upon this, that all the possessions
conquered from the Republic by the ships of war or privateers of his
British Majesty, or by the arms of the English East India Company
during the course of this war, or which may be further conquered from
it before the conclusion of the peace, be restored to it, under the
eventual obligation of reciprocity; and this, as far as possible, in
the same state in which they were at the time of the invasion. And,
whereas the greatest part of these possessions have been retaken from
the common enemy, by the arms of His Most Christian Majesty, these
gentlemen will insist in the strongest manner, with his Majesty and
his Ministry, that, by the promise of restitution of these possessions
to the State, immediately after the conclusion of the peace, the
Republic may receive real proofs of the benevolence and of the
affection, which his Majesty has so often testified for it.

"6. These gentlemen will insist also, in the strongest manner, upon
the just indemnification for all the losses unjustly caused by Great
Britain, to the State and to its inhabitants, both in Europe and

"7. In the affairs concerning the interest of the Company of the East
Indies of this country, these gentlemen ought to demand and receive
the considerations of the commissaries, who are now at Paris on the
part of the Company, and act in concert with them in relation to these

"8. In all respects, these gentlemen will hold a good correspondence
with the Ministers of the other belligerent powers; and it is very
specially enjoined upon them, and recommended, to direct things to
this, that in the said negotiations, there be given no room to be able
to conclude or resolve either treaty or cessation of hostilities, if
it be not with the common and simultaneous concurrence of all the
belligerent powers.

"9. Finally, and in general, these gentlemen, during the course of all
this negotiation, will have always before their eyes, that the
conferences at Paris, at least for the present, ought to be looked
upon but as preparatory and preliminary; and that the decision of
points, which may remain in litigation, ought to be reserved to a
general Congress, together with the final adjustment of the definitive
treaty of peace; the whole, at least, until their High Mightinesses,
further informed of the success of these negotiations, and of the
inclination of the belligerent powers, shall find good to qualify
these gentlemen for the final and peremptory conclusion of a treaty."

These instructions will show Congress, in a clear light, the
disposition of this Republic to be as favorable for us and our allies
as we could wish it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                          The Hague, August 22d, 1782.


Their High Mightinesses have at length received their instructions
from all the Provinces, and I have this day been in conference with
the Grand Committee, who communicated to me the remarks and
propositions on their part. To this, I shall very soon give my
replication, and I hope the affair will be soon ended.

I was received in State by two of the Lords at the head of the stairs,
and by them conducted into the committee room, where the business is
transacted. The committee consisted of one or more Deputies from each
Province, together with the Grand Pensionary, Bleiswick, and the
Secretary Fagel.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                      Philadelphia, August 29th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

Near five months have elapsed, since I have been favored with a line
from you. Your letter of the 4th of March, is the last that has as yet
found its way to America.

Let me entreat you, Sir, to reflect on the disgrace and discredit it
brings upon this department, to be kept thus in the dark relative to
matters of the utmost moment, and how impossible it is, without better
information, to declare the designs or wishes of Congress, since they
must be in some measure directed by the state of their affairs in
Europe; and, yet, Sir, they have hitherto been left, in a great
measure, to collect that state from private letters, common
newspapers, or the communications of the Minister of France.

There is another circumstance, in which the reputation of our
Ministers themselves, is materially concerned. Letters, announcing a
fact, that is well known before their arrival, lose half their force
and beauty. They cease to be interesting, and are read with
indifference. You have done yourself great injustice frequently in
this way, for though your letters have generally been particular, yet,
from not being sufficiently attentive to the means of conveyance, we
frequently have had the facts they related, published in the
newspapers a month before their arrival. As one instance out of many,
we received with your letter of the 11th of March, Amsterdam papers of
the 30th, which informed us of the determination of Holland relative
to your reception. We are told that you were received in your public
character the 19th of April, and yet, Sir, we have not to this hour
had any official information on that head. I am ready to make every
allowance for the miscarriage of letters; but this should only urge
our Ministers to multiply the number of their copies, particularly
where the subject of them is important. I feel myself so hurt at this
neglect, Congress are so justly dissatisfied at seeing vessels arrive
every day from France without public letters at this very critical
period, from any of our Ministers, that I fear I have pressed the
subject further than I ought to have done. If so, be pleased to
pardon my earnestness, and to impute it to my wish, as well to render
this office more useful to the public, as to enable you to give
Congress more ample satisfaction.

The advantages, which will be derived to these States from the
acknowledgment of their political existence, as an independent nation,
are too many and too obvious, not to be immediately and sensibly felt
by them. I sincerely congratulate you on having been the happy means
of effecting this beneficial connexion. We may reasonably hope, that
your official letters will detail the progress of so interesting an
event, and thereby enable us to form some judgment of the nature and
principles of the government of the United Provinces. From the zeal
they manifest to us, I should hope, that you would find no great
difficulty in the accomplishing of one great object of your mission,
the procuring a loan, which neither the probability or the conclusion
of a peace will render unnecessary. On the contrary, I am inclined to
believe, that our wants will be more pressing at the close of the war,
when our troops are to be paid and disbanded, than at any other
period; and as it seems to have been your sentiment hitherto, that
money could be procured when our political character was fully known,
I venture to hope, that you have availed yourself of your present
situation to obtain it.

General Carleton and Admiral Digby, presuming, I suppose, that our
Ministers were not the most punctual correspondents, have been pleased
to inform us, through the commander-in-chief, that negotiations for a
general peace are on foot. If so, I presume this will find you in
France. In addition to the great objects, which will become the
subjects of discussion, and on which you are fully instructed, I
could wish again to repeat one, that I have mentioned in my last to
you, which materially interests us. I mean the procuring a market for
lumber and provisions of every kind in the West Indies. Should France
pursue her usual system with respect to her Colonies, and England
follow her example, the shock will be severely felt here, particularly
in the States, whose staples are flour, beef and pork. But should
either of them be so fully apprised of their true interest as to set
open this market, at least for these articles, the advantage, they
will derive from it must compel the others to adopt the same system.

I need only mention this matter to you. The arguments to show the
mutual advantage of this commerce to this country, the Colonies and
the parent States will suggest themselves readily to you, and be
suggested by you to those we are interested in convincing. The turtle
and fruit of the Bahama Islands have formed powerful connexions among
the good eaters and drinkers of this country. I recommend their
interests to your care. They flatter themselves their friends, the
Spaniards, will not interrupt their ancient alliance, if these islands
should remain in their hands.

I have already transmitted you an account of the evacuation of
Savannah. The enclosed papers contain a proclamation of General Scott,
announcing that of Charleston, and generously offering to provide for
the transportation of the royalists to East Florida, where the climate
will doubtless aid administration, in the proposed reduction of the
list of pensioners. The fleet under the Marquis de Vaudreuil has
unfortunately lost a seventy four, by striking a rock in the harbor of
Boston. Congress have endeavored to compensate this loss, by
presenting His Most Christian Majesty with the America.

I have caused two quarters' salary to be remitted to Dr Franklin on
your account, for which you will be so obliging as to send me your
receipt. I must again press you to appoint an agent to receive your
money here, as I act without any authority at present, which I must
decline the hazard of doing in future.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       The Hague, September 4th, 1782.


Your triplicate of the 5th of March, No 5, triplicate of the 22d of
May, No. 6, duplicate of the 29th of May, No. 7, and duplicate of May
the 30th, No. 8, together with the despatches for Mr Dana, came to
hand yesterday.

The judicious inquiries in that of the 5th of March, are chiefly
answered by the enclosed pamphlet, which I have caused to be printed,
in order to be sent into England, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as
America. You will find most of your questions answered by great bodies
of merchants, manufacturers, and others, in the first instance, and by
the States of the several separate Provinces in the next place, and
lastly by their High Mightinesses.

I wish the truth would warrant a more satisfactory account of the
ships prepared, and preparing for sea. Those prepared are employed by
concert with France, in the North Sea, where they make a useful
diversion, having lately obliged Lord Howe to detach a considerable
number of ships, and the last accounts say, to go himself with
fourteen ships of the line, in order to protect their trade from the
Baltic, which has certainly retarded, possibly wholly prevented, the
relief of Gibraltar. This, however, is not certain. I cannot assure
Congress of more than twelve Dutch ships of the line, ready for sea.
Some of that number are not in a good condition; not more than two or
three can be depended on to be added, in the course of this season.

As to the leading members of the Great Council, we must distinguish
between the Assembly of the Deputies of the States-General, and the
Assembly of the Deputies of Holland and West Friesland. The Grand
Pensionary of Holland, who is always a member of the Assembly of their
High Mightinesses, is constitutionally the most leading member. M. Van
Bleiswick is the present Grand Pensionary. With him I have frequent
conferences, and they have always been agreeable; but the situation of
this Minister is at present extremely critical and embarrassing. In
former times, when there was no Stadtholder, or at least when his
authority was less extensive, the Grand Pensionaries of Holland have
been in effect Stadtholders. They have been a centre of union for all
the Provinces; but being more immediately connected with, and
dependent on, the Province of Holland, they have been suspected by the
other Provinces to give too much weight to that, which has caused them
to attach themselves to the Stadtholders, as a more impartial support
to the whole States.

To speak candidly, a competition between these two great interests and
these two high offices, seems to have been the cause of the violent
storms in this country; but as the Stadtholders have had the military
power by sea and land at their disposal, and by the pomp and splendor
of a Court, have had the means of imposing more upon the nation, they
have by decrees prevailed. At critical, dangerous times, tragical
scenes have been exhibited, and Barnevelt's head was struck off at one
time, Grotius escaped by a kind of miracle, and the De Witts were torn
in pieces, it is scarcely too bold to say by the open or secret
commands, or connivance of the Stadtholders. The Stadtholder's power,
since 1758, until this year, has been so augmented, and the Grand
Pensionary's so diminished, that M. Van Bleiswick is to be pitied.
More is expected of him than he can perform. He is between two fires.
The Stadtholderian party on the one side, and the Republican on the
other. The consequence is, that he manages both as well as he can; is
extremely cautious and reserved, never explains himself, but in cases
of absolute necessity, and never attempts to assume the lead. If he
were to attempt to act the part of some former Grand Pensionaries, the
consequence would be, either he would not be supported, and would
perish like Barnevelt, or De Witt, or being supported, the
Stadtholdership must give way, and the Prince fly to his estates, in
Germany. M. Van Bleiswick is a great scholar, linguist, natural
philosopher, mathematician, and even physician; has great experience
in public affairs, and is able and adroit enough in the conduct of
them; but not having a temper bold and firm enough, or perhaps loving
his ease too much, or not having ambition, or patriotism, or zeal, or
health enough, to assume a great and decided conduct, he is fallen in
his reputation. They suspect him of duplicity, and in short, measures
are prepared and brought into the States of Holland without his
consent, or previous knowledge, and there carried; a thing unknown
until these days.

Another great officer of state, who constitutionally has influence in
the Assembly of their High Mightinesses, is the Secretary M. Fagel.
This gentleman is of a family, which has ever been zealously attached
to the Stadtholder, and consequently to England, and strongly
prejudiced against France. His ancestor was made Grand Pensionary, in
place of the murdered and immortal De Witt; and from that time to
this, the family have been invariably friends to the Princes of
Orange, and to England, and enemies to France. The present Secretary
does not belie his lineage. He is supposed to be the least satisfied
with the new conventions with us and with France, of any man. I have
had several conferences with him. He is a venerable man of seventy, is
polite, and has always been complaisant enough to me; but Congress
will easily see, from this sketch of his character, that he is not the
man for me to be intimate with. There is a new President of their High
Mightinesses every week. I have had conferences with several, M.
Ijassens, M. Van Citters, M. Boreel, M. Van den Sandheuvel, and the
Baron Lynden de Hemmen; but this continual variation prevents any one
from acquiring esteem and weight from the office; so that they are to
be considered only as common members of the Assembly.

There is a nobleman, the Baron de Lynden, who belongs to the Province
of Zealand, and who was formerly Ambassador in Sweden, and afterwards
appointed to Vienna, but refused to go. I have had the pleasure of a
great deal of conversation with him, and his advice has been useful to
me. He is a sensible and worthy man, and his sentiments are very just.
He has been now for some months in Zealand, and the world has seen
several striking effects of his presence in that Province. He is much
in opposition to the Duke of Brunswick, and consequently to the Court,
to whose cause this nobleman's rank, former offices, and connexions,
have done much damage. There are several other members of the Assembly
of their High Mightinesses, that I have some acquaintance with, the
Baron Van Schwartenbourg, M. Kuffeler of Friesland, M. Brantzen of
Guelderland, and others, whom it is not necessary to name at present.
But Holland, being full half the nation, the Assembly of that Province
gives always, sooner or later, the tone to the whole. The Pensionaries
of the cities are the principal speakers, and most active members of
this Assembly, for which reason I have cultivated the acquaintance of
these gentlemen, and will continue to do so more and more. There are
three among them, with whom I have been the most conversant, M.
Gyzelaer of Dort, M. Visscher of Amsterdam, and M. Van Zeeberg, of

M. Gyzelaer is a young gentleman of about thirty; but of a genius and
activity, a candor and prudence, which, if his health is not too
delicate, must make him the man of the first consideration in this
Republic. I am happy in a friendly and familiar acquaintance with him,
and shall certainly continue it, because his abilities and integrity,
his industry, his great and growing popularity, and his influence in
the Assembly of the States of Holland, as well as in all the provinces
and cities, will render him an important man, in spite of all the
opposition of the Court.

Nevertheless, although I cultivate the friendship of the patriots, I
shall not give offence to the Court. The friendship of this Court we
never had, and never shall have, until we have that of England. This
gentleman's friendship has already been of vast service to the cause
of Congress as well as to me, and will continue to be so. There is no
intelligence in a political line, which I ought to know, but what I
can easily obtain in this way. To detail the conversations, would be
to relate all the measures taken or proposed, relative to the
negotiations for a separate peace, to the concert with France, the
general peace, &c. as well as from step to step, the advancement to
the acknowledgment of our independence. There are some of these
conversations, which ought never to be put on paper, until the
measures and events, which are the fruit of them, have taken place.

M. Visscher is a respectable character, an amiable man, and steady in
the good system. With him also, I have been invariably upon good
terms; but I cannot but lament the absence of M. Van Berckel, an
excellent character, of solid judgment, sound learning, great
experience, delicate honor, untainted virtue, and steady firmness,
sacrificed to the most frivolous whimsies, and miserable intrigues of
private pique, the jealousy and envy of weak, I cannot here add wicked
old age, and individual ambition. Van Berckel and Visscher together
would be noble Ministers for Amsterdam; but the elder of the "_Par
nobile fratrum_" is wanting.

M. Van Zeeberg is another excellent character; of great reputation as
a lawyer, a man of integrity, and a patriot, with whom I have been,
and am, upon the best terms. It is odd enough, that most of these
Pensionaries have been deacons of the English church in this place, Dr
Mc Lane's. _En passant_, young lawyers seek an election to be deacons
in the churches, as a first step to advancement in their profession,
as well as in the State. M. Van Berckel, M. Van Zeeberg and others,
have been deacons of this church, yet neither speaks English; nor is
any of them less an enemy to England for having passed through this
stage in their career of life, and I shall be the more so, for hearing
once a week, an admirable _moral_ lecture in the English language,
from one of the best preachers in Europe.

I hope this will be sufficient at present as a sample of sketches of
characters that you demand of me, among the leading members of the
Assembly. I might mention several Burgomasters, as M. Hooft, of
Amsterdam, Van Berckel, of Rotterdam, &c. &c. &c.; but I must not give
too much at once.

You inquire whether there is no intercourse between the French
Ambassador and me? I answer, there is a constant, uninterrupted
harmony and familiarity between the Duc de la Vauguyon and his family,
and me. I visit him, and he visits me. I dine with him, and he and his
family dine with me as often as you can wish; and he is ever ready to
enter into conversation and consultation with me upon public affairs.
He is an amiable man, whom I esteem very much. He is able, attentive,
and vigilant, as a Minister; but he has been under infinite
obligations to the United States of America and her Minister, for the
success he has had in this country. Nothing on this earth but the
American cause, could ever have prevented this Republic from joining
England in the war, and nothing but the memorial of the 19th of April,
1781, and the other innumerable measures taken in consequence of it by
the same hand, could ever have prevented this Republic from making a
separate peace with England. The American cause and Minister have done
more to introduce a familiarity between the French Ambassador and
some leading men here, than any other thing could; and if anybody
denies it, it must be owing to ignorance or ingratitude. It is at the
same time true, and I acknowledge it with pleasure and gratitude, that
our cause could not have succeeded here without the aid of France. Her
aid in the East Indies, West Indies, and upon the barrier frontiers,
her general benevolence, and concert of operations, as well as the
favorable and friendly exertions of her Ambassador, after the decisive
steps taken by me, contributed essentially to the accomplishment of
the work. I have an opportunity of meeting at his house, too, almost
as often as I desire, the other foreign Ministers; but of this more

You desire also to know the popular leaders I have formed acquaintance
with. The two noblemen, the Baron Van der Capellan de Pall, of
Overyssel, and the Baron Van der Capellan de Marsch, of Guelderland, I
have formed an acquaintance with; the former, very early after my
first arrival. I have had frequent and intimate conversations with
him, and he has been of the utmost service to our cause. His unhappy
situation, and unjust expulsion from his seat in government, the
opposition of the Court, and of his colleagues in the Regency, make it
delicate to write freely concerning this nobleman. He has an
independent fortune, though not called rich in this country. His parts
and learning are equal to any, his zeal and activity superior. I dare
not say in what a multitude of ways he has served us; posterity will,
perhaps, know them all.

Two years ago, upon my first arrival at Amsterdam, I fell acquainted,
at M. Van Staphorst's, with M. Calkoen, the first gentleman of the
bar, at Amsterdam; a man of letters, well read in law and history,
and an elegant writer. He desired to be informed of American affairs.
I gave him a collection of our constitutions, and a number of
pamphlets and papers, and desired him to commit to writing his
questions. In a few days, he sent me thirty questions in Dutch, which
show him to be a man of profound reflection and sagacity. I got them
translated, and determined to seize the opportunity to turn his
attention to our affairs, and gain his confidence. I wrote him a
distinct letter upon each question, and endeavored to give him as
comprehensive an insight into our affairs as I could.[8] He was much
pleased with the answers, and composed out of them a comparison
between the American and Batavian Revolutions, which he read with
applause to a society of forty gentlemen of letters, who meet in a
club at Amsterdam. I lent him Burgoyne's and Howe's pamphlets in
vindication of themselves, which he communicated also. By this means,
this society, whose influence must be very extensive, were made hearty
converts to the opinion of the impracticability of a British conquest,
and the certainty of American success; points very dubious in the
minds of this nation in general, when I first came here, as I can
easily prove. With this gentleman, I have ever preserved an agreeable
acquaintance. It was he who drew up the petition of the merchants of
Amsterdam in favor of American independence.

About the time of presenting my memorial, I became acquainted with
another lawyer at the Hague, M. Van Zoon, who has been also from time
to time active in our favor, and drew up the petitions of Rotterdam.

The gazetteers of this country are not mere printers, they are men of
letters; and as these vehicles have a vast influence in forming the
public opinion, they were not to be neglected by me, whose only hopes
lay in the public opinion, to resist the torrent of a court and
government. I therefore became naturally acquainted with the family of
the Luzacs, in Leyden, whose gazette has been very useful to our
cause, and who are excellent people. M. John Luzac, drew up the two
petitions of Leyden to their Regency.

At Amsterdam, my acquaintance with M. Cerisier enabled me to render
the _Politique Hollandais_, and the French Gazette of Amsterdam,
useful on many occasions; and by means of one friend and another,
particularly M. Dumas, I have been able to communicate anything that
was proper to the public, by means of the Dutch gazettes of Amsterdam,
Haerlem, and Delft. By means of these secret connexions with printers
and writers, I have had an opportunity to cause to be translated and
printed, many English pamphlets tending to elucidate our affairs,
particularly those valuable documents of Howe and Burgoyne, than which
nothing has contributed more to fortify our cause. They are considered
as the decisive testimonies of unwilling witnesses and cruel enemies.
With these persons, and others whom I could not have conversations
with, I have had correspondence as frequent as my time would allow.

At Amsterdam, I was acquainted with several mercantile houses, M. de
Neufville & Son, M. Crommelin & Sons, Messieurs Van Staphorsts, De la
Lande & Fynjè, Madame Chabanel & Son & Nephew, M. Hodshon, M. Van Arp,
M. Teagler, and several others, who, in their several ways, were
useful to our affairs.

I come now to the most difficult task of all, the description of the
foreign Ministers. The Minister of the Emperor is ninety years of age,
and never appears at Court, or anywhere else. I have never seen him or
his secretary. The Ministers from Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal,
Sardinia, and Liege, I see every week at Court, where I sup regularly
when the others do, though it is very visible that I am not the guest
the most favored by the Prince. I dine with them all, sometimes at the
French Ambassador's and Spanish Minister's, but have not dined at any
of their houses, nor they at mine. Not one of them would dare to give
or receive an invitation, except France, Spain, and Liege. The
Minister from Sweden, the Baron d'Ehrenswerd, is lately removed to
Berlin, to my great regret, as he appeared to me a very good
character, and behaved very civilly to me several times when I met him
at Court and at the French Ambassador's. The Secretary of Legation
does the business, now M. Van Arp, who appears to be a worthy man, and
is not afraid to converse with me. The Minister from Prussia, M. de
Thulemeyer, is very civil, attacks me, (as he expresses it) in
English, and wishes to meet me on horseback, being both great riders;
will converse freely with me upon astronomy, or natural history, or
any mere common affairs; will talk of news, battles, sieges, &c.; but
these personages are very reserved in politics and negotiations. They
must wait for instructions.

M. de St Saphorin, the Envoy from Denmark, is a personage of very odd
behavior; a Swiss by birth, but an open and not very discreet advocate
for England. It should be observed, that the Queen Dowager of Denmark,
is sister to the Duc Louis de Brunswick; and as the King is not a
distinguished character among crowned heads, she is supposed to have
much influence at Court, and the Minister here may be complaisant to
her. But neither that power nor its Minister is able to do more than
influence a gazette or two, to publish some very injudicious
speculations. I am not the only foreign Minister that converses or
corresponds with gazetteers; though it at least is certain, that I
never give them money. I hope I am not singular in this. This
gentleman has been much with another since his arrival, M. Markow, the
adjoint Minister from Russia, another advocate for the English,
without being able to do them any service. He was never more than a
Secretary of Legation before. He has been here formerly in that
character, and in the partition of Poland. He was preceded here, by
reports of his great talents at negotiations and intrigue, and it was
said, that he had never failed of success; but his residence here has
made no sensation or impression at all. He talks in some companies
indiscreetly in favor of England, but is not much attended to. His
behavior to me, is a distant bow, an affected smile sometimes, and now
and then, a "_Comment vous portez-vous?_" One evening at Court, when
the Northern Epidemy was here, he put me this question after supper,
in great apparent good humor; "_terriblement affligé de l'influença_,"
said I; "_C'est en Angleterre_." says he, laughing, "_qu'on a donné ce
nom, et il ne feroit point du mal, si vous voudriez vous laisser
gagner un peu par l'influence de l'Angleterre_." I had at my tongue's
end to answer, "_C'est assez d'être tourmenté de l'influence qui vient
de Russie!!_ but I reflected very suddenly, if he is indiscreet, I
will not be; so I contented myself to answer, very gravely, "_jamais,
Monsieur, jamais_."

The Prince de Gallitzin, his colleague, is of a different character; a
good man, and thinks justly; but his place is too important to his
family to be hazarded; so he keeps a great reserve, and behaves with
great prudence. Knowing his situation, I have avoided all advances to
him, lest I should embarrass him. The Sardinian Minister is very ready
to enter into conversation at all times; but his Court and system are
wholly out of the present question. The Portuguese Envoy
Extraordinary, D. Joas Theolonico d'Almeida, is a young nobleman
glittering with stars, and, as they say, very rich. He has twice, once
at Court, and once at the Spanish Minister's, entered familiarly into
conversation with me, upon the climates of America and Portugal, and
the commerce that has been, and will be between our countries, and
upon indifferent subjects; but there is no appearance that he is
profoundly versed in political subjects, nor any probability that he
could explain himself, until all the neutral powers do, of whom
Portugal is one.

The Spanish Minister, D. Llano, Count de Sanafée, has at last got over
all his punctilios, and I had the honor to dine with him, in company
with all the foreign Ministers and four or five officers of rank in
the Russian service, on Tuesday last. He and his Secretary had dined
with me some time ago. I shall, therefore, be upon a more free, if not
familiar, footing with him in future. He has indeed been always very
complaisant and friendly, though embarrassed with his punctilios of
etiquette. There is one anecdote, that in justice to myself and my
country I ought not to omit. The first time I ever saw him was at his
house, a day or two after my reception by the States. He sent for me.
I went, and had an hour's conversation with him. He said to me, "Sir,
you have struck the greatest blow of all Europe. It is the greatest
blow that has been struck in the American Cause, and the most
decisive. It is you who have filled this nation with enthusiasm; it is
you who have turned all their heads." Next morning he returned my
visit at my lodgings, for it was before my removal to this house. In
the course of conversation upon the subject of my success here, he
turned to a gentlemen in company, and said to him, "this event is
infinitely honorable to Mr. Adams. It is the greatest blow (_le plus
grand coup_) which could have been struck in all Europe. It is he, who
has filled this nation with enthusiasm; it is he, who has disconcerted
the admirers of England (_Anglomanes_); it is he, who has turned the
heads of the Hollanders. It is not for a compliment to Mr Adams that I
say this, but because I believe it to be his due."

I wish for some other historiographer, but I will not, for fear of the
charge of vanity, omit to record things, which were certainly said
with deliberation, and which prove the sense, which the Ministers of
the House of Bourbon had of the stream of prejudice here against them,
and of the influence of America and her Minister, in turning the tide.

I hope, Sir, that these sketches will satisfy you for the present; if
not, another time I will give you portraits at full length. In the
meantime, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[8] These letters were afterwards printed under the title of
_Twentysix Letters upon Interesting Subjects, respecting the
Revolution in America_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       The Hague, September 6th, 1782.


In your letter of the 5th of March, you ask "whether this power has
entered into any treaty with France since the war, and whether any
such thing is in contemplation?"

They have made no treaty, but a convention concerning recaptures,
which you must have seen in the papers. The East India Company have
concerted operations with France in the East Indies, and the Prince,
by the resolution of the States, has concerted operations in these
European seas for this campaign, and the city of Amsterdam has lately
proposed in the States of Holland, to renew the concert for next year,
and to revive an old treaty of commerce with France. In my letter of
the 18th of August, I have sent you a copy of the instructions to
their Ministers for peace, "not to make peace, truce, or armistice,
but with the simultaneous concurrence of all the belligerent powers,"
among whom the United States of America are certainly one in the sense
and meaning of their High Mightinesses.

You observe, Sir, "that France is interested with us, in procuring a
public acknowledgment of our independence." You desire me to write
freely, and my own disposition inclines me to do so. This is a
delicate subject, and requires to be cautiously handled. Political
jealousy is very different from a suspicious temper. We should
contemplate the vices naturally allied to the greatest virtues. We
should consider the fevers that lie near a high state of health. We
should consider the maxim that is laid down by all the political
writers in the world, and the fact that is found in all histories,
"that in cases of alliance between unequal powers, almost all the
advantages ever did and ever will accrue to the greatest." We should
observe in the Abbé Raynal's history of this revolution, that there is
a party in France that blames the Ministry for putting themselves into
the chains (_fers_) of Congress, and for not keeping us dependent
enough upon them. Is it not natural for them to wish to keep us
dependent upon them, that we might be obliged to accept such terms of
peace as they should think would do for us? If the House of Bourbon
should be suspected by any neutral power to grow too fast in wealth
and force, and be disposed to form a league against it, is it not
natural for it to wish that we may be kept from any connexions with
such powers, and wholly connected with it, so as to be obliged to
engage with it in all its wars.

It is impossible for me to prove, that the delay of Spain to
acknowledge our independence, has been concerted between the French
and Spanish Ministry; but I candidly ask any man, who has attended to
the circumstances of this war, if he has not seen cause to suspect it!
For my own part, I have no doubt of it, and I do not know that we can
justly censure it. I have ten thousand reasons, which convince me that
one Minister at least has not wished that we should form connexions
with Holland, even so soon as we did, or with any power; although he
had no right, and therefore would not appear openly to oppose it. When
I took leave of that Minister to return to America, in the spring of
1779, he desired me expressly to advise Congress to attend to the
affairs of the war, and leave the politics of Europe to them, (_et
laisser la politique à nous_). In 1778 or 1779, when Mr Lee and I
proposed to Dr Franklin to go to Holland, or to consent that one of
us should go, the Doctor would not, but wrote to that Minister upon
it, and received an answer, which he showed me, advising against it;
and when I received my letter of credence here, the Minister here, who
follows the instructions communicated by that Minister, took all
possible pains to persuade me against communicating it; and Dr
Franklin, without reserve in word or writing, has constantly declared,
that Congress were wrong in sending a Minister to Berlin, Vienna,
Tuscany, Spain, Holland, and Petersburg, and Dr Franklin is as good an
index of that Minister's sentiments as I know.

Now I avow myself of a totally opposite system, and think it our
indispensable duty, as it is our undoubted right, to send Ministers to
other Courts, and endeavor to extend our acquaintance, commerce, and
political connexions with all the world, and have pursued this system,
which I took to be also the wish of Congress and the sense of America,
with patience and perseverance against all dangers, reproaches,
misrepresentations, and oppositions, until, I thank God, he has
enabled me to plant the standard of the United States at the Hague,
where it will wave forever.

I am now satisfied, and dread nothing. The connexion with Holland is a
sure stay. Connected with Holland and the House of Bourbon, we have
nothing to fear.

I have entered into this detail, in answer to your inquiry, and the
only use of it I would wish to make is this, to insist upon seeing
with our own eyes, using our own judgment, and acting an independent
part; and it is of the last importance we should do it now thus early,
otherwise we should find it very difficult to do it hereafter. I hope
I have given you my sentiments, as you desired, with freedom, and
that freedom, I hope, will give no offence, either in America or
France, for certainly none is intended.

In your favor of the 22d of May, you direct me to draw upon Dr
Franklin for my salary, and to send my accounts to you. My accounts,
Sir, are very short, and shall be sent as soon as the perplexity of
the treaty is over. As to drawing on Dr Franklin, I presume this was
upon supposition, that we had no money here. There is now near a
million and a half of florins, so that I beg I may be permitted to
receive my salary here.

I have transmitted to Mr Dana your despatches, as desired in yours of
the 29th of May, reserving an extract for publication in the gazettes,
which the French Ambassador is of opinion, as well as others, will
have a great effect in Europe. Your letter is extremely well written,
and M. Dumas has well translated it, so that it will appear to
advantage. Yours of the 30th of May affords me the pleasure of
knowing, that you have received some letters from me this year, and I
am glad you are inclined to lay that of the 21st of February before
Congress. By this time I hope that all objections are removed to the
memorial; but in order to judge of the full effect of that memorial,
three volumes of the _Politique Hollandais_, several volumes of _De
Post Van Neder Rhin_, all the Dutch gazettes for a whole year, and the
petitions of all the cities should be read, for there is not one of
them but what clearly shows the propriety of presenting that memorial,
whose influence and effect, though not sudden, has been amazingly
extensive. Indeed the French Ambassador has often signified to me
lately, and more than once in express words, _Monsieur votre fermeté a
fait un très bon effet ici_.

The cypher was not put up in this duplicate, and I suppose the
original is gone on to Mr Dana in a letter I transmitted him from you
sometime ago, so that I should be obliged to you for another of the
same part.

Rodney's victory came, as you hoped it would, too late to obstruct me.
I was well settled at the Hague, and publicly received by the States
and Prince before we received that melancholy news. If it had arrived
sooner, it might have deranged all our systems, and this nation
possibly might have been now separately at peace, which shows the
importance of watching the time and tide, which there is in the
affairs of men.

You require, Sir, to be furnished with the most minute detail of every
step, that Britain may take towards a negotiation for a general or
partial peace. All the details towards a partial peace, are already
public in the newspapers, and have all been ineffectual. The
States-General are firm against it, as appears by their instructions
to their Ministers. Since the conversations between me and Digges
first, and Mr Laurens afterwards, there has never been any message,
directly or indirectly, by word or writing, from the British Ministry
to me. It was my decided advice, and earnest request by both, that all
messages might be sent to Paris to Dr Franklin and the Count de
Vergennes, and this has been done. Dr Franklin wrote me, that he
should keep me informed of everything that passed by expresses; but I
have had no advice from him since the 2d of June. Your despatches have
all gone the same way, and I have never had a hint of any of them. I
hope that Dr Franklin and Mr Jay have had positive instructions to
consent to no truce or armistice, and to enter into no conferences
with any British Minister, who is not authorised to treat with the
United States of America.

Some weeks ago I agreed with the Duc de la Vauguyon to draw up a
project of a memorial to their High Mightinesses, proposing a triple
or quadruple alliance, according to my instructions to that purpose.
The Duke, in his private capacity, has declared to me often that he is
of opinion, that it would be advisable to make this proposition as
soon as the treaty of commerce is signed; but could not give me any
ministerial advice without consulting the Count de Vergennes. We
agreed that he should transmit the project to the Count. Two days ago,
the Duke called upon me, and informed me, that he had the Count's
answer, which was, that he did not think this the time, because it
would tend to throw obscurity upon the instructions lately given by
the States-General to M. Brantzen, not to make any treaty or
armistice, but simultaneously with all the belligerent powers.

By the tenth article of the Treaty of Alliance, the invitation or
admission is to be made by concert. From my instructions, I supposed,
and suppose still, that the concert was made at Philadelphia, between
Congress and the Chevalier de la Luzerne, by the order of the King,
his master; and my instructions being positive and unconditional to
make the proposition, I shall be somewhat embarrassed. On the one
hand, I would preserve not only a real harmony, but the appearance of
it, between all steps of mine, and the Councils of the French
Ministers. On the other, I would obey my instructions, especially when
they are so fully agreeable to me, at all events. The proposition
would have a good effect in England, in Holland, in France, America,
and in all the neutral countries, as I think, and it could do no
harm, that I can foresee. Nay, further, I am persuaded, that the
French Ministry themselves, if they were to give me their private
opinions, as the Duc de la Vauguyon does, would be glad if I should
make the proposition against their advice.

It is possible, however, that they may secretly choose
(notwithstanding the offer made at Philadelphia) not to be bound in an
alliance with America and Holland. They may think they shall have more
influence with their hands unbound, even to a system that they approve
and mean to pursue. It is amidst all these doublings and windings of
European politics, that American Ministers have to decide and act. The
result is clear in my mind, that although it is proper to be upon good
terms, and be communicative and confidential with the French
Ministers, yet we ought to have opinions, principles, and systems of
our own, and that our Ministers should not be bound to follow their
advice, but when it is consonant to our own; and that Congress should
firmly support their own Ministers against all secret insinuations.
They must see, that a Minister of theirs, who is determined, as he is
bound in honor, to be free and independent, is not in a very
delectable or enviable situation in Europe, as yet.

There is but one alternative. Either Congress should recall all their
Ministers from Europe, and leave all negotiations to the French
Ministry, or they must support their Ministers against all
insinuations. If Congress will see with their own eyes, I can assure
them, without fear of being contradicted, that neither the color,
figure, nor magnitude of objects will always appear to them exactly as
they do to their allies. To send Ministers to Europe, who are supposed
by the people of America to see for themselves, while in effect they
see, or pretend to see nothing, but what appears through the glass of
a French Minister, is to betray the just expectations of that people.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       The Hague, September 7th, 1782.


In answer to your letters, demanding my accounts, I have the honor to
enclose the three numbers, 1, 2, 3.

No 1, is the account of my salary for two years and a half, and the
payment of it by Dr Franklin, in obedience to the orders of Congress,
the whole amounting to £6,250 sterling.[9]

No 2, is the account for the purchase of the _Hôtel des Etats-Unis de
l'Amérique_, which amounts to fifteen thousand two hundred and seven
florins, seven stivers, and eight duits. Over against it I have given
credit for the cash I received of Messrs de Neufvilles' loan, six
thousand six hundred and fifty florins. I have also given credit for
twelve thousand four hundred and twentyeight French livres and five
sols, which I received of M. Lagoanère in Spain. I have been informed,
it was the intention of Congress, that the expenses of their Ministers
to the places of their destination should be borne in addition to
their salaries. The expenses, made by the Continental Navy Board, for
the accommodations of the voyage, were, no doubt, intended to be so,
for which reason I have taken no notice of them in my accounts,
either of the first or second voyage. But whether the expenses of our
horrid journey through Spain come within the intention of Congress or
not, I cannot tell. It was our misfortune to be cast, in a leaky ship,
on the Spanish coast, and to make a very distressing, and very
expensive journey by land to Paris; but whether it is the design of
Congress to allow us this expense or not, I know not, and very
cheerfully submit to their decision. If they should allow it, they
will erase it from this account, No. 2. But in that case they should
erase another article from No. 3.

No. 3. That article is the first; four hundred dollars stolen out of
my chest at Dr Franklin's. After I received my commission from
Congress to borrow money in Holland, Mr Thaxter was obliged to come to
assist me; but as it was not certain I should stay in Holland, it was
not proper to remove my baggage from Paris. Accordingly, I wrote to Dr
Franklin, requesting him to give house-room to my chests, which he was
kind enough to agree to. They were all accordingly carried there; but
while there, some thief broke out the bottom of one of my chests and
carried off four hundred dollars, which I could never hear of. Mr Dana
and Mr Thaxter knew, that the money was there, and Dr Franklin knows
it was stolen; and as this misfortune has happened from my having two
commissions, that called my attention different ways, and from no
fault of mine, I think it is but reasonable I should be allowed it,
provided Congress shall charge me with the whole sum of money received
of M. Lagoanère. If they allow me that sum, I do not desire to be
allowed this four hundred dollars.

The second article in No. 3, is my journey to Paris. As this was an
additional and double expense, arising necessarily from my having two
departments, one for peace, and one for Holland; and as it was a heavy
expense, I submit to Congress the propriety of allowing it.

The other articles in No. 3, are deductions from my salary, which Dr
Franklin wrote me ought to be allowed me by Congress, but he did not
think himself authorised to pay any more than my net salary; so that
all charges must fall upon me; whereas I apprehended the intention of
Congress was, that the net salary should be paid me, and all necessary
charges attending the payment of it, to be borne by the public. I
submit it, however, to their decision.

The other articles, of house rent, stationary, salaries of clerks,
postage of letters, and extra entertainments, are articles, which Dr
Franklin wrote me he had charged to Congress, and since told me, that
Mr Jay was of the same opinion with him and me, that they ought to be.
I have not sent any particular account of these things, and shall not,
until I know the determination of Congress; because it is extremely
difficult for me to make out an account of them. My life has been such
a wandering pilgrimage, that I have not been able to keep any distinct
account of them. They are scattered about in thousands of receipts,
with other things, which will require more time to bring together than
I will spend upon it, until I know the pleasure of Congress. My house
rent has, on an average, cost me more than one hundred and fifty
pounds sterling a year, although mostly I have lived in furnished
lodgings. I have had but one clerk, Mr Thaxter, to whom I hope
Congress will make some compensation for his faithful and industrious
services, in addition to what I have paid him, which has been only
one hundred pounds sterling a year. If Congress will allow this to me,
it may be easily added by them to the account.

The purchase of the house is a very good bargain. If Congress should
pay the house rent of their Ministers, it will be cheaper here than
anywhere, by reason of this purchase; if not, their Minister here may
pay interest of the purchase money for rent, to Congress, as well as
another. But in that case he will live at a cheaper rate than any
other Minister. I have been at a small additional expense for repairs,
which has put the house in order; but as the accounts are not yet
brought in, I cannot exactly tell the sum. When they come in, I shall
draw on the Messrs. Willinks, Van Staphorsts, and de la Lande and
Fynjè, for the money, unless I shall have contrary orders from

I have ever made a large expense for newspapers, for the sake of
public intelligence, and have sent them as often as I could, and in
great numbers, to America. As I ever have, I ever shall send them all
there, and if Congress shall think this a proper charge to the public,
it may be added hereafter.

I have the honor to be, &c.,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[9] The salary allowed the Ministers abroad at that time, was two
thousand five hundred pounds sterling a year.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                   Philadelphia, September 15th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

I have been favored with your letters from the 19th of April to the
5th of July, by the _Heer Adams_. How impatiently they have been
expected, you will be able to judge, by mine of the 29th ult. which
you will receive with this. The events they announce, are considered
of the utmost importance here, and have been directed to be officially
communicated to the different States.

Your loan is approved, and the ratification herewith transmitted. The
resolution, which will accompany this, will be a sufficient spur to
induce you to extend every nerve to get it filled; for if the war
continues, it will be essential to our exertions; if it should
terminate, it will not be less necessary to enable us to discharge our
army; in every view it is necessary. In the present situation of the
States, money can be raised but slowly by taxation. New systems must
be introduced, which cannot without difficulty be adopted in the
hurry, confusion, and distress of a war. They will, however, be
adopted. Congress are constantly employed in discussing the means for
a regular payment of the interest, and the gradual discharge of the
principal of their debt.

The other resolution arises from the difficulty of ascertaining what
are really the funds of the United States in Europe, when more than
one person can dispose of them. I am satisfied this resolution will
meet your approbation, from the rule which you say you have prescribed
to yourself. It will, I dare say, be equally agreeable to our
Ministers to be released from the troublesome task of bankers to the
United States.

You mention the negotiations on the tapis in Paris, but so slightly,
as to leave us in the dark concerning their progress, presuming, (as,
indeed, you might have done, on probable grounds) that we should
receive information on that subject from Dr Franklin, but,
unfortunately, we have learnt nothing from him. I must beg, therefore,
in order to open as many channels of information as possible, that
you would give me, not only the state of your own affairs, but every
other information, which you may receive from our other Ministers, or
through any other authentic channel.

I observe your last memorial, or note, is in French. Would it not be
expedient, and more for our honor, if all our Ministers at every Court
were to speak the language of our own country, which would at least
preserve them from errors, which an equivocal term might lead them
into. I mention this, merely as a hint, which is submitted to your

We are informed that the _Aigle_ and _Gloire_, two frigates from
France, have just entered the Capes, closely pursued by a British ship
of the line, and three frigates. It is strongly apprehended from the
situation in which they were left, that they must either be destroyed,
or fall into the enemy's hands.

Pigot is arrived at New York, with twentysix sail of the line. The
late changes in administration seem to have made such a change here,
that I much doubt whether they will quit us this fall, at least, till
they hear again from England, though they certainly were making every
disposition for it before. I will keep this letter open till I hear
the fate of the frigates, and know whether our despatches by them can
be preserved.

M. Dumas's application is before Congress. They may possibly appoint
him Secretary to the Legation, which I heartily wish they may, as he
certainly has been an assiduous and faithful servant. But there is no
probability of their going further, as they would not choose to
appoint any but an American to so important an office, as that of
_Chargé des Affaires_. Nor will their present system of economy
permit them to make so great an addition to his salary as you mention,
which is much greater than is usually allowed to secretaries, as their
circumstances require it to be less.

_September 18th._ The Aigle, Captain La Fouche, has been driven on
shore, and is lost within the Capes; her despatches, money, and
passengers, have, however, happily been saved. The Gloire, the other
frigate, has arrived at Chester. I find no despatches from you among
the letters that have come to hand; nor anything from Holland, but
duplicates of letters from M. Dumas. Congress yesterday passed the
annexed resolution, which needs no comment.

I am, Sir, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      The Hague, September 17th, 1782.


This morning, I was in conference with M. Fagel, in order to make the
last corrections in the language of the treaty, which is to be
executed in English and Dutch, as that with the Crown of France, was
in English and French. We have now, I hope, agreed upon every word, if
not every point, and nothing remains, but to make five fair copies of
it for signature, which, however, is no little labor. The Secretary
thinks he shall accomplish them in the course of this week, and part
of the next, so that they may be signed by the latter end of next
week, or perhaps the middle. The Secretary, who has always been
complaisant, was more so than ever today. He congratulated me, upon
the prospect of a speedy conclusion of this matter; hoped it would be
highly beneficial to both nations; and that our posterity might have
cause to rejoice in it even more than we. He says the usage is, for
two Deputies to sign it, on the part of Holland, and one on the part
of each other Province, so that there will be eight signers in behalf
of the Republic.

It is now nearly five months since I was publicly received, and
proposed a project of a treaty. All this time it has taken the several
Provinces and cities to examine, make their remarks, and fresh
propositions, and bring the matter to a conclusion. It would not have
been so long, however, if the Court had been delighted with the
business. But, in a case where unanimity was requisite, and the Court
not pleased, it was necessary to proceed with all the softness,
caution, and prudence, possible, that no ill humors might be stirred.
Yet, in a case, where the nation's heart is so engaged, in which its
commerce and love of money is so interested, what wretched policy is
it in this Court, to show even a lukewarmness, much more an aversion.
Yet, such is the policy, and such it will be. The Prince of Orange is,
to all appearance, as incurable as George the Third, his cousin.

I was afterwards an hour with the French Ambassador, at his house. He
tells me, his last letters from the Count de Vergennes say, that he
has yet seen no appearance of sincerity on the part of the British
Ministry, in the negotiations for peace. Of this, Congress will be
easily convinced by the copies I have transmitted of the commissions
of Mr Fitzherbert and Oswald.

The subject of our conversation was the means of getting out the Dutch
fleet, which is now in the Texel, although the British fleet, under
Milbank, is returned to Portsmouth, and probably sailed with Lord Howe
for Gibraltar. I asked the Duke, where was the combined fleet? His
last accounts were, that they were off Cape Ortegal, endeavoring to
get round Cape Finisterre to Cadiz. He speaks of it, as doubtful,
whether they will give battle to Lord Howe, because the Spanish ships,
with an equal number of guns, are of a smaller caliber than the
English; but hopes that the blow will be struck before Howe arrives.
The means of getting the fleet out of the Texel to intercept a fleet
of English ships from the Baltic, came next under consideration. But
the wind is not fair. It might have gone out, but they had not

I asked, who it was that governed naval matters? He answered, the
Prince. But surely the Prince must have some assistance, some
confidential minister, officer, clerk, secretary, or servant. If he
were a Solomon, he could not manage the fleet, and the whole system of
intelligence, and orders concerning it, without aid. He said, it is
the College of the Admiralty, and sometimes M. Bisdom, who is a good
man, and sometimes M. Van der Hope, who may be a good man, he has
sense and art, but is suspected. Very well, said I, M. Bisdom and M.
Van der Hope ought to be held responsible, and the eyes of the public
ought to be turned towards them, and they ought to satisfy the public.
The Duke said the Prince is afraid of the consequences. He knows that
the sensations of the people are very lively at present, and nobody
knows what may be the consequence of their getting an opinion, that
there has been negligence, or anything worse, which may have prevented
them from striking a blow. I asked, if they had any plan for
obtaining intelligence, the soul of war, from England? And he said
the Grand Pensionary told him, he paid very dear for intelligence.

However, I cannot learn, and do not believe that they have any
rational plan for obtaining intelligence necessary from every quarter,
as they ought. They should have intelligence from every seaport in
France, England, Scotland, Germany, and all round the Baltic, and they
should have light frigates and small vessels out. But when war is
unwillingly made, everything is not done. The next subject was the
proposition from Amsterdam, for renewing the concert of operations for
the next campaign.

Congress may hear of some further plans for a separate peace between
Holland and England, but they will not succeed. The Republic will
stand firm, though it will not be so active as we could wish, and the
concert of operations will be renewed.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

        _Extract from the Records of the Resolutions of their
         High Mightinesses the States-General of the United

_Tuesday, September 17th, 1782._ "The Lord Van Randwyk and others,
Deputies of their High Mightinesses for the Department of Foreign
Affairs, in obedience to, and in compliance with their resolution of
the 23d of April of the present year, having conferred with Mr Adams,
Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, respecting
the entering into a treaty of amity and commerce with the said States,
reported to this Assembly, that the said Mr Adams, on the 26th of
April thereafter, did deliver to them a plan of such a treaty,
requesting the same might be examined, and that such articles might
be added, as might be deemed most serviceable. That the said
gentlemen, Deputies, after having consulted and advised with the
committees of the respective colleges of the Admiralty upon the said
plan or sketch of a treaty, made sundry observations thereon, and also
sundry separate propositions, all which on the 26th of August last
they communicated to the said Mr Adams, who, on the 27th following,
returned his answer thereto; which having compared with the said
propositions, and finding the same in substance conformable thereto,
and all difficulties that had occurred entirely removed, they drew up
a new treaty, and also a new convention on the subject of retaken
prizes, in conformity to the determination that has been previously
adopted and resolved on, and the treaties so prepared, they handed to
Mr Adams, on the 6th of this current month, who, since, has declared
himself perfectly satisfied therewith.

"Wherefore, the said gentlemen, Deputies for Foreign Affairs, submit
it to the consideration of their High Mightinesses to determine,
whether it would not be proper and necessary to authorise them to
conclude and sign with Mr Adams, the treaty and convention aforesaid.

"Whereupon having deliberated, it is found and judged right, that the
said treaty and convention be drawn out afresh, and fair copies
thereof made, in order that the finishing hand may be put thereto; and
the said Lord Van Randwyk, and others, their High Mightinesses'
Deputies for Foreign Affairs, are hereby requested and authorised to
conclude and sign the said treaty and convention with the aforesaid Mr

                                                   W. Z. VAN BORSSELE.

Compared with the record.

                                                            H. FAGEL."

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                      The Hague, September 17th, 1782.


You will naturally inquire, whether the neutral powers will continue
their neutrality, or whether the neutral confederacy will be broken?

No certain answer can be given to these questions. We must content
ourselves with probabilities, which are strong for the continuance of
the neutrality. Who indeed should break it? The Emperor was thought to
be the most unlikely potentate to accede to it; but he has acceded and
has taken several steps, which prove that he will not break it, at
least by leaning towards England. Sweden is the steady friend to
France. The King of Prussia, whose affections and inclinations are
certainly towards France and Holland, and alienated from England,
would certainly at this age of life be too cautious a politician to
wage war for England, against the Houses of Bourbon and Austria,
Holland and America.

There remains only Russia and Denmark. What can Russia do? This is a
maritime war. She cannot assist the English with land forces; a
hundred thousand men would do no good to England, on land. Her boasted
fleet, added to that of England, would only weaken it for several
reasons. Among the rest, because England must maintain it with money,
if not with officers and men, for cash is wanting in Russia. Denmark
remains, but what can she do? Her Islands in the West Indies, and her
trade are at our mercy, and she would not have force enough to defend
her own, much less to assist England, if she should declare war.

A doctrine prevails that the acknowledgment of the independence of
America, is a hostility against England, and consequently a breach of
the neutrality. Our friends have sometimes favored this idea. The Duc
de la Vauguyon has often expressed this sentiment to me; and if I am
not mistaken, the Marquis de Verac has said the same to Mr Dana. If
this opinion is not clear, it is very impolitic to favor it. The Court
of France, in their public memorials, have denied it, and it would be
difficult to prove it, either by the law or practice of nations.
Sending or receiving Ambassadors, entering into peaceful commercial
treaties, or at least negotiating at Philadelphia, the rights of
neutral nations, is not taking arms against Great Britain.

But if an acknowledgment of our independence is a hostility, a denial
of it is so too, and if the maritime confederation forbids the one, it
forbids both. None of the neutral nations can take the part of Great
Britain, therefore, without breaking to pieces that great system,
which has cost so much negotiation, and embraces so great a part of

The neutral powers set so high a value upon it, and indeed make so
great profit by it, that I think none of them will take the part of
Great Britain. The connexions of the Duke Louis of Brunswick in
Denmark and Russia, have set some little machines in motion, partly to
favor him, and partly to hold out an appearance of something
fermenting for the benefit of Great Britain. But these will never
succeed so far as to draw any nation into the war, or to incline this
Republic to make a separate peace.

It is to this source that I attribute certain observations that are
circulated in pamphlets and in conversation, "that there is at
present an incoherence in the general system of Europe. That the
Emperor has deranged the whole system of the equilibrium of Europe, so
that if ever the Northern Powers should think of stopping by a
confederation the preponderance of the Southern Powers, Holland will
be unable, on account of the demolition of the barriers, to accede to
that confederation."

M. Magis, who has been eight and twenty years Envoy at the Hague from
the Bishop of Liege, and who converses more with all the foreign
Ministers here, than any other, has said to me, not long since, "Sir,
the wheel rolls on too long and too rapidly one way; it must roll back
again, somewhat, to come to its proper centre. The power of the House
of Bourbon rises, and that of Great Britain sinks too fast, and I
believe, the Emperor, although he seems perfectly still at present,
will come out at length, and take the greatest part of any power in
the final adjustment of affairs."

The Count de Mirabel, the Sardinian Minister, said to me, upon another
occasion, "your country, Sir, will be obliged in the vicisitudes of
things, to wheel round, and take part with England, and such allies,
as she may obtain, in order to form a proper balance in the world." My
answer to both was, "these sentiments betray a jealousy of a too
sudden growth of the power of the House of Bourbon; but whose fault is
it, if it is a fact, (which it does not appear to be as yet) and whose
fault will it be, if it should hereafter become a fact? Why do the
neutral powers stand still and see it, or imagine they see it, when it
is so easy to put a stop to it? They have only to acknowledge American
independence, and then, neither the House of Bourbon nor England will
have a colorable pretence for continuing the war, from which alone
the jealousy can arise."

The Prince de Gallitzin said, not long since, that the conduct of this
Republic, in refusing a separate peace, &c. he feared would throw all
Europe into a war, there were so many pretensions against England. I
quote these sayings of foreign Ministers, because you express a desire
to hear them, and because they show all the color of argument in favor
of England that anybody has advanced. All these Ministers allow that
American independence is decided, even the Ministers from Portugal,
within a few days said it to me expressly. It is therefore very
unreasonable in them to grumble at what happens, merely in consequence
of their neutrality.

It is the miserable policy of the Prince of Orange's counsellors, as I
suppose, which has set a few springs in motion here. M. Markow, one of
the Ministers of Russia, and M. St Saphorin, the Minister from
Denmark, are the most openly and busily in favor of England. But if,
instead of endeavoring to excite jealousies and foment prejudices
against the House of Bourbon, or compassion towards England, they
would endeavor to convince her of the necessity of acknowledging
American independence, or to persuade the neutral powers to decide the
point, by setting the example, they would really serve England, and
the general cause of mankind. As it goes at present, their
negotiations serve no cause whatever, that I can conceive of, unless
it be that of the Duke of Brunswick, and, in the end, it will appear
that even he is not served by it.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                       The Hague, September 23d, 1782.


As this is a moment of great expectation, news of the greatest
importance from the East Indies, from the West Indies and North
America, from Gibraltar, from Lord Howe's fleet, and the combined
fleet, being hourly looked for, I took this opportunity to return to
the Spanish Minister a visit, which I owed him.

He told me, that he trembled for the news we should have from
Gibraltar. I asked him if he thought there would be a battle at sea.
He answered, yes. He believed the combined fleet would meet Lord Howe,
and give him battle. I said, in this case it will probably be but a
running fight. His Lordship's object was to protect his convoy and get
into the port, and he would not stop to fight more than should be
unavoidable. D. Llano, however, said, that he believed the fate of
Gibraltar would be decided before Howe could arrive, either the place
taken, or the assault given over. By his advices, the attack was to
begin the 4th or 5th of September. Howe sailed the 12th, and would be
probably twenty days at least on his way, which would leave a space of
twentyseven or twentyeight days for the attack, which would decide it
one way or the other.

I did not think proper to tell him my own apprehensions, and I wish I
may be mistaken, but I have no expectation at all, in my own mind,
that the combined fleet will meet Howe; that there will be any naval
engagement; or that Gibraltar will surrender. They will make a horrid
noise with their artillery against the place; but this noise will not
terrify Elliot, and Gibraltar will remain to the English another year,
and Lord Howe return to England, and all Europe will laugh. England,
however, if she were wise, would say, what is sport to you, is death
to us, who are ruined by these expenses. The earnest zeal of Spain to
obtain that impenetrable rock, what has it not cost the House of
Bourbon this war? And what is the importance of it? A mere point of
honor! a trophy of insolence to England, and of humiliation to Spain!
It is of no utility, unless as an asylum for privateers in time of
war; for it is not to be supposed, that the powers of Europe, now that
the freedom of commerce is so much esteemed, will permit either
England or Spain to make use of this fortress and asylum as an
instrument to exclude any nation from the navigation of the

From the _Hôtel d'Espagne_, I went to that of France, and the Duc de
la Vauguyon informed me that he had a letter from the Count de
Vergennes, informing him that he had received, in an indirect manner,
a set of preliminary propositions, as from the British Ministry, which
they were said to be ready to sign, that he had sent M. de Rayneval to
London, to know with certainty whether those preliminaries came from
proper authority or not.

Thus we see, that two Ministers from England, and another from
Holland, are at Paris to make peace. The Count d'Aranda is said to
have powers to treat on the part of Spain. Mr Franklin and Mr Jay are
present on the part of the United States, and M. Gerard de Rayneval is
at London. Yet, with all this, the British Ministry have never yet
given any proof of their sincerity, nor any authority to any one to
treat with the United States. I believe the British Ministry, even my
Lord Shelburne would give such powers if he dared. But they dare not.
They are afraid of the King, of the old Ministry, and a great party in
the nation, irritated every moment by the refugees, who spare no
pains, and hesitate at no impostures, to revive offensive hostilities
in America. If Gibraltar should be relieved, and their fleets should
arrive from the West Indies and the Baltic, and they should not have
any very bad news from the East Indies, the nation will recover from
its fright, occasioned by the loss of Cornwallis, Minorca, and St
Kitts, and the Ministry will not yet dare to acknowledge American
independence. In this case, Mr Fox and Mr Burke will lay their
foundation of opposition, and the state of the finances will give them
great weight. But the Ministry will find means to provide for another

But to return to the Duc de la Vauguyon, who informed me further, that
he had received instructions to propose to the Prince of Orange a new
plan of concert of operations, viz; that the Dutch fleet, or at least
a detachment of it, should now, in the absence of Lord Howe, sail from
the Texel to Brest, and join the French ships there, in a cruise to
intercept the British West India fleet. The Prince does not appear
pleased with the plan. He has not yet accepted it. The Grand
Pensionary appears to approve it, and support it with warmth. There is
now a fine opportunity for the Dutch fleet to strike a blow, either
alone, upon the Baltic fleet, or in conjunction with the French, or
even alone upon the West India fleet. But the main spring of the
machine is broken or unbent. There is neither capacity nor good will
among those that direct the navy.

At dinner, in the course of the day, with M. Gyzelaar, M. Visscher,
and a number of the co-patriots, at the _Hôtel_ _de Dort_, they
lamented this incurable misfortune. Some of them told me, that the
sums of money, granted and expended upon their marine, ought to have
produced them a hundred and twenty vessels of war of all sizes;
whereas they have not one quarter of the number. They have no more
than twelve of the line in the Texel, reckoning in the number two
fifties; and they have not more than six or seven in all the docks of
Amsterdam, Zealand, the Meuse and Friesland, which can be ready next

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


The Bank of Amsterdam is much more simple than the denomination
implies, in general, in the ideas of foreigners.

It differs widely from those of Venice, London, and others, which have
a capital, formed by proprietors (actionaries) to whose profit these
banks operate. That of Amsterdam makes neither commerce nor loan, but
upon real specie, upon their intrinsic value, and upon matters in bars
(ingots) of gold and silver.

This bank was erected in 1609. The magistrates of the city opened the
project of the bank for the convenience of the merchants; but it is
probable it was invented by the merchants themselves, as a remedy for
the difficulty of payments, which became more and more considerable
and embarrassing.

1. Because there was a great deal of foreign money in the city, with
which they made payments reciprocally, amidst eternal disputes,
concerning the value to be given or received.

2. Because, in the great number of coins struck by the States,
diversely altered, and singularly divided, they had not all a constant
circulation, notwithstanding the orders of the sovereign. Some were
declined, even below the fixed value, and others were worth more.

3. The external cashiers, which the merchants employed in those times,
as they do at present to receive the money, which is due to them in
the city, and to pay in their turn what they owe, profited, of the two
inconveniences beforementioned to make to themselves gain, which
augmented the disorder and the vexation of payments, as well as in

The merchants contrived then to make reciprocal payments, by a simple
transposition of debit from one, to the credit of the other; but to
this end, it was necessary to assure the validity of payments made in
this manner, by a known and real value, and solidly placed under the
authority and warranty of the city. The magistracy lent themselves to
arrangements, which answered to all these conditions, so that a number
of merchants and cashiers deposited at first at their pleasure, a sum
in specie, more or less considerable, which was then designated by the
commissaries of the bank, as ducats, or rix dollars and others, which
money was placed in one of the vaults of the State-House, under the
departments assigned for the carrying on of this bank. Those, who
carried there their money, were credited for it, upon a leaf of the
great book, which was shown to them, and from that time they might
make reciprocal payments, as is practised at this day, without
handling any cash, with this simple formula, viz.

"Gentlemen, the commissioners of the bank; please to pay N. N. five
thousand florins. P. G.

Amsterdam, this ----."

By means of which, the book-keepers had not, and have not still,
anything to do, but to debit P. G. with five thousand florins, and
credit N. N. for the same sum; so that, if they had deposited each one
ten thousand florins in cash, there would remain of it, to the credit
of P. G. only five thousand florins, and N. N. would have fifteen
thousand florins to his, whereof he might dispose, in his turn, the
next day, in favor of one or more others having accounts open in the
bank. This manner of making payments was found so convenient, and they
took such a confidence in it, that all the bankers and merchants, even
down to the petty traders, made haste to open an account, and to carry
there money, more or less, relatively to approaching payments, which
they had to make in bank; so that there was soon a sufficiency of
specie deposited for a foundation of all the payments, which were from
that time designed to be made in bank, viz. all the bills of exchange
of above three hundred florins, drawn by foreigners upon Amsterdam,
and in Amsterdam upon foreigners, all the merchandises of the East
Indies, the wools of Spain, and some other articles.

It happened then, that they ceased to carry thither the monies of
Holland, because the merchants, having occasion alternately, some of
the money in bank for current money, and others, of current money for
money in bank, they found a great facility in selling one for the
other. From thence arose a commerce of agiotage, (_pour l'agio_) which
had been already prepared, because it had been resolved, for good
reasons without doubt, as in case of a flood of specie, &c. that the
bank would not receive the monies, which they would deposit, but at
five per cent below the current value; so that to have one thousand
florins in bank to one's credit, it was necessary to deposit one
thousand and fifty florins in current cash. Behold thus this agio
establishment, and the money of the bank, worth five per cent more
than the current money. This value of five per cent soon varied,
because some one, who found that he had too much money in bank, and
was in want of current, sought to sell the first for the second, found
a purchaser, who would not give him more than four seveneighths per
cent; that is to say, one thousand and fortyeight florins and fifteen
stivers, for one thousand in bank. Thus of the rest in such sort, that
at all times, when one would buy or sell the money in bank, there is
no question but to agree upon the price of the agio, which is subject
to a perpetual variation, and which is more or less high, according to
the wants of epochs; as for example, when the company makes its sales,
the merchants have greater want of money in bank to pay their
purchases, which raises the agio, which falls again, when the company
would sell that, which is come into them for current money, in which
all payments are made for fitting out of vessels.

The payments of bills of exchange, being to be made, as it has been
said, in bank money, the price of all exchanges of current money,
which were heretofore fixed in bank money, for example, a crown
tournois, of sixty sols, the intrinsic value of which, founded upon
the price of the money mark, amounted to fiftyseven sols and
threefourths, current money of Holland, was placed at fiftyfive sols
of bank money; and thus of all the exchanges with all foreign
countries; from whence it results, that having sold merchandises of a
man of Bordeaux, the amount of which produces net one thousand and
fifty florins current, or the credit of one thousand bank, the agio at
one hundred and five, when they make him a remittance, or when he
draws, they purchase so many crowns as are necessary for the one
thousand florins bank, at fiftyfive sols fifteen derniers, which comes
to the same thing as if they bought crowns for one thousand and fifty
florins current, at fiftyseven and threefourths sols current. When any
one would open himself an account in the bank, he goes there himself,
and puts his signature upon a book to make it known, and they give him
the page upon which his account shall be opened, which he ought always
to place at the head of the billet, by which he pays.

They begin with debiting him with ten florins, once for all, after
which he pays no more to the bank, but two sols for each bill that he
writes, with which they debit him twice a year, when they make the
balance of the books, viz. in January and July, at which epochs, each
one is obliged to settle accounts with the bank, and to go and demand
his pay, to see if they accord with the bank, under the penalty, after
six weeks, if they fail or neglect, of paying a fine of twentyfive
florins. The bank is shut at these epochs, and continues shut during
fourteen or fifteen days, during which time, the bills of exchange
sleep, and although they fall due the first day of the shutting, or
any day following, they cannot be protested until the second or third
day after the opening. There are other little shuttings of the bank,
at the feasts, Christmas, Lent, Pentacost; and at the fair, which
continue but a few days. One cannot dispose, till the next day, of the
money, which enters by the bank, except the second days of the
openings, and that of Pentacost. They call these days, the "returns of
bills" (_revirement de parties_) or the "recounting," because they pay
with that which they receive. One ought to take care, not to dispose
beyond one's credit, for not only all the drafts whereof one has
disposed are that day stopped, that is to say they are invalid, but
one is condemned and obliged to pay a fine of triple of the whole,
which one has disposed of more than that which one has in bank.

The person who writes, ought himself to carry his draft to the bank,
or at least his attorney, between eight and eleven o'clock in the
morning; those who come after until three o'clock, pay six sols fine
for each draft. The merchants ordinarily pass a procuration, which it
is necessary to renew once a year, to one of their clerks to carry
their drafts and demand their payments, which no other person can do.

They transfer every day in the week, except Sunday, and during the
shuttings, which are announced some weeks beforehand.

For arranging the merchants, and also for maintaining and favoring the
price of matters, and specie of gold and silver, both foreign and that
of the country, which are in strictness only of mere commerce, as our
ducats and rix dollars, the bank receives them at a value determined
and relative to the weight and the title known by the pay-master of
the bank, but the sum which they there receive ought not to be below
two thousand five hundred florins. The bank gives receipts for the
specie, &c. which they deposit there for six months, which are to the
bearer; so that, within the time, if the specie or matters exceed,
the proprietor may sell his receipt to another, who pays him the
surplus of what they are worth of the price at which the bank has
received them, and this receipt may thus pass through several hands,
as often happens by the idea which they form of the excess or of the
deficiency. He who is the bearer of this receipt, may go and take away
these matters or specie when he will, in paying at the bank, the value
which it has advanced to him who has deposited them, and, moreover,
half of a florin for the keeping of them the six months, both upon
gold and upon bars of silver, and quarter of a florin upon Mexican
dollars, rix dollars, and some other species of money. When this term
is expired, one may cause to be renewed the receipts, in paying at the
bank the half or quarter florin due thus from six months to six
months; but if one let pass that time without taking away his deposit,
or without renewing it, it is devolved to the bank, which keeps it to
its profit.

The bank is governed under the inspection of the Burgomasters, by six
commissaries, chosen and named by the Burgomasters from among the
magistrates and principal merchants, under the care of whom is the
deposited treasure. They furnish every year in the month of February,
a balance of the bank to the Burgomasters, the youngest of whom goes
down with them into the vaults, to verify and take account of the
number of sacks, and of the specie contained in said balance, and
forming the real and effective fund that each one has in the bank; and
whatever may have been said or suspected upon this subject, it is very
certain, that the fund rolling through the bank, is really there
deposited in specie, ingots, and bars of gold and silver. This
treasure is not, moreover, so immense as many people imagine. Some
authors have written, (without doubt by estimation) that it went as
far as three hundred millions of florins, which is not credible, when
we consider the returns of the bills (_revirements de parties_) which
are continually made, between those who have reciprocal payments to
make among themselves. We know very nearly, that there are scarcely
more than two thousand accounts open upon the books of this bank; so
that in order to make three hundred millions of florins, it is
necessary that these two thousand persons should have, one with
another, one hundred and fifty thousand florins each in bank, which is
beyond all probability, especially, if we consider that A and B having
there each one, ten thousand florins, might reciprocally pay
themselves sixty thousand florins per week, and thus make a
circulation of transposition of one hundred and twenty thousand per
week, with twenty thousand of _sign effective_. So that reducing the
year to forty weeks of payment, with regard to the intervals which
take place in the times of the shuttings, which is too large an
allowance, it would result, that with fifty millions, there might be
made twelve thousand millions of florins of payments per annum.
According to this, and considering that the money in bank brings in no
benefit, it is easy to imagine, that there is not much more than is
necessary for the circulation of payments in bank, and that its
treasure cannot be so considerable as many people imagine.

The bank never lends upon any species of merchandise, nor discounts
any paper, nor makes any other profit than the half or quarter of a
florin upon the gold and silver there deposited, and which, added to
the ten florins for the opening of accounts, and two stivers for each
draft of which I have spoken, serves to pay all the expenses of clerks
and others, which is occasioned by the bank. The overplus, which is
not very considerable, goes to the profit of the city.

No arrest or attachment can be made of any moneys which are in bank,
under any pretext; the commissaries, book keepers, and others, who are
in the service of the bank, are bound by oath to say nothing of what
passes there. No man has a right to require of the bank, the
reimbursement in specie of the sum with which he is credited; (_a_)
each one having his account only in the receipts of the commissaries,
which are in the term of six months. It is certain, that the primitive
fund, the receipts for which they have suffered to be extinguished, is
no longer demandable, and that one cannot force the commissioners to
give specie, but it is not, therefore, the less true, that this fund
exists really, and one ought not, and cannot doubt, that if the city
was threatened with an inevitable invasion, and if the merchants
should require their money, to place it elsewhere in safety, that the
Burgomasters would cause it to be paid, by giving so many florins in
current money, or value in bars or ingots, with which one should be

                   *       *       *       *       *

(_a_) The author is here mistaken. All those who have an account in
bank, may demand to be paid in ready money, but they cannot require
the agio. By consequence, while the bank shall have credit, and there
shall be commerce at Amsterdam, which cannot be carried on without the
money of the bank, and while there shall be, consequently, an agio, no
man will go and demand in ready money, a sum which is worth five per
cent more. The author has not well distinguished between the sum of
money, or rather the specie, which one may redemand in the term of
six months, by means of a receipt, and the money for which one is
credited in bank. Behold the difference.

When they have received at the bank a certain quality of gold or
silver, whether in money or in bars, for the value of which the bank
has credited upon its books the proprietor, (not according to the
value which this money has in commerce, but according to its weight
and denomination,) in this case, the depositor, or he who holds the
receipt, has the right, by means of this receipt, and in restoring to
the bank the sum for which the first depositor had been credited, to
withdraw this gold or silver, paying one half per cent for the
keeping. But, the six months elapsed, the receipt becomes useless, the
gold or silver remains in propriety to the bank, and the depositor
must content himself to have received in its place, the sum which this
gold or silver has been valued at, by which sum he has been credited
upon the books, and whereof he might have disposed as he saw good. It
is this sum that he has the faculty of redemanding in ready money,
when, and as often as he judges proper, and as he is acknowledged upon
the books to be a creditor for that sum; but they are not bound to
restore him more than the net sum without agio.

No man will be, by consequence, mad enough to cause himself to be paid
four or five per cent less than the money of the bank is worth in
commerce. But if the money of the bank should be so discredited, that
there should be no longer an agio, in that case, all the world would
have a right to come and demand at the bank, the amount of the sums
for which they are credited; and the bank, whose credit would be
ruined, would be obliged, without controversy to make this payment,
or to commit bankruptcy. It can never acquire a right of propriety in
the capitals for which it has credit upon its books; but in case of
restitution, it is not obliged to restore the same matters, or the
same money for which it originally gave these credits. Over these the
right is lost, with the expiration of the time established for the
duration of the receipts, but it is held to the restitution of the
amounts of the credits, such as they appear upon the books.

September 26th, 1782.

For the use of Congress, from

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[10] From Mr Adams's remarks, at the end of this Memorial, it would
seem to have been furnished him by another hand.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                         TO M. DE LAFAYETTE.

                                      The Hague, September 29th, 1782.

My Dear General,

I should have written you since the 29th of May, when I wrote you a
letter, that I hope you received, if it had not been reported
sometimes that you were gone, and at other times, that you were upon
the point of going to America.

This people must be indulged in their ordinary march, which you know
is with the slow step. We have at length, however, the consent of all
the cities and Provinces, and have adjusted and agreed upon every
article, word, syllable, letter, and point, and clerks are employed in
making out five fair copies for the signature, which will be done this

Amidst the innumerable crowd of loans, which are open in this country,
many of which have little success, I was much afraid that ours would
have failed. I have, however, the pleasure to inform you, that I am at
least one million and a half in cash, about three millions of livres,
which will be a considerable aid to the operations of our financier at
Philadelphia, and I hope your Court, with their usual goodness, will
make up the rest that may be wanting.

I am now as well situated as I ever can be in Europe. I have the honor
to live upon agreeable terms of civility with the Ambassadors of
France and Spain; and the Ministers of all the other powers of Europe,
whom I meet at the houses of the French and Spanish Ministers, as well
as at Court, are complaisant and sociable. Those from Russia and
Denmark are the most reserved. Those from Sardinia and Portugal are
very civil. The Ministers of all the neutral powers consider our
independence as decided. One of those even from Russia, said so not
long ago, and that from Portugal said it to me within a few days. You
and I have known this point to have been decided a long time; but it
is but lately, that the Ministers of neutral powers, however they
might think, have frankly expressed their opinions; and it is now an
indication, that it begins to be the sentiment of their Courts, for
they do not often advance faster than their masters, in expressing
their sentiments upon political points of this magnitude.

Pray what are the sentiments of the _Corps Diplomatique_, at
Versailles? What progress is made in the negotiation for peace? Can
anything be done before the British Parliament, or at least the Court
of St James, acknowledge the sovereignty of the United States,
absolute and unlimited?

It would give me great pleasure to receive a line from you, as often
as your leisure will admit.

With great esteem, I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                             TO JOHN JAY.

                                         The Hague, October 7th, 1782.

  Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 28th ultimo, was brought me last night. On Friday
last I was notified, by the messenger of their High Mightinesses, that
the treaties would be ready for signature on Monday, this day. I am,
accordingly, at noon, to go to the Assembly, and finish the business.
But when this is done, some time will be indispensable, to prepare my
despatches for Congress, and look out for the most favorable
conveyances for them. I must also sign another thousand of obligations
at least, that the loan may not stand still. All this shall be
despatched with all the diligence in my power, but it will necessarily
take up some time, and my health is so far from being robust, that it
will be impossible for me to ride with as much rapidity as I could
formerly, although never remarkable for a quick traveller. If anything
in the meantime should be in agitation, concerning peace, in which
there should be any difference of opinion between you and your
colleague, you have a right to insist upon informing me by express, or
waiting till I come.

_8th._ The signature was put off yesterday until today, by the Prince
being in conference with their High Mightinesses, and laying his
orders to the navy before them.

With great regard, your humble servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                         The Hague, October 8th, 1782.


At twelve o'clock today I proceeded, according to appointment, to the
State-House, where I was received with the usual formalities, at the
head of the stairs, by M. Van Santheuvel, a Deputy from the Province
of Holland, and M. Van Lynden, the first noble of Zealand, and a
Deputy from that Province, and by them conducted into the Chamber of
Business, (_chambre de besogne_) an apartment belonging to the Truce
Chamber, (_chambre de trêve_) where were executed the Treaty of
Commerce and the convention concerning recaptures, after an exchange
of full powers.

The Treaty and Convention are both closed, or at least an authentic
copy of each. If the copy should arrive before the original, which I
shall reserve to be sent by the safest opportunity I can find, it will
be a sufficient foundation for the ratification of Congress. I hope
the treaty will be satisfactory to Congress. It has taken up much time
to obtain the remarks and the consent of all the members of this
complicated sovereignty. Very little of this time has been taken up by
me, as Congress will see by the resolution of their High Mightinesses,
containing the power to the Deputies to conclude the treaty; for
although all communications were made to me in Dutch, a language in
which I was not sufficiently skilled to depend upon my own knowledge,
M. Dumas was ever at hand, and ever ready to interpret to me
everything in French, by which means I was always able to give my
answers without loss of time. The papers, in which the whole progress
of this negotiation is contained in Dutch, French, and English, make
a large bundle, and after all, they contain nothing worth transmitting
to Congress. To copy them would be an immense labor, to no purpose,
and to send the originals, at once would expose them to loss.

Several propositions were made to me, which I could not agree to, and
several were made on my part, which could not be admitted by the
States. The final result contained in the treaty, is as near the
spirit of my instructions as I could obtain, and I think it is nothing
materially variant from them. The Lords, the Deputies, proposed to me
to make the convention a part of the treaty. My answer was, that I
thought the convention, which is nearly conformable with that lately
made with France, would be advantageous on both sides; but as I had no
special instructions concerning it, and as Congress might have
objections, that I could not foresee, it would be more agreeable to
have the convention separate; so that Congress, if they should find
any difficulty, might ratify the treaty without it. This was
accordingly agreed to. It seemed at first to be insisted on, that we
should be confined to the Dutch ports in Europe, but my friend, M. Van
Berckel, and the merchants of Amsterdam, came in aid of me, in
convincing all, that it was their interest to treat us upon the
footing _gentis-amicissimæ_, in all parts of the world.

Friesland proposed, that a right should be stipulated for the subjects
of this Republic to purchase lands in any of our States; but such
reasons were urged as convinced them, that this was too extensive an
object for me to agree to; 1st. It was not even stipulated for France.
2dly. If it should be now introduced into this treaty, all other
nations would expect the same, and although at present it might not
be impolitic to admit of this, yet nobody would think it wise to bind
ourselves to it forever. 3dly. What rendered all other considerations
unnecessary, was, that Congress had not authority to do this, it being
a matter of the interior policy of the separate States. This was given
up. A more extensive liberty of engaging seamen in this country was a
favorite object; but it could not be obtained. The _refraction_, as
they call it, upon tobacco, in the weigh-houses, is a thing, that
enters so deeply into their commercial policy, that I could not obtain
anything, more particular or more explicit, than what is found in the
treaty. Upon the whole, I think the treaty is conformable to the
principles of perfect reciprocity, and contains nothing, that can
possibly be hurtful to America, or offensive to our allies, or to any
other nation, except Great Britain, to whom it is indeed, without a
speedy peace, a mortal blow.

The rights of France and Spain are sufficiently secured by the
twentysecond article; although it is not in the very words of the
project, transmitted me by Congress, it is the same in substance and
effect. The Duc de la Vauguyon was very well contented with it, and
the States were so jealous of unforeseen consequences from the words
of the article as sent me by Congress, and as first proposed by me,
that I saw it would delay the conclusion without end. After several
conferences, and many proposals, we finally agreed upon the article as
it stands, to the satisfaction of all parties.

The clause reserving to the Dutch their rights in the East and West
Indies, is unnecessary, and I was averse to it, as implying a jealousy
of us. But as it implies too a compliment to our power and importance,
was much insisted on, and amounted to no more than we should have
been bound to without it, I withdrew my objection.

The proviso of conforming to the laws of the country, respecting the
external show of public worship, I wished to have excluded; because I
am an enemy to every appearance of restraint in a matter so delicate
and sacred as the liberty of conscience; but the laws here do not
permit Roman Catholics to have steeples to their churches, and these
laws could not be altered. I shall be impatient to receive the
ratification of Congress, which I hope may be transmitted within the
time limited.[11]

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                        The Hague, October 12th, 1782.


Yesterday afternoon M. Van der Burg Van Spieringshock, the Agent of
their High Mightinesses, brought me the enclosed resolution, relative
to a vessel of M. Dubbledemuts. I promised to enclose it to Congress.
I would have it translated here, but I have not time. I presume
Congress has, or will have, an interpreter for the Low Dutch.

It is much to be desired, that Congress would take some measures to
inquire into this matter. The cause for my being so pressed for time,
is, that I am preparing to set off for Paris, and have not only all
my despatches to make up, to send the treaty, but have obligations to
sign respecting the loan, that so essential a business may not stand
still in my absence.

Mr Jay writes me, that Mr Oswald has received a commission to treat of
peace with the Commissioners of the United States of America. I shall
set off for Paris next week.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[11] The Treaty mentioned in this letter, and the Convention
respecting vessels recaptured, were ratified by Congress, on the 23d
of January, 1783. The Treaty and Convention are printed at large,
together with the form of ratification, in the Journal of Congress
under this date.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Paris, October 31st, 1782.


Having executed the treaty of commerce at the Hague, and despatched
four copies of it, by four different vessels bound to America from the
Texel, and having signed a sufficient number of obligations to leave
in the hands of Messrs Willinks, Van Staphorsts, and de la Lande and
Fynjè, and having received information from Mr Jay, that Mr Oswald had
received a commission from the King his master, under the Great Seal
of Great Britain, to treat with the Commissioners of the United States
of America, I set off for Paris, where I arrived on Saturday, the 26th
of this month, after a tedious journey; the roads being, on account of
long continued rains, in the worst condition I ever knew them.

I waited forthwith on Mr Jay, and from him learned the state of the
conferences. It is not possible, at present, to enter into details.
All I can say is in general, that I had the utmost satisfaction in
finding, that he had been all along acting here upon the same
principles upon which I had ventured to act in Holland, and that we
were perfectly agreed in our sentiments and systems. I cannot express
it better than in his own words; "to be honest and grateful to our
allies, but to think for ourselves." I find a construction put upon
one article of our instructions by some persons, which I confess I
never put upon it myself. It is represented by some, as subjecting us
to the French Ministry, as taking away from us all right of judging
for ourselves, and obliging us to agree to whatever the French
Ministers shall advise us to, and to do nothing without their consent.
I never supposed this to be the intention of Congress; if I had, I
never would have accepted the commission, and if I now thought it
their intention, I could not continue in it. I cannot think it
possible to be the design of Congress; if it is, I hereby resign my
place in the commission, and request that another person may be
immediately appointed in my stead.

Yesterday we met Mr Oswald at his lodgings; Mr Jay, Dr Franklin, and
myself, on one side, and Mr Oswald, assisted by Mr Strachey, a
gentleman whom I had the honor to meet in company with Lord Howe upon
Staten Island in the year 1776, and assisted also by a Mr Roberts, a
clerk in some of the public offices, with books, maps, and papers,
relative to the boundaries.

I arrived in a lucky moment for the boundary of the Massachusetts,
because I brought with me all the essential documents relative to that
object, which are this day to be laid before my colleagues in
conference at my house, and afterwards before Mr Oswald.

It is now apparent, at least to Mr Jay and myself, that, in order to
obtain the western lands, the navigation of the Mississippi, and the
fisheries, or any of them, we must act with firmness and independence,
as well as prudence and delicacy. With these, there is little doubt we
may obtain them all.

Yesterday I visited M. Brantzen, the Dutch Minister, and was by him
very frankly and candidly informed of the whole progress of the
negotiation on their part. It is very shortly told. They have
exchanged full powers with Mr Fitzherbert, and communicated to him
their preliminaries, according to their instructions, which I have
heretofore transmitted to Congress. Mr Fitzherbert has sent them to
London and received an answer, but has communicated to them no more of
this answer than this, that those preliminaries are not relished at St
James'. He excused his not having seen them for six or seven days, by
pretence of indisposition, but they are informed that he has made
frequent visits to Versailles during these days, and sent off and
received several couriers.

How the negotiation advances between Mr Fitzherbert, and the Count de
Vergennes, and the Count d'Aranda, we know not.

The object of M. de Rayneval's journey to London, is not yet
discovered by any of us. It is given out, that he was sent to see
whether the British Ministry were in earnest.[12] But this is too
general. It is suspected that he went to insinuate something relative
to the fisheries and the boundaries, but it is probable he did not
succeed respecting the former, and perhaps not entirely, with respect
to the latter.

With great respect, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[12] See Franklin's Correspondence, Vol. IV. p. 48. Also the North
American Review for January, 1830, p. 21.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Paris, November 6th, 1782.


Two days ago arrived by Captain Barney, the letters you did me the
honor to write me, the 22d, 29th, 30th, triplicate of May, 4th of
July, 29th of August, and 15th of September.

I was unconditionally received in Holland, and promised upon record
conferences and audiences, whenever I should demand them, before I
entered into any treaty, and without this I should never have entered
into any; and full powers were given to the Committee of Foreign
Affairs, before I entered into any conferences with them. I have
ventured upon the same principle in the affair of peace, and uniformly
refused to come to Paris, until our independence was unconditionally
acknowledged by the King of Great Britain. Mr Jay has acted on the
same principle with Spain, and with Great Britain. The dignity of the
United States, being thus supported, has prevailed in Holland and
Great Britain; not indeed as yet in Spain, but we are in a better
situation in relation to her, than we should have been if the
principle had been departed from. The advice of the Count de Vergennes
has been contrary; but however great a Minister he may be in his own
department, his knowledge is insufficient and his judgment too often
erroneous in our affairs, to be an American Minister.

Intelligence from Holland is impossible through France. Events in
Holland can seldom be foreseen one day. When they happen, they are
inserted in the gazettes, transferred to the _Courier de l'Europe_,
the English and French gazettes, and get to America before it is
possible for me to transmit them directly. Besides, Sir, I have
sometimes thought, that my time was better employed in doing business,
that might produce other events, than in multiplying copies and
conveyances of despatches, which would contain nothing, but what I
knew the newspapers would announce as soon; my reputation may not be
so well husbanded by this method, but the cause of my country is
served. I am not insensible to reputation; but I hope it has not been
a principal object. Perhaps it has not been enough an object. I see so
much of the omnipotence of reputation, that I begin to think so. I
know very well, however, that if mine cannot be supported by facts, it
will not be by trumpeters.

If it were in my power to do anything for the honor of the department
or Minister of Foreign Affairs, I would cheerfully do it, because I am
a friend to both; and to this end, you will, I am sure, not take it
amiss if I say, that it is indispensably necessary for the service of
Congress, and the honor of the office, that it be kept impenetrably
secret from the French Minister in many things. The office will be an
engine for the ruin of the reputation of your Ministers abroad, and
for injuring our cause in material points, the fishery, the western
lands, and the Mississippi, &c. if it is not.

I thank you, Sir, for the hint about the English language. I think
with you, that we ought to make a point of it, and after some time, I
hope it will be an instruction from Congress to all their Ministers.

As to the negotiations for peace, we have been night and day employed
in them ever since my arrival on the 26th of October. Doctor Franklin,
without saying anything to me, obtained of Mr Jay a promise of his
vote[13] for Mr W. T. Franklin, to be Secretary to the commission for
peace; and as the Doctor and his Secretary are in the same house, and
there are other clerks enough, I suppose he will transmit to Congress
details of the negotiations. I shall be ready to lend them any
assistance in my power; and I will endeavor as soon as I can to
transmit them myself; but after spending forenoon, afternoon, and
evening, in discussions, it is impossible to transmit all the
particulars. No man's constitution is equal to it.

The English have sent Mr Oswald, who is a wise and good man, and, if
untrammelled, would soon settle all, and Mr Strachey, who is a keen
and subtle one, although not deeply versed in such things; and a Mr
Roberts, who is a clerk in the Board of Trade, and Mr Whithead, who is
private Secretary to Mr Oswald. These gentlemen are very profuse in
their professions of national friendship; of earnest desires to
obliterate the remembrance of all unkindnesses, and to restore peace,
harmony, friendship, and make them perpetual, by removing every seed
of future discord. All this, on the part of Mr Oswald personally, is
very sincere. On the part of the nation, it may be so in some sense at
present; but I have my doubts, whether it is a national disposition,
upon which we can have much dependence, and still more, whether it is
the sincere intention of the Earl of Shelburne.

He has been compelled to acknowledge American independence, because
the Rockingham Administration had resolved upon it, and Carleton and
Digby's letter to General Washington, had made known that resolution
to the world; because the nation demanded that negotiations should be
opened with the American Ministers, and they refused to speak or hear,
until their independence was acknowledged unequivocally and without
conditions, because Messrs Fox and Burke had resigned their offices,
pointedly, on account of the refusal of the King, and my Lord
Shelburne, to make such an acknowledgment; and these eloquent senators
were waiting only for the session of Parliament to attack his Lordship
on this point; it was, therefore, inevitable to acknowledge our
independence, and no Minister could have stood his ground without it.
But still I doubt, whether his Lordship means to make a general peace.
To express myself more clearly, I fully believe he intends to try
another campaign, and that he will finally refuse to come to any
definitive agreement with us, upon articles to be inserted in the
general peace.

We have gone the utmost lengths to favor the peace. We have at last
agreed to boundaries with the greatest moderation. We have offered
them the choice of a line through the middle of all the great lakes,
or the line of 45 degrees of latitude, the Mississippi, with a free
navigation of it at one end, and the river St Croix at the other. We
have agreed, that the courts of justice be opened for the recovery of
British debts due before the war, to a general amnesty for all the
royalists, against whom there is no judgment rendered, or prosecution
commenced. We have agreed, that all the royalists, who may remain at
the evacuation of the States, shall have six months to sell their
estates, and to remove with them.

These are such immense advantages to the Minister, that one would
think he could not refuse them. The agreement to pay British debts,
will silence the clamors of all the body of creditors, and separate
them from the tories, with whom they have hitherto made common cause.
The amnesty and the term of six months will silence all the tories,
except those who have been condemned, banished, and whose property has
been confiscated; yet I do not believe they will be accepted.

I fear they will insist a little longer upon a complete
indemnification to all the refugees, a point, which, without express
instructions from all the States, neither we nor Congress can give up;
and how the States can ever agree to it, I know not, as it seems an
implicit concession of all the religion and morality of the war. They
will also insist upon Penobscot as the eastern boundary. I am not sure
that the tories, and the Ministry, and the nation, are not secretly
stimulated by French emisaries, to insist upon Penobscot, and a full
indemnification to the tories. It is easy to see, that the French
Minister, the Spanish and the Dutch Ministers would not be very fond
of having it known through the world, that all points for a general
peace were settled between Great Britain and America, before all
parties are ready. It is easy to comprehend, how French, Spanish, and
Dutch emisaries, in London, in Paris, and Versailles, may insinuate,
that the support of the tories is a point of national and royal honor,
and propagate so many popular arguments in favor of it, as to
embarrass the British Minister. It is easy to see, that the French may
naturally revive their old assertions, that Penobscot and Kennebec are
the boundary of Nova Scotia, although against the whole stream of
British authorities, and the most authentic acts of the Governors,
Shirley, Pownal, Bernard, and Hutchinson. Mr Fitzherbert, who is
constantly at Versailles, is very sanguine for the refugees.
Nevertheless, if my Lord Shelburne should not agree with us, these
will be only ostensible points. He cares little for either. It will be
to avoid giving any certain weapons against himself, to the friends of
Lord North, and the old Ministry.

The negotiations at Versailles between the Count de Vergennes and Mr
Fitzherbert, are kept secret, not only from us, but from the Dutch
Ministers, and we hear nothing about Spain. In general, I learn, that
the French insist upon a great many fish. I dined yesterday with M.
Berkenrode, the Dutch Ambassador, and M. Brantzen, his colleague. They
were both very frank and familiar, and confessed to me, that nothing
had been said to them, and that they could learn nothing as yet of the
progress of the negotiation. Berkenrode told me, as an honest man,
that he had no faith in the sincerity of the English for peace as yet;
on the contrary, he thought that a part of Lord Howe's fleet had gone
to America, and that there was something meditated against the French
West India Islands. I doubt this, however; but we shall soon know
where my Lord Howe is. That something is meditating against the French
or Spaniards, and that they think of evacuating New York for that end,
I believe. Berkenrode seemed to fear the English, and said, like a
good man, that in case any severe stroke should be struck against
France, it would be necessary for Holland and America to discover a
firmness. This observation had my heart on its side; but without an
evacuation of New York, they can strike no blow at all, nor any very
great one with it.

Mr Oswald has made very striking overtures to us; to agree to the
evacuation of New York, to write a letter to General Washington, and
another to Congress, advising them to permit this evacuation, to
agree, that neither the people nor the army should oppose this
evacuation, or molest the British army in attempting it; nay, further,
that we should agree, that the Americans should afford them all sorts
of aid, and even supplies of provisions. These propositions he made to
us, in obedience to an instruction from the Minister, and he told us
their army were going against West Florida, to reconquer that from the
Spaniards. Our answer was, that we could agree to no such things; that
General Washington could enter into a convention with them, for the
terms upon which they should surrender the city of New York, and all
its dependencies, as Long Island, Staten Island, &c. to the arms of
the United States. All that we could agree to was, that the effects
and persons of those, who should stay behind, should have six months
to go off, nor could we agree to this, unless as an article to be
inserted in the general peace.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.


[13] This proved to be an error. Mr Jay wrote to Doctor Franklin, on
the 26th of January, 1783, as follows, "It having been suspected, that
I concurred in the appointment of your grandson to the place of
Secretary to the American Commission for Peace, _at your instance_, I
think it right thus unsolicited to put it in your power to correct the
mistake, &c." See the whole letter in _Franklin's Correspondence_,
Vol. IV. p. 73.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                     Philadelphia, November 6th, 1782.


The scene of action is so entirely transferred to your side of the
Atlantic, that scarce any occurrence among us at present is
sufficiently interesting to furnish matter for a public letter.

The resolutions, which have from time to time evinced the steady
determination of Congress, in no event to relinquish the great object
of the war, or think of peace but in connexion with their allies, have
been already transmitted to you. The military force on both sides is
perfectly inactive. By the enclosed extracts from General Carleton's,
and General Washington's letters, you will see that the first is so
bent on peace, that, notwithstanding the opinion of his superiors, he
does not see that the war has any longer an object. It is high time
that he disavows them, for their conduct is a direct disavowal of him.

The clauses of the commission to Mr Fitzherbert, which are designed to
include us, are strong indications of the extreme reluctance of the
British to give up their supposed dominion over this country. You have
great credit with me for the judgment you have formed, from time to
time, of the Court of Great Britain; though your opinions sometimes
run counter to those generally received.

Nothing can be more conformable to our wishes, than the instructions
you have transmitted; keep up that spirit in ---- and we have nothing
to fear from that quarter, but lengthy negotiations, even after they
shall commence in earnest.

We have yet no accounts of the evacuation of Charleston, and that
event begins daily to grow more uncertain. Such is the inconstancy of
the enemy, that one may as well predict what appearances a cloud will
put on two hours hence, by our knowledge of the wind, as reduce their
conduct to any settled shape, by knowing their professions. Our troops
have gone into winter quarters at West Point.

The French have marched to the eastward to be nearer their fleet,
which lies at Boston. Part of the British fleet, consisting of
fourteen sail of the line, and eight frigates, including a ship of
forty guns, sailed from New York the 26th ultimo. They have such a
decided superiority in the American seas, that if they had
correspondent land forces, or even knew how to apply those they keep
cooped up in America, they might render themselves very formidable in
the West Indies. This however is, I hope, an evil, which will be ere
long remedied.

Bills for the amount of your salary from January last have been
regularly transmitted to Dr Franklin. You will receive with this the
amount of the last quarter, ending the first of October. Mr Morris, my
Secretary, will enclose you a state of your accounts. I should be glad
if you would acknowledge the receipt of these moneys, as they come to
hand, since I stand charged with them in the Treasury books.

The enclosed resolution will show you, that Mr Boudinott has succeeded
Mr Hanson, as President of Congress.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Paris, November 8th, 1782.


In one of your letters you suppose, that I have an open avowed
contempt of all rank. Give me leave to say, you are much mistaken in
my sentiments. There are times, and I have often seen such, when a
man's duty to his country demands of him the sacrifice of his rank, as
well as his fortune and life, but this must be an epoch, and for an
object worthy of the sacrifice. In ordinary times, the same duty to
his country obliges him to contend for his rank, as the only means
indeed, sometimes, by which he can do service, and the sacrifice would
injure his country more than himself. When the world sees a man
reduced to the necessity of giving up his rank, merely to serve the
public, they will respect him, and his opinions will have the more
weight for it; but when the same world sees a man yield his rank for
the sake of holding a place, he becomes ridiculous. This, you may
depend upon it, will not be my case.

Ranks, titles, and etiquettes, and every species of punctilios, even
down to the visits of cards, are of infinitely more importance in
Europe, than in America, and therefore Congress cannot be too tender
of disgracing their Ministers abroad in any of these things, nor too
determined not to disgrace themselves. Congress will, sooner or later,
find it necessary to adjust the ranks of all their servants, with
relation to another, as well as to the magistrates and officers of the
separate governments.

For example, if, when Congress abolished my commission to the king of
Great Britain, and my commission for peace, and issued a new
commission for peace, in which they associated four other gentlemen
with me, they had placed any other at the head of the commission, they
would have thrown a disgrace and ridicule upon me in Europe, that I
could not have withstood. It would have injured me in the minds of
friends and enemies, the French and Dutch, as well as the English.

It is the same thing with the States. If Mr Jay and I had yielded the
punctilio of rank, and taken the advice of the Count de Vergennes and
Dr Franklin, by treating with the English or Spaniards, before we were
put upon the equal footing, that our rank demanded, we should have
sunk in the minds of the English, French, Spaniards, Dutch, and all
the neutral powers. The Count de Vergennes certainly knows this; if he
does not, he is not even an European statesman; if he does know it,
what inference can we draw, but that he means to keep us down if he
can; to keep his hand under our chin to prevent us from drowning, but
not to lift our heads out of water?

The injunctions upon us to communicate, and to follow the advice that
is given us, seem to be too strong, and too universal. Understood with
reasonable limitations and restrictions, they may do very well. For
example, I wrote a speculation, and caused it to be printed in the
_Courier du Bas Rhine_, showing the interest, policy, and humanity of
the neutral confederation's acknowledging American independence, and
admitting the United States to subscribe to the principles of their
Marine Treaty. This was reprinted in the Gazette of Leyden, the
_Politique Hollandais_, the _Courier de l'Europe_, and all the Dutch
gazettes. At the same time I caused to be transmitted to England some
pieces on the same subject, and further showing the probability, that
the neutral powers might adopt this measure, and the impolicy of Great
Britain, in permitting all the powers of Europe to get the start of
her, and having more merit with America than she, by acknowledging her
independence first. These pieces were printed in the English papers,
in the form of letters to the Earl of Shelburne, and can never be
controverted, because they are in writing, and in print, with their
dates. These fears thus excited, added to our refusal to treat on an
unequal footing, probably produced his Lordship's resolution, to
advise the King to issue the commission, under the great seal, to Mr
Oswald; by which Great Britain has got the start, and gone to the
windward of the other European powers. No man living, but myself,
knew, that all these speculations, in various parts of Europe, came
from me. Would it do for me to communicate all this to the French
Ministers? Is it possible for me to communicate all these things to
Congress? Believe me it is not, and give me leave to say it will not
do to communicate them to my friend, the Chevalier de la Luzerne, nor
my friend, M. Marbois. If they should be, long letters will lay all
open to the Count de Vergennes, who, I assure you, I do not believe
will assist me, or anybody else, in such measures of serving our
country. When the French Ministers in America, or Europe, communicate
everything to us, we may venture to be equally communicative with
them. But when everything is concealed from us, more cautiously than
it is from England, we shall do ourselves injustice, if we are not
upon our guard.

If we conduct ourselves with caution, prudence, moderation, and
firmness, we shall succeed in every great point; but if Congress, or
their Ministers abroad suffer themselves to be intimidated by threats,
slanders, or insinuations, we shall be duped out of the fishery, the
Mississippi, much of the western lands, compensation to the tories,
and Penobscot at least, if not Kennebec. This is my solemn opinion,
and I will never be answerable to my country, posterity, or my own
mind, for the consequences, that might happen from concealing it.

It is for the determinate purpose of carrying these points, that one
man, who is submission itself, is puffed up to the top of Jacob's
ladder in the clouds, and every other man depressed to the bottom of
it in the dust. This is my opinion, let me be punished for it, for
assuredly I am guilty.

With great respect, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Paris, November 11th, 1782.


On my first arrival at Paris, I found my colleagues engaged in
conferences with Mr Oswald. They had been before chiefly conducted by
Mr Jay, Dr Franklin having been mostly confined for three months, by a
long and painful illness. At this time, however, he was so much
better, although still weak and lame, as to join us in most of our
subsequent conferences, and we were so constantly engaged forenoon,
afternoon, and evening, that I had not been out to Versailles, nor
anywhere else.

On Saturday last, the Marquis de Lafayette called upon me, and told me
he had been to Versailles, and the Count de Vergennes had said to him,
that he had been informed by the returns of the Police, that I was in
Paris, but not officially, and he should take it well if I would come
to see him.

I went out to dine with Dr Franklin the same day, who had just
returned from delivering his memorial, and repeated to me the same
message. I said to both, I would go the next morning, and,
accordingly, on Sunday, the 9th, I went to make my court to his
Excellency. He received me politely, and asked me questions about our
progress. I answered him, that the English Minister appeared to me to
divide with us upon ostensible points; that I still doubted his
intentions to make a universal peace; that the cry of the nation was
for something to be done or said with the American Ministers; and to
satisfy this, the King of Great Britain had been advised to be the
third power in Europe to acknowledge our independence. As this was a
royal act, and under the great seal of his kingdom, it would never be
denied or revoked; but still it did not render the nation unanimous,
and to avoid, finally, disgusting any great party, the Minister would
still pursue his usual studied obscurity of policy. Points must be
conceded to the Americans, before a complete agreement could be made
with them, even on terms to be inserted in the universal peace, which
would open the full cry of a powerful party upon him, among which were
the refugees. It could not be supposed, that the refugees and
Penobscot were such points with the nation or Minister, that they
would continue the war for them only, if they were ready to strike
with France, Spain, and Holland.

The Count then asked me some questions respecting Sagadehock, which I
answered, by showing him the records, which I had in my pocket,
particularly that of Governor Pownal's solemn act of possession in
1759; the grants and settlements of Mount Desert, Machias, and all the
other townships east of Penobscot river; the original grant of James
the First, to Sir William Alexander of Nova Scotia, in which it is
bounded on St Croix river; (this grant I had in Latin, French, and
English) the dissertations of Governor Shirley, and Governor
Hutchinson, and the authority of Governor Bernard, all showing the
right of Massachusetts to this tract to be incontestable. I added,
that I did not think any British Minister would ever put his hand to a
written claim of that tract of land, their own national acts were so
numerous, and so clear against them. The Count said, Mr Fitzherbert
had told him, that it was for the masts, that a point was made of that
tract. But the Count said, Canada was an immense resource for masts. I
said, there were few masts there; that this could not be the motive;
that the refugees were still at the bottom of this; several of them
had pretensions to lands in Sagadehock, and the rest hoped for grants

The Count said, it was not at all surprising, that the British
Ministry should insist upon compensation to the tories, for that all
the precedents were in their favor; in the case of the United
Provinces with Spain, all were restored to their possessions, and that
there never had been an example of such an affair terminated by
treaty, but all were restored. He said, it was a point well settled by
precedents. I begged his Excellency's pardon for this, and thought
there was no precedent in point. A restitution of an estate not
alienated, although confiscated to a Crown or State, could not be a
precedent in point, because, in our case, these estates had not only
been confiscated, but alienated by the State, so that it was no longer
in the power of the State to restore them. And when you come to the
question of compensation, there is every argument of national honor,
dignity of the State, public and private justice and humanity, for us
to insist upon a compensation for all the plate, negroes, rice, and
tobacco stolen, and houses and substance consumed, as there is for
them to demand compensation to the tories; and this was so much the
stronger in our favor, as our sufferers were innocent people, and
theirs guilty ones.

M. Rayneval, who was present, said something about the King and
nation being bound to support their adherents. I answered, that I
could not comprehend this doctrine. Here was a set of people, whose
bad faith and misrepresentations had deceived the King and deluded the
nation, to follow their all-devouring ambition, until they had totally
failed of their object; had brought an indelible reproach on the
British name, and almost irretrievable ruin on the nation, and yet
that nation is bound to support their deceivers and ruiners. If the
national honor was bound at all, it was bound still to follow their
ambition, to conquer America, and plant the refugees there in pomp and
power, and in such case, we all know whose estates would be
confiscated, and what compensation would be obtained. All this M.
Rayneval said was very true.

The Count asked me to dine, which I accepted, and was treated with
more attention and complaisance than ever, both by him and the
Countess. As it is our duty to penetrate, if we can, the motives and
views of our allies, as well as our enemies, it is worth while for
Congress to consider what may be the true motives of these intimations
in favor of the tories. History shows, that nations have generally had
as much difficulty to arrange their affairs with their allies as with
their enemies. France has had as much this war with Spain as with
England. Holland and England, whenever they have been allies, have
always found many difficulties, and from the nature of things, it must
ever be an intricate task, to reconcile the notions, prejudices,
principles, &c. of two nations in one concert of councils and

We may well think, that the French would be very glad to have the
Americans join with them in a future war. Suppose, for example, they
should think the tories men of monarchical principles, or men of more
ambition than principle, or men corrupted and of no principle, and
should, therefore, think them more easily seduced to their purposes
than virtuous Republicans, is it not easy to see the policy of a
French Minister in wishing them amnesty and compensation? Suppose that
a French Minister foresees, that the presence of the tories in America
will keep up perpetually two parties, a French and an English party,
and that this will compel the patriotic and independent men to join
the French side, is it not natural for him to wish them restored? Is
it not easy too to see, that a French Minister cannot wish to have the
English and Americans perfectly agreed upon all points, before they
themselves, the Spanish and the Dutch are agreed too? Can they be
sorry then to see us split upon such a point as the tories? What can
be their motives to become the advocates of the tories? It seems the
French Minister, at Philadelphia, has made some representations to
Congress, in favor of a compensation to the royalists, and that the
Count de Vergennes' conversation with me was much in favor of it. The
Count probably knows, that we are instructed against it, or rather,
have not a constitutional authority to make it; that we can only write
about it to Congress, and they to the States, who may, and probably
will, deliberate upon it a year or eighteen months before they all
decide, and then every one of them will determine against it. In this
way, there is an insuperable obstacle to any agreement between the
English and Americans, even upon terms to be inserted in the general
peace, before all are ready, and, indeed, after. It has been upon
former occasions the constant practice of the French, to have some of
their subjects in London, and the English some of theirs in Paris,
during conferences for peace, in order to propagate such sentiments as
they wished to prevail. I doubt not there are such there now. M.
Rayneval has certainly been there. It is reported, I know not how
truly, that M. Gerard has been there, and probably others are there,
who can easily prompt the tories to clamor, and to cry that the King's
dignity and nation's honor are compromised, to support their demands.

America has been long enough involved in the wars of Europe. She has
been a football between contending nations from the beginning, and it
is easy to foresee, that France and England both will endeavor to
involve us in their future wars. It is our interest and duty to avoid
them as much as possible, and to be completely independent, and to
have nothing to do with either of them, but in commerce. My poor
thoughts and feeble efforts, have been from the beginning constantly
employed to arrange all our European connexions to this end, and will
continue to be so employed, whether they succeed or not. My hopes of
success are stronger now than they ever have been, because I find Mr
Jay precisely in the same sentiments, after all the observations and
reflections he has made in Europe, and Dr Franklin at last, at least
appears to coincide with us. We are all three perfectly united in the
affair of the tories, and of the Sagadehock, the only points in which
the British Minister pretends to differ from us.

The enclosed papers will show Congress the substance of the
negotiation. The treaty, as first projected between Mr Oswald on one
side, and Dr Franklin and Mr Jay on the other before my arrival; the
treaty as projected after my arrival, between Mr Oswald and the three
American Ministers, my Lord Shelburne having disagreed to the first;
Mr Oswald's letter and our answer; Mr Strachey's letter and our
answer.[14] Mr Strachey has gone to London with the whole, and we are
waiting his return, or the arrival of some other, with further

If Congress should wish to know my conjecture, it is, that the
Ministry will still insist upon compensation to the tories, and thus
involve the nation every month of the war in an expense sufficient to
make a full compensation to all the tories in question. They would not
do this, however, if they were ready with France and Spain.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *


                                    Philadelphia, November 18th, 1782.


Since my letter of the 6th, Congress have been pleased to appoint Mr
Jefferson one of their Ministers Plenipotentiary for negotiating
peace. I have not yet received an answer to my letter informing him of
this event, though I have some reason to believe he will accept the

I believe I mentioned to you, that Congress had refused to accept Mr
Laurens' resignation. Many members have since seen with great pain,
the petition published in the Parliamentary debates as his. I
sincerely wish, that it may prove to be a forgery, since the language
it speaks does not consist with the dignified character he holds. He
has since informed Congress, that he purposes to return to England,
and come out to this country by the way of New York. I hope the
determination of Congress will reach him before he leaves France, as
it will have an awkward appearance to send to England for an American

All the contracts we have received from you, have been sent back with
the ratification endorsed. Some of them have, I hope, reached you
before this. So that the last hand may be put to the important
business of the loan.

So much has been said of Captain Asgill, upon whom, as you have been
informed, the lot fell, when it was determined to avenge the death of
Captain Huddy, that I should let you know the issue of this business,
which you may in part collect, from the enclosed resolve, though you
may be ignorant of the reasons which induced Congress to pass it, and
again render abortive their determination to punish the unexampled
cruelty of the enemy. Mrs Asgill, the mother of this unfortunate young
man, had sufficient influence at the Court of France to obtain its
interposition in his favor; a letter was written on the subject by
Count de Vergennes to General Washington, enclosing one from Mrs
Asgill to the Count, which was extremely pathetic. The Minister of
France had orders from his master to support this application. It was
thought advisable, that this should not be formally done, but that the
discharge of Asgill, should be grounded upon the reasons expressed in
the preamble of the resolution. Congress the more readily acquiesced
in this measure, as there is ground to hope, from the late conduct of
the enemy, that they have determined to adopt a more civilized mode of
carrying on the war in future. They have called off the savages, and a
large number of prisoners have returned on parole from Canada.

We have yet no certain account of the evacuation of Charleston, though
we know that the first division of the troops, and a considerable
number of the inhabitants sailed on the 19th ultimo, as is said, for
Augustine; it is probably evacuated by this time.

It would give me pleasure to receive from you an accurate account of
the differences, which have arisen between the Court of Denmark and
the United Provinces, and the effects they may probably produce. We
are imperfectly acquainted with facts here, and still less with the
politics of the Northern Courts; you will sometimes extend your
observations to them.

I confide too much in the wisdom of the States-General to believe,
that they will omit any honorable means to prevent an accession of
strength to Great Britain, at this critical moment.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                 ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.


[14] These papers will be found in the Correspondence of the Ministers
for negotiating a peace.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Paris, November 18th, 1782.


The instructions from Congress, which direct us to pay so strict an
attention to the French Ministry, and to follow their advice, are
conceived in terms so universal and unlimited, as to give a great deal
of anxiety to my mind.

There is no man more impressed with the obligation of obedience to
instructions; but, in ordinary cases, the principal is so near the
Deputy, as to be able to attend to the whole progress of the business,
and to be informed of every new fact, and every sudden thought.
Ambassadors in Europe can send expresses to their Courts, and give and
receive intelligence in a few days, with the utmost certainty. In
such cases there is no room for mistake, misunderstanding, or
surprise. But, in our case, it is very different. We are at an immense
distance. Despatches are liable to foul play, and vessels are subject
to accidents. New scenes open, the time presses, various nations are
in suspense, and necessity forces us to act.

What can we do? If a French Minister advises us to cede to the
Spaniards the whole river of the Mississippi, and five hundred miles
of territory to the eastward of it, are we bound by our instructions
to put our signature to the cession, when the English themselves are
willing we should extend to the river, and enjoy our natural right to
its navigation? If we should be counselled to relinquish our right to
the fishery on the Grand Bank of Newfoundland, when the British
Ministry are ready, by treaty, to acknowledge our right to it, are we
obliged to relinquish it? If we are advised to restore and compensate
the tories, are we to comply? If we know, or have reasons to believe,
that things, which will have weight upon the minds of the British
Ministry against us upon some points, will be communicated to them in
some way or other, secret or open, if we communicate it to this Court,
are we bound to do it?

I cannot think, that a construction, so literal and severe, was ever
intended to be put upon it; and, therefore, I see no way of doing my
duty to Congress, but to interpret the instruction, as we do all
general precepts and maxims, by such restrictions and limitations, as
reason, necessity, and the nature of things demand.

It may sometimes be known to a deputy, that an instruction from his
principal was given upon information of mistaken facts, what is he to
do? When he knows, that if the truth had been known, his principal
would have given a directly contrary order, is he to follow that,
which issued upon mistake? When he knows, or has only good reason to
believe, that, if his principal were on the spot, and fully informed
of the present state of facts, he would give contrary directions, is
he bound by such as were given before? It cannot be denied, that
instructions are binding, that it is a duty to obey them, and that a
departure from them cannot be justified; but I think it cannot be
denied on the other hand, that in our peculiar situation, cases may
happen, in which it might become our duty to depend upon being
excused, (or, if you will, pardoned) for presuming, that if Congress
were upon the spot, they would judge as we do.

I presume not to dictate, nor to advise, but I may venture to give my
opinion, as I do freely, and with much real concern for the public,
that it would be better, if every instruction in being were totally
repealed, which enjoins upon any American Minister to follow, or ask
the advice, or even to communicate with any French, or other Minister,
or Ambassador in the world. It is an inextricable embarrassment
everywhere. Advice would not be more seldom asked, nor communication
less frequent. It would be more freely given. A communication of
information, or a request of council would then be received as a
compliment, and a mark of respect; it is now considered as a duty and
a right. Your Ministers would have more weight, and be the more
respected through the world. Congress cannot do too much to give
weight to their own Ministers, for, they may depend upon it, great and
unjustifiable pains are taken to prevent them from acquiring
reputation, and even to prevent an idea taking root in any part of
Europe, that anything has been, or can be done by them. And there is
nothing, that humbles and depresses, nothing that shackles and
confines, in short, nothing that renders totally useless all your
Ministers in Europe, so much as these positive instructions, to
consult and communicate with French Ministers, upon all occasions, and
follow their advice. And I really think it would be better to
constitute the Count de Vergennes, our sole Minister, and give him
full powers to make peace and treat with all Europe, than to continue
any of us in the service, under the instructions in being, if they are
to be understood in that unlimited sense, which some persons contend

I hope, that nothing indecent has escaped me upon this occasion. If
any expressions appear too strong, the great importance of the
subject, and the deep impression it has made on my mind and heart,
must be my apology.

I am, Sir, your humble servant,

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                           Paris, November 24th, 1782.


We live in critical moments. Parliament is to meet, and the King's
speech will be delivered on the 26th. If the speech announces Mr
Oswald's commission, and the two Houses in their answers thank him for
issuing it, and there should be no change in the Ministry, the
prospect of peace will be flattering. Or if there should be a change
in the Ministry, and the Duke of Portland, with Mr Fox and Mr Burke,
should come in, it will be still more so. But if Richmond, Cambden,
Keppel, and Townshend should retire, and my Lord North and company
come in, with or without the Earl of Shelburne, the appearances of
peace will be very unpromising. My Lord North, indeed, cannot revoke
the acknowledgment of our independence, and would not probably
renounce the negotiations for peace, but ill will to us is so habitual
to him and his master, that he would fall in earnestly with the
wing-clipping system; join in attempts to deprive us of the fisheries
and the Mississippi, and to fasten upon us the tories, and in every
other measure to cramp, stint, impoverish and enfeeble us. Shelburne
is not so orthodox as he should be, but North is a much greater
heretic in American politics.

It deserves much consideration what course we should take, in case the
old Ministry should come in wholly, or in part. It is certain, at
present, that to be obnoxious to the Americans, and their Ministers,
is a very formidable popular cry against any Minister or candidate for
the Ministry in England, for the nation is more generally for
recovering the good will of the Americans than they ever have been.
Nothing would strike such a blow to any Ministry, as to break off the
negotiations for peace; if the old Ministry come in, they will demand
terms of us, at first, probably, that we can never agree to.

It is now eleven or twelve days, since the last result of our
conferences were laid before the Ministry in London. Mr Vaughan went
off on Sunday noon, the 17th. So that he is, no doubt, before this
time with my Lord Shelburne. He is possessed of an ample budget of
arguments to convince his Lordship, that he ought to give up all the
remaining points between us. Mr Oswald's letters will suggest the same
arguments in a different light, and Mr Strachey, if he is disposed to
do it, is able to enlarge upon them all in conversation.

The fundamental point of the sovereignty of the United States being
settled in England, the only question now is, whether they shall
pursue a contracted, or a liberal, a good natured, or an ill natured
plan towards us. If they are generous, and allow us all we ask, it
will be the better for them; if stingy, the worse. That France does
not wish them to be very noble to us, may be true. But we should be
dupes indeed, if we did not make use of every argument with them, to
show them that it is their interest to be so. And they will be the
greatest bubbles of all, if they should suffer themselves to be
deceived by their passions, or by any arts, to adopt an opposite tenor
of conduct.

I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.

                                            Paris, December 4th, 1782.


It is with much pleasure, that I transmit you the preliminary treaty
between the King of Great Britain and the United States of America.
The Mississippi, the western lands, Sagadehock, and the fisheries, are
secured as well as we could, and I hope what is done for the refugees
will be pardoned.

As the objects, for which I ever consented to leave my family and
country, are thus far accomplished, I now beg leave to resign all my
employments in Europe. They are soon enumerated; the first, is my
commission to borrow money in Holland, and the second, is my credence
to their High Mightinesses. These two should be filled up immediately,
and as Mr Laurens was originally designed to that country, and my
mission there was merely owing to his misfortune, I hope that
Congress will send him a full power for that Court.

The commission for peace I hope will be fully executed before this
reaches you. But, if it should not, as the terms are fixed, I should
not choose to stay in Europe, merely for the honor of affixing my
signature to the definitive treaty, and I see no necessity of filling
up my place; but if Congress should think otherwise, I hope they will
think Mr Dana the best entitled to it.

With great esteem, I have the honor to be, &c.

                                                           JOHN ADAMS.

                  *       *       *       *       *

                       EXTRACTS FROM A JOURNAL.

_Saturday, November 2d, 1782._--Almost every moment of this week has
been employed in negotiation with the English gentlemen, concerning
peace. We have two propositions, one, the line of fortyfive degrees,
the other, a line through the middle of the Lakes. And for the
boundary between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, a line from the mouth
of St Croix to its source, and from its source to the Highlands.

_Sunday, November 3d._--In my first conversation with Dr Franklin, on
Tuesday last, he told me of Mr Oswald's demand of the payment of
debts, and compensation to the tories; he said their answer had been,
that we had not power, nor had Congress. I told him, I had no notion
of cheating anybody. The question of paying debts, and compensating
tories, were two. I had made the same observation that forenoon to Mr
Oswald and Mr Strachey, in company with Mr Jay, at his house. I saw
it struck Mr Strachey with peculiar pleasure; I saw it instantly
smiling in every line of his face. Mr Oswald was apparently pleased
with it too. In a subsequent conversation with my colleagues, I
proposed to them, that we should agree that Congress should recommend
it to the States, to open their courts of justice for the recovery of
all just debts. They gradually fell into this opinion, and we all
expressed these sentiments to the English gentlemen, who were much
pleased with it, and with reason; because it silences the clamors of
all the British creditors against the peace, and prevents them from
making common cause with the refugees. Mr Jay came in and spent two
hours in conversation upon our affairs, and we attempted an answer to
Mr Oswald's letter. He is perfectly of my opinion, or I am of his,
respecting Mr Dana's true line of conduct, as well as his with Spain,
and ours with France, Spain, and England.

Vergennes has endeavored to persuade him to treat with d'Aranda,
without exchanging powers. He refuses. Vergennes also pronounced
Oswald's first commission sufficient, and was for making the
acknowledgment of American independence, the first article of the
treaty. Jay would not treat; the consequence was, a complete
acknowledgment of our independence by Oswald's new commission, under
the great seal of Great Britain, to treat with the Commissioners of
the United States of America. Thus a temperate firmness has succeeded
everywhere, but the base system nowhere.

D'Estaing has set off for Madrid and Cadiz; _reste à savoir_ what his
object is, whether to take the command of a squadron, and in that
case, where to go, whether to Rhode Island, to join Vaudreuil, and go
against New York, or to the West Indies. Will they take New York, or
only prevent the English from evacuating it? Oswald proposed solemnly
to all three of us yesterday, at his house, to agree not to molest the
British troops in the evacuation; but we did not. This, however, shows
they have it in contemplation. Suppose they are going against West
Florida. How far are we bound to favor the Spaniards? Our treaty with
France must, and shall be sacredly fulfilled, and we must admit Spain
to accede when she will; but until she does, our treaty does not bind
us to France to assist Spain.

The present conduct of England and America, resembles that of the
eagle and cat. An eagle, scaling over a farmer's yard, espied a
creature that he thought a hare. He pounced upon and took him up in
the air, the cat seized him by the neck with her teeth, and round the
body with her fore and hind claws. The eagle, finding himself
scratched and pressed, bids the cat let go, and fall down. No, says
the cat, I will not let go and fall, you shall stoop and set me down.

_Monday, November 4th._--All the forenoon, from eleven till three, at
Mr Oswald's, Mr Jay and I. In the evening there again, until near
eleven. Strachey is as artful and insinuating a man as they could
send; he pushes and presses every point as far as it can possibly go;
he has a most eager, earnest, pointed spirit.

_Tuesday, November 5th._ Mr Jay told me our allies did not play fair.
They were endeavoring to deprive us of the fishery, the western lands,
and the navigation of the Mississippi. They would even bargain with
the English, to deprive us of them. They want to lay the western
lands, Mississippi, and the whole Gulf of Mexico into the hands of

Oswald talks of Pultney, and a plot to divide America between France
and England. France to have New England. They tell a story about
Vergennes, and his agreeing that the English might propose such a
division, but reserving a right to deny it all. These whispers ought
not to be credited by us.

_Saturday, November 9th._--M. de Lafayette came in, and told me he had
been at Versailles, and in consultation about the affair of money, as
he and I agreed he should. He said he found, that the Count de
Vergennes and their Ministry were of the same opinion with me, that
the English were determined to evacuate New York. After some time, he
told me, in a great air of confidence, that he was afraid the Count
took it amiss, that I had not been to Versailles to see him. The Count
told him, that he had not been officially informed of my arrival, he
had only learned it from the returns of the police. I went out to
Passy to dine with Dr Franklin, who had been to Versailles, and
presented his Memorial, and the papers accompanying it. The Count said
he would have the papers translated to lay them before the King, but
the affair would meet with many difficulties. Franklin brought the
same message to me from the Count, and said he believed it would be
taken kindly if I went. I told both the Marquis and the Doctor, that I
would go tomorrow morning.

_Sunday, November 10th._--Accordingly, at eight this morning, I went
and waited on the Count. He asked me how we went on with the English.
I told him we divided upon two points, the tories and Penobscot, two
ostensible points; for it was impossible to believe, that my Lord
Shelburne, or the nation, cared much about such points. I took out of
my pocket, and showed him, the record of Governor Pownal's solemn act
of burying a leaden plate, with this inscription; 'May 23d, 1759.
Province of Massachusetts Bay. Penobscot dominions of Great Britain.
Possession confirmed by Thomas Pownal, Governor.' This was planted on
the east side of the river of Penobscot, three miles above marine
navigation. I showed him also all the other records, the laying out of
Mount Desert, Machias, and all the other towns to the east of
Penobscot river, and told him, that the grant of Nova Scotia, by James
the First, to Sir William Alexander, bounded it on the river St Croix,
and that I was possessed of the authorities of four of the greatest
Governors the King of England ever had, Shirley, Pownal, Bernard, and
Hutchinson, in favor of our claim, and of learned writings of Shirley
and Hutchinson in support of it. The Count said, that Mr Fitzherbert
told him they wanted it for the masts. But the Count said, that Canada
had an immense quantity. I told him I thought there were few masts
there, but, that I fancied it was _not masts, but tories_, that again
made the difficulty. Some of them claimed lands in that territory, and
others hoped for grants there.

The Count said, it was not astonishing, that the British Ministry
should insist upon compensation to them, for that all the precedents
were in favor of it; that there had been no example of an affair like
this terminated by a treaty, without re-establishing those who had
adhered to the old government, in all their possessions. I begged his
pardon in this, and said, that in Ireland at least there had been a
multitude of confiscations without restitution. Here we ran into some
conversation concerning Ireland, &c. M. Rayneval, who was present,
talked about the national honor, and the obligation they were under to
support their adherents. Here I thought I might indulge a little more
latitude of expression, than I had done with Oswald and Strachey, and
I answered, if the nation thought itself bound in honor to compensate
these people, it might easily do it, for it cost the nation more money
to carry on this war one month, than it would cost it to compensate
them all. But I could not comprehend this doctrine of national honor.
Those people, by their misrepresentations had deceived the nation, who
had followed the impulsion of their devouring ambition, until it had
brought an indelible stain on the British name, and almost
irretrievable ruin on the nation, and now that very nation was thought
to be bound in honor to compensate its dishonorers and destroyers.
Rayneval said it was very true.

The Count invited me to dine; I accepted. When I came, I found M. de
Lafayette in conference with him. When they came out, the Marquis took
me aside, and told me he had been talking with the Count upon the
affair of money. He had represented to him Mr Morris's arguments, and
the things I had said to him, as from himself, &c. That he feared the
arts of the English, that our army would disband, and our governments
relax, &c. That the Count feared many difficulties; that France had
expended two hundred and fifty millions in this war, &c. That he
talked of allowing six millions, and my going to Holland with the
scheme I had projected, and having the King's warranty, &c. to get the
rest; that he had already spoken to some of M. de Fleury's friends,
and intended to speak to him, &c.

We went up to dinner. I went up with the Count alone. He showed me
into the room where were the ladies and the company. I singled out the
Countess, and went up to her to make her my compliment. The Countess,
and all the ladies rose up. I made my respects to them all, and turned
and bowed to the rest of the company. The Count, who came in after me,
made his bows to the ladies, and to the Countess last. When he came to
her, he turned round and called out, _Mons. Adams, venez ici, voilà la
Comtesse de Vergennes_. A nobleman in company said, Mr Adams has
already made his court to Madame la Comtesse. I went up again,
however, and spoke again to the Countess, and she to me. When dinner
was served, the Count led Madame de Montmorin, and left me to conduct
the Countess, who gave me her hand with extraordinary condescension,
and I conducted her to table. She made me sit next to her, on her
right hand, and was remarkably attentive to me the whole time. The
Count, who sat opposite, was constantly calling out to me, to know
what I would eat, and to offer me _petits gateaux_, claret, and
Madeira, &c. &c. In short, I was never treated with half the respect
at Versailles in my life. In the antichamber, before dinner, some
French gentlemen came to me, and said they had seen me two years ago,
and that I had shown in Holland, that the Americans understood
negotiation, as well as war.

_Monday, November 11th._ Mr Whiteford the Secretary of Mr Oswald, came
a second time, not having found me at home yesterday, when he left a
card, with a copy of Mr Oswald's commission, attested by himself (Mr
Oswald). He delivered the copy, and said Mr Oswald was ready to
compare it with the original with me. I said Mr Oswald's attestation
was sufficient, as he had already shown me the original. He sat down,
and we fell into conversation about the weather, and the vapors and
exhalations from Tartary, which had been brought here last spring by
the winds, and given us all the influenza. Thence to French fashions
and the punctuality, with which they insist upon people's wearing thin
clothes in spring and fall, though the weather is ever so cold, &c. I
said it was often carried to ridiculous lengths, but that it was at
bottom an admirable policy, as it rendered all Europe tributary to the
city of Paris, for its manufactures.

We fell soon into politics. I told him, that there was something in
the minds of the English and French, which impelled them irresistibly
to war every ten or fifteen years. He said the ensuing peace would, he
believed, be a long one. I said it would, provided it was well made,
and nothing left in it to give future discontents. But if anything was
done, which the Americans should think hard or unjust, both the
English and French would be continually blowing it up, and inflaming
the American minds with it, in order to make them join one side or the
other in a future war. Suppose for example, they should think the
tories men of monarchical principles, or men of more ambition than
principle, or men corrupted and of no principle, and should therefore
think them more easily seduced to their purposes, than virtuous
republicans, is it not easy to see the policy of a French Minister in
wishing them amnesty and compensation? Suppose a French Minister
foresees, that the presence of the tories in America will keep up
perpetually two parties, a French party, and an English party, and
that this will compel the patriotic and independent party to join the
French party, is it not natural for him to wish them restored? Is it
not easy to see, that a French Minister cannot wish to have the
English and Americans perfectly agreed upon all points before they
themselves, the Spaniards and the Dutch are agreed too? Can they be
sorry then to see us split upon such a point as the tories? What can
be their motives to become the advocates of the tories?

The French Minister at Philadelphia has made some representations to
Congress, in favor of a compensation to the royalists, and the Count
de Vergennes no longer than yesterday said much to me in their favor.
The Count probably knows, that we are instructed against it, that
Congress are instructed against it, or rather have not constitutional
authority to do it; that we can only write about it to Congress, and
they to the States, who may, and probably will, deliberate upon it
eighteen months before they all decide, and then every one of them
will determine against it. In this way there is an insuperable
obstacle to any agreement between the English and Americans, even upon
terms to be inserted in the general peace, before all are ready. It
was the constant practice of the French to have some of their subjects
in London during the conferences for peace in order to propagate such
sentiments there as they wished to prevail. I doubted not such were
there now; M. Rayneval had been there. M. Gerard, I had heard, is
there now, and probably others. They can easily persuade the tories to
set up their demands, and tell them and the Ministers, that the King's
dignity and nation's honor are compromised in it.

For my own part, I thought America had been long enough involved in
the wars of Europe. She had been a football between contending nations
from the beginning, and it was easy to foresee, that France and
England both would endeavor to involve us in their future wars. I
thought it our interest and duty, to avoid them as much as possible,
and to be completely independent, and have nothing to do but in
commerce with either of them; that my thoughts had been from the
beginning to arrange all our European connexions to this end, and that
they would continue to be so employed. And I thought it so important
to us, that if my poor labors, my little estate, or (smiling) sizy
blood, could effect it, it should be done. But I had many fears.

I said, the King of France might think it consistent with his station
to favor people, who had contended for a Crown, though it was the
Crown of his enemy. Whiteford said, they seem to be through the whole
of their course, fighting for reputation. I said, they had acquired
it, and more, they had raised themselves high from a low estate by it,
and they were our good friends and allies, and had conducted
generously, and nobly, and we should be just and grateful, but they
might have political wishes, which we were not bound by treaty, nor in
justice or gratitude to favor, and these we ought to be cautious of.
He agreed that they had raised themselves very suddenly and
surprisingly by it.

_Tuesday, November 12th._--The compliment of "_Monsieur, vous êtes le
Washington de la négotiation_," was repeated to me, by more than one
person. I answered, "_Monsieur, vous me faites le plus grand honneur,
et le compliment le plus sublime possible_." "_Eh! Monsieur, en
vérité, vous l'avez bien mérité._"

_Friday, November 15th._--Mr Oswald came to visit me, and entered with
some freedom, into conversation. I said many things to him to convince
him, that it was the policy of my Lord Shelburne, and the interest of
the nation, to agree with us upon the advantageous terms, which Mr
Strachey carried away on the 5th; showed him the advantages of the
boundary, the vast extent of land, and the equitable provision for the
payment of debts, and even the great benefits stipulated for the

He said he had been reading Mr Paine's answer to the Abbé Raynal, and
had found there an excellent argument in favor of the tories. Mr Paine
says, that before the battle of Lexington, we were so blindly
prejudiced in favor of the English, and so closely attached to them,
that we went to war at any time, and for any object, when they bid us.
Now this being habitual to the Americans, it was excusable in the
tories to behave on this occasion, as all of us had ever done upon all
others. He said, if he were a member of Congress, he would show a
magnanimity upon this occasion, and would say to the refugees, take
your property, we scorn to make any use of it in building up our

I replied, that we had no power, and Congress had no power, and,
therefore, we must consider how it would be reasoned upon in the
several Legislatures of the separate States, if, after being sent by
us to Congress, and by them to the several States, in the course of
twelve or fifteen months, it should be there debated. You must carry
on the war six or nine months certainly, for this compensation; and
consequently spend, in the prosecution of it, six or nine times the
sum necessary to make the compensation; for I presume this war costs
every month to Great Britain, a larger sum than would be necessary to
pay for the forfeited estates.

"How," said I, "will an independent man in one of our Assemblies
consider this? We will take a man, who is no partisan of England or
France, one who wishes to do justice to both, and to all nations, but
is the partisan only of his own." "Have you seen," said he, "a certain
letter written to the Count de Vergennes, wherein Mr Samuel Adams is
treated pretty freely?" "Yes," said I, "and several other papers, in
which Mr John Adams has been treated so too. I do not know what you
may have heard in England of Mr Samuel Adams. You may have been taught
to believe, for what I know, that he eats little children. But I
assure you, he is a man of humanity and candor, as well as integrity;
and further, that he is devoted to the interest of his country, and, I
believe, wishes never to be, after a peace, the partisan to France or
England, but to do justice and all the good he can to both. I thank
you for mentioning him, for I will make him my orator. What will he
say, when the question of amnesty and compensation to the tories comes
before the Senate of Massachusetts, and when he is informed, that
England makes a point of it, and that France favors her? He will say,
here are two old sagacious Courts, both endeavoring to sow the seeds
of discord among us, each endeavoring to keep us in hot water; to keep
up continual broils between an English party and a French party, in
hopes of obliging the independent and patriotic party to lean to its
side. England wishes them here, and compensated, not merely to get rid
of them, and to save herself the money, but to plant among us
instruments of her own, to make divisions among us, and between us and
France, to be continually crying down the religion, the government,
the manners of France, and crying up the language, the fashions, the
blood, &c. of England. England also means, by insisting on our
compensating these worst of enemies, to obtain from us a tacit
acknowledgment of the right of the war, an implicit acknowledgment,
that the tories have been justifiable, or at least excusable, and that
we, only by a fortunate coincidence of events, have carried a wicked
rebellion into a complete revolution. At the very time, when Britain
professes to desire peace, reconciliation, perpetual oblivion of all
past unkindnesses, can she wish to send in among us a number of
persons, whose very countenances will bring fresh to our remembrance
the whole history of the rise and progress of the war, and of all its
atrocities? Can she think it conciliatory, to oblige us to lay taxes
upon those, whose habitations have been consumed, to reward those who
have burned them? Upon those, whose relations have been cruelly
destroyed, to compensate the murderers? What can be the design of
France, on the other hand, by espousing the cause of those men?
Indeed, her motives may be guessed at. She may wish to keep up in our
minds a terror of England, and a fresh remembrance of all we have
suffered. Or she may wish to prevent our Ministers in Europe from
agreeing with the British Ministers, until she shall say, that she and
Spain are satisfied in all points."

I entered largely with Mr Oswald into the consideration of the
influence this question would have upon the councils of the British
cabinet, and the debates in Parliament. The King and the old Ministry
might think their personal reputations concerned, in supporting men
who had gone such lengths, and suffered so much in their attachment to
them. The King may say, "I have other dominions abroad, Canada, Nova
Scotia, Florida, the West India Islands, the East Indies, Ireland. It
will be a bad example to abandon these men. Others will lose their
encouragement to adhere to my government." But the shortest answer to
this is the best, let the King by a message recommend it to Parliament
to compensate them.

But how will my Lord Shelburne sustain the shock of opposition, when
Mr Fox and Mr Burke shall demand a reason, why the essential interests
of the nation are sacrificed to the unreasonable demands of those very
men, who have done this great mischief to the empire? Should these
orators indulge themselves in Philippics against the refugees, show
their false representations, their outrageous cruelties, their
innumerable demerits against the nation, and then attack the First
Lord of the Treasury for continuing to spend the blood and treasure of
the nation for their sakes?

_Sunday, November 17th._--Mr Vaughan came to me yesterday, and said,
that Mr Oswald had that morning called upon Mr Jay, and told him, if
he had known as much the day before, as he had since learned, he would
have written to go home. Mr Vaughan said, Mr Fitzherbert had received
a letter from Mr Townshend, that the compensation would be insisted
on. Mr Oswald wanted Mr Jay to go to England; thought he could
convince the Ministry. Mr Jay said, he must go with or without the
knowledge and advice of the Court, and, in either case, it would give
rise to jealousies. He could not go. Mr Vaughan said, he had
determined to go, on account of the critical state of his family, his
wife being probably abed. He should be glad to converse freely with
me, and obtain from me all the lights and arguments against the
tories, even the history of their worst actions. That, in case it
should be necessary to run them down, it might be done, or at least
expose them, for their true history was little known in England. I
told him, I must be excused, it was a subject that I had never been
desirous of obtaining information upon; that I pitied those people too
much, to be willing to aggravate the sorrows and sufferings, even of
those who had deserved the worst. It might not be amiss to reprint the
letters of Bernard, Hutchinson, and Oliver, to show their rise. It
might not be amiss to read the history of Wyoming, in the annual
register for 1778 or 9, to recollect the prison ships, and the
churches at New York, where the garrison of Fort Washington were
starved, in order to make them enlist in refugee corps, it might not
be amiss to recollect the burning of cities, and the thefts of plate,
negroes, and tobacco.

I entered into the same arguments with him that I had used with Mr
Oswald, to show that we could do nothing; Congress nothing; the time
it would take to consult the States, and the reason to believe, that
all of them would at last decide against it. I showed him, that it
would be a religious question with some; a moral one with others; and
a political one with more; an economical one with very few. I shewed
him the ill effect which would be produced upon the American mind by
this measure; how much it would contribute to perpetuate alienation
against England, and how French emissaries might, by means of these
men, blow up the flames of animosity and war. I showed him how the
whig interest, and the opposition, might avail themselves of this
subject in Parliament, and how they might embarrass the Minister.

He went out to Passy for a passport, and in the evening called upon me
again; he said he found Dr Franklin's sentiments to be the same with
Mr Jay's and mine, and hoped he should be able to convince Lord
Shelburne. He was pretty confident it would work right. The Ministry
and nation were not informed upon the subject. Lord Shelburne had told
him, that no part of his office gave him so much pain, as the levee he
held for these people, and hearing their stories of their families and
estates, their losses, sufferings, and distresses. Mr Vaughan said, he
had picked up here a good deal of information about these people from
Mr Allen, and other Americans.

In the evening, M. de Lafayette came in and told me he had been to see
M. de Fleury on the subject of a loan. He told him, he must afford
America this year a subsidy of twenty millions. M. de Fleury said,
France had already spent two hundred and fifty millions in the
American war, and that they could not allow any more money to her;
that there was a great deal of money in America; that the King's
troops had been paid and subsisted there; that the British army had
been subsisted and paid there, &c. The Marquis said, that little of
the subsistence or pay of the British had gone into any hands, but
those of the tories within the lines. I said, that more money went in
for their goods, than came out for provisions, or anything. The
Marquis added to M. de Fleury, that Mr Adams had a plan for going to
the States-General for a loan, or a subsidy. M. de Fleury said, he did
not want the assistance of Mr Adams, to get money in Holland, he could
have what he would. The Marquis said, Mr Adams would be glad of it, he
did not want to go, but was willing to take the trouble, if necessary.

The Marquis said, that he should dine with the Queen tomorrow, and
would give her a hint to favor us, that he should take leave in a few
days, and should go in the fleet that was to sail from Brest; that he
wanted the advice of Dr Franklin, Mr Jay, and me, before he went, &c.
said that there was a report, that M. Gerard had been in England, and
that M. de Rayneval was gone. I told him, I saw M. Gerard at Mr Jay's
a few evenings ago. He said, he did not believe M. Gerard had been;
that he had mentioned it to Count de Vergennes, and he did not appear
confused at all, but said M. Gerard was here about the limits of
Alsace. The Marquis said, that he believed the reason why Count de
Vergennes said so little about the progress of Mr Fitzherbert with him
was, because the difficulty about peace was made by the Spaniards, and
he was afraid of making the Americans still more angry with Spain. He
knew the Americans were very angry with the Spaniards.

_Monday, November 18th._--Returned Mr Oswald's visit. He says, Mr.
Strachey, who sat out the 5th, did not reach London until the 10th.
Couriers are three, four, or five days in going, according as the
winds are.

We went over the old ground concerning the tories. He began to use
arguments with me to relax. I told him, he must not think of that; but
must bend all his thoughts to convince and persuade his Court to give
it up; that if the terms now before his Court were not accepted, the
whole negotiation would be broken off, and this Court would probably
be so angry with Mr Jay and me, that they would set their engines to
work upon Congress, get us recalled, and some others sent, who would
do exactly as this Court would have them. He said, he thought that
very probable. In another part of his conversation he said, we should
all have gold snuff boxes, set with diamonds; you will certainly have
the picture. I told him no, I had dealt too freely with this Court, I
had not concealed from them any useful and necessary truth, although
it was disagreeable. Indeed, I neither expected, or desired any favors
from them, nor would I accept any; I should not refuse any customary
compliment of that sort, but it never had been, or would be offered to
me. My fixed principle, never to be the tool of any man, nor the
partisan of any nation, would forever exclude me from the smiles and
favors of Courts.

In another part of the conversation I said, that when I was young and
addicted to reading, I had heard about dancing upon the points of
metaphysical needles; but, by mixing in the world, I had found the
points of political needles finer and sharper than the metaphysical
ones. I told him the story of Josiah Quincy's conversation with Lord
Shelburne, in 1774, in which he pointed out to him the plan of
carrying on the war, which has been pursued this year, by remaining
inactive on land, and cruising upon the coast to distress our trade.

He said he had been contriving an artificial truce, since he found we
were bound by treaty not to agree to a separate truce. He had proposed
to the Ministry, to give orders to their men-of-war, and privateers,
not to take any unarmed American vessels.

I said to him, supposing the armed neutrality should acknowledge
American independence, by admitting Mr Dana, who is now at Petersburg
with a commission in his pocket for that purpose, to subscribe to the
principles of their marine treaty; the King of Great Britain could
find no fault with it; he could never hereafter say it was an affront
or hostility; he had done it himself. Would not all neutral vessels
have a right to go to America? And could not all American trade be
carried on in neutral bottoms? I said to him, that England would
always be a country, which would deserve much of the attention of
America, independently of all consideration of blood, origin,
language, morals, &c.; merely as a commercial people, she would
forever claim the respect of America, because a great part of her
commerce would be with her, provided she came to her senses, and made
peace with us, without any points in the treaty, that should ferment
in the minds of the people. If the people should think themselves
unjustly treated, they would never be easy, and they are so situated
as to be able to hurt any power. The fisheries, the Mississippi, the
tories, were points that would rankle, and that nation that should
offend our people in any of them, would sooner or later feel the

Mr Jay, M. Couteulx, and Mr Grand, came in. Mr Grand says there is a
great fermentation in England, and that they talk of uniting Lord
North and Mr Fox in administration; the Duke of Portland to come in,
and Keppel to go out. But this is wild.

You are afraid, said Mr Oswald today, of being made the tools of the
powers of Europe. Indeed I am, said I. What powers, said he? All of
them, said I. It is obvious that all the powers of Europe will be
continually manoeuvring with us, to work us into their real or
imaginary balances of power. They will all wish to make of us a
makeweight candle, when they are making out their pounds. Indeed it is
not surprising; for we shall very often, if not always be able to turn
the scale. But I think it ought to be our rule not to meddle, and that
of all the powers of Europe, not to desire us, or perhaps even to
permit us to interfere, if they can help it. I beg of you, said he, to
get out of your head the idea, that we shall disturb you. What, said
I, do you yourself believe, that your Ministers, Governors, and even
nation, will not wish to get us of your side in any future war? As for
the Governors, said he, we will take off their heads if they do an
improper thing towards you. Thank you for your good will, said I,
which I feel to be sincere. But nations do not feel as you and I do.
And your nation, when it gets a little refreshed from the fatigues of
the war; when men and money are become plenty, and allies at hand,
will not feel as it does now. We never can be such sots, said he, as
to think of differing again with you. Why, said I, in truth I have
never been able to comprehend the reason, why you ever thought of
differing with us.

_Monday, November 25th._ Doctor Franklin, Mr Jay, and myself, at 11
o'clock, met at Mr Oswald's lodgings. Mr Strachey told us, he had been
to London, and waited personally on every one of the King's cabinet
council, and had communicated the last propositions to them. They
every one of them unanimously condemned that respecting the tories, so
that that unhappy affair stuck, as he foresaw and foretold it would.

The affair of the fishery too was somewhat altered. They could not
admit us to dry on the shores of Nova Scotia, nor to fish within three
leagues of the coast of Cape Breton. The boundary they did not
approve. They thought it too extended, too vast a country; but they
would not make a difficulty. That if these terms were not admitted,
the whole affair must be thrown into Parliament, where every man would
be for insisting on restitution to the refugees. He talked about
excepting a few, by name, of the most obnoxious of the refugees.

I could not help observing, that the ideas respecting the fishery
appeared to me to come piping hot from Versailles. I quoted to them
the words of our treaty with France, in which the indefinite and
exclusive right to the fishery on the western side of Newfoundland was
secured against us, according to the true construction of the treaties
of Utrecht and Paris. I showed them the 12th and 13th articles of the
treaty of Utrecht, by which the French were admitted to fish from Cape
Bonavista to Point Riche. I related to them the manner in which the
cod and haddock came into the rivers, harbors, creeks, and up to the
very wharves, on all the northern coasts of America, in the spring, in
the month of April, so that you have nothing to do, but step into a
boat, and bring in a parcel of fish in a few hours. But that in May
they began to withdraw. We have a saying in Boston that, "when the
blossoms fall, the haddock begin to crawl," i.e. to move into deep
water; so that in summer you must go out some distance to fish; at
Newfoundland it was the same. The fish in March and April were in
shore, in all the creeks, bays, and harbors, i.e. within three leagues
of the coasts or shores of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia; that neither
French nor English, could go from Europe and arrive early enough for
the first fare; that our vessels could, being so much nearer, an
advantage which God and nature had put into our hands; but this
advantage of ours had been an advantage to England; because our fish
had been sold in Spain and Portugal for gold and silver, and that gold
and silver sent to London for manufactures; that this would be the
course again; that France foresaw it, and wished to deprive England of
it, by persuading her to deprive us of it; that it would be a master
stroke of policy if she could succeed; but England must be completely
the dupe before she could succeed.

There were three lights in which it might be viewed. 1st. As a nursery
for seamen. 2d. As a source of profit. 3d. As a source of contention.
As a nursery of seamen, did England consider us as worse enemies than
France? Had she rather France should have the seamen than America? The
French marine was nearer and more menacing than ours. As a source of
profit, had England rather France should supply the markets of Lisbon
and Cadiz with fish, and take the gold and silver, than we? France
would never spend any of that money in London. We should spend it all
there, very nearly. As a source of contention, how could we restrain
our fishermen (the boldest men alive) from fishing in prohibited
places? How could our men see the French admitted to fish, and
themselves excluded by the English? It would then be a cause of
disputes, and such seeds France might wish to sow. That I wished for
two hours' conversation on the subject with one of the King's council.
If I did not convince him he was undesignedly betraying the interest
of his Sovereign; I was mistaken. Strachey said, perhaps I would put
down some observations in writing upon it; I said, with all my heart,
provided I had the approbation of my colleagues; but I could do
nothing of the kind without submitting it to their judgments; and,
that whatever I had said or should say, upon the subject, however
strongly I might express myself was always to be understood, with
submission to my colleagues. I showed them Captain Coffin's letter,
and gave them his character. His words are;

"Our fishermen from Boston, Salem, Newbury, Marblehead, Cape Ann, Cape
Cod, and Nantucket, have frequently gone out on the fisheries to the
Straits of Belleisle, north part of Newfoundland, and the banks
adjacent thereto, there to continue the whole season, and have made
use of the north part of Newfoundland, the Labrador coast, in the
Straits of Belleisle, to cure their fish, which they have taken in and
about those coasts. I have known several instances of vessels going
there to load in the fall of the year, with the fish taken and cured
at these places, for Spain, Portugal, &c. I was once concerned in a
voyage of that kind myself, and speak from my own knowledge.

"From Cape Sables, to the Isle of Sables, and so on to the Banks of
Newfoundland, are a chain of banks, extending all along the coast, and
almost adjoining each other, and those banks are where our fishermen
go for the first fare, in the early part of the season. Their second
fare is on the Banks of Newfoundland, where they continue to fish,
till prevented by the tempestuous and boisterous winds, which prevail
in the fall of the year on that coast. Their third and last fare is
generally made near the coast of Cape Sables, or banks adjoining
thereto, where they are not only relieved from those boisterous gales,
but have an asylum to fly to in case of emergency, as that coast is
lined, from the head of Cape Sables to Halifax, with most excellent
harbors. The sea-cow fishery was, before the present war, carried on
to great advantage, particularly from Nantucket and Cape Cod, in and
about the river St Lawrence, at the Island St Johns and Anticosti, Bay
of Chaleurs, and the Magdalen Islands, which were the most noted of
all for that fishery. This oil has the preference to all others,
except spermaceti."

Mr Jay desired to know whether Mr Oswald had now power to conclude and
sign with us. Strachey said he had, absolutely. Mr Jay desired to know
if the propositions now delivered us, were their ultimatum. Strachey
seemed loath to answer, but at last said, no. We agreed these were
good signs of sincerity. Bancroft came in this evening, and said, it
was reported, that a courier had arrived from M. Rayneval, in London,
and that after it, the Count de Vergennes told the King, that he had
the peace in his pocket, that he was now master of the peace.

_Tuesday, November 26th._ Breakfasted at Mr Jay's, with Dr Franklin,
in consultation upon the propositions made to us yesterday, by Mr
Oswald. We agreed unanimously, to answer him, that we could not
consent to the article respecting the refugees, as it now stands. Dr
Franklin read a letter upon the subject, which he had prepared to Mr
Oswald, upon the subject of the tories, which we had agreed with him,
that he should read, as containing his private sentiments. We had a
vast deal of conversation upon the subject. My colleagues opened
themselves, and made many observations concerning the conduct, crimes,
and demerits of those people. Before dinner Mr Fitzherbert came in,
whom I had never seen before, a gentleman of about thirtythree; seems
pretty discreet and judicious, and did not discover those airs of
vanity, which are imputed to him. He came in consequence of the desire
I expressed yesterday, of knowing the state of the negotiation between
him and the Count de Vergennes, respecting the fishery. He told us,
that the Count was for fixing the boundaries where each nation should
fish; he must confess he thought the idea plausible, for that there
had been great dissensions among the fishermen of the two nations;
that the French Marine Office had an apartment full of complaints and
representations of disputes; that the French pretended, that Cape Ray
was the Point Riche.

I asked him, if the French demanded of him an exclusive right to fish
and dry between Cape Bonavista and the Point Riche. He said they had
not expressly, and he intended to follow the words of the Treaty of
Utrecht and Paris, without stirring the point. I showed him an extract
of a letter from the Earl of Egremoot, to the Duke of Bedford, of
March the 1st, 1763, in which it is said, that, by the 13th article of
the Treaty of Utrecht, a liberty was left to the French to fish, and
to dry their fish on shore; and for that purpose to erect the
necessary stages and buildings, but with an express stipulation, "_de
ne pas sejourner dans la dite Isle, au delà du dit tems nécessaire
pour pêcher et sécher les poissons_." That it is a received law among
the fishermen, that whoever arrives first shall have his choice of the
stations; that the Duc de Nivernois insisted, that by the Treaty of
Utrecht, the French had an exclusive right to the fishery, from Cape
Bonavista to Point Riche; that the King gave to his Grace, the Duke of
Bedford, express instructions to come to an eclaircissement upon the
point with the French Ministry, and to refuse the exclusive
construction of the Treaty of Utrecht. I also showed him a letter from
Sir Stamier Porteen, Lord Weymouth's Secretary, to Lord Weymouth,
enclosing an extract of Lord Egremont's letter to the Duke of Bedford,
by which it appears, that the Duc de Nivernois insisted "that the
French had an exclusive right to the fishery, from Cape Bonavista to
point Riche, and that they had, on ceding the island of Newfoundland
to Great Britain, by the thirteenth article of the Treaty of Utrecht,
expressly reserved to themselves such an exclusive right, which they
had constantly been in possession of till they were entirely driven
from North America, in the last war."

For these papers I am obliged to Mr Izard. Mr Fitzherbert said it was
the same thing now, word for word; but he should endeavor to have the
treaty conformable to those of Utrecht and Paris. But he said we had
given it up by admitting the word "_exclusive_" into our treaty. I
said, perhaps not; for the whole was to be conformable to the true
construction of the treaties of Utrecht and Paris, and that if the
English did not now admit the exclusive construction, they could not
contend for it against us. We had only contracted not to disturb them,
&c. I said it was the opinion of all the fishermen in America, that
England could not prevent our catching a fish, without preventing
themselves from getting a dollar; that the first fare was our only
advantage; that neither the English nor French could have it; it must
be lost if we had it not. He said, he did not think much of the
fishery, as a source of profit, but as a nursery of seamen. I told
him, the English could not catch a fish the more, or make a sailor the
more, for restraining us; even the French would rival them in the
markets of Spain and Portugal. It was our fish they ought to call
their own; because we should spend the profit with them; that the
Southern States had staple commodities; but New England had no other
remittances than the fishery, no other way to pay for their clothing;
that it entered into our distilleries and West India trade, as well as
our European trade, in such a manner, that it could not be taken out
or diminished without tearing and rending; that, if it should be left
to its natural course, we could hire or purchase spots of ground, on
which to erect stages and buildings; but if we were straitened by
treaty, that treaty would be given in instructions to Governors and
Commodores, whose duty it would be to execute it; that it would be
very difficult to restrain our fishermen, they would be frequently
transgressing and making disputes and troubles.

He said, his principal object was to avoid sowing seeds of future
wars. I said, it was equally my object, and that I was persuaded, that
if the germ of a war was left anywhere, there was the greatest danger
of its being left in the article respecting the fishery. The rest of
the day was spent in endless discussions about the tories. Dr.
Franklin is very staunch against them, more decided a great deal on
this point, than Mr. Jay or myself.

_Wednesday, November 27th._--Mr. Benjamin Vaughan came in, returned
from London, where he had seen Lord Shelburne. He says, he finds the
Ministry much embarrassed with the tories, and exceedingly desirous of
saving their honor and reputation in this point; that it is reputation
more than money, &c. Dined with Mr. Jay, and spent some time before
dinner with him and Dr. Franklin, and all the afternoon with them and
Mr. Oswald, endeavoring to come together concerning the fisheries and
the tories.

_Thursday, November 28th._--This morning I have drawn up the following

ART. III. "That the subjects of his Britannic Majesty, and the people
of the said United States, shall continue to enjoy, unmolested, the
right to take fish of every kind, on the Grand Bank, and on all the
other banks of Newfoundland; also in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and in
all other places, where the inhabitants of both countries used at any
time heretofore to fish; and the citizens of the said United States,
shall have liberty to cure and dry their fish on the shores of Cape
Sables, and of any of the unsettled bays, harbors, or creeks of Nova
Scotia, or any of the shores of the Magdalen Islands, and of the
Labrador coast. And they shall be permitted, in time of peace, to hire
pieces of land for terms of years, of the legal proprietors, in any of
the dominions of his said Majesty, whereon to erect the necessary
stages and buildings, and to cure and dry their fish."

_Friday, November 29th._--Met Mr Fitzherbert, Mr Oswald, Dr Franklin,
Mr Jay, Mr Laurens, and Mr Strachey, at Mr Jay's, _Hôtel d'Orléans_,
and spent the whole day, in discussions about the fishery and the
tories. I proposed a new article concerning the fishery, it was
discussed and turned in every light, and multitudes of amendments
proposed on each side, and, at last, the article drawn as it was
finally agreed to. The other English gentlemen being withdrawn upon
some occasion, I asked Mr Oswald, if he could not consent to leave out
the limitation of three leagues from all their shores, and the fifteen
from those of Louisbourg.

He said, in his own opinion, he was for it; but his instructions were
such that he could not do it. I perceived by this, and by several
incidents and little circumstances before, which I had remarked to my
colleagues, who were much of the same opinion, that Mr Oswald had an
instruction, not to settle the articles of the fishery and refugees,
without the concurrence of Mr Fitzherbert and Mr Strachey.

Upon the return of the other gentlemen, Mr Strachey proposed to leave
out the word _right_ of fishing, and make it _liberty_. Mr Fitzherbert
said the word _right_ was an obnoxious expression. Upon this, I rose
up and said, gentlemen, is there, or can there be, a clearer right? In
former treaties, that of Utrecht, and that of Paris, France and
England have claimed the right, and used the word. When God Almighty
made the Banks of Newfoundland at three hundred leagues distance from
the people of America, and at six hundred leagues distance from those
of France and England, did he not give as good a right to the former
as to the latter? If Heaven in the creation gave a right, it is ours
at least as much as yours. If occupation, use, and possession give a
right, we have it as clearly as you. If war, and blood, and treasure
give a right, ours is as good as yours.

We have constantly been fighting in Canada, Cape Breton, and Nova
Scotia, for the defence of this fishery, and have expended beyond all
proportion more than you; if then the right cannot be denied, why
should it not be acknowledged, and put out of dispute? Why should we
leave room for illiterate fishermen to wrangle and chicane?

Mr Fitzherbert said, the argument is in your favor. I must confess
your reasons appear to be good; but Oswald's instructions were such,
that he did not see how he could agree with us; "and, for my part, I
have not the honor and felicity to be a man of that weight and
authority in my country, that you, gentlemen, are in yours; (this was
very genteely said) I have the accidental advantage of a little favor
with the present Minister, but I cannot depend upon the influence of
my own opinion, to reconcile a measure to my countrymen. We can
consider ourselves as little more than pens in the hands of government
at home, and Mr Oswald's instructions are _so_ particular."

I replied to this; "the time is not so pressing upon us, but that we
can wait until a courier goes to London with your representations upon
this subject, and others that remain between us, and I think the
Ministers must be convinced."

Mr Fitzherbert said, "to send again to London, and have all laid loose
before Parliament, was so uncertain a measure, it was going to sea

Upon this, Dr Franklin said, that "if another messenger was to be sent
to London, he ought to carry something more respecting a compensation
to the sufferers in America."

He produced a paper from his pocket, in which he had drawn up a claim,
and he said the first principle of the treaty was equality and
reciprocity. Now they demanded of us payment of debts, and
restitution, or compensation to the refugees. If a draper had sold a
piece of cloth to a man upon credit, and then sent a servant to take
it from him by force, and afterwards should bring his action for the
debt, would any court of law or equity give him his demand, without
obliging him to restore the cloth? Then he stated the carrying off of
goods from Boston, Philadelphia, and the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia,
&c., and the burning of the towns, &c. and desired, that this might be
sent with the rest.

Upon this, I recounted the history of General Gage's agreement with
the inhabitants of Boston, that they should remove with their effects,
upon condition, that they would surrender their arms; but as soon as
the arms were secured, the goods were forbid to be carried out, and
were finally carried off in large quantities to Halifax. Dr Franklin
mentioned the case of Philadelphia, and the carrying off of effects
there, even his own library. Mr Jay mentioned several other things,
and Mr Laurens added the plunders in Carolina, of negroes, plate, &c.

After hearing all this, Mr Fitzherbert, Mr Oswald, and Mr Strachey
retired for some time, and returning, Mr Fitzherbert said, that upon
consulting together, and weighing everything as maturely as possible,
Mr Strachey and himself had determined to advise Mr Oswald to strike
with us, according to the terms we had proposed as our ultimatum,
respecting the fishery and the loyalists. Accordingly, we all sat
down, and read over the whole treaty, and corrected it, and agreed to
meet tomorrow, at Mr Oswald's house, to sign and seal the treaties,
which the Secretaries were to copy fair in the mean time.

I forgot to mention, that when we were upon the fishery, and Mr
Strachey and Mr Fitzherbert were urging us to leave out the word
_right_, and substitute the word _liberty_, I told them at last, in
answer to their proposal to agree upon all other articles, and leave
that of the fishery to be adjusted at the Definitive Treaty, that I
could never put my hand to any articles, without satisfaction about
the fishery; that Congress had three or four years ago, when they did
me the honor to give me a commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with
Great Britain, given me a positive instruction not to make any such
treaty, without an article in the Treaty of Peace, acknowledging our
right to the fishery; that I was happy Mr Laurens was now present,
who, I believed, was in Congress at the time, and must remember it. Mr
Laurens, upon this, said with great firmness, that he was in the same
case, and could never give his voice for any articles without this. Mr
Jay spoke up, and said, it could not be a peace, it would only be an
insidious truce without it.

_Saturday, November 30th. St Andrews' Day._--We met first at Mr Jay's,
then at Mr Oswald's, examined and compared the treaties. Mr Strachey
had left out the limitation of time, the twelve months, that the
refugees were allowed to reside in America, in order to recover their
estates, if they could. Dr Franklin said this was a surprise upon us.
Mr Jay said so too. We never had consented to leave it out, and they
insisted upon putting it in, which was done.

Mr Laurens said, there ought to be a stipulation, that the British
troops should carry off no negroes, or other American property. We all
agreed. Mr Oswald consented.

Then the treaties were signed, sealed, and delivered, and we all went
out to Passy to dine with Dr. Franklin. Thus far has proceeded this
great affair. The unravelling of the plot has been to me the most
affecting and astonishing part of the whole piece.

As soon as I arrived in Paris, I waited on Mr Jay, and learned from
him the rise and progress of the negotiations. Nothing, that has
happened since the beginning of the controversy in 1761, has ever
struck me more forcibly, or affected me more intimately, than that
entire coincidence of principles and opinions between him and me. In
about three days I went out to Passy, and spent the evening with Dr
Franklin, and entered largely into conversation with him upon the
course and present state of our foreign affairs. I told him, without
reserve, my opinion of the policy of this Court, and of the
principles, wisdom, and firmness, with which Mr Jay had conducted the
negotiation in his sickness and my absence, and that I was determined
to support Mr Jay to the utmost of my power in the pursuit of the same
system. The Doctor heard me patiently, but said nothing.

The first conference we had afterwards with Mr Oswald, in considering
one point and another, Dr Franklin turned to Mr Jay, and said, I am of
your opinion, and will go on with these gentlemen in the business,
without consulting this Court. He accordingly met with us in most of
our conferences, and has gone with us, in entire harmony and unanimity
throughout, and has been able and useful, both by his sagacity and his
reputation in the whole negotiation.[15]

I was very happy, that Mr Laurens came in, although it was the last
day of the conferences, and wish he could have been sooner. His
apprehension, notwithstanding his deplorable affliction under the
recent loss of so excellent a son, is as quick, his judgment as sound,
and his heart as firm as ever. He had an opportunity of examining the
whole, and judging and approving, and the article, which he caused to
be inserted at the very last, that no property should be carried off,
which would most probably in the multiplicity and hurry of affairs
have escaped us, was worth a longer journey, if that had been all. But
his name and weight is added, which is of much greater consequence.
These miserable minutes may help me to recollect, but I have not found
time, amidst the hurry of business and crowd of visits, to make a

I should have before noted, that at our first conference about the
fishery, I related the facts, as well as I understood them; but
knowing nothing myself, but as a hearsay witness, I found it had not
the weight of occular testimony; to supply which defect, I asked Dr
Franklin, if Mr Williams of Nantes could not give us light. He said
Mr Williams was on the road to Paris, and as soon as he arrived he
would ask him. In a few days, Mr Williams called on me, and said Dr
Franklin had, as I desired him, inquired of him about the fishery, but
he was not able to speak particularly upon that subject; but there was
at Nantes a gentleman of Marblehead, Mr Samuel White, son-in-law to Mr
Hooper, who was master of the subject, and to him he would write.

Mr Jeremiah Allen, a merchant of Boston, called on me about the same
time. I inquired of him. He was able only to give such a hearsay
account as I could give myself. But I desired him to write to Mr
White, at Nantes, which he undertook to do, and did. Mr White answered
Mr Allen's letter by referring him to his answer to Mr Williams, which
Mr Williams received and delivered to Dr Franklin, who communicated it
to us, and it contained a good account.

I desired Mr Thaxter to write to Messrs Ingraham and Bromfield, and Mr
Storer to write to Captain Coffin at Amsterdam. They delivered me the
answers, both contained information, but Coffin's was the most
particular, and of the most importance, as he spoke as a witness. We
made the best use of these letters with the English gentlemen, and
they appeared to have a good deal of weight with them.

From first to last, I ever insisted upon it with the English
gentlemen, that the fisheries and the Mississippi, if America was not
satisfied in those points, would be the sure and certain sources of a
future war, showed them the indispensable necessity of both to our
affairs, and that no treaty we could make, which should be
unsatisfactory to our people upon those points, could be observed;
that the population near the Mississippi would be so rapid, and the
necessities of the people for its navigation so pressing, that nothing
could restrain them from going down, and if the force of arms should
be necessary, it would not be wanting; that the fishery entered into
our distilleries, our coasting trade, our trade with the Southern
States, with the West India Islands, with the coast of Africa, and
with every part of Europe in such a manner, and especially with
England, that it could not be taken from us, or granted us stingily,
without tearing and rending; that the other States had staples, we had
none but fish, no other means of remittances to London, or paying
those very debts they had insisted upon so seriously; that if we were
forced off, at three leagues distance, we should smuggle eternally,
that their men-of-war might have the glory of sinking, now and then, a
fishing schooner, but this would not prevent a repetition of the
crime, it would only inflame, and irritate, and enkindle a new war,
that in seven years we should break through all restraints, and
conquer from them the island of Newfoundland itself, and Nova Scotia

Mr Fitzherbert always smiled, and said it was very extraordinary that
the British Ministry and we should see it in so different a light.
That they meant the restriction, in order to prevent disputes, and
kill the seeds of war, and we should think it so certain a source of
disputes, and so strong a seed of war; but that our reasons were such,
that he thought the probability on our side.

I have not time to minute the conversation about the sea-cow fishery,
the whale fishery, the Magdalen Islands, the Labrador coasts, and the
coasts of Nova Scotia. It is sufficient to say, they were explained
to the utmost of our knowledge, and finally conceded.

I should have noted before, the various deliberations between the
English gentlemen and us, relative to the words, "indefinite and
exclusive right," which the Count de Vergennes and M. Gerard had the
precaution to insert in our treaty with France. I observed often to
the English gentlemen, that, aiming at excluding us from fishing upon
the north side of Newfoundland, it was natural for them to wish that
the English would exclude us from the south side. This would be making
both alike, and take away an odious distinction. French statesmen must
see the tendency of our fishermen being treated kindly and hospitably,
like friends, by the English on their side of the Island, and
unkindly, inhospitably, and like enemies, on the French. I added,
further, that it was my opinion, neither our treaty with the French,
nor any treaty or clause to the same purpose, which the English could
make, would be punctually observed. Fishermen, both from England and
America, would smuggle, especially the Americans, in the early part of
the spring, before the Europeans could arrive. This, therefore, must
be connived at by the French, or odious measures must be recurred to
by them or us to suppress it, and, in either case, it was easy to see
what would be the effect upon the American mind. They, no doubt,
therefore, wished the English to put themselves upon as odious a
footing at least as they had done.

Dr Franklin said, that there was great weight in this observation, and
the Englishmen showed plainly enough that they felt it.

I have not attempted, in these notes, to do justice to the arguments
of my colleagues; all of whom were throughout the whole business,
when they attended, very attentive and very able, especially Mr Jay,
to whom the French, if they knew as much of his negotiations as they
do of mine, would very justly give the title, with which they have
inconsiderately decorated me, that of "_Le Washington de la
négotiation_," a very flattering compliment indeed, to which I have
not a right; but sincerely think it belongs to Mr Jay.

_Tuesday, December 3d._--Visited M. Brantzen, _Hôtel de la Chine_. M.
Brantzen asked me, how we went on? I told him we had come to a full
stop, by signing and sealing the preliminaries the 30th of November. I
told him, that we had been very industrious, having been at it
forenoon, afternoon, and evening, ever since my arrival, either with
one another, or with the English gentlemen. He asked if it was
definitive and separate? I said by no means. They were only articles
to be inserted in the definitive treaty. He asked, if there was to be
any truce or armistice in the mean time? I said again, by no means.

He then said, that he believed France and England had agreed too; that
the Count de Vergennes' son was gone to England with M. de Rayneval;
but he believed the Spaniards had not yet agreed, and the Dutch were
yet a great way off, and had agreed upon nothing. They had had several
conferences. At the first, he had informed Mr Fitzherbert, that their
High Mightinesses insisted upon the freedom of navigation as a
preliminary and a _sine qua non_. Mr Fitzherbert had communicated this
to his Court, but the answer received was, that his Court did not
approve of conceding this as a _sine qua non_, but chose to have all
the demands of their High Mightinesses stated together. M. Brantzen
answered, that his instructions were, not to enter into any
conferences upon other points, until this was agreed. That it was the
intention of the British Court to agree to this. That he could not
consider any changes in the Ministry as making any alteration. They
were all Ministers of the same King, and servants of the same nation.
That Mr Fox, when he was Secretary of State, by his letter to the
Russian Minister, had declared the intention of the King to consent to
the freedom of navigation, &c.

M. Brantzen said, however, that he had in his private capacity and
without compromising his ministerial character, entered into
explanations with Mr Fitzherbert, and had told him that he should
insist upon three points, the freedom of navigation, the restitution
of territories in the East and West Indies, and compensation for
damages. The two first points could not be disputed, and the third
ought not be; for the war against them had been unjust, the pretences
for it were groundless, their accession to the armed neutrality must
now be admitted, even by Britain's accession to it, to have been an
illegitimate cause of war, and the object of a treaty with America
could not be seriously pretended to be a just cause of war; and many
members of Parliament had in the time of it declared the war unjust,
and some of those members were now Ministers; even the prime Minister,
my Lord Shelburne himself, had freely declared the war unjust in the
House of Peers; and if the war was unjust, the damages and injustice
ought to be repaired.

Mr Fitzherbert said, that there was no precedent of compensation for
damages in a treaty of peace. M. Brantzen begged his pardon, and
thought there had been instances. One example in particular, which the
English themselves had set against the Dutch, which just then came
into his head. Cromwell had demanded compensation of them, and they
had agreed, as now appears by the treaty, to pay a hundred thousand
pounds sterling as a compensation.

M. Brantzen was not furnished with a full account of all the losses of
individuals, and therefore could not precisely say what the amount
would be. That perhaps they might not insist upon prompt payment, nor
upon a stated sum, but might leave both the sum and time of payment to
be ascertained by commissioners at their leisure after the peace.

I observed to him, that we intended to write to Mr Dana, and send him
a copy of our preliminaries, that he might commence his negotiations
with the neutral powers, and if he succeeded we could then make common
cause with Holland, and insist on an article to secure the freedom of
navigation. This idea he received with great pleasure, and said he
would write about it to the States. Upon this I asked him, with whom
he and the other Dutch Ministers abroad, held their correspondence? He
answered, that the Secretary Fagel was properly speaking the Minister
of Foreign Affairs. That their principal correspondence was with him;
but that they had a correspondence with the Grand Pensionary Bleiswick
too. That the letters received by the Secretary were laid before the
_Besogne Secrète_, or Committee of Secresy. This committee consisted
of so many members, one at least for each Province, that it was very
difficult to keep anything secret. Foreign Ministers were very
inquisitive, and the Duc de la Vauguyon would be likely to get at it.
So that if they had any to write, which they wished secret, they wrote
it to the Grand Pensionary, who is not obliged to lay before the
States letters entire. He selects such parts as he judges proper, and
prints them, to be taken _ad referendum_, and laid before the
Regencies of the cities. That they had sometimes a little diffidence
of this Court (_quelque méfiance_), for this Court was very fine
(_diablement fine_), and when this happened, they wrote to the Grand
Pensionary, that it might not be communicated to the French Minister,
and consequently to his Court. "These people are vastly profound, They
will not favor the Spaniards in obtaining the Floridas. They will play
England against Spain, and Spain against England. England against you,
and you against England, and all of you against us, and us against all
of you, according to their own schemes and interests. They are closely
buttoned up about Gibraltar, and as to Jamaica, they will not favor
Spain in that view. I expect they will get their own affairs arranged,
and then advise England to agree to the freedom of navigation and a
restitution of territory, and then advise us to be very easy about
compensation." Thus M. Brantzen.

I next visited Mr Jay, to talk about writing to Mr Dana, and
communicating to the neutral powers the preliminary articles. Mr Jay
says, that Mr Oswald is very anxious that his Court should do that,
and he has been writing to the ministry to persuade them to it. Had a
long conversation with Mr Jay about the manner of settling the western
lands. This I cannot now detail.

Went next to Mr Laurens, upon the subject of writing to Mr Dana, and
found him full in my sentiments, and at my return found answers from
Dr Franklin and Mr Laurens to the letters I wrote them, both agreeing
that this is the critical moment for Mr Dana to commence his
negotiations. Doctor Franklin promises to have an authentic copy made
to send to Mr Dana.

In the evening many gentlemen came in, among the rest Mr Bourse, the
agent of the Dutch East India company, Who expressed a good deal of
anxiety about their negotiations, and feared they should not have
justice in the East Indies.

_Wednesday, December 4th._--It is proper that I should note here, that
in the beginning of the year 1780, soon after my arrival at Paris, Mr
Galloway's pamphlets fell into my hands. I wrote a long series of
letters to a friend, in answer to them. That friend sent them to
England, but the printers dared not publish them. They remained there
until last summer, when they were begun to be printed, and are
continued to this day, (not being yet quite finished,) in Parker's
General Advertiser, but with false dates, being dated in the months of
January and February last, under the title of "Letters from a
distinguished American." They appear to have been well received, and
to have contributed somewhat to unite the nation in accelerating the
acknowledgment of American independence, and to convince the nation of
the necessity of respecting our alliances, and making peace.

I hope it will be permitted to me, or to some other who can do it
better, some ten or fifteen years hence, to collect together in one
view, my little negotiations in Europe. Fifty years hence it may be
published, perhaps twenty. I will venture to say, however feebly I may
have acted my part, or whatever mistakes I may have committed, yet the
situations I have been in, between angry nations and more angry
factions, have been some of the most singular and interesting, that
ever happened to any man. The fury of enemies, as well as of elements,
the subtlety and arrogance of allies, and, what has been worse than
all, the jealousy, envy, and little pranks of friends and copatriots,
would form one of the most instructive lessons in morals and
politics, that ever was committed to paper.

_Monday, December 9th._--Visited Mr Jay. Mr Oswald came in. We slided
from one thing to another, into a very lively conversation upon
politics. He asked me what the conduct of his Court and nation ought
to be in relation to America. I answered, the alpha and omega of
British policy towards America was summed up in this one maxim, see
that American independence is independent,--independent of all the
world,--independent of yourselves, as well as of France,--and
independent of both, as well as the rest of Europe. Depend upon it,
you have no chance for salvation, but by setting up America very high;
take care to remove from the American mind all cause of fear of you;
no other motive but fear of you will ever produce in the Americans any
unreasonable attachment to the House of Bourbon. "Is it possible,"
says he, "that the people of America should be afraid of us, or hate
us?" "One would think, Mr Oswald," said I, "that you had been out of
the world for these twenty years past; yes, there are three millions
of people in America, who hate and dread you more than anything in the
world." "What," said he, "now we have come to our senses?" "Your
change of system is not yet known in America," said I. "Well," said
he, "what shall we do to remove those fears and jealousies?" "In one
word," said I, "favor and promote the interest, reputation, and
dignity of the United States, in everything that is consistent with
your own. If you pursue the plan of cramping, clipping, and weakening
America, on the supposition, that she will be a rival to you, you will
make her really so; you will make her the natural and perpetual ally
of your natural and perpetual enemies." "But in what instance," said
he, "have we discovered such a disposition?" "In the three leagues
from your shores, and the fifteen leagues from Cape Breton," said I,
"to which your Ministry insisted so earnestly to exclude our
fishermen. Here was a point, that would have done us great harm, and
you no good; on the contrary, harm; so that you would have hurt
yourselves to hurt us; this disposition must be guarded against." "I
am fully of your mind, about that," said he, "but what else can we
do?" "Send a Minister to Congress," said I, "at the peace, a clever
fellow, who understands himself, and will neither set us bad examples,
nor intermeddle in our parties. This will show, that you are
consistent with yourselves; that you are sincere in your
acknowledgment of American independence; and that you do not entertain
hopes and designs of overturning it. Such a Minister will dissipate
many fears, and will be of more service to the least obnoxious
refugees, than any other measure could be. Let the King send a
Minister to Congress, and receive one from that body. This will be
acting consistently, and with dignity, in the face of the universe."
"Well, what else shall we do?" said he. "I have more than once
already," said I, "advised you to put your Ministers upon negotiating
the acknowledgment of our independence by the neutral powers." "True,"
said he, "and I have written, about it, and in my answers," said he,
laughing, "I am charged with speculation; but I do not care, I will
write them my sentiments. I will not take any of their money. I have
spent already twelve or thirteen hundred pounds, and all the reward I
will have for it shall be the pleasure of writing as I think. My
opinion is, that our Court should sign the armed neutrality, and
announce to them what they have done with you, and negotiate to have
you admitted to sign too. But I want to write more fully on the
subject, I want you to give me your thoughts upon it, for I do not
understand it so fully as I wish. What motives can be thrown out to
the Empress of Russia? Or what motives can she be supposed to have to
acknowledge your independence? And what motives can our Court have to
interfere, or intercede with the neutral powers, to receive you into
their confederation?"

"I will answer all these questions," said I, "to the best of my
knowledge, and with the utmost candor. In the first place, there has
been, with very little interruption, a jealousy between the Court of
Petersburg and Versailles for many years. France is the old friend and
ally of the Sublime Porte, the natural enemy of Russia. France, not
long since, negotiated a peace between Russia and the Turks; but upon
the Empress' late offers of mediation, and especially her endeavors to
negotiate Holland out of the war, France appears to have been piqued,
and, as the last revolution in the Crimea happened soon after, there
is reason to suspect that French emissaries excited the revolt against
the new independent government, which the Empress had taken so much
pains to establish. Poland has been long a scene of competition
between Russian and French politics, both parties having spent great
sums in pensions to partisans, until they have laid all virtue and
public spirit prostrate in that country. Sweden is another region of
rivalry between France and Russia, where both parties spent such sums
in pensions, as to destroy the principles of liberty, and prepare the
way for that revolution, which France favored from a principle of
economy, rather than any other. These hints are sufficient to show
the opposition of views and interests between France and Russia, and
we see the consequence of it, that England has more influence at
Petersburg than France. The Empress, therefore, would have two
motives, one, to oblige England, if they should intercede for an
acknowledgment of American independence, and another, to render
America less dependent upon France. The Empress, moreover loves
reputation, and it would be no small addition to her glory to
undertake a negotiation with all the neutral Courts, to induce them to
admit America into their confederacy. The Empress might be further
tempted; she was bent upon extending her commerce, and the commerce of
America, if it were only in duck and hemp, would be no small object to
her. As to the motives of your Court, Princes often think themselves
warranted, if not bound, to fight for their glory; surely they may
lawfully negotiate for reputation. If the neutral powers should
acknowledge our independence now, France will have the reputation,
very unjustly, of having negotiated it; but if your Court now takes a
decided part in favor of it, your Court will have the glory of it, in
Europe and in America, and this will have a good effect upon American
gratitude." "But," said he, "this would be negotiating for the honor
and interest of France, for no doubt France wishes all the world to
acknowledge your independence." "Give me leave to tell you, Sir," said
I, "you are mistaken. If I have not been mistaken in the policy of
France, from my first observation of it to this hour, they have been
as averse to other powers acknowledging our independence as you have
been." Mr Jay joined me in the same declaration. "I understand it
now," said he; "there is a gentleman going to London this day, I will
go home and write upon the subject by him."

_Tuesday, December 10th._--Visited Mr Oswald, to inquire the news from
England. He had the _Courier de l'Europe_, in which is Mr Secretary
Townshend's letter to the Lord Mayor of London, dated the 3d instant,
in which he announces the signature of the preliminaries, on the 30th
of November, between the Commissioners of his Majesty, and the
Commissioners of the United States of America. He had also the King's
speech, announcing the same thing.

Mr Oswald said, that France would not separate her affairs from Spain;
that he had hoped that America would have assisted them somewhat, in
compromising affairs with France; and Dr Franklin, who was present,
said he did not know anything of the other negotiations. He said that
neither Mr Fitzherbert, nor the Count de Vergennes, nor the Count
d'Aranda, communicated anything to him, that he understood the Dutch
were farthest from an agreement. Upon this, I said, "Mr Oswald, Mr
Fitzherbert cannot, I think, have any difficulty to agree with M.
Brantzen. There are three points, viz. the liberty of navigation;
restitution of possessions; and compensation for damages. The liberty
of navigation, I suppose, is the point that sticks. But why should it
stick? When all nations are agreed in the principle, why should
England stand out? England must agree to it, she has already in effect
agreed to it; as it affects all nations but Holland and America, and,
if she were disposed, she could not prevent them from having the
benefit." Upon this, Dr Franklin said, "the Dutch would be able in any
future war, to carry on their commerce, even of naval stores, in the
bottoms of other neutral powers." "Yes," said Mr Oswald, "and I am of
opinion, that England ought to subscribe the armed neutrality." "Very
well," said I, "then let Mr Fitzherbert agree to this point with M.
Brantzen, and let Mr Harris, at Petersburg, take Mr Dana in his hand,
and go to the Prince Potemkin, or the Count d'Ostermann, and say, the
king, my master, has authorised me to subscribe the principles of the
armed neutrality, and instructed me to introduce to you, Mr Dana,
Minister from the United States of America, to do the same. Let him
subscribe his name under mine."

At this, they all laughed very heartily. Mr Oswald, however,
recollecting himself, and the conversation between him and me,
yesterday, on the same subject, very gravely turned it off, by saying,
"he did not see a necessity to be in a hurry about that, America was
well enough." I said, "as to restitution of the Dutch territories, I
suppose your Court will not make much difficulty about that, if this
Court does not, as it is not probable they will, and as to
compensation for damages, the Dutch will probably be as easy as they
can about that."

Dr Franklin said, he was for beginning early to think about the
articles of the definitive treaty. We had been so happy as to be the
first in the preliminaries, and he wished to be so in the definitive
articles. Thus we parted.

_Thursday, December 12th._--Met at Mr Laurens', and signed the letter
I had drawn up to Mr Dana, which I sent off, enclosed with a copy of
the preliminaries, and consulted about articles to be inserted in the
definitive treaty. Agreed that Mr Jay and I should prepare a joint
letter to Congress. At seven o'clock, I met Mr Jay at his house, and
we drew up a letter.

_Friday, December 13th._--I went first to Mr Jay, and made some
addition to the joint letter, which I carried first to Mr Laurens,
who made some corrections and additions, and then to Passy, to Dr
Franklin, who proposed a few other corrections, and showed me an
article he had drawn up for the definitive treaty, to exempt
fishermen, husbandmen, and merchants, as much as possible, from the
evils of future wars. This is a good lesson to mankind, at least. All
agreed to meet at my house, at eleven o'clock tomorrow, to finish the
joint letter.


[15] For some account of the part taken by Dr Franklin, in regard to
the Treaty, before the arrival of Mr Jay and Mr Adams in Paris, see
the North American Review, for January, 1830, No. 66, p. 15.

                        END OF THE SIXTH VOLUME.

| TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE.                                                |
|                                                                    |
| Omitted words, shown as blank spaces in the original, have been    |
| transcribed as four hyphens ('----').                              |
|                                                                    |
| Every effort was made to match the original text. Spelling         |
| variations between letters have been preserved.                    |

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution (Volume VI)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.