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The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. IX
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Adieu,

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

Philadelphia, May 8th, 1777.

Sir,

We have received your several favors to the first of May,[27] and shall always have a grateful memory of your sentiments and exertions in our cause. But as we have new Commissioners settled in France, we think it needless that you should be at the trouble of forwarding to us from time to time, that collection of papers, which we formerly mentioned to you. We shall inform our friends at Paris of our opinion on this head, and leave it to them to point out the way in which your zeal may be most useful to them and us, with the least degree of trouble to yourself and injury to your domestic interests.

The humility of the Count de Welderen's Memorial seems to have been followed by some positive orders to our disadvantage in the West Indies. We doubt not you will continue to give our Commissioners at Paris the fullest information on all such points, from whom we shall consequently obtain it.

We have the honor to be, &c.

BENJ. HARRISON, ROBERT MORRIS, JAMES LOVELL.

FOOTNOTES:

[27] Thus in the original, but probably an error in the month, as this letter is dated on the eight of May.

* * * * *

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

Paris, May 9th, 1777.

Sir,

At length we have an opportunity of discovering, what we have long imagined, the arts which the English government has made use of to circulate their various falsehoods through Europe, respecting their affairs in America. Their packet from Hardwick to Helvoetsluys is fallen into our hands, with every letter from the Ministry and others, though I make no doubt, that they will give out, that their most important letters are saved. Such a report will answer more ends than one. It will set at peace the alarmed consciences, or rather apprehensions of their correspondents. We have it under Lord Suffolk's Secretary's hands, Mr Fraser, and Mr Eden, that government had no advices from New York on the last of April, but that at this particular period, when the eyes of all the world would be upon them, viz. when opening the budget, it was necessary to toss out a tub to the whale, for which reason it was thought necessary to —— General Washington, and to put Mr Dickenson at the head of five thousand men, in the lower counties of Delaware. A very curious reason is given for promulgating the latter lie, that the less probability there appears to be in it, the more readily the world will believe it; for will they imagine that Ministers dare circulate what no one will imagine true? And they appeal to former untruths of similar absurdity, which had their effect, and when found false were overlooked by the indulgent public.

The line of Sir Joseph Yorke's conduct is marked and curious, as well as that of their Minister at another Court; our plan did not wholly take effect, or we should have had his despatches likewise.

The miserable Prince of Hesse affords his friends in England some merriment, but he can make use of the old adage,—let them laugh who win. He has the absurdity to be angry with your Gazetteer of Utrecht, and the English news writers; and his Minister there is ordered to complain on the subject. The reflections of the English Minister, Lord Suffolk, on this complaint, are as curious as they are just, and merit well reaching the Prince. If he bribes me with a part of his slave-money, he shall have the letter at length, signed "Suffolk." I always said, and have now proof positive before me, that in the height of English arrogance and success, their Chatham-aping Minister, Lord George Germain, meant to hold the same language to France, that they unfortunately did to Holland, and were prepared, should this Court show the least refractoriness, to begin the same game they played in 1756. An open war they have never feared from France, for they were well assured that would not be the case, but the French preparation gave them a good excuse for arming completely, and for drawing money from the people, and the American Minister, Lord George Germain, was too shrewd to let slip an opportunity. We paid so much respect to your States, that we would not seize Sir Joseph Yorke's messenger in the packet from Helvoetsluys, for we could have boarded her with as much ease as the others.

I have not time to communicate the thousand little particulars, which have lately been inspected by me, but hope to have a future opportunity of doing it. Our captain, being in search of bank bills, and bills of exchange, did not pay much attention to personages, for which I am heartily vexed; however, good nature must make allowances. This matter will occasion a little bustle, perhaps a great deal. I had rather be sent home to fight manfully, or to make peace politically, than to be in this miserable shilly-shally way here. I have the pleasure to acquaint you that Hopkins's squadron, all but two, have got to sea, so that Sir Peter Parker may write information to the Ministry, and this will be giving a good account of them as he promised. Our levies went on swimmingly, and had the Howes, sent out from here, arrived there when it was intended they should, we should have pushed Howe again to Halifax.

I am, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

* * * * *

B. FRANKLIN TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

Passy, near Paris, May 12th, 1777.

Sir,

Last night we received a packet from North America with some advices, of which I send you the substance. I see your letters now and then to Mr Deane and Mr Carmichael, and thank you for the kind mention made of me in them. I am so bad a correspondent, that I do not desire a letter from you directly.

But I am nevertheless, with great esteem, dear Sir, your affectionate friend,

B. FRANKLIN.

P. S. I suppose Mr Deane has sent you the bill.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

Amsterdam, May 16th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I send you, with some gazettes, an extract of my last despatch, and a piece entitled "Advice to the Hessians," which, having passed about in manuscript through this country, was afterwards printed in a handbill, and at length inserted in the periodicals. The day before yesterday, the 14th, the bookseller Rey received from the Hague the following note, which he immediately sent to me at a country house, where I am residing, thinking I might know the person interested, which I do not. "Mr Rey is desired to inform the author of 'Advice to the Hessians' to quit Holland immediately. Orders are despatched to arrest him." I am not at present at the Hague, but as soon as I shall be able to return thither I will inform myself of this affair. In the meantime I think it is false that they have given such orders, and that this letter was only written to intimidate, as was that written from Cassel to one of our journalists.

I am sorry not to be able to devote all my time to your service. I might contract many connexions and acquaintances, and make some useful journeys, profiting by favorable circumstances and moments both at the Hague and Amsterdam, which I am now obliged to let escape, not being able to go and remain as long as is necessary in these cities.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

SILAS DEANE TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

Paris, June 7th, 1777.

Sir,

I understand that the British Minister's emissaries are very busy in Holland propagating reports of an accommodation between the Congress and Great Britain. They are playing the same game here. I have long since been convinced that there is no action too atrocious for them to attempt, nor any report too ridiculous and improbable for them to propagate to serve their purposes. The last authentic intelligence from Congress, or from New York, was about the 10th of April, when there was not the least prospect of any accommodation. The sole overture that had been made was a hint, I may say, from General Lee, that Lord and General Howe wished to renew a conference with the Congress, and to open a treaty, to which the Congress replied they would neither confer nor treat till their independence should be acknowledged. You will therefore see at once how very little ground there is for such kind of assertions.

I have seen such strange and unexpected events, as well as been witness to such extraordinary conduct, that I am almost beyond being surprised at anything; yet should an accommodation take place between those contending nations, whilst the Congress have the least prospect of foreign succor and support, I confess I shall be greatly surprised. But if the British Ministry, as they roundly assert, are assured that no power in Europe will countenance the United States in their independence, and if they can bring the Congress to believe the same, who will be surprised if they make terms, and accommodate, rather than hazard longer a contest with the most formidable power in Europe, and its allies, without prospect on their part of aid or support? I say, who will be surprised, or rather who will not be surprised, should they still persist in continuing the war unsupported? However, I, who know my countrymen perfectly, and the principles by which they are actuated, do not believe they will ever accommodate on terms lower than independence; yet in the same situation, and with the same offers made them, I am certain any other people in the world would accommodate.

You are not to impute what I say to vanity. I am not raising my countrymen above every other nation in the world; far from it; but they are a new people, and have certain notions, that are either new in the world, or have been so long unpractised upon, and unheard of, except in the speculations of philosophers, that it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to compare them with any other nation. Unprejudiced reason, and plain common sense, will enable the few to judge; but the many, the ninetynine of one hundred at least, will determine as usual by the event. I am not fond of bold assertions or predictions, but I dare hazard my credit upon it, that either no accommodation on any terms will take place, or, if it does, a war in Europe will be the immediate consequence; and I submit it to the consideration of those Ministers and politicians, who are afraid to offend Great Britain now, whilst America alone employs more than her whole natural force, how they will be able to contend with her when at peace and on good terms, perhaps in alliance with America.

Universal monarchy has at many periods been feared from the House of Bourbon, and England has been exhausted to prevent it; she has engaged allies pretendedly to keep the balance of power in Europe, as it is ridiculously and unintelligibly termed by European politicians; but you will permit an American to give his sentiments; they may at least divert and make you smile. From the period when the feudal system prevailed over all Europe, when every lord was sovereign, to this hour, the number of kingdoms or distinct powers in Europe has been decreasing, and if we look three centuries back, and reckon up the distinct powers then existing and compare them with those of the present, and extend our view forward, the whole must at some not very distant period be brought into one; for not an age passes, and scarce a single war without annihilating or swallowing up several of them. But from what quarter is this universal empire in Europe to originate? I answer negatively; not from the House of Bourbon, though formidable for its connexions and alliances in the South; but I will venture to predict, that if Great Britain, by forming an accommodation of friendship and alliance with the United States, renders herself, as by that measure she easily can, mistress of that world, by taking the affairs of the East Indies into her own hands, she will be in possession of exhaustless treasure, and in 1780 the charter of the East India Company expires, when both the territory and commerce will be at her disposal. Add to all this her strict and close alliance with Russia. I say, that laying these circumstances together, it is easy to foresee, that Great Britain, America, and Russia united, will command not barely Europe, but the whole world united.

Russia like America is a new State, and rises with the most astonishing rapidity. Its demand for British manufactures, and its supplies of raw materials, increase nearly as fast as the American; and when both come to centre in Great Britain, the riches as well as power of that kingdom will be unparalleled in the annals of Europe, or perhaps of the world; like a Colossus with one foot on Russia and the East, and the other on America, it will bestride, as Shakspeare says, your poor European world, and the powers which now strut and look big, will creep about between its legs to find dishonorable graves.

I dare say you smile at my prophecy, but you will observe it is a conditional one, and I am persuaded, like most other prophecies, will neither be believed nor understood, until verified by the event, which, at the same time, I am laboring like my good predecessors of old, (who prophecied grievous things,) to prevent taking place if possible; for it is my ultimate and early wish that America may forever be as unconnected with the politics or interests of Europe, as it is by nature situated distant from it, and that the friendly ties arising from a free, friendly, and independent commerce may be the only ties between us.

Adieu,

SILAS DEANE.

* * * * *

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

Paris, June 13th, 1777.

Sir,

We are still without any news from America, except what we get by the way of England. The campaign was not opened the end of April, Howe being scarce of provisions, and without forage. I have seen a letter from an English officer in the service, dated the 25th of that month, and have been much pleased with the sight of it; a horrid pleasure, which derives its source from the prospect of human misery. The flux raged much in the army of the Philistines, as the saints of New England style it, owing to their food, salted meat, and no vegetables. I believe a certain brig, from a place called Rotterdam, has fallen into the hands of the chosen people, for one of my countrymen crossed the Atlantic in a small vessel of about twenty tons, on purpose to take her; at least he informs me that he had carried into Cherbourg a brig laden with about two hundred hogsheads of Geneva, some pitch, oil, &c. from Rotterdam; which said articles will, before this reaches you, be metamorphised into louis d'ors of France.

I have crossed the Chesapeake in this very ferry boat, in which my bold countryman crossed the Atlantic. I had been told by a man high in office in England, that resistance was a chimera in us, since their armed vessels would swarm so much in our rivers, as even to intercept the ferry-boats. His assertions are verified vice versa; our ferry-boats ruin their commerce. You smile, and think me amusing you. Be assured that is not the case. This very little boat took on her passage another brig of two hundred tons from Alicant, and sent her into America; she also took four or five vessels in the Channel, chiefly smugglers, and plundered them of their cash, and the Captain being a good natured fellow let them go, as he did a transport, which he took in sight of a man-of-war, and was obliged to give her up, bringing off, however, with him his people. He has promised for the future to burn those he cannot send in, and I believe will be as good as his word. This is the way the English serve not only ours, but the French vessels, which they take on our coast. The Captain tells me, he was told this last circumstance by several French Captains, whom he saw prisoners, (himself a prisoner) at New York. The eyes of this Court will be opened, it is to be hoped, before it is too late, a war being inevitable, in my opinion, to force an accommodation. They will unite with us on our own terms, and discerning from the past how little effective assistance we have to hope from France for the future, will make a war with this nation one article of the Federal Union. Whichever strikes first will probably succeed. Our valuable commerce is more hurt on the French coast than on our own. We have lost above L60,000 sterling, from South Carolina only, all which was coming to be laid out for French manufactures. It is a fact at present, that the manufacturers of this country cannot execute so fast as they receive orders.

The English papers published by the authority of General Howe, at New York, tell with triumph, that one of their cruisers has sunk a twenty gun French ship at some distance from the Delaware, and every soul perished. We have some fears that this is the Amphitrite. Another ship was taken, French property, a few leagues from the harbor of St Pierre, which she had just quitted. If they dare do this in their present critical situation, what will they not dare if successful, or at peace and united with us?

I wrote you before what I repeat again, that had General Howe got possession of Philadelphia last winter, as insolent a Memorial as that presented by Sir Joseph York, would have been presented by Lord Stormont here, and had not their demands been instantly complied with, the immediate destruction of the French commerce would have been the consequence. All the navy, all the army contracts are made, for five years, in England. Letters of marque were given to contractors, and friends of government, for what? To cruise against our trade? No; but to be ready at a signal given, to enrich themselves by the first captures on the French nation; for the gleanings of our commerce are no object to a private adventurer, assured as the English Ministry are of the pacific intentions of this Court. From the quarter I mentioned to you in my last, they will try his patience, and they do right, for the only hope they now have of conquering us is to deprive us of the means of resistance, and the hopes of foreign aid, which keeps up the spirits of the people. If the Amphitrite is really lost, General Washington will open the campaign without any of their military stores, so long promised, and so vainly expected, except about twelve thousand muskets.

We expect with impatience direct news from America; the moment it arrives I will communicate it to you. The gentlemen are well, and beg me to present compliments.

I am, Dear Sir, yours, &c.

WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

P. S. You will not mention publicly, for particular reasons, the history of the little privateer. When the Captain of our small privateer boarded the transport, and told him he was his prisoner, he very insolently asked where his ship was, not conceiving that any person would have crossed the ocean in so small a boat.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

June 14th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I have escaped, as much as I am able, from my chains, to make journeys to the Hague, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam, in order to maintain and increase useful acquaintances; and when I obtain any light I communicate it to friends. The great majority, almost the whole of our merchants, are for you. The regencies of our cities, and among others Amsterdam, seem to take part with the Court, which is allied with and friendly to England. But all this is precarious, and will change with your fortune. Let us hear of a successful campaign, and your friends will show themselves, your partizans will multiply; they will lose by degrees this panic terror for a power, that is not loved by the multitude. These persons are chiefly large annuitants, whose hearts are in the sources of their income.

Another important truth, which I have learned at Amsterdam, is that no banking house is willing to take part, to the amount of a shilling, in the loan of five millions sterling, which England has raised, because they were not content with the offered premium and with her solidity, nor sure of selling the stock in detail. Distrust increases here, in proportion as England sinks. The premium ought to be two and a half per cent, but we know that in England even the bankers are content with their sales in detail at five eights per cent.

I have made acquaintance and connexion with a House, to whom I shall address in future all my despatches for you, and under cover to whom you may in safety address to me your letters, viz. Messrs Lalande & Fynge, merchants, Amsterdam. If you will send me regularly, by your vessels going to St Eustatia and Curacoa, one at least of your best public papers to the address above pointed out, or in the packets of friends in France, I will make good use of it for your service in our periodical papers. They complain everywhere of knowing nothing of your affairs, but what the English wish Europe should know; and on this subject we have often to wait some months before the truth is unfolded from a heap of impostures, which do not fail sometimes to answer the malice of your enemies in leaving false impressions on minds, which I wish to be able to destroy in their birth.

I have the Honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

August 22d, 1777.

Gentlemen,

In spite of my extreme circumspection, your enemies are not altogether without knowledge of me, and, not able to persecute me openly, are endeavoring secretly to deprive me of my post in this country. I sent an account yesterday to Paris, and today to a certain person at the Hague, of what has happened to me. I am sustained in all my losses by the firm resolution to live and die the faithful servant of United America, and by consequence, also, with the most profound respect for the honorable General Congress and yourselves. God bless your just arms.

September 5th.—It would be useless for me to give you copies of the last letters that I wrote to Paris. They chiefly concern myself; and I await their answers. I will say only in general here, that from the moment when I was first honored with your orders and your confidence, I have devoted to you in every event, my person, services, and fidelity; and this for the love I bear to your cause, and on the most perfect conviction of its justice. I have conducted myself in the execution of your orders with all imaginable prudence, circumspection, and patience. At last, however, I am the victim of the suspicions and implacable hatred of your enemies. They have found it an easy task to injure me indirectly in the sordid, ungrateful, and treacherous heart of a person on whom my fortune depended, and who is devoted to them. I should be ruined, with my family, if I had not firm confidence of receiving in your service the annual stipend allotted for their subsistence, of which I have been deprived. To this injustice they have added the insult of tempting me by deceitful offers, which I rejected with disdain, because I could not accept them without exposing your secrets, or at least degrading the character with which you have honored me, in the eyes of those who have knowledge of it. My refusal has exasperated them against me; they will secretly ruin me as far as they are able. But I have said enough of myself.

Your enemies have begun to take the Dutch vessels in Europe as well as in America; among others, one for St Eustatia. They are impatient at Amsterdam to know how the Regency will take this; and they write me that this circumstance will, probably, be the cause of the detention of vessels, bound for the Islands, two months in this port.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, October 14th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

If I do not speak to you in all my letters, of the person with whom you know I am connected at the Hague, it is not because this connexion does not continue daily, but because it is sufficient to give an account of our conferences to your honorable commission in Europe, and also, considering the time that my packets are on the way, my reports would be as superfluous and useless to you, as they would be long and difficult to decypher, or dangerous to transmit without cypher. The enemy alone would be able to profit by them. Moreover, I doubt not but your Commissioners transmit to you the result of all that passes.

Our States-General are assembled; and they have begun with labors, which by no means please your enemies. The first was to make a claim directly, in the name of their High Mightinesses, upon the English Minister for the Dutch vessel destined for St Eustatia, and taken in the Channel by an English vessel of war, under the pretext that the vessel was American built. (The Dutch had purchased her at Halifax.) Our States have sent instructions on this subject to their Envoy at London, with orders to have discontinued whatever process has been instituted by the captor before the English Judges against this vessel; and an order also to the owners of the vessel and cargo not to plead before the Judges, because they have proved here, that they had conformed in all things to the laws of this country, and to its conventions with Great Britain. We are impatient here to learn the answer of England.

Their second debate was on a petition in very strong terms, signed by a hundred of the principal commercial houses of Amsterdam, (except the house of Hope, devoted to England) for the purpose of asking a convoy for their vessels going to the West Indies.

I have all this from the best authority; as also that the party of your enemies in this country, though yet considerable, are visibly losing their influence, and cannot fail to seccumb, especially if the English continue to seize our vessels, and if they wish to engage this Republic to involve itself in a war on their account; for we desire here to be at peace with all the world.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

December, 16th, 1777.

Gentlemen,

I congratulate you, and the honorable Congress, and all United America with all my heart. This news (Burgoyne's capture) has made the greatest possible sensation in this country; a deep consternation among those who have all their interest in England; a marked joy among those who hate your enemies. My correspondent at Amsterdam writes thus. "Many thanks for the prompt advice of the affair so glorious for our friends. Letters from England received here this morning confirm it entirely. All was in motion today in our cafes and on the exchange. The royalists here are entirely depressed, and even fear the like catastrophe for General Howe, if he hazard himself further into the country." This news has made an astonishing impression everywhere; all is considered lost to the English.

December 19th.—I have received advice from my correspondents, to whom I had forwarded packets according to your orders, by which they inform me, under date of 26th of September and 18th of October, of having received and forwarded my packets for you. My correspondent at Amsterdam, who transmitted them to me, has pointed me to the following passage. "The Anti-Americans are not yet recovered from their fright; they see the Americans at present with a different eye, and desire strongly that the Ministry may be changed, that by mild means we may obtain peace as favorable as possible." Another writes from Rotterdam; "I received on the 11th, the account of the victory of General Gates. It was pulled out of my hands. I pray you as soon as you receive advice, that Howe has done as well as Burgoyne, to let me have the great pleasure of knowing it first, that I may regale many persons with the news. You cannot think what a bustle there is yet in all companies and cafes about this affair, and how they fall on the English Ministers."

We have confirmation from Germany of the increasing obstructions, which the levying of recruits against America meets with.

I this moment learn that the States-General have despatched messengers of State extraordinary to all the Provinces; and it cannot be doubted that the contents of their despatches, which are kept secret, relate only to the catastrophe which the English have suffered in America, and to the consequences which it is presumed it will have, as well on this side of the ocean as on the other.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, April 14th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I have the satisfaction of being able to apprize you, that since the declaration of France, made here the 18th of March, affairs have taken in this country a most favorable turn. My last journey to Amsterdam has not been useless. But I cannot trust to paper, and to the vicissitudes of so long a voyage, the detail of my operations. I constantly give information to your honorable Commissioners, to whom I write almost every post. I will say only in general, that the cabal of your enemies fails in all the attempts it has made to engage this Republic to put herself in the breach for them. The Republic is firmly determined to the most perfect neutrality, if there be war; and I wait only the letters of the honorable Commissioners at Paris, whom I have requested to propose a friendship and commerce direct and avowed between your States and theirs.[28]

We are preparing a third piece upon credit. I will add copies of it to my packet when it is printed.

At the moment I am about to seal my packet, I learn for certain, "that Lord Chatham on the 7th of April in the House of Lords pleaded with so much warmth for not giving up the dependence of America, nor giving away the Americans, because he considered them a hereditament of the Prince of Wales, the Bishop of Osnaburgh, and the whole royal line of Brunswick, that he fainted away, but was soon recovered by the aid of two physicians. He confessed however that he did not know what the means were of preserving both."

I have the honor, &c.

DUMAS.[29]

FOOTNOTES:

[28] On this subject see a letter to M. Dumas in the Commissioners' Correspondence, Vol. I. p. 463.

[29] For a letter from the Committee of Foreign Affairs to M. Dumas, dated May 14th, 1778, see the Correspondence of the Commissioners in France, Vol. I. p. 386.

* * * * *

TO M. VAN BERCKEL, PENSIONARY OF AMSTERDAM.

July 27th, 1778.

Sir,

Directed by the Plenipotentiaries of the United States of America in Paris, to send you the annexed copy of a treaty of amity and commerce concluded between France and the said United States, with the testimony of the high esteem and consideration they have for you in particular, and for all the honorable members of the Regency of Amsterdam in general, I acquit myself of these orders with all the satisfaction and eagerness, which my respectful devotion to the interest of this Republic dictates. The Plenipotentiaries pray you, Sir, to communicate this treaty in such a manner that copies of it may not be multiplied, until they have written me that it may be published and in the hands of all the world. I have carried this morning to Mr —— a like copy with the same request.

I add to this a proclamation of Congress that I have received, and the communication of which I think will give you pleasure. It will appear in the Gazettes in French and Dutch, and ought to satisfy all the maritime powers, no less than it does honor to the sagacity and equity of Congress.

I am, with the truest respect, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

M. VAN BERCKEL TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

Amsterdam, July 31st, 1778.

Sir,

I am much obliged to you for the kindness you have done, in sending me the copy of the treaty of amity and commerce, concluded between France and the United States of America. And as it was at the request of the Plenipotentiaries of the said United States, may I venture to ask you to testify to those gentlemen the gratitude of the Regency of Amsterdam in general, and my own in particular, for this mark of distinction. May we hope that circumstances will permit us soon to give evidence of the high esteem we have for the new republic, clearly raised up by the help of Providence, while the spirit of despotism is subdued; and let us desire to make leagues of amity and commerce between the respective subjects, which shall last even to the end of time. What troubles me is, that it is not in our power to make the other members of the government do as we could wish; in which case the Republic would be at once disposed to another course. But I am persuaded that the Americans are too wise not to penetrate the true causes, or to attribute the inaction of —— until the present time to any want of esteem and affection for the United States.

This Republic is full of people who think rightly, but there will be found here, as elsewhere, partizans of a certain system, who, by their ignorance or stupidity, or by the wickedness of their hearts and abominable vices, hinder the people from doing as much as they could wish. I expect to hear important news in the actual circumstances of Europe, and am impatient to receive some, which may have a good effect on the affair in question. I shall take care that the abovementioned treaty does not go into bad hands, and that no copy be made before the time.[30]

VAN BERCKEL.

FOOTNOTES:

[30] For other particulars on this subject, see the Correspondence of the Commissioners in France, Vol. I. pp. 376, 456, 463.

* * * * *

TO M. VAN BERCKEL.

The Hague, August 17th, 1778.

Sir,

I have had the honor of informing you, that I intended answering your favor of the 31st of July last, wherein you did me the honor of charging me to send to the Plenipotentiaries of the United States of America, in Paris, the testimony of the satisfaction that had been given to the honorable Regency of your city and to you in particular, by the transmission of a copy of their treaty of amity and commerce with France. Not only has your request been complied with, by transmitting to those gentlemen a copy of your letter, but I did more; for having occasion at the same time to write to America directly, I have added another copy for Congress. That body, therefore, will, without delay, be informed of the benevolent sympathy which the Republic in her turn feels for her worthy sister, as also of the happy effects which this sympathy cannot fail to produce, when the obstacle unfortunately attached to the ship shall have lost the power of obstructing her progress. Meantime, continue, Sir, by your patriotic efforts, to clear away difficulties, to provide means, and to hasten the moment of a connexion so desirable on both sides, and present and future generations will bless your name and your memory.

You will have seen by the gazettes, and especially by that of Leyden, with what unanimity and dignity the United States disdained the propositions, injurious to their good, great, and august ally, as well as to their own majesty, made to them by the British Commissioners. I have in hand and will show you the authentic proofs of this, as well as of the horror, which the Americans have, of ever returning under the iron sceptre they have broken. This confounds the falsehoods, that have been uttered and kept up with so much complacency in this country. Will they never cease to give credit to such impudent assertions? I cannot forbear to transcribe what a friend[31] has written to me. This friend does not know in detail what I have been doing here. He had asked me how I advanced. I had told him festino lente.

"In general," says he, "I am not disposed to precipitation, especially in important affairs. But I cannot help saying, that there may be some danger of the good people in Holland losing some advantages in commerce with America by their too great caution. I have reason to believe, that the British Ministry have already sent orders to their commissioners to give up the point of independence, provided they can obtain some exclusive benefit in America."

I wish, however, that we could concert some new movement. There is yet time to think of it before the meeting of the assembly. In all that concerns myself, I can only promise my best efforts.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

FOOTNOTES:

[31] William Lee, who was at this time in Francfort.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, December 3d, 1778.

Gentlemen,

The act of despotism, which I announced to you in my letter of the 16th,[32] was consummated on the 18th of November. The resolution adopted by the majority had a specious design, to wit, to refuse the commissaries which the English Ambassador demanded, to agree that the article of naval stores, legalized by the treaty of 1674, should be for the future contraband; but in the end, all was spoiled by the refusal of convoy to ships carrying these articles to France.

But Amsterdam has inserted in the acts a formal protest, by which this resolution is declared null, by its having been adopted in a manner contrary to the constitution, which requires unanimity in this case. The protest indicates, at the same time, the consequences which this affair may have. They may be very serious if they push the city to extremities. The first will be the closing of the public chest, as far as concerns her contribution towards the expenses of the confederation. This city alone pays about one quarter of all the expenses of the republic, and if they should push things to extremity she may ask succors of France, who certainly would not suffer her to be oppressed. The Ministerial gazettes in England announce this to their nation as a great success. Qui vult decipi decipiatur. On the other side, France threatens to seize in her turn English property on board of Dutch ships, and to deprive these of the favors they enjoy in her ports, if the Republic does not cause her flag to be respected by the English, according to treaties. On the fifteenth, the States of the Province will be reassembled.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

FOOTNOTES:

[32] Missing.

* * * * *

MEMORIAL,

Presented by His Excellency, the Duc de la Vauguyon, Ambassador of France, to the States-General of the United Provinces.

The Hague, December 7th, 1778.

High and Mighty Lords,

The conviction which the king, my master, has had, that their High Mightinesses, animated with a desire to perpetuate the perfect harmony which subsists between France and the States-General, would conform themselves scrupulously, in existing circumstances, to the principles of the most absolute neutrality, has induced his Majesty to include the United Provinces in the order that he made in the month of July last, concerning the commerce and navigation of neutrals. His Majesty has less room to doubt of the perseverance of their High Mightinesses in these principles, because they have given him repeated assurances, and because they are the basis and most solid guarantee of the repose and prosperity of the Republic. His Majesty, however, thinks he ought to procure, in this respect, an entire certainty; and it is with this view that he has directed me to demand of your High Mightinesses an explanation, clear and precise, of your final determination, and to declare to you that he will decide according to your answer to maintain or annul, so far as concerns the subjects of your High Mightinesses, the orders which he has already given.

To make better known to your High Mightinesses the views and intentions of the king, my master, I have the honor to observe to you, that his Majesty flatters himself that you will procure to the flag of the United Provinces all the freedom which belongs to it as a consequence of their independence, and to their commerce all the integrity which the law of nations and treaties secure to it. The least derogation from these principles would manifest a partiality, the effect of which would impose on him the necessity of suspending not only the advantages that his Majesty has insured to your flag, by his order in favor of neutrals, but also the material and gratuitous favors, which the commerce of the United Provinces enjoys in the ports of his kingdom, without any other consideration than the good will and affection of his Majesty for your High Mightinesses.

DUC DE LA VAUGUYON.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMISSIONERS AT PARIS.

The Hague, December 18th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

I have seen our friend. There are two committees at work, one for the new remonstrances occasioned by the English, the other on the answer to be made to the Memorial of the French Ambassador.

December 19th, forenoon. The Admiralty it was said would not be in favor of an answer, till next week; but measures were taken to make them pass one this morning, in which were verba pretereaque nihil; there was nothing changed in the restriction of convoy as to naval provisions. The Ambassador having been notified of it, sent today, early in the morning, to the Grand Pensionary a note so energetic that it will be difficult to avoid giving a precise answer, yes or no, which will save or lose to the Seven Provinces the commerce of France.

December 19th, evening. In spite of the note of the Ambassador, the English party has prevailed in the provincial Assembly, and all except Amsterdam have adopted by a majority the opinion of the Admiralty. Thereupon, Amsterdam delivered her protest, in which she confirmed her former protest against the resolution of the 18th of November. She declared further, that she held herself irresponsible and discharged of all injurious consequences to the Republic, which the unsatisfactory answer they had given France might have. Our friend has caused me to read this protest, which is moderate but energetic.

December 22d. I have a copy of the resolution and protest. I know on good authority that the Court of London has declared, that it is no better satisfied with the resolution adopted on the 18th of November. Thus those who have wished to be wholly subservient to that Court are very badly paid for their complaisance. The above resolution, adopted by the majority of the States of Holland, on the 19th of this month, has not yet been presented to the States-General. The Assembly of Holland, which was to have separated this week, adjourned to Tuesday next. The Deputies of the cities will depart on Thursday, to seek, it is said, new instructions for another answer, such as the Ambassador can receive. Those of Amsterdam remain here, because they have no need of an ad referendum.

December 24th. The British Court has communicated to the Republic its order, which declares liable to seizure neutral ships carrying to France munitions of war, military and naval. This order is directly contrary to the resolution of the 18th of November, by which the States refuse to permit this article to be put in question, which treaties secure to them.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, December 25th, 1778.

Gentlemen,

Your friends here do all that they can to bring about future connexions between the two Republics. The phrase, that I have underlined in the Declaration,[33] expresses nothing else than the authentic information, which the city of Amsterdam has of the disposition by which a majority is influenced in the Republic. See in it then only the wish of the city, that your virtuous perseverance in a union, on which alone depends your sovereignty, may frustrate this influence. It can do nothing against you without unanimity; but, without this same unanimity, all the good will of the city can at the present time do nothing more for you, as to the conclusion of a treaty of amity and commerce, than project it, in order to have it ready when it shall be able to propose it with some appearance of success. A copy of the Memorial, presented on the 7th of December, by the French Minister to their High Mightinesses, was sent to me by himself, on the 8th, to be communicated to you.

They have sent me from Amsterdam, with the same intent, a copy of the protest of the city against the resolution adopted by the majority for refusing convoy to naval articles. This important paper is very long, (20 pages in folio.) Expecting that I may be able to send it to you, translated and copied, I will transcribe for you, Gentlemen, what a good Dutch citizen, to whom I lent it, thought of it. "It is scarce possible for me," said he, "to paint the vexation with which I have read the resolve adopted by the majority. A document at once puerile, jesuitical, and made unintelligible, as I think, from design, to conceal the palpaple contradictions and absurdities of which it is full. I can compare it to nothing better than to a serpent, which hides its ugly head under the tortuous folds of its horrible body. The protest, on the contrary, is the finest document of its kind, that I remember to have seen. As precise as it is luminous, it presents at once, and gathers, so to speak, into a single focus, all the reasons for the opposite sentiment, in a manner to strike all eyes which are not voluntarily closed to its light. But we live in the midst of a people, who do not hesitate to call white black, and black white, provided it favors the party of the Boreases of England and of our country." The States of Holland assembled yesterday. They have named two committees to deliberate, the one on the answer to be made to the Court of France, the other on the new complaints to which the English have just given cause. We shall not know the result till next week.

In the circumstances, Gentlemen, in which you see things, it will be necessary that I should be provided with a letter of credence from your honorable Congress, like, mutatis mutandis, that which I received from it under date from the 9th to the 12th of December, 1775, and of which I made use at the Court of France, in April, 1776; with this difference, that the other being unlimited and accommodated to existing circumstances, that which I now ask for should be limited to this Republic, and conformable to the present situation and dignity of the American confederation, to the end that I may be able to produce it to whomever it shall be proper, and to labor with all requisite credit and weight, in concert with your friends in this country, on the proposal of amity and commerce between the two Republics. Such a paper becomes every day more necessary; and I dare say, that it will be necessary to the United States that I should be provided with it as soon as possible, so as not to give it publicity, which everywhere, except in France and Spain, seems to have no good effect; but to continue, as I have done hitherto, to increase and strengthen your friends here, and to hinder your enemies from realising, at the expense of this Republic, the fable of the monkey who drew his chestnuts from the fire with the cat's paw. Malo esse quam videri ought to be the constant maxim of all those, who are called to serve so fine a cause as that of the American Union. It is certainly mine. It is this that dictates the precise answer, which I have yet to give to what you had the goodness to write concerning me, in the letter with which you honored me, under date of the 14th of May of this year, to wit; "We shall write particularly to the gentlemen at Paris, respecting the injuries you have received from our enemies, and shall instruct them to pay the strictest attention to our engagements made to you at the commencement of our correspondence."

These gentlemen, in sending me the letter, wrote me nothing on this business, and I have not drawn on them for more than I had agreed with Mr Deane, towards the end of the past year, to be necessary for me to live here in a style of mediocrity, and with much economy, namely, two hundred louis d'ors this year. I shall continue on this footing, drawing always a hundred louis d'ors every six months, till it please your honorable Congress to fix my stipend. In expectation that the situation of affairs will permit the United States to observe in respect to me, or in case of my death, in respect to my daughter, the wise magnanimity that befits sovereigns, I will serve them, with the same zeal as if they gave me double, and with more inward satisfaction than if any other Power should give me ten fold. I can assure you, Gentlemen, that from the beginning, I have done for the whole American people, as I would do for a friend in danger. For the rest, I am well satisfied and grateful for the obliging things you have written me on this subject, and I do not ask new assurances. It is sufficient for me, that you know my true sentiments, and that you will have the goodness to make them known to the honorable Congress.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.[34]

FOOTNOTES:

[33] This Declaration is missing.

[34] Several letters from M. Dumas, on the affairs of Holland, in the year 1778, may be found in the Commissioners' Correspondence, in the first volume of the present work.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, January 1st, 1779.

Gentlemen,

On the 19th of December, the Grand Pensionary of Holland, before going to the Assembly of the States of Holland, received from the Duc de la Vauguyon, Ambassador of France, a note, explanatory of the Memorial presented to their High Mightinesses the 7th, as follows.

"The king, determined to have perfect certainty of the final resolution of the States, flatters himself that their High Mightinesses will explain themselves in a clear and precise manner, upon the point of perfect neutrality, which his Majesty is persuaded that they do not wish to swerve from. He expects that they will preserve to the flag of the United Provinces all the liberty that belongs to them, in consequence of their independence, and to their commerce all the integrity that the law of nations secures to it, and that treaties confirm to it. But this liberty will become illusory, and this integrity violated, if their High Mightinesses do not maintain it by a suitable protection, and if they consent to deprive their subjects of convoy, without which they cannot enjoy, in their full extent, the rights which they have acquired and claim. A resolution of whatever nature it be whose effect should be to deprive them of a protection so legitimate, whether for all branches of their commerce in general, or in particular for articles of naval stores of any kind, would be regarded under present circumstances as an act of partiality derogatory to the principles of an absolute neutrality, and would inevitably produce the consequences mentioned in the Memoir, which has been sent to their High Mightinesses. It is especially to this essential object, and with the further intention to observe a neutrality thus described, that the king asks of their High Mightinesses an answer clear and precise."

The same morning the States of Holland adopted by a majority the following answer, previously advised on the 16th by the Admiralty.

"That their High Mightinesses have always set, and will set, much value on a good understanding with his Majesty, and that they would cultivate willingly his friendship and affection for this State, by all means which insure the independent repose of the Republic, and contribute to their perfect neutrality in the existing differences between his Majesty and the king of Great Britain. That their High Mightinesses do not fear to declare with openness and candor to his Majesty, that their design is to adhere scrupulously to the said neutrality, in firm confidence that the two powers will be satisfied, and that they will permit to their High Mightinesses the peaceable enjoyment of it. That the commerce and navigation of the Republic, being one of its principal means of subsistence, its free exercise their High Mightinesses have strongly at heart. Their High Mightinesses flatter themselves also that the two powers are inclined, and will be persuaded to leave to them the course which the law of nations and treaties guaranty, and that if any discussion takes place on this subject, it will be attributed solely to the moderation and caution of their High Mightinesses, in compliance with the suggestions of prudence, if to measures adapted to the protection of their commerce and their free navigation, without distinction as to the property of the cargoes, and to the support of their neutrality, they add others, intended to avoid all occasions of misunderstanding; that their High Mightinesses are too firmly convinced of his Majesty's justice, to doubt that he will be satisfied with this candid exposition of the sentiments of their High Mightinesses, or that he will continue to observe, in his treatment of neutrals, and consequently of the subjects of their High Mightinesses, the rules, which his Majesty has himself considered to be conformable to the law of nations; and that he will continue in the disposition, on which the commerce, at present existing between the subjects of both powers, to the mutual advantage of both parties, is founded."

The resolution adopting this answer was invalidated at the same time by the following protest.

"The Deputies of the city of Amsterdam, adhering to their protest and note inserted on the 18th of November last, against the resolution adopted the same day, on the final remonstrance of the merchants of this country, on the subject of the seizure of their vessels by the English, and the carrying them into English ports, as is therein more fully detailed, have declared, that they cannot agree to the resolution of their Noble and Grand Mightinesses, adopted this day on the Memorial presented to their High Mightinesses by the Duc de la Vauguyon, wherein he demands the observance of an exact neutrality during the existence of the troubles with England in general, and the maintenance of the freedom of the flag of the Republic, as well as of the commerce and navigation of this country to the French ports in particular; unless in the meantime should be given by the said resolution the clear and precise answer demanded by the said Memorial, and on which depends in great part the commerce of this country to the ports of France, declaring also that they would not be in any manner responsible for the evils that come upon the commerce and navigation of the Republic, as well from the present resolution as from that of the 18th of November last."

This has not hindered the States-General from adopting also the answer. On the 30th of December it was carried, by the agent of their High Mightinesses, to the Ambassador, who did not accept it, as not being such as the King demanded. On which they have determined to send it to M. de Berkenrode, at Paris, to endeavor to cause it to be accepted by his Majesty.

On my return here on Tuesday evening, I went to see our friend. Nothing has yet been done; but in spite of all that can be done tomorrow, said he, things will finally go well. He told me also, that the credit of Sir Joseph Yorke with a certain great personage was manifest more and more, and that there was no longer room to doubt that the latter had secret engagements with the Court of London.

I was the next day at the house of the French Ambassador. Their High Mightinesses had sent him their answer to the Memorial, and he had sent it back, as not admissible. He has in his pocket the Declaration of the King, by which the subjects of the State are excluded from his order in favor of neutrals, and deprived of the privileges which they enjoy in the ports of the kingdom. It will be soon published. This affair will do as much good to the Anti-English in these provinces, as the taking of Bergen-op-zoom did them harm thirty years ago. The time will come when they will be obliged to have recourse to the city of Amsterdam, to remove the proscription, which too much complaisance to the Court of London is drawing upon these Provinces.

Late on Wednesday I went to see our friend. He could only give me one moment. The answer of the States-General to the Memorial of the French Ambassador is the same as that adopted by a majority in the States of Holland, excepting some additions which are not material. The Deputies have not even consulted their respective Provinces thereon; another blow given to the constitution. One of the Deputies, with whom I had some conversation, gave me as the only excuse;—"It is not the first time we have done it." I have seen a letter from an able hand, in one of the Provinces, wherein much censure and heavy reproaches are cast on this method of proceeding. Friesland can least of all dispense with the commerce of France.

January 2d. There is today a grand concert at the Hotel de France. The Court is there. The Ambassador does the reverse of what is practised at the theatre; he began with the farce, and will finish with the tragedy. They flatter themselves here, that he will not press matters, because they have given him to understand that they have convoked the Admiralty to deliberate more fully on the convoys. But they do not say what all the world knows, that they have sent the rejected answer to the Ambassador of the Republic at Paris to endeavor to have it accepted by the King. Labor lost.

Our friend is fortunate in all this. He has the finest part to perform, and he will perform it to his glory. He advances rapidly in the paths of former great men of the Republic. On the other side, the firmness of Amsterdam is seconded very seasonably by the Memorial.

I doubt not, Gentlemen, but the result has made you see the importance of what has passed here, and how far my proceedings have been useful in the business, to bring it to the point where it now is.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMISSIONERS AT PARIS.

The Hague, January 12th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

The States of Holland assemble tomorrow. Our friend comes this evening and I shall see him. They are here every day more embarrassed. Far from the answer to the Memoir sent by their High Mightinesses to their Ambassador at Paris being accepted, the Ambassador of France has received an express from his Court, the purport of which we shall know at the same time with the result of the deliberations of the States of Holland.

January 13th. The Assembly today has been occupied only with simple formalities. I know on very good authority, that Amsterdam will have permission to trade to the French Isles in America, as well directly as by way of St Eustatia and Curacoa; and I have been authorised to inform certain armed houses [maisons armes] of it, in order that they may be able to speculate in advance upon it.

January 14th. They wished to resolve today by a majority for a delay of four months longer for the convoys of ship timber. All at once Haerlem is ranged on the side of Amsterdam, and Alcmaer has taken the matter ad referendum; which has much displeased a grand personage present. The Grand Pensionary cried out also much upon it, and wished to engage the Deputies of this city to accede to the opinion of the majority; but they alleged the orders of their city in excuse. This is the cause that the resolution cannot be passed till next week. It will be such, moreover, that the Court of France will regard it as derogatory to perfect neutrality; for the majority will always prevail, but then Amsterdam, Haerlem and perhaps Alcmaer will protest. You see, Gentlemen, that the opposition not only sustains itself, but gains ground. This opposition was almost nothing six months ago; it was a feeble plant that could only stand by bending when the wind blew; now it is a solid and robust body, well supported, which resists all the efforts of the English party, which has broken them, and which will succeed at length in prevailing over this party, and will restore to the Republic its ancient dignity.

January 16th, morning. Yesterday, the 15th, in the evening, the Ambassador sought me out to go and confirm, on his part, to our friend, that this morning he should present a Memorial to the President of their High Mightinesses, with the new order of the King, which excludes the commerce and navigation of —— from the favors which France permits neutrals to enjoy on the sea and in her ports, and preserves them only to the flag of the city of Amsterdam, and that after that he should, (though against usage) make the circuit of the hotels of all the cities of Holland, and testify to their respective Pensionaries the regret and repugnance with which the King will see himself forced by themselves to publish the said order. I waited at the Hotel de France till two o'clock in the morning, to give to the Ambassador, who supped abroad, the answer of our friend. He sent it off the same night by express to his Court, and I hold myself ready this morning to report on his part to our friend the manner in which all shall pass.

16th, evening. This morning the Ambassador, after having presented his Memorial to the President of their High Mightinesses, made the rounds to give information of it to the Grand Pensionary of Holland, to the Secretary of their High Mightinesses, to the Prince Stadtholder, to the Pensionaries of the cities of Amsterdam, Dort, Brille, and Rotterdam. He was nearly two hours with the Deputies of this last city. He testified to all of them the regret of the King in having to withdraw from them his favors, and to permit one patriotic city alone to enjoy them. All manifested more discontent at this distinction, than at the privation, and there is danger of I know not what fatal consequences. They pretend that it is a thing without example and against their constitution to treat with one city only. The Ambassador replied to them, that this was a wrong view, that there was neither treaty nor convention between France and Amsterdam, but that he merely let this place continue to enjoy what she enjoyed before, and that the Republic ought to be on the contrary well satisfied that by means of this city she would not lose all. The next week he will see the Pensionaries of the other cities. For the rest I am of opinion that all this will be arranged yet satisfactorily, and that the Republic, seeing that the thing is serious, will take the part of giving satisfaction to France.

January 17th. I gave the Ambassador today an account of the discourse that I held yesterday with our friend. I must return tomorrow with the Ambassador. I only tell you, Gentlemen, the essentials, and spare you the detail of messages, which they charge me with, whose result only is interesting. My interposition saves the noise there would be from too frequent interviews between persons who are watched.

January 20th. The two Pensionaries of Amsterdam went this morning on the part of their city to the house of the Ambassador, to give thanks, and to say that they hoped his Majesty would not deprive the other confederates of favors, which he is willing to preserve to them. Thence they went to the Grand Pensionary, to give him information of this proceeding. In place of sour looks and altercations, which they expected as well at the States of the Province today as elsewhere, they were agreeably surprised to find themselves treated everywhere with much respect. Those of Rotterdam, among others, sought their intercession for their city. The merchants of Rotterdam came to implore the protection of the gentlemen of Amsterdam, who properly sent them away to their own magistrates. The Ambassador, on his part, notified this morning the Grand Pensionary by word of mouth, and afterwards, at his request, by a note in form of a letter, that the King has fixed the 26th of January to publish the new order, if he should not receive such an answer as he demands.

January 21st. Nothing is done yet. The advice of the Admiralty proposed today to the States of Holland is in contradiction with itself. They annul in truth their famous resolution of the 18th of November, as to the restriction of convoy, (from which they wished then to exclude ship timber) but would suspend the adoption of the resolution as to the extension of these convoys, until the time when they would assign their crews. This is only pushing time by the shoulders; it is the Lernean hydra, whose heads started up in place of those that were destroyed. For they agree on all the rest. There were yesterday only altercations and reproaches, to which those of Amsterdam answered with as much moderation and decency as firmness. All has been deferred till tomorrow, and if they will decide the affair by the majority, Amsterdam will protest anew.

January 22d. Nothing yet is done in the Assembly of Holland. The Grand Pensionary had proposed a draft of a resolution, which Amsterdam would not agree to, because there were terms, which appeared deceptive, and which were susceptible of a different explanation at the Court of London from what it might receive at that of France. The principal is this; they would delay the final resolution for the extension of convoy to the 26th, the day when the Admiralty must assign the crews and armaments. Now this extension will only signify in relation to one of the powers, the force of the convoys; in relation to the other, the suspension of convoy for ship timber. Those of Haerlem have, therefore, proposed some amendments. If all acquiesce, they may tomorrow adopt a unanimous resolution that may, perhaps, satisfy France.

January 23d. Yet undecided. All the cities, meanwhile, are of one mind with Amsterdam, on the plan proposed by Haerlem. But a great personage, with the majority of the nobility, still dispute about the terms. Pending this, a courier has been despatched today to Paris, to obtain, if possible, a further delay of a week in favor of the city of Amsterdam, which strongly interceded in behalf of the others. It remains to be known if this courier can arrive in time on the 26th. Amsterdam has declared today that she will remain firm and immovable, and will neither suffer herself to be forced or deceived. A very strong expression.

January 29th. Contrary to all appearances they have not resolved anything today. The answer proposed by the Admiralty was so obscure and ambiguous, that Amsterdam has given notice, that she will protest again that it was only necessary to communicate to France the resolution of the 26th instant, by which the republic repealed that of the 18th of November, which displeased France, and embraced the most perfect neutrality. They were not willing to follow this advice, and they have again prolonged the Assembly till Tuesday or Wednesday next. They wish to deceive us, said our friend, but they will not succeed.

February 4th. The Assembly of Holland resolved today, by a majority, on the answer to be given to France, referred from yesterday, against which Amsterdam with Haerlem has renewed formally her protestation of the 19th of December. After which the Assembly separated. It will meet again the 25th of February.

February 16th. The States-General have not yet made answer to the Ambassador. The Deputies of the Provinces have declared, that they were not authorised thereto by their constituents.

I am returned from Amsterdam, where I have been to see if the four new Burgomasters, who have entered upon office, are in the same disposition as those of the past year; and I have found that all goes on well; as also if the merchants intend to profit forthwith by the privileges conceded to them. A letter will not admit of the details, which I have communicated hereon to the Ambassador of France. The paper here annexed, which I have drawn up and circulated, will give you a summary view of all that has passed of interest.

Our friend has sent me the materials for a plan of a treaty between the two Republics. I am occupied with it. As soon as it is drafted, I will make copies for America and Paris.

The long silence that America keeps, and the rumors which are industriously spread, and which nobody has authentically contradicted, of divisions that prevail there, of the submission even of two or three of the most Southern States, and even of Virginia, make me see and experience more reserve and timidity, on the part even of those of Amsterdam, than in the past year. I pray God to guard America from traitors as well as from open enemies.

February 24th. There is a letter from the Prince Stadtholder to the States of the Province of Friesland, which will have serious consequences, because it is very partial to England and against France. I had the good fortune, Friday the 19th, to be able to procure an authentic copy of it for the Ambassador. I learned the same day, that it was printed at Amsterdam. It sells, circulates rapidly, and makes much noise.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, March 1st, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have nothing to add to the extracts here annexed, except to press anew the necessity there is that the most honorable Congress send me a commission in all its forms of Charge d'Affaires, and agent of the United States of America in the United Provinces of the Low Countries, with power to manage and watch over their political interests, and those of the navigation and commerce of the American Union, as well near their High Mightinesses the States-General of the United Provinces of the Low Countries, now and at all times when opportunity shall be presented, as near each Province, city, and individual of this Republic.

The opposition formed, sustained, and consolidated against the enormous influence which your enemies had over this republic, is the work of three persons, of whom I have the honor in my sphere to be one.

With orders and powers more precise on the part of Congress, I should have been able to contract long since, with merchants of this country, for useful expeditions, and to defeat divers adventurers and intriguers, who, falsely boasting of full powers and of credentials which they have not, have abused and much deceived the people and compromised the dignity and credit of the United States. The little I have been able to do in this respect, has been done with a pure zeal, and a disinterestedness and discretion, which I dare propose as an example to others, who may be called to a similar service. I can boldly defy all the world to accuse me of having in any case preferred my own interest to that of the American people.

My request, at the commencement of this letter, has for its object the service of the United States of America, as much at least as the proper care of my fortune, of my family, my honor and credit, my character and safety. The earliest of your agents and correspondents, Gentlemen, in Europe, out of Great Britain, has risked all these things from the time he received and accepted this honor, with a confidence equal to that with which it was offered.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, April 29th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

In all this month nothing has passed remarkable here, unless it be the Memorial presented by the English Ambassador. But in this interval I have taken part in a secret operation, which has confided the credit and secrets of America to a House at Amsterdam, truly patriotic, and not suspected of collusion with the enemy. Dr Franklin is fully apprized of it all.

Here is an extract from a letter to him.

"The States of the Province of Holland have assembled here this morning. It is only an ordinary session; and our friend said to me pleasantly, 'We have only come to hold the fair.' He foresees also that the resolution of the States-General, as to convoy, will not be such as to engage France to revoke or mitigate her last edict of navigation. One of the first Houses of Amsterdam, and whose predilection for England is known, has sold L60,000 of English funds. This has revived the idea of a declaration from Spain, and has depressed the English funds at Amsterdam from three to four per cent. There is a shower of pamphlets here, both in French and Dutch, against the last Memoir of Sir Joseph Yorke."

For a long time, Gentlemen, we have heard nothing here of American affairs, but through the wicked channel of your enemies, who do not cease to paint the Americans as a people disunited and discordant. These eternal repetitions, and their pretended success in Georgia, do not fail to disquiet your friends and to embarrass all my endeavors.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, May 15th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

I have already had the honor of informing you many times, that some of my frequent letters to Passy are of a nature not to be communicated to you, even in abridgement, through the risk that my packets run of being intercepted; such are, particularly, divers letters written to Dr Franklin, from the 25th of January to the 29th of April. There is a cabal of Genevan and Swiss bankers, as well in France as at Amsterdam, friendly to your enemies, which does as much injury as it can under the mask of friendship. It was my duty to unmask some of them to Dr Franklin, and to make known to him a safe Anti-English patriotic House, having the confidence of the magistracy of Amsterdam. The Ministry in France know it.

Upon the last petitions of the merchants of Dort, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Friesland, the States-General, after having previously deliberated and advised, and then reconsidered the affair, adopted on Monday, the 26th of April, the resolution to equip for the service of the current year, 1779, thirtytwo vessels of war, as follows;

4 vessels of 60 guns, 350 men = 240 guns, 1400 men. 1 " 60 " 340 " = 60 " 340 " 1 " 60 " 290 " = 60 " 290 " 8 " 50 " 300 " = 400 " 2400 " 2 frigates 40 " 250 " = 80 " 500 " 8 " 36 " 230 " = 288 " 1840 " 7 " 20 " 150 " = 140 " 1050 " 1 snow 12 " 100 " = 12 " 100 " — —— —— 32 vessels and frigates, 1280 guns, 7920 men.

Of these thirtytwo vessels and frigates, the College of Admiralty of Meuse will furnish

1 vessel of 60 guns 350 men = 60 guns 350 men. 1 " 50 " 300 " = 50 " 300 " 3 frigates 36 " 230 " = 108 " 690 " 1 " 20 " 150 " = 20 " 150 " 1 snow 12 " 100 " = 12 " 100 " — —— —— 7 vessels and frigates, 250 guns 1590 men.

The College of Amsterdam,

2 vessels of 60 guns 350 men = 120 guns 700 men. 4 " 50 " 300 " = 200 " 1200 " 2 frigates 40 " 250 " = 80 " 500 " 2 " 36 " 230 " = 72 " 460 " 2 " 20 " 150 " = 40 " 300 " — —— —— 12 vessels and frigates, 512 guns 3160 men.

The College of Zealand,

1 vessel of 60 guns 350 men. 1 " 60 " 290 " 1 " 50 " 300 " 1 frigate 36 " 230 " 1 " 20 " 150 " — —- —— 5 ves. &c. 226 guns 1320 men.

The College of West Friesland and the Quarter of the North,

1 frigate of 36 guns 230 men = 36 guns 230 men. 2 " 20 " 150 " = 40 " 300 " — —— —— 3 frigates 76 guns 530 men.

The College of Friesland,

1 vessel of 60 guns 340 men = 60 guns 340 men. 2 " 50 " 300 " = 100 " 600 " 1 frigate 36 " 230 " = 36 " 230 " 1 " 20 " 150 " = 20 " 150 " — —— —— 5 vessels and frigates, 216 guns 1320 men.

The expense of this enrollment of seven thousand nine hundred and twenty men amounts, at thirtysix florins a head, by the month, to two hundred and eightyfive thousand seven hundred and twenty florins each month, and for fourteen months, to three millions nine hundred and ninetyone thousand six hundred and eighty florins, of which the moiety (or one million nine hundred and ninetyfive thousand eight hundred and forty florins) is taken from the appropriation de la petition de guerre of the 3d of November of the past year, and the other moiety from the appropriation des droits augmentes d'entree et de gabelle.

The payments will be made to the respective Colleges of Admiralty on the usual footing, to wit, the quarter of the whole charge of each vessel, when the vessel shall be equipped, the half when the vessel shall have served twelve months after the enlistment of the crew, and fourteen months if it is a vessel continued in the service after having been equipped for former service. The resolution enjoins on the Admiralty to hasten the equipments, to the end that every month there may be a convoy for the ports of France and England; for Lisbon and the Mediterranean as often as wanted; and for the West Indies twice a year.

I got a knowledge of this resolution the 1st of May, in the evening. The next day I apprized the French Ambassador, who would not believe it at first. I gave him a copy, and sent a translation to Passy. The secrecy with which they adopted it, and kept it unknown many days, shows that they wished to prevent its publicity, and as it is yet a little deceptive as to ship timber, which is neither named nor excepted, it will not be, probably, communicated to the French Ambassador. It is important, as serving to support the Province of Holland against the other Provinces, all devoted to the Court.

On the 11th of May, the body of merchants of Amsterdam presented an address to the Admiralty to hasten the convoy in consequence of the above resolve of the 26th of April, on the faith of which they had already made their speculations and taken their measures, especially as to ship timber.

On the 14th I learned that the Admiralty not having answered satisfactorily the above address of the merchants of Amsterdam, the latter had prepared an address to their High Mightinesses, to remonstrate more strongly than ever. On the other side, the excitement and murmurs increasing at Rotterdam, whence the merchants threaten to withdraw and establish themselves at Amsterdam, the Deputies of Rotterdam have made a proposition to the Provincial Assembly, that they shall finally adopt, in concert with the other Provinces, or, in case of their default, with Holland alone, a decided resolution, and measures to put an end to all these differences, and to prevent the total ruin of the city of Rotterdam. The proposition has been committed.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

M. CHAUMONT TO C. W. F. DUMAS.

Passy, September 2d, 1779.

Sir,

I desire you may repair immediately to Amsterdam to render all the services that may depend on you to a squadron under command of Mr Jones, bearing the American flag, which is bound to the Texel.

The vessels which compose this squadron are,

Bon Homme Richard, Capt. Jones, 42 guns. Alliance, Capt. Landais, 36 guns. Pallas, Capt. Cottineau, 30 guns. Cerf, Capt. Varages, 18 guns. Vengeance, Capt. Ricot, 12 guns.

Vessels which may have joined.

Monsieur, Capt. ——, 40 guns. Grandville, Capt. ——, 12 guns. Mifflin, Capt. ——, 22 guns.

It is necessary that you require of the commandants of these vessels the greatest circumspection not to offend the Dutch and not to afford subject for any complaint.

If this squadron has need of any refreshments or aid, you will address yourself to M. De Neufville to procure them.

As soon as said squadron arrives, I wish you to advise me of it, that I may take the necessary measures to send to the Americans the supplies of which they may have need.

I have the honor to be, &c.

LE RAY DE CHAUMONT.

Approved, B. FRANKLIN.

* * * * *

TO B. FRANKLIN.

The Hague, September 14th, 1779.

Sir,

Political affairs continue here on the same footing as I left them. Convoys are not granted, not even for vessels and cargoes of which there is no dispute, because they are unwilling that vessels loaded with timber should take advantage of the opportunity, and join themselves to the fleet under convoy. On the other side, Leyden has at length joined the party of Amsterdam, which consists, at present, of eight or nine cities in favor of the deliberations for the Province to provide separately for the protection of its commerce; otherwise all the trafficers in wool, who do a great business in this article, among others for Flanders, both French and Austrian, will retire from Leyden to Amsterdam.

The Ambassador of France wishes that the great city had shown itself less inflexible against the army augmentation, and that it had set off this augmentation against unlimited and effectual convoys. I am not of this opinion. I think they would thereby put a dangerous weapon into the hands of the Anglomanes, and that the convoys would be no less evaded, and the republican party led by the nose. Our friend reasons better, in wishing that his country should be a commercial, and not a mediating power in Europe. In fact, since from the acknowledgment of the Anglomanes themselves there is little to fear for the Republic, (for on the part of the English it is clear that it is not military but naval forces that she wants); and since both are so much at the disposal of the Anglomanes, it is as well for us and for the Republic itself that they should remain on the old footing; and this probably will happen; for commerce, seeing they do not protect it, will not the next year pay the double of the right of entry and the excise; and this will reduce the fleet of the Republic from thirty two to twentytwo vessels, great and small.

September 20th. The Court of France has made a declaration here, that it has prohibited throughout the kingdom, the importation of cheese from North Holland. This interdict will not be removed until the cities of North Holland have acceded to the affair of convoy.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

TO THE COMMITTEE OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.

The Hague, September 20th, 1779.

Gentlemen,

Returned from Passy, where I have been detained some weeks longer than I had expected, and during which, affairs have not suffered here from my absence, because I constantly kept up correspondence with our great and worthy friend in this country; returned also from Amsterdam, where I was ordered to go for some secret business; I have the honor to send you herewith the public papers, which will apprize you of what has happened throughout Europe these last few months; you will see also by my letter to Dr Franklin, the present state of affairs in this Republic.

Dr Franklin has not yet had leisure to send me back the plan of a future treaty with this Republic, to which he is to join his remarks.

I am to set out immediately for Texel, with letters and secret instructions to Commodore Jones's squadron, whose arrival there I expect every hour; therefore I must finish here abruptly, and defer writing to his Excellency, the President of Congress, concerning his letter of the 3d of January last to Dr Franklin, also a resolution of Congress about Colonel Diricks, of December 23d, 1778. I only add here, that I have no doubt the Colonel is fitter for fighting battles than for negotiating a treaty or a loan.

Neufville, too, seems to me, as well as to the gentlemen at Passy, to have promised more than he can now effectuate respecting a loan; however, I still recommend his house to other good American merchants, as a house very proper to deal with in the mercantile line. But ne sutor ultra crepidam.

I have the honor to be, &c.

DUMAS.

* * * * *

Agreement between John Paul Jones and Captain Pearson.

It is hereby agreed between John Paul Jones, Captain in the American navy, Commander of the continental squadron now in the road of Texel; and Richard Pearson, Captain in the British navy, late Commodore of the British Baltic fleet, and now a prisoner of war to the United States of North America; as follows.

1st. Captain Jones freely consents, in behalf of the United States, to land on the Island of Texel the dangerously wounded prisoners now in his hands, to be there supported and provided with good surgeons and medicine, at the expense of the United States of America, and agreeable to the permission, which he has received from the States-General of Holland, to guard them with sentinel in the fort on the Texel, with liberty to remove them again from thence at his free will and pleasure.

2dly. Captain Pearson engages, in behalf of the British Government, that all the British prisoners that may be landed as mentioned in the last article shall be considered afterwards as prisoners of war to the United States of America, until they are exchanged, except only such as may in the meantime die of their wounds.

3dly. Captain Pearson further engages, in behalf of the British Government, that should any of the British subjects, now prisoners of war in the hands of Captain Jones, desert or abscond, either from the fort on the Texel or otherwise, in consequence of the first article, an equal number of American prisoners shall be released, and sent from England to France by the next cartel.

4thly. And Captain Jones engages, on the part of the United States, that if any of the prisoners who shall be landed should die while on shore in his custody in the fort, no exchange of them shall be claimed.

Done on board the American frigate the Pallas, at anchor in the Texel, this 3d day of October, 1779.

R. PEARSON, JOHN PAUL JONES.

* * * * *

THE COLLEGE OF ADMIRALTY OF AMSTERDAM TO THE STATES-GENERAL.

Amsterdam, October 8th, 1779.

High and Mighty Lords,

Captain Riemersma, commanding in the absence of Vice-Admiral Reynst, in the Road of the Texel, has informed us by message, of the entry into the said road of five vessels, viz. two French frigates, one American frigate, and two prizes made by them, under command of Paul Jones, who has addressed himself in person to said Captain Riemersma, and has asked him if he might put on shore the English Captains, and hire also a house for the recovery of the wounded; the said Captain demanding thereon our orders, and asking besides if he should return this visit.

On which we have answered to Captain Riemersma, that we could not grant the request made by the commander of these vessels, to put on shore the English Captains, nor permission to hire a house on shore to put his sick and wounded in; that for the rest, we suppose that the instructions received from his Most Serene Highness would enable the said Captain to comport himself suitably.

Besides, that he the Captain ought to look out, that for unloading, or in advancing further into the Roadstead than is necessary for protection from storms and other accidents, he should not contravene by his vessels the Placard of their High Mightinesses, of November 3d, 1756.

We have the honor to submit all this to the view of your High Mightinesses, hoping that our conduct will be so fortunate as to meet your approbation, &c.

* * * * *

Placard of 1756, referred to in the above Letter.

"The States-General of the United Provinces, to all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting. Be it known, that having been advised that some vessels of war or foreign privateers, abusing the liberty that was granted them of resorting to and anchoring in our harbors, in case of want or accident, and of bringing with them the vessels or effects taken by them from their enemies, have undertaken to sell or dispose of their said prizes, which is directly against our intention, and may give rise to a misunderstanding between us and our neighbors, which we desire to prevent as much as is in our power, by all possible means, having considered what may best conduce to this end, we have thought good to declare, ordain and resolve as follows.

"Hereafter all vessels of war and foreign privateers, whatever they may be, which shall enter into the roadsteads, rivers and waters, of this State, shall hoist on their arrival the flag of the nation to which they belong, and not advance further into said rivers and waters, than to secure themselves from tempests and other perils, without permission of the College of Admiralty, in the district in which they may be. They shall abstain from every act which may offend or aggrieve any one, whether stranger or subject of the State, but conduct on the contrary, in said waters in a manner not to harm or give cause of complaint to any one, under penalty not only of not receiving any assistance, but also of being expelled by force. In case that any vessel of war or privateer having letters of reprisal refuse to hoist on arrival its flag, or may be in the said waters and rivers without permission of the College of Admiralty in the district where they are, the crew will be regarded and treated as pirates. All officers of vessels of war or foreign privateers, which shall enter into the mouths of rivers of this State with their vessels and prizes, or with their prizes only, shall be bound to abstain from announcing or publishing in any manner said prizes, from discharging them in whole or in part, from selling or disposing of them; but they shall keep or retain them entire, and put to sea with them, returning in the same state as when they arrived; under pain of being deprived of said prizes, which shall be seized by the officers of this State and kept by the College of Admiralty of the district, till the counsellors of said College, having taken cognizance of the fact, shall judge proper to dispose of them agreeably to the exigency of the case.

"And to the end that these orders may be better executed, all officers and masters of privateers, which shall anchor in the harbors of this State, shall be holden to give notice at the first place where they shall come, of the cause of their arrival to the officers charged by the State with the inspection of the entry of vessels, to present to said officers their commissions, and especially to declare what prizes they have made, on what nation they have made them, and in general in what their cargoes consist. Moreover the said vessels of war or privateers shall permit the said officers to put persons on board said prizes to guard them, and prevent anything from being sold or discharged contrary to the present decree, and in this manner they shall put to sea with their prizes, and depart from the harbors of this State.

"And to give more effect to our intentions, and the better to prevent all difference on this subject, we advise by these presents all the inhabitants of this State, and others who reside here, that they will have to conform to their provisions, and will be careful of taking upon themselves to purchase, accept, or take for their own account, part or the whole of any prize brought into the harbors of this State under any pretext whatever, and also of aiding or facilitating, with their persons, vessels, or boats the sale, discharge, or removal of said prizes; under penalty, not only that all the effects they shall have acquired against the present decree, (without receiving any compensation for what they have disbursed, or their arrears of wages,) shall be seized by the College of Admiralty of the District, and confiscated to the profit of whom it may concern; but also that the party shall be condemned to the payment of one thousand florins, one third of which shall be to the use of the State, one third to the informer, whose name shall remain secret, and the remaining third for the officer who shall have received the complaint.

"And in order that no person may pretend ignorance, we desire and request the Lords the Committee of Roads and the Deputies of the States of the respective Provinces immediately to announce, publish and post up the present Placard wherever need shall be, and as it is customary to practise. We enjoin moreover and command the Counsellors of the Admiralty, the Advocate of the Treasury, the Admirals, Vice-Admirals, Captains, Officers and Commandants, as also the Commissaries, and Commissioners of Search in the harbors and other places to execute and cause to be executed the present order; to proceed and cause proceedings to be had against offenders, without any connivance, favor, dissimulation or agreement; for we have thus judged necessary for the service of the State.

"Done and concluded at the Assembly of their High Highnesses the States-General at the Hague, the third of November, one thousand seven hundred and fiftysix."

* * * * *

FROM THE COLLEGE OF ADMIRALTY OF AMSTERDAM TO THE STATES-GENERAL.

Amsterdam, October 12th, 1779.

High and Mighty Lords,

To satisfy the orders of their High Mightinesses and their resolution of the 8th of this month, wherein it has pleased them to demand our opinion and our consideration of the annexed Memorial of Sir Joseph Yorke, Ambassador Extraordinary from his Majesty the King of Great Britain near the Republic, we take the liberty to answer respectfully their High Mightinesses, that we had the honor to inform them by our letter of the 8th of this month of the entry of five ships; and at the same time of the answer we had given to Captain Riemersma, commanding at that time in the Roads of the Texel, on the request that had been made to him by Captain Paul Jones, the said answer containing in substance that in the belief that these ships would depart on the first opportunity, we should not grant the debarkation and the stay on shore which was asked for, of two English Captains, nor permit the hiring of a house to transport the sick and wounded; and that moreover we charged the said Captain to keep watch there; that to provide that these ships should be in security and safe from storms and other accidents, would not contravene the placard of your High Mightinesses of November 3d, 1756, which we regard as the rule according to which all foreign ships of war whatever they be, and from whatever port they come, which enter into the harbors or roadsteads of the Republic ought to be treated, and as having been given with the view that the said foreign ships should put to sea with their prizes, without discharging them in whole or in part and without selling them or disposing of them in any manner; that for these reasons, it has appeared to us that the seizure of the said ships and officers and sailors would be a contravention of the said placard; that besides, humanity requires that the said ships may stay to effect any repairs of which they have need, and to procure to the sick and wounded all the alleviations necessary, for the administering of which it is expedient that they be brought on shore.

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