The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution, Vol. IX
Author: Various
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Published under the Direction of the President of the United States, from the original Manuscripts in the Department of State, conformably to a Resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818.








Steam Power Press—W. L. Lewis' Print.

No. 6, Congress Street, Boston.






To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Amsterdam, November 2d, 1776, 5

Sent by Mr Deane on a mission to Berlin.—Disposition of the Dutch.—Financial credit of the different powers.—Credit of the United States.—Plan for attacking the English coasts.—The conduct of Congress in relation to Portugal has made a favorable impression.—Offers of a House in Amsterdam to discount bills of Congress, drawn on certain conditions.

To William Bingham, at Martinique. Paris, June 25th to July 6th, 1777, 14

Reasons for opening a correspondence with him.—Causes of the temporising policy of France.—The English loan completed at home.—Dispute between Spain and Portugal.—Warlike preparations of France and Spain.

To the President of Congress. Yorktown, June 17th, 1778, 19

Receives information of his appointment as Secretary to the Commissioners.

To the President of Congress. Off Reedy Island, November 25th, 1779, 19

Acknowledges the reception of certain resolutions of Congress.

To the President of Congress. Martinique, December 27th, 1779, 20

Naval operations of the English and French in the West Indian Seas.

To John Jay. Madrid, February 18th, 1780, 21

Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca, who promises to answer Mr Jay's letter.—Advises Mr Jay to prepare for a journey to Madrid.—Mr Lee's correspondence.

To the President of Congress. Madrid, February 19th, 1780, 23

Favorable reception.—Kindness of the French Ambassador and of M. Gerard.—English forces.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Aranjues, May 28th, 1780, 24

Difficulty of communication.—Dispositions of the Spanish Court.—English policy in Spain.—Dispositions of the other European powers.—Bills on Mr Jay.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, July 17th, 1780, 30

Mr Cumberland, English agent at Madrid.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St Ildefonso, August 22d, 1780, 32

Finances of Spain.—Mr Cumberland.—Armed neutrality.—Naval forces and operations of France and Spain.—M. Gardoqui succeeds M. Miralles.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St Ildefonso, September 9th, 1780, 38

Failure of the Spanish loan attributed to M. Necker.—Scheme of the loan.—Unsettled policy of Spain.—Armed neutrality.—The navigation of the Mississippi the chief obstacle to the opening of negotiations with Spain.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St Ildefonso, September 25th, 1780, 43

Supplies from Spain.—Conference with the Count de Florida Blanca.—The Count declares that Spain will never relinquish the exclusive navigation of the Mississippi.—Finances of the belligerent powers.—The Count de Montmorin.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, October 15th, 1780, 47

The Spanish government finds it difficult to raise money.—The armed neutrality and Holland.—Revolt in Peru.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, November 28th, 1780, 50

Finances and financial operations of Spain.—Vigorous preparations of England.—Spain aims at the exclusive possession of the Gulf of Mexico.—The European powers are jealous of the House of Bourbon.—Suggests the expediency in securing the alliance of Spain by further concessions.—Proceedings in Holland.—The Count de Vergennes informs Mr Jay that France cannot pay the bills drawn on him.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, December 19th, 1780, 56

Amount of bills drawn on Mr Jay.—Accession of Holland to the armed neutrality.—Disposition of the Emperor.—Mr Cumberland continues to reside at Madrid.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, January 4th, 1781, 58

England declares war against Holland.—Supplies promised by Spain.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, January 29th, 1781, 59

Offer of mediation by the German Emperor and the Empress of Russia.—Spanish policy in regard to America.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, February 22d, 1781, 62

Supplies.—Imperial offer of mediation.—Russia unfavorably disposed towards England.—English preparations.—French preparations.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, March 4th, 1781, 66

M. Gardoqui.—The correspondence of the American Ministers is known to the European governments, by opening the letters.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, March 11th, 1781, 68

Mr Cumberland intends to leave Spain.—Naval forces of the belligerents.—Bad consequences of the mutiny of the Pennsylvania line.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Aranjues, May 25th, 1781, 69

Secret armament preparing at Cadiz.—Difficulty of communicating safely with America.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Aranjues, May 26th, 1781, 70

Naval operations.—Supplies granted by France.—Probable destination of the force raising in the South of Spain.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Aranjues, June 2d, 1781, 72

Dismission of M. Necker disagreeable to the Court of Spain.—M. Necker not favorable to the granting of supplies to the United States.—His character.—Proposed mediation by the Court of Vienna.

James Lovell to William Carmichael. Philadelphia, June 15th, 1781, 74

His communications have been valuable to Congress.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St Ildefonso, August 16th, 1781, 75

Progress of the negotiations.—Loans raised by Spain.—Bills on Mr Jay.—Apprehensions that the demands of Spain may delay the general peace.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. St Ildefonso, September 28th, 1781, 78

The Court promises to appoint a person to treat.—M. Del Campo.—Little prospect of a general negotiation.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, October 5th, 1781, 81

No progress has been made in the negotiation.—Complaints against Commodore Gillon.—The rebellion in Peru quelled.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Madrid, November 17th, 1781, 84

Arrest of an English agent.—No progress towards opening a conference with Mr Jay.—Animosity of the Irish at the Spanish Court against America.—Account of M. Cabarrus.—Spanish expedition against their Colonies.—French naval expeditions.—State of affairs in Holland and France.

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Philadelphia, December 20th, 1781, 91

Mr Carmichael's communications valuable to Congress.—Commodore Gillon is not in a United States ship.—Delays of Spain beget feelings of ill-will in America.—Evacuation of Wilmington.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 20th, 1781, 94

Motives of his correspondence.—Delays of Spain.—General satisfaction in Spain at the capture of Lord Cornwallis.—Imperial and Swedish Ambassador desire to favor the trade with America.—Advances by M. Cabarrus.—State of the sieges of Gibraltar and Mahon.—M. Cabarrus's plan of a new bank.—Spain endeavors to discourage the commerce of foreigners in her ports.—Attempt to exclude salt-fish, by the sale of indulgences permitting the use of meat on fast days.—Character of the Spanish Ministry.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 24th, 1781, 102

Mr Jay receives promises of supplies.—The Count de Florida Blanca also promises to interfere with Portugal in favor of the United States.—Probable consequences of the death of the Empress.—Proceedings of England.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, Feb. 18th, 1782, 105

Difficulty of meeting the drafts.—Financial embarrassments of the Spanish Court.—Capitulation of Mahon.—Imperial mediation.—Reply of Lord Stormont to the proposal.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 27th, 1782, 111

Mr Jay is unable to obtain supplies.—No progress made toward negotiations.—The King of England is said to be determined to push the war in America.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, April 14th, 1782, 113

Mr Jay obliged to protest bills.—Conduct of the Spanish Minister on this occasion.—The Spanish Court delays negotiations from policy.—Colonial disturbances.—Reforms of the Emperor.

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Philadelphia, May 1st, 1782, 120

Desires a continuance of his correspondence.—Affair of Captain Huddy.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, June 12th, 1782, 122

The Spanish Ministers show no inclination to treat.—Jealousy of the House of Bourbon among the European powers.—Financial difficulties of Spain.—Siege of Gibraltar.

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Philadelphia, July 6th, 1782, 124

Complains of want of information.—Payment of salaries.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Ildefonso, July 8th, 1782, 126

Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca.—Conversation with M. Del Campo.—New offer of mediation from the Imperial Courts.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Ildefonso, July 22d, 1782, 129

Count de Florida Blanca's answer to the proposed mediation.—The neutral powers desire a Congress.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Ildefonso, September 8th, 1782, 132

Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca.

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782, 135

State of affairs in America.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Ildefonso, September 29th, 1782, 137

Failure of the attack on Gibraltar.—Financial embarrassments of Spain.—State of the negotiations at Paris.—The preparations for war continue.

Count de Florida Blanca to William Carmichael. St Lorenzo, October 14th, 1782, 141

The English frigate carried into Cadiz by American seamen is ordered to be sold, and the proceeds to be deposited to the credit of Congress.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, October 29th, 1782, 142

The progress of the negotiations will be impeded by Spain.

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Philadelphia, November 28th, 1782, 144

America will make no peace inconsistent with her engagements to her allies.—State of the military forces in America.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 10th, 1782, 147

Terms of the treaty between Great Britain and the United States.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, December 30th, 1782, 149

Dissatisfaction of Spain with the conclusion of the treaty.—Letter from M. de Lafayette.—Financial operations in Spain.—Receives the ceremonial visits of the Corps Diplomatique.—Intends to leave Spain, if the Court does not change its conduct.—Divisions in Holland.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, January 18th, 1783, 154

Interruptions of the communication with America.—Endeavors to induce the Ministry to receive him formally.—M. Gardoqui will soon be despatched on a mission.—The Ministry desires peace.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, February 21st, 1783, 158

Is formally received as Charge d'Affaires of the United States, through the influence of M. de Lafayette.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, March 13th, 1783, 161

Dines with the Count de Florida Blanca.—Supposed motives of the offer of mediation by the Imperial Courts.—Reported confederacy of Russia, Austria, and Prussia for the partition of Turkey.—State of affairs in England.—Friendly propositions from other powers.—The army and navy commissaries have agreed to obtain supplies from America.—Proposes M. Jose Llanos as Minister to the United States.—Recommends the nomination of distinguished Spaniards as members of American societies.

Robert R. Livingston to William Carmichael. Philadelphia, May 7th, 1783, 169

The past conduct of Spain has not been such as to conciliate America.—She ought not to exclude America from the privileges allowed to Great Britain.—Operations of the provisional treaty.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, July 19th, 1783, 172

Receives assurances of the favorable disposition of the King.—The Spanish-Americans treat him as their countryman.—Plans of Austria and Russia.—Mr Fox raises difficulties to the conclusion of the Definitive Treaty.—Points in the treaty with Spain.—Spanish expedition against Algiers.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, July 22d, 1783, 179

Dispersion of the armament against Algiers by stress of weather.—Slow progress of the negotiations at Paris.

From the Saxon Minister in Spain to William Carmichael. Madrid, July 28th, 1783, 181

Establishment of commercial relations with America.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, July 29th, 1783, 183

Proceedings relative to the formation of commercial connexions between Saxony and the United States.—Treaty between France, Spain and Portugal.

To Robert R. Livingston. Madrid, August 2d, 1783, 184

M. Thieriot appointed Saxon Commissary-General of Commerce in America.

To Robert R. Livingston. St Ildefonso, August 30th, 1783, 185

Interview with the Count de Florida Blanca.—Objections of that Minister to his presentation.—Second interview on the same subject.—The King consents to fix a day for his presentation.—The presentation.


Instructions to John Laurens. In Congress, December 23d, 1780, 199

Additional Instructions to John Laurens. In Congress, December 27th, 1780, 201

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, January 3d, 1781, 203

Method of obtaining supplies.

To the President of Congress. Boston, February 4th, 1781, 204

Delay of his departure.

To the President of Congress. Boston, February 7th, 1781, 206

Preparations for sailing completed.

To the President of Congress. L'Orient, March 11th, 1781, 207

Remains at L'Orient in expectation of an interview with the Marquis de Castries.—Naval preparations at Brest.

To the President of Congress. Passy, March 20th, 1781, 208

Conversation with the Marquis de Castries.—Answer of the Count de Vergennes to the application of Congress for aid, granting six millions.—Urges the necessity of further aid.—Naval forces of the belligerents at sea.

Memorial to the Count de Vergennes, 211

On the necessity of further aid in money, and of a naval superiority of the allies.—Answer to the objections made to the raising of a loan in France by the United States.

Questions proposed to Colonel Laurens, with his Answers to them. Paris, March 29th, 1781, 218

Advantages of augmenting the army.—Causes of the weakness of the southern army.

To the President of Congress. Versailles, April 9th, 1781, 220

France consents to guaranty a loan of ten millions to be opened in Holland.—Solicitations for supplies.

Memorial from Colonel John Laurens to Count de Vergennes, 222

Represents the grant already made to be insufficient and requests supplies in arms, &c. on credit.—Desires the amount of the loan proposed to be raised in Holland may be advanced by France.—Urges the necessity of maintaining a naval superiority in the American seas.

To the President of Congress. Paris, April 24th, 1781, 226

Remittance of the aid in specie.—Reasons for engaging the South Carolina ship, the Indian, for the conveyance.—Nature of supplies in arms, ammunition, &c.

Memorial from John Laurens to the Director-General of Finance, 230

Urging the increase of the intended remittance of specie.

To the President of Congress. Paris, May 15th, 1781, 231

Failure of the plan of obtaining remittances from Vera Cruz.—Refusal of Holland to countenance the proposed loan in that country.—Promises of additional succors from France.

Count de Vergennes to John Laurens. Versailles, May 16th, 1781, 233

Disposition of the six millions granted by France.—Additional grant of four millions.—The proposed loan of ten millions shall be advanced by France.—Military and naval operations.

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, September 2d, 1781, 235

General account of his proceedings on his late mission to France, as contained in the preceding letters.

To the President of Congress. Philadelphia, September 6th, 1781, 247

Confinement of Henry Laurens in the Tower.


B. Franklin to M. Dumas. Philadelphia, December 19th, 1775, 255

Acknowledges the reception of certain works of M. Dumas.—Requests him to sound the Ministers to discover if America can expect countenance from any of the European powers in declaring independence.—State of the country.—Desires that skilful engineers may be sent out.

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, March 22d, 1776, 260

Introducing Mr Deane.

To B. Franklin, Chairman of the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Utrecht, April 30th, 1776, 260

Conversation with the French Minister relative to rendering assistance to the Colonies.—Writings of M. Dumas.—Receives a letter without signature, desiring a meeting at the Hague.

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. Utrecht, May 14th, 1776, 267

Interview with the writer of the letter from the Hague.—Letter from Mr A. Lee recommending Hortalez.

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. August 10th, 1776, 271

Extract of a letter from Mr Lee, recommending Hortalez to his confidence.—Correspondence with the person with whom he had the interview at the Hague.—Interview with the same person and with the Spanish Ambassador.—Mr Ellis requests him to write to America that there is a strong American party in England.

Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, July 6th, 1776, 276

Introducing Mr Ellis.—State of affairs in America.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, July 26th, 1776, 277

Desires to correspond with him.—Wishes to know if there would be any personal risk in visiting Holland.

Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, August 13th, 1776, 278

The Colonial expenses of Great Britain were undertaken for her own benefit.—Scotch hostile to America.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, August 18th, 1776, 280

Intends visiting Holland in a private character.—The American Colonies do not desire aid nor alliances, but only free commerce.

William Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, September 10th, 1776, 282

The declaration of Independence changes the character of the contest between Great Britain and America.—England uses every means to prevent the interference of France.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, September 11th, 1776, 283

If free commerce were allowed America, the Colonies would need no assistance.—The English Ambassador is acquainted with Mr Deane's official character.

Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, September 23d, 1776, 285

Sentiments of the English nation.—Character of the English Ministry.

To the Committee of Secret Correspondence. September 30th, 1776, 288

Communicates his letters from America in a certain quarter.—Reasons for signing an assumed name.

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, October 1st, 1776, 290

Acknowledging the receipt of letters.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 3d, 1776, 291

Obtains an opportunity of sounding the sentiments of the Prussian Cabinet.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 6th, 1776, 291

Disposition of the American people in regard to an accommodation.—American commerce.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 9th, 1776, 294

Introducing Mr Carmichael.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, October 13th, 1776, 295

Treatment of an American citizen in Holland.

William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Amsterdam, October 22d, 1776, 296

Informing him of his intended visit.

Committee of Secret Correspondence to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, October 24th, 1776, 297

Dr Franklin appointed Commissioner to the French Court.—Committee of Secret Correspondence.

William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Amsterdam, October 27th, 1776, 298

Requesting certain papers.

Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, November 15th, 1776, 299

Disposition of the British Court.—The Rockingham party proposes to secede from Parliament.—Cause of the advantage gained by the English on Long Island.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Without date, 301

Difficulties of his situation.—Prospect of ultimate success.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, December 13th, 1776, 304

Arrival of Dr Franklin in France.

William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Havre, January 21st, 1777, 304

Return from a tour in Germany.—Impolicy of the present measures of France.

Arthur Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, January 26th, 1777, 305

Want of intelligence from America.—Interest of Holland to secure the commerce with America.

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, January 29th, 1777, 307

Forwarding letters from America.

William Lee to C. W. F. Dumas. London, March 21st, 1777, 308

State of the British and American forces.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, April 2d, 1777, 309

Enclosing a remittance.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, April 12th, 1777, 310

Inadequacy of the allowance hitherto made him.

William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, April 28th, 1777, 312

Dangers of the temporizing policy of the European powers toward America.—Mr Carmichael is offered a pension on condition of bringing the Colonies to terms.—The acknowledgment of the independence of America by the European States is all that is necessary to her success.

The Committee of Foreign Affairs to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, May 8th, 1777, 314

Desiring him to communicate information to the Commissioners at Paris.

William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, May 9th, 1777, 315

English papers intercepted.—False rumors propagated by the English Ministry.—Arrogant policy of that Court.

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, near Paris, May 12th, 1777, 317

Communicates advices from America.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. Amsterdam, May 16th, 1777, 318

The author of 'Advice to Hessians,' threatened with arrest.

Silas Deane to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, June 7th, 1777, 319

Reports of reconciliation spread by English agents.—There will be no accommodation without an acknowledgment of independence.—The balance of power in Europe is a mere chimera.—One power must finally preponderate.—Growing importance of Russia.

William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, June 13th, 1777, 323

American privateering.—Preparations for the war in England.—Had the English operations been successful in America, the same tone would have been assumed towards France as Holland.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. June 14th, 1777, 326

Disposition of the Dutch towards America.—Success is necessary to gain Holland.—The Dutch houses refuse to take up the English loan.—Ignorance of American affairs in Europe.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. August 22d, 1777, 327

Subject to persecutions on account of his agency in the American service.—Dutch vessels captured by the English.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, October 14th, 1777, 329

Meeting and proceedings of the States-General.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. December 16th, 1777, 330

Impression produced by the news of Burgoyne's capture.—Proceedings of the States-General.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, April 14th, 1778, 332

Effect of the declaration of France in Holland.—The Republic will maintain her neutrality.

To M. Van Berckel, Pensionary of Amsterdam. July 27th, 1778, 333

Communicating the treaty between France and the United States.

M. Van Berckel to C. W. F. Dumas. Amsterdam, July 31st, 1778, 334

Disposition of the Regency of Amsterdam to enter into amicable and commercial relations with the United States.

To M. Van Berckel. The Hague, August 17th, 1778, 335

Rejection of the propositions of the British Commissioners by the United States.—Extract of a letter from W. Lee, complaining of the indecision of Holland.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, December 3d, 1778, 337

Amsterdam protests against the resolution of the States, refusing a convoy to ships carrying naval stores to France.

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, 338

Necessity that Holland should protect her commerce, if she desires to enjoy the privileges of neutrality.

To the Commissioners at Paris. The Hague, December 18th, 1778, 340

The Admiralty gives an evasive answer to the Memorial of the French Ambassador.—This answer adopted by the States.—Amsterdam protests.—The English Court declares its intention of seizing Dutch ships carrying munitions of war to France.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, December 25th, 1778, 342

Resolution of the States and protest of Amsterdam.—Desires letters of credence.—Inadequacy of his compensation.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, January 1st, 1779, 345

Containing a note of the Duc de la Vauguyon, explanatory of his Memorial; the answer of the States of Holland to the same, and the protest of Amsterdam against the answer.—The answer adopted by the States-General.—English influence at the Dutch Court.—The French Ambassador has a declaration of his Court excluding Holland from the French order in favor of neutrals.

To the Commissioners at Paris. The Hague, January 12th, 1779, 351

Proceedings of the States of Holland.—The American interest gains ground.—The Duc de la Vauguyon presents to the States-General the order excluding Holland from the privileges of neutrals.—Proceedings in relation to the same.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, March 1st, 1779, 357

Desires to be invested with the character of Charge d'Affaires of the United States.—His past services.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, April 29th, 1779, 359

Assembly of the States of Holland.—Misrepresentations on American affairs.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, May 15th, 1779, 360

Naval force ordered to be equipped by the States-General, for purposes of convoy.

M. Chaumont to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, September 2d, 1779, 364

Requesting him to render all necessary aid to the squadron of Commodore Jones.—Catalogue of the vessels composing the squadron.

To B. Franklin. The Hague, September 14th, 1779, 365

Proceedings in Holland and France relative to the granting convoys to Dutch commerce.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, September 20th, 1779, 366

Intends going to Texel to meet Commodore Jones.

Agreement between John Paul Jones and Captain Pearson, 367

Relative to British prisoners in the squadron of Commodore Jones.

The College of Admiralty of Amsterdam to the States-General. Amsterdam, Oct. 8th, 1779, 369

On the request of Commodore Jones to be permitted to land his prisoners.

Placard of 1756, referred to in the above letter, 370

Containing directions for foreign vessels bringing prizes into Dutch ports.

From the College of Admiralty of Amsterdam to the States-General. Amsterdam, Oct. 12th, 1779, 373

Proposing to grant permission to land the sick and wounded from Commodore Jones's squadron.

Permission to land the sick and wounded of the English vessels taken by Paul Jones. Extract from the records of their High Mightinesses. October 15th, 1779, 375

Instructions of Holland and West Friesland to their Deputies, 376

Directing them to order the squadron of Commodore Jones to sail as soon as possible, according to the general practice of Holland in regard to belligerents bringing prizes into the Dutch ports.

The Duc de la Vauguyon to John Paul Jones. The Hague, October 29th, 1779, 378

Informing him that he will receive instructions at Dunkirk.

Sir Joseph Yorke to the States-General. The Hague, October 29th, 1779, 379

Demanding the seizure of the King's vessels in the hands of Paul Jones, a pirate and rebel.

John Paul Jones to Lieutenant Colonel Weibert, in the service of the United States, 381

Instructions for the care and safe keeping of the wounded prisoners landed on the island of Texel.

John Paul Jones to the Duc de la Vauguyon. Texel, November 4th, 1779, 382

Interview with the Commandant of the Road.—Causes of the delay of sailing.

M. Dumas to the Duc de la Vauguyon. Helder, November 9th, 1779, 384

Proceedings of Commodore Jones.

To the Duc de la Vauguyon. On board the Serapis, November 11th, 1779, 386

Visit to the Dutch Vice-Admiral in company with Commodore Jones.

The Duc de la Vauguyon to C. W. F. Dumas. The Hague, November 11th, 1779, 387

Landing of the prisoners.

The Duc de la Vauguyon to C. W. F. Dumas. The Hague, November 12th, 1779, 388

Directing Commodore Jones not to sail till he has received instructions.

To the Duc de la Vauguyon. Nov. 13th, 1779, 388

The Dutch Vice-Admiral urges the departure of Commodore Jones.

The Duc de la Vauguyon to C. W. F. Dumas. Amsterdam, November 17th, 1779, 389

The States of Holland adopt a resolution to compel Commodore Jones to set sail.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, December 9th, 1779, 389

Urgency of the Dutch Vice-Admiral for the departure of Commodore Jones.—M. Dumas reads to him a declaration, promising to set sail with the first fair wind.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. December 10th, 1779, 391

Resolutions of the States-General relative to Sir Joseph Yorke's demand of the seizure of Commodore Jones and his prizes.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, December 11th, 1779, 395

Further proceedings relative to the squadron of Commodore Jones in consequence of the transference of the Commodore to the Alliance.

John Paul Jones to the Duc de la Vauguyon. Alliance, Texel, December 13th, 1779, 396

Rejecting the offer of a letter of marque from France.—Expresses his indignation at the offer.

John Paul Jones to B. Franklin. Alliance, Texel, December 13th, 1779, 399

Remarks on his treatment by the French Court.

John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Alliance, December 13th, 1779, 400

Enclosing the preceding letters.

Vice-Admiral Reynst to John Paul Jones. Amsterdam, December 17th, 1779, 401

Requiring to be informed of the character of the Alliance, and demanding that the French flag be hoisted on board that frigate, or that she be put to sea without delay.

John Paul Jones to Vice-Admiral P. H. Reynst. Alliance, Texel, December 17th, 1779, 401

Refuses to hoist the French flag.—Is ready to put to sea whenever the pilot will conduct his ship.

John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Alliance, Texel, December 17th, 1779, 402

Thanking him for his advice.

M. de Livoncourt, French Navy Agent at Amsterdam, to John Paul Jones. Helder, December 17th, 1779, 402

Requesting him to hoist the French flag.—Reasons for addressing to him the commission alluded to in a preceding letter.

John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Alliance, at Sea, December 27th, 1779, 403

Succeeds in getting to sea.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, December 30th, 1779, 404

Difficulties on account of the Alliance.—Desires to be formally named agent of Congress.

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, January 27th, 1780, 405

Regrets his differences with the Ambassador.

To the Committee of Foreign Affairs. The Hague, March 15th, 1780, 406

Transmits the plan of a treaty between the United States and Holland.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, March 21st, 1780, 407

Enumeration of his services and sacrifices.—Inadequacy of his compensation.—Complains of William and Arthur Lee.

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, March 29th, 1780, 412

Acknowledging the receipt of certain papers and requesting information.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, April 13th, 1780, 413

Deliberations on the Russian Memorial to the States-General.—Resolutions in favor of unlimited convoys and declining succors to England, adopted by several Provinces.—Necessity of an American Minister in Holland.

B. Franklin to C. W. F. Dumas. Passy, April 23d, 1780, 414

Receives visits from gentlemen from Holland, who desire information relative to the rumored treaty between Amsterdam and the United States.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, May 21st, 1780, 416

Dissatisfaction of the northern powers with the conduct of England.—Address of Amsterdam to the States.—Claim of M. Van der Perre to a ship captured by Commodore Jones.

John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas. Paris, June 6th, 1780, 417

Relative to a certain letter of General Clinton, suspected of being a forgery.—Duplicity of the British agents in America.

Protest of the City of Amsterdam. Extracted from the Resolutions of the Council of that City of the 29th of June, 1780, and inserted in the Acts of the Provincial Assembly of Holland, at the Hague, July 1st, 1780, 419

Urging a connexion with the neutral powers.

James Lovell to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, July 10th, 1780, 425

Services of M. Dumas.—Introduces Mr Searle.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, July 15th, 1780, 426

Intrigues of England in Holland and Germany.—Affair of the choice of a Coadjutor of Munster and Cologne.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, July 22d, 1780, 427

Rumors unfavorable to America.—Declaration of Denmark.

William Carmichael to C. W. F. Dumas. Madrid, July 24th, 1780, 429

The Americans will not be discouraged by their reverses.—False report of Mr Jay's being sent from Spain.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, July 25th, 1780, 430

Past services.—Inadequate compensation.

John Paul Jones to C. W. F. Dumas. Ariel, Road of Croix, September 8th, 1780, 433

Reception in Paris.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, September 12th, 1780, 435

Naval operations.—Affairs of Europe.

To B. Franklin. The Hague, October 3d, 1780, 437

Proposed terms of accession to the armed neutrality by Holland.—Plan of the Empress.

Extract of Letters from London to C. W. F. Dumas. London, October 6th, 1780, 439

Treatment of Mr Laurens in the Tower.

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, December 19th, 1780, 441

Proceedings of the Provincial States of Holland.—Accession of the Republic to the armed neutrality.

Robert Morris to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, December 24th, 1780, 445

Attacks on his character.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, February 5th, 1781, 446

Proceedings in regard to the armed neutrality.—Reported rupture between Russia and England.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, February 22d, 1781, 448

Delays in the decision of the Court on the conduct of Amsterdam.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, March 5th, 1781, 449

Disposition of the Empress to support the demands of Holland against England.—The proposed imperial mediation will be founded on an acknowledgment of the independence of the United States.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, March 22d, 1781, 450

Causes of the delays in Holland.—Proceedings of the merchants of Amsterdam and Rotterdam relative to the seizure of St Eustatia.

General J. H. Bedaulx to C. W. F. Dumas. Nimeguen, April 28th, 1781, 452

Requesting information concerning his nephew in America.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, May 1st, 1781, 453

Mr Adams visits the Grand Pensionary, preparatory to presenting himself in the character of Minister of the United States.—The Grand Pensionary, the President of the States-General, and the Prince of Orange decline receiving the Memorial of Mr Adams.—Mr Adams causes it to be printed.—The President and the Privy Counsellor of the Prince decline receiving a letter from Mr Adams, announcing the completion of the confederation.—Amsterdam demands the exclusion of the Duke of Brunswick from the public councils.—Imperial mediation.—Coolness of the Emperor toward the Duke of Brunswick.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, August 23d, 1781, 460

French loan will be agreed to by the States-General.—Correspondence between the Stadtholder and Baron Lynden relative to the Duke of Brunswick.—Anti-Anglican proceedings in Holland.—Proceedings of the States of Holland in regard to the Duke of Brunswick's letter to the States-General.—French loan.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, October 11th, 1781, 467

Letter of Baron Lynden to the Prince of Orange in regard to the Duke of Brunswick.

Robert R. Livingston to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, November 28th, 1781, 468

Desires him to transmit journals and pamphlets.—Capture of Cornwallis.—Congress cannot make any addition to his allowance.

To the President of Congress. Amsterdam, January 7th, 1782, 471

The French loan has been taken up in one day.—Diminution of English influence in Holland.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, January 15th, 1782, 473

Visit to the Secretary of the States-General and the Deputies of the Province with Mr Adams, to demand permission to present his credentials.

To the President of Congress. The Hague, January 30th, 1782, 474

Proceedings of the States-General.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 29th, 1782, 475

Friesland and Holland adopt resolutions in favor of the reception of Mr Adams.

To Robert R. Livingston. Amsterdam, April 4th, 1782, 476

Purchases a hotel for Mr Adams.—Mr Adams will probably be received without further delay.

John Adams to C. W. F. Dumas. Amsterdam, May 2d, 1782, 477

Declines the invitation to dine at Schiedam.—M. Dumas ought to be appointed Charge d'Affaires of the United States.

Verbal message of C. W. F. Dumas to the city of Schiedam, 479

Mr Adams declines the invitation to a dinner.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 10th, 1782, 479

Reception of Mr Adams.—Transmits Mr Adams's letter recommending him to the attention of Congress.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 1st, 1782, 483

Attempts to effect a separate peace between Holland and England.—Insincerity of the English in their proposals of peace.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, August 16th, 1782, 487

Proceedings of the States of Holland relative to the negotiations at Paris.

Robert R. Livingston to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, September 5th, 1782, 488

Receives no communications from him.—Affairs in America.

Robert R. Livingston to C. W. F. Dumas. Philadelphia, September 12th, 1782, 489

Congress will take his requests into consideration.—State of things in America.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, September 27th, 1782, 491

Proceedings in Holland relative to the naval force ordered to join the French fleet.—Complains of the neglect of Congress.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, November 15th, 1782, 494

Reasons for the infrequency of his communication.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, December 12th, 1782, 496

Riot at the Hague.—Representations of the Prussian Envoy on the dissensions in Holland.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, December 17th, 1782, 500

Representations of the Prussian Envoy on a libel against the Princess of Orange.—Reply to the same.—The prisoners arrested on account of the disturbances at the Hague allowed to escape.—Obtains passports for Americans.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, January 11th, 1783, 503

Proposed mission of a Minister from the Republic to the United States.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, January 20th, 1783, 504

Proceedings in Holland.—Minister to the United States.

Memorial of the Prussian Ambassador. January 20th, 1783, 505

On the opposition to the Prince of Orange.

To John Adams. The Hague, January 24th, 1783, 508

Is requested to consult Mr Adams, whether his powers authorise him to accede to the armed neutrality, and to enter into a similar negotiation with the allied belligerents.

To John Adams. The Hague, January 28th, 1783, 509

Dissatisfaction of the Dutch with the conduct of France.

To John Adams. The Hague, January 30th, 1783, 511

Same subject.

To John Adams. The Hague, February 4th, 1783, 512

Same subject.—Reasons of the Count de Vergennes for hastening the signing of the treaty.

To John Adams. The Hague, Feb. 18th, 1783, 514

Is requested to inquire if the United States will enter into a convention with Holland, guarantying freedom of navigation.—Considerations which authorise the American Ministers to accede to this demand.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 4th, 1783, 515

Appointment of M. Van Berckel Minister to America.

To John Adams. The Hague, March 4th, 1783, 516

The States adopt a resolution, giving instructions to their Plenipotentiaries in regard to a general peace.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 5th, 1783, 517

Requesting him to make preparations for M. Van Berckel.

To John Adams. The Hague, March 6th, 1783, 518

Guarantee of the freedom of navigation desired by Holland.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, March 27th, 1783, 519

Domestic affairs of Holland.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, April 18th, 1783, 522

Same subject.—Is requested to inquire of Mr Dana if he will negotiate a convention on the principles of the armed neutrality with Holland.—The Secretary of the States-General desires to be informed of the titles by which Congress is to be addressed.

Robert R. Livingston to C. W. F. Dumas. Without date, 525

Impropriety of a foreign Envoy engaging in the parties of the country where he resides.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 8th, 1783, 526

Proceedings in Holland.—Difficulties in settling the articles of peace between Holland and Great Britain.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, May 25th, 1783, 528

Recommending Captain Riemersma.

Notes to the States-General. The Hague, June 5th, 1783, 529

Laying before them the treaty and convention between the two Republics.

M. Fagel to C. W. F. Dumas. The Hague, June 19th, 1783, 530

Agrees to exchange ratifications of the treaty and convention.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 20th, 1783, 530

Proceedings in Holland.

To Robert R. Livingston. The Hague, June 23d, 1783, 531

Exchanges ratifications of the treaty and convention between the two Republics.






William Carmichael was a native of Maryland. At the beginning of the revolution he was in Europe. From London he went over to Paris in the spring of the year 1776, and was there when Silas Deane arrived as a commercial and political agent from the United States. He lived with Mr Deane for some time in Paris, and aided him in his correspondence and the transaction of his affairs. It was suggested by the Prussian Minister, that the King would be pleased with information respecting American commerce, and would receive at Berlin any American who could give such information. Mr Deane proposed the enterprise to Mr Carmichael. He performed the journey in the autumn of 1776, by way of Amsterdam.

From Berlin he returned to Paris, where he lived on intimate terms with the American Commissioners, occasionally executing specific duties at their request, for more than a year, till he sailed for his native country. He arrived at Boston in May, 1778, and soon afterwards received an appointment which had recently been conferred on him by Congress, as Secretary to the Commissioners at the Court of France. It does not appear that he ever accepted this appointment, for on the 19th of November following he took his seat in Congress as a delegate from Maryland.

Mr Carmichael remained in Congress till Mr Jay was elected Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain. He was chosen Secretary of Legation to the same Mission on the 28th of September, 1779, and went to Spain in company with Mr Jay, and remained with him during the whole of that Minister's residence in Madrid. When Mr Jay joined Dr Franklin in Paris, June, 1782, to aid in the negotiations of peace, Mr Carmichael was left as Charge d'Affaires at the Court of Spain. After the peace he was regularly commissioned in that character by Congress, and recognized as such by the King of Spain.

He continued to reside there in the same capacity during the term of the old Confederation, and for some time after the organization of the new government under Washington. In the year 1793, Mr Short was joined with him in a commission for negotiating at Madrid a treaty between Spain and the United States. Several months were passed in this attempt, but without success. Mr Carmichael returned soon afterwards to the United States.





* * * * *


Amsterdam, November 2d, 1776.


Previous to your attention to what follows, it will be necessary for you to know that I have lived with Mr Deane since his first arrival at Paris; that I took that city in my way from London to Nantes, to find a passage to my native country, and with despatches, which Mr Arthur Lee intrusted to my care, for the honorable Congress. Having a relapse of a disorder, which prevented me from travelling, I stopped at Paris, and endeavored to find out, by means of Count d'Estaing and other persons of eminence, the sentiments of the French Court respecting our affairs; and the moment I knew of Mr Deane's arrival, offered him all the services in my power, and, of consequence, we have lived together until the 10th of the present month.

At that time the agent of the King of Prussia, who had often, as Mr Deane has informed you, made proposals of a commercial nature, expressed a desire that some American would go to Berlin, and this he gave us to understand was at the instance of his Sovereign, who wished to have a clear idea of the nature of our commerce, and expressed a curiosity, which he wished to gratify, by a minute detail of our affairs. Mr Deane thinking this an opportunity not to be neglected to interest a Prince, who for several years has been dreaming of making his port of Emden, an Amsterdam, proposed it to me. However unequal to the task, I have cheerfully accepted it; happy to find any opportunity of showing with what a fervent zeal I am devoted to the glorious cause, which, at present, by interesting their humanity as well as policy, gives us so much consequence in the eyes of Europe.

Here I have endeavored to engage merchants to speculate in a direct commerce to America, to find out the sentiments of the people in general respecting us, to know whether, in case of necessity, the United States would be able to negotiate a loan, whether England would be able to obtain further credit, and by this barometer of the ability of Princes, to discover their present situation. On these heads I have written Mr Deane, but having an opportunity by the way of St Eustatia, and thinking none should be neglected of giving information, though mine, perhaps, may not be of importance enough to merit that title, I have taken the liberty of addressing the honorable Committee. Arriving but two days after the accounts had reached this city, of our misfortune on Long Island, I found many, even of the sanguine friends of America dejected, and those of England almost in a frenzy of joy. In this disposition, it is easy to judge, no hopes could be entertained of engaging merchants in a direct trade. I find they have the greatest inclination to serve us, and at the same time themselves, for no people see their interests clearer, but their fears that we shall be subdued, the confident assertions of the friends of England confirming these apprehensions, the prodigious sums they have in the English funds, with this unlucky business at New York, all conspire to prevent direct speculation.

As my letters from Paris introduced me to the first houses here, I have had the best opportunity of knowing their sentiments, and I can venture to say, that with many who are apparently adverse to us, it is interest combating with principle, for insulted, searched, and plundered as the Dutch were the last war, and are at present, there are individuals who by no means want sensibility to feel, though the public wants spirit to resent the injury. The States have, however, in answer to a fresh remonstrance of General Yorke, declared that their ports are open to vessels of all nations, and that their trade to and from their own Colonies shall be unmolested, their subjects complying with the ordinances issued by their High Mightinesses. In fact, their prohibition of exporting warlike stores, extends to all British subjects. I hope it will not be long before all Europe will own us in another character. It is very certain, that without a very material and apparent success of the British arms in America, a loan would be very slowly negotiated for England here. There is nothing hinders them now from selling out of the English funds, but their not knowing what to do with their money; for this country may be called the treasury of Europe, and its stock of specie is more or less, according to the necessity of the different Princes in Europe. It being a time of peace, the call has not been very great of late.

Having mentioned the credit of England, that of France is next to be considered, and I am very sorry to say that has been very low here of late. The dreadful mismanagement of the finances in the late King's reign, and the character of the late Controller General, M. d'Olugny, had reduced it so low, that it was impossible to borrow anything considerable on perpetual funds. Perhaps a Minister of Finance, in whose probity the world have a confidence, may restore their credit. At this moment that is in some measure the case, for the French stocks rise on the appointment of M. Taboreau. That it is possible for France to borrow may be demonstrated; for at the time M. Turgot was removed, he was negotiating a loan here, and was likely to succeed, for sixty millions of guilders. The credit of Spain is extremely good, and that kingdom may have what money it will, and on the best terms. The Emperor's credit is also good, not as Emperor, but from his hereditary dominion. Sweden and Denmark both have good credit. The former, the best; they have money at four per cent; and it is not long since the King of Sweden borrowed three millions of guilders at this interest, to pay off old debts at five per cent. His interest is paid punctually. Prussia has no credit here, but the King's treasury is full by squeezing the last farthing from the people, and now and then he draws a little money from this Republic, by reviving obsolete claims. The credit of the Empress of Russia is very good; for she has punctually paid the interest of twelve millions of guilders, which she borrowed in her war with the Turks, and has lately paid off one million and a half of the principal. These are the strongest circumstances she could have in her favor with a mercantile people. I have this statement of credit from persons employed in negotiating the several loans, and, therefore, can depend upon the truth of the information.

To come next to America, should time and necessity oblige her to look abroad for money. In the present state of affairs, it is not probable that a loan is practicable. But should success so attend our arms, that it should appear evident that we are likely to support our independence, or should either France or Spain acknowledge our independence, in either of these cases I believe we might have money, and when it was seen that we were punctual in our first payments of the interest, we should have as much as we pleased. The nature of the security, or the fund for the payment of interest, I have not been able to imagine. But, observing in a letter to Mr Dearethart, it was the writer's opinion, that the honorable Congress did not wish to circulate too much paper, for fear of depreciating its value, I thought that bills issued similar to those in circulation in the Provinces, and lodged in a public bank in Europe, might be accepted as a pledge or deposit for money borrowed by the United States. I beg pardon for the crudity of the idea, and would not have mentioned it here, but that having hinted at it in general conversation, people thought it might, on a future occasion, be adopted.

You will please to observe, that everything here mentioned came from an individual, who only as such avowed himself interested for his country's fate, and for its benefit sought information. Notwithstanding the rise of stocks, occasioned by our misfortune on Long Island, the Dutch are selling out, and my strongest representations have not been wanting to contribute a mite to this circumstance. The price of our product is great. Rice sells for twentyfive shillings sterling per cwt. and tobacco for eight stivers and four —— per pound. You have been threatened, that the Ukraine would supply Europe with tobacco. It must be long before that time can arrive. I have seen some of the tobacco here, and the best of it is worse than the worst of our ground leaf. Four hundred thousand pounds have been sent here this year. The Russian Ambassador said at the Baron le Guerre's, Ambassador from Sweden, where I had the honor to dine, that Russia soon would be able to supply the market with that article. In this he spoke more like an Ambassador than as a merchant. I took occasion in reply to observe, that if that was the case, and on many other accounts, it was the interest of her Majesty that all intercourse between Great Britain and America should be broken off, for that then the former would be dependent on Russia for all those articles, which hitherto the latter had supplied her with.

Having expressed a desire of knowing these reasons at large, with the assistance of M. D—— and the approbation of Mr Deane, I purpose giving in a little memoir on the subject, which the Ambassador assures me shall be sent to St Petersburg. Not being so sanguine as to think, that it will prevent Russia from supplying England with troops, should the other demand them, but it may give a secret dilatoriness to their assistance, which may finally operate in our favor.

If it should be determined to send any cargoes of tobacco here, on the public account, it will perhaps be thought proper to convoy them. The frigates destined to that service might retaliate the injuries we have received by the destruction of Falmouth and Norfolk, by destroying the towns and shipping of Greenock and the port of Glasgow, or Ayre and Cambleton. I have been particularly informed of the situation of those places until the present moment. They have no batteries to protect, or soldiers to defend them, or quartered near enough in any numbers to be assembled for that purpose, and not a vessel of war on the whole coast larger than a tender, to receive men for the sea service. Their rendezvous might be the entrance of the northern channel, where, while they waited a junction, in case they should be separated, they might take the outward bound ships, and by the information obtained from them, insure their success. In returning, a party landed on the Isle of Bute, might destroy the house of that favorite. Little objects strike most forcibly little minds. This affair completed, which would alarm Britain and astonish Europe, the ships trading to the Baltic, with cargoes not only that suit, but are necessary for our Provinces, might be their next object. This ought all to be done in the months of March, April, and May. The destruction of the Greenland fishery, might be the last object of the expedition. I am confident, that not having a distrust of such attempts, the success would be more certain. Should there be a necessity of seeking shelter or refreshments, I have it from the Swedish Ambassador here, that we shall find both in their ports. I only hinted to him, that it was possible some of our adventurers might explore those seas in search of plunder.

This is the rough outline of a plan, which the honorable Congress may, should it in any shape be approved, digest into form. I would stake my life on the success of the greatest part of it, if inviolable secrecy is preserved, and the execution is trusted to persons who have not only wealth but glory in view. If prompted by a heated and indignant imagination, this plan should appear dangerous and impracticable, I hope it will be imputed to the desire of retorting our injuries on that country, which has in some measure been the cause, and is at present endeavoring, with the rancor of private animosity, to accumulate our distress. I entreated Mr Deane to propose some part of it to the consideration of Congress sometime ago, and I have the pleasure to find his opinion corresponds with my own on the subject.

The resentment, which it is said the honorable Congress have shown, on the conduct of the King of Portugal towards us, has been attended with a very good effect, and should a manifesto be published by that honorable body, hinting only the necessity of taking similar measures with all those who denied them the common rights of mankind, I am persuaded it would be to our advantage. It was the dread of such a blow to their trade, that was one of the strongest arguments made use of by the merchants of this country, in their petition to the States. I need not mention to you anything respecting what is like to take place in Europe another year, for of that ere this, you, I hope, have information. I will only say, that the greater part contemplates with pleasure the gloomy prospect for England; there is not an Envoy of the most petty State in Italy, but exults at it. The want of intelligence from America, hurts the cause prodigiously in Europe, and the anxiety of those who have its interest at heart, is from that circumstance, inconceivable. I hope I need not offer assurances to convince the honorable Congress of the zeal with which I wish to serve them. To be directed by that honorable body in what manner to do it most effectually, will be the happiest circumstance of my life.

I have the honor to be, &c.


P. S. I cannot seal this letter without recommending Colonel Prevet, should the fortune of war put him into our hands, to all the indulgence, to himself and family, his situation will possibly admit of. Mr Grand, his wife's father, an eminent merchant here, animated with that love of liberty which distinguishes his country, (Switzerland) offers all the services in his power to the public, and a thousand civilities to its individuals. If by the same fortune, Mr Dowdswell, of the first regiment of guards, should fall into our hands, his father's merits and his own reluctance, will give him the same indulgence.

Since I wrote the above, Mr Grand has assured me, that should the honorable Congress determine to negotiate loans in Europe, and would draw bills accepted by the principal merchants in America, payable at two, three, and five years' sight, and send them to their house, they should be discounted by them at five per cent interest. This was the manner in which money was raised for the city of Leipsic during the last war. The gentlemen of the committee will please to observe, that this is to be kept very secret, for no loan can be publicly negotiated here as yet. The firm of this house is Messrs Horneca, Fizeaux & Co. and is one of the most capital in this city. Should any cargoes be consigned here on public account, perhaps it may be thought proper to address them to these gentlemen. I can assure you, gentlemen, and that from my own knowledge, that many bills remitted from America, and supposed to be drawn on account of Congress, have been refused payment by the English Ministry knowing beforehand when they would be presented for payment, and by that means, having an opportunity of bribing, threatening, or flattering the parties on whom they were drawn, either to refuse payment absolutely, or at least noting them for protest, in order to hurt the credit of our merchants in Europe. I do think that the less connexion, for this and other reasons, we have in future with houses whose principal business depends on Great Britain, the better. I beg pardon for giving my opinion thus freely, but it is the effect of my zeal.

W. C.

* * * * *


Paris, June 25th to July 6th, 1777.


A letter from a person unknown to you but by name, had need of a long introduction to apologise for the address, but not being a man of ceremony myself, and besides having but little time for formality, I content myself with saying, that engaged in the same cause with yourself, I have assisted Mr Deane since his arrival in Europe, and know intimately well our affairs abroad, their situation here, and in such Courts, where it has been thought necessary to address ourselves for countenance and assistance. I have of course been no stranger to your correspondence, and have been sorry to find so punctual a correspondent should have any reason to complain of the want of punctuality in others. This is not owing to want of inclination in Mr Deane, but to the multiplicity of business which occupies his whole time; for Mr Lee is absent, being at Berlin, where I first broke the ice last autumn,[1] and the age of Dr Franklin in some measure hinders him from taking so active a part in the drudgery of business as his great zeal and abilities would otherwise enable him to execute. He is the master to whom we children in politics all look up for counsel, and whose name is everywhere a passport, to be well received. As I trouble you therefore with forwarding some letters to my friends, I wish to pay the postage by any European intelligence in my power to communicate.

I have another motive to incite me, which is, that I think your situation of singular consequence to bring on a war so necessary to assure our independence, and which the weak system of this Court seems studiously to avoid. Either from this weakness, or from a jealousy, that by a precipitate interference, our independence would be too soon and too formidably established, the Court shuns everything in Europe which might appear a glaring violation of their treaties with England. This line of conduct has delayed the stores so long promised, and at last sends to Martinique, what ought to have been on the continent in February at furthest. This occasioned the loss of the Seine, which was despatched half laden, that such necessary articles as tents and fusils, might get early to America, the captain having positive orders to proceed thither without touching at the Islands, and I myself protested to the ship's owners, that Mr Deane would have no concern in the risk, if on any account but stress of weather, the vessel proceeded to the West Indies. As such is their miserable policy, it is our business to force on a war, in spite of their inclinations to the contrary, for which purpose, I see nothing so likely as fitting out privateers from the ports and Islands of France. Here we are too near the sun and the business is dangerous; with you it may be done more easily, and indeed has already been attended with happy effects, as you will see by the enclosed copy of a letter from the Chamber of Commerce at Liverpool to that of Bristol. The natural antipathy of the nation is such, that their passions being once fully excited, they will proceed to such acts of reprisal and mutual violence, as will occasion clamors and altercations, which no soft words can palliate. As I pretend to know something of the counsels of both nations, I know there are strong advocates for war in both. The more reasons they have to produce in favor of their system, the sooner it will be adopted.

In England, when General Howe's successes in the Jersies, and the prospect of getting possession of Philadelphia, made the Ministry hope for a speedy termination of their dispute with us, I know war with France was nearly determined on. The insolence of apparent success dictated that Memorial, which Sir Joseph Yorke presented to their High Mightinesses, and which you have undoubtedly seen. One of a still more insolent nature was prepared and even sent to Lord Stormont here, and a refusal and even delay of compliance with the requisitions therein made, was to have been the harbinger of war, and the immediate destruction of the French commerce and Islands. Happily for our enemies, the news of our success at Trenton prevented its delivery.

In France, the nation and some of the Ministers wish to act vigorously, but are retarded in all their operations by the imbecility of age, or the more powerful operation of English gold. As the English Ministry seem convinced of the pacific, or rather undecided, state of the rulers here, they hasten, by the most vigorous exertions against us, to end the war, and are less reserved in the treatment of the French prisoners abroad. Could they be provoked to unequivocal proofs of violence, it would be a good point gained. This your situation may bring about, by encouraging the arming of vessels manned by Frenchmen, and by prompting the captains to provoke unjustifiable reprisals, on the part of the inhabitants of the English Islands.

To you, filled with liberal ideas, and a high sense of the interest of the French nation, to give us powerful support, these hints may appear extraordinary, but from experience I can assure you, that public councils, at least in Europe, are directed more by caprice, or the interest of individuals, than by a generous concern for the whole. At a distance, we think more of the wisdom of statesmen than they merit. The nearer we approach them the less is our reverence. If our enemies are not successful, they mean to close with us on the best terms they can, sensible, that if this great effort does not succeed, they have little to hope in future. This is an animating reason for us to persevere in the glorious contest. In the meantime, it is our business to keep up the spirits of our common people to the utmost. For which reason, what I write you is in confidence, or for the inspection of the Committee only, if it may be thought to merit their notice.

The English have completed their loan among themselves. No foreigners have assisted them, although the terms to the lender are better than any yet offered by that nation, except once. Foreigners know that they have yet several millions to fund, for which they must offer still better terms. The Spaniards have refused the mediation of France and England in their dispute with Portugal, being determined to prosecute the war until Portugal demands peace, and makes reparation. They have taken the important Island of St Catharine's, on the coast of Brazil, without loss, and mean vigorously to prosecute their operations on Brazil. This I have from undoubted authority, one of the family Ministers. A report prevails, that the Indians of the east have fallen on their oppressors, and have taken Madras. India stock has, consequently, fallen. Both France and Spain continue their armaments as if preparing for some great event. This obliges England to do the same. All their naval and army contracts are for five years, and they employ as many workmen in their dock yards, as they did in the height of the last war. You will serve us essentially, by pushing the cruisers who visit you into the European seas, particularly those of the north, in the months of August, September, and October, directing them to send their prizes into France or Spain. It would render our negotiation with Prussia more successful, if a tobacco ship could by any means be pushed into Emden, which ship might make her returns in manufactures necessary for us, and fifteen or twenty per cent cheaper than we can have them here. Urge it to the honorable Committee.

I am, &c.


P. S. Two vessels with stores are just despatched from different ports. Forward them, my Dear Sir, immediately to our dear country. Captains Wickes, Johnson, and Nicholson, have just destroyed sixteen vessels on the English and Irish coast. I am despatching Conyngham from hence on the same business in a privateer. I begin to think war unavoidable.

W. C.

Dunkirk, July 6th.


[1] Mr Carmichael's letters from Berlin, if he ever wrote any, are missing.

* * * * *


Yorktown, June 17th, 1778.


Since my arrival here, I have been informed of the honor conferred on me by Congress, in being appointed Secretary to the Commissioners at the Court of France, an honor which greatly overpays the feeble efforts of my zeal, and is more than I could expect, considering the well founded pretensions of others to their notice.

I beg leave through you, Sir, to express my grateful sensibility of this proof of their confidence, as well as the ardent desire I have of meriting it in future.[2]

I have the honor to be, &c.



[2] It does not appear that Mr Carmichael ever accepted this appointment. He was chosen a delegate to Congress from Maryland, and joined that body on the 19th of November, 1778.

* * * * *


Off Reedy Island, November 25th, 1779.


I received at Chester, the copies of the resolves, you did me the honor to enclose me, and shall punctually comply with your request, by forwarding them as soon as I arrive, to Dr Franklin and Mr Johnson. I am sorry that the business with respect to the latter, is left in its present state, because there are very few men, who neglect a certain and profitable occupation, to engage in another where they are sure of offending, without an equal certainty of an adequate reward for their trouble and impartiality.

I am much obliged to you for your good wishes, although I must candidly own they would be still more agreeable accompanied by a ship of the line, for we are informed that the Romulus and Roebuck, are waiting for us to intercept us, and were they animated, would, like the Death and Sin of Milton, bless their lucky stars 'destined to that good hour.' I beg you to make the proper compliments for me to the gentlemen of your family.

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


* * * * *


Martinique, December 27th, 1779.


I take the liberty of enclosing to your Excellency, a paper containing a relation of a late affair, between part of the small squadron commanded by M. la Motte Piquet, and the English fleet, under the orders of Sir Peter Parker. It was given me by direction of the French Admiral, that a true account of this action, which has done him much honor here, might be published in America.

On the 23d of this month, Admiral Arbuthnot arrived at Barbadoes with six or seven sail of the line, and sixteen regiments. An attack on the Grenadas or Dominica, is daily expected. The latter is well fortified and garrisoned by twelve hundred men. The Marquis de Bouille seems to have no apprehensions for any of their Islands, except those lately taken from the enemy.

Mr Jay informs Congress by this opportunity, of the misfortune which befel us, and the reasons which induced the officers to bring the ship to this Island.[3] I can only express my regret for the delay, which this accident will occasion in the execution of the business with which Congress has done us the honor to intrust us. With the highest sentiments of respect,

I have the honor to be, &c.



[3] See Jay's Correspondence, Vol. VII. p. 174.

* * * * *


Madrid, February 18th, 1780.

Dear Sir,

I did myself the honor of writing to you by a courier whom the French Ambassador despatched to Cadiz yesterday morning; since which, I have been introduced to their Excellencies, delivered your letter to the latter, and explained to the former the reasons, which induce you to address the other, with which he was perfectly satisfied. Don Joseph de Galves told me, that he should give your letter to the Count de Florida Blanca, whose business it was to lay it before the King, and receive his orders on the subject, and that the Count or himself would be directed to answer it. I repeated the substance of your instructions to me as far as they respect him, and was answered, that he would take an opportunity of conversing with me on our affairs, and would inform me through the French Ambassador, when it would be convenient for him to receive me. Some compliments passed with respect to the characters he had received of us, which it is unnecessary to repeat.

The Count de Florida Blanca told me that he would lay your letter before the King the same night for his consideration. I took this opportunity of mentioning the pleasure it would give Congress to hear of your reception at Madrid, from the earnest desire they had to cultivate the King's friendship, that their expectations were sanguine, having been led to believe the dispositions of the Court were favorable, by the suggestions of persons supposed to be well acquainted with its intentions, that the hopes of the people were also great, and I hinted, that there were several vessels about to sail from Bilboa, and the ports of France, by which you would be happy to communicate this news to Congress, and to gratify the expectations of the people.

He then told me he had informed the King of your arrival at Cadiz, although they had understood your original destination was to France; that the King had ordered him to receive your overtures, and that I was at liberty to give you this information, and after a pause, added, that on Monday he hoped to have it in his power to return an answer. You will please to observe, that it had not been read by either when this conversation passed. He also told me, that he would take an opportunity to converse with me, and would inform me when it would be convenient for him to see me through the channel beforementioned.

On Monday next I go to the Pardo, by their appointment. Here I see every day a person, who I believe to be sent by them to converse with me, although I appear to know nothing of his connexion with the Court. I think you may make the necessary preparations for your journey on the receipt of this. Messrs Adams and Dana were at Bordeaux the 2d instant. They mean to proceed to Amsterdam from thence, so that the plan spoken of has taken place. They go in a good time, as the Dutch are at present much irritated against Great Britain.

Mr Arthur Lee corresponded with the Count de Florida Blanca, but if I am well informed, the correspondence consisted of American news on the one part, and compliment on the other.[4] M. Gerard leaves this tomorrow, he has had conversations with the Spanish Ministers, of about two hours at one time and three at another. I am in a way of obtaining most of the information you desired. I beg you to present the proper compliments to your lady and Colonel Livingston.

I have the honor to be, &c.



[4] See Arthur Lee's Correspondence, Vol. II. pp. 36-54.

* * * * *


Madrid, February 19th, 1780.


The short time I remained at Cadiz, and the constant employment in which I was engaged of copying Mr Jay's letters and making the necessary preparations for my journey, prevented me from doing myself the honor of writing to your Excellency from thence. But having now an opportunity by M. Gerard to France, and an offer from M. Gardoqui to forward my letters by the way of Bilboa, I enclose to Congress copies of those I have written to Mr Jay since my arrival in this city, as they contain the most material intelligence I have been able to procure. I have every reason to be pleased with the disposition of those whom I have seen here, as well foreigners as natives, and I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for the liberal and friendly manner in which I have been received by the Count de Montmorin, the Ambassador of France, which I should impute entirely to M. Gerard's good offices, was not his own good will and desire to conform to the favorable disposition of his Court apparent. M. Gerard in the circle of foreign Ministers, is more of an American than a Frenchman, and I should do him injustice if I did not mention it.

The English squadron sailed from Gibraltar the 13th instant, and part of it is said to be destined for the West Indies. The French will have seventytwo sail of the line in actual service this year. The troops, at the disposition of the person mentioned in the first[5] letter to Mr Jay, will amount to near four thousand, and consist chiefly of Germans; six sail of the line will escort them, and I am well informed they will sail in less than two months. It is said the English Ministry will be able to procure the necessary supplies for the present year, owing to their late successes. I beg leave, through your Excellency, to assure Congress of my unremitted attention to merit the confidence reposed in me.

I have the honor to be, &c.



[5] See Jay's Correspondence, Vol. VII. p. 207.

* * * * *


Aranjues, May 28th, 1780.


Mr Jay having judged it proper for me to reside at this place while the Court remains here, I did not know until his letters for Congress were closed, that Mr Harrison, who charges himself with the care of them to Cadiz, was on the point of setting out from Madrid for that city. This prevented me from assisting him in copying papers, which he tells me he has transmitted by this opportunity. I regret exceedingly, my not having received earlier information, because I wished to convey several papers, which I do not choose to trust to the ordinary post. Our situation in this respect is very disagreeable and delicate, for we can neither send nor receive letters without their being subject to the inspection of others, and, indeed, we have sometimes the mortification to hear of the arrival of letters from America in the sea-ports, which, notwithstanding, never reach us. Our opportunities of information thus become very precarious, and I am much afraid, that the same cause will frequently interrupt our correspondence with Congress.

Before Mr Jay arrived in the capital, I did myself the honor to inform his Excellency, the President, of my arrival at Madrid, and enclosed him copies of the letters I wrote to Mr Jay, on the subject of his reception, and of the disposition in which the Court appeared to be. As I sent several copies of these letters, I subjoined all that occurred worthy of the notice of Congress in the interval of the departure of several copies. Not having had any instructions to address myself to Congress, unless in the absence of Mr Jay, or in case of any event that deprived the public of his services, I know not whether I may not appear officious at present; particularly as I have already communicated to him regularly, all the intelligence I have been able to procure, as also my reflections on that intelligence, which his ability and long experience in affairs, will enable him to put in a much clearer point of view than I can pretend to do. If I err, I hope the Committee will set me right, and instruct me how to conduct myself in future.

The King, the Prince of Asturias, and the Ministry, appear favorable to our cause, but I am much afraid their ability to assist us in the article of money, is neither equal to our expectations, or their desires to serve us. The papers sent by Mr Jay, will show the sentiments of this Court with respect to the object of his mission. I think the negotiation will be attended with more delay than Congress had reason to apprehend when we left America. This Court manifest a strong desire of excluding every other nation from the navigation of the Mississippi, and indeed of the Gulf of Mexico. The situation of the affairs of America will undoubtedly regulate the conduct of Congress on this subject, and I hope it will be such as to enable them to adhere to the rights of all the States.

Our enemies are making use of the time before Spain takes a decided opinion, to sow jealousies between us. Governor Johnson sounded the dispositions of this Court early last winter. At the close of it Sir John Dalrymple obtained permission to come to Madrid, on the pretence of the bad state of health of his lady. His strange Memorial to the Count de Florida Blanca, is transmitted to you.[6] I have no doubts that other attempts will be made to bring about a negotiation. If they succeed no better than Sir John's, we shall not have much to apprehend on that score. The Count de Florida Blanca appears to act with much candor, and gives Mr Jay such strong and frequent assurances of the King's favorable intentions, and his own disposition to second them, that I hope we may rely on what he tells us. His character for probity is high in this country, and among the foreign Ministers at this Court. As I have frequent opportunities of mixing with the latter, I have not omitted to give them proper impressions of our strength, union, and firmness, without seeming too solicitous to do it. It is possible, that if the neutral maritime powers were fully persuaded of this unanimity and firmness, and were sincerely disposed to bring about a peace, instead of regarding with pleasure the mutual losses of the House of Bourbon and Great Britain, they might end the war by declaring their disposition to acknowledge our independence.

The King of Prussia seems to be a cool calculator, prepared to profit by the general distress. Denmark is influenced by Russia, and Sweden by France. Great Britain also still retains some influence in Denmark. The Court of Vienna will be adverse to us, as long as the Empress Queen exists. How the Emperor is inclined, I do not know. Sardinia and Portugal are friendly and attached to England. The Dutch are divided into parties, neither of which is strong enough to give firmness and decision to the conduct of the Republic. The Stadtholder and his party find means to thwart and retard all the vigorous resolves, which the French and republican party engage the state to enter into, to support their honor and dignity. The hopes entertained in Great Britain of the influence of the former party, and the proneness of the King and his Ministers to violent measures, induced the late extraordinary conduct of that Court, with respect to the Dutch. They will submit to this and more, rather than go to war. If the Empress of Russia is determined to support her late declaration, and to coincide effectually with the powers whom she has invited to accede to it, Great Britain must, however, recede from her present conduct, or offend highly the neutral powers.

The negotiation between Russia and Holland proceeds slowly. The Court party in England has gained once more its superiority in Parliament; a feigned sickness of the speaker, Sir Fletcher Norton, gave the Minister time to rally his forces, since which opposition grows more feeble every day. That of Ireland, for want of system and union among its members, and by the promises of places and honors, is a little staggered. There is however a fermentation in both nations, which the continuance of the war and its consequent distresses will probably increase, if not bring to maturity. The distresses of our army last winter, the depreciation of our paper money, the exaggerated accounts of our divisions, and our apparent inactivity, have had a bad effect in Europe, which I hope the firmness and unanimity of Congress, added to the exertions of our ally, and those of this Court, will entirely efface.

The expedition, which sailed from Cadiz the 28th ultimo, consisting of twelve sail of the line, besides frigates, and eleven thousand five hundred men, proceeds to the Windward Islands, and there joins M. de Guichen, or goes against Jamaica or the Floridas, as circumstances may render it proper. Another expedition from France, follows M. Ternay's, I believe, to reinforce M. de Guichen, who, if I am not deceived, will join the Spaniards to the leeward in the hurricane months, and if necessary and practicable, send eight or ten ships to our coasts in the beginning of the autumn. This depends, however, much on the events of war. Spain in concurrence with France, will have between forty and fifty sail of the line, to oppose the grand English fleet, which I am informed will sail the last of this month or the beginning of next. The allied fleet is not in such readiness. Strong interest is making for the Count d'Estaing to command in chief, and I think he will be nominated.

A very little time will determine the fate of the bills drawn on Mr Jay. I received the first last week, in a letter from M. Nesbitt of L'Orient who very prudently did not negotiate it, until he consulted me on the subject. I am also informed, that bills on Mr Laurens are in circulation, and we have not yet heard of his arrival. I have written to Dr Franklin, and Messrs Adams and Dana, and if I have not heard from them oftener, I impute it to the miscarriage of their letters, which was the case of those of Dr Franklin, the first two months after my arrival at Madrid. Mr Jay will transmit an account of the revenues, and expenses of Spain, with which I have furnished him, which will show, that Congress cannot depend on such pecuniary assistance from this nation as they expected.

Mr Jay's situation has been particularly disagreeable; the sum allotted by Congress, by no means accords with his necessary expenses, even if he received his salary as it became due. I do not complain, although I have been obliged since my departure from America to expend more than six hundred and fifty pounds sterling, and have not as yet received more than two hundred pounds of my salary. Almost everything that passes, even in Congress, is known here, either by intercepted letters, or otherwise. You, Gentlemen, will conceive, how delicate Mr Jay's situation must be, if he delivers faithfully his sentiments of men and measures. I must repeat again, however, that there is a great appearance of candor and good faith. The Count de Florida Blanca, and M. Galvez speak with much apparent civility and frankness, and seem desirous of doing all that is possible to succor us consistent with the actual situation of their finances, the former particularly. I have sent a copy of this via Bilboa, and another from Cadiz. I have not yet had the pleasure of receiving one letter from any one member of Congress.

I have the honor to be, &c.



[6] See this Memorial in John Jay's Correspondence, Vol. VII. p. 268.

* * * * *


Madrid, July 17th, 1780.


Since writing the preceding letter, bills to the amount of about fifteen thousand dollars have been presented, and at a time when the news of our misfortune at Charleston made an impression much to our disadvantage. These bills however are accepted, and the Count de Florida Blanca appears to interest himself more than ever in contributing to aid us, repeating in the strongest manner his Catholic Majesty's favorable intentions. What he hinted at with respect to the attempts of the enemy, to thwart Mr Jay's negotiations has proved true. A Mr Cumberland, Secretary to Lord George Germain, has obtained permission to come to Madrid, and is actually here at present. But as his Excellency has promised to communicate his proposals, whatever they may be, on the subject of an accommodation, we cannot entertain a doubt, but that he will do it with the same frankness, with which he made known to us those of Sir John Dalrymple. The Count de Montmorin, Ambassador for France here, is not the least alarmed by the reception of this gentleman, and that Court is full as much interested as we are in the object for which he is sent. Mr Jay will transmit to Congress a narrative, which I have given him, of this gentleman's motions.

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