Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
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[dateline] Amsterdam, 21 May 1781.
This letter contained an English translation of Frederick II's ordinance of 30 April regarding navigation and commerce. The preamble to the ordinance declared that Prussia would remain neutral in the war then in progress and was in agreement with the principles set down by Catherine II in her declaration of an armed neutrality. It also noted that the Northern Powers— Denmark, Sweden, and Russia—had agreed to allow Prussian ships to join their convoys. The seven articles that followed specifically set down the conditions under which Prussian subjects could trade with the belligerent powers. Of particular significance was the fact that naval stores were not to be included among the goods generally denominated as contraband, which Prussian vessels were prohibited from carrying. On 19 May, Prussia went further and signed a convention with Russia by which it acceded to the armed neutrality (Scott, ed., Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800
, p. 397–403).