2. The author of Aan het Volk van Nederland
was, in fact, Joan Derk van der Capellen. The anonymously printed pamphlet was unique in Dutch political literature to that time because it appealed to the people of the Netherlands rather than to a province, city, or class. The pamphlet, which was clandestinely distributed across the Netherlands on the morning of 26 Sept. through the efforts of François Adriaan Van der Kemp, was an impassioned attack on the Orangist party and called for the Dutch people to rise in rebellion. It was immediately banned, copies were burned, and a reward offered for information
regarding the identities of the pamphlet’s author and those involved in its printing and distribution. Nevertheless, it was soon translated into English, French, and German. On 28 Aug. 1782 JA sent a copy of the English translation, An Address to the People of the Netherlands
, London, 1782, to Norton Quincy that is now in the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society (
Adams Family Correspondence
; Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators
, N.Y., 1977, p. 64, 66–67; I. Leonard Leeb, The Ideological Origins of the Batavian Revolution
, The Hague, 1973, p. 136–137, 155–160).
Van der Capellen specifically refers to two passages in the pamphlet on pages 7–9 and 24–25 of the Dutch edition and pages 11–14 and 43–44 of the English edition. In the first, he equated the successful effort of William I and allied nobles in 1563 and 1564 to remove Antoine Perrenot, Cardinal Granvelle, as the chief advisor of Margaret of Parma, governess-general of the Netherlands, with the Patriot’s struggle in 1781 to remove the Duke of Brunswick as William V’s chief advisor (Geoffrey Parker, The Dutch Revolt, rev. edn., N.Y., 1985, p. 44–55). In the second passage he compared the States General’s refusal in 1650 to recognize Walter Strickland as ambassador from the Commonwealth of England with the States General’s refusal to recognize JA as minister from the United States. In both instances the Orangists ignored the interests of the Dutch republic in forming an alliance with fellow republicans (Pieter Geyl, Orange and Stuart, 1641–1672, transl. Arnold Pomerans, London, 1969, p. 83–85).