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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 7


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-07-02-0027-0002
5. The desire of the merchants of Amsterdam and other Dutch cities to base their commerce on the principles set down in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1674 and Explanatory Convention of 1675, and to have those principles respected by Britain, is understandable, but their hopes were unrealistic. Those agreements had been initiated by the English in order that they might take over the carrying trade during the Franco-Dutch war then in progress. Art. 1 of the treaty declared that each party could trade unmolested with states at war with the other signatory, and Art. 8 provided that free ships made free goods. The explanatory convention dealt with Art. 1 and stated that the vessels of either party could trade from a neutral to a belligerent port, and vice versa, as well as from one belligerent port to another (George Chalmers, ed., A Collection of Treaties between Great Britain and Other Powers, London, 1790, p. 177–178, 182–183, 189–191). At the time this allowed English ships to conduct an unrestricted trade with France, except in contraband as listed in Art. 3 (same, p. 178–179), even to the extent of taking over the carrying trade that normally would have been the exclusive province of French ships.
In 1778 the British were unwilling to permit the Dutch to obtain any commercial advantage from the agreements. In the Seven Years' War the British government made its positions clear. Its promulgation of the Rule of 1756 effectively annulled the convention and Arts. 1 and 8 of the treaty by prohibiting a neutral from taking over any trade, i.e. with the French colonies, in time of war that was not open in time of peace. In addition, a clear distinction came to be made between trading with an enemy and for an enemy, the latter being, for all intents, prohibited so as not to permit a neutral { 35 } state to benefit from the war. For a discussion of the Treaty of 1674 and the Convention of 1675, and the efforts by the British to diminish their effect, see Richard Pares, Colonial Blockade and Neutral Rights, 1739–1763, London, 1938, chaps. 3 and 4.