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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-09-02-0030
2. The States General was debating its response to memorials presented by Sir Joseph Yorke, the British ambassador, on 22 July and 26 Nov. 1779. In the memorials Britain demanded that the Netherlands provide the 6,000 troops and 30 warships required under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch alliance of 1678 and later treaties, and declared that if the aid was refused Britain would treat the Netherlands as it did any neutral not bound to it by treaty. The British demand, like those made earlier by France, required a clear choice between belligerents, a choice the republic was unwilling and unable to make. In fact, by March 1780 any possibility that the Dutch { 48 } would accede to the British demand had almost vanished because of the Royal Navy's seizure of a Dutch convoy at the end of December. With the deliberations of the States General seemingly promising nothing, Yorke presented a third memorial on 21 March that gave the States General three weeks to reach a decision. The memorial had no effect and on 17 April Britain declared that the provisions regarding wartime navigation and commerce in various Anglo-Dutch treaties, particularly that of 1674, were suspended (Charles Jenkinson, Collection of all the Treaties of Peace, Alliance, and Commerce, between Great-Britain and other Powers, 3 vols., London, 1785, 1:214; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution , p. 134–135; see also Edmund Jenings to JA , 19 March, note 2, below). For texts of Yorke's three memorials, which were widely printed, see, for example, John Almon's Remembrancer for 1779 (p. 167– 168) and 1780 (p. 333–334); and the London Chronicle of 29–31 July and 9–11 Dec. 1779, and 28–30 March 1780. For a general overview of Anglo-Dutch relations in 1779 and early 1780, see C. W. F. Dumas to the Commissioners, 27 Jan. 1779, note 2 (vol. 7:384).