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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-13-02-0088
4. The intrigues emanating from Russia and Denmark stemmed partly from Charles James Fox's proposal for a settlement of the Anglo-Dutch War based on the terms of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1674, which would have placed Britain's maritime policy toward neutrals in accord with the principles of the Armed Neutrality. The proposal, first made in March and renewed in May, had no chance for success because of French opposition and Dutch recognition of the United States, but it encouraged Russia, supported by Denmark, to revive the proposal for an Austro-Russian mediation of the Anglo-French War (vol. 12:389–390). It is not surprising that JA dismissed as pointless an effort to revive the mediation in the summer of 1782 in view of the fact that he had rejected it unequivocally in conversations with Vergennes in July of 1781, for which see vol. 11:index. But Fox's proposal also was part of his effort to create a northern alliance composed of Britain, Russia, Prussia, and possibly Denmark, a diplomatic colossus that would enable Britain to obtain a favorable peace. It failed for a variety of reasons but most importantly because Russia had a secret alliance with Austria and thus could not enter into an alliance with Prussia (Scott, British Foreign Policy , p. 318–319).