The Hague, ca. 18 August 1782. LbC
: Boston Patriot
, 8 May 1811. The memorial's date is derived from its position in the Letterbook preceding
the 18 Aug.
letter to Robert R. Livingston, above, and also from the presence of two French translations
of the memorial in the Koninklijk Huisarchief at The Hague. Both are headed by the
notation “Ajouté á la Depéche de Vn du 20. Août 1782” (Attached to Vauguyon's Dispatch
of 20 August 1782), an indication that the Dutch were intercepting the French ambassador's
correspondence with Paris. Assuming that La Vauguyon would have sent a copy of the
memorial to the Comte de Vergennes soon after he received it, 18 Aug. seems a likely
date for its composition.
The memorial proposed that the Netherlands accede to the Franco-American Treaty of
Alliance under the terms of Art. 10 of that treaty, which permitted “other Powers
who may have received injuries from England” to join the alliance (Miller, Treaties
, 2:39). In its [ca. 18 Aug.]
form the memorial is more focused, but its substance is contained in the proposal
submitted to the Duc de La Vauguyon on 1 March
(vol. 12:279–281). In his reply of 4 March
, the ambassador indicated that he could not comment on the proposal because he lacked
instructions, but he thought the time not right for such an initiative (same, p. 289–290).
In a brief preface to the memorial as published in the Boston Patriot
stated that “I had prepared a memorial to the states general according to my instructions,
but as the French ambassador procrastinated and the prospect of a negotiation for
peace with England opened, I grew daily more and more indifferent about the triple
or quadruple alliance, and said no more upon the subject.” Compare JA
's 1811 comment concerning his waning interest in an alliance with the comments in
his letter of 6 Sept.
to Robert R. Livingston, below.