. What Digges does not indicate here, but which he presumably knew of by the 22d, is
that on 20 Dec. George III had issued a Manifesto that constituted a declaration of
war against the Netherlands. After recounting British grievances, particularly the
States General's refusal to punish Amsterdam for its part in the Lee-Neufville treaty,
the Manifesto announced the withdrawal of the British ambassador and declared that
Britain would “immediately pursue such vigorous measures as the occasion fully justifies,
and our dignity and the essential interests of our people require” (James Brown Scott,
ed., The Armed Neutralities of 1780 and 1800
, N.Y., 1918, p. 330–334). Also on the 20th, an Order in Council authorizing reprisals
against Dutch vessels was promulgated and on 21 Dec. instructions for its implementation
were issued (same, p. 334–345). The Manifesto and Order in Council appeared in the
London Gazette Extraordinary
of 21 Dec. and were reprinted in other London papers on the 22d. JA
received the news on 1 Jan. 1781 and immediately sent off copies of the Manifesto
and the Order to Congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
, p. 219–222).