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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


This note contained in document ADMS-06-11-02-0222
5. JA's most comprehensive statements on the memorial of 19 April, may be found in his letters of 19 and 21 Feb. 1782 to the secretary for foreign affairs. In those letters JA mounted a spirited defense of his memorial to the States General and argued that Joseph II's 1781 abrogation of the Barrier Treaty of 1715 justified his decision to present a memorial, as well as its timing (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:185–189, 192–199; and 25 Feb. 1782 to James Lovell, LbC, Adams Papers).
During the negotiations to end the War of the Spanish Succession three Barrier Treaties, each guaranteed by Great Britain, were negotiated to protect the Netherlands against invasion by France. The third, which superseded the others and was signed on 15 Nov. 1715, allowed the Dutch to garrison fortresses in the Austrian Netherlands at the towns of Namur, Tournay, Menen, Furnes, Warneton, Ypres, and Knokke, and, with Britain, maintain a joint force at Dendermonde. The outbreak of the Anglo-Dutch war in 1780 meant that Britain had neither the power nor the inclination to meet its obligations. As a result, Joseph II unilaterally abrogated the Barrier Treaty and demanded that the Dutch garrisons depart, which they did in November. Joseph II's ability to demand and enforce the evacuation, and France's unwillingness to oppose the humiliation of a potential ally, exposed the weakness of the Netherlands and was a severe blow to Dutch pride (Cambridge Modern Hist., 5:459; Orville Murphy, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes: French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719–1787, Albany, 1982, p. 405– 414; Edler, Dutch Republic and the American Revolution, p. 203; vol. 9:286).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/