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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0002

Author: President of Congress
Author: Huntington, Samuel
Recipient: William V, Prince of Orange and Stadholder of the Netherlands
Date: 1781-01-01

Letter of Credence to William V, Prince of Orange


[salute] High and serene Prince

The United States of America in Congress Assembled impressed with a deep sense of your wisdom and magnanimity and being desirous of cultivating the friendship of your Highness and of the seven United Provinces of the Netherlands who have ever distinguished themselves by an Inviolable attachment to freedom and the rights of Nations, have appointed the honorable John Adams late a delegate in Congress from the State of Massachusetts, and a member of the Council of that State to be their minister Plenipotentiary at your Court that he may give you more particular Assurances of the great respect they entertain for your Highness and for the people over whom you preside as Stadtholder.
We beseech your Highness to give entire credit to every thing which our said minister shall deliver on our part especially when he shall assure you of the sincerity of our friendship and regard.
We pray God to keep your Highness in his holy protection.
Done at Philadelphia the first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty one, and in the fifth Year of our Independence. By the United States of America.

[salute] Your friends

[signed] Sam. Huntington President
[signed] Attest Chas Thomson Secy.
MS (Adams Papers); endorsed by John Thaxter: “Copy of a Letter of Credence to his most Serene Highness 1st. Jany. 1781.”
1. Congress approved JA's letter of credence on 3 Jan., the date under which it appears in the JCC (19:18–19). JA probably received it as an enclosure in a letter from James Lovell of 2, 6, or 8 Jan., all below. The original of this letter has not been found, but was likely an enclosure in a letter of 9 Jan. from the president of Congress, below. JA received his letter of credence on 6 April (to the president of Congress, 6 April, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-11-02-0003

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1781-01-01

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

To the President of Congress

Amsterdam 1 January 1781. RC in John Thaxter's hand PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 204–211. printed: Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:219–222.
Read in Congress on 19 Nov., this letter contained the texts of Britain's manifesto of 20 Dec. 1780, which constituted a declaration of war against the Netherlands, and an Order in Council of the same date authorizing letters of marque against Dutch ships. The British justified their { 3 } declaration by citing continued Dutch violations of the law of nations, namely the refusal of the States General to grant the assistance required by the Anglo-Dutch treaty of 1678; the sanctuary given John Paul Jones at Texel in 1780; St. Eustatius' status as a conduit for trade with the United States and safe haven for American privateers; and the States General's refusal to punish Amsterdam for its role in negotiating the Lee-Neufville treaty of 1778. The Dutch responded on 12 March with a countermanifesto, for which see Adams' letter of 18 March to the president of Congress, calendared below.
John Adams described the two documents, which had arrived in the morning mail, as “a new Years Entertainment.” This was principally because, as Adams had informed Congress in two letters dated 25 Dec. 1780 (||Nos. 29 and 30||vol. 10:433–436), the real reason for the British declaration of war was the Dutch decision to accede to the armed neutrality. Britain was determined to preclude assistance from the neutral powers by transforming the Netherlands into a belligerent. The British declaration ended the Dutch trade in naval stores with France and soon resulted in St. Eustatius' demise as an avenue for trade with the United States. But the war also deepened Britain's diplomatic isolation and determined the focus of Adams' activities during the first half of 1781, for it seemed to augur well for his efforts to obtain Dutch recognition of the United States and raise a loan.
RC in John Thaxter's hand (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 1, f. 204–211). printed: (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:219–222.)
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, 2018.