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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 9

This note contained in document ADMS-06-09-02-0032
4. During the Bonhomme Richard expedition in 1779, the Alliance took the Betsy, Union, and Charming Polly. The prizes were sent to Bergen, Norway (then under Danish rule), where British pressure caused Denmark to return the vessels. Benjamin Franklin protested this action in a letter of 22 Dec. 1779 to the Danish foreign minister (PCC, No. 82, I, f. 211–217; Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 355– 356). In support of his position Franklin cited Emmerich de Vattel's The Law of Nations, or Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns to the effect that the “ancients” had not acknowledged any obligation to nations with whom they had no treaty, but that the progress of civilization had caused the abandonment of that principle (bk. II, chap. 1, sect. 20).
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.