Report on Alliance with the Netherlands
MS (NA: PCC, No. 19, I, 23). In JM’s hand. Docketed by him: “Report of the Committee on Mr. Adam’s letter of the 18th. of Aug: 1782 Passed Oct 22. 1782.”
[22 October 1782]
The Committee consisting of Mr. Madison Mr. Carrol & Mr. Osgood to whom was referred the letter of the 18 of Aug: last from Mr. J. Adams with several other papers1
That Mr. Adams be informed that Congress approve of the reason assigned in his letter of the 9th. day of June last for not then proposing a Treaty of Alliance with the United Provinces:2 But that the accomplishment of such a coalition among the parties at war with G. Britain, as will extinguish all possibility and hope in the latter of disuniting her Enemies by negociation, being viewed by Congress as a very important object, it is their wish that no opportunity may be lost of accelerating the said Treaty, whenever the concurrence of his M. C. Majesty’s Minister3 and other circumstances shall have prepared the way for the proposition4
1. The following dispatches, received by Congress on 17 October, were referred on that day to the committee: (1) Francis Dana’s of 28 June relating to potential trade between the United States and Russia; (2) Charles G. F. Dumas’ of 16–19 August concerning a commercial treaty between the United States and the Netherlands; and (3) John Adams’ of 18 August, enclosing a copy of the commission of Alleyne Fitzherbert (Virginia Delegates to Harrison, 22 October 1782) and a confidential copy of the instructions of the States-General of the Netherlands to its peace commission. Congress directed the committee before submitting its report to consult with the Chevalier de La Luzerne but not to seek his views about the action of the States-General looking toward peace, the pending negotiations between the United States and Sweden, or General Sir Guy Carleton’s efforts to effect a truce (NA: PCC, No. 185, III, 45; No. 186, fol. 63). See also Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , V, 528–32, 662, 665–67.
2. On 19 October the office of the secretary for foreign affairs delivered to JM, at his request on behalf of his committee, Adams’ dispatches of 23 April and 9 June (NA: PCC, No. 126, entry under date of 19 October 1782). In the dispatch of 9 June, Adams stated: “I have not yet proposed the treaty of alliance, because I wait for the advice of the Duc de la Vauguyon. His advice will not be wanting in the season for it, for his excellency is extremely well disposed” (Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States (6 vols.; Washington, 1889). description ends , V, 482). See also ibid., V, 325. For La Vauguyon, see Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (5 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , IV, 291, n. 19.
3. Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes. The words “opportunity” and “concurrence” replaced a deleted “time” and “advice,” respectively.