Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE DUC DE LA VAUGYON. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 7 (Letters and State Papers 1777-1782)
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TO THE DUC DE LA VAUGYON. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 7 (Letters and State Papers 1777-1782) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 7.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO THE DUC DE LA VAUGYON.
Amsterdam, 1 March, 1782.
As Friesland has taken the provincial resolution to acknowledge the independence of America, it seems to be high time for me to prepare for the execution of my instructions from congress of the 16th of August, which I had the honor to communicate to you on the 25th of November, and which had been previously communicated to the minister of foreign affairs at Versailles.
From these instructions it appears that his Most Christian Majesty had made, by his minister, to congress a tender of his endeavors to accomplish a coalition between the United Provinces of the Netherlands and the United States; and that this tender was accepted by congress as a fresh proof of his Majesty’s solicitude for their interests.
By another resolution I am instructed to propose a treaty of alliance between his Most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United States of America, having for its object, and limited in its duration to, the present war with Great Britain, and conformed to the treaties subsisting between his Most Christian Majesty and the United States.
The system of operations was thus settled at Philadelphia between the King, by his minister, and the congress, and for obvious and wise reasons the minister of congress at the Hague was to make the proposition to their High Mightinesses, and the ambassador of his Majesty was to countenance and support it, either publicly or privately, as he should judge proper, until the states-general should listen to it so far as to enter into the negotiation.
In pursuance of these principles, it seems to be necessary for me to go to the president of their High Mightinesses, and, without offering him any thing in writing, to make him the proposition in the following words, or others equivalent.
Monsieur,—I have done myself the honor of demanding this conference, in order to desire you to inform their High Mightinesses, that, by the tenth article of the treaty of alliance between France and the United States of America, the Most Christian King and the United States, “sont convenues, d’inviter de concert, ou d’admettre les puissances, qui auront de griefs contre l’Angleterre, à faire cause commune avec eux, et à accéder à la présente alliance sous les conditions qui seront librement agréées et convenues entre toutes les parties.” That the United States have lately transmitted to their minister plenipotentiary at the Hague a fresh commission, with full powers, general and special, to confer, treat, agree, and conclude with the person or persons vested with equal powers by his Most Christian Majesty and their High Mightinesses, the states-general of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, of, and concerning a treaty of alliance between his Most Christian Majesty, the United Provinces of the Netherlands, and the United States of America, having for its object, and limited in its duration to, the present war with Great Britain, and conformed to the treaties subsisting between his Most Christian Majesty and the United States.
As it is most certain that no member of this republic, nor any impartial power of Europe, can deny it to be “une puissance qui a des griefs contre l’Angleterre,” in the name and behalf of the said United States, and in obedience to their express instructions, and in virtue of the said tenth article of the said treaty of alliance, I have the honor to propose such a triple alliance to their High Mightinesses, the states-general.
A combination of the counsels and arms of all those powers against whom Great Britain, in the wantonness of her ambition, has declared war, appears to be the easiest and the only certain method of preventing the unnecessary effusion of human blood, which is not, however, more sacred nor precious in the sight of Americans than in that of your High Mightinesses and the other powers of Europe,—the only way of bringing this war to a speedy conclusion for the happiness of mankind,—the only way in which a safe, solid, and honorable peace can be soon obtained by any of the powers at war; but if their High Mightinesses should be of a different opinion, they are the supreme judges of the policy of this nation, and have their own choice; and America, with the generous assistance of her august and glorious ally, can sustain the war in future for any given period of time with as little inconvenience as any other of the belligerent powers.
Upon this occasion, moreover, I take the liberty to repeat the requisition of the 9th of January, of a categorical answer to the demand of an audience of their High Mightinesses of the 4th of May last, because, whether their High Mightinesses shall think fit or not to enter into the proposed triple or quadruple alliance; whether they shall think fit or not to enter into the proposed treaty of amity and commerce with the United States, it seems indispensably necessary that their High Mightinesses should declare whether they consider the United States as an independent State or not; whether they consider their inhabitants as friends or enemies; that the men-of-war, privateers, and merchants of each nation may know how to govern themselves in relation to the subject of prizes and reprisals at sea.1
Friesland has taken so decided a part, and the other provinces, especially Holland, are animated with such a spirit, that I cannot but flatter myself such a proposition would now run with rapidity through the seven Provinces, and contribute very much to accelerate the period of this bloody and ruinous war.
I have the honor to request your Excellency’s sentiments upon the subject, and to be, &c.
[1 ]This draft will be found materially to vary from that found in the Diplomatic Correspondence of the Revolution. There can be no doubt that this is the perfected one.