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nsequent on the disease which was slowly but surely bringing him to the grave, Goertz to Frederic, 29 Feb., 1780. took the subject in hand. The last deed of the dying statesman was his best. Cast down as he was by illness, before the end of February he thus unbosomed himself to the Prussian minister: In truth the envoy of England has found means for a Feb. miserable trifle to excite my sovereign to a step of éclat, yet always combined with the principle of neutrality. The court of Spain wFeb. miserable trifle to excite my sovereign to a step of éclat, yet always combined with the principle of neutrality. The court of Spain will probably yield to just representations; the measure which he has occasioned will turn against himself, and he will have himself to reproach for everything that he shall have brought upon his court. I had thought Sir James Chap. XII.} 1780. Harris understood his business; but he acts like a boy. To Frederic, Goertz made his reports: Everything will now depend on the reply of the court of Spain. At so important a moment your Majesty has the right to speak to it with frankness. Goertz
January, 1778 AD (search for this): chapter 13
like his ancestors, devoted to England. The grand pensionary, van Bleiswijck, had been the selection of Prince Louis. He was a weak politician, and inclined to England, but never meant to betray his country. Thus all the principal executive officers were attached to Great Britain; Prince Louis and the secretary Fagel as obsequious vassals. France had a controlling influence in no one of the provinces; but in the city of Amsterdam, van Berckel, its pensionary, was her friend. In January, 1778, Jan. before her rupture with England, the French ambassador at the Hague was instructed to suggest a convention between the states-general, France, and Spain, for liberty of navigation. As the proposal was put aside by the grand pensionary, Vergennes asked no more than that the Netherlands in the coming contest would announce to the court of London their neutrality, and support it without concessions. The treaties of alliance with England promised it no support in an aggressive war,
April, 1778 AD (search for this): chapter 13
ions, the city of Amsterdam and van Berckel sought to strengthen the Dutch navy, but were thwarted by Prince Louis, Fagel, and the stadholder. The English party favored an increase of the army; and, to the great discontent of the stadholder, they were defeated by the deputies of Amsterdam, Haarlem, Dort, and Delft. The Dutch were still brave, provident, and capable of acts of magnanimity; but they were betrayed by their selfish executive and the consequent want of unity of action. In April, 1778, the American commissioners at April 28 Paris,—Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams,—in a letter to the grand pensionary, van Bleiswijck, proposed a good understanding and commerce between the two nations, and promised to communicate to the states-general their commercial treaty with France. The Dutch government through all its organs met this only overture of the Americans by silence and total neglect. It was neither put in deliberation nor answered. The British secretary of state co
February 26th, 1780 AD (search for this): chapter 13
utrals before all the world. You will thus gain a glorious name, as the lawgiver of the seas, imparting to commerce in time of war a security such as it has never yet enjoyed. Thus you will gather around you all civilized states, and be honored through coming centuries as the benefactress of the human race, entitled to the veneration of the nations and of coming ages. Goertz to Frederic, 7 March, 1780. The opinions of her minister coinciding exactly with her own, on the twenty-sixth of February, 1780, that is on the eighth of March, new style, Catharine and Panin set their names to the declaration of which the fixed principles are: Neutral ships Chap. XII.} 1780. shall enjoy a free navigation even from port to port, and on the coasts of the belligerent powers:—Free ships free all goods except contraband:—Contraband are arms and ammunitions of war, and nothing else: —No port is blockaded, unless the enemy's ships, in adequate number, are near enough to make the entry dangero<
nd; but spared the property of a friend, though under the flag of an enemy. Ships, except they belonged to the enemy, were never confiscated. When the Dutch republic took its place among the powers of the earth, crowned with the honors of martyrdom in the fight against superstition, this daughter of the sea, whose carrying trade exceeded that of any other nation, became the champion of the more humane maritime code, which protected the neutral flag everywhere on the great deep. In the year 1646, these principles were embodied in a commercial treaty between the republic and France. When Cromwell was protector, when Milton was Latin secretary, the rights of neutrals found their just place in the treaties of England, in 1654 with Portugal, in 1655 with France, in 1656 Chap. XII.} with Sweden. After the return of the Stuarts, they were recognised in 1674 in their fullest extent by the commercial convention between England and the Netherlands. In 1689, after the stadholder of the
March 14th (search for this): chapter 13
a moment your Majesty has the right to speak to it with frankness. Goertz to Frederic, 29 Feb., 1780. There March. will result from the intrigue a matter, the execution of which no power has thus far been able to permit itself to think of. All have believed it necessary to establish and to fix a public law for neutral powers in a maritime war; the moment has come for attaining that end. Goertz to Frederic, 3 March, 1780. These letters reached Frederic by express; and on the fourteenth of March, by the swiftest messenger, he instructed his minister at Paris as follows: Immediately on receiving the present order, you will demand a particular audience of the ministry at Versailles, and you will say that in my opinion everything depends on procuring for Russia without the least loss of time the satisfaction she exacts, and which Spain can the less refuse, because it has plainly acted with too much precipitation. Make the ministry feel all the importance of this warning, and th
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