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1782 Two Hundred Years Ago

May 2024
1min read

Early April found John Adams in Holland, lodged in a house “decent enough for any character in Europe to dine in with a republican citizen,” pressing with all his irritable skill for Dutch recognition of the United States of America. France had joined the new nation in the field, but the other European powers remained uncommitted.

Adams was not overly optimistic. He had written that it would be impossible to say which way the Dutch would go because “the constitution of government is so complicated and whimsical a thing, and the temper and character of the people so peculiar.” Besides, “They are afraid of everybody, afraid of France, afraid of America, England, Russia and the northern powers.”

But the parliament of the province of Friesland had voted to recognize the United States as early as February, and the burgomaster of Amsterdam assured Adams that the other powers would follow within six weeks.

Sure enough, on the nineteenth of April, the States-General of the United Provinces resolved to accept Adams “in the quality of envoy [of] the United States of North America. ” The Prince of Orange received the American minister with a gracious speech, carefully delivered in English; and Adams in turn told the Princess how happy he was to be presenting to her protection “a virgin republic—an infant world.”

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