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TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
No. 23 [EDMUND RANDOLPH]
DEAR SIR :
A vessel belonging to Mr. Swanwick, bound from Philadelphia to Hamburg, was obliged some days since by stress of weather to put into the Texel, and an application to the representatives of the French people became necessary to obtain a permission for the captain to depart and proceed upon his voyage. I saw them accordingly this day, and they assure me that the necessary orders shall immediately be given, requiring only for their justification a demand in writing, which I have therefore made.
They said they were happy to have the ministers of the powers in friendship with France as witnesses of the manner in which they conducted themselves in this country. I answered, that the testimony of every spectator must be honorable to them in the highest degree. And certainly their conduct has been not merely just but generous. They have not only promised and secured respect for the persons, property, and opinions of this people, but they have done the same towards the individuals even of the other nations at war with them. The ministers of Great Britain, Spain, Prussia and Sardinia left this place upon the approach of the French armies. The Spanish Minister had his horses taken from his carriage in the middle of the road, and was left thus in the coach on his way through the province of Guclderland. This depredation was committed by soldiers of an allied army.
But the Portuguese and Russian Ministers, and the Secretary of the Prussian Legation, who remained here, have not been molested, but have been treated with polite ness and attention. The Russian Minister, desiring to leave the country, was provided with a passport by the representatives of the people. It has been left at the option of the others to withdraw or to remain at their pleasure, and all the privileges of the diplomatic character are allowed them, and have not been violated by any of the troops. . . .
The inveteracy against Great Britain appears to be unanimous among them, and discovers itself upon every occasion. They talk of making a descent in England, as of a thing decided on, and most of them are ambitious of being employed in the expedition. Their hopes of success are founded upon the expectation that they shall have only to contend with such warriors as they have found in the British troops upon the continent. They declare universally that these troops are the worst of all the allied armies. To all the others they render full justice, most especially to the Austrians.
- John Quincy Adams