Here Comes Paul Jones!
Een geboren Amerikaan Gansch geen Engelsch ventje.*
DUTCH FOLK SONG
DURING the long war that broke out between France and England, the Dutch attempted to remain neutral with a scrupulosity that only well-understood self-interest could cause. Although King Louis XVI recognized the American rebels as early as February 1778 and concluded a treaty with them, it did not become a casus belli until the summer. Neither of the two parties wished to be branded an aggressor, and only a naval fight off Ushant set off war.
The Dutch Republic hoped to remain neutral in this conflict, as it had been able to do during the Seven Years' War, but it would require the utmost tact. Although England did not immediately demand Dutch assistance, as she was entitled to do under the treaty of 1678 if attacked, Dutch trade on the high seas was the subject of broils from the beginning.
France counted upon being supplied by Dutch merchant shipping, particularly with naval supplies, and England of course had to try to prevent it. But old treaties were involved, and the question of what was contraband arose again, as well as what the Dutch might and might not protect with her fleet. In the Netherlands a bitter quarrel arose over the question of convoys, setting the commercial towns, led by Amsterdam, against the Prince of Orange and his party. It became entwined with the interminable conflict over the expansion of the army or the navy, and England and France meddled in it in various ways. The quarrel lasted from the fall of 1778 until the end of 1780. It was finally decided to break the old agreements with England and to introduce unlimited convoying for Dutch shipping, including cargoes of contraband. The conflict over rearmament dominated Dutch politics for many years, but it has been fully described elsewhere and in any case it falls outside the specific scope of this book.____________________