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State of Foreign Affairs

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

May 8.—This year’s campaign seems to be fraught with interesting events. When we look to Europe, we there behold the contending parties becoming more and more serious in their determinations: formidable preparations are making, equally so by Britain as well as all the other belligerent powers. When we turn our eyes to the West India Islands, we there see the same dexterous game playing. Again, when we look to Gibraltar, we find that Britain intends to use her most strenuous efforts in keeping possession of that very important fortress; and, on the other hand, Spain seems to be determined to reduce it under her dominions. The United Provinces, during the contest, have all along signified their neutrality, thereby tacitly manifesting a friendly disposition to the United States. On viewing the obligations they are under to the English nation, and the terms of the treaty entered into at the last peace, the inference is plain that they do not mean to take an active part in favor of Britain, else they would have done it before this time. The taking of sundry Dutch vessels by the English, of late, will, it is thought, pave the way to some happy overture. The capital power of Russia (notwithstanding the boasts of Britain that she would at first asking lend her assistance to crush the rebellious Americans) conducts in a manner highly foreboding a desire that America may be rendered free and independent. Nay, it is so manifestly the interest of all the European powers to have such an event take place, that we may justly unite and say (as Lord North weepingly confessed in the House of Commons) Britain is left without an ally. We have looked to Europe and find the prospect beautiful; let us turn and view the prospect at home: strange to tell! instead of a uniformity, we find the contrary. Nearly all in sentiment appear friendly, but in practice are inimical; yet, although some part of our conduct militates against the cause, so long as there remains a determination to maintain ourselves inviolate from British invaders, we will not view our situation as desperate. The Carolinas, it seems probable, will be the seat of war on the continent this summer. Perhaps the enemy may think it will deserve the name of an important achievement by sallying out in parties upon our defenceless towns on the seacoast; but it would be well for them to remember it is possible that the expense will more than compensate for the advantage that they may think to gain thereby.1


1 New Jersey Journal, May 24.