[AMERICAN REVOLUTION]. HUNTINGTON, Samuel (1732-1796), Signer, Connecticut. Letter signed ("Saml Huntington President") as President of the Continental Congress, TO GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE (1742-1786), Philadelphia, 15 April 1781. 1 page, folio, in fine condition, matted with portraits of Huntington and Greene in a gilt frame. Unexamined out of frame.
THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS INFORMS GREENE OF THE ENGLISH DECLARATION OF WAR ON THE DUTCH AND SPECULATES ON AID FROM OTHER EUROPEAN POWERS
An important letter to Greene--only days before his army engaged the British at the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill--in which the President of the Continental Congress reports the British declaration of war on the Dutch and activities of the so-called League of Armed Neutrality. By 1781, the British were facing an increasingly hostile group of nations who, if not allied to the rebellious American colonies, indirectly supported them. In February 1780, Catherine the Great of Russia proclaimed a pact of "armed neutrality" with Sweden and Denmark, to protect their trade with the American colonies. Other countries follows suit. But when the Dutch, a potent supplier and carrier for the Americans, voted to join the League in November of 1780, the British quickly declared war upon them.
Here, Huntington reports on these momentous foreign manoeuvres: "Claypoole's Paper...contains the most authentic Intelligence we have yet received respecting Hostilities commenced by Great Britain against the Dutch; what is mentioned [in] relation to Portugal, I know not how far dependance is to be placed upon it, what relates to the Empress of Russia I presume is Rivington--like [a reference to James Rivington, Tory publisher of a New York newspaper]." Portugal only joined the Armed Neutrality, but did not officially do so until 24 July 1782, after peace negotiations had begun. Huntington also send Greene an act of Congress "containing additional Regulations for conducting the medical Department & military Hospitals."