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John Adams autobiography, part 3, "Peace," 1779-1780
sheet 3 of 18, 16 October 1779

and East Florida on the other Part, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and Atlantic Ocean. You are therefore strongly to contend, that the whole of the said Countries and Islands lying within the Boundaries aforesaid And every Citadel, Fort, Post, Place, harbour and Road to them belonging, be absolutely evacuated by the Land and Sea Forces of his Britannic Majesty, and yeilded to the Powers of the States to which they respectively belong, in such Situation as they may be, at the termination of the War. But notwithstanding the clear right of these States, and the importance of the Object, yet they are so much influenced by the Dictates of Religion and Humanity, and so desirous of complying with the earnest requests of their Allies, that if the Line to be drawn from the mouth a of the Lake Nipissing to the head of the Mississippi, cannot be obtained without continuing the War for that purpose, You are hereby empowered to agree to some other Line between that Point and the River Mississippi, provided the same shall in no point part thereof be to the Southward of Latitude Forty five degrees North: And in like manner, if the Eastern Boundary above described cannot be obtained you are hereby empowered to agree, that the same shall be afterwards adjusted by Commissioners to be duely appointed for that purpose, according to such Line as shall be by them settled and agreed on as the Boundary between that part of the State of Massachusetts Bay formerly called the Province of Maine and the Colony of Nova Scotia agreably to their respective Rights: And You may also consent that the Enemy shall destroy such Fortifications as they may have erected.
Fourthly. Although it is of the Utmost Importance to the Peace and Commerce of the United States, that Canada and Nova Scotia should be ceded and more particularly that their equal and common Right to the Fisheries should be guarantied to them, Yet a desire of terminating the War, hath induced Us not to make the Acquisition o f these Objects an Ultimatum on the present Occasion.
Fifthly. You are empowered to agree to a Cessation of Hostilities during the Negotiation, provided our Ally shall consent to the same, and provided it shall be stipulated that all the Forces of the Enemy shall be immediately withdrawn from the United States.
Sixthly. In all other matters not above mentioned You are to govern yourself by the Alliance between his most Christian Majesty and these States; by the Advice of our Allies, by your Knowledge of our Interests, and by your own discretion, in which We repose the fullest Confidence.
Done at Philadelphia, the Sixteenth day of October, in the Year of our Lord

one Thousand Seven hundred and Seventy nine, and in the fourth Year of our Independence.
By The Congress of the United States of America
Saml. Huntington President
Attest Cha Thomson Secy.
The Honble. John Adams Esq. Minister Plenipotentiary, appointed to negotiate a Treaty of Peace.
Instructions as to a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, 16. October 1779


You will herewith receive a Commission giving you Full Power, to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, in doing which you will consider Yourself bound by the following Information and Instructions.
First. You will govern yourself principally, by the Treaty of Commerce with his most Christian Majesty, and as on the one hand, you shall grant no Priviledge to Great Britain not granted by that Treaty to France, so on the other you shall not consent to any particular restrictions or Limitations whatever in favour of Great Britain.
Secondly. In Order that you may be the better able to act with propriety on this occasion, it is necessary for you to know that We have determined 1st. That the common Right of Fishing shall in no case be given up. 2d. That it is essential to the Welfare of all these United States that the Inhabitants thereof, at the Expiration of the War should continue to enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their common Right to fish on the Banks of Newfoundland and the other Fishing Banks and Seas of North America preserving inviolate the Treaties between France and the said States. 3d. That Application shall be made to his most Christian Majesty to agree to some Article or Articles for the better securing to these States, a Share in the said Fisheries. 4th. That if after a Treaty of Peace with Great Britain she shall molest the Citizens or Inhabitants of any of the United States, in taking Fish on the Banks and Places herein after described, such molestation being in our Opinion a direct violation and breach of the Peace, shall be a common cause of the said States, and the Force of the Union be exerted to obtain redress for the Parties injured, and 5th. That our Faith be pledged to the several States, that without their unanimous consent, no Treaty of Commerce shall be entered into, nor any Trade or Commerce carried on with Great Britain, without the explicit Stipulation herein after mentioned. You are therefore not to consent to any Treaty of Commerce, with Great Britain, without an explicit Stipulation on her part, not to molest or disturb the Inhabitants of the United States of America in taking Fish on the

Banks of Newfoundland and other Fisheries in the American Seas, any where excepting within the distance of three Leagues from the Shores of the Territories remaining to Great Britain at the Close of the War, if a nearer distance can not be obtained by Negotiation: And in the Negotiation you are to exert your most strenuous endeavours to obtain a nearer distance in the Gulph of St. Lawrence and particularly along the Shores of Nova Scotia, as to which latter We are desirous that even the Shores may be occasionally used for the purpose of carrying on the Fisheries by the Inhabitants of these States.
Thirdly. In all other matters you are to govern yourself by your own discretion as shall be most for the Interest of these States, taking care that the said Treaty may be founded on Principles of Equality and Reciprocity, so as to conduce to the mutual Advantage of both Nations, but not to the Exclusion of others.
Done at Philadelphia, this Sixteenth day of October, in the Year of our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Seventy nine, and in the fourth Year of our Independence.
By The Congress of the United States of America,
Saml. Huntington President
Attest Cha. Thomson Secretary
The Honourable John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary appointed to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain.
It may be proper here, also to insert the following Instructions
To the Honble. Benjamin Franklin Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary of The United States of America at the Court of France


Having determined, in order to put a Period to the present War conformably to the humane dispositions which sway the Allied Powers, that We would not insist on a direct Acknowledgment by Great Britain of our Right in the Fisheries, this important matter is liable to an incertitude, which may be dangerous to the political and commercial Interests of the United States, We have therefore agreed and resolved, that our Right should in no case be given up. That We would not form any Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, nor carry on any Trade or Commerce whatsoever with her, unless she shall make an express Stipulation on that Subject, and that if she shall after a Treaty of Peace, disturb the Inhabitants of these States in the exercise of it, We will make it a common cause to obtain redress for the Parties injured. But notwithstanding these precautions, as Great Britain may again light up the flames of War and use our exercise of the Fisheries as her pretext; and since some doubts may arise, whether this Object is so effectually guarded by the Treaty of Alliance with his Most Christian Majesty, that any molestation therein, on

the part of Great Britain is to be considered as a Casus Foederis, you are to endeavour to obtain of his Majesty an explanation on that Subject, upon the Principle that notwithstanding the high Confidence reposed in his Wisdom and justice, Yet considering the Uncertainty of human Affairs, and how doubts may be afterwards raised in the Breasts of his Royal Successors, the great importance of the Fisheries renders the Citizens of these States very solicitous to obtain his Majesty's Sense with relation to them, as the best Security against the Ambition and Rapacity of the British Court. For this purpose you shall propose the following Article, in which never the less such Alterations may be made as the Circumstances and Situation of Affairs shall render convenient and proper. Should the same be agreed to and executed you are immediately to transmit a Copy thereof to our Minister at the Court of Spain.
"Whereas by the Treaty of Alliance between the Most Christian King and the United States of North America, the two Parties guaranty mutually from that time and forever against all other Powers, to wit, The United States to His Most Christian Majesty, the Possessions then appertaining to the Crown of France in America, as well as those which it may acquire by the future Treaty of Peace; And his Most Christian Majesty guaranties on his part to the United States their Liberty, Sovereignty and Independence, absolute and unlimited as well in matters of Government as Commerce, and also their possessions and the Additions or Conquests that their Confederation may might obtain during the War, according to said Treaty; and the said Parties did further agree and declare that in Case of a Rupture between France and England, the said reciprocal guaranty should have its full Force and Effect, the moment such War should break out: and whereas doubts may hereafter arise how far the said Guaranty extends to this, to witt, that Great Britain should molest or disturb the Subjects and Inhabitants of France or of the said States, in taking Fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and other the Fishing Banks and Seas of North America, formerly and usually frequented by their Subjects and Inhabitants respectively: And whereas the said King and the United States, have thought proper to determine with Precision the true interest and meaning of the said Guaranty in this respect; Now therefore as a farther demonstration of their mutual good Will and Affection it is hereby agreed, concluded and determined as follows; to witt, That if after the conclusion of the Treaty or Treaties which shall terminate the present War, Great Britain shall molest or disturb the Subjects or Inhabitants of the said United States, in taking Fish on the Banks, Seas, and Places formerly used

Cite web page as: John Adams autobiography, part 3, "Peace," 1779-1780, sheet 3 of 18 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams autobiography, part 3, "Peace," 1777-1778. Part 3 is comprised of 18 sheets and 1 insertion; 72 pages total. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 4. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.
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