Papers of John Adams, volume 15

75 Proposals for an Anglo-American Commercial Agreement, June 1783 Hartley, David Jay, John Adams, John
Proposals for an Anglo-American Commercial Agreement

[Paris], June 1783. LbC-Tr’s in Jean L’Air de Lamotte’s hand (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103. The two proposals calendared here, one by David Hartley and the other by John Jay, are dated June in the Letterbook, but any effort to arrive at an exact date is problematical. They were likely done sometime after 21 May but prior to Hartley’s letter to the commissioners of 14 June, above, and perhaps even before his memorial of 1 June enclosed with that letter. Hartley’s proposal was likely done first, because it is a modification of one he had offered the commissioners on 21 May (JA, D&A , 3:123–124). The original offer permitted Americans to import to or export from any British port, home or colonial, whatever had been permitted prior to the war without restriction. As modified, Americans were prohibited from establishing a direct trade between Britain and the West Indies. John Jay, noting the difficulty of immediately concluding a permanent Anglo-American commercial treaty, proposed a temporary convention instead. Under the agreement, Britain would be prohibited from carrying slaves to the United States, “it being the Intention of the said States entirely to prohibit the Importation thereof.” The convention would also permit an expansion of Irish-American trade. To a degree both proposals reflected the parliamentary debates over Anglo-American commercial relations, but neither had any likelihood of being implemented because of the policies of the Fox-North coalition and the decision to use Orders in Council to regulate Anglo-American trade.

From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje, [ca. 1 July 1783] Staphorst, Nicolaas & Jacob van (business) Willink, Wilhem & Jan (business) La Lande & Fynje, de (business) Adams, John
From Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and De la Lande & Fynje
Sir [ca. 1 July 1783]1

We take the liberty to trouble your Excellency on a demand of Mr Grand, to remit to him the remainder of what we have in cash for Congress on acct. of some disposition made on him by his Excellency Robt. Morris Esqr.

By his writing it Seems to us Said Gentleman has not indicated a credit on us to him and his Excellency having made a beginning to draw directly on us, and considering the bills on Mr Laurens and the Sum in Cash not very Large, we find not proper for us to Satisfy Mr Grand’s demand without orders of His Excellency of whom we may receive letters in a few days.

We think it however prudent for us to make our address to your Excellency to desire your directions on this Subject, and if you judge convenient for the intrest of Congress that we remit to Mr. 76Grand, what is in Cash we’ll perform it but be so good to advice us at the Same time, how we are then to behave if further drafts of his Excellcy Mr Morris Esqr. are presented on us, or bills on Mr. Laurens accepted by your Excellency? as by the actual scarcity of money, the bonds are not readily taken of, but we have no doubt but with some patience it will do very well, as Several people promise us to take of them as Soon as they get ready money.

We have the honour to remain with respectfull consideration / Sir / Your Excellencys Most / Humble and most Obedt Servants

Wilhem & Jan Willink Nichs. & Jacob van Staphorst de la Lande & fynje

RC (Adams Papers). Filmed at [5–6 Sept. 1782].


This date is derived from JA’s letter to the consortium of 5 July, below. Although JA does not mention receiving this letter, he there advises the consortium to supply the funds requested by Ferdinand Grand, according to instructions received from Robert Morris. He likely also enclosed Morris’ letter of 29 April instructing the consortium to remit whatever funds Grand required, for which see note 1 to the 5 July letter.