Papers of John Adams, volume 4

Editorial Note

II. Committee Report on A Plan of Treaties


Droit d'Aubaine was the ancient right of French kings to claim the property of foreigners who died within the country without being naturalized. A waiver of this right, which was not formally renounced until 14 July 1819, 278was a provision common to most treaties concluded with France ( OED ).

This article ends in the middle of a page, Art. 14 beginning at the top of a new page. The break is significant. JA copied Arts. 14 through 30, together with the “Passport and Letters” appended to the treaty plan, from Edmunds and Harris, A Compleat Collection (cited fully in the Editorial Note, above), lent to him by Franklin. The latter had put X's opposite Arts. XV, XVII, XIX, XX, XXXVI, and XXXVII of the Treaty of Navigation and Commerce signed at Utrecht on 11 April 1713 by Great Britain and France; Art. VIII of the Marine Treaty concluded by Britain and France on 24 Feb. 1677; Arts. XXI, XXII, and XXIV of the Treaty of 1667 between Britain and Spain; Art. IX of the Treaty of Peace and Alliance signed by Britain and Spain on 15 Nov. 1630; and Art. XX of the Treaty of Peace and Alliance of 1604 between Britain and Spain. Franklin also entered page numbers referring to treaties on three pages of the introduction to A Compleat Collection, but these were not useful to JA.

As he says in his Autobiography, JA made his own selection, retaining some of Franklin's choices and rejecting others ( Diary and Autobiography , 3:338). But in the end, he limited himself to three treaties between Great Britain and France. The treaties used by JA, the articles taken from them (Roman numerals), and the corresponding articles in the draft (Arabic numerals) are as follows: Treaty of Navigation and Commerce, Utrecht, 11 April 1713: Arts. XXV—14; XXVI—15; XXVII—16; XXVIII—17; XXXV—18; XXXVI—19; XV—25; XVII—26; XVIII, XIX, XX—27; XXI—28; XXII, XXIII—29; XXIV—30; and “Passport and Letters” following Art. XXXIX and 30, respectively. American Treaty of Peace, Good Correspondence, and Neutrality, London, 16 Nov. 1686: Arts. VII—20; VI—21; V—22; XV—24. Treaty of Peace, Westminster, 3 Nov. 1655: Art. XXVI—23.