Like those for the peace treaty (calendared above), these instructions had been adopted
on 14 August (JCC
, 14:960–962), but because of controversy within the congress their copying for transmission
to Adams had been delayed and they bore the date of 16 October. Adams was required
to ensure that nothing in an Anglo-American commercial treaty conflicted with the
Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce and that such a treaty be established
on principles of equity and reciprocity. Moreover, no treaty was to be concluded that
did not explicitly guarantee American fishing rights on the banks of Newfoundland.
This requirement resulted from the controversy that had surrounded efforts to make
such a guarantee an ultimatum for the peace negotiations, which was resolved only
when it was agreed to compromise and make fishing rights a sine qua non
in any commercial negotiations. See also John Adams' commission, dated 29 September
, to negotiate an Anglo-American commercial treaty (calendared above), and the index
for additional information on the formulation of the instructions and the controversy
surrounding them. Adams received the instructions as an enclosure in the letter of
from the president of the congress (below).