. John Jay's letter of 28 Sept. is in the Adams Papers
. Jay sent Benjamin Vaughan secretly to see the British prime minister, Lord Shelburne,
to persuade him to alter the commission of peace negotiator Richard Oswald. The point
at issue was that the United States wanted its independence recognized by Britain
before treaty negotiations began. The King and his ministers thought that recognition
should be the first article in the treaty itself, and that granting recognition prior
to negotiating peace terms was to give away the game. Jay drew up compromise wording
specifying that Oswald's commission would empower him to treat with those representing
“the Thirteen United States of America,” rather than with “the plenipotentiaries of
the United States.” The compromise was made without Franklin's prior knowledge and
arrived in Paris from the Netherlands (see JA
, 8 Nov.
and note 1
, below; Morris, Peacemakers
, p. 333–339).