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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5

This note contained in document ADMS-04-05-02-0008
3. 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 before JA arrived in Paris from the Netherlands (see JA to AA, 8 Nov. and note 1, below; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 333–339).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.