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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


This note contained in document ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0008-0001
1. This memorandum appears in Lb/JA/20, (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 108).
JA spent a busy fortnight in the Netherlands conversing with his Patriot friends at The Hague and with bankers and merchants in Amsterdam, paying his respects to the Stadholder, and writing lengthy letters to Livingston on the sugar trade, on American commercial opportunities generally, and on European politics. With JQA he left The Hague on 6 Aug. and was back at the Hôtel du Roi on the 9th (JA to Livingston, 10 Aug., LbC, Adams Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:641; see also JQA, Diary, 6, 7, 8, and 9 Aug. 1783).
He found that no appreciable progress had been made in the negotiation at Paris, and on the very day of his return the real explanation of the British ministry's tactics was set down in a letter from London by Henry Laurens to his fellow commissioners. Laurens had seen Secretary Fox, who conceded that the Preliminary Articles left much to be desired but was unwilling to negotiate new terms “under the eye of, or in concert with, the court of France”; it would be much better to start over again by the appointment of an American minister to London, a measure that Fox said would be very acceptable to the British government (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:637–640). It was therefore agreed in Paris that the Preliminary Articles would be ratified without change except for a preamble declaring them to be the Definitive Treaty (JA to Livingston, 13 Aug., LbC, Adams Papers; same, p. 645). On 3 Sept. this was done, at Hartley's lodgings in the Hotel d'York (now 56 Rue Jacob in the 6th Arrondissement, a building occupied by the publishing firm of Firmin Didot). In the Adams Papers are copies of the exchange of full powers and a text of the Definitive Treaty as signed and sealed. For a printed text (from one of the two originals in the State Department Treaty File), see Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:151–157, with notes on the transmittal and ratification of the Definitive Treaty. John Thaxter brought one of the originals to Congress; see entry of 14 Sept., below. The Commissioners' final report on the five-month negotiation was dated 10 Sept. 1783 (LbC, Adams Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:687–691); for some reason the original report sent to Congress is not in place among the Commissioners' dispatches in PCC, No. 85, though a long series of the proposals exchanged by Hartley and the American Commissioners, selected in a somewhat hit-or-miss fashion and not carefully dated, originally enclosed in that dispatch, is present in that volume.
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.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/