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. This paragraph, to this point, is significant for two reasons. It represents an effort
by Congress to avoid revisiting the question of national boundaries, a contentious
issue for both interstate and Franco-American relations. On 7 and 8 June proposals
to reopen the matter were rejected and the text of the instructions remained virtually
the same throughout the debates; the only significant addition was the specific reference
's former instructions (JCC
, 20:608–609, 611–613).
Of even more importance, particularly for JA
, was the statement that set down independence and the sanctity of the Franco-American
treaties as the only ultimata for an Anglo-American peace treaty. This was a striking
departure from JA
's original instructions, which declared the northern boundary of the U.S. on the
Great Lakes and the western boundary on the Mississippi River to be sine qua non
for any treaty. This alteration was a severe blow to southern states, particularly
Virginia, that claimed land bordering the Mississippi, and it created a sectional
conflict because the preservation of U.S. fishing rights on the banks of Newfoundland
remained the sine qua non
for the Anglo-American commercial treaty for which JA
also had received a commission in 1779 (JA, Diary and Autobiography
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.