Papers of John Adams, volume 14

Proposed Articles for the Definitive Peace Treaty

From C. W. F. Dumas

The American Peace Commissioners to Francis Dana, 12 December 1782 Dana, Francis Adams, John Franklin, Benjamin Jay, John
The American Peace Commissioners to Francis Dana
Sir Paris Decr. 12. 17821

We have the Honour to congratulate you, on the Signature of the preliminary Treaty of Peace, between his Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, to be inserted in the definitive Treaty, 121when2 France and Britain Shall have agreed upon their Terms. The Articles, of which We do ourselves the honour to inclose you a Copy,3 were compleated, on the thirtieth of last Month.

To Us, at this Distance, the present opportunity, appears to be the most favourable,4 for you to communicate your mission to the Ministers of the Empress of Russia, and to the Ministers of the other neutral Powers residing at her Court, and if5 you have no objections, We presume you will wish to be furnished with the inclosed Paper,6 to communicate at the Same Time.

We heartily wish you Success, and if you Should inform Us of a fair prospect of it, We Shall propose7 an Article in the definitive Treaty, to Secure the8 Freedom of Navigation according to the Principles of the late marine Treaty between the neutral Powers

With great Respect, We have the Honour to be, / Sir, your most obedient and most humble / Servants

John Adams B Franklin John Jay Henry Laurens

RC (MHi:Dana Family Papers); internal address: “The Honourable Francis Dana Esq.”; endorsed: “Letters from J. Adams & others / Commissioners of the U. States / Dated Paris Decr: 12th. 1782 / Recd. Jany: 1st. 1783—O. Stile.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108. LbC-Tr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 103.


The copy in the Letterbook is clearly a draft and is dated 6 Dec., the date of JA's letter to Dana indicating the commissioners’ intention to write him concerning the preliminary treaty. In his Diary entry for 12 Dec. JA wrote that the commissioners “met at Mr. Laurens's, and signed the Letter, I had drawn up” (JA, D&A , 3:95).


In the Letterbook the remainder of this paragraph initially read “the other belligerent Powers Shall have adjusted the Terms of a general Peace. This great Work, of which We do ourselves the Honour to inclose you a Copy, was compleated on the thirtyeth of November.”


Not found.


The Letterbook at this point reads “favourable opportunity,” but “opportunity” is canceled and inserted in the previous line to follow “present.”


In the Letterbook the passage from this point to the following comma initially read “there are no Objections to it, unknown to Us.”


In the Letterbook at this point is the canceled passage “for that Purpose.”


In the Letterbook “propose” is inserted in place of “insist on.”


Note that the remainder of this paragraph is a verbatim rendering of the first item in the commissioners’ proposed articles to be included in the definitive peace treaty of [ca. 10–13 Dec.], above.