Papers of John Adams, volume 16

To Thomas Barclay

From Thomas Barclay

The President of Congress to the American Commissioners, 20 May 1784 President of Congress American Commissioners
The President of Congress to the American Commissioners
Gentlemen, Annapolis May 20th 1784

I have the Honor to transmit to you the following Acts of Congress relating to the formation of commercial Treaties &c viz—

N1. Letter to the Ministers plenipotentiary at the Courts of Versailles and Madrid dated 17th of October 1780—1

N2. Instructions to the Ministers of the United States for making Peace with Great Britain dated May 30th 17832

N3. Instructions to the Ministers plenipotentiary of the United States of America at the Court of Versailles empowered to negotiate a Peace &c. dated the 29th of October 1783, May 7th. 1784 & May 11th 1784.—3

N4. Instructions to the Ministers of the United States at the Court of Madrid dated May 3d 1784.4

I also transmit to you the Papers relating to the detention of the Schooner Nancy referred to in the Instruction of May 11th 1784.

I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect and Esteem / your Obident & humble Servant

Thomas Mifflin

FC (PCC, No. 16, f. 309); internal address: “The Honorable / John Adams & Benjamin Franklin.”


These letters, which Congress resolved on 17 Oct. 1780 to send to the “Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States at the Courts of Versailles and Madrid,” were intended to assist the commissioners’ negotiation of a Spanish-American commercial treaty and were an explanation of “the reasons and principles on which the instructions to Mr. Jay the 4th instant are founded” ( JCC , 18:900–902, 935–947). For a discussion of Jay’s 4 Oct. instructions, which focused on free navigation of the Mississippi River, and Congress’ reasons for issuing them and sending the explanation of 17 Oct., see vol. 10:413–414.


This was Congress’ 30 May 1783 resolution, originally enclosed with Robert R. 218 Livingston’s 31 May letter to the commissioners, concerning the payment of debts to British creditors and the expenses incurred for the subsistence of British prisoners of war (vol. 14:512, 513; JCC , 24:372–376).


For the 29 Oct. 1783 instructions, see vol. 15:329, 331–334; for those of 7 and 11 May 1784, see the instructions to the commissioners at 7 May, above.


That is, of 3 June, for which see the commissioners’ 7 May instructions, and note 16, above.