Papers of John Adams, volume 17

To De la Lande & Fynje

To the Baron von Thulemeier

To Thomas Jefferson, 24 July 1785 Adams, John Jefferson, Thomas
To Thomas Jefferson
Dear Sir. Grosvenor Square July 24th. 1785

I have a Letter from the Baron De Thulemeier of the 19th. and a Copy of his Letter to you of the same date. I hope now in a few Day’s to take Mr. Short by the hand in Grosvenor Square, and to put my hand to the [Tr]eaty. I think no time should be lost. We will join Mr. Dumas with Mr. Short in the Exchange if you please.

I applyed as you desired, and obtained the interposition of the Lords Commissioners of the treasury, and the Commissioners of the Customs for the transhipping of Dr. Franklin’s Baggage. We have heared of the Doctors arrival at Rouen, but no further.1

{The Britons alliens Duty is a very burthensome Thing, and they may carry it hereafter as far upon Tobacco, Rice Indigo and twenty other Things, as they do now upon oil. to obviate this, I think of Substituting, the Words “natural born Citizens of the United States,” and “natural born Subjects of Great Britain,” instead of “the most favoured Nation.” You remember We first proposed to offer this to all Nations, but upon my Objecting that the English 267would make their ships French or Sweedish or Dutch &c to avail themselves of it, without agreeing to it, on their Part, We altered it to the footing of “Gentis Amicissimæ.[]2 But if the English will now agree to it, We shall Secure ourselves against many odious Duties, and no ill Consequence can arise. it is true the French Dutch Sweeds and Prussians will of Course claim the Advantage, but as they must in return allow Us the Same Advantage, So much the better.— let me know if any Objection occurs to you.}3

There is a Bill before Parliament to prevent smuggling Tobacco, in which restrictions are very rigorous, but cannot be effected.4 two thirds of the Tobacco consumed in this Kingdom I am told is smuggled— how can it be otherwise when the impost is five times the original Value of the Commodity. If [one] pound in five escapes nothing is lost. if two in five, a great profit is [made.—]

the Duty is 16d. pr. pound and tobacco sells for three pence.— Yet all applications for lowering the Duty are rejected—5

Yours most affectionately

John Adams6

RC in WSS’s hand (DLC:Jefferson Papers); internal address: “His Excellency / Thomas Jefferson—” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 111. Encoded text has been supplied from the LbC. Text lost due to a torn manuscript and a tight binding has been supplied from the LbC.


In the LbC, JA inserted here the phrase “in Cypher,” and he again used Jefferson’s Code No. 8 for the following paragraph. A copy of Jefferson’s decoding is with his papers at DLC and accurately replicates JA’s text.


Most favored nations.


JA refers to the Prussian request to revise Arts. 2 and 3 of the draft Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, for which see vol. 16:373–375, 377–378, 409–410, 414.


25 Geo. 3, ch. 81. On 2 Aug., in an effort to counter smuggling, Parliament passed “An act for the better securing the Duties payable on Tobacco” (Journals of the House of Lords, repr. edn., London, 1767–, 37:380). See also JA’s letter to John Jay of 28 Aug., below, for his comments on recent statutes meant to protect British trade.


In the LbC, JA wrote, “resisted.”


In JA’s hand.