Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From James Sullivan

From Thomas Jefferson

The American Commissioners to John Jay, 11 October 1785 American Commissioners Jay, John
The American Commissioners to John Jay
Dear Sir [ 11 October 1785 ]1

We have the Honour to transmit to Congress, by Mr Fitzhughs,2 the Treaty between the United States and the King of Prussia, Signed Seperately by your Ministers at the Several Places of their Residence, and by the Baron De Thulemeier at the Hague, in English and French and exchanged at the Hague in Presence of Mr Short and Mr Dumas. As this Treaty may be of considerable Importance to the United States, and will certainly promote their Reputation, it is to be wished, that the Ratifications may be exchanged, and the Publication made as soon as possible.3 The Admission, of our Privateers into the Prussian Ports, by a Treaty Signed at the moment of the Negotiation of the League, in which Brandenburg and Hanover are Parties is a little remarkable. it certainly merits the Consideration of Congress and the States. With great Respect We have the Honour to be, Sir your most obedient and most / humble servants

London Octr. 2. 1785 John Adams
Paris Octob. 11. 1785. Th: Jefferson

RC (PCC, No. 86, f. 321–324); internal address: “Mr Secretary Jay.”; notation by JA: “Letter to / Mr Jay.”; and in an unknown hand: “Referred to report / 9 Feby. 1786.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 111.


This letter was drafted by JA at the behest of Thomas Jefferson in his second letter of 24 Sept., above, and sent to Jefferson for his signature as an enclosure in JA’s letter of 2 Oct., above.


Daniel and Theodorick Fitzhugh of Virginia carried this letter and the Prussian treaty as well as copies of the documents being provided to Thomas Barclay and John Lamb, which Jefferson enclosed with his 11 Oct. letter to Jay. The Fitzhughs left Paris on 12 Oct. but were still at Le Havre, France, on 7 November. After a three-month voyage the men reached Philadelphia at the beginning of Feb. 1786 and forwarded the documents to Jay at New York, where they were received on 8 Feb. and submitted to Congress on the following day (from Jefferson, 11 Oct. 1785, below; Jefferson, Papers , 8:606–609; 9:25, 657–658; PCC, No. 80, II, f. 141–142).


In a report dated 9 March, Jay recommended that the treaty be ratified and Congress did so on 17 May ( JCC , 30:110–112, 268–285).