Adams Papers

Grosvenor Square Westminster March 27. 1786.

Grosvenor Square Westminster March 27. 1786.1

March 26. Sunday, dined in Bolton Street Piccadilly, at the Bishop of St. Asaphs.2 Mr. and Mrs. Sloper, the Son in Law and Daughter of the Bishop; Mrs. and Miss Shipley the Wife and Daughter; Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan, Mr. Alexander and Mrs. Williams, Mr. Richard Peters and myself, were the Company. In the Evening other Company came in, according to the Fashion, in this Country. Mrs. Shipley at Table asked many Questions about the Expence of living in Philadelphia and Boston. Said she had a Daughter, who had married, less prudently than they wished, and they thought of sending them to America.

1First entry in D/JA/44, a stitched gathering of leaves identical in format with the preceding booklets and containing scattered entries through 21 July 1786; more than half of this booklet consists of blank leaves.

It is not possible in a paragraph or two to fill the preceding gap of some ten months in JA’s Diary with any adequacy. During his first months in England the new American minister wrote often to Carmarthen on the subjects at issue between the two powers, and late in August he sought and obtained an interview with William Pitt, but on 15 Oct. he told Jay that he could “obtain no Answer from the Ministry to any one demand, Proposal or Inquiry” (LbC, Adams Papers; Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789 description begins [William A. Weaver, ed.,] The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from ... 1783, to ... 1789, Washington, 1837 [actually 1855]; 3 vols. description ends , 2:479). Five days later he had a long conversation with Carmarthen covering ground well trod before—the western posts, British trade restrictions, the slaves carried off during the war, American debts to British creditors, &c. Carmarthen was civil but not really responsive, and JA characterized the discussion as “useless” (to Jay, 21 Oct., LbC, Adams Papers; same, description begins [William A. Weaver, ed.,] The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from ... 1783, to ... 1789, Washington, 1837 [actually 1855]; 3 vols. description ends p. 483–491). At length in an interview on 8 Dec. JA submitted a memorial (dated 30 Nov.) requesting that in accordance with the seventh article of the Definitive Treaty the British garrisons in the Northwest be withdrawn (LbC, Adams Papers; same description begins [William A. Weaver, ed.,] The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from ... 1783, to ... 1789, Washington, 1837 [actually 1855]; 3 vols. description ends , p. 542–543; see also p. 543–544). Carmarthen took nearly three months to answer, and when he did he counterbalanced the British retention of the posts in violation of the seventh article against impediments erected by most of the American states in the way of collecting debts due to British creditors, in violation of the fourth article of the Treaty (Carmarthen to JA, 28 Feb. 1786, Adams Papers; printed as an enclosure, together with supporting papers, in JA to Jay, 4 March, in same description begins [William A. Weaver, ed.,] The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States of America, from ... 1783, to ... 1789, Washington, 1837 [actually 1855]; 3 vols. description ends , p. 580–591). These issues were to remain thus poised until the Jay Treaty of 1794.

The discussions begun at The Hague between JA and Baron von Thulemeier in March 1784 had finally been brought to an end, after a lengthy and many-sided correspondence and much maneuvering about protocol, in a treaty of amity and commerce between Prussia and the United States which was signed by Franklin at Passy on 9 July, by Jefferson at Paris on 28 July, by JA at London on 5 Aug., and by Thulemeier at The Hague on 10 Sept. 1785 (see facsimile in Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd and others, Princeton, 1950– . description ends , vol. 8: facing p. 566). The treaty was transmitted to Congress in a joint letter from JA and Jefferson, London and Paris, 2–11 Oct., being the Commissioners’ “Ninth Report” (PCC, No. 86; same description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd and others, Princeton, 1950– . description ends , p. 606). The treaty itself is printed in Miller, ed., Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, Washington, 1931–1948; 8 vols. description ends , 2:162–183. In Aug. 1786 JA decided to go himself to The Hague to exchange the ratifications.

Concerning other negotiations of 1785–1786 for which Jefferson was jointly responsible with JA, see note 2 on entry of 29 March, below.

2Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph and an intimate friend of Franklin, had long been a popular figure in America because of his early and vigorous criticism in the House of Lords of the British ministry’s American policy (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1900; 63 vols. plus supplements. description ends ). In June Shipley was to officiate at the wedding of AA2.

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