Adams Papers

John Adams: A Translation, 11 July 1781

John Adams: A Translation

Articles to Serve, as a Foundation of the negotiation, for the Re-establishment of Peace.1

Article 1st.

There shall be a Treaty, between Great Britain, and the American Colonies, concerning the Re-establishment of Peace, in America; but without the Intervention of any of the other belligerent Parties, nor even that of the two Imperial Courts, at least unless their mediation Should be formally <ask> demanded and granted, upon this Object.

Art. 2.

This particular Peace, Shall not however, be Signed, but conjointly, and at the Same time with that of the Powers, whose Interests shall have been treated by the mediating Courts. The two Peaces, by this means, although they may be treated Seperately, not being to be concluded, the one, without the other, they Shall take care, constantly to inform, the Mediators of the Progress and the State of that which regards Great Britain and the Colonies, to the End, that the Mediation may be in a Situation to be able to regulate itself, in the Prosecution of that which is confided to it, according to the State of the negotiation relative to the Colonies; and the one and the other of the two pacifications, which shall have been concluded, at the Same time, although Seperately, Shall be Solemnly Warrantied by the mediating Courts, and every other neutral Power, whose Warranty the belligerent Parties, may judge proper, to demand.

Art. 3.

For rendering the pacifick negotiations, independant of the Events always uncertain of War, which might Stop, or at least interrupt the Progress of them, there Shall be a general Armistice, between all the Parties, during the Term of one Year, to be computed from the ... day of the Month of ... of the present Year, or of ... Years, to be computed from the ... of the month of ... of the Year 1782, if it Should happen that the general Peace, Should not be established, in the Course of the first Term. And during the continuance, of one or the other of these two terms, all Things, Shall remain, in the State, in which they shall be found to have been, on the Day of the Signature, of the present preliminary Articles.

MS (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Articles.—pour Servir de Case a la Negotiation du Retablissement de la Paix. proposees par les deux Cours Imperials.” This document was filmed with Vergennes’ letter of 18 July (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 355). Translation by JA, LbC (Adams Papers). This translation appears below a French text of the proposed articles that JA copied following his memorandum to the second Letterbook copy of his letter of 9 July to Rayneval, for which see the descriptive note to that letter, above. Although JA’s translation is somewhat awkward, it is accurate and is included here because it is the version of the articles that he used in the course of his conversations and correspondence with Vergennes.

1For JA’s analysis of the proposed articles, particularly the third, see his letters of 11 July to the president of Congress and 13 July to Vergennes, both below.

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