Adams Papers

From John Adams to Edmund Jenings, 28 March 1783

To Edmund Jenings

Paris. March 28. 1783


I am much obliged to you for your Favour of 21. and its Inclosures. I do not think myself at Liberty to write my private Sentiments about the Regulations of Trade between G. Britain and America, without consulting my Colleagues.— The British should have a Minister here to treat with Us upon this Matter.— all I can Say is that no commercial Regulations which Parliament can make will materially hurt America. but there are many which they may make which will ruin themselves. One Maxim I regard as infallible, “The more Priviledges they allow America, the better for themselves.—[”] Every Restraint will hurt only themselves.

I1 may assist their Deliberations, at present to print the inclosed Treaty and Convention, which I beg the favour of you to do, as soon as possible, in the News Papers.2

With great Esteem, I have the Honour to be, Sir / your most obedient and most humble Servant

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Jennings.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 108.

1In the Letterbook JA inserted “t” to make the word “It.”

2These were the Dutch-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Convention on Recaptures, both signed on 8 Oct. 1782 (vol. 13:348–386). They were not printed in the London newspapers subsequent to this letter. However, according to an undated letter from Edmund Jenings, probably written in early July, the two documents had appeared in a “Handsome Volume” published six weeks earlier (Adams Papers; filmed at [June 1783]). Jenings referred to The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America, London, 1783. Compiled by William Jackson, a radical journalist who supported the American cause, it was based on the collection published by Congress in 1781 (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1901; repr. Oxford, 1959–1960; 21 vols. plus supplements. description ends ; vol. 11:477). But the new compilation contained additional material, including the 1775 Olive Branch Petition to George III, the preliminary Anglo-American peace treaty, and the “Never Before Published” Dutch-American treaty and convention.

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