Adams Papers

Benjamin Franklin to John Adams, 31 March 1784

From Benjamin Franklin

Passy, March 31. 1784


I have the honour of acquainting your Excellency, that an Express from Congress is at last arrived, with their Ratification of the Definitive Treaty. Inclosed I send Copies of the President’s Letter, the Recommendatory Resolution, and the Proclamation, together with three Letters for yourself.1 We have written to Mr Hartley, that we are now ready to make the Exchange.2 With great Respect, I am, / Sir, / Your Excellency’s most obedient / & most humble Servant

B. Franklin

RC (Adams Papers).

1All of the documents referred to in this letter were carried by Col. Josiah Harmar. Franklin sent the president of Congress’ letter to the commissioners of 14 Jan. (vol. 15:455–456) with which were enclosed Congress’ 14 Jan. proclamation of the treaty and its 14 Jan. resolution recommending that the states comply with the treaty’s provisions regarding loyalists (JCC, description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, D.C., 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends 26:29–31). The president’s letter and its enclosures are at 14 Jan. in the Adams Papers. While Franklin refers to “three Letters for yourself,” there were probably four. These were from Elbridge Gerry and Arthur Lee, both 14 Jan., and Samuel Osgood, 7 Dec. 1783 and [14 Jan. 1784] (vol. 15:398–414, 447–455). The endorsements on the letters from Lee and Osgood indicate that each was received on 5 April. While Gerry’s letter is not similarly endorsed, he indicates that it was to go with Harmar, which is confirmed by JA in his reply to Gerry of 27 June, below.

2Franklin and John Jay wrote to David Hartley on 31 March indicating that despite delays caused by bad weather, the ratified treaty had arrived and they were ready to exchange ratifications at Hartley’s convenience (Jay, Unpublished Papers, description begins John Jay: Unpublished Papers, ed. Richard B. Morris, New York, 1975–1980; 2 vols. description ends 2:707). Hartley replied on 9 April that measures to affect the exchange “with all convenient Speed” were under way (PCC, No. 85, f. 436). Replying to Franklin’s letter on 10 April, JA expressed his hope that the exchange would occur expeditiously, but it did not take place until 12 May (LbC, APM Reel 107; Miller, Treaties, description begins Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, ed. Hunter Miller, Washington, D.C., 1931–1948; 8 vols. description ends 2:151).

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