Benjamin Franklin Papers

The American Peace Commissioners to Francis Dana, 12 December 1782

The American Peace Commissioners to Francis Dana

ALS, AL (draft), and copy:1 Massachusetts Historical Society; two copies: Library of Congress

Paris Decr. 12 1782


We have the Honour to congratulate you, on the Signature of the preliminary Treaty of Peace, between his Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, to be inserted in the definitive Treaty, when France and Britain2 Shall have agreed upon their Terms. The Articles, of which We do ourselves the honour to inclose you a Copy, were compleated, on the thirtieth of last Month.

To Us, at this Distance, the present opportunity, appears to be the most favourable for you to communicate your mission to the Ministers of the Empress of Russia, and to the Ministers of the other neutral Powers residing at her Court, and if you have no Objections, We presume you will wish to be furnished with the inclosed Paper,3 to communicate at the Same Time.

We heartily wish you Success, and if you Should inform Us of a fair prospect of it, We Shall propose an Article in the definitive Treaty, to Secure the Freedom of Navigation according to the Principles of the late marine Treaty between the neutral Powers.4

With great Respect, We have the Honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servants

John Adams
B Franklin
John Jay
Henry Laurens

The Honourable Francis Dana Esq.

Endorsed: Letter from J. Adams & other Commissioners of the U. States Dated Paris Decr: 12th. 1782 Recd. Jany: 1st. 1783— O. Stile5

1Both the ALS and the AL (draft) are in JA’s hand. The commissioners agreed to send this letter on Dec. 3; see the exchange between JA and BF on that date.

2JA’s draft originally read, “when the other belligerent powers”. This change implies that the American agreement would become effective even if Spain and/ or the Netherlands failed to make peace with Britain.

3JA’s draft here includes the phrase “for that Purpose”. We assume that the enclosed paper was related to Dana’s appointment as minister to the Russian court.

4The League of Armed Neutrality, to which by now Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Prussia, Austria, and Portugal had acceded: Sir Francis Piggott and G. W. T. Omond, eds., Documentary History of the Armed Neutralities, 1780 and 1800 … (London, 1919), pp. 198–278.

5By the New Style calendar the date of receipt was Jan. 12.

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