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The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley: Answers to Propositions, [29 June 1783]

The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley: Answers to Propositions8

Copies: William L. Clements Library,9 Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society (two), National Archives (two), Archives du Ministère des affaires étrangères; transcript: National Archives

[June 29, 1783]

Answers to Mr Hartleys six Propositions for the definitive Treaty—

To the 1st This matter has been already regulated in the 5th & 6th Articles of the Provisional Treaty1 to the utmost extent of our Powers: The Rest must be left to the several States.

2d All the Lakes, Rivers and Waters, divided by the Boundary Line or Lines, between the United States and his Britannic Majesty’s Territories shall be freely used & navigated by both Parties during the whole extent of such Division. Regulations concerning Roads, Carrying Places and any Land Communications between said Waters, whether within the Line of the United States or that of his Majesty, together with the Navigation of all Waters and Rivers in America belonging to either Party, may be made in the Negotiation of a Treaty of Commerce.

3d & 4th That in all Places belonging to the United States in the Country adjoining to the Water Line of Division, and which, during the War were in his Majesty’s Possession, all Persons at present resident, or having Possessions or Occupations, as Merchants or otherwise, may remain in the peaceable Enjoyment of all civil Rights, and in pursuit of their Occupations, until they shall receive Notice of Removal from Congress, or the State, to which any such Place may appertain, and that, upon any such Notice of Removal, a Term of two Years shall be allowed for selling or withdrawing their Effects, and for settling their Affairs—

5th That his Britannic Majesty’s Forces not exceeding [blank] in number, may continue in the Posts now occupied by them, contiguous to the Water Line, until Congress shall give them Notice to evacuate the said Posts; and Garrisons of their own shall arrive at said Posts, for the purpose of securing the Lives, Property and Peace of any Persons settled in that Country, against the Invasion or Ravages of the Neighbouring Indian Nations, who may be suspected of retaining Resentments in consequence of the late War.

6th The Consideration of this Proposition may be left to the Treaty of Commerce.

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8After receiving Hartley’s six propositions on June 19, BF, JA, and Jay met frequently to craft their answers and to complete their own proposals (immediately below). An unannounced visit by Hartley on June 25 found them all together, “in great agitation” over what he surmised were letters from London warning them against trusting the British: Hartley to the Duke of Portland, June 26, 1783 (Clements Library). On June 27 JA wrote to Livingston that they had made so much progress in preparing a definitive treaty that they expected to be able to give it to Hartley the next day: Adams Papers, XV, 61. They presented this and the following documents to him on June 29, according to Hammond’s notations on each.

9Hartley’s retained copy, in the hand of his secretary George Hammond. We publish it for two reasons: it is the only extant copy that is dated, and it incorporates the numbering changes that the commissioners made after they had prepared the now-missing holograph and made their own copies. (They drafted only five answers and originally numbered them 1–5. They later added the number “4” to their third answer, and renumbered the rest. WTF made these changes in one of the copies sent to Congress, now at the National Archives.) Hartley forwarded a copy to Fox on July 1, indicating that it was a duplicate (Giunta, Emerging Nation, I, 866–70); we have not located the first copy, which was presumably dated June 29.

1XXXVIII, 385–6.

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