Benjamin Franklin Papers
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John Adams to Franklin and John Jay, 2 April 1784

John Adams to Franklin and John Jay

Copy:6 Massachusetts Historical Society

The Hague April 2. 1784


I duely received the Letter, you did me the Honour to write me, on the Subject of a Treaty with Prussia and have communicated it to the Baron de Thuelemeier.7 The King agrees to take the Treaty with Sweeden for a Model8 and if your Excellencies have any Alterations to propose I should be obliged to you for the Communication of them. The Baron waits the further Instructions of the King, before he proposes any Additions or Substractions.9 I should be obliged to your Excellencys for a Copy of the Treaty with Sweeden as I am so unlucky, as not to have one here.

Inclosed is a Copy of a Petition to Congress transmitted me, from Boston by which it appears that the Britons in New York have condemned many Vessells taken after the Commencement of the Armistice.—1 This Judgment Seems to me to amount to this that a Parrallel of Latitude is not a Circle which surrounds the Globe. If your opinion, Gentlemen is clear upon this head, as I doubt not it is, I think it would be a publick Service to write it to Congress, as this will at least determine the Sufferers to pursue their Rights by Appeal to England. There can be no dispute about it in England I think.

With great Regard

Their Excellencys Benjamin Franklin & John Jay Esqrs

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

6In JA’s hand. Unless otherwise noted, copies of his letters at the Mass. Hist. Soc. are in JA’s autograph letterbooks.

7The Feb. 28 letter from BF and John Jay to JA approved of his holding preliminary discussions with Thulemeier about a Prussian-American commercial treaty. JA showed it to Thulemeier on March 8, and the baron was “well satisfied” with it: XLI, 593–4; Adams Papers, XVI, 78.

8Thulemeier informed JA on March 14 that Frederick II had agreed to use the Swedish-American treaty (XXXIX, 250–85) as the basis for negotiations and requested a copy of it: Adams Papers, XVI, 90–1.

9JA asked Thulemeier, in the meantime, to compile a list of merchandise that might be exchanged between Prussia and the United States. Thulemeier sent it on March 25. The commodities proposed were largely those discussed by BF and Prussian minister Goltz in July, 1783: XL, 363; Adams Papers, XVI, 97–100, 101n.

1JA had received a copy of this Aug. 18, 1783, petition from Boston merchant John Hurd, one of the 70 signatories: Adams Papers, 107n. (The petition itself is at the National Archives.) In response to it, article 7 of Congress’ Oct. 29, 1783, instructions to the American Peace Commissioners (XLI, 157) asked them to clarify the timetable of the Jan. 20, 1783, armistice, which had confused Americans ever since it was announced; see XLI, 157n.

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