Draft Articles on the Fisheries and Creditors
[28 November 1782]
That the Subjects of his Britannic Majesty and the People of the Said United States Shall continue to enjoy, unmolested, the Right to take Fish of every Kind, on the Grand Bank and on all the other Banks of Newfoundland: also in the Gulph of St Laurence, and in all other Places, where the Inhabitants of both Countries, used at any time heretofore to fish; and the Citizens of the Said United States Shall have Liberty to cure and dry their Fish, on the Shores of Cape Sable, and of any of the unsettled Bays, Harbours or Creeks of Nova Scotia, on any of the Shores of the Magdalene Islands, and of the Labradore Coast: And they shall be permitted in Time of Peace, to hire Pieces of Land of the legal Proprietors in any of the Dominions of his Said Majesty in America for Terms of Years, whereon to erect the necessary Stages and Buildings, and to cure and dry their Fish.1
It is agreed that
the British Creditors on either Side shall meet with no lawful Impediment to the Recovery of the full Value of in sterling Money of2 Such bona fide debts as were contracted by any Persons who are Citizens of the Said United states, before the Year 1775 and reciprocally that American Creditors, Shall recover their Debts of British subjects
MS (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Project of an Article / respecting the Fisheries.” Filmed at [29 Nov.].
1. This article is virtually identical to that drafted by JA on the morning of 28 Nov. and included in his Diary entry for that date, but he there says nothing about Art. 4 (JA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:78). The new article is notable because it revised the provision in the draft treaty submitted by Oswald on 25 Nov., above, by removing any restriction on the distance from the coast where Americans would be allowed to fish and making American access to the fisheries a “Right” as opposed to a “Liberty.” The revision was a return to the language of the articles agreed to on [4 Nov.], above, even reprising the reciprocal reference to “the Subjects of his Britannic Majesty and the People of the Said United States” as opposed to the reference only to the “Citizens of the Said United States” in the 25 Nov. draft. For the further evolution of this article, see the two additional drafts at [29 Nov.] and the treaty signed on 30 Nov., both below.