Adams Papers

The American Commissioners’ Memorandum of a Conversation with Per Olof von Asp, 8 October 1784

The American Commissioners’ Memorandum
of a Conversation with Per Olof von Asp

Octr. 8. 1784.—1

The objects of the supplementary Treaty proposed on the part of the United States with His Sweedish Majesty are in substance these:

  • 1. to bring the condition of the Subjects and Citizens of each party trading in the dominions of the other more nearly to that of Natives than it is at present: the island of St. Bartholomew presents itself as a part of this object which the United States would wish to have laid as open to them as they will lay their Countries to the Subjects of His Sweedish Majesty.
  • 2. to provide by stipulations, while the two nations are in terms of friendship with each other, that if ever a war should unhappily fall out between them, it shall not interrupt commerce or agriculture, and that prisoners of War shall be favourably treated.2

MS in David Humphreys’ hand (PCC, No. 116, f. 46–47).

1At the head of the MS, David Humphreys wrote, “in consequence of the preceding letter the subsequent verbal information was remitted to his Excellency the Ambassador by the hand of Mr d’Asp Secretary to the Swedish Ambassy—viz.” The “preceding letter” was that of 5 Oct. from the Baron Staël von Holstein, the Swedish ambassador, in answer to the commissioners’ of 28 Sept. announcing their new commission to negotiate a treaty or treaties supplemental to the 1783 Swedish-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce. In his reply the ambassador asked the commissioners what such negotiations might encompass. Asp was an acquaintance of JA’s, having formerly served as chargé d’affaires to the Swedish legation at The Hague (vol. 13:424; Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950–. description ends , 7:428–429, 434–435).

2For provisions that the commissioners may have intended to propose in new negotiations, see the Negotiation of the 10 September 1785 Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 10 Nov. 1784–14 March 1785, No. II, below, in particular Arts. 23 and 24 of the draft Prussian-American treaty.

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