Lafayette to the American Peace Commissioners
ALS: Massachusetts Historical Society
Chavaniac1 july the 22 1783
Having Been Honoured With letters from Congress, it Becomes my duty to Consult You Upon a point Which they Have particularly Recommended— In the late preliminaries no time is Mentionned for the American Merchants paying their English debts— A Matter of Great Moment to our Merchants who Require at least three or four Years to Accomplish the Business— Upon the Receipt of the letter, I Have Adressed Count de Vergennes, and Represented to Him How important a favorable decision on this point would Be to the french trade—2 Knowing the Uneasiness of our American Merchants on that affair, I Cannot Help Partaking of it, and would Consider it as a great favor to Be Acquainted With the present Situation of things, and with the further Measures You Might think proper for me to Undertake.
The General Satisfaction Which Arose from the time of peace, is a Matter of justice to You, Gentlemen, that Affords Me a Most Unfeigned Pleasure— Give me leave to present You With the Assurances of an Affectionate Respect I Have the Honour to Be With Your obedient Humble servant
Their Excellencies the Commissioners for treating with G. B. &c
Endorsed by John Adams: M. De La Fayette 22 July 1783.
1. The family estate: Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, I, XXXV.
2. In a letter of April 12, Boudinot told Lafayette that the only thing lacking in the preliminary peace agreement was an article allowing American merchants three to four years to pay their debts. He added that it should “also be an Object with France,” as American merchants would be in the hands of English creditors if such an article were not included in the definitive treaty: Smith, Letters, XX, 168–70. Lafayette wrote to Vergennes on July 21, urging him to intervene in this matter for the good of Franco-American trade. Vergennes replied on Aug. 5 that Hartley was not authorized to make such compromises concerning the rights of individuals: Idzerda, Lafayette Papers, V, 144–5, 380–1.