The American Peace Commissioners to David Hartley
Copies: National Archives,3 William L. Clements Library, Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society; press copy of copy: National Archives
Passy 30. August 1783.
The American Ministers Plenipotentiary for making Peace with great Britain, present their Compliments to Mr. Hartley. They regret that Mr. Hartley’s Instructions will not permit him to sign the Definitive Treaty of Peace with America at the Place appointed for the Signature of the others.4 They will nevertheless have the Honour of waiting upon Mr. Hartley at his Lodgings at Paris, for the Purpose of signing the Treaty in Question, on wednesday Morning at Eight oClock.
3. Enclosed in the commissioners’ letter to Boudinot, Sept. 10. WTF noted at the top of this copy, “Answer to Mr. Hartley’s Letter of the 29. Augt 1783—”
4. The American commissioners evidently believed Hartley’s claim that his instructions required him to sign the treaty at Paris and refuse mediation. Thirty years later, JA recalled that they had thought these orders unbecoming to “a great nation and a great monarch,” but Hartley had “glossed these things over with ingenuity and good humor. We knew they were not his own projects, and received his apologies with equal good humor.” See Hartley to the American Commissioners, Aug. 12 (headnote) and Aug. 29; to Fox, Aug. 20, in Giunta, Emerging Nation, I, 922–3; and Adams Papers, XV, 250–1n, which quotes JA’s recollections from February, 1812, published in the Boston Patriot.