Charles Thomson to the American Commissioners
Philadelphia June 18. 1784
I have the honor of forwarding three comm[issions] which were not prepared in time to go by Mr. Jefferson, [and] a duplicate of the instructions he carried with him. I [also] enclose a copy of the Journal of the last session of Congr[ess] as far as printed and a news paper containing the ord[i]nance for putting the treasury into commission and an act defining the powers of the committee of the states during the recess of Congress. On the third of this Month Congress was adjourned pursuant to an act passed the 26 April to meet at Trenton on the 30 of October next. With great respect I have the honor to be Gentlemen Yr. most Ob: h Servt,
FC (PHi); at foot of text: “The honble J. Adams B. Franklin & T. Jefferson.” Enclosures: (1) Commissions to treat with France, the United Netherlands, and Sweden (TJ’s copies of these commissions are in MHi; Tr of the commission for Sweden is in DLC: PCC, No. 116). (2) Copy of the instructions to the commissioners (see Thomson to TJ, 16 May 1784, and enclosures). (3) Probably the Journal of … Congress … from The Third Day of November 1783 to The Third Day of June, 1784, Phila., John Dunlap (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvii, 724). (4) A newspaper containing the ordinance of Congress for putting the treasury in commission (see same, p. 438–9). (5) Act of Congress of 29 May 1784, defining the powers of the committee of the states (same, p. 474–7; 561–5).
The difference between the form of the three commissions enclosed in this letter and that of the twenty enclosed in Thomson’s letter of 16 May 1784 lay primarily in the fact that the former were supplementary in nature; the opening clause reads: “Whereas it may be necessary, for the purpose of promoting and perfecting the commercial intercourse so happily begun between the United States of America and the United Netherlands, that supplementary treaties be formed in addition to the Treaty of amity and commerce already entered into between the two nations.” Another difference is that in the present commissions Thomson was able to abandon the honorific before the names of the three Commissioners, Gerry being no longer present to stay his hand. On this date also Thomson informed Franklin of TJ’s being included in the commission to negotiate commercial treaties and spoke of Luzerne’s departure having been delayed “by the marriage of M. De Marbois, which was celebrated yesterday with a daughter of Mr. William Moore” (Thomson to Franklin, 18 June 1784, PPHi). At the same time that commissions for France, the United Netherlands, and Sweden were ordered to be issued, Congress “Resolved that the Ministers plenipotentiary … be and they are hereby instructed, in any negotiation they may enter into with the Court of Spain, not to relinquish or cede in any event whatsoever the right of the Citizens of these United States to the free Navigation of the River Mississippi from its source to the Ocean” (Tr in DNA: PCC, No. 116, p. 17, dated 3 June 1784; JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxvii, 529–30).