Thomas Jefferson Papers

American Commissioners to De Thulemeier, 21 January 1785

American Commissioners to De Thulemeier

Passy Janry. 21st. 1785


We have received the letter you did us the honour to write us on the 10th. day of December last.

We supposed that the principles contained in the project of a Treaty, which we had the honour to transmit you, were a virtual answer to the requisition in the last lines of your letter of the eighteenth of October. By the second and third Articles, the citizens and subjects of each power may frequent all the coasts and countries of the other and reside and trade there in all sorts of produce, manufactures or merchandises paying no greater duties than the most favoured nation. By the fourth Article each party shall have a right to carry their own produce, manufactures and merchandise in their own vessels to any parts of the dominions of the other where it shall be lawful for all the subjects or citizens of that other party to purchase them; and thence to take the produce, manufactures and merchandise of that other, which all the said citizens or subjects shall in like manner be free to sell them, paying in both cases such duties, charges and fees only as are or shall be paid by the most favoured nation.

But if by a city for the commerce of exchange between the merchants of the two nations, be meant a port more free than any intended in the said second third or fourth Articles, that is to say a port absolutely free from all duties and charges, or a port, where merchandize may be landed and stored and afterwards reembarked and exported without paying any imposts or duties, we submit to your consideration whether it will not be for the interests of Prussia that both Emden and Stetten at least should be made such: however should it be thought otherwise and we be still desired to elect one of the two ports, we should ask for time to communicate the proposition to Congress and to receive their instructions thereon. We have the honour to be With great consideration And esteem Your Excellency’s Most obedient and Most humble Servants,

John Adams

B. Franklin

T. Jefferson

FC (DNA: PCC, No. 116); in the hand of David Humphreys; at foot of letter: “His Excellency The Baron de Thulemeier Envoy Exty. from His Prussian Majesty at the Hague.” A copy was enclosed in the Commissioners’ letter to the President of Congress, 9 Feb. 1785. The (missing) RC evidently lacked a date; see De Thulemeier to Commissioners, 11 Feb. 1785.

John Adams had privately acknowledged De Thulemeier’s letter of the 10th. day of December last, adding: “This letter I communicated to those ministers immediately, and they will have the honor of answering you, as soon as the Multiplicity of affairs they have on hand and the ill Health of two of them will admit” (Adams to De Thulemeier, 22 Dec. 1784; MHi: AMT). It was probably for these reasons also that he had ten days earlier requested of TJ a copy of the project of a treaty, which Humphreys sent with the following remarks: “Mr. Jefferson having mentioned last evening that you would immediately have occasion for a copy of the Project of a Treaty which had been transmitted to the Baron Thulemeier &c. I now do myself the honour of forwarding the original draught which is certainly correct, and as legible as it would be in my own hand. I have copied it into the recording Book, and can therefore make out another copy if it would be more agreeable to you, but as this would make some delay, I thought it adviseable to send the enclosed without loss of time” (Humphreys to Adams, 12 Jan. 1785, MHi: AMT). The “original draught” sent by Humphreys was probably TJ’s MS (fair copy) of a “general form” of treaty as printed above under date of 10 Nov. 1784, Document iv.

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