Thomas Jefferson Papers

American Commissioners to Dorset, 16 May 1785

American Commissioners to Dorset

Passy near Paris May 16th. 1785

My Lord Duke

We received in due time the letter which your Grace did us the honour to write us on the 26th. day of March last, and have delayed the acknowledgment of it in expectation of the arrival of the packets, by which we hoped for further Instructions from Congress.

We have now the honor to inform your Grace that Congress on the 24th. day of Feby. last, appointed a Minister Plenipotentiary to reside at the court of His Britannic Majesty, who proposes to proceed to London in the course of two or three weeks, which makes a more particular answer to your letter unnecessary. With great respect We have the honor to be Your Grace’s Most obedient and Most humble Servants,

john adams

b. franklin

t. jefferson

FC (DNA: PCC, No. 116); in David Humphreys’ hand; at head of letter: “Answer to the Duke of Dorset’s letter to the Ministers dated March 26. 1785.” A copy was sent as enclosure No. 3 in the letter from the Commissioners to John Jay of 18 June 1785.

On 7 Apr. 1785, Dorset wrote Carmarthen that he had had no answer from the American Commissioners, adding: “it is however certain that the States of America are daily strengthening the hands of Congress with respect to Commercial regulations, and with the power already delegated to the Messr. Adams, Franklin and Jefferson, they may be consider’d as fully autherized to treat, notwithstanding any appearance of want of subordination to Congress on the part of the States in other matters.” Again on 28 Apr.: “The American ministers are much offended at the question I put to them in consequence of your letter to me; they don’t mean to answer it. I think we need not be in a hurry to form any commercial treaty with America, Adams strongly suspects we are playing that game.” On 2 June 1785 Dorset sent a copy of the above letter to Carmarthen “which by mistake was omitted to be sent to your Lordship sooner” (Public Record Office, London, Foreign Office Records, 27/16 France).

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