Thomas Jefferson Papers

American Commissioners to John Jay, 11 October 1785

American Commissioners to John Jay

Dear Sir

We have the Honour to transmit to Congress, by Mr. Fitzhughs, the Treaty between the United States and the King of Prussia, Signed Seperately by your Ministers at the several Places of their Residence, and by the Baron De Thulemeier at the Hague, in English and French and exchanged at the Hague in Presence of Mr. Short and Mr. Dumas. As this Treaty may be of considerable Importance to the United States, and will certainly promote their Reputation, it is to be wished, that the Ratifications may be exchanged, and the Publication made as soon as possible. The Admission of our Privateers into the Prussian Ports, by a Treaty Signed at the moment of the Negotiation of the League, in which Brandenburg and Hanover are Parties is a little remarkable. It certainly merits the Consideration of Congress and the States. With great Respect We have the Honour to be, Sir your most obedient and most humble servants,

London Octr. 2. 1785 John Adams
Paris Octob. 11. 1785. Th: Jefferson

RC (DNA: PCC No. 86); in Adams’ hand, signed by Adams and TJ; docketed: “Referred to Report 9 Feby: 1786.” FC (DNA: PCC No. 116); in the hand of Humphreys; at head of text: “9th. Report to Congress addressed to Mr. Jay Secretary of foreign Affairs.” TJ had asked Adams to draft this letter and it accompanied Adams’ to TJ of 2 Oct. 1785. The Treaty with Prussia which the Fitzhughs carried to America is in DNA; the final page bearing the signatures is reproduced in this volume.

The instrument of ratification, which recited both the French and English texts, was adopted by Congress on 17 May 1786 (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. W. C. Ford and others, Washington, 1904–1937 description ends , xxx, 110–12, 268–85). The Prussian instrument of ratification recited only the French text. De Thulemeier notified both Adams and TJ on the very day that the present letter was written that the Treaty had already been ratified by the Prussian court (see De Thulemeier to TJ, 11 Oct.). The treaty was evidently never proclaimed formally (Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties of the United States, ii, 184).

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