New York April 6th 1783.
A Packet from England arrived in this Port last night, by which I have dispatches from Mr Townshend, one of His Majesty’s principal Secretaries of State, communicating official intelligence, that preliminary articles of peace with France, and Spain were signed at Paris on the 20th January last, and that the ratifications have been since exchanged at the same place.
The King Sir, has been pleased, in consequence of these events, to order proclamation to be published declaring a cessation of arms as well by Sea as land; and His Majesty’s pleasure signified, that I should cause the same to be published in all places under my command, in order that His Majesty’s subjects may pay immediate and due obedience thereto, and such proclamation I shall accordingly cause to be made on Tuesday next, the eighth instant. In consequence thereof, and in conformity to the articles of peace, all our prisoners of War are to be set at liberty and restored, with all convenient dispatch, entertaining no doubt but that similar measures will be taken on the part of the United States of America; In like manner, no doubt can be entertained, but that Congress in conformity to the 5th Article of the provisional treaty, will lose no time in earnestly recommending to the legislature[s] of the respective states, to provide for the restitution of confiscated estates, and to reconsider and revise all laws of confiscation that they may be rendered perfectly consistent, not only with justice and equity, but with that spirit of conciliation which on the return of the blessings of peace should universally prevail.
And I am further to inform your Excellency, that an instrument of accession to the suspension of hostilities by the States General of the united provinces having been received in England, a cessation of arms with those States has been thereupon included in the proclamation.
Upon this great occasion Sir, I am to offer my strongest assurances, that during the short period of my command here, I shall be ready and earnest to cultivate that spirit of perfect good will, which between the united states of america and the King of Great Britain, and the Subjects and the citizens of both countries will I trust always remain. I am with much consideration Your Excellency’s most obedt and most humble servant
DLC: Papers of George Washington.