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Relations with Morocco. Portugal. - English



Passy, 13 September, 1783.

I received, a few days since, the private letter your Excellency did me the honor of writing to me of the 13th of June. I regret with you the resignation of the late Secretary. Your present cares are increased by it, and it will be difficult to find a successor of equal abilities.

We found no difficulty in deciphering the resolution of Congress. The Commissioners have taken no notice of it in our public letter.

I am happy to hear that both the device and workmanship of the medal are approved with you, as they have the good fortune to be by the best judges on this side of the water. It has been esteemed a welltimed, as well as a well-merited, compliment here, and has its good effects. Since the two first which you mention as received, I have sent by different opportunities so many, as that every member of Congress might have one. hope they are come safe to hand by this time. I wrote a long letter to Mr. Livingston by Mr. Barney, to which I beg leave to refer, enclosing a copy.

We had, before signing the definitive treaty, received the ratification of the preliminary articles by his Britannic Majesty, exchanged with us by Mr. Hartley for that of the Congress. I send herewith a copy of the first and last clauses.

In a former letter, I mentioned the volunteer proceedings of a merchant at Alicant, towards obtaining

a treaty between us and the Emperor of Morocco. We have since received a letter from a person who says, as you will see by the copy enclosed, that he is sent by the Emperor to be the bearer of his answer to the United States, and that he is arrived in Spain on his way to Paris. He has not yet appeared here, and we hardly know what answer to give him. I hope the sending a minister to that court, as recommended in my last, has been taken into consideration, or at least that some instructions respecting that nation have been sent to your minister in Spain, who is better situated than we are for such a negotiation.

The minister from Denmark often speaks to me about the proposed treaty, of which a copy went by Mr. Barney. No commission to sign it, nor any instructions from Congress relating to it, are yet arrived; and, though pressed, I have not ventured to do any thing further in the affair.

I forward herewith a letter to the Congress from the city of Hamburg.* I understand that a good disposition towards us prevails there, which it may be well to encourage.

No answer has yet been given me from the court of Portugal, respecting the plan of a treaty concerted between its ambassador here and me. He has been unwell and much in the country, so that I have not seen him lately. I suspect that the false or exaggerated reports of the distracted situation of our government, industriously propagated throughout Europe by our enemies, have made an impression in that kingdom to our disadvantage, and inclined them to hesitate in forming a connexion with us. Questions asked me, and observations made by several of the foreign

* See Diplomatic Correspondence, Vol. IV. p. 88.

ministers here, convince me, that the idle stories of our disunion, contempt of authority, refusal to pay taxes, &c.; have been too much credited, and been very injurious to our reputation.

I sent before a copy of the letter I wrote to the Grand Master of Malta,* with a present of our medal. With this you will have a copy of his answer. I send also a copy of a note I received from the Pope's Nuncio. He is very civil on all occasions, and has mentioned the possibility of an advantageous trade America might have with the Ecclesiastical State, which he says has two good ports, Civita Vecchia, and

This court continues favorable to us. Count de Vergennes was resolute in refusing to sign the definitive treaty with England before ours was signed. The English ministers were offended, but complied. I am convinced that court will never cease endeavouring to disunite us. We shall, I hope, be constantly on our guard against those machinations; for our safety consists in a steady adherence to our friends, and our reputation in a faithful regard to treaties, and in a grateful conduct towards our benefactors.

I send herewith sundry memorials recommended to my care by Count de Vergennes, viz. one respecting a claim of Messieurs Fosters, of Bordeaux, one of M. Pequet, and one of M. Bayard. The Congress will take such notice of them as they shall think proper. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.

* See Vol. IX. pp. 508, 527.




† Ibid. p. 518.


Concerning a Treaty of Commerce with England. Bath, 24 September, 1783.


I am at present at Bath, with my dearest sister, whom I have found as well as I could have expected, and I hope with reasonable prospect of recovery in time. I have seen my friends in the ministry, and hope things will go on well; with them I am sure all is right and firm. The chief part of the cabinet ministers are out of town; but there will be a full cabinet held in a few days, in which a specific proposition, in the nature of a temporary convention, will be given in instructions to me, I imagine nearly upon the ground of my memorial of May 19th, 1783, which I delivered to the American ministers, viz. "American ships not to bring foreign manufactures into Great Britain, nor to trade directly between the British West Indies and Great Britain;" all the rest to be as before the war. I expect that something to this effect will be their determination in the affair; and, if it should be so, I shall hope not to meet with difficulty on your parts. I want to see some specific beginning. As to any further proposition respecting the trade between Great Britain and the British West Indies, I doubt whether any such can be discussed before the meeting of Parliament. I wish to look forward not only to the continuation of peace between our two countries, but to the improvement of reconciliation into alliance; and therefore I wish the two parties to be disposed to accommodate each other, without the strict account by weights and scales, as between aliens and strangers, actuated towards each other by no other principle than

cold and equalizing indifference. Friendly dispositions presumed have their fairest chance of being realized; but, if we should set out presuming against them, the good which might have happened may be prevented. Pray remember me to your three colleagues, and to all friends. Yours ever most affectionately,


P. S. I have put in a word for our Quaker article, and I hope with some impression.


Enclosing a Copy of the Definitive Treaty.


Passy, 27 September, 1783.

Mr. Thaxter, late secretary of Mr. Adams, who is charged with all our despatches, that were intended to go by the French packet boat, writes from L'Orient, that, though he arrived there two days before the time appointed for her sailing, he missed reaching her by four hours; but another light vessel was fitting, and would sail the 21st instant, in which he hoped to arrive at New York nearly as soon as the packet. We shall send duplicates by the next from hence.

In the mean time I enclose a printed copy of the definitive treaty, which I hear is ratified. Indeed, we have the ratification of the preliminaries.

Mr. Hartley, when he left us, expected to return in three weeks, in order to proceed with us in forming a treaty of commerce. The new commission, that was intended for us, is not yet come to hand. With great respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, &c.


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