The following treaty ended the American Revolutionary War.
THE UNITED STATES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, To all who shall these presents greeting:
WHEREAS in and by our commission, dated at Philadelphia, the fifteenth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-one, the honorable John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson, or a majority of them, or of such of them as might assemble, or in case of the death, absence, indisposition or other impediment of the others, any one of them were constituted and appointed our ministers, with full power and authority, general and special, to confer, treat, agree, and conclude with the ambassadors, commissioners and plenipotentiaries of the princes and states whom it might concern, vested with equal powers relating to the establishment of peace, and whatsoever should be agreed and concluded for us, and in our name to sign and thereupon make a treaty or treaties, and to transact every thing that might be necessary for compleating, securing and strengthening the great work of pacification in as ample form and with the same effect as if we were personally present and acted therein; we promising at the same time in good faith that we would accept, ratify, fulfil and execute what should be agreed, concluded and signed by our said ministers plenipotentiary, or a majority of them, or of such of them as might assemble, or in case of the death, absence, indisposition or other impediment of the others by any one of them: And whereas John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and Henry Laurens, four of our said commissioners, in pursuance of the powers aforesaid, on the thirtieth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, with Richard Oswald, esquire, commissioners of his Britannic majesty for treating of peace with the commissioners of the United States of America, in virtue of powers to him granted by his said Britannic Majesty, did conclude and sign on the part of the United States of America and the crown of Great-Britain, articles in the words following:
ARTICLES agreed upon by and between Richard Oswald, esquire, the commissioner of his Britannic Majesty, for treating of peace with the commissioners of the United States of America, in behalf of his said Majesty on the one part, and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and Henry Laurens, four of the commissioners of the said states for treating of peace with the commissioner of his said Majesty, on their behalf, on the other part; to be inserted in, and to constitute the treaty of peace proposed to be concluded between the crown of Great-Britain and the said United States: but which treaty is not to be concluded until terms of a peace shall be agreed upon between Great-Britain and
France; and his Britannic Majesty shall be ready to conclude such treaty accordingly.
WHEREAS reciprocal advantages and mutual convenience are found by experience to form the only permanent foundation of peace and friendship between states: it is agreed to form the articles of the proposed treaty on such principles of liberal equity and reciprocity, as that partial advantages, those seeds of discord, being excluded, such a beneficial and satisfactory intercourse between the two countries may be established as to promise and secure to both, perpetual peace and harmony.
Article 1st. His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free, sovereign and independent states: that he [treats?] with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, proprietary and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof: and that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their boundaries, viz.
Article 2d. From the north west angle of Nova-Scotia, viz, that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of Saint Croix river to the Highlands; along the said Highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the river Saint Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean to the north-westernmost head of Connecticut river, thence down along the middle of the river to the forty fifth degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due well on said latitude; until it strikes the river
Iroquois or Cataraquy; thence along the middle of said river into Lake Ontario, through the middle of said lake until it strikes the communication by water between that lake and lake Erie; thence along the middle of said communication into lake Erie, through the middle of said lake until it arrives at the water communication between that lake and lake Huron; thence along the middle of said water communication into the lake Huron; thence through the middle of the said lake to the water communication between that lake and lake Superior; thence through lake Superior northward of the isles, Royal and Philipeau to the long lake; thence through the middle of said long lake, and the water communication between it and the lake of the Woods, to the said lake of the Woods; thence through the said lake to the most north-western point thereof, and from thence on a due west course to the river Missisippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Missisippi, until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude. South by a line to be drawn due east from the determination of the line last mentioned, in the latitude of thirty-one degrees north of the equator, to the middle of the river Apalachicola or Catahouche; thence along the midle thereof to its junction with the Flint river; thence streight to the head of Saint Mary’s river; and thence down along the middle of Saint Mary’s river to the Atlantic Ocean. East by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river Saint Croix, from its mouth in the bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to the aforesaid Highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river Saint Lawrence: comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova-Scotia on the one part, and East Florida on the other shall respectively touch the bay of Fundy, and the Atlantic Ocean; excepting such islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of the said province of Nova Scotia.
Article 3d. It is agreed that the people of the United States shall continue to enjoy unmolested the right to take fish of every kind on the Grand bank, and on all the other banks of Newfoundland; also in the gulph of Saint Lawrence, and at all other places in the sea, where the inhabitants of both countries used at any time heretofore to fish; and also that the inhabitants of the United States shall have liberty to take fish of every kind on such part of the coast of Newfoundland as British fishermen shall use, (but not to dry or cure the same on that Island) and also on the coasts, bays and creeks of all other of his Britannic Majesty’s dominions in America; and that the American fishermen shall have liberty to dry and cure fish in any of the unsettled bays, harbours and creeks of Nova Scotia, Magdalen islands, and Labrador, so long as the same shall remain unsettled, but so soon as the same or either of them shall be settled, it shall not be lawful for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such settlement, without a previous agreement for that purpose with the inhabitants, proprietors or possessors of the ground.
Article 4th. It is agreed that creditors on either side, shall meet with no lawful impediment to the recovery of the full value in sterling money, of all bona fide debts heretofore contracted.
Article 5th. It is agreed that the Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislatures of the respective states, to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights and properties, which have been confiscated, belonging to real British subjects, and also of the estates, rights and properties of persons resident in districts in the possession of his majesty’s arms, and who have not borne arms against the said United States. And that persons of any other description shall have free liberty to go to any part or parts of any of the Thirteen United States, and therein to remain twelve months unmolested in their endeavours to obtain the restitution of such of their estates, rights and properties, as may have been confiscated; and that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states a reconsideration and revision of all acts or laws regarding the premises, so as to render the said laws or acts 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 that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states, that the estates, rights and properties of such last mentioned persons shall be restored to them; they refunding to any persons who may be now in possession the bona find price (where any has been given) which such persons may have paid on purchasing any of the said lands, rights or properties since the confiscation. And it is agreed that all persons who may have any interests in confiscated lands, either by debts, marriage settlements, or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful impediment in the prosecution of their just rights.
Article 6th. That there shall be no future confiscations made, nor any prosecutions commenced against any person or persons for or by reason of the part which he or they may have taken in the present war; and that no person shall on that account, suffer any future loss or damage, either in his person, liberty or property, and that those who may be in confinement on such charges, at the time of the ratification of the treaty in America, shall be immediately set at liberty, and the prosecutions so commenced be discontinued.
Article 7th. There shall be a firm and perpetual peace between his Britannic Majesty and the said States, and between the subjects of the one, and the citizens of the other, wherefore all hostilities both by sea and land shall then immediately cease; all prisoners on both sides shall be set at liberty, and his Britannic Majesty shall with all convenient speed, and without causing any destruction, or carrying away any negroes or other property of the American inhabitants, withdraw all his armies, garrisons and fleets from the said United States, and from every port, place and harbour within the same; leaving in all fortifications the American artillery that may be therein, and shall also order and cause all archives, records, deeds and papers, belonging to any of the said states, or their citizens, which in the course of the war may have fallen into the hands of his officers, to be forthwith restored and delivered to the proper states and persons to whom they belong.
Article 8th. The navigation of the river Missisippi, from its source to the Ocean, shall forever remain free and open to the subjects of Great-Britain and the citizens of the United States.
Article 9 In case it should so happen that any place or territory belonging to Great Britain or to the United States, should be conquered by the arms of either from the other, before the arrival of these articles in America, it is agreed, that the same shall be restored without difficulty, and without requiring any compensation.
DONE at Paris, the thirtieth day of November, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two. RICHARD OSWALD, (L.S.) JOHN ADAMS, (L.S.) B. FRANKLIN, (L.S.) JOHN JAY, (L.S.) HENRY LAURENS, (L.S.)
Witness, Caleb Whitefoord, secretary to the British commission; W.T. Franklin, secretary to the American commission.
NOW KNOW YE, that we the United States in Congress assembled, have ratified and confirmed, and by these presents do ratify and confirm, the said articles, and every part, article and clause thereof on our part concluded and signed as aforesaid.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, we have caused our seal to be hereunto affixed. Witness
his excellency Elias Boudinot, president, this fifteenth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, and of our sovereignty and independence the seventh.
THE COMMENTARY GAZETTE®
SOURCE: Library of Congress
CONTRIBUTOR: Catherine McCormick