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John Adams to the Marquis of Carmarthen

Jul. 1785

My Lord Grosvenor Square July  1785

This Letter was not Sent, but instead of it, the Letter of the 29th. of July, for which turn over this and two other Leaves.

The Course of the Commerce, between Great Britain and the United States of America, has been Such, Since the Peace, as to have already produced many Inconveniences to the Persons concerned in it, on both Sides, which become every day more and more Sensible. The Debts which were due before the War, and those which have been contracted Since, remain unpaid in much larger Proportions, than can consist with the Satisfaction of the Creditor or the Tranquility of the Debtor. I have already had the Honour to mention to your Lordship in Conversation serious Causes the Posts and Territories, within the Limits of the United States, which are still held by British Garrisons, the Exportation of Negroes and other Property, which by the Seventh Article of the Treaty of Peace was not to be exported, the Misconstruction of the Armistice of the 20 of Jany 1783, concerning Captures made after the Expiration of the Month, and the Delay of a Liquidation of the Charges of Prisoners of War, as various Causes which had contributed to leave American Citizens more deeply in debted to British Subjects, than is agreable to either. That this unfortunate State of Things was even more distressing to the American Citizen than to the British subject, because he thought his Reputation as a Man and his Credit as a Merchant concerned in it. That the Zeal of Americans to make Remittances had been Such as to raise the Interest of Money to double its usual Standard, to raise the Price of Bills of Exchange to Eight or Ten Per Cent above Par, and to advance the Prices of the Produce of the Country, to almost double the Usual Rate: that large Sums of the circulating Cash, had been remitted to England, and as much produce as could be purchased at almost any rate: but that much of this Produce lay in Store here, becuase it would not fetch the Price given for it in America. That the Situation of the Merchant both in England and America, had been and continued to be very distressing. that no political Arrangements having been made, they had all expected that the Trade would return to its old Channeles, and nearly under the Same regulations, found by long Experience to be beneficial, but they had been disappointed. that British Merchants had made advances and Americans contracted Debts, both depending on Remittances in the Usual Articles, and upon the ancient Terms but both had found themselves mistaken, and that it was much to be feared that the Consequences would be numerous Failures. that the Cash and Bills had been chiefly remitted to the Loss and Damage of the Country. That Remittances could not be made as formerly because of Restrictions and Imposts which were new in this Commerce and destructive of it. that neither Rice, Tobacco, Pitch Tar, Turpentine Ships, Oil, and other Articles the great Sources of Remittance formerly, could now be sent as heretofore, and that the Trade with the West India Islands formerly a vast Source of Remittance was at present obstructed.

The Evils my Lord, already experienced will be more severly felt, and much increased, if the Causes of them are permitted much longer to operate. There is a litteral Impossibility that the Debts should be paid So soon as they ought to be or that the Commerce between the two Countries can continue long to the Advantage of either, upon the present Footing. it is the general Desire of the People of the United States to cultivate the most friendly and liberal Intercouse with the subjects of these Kingdoms, and it will be with Reluctance, that they shall find themselves necessitated to Search for other Resources as substitutes for British Commerce, either in Manufactures at home, or in other Countries. But if a Necessity of it, should occur, nothing is more certain than that they can find vast Resources in both. certainly My lord it deserves a serious Consideration, whether it is not putting too material an Interest at Hazard, to risque an Alienation of the American Commerce \or any considerable Part of it/ from this Kingdom, for the Sake of the Imposts and other Small Advantages that can be obained by the present restrictions on it.

In order to bring this Subject So momentous to both Countries, under a candid Discussion, I do myself the Honour to inclose, to your Lordship and to propose to the Consideration of his Majestys Ministers, a Project \prepared in Conformity to the Instructions of Congress/ of a fair and equitable Treaty of Commerce between his Majesty \the [ . . .] of His Majesty/ and the United States of America,. I Submit it entirely to your Lordship to decide, whether the Negotiation Shall be carried on, wholly with your Lordship or with any other Person to be invested with equal Powers to mine, to be appointed for the Purpose

With great Respect, I have the Honour to be &c

(MHi: Adams Papers).
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