Entry  About  Search  Log In  help (navigation)
printable version

The American Peace Commissioners to John Lamb

1 Oct. 1785

Instructions to John Lamb EsqR. London Octr. 1. 1785

Congress having been pleased to invest us with full Powers for entering into Treaty of Amity & Alliance with the Dey & Government of Algiers & it being impracticable for us to attend on them in Person & equally impracticable on account of our seperate Stations to receive a Minister from them, We have concluded to effect our object by the intervention of a confidential Person. We concur in wishing to avail the United States of your Talents in the execution of this Business, and therefore furnish you with a Letter to the Dey and Government of Algiers, to give a due Credit to your transactions with them.

We advise you to proceed by the way of Madrid where you will have Opportunities of deriving many ...ight from Mr. Carmichael & from the Minister from Algiers to the Court of Madrid & the Count D’Espilly lately arrived from Algiers who doubtless are persons of information & Credit with that Government. From thence you will proceed by such rout as you shall think best to Algiers—

You will present them our Letter with the Copy of our full powers, with which you are furnished, at such time or times, & in such Manner as you shall think best; as the negotiation & conclusion of a treaty may be a work of time, you will endeavor in the first place to procure an immediate Suspension of Hostilities. You will proceed to negotiate with their Minister the terms of a treaty of Amity & Commerce as nearly as possible conformed to the draught we give you. when Alterations, which in your Opinion shall not be of great importance shall be urged by the other Party, you are at Liberty to agree to them: where they shall be of great importance & such as you think should be rejected you will reject them; but where they are of great importance, & you think they may be accepted, you will ask time to take our Advice & will advise with us accordingly, by Letter, or by Courier as you shall think best: When the Articles shall all be agreed you will sign them in a preliminary form & send them to us by some proper Person for definitive execution.

The whole expences of this treaty, including as well the Expences of all Persons employed about it, as the presents to the Dey &c. must not exceed 40,000 Dollars & we urge you to use your best endeavors to bring them as much below that Sum as you possibly can. And to this End we leave it to your discretion to represent to the Dey & Government of Algiers or their Ministers if it may be done with safety, the particular Circumstances of the United States, just emerging from a long & distressing war, with one of the most powerful nations of Europe; which we hope may be an apology if our presents should not be so splendid as those of older & abler Nations.

As Custom may have rendered some presents necessary in the beginning or progress of this Business, & before it is concluded or were in a way to be concluded, We authorize you to conform to the Custom: confiding in your discretion to hazard as little as possible before a certainty of the Event, & to provide that your engagements shall become binding only on the definitive execution of the Treaty. We trust to you also to procure the best information in what form & to what Persons these Presents should be made, & to make them accordingly. The difference between the Customs of that & other Courts, the difficulty of obtaining a knowledge of those Customs but on the spot & our great Confidence in your discretion, induce us to leave to that, all other Circumstances relative to the Object of your Missions. It will be necessary for you to take a Secretary will skilled in the French Language, to aid you in your Business & to take charge of your Papers in Case of any accident to yourself. We think you may allow him 150 Guineas a year, besides his Expences for travelling & Subsistance. We engage to furnish your own expences according to the respectability of the Character with which you are invested, but as to the allowance for your trouble we wish to leave it to Congress.

We annex hereto, sundry heads of enquiry which we wish you to make, & to give us thereon the best information you shall be able to obtain. We desire you to correspond with us by every opportunity which you think should be trusted; giving us from time to time an account of your proceedings & [. . . .] Holland under cover to Mr. Dumas at the Hague, or Messrs. Willink of Amsterdam—by the way of England under Cover to Uriah Forrish Esquire Crutched Fryers No. 8 London & by way of France to Mr. Grand Paris & to Mr. Carmichael by the way of Spain,

We wish you a pleasant Journey & happy [. . . .]

John Adams.

Th: Jefferson

This early access document should not be cited in formal research.
Please report any errors or problems you notice in documents.