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Letter from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay to David Hartley [Extract]
Adams, John, 1735-1826; Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790; Jay, John, 1745-1829
July 17, 1783
Volume 16, Page 914

No. 2.

Copy of a Letter from the American Ministers Plenipotentiary at Paris to David Hartley, Esquire, dated 17th July, 1783.

“We are also instructed to represent to you that many of the British Debtors in America have in the Course of the War sustained such considerable and heavy losses by the operation of the British arms in that Country that a great number of them have been rendered incapable of satisfying these debts. We refer it to the Justice and Equity of Great Britain so far to amend the articles on that subject as that no execution shall be issued on a Judgment to be obtained in any such case but after the expiration of three years from the date of the definitive Treaty of Peace. Congress also think it reasonable that such part of the interest which may have accrued on such debts during the War shall not be payable because all intercourse between the two Countries had during the period become impracticable as well as improper. It does not appear just that the individuals in America should pay for delays in payment which were occasioned by the Civil and Military measures of Great Britain. In our opinion the interest of the creditors as well as the debtors require that some tenderness be shewn to the latter and that they should be allowed a little time to acquire the means of discharging debts which in many instances exceed the whole of their property.”