On September 3rd, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed by the three American negotiators, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay, and David Hartley, representing King George III. The treaty was signed at the historical Hotel d’York in Paris. The Treaty of Paris was ratified by the American Congress of the Confederation on January 14, 1784 and by British Parliament on April 9, 1784.
The Treaty of Paris formally ended the American War of Independence and recognized Great Britain’s former thirteen colonies as free and independent states, acknowledging the existence of the United States as a sovereign country. The American Independence War became a world conflict where France, Spain and the Netherlands were formally involved. Britain signed separate peace agreements with each of the counties.
All three negotiators played a key role in the final outcome of the treaty. Franklin and Ray were responsible for the boundary settlements including the trans-Appalachian lands. Adams, advocating for Massachusetts, secured American fishing rights.
Conveniently for the Americans, Britain was severely feeling the financial implication of the American Revolution. Prime Minister, Lord North recognized the unsustainability of the war and resigned but King George did not want to give up the American territory. The new government of Lord Rockingham was short lived as he died of influenza three month after he took office.
The American negotiators understood the distresses of Europe’s power and exploiting Britain’s weaknesses secured not only peace but all the aims that Congress had set forth in 1779 when John Adams was sent as an envoy to negotiate peace. As Adams put it, the treaty had secured “the Cod and Ducks and Beavers” for the United States.
The Treaty of Paris agreed and confirmed its negotiations in ten articles:
Article 1: Acknowledging the thirteen colonies as free sovereign and independent states and relinquishing all claims to property and territorial rights.
Article 2: Set up of territorial boundaries.
Article 3: Conceding the right to fish on the Grand Bank and on other Banks of Newfoundland.
Article 4: Creditors on either side shall meet with no lawful impediment to the recovery of debt.
Article 5: Congress will recommend to state legislature the restitution of estates, rights and property that belonged to British subjects.
Article 6: Bring to an end and prevent all future prosecution and confiscation of loyalists’ property.
Article 7: All prisoners of war on either side shall be set free.
Article 8: The Mississippi River should remain open to British and American citizens.
Article 9: Territories captured by either Britain or the United States after the Treaty will be restored without compensation.
Article 10: Ratification of the treaty was to occur within six months from the signing of the parties.