Charles D. Bernholz, Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588[*]
The texts of Article 2 of variants of the Treaty of Paris, 1783 were examined to understand the provenance of two passages that deviated from the boundary parameters found in official British and American copies of this document. Newspapers published in London, promptly brought to New York by the mail packet Lord Hyde, already exhibited the first fault. Afterwards, it is clear that a New York paper introduced a second inconsistency into this Article. The spread of these text mistakes into subsequent American renditions is discussed, as is the hypothesis that the British Foreign Office, in its initial distribution of the Paris text to London newspaper printers shortly after its arrival from the treaty negotiations, had induced the first text defect itself.
“Public opinion developed as a category in political thought, although there was uncertainty about what constituted such opinion and about its impact on high politics. The press was central to politicization, the strengthening, sustaining and widening, if not of a specific political consciousness, then at least of national political awareness” (Black, 2001, p. 132)
In a series of studies devoted to the text analysis of variants of the Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851 that involved the tribes of the Great Plains (Bernholz and Pytlik Zillig, 2010 and 2011); the Treaty of Waitangi, 1840 between the British and the Maori of New Zealand (Bernholz, O’Grady, and Pytlik Zillig, 2012); the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that, among other things, defined “Indian country” in North America (Bernholz and O’Grady, 2012); and the Mayflower Compact of 1620 (Bernholz, O’Grady, and Pytlik Zillig, 2013), the data were assessed using the Levenshtein edit distance algorithm (1966). In each instance, sets of all pairs of N variants for each study were assembled in a Microsoft Excel table so that the tokens were aligned for later comparison with specially developed software. This process created results from these tests that described the number of elements in error and the amount of their byte disparities. In each study, these outcomes contributed to an understanding of the relationships among the variants thereby examined.
Finer issues, like spelling differences in which, say, one version had the token(s) saint or favor while another had st. or favour at the same textual location(s), are more easily determined by examining these Levenshtein calculations and by manipulating collateral output files that list the determined mismatches. While these calculations are useful, the original table of data also expresses, in a visual manner, gross text differences such as token exclusion(s) or incursion(s). Thus, at a single glance, one may be led to potential pairings of correlated variants solely upon the presence or the absence of tokens in the columns of the Excel table: two or more versions of a text may have a similar extra passage (or a parallel lack thereof), and these observations, while generally hidden when individual documents are read, are made clear by the fundamental Levenshtein test requirement of element alignment among compared accounts. The analysis adaptation in this study is not founded upon a need to quantify the number or the magnitude of the token differences between pairs of texts. Rather, the very presence or absence of these exclusions or incursions among certain variants within the overall table provides adequate evidence to conduct this examination. Thus, in a preliminary, more general study of the boundary specifications of Article 2 from the Treaty of Paris, 1783 (8 Stat. 80; henceforth, Paris), such visual examination of the aligned tokens of the assembled selected variants stimulated the investigation that is now reported here. This new probe involved a search for a supporting document that affected the integrity not only of published texts of Paris, but also of the 1814 Treaty of Ghent (8 Stat. 218; hereafter, Ghent). These initial Paris errors – which it is hypothesized must have been instigated by a problematic treaty copy distributed by the British government itself – thereby reached beyond their original occurrences into subsequent reproductions of Paris in Britain and America and then into the official diplomatic applications of the Paris text in Article 6 of Ghent.
An important note on the delivery of Paris to North America
Transportation by sea was the only option available to convey Paris to North America. Documents in the possession of the United States delegates to the treaty transaction in France returned to America under special care. John Thaxter, Jr., the private secretary to John Adams, arrived in Philadelphia on 22 November 1783, “being dispatched by our Ministers at Paris with a copy of the definitive treaty of peace between the United States of America and Great Britain; which was signed on the 3rd of September last” (Burnett, 1934, p. 377). More traditional formats of news – such as British newspapers describing the event and the proposed parameters – went to America (and elsewhere) by mail through the Post Office Packet Service. Since the late seventeenth century, there had been a packet boat system stationed at Falmouth and attached to the Royal Mail to expedite such correspondence. The organization was named after the French term paquet that described the mail bundling process (Pawlyn, 2003). Under this Service, ships left this port in ever-greater numbers as the need for timely transmissions grew across the British Empire. By the first quarter of the nineteenth century, routes reached North, Central, and South America, from the ports of Halifax to that of Buenos Aires, as more and more ships were employed to shepherd both mail and passengers. This useful service eventually was taken over by commercial firms that in turn carried the same articles, where the mail was then conducted under government contract. The famous steamship lines of Cunard and Peninsular grew from these endeavors and the catastrophic twentieth century sinking that changed the entire concept of marine safety involved a ship conducting the same businesses: that lost vessel possessed the official title of Royal Mail Ship Titanic.
The King’s Mail had been for some time an ongoing concern of the realm and this operational focus may be seen in the April 1603 Proclamation for the dispatch of pacquets betweene London and Berwiche, for the service of the King. This decree requested assistance among various local authorities – “all Maiors, Shiriffes, Justices of Peace, Postmasters, Bailiffes, Constables, Hedboroughs, and all other the King’s Majestie’s Officers and Subjects whatsoever” – to expedite the delivery of royal mail between London and this northern-most town of England lying near the Scottish border. Appropriate performance was expected: “[w]hereof faile yee not, as ye tender his Majestie’s pleasure, and will answere to the contrary at your uttermost perill” (Report from the Secret Committee of the Post-Office; Together with an Appendix, 1844, p. 38). Later, the General Post Office developed a more extended ship transport to provide this service to official government posts around the globe.
This clear entrepreneurial linkage between the conveyance of passengers and of mail had commenced as a means to defray the overall cost of shipping operations. By the end of the eighteenth century, stagecoaches raced roughly three hundred miles between London and Falmouth to transport both consignments. At the time of Paris, poor roads existed and the transit time to Falmouth – selected specifically for its plethora of potable water for forthcoming voyages – was typically of three or four days duration; ultimately, this interval was reduced to about two and a half days. Thus, “in 1798 the packets of mail made up in London on a Wednesday were expected to be delivered at Falmouth, and shipped on board a packet, ready to sail on the Saturday” (Pawlyn, 2003, p. 16). This was the timing and the route that the British newspapers took from London for their subsequent departure from Falmouth to their final destinations; the sea segment took an additional six weeks to New York. It was this well documented scheduled dependence on transportation – in combination, it is proposed, with the conveyance by the Foreign Office to the major newspapers of London of a compromised copy of the Paris text – that resulted in the presence of that same error in the distributed American broadsides and newspapers texts of Paris.
The critical issues
There are two critical issues here. First, one of the very earliest British publications of the accord occurred in the Monday, 29 September 1783, edition of The Public Advertiser. In this presentation, an informative statement immediately preceded the text of Paris: “The Printer takes this Opportunity of returning his sincere Thanks to the Gentleman who frequently favours the Public Advertiser with communications of a very important nature” (1783, p. 2; emphasis original). This mention might imply that someone linked to the British Foreign Office had delivered the Paris text to The Public Advertiser for general release, thereby acknowledging the importance of such business connections with the government rather than recognizing some local event or general news item. In total, five London papers produced the same blunder in their Paris renditions. Second, the same text fault – the absence of the twelve-term descriptor thence along the middle of said water communication into the Lake Huron in the boundary specification of Article 2 (henceforth, Huron) – occurred as well in newspapers published later in outlying towns and cities within Britain. Such physical evidence suggests a single faulted text source. Thus, the ultimate publication outcome was that this inaccurate Paris variant was distributed to certain readers on both sides of the Atlantic. Since the fundamental text problem was one of absence or exclusion, the loss was virtually impossible to detect at the time. Later, other accurate renditions of Paris arose in America because their reproduction had not depended upon the employment of any of those original London newspaper descriptions, or upon direct derivatives of them.
The key packet ship in this examination of Paris was the Lord Hyde that, according to New Lloyd’s List (1783, 26 December), arrived in New York directly from Falmouth on 23 November 1783. This landing confirmation is important in the timeline of the circulation of the common Paris textual error from the London newspapers to later American publications. Olenkiewicz’s British Packet Sailings: 1755-1840 (2013a, p. 37) offered the sailing dates for the 1783 Falmouth packet voyages to North America and, based on his examination of Lloyd’s shipping lists, Olenkiewicz indicated that the Lord Hyde departed Falmouth on 13 October. After forty days at sea, it arrived in New York on 23 November, just one day after the authenticated federal copy of Paris had landed at Philadelphia directly from France in the custody of John Thaxter, Jr. The Lord Hyde eventually departed New York on 8 December on its return voyage to Falmouth that concluded on 6 January 1784. In the intervening fifteen days, the Lord Hyde made a roundtrip between New York and Philadelphia, which led to further dispersal of the flawed London text to other American newspapers.
Tracking the errors
Initially, it must be recalled that these events took place in the eighteenth century. There were no instantaneous communications, even at the governmental level. Indeed, The London Gazette (1783, 13 September; p. 1) observed from St. James’s on 12 September that “[y]esterday evening David Hartley, Esq. arrived with the Definitive Treaty between His Majesty and the United States of America, which was signed at Paris the 3rd instant by him, as His Majesty’s Plenipotentiary, and by the Plenipotentiaries of the United States.” Thus, the availability of any Paris treaty text to newspaper publishers could not have been available before this date.
Given this timeframe, databases of British newspapers were examined for the presence of this document. Altogether, twelve British newspapers were identified that published Paris during the period between 11 September 1783 and the known Lord Hyde departure date of 13 October; all had the identical Article 2 Huron shortfall. The earliest such instance of that array occurred on 29 September and the latest on 7 October. Any of these papers might have been aboard the Lord Hyde when it left Falmouth, although only five (i.e., The Public Advertiser, The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, The Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser, The St. James’s Chronicle or The British Evening Post, and The Whitehall Evening-Post) were produced in London and seemed able, under the available transportation circumstances, to have made the sailing. In this category, The Public Advertiser printed the first relevant issue on 29 September and the other four followed on the ensuing day. All five papers reproduced an announcement that was composed of three newsworthy items: the complete Paris treaty; the text of the King’s commission in March 1783 of David Hartley as Britain’s “minister plenipotentiary”; and a presentation of the June 1781 designation by the United States of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and Thomas Jefferson to conduct peace negotiations. All three compositions were very specialized government documents, insinuating that the suite of materials was delivered en masse to these newspaper publishers by one or more government liaisons, who were sent to the best available vehicles to distribute publically the outcome of the negotiations as well as the appropriate certifications of key participants.
This speculation employing British Foreign Office participation in the dispersal of this Paris error appears to be reinforced by that appreciative remark in the 29 September edition of The Public Advertiser, as noted earlier. The printer’s mention of the frequent arrival of such materials would suggest that government information was conveyed on a regular basis to The Public Advertiser and, it might be assumed, to other firms. Thus, it would seem that one or more relevant Paris documents may have originated in the British Foreign Office and that these were then advanced to The Public Advertiser and its competitors. More importantly, though, the shared publication date of 30 September shows that the other four metropolitan newspapers produced this treaty text just as quickly and that their Paris content was identical to that appearing in The Public Advertiser. The significance of the prompt circulation of political information was implied by Black regarding the use of newspapers in Britain in the eighteenth century: “The political nation became fairly well informed about the affairs of the greater world and the issues of British foreign policy. If this progress did not regularly bear political fruit, it was nevertheless of great importance in the education of the political nation” (1987, p. 238). The official final chapter to the conflict in America would have been a germane bit of communal political data; the replication of this Huron exclusion error by these twelve newspapers throughout Britain implicates a well-coordinated effort of government delivery, even if the materials were defective.
Variants of Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris, 1783
The titles of sixteen variants of Paris used in this study are listed below in two sections, and in chronological order within each portion. The document identifiers used in Table I (Download Excel File) and throughout the discussion appear at the end of each citation; the first standard text is labelled Horizontal, while the initial test text is called Claypoole. David C. Claypoole (ca. 1757-1849) was the Philadelphia printer of the broadside of Paris that was based upon newspapers that arrived by way of New York aboard the Lord Hyde from Falmouth. The entire title of one item in the test series (i.e., of Gentleman’s) is bolded to denote that this text was extracted from the Provisional Treaty articles signed on 30 November 1782 between Richard Oswald for Great Britain, and John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens of the United States. The provisional status pivoted upon the culmination of affairs between Britain and France prior to the implementation of the parameters stated in this instrument. The bolded Gentleman’s data in Table I (Download Excel File) show how Article 2 of Paris was formed by placing the last thirty-nine tokens of Article 1 of the provisional articles in front of the provisional Article 2 text to form ultimately, in Paris a year later, the entirety of Article 2 of the final Definitive instrument. Horizontal and Vertical denote two official American government copies, one with a series of horizontal wax seals and the other with a vertically oriented array. Appendix I offers a timeline for events related to the publication of British and American newspaper articles containing Paris. Those text cells tinted blue in Table I (Download Excel File) for Horizontal, Vertical, Claypoole, and Dunlap identify tokens that were judged unclear from the renditions used to construct the Table. Some of the underlying cells are blank, while others possess elements, based solely upon subjective appraisal. Since Levenshtein edit distance calculations were not part of the variant comparison process in this study, the need for absolute token certainty for these few elements was less crucial. The relevant words for the two Article 2 phrases under analysis were clear in all renditions placed in Table I (Download Excel File). The Table’s primary purpose is to illuminate the presence of those two textual difficulties through the standard data arrangement procedure used in Levenshtein edit distance examinations. To enhance the visibility of these two selected error portions, the surrounding empty cells in the ranges of line number 201 to 212 and 313 to 327 are highlighted in yellow.
Standard texts (N = 2)
- Original definitive treaty, 3 Sept. 1783 (1783, pp. 4-8) – [Horizontal] and
- Definitive treaty of peace with G. Britain, 3 Sept. 1783 (1783, pp. 27-29) – [Vertical].
Test texts (N = 14)
- The definitive treaty of peace between Great-Britain and the United States of America, signed at Paris the 3d day of September, 1783 (1783) – [Claypoole];
- 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, untill 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 (The Gentleman’s Magazine: and Historical Chronicle, 1783, p. 165) – [Gentleman’s];
- By the United States in Congress assembled, a proclamation (1784) – [Dunlap];
- In council, January 20, 1784. By his excellency, William Paca, Esq.; Governor of Maryland, a proclamation (1784) – [Paca];
- The New Annual Register, or General Repository of History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1783 (1784, pp. 114-115) – [New I];
- The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1783 (1785a, pp. 340-341) – [Annual I];
- The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1783 (1785b, pp. 340-341) – [Annual II];
- A Collection of All the Treaties of Peace, Alliance, and Commerce Between Great-Britain and Other Powers, Vol. III (Jenkinson, 1785, pp. 412-413) – [Jenkinson];
- A Collection of Treaties Between Great Britain and Other Powers. Vol. II. (Chalmers, 1790, pp. 530-531) – [Chalmers];
- Recueil des principaux traites d’alliance, de paix, de trêve, de neutralité, de commerce, de limites, d’échange &c. conclus par les puissances de l’Europe tant entre elles qu’avec les pussiances et états dans d’autres parties du monde. Depuis 1761 jusqu’à présent. Tome II, 1779-1786 inclusiv (Martens, 1791, pp. 498-500) – [Martens I];
- The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucky. And an Introduction to the Topography and Natural History of that Rich and Important Country; Also, Colonel Daniel Boon’s Narrative of the Wars of Kentucky: With an Account of the Indian Nations within the Limits of United States, Their Manners, Customs, Religion, and Their Origin; and the Stages and Distances Between Philadelphia and the Falls of the Ohio, from Pittsburgh to Pensacola, and Several Other Places (Filson, 1793, pp. 62-63) – [Filson];
- An Historical, Geographical, Commercial, and Philosophical View of the American United States, and of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies, Vol. 1 (Winterbotham, 1795, pp. 175-176) – [Winterbotham];
- The New Annual Register, or General Repository of History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1783 (1796, pp. 114-115) – [New II]; and
- The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1783. Second edition (1800, pp. 340-341) – [Annual III].
In general, three error exemplars are customarily observed from these types of Levenshtein text analyses: exclusion, incursion, and replacement. In a previous study of the Treaty of Fort Laramie with Sioux, etc., 1851 (Bernholz and Pytlik Zillig, 2010 and 2011), a single text exclusion involved material from the original transaction in 1851 – describing a land boundary for the Gros Ventre, Mandan, and Arikara tribes – that failed to appear in four subsequently published versions. Here in Paris, the Claypoole broadside text possesses an exclusion at line number 201-212 of Table I (Download Excel File) that removed the statement thence along the middle of said water communication into the Lake Huron. The critical aspect of this error is that other variants – specifically New I, Annual I, Annual II, New II, and Annual III (but also Winterbotham) – have the same shortfall even though all six were published in Britain, while Claypoole was created in Philadelphia with a note preceding the Treaty text that pronounced “[f]rom the English papers brought[,] we have extracted the following important advices.” Given this explicit Huron deficiency, it would appear that there was a similar source of the Paris text that was directly employed by The Annual Register (or its direct competitor between 1780 and 1825, The New Annual Register) to create successive variants New I, Annual I, Annual II, New II, and Annual III. One of these Register renditions most likely served as the model for Winterbotham, who created a four-volume description of the historical, geographical, commercial, and philosophical perceptions of the United States and European settlements in America and the West Indies. The Huron fault surfaces in his description of the boundaries of the new nation, which occurred through his use of the specifications in Paris. Thus, the originating source of both Paris alterations probably began in the form of a newspaper article, since this was declared by Claypoole as the resource employed for his broadside production entitled The definitive treaty of peace between Great-Britain and the United States of America, signed at Paris the 3d day of September, 1783 (1783).
The text difficulties and the creation of Claypoole
There are two problems within the array of published Paris texts. The first fundamental Huron error resulted from the deletion from later variants of the twelve-word portion referring to Lake Huron that may be found in the original Paris text of Article 2 (emphasis added):
“…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 said Lake to the water communication between that Lake and Lake Superior.”
Figure 1. A portion of the 1755 Mitchell map for the area near Michigan, showing the “water communication” between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Available from the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division (object call number G3300 1755 .M523).
There is a second snag – denoted as the Mississippi issue – that revolved around the redundant fifteen-element text statement thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi that was part of the Claypoole broadside of Paris. This was an expeditious error, since it furnished additional evidence that certain later texts were derived from Claypoole. See Appendix II for the complete Article 2 text reproduced from the United States Statutes at Large and modified to show the positions of this Huron exclusion and Mississippi incursion. Table I (Download Excel File) shows that these two text portions are at line number 201 through 212, and 313 through 327, respectively. 
Thus, in a single American publication, there emerged both immediate difficulties: the absence of a portion of the known official Paris text, and a fresh incursion reflected by this sudden repetition of the Mississippi statement. This latter “local” error is corroborated by the fact that no British newspaper contained the double Mississippi problem, i.e., the fault was not found in the Paris text published in London by The Public Advertiser (29 September), or any of The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, The Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser, The St. James’s Chronicle or The British Evening Post, or The Whitehall Evening-Post on 30 September. None of the outlying British presses of Drewry’s Derby Mercury (2 October); The Chelmsford Chronicle (3 October); Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal (4 October); Jackson’s Oxford Journal (4 October); The Norfolk Chronicle or The Norwich Gazette (4 October); The Northampton Mercury (6 October); and The Manchester Mercury & Harrop’s General Advertiser (7 October) displayed the Mississippi mistake. The similar publication dates of these seven more distant journals suggest that their printers all used one or more of the earlier London-based offerings of Paris, exactly the resources that were later used by their American counterparts. However, it was observed that other American newspapers did not have this Mississippi incursion. Solving the Huron creation path helped to comprehend the actual flow of Paris from Britain to the newspapers of America, but the later Mississippi fault is a clear case of printer error added to the Paris copy that came aboard the Lord Hyde.
The impaired Claypoole text was recreated in Baltimore by J. Hayes and J. A. Killen [Hayes], and by M. K. Goddard [Goddard]. It also materialized in four additional American newspapers: The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser (2 December); The Pennsylvania Gazette (3 December); The Independent Gazetteer, or The Chronicle of Freedom (6 December); and The Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (13 December). Each issuance contained the introductory statement “London, September 30,” which may be understood to indicate the dateline of the British newspaper from which the contents were taken. It will be recalled that Paris was published in London on 30 September by The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, The Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser, The St. James’s Chronicle or The British Evening Post, and The Whitehall Evening-Post.
It is reasonable to conclude that the Lord Hyde unloaded copies of the British newspapers in New York before sailing on to do so in Philadelphia, thereby supplying Claypoole’s declared sources. The identical text – with a full “in 47 days from Falmouth” headline – was published in The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser; The Pennsylvania Gazette; and The Independent Gazetteer, or The Chronicle of Freedom with a less complete indication that the arriving packet from Falmouth was the Lord Hyde. It is interesting that David C. Claypoole was a colleague of John Dunlap (1747-1812), who made the so-named variant in Table I. Both were broadside printers and Claypoole replaced Dunlap as the printer of the Journals of the Continental Congress. After its founding in 1771 by Dunlap, the pair jointly owned The Pennsylvania Packet between 1780 and 1795, after which Dunlap retired and sold his interest to Claypoole (Teeter, 1999).
Elsewhere, another ship – the Massachusetts-based brig Don Galvez – was projected to depart The Downs near the English Channel on 18 October for Rhode Island (New Lloyd’s List, 1783, 14 October) and later arrived in Boston on 1 December “from London.” The treaty description, with the single Huron shortfall, was made available to the public through The Providence Gazette and Country Journal at the end of November and again at the beginning of December (1783, 29 November and 1783, 6 December, respectively). Further, another Paris variant, named the Definitive treaty of peace (1783; identified as Carter here), was published as a broadside and possessed the Huron, but not the Mississippi, error. Carter and the 29 November supplement to The Providence Gazette and Country Journal exhibited an identical preamble: “By the Brig Don Galvez, Capt. Silas Jones, arrived in the River from London, we have received a Copy of the long looked-for Definitive Treaty which we embrace the earliest Occasion of handing to the Public.” This is a reference to the tidal Providence River. The later Providence Gazette and Country Journal issue had an attenuated remark, saying only “By the Brig Don Galvez, Capt. Silas Jones, from London, we have received a Copy of the long looked-for Definitive Treaty of Peace, which is as follows, viz.” The occurrence of only the Huron liability points to British newspapers as the source(s) employed by The Providence Gazette and Country Journal and, presumably shortly thereafter for Carter through replicating the entry in the first instance of The Providence Gazette and Country Journal.
It is important to recall that John Thaxter, Jr., the private secretary to Paris signatory John Adams, delivered directly to Philadelphia the true Paris text. Miller (1931, pp. 151-157) indicated that the Huron portions (p. 153) were all in place in the official federal reproductions denoted as the Horizontal and the Vertical renditions shown in Table I (Download Excel File). The United States Statutes at Large (8 Stat. 80, 81) issued the comprehensive version of Article 2. A copy of Paris was published in the Journals of the House of Commons on 14 November 1783 (1803, pp. 725-727). The National Archives in Britain maintain an Image Library that may be searched with the appropriate catalog reference number – here, FO 93/8/2 for the official British version of the Treaty of Paris. Both text portions of Article 2 are intact; there are no missing Huron or replicated Mississippi tokens in the official government copy.
These observations lead to the conclusion that the Huron error in Paris texts published in newspapers in Britain and the United States was induced as soon as the instrument was released for public knowledge. The fact that this was a diplomatic document suggests that its newsworthy status was considered far higher than most day-to-day local happenings in Britain. Thus, one is forced to consider more carefully the introductory remark to the text of Paris found in the Monday, 29 September 1783, edition of The Public Advertiser (1783, p. 2; emphasis original): only the Foreign Office had the means to offer the text of Paris.
The Huron error in later documents
The Huron error had a much longer life. The dilemma extended to the 1814 Treaty of Ghent that directly included boundary aspects from Article 2 of Paris. Article 6 of Ghent contained the statement:
“Whereas by the former Treaty of Peace that portion of the boundary of the United States from the point where the forty fifth degree of North Latitude strikes the River Iroquois or Cataraquy to the Lake Superior was declared to be ‘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 into the Lake Huron; thence through the middle of said Lake to the water communication between that Lake and Lake Superior:’ and whereas doubts have arisen what was the middle of the said River, Lakes, and water communications, and whether certain Islands lying in the same were within the Dominions of His Britannic Majesty or of the United States: In order therefore finally to decide these doubts, they shall be referred to two Commissioners to be appointed, sworn, and authorized to act exactly in the manner directed with respect to those mentioned in the next preceding Article unless otherwise specified in this present Article” (Miller, 1931, pp. 578-579; emphasis added).Thus, the second reference to Lake Huron from the official text of Paris is absent from this Ghent provision, just as it was from those British and American newspaper accounts. A number of British newspapers published this Ghent text in 1815: The Morning Chronicle (16 March); Cobbett’s Weekly Political Resister (18 March); Jackson’s Oxford Journal (18 March); The Caledonian Mercury (18 March); The Liverpool Mercury (24 March); and The Lancaster Gazette (25 March). Further, an important collection of such diplomatic documents, the British and Foreign State Papers, incorporated an unharmed Paris Article 2 as a footnote to the rendering of Ghent, even though Ghent’s attendant Article 6 displayed the Huron issue itself (1839, pp. 359-360).
Clearly, an opportunity arose between the Paris and Ghent creations that led to the introduction of the Huron fault into the later instrument. This event arrived during the British-American dialogue concerning the appropriate text for Ghent’s Article 6. The proposals and counter proposals for the instrument are shown in the Appendix of The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States from the Annals of Congress (1854, pp. 1383-1398). These suggestions included the “Copy of a projet of a Treaty of Paris submitted by the American to the British Plenipotentiaries at Ghent, on the 10th day of November, 1814, and of the alterations and propositions made by the latter in the margin of the said projet, returned by them to the American Plenipotentiaries.” The American text for Article 5 of that proposal, which ultimately became Article 6 of Ghent (pp. 1387-1390), presented a Paris boundary statement that excluded the original second reference to Lake Huron. The British accepted this wording and – in this readjustment to the Paris boundary stipulation for the forthcoming Ghent – the United States representatives thereby reintroduced the Huron fault from the earlier instrument, the same inaccuracy that could have been initiated in the newspapers of Britain by an incomplete Paris text supplied by the Foreign Office. The data in Table I for the Horizontal and Vertical renditions demonstrate that the official American Paris document from 1783 did not contain the Huron problem. It is obvious then that the American delegation must have employed some other source, perhaps a convenient copy of The Annual Register, or a View of the History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year 1783, that important resource of British annual events. A second edition of the volume for that year had been printed in 1800. As may be seen in Table I (Download Excel File), every Paris variant provided by the various impressions of The Annual Register or of The New Annual Register for 1783 (i.e., the documents in Table I named New I, Annual I, Annual II, New II, and Annual III, for the chronological period between 1784 and 1800) possessed the Huron error. The mistake may have been condoned in the proposed Ghent wording if the British team had examined one of the Annual Register volumes themselves while certifying the accuracy of the Paris Article 2 text invoked by the American suggestion. The absence of British responses to this segment (see pp. 1387-1390 of the Appendix of The Debates) signals that the entire boundary statement derived from Paris, as presented by the Americans, was acceptable to them.
The Mississippi redundancy
The observation of the duplicated reference to the Mississippi River in Article 2 of Claypoole (i.e., “… thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi; thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi; thence by a liae to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude…;” emphasis added; misspelling original) reveals the rapidity with which texts may be altered. There is no established creation date available for the Claypoole broadside, but this format was designed and well used for extensive public viewing. This implies that the commission to create this display occurred sometime soon after the arrival of the Lord Hyde, first in New York on 23 November and then shortly thereafter in Philadelphia. The Claypoole variant could not be a derivative of the official Paris copy returned to Philadelphia by John Thaxter, Jr. on 22 November because Claypoole possessed the Huron error and Thaxter’s material did not, as verified by Congress’s Horizontal and Vertical reproductions. Further, federal officials would not have made such diplomatic materials available immediately; there was still the process of ratification to address. The Claypoole Huron absence confirms that it is a reproduction of the document from one or more newspapers that sailed from New York via the Lord Hyde. Claypoole declared this source in the preamble preceding his Paris broadside, when he stated that “[f]rom the English papers brought[,] we have extracted the following important advices” (emphasis added). Thus, the introduction of the Mississippi incursion must have occurred either during the preparation of Claypoole by that printer, or in the creation of other relevant materials at some point between the arrival of the British newspapers in New York and their collective delivery to Philadelphia. The avoidance of the Mississippi incursion in the Paris version published by The Providence Gazette and Country Journal (1783, 29 November and 1783, 6 December) supports the notion that a printer in New York induced this Mississippi problem, as a supplement to the Huron text shortfall in the London papers conveyed by the Lord Hyde.
Indeed, a newspaper article on Paris was produced three days after the New York arrival of the Lord Hyde, in Rivington’s New-York Gazette and Universal Advertiser (26 November). It is quite possible that a copy of this journal was aboard the Lord Hyde when it departed for its next stop in Philadelphia. The general arrival data preamble in Claypoole’s broadside was nearly identical to a parallel remark employed by Rivington’s. Claypoole observed that “Last Saturday night arrived the Lord Hyde Packet, in 47 days from Falmouth. From the English papers brought, we have extracted the important following advices: London, September 30” and Rivington’s stated that “Last Saturday night arrived the Lord Hyde Pacquet, in 47 days from Falmouth; from the English papers brought, we have extracted the important following advices: London, September 30.” One additional feature in Claypoole is the headline “New-York, November 26” that preceded this arrival remark. Rivington’s version was published on that date and all of these data from Claypoole were carried forward to the Hayes broadside produced in Baltimore. Each of the four American newspapers listed in Appendix I that acquired the Mississippi redundancy – The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser; The Pennsylvania Gazette; The Independent Gazetteer, or The Chronicle of Freedom; and The Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser – had, with slight word position differences, the same overture.
However, those eleven American newspapers that did not reproduce the Mississippi error – The Political Intelligencer (2 December 1783); The Connecticut Courant and Weekly Intelligencer (9 December); The New-Jersey Gazette (9 December); The Connecticut Journal (10 December); The Norwich Packet or The Chronicle of Freedom (10 December); The Vermont Gazette or Freemen’s Depository (11 December); The Massachusetts Gazette or General Advertiser (16 December); The Vermont Journal and The Universal Advertiser (17 December); Thomas’s The Massachusetts Spy or Worcester Gazette (18 December); The Newport Mercury (20 December); and The United States Chronicle: Political, Commercial and Historical (1 January 1784) – devised a variety of ways to declare the arrival of Paris. These alterations insinuate either more extensive editing and/or the use of a source other than Rivington’s. In this manner, those voyage data were used in part in this study to bundle together published items that, based on this shared transportation mention, would likely be derived from a common resource. This subset of variants may be understood as descendants of an earlier document, while renditions with dissimilar beginnings would not be considered so related. The sheer identicalness of the arrival data passages serves as a useful index of subsequent document similarity.
The implied dependence upon such assumed rendition relationships furnished evidence of the possibility of noticeable editorial intervention in one American publication of Paris. The Freeman’s Journal or The North-American Intelligencer (1783, 3 December) exhibited a “Last Saturday night” preface that was insignificantly different from that found in Rivington’s; Claypoole; The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser; The Pennsylvania Gazette; The Independent Gazetteer, or The Chronicle of Freedom; and The Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser. Freeman’s was printed in Philadelphia concurrently with the latter four papers and it presented the Huron error expected in all replications initially based upon those few London papers aboard the Lord Hyde. However, Freeman’s lacked the Mississippi redundancy that those other six exhibited. Apparently, Francis Bailey (ca. 1735-1815), Freeman’s printer, must have promptly noticed and corrected that clear Mississippi incursion induced at Rivington’s. He had had previous experience printing such diplomatic documents as Paris, as may be seen in The Constitutions of the Several Independent States of America; The Declaration of Independence; The Articles of Confederation Between the Said States; The Treaties Between His Most Christian Majesty and the United States of America (1781), that the Continental Congress, for which he was employed as official printer, had instructed him to produce (Kingston, 1944; Steirer, 1999).
The implementation of the boundary parameters defined in Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris, 1783 caused far greater confusion than that induced by the Huron and Mississippi text inaccuracies. In the process of finalizing the separation of Britain from the colonies, the destiny of the Indians of North America was modified. The strong connection developed between the tribes and the British had been established through a series of formal treaties that are still recognized today by the United States government. These seven instruments were fashioned between 1722 and 1768 and engaged nations east of the Ohio River and colonies like New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (see Bernholz, Pytlik Zillig, Weakly, and Bajaber, 2006), yet through the signing of Paris, the British abruptly abandoned their duties to these tribes in America, even though there had been vociferous deliberation within Parliament regarding this path; at the 18 December 1782 Commons debate regarding the articles of the Provisional Treaty that would, in the following year, populate the Definitive Treaty; and during the following February by both the House of Lords and of Commons. Nevertheless, the increasing absence of British influence on the ground was reflected in other ways: there was an immediate escalation of American animosity towards all tribes after 1782 (Downes, 1940, pp. 277-309).
The text of a letter between Brigadier General Allan Maclean and General Frederick Haldimand, dated 18 May 1783 from Niagara, delivers one example of the indigenous alarm building in the colonies (Davies, 1981, pp. 169-172). In this communiqué, produced during the period between the acceptance of the Provisional Treaty in the previous November and the final Definitive Treaty concluded in September, Maclean expressed the unease that local tribes had about the forthcoming departure of the British. Maclean assured Haldimand that his staff had “endeavoured to get every information possible respecting [the Six Nation Indians’] ideas and opinion of the peace.” The tribes were weary of fighting and relieved that the conflict had ended, but Maclean observed that “they appear to be very anxious and uneasy; they have heard of certain pretended boundaries to which they never can agree if true” (emphasis added). The trepidation must have been substantial, since Maclean remarked that he had “every reason to believe the Six Nations will act as they have hitherto done, with fidelity, firmness and moderation, at least while we remain here; but I would by no means answer for what they may do when they see us evacuate these posts. I should rather then be apprehensive of some disagreeable scenes.” The turbulent discussions of the boundary concern – and its “very strong impression on the minds of the Six Nations” – reappeared in Maclean’s letter: “The Indians from the surmises they have heard of the boundaries look upon our conduct to them as treacherous and cruel. They told me they never could believe our King could pretend to cede to America what was not his own to give or that the Americans would accept from him what he had no right to grant.” In the end and regardless of all the debates in Parliament or the military’s concern for their allies, Britain’s departure left the new nation with an ever-expanding predicament with virtually every one of its indigenous neighbors. This difficulty was mediated only to a small degree by the implementation during the next ninety years of a further 368 treaties with the resident tribes. The words of Paris – with or without induced structural errors – sealed the fate of all these peoples, regardless of their heritages or previous promises or senses of responsibility.
From a more distant and insulated perspective above this fray, the study of the evolution of errors in textual materials is always re-illuminated by the examination of these old documents. Modern storage capabilities have the potential to preserve records with almost infinite lives, while the occupation of typesetting newspapers in the eighteenth century required endless setting up and breaking down of formes. Back then, the creation of tomorrow’s hand composited news involved rearranging the individual sorts found in the words of today’s discussion of the Treaty of Paris. Understanding the occupational burden of yesteryear makes it easier to comprehend why such errors can be molded accidently. Instead, the perseveration of text errors across variants is an indication that, for the most part, printers very reliably replicated what they were given to reproduce. The introduction of a fault – either though inaccurate primary copy as is suggested here for the Huron issue, or by simple incursion as seen in Rivington’s – is in itself just one part of the daily professional endeavor to achieve accuracy of reproduction. All those British newspapers conveyed that Huron absence because they dutifully replicated a marred text that was placed before them. Their own work was then simply repeated in America, thereby confirming that, in the universe of professional printers, initial text exclusion tends to guarantee future omission. The presence of Mississippi in Rivington’s, and then in the ensuing broadsides and newspapers that shared this problem, was counterbalanced by the absence of this issue from the eleven other newspapers listed in Appendix I solely because those latter printers were not fueled, directly or indirectly, by the 26 November Rivington’s article on the events in France. All vehicles, however, suffered the Huron difficulty, even in England, because of the inattention paid to the distributed text at the very beginning of the process.
Newspapers and broadsides, though, were not the only unwitting victims. The Annual Register, edited by Edmund Burke and Thomas English between 1758 and 1793, was an august standard information reference for all historical events during this period, but it too was not immune, as shown in Table I (Download Excel File) by the absent tokens in their various editions. The story is further complicated because The Annual Register may very well have been the primary reason that the Huron error was introduced by the American representatives into their proposed Paris text portion for the subsequent Ghent instrument. The status and the implied reliability after decades of useful service of The Annual Register did not insulate it from such shortfalls.
Finally, the connections among printers were very frequently personal ones. After 1793, the authorized continuation of The Annual Register (Todd, 1961, pp. 107-109) was published in Britain by the famous Rivington book trade family (Fitzpatrick, 2004), to which belonged James Rivington (pp. 57-58; Figure 2), the owner of the loyalist Rivington’s New-York Gazette and Universal Advertiser (Todd, 1961). The newspaper ceased publication in the month following its Paris announcement.
Figure 2. James Rivington, Sr. (ca. 1724-1802), by Ezra Ames after Gilbert Stuart (Object number 1858.83; courtesy of The New-York Historical Society).
“Their legacy was a long and impressive one: at the time of its sale to Longmans in 1890, the Rivington publishing business was the oldest continuously existing publishers in Britain. Moreover, as the printing firm Gilbert and Rivington survived until 1907 while the publishing firm Rivington & Co. (formerly Percival & Co.) lasted until it was sold by Gerald Chippindale Rivington, son of Charles Robert Rivington, to Evans in the early 1960s, the Rivington family can be said to have maintained an active and continuous association with the English book trade for over 250 years.”It is intriguing to hazard that the Paris text with the Huron exclusion – perhaps furnished to those first English newspapers by the British Foreign Office – was originally printed for that Office through the efforts of an employee who might have been a member of the Rivington family, and whose possible relative James Rivington, through his Rivington’s New-York Gazette and Universal Advertiser, subsequently induced the Mississippi incursion into the treaty text found in those London papers that were delivered to America aboard the Lord Hyde packet. That doubly affected text, through the normal professional process of reproducing previous printings, thereafter surfaced in several other Paris descriptions composed in America. Perhaps the Rivingtons had the positions, the skills, and the opportunities to impart both of these faults and thereby leave their marks on certain variants of the Treaty of Paris, 1783.
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Winterbotham, W. (1795). An Historical, Geographical, Commercial, and Philosophical View of the American United States, and of the European Settlements in America and the West-Indies, Vol. 1. London: Printed for the editor.
I thank Jane Fitzgerald of the National Archives and Records Administration for providing images of the Vertical variant used in this study. This project was also aided by Sally Hoult, of the Foreign and Contemporary Team at Britain’s National Archives in Kew, through her expertise with regard to the Archives’ official version of Paris; by Deb Ehrstein of Washington University in St. Louis and Sarah W. Carrier of Duke University through supplying copies of variants of The Annual Register; and by Erin Luckett and Readex through American newspaper database access to materials concerning mail packet arrival dates and publication timing issues of Paris and Ghent. Mike Klein at the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress provided assistance regarding Figure 1, and Robert Delap of The New-York Historical Society kindly granted permission to present the James Rivington portrait in Figure 2; I extend my thanks to both of them and to The Society. In addition, I am grateful to the following colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Brian Pytlik Zillig at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities for providing software for the initial Levenshtein analyses; Laura Weakly and Karin Dalziel, also employed at the Center, for creating this Web site; and Tara Lavy and Brian O’Grady of the Libraries’ Access Services for obtaining materials for this research.
Timeline of events, 1783-1784
- 3 September – signing of the Treaty of Paris, 1783.
- 11 September – earliest possible date for public publication of Paris in Britain.
- 29 September – publication of Paris in London by The Public Advertiser, including the Huron exclusion.
- 30 September – publication of Paris in London by The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser; The Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser; The St. James’s Chronicle or The British Evening Post; and The Whitehall Evening-Post. Each exhibited the Huron fault.
- 2 to 7 October – British newspapers beyond London published Paris with Huron issue: Drewry’s Derby Mercury (2 October); The Chelmsford Chronicle (3 October); Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal (4 October); Jackson’s Oxford Journal (4 October); The Norfolk Chronicle or The Norwich Gazette (4 October); The Northampton Mercury (6 October); and The Manchester Mercury & Harrop’s General Advertiser (7 October).
- 13 October – Departure of mail packet Lord Hyde from Falmouth for New York and Philadelphia.
- 22 November – John Thaxter, Jr., the private secretary to John Adams, arrived in Philadelphia directly from France aboard the French packet Le Courier de l’Europe with the official United States copy of Paris.
- 23 November – Arrival of Lord Hyde in New York.
- 26 November – Publication of Rivington’s New-York Gazette and Universal Advertiser with both of the Huron and Mississippi errors.
- 1 December – Arrival of the brig Don Galvez in Boston, after an earlier stop in Rhode Island. The Providence Gazette and Country Journal published the Paris text as a supplement to their 29 November edition, and again on 6 December, from materials brought by this vessel. These variants exhibited only the Huron mistake. Carter produced in Providence from same materials.
- 8 December – Lord Hyde departs New York for Falmouth, after a roundtrip to Philadelphia.
- December 1783 and January 1784:
- Publication of Claypoole in Philadelphia, and Hayes and Goddard in Baltimore with both of the Huron and Mississippi faults. Similar text produced by The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser (2 December); The Pennsylvania Gazette (3 December); The Independent Gazetteer, or The Chronicle of Freedom (6 December); and The Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser (13 December). Potential interaction between Claypoole and The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser since David Claypoole was an owner of The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser.
- Publishers with the Huron exclusion but without the Mississippi incursion were The Political Intelligencer (2 December 1783); The Connecticut Courant and Weekly Intelligencer (9 December); The New-Jersey Gazette (9 December); The Connecticut Journal (10 December); The Norwich Packet or The Chronicle of Freedom (10 December); The Vermont Gazette or Freemen’s Depository (11 December); The Massachusetts Gazette or General Advertiser (16 December); The Vermont Journal and The Universal Advertiser (17 December); Thomas’s The Massachusetts Spy or Worcester Gazette (18 December); The Newport Mercury (20 December); and The United States Chronicle: Political, Commercial and Historical (1 January).
- Publication of The Freeman’s Journal or The North-American Intelligencer (3 December) with the Huron fault but not the Mississippi one, even though its arrival data preamble was virtually identical to that of Rivington’s, Claypoole, The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser; The Pennsylvania Gazette; The Independent Gazetteer, or The Chronicle of Freedom; and The Virginia Gazette and Weekly Advertiser.
Article 2 of the Treaty of Paris, 1783, including the highlighted Huron exclusion and the Mississippi incursion[*]
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. From the north-west angle of Nova-Scotia, viz., that angle which is formed by a line, drawn due north from the source of St. Croix River to the Highlands; along the said Highlands which divide those rivers, that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic ocean, to the northwesternmost head of Connecticut river; thence down along the middle of that river, to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due west 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 said lake to the water-communication between that lake and lake Superior; thence through lake Superior northward of the Isles Royal and Phelipeaux, 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; 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 middle thereof to its junction with the Flint river, thence strait to the head of St. Mary’s river; and thence down along the middle of St. Mary’s river to the Atlantic ocean. East by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river St. 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 St. 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.
* This unaffected treaty text was taken from the Statutes at Large (Definitive treaty of peace between the United States of America and his Britannic Majesty; 8 Stat. 80; misspellings original). [back][back]
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org [back]
1 Variants of the famous 1755 map of North America created by John Mitchell (1690?-1768; Larson, 1999) – A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America – were used during the 1782 negotiations of this frontier (see Ristow, 1972, pp. 109-113 for a list of editions in English, Dutch, French, and Italian). Following the War of 1812 and the Treaty of Ghent, the actual physical location of the agreed line was found unclear along the frontier between today’s Canada and Maine. In 1831, a new path was determined by arbitration, but this result was challenged by the State of Maine. Miller (1933, pp. 319-384) fully described the Mitchell map within the context of the Convention for the Submission to Arbitration of the Northeastern Boundary Question, signed at London September 29, 1827 (8 Stat. 362); see also Correspondence Relating to the Boundary Between the British Possessions in North America and the United States of America, Under the Treaty of 1783. Subsequently to the Reference to Arbitration of the Disputed Points of Boundary, Under the Convention of the 29th September, 1827, and the Fifth Article of the Treaty of Ghent. With an Appendix (1838). The final boundary was established in 1842, within the Webster-Ashburton Treaty (8 Stat. 572; see Dunbabin, 1998, pp. 113-121 and especially Fig. 9 on p. 117), thereby settling between the two countries all demarcation lines east of the Mississippi River. Martin (1944) reported that Benjamin Franklin marked the resulting boundary for the French government on a 1777 impression of Mitchell’s plat. The Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine provides a website to describe that material; Franklin’s famous “red line” may be seen on a copy of the map now in the Library’s possession. [back]
2 Miller (1931, pp. 574-584) noted that Ghent was signed on 24 December 1814; ratified by Great Britain on 31 December; arrived in New York on 11 February 1815 aboard the British sloop Favourite; was submitted to the Senate on 15 February; and ratified two days later on 17 February before its proclamation the following day. Niles’ Weekly Register (1815, pp. 393-400) indicated on 18 February, under a heading of “Important from Europe,” that both Henry Carroll, secretary to United States Secretary of State Henry Clay, and Anthony St. John Baker, who had been secretary of the British commission at Ghent, had accompanied the document. The Niles’ article included a commentary from the 30 December London Times, incorporating the full text of Ghent (pp. 397-400). [back]
3 The unpredictability of the mails may be seen in a letter between the Virginia Congressional delegates and Benjamin Harrison dated 1 November, i.e., three weeks before Thaxter’s arrival. The note mentioned the forthcoming arrival of the accord by stating that “Mr. Thackster Secretary of Mr. Adams had embarked in the L’Orient Packet with an authenticated Copy, & may be daily expected” (Hutchinson and Rachal, 1971, p. 398; emphasis added; misspelling original). Collins (1908, p. 231) reported that the packet carrying the official treaty had sailed from this French port on the southern coast of Brittany on 20 September. Olenkiewicz (2013b, p. 6) cited a newspaper clipping that stated “New-York, November 20: Yesterday afternoon arrived here, the Packet Le Courier de l’Europe, Captain Cornick. It is with pleasure we inform our Readers that she hath brought over the long expected Definitive Treaty.” An accompanying table shows that this ship – under Capt. Cornic de Moulin – left L’Orient (now Lorient) on 26 September, not on the 20th as Collins proposed, and arrived in New York on 19 November, as the newspaper article indicated. Thus, the transit from France to New York took 54 days, with an additional three days to reach Philadelphia. The French government was very enthusiastic to initiate packet service with the new country, as demonstrated by this prompt departure just three weeks after the Paris signing (Stevens, 1876, p. 48). A description of Thaxter (1755-1791) – and a small portrait painting – may be found in the Adams Family Correspondence compilation (Ryerson, 1993, pp. x-xi and 25, respectively). [back]
4 See Simpson and Weiner (1989, pp. 44-45) who, in The Oxford English Dictionary, described packet as “[a] small pack, package, or parcel: in earliest use applied to a parcel of letters or dispatches, and esp. to the State parcel or ‘mail’ of dispatches to and from foreign countries.” They further defined packet boat and noted the term’s origin as 1634 (p. 45). [back]
5 Hyde (1974, p. 1) noted that the founder of the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, that later evolved into The Cunard Steam Ship Co. Ltd., was Samuel Cunard, born in Halifax in 1787. Samuel’s father had immigrated to Nova Scotia after the Revolution and had worked as a master carpenter in the dockyards. See Kennedy (1903, pp. 221-236) for a history of Cunard up to the beginning of the twentieth century. Titanic was under a delivery contract with the United States Post Office Department on its journey to America. [back]
6 The postal stages between London and each of Berwich, Dover, Holyhead (for mail to Ireland), and Plymouth were also listed (Report from the Secret Committee of the Post-Office, 1844, pp. 44-45). [back]
7 A month after the departure of the Lord Hyde, The London Gazette (1783, 18 November; p. 2) contained a notice from the General Post Office, dated 18 November, that announced: “A sufficient number of packet boats of about 100 tons and 30 hands are established between Falmouth and New York to support a monthly correspondence, and the mails will continue to be dispatched as at present from London and from New York upon the fifth Wednesday in every month.” [back]
8 See Clarke (2004) for more on these five substantial London newspapers. The twelve tabloids, arrayed in chronological order of Paris publication, were The Public Advertiser (1783, 29 September; p. 2); The Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (1783, 30 September; p. 2); The Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (1783, 30 September; p. 2); The St. James’s Chronicle or The British Evening Post (1783, 30 September; p. 2); The Whitehall Evening-Post (1783, 30 September; p. 2); Drewry’s Derby Mercury (1783, 2 October; p. 3); The Chelmsford Chronicle (1783, 3 October; p. 2); Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal (1783, 4 October; p. 4); Jackson’s Oxford Journal (1783, 4 October; p. 4); The Norfolk Chronicle or The Norwich Gazette (1783, 4 October; p. 1); The Northampton Mercury (1783, 6 October; p. 4); and The Manchester Mercury & Harrop’s General Advertiser (1783, 7 October; p. 2). [back]
9 Laurens signed the November 1782 preliminary treaty, but not Paris in 1783 (Wallace, 1915, pp. 402 and 411). [back]
10 As a point of information, the texts of Horizontal and Vertical in Table I differ, in terms of a Levenshtein edit distance perspective, by 45 bytes over twelve token positions. Five pairs of and vs. & items (see line number 34, 167, 198, 261, and 486), and five saint vs. st sets (at line number 64, 398, 408, 428, and 468) account for almost all of these divergences. The elements northwestern most and north western-most account for the other two mismatches (line number 96 and 97). I thank Jane Fitzgerald of the National Archives and Records Administration for providing images of the Vertical document. [back]
11 The spelling error – liae instead of line at line number 316 – is simply part of the Claypoole rendition. [back]
12 These three documents are, respectively, Evans Early American Imprint No. 18253, 18252, and 18251. [back]
13 See the Journals of the Continental Congress (1909, p. 434) that confirmed on 9 April 1779 that “Resolved, that David C. Claypoole, be appointed to print for Congress.” [back]
14 Lincoln (1906, p. 275) has armament, crew, and ownership data for the Don Galvez. The ship was named after Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid (1746-1786), the Spanish Governor of Louisiana between 1776 and 1783 (see Caughey, 1934). In 2014, he was rewarded with honorary citizenship for his pro-American stance and for his “victories against the British [that] were recognized by George Washington as a deciding factor in the outcome of the Revolutionary War” (Conferring honorary citizenship of the United States on Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Viscount of Galveston and Count of Gálvez, 2014). [back]
15 Documents in class FO 93 pertain to Foreign Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office protocols of treaties; FO 93/8 points to United States instruments. Paris is identified in this system as FO 93/8/2, while Ghent is denoted as FO 93/8/3. For Article 2, the four images references are FO 93/8/2 f3v, FO 93/8/2 f4, FO 93/8/2 f4v, and FO 93/8/2 f5. The Huron and the Mississippi segments are part of image FO 93/8/2 f4 and FO 93/8/2 f4v, respectively. I thank Sally Hoult, at Britain’s National Archives in Kew, for her assistance in obtaining these data. [back]
16 Todd (1961, p. 116) lists 1785, 1800, and 1820 as the publication years for editions of The Annual Register for the year 1783. [back]
17 Miller (1931, p. 156) identified 13 December 1783 as the day that Paris was laid before Congress. Originally, Article 10 of the treaty had allocated six months for the exchange of ratifications between the United States and Great Britain. The Americans completed their process on 14 January 1784 and the British on 9 April 1784 (see Wharton, 1889, pp. 755-758). [back]
18 This citation to “English papers” eliminates the possible use of any French materials that might have accompanied Thaxter’s direct return to Philadelphia from France. [back]
19 Note that The Pennsylvania Packet and General Advertiser was co-operated by David Claypoole and John Dunlap, and included the “New-York, November 26” notation. [back]
20 This collection incorporated the charters and constitutions of the original thirteen states, with supporting historical documents. The treaties section (pp. 205-226) contained the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1778 (pp. 207-219; 8 Stat. 12) and the Treaty of Alliance, 1778 (pp. 223-226; 8 Stat. 6); both had been signed by Bailey’s friend and fellow printer, Benjamin Franklin. [back]
21 See Stanley (1979) and Sutherland, Tousignant, and Dionne-Tousignant (1983) for more on the careers of these professional soldiers. [back]
22 See Sargent (1926a and b) for a discussion of the Loyalist pamphlets printed by Rivington during the Revolution, and for a bibliography of those materials. [back]
23 I thank Robert Delap of The New-York Historical Society for permission to use this portrait. [back]