[AMERICAN REVOLUTION]. The Definitive Treaty between Great Britain, and the United States of America, Signed at Paris, the 3d day of September 1783. [Paris: Philip Denis Pierres for Benjamin Franklin], 1783.
8o (8 5/8 x 5 3/8 in.). 12 leaves, including first and final blanks. STABBED AND SEWN, UNCUT IN ORIGINAL BLUE PAPER WRAPPERS.
A REMARKABLE COPY OF THE FIRST PRINTING OF THE TREATY OF PARIS, IN WHICH THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE UNITED STATES IS ACKNOWLEDGED TO THE WORLD
In early deliberations over the terms of peace, John Adams alone had been selected to negotiate with England and draw up a commercial treaty. On 11 June 1781, however, Congress decided to select a committee for the negotiations, and within two days Jay, Franklin, Henry Laurens and Jefferson were asked to act alongside Adams. Congress instructed the commissioners to act only with the "knowledge and concurrence" of the French ministry and to let their advice and opinion guide the negotiations. Cornwallis' surrender on 19 October 1781 virtually halted military operations in America and hastened the path towards peace. On 12 April 1782 Richard Oswald reached Paris as representative of the Rockingham ministry and opened talks with Franklin, the only American on the scene. Negotiations continued in earnest until finally, with a few last-minute modifications, the Peace Treaty was signed on 3 September 1783. The treaty was ratified by Congress on 14 January 1784.
A letter from the printer Philip Denis Pierres to Franklin testifies to his production of the work: "J'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer la copie du Traité, la composition est faite et L'Epreuve est à moitie lüé" (quoted in Livingston). The title-page features the second appearance in print of the seal of the United States, designed by Charles Thompson. This appearance was preceded only by the Paris-printed Constitutions des treize Etats-Unis de l'Amérique of the same year. Lingelbach suggests that 500 copies were printed in the 8vo format, with an additional 100 copies appearing in 4to. Church 1197; Howes D212; W.E. Lingelbach, "Franklin, Printer--New Source Materials," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol. 92, no. 2 (1948); Livingston, pp. 188-190; Sabin 19273. EXCEPTIONALLY FINE.
Provenance: Harry J. Sonneborn (sale, Sotheby's New York, 5 June 1980, lot 148) -- Anonymous owner (sale, Sotheby's New York, 16 December 1992, lot 265).