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The American Revolution
Revolutionary War: Groping Toward Peace 1781-1783
Preliminary Articles of Peace, January 20, 1783

Peace negotiations between British and American diplomats began in earnest only in the fall of 1782. Unlike today when news media almost instantaneously update viewers and readers of diplomatic negotiations, communications in the late 18th century were as slow as it took a ship to sail the Atlantic Ocean. At any rate, the preliminary articles of peace were signed by British and American representatives in late January 1783, but news of the event did not reach American shores until March. What are the major provisions of the preliminary articles of peace? What did the British grant to the American Revolutionaries? To what extent do these provisions suggest that the American Revolution was truly a global conflict?

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PHILADELPHIA, March 24, 1783.

His Most Christian Majesty's Cutter the Triumph, commanded by the Chevalier DUQUESNE, arrived this Morning, in 36 Days from Cadiz. By her we have the following very agreeable and important Intelligence.

The Principal Articles of the Preliminaries of the Peace of the 20th of January, 1783.

FRANCE to retain Tobago and Senegal. France to restore to Great-Britain Grenada, St. Vincents, Dominique and St. Christophers.

St. Eustatia, Demerara, Berbice, and Issequibo shall be restored to the Dutch.

Great Britain to restore to France, Goree, St. Lucia, St. Pierre, and Miquelon.

The fishery of France and England on the coast of Newfoundland to remain on the same footing on which they were left by the treaty of 1763, except that part of the coast from Cape Bonavista to Cape St. John's, which shall belong to the English.

France to be re-established in the East-Indies, as well in Bengal as on the east and west coast of the Peninsula, as regulated by the treaty of 1763.

The articles of the preceding treaties, concerning the demolition of Dunkirk, to be suppressed.

Spain to retain Minorca and West Florida.

Great-Britain cedes East Florida to Spain.

An agreement to be entered into between Spain and Great-Britain, about the cutting of wood in the bay of Honduras.

Great-Britain to retain the Dutch settlement of Negapatam, in the East-Indies.

Great-Britain to restore Trinquemale to the Dutch, if not re-taken.

St. Eustatia, Demarara and Issequibo, to be restored by the French to the united provinces.

Great-Britain acknowledges the sovereignty and independence of the thirteen united states of America.

The limits of the united states to be as agreed upon in the provisional articles between them and Great-Britain, except that they shall not extend further down the river Mississippi than the 32d degree of north latitude, from whence a line is to be drawn to the head of the river St. Mary, and along the middle of that river to its mouth.

Copy of the heads of the preliminaries of peace, signed the 20th of January, and transmitted by express on the 22d by the marquis de Castries.
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