History for the Rest of Us

The Treaty of Paris

The Treaty of Paris brought an end to the American Revolutionary War. Signed September 3, 1783, the United States was represented by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay while David Hartley, a member of the British Parliament represented King George III. The document was signed in Paris at the Hotel d’York (presently 56 Rue Jacob). Great Britian also signed separate agreements with France, Spain, and the Netherlands on the same day. The document consists of Ten Articles, summarized below: Article 1: Acknowledgment that the United States are free sovereign and independent states, and that the British Crown and her heirs relinquish claims to govern, to property, and to territorial rights Article 2: Establishment of the boundaries between the United States and British North America Article 3: Grant of fishing rights, in the Grand Banks (off the coast of Newfoundland) and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to United States fishermen Article 4: Recognition that lawfully contracted debts will be paid to creditors on either side Article 5: Congress of the Confederation will ‘earnestly recommend’ that state legislatures recognize and provide restitution for confiscated lands belonging to Loyalists Article 6: United States will prevent future confiscations of Loyalist properties Article 7: Prisoners of war and property left by the British Army in the United States will be released (including slaves) unmolested Article 8: The United States and Great Britain will both have perpetual access to the Mississippi River Article 9: Territories captured by Americans subsequent to treaty will be returned without compensation Article 10: Ratification of the treaty is to occur within six months from the signing by the contracting parties Full Text of the Treaty of Paris: The Definitive Treaty of Peace 1783 In the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity. It having pleased the Divine Providence to dispose the hearts of the most serene and most potent Prince George the Third, by the grace of God, king of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, duke of Brunswick and Lunebourg, arch-treasurer and prince elector of the Holy Roman Empire etc., and of the United States of America, to forget all past misunderstandings and differences that have unhappily interrupted...

Magna Carta

Magna Carta

Nov 6, 2012

The Magna Carta was originally issued in 1215. It was the first document forced on a King of England by his subjects. The original charter contained a section now known as clause 61. This section gave a committee of 25 barons the right to overrule the King’s will, if he defied the provisions of the Charter. It also gave the barons the ability to seize the king’s castles and possessions if they deemed it necessary. This idea had roots in a medieval legal practice known as distraint. This was, however, the first time it had been applied to a monarch. The charter also assured that a “freeman” would be punished only through the law of the land and not arbitrarily. John’s authority as a ruling monarch was directly challenged by clause 61, and he renounced it as soon as the barons left London; Pope Innocent III declared that it impaired John’s dignity, and annulled the document as a “shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the King by violence and fear.” He also viewed it as an affront to the Church’s authority over not only the King, but also over the ‘papal territories’ of England and Ireland. Realizing that King John would not be restrained by the Magna Carta, the rebels sought a new King and England plunged into a civil war (the First Barons’ War). Viewing the original Magna Carta as a failure in its objective to achieve peace or restrain John, the barons even offered the throne to Prince Louis of France. The original Magna Carta was legally valid for no more than three months. It was only the death of King John in 1216 that secured the future of the document, which was passed into law in 1225. Lord Denning, famed British lawyer and judge, described the Magna Carta as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”. The Magna Carta was inspiration for United States Constitution as well as other constitutional documents. THE MAGNA CARTA 1215 JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of...

Seventeenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Seventeenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Aug 16, 2012

To inform you what joy it is to me to understand of your conformableness with reason, and of the suppressing of your inutile and vain thoughts with the bridle of reason. I assure you all the good in this world could not counterpoise for my satisfaction the knowledge and certainty thereof, wherefore, good sweetheart, continue the same, not only in this, but in all your doings hereafter; for thereby shall come, both to you and me, the greatest quietness that may be in this world. The cause why the bearer stays so long, is the business I have had to dress up gear for you; and which I trust, ere long to cause you occupy: then I trust to occupy yours, which shall be recompense enough to me for all my pains and labour. The unfeigned sickness of this well-willing legate doth somewhat retard his access to your person; but I trust verily, when God shall send him health, he will with diligence recompense his demur. For I know well where he hath said (touching the saying and bruit that he is thought imperial) that it shall be well known in this matter that he is not imperial; and thus, for lack of time, sweetheart, farewell. Written with the hand which fain would be yours, and so is the heart. R. H. NOTE:Written at the end of October,...

Sixteenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Sixteenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Aug 16, 2012

The reasonable request of your last letter, with the pleasure also that I take to know them true, causeth me to send you these news. The legate which we most desire arrived at Paris on Sunday or Monday last past, so that I trust by the next Monday to hear of his arrival at Calais: and then I trust within a while after to enjoy that which I have so long longed for, to God’s pleasure and our both comforts. No more to you at this present, mine own darling, for lack of time, but that I would you were in mine arms, or I in yours, for I think it long since I kissed you. Written after the killing of a hart, at eleven of the clock, minding, with God’s grace, to-morrow, mightily timely, to kill another, by the hand which, I trust, shortly shall be yours. Henry R. NOTE:Written September 16, 1528. Campeggio actually arrived at Calais on Monday, September...

Fifteenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Fifteenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Aug 16, 2012

DARLING, Though I have scant leisure, yet, remembering my promise, I thought it convenient to certify you briefly in what case our affairs stand. As touching a lodging for you, we have got one by my lord cardinal’s means, the like whereof could not have been found hereabouts for all causes, as this bearer shall more show you. As touching our other affairs, I assure you there can be no more done, nor more diligence used, nor all manner of dangers better both foreseen and provided for, so that I trust it shall be hereafter to both our comforts, the specialities whereof were both too long to be written, and hardly by messenger to be declared. Wherefore, till you repair hither, I keep something in store, trusting it shall not be long to; for I have caused my lord, your father, to make his provisions with speed; and thus for lack of time, darling, I make an end of my letter, written with the hand of him which I would were yours. H. R. NOTE:Written August 20,...

Fourteenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Fourteenth Love Letter of Henry to Anne Boleyn

Aug 16, 2012

MINE own SWEETHEART, this shall be to advertise you of the great elengeness that I find here since your departing; for, I ensure you methinketh the time longer since your departing now last, than I was wont to do a whole fortnight. I think your kindness and my fervency of love causeth it; for, otherwise, I would not have thought it possible that for so little a while it should have grieved me. But now that I am coming towards you, methinketh my pains be half removed; and also I am right well comforted in so much that my book maketh substantially for my matter; in looking whereof I have spent above four hours this day, which causeth me now to write the shorter letter to you at this time, because of some pain in my head; wishing myself (especially an evening) in my sweetheart’s arms, whose pretty dukkys I trust shortly to kiss. Written by the hand of him that was, is, and shall be yours by his own will, H. R. NOTE:Written August, 1528. “Elengeness.” Loneliness, misery. “My book.” On the unlawfulness of his marriage with...