When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
September 3, 1783 Peace proclaimed – Treaty of Versailles
Following the disastrous defeat at Yorktown and subsequent sequestering of British Forces in New York City, the British peace commissioner in Paris, Richard Oswald, received his official commission in early August. Oswald’s commission authorized him to negotiate with the representatives of the “colonies or plantations” at war with Britain in America.
In mid-November, the Prime Minister convinced the British Cabinet to have the upcoming session of Parliament postponed for nine days. He knew that any agreement that recognized American independence would not get enough votes to pass but under British law, if Parliament was not in session, the Prime Minister could act unilaterally. If Shelburne could get an agreement signed with the Americans before Parliament went back into session, one of Britain’s four burdensome wars could be brought to an end. The Preliminary Articles of Peace were signed on November 30th in Oswald’s quarters in Paris and the definitive treaty, officially ending the war for America, Great Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands was signed on September 3, 1783.
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