Papers of John Adams, volume 13

From Edmund Jenings

From Thomas Barclay


It was the perceived need to remove any illusions held by Shelburne or anyone else about an Anglo-American settlement that stopped short of full independence that finally led to the publication, beginning in August, of the “Parcell of Letters” that JA had sent to Jenings in 1780. The letters numbered twelve, ten of which were published in Parker's General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer between 23 Aug. and 26 Dec. 1782 under the title “Letters from a Distinguished American.” All twelve letters are printed under the date of ante 14–22 July 1780, the span in which they were written (vol. 9:531–588). This was done because, significant as their publication is in 1782, JA's motives for writing them in the summer of 1780 and then sending them off to be, as he assumed, expeditiously published are perhaps even more important for understanding his diplomacy.