4. John Thornton, who served Lee as secretary and the British as a spy and was soon to be replaced by Hezekiah Ford (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr Amer. Rev.
, 1:539, 659–661). According to Lee's docketing on a copy enclosed in a letter to the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 7 Aug., the charges against Thornton were in a “Paper delivered secretly to Mr J Adams by Dr Bancroft, and by Mr Adams given to me” (PCC
, No. 83,1, f. 233–237, 255–261; see also Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev.
, 2:679–680). Bancroft, reporting on Thornton's financial dealings with Joseph
Wharton of London, depicted him, at worst, as a British spy, and, at best, as a speculator using documents obtained from the Commissioners, or forgeries thereof, to gain financial advantage. In addition, Bancroft noted Thornton's attempt to cash a bill drawn on Arthur Lee of which, according to his letter of 7 Aug.
, Lee was unaware. In that letter Lee stated that, because of its source, he had at first discounted Bancroft's report, but had been led by later information (enclosed with the letter of 7 Aug.) to conclude that his secretary had been seduced by the “stockjobbers,” including Bancroft, who had continued to be trusted with state secrets even after the stockjobbers' activities were known to Franklin and Deane.