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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-11-02-0215
2. For the letters taken when the Falmouth-New York packet Anna Theresa was captured, see Franklin's letter of 7 April, note 1, above. Franklin's enclosures have not been found, but they were likely letters of 7 March from Lord George Germain to the British Peace Commission headed by Sir Henry Clinton and from William Knox, undersecretary of the American Department, to James Simpson, the royal attorney general of South Carolina. Germain observed that “the narrow limits to which you have reduced your exceptions, and the generality of the assurances you have given of a restoration of the former constitutions, were, I doubt not, well considered and judged necessary and expedient; but as there are many things in the constitutions of some of the colonies, and some things in all, which the people have always wished to be altered, and others which the common advantage of both countries required to be changed, it is necessary to be attentive that either your acts or declarations preclude any disquisition of such subjects, or prevent such alterations being made in their constitutions, as the people may solicit or consent to.” Knox warned that “there is a great probability of a negociation being solicited by the inhabitants of the revolted provinces, if not by the Congress; and ... as you have so full a knowledge of the republican disposition of the Americans, and their aversion to monarchy, I doubt not that you will be able to prevail with the Commissioners not to make any concessions which may have a tendency to confirm them in those principles, and prevent any amendment of their constitutions, for the purpose of creating distinctions of ranks, and to draw them nearer to the model of the British government, which must certainly be more beneficial to the people, as it will strengthen their connection with this country, and prevent the return of the like calamities as they now suffer” (PCC, No. 51, I, f. 813–818).