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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 13


This foot note contained in document ADMS-06-13-02-0134
6. The letter from Gen. Sir Guy Carleton and Adm. Robert Digby was of 2 Aug. and was enclosed with George Washington's letter of 5 Aug. to Congress (PCC, No. 152, X, f. 669–671, 665–668). The Carleton-Digby letter informed Washington that Thomas Grenville was at Paris with powers to negotiate with all powers and that he was empowered to propose independence immediately rather than it being a condition for a general treaty, but in return the loyalists were to be restored their property or compensated. They then mentioned the release of Henry Laurens as amounting to his exchange for Cornwallis and the need to negotiate a general prisoner exchange. In response to Washington's request for advice on how to proceed, Congress adopted three resolutions on 12 August. The first resolved that the letter from Carleton and Digby, in so far as it concerned peace negotiations, be considered “as mere matter of information” in the absence of any information on the subject from the peace commissioners and that no action be taken regarding it. The second is as Lee indicates, but with “and effect” being replaced by “as the only effectual means of securing the settlement of a safe and honorable peace.” The third resolution as given by Lee was replaced by another that did not mention the exchange of Cornwallis for Laurens, but rather called only for negotiations to “settle forthwith a general cartel for the exchange of prisoners” ( JCC , 23:462–464).