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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


This note contained in document ADMS-01-03-02-0001-0005-0003
1. In June 1780 JA acknowledged to Thomas Digges, his secret correspondent in London, the receipt of several parcels of English newspapers, pamphlets, and books; among them were copies of Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts on the Consequences to Great Britain of American Independence, London, 1780, and other tracts recently published by the Pennsylvania loyalist in London (JA to Digges, 22 June 1780, LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Works, 7:203–204, under date of 24 June). Galloway's thesis was that the loss of America would mean the eclipse of Great Britain as a great power, and therefore that the British government and public could not for a moment entertain the idea of a peace with American independence. JA, who then held an exclusive commission to treat for peace and believed that these able pamphlets might influence British policy, at once set himself the task of answering them, particularly the Cool Thoughts. His view was that the conclusion to be drawn from Galloway's arguments was the opposite of what the writer intended: if England stood to lose so much by the separation of America, as Galloway maintained, she would lose vastly more by continuing the war; her best course would be to make a good peace before England and America were both exhausted. See JA to the President of Congress, 16 and 17 June 1780, PCC, No. 84, II; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:787–793, 794–798. The answers that he prepared for publication he sent to Edmund Jenings at Brussels, who transmitted them to a friend in England, but nothing happened concerning them for two years. When peace became imminent, however, the letters began to appear, to JA's surprise, in Parker's [London] General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer, as “from a Distinguished American,” running from 23 Aug. to 26 Dec. 1782 and with false dates affixed to them, as if they had been written in the first two months of that year instead of nearly two years earlier (photostats in Adams Papers Editorial Files from the British Museum file of the General Advertiser). Some part of the series was reprinted in the Amsterdam Politique Hollandais, but no separate and complete publication of them, such as JA hoped for, has been found, and JA apparently never recovered the originals that would have made such a publication possible. See JA to Jenings, 16, 27 Sept. 1782 (Adams Papers), and JA to Cerisier, 9 June 1783 (LbC, Adams Papers).
JA's own copies of two and possibly three of Galloway's pamphlets of 1780, including the Cool Thoughts, with marginal summaries and other markings in JA's hand, have been identified among the bound tracts in the Boston Athenaeum while the present volume was in the press.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/