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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 11


This note contained in document ADMS-06-11-02-0336
1. It is unknown when Temple met with JA. In an undated note JA agreed to meet with Temple at six o'clock. Immediately below JA's signature, Temple wrote “Mr. Adams Invited Mr. Temple to pass a second day with him, without the Company of any other person, but Mr. T happened to be engaged, but sent him word that he would come at 6, and chat with him till 11 oClock, which he did” (MHi: Winthrop Papers).
John Temple was a Boston native, James Bowdoin's son-in-law, and a former customs official. In 1773 he moved to England, but in 1778 and 1779 visited the U.S. in pursuit of a peace settlement based on reconciliation. His actions then, coupled with the Crown offices he had held previously, raised questions as to whether he truly supported the U.S. cause. He was, however, equally at odds with the ministerial forces in England and had been vilified in the London press for his support of the U.S. (vol. 10:418). The tone of JA's letter indicates that he, like Cotton Tufts in 1782, thought that any “Toryism” Temple displayed was nothing more serious than “Don Quixotism” (Adams Family Correspondance, 4:386–387).
Temple was at the center of controversy immediately upon his arrival at Boston in late October. The Mass. Council closely examined him and in 1782 he engaged in a “paper war” with James Sullivan that probably owed as much to the rivalry between John Hancock and James Bowdoin as to issues concerning Temple's loyalty. Congress resolved on 27 Feb. 1782 that JA's letter should not influence the Mass. Council's determination as to whether Temple constituted a threat to the U.S. In late 1783, Temple and his family returned to England. In 1785 he took up residence at New York as the British consul general (same, 4:240, 242, 386–387; 5:271; 6:80–81; JCC, 22:101–102). For Samuel Adams' comments on Temple's arrival, particularly as it effected the relations between Hancock and Bowdoin, see his second letter to JA of 18 Dec., Writings of Samuel Adams, ed. Harry Alonzo Cushing, 4 vols., N.Y., 1904–1908, 4:267–268.
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/