Papers of John Adams, volume 10


To the Comte de Vergennes

Titlepage of David Hartley's “Draught of a Proposed Bill for Conciliation with America,” 27 June 1780 7[unavailable]

This unsuccessful effort at Anglo-American reconciliation was presented in the House of Commons on 27 June and enclosed by David Hartley in his letter to John Adams of 17 July (below). Hartley's bill sought the appointment of negotiators to conclude a peace that would end hostilities unconditionally, provide a ten-year period of conciliation, and suspend acts of Parliament relating to America for a like period. In seeking to end the Anglo-American conflict, Hartley, first elected to Parliament in 1774 and later one of the British peace negotiators, thought himself a kindred spirit with John Adams. But Adams, convinced of the futility of seeking to end the war short of American independence, most likely thought of Hartley and his bill in the same terms that he had used after reading Hartley's letter of 21 March to the chairman of the Committee of the County of York (to the president of Congress, 18 April, No. 48, vol. 9). Then he had described Hartley as “a Gentleman, who, to do him Justice, has long expressed an earnest desire of Peace, but who nevertheless, has never yet reflected maturely enough upon the State of America, of Great Britain and of all Europe, to get into a right Way of thinking concerning the proper Means to his End.”

From the original in the Adams Papers.