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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 12

This note contained in document ADMS-06-12-02-0188
1. George III answered the House of Commons’ address of 27 Feb. on 1 March. He declared that pursuant to the Commons’ advice, he would “take such measures as shall appear to me to be most conducive to the restoration of harmony between Great Britain and the revolted colonies, so essential to the prosperity of both” and would prosecute the war against France and the Netherlands until such time as a peace, favorable to British interests, could be obtained (Parliamentary Hist., 22:1086; for the full text of George III’s reply, see Dumas’ letter of 10 March, below). The absence from the King’s reply of a commitment to end the war in America, and the deepening distrust of the North ministry, led the Commons to reply to the King’s address as quoted by JA (Parliamentary Hist., 22:1087–1101).
In the two paragraphs that follow, there is a noticeable lack of enthusiasm on JA’s part regarding the Commons’ actions even though they constituted a repudiation of the ministry’s American policy. This is because the resolutions offered by Conway on 22 and 27 Feb. and the ensuing debates all contemplated some measure of reconciliation between the American colonies and the mother country. While Britain might be willing to end offensive operations, it did not follow that it was necessarily willing to negotiate with an independent United States and that was the only means by which peace could be restored.
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, 2018.