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(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1781.) Thaxter, John. Letter to Benjamin Franklin on behalf of John Adams, to cut off British naval supplies. Autograph Draft Letter Signed as personal secretary of John Adams to "His Excellency Benjamin Franklin" as American Minister to France. 2 pages, 9 x 7 1/4 inches, on one sheet, with corrections in text; minimal wear. (MRS) Amsterdam, 30 August 1781
Two months before the British surrender at Yorktown, John Adams was serving as American ambassador to the Dutch Republic. He learned that the British were desperate for timber to use as ship masts, and that they were attempting to acquire American timber on the European market. Bedridden with fever, he had his secretary tell Franklin that "he has received Information, that the British government are endeavouring to make secret contracts by their agents with the Americans for masts, yards and bowsprits, of which they are in want, and for which they offer very great prices. He submits it to your Excellency's consideration, whether it would not be proper to consult the French court on this occasion, to know whether they would have any objection to Congress's laying an embargo on the exportation of those articles. Mr. Adams is of opinion, that if an exportation of them is permitted, those agents will find methods to accomplish their end, and give effectual aid to the British marine at this juncture." The sent letter, docketed in French, is held by the French diplomatic archives; it was published in the Papers of Benjamin Franklin, pages 35:428-9. This draft was apparently retained by Thaxter and was found among a small group of Thaxter family papers. John Thaxter (1755-1791) was a first cousin of Abigail Smith Adams, and later served as a tutor for John Quincy Adams. with--a manuscript Harvard eulogy of Thaxter and his mother Anna Quincy Thaxter transcribed in 1799 and sent to his niece Anna Quincy Thaxter (1796–1878) 2 manuscript poems, unsigned and a fragment of a letter addressed to Celia Thaxter.