The American Commissioners to Lord North8
L (draft with Franklin’s alterations): Library of Congress; copies: Massachusetts Historical Society, National Archives (two)9
<Paris, June [6?], 1778: Because of a number of British seamen are now American prisoners, we renew our request for an immediate exchange in Europe. To send men three thousand miles to be exchanged would be an unnecessary addition to their calamities.1 We have authentic information that a number of Americans have been sent to hard labor in Senegal; this will provoke retaliation unless we can assure Congress that they will be brought back and exchanged. Do not sacrifice the interests of humanity to a claim of sovereignty that you know cannot be maintained.>
8. Published in Butterfield, John Adams Diary, IV, 127–8.
9. The draft, in WTF’s hand, is docketed in June, with a notation that it was not sent. One of the National Archives copies is in Lee’s hand, and he adds that it was not sent. He dates it May 6; on the assumption that he mistook the month and not the day, we choose June 6. For a discussion of the dating, the evolution of the text, and the reason it was not sent see Taylor, Adams Papers, VI, 184–5.
1. Whitehall had responded to their previous letter by suggesting an exchange in America: above, XXV, 276 n.