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YESTERDAY morning, I returned with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Rutledge from Staten Island, where we met Lord Howe, and had about three hours conversation with him. The result of this interview will do no disservice to us. It is now plain that his lordship has no power, but what is given him in the act of Parliament. His commission authorizes him to grant pardons upon submission, and to converse, confer, consult and advise with such persons as he may think proper, upon American grievances, upon the instructions to Governors and the acts of Parliament, and if any errors should be found to have crept in, his majesty and the ministry were willing they should be rectified.
I found yours of 31st of August and 2d of September. I now congratulate you on your return home with the children. I am sorry to find you anxious on account of idle reports. Don't regard them. I think our friends are to blame to mention such silly stories. What good do they expect to do by it ?
My ride has been of service to me. We were absent but four days. It was an agreeable excursion. His lordship is about fifty years of age. He is a well bred man, but his address is not so irresistible as it has been represented. I could name you many Americans, in your own neighborhood, whose art, address and abilities are greatly superior. His head is rather confused, I think.
When I shall return I can't say. I expect now every day fresh hands from Watertown.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841