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John Adams, 1811


QUINCY, July 21, 1811. — In the Winter of 1776, there was much discussion in Congress, concerning the necessity of independence, and advising the several States to institute Governments for themselves, under the immediate authority and original power of the people. Groat difficulties occurred to many gentlemen, in making a transition from the old Governments to new; i˙e˙ from the Royal to Republican Governments.

In January, 1776, Mr˙ George Wythe, of Virginia, passing an evening with me, asked what plan I would advise a Colony to pursue, in order to get out of the old Government and into a new one. I sketched in words a scheme, which he requested me to give in writing. Accordingly, the next day I delivered to him the following letter. He lent it to his colleague, Richard Henry Lee, who asked me to let him print it, to which I consented, provided he would suppress my name; for, if that should appear, it would excite a Continental clamour among the Tories, that I was erecting a battering ram to demolish the Royal Government and render independence indispensable. — [John Adams.]