Front Page Titles (by Subject) THOMAS McKEAN TO JOHN ADAMS. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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THOMAS McKEAN TO JOHN ADAMS. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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THOMAS McKEAN TO JOHN ADAMS.
Philadelphia, 15 November, 1813.
The anecdote of Sir William Keith’s proposal to the British ministry is to be found in the latter end of the 1st volume of American Tracts, printed by J. Almon, in London, 1767. It had been published in London in 1739, and is titled “A proposal for establishing by act of parliament the duties upon stamped paper and parchment in all the British colonies.” Part of the anecdote I had by tradition, and in a novel, “Peregrine Pickle;” for I have read and still read novels. These fabulous histories afford me not only amusement but pleasure, because they almost universally make vice detested and punished, and virtue triumphant, which is not the case of history of real life.
With respect to the histories of North America hitherto published, I concur with you in opinion. They were not popular, because the authors were little known, and it was known, that they had not an opportunity of personal knowledge of the facts they related, and in several of them were mistaken. The authors seem to have paid too much attention to those who they supposed would, from their reputation for wealth and influence, be most likely to promote the sale of their books, or otherwise advance their fortunes. This temptation is now done away; the favored characters are all dead, and very few of their descendants at present in any way distinguished.
I have briefly mentioned the situation of the people of Pennsylvania at the time of the American revolution; the like shall now be done with respect to Delaware. This small State was inhabited before Pennsylvania; it consists of only three counties, namely—Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex; the last was settled by a few families from Sweden, more from Holland, but the great mass from England. Kent was nearly in the same proportions; and Newcastle was inhabited from Sweden, Holland, but the great majority were from Ireland; there were a few from England and Scotland. In Newcastle, three fifths were at the time of the revolution Presbyterians, in Kent, about five eighths Protestant Episcopalians, and in Sussex, two thirds of the latter. The Society in London “for propagating the gospel in foreign parts,” had about half a dozen missionaries, perhaps more, in the State of Delaware, to some of whom they gave a salary of 60l., to others 50l. sterling a year. These ministers foresaw, that if America became an independent state or nation, their salaries would necessarily cease. It was their interest, therefore, to oppose the revolution, and they did oppose it, though with as much secrecy as practicable. They told their hearers, many of whom, especially in Sussex, were illiterate, ignorant, and bigoted, that it was a plan of the Presbyterians to get their religion established; that it originated in New England, and was fostered by the Presbyterians in every colony or province A majority of this State were unquestionably against the independence of America; but the most sensible of the Episcopalians, the Baptists and Quakers, and the Presbyterians, with very few exceptions, prevailed against them, as they believed they would be overpowered, with the help of the other colonies, if they resisted. I could not avoid remarking, that I was chosen, unanimously, speaker of the House of Representatives of this State, when, of all the members present, there were but six, including myself, who were esteemed whigs.
That you may continue to enjoy health and every other blessing is the sincere prayer of, dear Sir, your old friend,