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Staten Island Peace Conference: Wikis


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The Staten Island Peace Conference was a brief and unsuccessful meeting designed to bring an end to the American Revolution. The conference took place on September 11, 1776, at Billop Manor, the residence of Captain Christopher Billop, on Staten Island, New York.

In early September 1776, Admiral Lord Howe, having been appointed Acting Peace Commissioner by King George III, forwarded an invitation to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia for an informal meeting to discuss ending the armed conflict between Britain and its rebellious colonies. The Continental Congress agreed to send three of its members – John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge – to hold discussions. Lord Howe initially sought to meet with the men as private citizens (he knew Franklin prior to the war), but he agreed to the Americans' demand that he recognize them as the official representatives of the Congress.[1]

The meeting lasted three hours, and the two sides were unable to find any common ground.[2] The Americans insisted that any negotiations required British recognition of their independence. Lord Howe stated he did not have the authority to meet that demand.[3]

For most of the meeting, both sides were cordial. But when Lord Howe expressed that he would feel America’s failure as "like the loss of a brother," Franklin informed him that "we will do our utmost endeavors to save your lordship that mortification." Lord Howe unhappily stated he could not view the American delegates as anything but British subjects, to which Adams replied: "Your lordship may consider me in what light you please, except that of a British subject." Lord Howe then spoke past Adams to Franklin and Rutledge, stating: "Mr. Adams appears to be a decided character."[4] The American delegation returned to Philadelphia and Lord Howe pursued his military campaign against American forces in New York.




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