Papers of John Adams, volume 3



ix Descriptive List of Illustrations Descriptive List of Illustrations

[Note: for permissions reasons, not all illustrations from the letterpress volumes are available in this digital edition.]

Descriptive List of Illustrations
A N.W. View of the State House in Philadelphia, Taken in 1778, by James Trenchard, after Charles Willson Peale 35 [page] [image]

Published in the Columbian Magazine for July 1787 to illustrate a brief account of the State House, where the Federal Convention was then sitting. This building earlier housed the Second Continental Congress. In 1781 the wooden steeple rising above the brick tower was removed because it was badly decayed. Trenchard did his engraving from a detail in Peale's portrait of M. Conrad Alexandre Gérard, first French minister to the United States (Edward M. Riley, “The Independence Hall Group,” Amer. Philos. Soc., Trans. , 43 [1953]: pt. 1, 23–24).

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th 1775, by Bernard Romans 36

Romans' inscription on his battle scene continues: “In which an advanced party of about 700 Provincials stood an Attack made by 11 Regiments and a Train of Artillery and after an Engagement of two hours Retreated to their Main body at Cambridge Leaving Eleven Hundred of the enemy Killed and Wounded upon the field.” This may be the earliest published picture of the battle, a version of it being advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 20 Sept. 1775. Despite Romans' claim, the relative positions of Charlestown, Boston, and Breed's Hill are inexact.

Romans, born in the Netherlands, was an engineer, surveyor, cartographer, naturalist, and author, who had worked for some years in Georgia and Florida. In the 1770's he moved to the north, settling in Connecticut. He supervised construction of fortifications for the army in several places (P. Lee Phillips, Notes on the Life and Work of Bernard Romans, Publication of the Florida State Historical Society, 2 (1924):83–85; DAB ).

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Josiah Quincy (1710–1784), by John Singleton Copley, about 1767 75

Distant relative of Abigail Adams, old friend of John, and father of “the patriot” Josiah Quincy Jr., Col. Josiah Quincy was a Braintree citizen with trading interests in Boston. He was much concerned about the control of Boston Harbor while the British occupied the town. He sent Adams long letters detailing the means by which the xharbor could be blocked up, ideas that Adams passed on to others. But action was delayed and Quincy's schemes came to naught.

Courtesy of the Dietrich Brothers Americana Corporation (Photograph by Will Brown).

Artemas Ward (1727–1800), by Raphaelle Peale, 1795 80

Second in command under Washington after the Battle of Bunker Hill, Ward was soon the focus of much discontent. Adams' friends wrote about his incompetence and wondered how the Massachusetts delegation could have supported his candidacy as first major general. Within less than a year he was complaining of bad health and seeking to retire. Despite all the complaints and invidious comparisons with generals like John Thomas, Ward stayed on; Washington had no replacement for him, and Adams was pleased to see him made commander of the Eastern Department. He was relieved in March 1777.

Courtesy of Harvard University.

John Dickinson (1732–1808), Engraving by Bénoit Louis Prévost, after a Drawing by Pierre Eugène Du Simitière, 1781 91

Although Adams and Dickinson had worked closely together in the First Continental Congress, the latter's moderation and insistence upon taking every step toward reconciliation alienated Adams and others who supported vigorous measures of opposition to Great Britain. An open breach between the two men was caused by Adams' reference to Dickinson (although unnamed) as a “piddling Genius” in his letter to James Warren of 24 July 1775 (below), which was intercepted by the British.

In 1779 Du Simitière sent from Philadelphia to France a set of fifteen profile drawings done from life, which he wanted engraved to sell as a set. Fourteen of the drawings were of Americans whom Du Simitière considered “eminent”; the fifteenth was of Conrad Alexandre Gérard, who carried the drawings with him on his return and was to arrange for their engraving. Apparently only fourteen engravings were made, each likeness being numbered. Dickinson's was No. 11. Some of the engraved sets were captured by the British on their way to America and were pirated by two British publishers, William Richardson and R. Wilkinson. These unauthorized engravings are readily identifiable, for the publishers did not hesitate to have their names inscribed (Edna Donnell, “Portraits of Eminent Americans after Drawings by Du Simitière,” Antiques, 24:17–21 [July 1933]). For Du Simitière see DAB .

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.

Broadside on the Battle of Bunker Hill, 26 June 1775 95

Printed by John Haine and written from the British point of view, this account underestimates the number of British losses. Gage reported the number of officers and men killed as 249. The estimate of Americans killed is reasonably accurate, but American strength xiin the battle was about 1,000, not three times the British strength of 2,000. This broadside is almost certainly that called by James Warren a “pompous account” and a “lying paper” (to JA, 7 July, below).

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

John Thomas (1724–1776), by Benjamin Blyth, 1775 120

Thomas was universally regarded as one of the ablest of the early American generals. During the siege of Boston he commanded the troops at Roxbury, and his efficiency and spirit were often compared to General Ward's to the detriment of the latter. On Washington's orders Thomas commanded the troops that fortified Dorchester Heights. Just before his fortifications compelled the British to evacuate Boston, the General was ordered to take charge of the discouraging siege of Quebec, but the situation there was past saving. Thomas died of smallpox after leading a retreat ( DAB ). Letters between Thomas and Adams are formal and correct. That Adams respected his judgment is obvious. He counted on the General to keep him informed regarding Canada.

Benjamin Blyth was a Salem limner who did pastel portraits of a number of important Americans, including young John Adams and his wife. For the Thomas portrait, Blyth presented a bill for £6 3s, which is signed and dated 15 February 1777 and is now in the Massachusetts Historical Society (Henry Wilder Foote, “Benjamin Blyth, of Salem: Eighteenth-Century Artist,” MHS, Procs., 71 [1953–1957]:64–107).

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Titlepage for Rules for the Regulation of the Navy, 1775 146

Using two British sources, Adams as a member of the Naval Committee drafted the rules for the Continental Navy. Meant as a handbook, this now extremely rare pamphlet does not include all the regulations that the congress passed in 1775; moreover, it was rushed into print before the congress had made an important change in wording. See John Adams' Service in the Congress, 13 September – 9 December 1775, No. VIII, notes 2 and 10 (below).

Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

A Plan of the Town and Harbour of Boston, by J. De Costa, 1775 165

Done from an actual survey and dedicated to Richard Whitworth, M.P., this map was completed almost a month and a half after the Battle of Bunker Hill; yet it takes no notice of that event. Besides the islands in the harbor, which are placed with more than usual accuracy, the mapmaker shows the position of troops under the command of Generals Thomas and Putnam. Nothing is known of De Costa (Emerson D. Fite and Archibald Freeman, A Book of Old Maps, Cambridge, 1926, p. 255). The plan has been cropped here.

Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library.

A Real American Rifle Man, 1776 240

For a short time riflemen were deemed by Adams the men of the hour, and he was pleased to notify his friends that ten companies from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia would go north to aid in the siege of Boston. The great accuracy of their weapon, compared to the more commonly used musket, promised devastation among the outposts of the British. But soon Adams was receiving from correspondents tales of disorderliness, refusal to obey orders, and even the arrest of some of the riflemen. Their arrogance and the praise at first heaped upon them angered New Englanders.

This print is reproduced from Walker's Hibernian Magazine, April 1776. It is a largely fanciful creation, designed, as were supposed portraits of American generals and statesmen, to appeal to a market eager for knowledge about the revolutionaries. The decoration on the soldier's cap is a skull and crossbones with the words “or Liberty” under it. A glaring error is that the rifle is fitted with a bayonet, a weapon used with the musket. Because the rifleman's lack of a bayonet put him at a severe disadvantage in mass attack, his role became that of flanker, who picked off such advancing enemies as he could before those armed with muskets fired their volleys and engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Moreover, unless the rifleman depicted is grossly above normal height, the length of his weapon falls well short of the five feet or more typical of the American rifle (Warren Moore, Weapons of the American Revolution and Accoutrements, N.Y., 1967, p. 59–60).

Courtesy of the New York Public Library.

William Howe (1729–1814) 283

Howe arrived in America in May 1775, senior among the general officers sent to aid Gen. Thomas Gage, and commanded the British forces ordered against Charlestown. When Gage left Boston on 10 October 1775, Howe took his place as commander of all British troops except those under Sir Guy Carleton in Canada. It was Howe who ordered evacuation of Boston in March 1776. With his older brother, Admiral Richard, Viscount Howe, he led the peace commission through which Great Britain hoped to gain the submission of the colonists by offering pardons. Americans found the attached conditions unacceptable ( DNB ). This picture is reproduced from An Impartial History of the War in America between Great Britain and Her Colonies from Its Commencement to the End of the Year 1779, London, 1780.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Broadside on British Depredations, 18 November 1775 359

Even before the congress acted to name a committee to collect authenticated information on the damage inflicted by British troops and ships, Adams saw the propaganda value such statistics would have, for he wrote James Warren on 12 October, urging the collection of such data “to facilitate Reprizals.” After Adams, George xiiiWythe, and Silas Deane had been named to a committee on 18 October to gather information, Adams wrote Warren again that “This will be an usefull Work for the Information of all the colonies of what has passed in Some—for the Information of our Friends in England—and in all Europe, and all Posterity. Besides it may pave the Way to obtain Retribution and Compensation, but this had better not be talked of at present” (19 Oct., 1st letter, below). Adams kept up a constant pressure by writing to many of his friends on this subject. The broadside was Massachusetts' response to the action of the congress.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.