Papers of John Adams, volume 2

From James Warren, 16 October 1774 Warren, James JA From James Warren, 16 October 1774 Warren, James Adams, John
From James Warren
My Dear Sir Boston Octr the 16th: 1774

I Recd yours of the 18th Sepr1 with A pleasure and satisfaction that render my Negligence in not Answering it before almost Inexcusable. I shant trouble you at this Time with any Apologies, but leave your Candour to Excuse me till I have an Opportunity to do it on A Social Evening att Braintree or Plymouth and Improve the Short Time I now have in Another way. Great has been my Anxiety since you left us not only for the publick determinations of your August Body but for your Health on such a Journey in a Season not the most favourable. I am however relieved by finding the last in A good State and by hopes that the first would be as I could Wish. That America will save the Massachussets or Perish with her,2 is a Resolution worthy of the Greatest Assembly that ever met on this Continent, and such an one as you can easily suppose I wish to see Carried into Execution, and more especially at a Time when Indeed 191our Affairs and Circumstances are such as require not only Great but Immediate support. It can be no longer A question whether any People ever subsisted in A State of Nature. We have been and still remain in that Situation, with this Additional Misfortune, that we dare not Attempt to Form A Civil Constitution or redress our Inconveniencies, least our Attempts should be disapproved of at Philadelphia and that perhaps made A Pretence to Justine our being left to the Mercy of our Enemies. You will Learn by the Bearer of the Meeting of our Provincial Congress at Concord on last Tuesday and their proceedings.3 We are A Large and I think A Respectable Body, but in perfect Leading strings, Intirely and professedly dependent on you for Motion if not for Being. I am Sensible of your many difficulties. I pity and pray for you. We are not without ours, our Constituents forming great Expectations from us, while we are Embarrassd by a Multitude of—difficulties from all quarters. We are all Sensible of the necessity of A Military Force to Oppose the Encroachments and Insults of our Enemies and that to Form support and Controul them, A Civil Goverment is necessary. But how the first is to be Established or the last Formed is a question which is left to Ourselves. We should be perhaps divided in Sentiment about it.4 What shall be the model of the last is certainly the most Interesting. We Impatiently wait for Revere5 who we flatter Ourselves will bring us some decisions on that Subject not only to Animate but Unite us. But as I write in A hurry and under disadvantages I must leave this Subject to your Other Friends and Correspondents who have not only more leisure but Abilities to handle it. Mrs. Warren is here and Joins heartily in Wishes for your Health and Success in your Undertakings. We Called on Mrs. Adams in our way here and had the pleasure to find her well. You will Undoubtedly hear from her by this Opportunity. She has Engaged to go to Plymouth with Mrs. Warren this week, who Cant wait for the Riseing of our Body. Though my Hopes from Philadelphia are somewhat damped by what I have seen and heard since I came to Town, I will hope for A happy Issue however that be I hope to see you in due Time and Am with Great Respect Your Sincere Friend and Humb. Servt.,

Jas. Warren

My Compliments and regards to Mr. Cushing and Paine and my Friend Mr. Adams tho' he has forgot me. I suppose he cant see or think of a small Man while in such an Elevated Station. I need not if I could, tell you how much pleasure a Line from you would give me.


RC (PHi:Gratz Coll.); endorsed: “James Warren Oct 16. 74,” and by JA in a later hand: “The Husband of the curious Historian!”; Tr (DLC:Force Transcripts, Misc. Corr.); endorsed: “Copied from the original in the possession of Mr. Deeth, Sept. 17. 1852. The original is to pass into the hands of Hon. V. L. Pruyn, Albany.” Except when otherwise noted, letters and words in brackets are taken from the Force Transcript where the RC is stained.


Not found, but see William Tudor to JA, 26 Sept. 1774, note 1, above.


This phrase appears in the letter to Richard Cranch of 18 Sept. and was published in the Boston Gazette, 26 Sept. See William Tudor to JA, 26 Sept., note 1, above.


On the First Provincial Congress, see William Tudor to JA, 22 Sept. 1774, note 2, above. Warren represented Plymouth.


Editorially supplied.


Paul Revere, who regularly carried messages between Massachusetts and the Continental Congress, left Philadelphia on or about 11 Oct., according to an entry of that date in Samuel Ward's diary: “Met, finished the resolves relative to the Massachusetts, and dismissed the Express” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:71).

From Samuel Swift, 20 October 1774 Swift, Samuel JA From Samuel Swift, 20 October 1774 Swift, Samuel Adams, John
From Samuel Swift
Dear Bror Obr. 20. 74

Yours of the 30th. Ult. I Recd, by Mr. Revere.1 He shew me Also your Cautionary paper,2 which was needless with respect to Any thing containd in your favour. But I have forbore to read it to Any Enemies or Suspected friends. In Obedience to your injunctions and my own inclinations, I carry'd your friendly mention of Mr. Wheelwright3 to him who was glad to hear of you &c. When I read your Amusing Letter (as thoughts are involuntary) I could not for my heart of me help thinking of Dean Swifts Letter to an Acquaintance of his. It began Chicke Coocoo my Lillicock See Saw Saccke downey. It was your being thus fettered with secricy which Occasioned you being thus upon your reserve guard. You are perfectly right sir. One of King Chas. Golden Rules was Reveal no secrets.

I either Sir mentiond to you or Mr. Cushing or Mr. S. Adams that it was reported here that there was a disunion among the Congress and that it was forceably Urg'd by some Raskels on the other side of the Herring pond, tho I dispisd the tho't, more especially as it came from the Torys who have a peculiar unintelligible Knack at Speaking the truth as well as Conveying their confused Ideas, and who cut out a lie in the exact shape they would have it.

Yet Sir by one word droped in your Letter I was induced to believe there was not that strict harmony and Union. You Say “Our debates are Spun out into An immesurable length altho there is an Apparent Harmony Among us all.” Surely they would not be thus lengthy 193purely to shew and display their Golden talents at disputation. We all knew they were our best men therefore made Choice of 'em. And the pensylvanians remembering the Quakers and the Yorkers their Boundaries &c Confirm me in my Suspicions, but they will be ever mindful that what they are now upon is no detacht thing, but what equally Concerns 'em all, it is true the first Arrow glancd. against Massa. Bay but it is only hodie mihi Cras tibi.4 Your Simpathising with us are Signs of your Great Natural Affections. You know sir if One member is in pain the whole body mourns. We are to be pitied most surely for our destresses are very grate yet Our integrity we trust in God Shall not be moved, but we are in truly most melancholly Circumstances,—and we Read that the tender Enemies of the Wicked are Cruelty but in God will we put our trust. He is our help and Shield, and I doubt not will cover our heads in the day of Battle, if we must draw the Sword.

As for my part I am no Swordsman but with my Gun or flail I fear no man more especially my Cause being Good as I think other wise I would not engage. Send word when you Return &c. I am yr. affectionate Bror,

Sam Swift

in haste Correct Errors

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “12. p m To The Hon. John Adams Esqr at Philadelphia”; in another ink: “5/2 Return'd Boston 12 24”; postmarked: “Philadelphia” “Boston.” Address page mutilated.


Letter not found.


Not found, but presumably a note warning JA's correspondents to be careful about whom they showed his letters to.


Jeremiah Wheelwright (1716–1784), Harvard 1736, was a member of a small circle that included JA, Thomas Cushing, Joseph Warren, and John Swift (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 10:93–94). For JA's sketch of Wheelwright, see Diary and Autobiography , 2:77.


Your turn today, mine tomorrow.