Papers of John Adams, volume 2

From Edward Dilly, 13 January 1775 Dilly, Edward JA From Edward Dilly, 13 January 1775 Dilly, Edward Adams, John
From Edward Dilly
Dear Sir London Jany 13th 1775

I Wrote to you the 24th of Septr last in answer to your Obliging favor of the first of August, at the same Time I sent you the Second Volume of Mr. Burgh's Political Disquisitions,1 which I presume will afford you every great satisfaction, as that volume treats pretty largely on the Taxation of America and the Importance of the Colonies to Great Britain, but in Case that Volume or Letter should have miscarried, I have embraced the opportunity of sending you (under the care of Mr. Henry Bromfield) the 2d Vol. and also all the sheets which are Printed, of the 3d and last Volume of the said Work, except the Title Page Preface and Index, which I will send you by some Other Conveyance, in the mean Time these Sheets may afford you some entertainment Instruction, or hints, which may tend to the General Good. If the Second Volume should have come to your Hand, be so kind as to send this duplicate Volume to John Dickenson Esqr of Philadelphia as he is already Possessed of the first Volume. I have also sent you 4 Copies of Mr. Robinson's Considerations on the Measures carrying on with respect to the British Colonies in America.2 The 2d Edition with considerable Additions, also 4 Copies of a small Pamphlet, Published this Day by Mrs. Macaulay on the present Important Crisis of Affairs,3 this Lady though in a very infirm State of Health could not refrain throwing in her Mite into the Public Treasury. Addressed to the People of England Scotland and Ireland. I have likewise inclosed you Mr. Burke's Speech in the House of Commons on American Taxation,4 and the Public Advertiser of this Day giving a circumstantial account of the Proceedings of the American Merchants and Traders of the City of London, in Preparing a Petition to the House of Commons which will be presented next Thursday, and 212it is expected the Example will be followed by Liverpool, Birmingham Bristol Manchester Leeds, and other Manufacturing Towns.5

The Proceedings of the American Congress give great satisfaction, to all the friends of Civil and Religious Liberty in this Country. Every honest and Independant Man must applaud the Congress for the Wisdom of their Proceedings—their Unanimity, and Manly firmness, and the Resolutions which they have Passed; which are Agreeable to Reason and Justice. The effects of these Resolutions Are already experienced in this Country, the Stoppage of our American Commerce, the decline of the Manufactures, and consequently a heavy draw back upon the Revenue. These are alarming Circumstances. Poverty will soon stare us in the face and unless the Grievances are redressed, who knows, but that a (the most dreadful of all Calamities) Civil War may close the Scene. But I hope your proceedings will be a means of awakening us out of our Lethargy, and shew us a sight of our danger, and upon seeing that danger we may be led to a speedy remedy. I make no doubt you will have that firmness, Unanimity, and Virtue of Perseverance, as to secure your invaluable Rights, and hand them down to Posterity inviolate.

I could write you many Pages but I am in haste as the Bag is just going away; you have the Hearts of the English Nation, and Mr. Robinson in his present Publication says “you do us wrong in not thinking so,” and I thoroughly agree with this Author, in what he affirms “that there would not be hurt the hair of the Head of an American, were it to be Voted by all our Country.” 6 Wishing you fortitude under your present severe Trials and that every good may result to North America from the Proceedings of the Congress.

I am Dear Sir Your Affectionate friend and most Obedt Servant, Edwd Dilly

PS I shall be very happy to hear from you when Opportunity Offers7 and shall esteem it a favor if you will transmit to me by the earliest conveyance, any Pamphlet or Paper that may be published relative to your Provincial Congress. I am now Printing the Whole Proceedings of the American Congress, some Extracts never Published before.

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Edwd Dilly Jany 13 1775”; note on back of last page in Dilly's hand: “The Packet is sent by The Paul Capt Gordon for Salem.” But see Alexander McDougall to ?, 14 April 1775, below.


Dilly to JA, 24 Sept. 1774, note 3, above.


Matthew Robinson-Morris, Second Baron Rokeby, Considerations on the Measures Carrying on with respect to the British Colonies in North America, 213London, 1774 (T. R. Adams, American Independence , 134a–k). A reproduction of the titlepage is in Adams Family Correspondence , 1:facing 241.


Catharine Macaulay, An Address to the People of England, Scotland, and Ireland, on the Present Important Crisis of Affairs, London, 1775 (T. R. Adams, American Independence , 169 a–e).


Edmund Burke, Speech of E. Burke, Esq. on American Taxation, April 19, 1774, London, 1775 (same, 156a–h).


Between 23 and 27 Jan. 1775, petitions were presented to the House of Commons by London, Bristol, Glasgow, Norwich, Dudley, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, and Wolver-hampton merchants or manufacturers involved in the American trade and desirous of a solution to the crisis. Parliament debated the petitions from 23 to 31 January, and, as might be expected considering the strength of the ministry, its debates had little if any effect on British policy ( Parliamentary Hist. , 18:168–198).


Robinson-Morris, Considerations, p. 155.


AA answered this letter for JA on 22 May 1775 ( Adams Family Correspondence , 1:200–202).

From James Warren, 15 January 1775 Warren, James JA From James Warren, 15 January 1775 Warren, James Adams, John
From James Warren
My Dear Sir Plymo. Jany. 15. 1775

I Admire the Notes and Resolves of the Maryland Convention. They Breath a Spirit of Liberty and Union which does Honour to them and Indeed the whole Continent. I am greatly puzzled to determine what Consequences the United force of all these things will produce in Britain. They must be Infatuated to A degree I can hardly Conceive of, if these things make no Impression and yet in general I think, or rather fear they will not. I am upon the whole much of the Opinion of your friend Chase, that we have but little room to hope for A favourable Event, and that now is the Time, the Exact Crisis to determine the point and the sooner the better before the Tories here can Compleat their Efforts to disunite and Embarrass. They are more Assiduous than Satan was with our first Parents and equal him in deceit and Falshood, and with many find Success, no Stone is left Unturned to Effect their purposes. By that means we are Continually perplexed, which Added to the Contemplation (from one time to Another) of A War at last is (as you say) A state as Bad as can be.

The Time for the setting of our Congress draws nigh. I am Impatient to hear that you are A member and shall be Unhappy if you are not.1 What reason can be given that the question for Assumeing and Exerciseing Govt. has not been started and Agitated in the publick Papers, has any perticular policy prevented. It seems to me it would have had good Effects on the Other Colonies. They may hardly beleive it so necessary as we know it to be while so little is said about it.


The Tories it is Observed hold up their heads lately whether from Encouragement taken from the late publications, or A Spirit of delusion diffused Among them by the Infernal Junto at Boston I know not.

Inclosed are for your Amusement two Acts of A dramatic performance.2 Composed at my perticular desire. They go to you as they came out of the hand of the Copier3 without pointing or marking. If you think it worth while to make any Other use of them, than a reading you will prepare them in that way and give them such Other Corrections and Amendments as your good Judgement shall Suggest. Mrs. Warren Joins with me in Compliments and good Wishes to Mrs. Adams and yourself. I am Your Assured Sincere Friend and Humbl. Servt.,

Jas. Warren

Mrs. Warren will Answer her Friends letter which she lately received, soon—4

Is it Consistent with prudence that we should hold our Sessions at Cambridge. I am not more subject to fear than Others, but if we mean to do any thing Important, I think it is too near the whole strength of our Enemies. If not I shall repent leaving my own fireside at this severe Season. I shall be glad to hear from you before I leave Home.

RC (Adams Papers).


The Second Provincial Congress, meeting on 1 Feb. 1775, of which JA was not a member.


Mercy Warren's The Group, Act I, sc. i, and Act II, sc. i, were printed in the Boston Gazette, 23 Jan. 1775. Subsequently she added two more scenes to Act II, and the whole was published by Edes and Gill in 1775. Mrs. Warren may have added two more acts and an epilogue that were never published (See Warren-Adams Letters , 1:169). The manuscript of The Group in Houghton Library contains only the two acts with their four scenes. The play centers around a group of tories, mandamus councilors, who assemble to air their views. Each is thinly disguised with a fanciful name: Brigadier Hateall (Timothy Ruggles), Chief Justice Hazelrod (Peter Oliver), etc. For a discussion of the identification of the cast of characters, see Worthington C. Ford, “Mrs. Warren's 'The Group,'” MHS, Procs. , 62 [1928–1929]:15–22.


James Warren Jr. (Frank Pierce Hill, American Plays Printed 1714–1830: A Bibliographical Record, Stanford, 1934, p. 110).


Presumably JA to Mercy Warren, 3 Jan. 1775, above.