Papers of John Adams, volume 2

From William Tudor, 4 April 1775 Tudor, William JA From William Tudor, 4 April 1775 Tudor, William Adams, John
From William Tudor
Dear Sir Boston Apl. 4th. 1775

The interesting Advices we rec'd here on Sunday, and which the Papers will acquaint You, have had almost as great an Effect on People in this Town, as the Arrival of the Port Bill produc'd. The Women are terrify'd by the Fears of Blood and Carnage. The Merchants are dispirited, by the Expectation of Lord North's Bill for the Prevention of the Newfoundland Fishery; and the Trading to any Parts but G. Britain or English W. Indies.1 They now begin to think England can do more easily without Us, than we at first Thought. What Cowards does Interest make men! Thank God our Salvation is not dependent On the Virtue of Merchants, if it was—our Perdition would be unadvoidable.

Americans may now shew whether they deserve Freedom, by discovering Resolution and to prefer Poverty to Slavery.

I hope The Gloom which at present prevails will go off in a Day or two, as it did after first June last.2 And the Spirit of Liberty, Glory, Honour, Virtue succeed, and glow with tenfold Warmth.

It has been wish'd that Novanglus would for a Week or two quit 413the Pursuit of Massachusettensis and give Us some Strictures, on these new Manoevres, and infernal Measures.

Your very hum. Servt., Wm Tudor

If it would not be too much Trouble I should be much oblig'd to Mrs. Adams for a Copy of Collins's Elegy on the Death of the Patriots that fell at Culloden.3 My little Friend John,4 has it by Heart.

RC (Adams Papers).


News that arrived at Marblehead from Falmouth on 2 April caused a sensation. Besides the two items that Tudor mentions, word came that the King was promising to take all necessary action against the colonies to bring them into compliance with the law, that the colonies were considered in rebellion, and that the naval and land forces deployed in America were going to be increased (Boston Evening-Post, 3, 10 April 1775). The New England Restraining Act was in fact signed into law on 30 March, and the law applying restraints outside New England, on 13 April (Bernhard Knollenberg, Growth of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1975, p. 171, 424).

Exclusion of New England ships from the Newfoundland Banks was to begin 21 July. Beginning 1 July and 1 Sept. respectively New England exports could go only to the British Isles or the British West Indies, and imports could come only from the same places. The determination to send more forces and the decision to declare Massachusetts in rebellion had been made in January and February (same, p. 171, 174, 424). News of these measures caused the Second Provincial Congress to postpone its adjournment (James Warren to Mercy Warren, 6 April, Warren-Adams Letters , 1:44–46; Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours. , p. 117).


The date the Boston Port Act had gone into effect.


William Collins, “Ode, Written in the Beginning of the Year 1746,” a favorite of AA's ( Adams Family Correspondence , 1:223–224, note 3).


JQA, who was being schooled by two of JA's law clerks (Nathan Rice and John Thaxter) at his office in Boston (same, 1:141 and note 4).

From Mercy Otis Warren, 4 April 1775 Warren, Mercy Otis JA From Mercy Otis Warren, 4 April 1775 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, John
From Mercy Otis Warren
Dear Sir Plimouth April 4th 1775

At the same time that I make my Gratful Acknowledgment, for the instructive sentiments and Friendly hint, Contained in yours of the 15th March I must ask your indulgence so far as to Favour me with your opinion (by my son who will Call on you on Monday Next) of the present dark and Gloomy aspect of public affairs. Is there no hope that the Dread Calamity of Civil Convulsions may yet be Averted, or must the Blood of the Best Citizens be poured out to Glut the Vengeance of the most Worthless and Wicked men Ever Nursed in the Lap of America. You Cannot Wonder sir at my perticuler anxiety and solicitude to know the sentiments of the judicious as Mr. 414Warren is Absent and in such a Remote quarter that I have not heard from him since the news of the late transactions of an August Assembly who I beleive will not stand Recorded in the Latest page of History for their Superiority or sagacity. Their profound policy or incorruptable integrity.1 I have but A few Moments to write as I did not Expect this opportunity. But that will not be Requited by a Gentlemen on whose time the public has so Large a Demand.

I do not Expect the pleasure of seeing you (if we both Live through the Approaching storm) till your Return from the Assembly of the states (Ere which perhaps the Fate of Nations may be Decided and A Mighty Empire trembling to the Centrer) but my Every Wish for your Honour safety and Happiness will Attend you. And may you and your Associates be Directed to those steps which will Redound to the Glory of America, the Welfare of Britain and the promotion of that Equal Liberty which is the Birthright of Man and the only Basis on which Civil society Can Enjoy any durable Tranquility.

With my Affectionate Regards to my much Esteemed Friend Mrs. Adams you will Remind her that if one or two Long Letters Can Bring her in debte she is in Arreares to her and Your unfeigned Friend,

Mercy Warren

P.S. I hope to have it under your Hand that you pardon any Fault in this Hasty Billet.

RC (Adams Papers).


Mercy's husband, James, had written critically about the Second Provincial Congress to JA earlier (20 Feb. 1775, above).