Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams to John Adams


The Charlestown petition, dated 28 Nov. 1776 and brought to Philadelphia by Nathaniel Gorham and Thomas Russell, prayed for compensation by the United States in the amount of £163, 405 3s. 8d. lawful money for losses in real and personal property suffered from the burning of the town and the British occupation which followed (PCC, No. 42, 11), On 14 May it was referred to a committee of three members, none of whom was from Massachusetts ( JCC , 7:354). Two days later the committee regretfully reported, and Congress agreed, that the payment by the United States of such claims, however justified, would require sums “which, in the present exigency of their affairs, cannot be spared from the support of the present just and necessary war” (same, p. 365–366). See also JA to AA, 17 May, below, and the long and illuminating letter of explanation sent by the Massachusetts delegates to Speaker Warren on 21 May (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:366–368; also printed in Papers of John Adams ).