2. William Gordon, a dissenting clergyman who had come from England and was settled as minister of the third Congregational society in Jamaica Plain (Roxbury). Appointed chaplain to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, he was an incurably political parson, corresponded widely with military and political leaders, and began at an early date to collect materials for a history of the Revolution. The four-volume work which resulted, entitled The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States
(London, 1788), though suffering from defects common to its kind, notably plagiarism, is more valuable than has sometimes been recognized, because Gordon knew many of the persons he wrote about and made the earliest use of the manuscript files of Washington, Gates, and others. See
; “Letters of the Reverend William Gordon” (including some from the Adams Papers
), ed. Worthington C. Ford, MHS, Procs.
, 63 (1929–1930):303–613. JA's marginalia in his own copy of Gordon's History
(in the Boston Public Library) have been printed by Zoltán Haraszti in the Boston Public Library Quarterly
, 3:119–122 (April 1951).