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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1775-10-12

To William Tudor

[salute] Dr sir

I have received yours of the first of this Instant1 and am glad to find you have me still in Remembrance. I wrote you some time ago, and ventured to acquaint you with the appointment of fifty dollars a Month to the Judge Advocate for himself and his Clerk, to commence from his first appointment. This I hope you received. I feel more anxious about Letters than formerly as you may well imagine. The Times are so critical and there are so many Peepers, that one cant be too carefull. Indeed the horrid Story you allude to in yours of the surgeon2 &c. is enough to make one jealous3 of every Body, but it must not have this Effect. In the Reign of Charles the first, such Instances of Treachery and Infidelity, were not uncommon. I would fain hope however that this has turned out more favourably than was feared: yet from several private Letters received here by Gentlemen, I am Staggered. What shall We say? I think it very odd, however, that every Event which happens at the Camp should regularly come to Governors Ward or Hopkins, or to Coll. Dyer or Mr. Deane, before it comes to me. It is really astonishing. However hush Complaint.
The last Accounts from my Family were very disagreable. And yours mentions not a Word of it. I hope for the best but should be rejoiced to hear.
Three Battalions I believe will be raised in Pensilvania and the Jersies for the Defence of New York.4 News We have none, but such as you see in the Papers.
As you are now in the military Line of Life, I presume it will not be disagreable to have your Thoughts turned to military Speculations. I want to know what Books upon Martial Science are to be found in the Army, and whether, among the many young Gentlemen in the service, any of them are studious of the Principles of the Art. It is a shame for Youths of Genius and Education to be in the Army, without exerting themselves to become Masters of the Profession. If it is objected that Books are not to be had, Measures ought to be taken to procure them. To this End I wish to collect [a] perfect List of the best Authors, and should be obliged to you if you would enquire and make up one for me. And at the same time enquire whether the following are in the possession of any Body in the Army. Dalrymples military Essay. Saxes Reveries. History of Prussia. History of Frederic 3d. Le Blonds military Engineer. History of the late War. Mullers Works Eight Volumes. Maneuvres for a Battalion of Infantry—by Major { 195 } Young. Military Guide, by Simes. Andersons Art of War. Prussian Field Regulations. King of Prussias Advice to young officers. Play-dells Field Fortification. Simes's Medley. Bellidoze, Worth all the rest.5
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “To William Tudor Esqr Judge Advocate in the American Army Cambridge favd. by Mr. Tracy”; docketed: “Octr. 12th 1775.”
1. No letter from Tudor of 1 Oct. has been found; JA is probably referring to that of 30 Sept. (above).
2. Benjamin Church.
3. That is, suspicious ( OED ).
4. The congress reached this decision on 12 Oct. ( JCC , 3:291).
5. The evaluation of the following military titles has been furnished to the editors by Alan C. Aimone, Military History Librarian of the Library of the United States Military Academy, and Robert K. Wright Jr., historian in the Organizational History Branch of the Department of the Army. The former's overall assessment, given in a letter of 10 Sept. 1976, is the following: “Most of the books . . . would be among the best military science works of his age. None indicates new departures such as light infantry tactics or even basic cavalry sources. Such military writers of the time as . . . Lewis Lochée, James Wolfe and Timothy Pickering are missing . . . that would reflect a balanced military library of the John Adams era.”
Campbell Dalrymple, A Military Essay, London, 1761. Considered current literature, this dealt with the problems of recruiting, clothing, arming, and disciplining infantry and cavalry, furnishing information basic for establishing an army. An abridgement, Extracts from a Military Essay, Phila., 1776, is listed in the Catalogue of JA 's Library .
Maurice, Marechal de Saxe, Reveries, Edinburgh, 1759. Considered basic, this work regularly appears in military inventories of the time. Listed in the Catalogue of JA 's Library .
W. H. Dilworth, The Life and Heroic Actions of Frederick III [II], King of Prussia . . . containing All the Military Transactions of Germany from the year 1740, and including All the Operations of the Campaign of 1757, London, 1758.
Guillaume Le Blond, A Treatise of Artillery, London, 1746. Translated from the French, this work was considered important along with those of Muller's listed below.
Gen. Henry Lloyd, The History of the Late War in Germany; between the King of Prussia and the Empress of Germany and Her Allies, London, 1763.
None of the standard catalogues lists Muller's works in eight volumes, but these titles are found in American libraries: La Mamye Clairac, The Field Engineer, transl. Muller, London, 1773. The Attack and Defence of Fortified Places in Three Parts; the Third Edition . . . enlarged, . . . also Belidor's New Method of Mining; and Valliere on Countermining, London, 1770. A Treatise Containing the Elementary Part of Fortification, London, 1746, 1756, 1774. A Treatise Containing the Practical Part of Fortification, London, 1755, 1774. A Treatise of Artillery, London, 1757, 1768. Muller was the leading English writer on military science.
William Young, Manoeuvres, or Practical Observations on the Art of War, London, 1770, 1771.
Thomas Simes, The Military Guide for Young Officers, London, 1772. A popular work, this contained a section on military terms arranged alphabetically. Volume 2 of the 1776 edition is listed in the Catalogue of JA 's Library .
The next three works in JA 's listing are of uncertain identity. No standard catalogue lists an art of war by Anderson. Robert K. Wright Jr. suggests two possibilities: Marechal de Puysegur, L'art de la guerre, Paris, 1747, or Granmaison, La petite guerre, Paris, 1756. The British Museum Catalogue lists New Art of War, London, 1726, which was also published under the title The Art of War, neither with author given. Evans lists —— deLamont and others, { 196 } The Act of War, Phila., 1776 (No. 14816). Conceivably JA knew of its forthcoming publication.
According to Wright, “Prussian Field Regulations” might be one of several works: Regulations for the Prussian Infantry, transl. William Fawcett, London, 1757; Thomas Hanson, The Prussian Evolutions in Actual Engagements, 2 vols., Phila., 1775; The Prussian (Short) Exercise, N.Y., 1757, this last probably a reprint of the Fawcett translation.
The “King of Prussia's Advice to Young Officers,” again in Wright's view, seems a garbled title derived from two works perhaps: Frederick the Great, Instructions for His Generals, transl., London, 1762; Gen. James Wolfe, Instructions to Young Officers, London, 1768.
J. L. Pleydell, An Essay on Field Fortification, London, 1768.
Thomas Simes, The Military Medley, London, 1768.
Bernard Forest de Belidor, “the 18th-century Vauban of fortifications,” wrote a number of widely circulated books, almost none apparently translated: La science des ingénieurs dans la conduite des travaux de fortification et d'architecture civile, Paris, 1729, 1739, 1754, 1775. Le bombardier françois ou nouvelle méthode de jetter les bombes avec précision, Paris, 1731. Traité des fortifications, Paris, 1735. Nouveau cours de mathématiques, à l'usage de l'artillerie et du génie, Paris, 1725, 1757. Oeuvres diverses . . . concernant l'artillerie et le génie, Amsterdam, 1764.
It should be added that although JA lists authors and in some instances brief titles, he apparently knew little at this time about his selections, for later he asks Tudor who Belidor is and in what language he wrote ( JA to Tudor, 14 Nov., below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0100-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-12

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

I would write often if I had any thing to communicate: But Obligations of Honour forbid some Communications and other Considerations prevent others.
The common Chatt of a Coffee house, is too frivolous for me to recollect or you to read. I have inclosed a Paper upon which I will make no Remark: But leave you to your own Conjectures.1 Only I must absolutely insist that it be mentioned to nobody. It may gratify your Curiosity and give Some Relief to your Cares.
I most earnestly pray that all my Friends, would exert themselves to furnish me with Intelligence of a particular Nature. I mean with a List of all the Depredations committed upon our Trade. A List of all the Vessells which have been taken by the Cutters, Cruizers &c. The Names of the Vessells, Masters owners, Burthen of the ship the Nature of the Cargo's and the Value of both. Nothing will contribute So much to facilitate Reprizals, as an exact Account of our Losses and Damages. I wish our General Court would take it up—and examine it thoroughly.2
We have no Accounts nor Vouchers yet. Nor one Line from the Committee appointed to correspond with Us.
I am very happy—how it is I know not—but I am very happy.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House and Pay Master General Watertown favd. by Mr Tracy”; docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr 12. 1775”; with enclosure in JA 's hand.
1. The origin of the enclosure remains obscure. JA probably copied the proposal from some source. The intimate knowledge of Antigua's geography indicates that it was written by some person well informed about the West Indies. Certainly the calling for two ships to go out aggressively and seek munitions accorded with JA 's sentiments, for he was a vigorous supporter of the scheme to arm vessels to intercept two British ships known to be carrying munitions to Canada (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:342–345).
It is uncertain whether the proposal was presented to the congress or to one of its committees (perhaps the secret committee on the procurement of gunpowder that had been created on 18 Sept.) and if so, when ( JCC , 2:253). The plan is not mentioned in the Journal of the congress, JA 's Diary, or any of the other sources examined. If it was presented, it was probably around 6 Oct., when the procurement of gunpowder was debated (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:196–197).
2. JA is here anticipating the action of the congress on 18 Oct., when it resolved that an account of hostilities committed since March be compiled.
To implement the resolution, a committee composed of Silas Deane, JA , and George Wythe was established ( JCC , 3:298–299). On, 19 Oct. the committee sent form letters to Massachusetts and elsewhere, seeking information. For the form letter see JA 's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec., No. III (above). For JA 's interpretation of the period of time to be covered, see JA to James Warren, 19 Oct., first letter, note 3 (below). The province responded on 7 Nov. by naming a committee to compile the requested information, although no record has been found that Massachusetts sent in a formal report (Mass., House Jour. , 1175–1776, 2d sess., p. 242).
{ 197 }