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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0100-0002

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

Enclosure: A Proposal Regarding the Procurement of Powder

As the Article of Powder is much wanted to carry on the operations vs the ministerial Army, and as the british Ministry, have taken every Step that human Nature could divise to prevent the Americans obtaining So essential an Article; it is humbly Submitted to the Wisdom, of the cont. Congress, whether it will not be prudent to Supply yourselves with that Article at the Expence of the said Ministry, by taking it whenever you can get it. It is thus further recommended that 2 Vessells properly mann'd be sent to the Island of Antigua, one of which may anchor at Old Road on the South Side of the Said Island (where there are only a few Houses) in the Evening under Dutch Colours; passing for a Vessell bound on a forced Trade, to the French Islands; in the night you may land, and take away all the powder; there being not above one or two Persons, in the fort to prevent it. As Soon as the Powder is obtained the Vessell may proceed down to Johnsons Point Fort, at the S. W. point of the Island; and take what is there; there being only a Single Matross in the Said Fort; the other Vessell must be commanded by a prudent Man; well acquainted with the Bar and Harbour at St. Johns; if any Man of War be anchored without the Bar; it will not be prudent to attempt any Thing, but Should there be none; the Vessell may then go over the Bar, and anchor close under the fort; as is commonly the Custom. There are generally 10 or 12 Soldiers in James Fort Situated on a Point on the larboard Hand, Seven miles distant from the Town; the Magazine is in a hollow; on the Left Hand just after entering the Gate, and commonly contains from 500 to 1000 Blls of Powder, or more. 2 miles from thence to the northward is a Small fort call'd Corbresons point fort; and 2 miles from this northward is another Small fort called Dickensons bay fort, in either of which there is not above a Single Matross. All this Powder may be easily obtained, without any opposition, if conducted with Prudence; it will be necessary, that the Captain Should have Some Money, to distribute among the Soldiers, to assist in taking it away; He may go into the Fort in the Afternoon (and see how the Land lies) under pretence of Sailing that night and thereby guide his operation.
The Same Thing may be done by other Vessells at Montserrat, Nevis, Charlesfort at Sandy point, St. Kitts, also at St. Martins; without any Risque.
I would advise the continental Congress, to make a general Sweep of all the Powder, at St. Eustatius, it may first be taken and then paid for afterwards as the Dutch refuse to sell it to us;1 I am well perswaded { 198 } the whole of this Plan may be executed, that near 3000 Blls of powder may be obtained in the Course of 3 or 4 months.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume have been moved to the end of the preceding document.
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 Dutch States-General, under pressure from Great Britain, had on 20 March ordered that no munitions be exported to the North American continent for six months, an order which was subsequently renewed periodically, but which was not obeyed in the Dutch West Indies during the American Revolution (F. C. Van Oosten, “Some Notes Concerning the Dutch West Indies During the American Revolutionary War,” The American Neptune, 36:156 [July 1976]).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0101

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

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I have only a Minute to Cover the Inclosed Letters.1 I have been on an Excursion to Plymouth for a Week and returned Yesterday with Mrs. Warren. On our way we Called a little while on Mrs. Adams as you may well suppose, have the pleasure to Inform you we left her well, and hope to see her here in a few days. The rest the Inclosed will tell you.2 We Condole with her, and you on the great Loss sustained in her Good Mother.3
I Received a Letter from you Yesterday, have Observed your directions, and proposed with Earnestness the Compleating the Accounts.4
{ 199 }
They are Attended with great difficulties but hope to get them along in some Shape or other. I Received before I went Home 2 Letters.5 Can only say at present that I Observe you think me very Negligent. I dont wonder at it, but by this Time believe you are Convinced that it was more oweing to my misfortune than Negligence. They were long while in their passage. I knew [not?] of this opportunity till this minute and Mr. Randolph waits. We have no Remarkables. Adeu,
Mrs. Warren desires her Compliments you will soon here from her. She loves to Scribble to those she has a good Opinion off.
[signed] J:W
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honbl: John Adams Esq Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Octr 12. 1775 Warren”; docketed in a later hand: “J. Warren October 12th 1775.”
1. These have not been identified, but see note 2.
2. Probably Mercy Otis Warren's letter that was begun on 12 Oct. but was not finished until the 14th (see below).
3. AA 's mother, Elizabeth Quincy Smith, died on 1 Oct. See AA to JA , 1 Oct., and Mrs. Smith's obituary of 6 Oct. ( Adams Family Correspondence , 1:288–289, 293–294).
4. JA 's letter of 28 Sept. (above). The report of the House committee on Massachusetts' accounts with the congress was very long in preparation and was recommitted several times (Mass., House Jour. , 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 152, 155–156, 159).
5. Probably JA 's letters of 19 and 26 Sept. (above).