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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0168

Author: Gates, Horatio
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-17

From Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear Sir

The Bearer, and my Letter to Mr. Hancock will acquaint you that I am no Dictator here, and consequently have it not in my power to serve Mr. Rice.1 I desire if Chase is return'd to Congress, he may know, how much I have been Deceived, and Disappointed in being removed from a place where I might have done the Publick Service, and Fix'd in a Scituation where it is exceeding Doubtfull, if it will be in my Power to be more than the wretched Spectator of a ruin'd Army. The Publick Affairs here have been destroy'd by Pestilence, Peceulation, Rapine, and every Evil, those produce. Mr. Chase passed too Speedily through this Country, he saw Superficially, and like a Sanguine Man, drew conclusions from the Consequence, and not the Cause. Tell him, if he, and I meet, He must expect to be called to a serious Account upon this matter. I know he is my Sincere Friend, but I also know he has Deceived himself, and his Friend. I am not Angry. I am only Vex'd with Him. I cannot write to you upon Publick matters, it is too disagreeable a Tale to dwell upon, my Letter to the President is enough for a Man of Sense.2
I am happy to have lived to know that Independence is Establish'd by the Convention of the United States of America, go on and prosper in the Glorious Work. My respectfull Compliments to Mr. Gerry, my hands are too full to write Instructions for Paymasters of Regiments, if so many Lawyers cannot contrive to Frame Orders that will make the Paymaster, be a Cheque upon the Avarice of the Commanding Officer, what is become of Human Wit. Mr. Gerrys letter3 to me is as good an Instruction, as any Paymaster need to have. At your War Office be very exactly, and minutely acquainted, with the State of every Regiment, let the General, the Colonel, the Muster, and Paymasters, do this, and then let them Compare these together; if you have four Men to Watch One, you may make that one less a knave than he likes to be.
Poor Boston is again Vissited by Calamity, it is the last I hope she will know for a Century at least, surely this Warning will make your Countrymen Wise in regard to the Small Pox. When I have reason to { 389 } be in better Temper you shall here again from Your affectionate Humble Servant
[signed] Horatio Gates
1. See JA to Gates, 18 June (above).
2. Gates wrote to the president of the congress on 16 July, explaining that smallpox required the removing of troops from Crown Point and that a council of officers agreed to establish a strong point opposite Ticonderoga as part of a scheme to ensure naval superiority on Lake Champlain (Force, Archives , 5th ser., 1:375–376). Gates began his letter by noting that Gen. Schuyler insisted that the resolutions of the congress and the orders of Washington applied only while the army was in Canada, that once it had left that country it fell under Schuyler's command. For an interpretation of the conflict between the two generals on this point, see Bernhard Knollenberg, “The Correspondence of John Adams and Horatio Gates,” MHS, Procs. , 67 [1941–1944]: 146–147, and also Samuel Adams to JA , 16 Aug., note 4 (below).
3. Elbridge Gerry had written to Gates on 25 June, telling him that he was “very fond of the measure” for creating regimental paymasters and that the congress wished for Gates' views on the subject. Gerry went on to outline his ideas for supplying and disciplining the army (Force, Archives , 5th ser., 1:21–22).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0169

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-17

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

When you are Informed, that on the variety of Changes that have taken place in this Town, it is now become A Great Hospital for Inoculation, you will wonder to see A Letter from me dated here, but so it is that the rage for Inoculation prevailing here has whirled me into its vortex, and brought me with my other self into the Croud of Patients with which this Town is now filled. Here is A Collection of Good, Bad, and Indifferent of all Orders, Sexes, Ages and Conditions. Your good Lady and Family among the first. She will give you (I presume) such an account of her self &c. as makes it unnecessary for me to say more on that head.
She will perhaps tell you that this is the reigning subject of Conversation, and that even Politics might have been suspended for A Time, if your Decleration of Independence, and some other political Movements of yours had not reached us. The Decleration came on Saturday,1 and diffused A general Joy. Every one of us feels more Important than ever. We now Congratulate each other as freemen. It has really raised our Spirits to A Tone Beneficial to mitigate the Malignancy of the small Pox, and what is of more Consequence seems to Animate, and Inspire every one to support, and defend the Independency he feels. I shall Congratulate you on the Occasion and so leave this subject, and go to one not quite so Agreable. Congress have Acted A part with regard to this Colony, shall I say Cunning, or Politic, or only { 390 } Curious, or is it the Effect of Agitation. Has the Approach of Lord Howe had such An Effect on the southern Colonies, that they have forgot, the very Exntensive Sea Coast we have to defend, the Armed Vessels we have to Man from South Carolina to the Northern Limits of the United Colonies, that A large part of the Continental Army is made up from this Colony, that the General has not only got our Men but our Arms, and that they within two months ordered A reinforcement of three Battalions to the five Already here. Lucky for us you did not give time to raise these before your Other requisitions reached us, or we should have been striped indeed. Dont the Southern Colonies think this worth defending or do they think with half our Men gone the remainder can defend it, with Spears and darts, or with Slings (as David Slew Goliah). I was surprised to find the whole five Battalions called away. No determination is yet taken how their places shall be supplyed. The General Court are not setting, they were prorouged on Saturday. The Council have this matter under Consideration. What can they do but Call in the Militia or perhaps stop the last 1500 Men Called for to go to Canada if in their power. The works for the defence of this Town must not be Abandoned. They must be defended with or without Continental Assistance. Don't suppose that I am a Preacher of Sedition, or intend to be factious, or that the Eruptive fever is now upon me. Neither of these is true. I shall suppress all Sentiments of Uneasiness but to you and some few who I have reason to Suppose think of these Matters in the same way, and determine to do and suffer any and every thing for the good of the whole. But I think, tho' the Grand Object will be York, and Canada and their principal Force there, we are not so safe as we ought to be.
I can give you little or no News. Two of our Vessels have been brought too by A Man of War at sea, and the Masters taken as they were told before Lord Howe, who told them he was Bound directly to Philadelphia to settle with the Congress the unhappy dispute. He dismissed both the Vessels and gave them passes to protect them against any or all Cruisers, haveing first reprimanded one of them for the violation of Acts of Parliament in the Illicit trade at St. Petres2 from which place he then came with French Commodities. Our Coast is Clear. I hear of no Cruisers at present to Interrupt the passage of Vessels. Last saturday was the first time, I have been in this Town since the flight of the Invincible British Troops. I can't describe the Alteration and the Gloomy Appearance of this Town. No Business, no Busy Faces but those of the Physicians. Ruins of Buildings, Wharfs { 391 } &c. &c. wherever you go, and the streets covered with Grass. I have just heard that an honest Man from St. Petres, in 25 days says they had there Intelligence of A decleration of War between Spain and Portugal. This is neither Impossible or Improbable, and may Account for Lord Howe's being in A Single Ship, as we are told he had Arrived at the Hook. I wish you all Happiness and am with regards to Mr. Adams and Gerry Yours &c.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren July 17. 1776.”
1. That is, on 13 July. Warren had received the Dunlap broadside from Elbridge Gerry (James T. Austin, The Life of Elbridge Gerry, 2 vols., Boston, 1828–1829, 1:202–203; Adams Family Correspondence , 2:48, note 8).
2. Probably St. Pierre in Martinique.