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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5


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Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0081

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1777-04-06

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear sir

This Evening I was favoured with yours of 24 March,1 by Major Ward. I thank you, sir for your kind Attention to me, and for affording me an opportunity, of renewing a Correspondence which has been interrupted on my Part, by an incessant Application to Business, and by some little Diffidence in the Post, depend upon it, by no Diminution of Friendship or affection.
Our Country sir, is in an high Fever, but it has a Strong Constitution, and good Physicians I hope. The Symptoms are not desperate. The Worst that I see is, a Thinness of the Lifeblood, I mean the Revenue. But Air, and Regimen, and Exercise, and a little Medicine will restore it—especially as it has Youth of its Side. We have better Prospects of Trade, a Vessell arrived Yesterday from Sweeden with Powder, Flynts, Lead, sulphur &c. &c. &c. and I think shall be able to negotiate Loans. Britain cannot procure any great Reinforcements without involving herself in a French and Spanish War. And her Credit in Holland is very low.2
The News from France you will learn from Coll Warren to whom I wrote it in Confidence, but he will show it to you.3 The Army fills up gradually but rather Slowly. There are Troops upon their March from N. Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, towards Head Quarters. The Troops from N. England I hope will soon follow. But my Opinion is that the Enemy is more afraid of Us, than We are of them, even now. Their Ruin is inevitable, if our States exert themselves. If they stay at Brunswick they are undone—if they take the Field and march to Philadelphia, there they will meet their Fate. Besides that by taking the Field so early, they will lay a Foundation for a sickly Army, thro the whole Campaign. If our General Court had laid their Levies on the Towns last December as I most earnestly instructed them to do, in my Opinion, Howes destruction would have been effected before now.
I am surprized to hear you call for Lottery Ticketts. Dr. Jack• { 144 } son, one of the Managers, went from this Place, a long Time ago,4 with a Load of them to Boston.
We have been engaged many Days in preparing a Plan for the sick, and I think the best possible Provision will be made. No Expence will be Spared, and the best Physicians and surgeons will be employed.
We have now Arms and military stores in Abundance. We have Quarter Master and Commissarys stores in Plenty. Blanketts and Cloaths are most wanted, but We have a considerable Quantity of them, and expect more. We have Tents of the best Quality for thirty thousand Men.5 With submission to Providence We shall make it do. And So farewell tyrannical Grandam.6 I am sir &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Adams Papers, not printed here.
2. The final three sentences of this paragraph were quoted and paraphrased under a Boston dateline as “our last Advices from Philadelphia, and from the best Authority” (Independent Chronicle, 24 April).
3. See JA to James Warren, 1 April (above). The succeeding five sentences were quoted, paraphrased, or embellished in the Independent Chronicle. See note 2.
4. See JA to James Warren, 6 March, note 1 (above).
5. Up to this point, this paragraph was quoted and paraphrased in the Independent Chronicle. See note 2.
6. JA 's epithet remains unexplained. On 24 April, Cooper wrote a hasty acknowledgment of JA 's letter and complained that the Continental frigates had not put to sea, “a Matter which requires publick Attention” (Adams Papers, not printed here). Cooper sent his letter by Thomas Russell, who went to Philadelphia to present a petition from Charlestown asking for compensation for its losses ( Adams Family Correspondence , 2:216, note 1).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0082

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-04-06

To James Warren

[salute] My Friend

The Business of the naval and marine Department, will I hope be soon put in a better Train than it has been. A Board of Assistants has been appointed here, consisting of three Gentlemen, not Members of Congress, whose whole Time is devoted to the service. Mr. Hopkinson, Coll Nixon, and Mr. John Wharton are the Men. The first is a Gentleman of Letters, the second an able Merchant, the third an eminent shipwright.1
There is a Talk of appointing a similar Board at Boston, and a Commissioner at every considerable Port in N. England. Who would be proper Persons for these Places? They should be well acquainted with Navigation. They should be, well informed in Trade. They should be Men of Character and Credit.
The Marine Committee, have lately received Letters from { 145 } Captns. Thompson,2 McNeal, and several others, pointing out Defects, Abuses and Mismanagements, and proposing Plans of Improvement, Redress and Reformation. These will do good. This is the Way to have things go right; for officers to correspond constantly with Congress, and communicate their sentiments freely.
McNeal, I Suppose, by his Letter, before this, has Sailed, and I hope your Embargo is off, before now, that the Privateers may have fair Play.3 Indeed I am sorry it was ever laid. I am against all shackles upon Trade. Let the Spirit of the People have its own Way, and it will do something. I doubt much whether you have got an hundred soldiers the more for your Embargo and perhaps you have missed Opportunities of taking many Prizes and several Hundreds of seamen.
South Carolina Seems to display, a Spirit of Enterprize in Trade, Superiour to any other State. They have Salt at half a Dollar a Bushell, and dry Goods in great Plenty tho dear. Many french Vessells have arrived there. Some Bermudians and some of their own. They have exported their Crop of Indigo and a great deal of Rice. They have some Privateers, and have made several Prizes.
Tobacco too, begins to be exported in large Quantities, from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Vessells sell at very high Prices in all these states. In short in one more Year, I fancy Trade will be brisk, in every Part of the Continent, except with Us, the Destruction of whose Fishery, has deprived Us, of our staple, and left Us nothing to export. We must build ships and cutt Masts, and take Fish with our Privateers &c. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. A Lettr Ap 77.”
1. JA is repeating here information that he furnished in the second letter to Warren of 18 March (above), which he probably did not send. Warren had complained about mismanagement of the Continental Navy in his letter to JA of 22 Feb. (above). See JA to Warren, 6 April (below).
2. Capt. Thomas Thompson, commander of the Continental frigate Raleigh ( Naval Docs. Amer. Rev. , 7:135, note 2).
3. On 8 Dec. 1776, in order to conserve manpower for the army, the General Court established an embargo on all vessels except those fitted out by the United States, the several states, or the Massachusetts Board of War. Ships could leave port only to proceed to another port within the state. Exceptions were made on occasion, and an important modification on 7 April permitted privateering from towns that had raised their quotas of men for the army. By resolution of 19 April such privateers were not permitted to enlist men from the other New England states. The embargo was not completely lifted until 20 May (Mass., Province Laws , 19:713–714, 721, 771, 773, 824, 864, 898–899, 928).