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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4


Descriptive List of Illustrations
Descriptive List of Illustrations

Descriptive List of Illustrations

[Note: for permissions reasons, not all illustrations from the letterpress volumes are available in this digital edition.]

Descriptive List of Illustrations

 

Horatio Gates (1729–1806), Engraving by Bénoit Louis Prévost, after a Drawing by Pierre Eugène Du Simitière, 1781 48

Gates exchanged some surprisingly tart letters with Adams in the period covered by Volumes 3 and 4. Adams thought highly of his abilities and wanted him sent to Boston to replace Artemas Ward. When Gates was ordered to Canada instead, and some conflict developed over who had supreme command of the Northern Army, Gates or Schuyler, Adams along with other New Englanders was a staunch supporter of Gates.
This is No. 6 in the set of Du Simitière's drawings engraved in France. For Du Simitière's project, see Descriptive List of Illustrations under John Dickinson in Volume 3.
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.
 

Two Favorite Songs Made on the Evacuation of the Town of Boston, 17 March 1776 61

The woodcut used here was taken from an earlier broadside, “New England Bravery,” printed by Thomas Fleet, which praised in verse the 1745 successful siege of Louisbourg. It was common to use such illustrations, whether appropriate or not, as decoration. The woodcut shows the ships in the harbor firing their guns, although the British left Boston without firing a shot. The broadside has variant forms, in both the title and text. Some of the variations in the verse may have arisen from public singing (Mason I. Lowance Jr., and Georgia B. Bumgardner, eds., Massachusetts Broadsides of the American Revolution, Amherst, Mass., 1976, p. 72).
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
 

Noddle-Island or How Are We Deceived, Engraving by J. S., 1776 62

This cartoon, a companion piece to one on Bunker Hill published the preceding year, satirizes both the bizarre headdresses affected by ladies of fashion and the evacuation of Boston by British troops in March 1776. “Noddle-Island” and “How,” printed in large capital letters, are puns. The harbor island had no central significance in the siege, but “noddle,” or “head,” fitted in nicely with the cartoon's scheme, and Howe was the commanding general. The Americans, firing their cannon from an obviously strong fortress, are flying oversize flags depicting a crocodile and a crossbow. The British, whose fort consists of curls of hair, fly flags showing an ass and { viii } a fool's cap. The name of the engraver remains uncertain. The cartoon was published by Matthew Darly of London on 12 May 1776 (British Museum, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires, ed. Mary Dorothy George, [London,] 1935, 5:No. 5335).
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
 

Titlepage of Thoughts on Government, Boston, 1776 85

Originally published in Philadelphia by John Dunlap, Adams' pamphlet was reprinted by John Gill in the fall of 1776. In one way or another, the essay had considerable influence among those participating in the drafting of state constitutions, although Adams deprecated his work as a scrap, as something thrown together. He meant it, he said, primarily for the southern governments, for it was not popular enough for the New England states.
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
 

Richard Howe, Fourth Viscount (1726–1799), Mezzotint by James Watson, after a Painting by Thomas Gainsborough, 1778 112

Commander of the British fleet at New York and with his brother William head of the peace commission which caused so much consternation among patriots in the spring and summer of 1776. Adams could not forgive the Howe brothers for consenting to fight Americans, when Massachusetts had so honored their older brother, George Augustus, who had fallen in the French and Indian War. Adams called the two remaining Howes, the “grateful brothers.” The print was published by James Bretherton in London, 7 March 1778.
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Print Department.
 

Continental Currency, 1776 160

Several of Adams' correspondents complained about the abundance of currency being issued by the states and the congress. One wanted the congress to control the states, a matter, he said, as important as military operations; another suggested the elimination of state issues, leaving only continental currency to circulate; and a third believed depreciation could be checked by issuing interest-bearing bills of credit. For the moment, seeing the problem largely in moral terms, Adams called for the punishment of those who gave or took “a farthing more for Silver than Paper” (to William Gordon, 23 June, below).
The designs and devices on the currency were meant to thwart counterfeiters and to promote morality and patriotism. Benjamin Franklin designed the devices on the front and back of the one-sixth of a dollar bill, but most such designs for other denominations were taken from European handbooks. Franklin also hit upon the idea of making a cast of an actual leaf for a device, the detailed veining being too difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce. The bill of smaller denomination measures approximately 2⅜" × 3¼"; { ix } the other, 3¾" × 2⅞" (Eric P. Newman, The Early Paper Money of America, Racine, Wisc., 1967, p. 16, 20, 32–33, 46).
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
 

Resolution on Independent Governments, 15 May 1776 185

On 10 May the congress resolved that the several colonies which had “no Government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs” be urged to adopt governments conformable to their people's wishes. Feeling the need for a preamble justifying the resolution, the congress the same day named a committee composed of Adams, Edward Rutledge, and Richard Henry Lee to provide one. The preamble was adopted on 15 May, when it was voted that preamble and resolution be printed. Adams, who drafted the preamble, regarded this action, toward which he had been working for some time, as “the most important Resolution, that ever was taken in America” (to James Warren, 15 May, below). He felt that it would close the door to reconciliation and hasten separation from Great Britain.
Courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia.
 

James Sullivan (1744–1808), Engraving by H. Wright Smith, after the Painting by Gilbert Stuart, 1807 209

Sullivan, who held a seat on the newly constituted Superior Court of Judicature along with Adams, initiated a correspondence in which he noted the great desire in Massachusetts for independence and raised the question of how the state ought to proceed in revising its government. He deplored the rising spirit of leveling and called for piece-by-piece reformation of governmental institutions. In a letter to Elbridge Gerry, Sullivan set forth his own reforming ideas at some length. Adams was shocked by the innovations proposed. In answering Sullivan's suggestions, he wrote one of his most revealing letters on the privilege of voting (to Sullivan, 26 May, below).
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
 

John Winthrop (1714–1779), by John Singleton Copley, about 1773 223

Professor Winthrop, a member of the Massachusetts Council in this period, was one of those upon whom Adams relied for information about conditions in the province. Winthrop wrote to him about Bunker Hill, the evacuation of Boston, harbor defenses, the desire for independence, and the status of the courts. What he had to say was respectfully received, for Winthrop was the distinguished holder of the Hollis professorship at Harvard, which he had held from the age of twenty-four. A contributor to the Philosophical Transactions and a member of the Royal Society, Winthrop was America's most distinguished scientist after Benjamin Franklin. In the spring of 1776 he was one of those pressing for independence, but sugges• { x } tions for wholesale reform of the state's government alarmed him, as they did Adams (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:240–264).
Courtesy of Harvard University.
 

Titlepage of a Collection of Treaties, 1760 264

When Adams at the behest of the committee on a plan of treaties set about drafting a plan, Benjamin Franklin lent him his copy of A Compleat Collection of All the Articles and Clauses which Relate to the Marine, in the Several Treaties Now Subsisting between Great Britain, and Other States, . . . comp. Henry Edmunds and William Harris, London, 1760. Franklin had marked certain treaties for consideration, but for the most part Adams made his own choice of articles to copy.
Courtesy of the Houghton Library, Harvard University.
 

American Independence Declared, July 4th 1776 346

In manuscript on the verso of this print are the following lines: “The Thirteen States united in one Ring/Join heart to hand and Independence sing.” The engraver remains unidentified, and nothing is known about the publishing history of the print.
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
 

The Phoenix and the Rose Being Attacked, Published 1778 474

On a trip up the Hudson River on 16 August 1776, the British war vessels Phoenix and Rose, with accompanying craft, came under severe attack, but the British were able to sail back down the river with minor losses, to the disappointment of the Americans. This was not the first trip up the river that the two ships had made unscathed. Their exploits were reported to Adams by General Greene and William Tudor. Despite failure to destroy or severely damage the two ships, the Americans did prevent the British from severing communication between New York and New Jersey.
This aquatint was made after a painting by Dominique Serres, who worked from a sketch done by Sir James Wallace, captain of the Rose. Thus this battle scene can lay claim to some authenticity, unlike most of those published in England at this time. J. F. W. Des Barres published the print in London on 2 April 1778.
Courtesy of the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Va.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/