A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0182

Author: Swan, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-04

From James Swan

[salute] Sir

By a resolve of Congress the 18th of Oct. last, I1 perceive the Sufferers by fire and Seizures, occasion'd by the Enemy, are invited to lay their loss before them. For that reason I now trouble you, as one of the Committee.
You are doubtless acquainted with the General damage from the fire, which happen'd last May, in the Town dock of Boston,2 caused by { 354 } Genl. Gage's 47s. or Tarring and Feathering Regiment, making Cartrages in one of the Stores, which was improv'd as a Barrack; and which might have been prevented from Spreading, had not he very lately before that time, taken the Command from the Fire Wards, appointed by the Town, and vested it in the persons of known Tories; fixed locks upon the Doors, and Centries at each of the Engine Houses: So that before the people cou'd go to Gage, be admitted to his presence for Orders to obtain the Engines; who were directed by him to the New Captains, and then the Captains to their respective Wards, that, I say before these things cou'd be done, the fire was communicated far, and the Soldiers wou'd not permit the Inhabitants to assist in extinguishing it; by which means I became a loser in about £100 Sterling by the distruction of the Store which I improv'd, leading down on Treats wharf. My loss was in merchandize. The Warehouse belong'd to A. Oliver Esqr, of Salem, who with the Honl. John Hancock Esq., Mr. Fairweather, Mr. Ben Andrews and E[l]iakim Hutchinson, were the principal Sufferers in the Buildings.3
I know not, whether it is meant to indemnify the Sufferers: nor can I say, that from the hopes of such indemnification I am now induc'd to write you, so much, as to comply with the desire of Congress.
If this is not sufficiently authenticated, I can send you the particulars. I am, with respect, Sir Your mo. obd. Sevt.
[signed] Jams. Swan
Depy to Treas. Gardner
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honbl John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; docketed: “James Swan 1775”; in another hand: “Decr 4.”; stamped: “FREE N*YORK*DEC: 11.”
1. James Swan (1754–1830) emigrated from Scotland in 1765 and soon became a member of the Sons of Liberty. He participated in the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Bunker Hill. During the war, not all of which he spent as a soldier, he rose to the rank of colonel; using his wife's money, he invested heavily in loyalist property and speculated in western lands. He ended his career in France, first as an agent for the French Republic on naval stores and the American debt, then as an independent businessman. He died in debtors' prison in Paris (DAB).
2. For another account of the fire which occurred on 17 May and a list of those suffering losses, see Massachusetts Gazette of 19 May and 1 June. Swan's account is similar to those in the newspapers, particularly that in the New-England Chronicle of 25 May, which includes a letter from a Boston inhabitant describing the fire and efforts to prevent its spread. For Gage's orders after the fire, see French, First Year, p. 167.
3. Andrew Oliver Jr. (1731–1799), judge and scientist, a founder of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and member of the American Philosophical Society (DAB). Thomas Fayer-weather and Benjamin Andrews Jr., both Boston merchants (Thwing Catalogue, MHi). Fayerweather was father-in-law of Professor John Winthrop (Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, 4:494–495, note). Eliakim Hutchinson (1711–1775), loyalist and wealthy Boston merchant (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:726–729).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0183

Author: Warren, John
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: McHenry, James
Author: McKnight, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-04

From John Warren and Others

[salute] Sir

As Surgeons of the continental Hospital we take the Freedom to address you upon an Occasion which though it does not immediately Concern our Department, yet as it relates to the Hospital with which we are so nearly connected, we thought called for our Attention, as being a Subject, upon which, we might be able to give some Information, which might perhaps be of some little service in assisting your Honour as a Member of the continental Congress, to determine upon the Matter when it shall be laid before that honorable Assembly, and which by Reason of the particular acquantance with Facts which Divers Circumstances have furnished us with, you might not perhaps be able to obtain from any other persons, for which Reason we would wish you to communicate this Letter to The honorable President, Mr. Paine, Mr. Samuel Adams and Mr. Cushing, and to any other Gentlemen Members of the Congress you shall think proper.
We have had some Intimations that there is one or more Persons soliciting of the Congress, an Appointment to the office of Apothecary to the Hospital. We are utterly ignorant of the Character of the Person who is making Interest for the place, and would not by any means suggest any thing against him—but as a very worthy Gentleman Mr. Craigie1 must in consequence of such an appointment be superseded, we think it our Duty to make a Representation of Facts, as we think his merit intitles him to a Continuance; He has been employed in the Publick Service from the first Commencement of Hostilities, first by an Appointment of the Committee of Safety to procure Medicines for the Army, next by the appointment of the provincial Congress as Commissary of the medicinal Store, and from them he received a Warrant investing him with full power to act as such and lastly by the late Director of the Hospital Dr. Church he was appointed Apothecary for the Hospital as well as of the whole Army together, That he has discharged the Duties annexed to the Station which he has held, not only the Surgeons of the Hospital, but also those of the Regiments, as well as the whole Army who have in a great Measure been supplied with the most important medicinal Articles by his vigilance and Assiduity, can with Gratitude attest. It is needless to represent to you the Difficulties under which, whoever engaged in this Business at a Time of such general Confusion as existed when the Army was first formed, must necessarily have laboured, these you can better conceive of than we can describe, Mr. Craigie surmounted { 356 } them all by using his utmost Exertions to procure Medicines wherever they might be purchased, for which purpose he put himself to great Expence and Infinite Pains when he found the Exigencies of an Army already begining to Suffer through want of Medicine so loudly called for it. These Motives induced him to run the Hazard of an Attempt to procure his Medicines out of the Town of Boston, the place of his nativity, and from whence he made his escape soon after the first Battle, having left the most valuable part of his Possessions there, and in this he so well succeeded as to get a considerable Quantity of the most valuable Articles safe to the Army having escaped the greatest Danger of a Detection by the Enemy; You will reflect that after having thus supplied the Army with all his own Medicines, he put it out of his power to pursue the Business upon which he depended for a maintenance, and therefore reserved no resource to which he could at any Time apply in case any thing of the kind now apprehended should take place.
It is also known by great Numbers that Mr. Craigies' Attention was not confined solely to procuring Medicines but extended even to Beding and Quarters for the wounded Soldiers particularly at the Time of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The Fatigues with which Mr. Craigies Office had till lately been attended, augmented by the procrastination of the appointment of an Assistant, had rendered him almost indifferent with Regard to his continuance in it, but after an Assistant was appointed, being enabled to perform his Business without Injury to his Health, he was desirous of remaining in it, especially as he had, after procuring a considerable Assortment of medicines, and born the Heat and Burthen of the Day, render'd the Task much more easy; He had not the least Suspicion of any probability of his being Displaced, but supposed that the Director had Power to confirm him, and therefore was much surprised when he was informed of an Intention to supersede him; more especially upon Consideration that a removal from so Publick a Station would afford reasonable Ground for a Presumtion; that some Misconduct in him had induced the Congress to disgrace him in this manner, and that thereby his Reputation might be affected in such a manner as would be infinitely injurious to him in his endeavours to procure a Subsistence in any other way: Your Honours Knowledge of mankind will point out his feelings upon such an occasion, and we doubt not it will suggest sufficient Arguments, (if these were the only ones) for giving your Voice in his Favour: The universal Satisfaction he has given, and that unblemished Reputation which he ever sustained, { 357 } have interested all those who have had the pleasure of his Acquaintance in the success of any Applications in his Favour and particularly Your most humble Servants
[signed] John Warren
[signed] Samuel Adams
[signed] James McHenry
[signed] Charles McKnight2
RC (Adams Papers); This letter was probably enclosed in that to JA from John Morgan of 19 Feb. 1776 (below).
1. On Andrew Craigie, see Dr. Morgan's appraisal.
2. John Warren (1753–1815), a younger brother of Dr. Joseph Warren and a founder of the Massachusetts Medical Society, was a senior surgeon at Cambridge. After the evacuation of Boston he went with the Continental Army to New York. He returned to Boston in 1777 to become senior surgeon at the General Hospital, where he remained till the end of the war. He gave lectures on anatomy in the 1780s and became Harvard's first lecturer on medicine (Walter L. Burrage, A History of the Massachusetts Medical Society, n.p., 1923, p. 28–31). Samuel Adams has not been positively identified, for several men of this name were surgeons in this period; very probably this was not the patriot's son. James McHenry (1753–1816), trained by Benjamin Rush, was at the start of a career that brought him to the position of Secretary of War under Presidents Washington and Adams (DAB; this source says that he did not join the medical staff until 1 Jan. 1776, however). Charles McKnight (1750–1792), trained by Dr. William Shippen, served as a surgeon throughout the war (L. H. Butterfield, Letters of Benjamin Rush, 2 vols., Princeton, 1951, 1:163, note 6).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0184

Author: Cooper, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-05

From William Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

The letter you did me the honor of writing me dated October 19th. came to hand but a few days past.1 The notice taken of me by the Committee of Congress appointed to collect an account of hostilities &c. I own myself indebted to you for, and you may be assured that I shall do every thing in my power to forward that business: A Committee of both Houses of which I am one has been appointed in consequence of the Committee of Congresses letter being laid before them,2 and a circular letter is to be forwarded to the Selectmen and Committees of Correspondence in the several towns where hostilities have been committed, that we may be able to furnish your Committee, with a collected account of the damages sustained in those towns.
The Copy of the account of the Charlestown Battle I immediately procured, and the same will be inclosed.3
We are all obliged to you as a Member of the Continental Congress for your exertions in favor of your Constituents, and the common { 358 } cause of the Colonies. Are we still to hold up our alegiance, when we are not only deprived of protection, but are even declared Rebels; and by this absurdity forbid every Court in Europe afording us any countenance or assistance. Is a sea coast of above 2000 Miles extent from whence three hundred sail of Privateers might this winter by the way of foreign ports at least, be launched out upon the British trade, still [to] be held in a state of neutrality, under a notion that we are opposing Ministry and not the People of Britain; while our enemies are employing the whole force of the Nation to plunder and ruin us: If the Congress remain silent on this head, will they take it amiss if a Colony, the first in suffering, as well as exertions, should grant letters of Reprisal to those Persons only who have had their property seized and destroyed by the Enemy. I sometime ago volunteered a prophesy, that it would not be long before we realised our importance as a Maritim power; and the success attending our first Naval enterprises, are very encouraging presages of what is yet to come. But if weak nerves and large estates should opperate to the preventing the whole force of the Colonies being exerted against the common enemy, the issue of so unequal and unheard of a war, may be easily augur'd.
You will not be offended at these liberties, I revere the wisdom of the Supreme Council of the Colonies, and feel my obligations, and pray God to succeed all their endeavors for the preservation and well-fare of North America. My best regards to my good friends Mr. Adams and Mr. Hancock. I remain, with much esteem and respect, Sir, Your sincere friend & obedient humble Servt
[signed] William Cooper

[salute] Sir

The foregoing with an attested Copy of the account of the Battle on Charlestown Hill not meeting you at Philadelphia, was Yesterday delivered me by the Speaker, which I again send you.4 Last Evening the House chose three Major Generals, vizt Generals Hancock, Warren and Orn. Pray make my Compliments to the worthy Mr. Gerry, and acquaint him that his Brothers Vessel is got in from Bilboa, and the Master informs that Mr. Gerrys Vessel was near loaded with Powder &c., and waited only for a few hands, and was expected to leave Bilboa within a Week. May a kind Providence give her a safe arrival. I am with the greatest regard, dear Sir Your most obedt. hum. Servt.
[signed] William Cooper
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “Mr Cooper Dec 5th 1775.”
{ 359 } | view { 360 }
1. See JA to James Warren, 18 Oct., note 5 (above).
2. On 19 Oct. the committee on British depredations sent to the various colonial assemblies a form letter seeking information on the extent of damages (JA's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec., No. III, above). The Massachusetts circular letter is shown in Illustration Broadside on British Depredations, 18 November 1775 359No. 12.
3. The Committee of Safety's Account of the Battle of Bunker Hill, 25 July (above).
4. This letter, together with several others that did not reach Philadelphia until after JA's departure on 9 Dec., was probably enclosed in Samuel Adams' letter to JA of 22 Dec. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0185

Author: Spooner, Walter
Author: Massachusetts General Court
Recipient: Continental Congress, Massachusetts delegates
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Cushing, Thomas
Recipient: Paine, Robert Treat
Recipient: Hancock, John
Date: 1775-12-05

The General Court to the Massachusetts Delegates

[salute] Gentlemen1

We are informed by his Excellency General Washington, that it is his opinion, the paying our Troops, by the Lunar Month, will throw the rest of the Army into disorder, as the Continental Congress have resolved, that it is the Kalender Month they mean to pay by; and that the difference between the two, must be consider'd as a Colonial, and not a Continental Charge.2
We are sensible, it is unhappy when there is any militation between the doings of any branch in a Society, and those of the whole, as it hath a tendency to produce a disunion and disorders consequent thereon; But such we consider may be the state of things, that fully to prevent a diversity, consistent with a due regard to the greatest good may be impossible.
The Congress have Resolved, that the Men shall be paid by the Calender Month. It may be unhappy for us, that previously we had taken a resolution diverse therefrom with Regard to our Forces. You are sensible, Gentlemen, that it hath been the invariable practice of this Colony, to pay their Troops by the Lunar month, and it was, with an expectation of this that our Men inlisted. For us to have attempted an innovation after the service was performed, which would have been the case had we adher'd to the resolution of the American Congress, we supposed would have produced such uneasiness in the Minds of the People, as could not easily have been quieted, and that it would have destroy'd that Confidence, and Esteem, which every person in the community ought to have of the justice, and equity of their rulers, a confidence never more necessary to be maintained than at the present day, for without this, it would have been extremely difficult if not impossible for us to have continued our Forces in the Field.
When these circumstances are taken into consideration, and that our establishment for the pay of the Men, was long before any resolution { 361 } was formed in the American Congress to pay the Troops upon any Conditions, therefore cannot be consider'd as a design in this Colony, to involve the united Colonies in an undue expence in paying them, We trust that we shall meet with the approbation of the Honble. Congress; and if any inconveniencies shall arise, they will be attributed to the necessity of the case.
With regard to the expence arising by the difference between the Lunar, and Calender months being Colonial, and not Continental, after you have fully represented the matter to the Congress, we can safely confide in their determination, being assured that it will be founded in that Wisdom, and Justice, which hath ever mark'd their resolutions.

[salute] In the Name and by Order of the whole Court

[signed] Walter Spooner
RC (PCC, No. 78, XX); addressed: “To The Honble. John Hancock Esq President of the American Congress Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Walter Spooner 5 Decr. 1775.”
1. Despite the address, this letter was intended for all five Massachusetts delegates, whose names are individually listed at its close.
2. The language beginning “will throw the rest of the Army into disorder” to “Continental Charge” is virtually verbatim from Washington's letter to the General Court of 29 Nov., including the spelling of “Kalender” (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:129).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0186

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-08

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

I am obliged to you for your Letter of 2nd. Instant.1 I intirely agree with You in Sentiment as to the Propriety, nay the Necessity of assuming and exercising all the Powers of Government. Our Convention only met yesterday afternoon. I shall, if possible, induce our People to set the Example, and first take Government.2
We have no News here worthy of your Notice. I cannot but intreat your Correspondence. If any Thing material occurs, pray inform Your affectionate and Obedient Servant
[signed] Saml. Chase
I beg to be remembered to Messrs. Adams and your Brethren.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esquire Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Sam. Chase Esqr. Decr. 8. 1775.” This letter took up only one page of a possible four. Pages two and three contain a Dft in JA's hand of a letter to Washington that was sent on 6 Jan. 1776 (see below).
1. Not found.
2. The Maryland Convention, first called into being in June 1774 during the Port Act crisis, had taken formal possession of province government by July 1775. But the session that opened { 362 } on 7 Dec. failed to move in the direction that Chase hoped for. Although it did vote to raise troops, it also passed a resolution calling for reconciliation “upon terms that may ensure to these colonies an equal and permanent freedom” (Matthew Page Andrews, History of Maryland: Province and State, N.Y., 1929, p. 304, 310, 313–314).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0187

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-11

From William Tudor

[salute] Dr Sir

I seize a few Minutes before the Post sets out to send You a little Information. Manley took two Prizes last Saturday, a large Ship of more than 300 Tons with a Cargo of Coals (chiefly) a large Quantity of Porter, some Wine and 40 live Hogs—destin'd for the beseiged Troops at Boston. The Captain found Means to throw overboard every material Letter. The other Capture was a large Brig from Antigua with 139 Puncheons of Rum—some Cocoa—a handsome Present of Lemons, Oranges and Limes for Genl. Gage's own Use.1
Above one half the Connecticut Forces are discharg'd, and are gone or going home. The Massachusetts shew more Spirit, and in General are determined on no Consideration to leave the Lines till the Army is inlisted. Some Regiments have presented Addresses to the General, with Assurances of this Kind, which have given great Satisfaction. About 2000 of the Militia are come down and 3000 more are expected every Hour. They are in high Spirits and look like an exceeding clever Set of young Fellows. We shall do very well yet.
The pompous Display of Riflemen's Courage which fill half the Papers of the southward—is ridiculous.2 The Affair at Leechmere's Point hardly deserved mentioning—and when read by Howe's Officers will make them laugh—at least. I will not by Letter make any other observation on this Subject.
You would much oblige me Sir, to procure from the Secretary of the Congress, an exact List of all the General Officers, and principal Staff Officers in the Continental Service—and send it me.
The New Articles for the Government of the Army ought to be sent as soon as possible.3 The Judge Advocate should have been authoris'd to have sworn the Members of Courts Martial, and ought to have been under an Oath of Office himself. Your most obt. Servt.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble: John Adams Esq Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Tudor Decr. 11. 1775”; docketed by CFA: “W. Tudor Decr 11. 1775.”
1. The ship Jenny, William Foster master, and the brig Little Hannah, Robert Adams master. Foster's attempt to destroy papers failed, for the signal book, manifest, and several letters were recovered from the water (Boston { 363 } Gazette, 11 Dec.; Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 91–92, 231).
2. Tudor may be referring to accounts, certain to anger people from Massachusetts, such as that which appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 29 Nov.: “Extract of a letter from an Officer of distinction in the American Army near Boston, dated November 15, 1775.” It stated that “We had a skirmish the other day on Litchmore point with General Clinton and a body of his myrmidons. Col. Thompson and his riflers acquitted themselves most nobly. our friend MIFFLIN played the part of himself—that is of a HERO.” Tudor was not alone in his dislike of the riflemen; see letters to JA from James Warren of 11 Sept., William Heath of 23 Oct., Samuel Osgood Jr. of [23 Oct.], and John Thomas of 24 Oct. (all above). For AA's account of the skirmish, see Adams Family Correspondence, 1:324–325.
3. Although passed by the congress on 7 Nov., the revised Articles of War were apparently not ready for distribution until 7 Jan. 1776 (JCC, 3:331–334; General Orders, 7 Jan., Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:220):

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0188

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-11

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

Since my last1 I have not A Scrip from you. Whether you Intend by withholding the Encouragement you used to give to get rid of the Trouble of my many long and Tedious Letters I don't know. However I am determined to write this once more at least not out of Spite, and malice, but to rectify some Errors I find I Committed in my last and to remove any Impressions of despondency the Temper I wrote in, and the Spirit of the Letter might make. Capt. Stevenson who was the Bearer of it left us last monday, and I hope will be with you this day, since which I find I was much mistaken in the account I gave you of the progress of saltpetre in this Colony. It is certainly makeing in great quantities in many Towns, and I believe we shall next spring have as much as we want. One man in Wrentham had a fortnight ago 50 lb. One at Sherburne about as much. Dr. Whittaker has 70 lb. Parson Whitwell 50 and in the County of Worcester great quantities are Collecting. All Agree that the process is as Simple and easy as Makeing Soap. Our Committee2 too at Newberry Port have succeeded with some Improvements and make steadily 12 lb. a Day and as good as I ever saw. So much for Saltpetre. We have Assigned this afternoon to Choose A Committee to Erect as soon as possible A powder Mill at Sutton and Another at Stoughton.3 Several Prizes have been taken in the week past, and among the rest A fine Ship from London, with Coal, Porter Cheese Live Hoggs &c. &c. and a large Brigantine from Antigua with Rum Sugar &c. All the Country are now Engaged in prepareing to make salt Petre fixing Privateers, or Reinforceing the Army. I suppose if the weather had been favourable 12 or 13 Privateers { 364 } would have been at Sea this Day in quest of 7 Sail of Ships which came out with this Prize, and had similar Cargoes. Commissions are makeing out for 2 Privateers from Salem, two from Newberry Port one of them to Mount 16 Guns. I hear one is fixing at Plymouth and one at Barnstable. It will be in the power of the Congress another Year to Command the American Sea. We have here great Numbers of fine Vessels, and Seamen in Abundance.
The 3000 Militia called to Reinforce the Army, are all I believe in Camp, and I Conjecture some hundred more than called for, such was their Indignation at the Conduct of the Connecticut Troops, and Zeal for the Cause that they Immediately Inlisted and Arrived in Camp at the Time set, tho' the Traveling is Exceeding Bad. The New Hampshire Troops I am told are not behind them. The Small Pox is broke out at Cambridge and 1 or 2 other places among those late out of Boston. I hope good Care will be taken of them to prevent its spreading. The Inlistments in the Army go on rather better than they did. Upon the whole the Hemisphere is brighter, and the prospects more Agreable than they were A Week ago. Our Army Acknowledge they have been well Treated paid and fed, and if you had not raised the pay of the officers they could hardly have found A Subject of Complaint. I am sorry it was done [tho' if the Soldiers were] Politicians they might see it was an [Advantage to them . . . .] The Southern Gentlemen seem to have [taken a dislike to . . .] Equality among us, and don't seem [ . . . ] that Many of the Soldiers are [ . . . ] possessd of as much property as [ . . . ] The People of Boston by their Imprudence [ . . . ] Town so long have given us more trouble [ . . . ] the Ministerial Army and Navy. I don't [ . . . ] an Eighth part of our whole time since [ . . . ] been taken up about them people, and the [ . . . ] last perhaps ruin us by spreading [ . . . ] what shall we do determine not to [ . . . ] they die.

[salute] Adeu

I have no Letter from Mrs. Adams to Inclose. I may recieve one Tomorrow.
Just as I finished the Above I received your Short Letter of Decr. 5.4 Shall Endeavour to reconcile the Troops as far as I have Influence to the Terms you mention. The greatest difficulty however is about Officers wages lately raised. Crafts I know is A deserving Man and fit for the Office you Mention. Trot I presume is by the Character you give him, but what is to be done with Burbeck. He is said to be a good Officer, is well Esteemed at Head Quarters, and is now a Leut. Colonel. Do you design there shall be 2 Lt. Colonels as well as 2 Ma• { 365 } jors in that Regiment. What Shall be done for our Good Friend Doctr. Cooper. He is A Staunch Friend to the Cause A grat Sufferer, and No Income to support him. Must he not be provided for in the Civil List. Do Devise something.
It is reported from Boston that they have taken one of our Privateers.5 I fear it is True.
[ . . . ] it is [true they have] indeed got one of our [ . . . ] Brigantine the General fixed from Plymouth. She [ . . . ] double fortified six pounders, about 20 Swivels [ . . . ] we dont know who took her or any [ . . . ] about it. Tis supposed she made A stout [ . . . ] much fireing was heard in the Bay. [ . . . ] Head Quarters Yesterday but the General was gone [ . . . ] not see him. I met Crafts he says the [General?] offered him the 2d. Majority, and that A Man [ . . . ] formerly his Serjeant is to have the first [ . . . ] Accept it. Mason is the Leut. Colonel [ . . . ] wishes to be made Barracks Master, and I could [ . . . ] if it don't make A difficulty.6 Brewer7 is at present Appointed, and gave up his Regiment for it to Accomodate Matters, and facilitate the New Establishment. I had A Vessel Arrived on Monday from the West Indies. She has been at Almost all the Windward Islands. The Master is Sensible, and Intelligent. I Received A Letter from Home last Night. Shall Inclose8 you A paragraph which Contains the Account he gives. It may do service tho' you no doubt have Intelligence more direct. My Son Met Mrs. Adams on the road Yesterday in her way to Weymouth. She was well.
RC (Adams Papers). The third and fourth pages are badly mutilated; words in brackets are supplied from Warren-Adams Letters, 1:192–195.
1. Warren to JA, 3 Dec. (above).
2. Dr. William Whiting, Deacon Baker, Capt. John Peck, and Jedidiah Phipps were members of this committee, which was appointed on 31 Oct. and 1 Nov. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 215, 219).
3. Formed on 12 Dec., the committee was authorized to use up to £600 in order to establish powder mills in the two towns (same, 3d sess., p. 36).
4. That is, 3 Dec. (above).
5. The armed brig Washington, Capt. Sion Martindale, was captured by the frigate Fowey, Capt. George Montagu, on the night of 4 Dec. (Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 86–87). The Massachusetts Gazette of 14 Dec., reporting the capture with obvious pleasure, stated that the crew was to be sent to England on the Tartar, which was to sail that same day.
6. For what is probably the substance of this conversation with Crafts, see his letter to JA of 16 Dec. (below).
7. Col. Jonathan Brewer gave up his regiment to Col. Whitcomb, who had been left out of command in the remodeling of the army, much to his men's disgust (General Orders, 16 Nov., Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:94).
8. Enclosure not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0189

Author: Crafts, Thomas Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-16

From Thomas Crafts Jr.

[salute] Dear Sir

I ever thought thare was such a Thing as sincere friendship, and that some perticular Persons, with whom I had long been Intemate with And had made such great professions of it to me where possese'd with It. But I had given up the very Idea of such a thing, for the last three Months, and was become a perfect Infidel, Till yesterday Col. Warren shew me a Letter from you to him1 in which you mention my being recommended to General Washington for a Commission, For which I return you my sincere Thanks; and am now become a Bleaver again. Even Mr. Cushing mentioned me in a Letter to Mr. Cooper. But how am I greaved not being thought off by him whom I Valued as the apple of My Eye.2 Out of sight out of Mind. I cannot Express the astonishment, Mortification and Disopointment I was thrown into on hearing the Appointmet of Mr. Knox to the Command of the Train. On the 13th Instant was sent for by General Washington and offered the Majority in the Train—Under the following Officers, Col. Knox, Lt. Col. Burbeck, Lt. Col. Mason, First Major John Crane, which shocked me very much. Lt. Col. Mason was formerly Captain of the Train in Boston but was so low and mean a person, thare was not an Officer or private that would train under him In consequence of which he was oblige'd to retire. Major Crane is a good Officer and a worthy Man But Last June he was only a Serjant in the Company whereof I was Captain Lieutenant.3 You certainly will not blame me for not excepting under such humiliating Curcumstances. I had the offer of the same place when you was down. I see of but one way to provide for me In that Department, As the Redjt. [Regiment] of the Train is to be Devided into two Battalions, appointing me to Command One, It will make only the Addition of One Colonel, thare being One Colonel, Two Lt. Colonels and Two Majors Already Appointed. I find Col. Brewer is appointed Barrack-Master General. I was in hopes if I failed in the other Department Should have been provided for in this. Will not the services that I Endeavourd to do my Country—The Werasome Days and Sleepless Nights—Loss of time and the expenses I have been at from 1765 to 1775 Make an Interest for me Superior to Col. Brewer. If not Sir I submit to my Hard Cruel Hard fate. I like that place and should be fond of it as it would be less likely to give offence to Two Officers in said Train. You may remember I mentioned that Office to you when at Watertown. I am now reduced from Comfortable Circumstances to a state of Poverty. An Ameeable { 367 } Wife (As you know Sir) and four small Children to provide for. I realy wish myself in Boston. I could support with firmness all the Insults I might receive from A Howe and his Bandity of Mercenaries, But to be negratted by those I thought my Friends, and my Country I cannot Support It.
The Connecticut Forces have in general gone home. Many of them I bleave will Enlist again. Our Militia have done themselves honour by the readiness with which they enlisted and came down to Man the Lines. They might have had double the Number had they been sent for. The Military Stores that was taken by Capt. Manly is a noble acquisition at this time. Ten Tons of Powder is arrived at Dartmouth.4 The Militia is likely soon to be settled, Tho' I think it has been much two Long Neglected. They are pulling up the pavements In Boston in full expectation of a Bombardment. Bleave me to [be] with all sincerity and due respect your Friend and Humbl. Servt.
[signed] Thos Crafts Junr.
PS Pray spare so much of your precious moments as to write me one line.
Present my best regards to Honl. Saml. Adams Col. Hancock and Thos Cushing Esqr.
My mind is much agitated excuse bad speling and writing.5
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honorable John Adams Esq at <Philadelphia>”; in an unknown hand: “Watertown.”
1. That of 3 Dec. (above).
2. Probably Col. John Hancock, the only member of the Massachusetts delegation with any military experience.
3. By “Last June” Crafts probably meant June 1774, when both men were members of Capt. Adino Paddock's artillery company. Crafts' rank was what today would be called first lieutenant. In June 1775 John Crane (1744–1805) was a major in the Providence, R.I., train of artillery and retained that rank when he returned to Massachusetts and joined Knox's regiment (Thomas J. Abernethy, American Artillery Regiments in the Revolutionary War, unpubl. bound typescript, MHi, p. 4, 175–177).
4. The port area of old Dartmouth is now part of New Bedford, Mass.
5. JA did not receive this letter until after he returned to Philadelphia (JA to Crafts, 18 Feb. 1776, below). In JA's absence it may have been sent back to Watertown, since the address was altered.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0190

Author: Hayward, Lemuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-16

From Lemuel Hayward

[salute] Honored Sir

By the hand of Dr. Morgan I had the Pleasure of receiving yours of Nov. 13.1 and thank you not only for the Honour you did me in writing, but for your kind Disposition towards me discoverable in it. Agreable to your Advice upon the Arival of Docter Morgan I waited on him, and { 368 } find him the Person you represented2 a well bred Man of Sense. He appears pleased with those Houses under my Care and fully disposed to have me continued as Surgeon, yet informs me he can't at present establish me as he is limited to the Number four but would have me continue to act as Surgeon and further informs me that he has reccommended our Establishment to the General and that the General has recommended it to the Honorable Congress. I therefore take this Method again to ask for your Influence to my Establishment when the same shall be laid before the Honorable Congress. What I ask for myself I wish for Doctr. Aspinwall. He is certainly a deserving Gentleman.
The Town of Roxbury you must be sensible is torn to Pieces, my Practice in it of Consequence must be of little Importance to what it once was. Indeed I am rather urged by the common Feelings of Humanity to attend the Sick than by any Motives of Interest. Besides I am loth to leave so good a School as the Hospital is under the Direction of so great a Man in his Profession as Doctr. Morgan. You therefore can't wonder that I am a little importunate in the Affair.
As to the Necessity of our Appointment I cease to urge it since Dr. Morgan I trust has already done it, and of our Abilities he must be the Judge. I am with the greatest Respect your Honor's most obedient and most humble Servent.
[signed] Leml. Hayward
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honorable John Adams Esqr Member of the Honorab Congress Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “L. Hayward.”; in a second hand: “Decr. 16. 1775.”
1. Not found.
2. For JA's opinion of Dr. Morgan, see JA's third letter to James Warren of 25 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0191

Author: Hawley, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-18

From Joseph Hawley

[salute] Dear Sir

I received your favour of the 25th of Novr. as soon as I arrived at this town which was last friday and a very kind and generous return I esteem it to the few lines I sent you from Brookfield. I hope the lines will not be Abandoned. I hope an Army will be inlisted for the Next year before the Spring Advances but am clearly of Opinion that the Charge of Marching in the Militia their equipment and pay will amount to More Money than would have been Necessary by way of Bounty to have inlisted a new army by the last of this Month. But good fruit Will come of this Measure, Many More of our people will be Made Soldiers than could any otherwise been Made in the same time and I hope the { 369 } Encampments preserved. You will undoubtedly hear of the Flame blown up in Connecticutt by raising the pay of the officers and Not granting a bounty to the Privates. The Tories throughout the land do their utmost to highten the flame. The disturbance has Not been so great in this province but the complaints and noise has been very uncomfortable here.
But enough of this, and to go upon some other Tack—there are two or three Matters I will Just hint to you and hope some time or other to be able to treat upon them to you by detail.
I apprehended the difficulty of a bounty &c. arose from the different Ideas genius and Conditions of the inhabitants of the Southern Colonies from ours in N. E. and I have No doubt but the same Cause will operate greatly to retard and delay two or three other great events which must take place unless Britain imediately Shifts her course. An American Parliament with legislative Authority over All the colonies already or that Shall be united Must be established. Until that Shall be done we Shall be liable to be divided and broken by the Arts of our intestine enemies and cunning Menoeuvers of Administration. Undoubtedly the plan Must be when formed laid before each Several Assembly or provincial Congress on the Continent and be consented to by all. The Numbers of Members each colony Shall send to that great Council Must be Settled. The Same time of election Must be fixed for All, and the term or period for which the Members Must be chosen must be determined. May God prevent Septennial Parliaments. Nay I hope they will be Annual.
All the Colonies I hope will as soon as possible assume Popular forms of Government and indeed become several little republicks. I freely own Myself a republican and I wish to See all Government on this Earth republican. No other form is a Security for right and virtue. I hope an eye will be Steadily kept on Connecticut Model tho' I am sensible it May be Mended.
I know the hardness of Mens hearts will delay and retard this Salutary glorious work but Great Prudence, patience and fortitude, firmness and perseverance will effect it. The work will Meet with Many rebuffs but I trust will be as the Morning light which Shineth More and More unto the perfect day.
Soon very soon there Must be Alteration to the Paper Currency of the colonies. The Continental Congress or Parliament Must inspect Each colony and See that each one keep its faith otherwise the Medium will inevitably depreciate but if the periods for which the Bills shall be emitted shall be not too long and there Should be a punctuality { 370 } in Sinking them We may get along comfortably with a paper Currency. High taxes can easily be paid in time of War. Money will then infallibly circulate briskly and if the Taxes keep pace with the emissions the Currency will not depreciate. But more of this at another time. All the colonies Must be brought to be equally honest as to the redemption of their Bills otherwise a discount and difference will imediately take place which will embarrass and tend to disunite. Surely this Matter is worthy the Attention of this great Superin[ten]ding council of the whole Good. Civil polity and Government Must go hand in hand with military Operations.
We are somewhat alarmed with Dunmores ferocity but hope that he will be soon crushed.1 The Surprising Success of the Privateers this way we hope will animate the whole continent to the like practice.
The art of making Saltpetre is well investigated here. But the exertions for the largest Supplies of amunition and arms through the whole Continent ought to be now Constantly as great as if all the force was in sight which they talk in Britain of Sending against us early Next Spring.
For God's sake let the river St. Lawrence, the lake Champlain and Hudsons river be impenetrably Secured against all the Attempts of Ministerial troops and Pray order Matters so without fail that the inhabitants of Canada may be refresh'd with full draughts of the Sweets of liberty. This has been my cry and prayer to you ever since the taking of Ticonderoga.

[salute] I am Sir with highest esteem Most faithfully yours

[signed] Joseph Hawley
1. Probably a reference to a report from Williamsburg, Va., dated 7 [i.e. 17] Nov., printed in the Boston Gazette of 11 Dec. It described a battle between 350 “Regular soldiers, sailors, runaway negroes, and Tories, . . . the very scum of the country,” led by Lord Dunmore and 200 of the Princess Anne co. militia on 14 Nov., in which Dunmore was victorious.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0192

Author: Williams, Jonathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-20

From Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dear Sir

I1 have just heard of your return from Philadelphia, and am exceeding sorry I had not the pleasure of seeing you as you passed thro' Providence;2 I want very much to consult you Sir, about entering into the Practise of Law, and the favour you did me when an Opportunity offered for my going into Business at Portsmouth, encourages me to make this Application.
{ 371 }
I have for this some time past had a great desire to enter the Army, [and?] I find the Thoughts of it, affects my [Mother] so much, that I think it ungenerous to urge it farther; I have now turned my thoughts to the Practise of Law, and according to your advice, am determined to pursue my Studies. I think a favourable opportunity now offers, and I wish to take advantage of it. You know Sir, I have now been in the Study of the Law, above the Period, necessary for an Introduction to Court, and as the Court is to meet here the first Wednesday in Jany. I wanted to ask you, if you woud think it adviseable for me, to offer myself to be sworn—and if you shoud, whether it woud not be necessary for me to have some Credentials, or Recomendations from you. I am not determined to settle here, that I shall leave to a future day, but I think if I was sworn, I might perhaps get some Business, which woud relieve me from a state of Idleness, and have a tendency to fix me to a close application to my Books.
If it woud not be too much trouble, I shoud be much obliged to you for your advice.
Sometime ago you put Hawkins's Pleas of the Crown,3 into my hands. I read him thro and have since read Finch, and Burns Justice and am now reading Plowden's Reports.4 I have several of your Books in my possession which I will take good care off, and if possible prevent them from falling into the Hands of any one, that woud sacrifice them [because] they belong to you.
I am exceeding unhappy Sir that I cannot immediately pay you the price of my Education, but my Father's Absence,5 and the embarrassment of our Family, woud make it at present difficult. Sir, if you shoud want a sum of Money I will exert myself to answer your purpose.
I heartily wish you Joy upon the honorable Appointment lately [assigned?] you, by your Countrymen, and congratulate you as a Patriot, upon the late acqui[sition?] to our Cause, in Cannada, and the success [ . . . ] prizes obtained at Sea by the vigillance [of] Manly and others.

[salute] My Respects to Mrs. Adams. I hope She, and all your Family are well. I am Sir your much obliged & sincere Friend

[signed] Jon Williams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr in Braintree”; in another hand below the address: “To be delivered to Mr Tudor”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “J Williams to Jno. Adams Esqr” and in another hand: “Decr. 20th 1775”; in the lower right corner of the address portion: “Thos. Smith.” The MS is badly mutilated, but relatively few words are missing.
{ 372 }
1. Jonathan Williams (d. 1780) had been JA's law clerk from Sept. 1772–Oct.(?) 1774 (JA, Legal Papers, 1:lxxxi, cxiii).
2. JA passed through Providence on either 19 or 20 Dec. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:171).
3. William Hawkins, A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown, 4th edn., 2 vols. in 1, London, 1762 (Catalogue of JA's Library).
4. Sir Henry Finch, A Description of the Common Laws of England, according to the Rules of Art, Compared with the Prerogatives of the King, London, 1759; or Law, or a Discourse Thereof, in Four Books . . . Notes and References, and a Table . . . by Danby Pickering, [London,] 1759. Richard Burn, The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer, 7th edn., 3 vols., London, 1762 (Catalogue of JA's Library lists vol. 1). Edmund Plowden, The Commentaries, or Reports of Edmund Plowden, [London,] 1761 (same).
5. John Williams, father of Jonathan, was a former inspector general of customs at Boston, who at this time was probably still in London, where in 1774 he had a number of meetings with Josiah Quincy Jr. and prevailed upon him to meet with several officials in the ministry (MHS, Procs., 50 [1916–1917]:437, 438, 439, 441, 442, 443, 446).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0193

Author: Sullivan, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-21

From John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

Did not the hurry of our affairs prevent; I Should often write you Respecting the State of our Army: but it has been my fortune to be Employed almost night and Day. When I had Winter Hill almost Compleated I was ordered to Plowed Hill1 where for a Long Time I was almost Day and night in Fortifying. Since have I been ordered to the Eastward to fortify and Defend Pescataway Harbour2 but unfortunately was oblidged to Return without an oportunity of proving the works I had Taken So much pains to Construct. This being over I was Called upon to Raise 2000 Troops from New Hampshire and bring them on the Lines in 10 Days; this I undertook and was happy Enough to perform otherwise the Defection of the Conecticut Troops might have proved Fatal to us: I might have added that 3000 from your Colony arrived at the Same time to Supply the Defect. This with the other Necessary Business in my Department has So far Engaged my time and attention that I hope you will not Require an apology for my not writing. I have now many things to write you but must Content myself with mentioning a few of them at present and Leave the Residue to another opportunity. I will in the first place Inform you that we have possession of almost Every advantageous post Round Boston from whence we might with great Ease Burn or Destroy the Town was it not that we fail in a very Triffleing matter namely we have no powder to do it with. However as we have a Sufficiencey for our Small Arms we are not without hopes to become Masters of The Town; Old Boreas and Jack Frost are now at work Building a Bridge { 373 } over all the Rivers Bays &c. &c. which once Compleated we Take possession of the Town or Perish in the Attempt. I have the Greatest Reason to believe I Shall be Saved for my faith is very Strong. I have <the great> Liberty to take possession of your House. Mrs. Adams was kind Enough to Honour me with a visit the other Day in Company with a number of other Ladies and The Revd. Mr. Smith.3 She gave me power to Enter and Take possession. There is nothing now wanting but your Consent which I Shall wait for till the Bridge is Compleated and unless given before that time Shall make a Forceable Entry and leave you to bring your Action.4 I hope in Less than three weeks to write you from Boston.
The Prisoners Taken in our Privateers are Sent to England for Tryal and So is Colo. Allen.5 This is Glorious Encouragement for people to Engage in our Service when their prisoners are Treated with So much Humanity and Respect and The Law of Retaliation not put in force against them. I know you have published a Declaration of that Sort6 but I never knew a man feel the weight of Chains and Imprisonment by mere Declarations on paper and believe me till their Barbarous usage of our prisoners is Retaliated we Shall be miserable. Let me ask whether we have any thing to hope from the Mercy of his majesty or his ministers. Have we any Encouragement from the people in Great Britain. Could they Exert themselves more against us if we had Shaken of[f] the Yoke and Declared ourselves Independent. Why then in Gods name is it not done. Whence arises this Spirit of moderation. This want of Decision. Do the members of Your Respectable Body Think the Enemy will Throw their Shot and Shells with more force than at present. Do they think the Fate of Charlestown or Falmouth might have been worse or the Kings proclomation more Severe if we had openly Declared war; could they have treated our prisoners worse if we were in an open and avowed Rebellion Than they now do. Why then do we call ourselves freemen and Act the part of Timid Slaves. I dont apply this to You. I know you too well to Suspect Your firmness and Resolution. But Let me beg of you to use those Talents I know You possess to Destroy that Spirit of moderation which has almost ruined and if not Speedily Rooted out will prove the final overthrow of America. That Spirit gave them possession of Boston. Lost us all our Arms and Ammunition and now Causes our Brethren which have fallen into their hands to be treated Like Rebels. But Enough of this. I feel Too Sensibly to write more upon the Subject. I beg you to make my most respetful Compliments to Mr. Hancok and your Brother Delegates also to Colo. Lee and those worthy { 374 } Brethren who Laboured with us in the vineyard when I had the Honour to be with you in the Senate.7 You may venture to assure them that when an oportunity presents if I Should not have Courage Enough to fight myself I Shall do all in my power to Encourage others. Dear Sir I am with much Esteem your most obedt Servt.
[signed] Jno Sullivan
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Gen. Sullivan. Nov. 21. 1775”; below this entry in JA's hand: “ansd. March 7.” Because Sullivan neglected much terminal punctuation, it has been supplied.
1. Both these hills command the Mystic River and the road leading northwest out of Charlestown to Medford. Then in Cambridge, these sites are now in Somerville (Early Amer. Atlas, p. 50).
2. That is, Portsmouth, N.H.
3. William Smith, AA's father.
4. By his playful reference to JA's house in Boston, perhaps Sullivan was attempting to spur JA and through him the congress to action. The visit of the congressional committee in Oct. had left unresolved the question of mounting an attack on Boston. On 22 Dec. the congress did approve such an assault (JCC, 3:444–445). AA mentioned her meeting with Sullivan in her letter to JA of 10 Dec. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:336).
5. The crew of the Washington, captured on 4 Dec., were transported to England on the Tartar. Ethan Allen was captured in an ill-fated and somewhat foolhardy effort to surprise Montreal in September. The men of the Washington were distributed as “volunteers” among various ships of the British Navy, but the officers were sent back to Halifax, from where Sion Martindale, the captain, ultimately escaped. Allen spent the next two years as a prisoner at Pendennis Castle in England, at Halifax, and in New York until he was finally exchanged in May 1778 (Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 86–90, 184; John Pell, Ethan Allen, Boston, 1929, p. 296–298).
6. On 6 Dec. the congress, in response to the King's declaring the colonists rebels, adopted a declaration that promised retaliation against British prisoners for ill-treatment of American prisoners by the British (JCC, 3:409–412). Being general in tone, it did not in Sullivan's mind meet the need presented by the situation of the Washington crew and Ethan Allen. In a letter of 18 Dec., however, George Washington told Gen. Howe that should the mistreatment of Allen continue, he would retaliate against Gen. Richard Prescott, whom Americans had captured at Montreal, and who was largely responsible for Allen's treatment (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:170–171; French, First Year, p. 423–424).
7. Sullivan had served in the First Continental Congress and in the first session of the Second. He left when he was appointed a brigadier general in the American Army on 22 June (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:xlix).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0194

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-22

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

My Concern for your Welfare induced me carefully to watch the Weather till I conjectured you had got to the End of your Journey, and I have the Pleasure of believing it has been more agreable than { 375 } one might have expected at this Season. I hope you found Mrs. Adams and Family in a confirmd State of Health. I will not envy you, but I earnestly wish to enjoy, at least for a few Weeks, domestick Retirement and Happiness. I dare not however, urge an Adjournment of the Congress. It would indeed be beneficial to the Members and the publick on many Considerations, but our Affairs are now at so critical a Conjuncture that a Seperation might be dangerous.
Since you left us, our Colony has sometimes been divided, on Questions that appeard to me to be important. Mr. C[ushing] has no doubt a Right to speak his opinion whenever he can form one; and you must agree with him, that it was highly reasonable, the Consideration of such Letters as you have often heard read, which had been assigned for the Day, should, merely for the Sake of order, have the Preference to so trifling Business as the raising an American Navy. I know it gives you great Pleasure to be informd that the Congress have ordered the Building of thirteen Ships of War viz five of 32 Guns five of 28 and three of 24.1 I own I wished for double or treble the Number, but I am taught the Rule of Prudence, to let the fruit hang till it is ripe, otherwise those Fermentations and morbid Acrimonies might be produced in the political, which the like error is said to produce in the natural Body. Our Colony is to build two of these Ships. We may want Duck. I have been told that this Article is manufacturd in the Counties of Hampshire and Berkshire. You may think this worth your Enquiry.
Our Fleet, which has been preparing here will be ready to put to Sea in two or three days, and it is left to the Board of Admiralty to order its Destination. May Heaven succeed the Undertaking. Hopkins is appointed Commander in Chiefe.2 I dare promise that he will on all occasions distinguish his Bravery, as he always has, and do honor to the American Flag.
General Schuyler is at Albany. By a Letter from him of the 14th Instant we are informd that “there had been a Meeting of Indians in that place, who deliverd to him a Speech, in which they related the Substance of a Conference Coll. Johnson had with them the last Summer, concluding with that at Montreal, where he deliverd to each of the Canadian Tribes a War belt and the Hatchet which they accepted; after which they were invited to feast on a Bostonian and drink his Blood, an ox being roasted for the purpose and a pipe of Wine given to drink. The War Song was also sung. One of the Chiefs { 376 } of the Six Nations who attended that Conference, accepted of a very large black War belt with an Hatchet depicturd on it, but would neither eat nor drink nor sing the War Song. This famous Belt they have deliverd up, and there is now full Proof that the ministerial Servants have attempted to engage the Indians against us.”3 This is copied from the Generals Letter.
You will know what I mean when I mention to you the Report of the Committee of Conference. This has been considerd and determind agreable to your Mind and mine.4 Mr. H agreed with me in opinion, and I think, in expressing his Sentiments he honord himself. I dare not be more explicit on this Subject. It is sufficient that you understand me.
I have more to say to you but for Want of Leisure I must postpone it to another opportunity. Inclosd you have a Number of Letters which came to my hand directed to you. Had you been here I should possibly have had the Benefit of perusing them. I suffer in many Respects by your Absence.
Pray present my due Regards to all Friends—particularly Coll. Warren, and tell him I will write to him soon. Your affectionate Friend
1. The congress voted for this construction on 13 Dec. The 13 ships were to cost no more than $866,666 2/3 and were apportioned as follows: New Hampshire 1, Massachusetts 2, Rhode Island 2, Connecticut 1, New York 2, Pennsylvania 4, and Maryland 1 (JCC, 3:425–426).
2. Esek Hopkins (1718–1802) of Rhode Island was officially designated commander in chief of the navy on 22 Dec., but was unable to take his small fleet to sea until Feb. 1776 DAB; JCC, 3:443).
3. This passage describing a meeting between Guy Johnson and the Indians is, with minor differences, quoted from the original letter received by the congress on 22 Dec. Opening quotation marks are supplied (PCC, No. 153, I; JCC, 3:443).
4. The report of the Conference Committee recommended that Gen. Washington be permitted to mount an attack on Boston (JCC, 3:444–445). John Hancock, who, according to Richard Smith of New Jersey, “spoke heartily for this measure,” assured the general that he completely supported an attack, “tho' individually I may be the greatest sufferer” (Richard Smith's Diary, 22 Dec., and the President of Congress to Washington, 22 Dec., both in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:284, 285–286).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0001

Editorial Note

Adams returned to Braintree from Philadelphia on 21 December 1775 and departed from Watertown for the Continental Congress five weeks later on 25 January 1776 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:226, 227). Relatively little is known about his activities and thinking in this period, for he wrote few letters and made no entries in his Diary. The official record of his role in the Council at Watertown is comparatively meager, even his days in attendance being uncertain. Although Adams is not listed as present until 28 December, he may have begun attending earlier, for he signed a number of resolutions dated the 26th, and on the 27th he was named to a committee. He also signed two Council resolutions on 3 January and one on the 10th, when he was not recorded as present (No. I, below). Payroll records indicate that he was paid for sixteen days' attendance, but the clerk listed him as present on only fifteen: 28–30 December 1775, 4–6, 11–13, 15–19, and 24 January 1776 (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 402–497, passim; M-Ar:164, p. 269 gives the payroll record).
During that time he served on eight committees, the most important of which were those to form a plan for arming one or more vessels, to consider a letter from General Washington dated 10 January, and to draft a proclamation to open the courts (Nos. II, III, IV, below). The other committees, for which no information has been found to illuminate Adams' role in their activities, were those to respond to a petition from the Town of Harvard complaining of excessive wages paid to officers in the army, to investigate the character of Dr. Samuel Gelston, who was accused of supplying the British Army with provisions (see Gelston to JA, [19 Jan. 1776], below), to report on a letter about lead from William Williams of Connecticut, to wait on Washington with the response to the General's letter, and to consider the militia bill (Records of the States, { 378 } Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 401–402, 425, 450, 452).
While carrying on this strenuous schedule, Adams, as a member of the Continental Congress, advised Washington on Gen. Charles Lee's plan to bring New York under American control and attended two meetings at headquarters (JA to Washington, 6, 15 Jan. 1776, belowJA to Washington, 6 Jan. 1776, and Washington to JA, 15 Jan. 1776, both below; DLC: Washington Papers, 22:101, 102). He was probably also consulting privately with various members of the General Court, as well as with Washington and his generals. Adams' last full day with the Council was apparently 19 January, the day on which the proclamation for opening the courts was accepted by that body (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 472–476).
His return to the Continental Congress, so far as the General Court was concerned, had been settled on 15 December, although the official appointment and instructions for the delegates were delayed until 18 January. The General Court gave Adams 126 out of a possible 129 votes. John Hancock was elected unanimously, and Samuel Adams got only two fewer votes than John. Robert Treat Paine, however, was chosen by the minimum number of required votes, 65, and Elbridge Gerry, with no vote count recorded, was selected to replace Thomas Cushing (same, p. 467, 371–372). The election brought to a climax the political controversy that had divided Massachusetts leaders into moderates and radicals on the issue of American relations with Great Britain (see James Warren to JA, 3 Dec. 1775, note 12, above, and Thomas Cushing to Robert Treat Paine, 29 Feb. 1776, MHi: Robert Treat Paine Papers). Adams' margin of victory and the election of Gerry, who would give the radicals so clear a majority within the delegation that the Massachusetts vote would no longer be indecisive, probably influenced Adams' decision to return to Philadelphia. He was also swayed by the urgings of James Warren and other friends and by his own belief that the courts could open effectively without his being present as Chief Justice given the proclamation (No. IV, below) that was to be read upon their opening (JA, Works, 1:192).
After a busy day in the Council on 19 January, Adams set out for Braintree. On 23 January he began his trip to Philadelphia, stopping in Watertown, where he had a last, probably brief, meeting with the Council and perhaps received the £130 voted by the General Court to each of the delegates to the congress (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 201). He also attended a meeting at Cambridge between Generals Washington and Gates and “half a Dozen Sachems and Warriours of the french Cocknowaga Tribe,” to whom he was introduced by Washington as a member of the “Grand Council Fire at Philadelphia.” The following morning, at about ten, Gerry called for him, and the two men set out on their journey to attend what was to be a momentous session of the congress (Diary and Autobiography, 2:226227; JA to AA, 24 Jan., Adams Family Correspondence, 1:343).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-26

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to pay post-riders

26 December 1775. Resolution to pay post-riders. M-Ar:207, p. 311–315. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1242–1243.
(M-Ar:207, p. 311–315. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1242–1243.)

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-26

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution appointing members to a joint committee to determine how bills of credit were to be signed and numbered

26 December 1775. Resolution appointing members to a joint committee to determine how bills of credit were to be signed and numbered. M-Ar:207, p. 316. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1243.
(M-Ar:207, p. 316.) printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1243).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-26

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to pay John Davis a sum in behalf of Edward Johnson, a petitioning soldier

Resolution to pay John Davis a sum in behalf of Edward Johnson, a petitioning soldier. M-Ar:207, p. 317–318.
(M-Ar:207, p. 317–318).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-26

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to approve committee report recommending payment to the Committee of Supplies for its services, in response to its petition

26 December 1775. Resolution to approve committee report recommending payment to the Committee of Supplies for its services, in response to its petition. M-Ar:207, p. 319–321.
(M-Ar:207, p. 319–321).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-27

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to approve appointment of a committee to assist the commissary general in procuring military supplies

27 December 1775. Resolution to approve appointment of a committee to assist the commissary general in procuring military supplies. M-Ar:207, p. 326.
(M-Ar:207, p. 326).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-28

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to liberate Henry Middleton and George Price, prisoners in the Plymouth jail

28 December 1775. Resolution to liberate Henry Middleton and George Price, prisoners in the Plymouth jail. M-Ar: 164, p. 228.
(M-Ar: 164, p. 228).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-28

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution ordering committee for purchasing saltpeter to deliver it to Richard Devens

28 December 1775. Resolution ordering committee for purchasing saltpeter to deliver it to Richard Devens. M-Ar:207, p. 329.
(M-Ar:207, p. 329).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-28

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Recommendation to towns to promote the manufacture of saltpeter

28 December 1775. Recommendation to towns to promote the manufacture of saltpeter. M-Ar:207, p. 330.
(M-Ar:207, p. 330).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-28

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to approve payment to Committee for the Poor of Boston to assist those at Shirley Point

28 December 1775. Resolution to approve payment to Committee for the Poor of Boston to assist those at Shirley Point (see Joseph Ward to JA, 3 Dec., note 1, above). M-Ar:207, p. 331.
(M-Ar:207, p. 331).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-29

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution ordering the Milton committee to deliver Thomas Hutchinson's furniture to Mrs. Deborah Cushing

29 December 1775. Resolution ordering the Milton committee to deliver Thomas Hutchinson's furniture to Mrs. Deborah Cushing. M-Ar: 207, p. 332.
(M-Ar: 207, p. 332).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-30

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution concerning payment of military companies at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham

30 December 1775. Resolution concerning payment of military companies at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham (see Josiah Quincy to JA, 2 Jan. 1776, note 1, below). M-Ar:207, p. 337.
(M-Ar:207, p. 337).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1775-12-30

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution approving a new levy of men for the seacoast forces

30 December 1775. Resolution approving a new levy of men for the seacoast forces. M-Ar:207, p. 351–352.
(M-Ar:207, p. 351–352).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-03

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to have copies made of military rolls for use of the treasurer

3 January 1776. Resolution to have copies made of military rolls for use of the treasurer. M-Ar:207, p. 366. Printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1251.
(M-Ar:207, p. 366.) Printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1251).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-03

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Approval of mittimus of Moses Wayman and Samuel Webb to Plymouth jail

3 January 1776. Approval of mittimus of Moses Wayman and Samuel Webb to Plymouth jail. M-Ar: 164, p. 230.
(M-Ar: 164, p. 230).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-04

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Message to House concerning the guarding of Hull and other towns

4 January 1776. Message to House concerning the guarding of Hull and other towns. M-Ar:207, p. 369. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1252.
(M-Ar:207, p. 369.) printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1252).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-05

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to supply the Continental Army with 4,000 blankets

5 January 1776. Resolution to supply the Continental Army with 4,000 blankets. M-Ar:207, p. 370–374.
(M-Ar:207, p. 370–374).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-05

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution concerning mittimus of sixteen named men to Worcester jail

5 January 1776. Resolution concerning mittimus of sixteen named men to Worcester jail. M-Ar: 164, p. 231. printed: Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 3:631.
(M-Ar: 164, p. 231.) printed: (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 3:631).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-06

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Order to Plymouth jail to release James Middleton

6 January 1776. Order to Plymouth jail to release James Middleton. M-Ar:164, p. 234.
(M-Ar:164, p. 234).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-06

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution directing the Receiver General to pay £8,000 to the committee for fitting out vessels for importing powder

6 January 1776. Resolution directing the Receiver General to pay £8,000 to the committee for fitting out vessels for importing powder. M-Ar:283, p. 141.
(M-Ar:283, p. 141).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-10

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution ordering Frenchman's Bay committee to deliver clothing to Neal Mclntyre or to Charles Chauncy in Mclntyre's behalf

10 January 1776. Resolution ordering Frenchman's Bay committee to deliver clothing to Neal Mclntyre or to Charles Chauncy in Mclntyre's behalf. M-Ar:207, p. 392. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1258.
(M-Ar:207, p. 392.) printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1258).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-15

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to allow the accounts of the treasurer of Barnstable county

15 January 1776. Resolution to allow the accounts of the treasurer of Barnstable county. M-Ar:207, p. 405.
(M-Ar:207, p. 405).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-17

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Order to Worcester jail to release Thomas Mullin

17 January 1776. Order to Worcester jail to release Thomas Mullin. M-Ar:164, p. 237.
(M-Ar:164, p. 237).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-19

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Order that blankets collected in Hampshire and Berkshire counties be retained there for use by troops going northward

19 January 1776. Order that blankets collected in Hampshire and Berkshire counties be retained there for use by troops going northward. M-Ar:207, p. 423–424.
(M-Ar:207, p. 423–424).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0024

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-19

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution requesting accounts from towns of powder, lead, and flints supplied to the Continental Army

19 January 1776. Resolution requesting accounts from towns of powder, lead, and flints supplied to the Continental Army. M-Ar:207, p. 426. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1267.
(M-Ar:207, p. 426.) printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1267).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0025

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-19

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution ordering commissioners designated to erect a powder mill to do so at Stoughton

19 January 1776. Resolution ordering commissioners designated to erect a powder mill to do so at Stoughton. M-Ar:207, p. 429. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1270.
(M-Ar:207, p. 429.) printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1270).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0026

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-19

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution for raising 728 officers and men in Hampshire and Berkshire counties to go to Canada

Resolution for raising 728 officers and men in Hampshire and Berkshire counties to go to Canada. M-Ar:207, p. 430. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1270.
(M-Ar:207, p. 430.) printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1270).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0027

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-19

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution to approve choice of field officers for regiment going to Canada

19 January 1776. Resolution to approve choice of field officers for regiment going to Canada. M-Ar: 207, p. 434. printed: Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1270.
(M-Ar: 207, p. 434.) printed: (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1270).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0028

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-24

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution approving appointment of a committee to call in misprinted bills of credit

24 January 1776. Resolution approving appointment of a committee to call in misprinted bills of credit. M-Ar:207, p. 461.
(M-Ar:207, p. 461).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0002-0029

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1776-01-24

This is a summary of a document and does not contain a transcription. If it is available elsewhere in this digital edition, a page number link will be provided below in the paragraph beginning "Printed."

Resolution approving an order that bills of credit be delivered to the committee appointed to sign them and that it in turn deliver them to the treasurer

24 January 1776. Resolution approving an order that bills of credit be delivered to the committee appointed to sign them and that it in turn deliver them to the treasurer. M-Ar:207, p. 465.
(M-Ar:207, p. 465).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Palmer, Joseph
Author: Orne, Azor
Author: Brown, John
Author: Otis, Joseph
Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Warren, James
Date: 1776-01-11

II. Report of a Committee on Fitting Out Armed Vessels

The Committee of both Houses appointed to consider a Plan for fiting out one or more Armed Vessels for the defence of American Liberty,1 have attended that service, and Report in the following Resolves, vizt.
[signed] John Adams Per order
Resolved that two Ships be built, as soon as may be, at the expence of this Colony; One Suitable to carry Thirty-Six Guns, vizt., Twenty <Four> Guns carrying twelve Pound Shot, and Sixteen Guns for Six { 381 } Pound Shot; and the other Ship suitable to carry Thirty-two Guns, vizt., Twenty Guns for nine Pound Shott, and Twelve for Six Pound shot; and that these Ships be built in a manner best calculated for swift sailing, and of Timber and other Materials suitable for Ships of War of such a number of Guns and weight of Metal, and furnished with a Suitable number of Officers, Seamen and Mariners and that all kinds of necessary Arms, Ammunition and Provisions be furnished for such Ships.
Resolved, That [] with such as the Honble. <House> shall join, be a Committee to carry the foregoing Resolution into execution as soon as possible; and that a Sum of Money, for that purpose, not exceeding [] be put into their Hands, they to be accountable to this Court for the expenditure of the Same.
In Council Jany. 11th. 1776 Read and sent down,
[signed] Perez Morton Dpy Secry
In the House of Representatives Jan. 12th. 1776
Read and ordered to be recommitted, and the Committee are directed to report an Estimate of the Expence of building and Furnishing the Vessels above proposed to be provided.
Sent up for Concurrence,
[signed] J Warren Spkr
In Council Jany. 12th 1776 Read and concurred,
[signed] Perez Morton Depy Secry
Resolved that Thos. Cushing Esqr. be of the aforesaid Committee on the part of the Board in the room of Jno. Adams Esqr. who is absent. Sent down for Concurrence,
[signed] Perez Morton Dpy Secry
Read and concurred. Sent up.
[signed] J Warren Spkr
FC (M–Ar: 137, p. 58); docketed, probably by Perez Morton, on a separate slip of paper bound in the volume: “Report to fix out 2 armed Vessels in Defence of American Liberty Jany 11th: Recd. Page 487”; also on the same slip but partially lost: “in Jany. 24 1776 [ . . . ].”
1. Formed on 29 Dec. 1775, this committee included JA and Joseph Palmer from the Council and Col. Azor Orne, John Brown of Boston, and Col. Joseph Otis from the House (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 94; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 405). JA's membership on the committee and his apparent authorship of the report probably arose from his involvement in naval affairs at the congress, his correspondence with people in Massachusetts on naval matters, and his request to the General Court that he be supplied with information on the naval resources of the province (JA to Elbridge Gerry, 5 Nov. 1775, above). The report was the first formal step in the creation of the Massachusetts Navy as distinct from the force of privateers authorized on 1 Nov. It was not, however, the instrument by which the ships for the navy were actually built. That { 382 } resolve, probably drawn up by the committee of 29 Dec., to which Thomas Cushing had been added in the place of JA, was passed on 6, 7 Feb. 1776 with an appropriation of £10,000 to build ten sloops of war. By the following July the first ships, led by the Tyrannicide, the Rising Empire, and the Independence, were ready for sea (Mass., House Jour., p. 192, 253–254, 256–257; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 539; Paullin, Navy of Amer. Rev., p. 324–325).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Foster, Jedediah
Author: Stone, Josiah
Author: Jewett, Dummer
Author: Brooks, Eleazer
Author: Warren, James
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Date: 1776-01-13

III. Report of a Committee on a Letter From George Washington

The Committee1 appointed to take into consideration the Letter from his excellency General Washington of the Tenth Instant,2 have attended that service and beg leave to report. That a Committee of both Houses be appointed to wait on the General and to assure him that this Court are zealously disposed to do everything in their power, to promote the Recruiting of the American Army and to acquaint him that they cannot be of opinion that the public Service will be promoted by offering a bounty at the separate expence of this Colony, or any other encouragement beyond that which has been ordered by the Congress, that they are still further from an opinion that the same service can be promoted by any coercive measures, or any other expedient than voluntary enlistment. But that this Court is willing if his excellency shall approve of this measure, to recommend any further temporary draughts from the Militia, that may be necessary to supply the present deficiencies, to be Continued untill the first of April next, and also to exert the Influence of this Court by recommending to the Selectmen and committees of correspondence and others to exert themselves and employ their influence among the People to promote and encourage by all reasonable methods the Recruiting service in the several Towns.
[signed] John Adams per Order
In Council Read and Accepted and Ordered that John Adams Esqr. with such as the Hone. House shall join, be a Committee to wait on his Excellency General Washington for the purposes expressed in the above Report.
In the House of Representatives Read and concurred and Mr. Speaker and Major Hawley are joined.3
Tr (M-Ar:Legislative Council Records, 34:490).
1. Formed on 11 Jan., this committee consisted of JA and Jedediah Foster from the Council and Capt. Josiah Stone, Dummer Jewett, and Maj. Eleazer Brooks from the House (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 140; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 450).
2. Washington expressed anxiety over { 383 } the strength of the army as shown in the returns of the previous day; moreover, he faced the prospect of the imminent departure of the New Hampshire militia after one month's service. He was also concerned about the number of men joining the provincial rather than the Continental Army in the belief that they would have easier duty and be closer to home. He complained further that officers displaced by the reorganization of the army were recruiting companies in the vain hope that they would be recommissioned. Their activities were interfering with authorized recruiters. Washington had become convinced that voluntary enlistments could not supply the needed number of men and wanted the General Court to devise a new system (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:227–229). The response of the General Court could not have been consoling, for it offered sympathy and little else.
3. JA, Speaker James Warren, and Joseph Hawley conferred with Washington not only on the General's letter of 10 Jan. but on that of 13 Jan. as well, which dealt with a shortage of firearms. The legislative report on this second letter was prepared by a specially appointed committee, but it was thought that the committee conferring on the first of these letters with the General could also confer on the second. Washington took the occasion to invite this three-man committee to attend a council of general officers (House Jour., p. 148; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 452, 458; Washington to JA, 15 [Jan.] 1776, below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0005

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Sullivan, James
Author: Phillips, Samuel Jr.
Author: Ely, Benjamin
Author: Sever, William
Author: Winthrop, John
Author: Spooner, Walter
Author: Cushing, Caleb
Author: Chauncy, Charles
Author: Palmer, Joseph
Date: 1776-01-19

IV. A Proclamation by the General Court

The frailty of human Nature, the Wants of Individuals, and the numerous Dangers which surround them, through the Course of Life, have in all Ages, and in every Country impelled them to form Societies, and establish Governments.1
As the Happiness of the People <alone>, is the sole End of Government, So the Consent of the People is the only Foundation of it, in Reason, Morality, and the natural Fitness of things: and therefore every Act of Government, every Exercise of Sovereignty, against, or without, the Consent of the People, is Injustice, Usurpation, and Tyranny.
It is a Maxim, that in every Government, there must exist Somewhere, a Supreme, Sovereign, absolute, and uncontroulable Power:2 But this power resides always in the Body of the People, and it never was, or can be delegated, to one Man, or a few, the great Creator having never given to Men a right to vest others with Authority over them, unlimited either in Duration or Degree.
When Kings, Ministers, Governors, or Legislators therefore, instead of exercising the Powers intrusted <to their Care>3 with them according to the Principles, Forms and Proportions stated by the Constitution, and established by the original Compact, prostitute <it> those Powers to the Purposes of Oppression; to Subvert, instead of Supporting a free Constitution; to destroy, instead of preserving the lives, { 384 } Liberties and Properties of the People: they are no longer to be deemed Magistrates vested with a Sacred Character; but become public Enemies, and ought to be resisted. <by open War>4
The Administration of Great Britain, despising equally the Justice, the Humanity and Magnanimity of their Ancestors, and the Rights, Liberties and Courage of Americans have, for a Course of <Twelve> years,5 laboured to establish a Sovereignty in America, not founded in the Consent of the People, but in the mere Will of Persons a thousand Leagues from Us, whom we know not, and have endeavoured to establish this Sovereignty over us, against our Consent, in all Cases whatsoever.
The Colonies during this period, have recurr'd to every [peaceable Resource] in a free Constitution, by Petitions and Remonstrances, to [obtain justice;] which has been not only denied to them, but they have been [treated with unex]ampled Indignity and Contempt and at length open War [of the most] atrocious, cruel and Sanguinary Kind has been commenced [against them.] To this, an open manly and successfull Resistance has hith[erto been made.] Thirteen Colonies are now firmly united in the Conduct of this most just and necessary War, under the wise Councils of their Congress.
It is the Will of Providence, for wise, righteous, and gracious Ends, that this Colony Should have been singled out, by the Enemies of America, as the first object both of their Envy and their Revenge; and after having been made the Subject of Several merciless and vindictive Statutes, one of which was intended to subvert our Constitution by Charter, is made the Seat of War.
No effectual Resistance to the System of Tyranny prepared for us, could be made without either instant Recourse to Arms, or a temporary Suspension of the ordinary Powers of Government, and Tribunals of Justice: to the last of which Evils, in hopes of a Speedy Reconciliation with Great Britain, upon equitable Terms the Congress advised us to submit: and Mankind has seen a Phenomenon without Example6 in the political World, a large and populous Colony subsisting in [great] Decency and order, for more than a Year <without Government>7 under such a suspension of Government.
But as our Enemies have proceeded to such barbarous Extremities commencing Hostilities upon the good People of this Colony, and with unprecedented [Malice] exerting their Power to spread the Calamities of Fire, Sword and Famine through the Land, and no reasonable Prospect remains of a speedy Reconciliation with Great Britain, the Congress have resolved “That no Obedience being due to the Act of { 385 } Parliament for altering the Charter of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, nor to a Governor or Lieutenant Governor, who will not observe the Directions of, but endeavour to subvert that Charter; the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of that Colony are to be considered as Absent, and their offices vacant; and as there is no Council there, and Inconveniences arising from the Suspension of the Powers of Government are intollerable, especially at a Time when Gage hath actually levied War and is carrying on Hostilities against his Majesties peaceable and loyal Subjects of that Colony; that in order to conform as near as may be to the Spirit and substance of the Charter, it be recommended to the Provincial Convention to write Letters: to the Inhabitants of the several Places which are intituled to Representation in Assembly requesting them to chuse such Representatives, and that the Assembly, when chosen, do elect Councillors; and that such Assembly and Council exercise the Powers of Government, untill a Governor of his Majestys Appointment will consent to govern the Colony, according to its Charter.”8
In Pursuance of which Advice, the good People of this <Province>9 Colony have chosen a full and free Representation of themselves, who, being convened in Assembly have elected a Council, who, <have assumed> as the executive Branch of Government have constituted necessary officers <civil and Military>10 through the Colony. The present Generation, therefore, may be congratulated on the Acquisition of a Form of Government, more immediately in all its Branches under the Influence and Controul of the People, and therefore more free and happy than was <ever>11 enjoyed by their Ancestors. But as a Government so popular can be Supported only by universal Knowledge and Virtue, in the Body of the People, it is the Duty of all Ranks, to promote the Means of Education, for the rising Generation as well as true Religion, Purity of Manners, and Integrity of Life among all orders and Degrees.
As an Army has become necessary for our Defence, and in all free States the civil must provide for and controul the military Power, the Major Part of the Council have appointed Magistrates and Courts of Justice in every County, <and this Court, giving others> whose Happiness is so connected with that of the People that it is difficult to suppose they can abuse their Trust. The Business of it is to see those Laws inforced which are necessary for the Preservation of Peace, Virtue and [good Order.] And the great and general Court expects and requires that all necessary Support and Assistance be given, and all proper Obedience yielded to them, and will deem every Person, who { 386 } shall fail of his Duty in this Respect towards them <an Enemy to the Country> a disturber of the peace of this Colony and deserving of <strict and impartial> exemplary Punishment.
That Piety and Virtue, which alone can Secure the Freedom of any People may be encouraged and Vice and Immorality suppress'd, the great and general Court have thought fit to issue this Proclamation, commending and enjoining it upon the good People of this Colony, that they lead sober, religious and peaceable Lives, avoiding all Blasphemies, Contempt of the holy Scriptures and of the Lords Day and all other Crimes and Misdemeanors, all Debauchery, Prophaneness, Corruption Venality all riotous and tumultuous Proceedings and all Immoralities whatever: and that they decently and reverently attend the public Worship of God at all Times acknowledging with [Gratitude his merciful Interposition in their Behalf, devoutly confiding in Him, as the God of Armies, by whose Favour and Protection alone they may hope for Success, in their present Conflict.]
[And all Judges, Justices, Sheriffs, Grand Jurors, Tythingmen, and all other] civil Officers, within this Colony, are hereby Strictly enjoined and commanded that they contribute all in their Power, by their Advice, Exertions, and Example towards a general Reformation of Manners, and that they bring to condign Punishment, every Person, who shall commit any of the Crimes or Misdemeanors aforesaid, or that shall be guilty of any Immoralities whatsoever; and that they Use their Utmost Endeavours, to have the Resolves of the Congress, and the good and wholesome Laws of this Colony duely carried into Execution.
And as the Ministers of the Gospel, within this Colony, have during the late Relaxation of the Powers of civil Government, exerted themselves for our Safety, it is hereby recommended to them, still to continue their virtuous Labours for the good of the People, inculcating by their Public Ministry and private Example, the Necessity of Religion, Morality, and good order.
Ordered that the foregoing Proclamation be Read at the opening of Every Superior Court of Judicature &c. and Inferiour Courts of Common Pleas and Courts of General sessions for the Peace within this Colony by their Respective Clerks and at the Annual Town meetings in March in Each Town and it is hereby Recommended to the several Ministers of the Gospel throughout this Colony to Read the Same in their Respective Assemblys on the Lords Day next after their Receiving it immediately after Divine Service.
{ 387 }
Sent down for Concurrence,12
[signed] Perez Morton Dpy Secry
Consented to
[signed] W Sever
[signed] Walter Spooner
[signed] Caleb Cushing
[signed] John Winthrop
[signed] Cha. Chauncy
[signed] J. Palmer
[rest of names missing]
MS in JA's hand (M-Ar:138, p. 281–284). A number of passages have been crossed out and substitutions interlined, all in JA's hand. The bottom of one page, containing about four lines, is missing, and in two or three other places the MS is worn from creasing. Missing and illegible words are supplied in brackets from the printed text in Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 189–192, which exactly follows the MS as corrected by JA.
1. Initiated by the House on 18 Dec. 1775, this proclamation was intended “to be read at the opening of the several County Sessions, for the Purpose of inculcating a general Obedience of the People to the several Magistrates appointed under the present Government of this Colony.” For the purpose of preparing a draft as part of a joint committee, James Sullivan, Samuel Phillips Jr., and Maj. Benjamin Ely were named by the House, William Sever and John Winthrop by the Council. Probably because of his position as Chief Justice, JA was chosen on 28 Dec. to take the place of Sever (House Jour., p. 55; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 1, Unit 1, p. 405).
The reason for proposing such a proclamation may have been the meeting of two Berkshire co. conventions in Stockbridge on 14 and 15 Dec., which showed that the members of that county's Committee of Correspondence were badly divided over whether to accept judicial officers appointed by the Council. A majority insisted that such officials should be nominated by the people for the Council's consideration, and they declared that they would not recommend that the people support the existing form of government. A counter-convention of the minority drafted resolutions condemning the stand of the majority (Robert J. Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 14, 16–17).
In seeking support for the appointees of the Council through a proclamation, JA picked his words with great care and stated his argument in the broadest terms. His first eight paragraphs read more like a preamble to a declaration of independence than a plea for acceptance of appointed magistrates. He even notes that Massachusetts took the milder course of a temporary suspension of government rather than “instant Recourse to Arms”; in short, that as the Declaration of Independence would later argue, the people chose to suffer as long as evils could be borne rather than abolish the forms of government to which they were accustomed.
The tone of this introduction is quite out of keeping with congressional advice to Massachusetts that it operate as usual, with the office of governor vacant, until a royally appointed governor was willing to abide by the charter. That charter with its provision for royal disallowance did not vest sovereignty in the people. The wholly new government of its own creation that the congress had denied to Massachusetts, JA was here claiming in uncompromising tones despite his quotation of congressional advice. Over two months before, JA had sketched out for Richard Henry Lee some of the specifics he thought essential in any independent government (JA to Lee, 15 Nov. 1775, above); he was now helping to ready the minds of the people for that essential step. Yet JA carefully pointed out that, however free the forms of government might be, freedom depended upon piety, virtue, and knowledge—a theme that he was to sound again and again in his { 388 } writings. It therefore behooved the people to worship God, eschew immorality, and obey the law as interpreted by Council appointees, who had been named through the system advised by the congress.
2. This proposition was a favorite of those insisting that uncontrollable power lay with Parliament; JA gives it a different twist.
3. JA's deletion suggests that he did not want to leave the care of powers solely to magistrates, even in trust.
4. The phrase rejected here is used below, but there JA makes it plain that open war was begun against the colonies and brought forth a manly resistance.
5. JA's second thought that the number of years should remain indeterminate was perhaps influenced by the debates in the First Continental Congress over whether to list grievances extending back beyond 1764.
6. The passage “to submit: . . . Example” shows several words erased, two deletions, and three substitutions, all for merely stylistic reasons.
7. On second thought, JA did not want to deny the legitimacy of the provincial congresses or the governments in the towns.
8. JCC, 2:83–84.
9. With the royal governor rejected and not likely to be reinstated, the less technical term was preferable, especially to one who did not want the royal governor re-established. It has been suggested that “colony” still permitted those who could not accept separation to see some sort of dependence on Great Britain (Mass. Province Laws, 5:506). JA was careful not to alienate such people.
10. The two deletions in this “who” clause show JA treading cautiously around a thorny issue. To say the Council assumed executive power implied what some House members had argued, that the Council arrogated powers to itself. The issue had become acute in the quarreling over whether the Council had exclusive power to name military officers. It was better just not to mention “military.” JA himself believed that it was right for both houses jointly to choose military officers (JA to James Otis, 23 Nov., and to Joseph Hawley, 25 Nov. 1775, both above).
11. “Ever” raised awkward questions. Massachusetts liked to believe that its first charter had given it virtually self-governing powers, and JA had argued in the Novanglus letters that the original compact with the king still held (JA, Papers, 1:xxv–xxxi).
12. The proclamation was approved by the House on 23 Jan. and was printed in the Boston Gazette on 12 Feb. 1776 (Mass., House Jour., p. 192). It was also issued as a broadside (Ford, Mass. Broadsides, No. 1973, with facsimile facing p. 272).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0196

Author: Hopkins, Samuel
Recipient: Cushing, Thomas
Date: 1775-12-29

Samuel Hopkins to Thomas Cushing

[salute] Much honored Sir1

The degree of acquaintance I have with you, through your indulgence; and your known candour, condescention and goodness, encourage me to address you on an affair, which, in my view, is very interesting, and calls for the particular attention of the honorable members of the Continental Congress.
They have indeed manifested much wisdom and benevolence in advising to a total stop of the slave trade, and leading the united American Colonies to resolve not to buy any more slaves, imported from Africa.2 This has rejoiced the hearts of many benevolent, pious persons, who have been long convinced of the unrighteousness and cruelty of that trade, by which so many Hundreds of thousands are { 389 } enslaved. And have we not reason to think this has been one means of obtaining the remarkable, and almost miraculous protection and success, which heaven has hitherto granted to the united Colonies, in their opposition to unrighteousness and tyranny, and struggle for liberty?
But if the slave trade be altogether unjust, is it not equally unjust to hold those in slavery, who by this trade have been reduced to this unhappy state? Have they not a right to their liberty, which has been thus violently, and altogether without right, taken from them? Have they not reason to complain of any one who withholds it from them? Do not the cries of these oppressed poor reach to the heavens? Will not God require it at the hands of those who refuse to let them go out free? If practising or promoting the slave trade be inconsistent with what takes place among us, in our struggle for liberty, is not retaining the slaves in bondage, whom by this trade we have in our power, equally inconsistent? And is there not, consequently, an inconsistence in resolving against the former, and yet continuing the latter?
And if the righteous and infinitely good Governor of the world, has given testimony of his approbation of our resolving to put a stop to the slave trade, by doing such wonders in our favor; have we not reason to fear he will take his protection from us, and give us up to the power of oppression and tyranny, when he sees we stop short of what might be reasonably expected; and continue the practice of that which we ourselves have, implicitly at least, condemned, by refusing to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Does not the conduct of Lord Dunmore, and the ministerialists, in taking the advantage of the slavery practised among us, and encouraging all slaves to join them, by promising them liberty, point out the best, if not the only way to defeat them in this, viz. granting freedom to them ourselves, so as no longer to use our neighbour's service without wages, but give them for their labours what is equal and just?
And suffer me further to query, Whether something might not be done to send the light of the gospel to these nations in Africa, who have been injured so much by the slave trade? Would not this have a most direct tendency to put a stop to that unrighteousness; and be the best compensation we can make them? At the same time it will be an attempt to promote the most important interest, the kingdom of Christ, in obedience to his command, ‘Go, teach all nations.’
A proposal of this kind has been entered upon, of which the enclosed3 will give you some of the particulars. The blacks there mentioned are now with me, and have had the approbation of Dr. Wither• { 390 } spoon,4 with whom they spent the last winter. They continue disposed to prosecute the design; and would be sent to Guinea in the spring, if any way for their being transported there should open, and money could be collected, sufficient to bear the expence. The proposal has met with good encouragement in England and Scotland, and more than £30 sterl. has been sent from thence; and we had reason to expect more: But all communication of this kind is now stopped. Application would be made to the honorable Continental Congress, for their encouragement and patronage of this design, if there were no impropriety in it, and it should be thought it would be well received. And I take leave, kind sir, to ask your opinion and advise in this matter; and desire you to signify it to me in a line by the bearer, Mr. Anthony, if not inconsistent with the many important affairs, which demand your attention. I am, honorable Sir, with much respect and esteem, Your very humble servant,
[signed] Samuel Hopkins5
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable Thomas Cushing, Member of the Honorable Continental Congress, Philadelphia. Favored by Mr. Anthony”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “T Cushing at”; in another hand: “29 Dec. 1775.”
1. Cushing probably passed this letter to other members of the Massachusetts delegation, and it wound up in JA's possession. Since up to this period there is very little in the record suggesting JA's attitude toward slavery, his preserving Hopkins' letter perhaps suggests no more than that he recognized it as important for the awkward question it raised about Americans' inconsistency in their treatment of blacks. AA, incidentally, had already declared that slavery had “allways appeard a most iniquitious Scheme” to her (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:162).
2. As part of the Continental Association, which forbade the importing of slaves after 1 Dec. 1774 and the purchase of any so imported.
3. Not found, but it may have been Samuel Hopkins and Ezra Stiles, To the Public. There Has Been a Design Formed . . . to Send the Gospel to Guinea, [1773] (repr., 1776, Evans, No. 14803).
4. Rev. John Witherspoon (1723–1794), president of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), leader among American Presbyterians, and signer of the Declaration of Independence (DAB). Bristol Yamma and John Quamine, two free Negroes, had been sent to the College by the Missionary Society of Newport to be trained for missionary work in Africa (Varnum Lansing Collins, President Witherspoon, A Biography, 2 vols., Princeton, 1925, 2:217).
5. Rev. Samuel Hopkins (1721–1803) went from Great Barrington to Newport in 1769, where he soon became active in opposition to the slave trade and slave holding. His views arose chiefly out of his Christian belief that slavery was against the law of God and had to be extirpated, as men had to strive to eliminate all forms of sin. Scholars disagree about whether he thought blacks were the equals of whites, but in any case, he did not expect the two races to live in harmony and was, therefore, an early advocate of colonization of former slaves in Africa (David S. Love-joy, “Samuel Hopkins: Religion, Slavery, and the Revolution,” NEQ, 40:227–243 [June 1967]; Stanley K. Schultz, “The Making of a Reformer: the Reverend Samuel Hopkins as an Eighteenth-Century Abolitionist,” Amer. Phil. Soc., Procs., 115:350–365 [Oct. 1971]).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0197

Author: Paine, Robert Treat
Recipient: Palmer, Joseph
Date: 1776-01-01

Robert Treat Paine to Joseph Palmer

[salute] My Dear Friend

I arrived here the 28th ultimo from my journey as far as Ticonderoga, we proceeded no farther as we had some expectations when we sat out, partly because the season was too late to pass safely by water and too early to pass on the ice; and also because the object of our commission of most immediate importance could be determined at Ticonderoga—but a very great reason was because the Military situation of Canada would not admit of our receiving that assistance from Genl. Montgomery which was necessary to promote the chief purpose of our going there.1
At Albany we attended a treaty with the Six Nations and it appeared to be very serviceable to the cause that a Committee from the Grand Council Fire at Philadelphia attended it. The Indians were much elated and behaved with every mark of friendship; their speech contains matters of importance and I suppose will be published as soon as the report arrives from Albany to the Congress.2
You write in low spirits about salt petre making among you, but as your letter is of old date3 I hope your spirits have been since raised by the production of considerable quantities in divers places, we are informed here that you have got into the right method and that you make considerable quantities. Pray use your influence to have people in different parts set up small works. This will spread and increase it and the Works will always be enlarged in proportion to the success. They make it at this time here in the city works from earth taken from the bottoms of Cellars where wood and vegetables have lain and they have good success. It is spreading also in the family way —I intended to enlarge on this subject but have not been here long enough to digest matter.
At present my mind is much agitated on the discovery of a malicious and slanderous correspondence between James Warren and John Adams respecting Mr. Cushing and myself4 and on comparing what is written with the behaviour of some of my brother delegates it appears to me that while I have been exerting myself to the utmost in supporting the common defence of all that is valuable and by that means exposing myself to the vengeance of administration if I should fall into their hands some particular persons whom I considered as struggling with and supporting me in the same cause to my astonishment are undermining my importance happiness, and safety, so that not only if our common enemy conquers we shall be made miserable but { 392 } if our struggles are crowned with success I am then to be crushed and rendered unhappy by the very men, I have been endeavoring to support at the risk of every thing that is valuable. I have received a notification5 of my appointment as one of the judges of the Supreme Court and a list of the whole set with the rank, of which the Hon. John Adams is chief Justice. By this opportunity I have sent my answer in the negative and have assigned one reason which I think of itself sufficient. I have had but little time to consider the matter and could have wished to know how the other gentlemen like their rank and wether they have accepted; I am far from thinking that the honorable board had the least intention of disparaging the merit of any gentleman but when we consider that the proposed chief Justice ranks the last but one in age and as a lawyer at the bar it looks to me as if some imperceptible influence had regulated the appointment of a chief justice upon political or other principles than what are usual in such cases; if I was not worthy of such a trust (as my former friend Col. Warren, suggests) why was I appointed; and if I am defective either in law, knowledge, integrity or political rectitude it certainly was wrong to appoint me; but if supposed sufficiently qualified in these respects, why am I degraded? I mourn the appearance of these and some other matters that are coming to light. I fear they spring from a fountain that will embitter the administration of our public affairs. Excuse my writing thus freely to you but it is to no purpose to disguise some sorts of uneasiness; if a junto of two three or four men are able to combine together, settle a test of political rectitude and destroy every one who will not comply with their mode of conduct, <if vanity arrogance and violance are primary qualities in a free state> I must confess things are like to take a turn very different from what I expected.
Inclosed is the extract but I have not time to explain the manner in which it came to light, but I have wrote it to Maj. Hawley who will explain the matter to you. I have no desire to incense you against particular persons, but if you think such conduct is wrong you will behave accordingly and give me that support you may think I deserve. Wishing the promotion of our common happiness and a deliverance from the perils of public enemies and also false brethren—I am with great esteem Your friend & humble svt
[signed] (Signed) R T Paine
Tr in an unknown hand (Adams Papers); Dft (MHi: Robert Treat Paine Papers). This letter was probably given to JA to keep him informed of the quarrel that had developed between Paine and James Warren.
1. See James Warren to JA, 3 Dec. 1775, note 11 (above).
2. The report on the conference with the Indians has not been found. In Schuyler's letter to the congress of 21 Dec. 1775 the general notes that the { 393 } “proceedings will be transmitted ... in a few days” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:375). But see S. Adams to JA, 22 Dec. 1775, note 3 (above).
3. Joseph Palmer to Paine, 1 Nov. 1775 (MHi:Robert Treat Paine Papers).
4. See James Warren to JA, 3 Dec. 1775, note 8 (above).
5. Perez Morton to Paine, 28 Oct. 1775 (MHi:Robert Treat Paine Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0198

Author: Quincy, Josiah
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-02

From Josiah Quincy

[salute] Sir

A number of my Neighbours who are present, and in the Names of the rest who are absent, desire me to acquaint you, that, not withstanding Genl. Ward's Request, that the Companies stationed for the Protection of Squantum would tarry there till further Orders, they are all gone, and that important Place, and the valuable Farms in the Vicinity of it, are left exposed to the Ravages of the Enemy,1 who must be under the strongest Temptation that the want of fresh Provision can create, to run every Hazard to supply themselves.
In short, such is our Apprehension of Danger, that some are moving their Families and Effects, and unless we are immediately relieved, we are in the utmost Hazard of losing our all. We, therefore, earnestly beg, that you would be so good (in Conjunction with Colo. Palmer and Colo. Thayer)2 as to represent our deplorable Circumstances to his Excellency Genl. Washington, who we understand, has taken Squantum Neck under his immediate Protection; and will, doubtless, upon your joint Application send, a Force sufficient, and without Delay, to defend and effectually secure us. I am, Sir, in the Name of my destressed Neighbours Your most obedient and faithfull Servant,
[signed] Josa: Quincy
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the honble John Adams Esquire at Watertown”; docketed: “Coll Quincy Jany. 2d. 1776.”
1. Four companies stationed at Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham, although told to remain at their posts by the General Court on 30 Dec. 1775, had apparently deserted them. That those troops were outside the area Washington considered vital to the general defense and the maintenance of the siege had been reported to the legislature on 21 Dec. Further, Washington stated on 29 Dec. that he could not extend the guards under his command past Squantum and Chelsea (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 94, 63, 95; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4: 192–193). Squantum was a neck of land at the mouth of the Neponset River. The General's decision meant that if the four companies were to remain, they would have to be put into the seacoast establishment then being created by the General Court, which, though the companies were deemed essential, did not include them because they were assumed to be part of the Continental establishment, paid for by the congress. Indeed, the question of finance lay at the bottom of the whole matter (House Jour., p. 73, 77–79, 87–91, 94; Writings, 4:192–193, 195). Nothing indicates that this letter or representations made by JA or others had any effect on Washington, for on 30 Jan. in a letter to the President of { 394 } the congress, he was still holding firmly to his position (Writings, 4:289; see also S. Adams to JA, 15 Jan., below).
2. After Joseph Palmer, originally elected to the House from Braintree, was elected to the Council at the opening of the General Court, Braintree replaced him with Ebenezer Thayer on 14 Aug. 1775 (House Jour., 1st sess., p. 3, 6; Braintree Town Records, p. 463).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0199

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, William
Date: 1776-01-04

To William Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

As some worthy Members of the Honourable House of Representatives may possibly be desirous of knowing the Cause of my return at this Time, I must beg you to inform them, that judging this the most favourable Opportunity which would probably present, I asked and obtaind Leave of the honourable continental Congress to come home, on a visit to my Family, whose Distresses and Afflictions in my Absence1 seemed to render it necessary that I should return to them for some short Time at least.
I have no particular Intelligence to communicate from the Honourable Congress, more than has come to the Knowledge of the Public, heretofore, only I beg Leave to say that as much Harmony and Zeal is still prevailing in that honourable Assembly as ever appeared at any Time, and that their Unanimity and Firmness increase.
I hope the Honourable House will soon receive authentic Intelligence of a considerable naval Force ordered by the Congress to be prepared, as I am well informed they have resolved to build Thirteen ships, five of Thirty two Guns, five of Twenty eight and three of Twenty four,2 which together with those fitted out before, by the Continent, and by particular Colonies as well as private Persons, it is hoped will be a security, in Time to come, against the Depredations of Cutters and Tenders at least, if not against single ships of War.
I must beg the Favour of you, sir, to communicate the substance of this Letter, to the Members of the Honourable House in such a Way as you shall think fit. I have the Honour to be with great Respect to the Honourable House, sir, your most obedient sert.
[signed] John Adams
Tr in the hand of W.C. Ford (MHi: W.C. Ford Papers). In the upper-left-hand corner of the first page of this Tr, marked for printing, is a faint notation “MHS Misc.” An old catalogue entry for this letter has been found, but the original is not in Misc. MSS. Although the nature or provenance of Ford's source is unknown, the letter's authenticity is not in doubt, for JA was in attendance at the Council in Watertown on this date, and he refers to information in a letter received from Samuel Adams.
{ 395 }
1. AA was still mourning the death of her mother and had suffered some from illness, but JA was probably most influenced by his desire to turn his burden over to others and to be with his wife (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:325, 327, 331–332). Why he waited a week before explaining his presence to the House remains undetermined.
2. See S. Adams to JA, 22 Dec. 1775, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0200

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Washington, George
Date: 1776-01-06

To George Washington

[salute] Dr Sir

As your Excellency has asked my Opinion of General Lees Plan, as explained in his Letter of the fifth instant,1 I think it my Duty to give it, although I am obliged to do it in more Haste than I could wish.
I Suppose the only Questions which arise upon that Letter are whether the Plan is practicable; whether it is expedient; and whether it lies properly within your Excellencys Authority, without further Directions from Congress.
Of the Practicability of it, I am very ill qualified to judge; But were I to hazard a conjecture, it would be that the Enterprise would not be attended with much Difficulty. The Connecticutt People who are very ready upon such occasion in Conjunction with the Friends of Liberty in New York I should think might easily accomplish the Work.
That it is expedient, and even necessary to be done, by Some Authority or other, I believe will not be doubted by any Friend of the American Cause, who considers the vast Importance of that City, Province, and the North River which is in it, in the Progress of this War, as it is the Nexus of the Northern and Southern Colonies, as a Kind of Key to the whole Continent, as it is a Passage to Canada to the Great Lakes and to all the Indians Nations. No Effort to secure it ought to be omitted.2
That it is within the Limits of your Excellencys Command, is in my Mind, perfectly clear. Your Commission constitutes you Commander “of all the Forces now raised or to be raised, and of all others, who shall voluntarily offer their Service, and join the Army for the defence of American Liberty, and for repelling every hostile Invasion thereof: and are vested with full Power and Authority to act as you shall think for the good and well fare of the service.”3
Now if upon Long Island, there is a Body of People, who have Arms in their Hands, and are intrenching themselves, professedly to oppose the American system of Defence; who are supplying our Enemies both of the Army and Navy, in Boston and elsewhere, as I suppose is undoubtedly the Fact, no Man can hesitate to say that this is an hostile { 396 } Invasion of American Liberty, as much as that now made in Boston, nay those People are guilty of the very Invasion in Boston, as they are constantly aiding, abetting, comforting and assisting the Army there; and that in the most essential Manner by supplies of Provisions. If in the City a Body of Tories are waiting only for a Force to protect them, to declare themselves on the side of our Enemies, it is high Time that City was secured. The Jersey Troops have already been ordered into that City by the Congress, and are there undoubtedly under your Command ready to assist in this service.
That N. York is within your Command as much as Massachusetts cannot bear a Question. Your Excellencys Superiority in the Command, over the Generals, in the Northern Department as it is called has been always carefully preserved in Congress, altho the Necessity of Dispatch has sometimes induced them to send Instructions directly to them, instead of first sending them to your Excellency, which would have occasioned a Circuit of many hundreds of Miles, and have lost much Time.
Upon the whole sir, my opinion is that General Lee's is a very useful Proposal, and will answer many good Ends. I am with great Respect, your Excellencys most obedient humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC:Washington Papers); docketed: “From Honble. John Adams Jany. 6. 1776.” Dft on second and third pages of Samuel Chase to JA, 8 Dec. 1775 (above).
1. Gen. Charles Lee proposed to secure New York against British attack and to suppress or expel the tories on Long Island, using Connecticut volunteers together with whatever men he could raise in New York and New Jersey (NYHS, Colls., Lee Papers, 1:234–236). The plan had particular urgency, for a force under Gen. Clinton was preparing to leave Boston, reportedly for Long Island, but in fact, for the Carolinas. On 8 Jan., Washington, taking JA's advice, ordered Lee to proceed with his plan. On the day before, Washington had written to Gov. Trumbull of Connecticut asking his cooperation (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:221–223, 217–219).
Lee set out immediately but, plagued by bad weather and gout, he did not reach New York with the troops recruited in Connecticut until 4 Feb. The delay was beneficial, since it allowed time for a committee from the congress to arrive, giving Lee's presence legitimacy and quieting the fears of local patriots. Carrying out Lee's plan meant taking a stronger stand than some New Yorkers thought advisable with elements of the British fleet in the harbor. Lee strengthened the city's defenses, ended communication with the British fleet, and subdued the tories on Long Island. The vigor with which Isaac Sears carried out the last caused local resentment and protest to the congress. Lee remained in New York only a month, not time enough to create a strong defensive position. Washington completed the work when he brought the main body of the army to New York (Alden, General Charles Lee, p. 95–103).
2. The draft omits the explanation for New York's strategic importance.
3. Closing quotation marks supplied; see Washington's commission, JCC, 2:96.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0201

Author: Washington, George
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-07

From George Washington

[salute] Sir

You will excuse me for reminding you of our conversation the other Evening, when I inform'd you that General Lee's departure for New York is advisable upon the Plan of his Letter, and under the circumstances I then mentioned, ought not to be delayed. In giving me your opinion of this matter I have no doubt of your taking a comprehensive view of it. That is, you will not only consider the propriety of the measure, but of the execution. Whether such a step, tho' right in itself may not be looked upon as beyond my Line &ca &ca.1
If it could be made convenient and agreeable to you to take Pott Luck with me today, I shall be very glad of your Company and we can then talk the matter over at large. Please to forward General Lee's Letter to me. I am &ca.,
[signed] G. Washington
Tr (DLC: Washington Papers).
1. JA's and Washington's letters must have crossed in the mail; see JA to Washington, 6 Jan. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0202

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1776-01-08

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Madam

Your Friend insists upon my Writing to you, and altho I am conscious it is my Duty, being deeply in Debt for a number of very agreable Favours in the Epistolary Way, yet I doubt whether a sense of this Duty would have overcome, my Inclination to Indolence and Relaxation, with which my own Fire Side always inspires me, if it had not been Stimulated and quickened by her.
I was charmed with three Characters drawn by a most masterly Pen, which I received at the southward. Copeleys1 Pencil could not touched off, with more exquisite Finishings, the Faces of those Gentlemen. Whether I ever answered that Letter I know not.2 But I hope Posterity will see it, if they do I am sure they will admire it. I think I will make a Bargain with you, to draw the Character of every new Personage I have an opportunity of knowing, on Condition you will do the same. My View will be to learn the Art of penetrating into Mens Bosoms, and then the more difficult Art of painting what I shall see there. You Ladies are the most infallible judges of Characters, I think.
Pray Madam, are you for an American Monarchy or Republic? Monarchy is the genteelest and most fashionable Government, and I dont know why the Ladies ought not to consult Elegance and the Fashion as well in Government as Gowns, Bureaus or Chariots.
{ 398 }
For my own Part, I am so tasteless as to prefer a Republic, if We must erect an independent Government in America, which you know is utterly against my Inclination. But a Republic, altho it will infallibly beggar me and my Children, will produce Strength, Hardiness Activity Courage Fortitude and Enterprice; the manly, noble and Sublime Qualities in human Nature, in Abundance.
A Monarchy would probably, somehow or other make me rich, but it would produce So much Taste and Politeness, So much Elegance in Dress, Furniture, Equipage, So much Musick and Dancing, So much Fencing and Skaiting; So much Cards and Backgammon; so much Horse Racing and Cock fighting; so many Balls and Assemblies, so many Plays and Concerts that the very Imagination of them makes me feel vain, light, frivolous and insignificant.
It is the Form of Government, which gives the decisive Colour to the Manners of the People, more than any other Thing. Under a well regulated Commonwealth, the People must be wise virtuous and cannot be otherwise. Under a Monarchy they may be as vicious and foolish as they please, nay they cannot but be vicious and foolish. As Politicks therefore is the Science of human Happiness, and human Happiness is clearly best promoted by Virtue, what thorough Politician can hesitate, who has a new Government to build whether to prefer a Commonwealth or a Monarchy? But Madam there is one Difficulty, which I know not how to get over.
Virtue and Simplicity of Manners, are indispensably necessary in a Republic, among all orders and Degrees of Men. But there is So much Rascallity, so much Venality and Corruption, so much Avarice and Ambition, such a Rage for Profit and Commerce among all Ranks and Degrees of Men even in America, that I sometimes doubt whether there is public Virtue enough to support a Republic. There are two Vices most detestably predominant in every Part of America that I have yet seen, which are as incompatible with the Spirit of a Commonwealth as Light is with Darkness, I mean Servility and Flattery. A genuine Republican can no more fawn and cringe than he can domineer. Shew me the American who can not do all. I know two or Three I think, and very few more.
However, it is the Part of a great Politician to make the Character of his People; to extinguish among them, the Follies and Vices that he sees, and to create in them the Virtues and Abilities which he sees wanting. I wish I was sure that America has one such Politician, but I fear she has not.
[ . . . ] Letter begun in Gaiety, is likely to have [ . . . conc]lusion while { 399 } I was writing the last Word [ . . . ] Paragraph; my Attention was called off [ . . . ] and most melodious sounds my Ears [ . . . Can]non Mortars and Musquettes.
A very hot Fire both of Artillery and small Arms has continued for half an Hour, and has been succeded by a luminous Phoenomenon, over Braintree North Common occasioned by Burning Buildings I suppose.3
Whether our People have attacked or defended, been victorious or vanquished, is to me totally uncertain. But in Either Case I rejoice, for a Defeat appears to me preferable to total Inaction.
May the Supreme Ruler of Events, overrule in our Favour! But if the Event of this Evening is unfortunated I think We ought at all Hazards, and at any Loss to retrieve it tomorrow. I hope the Militia will be ready and our Honour be retrieved by making Boston our own. I shall be in suspense this Night, but very willing to take my Place with my Neighbours tomorrow, and crush the Power of the Enemies or suffer under it.
I hope Coll. Warren sleeps at Cushings4 this night and that I shall see him in the Morning. Mean Time I think I shall sleep as soundly as ever. I am, Madam, your most humble servant, and sincere Friend,
[signed] [John Adams]
Mrs. Adams desires to be remembered to Mrs. Warren.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “J Adams Esqr Jany 8th 1776”; in another hand: “Braintree.” The signature has been cut from page four, mutilating several lines on page three.
1. John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) had left Boston in June 1774 to take up residence in England and resume his painting there (DAB). JA saw some of Copley's paintings in 1769 (Diary and Autobiography, 1:340).
2. Mercy Warren to JA, Oct. 1775 (above). JA wrote, but did not send, a reply on 25 Nov. (above), and even this letter of 8 Jan. was delayed, for Mrs. Warren did not report receiving it until Feb. 1776 (Mercy Otis Warren to AA, 7 Feb., Adams Family Correspondence, 1:343–345).
3. Maj. Thomas Knowlton was leading a raid against the few houses that had survived the burning of Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill. After capturing six men and a woman and destroying the houses to prevent the British from using them as firewood, Knowlton's force escaped without casualties despite heavy British fire (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:223–224; Boston Gazette, 15 Jan.; see also a letter to a Gentleman at Philadelphia, 9 Jan., Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:612–613). In reporting the event on 11 Jan., the Massachusetts Gazette minimized its importance, lamenting only that the performance of The Busybody, then being presented at Faneuil Hall, had been interrupted.
4. Probably the home of William Cushing in Scituate, on the road from Plymouth to Braintree (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:28).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0203

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-12

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir

The Business of our provincial Convention draws to a Conclusion, and the Session will end in a few Days. I have Leave to visit my Family before I sett off for the Congress, and I expect to take You by the Hand before 1st. of Febry. I cannot omit in the mean Time to express to You my opinion on the present State of our public Affaires, and the Measures I would wish to be adopted.
The early attention and great Dependance of the Ministry on Canada evince the infinite Importance of that Country in the present Dispute, to obtain the Possession of that province is an object of the first Consequence. We must at all Events procure and keep Possession of that province. Quebec must at every Hazard be ours. No Succours can arrive there before 1st. May. I would have a chosen Committee go to Canada as soon as the Lakes are frozen hard enough, let them call a Convention, explain the Views and Designs of Congress, and persuade them to send Delegates there. Let a Body of 6,000 Canadians and 2000 Colonists be embodyed for the Defence of that province. I think the Success of the War will, in great Measure, depend on securing Canada to our Confederation. I would earnestly recommend Charles Carroll, Esqr. of Carrollton, of this province to be one of your Deputies to Canada. His Attachment and zeal to the Cause, his abilities, his Acquaintance with the Language, Manners and Customs of France and his Religion, with the Circumstance of a very great Estate, all point him out to that all important Service. My Inclination to serve my Country would induce Me to offer my Services, if I did not esteem Myself unable to discharge the Trust.1
I would have an Army in the Massachusetts encreased to 30,000. I would [have] 10,000 stationed in New York, and every proper place on Hudsons River strongly secured by Batteries of heavy Cannon and obstructions in the River. A Body of 3000 should be stationed in the middle Colonies. I would exert every Nerve to fitt out a Number of vessells from 10 to 30 Guns. I would cruise for the India and Jamaica Men. I would make prizes of every british Vessell whenever found. I would if possible destroy the army at Boston, tho the Consequence should be certain Destruction to the Town. The Colonies should either bear the Loss, or tax the Damages in the Bill of Costs. I would from Canada, if practicable destroy the Fur Trade on Hudson's Bay. In short I would adopt every Scheme to reduce G. B. to our Terms. Whether to open or to continue our Ports shut, I am undetermined. { 401 } To starve the West Indies, and to ruin the Sugar trade ought not to be easily given up.
I have this Moment seen the Kings Speech.2 I am not disappointed. Just as I expected.
I shall always be glad to hear from You, direct to Me in Fredk. Coty.3

[salute] Make Me remembered to your worthy Colleagues. Your Affectionate and Obedt Servant,

[signed] Saml. Chase
RC (Adams Papers); a rectangular piece has been cut from the folded sheet in the lower left corner so that on the last page only an “S” remains for what was probably a docket entry: “S[amuel Chase].”
1. Chase, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Carroll made up the committee that the congress sent to Canada in early 1776, which failed to win strong Canadian support for the American cause (JCC, 4:151–152). JA's endorsement of the choice of committee members was enthusiastic (JA to James Warren, 18 Feb., below).
2. That of 26 Oct. 1775, in which George III in opening Parliament referred to conspirators who “meant only to amuse, by vague expressions of attachment to the parent state, and the strongest protestations of loyalty to me.” Their object was “an independent empire” (Parliamentary Hist., 18:695–697).
3. Frederick co., Maryland.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0204

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-15

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear sir

Altho I have at present but little Leisure, I cannot omit writing you a few Lines by this Express.
I have seen certain Instructions which were given by the Capital of the Colony of New Hampshire to its Delegates in their provincial Convention, the Spirit of which I am not altogether pleased with.1 There is one part of them at least, which I think discovers a Timidity which is unbecoming a People oppressed and insulted as they are, and who at their own Request have been advisd and authorizd by Congress, to set up and exercise Government in such form as they should judge most conducive to their own Happiness. It is easy to understand what they mean when they speak of “perfecting a form of Govt. stable and permanent.” They indeed explain themselves by saying that they “should prefer the Govt. of Congress (their provincial Convention) till quieter times.” The Reason they assign for it, I fear, will be considered as showing a Readiness to condescend to the Humours of their Enemies, and their publickly expressly and totally disavowing Independency either on the Nation or the Man who insolently and perseveringly demands the Surrender of their Liberties with the Bayonet pointed at their Breasts may be construed to argue a Servility { 402 } and Baseness of soul for which Language doth not afford an Epethet. It is by indiscrete Resolutions and Publications that the Friends of America have too often given occasion to their Enemies to injure her Cause. I hope however that the Town of Portsmouth doth not in this Instance speak the Sense of that Colony. I wish, if it be not too late, that you would write your Sentiments of the Subject to our worthy Friend Mr. L——2 who I suppose is now in Portsmouth. If that Colony should take a wrong Step, I fear it would wholly defeat a Design which I confess I have much at heart.3
A Motion was made in Congress the other Day to the following purpose, that whereas we had been charged with aiming at Independency, a Committee should be appointed to explain to the People at large the Principles and Grounds of our Opposition &c.4 The Motion alarmd me. I thought Congress had already been explicit enough, and was apprehensive that we might get ourselves upon dangerous Ground. Some of us prevailed so far as to have the Matter postponed but could not prevent the assigning a Day to consider it. I may perhaps have been wrong in opposing this Motion, and I ought the rather to suspect it, because the Majority of your Colony as well as of the Congress were of a different opinion.
I had lately some free Conversation with an eminent Gentleman5 whom you well know, and whom your Portia, in one of her Letters, admired if I recollect right, for his expressive Silence, about a Confederation, A Matter which our much valued Friend Coll. W.6 is very sollicitous to have compleated. We agreed that it must soon be brought on, and that if all the Colonies could not come into it, it had better be done by those of them that inclind to it. I told him that I would endeavor to unite the New England Colonies in confederating, if none of the rest would joyn in it. He approved of it, and said, if I succeeded he would cast in his Lot among us.
[signed] Adieu
As this Express did not sett off yesterday according to my Expectation, I have the opportunity of acquainting you that Congress has just receivd a Letter from General Washington inclosing the Copy of an Application of our General Assembly to him to order Payment to four Companies stationed at Braintree Weymouth and Hingham.7 The General says they were never regimented, and he cannot comply with the Request of the Assembly without the Direction of Congress. A Committee is appointed to consider the Letter of which I am one. I fear there will be a Difficulty and therefore I shall endeavor to pre• { 403 } vent a Report on this part of the Letter, unless I shall see a prospect of Justice being done to the Colony, till I can receive from you authentick Evidence of those Companies having been actually employed by the continental officers, as I conceive they have been, in the Service of the Continent. I wish you would inform me whether the two Companies stationed at Chelsea and Maldin were paid out of the Continents Chest. I suppose they were, and if so, I cannot see Reason for any Hesitation about the payment of these. I wish also to know how many others our Colony is at the Expence of maintaining for the Defence of its Sea Coasts. Pray let me have some Intelligence from you, of the Colony which we represent. You are sensible of the Danger it has frequently been in of suffering greatly for Want of regular Information.
RC (Adams Papers); with enclosure. This letter was forwarded by James Warren (Warren to JA, 31 Jan., below).
1. These instructions, which appeared in an enclosed clipping from a Philadelphia newspaper, and from which Samuel Adams quotes below, intended a firm stand against independence and cited the bad effect that the precipitate assumption of government by the New Hampshire Convention would have because it would allow Britain to persuade its people that independence was the American aim (Documents & Records Relating to the Province of New Hampshire, ed. Nathaniel Bouton, 7 vols., Nashua, N.H., 1867–1873, 7:701–702).
2. John Langdon, delegate to the congress from New Hampshire, had obtained a leave of absence on 2 Jan. (JCC, 4:23).
3. Presumably independent governments for other colonies, which would lead in turn to independence from Great Britain.
4. This motion was offered by James Wilson of Pennsylvania on 9 Jan. On the 24th a committee composed of John Dickinson, Wilson, William Hooper, James Duane, and Robert Alexander was appointed to prepare an address to the American people. On 13 Feb. the address, which was in the hand of Wilson, and which, according to one observer, was “very long, badly written and full against Independency,” was tabled by the congress, never to be considered again (Richard Smith's Diary, 9, 24 Jan. and 13 Feb. in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:304, 326, 348; JCC, 4:87, 134–146, which contains the draft of the address).
5. Benjamin Franklin; see AA to JA, 5 Nov. 1775 (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:320–321).
6. James Warren, who had called for a confederation in a letter to JA on 14 Nov. 1775 (above) and in another to Samuel Adams, which, though not found, is referred to in Samuel Adams to Warren of 7 Jan. 1776 (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:197–200). “W” is identified as George Wythe in JA, Works, 9:373 and thus by Burnett in Letters of Members, 1:311. This identification is mistakenly based on William Gordon's History (3 vols., N.Y., 1794, 2:13), in which Gordon, quoting from this letter, identifies the person with whom Adams spoke as probably a Virginia delegate. Gordon makes no reference to Franklin, the central figure in the paragraph and in the controversy over the Articles of Confederation.
7. Washington's letter of 31 Dec. 1775 was referred to a committee consisting of Samuel Adams, George Wythe, and James Wilson (PCC, No. 152, I; JCC, 4:54; see also Josiah Quincy to JA, 2 Jan., note 1, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0205

Author: Haven, Jason
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-15

From Jason Haven

[salute] Sir

My Freedom in troubling you upon the Affair, which is the Subject of this Epistle, may need an Apology. Your Candor and Goodness will excuse it. The Design is benevolent to the Publick, as well as to a particular Friend. I partake in the general Satisfaction of this Province, in your being appointed chief Judge of our Superior Court. I doubt not the Publick will reap great advantages from the Improvement of your Talents, in that important Station, as well as in several others. I understand it is with you, and your Brethren on the bench, to appoint the Clerks. I take the Liberty to recommend Mr. Joshua Henshaw Jr.1 as a Person I think well qualified for that office. He is Son to Colo. Henshaw late a Counsellor. He now lives at Dedham, is a Man of a fair and amiable Character, of liberal Education, of good political Principles, A very good Penman. Mr. Samuel Adams has a particular Acquaintance with him. He is put out of Business by the Troubles of the Times. If your Clerks are not appointed, your Influence to introduce him into that Office, would be acknowledged as a singular Favor by your most obedient humble Servt.,
[signed] Jason Haven2
P.S. Pray make my most respectful Compliments to your Lady. I should be extremely glad to wait on you at my House. You'rs ut Supra,
[signed] JH.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Jason Haven Jan 15th 1776.”
1. Joshua Henshaw Jr. (1745–1823) had been in business in Boston with his father, a distiller. When the siege began, the Henshaws moved to Dedham, where they met Rev. Haven. Although this letter failed to bring Henshaw the clerk's position, he was appointed a justice of the peace on 30 Jan. Thereafter he served in a variety of positions, notably as register of deeds for Suffolk co. (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15: 400–403).
2. Rev. Jason Haven (1733–1803) served as minister in Dedham from 1756 until his death (same, 13:447–453). For the remarks of JA and AA on Haven as a minister, see Diary and Autobiography, 1:14–15, and Adams Family Correspondence, 1:263.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0206

Author: Washington, George
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-15

From George Washington

[salute] Dr Sir

I am exceedingly sorry I did not know that you were in this place today. Our want of Men and arms is such, as to render it necessary for me to get the best advice possible of the most eligeble mode of obtaining of them. I adjourned the Council of Officers today, untill I { 405 } could be favourd with your opinion (together with that of others of the General Court) on these heads. They meet again tomorrow at 11 Oclock (head Quarters) when I should take it exceedingly kind of you to be present.
I understand that the Speaker and Major Halley,2 are to be of your party to Town at Dinner. Let me prevail upon all three of you to be with me at Eleven. To Make some attempt upon the Troops in Boston before fresh Reinforcements arrive, is surely a thing of the last Importance;3 but alas! We are scarce able to maintain our own extensive Lines. If the Militia will not be prevailed upon to stay, I cannot answer for the consequences; longer than this Month we are sure they will not; as certain I am that our Regiments cannot be Recruited to their establishment in any Reasonable time; 'tis for these Reasons therefore, and without loss of time I am exceedingly desirous of consulting with you, and the Gentlemen before mentioned on the most efficatious method of collecting a sufficient Force to answer the valuable purpose we all wish to accomplish. In hope of seeing you at the hour appointed, tomorrow; I shall not now enlarge, but only ask that I am with sincere esteem and respect Dr Sr. yr. Most obt. servt.,
[signed] Go: Washington
RC in Washington's hand (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble Jno. Adams Esq Watertown”; docketed: “G Washington 1776.”
1. That Washington misdated his letter is evident from several others he wrote on 14 and 16 Jan.: to Joseph Reed, the Massachusetts General Court, Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut, Gov. Nicholas Cooke of Rhode Island, and the New Hampshire Convention, all of which deal with the problem of filling out the regiments (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:240–251). The letter to Trumbull mentions that the Council of General Officers “met at Head Quarters yesterday [15 Jan.] and to day [16 Jan.],” dates that coincide with those mentioned in the present letter (same, p. 248).
2. That is, James Warren and Joseph Hawley. Whether the three men attended the meeting called by Washington for the 16th is not known, but JA and Warren did attend the Council of General Officers that met on 18 Jan. (DLC:Washington Papers).
3. “Last” as used here is an idiomatic expression of the period. Today we would say “first.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0207

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gelston, Samuel
Date: 1776-01-19

From Samuel Gelston

[salute] Sir

Pardon me for the Liberty I take in Sending a Billet to a Gentleman of your exolted Station and Character, when I have not the Honour to be in the number of your Acquaintance. Had not my situation been Really distressed, I should not have done it. When the Council Rose { 406 } Yesterday p.m. I was Acquainted by one of the Members That they had come into sundry Resolutions on my Matters and that Business was to be finished in the afternoon by a comitte chosen for that purpose. Since which I am told the court have it under Consideration. How far that may be consistant with the present Constitution I dont pretend to say, but I'm sure it is widely Different from every Idea I have Formed of the Custom of Courts. Perhaps there may be something very extreordinary in my case to Require it.
For God's sake Sir take a View of my Situation, to be dragd from my family and Business upwards of an Hundred miles through thick and thin, mud and mire bearing the insults of the Missled and unknowing for a supposed offence only—for I think no one in his sences can condemn me with Regard to the supplys.2 As to anything further it is merely Information the wait of which can have no Enterence into the mind of a Man of your knowledge and candour especially in this day of Anarchy and Confusion. Pray Sir consider me and my situation and use your Influence to bring about a speedy Settlement of my Affair and Let me know my Doom, which Shall ever be most Gratefully acknowledg'd by Sir Your most Obedt. and very Huml. Servt.,
[signed] Saml: Gelston
RC (Adams Papers, microfilmed under Jan.? 1775); addressed: “To The Honl John Adams Present Favour Cpt Palmer”; docketed: “Mr Gelston [Ja]ny [177]5.”
1. Since Gelston dated his letter Friday and mentioned Council resolutions passed “yesterday,” and since the committee report on him was sent down from the Council on Thursday, 18 Jan., a date of 19 Jan. for his letter is indicated (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 163).
2. Dr. Samuel Gelston (1724–1782) of Nantucket, described as “a bold and staunch friend to Government,” was ordered by the General Court on 18 Dec. 1775 to be arrested and brought to Watertown. He was accused of supplying provisions to Capt. James Ayscough of the British sloop Swan (same, p. 53; Shubael Lovell to Ayscough, 16 Nov. and Col. Nathaniel Freeman to George Washington, 12 Dec. 1775, Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:1044; 3:66; Vital Records of Nantucket, Boston, 1925–1928, 5:328). A joint committee, of which JA was a member, was formed on 4 Jan. to consider Gelston's case, but the Council and House could not agree on what course to take. The Council proposed to release him on his good behavior secured by a bond for £1,000, but the House wanted him confined to jail for the security of the colony. The stalemate resulted in the naming of a new committee. Meanwhile Gelston escaped with the help of a John Brown, whom he bribed. Both men were brought back to Watertown in February and confined by order of the General Court until further notice (House Jour., p. 111–112, 163, 194–195, 202, 212, 234, 242; Boston Gazette, 5 Feb.).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0208-0001

Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-19

From Perez Morton

[salute] Sir

Agreable to the Direction of the inclosed Resolution, I am to acquaint you that by a joint Ballot of both Houses of Assembly for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay You are elected one of the Delegates to represent that Colony in American Congress untill the first Day of January AD 1777 And the enclosed Resolve you are to make the general Rule of your Conduct.

[salute] By order of the Genl. Court,

[signed] Perez Morton Dpy Secr
RC (Adams Papers); with enclosure, which is docketed: “a true Copy Attst Perez Morton Dpy Secr”; docketed by JA: “Morton 1776.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0208-0002

Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Lowell, John
Author: Warren, James
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Continental Congress, Massachusetts delegates
Recipient: Hancock, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Paine, Robert Treat
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1776-01-18

Enclosure: Resolution Appointing Massachusetts Delegates to the Continental Congress

Whereas John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and Elbridge Gerry Esqrs. have been chosen by joint Ballot of the two houses of Assembly to represent the Colony of Massachusetts Bay in New England in the American Congress untill the first day of January A.D. 1777—
Resolved that they or any one or more of them are hereby fully impowered, with the delegates from the other American Colonies to concert, direct and order such further measures as shall to them appear best calculated for the Establishment of Right and Liberty to the American Colonies upon a Basis permanent and secured against the power and arts of the British administration And guarded against any future Encroachments of their Enemies with power to adjourn to such times and places as shall appear most conducive to the publick Safety and advantage.
Read and accepted, sent down for Concurrence,
[signed] John Lowell Dpy: Secy: pro tem
Read and concurred, And the Secretary is hereby directed as soon as may be to signify to each of those Gentlemen their Appointment, with an attested Copy of this Order.
Sent up for Concurrence,
[signed] J Warren Spkr:
Read and concurred,
[signed] John Lowell Dpy Secy: pro-tem
RC (Adams Papers); with enclosure, which is docketed: “a true Copy Attst Perez Morton Dpy Secr”; docketed by JA: “Morton 1776.”
{ 408 }
1. Actual election of these delegates had taken place on 15 Dec. 1775, but over a month's delay occurred before the two houses agreed upon the form of instructions and commission; moreover, through oversight the list of Council choices does not include either Gerry or Cushing on 15 Dec. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 44, 74, 83, 158, 164–165; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:1235–1236). The Boston Gazette of 25 Dec. 1775, however, lists the names of all five men as having been elected “Last Week.” See JA's Service on the Council, 26 Dec. 1775 – 24 Jan. 1776, Editorial Note (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0209

Author: Baldwin, Jeduthun
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-21

From Jeduthun Baldwin

[salute] Sir

Pleas to allow me the freedom of informing your Honour that in the year 1755 in August, I Received a Captains Commission in Col. Brown' Regiment1 and marched with my Company by the Way of Dearfield, and Hoossock Fort,2 thro the woods to Fort Edward,3 and to Lake George. Soon after I got there I was employed in building Fort Wm. Henry,4 under the direction of Col. Ayres.5 In Decr., when the army came off, at the request of Genl. Johnson,6 I inlisted a Company in Col. Bagleys Regiment,7 and tarryed thro' the winter and Spring to finish the Fort, and Garrison it, and in the year 1759, I Received a Captain Commission in Genl. Ruggles8 Regiment. After I arived at Fort Edward I was Sent to Halfway Brook, to build a Stockade Fort there,9 under the direction of Col. Ayres. When we came before Ticonderoga, I had the direction in throwing up Som brestwork at that place. After we had got possession of this place, I was ordered to Crownpoint where I was employed as a director and Overseer, under Col. Ayres, in building that large Fort. When the Army came off, Genl. Amherst was pleasd to Thank me for my Service, and ordered that I should be paid 4/ per Day from the time that I went to Halfway Brook till I left the place In Decr., which was about 6 months, exclusive of my pay as a Captain. I have Served as an Engineer in the present Army before Boston, was at the Leying out the works on Charlstown Hills, was in Charlstown the whole of that memorable Day 17th June, gave all the assistance I was able, went directly to Prospect Hill, had the direction of the work there, and then to Sewels Point in Brookline.10 I have had the principal direction and over Sight, Since the 17th of June in laying out and raising the works in Cambridge Cobble Hill, and at Lechmer Point all which I have done without having an Establishment equal to the Service. This Province made me a grant of 3o£ for my Service to the first of August,11 which was equal to a Colonel pay, and left the Establishment to the Honble. Congress.
{ 409 }
It has been proposed that I should have a Regiment, but this was objected too, for it was, said, that I could be of more Service in the Army as an Engineer. Now Sir, all I request is Rank and pay Equal to my Service, which I Submit to your Honour' Consideration. I am Sir your' and the Publick' most Obedient Very Humble Servant,
[signed] Jeduthun Baldwin12
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble John Adams Esqr A Member of the Honble Continental Congress in Philadelphia”; docketed: “Jed. Baldwin. 1776 Jany 21. answered Feb. 18. 1776.”
1. Col. Josiah Brown (Nancy S. Voye, ed., Massachusetts Officers in the French and Indian Wars, 1748–1763, [Boston,] 1975, No. 806).
2. Probably Fort Massachusetts on the Hoosic River, present site of Adams, Mass. (Howard H. Peckham, The Colonial Wars, 1689–1762, Chicago, 1964, p. 108).
3. About fifty miles north of Albany at a bend in the Hudson River (Edward P. Hamilton, The French and Indian Wars: The Story of Battles and Forts in the Wilderness, N.Y., 1962, p. 162).
4. At the southern tip of Lake George (same, p. 195).
5. Col. Ayres remains unidentified. He may have been a British officer.
6. Maj. Gen. Sir William Johnson, commander of the expedition against Crown Point (same, p. 161).
7. Col. Jonathan Bagley (Voye, Nos. 195, 196).
8. Brig. Gen. Timothy Ruggles (same, No. 4918).
9. One of several fortified positions on the road between Fort Edward and Fort William Henry (Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, 2 vols., Boston, 1905, 2:247).
10. The site of Brookline Fort, which with a fort across the Charles River had the task of keeping British ships from going up the river (John Gould Curtis, History of the Town of Brookline, Boston, 1933, p. 150). Sewall's Point is approximately the site of modern Kenmore Square in Boston (Walter M. Whitehill, Boston, A Topographical History, Cambridge, 1959, p. 75, 101).
11. Baldwin petitioned the General Court on 20 Oct. 1775, asking that he be paid from 20 May to the date of his petition. On 24 Oct. the General Court authorized payment of £30 for the period of 12 May to 1 Aug. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 175, 192; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel 12, Unit 1, p. 256).
12. Besides having served in the French and Indian War, Jeduthun Baldwin (1731?–1788) had been a member of the First Provincial Congress (Wroth, and others, eds., Province in Rebellion, p. 2829). Baldwin's plea had no immediate effect. JA did write to William Heath asking about Baldwin's career (18 Feb., below), and on 22 April, Washington reported to the congress that Baldwin, whom he described as an assistant engineer and “a very useful man in his Department,” had refused to go to Canada because of inadequate pay (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:500–501). Finally, on 26 April the congress gave him the rank and pay of a lieutenant colonel (JCC, 4:312).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0210

Author: Heath, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-22

From William Heath

[salute] Dear Sir

Being informed that you begin your Journey for Philadelphia this week, I would beg to recommend to your Consideration the Services of Colonel Jeduthan Baldwin, who Joyned the Army the Beginning { 410 } of the last Campaign, and has Continued ever Since in the army as an Engineer on the works. He has received for the months of June and July from the Assembly of our Colony Colonels Pay. But as the Continental Establishment Stands, He Cannot receive for his Services Since that Time more than Six pounds per month, which he thinks to be so Inadequate to his Services that he Informs me He must Quit the Army unless Some further provision Can be made for him. He is Constantly in Business even in this Severe Season and the works at Cobble Hill and Lechmeres Point which you have Seen, (as well as many others) were laid out and Compleated under his Direction. I wish you would mention the matter to His Excellency, if you should see him before you leave the Colony, and if He should have the Same Opinion of his Services, That you would Use your Influence in Congress, that he may have an adequate reward.
Thus far I think it my Duty to endeavor to obtain Justice for a Servicable and Faithfull man. I am Dear Sir with great Respect your most Obedient and very Humble Servt.,
[signed] W Heath

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0211

Author: Hayward, Lemuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-23

From Lemuel Hayward

[salute] Sir

Ever since your Arrival to the Camp my colleague Doctr. Aspinwall has been confined by a Fever, which has doubled my Service in the Hospital and hereby rendered it impossible for me to do myself the Honor of waiting on you. I hope therefore you will rather impute it to Necessity than to the Want of either Gratitude or Complaisance.
I sincerely thank you for the Honor you did me in writing, but more especially for your kind Disposition towards me.
You doubtless have conversed with Doctr. Morgan respecting the Hospital. It is therefore needless to inform you that I have his and the General's Recommendation. How far they may be complyed with, I trust depends much upon your Influence which if you had not in your Favor of Novr: 13th1 kindly offered, I should again ask. I am with greatest respect your Honor's most obedient and most humble Servent,
[signed] Lemuel Hayward
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr: Member of the Honorable Continental Congress”; docketed: “L. Hayward 1776 Jany 23.”
1. Not found. See Hayward to JA, 16 Dec. 1775 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0212

Author: Humanity
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-23

From Humanity

[salute] sir

Whot doth thee thenk of thes trubelsom tiems. Is thar not a caus—ye sin no dout is the caus—but among the many sins that might be named I would naem on and that is slaves keepen. Whot has the negros the afracons don to us that we shuld tak tham from thar own land and mak tham sarve us to the da of thar deth. Ar tha not the work of gods hand. Has tha not immortel soles. Ar we not the sons of on adam. How than is it that we hold that pepel in slavery. God forbid that it shuld be so anay longer. O bretesh nasion the lord is angray with you for this and is sufering you to dash on part aganst the other, but amaracae let us se that all things be right with us. Than and not tel than ma we luk for beter tiems. But sir I hear of nothing don for thos captiefs. Are we claeming freedom fighting for it and practes slavery. God forbid. My fathars this mater belongs unto you. Se whot jugments god has brot upon boston that fust imported tham into this provenc, and charlstown that burned on of tham, and will he not do so to many moer plaseses except we reform.
Sir I ask the faver of you that thee would ues your influenc that somthing might be don for thos captiefs. I hear the gentelman that heads the army holds 700 of them in bondeg.1 Thenk ye god will prosper the wor in his hand. Might he not as wall tak 700 bostonens and cary tham to his plantsions to the da of thar death. Nuengland bhold the hand of the lord is upon you and is about to bring your owen wa upon your had except ye reform this thing.
[signed] humanity2
This my nu yers geft.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “to the honrebl John Adams Esqr at the Congras at Phaledelfe”; docketed: “Humanity.”
1. The number of slaves that Washington held in this period is greatly exaggerated here. Freeman cites a list of 1774–1775 for the Mount Vernon plantations which shows a total of 106 (Washington, 3:397–398, note 25).
2. No clue to the identity of “humanity” has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0213

Author: Palmer, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-23

From Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear Sir

To regulate the trade of the United Colonies, being a field of vast extent, far exceeds my present comprehension; and 'tis not likely I shall ever fully investigate that complicated System of Regulation, which will best Serve the trade of these Colonies;1 however, I will ven• { 412 } ture to Suggest to you Several reasons which incline me to favour the following Regulation, which respects the importation of foreign Articles. I wou'd first premise, that I apprehend it necessary that we shou'd have a good Sumptuary Law, well adapted to our circumstances: This being Supposed, I think we Shall be best able to guard against Some breaches of this Law, by being our own Carriers; and by having all imports in our own Bottoms, we Shall have all the advantages of Supplying and carrying; this will also encourage Ship-building, and will be an effectual Nursery for Seamen; and will also prevent other Nations obtaining Such knowledge of our Ports, as may, in some future time, enable them to improve it to our damage, as our unnatural enemies have lately done. When this matter is contemplated; I shou'd be very fond, for the reasons mentioned, to Secure this point, even at a great expence (if necessary) in some other way. For as we don't want any Imports, as necessary to Life; and as our Exports of the Provision kind will be large, I think we may, in treaty, fair claim the proposed article. I have no time, but only at the Board, where many interruptions necessarily take place; if I shou'd have opportunity, will write more fully.
I have to ask the favour of you to buy me a Silver Hilted Sword; I wou'd willingly have one that is both Strong and hansom, with a Hilt that will well Secure the hand: Formerly I knew somthing about the backsword, and a little, very little, about the Small Sword, and therefore prefer one that wou'd Serve to push, or cut, as opportunity and occasion may present; my Nerves are unstrung, so that I cannot wish to meet an occasion, but shou'd the necessity arrive, I shou'd be glad to be prepared for defence: When I know the price, will pay it as you may order.
I have had some tho'ts about Government which I have not had opportunity to mention so fully as I cou'd wish. You know how much we are embarrassed for want of a Governor; how Slow our proceedings; and how difficult to have 15 always in the Chair.2 We now see that our enemies are determined to push with all their might early in the Spring; how necessary is it then that we take effectual measures for reduceing both Que[bec] and Bos[ton] before the Spring arrives. But this is not all; may we not also attempt to divert the Storm? If the United [Colonies] shou'd declare for independence, and offer their Trade, in some general way, until treaty shall settle particulars, to Somebody else; would not our Enemies find themselves immediately involved in a War with that Sombody? and would not that involvement break the Storm, in some degree, for the present? and can any• { 413 } body accept such Trade without such an involvement? And if these things must be done at all, prudence says that they must be done soon, without any delay, and that a better form of Government, at least a more compleat one, is necessary for expedition.
I mentioned3 a Governor serving only 1 Yr., and then 3 Yrs. next after, not to be chosen; I have not expressed myself right, but you know my meaning. I could wish also that the Council may be reduced to 21; and 7 others to be assistants, or privy Council to the Governor; these, with such assistants, to be chosen annually, I wou'd willingly trust the Governor with a negative power. May God bless and prosper all your endeavours to promote happiness; so prays yr. affect: Friend &c.,
[signed] Borland4
RC in Joseph Palmer's hand (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble: John Adams Esqr: Philadelphia”; docketed, with part of entry cut off: “J. Bo[rland].” Palmer must not have expected to see JA at the Council meeting on the 24th.
1. In the fall of 1775, JA had raised with several of his correspondents the question of whether trade should be opened and whether the Continental Association should be modified or abandoned. Perhaps when he was at the Council he broached the subject to Palmer, who had already expressed himself on trade and government to JA in his letter of 2 Dec. 1775 (above), which JA may not have received before he left Philadelphia in December.
2. To consent to legislation, the Massachusetts Council needed the votes of fifteen out of its twenty-eight members.
3. Palmer's use of the past tense here suggests that this letter is a continuation of a conversation between the two men. In his letter of 2 Dec., Palmer had expressed his willingness to do without both a governor and a council. JA may have persuaded him that three branches were necessary for a free people.
4. Why Palmer should have signed himself “Borland” is uncertain. Perhaps it was a code name that Palmer knew would be recognized only by his correspondent, for Palmer had mentioned loyalist John Borland's widow in his letter of 2 Dec. Interception of letters, especially those on sensitive subjects like trade and government, posed a constant danger.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0214

Author: Judd, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-24

From William Judd

[salute] Gentlemen

The Debtors Confined in this Goal have Prepared a Petition1 to the Honourable Continental Congress, praying that they woud devise or Recommend some Measure to prevent Mens persons from being Arrested or Confined in Goal for debt, during the present unhappy Conflict—which by the desire of the Petitioners I have inclosed to the President desireing him to present the same to that Venerable Body, Also requesting he woud shew the same, to each of you Gentlemen and ask your kind Assistance to Effect the end therein Propos'd.
The small Acquaintance I have had the Honor to have with you { 414 } has given me Assurance sufficient to ask your Influence upon the Subject Matter of that Petition hoping I Shall be happy enough to meet with your Approbation and Patronage in the Matter aforesaid.
Shoud think myself happy you woud make all the Interest in your power for the Releiff of the Distressed which will lay an Obligation upon your Devoted Friend and Hume: Servt:,
[signed] William Judd2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honourable John and Samuel Adams Esqs Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr. Judd Jany 24. 1776.”
1. Not found. On 30 Jan. the congress recommended to all creditors that they not have arrested any debtor who owed less than $35, and who had enlisted or would enlist in the Continental Army (JCC, 4:103). No evidence has been found to indicate that this petition moved the congress to act; and since JA did not arrive in Philadelphia until 8 Feb., he could have had no role in its action (JA to AA, 11 Feb., Adams Family Correspondence, 1:345–346).
2. William Judd, who had been one of the leaders of an expedition of Connecticut settlers to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, had been seized along with others by Pennsylvania forces and jailed in Philadelphia because he could not furnish bail with sureties who were Pennsylvania freeholders. Judd's expedition was a great source of embarrassment to Connecticut delegates Eliphalet Dyer and Silas Deane (Julian P. Boyd and Robert J. Taylor, eds., The Susquehannah Company Papers, 11 vols., Ithaca, N.Y., 1962–1971, 6:362–363, 373, 395).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0215-0001

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-31

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I am Extreamly hurried this morning, and therefore have only time to Express my wishes for your Happiness. I hope by this Time you are not far from Philadelphia. I wrote in great haste to Mr. Adams this morning to whom must refer you for all the Intelligence I could give. I have received and Inclose a Number of Letters for you which I suppose have been once to Philadelphia. I have Another for you from Mr. Adams, which Curiosity, and a Confidence in your Excusing me have Induced me to open.1 You will please to pardon this freedom under your hand. I Inclose it and also a Copy of a Letter, from your Brother Paine, a very Curious one indeed. A model of Invective and dulness. My next may give you the Answer to it.2 You will be able without any Aid to satisfie Mr. Adams queries about Sea Coast Men. I am as usual Your sincere Friend.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed twice: “J. Warren Jany 31st 1776.” For enclosures see notes 1 and 3the source note to the enclosure (below).
1. Samuel Adams to JA, 15 Jan. (above).
2. No answer has been found to Robert Treat Paine's letter to Warren of 5 Jan., which is printed here.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0215-0002

Author: Paine, Robert Treat
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-01-05

Enclosure: Robert Treat Paine to James Warren

[salute] Sir

I wrote you Last from Hackinsack, dated Nov. 15 that I had put my trunk on board a Waggon bound for Cambridge, and had directed { 415 } it to your Care; this Letter I think I Sent by the Post, but the Waggon and Trunk never Sett off from Phila. By this means you are Saved any further trouble and I the burthen of any further Obligation to you.
How far your malevolent disposition towards me, would have Suffered you to have kept up the external appearance of Good offices, I know not, tho' I believe another disposition would have prompted you to it.
I dare Say by this time you are trying to pretend to yourself a Surprise at this kind of Expression from a person whom you Supposed Considered you as his best Friend; but I dare appeal to your conscience which will at Some time do the Strictest Justice, that you deserve Severer censures from me; however it is not my design to take notice of your conduct towards me in any other way than expostulation and call back your mind to the first principles of our common opposition from which it seems to me you are widely Straying; Union is undoubtedly the platform of our opposition, upon this we Sat out, and whenever we depart from it there is an end of our defence; whoever directly or indirectly doth anything to break this Union, is so far an Enemy to American Liberty, whoever abuses, disparages or discourages a fellow Labourer, is so far an Enemy to the cause; without enlarging in this strain to which there would be no End, I must refer your contemplations to a Letter you Sent to Mr. John Adams dated Nov. 3. 1775;1 Mr. Adams met this Letter on the Road home, and (forgetting what destruction, the discovery of traducing Letters has brought on Some others,2 and how necessary it is that Such a Correspondence should be kept Secret, in order to answer the vile purposes of it) Sent it open to his brother delegates; I cannot describe the Astonishment, Grief and vexation I felt when I read it: if possible Explain to me wherein I deserve such treatment from you; in the close acquaintance of 15 years and more, did you ever find me unfaithful? Was I not watchfully observant of your Interest, Reputation and happiness? Has any person been more attentive to the Interest and welfare of the family with which you are connected your Dulce decus et presidium,3 and that at a time when my Interest and promotion would have been much advanced by contrary conduct? I mention not these matters to upbraid, but to Give you an Idea of the reflections with which your conduct agitates my mind.
I know not what principle to derive your treatment of me from, unless it be that, to the opposing of which in other persons you owe all your Glory; could you not have “particular friends” without calumniating, ridiculing and degrading your other friends? “Paine I hear { 416 } is gone to gratify his curiosity in Canada,” did you “hear” this from any of your “particular friends”? Alass I fear what you call “Friendship,” has for its object a very contracted monopolising System, for the Support of which many incumbrances must be cleared off! “A Good Journey to him he may possibly do as much good there as at Philadelphia,” what apprehensions have you of the Little Good I do at Philadelphia, unless from the intimations of your “particular friends”? And pray Sir what good do you do at Watertown or Cambridge? Do you consider how far and to what Subjects, Such Questions may be extended? And do you know as well as I do what the answer might be? “Tho I find some people here would not have pitched on him for the business we Suppose he is gone on, and perhaps there are some who would not have done it for any.” By all accounts if your machinations had Succeeded, I had not been chosen into the Councill,4 and I could easily percieve when there Last, that the influence of one of your party in favour of one of your “particular friends” degraded me in point of Rank; and what other Plotts you have Laid against me you well know.
Pray Sir do you really think that when such important matters were to be consulted and determined respecting our Expedition in the North that I took that Fatiguing Journey at Such a season to Gratify my Curiosity? If you knew how I spent all the time I was absent in this Journey, and what report the Committee made, you would not think that curiosity either prompted or Engaged my pursuit: I certainly took Great pains to be Excused from the Service, but was Urged to it by one of your “particular friends.” If I have not acquitted myself well in this and all other my political undertakings, let my Deficiencies be pointed out to me that I may amend.
That there are some in our Colony who would not have “Chosen” me to this or any other “business,” may be true, but if you were not one of them wherefore this insidious, clandestine way of spreading the knowledge of it? Who these people are, and how many of them owe their Sentiments to your influence, you do not say: are there any, or how many do you think there are, who have the same opinion of you.
Do you really think I have done and do no Good here? Do you know how I have Spent and do Spend my time? I could Set this matter in a Light that would Sufficiently account for some things, but I have affairs of more importance to attend to.
That you are my Enemy, and have been Labouring my disgrace, I am Satisfy'd; that finding yourself detected, your implacable temper { 417 } will urge you on to execute your Ill-will I have so much reason to think, that I must necessarily take care of myself.
[signed] R T Paine
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.
Tr (Adams Papers;) Dft, dated 1 Jan. (MHi:Robert Treat Paine Papers).
1. A mistake for 3 Dec., the mistake occurring also in the draft. The letter is printed above. There is no indication that Paine knew of the letter from Warren to JA of 5 Nov., which comments on Paine's appointment to the superior court; yet Paine's letter to Joseph Hawley of 1 Jan., mentioned in note 8 of Warren's letter of 3 Dec., indicates that Paine strongly suspected that other letters critical of him had been written.
2. A jibe at JA for his criticism of John Dickinson in the intercepted letter of 24 July 1775 (above).
3. Sweet pride and protection. Warren through his wife was connected with the Otis family. Paine may be referring to his support for James Otis in preference to Thomas Hutchinson for appointment to the superior court. Gov. Bernard's refusal of the post to Otis was important in alienating many from the royal government.
4. Paine was elected to the Council when JA was, in July 1775 (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 6).
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, 2017.