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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0143

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1777-03-30

John Adams to Charles Adams

Yesterday, I took a Walk upon the Wharves, to see the Navigation. The new Frigate called The Delaware, is hawled off, into the stream and is ready to sail. Captain Alexander is to command her. She makes a fine Appearance.—I then went to the House of one Humphreys an ingenious shipwright and found him making a Model of a seventy four Gun Ship. He has nearly compleated it. You see every Part of the Ship, in its just Proportion in Miniature. After this Model the new seventy four Gun Ships are to be built, one at Portsmouth, one at Boston and one here.
I then went to the Foundery of brass Cannon. It is in Front street in Southwark, nearly opposite to the Sweedes Church. This Building was formerly a China Manufactory, but is now converted into a Foundery, under the Direction of Mr. Biers [Byers], late of New York. Here is an Air furnace, in which they melt the Metal. There is a great deep Cavern dugg in the Ground in which they place the Mould into which they pour the melted Metal, and thus they cast the Gun in a perpendicular Position. Several brass six Pounders newly cast, were lying there, and several old ones, to be cast over.
There is another Man, one King, who lives in Front street, at the Corner of Norris's Ally, who casts Patterara's1 and Howitzers.
Thus you see, that a Foundation is laying, in Arts, and Manufactures, of a rising State. May you enjoy the Fruits of it, in greater Tranquility of Mind, than your Father has enjoyed, while it is laying.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Charles A.”
1. That is, pedreros, a kind of small cannon, spelled in a wild variety of ways (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1777-03-30

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Two ingenious Artificers, a Mr. Wheeler and a Mr. Wiley, under the Direction of a Committee, have been lately employed in making a Field Piece, a three Pounder, of bar iron. They have succeeded beyond Expectation. They have finished off a beautifull Piece of ordnance, which from all the Experiments hitherto made, promises great Things.
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The Weight of it, is two hundred and twenty six Pounds only. It is made by cutting off short Pieces of bar iron, bending them round and welding them1 together into Hoops, and then welding one Hoop upon another, untill the Gun is compleated. After which they bore out the Barrell, with a boring Mill, and grind or file the outside into a smooth Surface, and an handsome Shape.
It has been put to the severest Tryal, and has sustained it, unhurt. It has been discharged Eighteen Times, in a succession which they call, quick firing, and was found to be less heated, than any other three Pounder, whether of Brass, or cast Iron. The only Objection to it, which was discovered, was that it rebounded more: but this it is said may be obviated, by making the Carriages and the Tackling a little stronger.
It turns out a great deal cheaper than Brass, and indeed than cast Iron at present. It is so light, that a few Men may easily draw it, by Hand, which will be an Advantage at Times and in Places, where Horses cannot be had. We are about contracting for a Number of them.2
We have also made another Acquisition, which We think of Importance. An old Gentleman, by the Name of Butler, who served an Apprenticeship and spent all the former Part of his Life, in the British Works, and was employed all the last War, by the Generals3 in America, as their principal Armourer, has been drawn, from the interiour Parts of Pensilvania, where he has a Family and Property, and a Character, and from whence he has sent two sons, as Lt. Collonells into our Army, and has taken upon him the Character of principal Armourer, in the middle Department of the united States. He seems to be a Master in his Art, and very desirous of doing service.4
We are establishing a laboratory, and an Armory, at Carlisle about one hundred and twenty Miles from this Place. We have a brass Foundery here. Such Foundations I hope will be laid as will place our Artillery, in a respectable situation. I am your affectionate Father,
[signed] John Adams
1. LbC: “welding the Ends.”
2. See JCC, 7:193, 228, 272. In LbCJA at this point added a paragraph which he perhaps inadvertently omitted in RC: “Pray give me your Opinion of them.”
3. LbC: “the British Generals.”
4. Thomas Butler had been appointed “public armourer” by Congress on 22 Jan. 1777 (JCC, 7:55, 188).
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, 2018.