A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Letter will go by the Hand of the Honourable Samuel Hewes Esqr., one of the Delegates in Congress from North Carolina, from the Month of September 1774, untill 1777.1
I had the Honour to serve with him upon the naval Committee, who laid the first Foundations, the Corner Stone of an American navy, by fitting to Sea the Alfred, Columbus, Cabott, Andrew Doria, Providence, and several others. An Honour, that I make it a Rule to boast of, upon all Occasions, and I hope my Posterity will have Reason to boast. . . .2 Hewes has a sharp Eye and keen, penetrating Sense, but what is of much more Value is a Man of Honour and Integrity. If he should call upon you, and you should be about, I hope you will treat him with all the Complaisance that is due to his Character. I almost envy him his Journey, altho he travells for his Health, which at present is infirm. I am yours, yours, yours,
[signed] John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have had no News from Camp for 3 or 4 days. Mr. How, by the last Advices, was maneuvring his Fleet and Army in such a Manner, as [to] give Us Expectations of an Expedition, some where. But whether to Rhode Island, Hallifax, up the North River or the Delaware, is left to Conjecture. I am much in doubt whether he knows his own Intentions.
A Faculty of penetrating into the Designs of an Enemy is said to be the first Quality of a General. But it is impossible to discover the Designs of an Enemy who has no Design at all. An Intention that has no Existence, a Plan that is not laid, cannot be divined. Be his Intentions what they may, you have nothing to fear from him—He has not force to penetrate the Country any where.
{ 281 }
1. JA of course meant Joseph Hewes (1730–1779), a North Carolina delegate from 1774 through 1776 and a signer of the Declaration of Independence (DAB). In a vivid letter written in old age JA credited Hewes with a decisive switch in Congress on the question of independence; see JA to William Plumer, 28 March 1813 (LbC, Adams Papers; printed in JA, Works, 10:35–36).
2. Suspension points in MS. On the work of the committee in question see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:198 ff.; 3:345 ff.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have a confused Account, from the Northward, of Something Unlucky, at Ticonderoga, but cannot certainly tell what it is.1
I am much afraid, We shall loose that Post, as We did Forts Washington and Lee, and indeed, I believe We shall if the Enemy surround it. But it will prove no Benefit to them. I begin to Wish there was not a Fort upon the Continent. Discipline and Disposition, are our Resources.
It is our Policy to draw the Enemy into the Country, where We can avail ourselves of Hills, Woods, Walls, Rivers, Defiles &c. untill our Soldiers are more inured to War.
How and Burgoine will not be able to meet, this Year, and if they were met, it would only be better for Us, for We should draw all our Forces to a Point too.
If they were met, they could not cutt off the Communication, between the Northern and Southern States. But if the Communication was cutt off for a Time, it would be no Misfortune, for New England would defend itself, and the Southern States would defend themselves.
Coll. Miles is come out of N. York on his Parol. His account is, as I am informed, that Mr. Howes Projects are all deranged. His Army has gone round the Circle and is now encamped on the very Spot where he was a Year ago. The Spirits of the Tories are sunk to a great Degree, and those of the Army too. The Tories have been elated with Prospects of coming to this City, and tryumphing, but are miserably disappointed. The Hessians are disgusted, and their General De Heister gone home, in a Miff.2
1. Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair on 6 July evacuated Fort Ticonderoga in the face of Burgoyne's army advancing from Canada.
2. Lt. Gen. Leopold Philipp, Freiherr von Heister, commander of the Hessian troops in America, had been out of favor with Sir William Howe and with { 282 } his own sovereign since the American victory at Trenton. He was replaced by Lt. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen and left the army in June 1777. See Edward J. Lowell, The Hessians. . . in the Revolutionary War, N.Y., 1884, p. 113–115.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/