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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0065

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08-09

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I have very Accidentally heard of this Opportunity by Mr. Brown and have so short Notice of it that I can do little more than Acknowledge the Receipt of your favour of the 26th. July, which I Received the day before Yesterday when my Mind was tortured with Anxiety and distress. The Arrival of powder in this manner is certainly as Wonderful an Interposition of Providence in our favour as used to take place in favour of the Jews in the days of Moses and Joshua. We have very little News here, no remarkable military Events have taken place in the Army here. In short the General has been obliged from Principles of frugality to restrain his rifle men. While they were permitted Liberty to fire on the Enemy, a great number of the Army would go and fire away great quantitys of Ammunition to no Purpose.1 Four Captains and a Subaltern were killed the beginning of last week cheifly by the rifle men, and I am persuaded they will do great Execution. There was but one Company of them here last Week. On Sunday a very fine Company came in from Virginia. Yesterday Morning went through this Town 3 Companys more as many are Expected this Morning. I never saw finer fellows. What a view does this, and the Concourse of Gentlemen from all the Colonies give us of Bernard! and Hutchinson! small Faction. Last Evening arrived here a Gentleman from Machias with an Account of their haveing taken two other Tenders. So that they now have five prizes: three Tenders, and two Sloops taken from Jones. 28 Prisoners are on the road and will be hear { 115 } this day among whom is Old Ichabod Jones.2 The rest are Lieutenants of Men of War, Midshipmen, and Seamen. Five Sloops after wood and fresh Provisions are taken by Cargill3 and others and Carried into Penobscot this is doing great Service. They are reduced to great straits for wood as well as fresh provisions in Boston. It is said it would fetch 3 Guineas a Cord. They have already Burnt all the fences &c. All Accounts from Boston agree that they are dismantleing the Castle, and Intend to destroy the works there, which with other Circumstances Induce many to suppose they have an Intention to leave the Town. Many People have lately come out. He has restricted them to £5 sterling in Money, a small matter of furniture and absolutely forbid them bringing out plate. What the policy should be unless he designs to plunder, destroy and then leave we cant devise. Boylston, John Gill, Lovel, the Selectmen, &c to the Number of 13, are kept it is said till Jones, and Hicks two Insignificant Puppies we have in Concord Goal are suffered to go into Boston. We have resolved they shall go. The General has sent in the resolve by a Trumpet. We have no Answer yet tho' that was done last Sunday.
I am very sorry I should omit any Information you had occasion for. It is not wholly and only Negligence. Such has been the Confusion here that it was difficult to Ascertain who held many of the offices. This was the Case with Young Palmer. I often asked, and never was satisfactorily resolved whether he was Quarter Master General or his Deputy. He was however the first, and still Acts as such in the Mass. Forces, and has Expectations of being Appointed by the General. I cant learn that any of those you so Justly regret to have referred to other hands than your own are yet made. As to Pigeon I knew he was a Commissary, but his Temper is so petulant that he has been desirous of quitting for some time, and Indeed I have wished it.
I am taking pains to give you the Information you want of the Biography of the offices in the Army, &c. I have Applyed to Genl. Thomas and one Other General for that Purpose.4 As for Engineers I wish we were in a better way. G——y is grown old, is much governed by A Son of his, who vainly supposed he had a right to the second place in the Regiment that is before Burbank and Mason. The Congress thought Otherways. He was Sulkey. We had much Trouble with them, and I Understand the General has his Share yet.5 I have not lately heard from Mrs. Adams, though have frequently Enquired of People from and through Braintree, from which I Conclude she is well. I wrote you a long letter by the Genls. Express which went on last Saturday after being detained much longer than I Expected.6 { 116 } I hope he will be with you Tomorrow. I wish to see the return of Fessenden before I leave this Town.7 We have a short Adjournment in Contemplation, and Expect it the latter End of this week. You will hear of the Accident which befel the Letters sent by Hitchburn. He very Injudiciously kept them when he had all the Opportunity he could wish to destroy them.8 I wish to hear whether the Letter to me was from You or Mr. S: Adams. I lost the pleasure of it and they Boast of great discoveries made from that and the two Letters to Genl. Washington.9 I am very Much Obliged to you for the many Instances of your Partiality and Friendship. I am Necessitated to Conclude or loose this Conveyance, and Am with every Wish for you. Your Sincere Friend,
[signed] J: Warren
My regards to all our Friends, perticularly Mr. Adams. Many of the Tories are prepareing to leave Boston. Sewal and Family and some Others are going Home, and some know not where to go.10 I beleive they are almost ready to Call on the rocks and Mountains to Cover them. I make no Apology for Incorrectness &c. Your Candour is relied on.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in JA's late hand: “Warren Augt. 9th 1775.”
1. Excessive shooting concerned both Washington and the General Court (General Orders, 4 Aug., Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:384–385; Resolution, 12 Aug., Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 66).
2. In June, Ichabod Jones led an expedition to Machias, Maine, where he owned a mill, to obtain firewood for the army in Boston. On 11 June, in one of the first naval actions of the Revolution, Jones was captured together with the Margaretta, the schooner sent by Adm. Graves to escort the expedition. On 15 Aug., Jones was sent to jail in Northampton; a few days later the General Court ordered the seizure of his property in Machias, an action that he protested in Sept. 1776, when he petitioned for a rehearing of his case (MHi:Gay Transcripts, Adm. Graves in North America, 1:133, 142, 152, 153, 182; 3:431; Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 395–396, 399, 500; Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 88; House Jour., 1776–1777, 2d sess., p. 86; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 1:655–656, 676–677).
3. Probably James Cargill of Newcastle, Maine (Wroth and others, eds., Province in Rebellion, p. 1691).
4. See replies of Gens. Thomas and Frye of 11 and 25 Aug. (below).
5. The pretensions of Richard Gridley's son, Maj. Scarborough Gridley, did not last long, for a court martial on 24 Sept. found him “guilty of breach of orders” and ordered his dismissal from the army but did not debar him from further service (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:515–516).
6. See Warren to JA, 31 July, note 7 (above).
7. That is, Warren hopes for another letter from JA.
8. For Hichborn's justification of his conduct in caring for the letters, see his letter to JA of 28 Oct. (below).
9. The only known letter to Washington in the group of intercepted letters is that from Benjamin Harrison.
10. The Sewalls and a number of other loyalists left Boston on 21 Aug. and arrived in London on 21 Sept. (Thomas Hutchinson to Lord Hardwicke, 22 Sept., MHi:Gay Transcripts, Hutchinson-Hardwicke Letters, p. 56a–59).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0066-0001

Editorial Note

After the official adjournment of the Second Continental Congress on 1 August, another meeting was held on the morning of the next day. Adams may not have left Philadelphia, then, until 3 August (JCC, 2:239; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:185, note 2). We know that he arrived in Watertown on 10 August to take his seat on the Massachusetts Council, which was then serving as both the upper house and the executive of the province (M-Ar:Executive Council Records, 17:15).
Because Adams did not keep a diary or write letters during August 1775, it is difficult to go beyond the brief references to him in the records of the Council in describing his role in that body. He is listed as being present at Council meetings on nine days between his arrival and 30 August, which are also the days for which the Council on 11 September authorized payment of his expenses (M-Ar:Executive Council Records, 17:15, 28, 29, 31, 37, 39, 61, 66, 69, the dates being 10, 16–18, 22–23, 28–30 Aug.; same, Revolution, Council Papers, 164:91). Adams may, however, have been present on two other days, 19 and 24 August. On the 19th, a report, signed by Adams, concerning the disposition of Thomas Hutchinson's captured letters was presented to the Council, and on the 24th he is recorded as participating in four votes (report, 19 Aug., following Editorial Note; M-Ar:Legislative Council Records, 33:130, 185, 196, 204). For the entire period, the only indications of his individual activity, besides the report on Hutchinson's letters, are these: carrying to the House of Representatives a draft bill on annulling commissions given by former governors and lieutenant governors (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 60; text in Mass., Province Laws, 5:420–421); concurring in 28 votes of the Council on various acts and resolves; signing with other Council members in advance printed commissions for justices and inferior court judges; and apparently initiating the appointment of a committee on 23 August to investigate sources of “virgin lead” in Massachusetts, a motion that grew out of his committee responsibility in the congress (M-Ar:33:74–204, 154; JCC, 2:234–235). On 22 August the Council authorized payment of £130 for his expenses at the congress (M-Ar: 17:38). His expense accounts are in Diary and Autobiography, 2:162–167.
Adams' activities outside the Council are conjectural, but he certainly spent much of his time in Braintree. He was probably there on 14 August, when he settled his account with Joseph Bass Jr., and from 25 to 27 { 118 } August, as is indicated in his letter to Mrs. Warren (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:167; to Mercy Otis Warren, 26 Aug., below). Accompanied by Charles Lee, he made a tour of the American positions around Boston, but on what day is unknown to the editors (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:325). When he attended the Council on 22–24 August, he took Abigail with him to Watertown, but his stay was short, for, as noted, he was back in Braintree on 25 August (same, 2:167–168 and note 1). On 28 August, he left Braintree, stopped at Watertown for three days to attend meetings of the Council, and then continued on to Philadelphia, where he arrived on 12 September (same, 2:168; for the exact day of JA's arrival, see his docket entry on his letter from Edward Dilly of 11 July, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0066-0002

Author: Massachusetts Council
Author: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08-19

Report of Council Committee Regarding Governor Hutchinson's Letters

THE COMMITTEE [to consider what is proper to be done with the Letters of the late Govr Hutchinson and how they shall be preserv'd]1 Report, that it is of Great Importance that the Letters and other Papers of the late Governor Hutchinson, be carefully preserved, as they Contain Documents for History of great Moment: and that Evidence, in the hand writing of a Man whose nefarious Intrigues and practices, have Occassioned the Shedding of so much innocent Blood, and brought such horrid Calamities on his Native Country, may be preserved for the full Conviction of the Present and future Generations: and therefore that such of the Letters, and Papers aforesaid, as are not now in the Custody of the Honble Saml Dexter Esqr of Dedham, be delivered to him, and together with those, already under his care, faithfully kept by him, until the further Order of this Court, and that such of them be Publish'd from time to time as he shall Judge proper.
[signed] John Adams per Order2
Read and accepted.
Dft not found. Reprinted from (Mass., Province Laws, 19:59).
1. Brackets in printed version.
2. No evidence has been found to reveal JA's contribution to this report, but the demonstrated concern for history and the conviction that Hutchinson was responsible in great part for bringing “horrid Calamities on his Native Country” are quite in keeping with JA's attitudes and thinking.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0067

Author: Thomas, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-08-11

John Thomas to James Warren

[salute] Sir

I receiv'd yours of the 7th Instant, and Consider'd the Contents.1 To comply with every part, so as to make it Inteligable so far as fully to explain every part of the duty of each of those Officers you Mention, wou'd take a small Volume, but will Endeavour to give you some General Account of their Duty—as to their Qualifications you will be able to Judge of it.
The duty of a Quartermaster General, is to Inspect the Provisions and See that they are good and wholesom, and to see that Tents for the Army, Intrenching Tools and any other Articles Necessary for the Camp are Provided, to draw them out of the Store when wanted, and return them in when done with, to pitch on proper Ground for the Incampments, to laying out the Ground in Lines, that the Tents of each Regiment be properly Pitch'd according to their Rank, and form'd in the best manner for defence, and giveing directions to the Quartermasters of each Regiment, and Camp Culler Men, that the Barracks be kept Clean, and the Streets Sweept and all Filth be remove'd, that proper Vaults2 be Open'd for the Use of the Troops &c.
The Commasary of Provision, is to receive the Provision from the Contractors and to deliver them to the under Commasaries with directions for the delivery of them to the Troops according to the Order he may receive from the Commanding Officer, and is to be Accountable to the Publick in what way the Provisions are expended, by takeing receipts of the Commander in Chief for his Voucher.
Commassary of Muster, is to Muster all the Regiments in the Army; Usually once in two Months, that the Commanding Officer of each Regiment, may Account for his Regiment, whether Sick, on Furlough, or on Command, and the Several Cantonements must See that the Muster Rools must Contain the Names of each Man in the Regiment to be attested by said Commasary, One to be Transmitted to the War Office, one to be kept by the Muster Master, The third to be deliver'd to the pay Master, by which the said pay Master is to pay of[f] the Troops, according to their Several Ranks.
The Commasary of Artillery, is what we generally call the Director whose business it is to keep the Artillery Stores, to be deliver'd to the Train, when drawn for by an Order from the Commanding Officer—the receiver to give his receipt, which is to be a Voucher when he is Call'd to a Settlement.
{ 120 } { 121 }
The Pay Master General receives the Cash, and pays of[f] the Muster Rools Affore mention'd, and any other Drafts that the Commanding Officer may make on him for the Use of the Army.
The Adjutant General Attends the Commanding Officer every day at orderly times, for the General Orders, and the Adjutants of each Regiment must attend him at his Office, at a certain hour that he may perfix, where he must deliver the Order to each of them, and they to their Several Regiments.
Aid-de-Camps are constantly to attend the General, are to give him information of what comes to their knowledge, and to be ready to Attend his order, to go on any Message—and what Orders they may deliver Verbally from the General carries as much authority as if written, Especially in time of Action, and many other Services too many to be enumerated.
When the Army is divided into Grand Divisions, they are call'd Brigades, and are under the more immediate command of the Brigadier General, each one has his Brigade assigned him, and a Brigade Major Affix'd to each Brigade, who is to Attend the Brigadier General, to Convey the Orders of the said General, to the Adjutants of the Brigade, and inspect the Guards when Peraded by the Adjutants; and any order Sign'd by him as Brigade Major, must carry the same force, as if Sign'd by the Brigadier General himself. He is to attend the Brigadier General in time of Action, ready to convey his Order during the Action to every part of the Brigade, whether for Attacking, retreating, or any other matter whatever.
With regard to my Services, I first enter'd as Ensign, in a Regiment Commanded by Brigadier Waldo Rais'd for an Expedition against Cannady, was sent to Anapolis Royall and Minis, Commanded Leiut. Colo. Noble, was advanc'd in 1748 in the same Regiment to a Leiutenancy, and Surgeon, Continu'd two years in that Regiment, Rank'd by Act of Parliment with the Regulars, and did duty with them part of the time Anapolis Royall. 1755 Captain Leiutenant and Surgeon in the first Battallion in Governor Shirleys Regiment. 1756 Advanc'd to a Captain in the same Battallion. 1758 Colonel of a Regiment at Noviscotia, Beau-se-Jour. 1759 Colonel of Regiment at the same place. 1760 Colonel of a Regiment in Cannady.
Fry an Ensign at Louisbourg 1745. Major in Scotts Battallion at Noviscotia 1755. Major at the Lake 1757. Colonel at Noviscotia 1759.
General Whitcomb Leiut. Colonel at Lake George 1756. Colonel at ditto 1760.
General Ward, Major at Ford Edward, in Colo. Wm. Williams Reg• { 122 } iment 1758, and in the same year obtain'd a Leiut. Colonel with Colo. Partridge.
As to the Colonels we have in our Forces &c I will take some other Opportunity to Inform, being much Engaged at present.3 I am Sir yr. Friend and very huml. Servant,
[signed] Jn: Thomas
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honourable James Warren Esq. Speaker to the Hon. House of Representatives and Pay Master General to the United American Army Watertown”; docketed by JA: “Sept. Gen. Thomas”; docketed later, probably by Rev. William Gordon: “Aut 11. 1775.”
1. James Warren to John Thomas, 7 Aug. (MHi:John Thomas Papers). This letter, mentioned in Warren's letter to JA of 9 Aug. (above), did not indicate that the information to be given by Thomas was ultimately to go to JA.
2. Drains or sewers, obs. (OED).
3. Warren had asked Thomas to describe “what Colonels we have in our Forces whose Character you Esteem and their Characters.” The only other question that Thomas did not answer concerned the experience and qualifications of Richard Gridley and William Burbeck, about whom JA had expressed strong interest to Warren.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0068-0001

Author: Frye, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08-25

From Joseph Frye

[salute] Sir

I have taken leave to Send you Enclos'd herewith, a brief account of the Several Stations in which I have Serv'd my Country in a Military way—as a history of all occurrences and Personal Sufferings in that Service would have been too tedious for your Patience, I presum'd not to trouble you with it.1 Therefore Shall say no more here than that, any Notice you Shall please to take of me on your arival in the Continental Congress, will be gratefully Acknowledged by your Honrs. most Obedient and very Humble Servt.,
[signed] Joseph Frye
RC (Adams Papers); enclosure.
1. In all likelihood, Frye is the “Other General” to whom James Warren applied for information requested by JA (Warren to JA, 9 Aug., above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0068-0002

Author: Frye, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08-25

Enclosure: Account of the Military Services of Joseph Frye

A brief Account of the Military Services of Joseph Frye

In 1745 He was an Ensign of a Company in Colo. Robert Hales Regiment at the Reduction of Louisbourg.
In 1746, He was made a Lieutenant in Major Moses Titcombs Company in Brigr. General Waldo's Regiment, design'd to Serve in an Expedition against Canada under the Command of General St. Clare [Saint-Clair]—but as the Expedition hung in Suspence, It was propos'd by the Government of Massachusetts-Bay, That said Regiment Should Serve in the defence of the Eastern Frontiers in Stead of Impress'd men, till called for to proceed to Canada. Agreeable to which, { 123 } part of the Regiment went to Casco Bay, and was Employ'd in the Defence of that part of the Country, where the said Joseph did a large Share of the hardest of the Service, till news ariv'd from England that the Expedition was laid aside.
In 1747 He was made Captain of a Company for the Defence of the Eastern Frontiers and Posted at Scarborough for that Purpose, in which Service He continued till the Latter part of 1749 when that war ended.
In 1754 He was made Major of a Regiment Commanded by Majr. Genl. John Winslow, which was Sent to Kennebeck River, when the Regiment built Fort Halifax at the Falls in said River called Tauconnock, and before He return'd to Boston, was made a Lt. Colonel.
In 1755 an Expedition was form'd, to remove the French Encroachments in Nova Scotia. A Regiment (formed into two Battalions) was Sent from Boston for that Purpose. And as His Excellency Genl. Shirly, kept said Regiment under his own Command as Colonel—General Winslow went Lt. Colonel of the first Battalion and George Scot Esqr. Lt. Colonel of the Second Battalion, The said Joseph went first Major of the Second Battalion, and was at the Reduction of Fort Beausejour, Fort de gaspereau and other Services in that Country, and continued there for the defence of those Conquests thro' the winter and Summer following, till the fall of the year 1756.
In the fall of the year 1756, as Soon as He ariv'd in Boston, He was made Colonel of a Regiment, held in Readiness to march at a minutes warning, to Reinforce the Troops at Lake George.
In 1757, He was made Colonel of a Regiment Consisting of eighteen hundred men, formed into Seventeen Companies, which was rais'd in the Province of Massachusetts-Bay for the Service on the western Frontiers, with which Regiment, He marched to Albany; from thence to Fort Edward where he lay with said Regiment and did Duty there under the Command of General Webb till the begining of August, when he was Sent with eight hundred and twenty three of them (Inclusive of Officers) to Fort William Henry, and the next morning after his arival there, Monsr. Montcalm arive'd with a Superior Force, laid Seige to the Place, and after Six Days and Seven nights' Defence, were forced to Surrender; which was done by Capitulation, but it was barbarously violated by the French and Indians, which proved a very unhappy occurrence to the said Joseph, as the Regiment was thereby, tore to peices, and many of His Papers fell into the hands of the Enemy, it took the greatest part of his Time in the year 1758 to regain Such a State of the Regiment as that, in the { 124 } payment thereof, Justice might be done to the Public, and to Individuals.
In 1759 He was made Colonel of a Regiment and Sent with it into Nova Scotia for the Defence of that Province, where he continued almost two years.
Finaly, on the 21st of June 1775, The Congress of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay, being Desireous of his Service in the Present unhappy war, gave Him a Major Generals' Commission, and laid him under oath for the faithful discharge of his Duty agreeable to said Commission. In Pursuance whereof He entered upon his Duty and continued therein, till the Representatives of the Several Towns in said Colony, Assembled at Watertown, when that Assembly adopted what the Congress had done in that respect, and by Letter to the said Joseph, desired his Continuance in Camp, till the Continental Congress Should determine the affair with respect to Him.
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.
RC (Adams Papers); enclosure.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0069

Author: Prescott, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08-25

From James Prescott

[salute] Sir

I have this minit received the Inclosed account1 and Imbrace the oppertunity of Conveying it to you by Mr. Pain. I am Sir your most obediant Huml Sert.,
[signed] James Prescott
NB: I find my Brother has not Been so perticuler as I Could have wished—he has not Given any account of his former Campain—he was an officer at the reduction of the Newtrel frinch at Noviscotia in the last war about two years.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr. in Brantrey”; docketed: “Aug 25 1775.”
1. William Prescott to JA, 25 Aug. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0070

Author: Prescott, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08-25

From William Prescott

[salute] Sir

I have received a Line from my Brother which informs me of your desire of a particular Account of the Action at Charlestown.1 It is not in my Power at present to give so minute an Account as I should choose being ordered to decamp and march to another Station.
{ 125 }
On the 16 June in the Evening I received Orders to march to Breeds Hill in Charlestown with a party of about one thousand Men consisting of 3 hundred of my own Regiment, Coll. Bridge and Lieut Breckett with a Detachment of theirs, and two hundred Connecticut Forces commanded by Capt. Nolten [Knowlton]. We arrived at the Spot, the Lines were drawn by the Enginier and we began the Intrenchmant about 12, o Clock and plying the Work with all possible Expodition till Just before sun rising, when the Enemy began a very heavy Canonading and Bombardment. In the Interin the Enginier forsook me.2 Having thrown up a small Redout, found it necessary to draw a Line about 20 Rods in Length from the Fort Northerly, under a very Warm Fire from the Enemys Artilary. About this Time the above Field Officers being indisposed could render me but Little Service, and the most of the Men under their Command deserted the Party. The Enemy continuing an incessant Fire with their Artilary. About 2, o Clock in the afternoon on the seventeenth the Enemy began to land a northeasterly Point from the Fort, and I ordered the Train with 2 field Pieces to go and oppose them and the Connecticut Forces to support them but the Train marched a different Course and I believe those sent to their support followd, I suppose to Bunkers Hill.3 Another party of the Enemy landed and fired the Town. There was a party of Hampshire in conjunction with some other Forces Lined a Fence at the distance of three score Rods back of the Fort partly to the North. About an Hour after the Enemy landed they began to march to the Attack in three Columns. I commanded my Lieut Coll. Robinson and Majr. Woods Each with a detachment to flank the Enemy, who I have reason to think behaved with prudence and Courage.
I was now left with perhaps 150 Men in the Fort, the Enemy advanced and fired very hotly on the Fort and meating with a Warm Reception there was a very smart firing on both sides. After a considerable Time finding our Amunition was almost spent I commanded a sessation till the Enemy advanced within 30 yards when we gave them such a hot fire, that they were obliged to retire nearly 150 yards before they could Rally and come again to the Attack. Our Amunition being nearly exausted could keep up only a scattering Fire. The Enemy being numerous surrounded our little Fort began to mount our Lines and enter the Fort with their Bayonets. We was obliged to retreat through them while they kept up as hot a fire as it was possible for them to make. We having very few Bayonets could make no resistance. We kept the fort about one hour and twenty Minutes after { 126 } the Attack with small Arms. This is nearly the State of Facts tho' imperfect and too general which if any ways satisfactory to you will afford pleasure to your most obedient humble Servt.,
[signed] William Prescott
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Coll. Prescott. Aug. 25. 1775.”
1. Prescott's account of the Battle of Bunker Hill was another response to JA's request for information about the army and events in Massachusetts. CFA lent this letter, along with others written to JA, to Richard Frothingham, who printed it in the Appendix to his Siege of Boston (p. 395–396), and thus it contributed to the controversy that developed in the 19th century over who commanded the troops in the battle, Prescott or Israel Putnam. See French, First Year, p. 743–747.
2. Richard Gridley became tired or ill or left to bring up cannon (same, p. 216, note 16), but he did return and was wounded in the battle.
3. Actually, they took up a position behind a fence, in a line perpendicular to the breastwork (same, p. 219).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0071

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-08-26

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Madam

I have been, the happiest Man, these two Days past, that I know of, in the World. I have compared myself, in my own Mind, with all my Friends, and I cannot believe any of them So blest as myself.
In the first Place, Rest, you know, is Rapture, to a weary Man; and I was quite weary enough to enjoy a state of Rest for a Day or two in all its Perfection; accordingly, I have Slept, by the best Compution, Sixteen Hours in the four and twenty.
In the next Place, for the two last Days, I have been entirely free from the Persecution, of the “Fidgets, and Caprices, Vanity, Superstition, and Irritability,” which are Supposed by Some, to assault me, now and then, both from within and without. This is rare Felicity indeed.
Thirdly, I have been allowed the Pleasure of rambling all alone, through the Fields, Groves and Meadows, and over the lofty Mountains, of peacefull happy Braintree, that wholesome Solitude and Nurse of sense, “where Contemplation prunes her Ruffled Wings And the free Soul, looks down to pity Kings.”1
Fourthly and lastly, I have enjoyed the Conversation of the amiable Portia, and her little prattling Brood of Children. This is a Pleasure of which I can say no more. Mrs. Warren can conceive it: I cannot describe it.
Now taking all these Circumstances together, neither Mr. Warren nor Mr. [ . . . ], nor Mr. any Body that I can recollect, has been in a Situation equal to mine. These have been vexed with the society of { 127 } Statesmen and Heroes: I have been disturbed with no such Animal. These have been interrupted with Cares: I have banished all of them from my Habitation, from my Head and Heart. These have been wearied with Business: I would have no Business but have been wholly at Leisure. In Short I have some Idea now of the Happiness of the Inhabitants of Arcadia, Paradise and the Elisian Fields.
Why will the cruel Thought intrude itself? Is this to last only, untill Monday Morning, four O Clock?2 Avaunt this gloomy Thought, this impertinent Intruder: I wont Suffer myself to think, that it is ever to End, untill the Moment arrives, and then I must endeavour to forget for a while, that I have ever been so happy.
I hope, Madam, I shall not be left to Stain this Paper with any Thing concerning Politicks or War. I was determined to write you before I went away and there is no other Subject, in the whole Compass of Art, Science or Nature, upon which I could have written one Line, without diminishing my Happiness.
I wish you Madam, a Speedy Return, with your worthy Partner, to your Family, and a Happiness there as exquisite as mine has been here and much more lasting. I am with unfeigned Esteem and Affection, your and Mr. Warrens Friend and humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To Mrs. Mercy Warren”; docketed: “J. Adams Augt. 1774”; docketed later: “August 1775 Braintree.”
1. From Alexander Pope's “Satires of Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, Versified,” Satire IV, l. 186–187.
2. The day on which JA began his return to Philadelphia, 28 Aug.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0072

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

You was inquiring the other Day into the Office of Judge Advocate. I will now acquaint you with some Particulars in that Department which will give you an Idea of that Officer's Duty in the Continental Army.
As Judge Advocate, I have his Excellency's (the Commander in chief) Orders, in writing, “to attend every General Court Martial, not only those of the Line but of each Brigade throughout the Army: and to see that there is a fair Copy of the intire Proceedings in each Case, made out to be reported to the General.” (One Reason for which, is, That as the General is to confirm, or reject the Determination of the { 128 } Court, he cannot form a competent Opinion of the Court's Judgement, without seeing the whole State of the Evidence &c.)
The Number of Offences made cognizable by a General Court Martial only; the very large Army here; the Extent of the Camp, in each Quarter of which my Duty requires my Attendance, renders my Office, arduous and difficult.2
I am oblig'd to issue Orders to the Adjutants of the Regiments, to see the Prisoners brought up and that the Witnesses attend—and indeed to put all Matters in such a Train that the Court may have Nothing else to do than to hear the Examination, which is all taken down in writing, and give a Judgement. In every Case where the Evidence is complicated, it is expected of me that I analyse the Evidence and state the Questions which are involv'd in it. But I will not trouble you with a tedious Detail. It is sufficient to acquaint you that I am oblig'd to act as Advocate, Register and Clerk. For the Stipend of 20 Dollars a Month. Without the least Assistance, and without a single Perquisite of Office.
In the British Army, General Courts Martial sit only in capital Cases, or when a commissioned officer is to be try'd. He is allow'd 10/ sterling a Day and draws Pay as Capt. besides. His Duty is easy—because the strict Discipline which prevails among regular Troops, render General Court Martial but rarely necessary. The Difference between the Ministerial Army and the American, is easily conceiv'd without drawing a Parralell. I will only observe the hon. Congress have granted near 2000 Commissions and that no Commissioned Officer can be try'd but by a General Ct. Martial. While two thirds of the Crimes of the Privates must come before the same Court for Trial.
Since my Appointment (14 July) I have attended twenty seven Trials, among which were two chief Colonels and Nine commissioned Officers. Every one of which has been minutely reported in Writing to the Commander in chief. And There are now a Col. and two commissioned Officers under an Arrest—who are to be try'd as soon as possible.3 Those of the Officers have been very lengthy. I am oblig'd to set, without a Minute's Absence from 8 to three—doing the whole Labour of the Trial—and as soon as the Court is adjourn'd, to employ the afternoon in copying the Proceedings of the Morning, that the General may have early Knowlege of the issue. And that the Order of Court may be timely put into the general Orders.
Every Day for a Month past a General Court Martial has set in one or other Part of the Camp. It is impossible for me to be in two Places { 129 } at once. A Court at Roxbury adjourn'd for six Days successively, because my Duty at Cambridge, forbid my leaving it. The Court cannot consist of less than 13 Members, and the Service is hurt—but it must frequently be the Case while the Judge Advocate is allow'd no Assistant.
I must beg, Sir, on your Return to Congress You would prevail on Our American Legislature, to reconsider the Stipend affix'd to this Office, and endeavour to have a Salary fix'd, more adequate to the Service. Should there be no Alteration made I shall be under the Necessity of asking Permission to resign an Employment the Duties of which, leave me without an Hour to call my own; and the Pay of which will not give me even a Maintenance. I am your most obt. Servt.
[signed] Wm. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams Esq. Braintree.”
1. Since Tudor wrote while JA was still in Braintree so far as he knew and since provision for pay and a clerk for Tudor was made at the opening session of the congress in Sept. 1775, a date of August seems reasonable for this letter. Moreover, examination of Gen. Washington's General Orders, which record officers tried by court martial, from 14 July, when Tudor was appointed, suggests that in terms of the number of officers Tudor mentions, he may have written this letter as early as mid-August (JCC, 3:257; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:passim).
2. Some 25 of the 69 Articles of War adopted by the congress call for punishment of offenses through the means of a general court martial (JCC, 2:111–122).
3. This sentence was written in the margin and is inserted here, where the editors believe it was intended to go.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0073

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-04

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

This afternoon came to Hand your Favour of August 26. May you ever have it in your power to expatiate this Largly on your own Happiness, but I would not have you Imagine when you in your sixteen hours Nap and Dreaming of the Feilds of Arcadia, and are Enraptured with the Happy Elisian and paridisaic scenes at Braintree that you are the only Happy Mortal among your Numerous Circle of Friends. I dare say had they the talent of Easey Discription they would Boast of a share of the Felicities of Life though few can pronounce themselves Compleatly happy Even for a day, either Amidst the Cares the tumults and Follies of the World or the still pleasures of Rural Life.
By your Freind Mr. Collins I thought It my Duty to Let you know I heard from Mrs Adams this day who has been a Little unwell since you left her but is much better.1 I shall Call on her in a day or two { 130 } and Endeavour to Return her kindness to me when in the same situation.
The person who Holds the first place in my heart your invariable Friend has been too unwell this day to take up the pen this Evening or you would have Received the superier pleasure of a Line from him Instead of this Interruption from me.
The ships which Arrived Last Fryday are from Halifax with a few petatoes and a Little wood. The people there are in Expectation of an Attack from a Body of troops which they hear are to be sent down under the Command of Preble and are preparing for Defence.2 If they suffer such terrors from the Name of a Worn out American Veteran what must be their Apprehensions from the Active Vigorous spirited Heros who are Riseing up from Every Corner of the united Colonies to oppose the Wicked system of politicks which has Long Governed a Corrupt Court.
But I ask parden for touching on War politicks or anything Relative therto, as I think you gave me a Hint in yours Not to Approach the Verge of anything so far beyond the Line of my sex.3
The Worthy bearer of this will inform you of all the Inteligence stiring. Tranqulity still Reigns in the Camp. We scarcly hear the Distant Roar of Cannen for 24 hours past.
By a person from Boston Last saterday we Learn they are Building a Floating Batery in town in order to Bombard Prospect Hill. What a Contemptable figure do the arms of Britain make. But I Have no time to write nor have you to Read observations either Natural Moral or political, so shall ajourn any thing of that kind till your Reverie of Compleat Happiness is a Little over and you Descend to touch again in the arts and sciences.

[salute] With Great Respect (after the affectionate Compliments of your Friend) I subscribe sir your unfeigned Friend and Humble servant,

[signed] Marcia
Swift of Boston is Really Dead.4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by James Warren: “To the Honbl. John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress att Philadelphia per Favr. Mr. Collins”; readdressed: “Favd pr Sol. Southwick N. Port.” At Newport, Collins put this letter into other hands, perhaps because he feared capture by British vessels. Beneath the seal, he added a note to JA:
Having taken passage by water to N. York, thought best to forward this by Post. Thy Friend.
[signed] Step: Collins
NB We are wating for a fair wind. We sal'd once, got as far as Point Judah [Judith] and was oblig'd to put Back with a Head Wind.
{ 131 }
1. AA, TBA, and several other members of the household contracted dysentery soon after JA's departure for Philadelphia. The disease reached epidemic proportions, causing many deaths, including that of AA's mother, Elizabeth Quincy Smith, on 1 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:276–280, 284–285, 287–2891:276, 278, 284, 285, 287, 288, 289).
2. No expedition under Jedediah Preble, who at 69 years of age had turned down general's commissions from the Provincial Congress and from the Continental Congress, was contemplated. The Americans were, however, planning an attack on Canada, with one force going up the Kennebec River and another proceeding from New York. The commanders were respectively Benedict Arnold and Philip Schuyler (French, First Year, 431–432).
3. Mrs. Warren misread JA's meaning. His own relaxed mood kept him from discussing serious matters like these. See his rejoinder in his letter to James Warren, 26 Sept. (below).
4. Samuel Swift, who had been caught in Boston at the outbreak of war and was by August confined to his house under surveillance, died on 30 Aug. (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:580–583).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0074

Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress Deputy Secretary
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-06

John Adams' Commission as Justice of the Peace in Suffolk County

Watertown, 6 September 1775. Printed form with spaces filled in appropriately (Adams Papers); signed by Perez Morton, Deputy Secretary, and fifteen Council members; on the verso in an unidentified hand: “J. Adams Esq.”; docketed in later years by JA: “Commision.”
This commission, listed in Council records under the date of 8 September, was approved at the same time as similar ones for John Hancock and Samuel Adams (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1b.c, Reel No. 2, Unit 2, p. 464–465). The commissions made them “of the Quorum,” a distinction reserved for only the more prominent justices in a county. The appointments followed past patronage practice of handing such commissions to members of the Council and the House, a practice that was vigorously protested a few months later by the Berkshire Constitutionalists (Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 28, 83). No evidence has been found, however, that JA ever made use of his commission.
Printed form with spaces filled in appropriately (Adams Papers); signed by Perez Morton, Deputy Secretary, and fifteen Council members; on the verso in an unidentified hand: “J. Adams Esq.”; docketed in later years by JA: “Commision.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0075

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-11

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I please myself with the probability that before this you are safely arrived at Philadelphia, after having fine weather for Journeying.1 I hope you will not be disappointed in your wishes with regard to the Spirit and Temper of the Congress. I should have wrote you before if I had been well, but from A Cold I took in the long storm we had here, have been much Indisposed since you left us. Am now better.
Nothing very material has Occurred. The Military Operations are much in the same way as when you was last here. The works on { 132 } Ploughed Hill2 are thought to be Impregnable. They fired at them and Roxbury till they Tired themselves and have now in a manner ceased. We seldom hear A Cannon tho' the natural Effusions of Resentment and disappointment now and then give us an Instance, harmless enough for they never Injure us. All seems to be in a Tranquil state for a war. The greatest difficulty seems to be to govern our own Soldiery. I may say the rifle Men only for I hear of no other. Yesterday the General was Obliged to order no less than 24 of them under Guard. They are the most disorderly part of the Army if not alone so. I have not been at head quarters since Saturday but am told that for some Crime one of them was ordered under Guard. An Attempt was made by a Number to rescue him, upon which they were also ordered to be put under Guard, upon which a whole Company undertook to rescue them, and the General was Obliged to Call out a large detachment from the Rhode Island Troops to Apprehend them, who though prepared for resistance thought proper to submit, and the Ringleaders are now in Custody. I believe he will Choose to make Examples of them. I should were I in his place.3
We have in a few days past a great deal of foreign News, and all seems to agree that both England, and Ireland are in great Confusion. It is said the Irish Parliament have resolved that no more Troops, or Provisions for Troops shall come from there to America, and that several of the Recruiting parties there have been killed. That the whole Kingdom is in an Uproar, and in such an Opposition to Administration as will Intitle them equally with the Americans to the Character of Rebels. The Vessel that brings this Account has been stoped by the Men of war at Rhode Island in her way to Providence, and perhaps many other perticulars Smothered.4 Callihorne5 is Arrived at Boston, and several Letters have been received, and some of them sent out of Boston giveing Assurances that no more Troops will be sent to America, and that the dispute will be soon settled. Oliver Wendal6 told me he had seen one to that purpose from a Man whose Intelligence he could depend on. Other Letters I hear of, which say the People had Obliged the King to promise not only to send no other Troops out, but to recall the Fleet and Army Already here. If all this be true how seasonably will your last Petition arrive to serve as a Mantle to Cover the Nakedness of the Ministry, and to Screen them from the Shame of being forced to a retreat by the Virtue of the Americans. Depend on it they will Catch at it, like a hungry Fish at a Bait, and we must be Content with a Harvest Blasted with Mildew, Cut before it is ripe, and Consequently of little value. Does no Powder Arrive. I wish we { 133 } may be able to give them at least one Blast more, that they may leave us thoroughly Impressed with a Sense of American Bravery and Prowess. If they do go, I know you won't fail to do every thing in your power to furnish us. Money if possible grows scarcer than powder. The last dollar perhaps will be gone Tomorrow, and then I Expect we shall be all din'd with Clamours, and Complaints. We have enough of them Already from the largeness of the Bills.7 1200 Men March this afternoon and Tomorrow under Coll. Arnold for Newberry Port to Embark for Kennebeck in their way to Quebec. I wish they may not be Intercepted, in their passage. Were I to Conduct the matter I think I should march them all the way by Land. Two frigates and a Number of Schooners I am told left Boston Yesterday. Probably to Intercept them. A few deserters come over to us, and several of our rifle men have deserted to the Enemy.
A Ship from Piscataqua for the West Indies owned by Mr. Langdon was taken by the Lively and has been retaken by An Armed Vessel from Beverly and Carried into Cape Ann.8 The Prisoners were Brought to Head quarters on Saturday. I don't find your Friend P: Henry in the List of Delegates from Virginia. How does it happen. It gives me Concern, you know I have a great Opinion of him.9
Our Council are yet seting tho' they Talk of An Adjournment Tomorrow. They seem to have been very Busy. I can hardly tell you what has been done since you left us. Coll. Prescot Sherriff of this County, Coll. Dwight Worcester, Dr. Winthrop Judge of Probate his Son Register, Foster Appointed for Worcester. No Appointments for the Superior Court.10 They seem as much at a loss as ever. I Inclose A Letter left at my Lodgings.11 I Suppose from Braintree and so will give you an Account of your Family. I have been much Concerned about them. Mrs. Adams and almost the whole Family I hear have been Sick. I had the pleasure of hearing last Evening that She was better, and all the rest Except One of the Maids and little Tommy who I don't learn are dangerous. You will please to make my regards to All Friends perticularly Mr. Adams, and believe me to be with great Sincerity Your Friend,
[signed] J W
Six regulars put of[f] from Boston in A Boat and were unable to row back against the Wind which blew hard at N:W they say. They drifted on Dorchester and were taken.12
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “Warren Sept. 11th 1775.”
1. JA arrived in Philadelphia on 12 Sept., the day before the first meeting of the 2d session of the Second Continental Congress, which had been { 134 } scheduled for 5 Sept. but had been postponed for lack of a quorum. He had left Watertown on 1 Sept. in the company of Samuel Adams (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:168–169; Samuel Adams, Writings, 3:226; JCC, 2:240).
2. Washington had taken Plowed Hill on 26 Aug., a site that commanded the Mystic River, and kept control despite British artillery (French, First Year, p. 481).
3. On 12 Sept., 33 members of Col. William Thompson's regiment of Pennsylvania riflemen were found guilty of “disobedient and mutinous Behavior” and were fined, the money to go to the support of Dr. Benjamin Church's hospital (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:490–491). For an eyewitness account of this episode, see Penna. Archives, 2d ser., 10:8–10.
4. This foreign news is taken from the Boston Gazette, 11 Sept. Compare Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:168–169.
5. The reference remains obscure.
6. Oliver Wendell (1733–1818), Boston merchant and officeholder (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:367–374).
7. Warren writes here as paymaster general. On 1 Aug. the congress had ordered that $500,000 be sent to the army in Massachusetts (JCC, 2:235–236). By the date of Warren's letter, only $172,520 had reached the province. Washington urged speed and described the army's state as “not far from mutiny” (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:482, 512–513). On 13 Sept. the congress ordered that $527,480 be sent at once; it arrived on the 29th (JCC, 2:245; Warren to JA, 1 Oct., below).
8. The Unity, commanded by Capt. Flagg, was seized by the British warship Lively and retaken by Nicholson Broughton of the schooner Hannah on 7 Sept. (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev. 2:36, 92–93; Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 163).
9. See JA's explanation to Warren, 19 Sept. (below).
10. Appointments were not made until October.
11. Probably AA's letter of 8–10 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:276–278).
12. Reported in the Boston Gazette, 18 Sept.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0001

Editorial Note

In the fall of 1775 Adams worked in the congress to the point of exhaustion; by December he asked permission to leave to restore his energies. He served on thirteen committees, and judging from the fragmentary evidence that has been found, he gave full measure. He was not exaggerating when he told Mercy Warren he was “engaged in constant Business. . . . Every Body is engaged all Day in Congress and all the Morning and evening in Committees.” The workday began at seven in the morning and ended at ten at night (JA to Mercy Warren, 25 Nov., below). Adams' intense activity contradicts the assessment of Benjamin Rush, who saw Adams as a man shunned because of the intemperate remarks about Dickinson disclosed in the intercepted letter (JA to James Warren, 24 July, note 6, above).
Adams arrived in Philadelphia on 12 September, just in time for the official opening for business the next day. Actually, the congress had tried to begin on the 5th, but for lack of a quorum had had to wait eight days for enough members to arrive. In contrast to the preceding spring, Adams found time to record in some detail debates taking place during one month's period, 23 September through 21 October (Diary and Autobiography, 2:178–180, 183–187, 188–217). Among the subjects discussed were the mode of dispensing supplies to soldiers, the gunpowder contract with the firm of Willing & Morris, the wisdom of arresting royal officers and shutting down the royal postal service, the mode of appointment of officers, and, most important, the desirability of modifying the Continental Association by opening the ports and encouraging trade and the establishment of an American fleet.
Although Adams records the positions of many of his colleagues on these issues, he records his views only twice: as making a motion to consult Washington and as making a point of order (same, 2:185, 198). It is mainly from his letters to close friends and associates, James Warren in particular, that one must learn where he stood. And these are not wholly satisfactory, for the congress continued to operate under a rule of secrecy that was reaffirmed on 9 November. Adams and other members at that time signed a formal statement carrying a penalty of expulsion and condemnation as an enemy to American liberties for divulging congressional secrets without authorization (Jefferson, Papers, 1:252–253; photostat { 136 } of MS in MHi). Another source for Adams' positions is his recollections written down in 1805 in his Autobiography, but the evidence is plain that with the lapse of time his memory, even when stimulated by research in the Journals of the congress, confused the facts, and hindsight caused him to claim more than he should have.
In later years Adams was proudest of his contribution to the establishment of an American navy. His pride was justified, despite his oversimplifications. The naming of a committee on 5 October to plan for the interception of two British vessels carrying arms and ammunition to Canada was the first congressional step toward creating a navy (JCC, 3:277). Adams is the only source for identifying the makeup of the three-man committee, but his recollection was not disputed by his correspondent and former colleague John Langdon (JA, Works, 10:27, 28). Besides himself, the committee was composed of Langdon and Silas Deane. Seen now as a first step, the committee was not considered as such then, and much was to occur before the congress clearly saw where it was heading. No great effort was required to turn Adams' mind to the possibilities the sea offered. He had grown up on the coast, his legal business had acquainted him with merchants and seamen, and he got letters from Josiah Quincy urging upon him schemes for bottling up shipping in Boston harbor (Quincy to JA, 11 July, above, and 22 Sept., 25 Oct., both below). Yet he was not appointed to the committee named on 13 October to prepare an estimate of the expense of fitting out and contracting for two armed vessels for the purpose of the interception. He was not called upon until this new committee was enlarged by four on 30 October and ordered to fit out two additional ships. The enlarged committee gradually became known as the Naval Committee, not to be confused with a standing committee of later origin called the Marine Committee. The membership of the Naval Committee included Silas Deane, John Langdon, Stephen Hopkins, Christopher Gadsden, Joseph Hewes, Richard Henry Lee, and John Adams (JCC, 3:293–294, 311–312; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:217, note, 273, note).
Any account of the emergence of a Continental navy that confines itself to the actions of the congress overlooks the independent action of General Washington, who before word of armed vessels was received from the congress had set about hiring several to intercept British transports supplying Boston (Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 3–17). One can argue, of course, that a real navy could be the creation only of the congress, but certainly Washington saw the need for action at sea given the situation he found—a besieged town supplied through its harbor. A recent scholar would go back even further to find the origin of a Continental navy—back to the congressional resolution of 18 July 1775 which urged each colony to fit out armed vessels for its own defense. In so resolving, the congress may have been swayed by the action of Massachusetts' Third Provincial Congress, which on 7 June appointed a committee to consider the feasibility of arming small vessels to cruise along the coast to protect trade and { 137 } annoy enemies (Raymond G. O'Connor, “Second Commentary” in Maritime Dimensions of the American Revolution, Washington, 1977, P. 27; Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 308–309).
Formal proposals for an American fleet actually came to Philadelphia from Rhode Island on 3 October and provoked vigorous debate (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:198–199, 201). As the instructions from that colony put it, the best way to achieve peace based upon constitutional principles was to fight a “just and necessary war . . . to a happy issue,” and an American fleet would greatly contribute to that end (JCC, 3:274). Although in the ensuing debate Adams does not record anything he said beyond his raising a point of order, he unquestionably supported the establishment of a fleet, and probably from the first. According to Samuel Ward, the initial attitude of many members was that a fleet was “perfectly chimerical,” but opinions gradually changed until a favorable vote was achieved to create a committee made up of one delegate from each colony that was charged with “furnishing these colonies with a naval armament” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:256; JCC, 3:420). This was the Marine Committee, named on 11 December and reconstituted on the 14th, that Adams in his Autobiography confused with the Naval Committee, and that gradually absorbed the functions of the other.
By 11 December, however, Adams had departed from Philadelphia. Still, he had been able to advance the cause of a navy through his membership on the Naval Committee. His duties involved him in recruiting likely men to serve as officers, a responsibility that caused him to write to correspondents for suggestions. (For his list of possibilities, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:221.) The Naval Committee was ordered to prepare commissions, to purchase ship supplies, to engage With Captain Stone for the seizure or destruction of Lord Dunmore's fleet, and to see to it that ships violating the nonexportation agreement were detained (JCC, 3:316, 392–393, 395–396, 406). This committee prepared Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies (No. VIII, below), which continued in use under the Constitution. These were adapted by Adams mainly from existing British regulations, but listing them in formal fashion with a care for the needs of the colonies was an argument that a naval service would be no casual or temporary thing. The congress was making a commitment not unlike that made when it decided to remodel the army. John Adams' industry gave the congress a nudge.
The accompanying documents and calendared item reflect the work of those committees for which some evidence exists of JA's role in their deliberations and reports or in which he had a particular interest. Following these is a synopsis of his membership on committees for which there is no record of his influence on their actions. The listing gives the names of members in the order in which they appear in the Journal, the responsibilities assigned, and the dates, locations, and authorship, when known, of reports and subsequent resolutions.
The weeks Adams spent in Philadelphia in the fall of 1775 were try• { 138 } ing ones. Important decisions whose consequences could not be fully foreseen pressed for action. Although Adams stood with those who saw no hope of reconciliation, he did not minimize the dangers of the course on which America was embarked. He was bold in his recommendations, but he sought constantly the nourishment he could get from the letters of those in Massachusetts. Occasionally, he even had to explain to them why the colonies could not press on faster. He operated always within the political realities that confronted him in the congress.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1775-10-05

I. Resolutions of the Congress on Intercepting British Vessels

Resolved,1 That a letter be sent by Express to Genl Washington, to inform him, that they [Congress] having received certain intelligence of the sailing of two north country built Brigs, of no force, from England, on the 11 of August last, loaded with arms, powder, and other stores, for Quebec, without a convoy, which it being of importance to intercept, that he apply to the council of Massachusetts bay, for the two armed vessels in their service, and despatch the same,2 with a sufficient number of people, stores, &c. particularly a number of oars, in order, if possible, to intercept said two Brigs and their cargoes, and secure the same for the use of the continent; Also, any other transports laden with ammunition, cloathing, or other stores, for the use of the ministerial army or navy in America, and secure them in the most convenient places for the purpose abovementioned; that he give the commander or commanders such instructions as are necessary, as also proper encouragement to the marines and seamen, that shall be sent on this enterprize, which instructions, &c., are to be delivered to the commander or commanders sealed up, with orders not to open the same until out of sight of land, on account of secresy.
That a letter be wrote to said honble council, to put said vessels under the General's command and direction, and to furnish him instantly with every necessary in their power, at the expence of the Continent.
Also that the General be directed to employ said vessels and others, if he judge necessary, to effect the purposes aforesd; informing the General that the Rhode Island and Connecticut vessels of force will be sent directly after them to their assistance.
That a letter be wrote to Govr Cooke, informing him of the above, and desiring him to despatch one or both the armed vessels of the { 139 } | view colony of Rhode Island on the same service, and that he take the precautions abovementioned.3
Also that a letter be wrote to Govr Trumbull, requesting of him the largest vessel in the service of the colony of Connecticut, to be sent on the enterprize aforesaid, acquainting him with the above particulars, and recommending the same precautions.4
That the encouragement recommended by this Congress to be given shall be, on this occasion, that the master, officers and seamen, shall be intitled to one half of the value of the prizes by them taken, the wages they receive from the respective colonies notwithstanding.5
That the said ships and vessels of war to be on the continental risque and pay, during their being so employed.
Reprinted from (JCC, 3:278–279); Dft not found.
1. These resolutions grew out of the report (not found) of a committee appointed on 5 Oct., which, according to JA, was composed of himself, Silas Deane, and John Langdon. The Journals do not give the names of the members (same, 3:277). As JA recalled the episode, the question of whether to try intercepting the ships caused sharp debate, for the attempt was thought by some to be imprudent and potentially destructive of the morals of American seamen because it might put their minds upon plunder. JA and others argued that success would bring needed supplies and would be an encouraging stroke at the enemy. JA added that it would be the beginning of “a System of maritime and naval Opperations.” Because he wrote these recollections long after the event (in 1805) and because he showed some confusion about his own role at this early stage in bringing naval operations into being, one must be cautious about accepting JA's account. He says nothing about his contribution to the report which led to these resolutions (Diary and Autobiography, 3:342–343).
2. Actually Washington had decided on recruiting two armed vessels before he received these orders from the congress (Instructions to Col. John Glover and Stephen Moylan, 4 Oct., Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:6–7). For the outcome, see Benjamin Hichborn to JA, 25 Nov., note 9 (below).
3. The published records of Rhode Island do not give the colony's action on the request of the congress.
4. For the action taken by Connecticut, see Conn. Colonial Records, 15:131.
5. “On the margin of the ‘corrected Journal’ the words ‘2. this particularly’ were written against this paragraph” (ed. Worthington C. Ford's note).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Langdon, John
Author: Dyer, Eliphalet
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1775-10-16

II. Committee Report on Gunpowder Sent to the Northern Army

The Committee appointed to enquire, what Powder has been Sent to the Army in the Northern Department, have attended that service and beg Leave to report
That five Thousand Weight of Powder, sent from South Carolina, has been forwarded to the said Army.   5000 wt.  
{ 140 } | view
That Two Thousand one hundred and thirty six Pounds Weight have been forwarded to the Same Army from the City of Philadelphia.   2136  
That Seventeen hundred Weight have been forwarded from New York.   1700  
That Eight hundred Weight has been forwarded from Connecticutt.   800  
That Thirteen hundred Weight has been forwarded at another Time from the City of Philadelphia.   1300  
  10936  
In Addition to which Two thousand Weight has been lately ordered to New York and from there to the same Army.2   2000  
  12,936  
MS in JA's hand (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 346, filmed under date [1776–1778]).
1. On 16 Oct. a committee composed of John Langdon, Eliphalet Dyer, and JA was ordered to make a survey of the amounts of gunpowder sent to the northern army and by whom. The Journals do not record any report made or accepted (JCC, 3:296).
2. Pres. Hancock informed Gen. Schuyler of the shipment of powder in his letter of 11 Oct. (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:228).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Deane, Silas
Author: Wythe, George
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1775-10-19

III. Form Letter Requesting Information on British Depredations

[salute] Sir

The continental congress having been pleased to appoint us a committe1 for collecting an account of the hostilities committed by the ministerial troops and navy in America, since last March, with proper evidence of the truth of the facts related, the number and value of the buildings destroyed, and of the vessels inward and outward bound seised, by them as nearly as can be ascertained, and also the stock taken by them from different parts of the continent, as you may see by the resolve inclosed; we entreat the assistance of the convention of your colony in this business, that we may be enabled to perform what is required of us, in the manner and with the expedition congress expects; and, to that end you will be pleased to furnish us with the necessary materials sending to us clear distinct full and circumstantial details of the hostile and destructive acts, and the captures { 141 } or seizures and depredations in your colony, and accurate estimates of the loss and damage with the solemn examinations of witnesses, and other papers and documents officially authenticated. We are, Sir, Your obedient humble servants,
[signed] Silas Deane
[signed] John Adams
[signed] George Wythe
MS (PHi:Sprague CoIl.).
1. This letter was the work of the committee formed on 18 Oct. to obtain “a just and well authenticated account of the hostilities committed by the ministerial troops and navy in America since last March” (JCC, 3:298–299). For JA's comments on the committee and its purpose, see his letters to James Warren of 12, 18, and 19 (1st) Oct. (below). No indication of when or whether this committee reported to congress has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0005

Author: Adams, John
Author: Rutledge, John
Author: Ward, Samuel
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Sherman, Roger
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1775-11-03

IV. Resolution of the Congress on New Hampshire Government

3 November 1775. Dft not found. printed: JCC, 3:319. Based on a report (not found) from a committee appointed 26 October composed of John Rutledge, JA, Samuel Ward, Richard Henry Lee, and Roger Sherman, which reported on 3 November (same, 3:307, 319).
On 18 October the delegates from New Hampshire laid before their colleagues instructions from their province which asked the advice of the congress “with respect to a method of our administering Justice, and regulating our civil police” (same, 3:298). The congress recommended the calling of “a full and free representation of the people” and the establishment of a government that would promote the people's happiness and secure good order during the dispute with Great Britain.
In his Autobiography JA recalled that when the New Hampshire delegates presented their instructions, he took the opportunity to harangue “on the Subject at large” and to urge the congress “to resolve on a general recommendation to all the States to call Conventions and institute regular Governments” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:354–357). The congress was deeply divided on the issue, but according to JA, some began to come around. If he spoke as he claimed, he was anticipating by some seven months his motion for independent governments offered in May 1776. Again, JA's recollection may very well have been inaccurate. At any rate, moderates saw to it that the advice to New Hampshire was to be operative only until the dispute was settled. In private correspondence, where the need for circumspection was less, JA saw more than temporary possibilities (JA to Elbridge Gerry, 5 Nov., note 4, below; see also his first letter to James Warren of 6 July, note 6, above).
printed: (JCC, 3:319).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0006

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hopkins, Stephen
Author: Gadsden, Christopher
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Hewes, Joseph
Author: Langdon, John
Author: Continental Congress, Naval Committee
Recipient: Deane, Silas
Date: 1775-11-07

V. Naval Committee to Silas Deane

[salute] To Silas Deane Esqr.

You are desired to repair immediately to the City of New York, and there purchase a Ship suitable for carrying 20 nine pounders upon one deck, if such a Ship can there be found. Also a Sloop, suitable to carry ten guns, which we would choose should be Bermudian built if such a one can be had. If you succeed in purchasing both, or either of these Vessels, you will use all possible expedition to procure them to be armed and equipped for the Sea. For this purpose you will apply to, and employ such persons as can carry this business into the most speedy execution. Should there be danger in fitting these Vessels at New York from the Kings ships, you may then send the Vessels eastward thro the Sound to New London or Norwich in order to be armed and fitted. Should this be the case you will repair immediately to the place where the Ships are to be fitted, and there use every means in your power to procure this to be done with the utmost expedition. In the Colony of Connecticut you are to procure powder for both these Vessels, and such other Military Stores as can there be had. You will procure the Cannon and other Stores at New York or any other place where it can be done in the best and most expeditious manner. You will also procure Officers and Men suitable for these Vessels. As soon as these Vessels can possibly be fitted for the Sea, you will order them immediately into Delaware Bay. You will by every opportunity give us the most exact intelligence of all your proceedings by conveyances the most safe and secure that can be obtained. You are empower'd to draw on Governor Hopkins for such sums of money as may be necessary for the above business.
[signed] Step Hopkins
[signed] Chris Gadsden
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
[signed] Joseph Hewes
[signed] John Adams
[signed] Jno. Langdon1
PS. In the course of your Journey at New York, or elsewhere you are to employ proper Persons to engage experienced and able-bodied seamen to man the ships now fitting out who must repair to Philadelphia with all possible dispatch.
RC in Lee's hand (CtHi: Deane Papers.)
1. This commission was signed by all members of the Naval Committee except, for obvious reasons, Silas Deane. It is printed as a sample of the kind of { 143 } commissions that the committee sent out. On 6 Nov. Stephen Hopkins had written his brother Esek regarding the command of the fleet which the committee had offered to Esek on the day before (CSmH:Harbeck Coll., in JA's hand but signed by Hopkins). Hopkins said in part, “they have pitched upon you to take the Command of a small Fleet, which they and I hope will be but the Beginning of one much larger.” See also S. Adams to JA, 22 Dec., note 2 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0007

Author: Adams, John
Author: Deane, Silas
Author: Jay, John
Author: Hopkins, Stephen
Author: Langdon, John
Author: Continental Congress, Safety Committee
Date: 1775-11-09

VI. Committee Report on Petition from Nova Scotia

Proposals.1
That two Battallions of Marines be raised consisting of one Collonell, two Lt. Collonells, two Majors &c. (officers as usual in other Regiments) that they consist of five hundred Privates each Battalion, exclusive of Officers.
That particular Care be taken that no Persons be appointed to office or inlisted into Said Battalions but such as have actually Served in the Merchant Service as seamen, or so acquainted with maritime Affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea, where required.
That they be enlisted and commissioned to be held for and during the present War, between G. Britain and the Colonies, unless regularly dismissed by orders of the Congress.
That they be distinguished by the Name of the 1st. and 2d. Battalion of American Marines.2
That a Sufficient Number of Vessells be taken up, and provided at Newbury Port, or Portsmouth by the 1st. day of December next for transporting Said two Battalions and three Months Provisions, and other Necessaries.
That Said two Battalions be raised and marched to said Place of Rendezvous, by the 1st. of December, and in Case they are not easily raised or there is likely to be delay, that the General Draught out of the Forces under his Command to make up, any such Deficiency, of those who have been employed at sea if such are to be had.
That Said Battalions, shall be armed in the following Manner, vizt. a light Fusee,3 fitted for Slinging, a large Hatchet with a long Handle, and a Spear, with thirty two Rounds per Man of Ammunition.
That a Number of Men be immediately Sent into Nova Scotia, to inform themselves of the Temper and Disposition of the Inhabitants of that Colony with respect to the Present Struggle between G. B. and these Colonies, and how far they may be willing or able to take an active Part in the present Dispute.4
{ 144 }
That two swift Sailing Boats be employed constantly to ply between Minas and Portsmouth or Newbury to bring Intelligence of the State and Situation of the Province, in general, but most minutely of every Thing, respecting the Town and Harbour of Hallifax.
That as soon as the Said two Battallions, shall be arrived, at either of Said Ports and the situation of that Colony and the Town of Hallifax shall be known the Said Battallions embark for Minas and make their Voyage with all possible Dispatch.
That previous to their Arrival, Horses and Carriages, be privately engaged for their Use, and that on their Landing they immediately make a forced March for Hallifax and possess themselves of that Town and of the naval and other Stores there and if practicable of the Shipping.
Note. Coll. Arnolds Expedition was Supposed in Boston to have been against this Place, which caused the General to send thither Shipps, and Troops, but not enough to make Resistance to two Such Battallions. Further the Country are intirely in our favour, a few Scotch Traders and renegade Tories excepted.
Should this Expedition by any Accident be found impracticable, these would be two Battallions of the Utmost service, being capable of Serving either by sea or Land.
Should the Expedition succeed, the Consequences will be of the Utmost Importance, nothing less than the greatest Distress, if not the Utter Ruin of the ministerial Navy in America. The Naval Stores in that Place are Said to be of vast Value, the Docks and Barracks and Yards cost the Nation more than one Million sterling, and is the only Place at which Shipps of War can refitt in America.
These Battalions Should consist of Ten Companies each of fifty privates in a Company. The Reason for this is, that in fitting out any Ship of War one of these Companies would compleatly man a Small Vessell and two of them make a large Proportion of Marines for the largest.
Should this Expedition succeed, which it most unavoidably will, if prudently managed, the Destruction of the Docks and Yards, and the Stores, which may be brought off,5 will be an immense affair, and a Retreat can ever be made with Safety.
But if a ship or two of Warr, should be taken, in the Harbour, of which you may be certain, and the Place by Reinforcements held, untill a force Superior can be brought from G. B. it will unavoidably destroy, and defeat every operation of our Enemy for the next Campaign, as all their Transport Ships may by a few Armed Vesells from { 145 } this Port be intercepted before they can have Intelligence to avoid them.
MS in JA's hand (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 345, filmed under date [ante 1 Dec. 1775].)
1. On 2 Nov. the congress took cognizance of a petition from the inhabitants of Passamaquoddy, Nova Scotia, who had chosen a committee of safety and asked for admission into “the association of the North Americans, for the preservation of their rights and liberties.” To determine what steps should be taken in response, the congress named a committee of five: Silas Deane, John Jay, Stephen Hopkins, John Langdon, and JA (JCC, 3:316). The Journals note that the committee's report was considered on 9 Nov. but give nothing of its substance. The next day the congress acted on the report by adopting three resolutions (same, 3:343–344, 348). It is possible, of course, that the proposals here printed were only JA's preliminary suggestions for a committee report; if so, they must have made their way into it, for some of the language appears in the congressional resolutions.
2. These first four paragraphs constitute the third resolution adopted by the congress, most of the wording being taken verbatim from JA's MS. There are three substantive differences: the congress ruled that the size of the battalions should be the same as others; it called for good seamen, omitting mention of service in the merchant marine; and it added that the two battalions should constitute part of the authorized strength of the Continental Army.
3. A light musket (OED).
4. This paragraph was the basis for the first resolution adopted by the congress, which again borrowed some of JA's phrasing. But the congress settled on two persons for the mission and listed several additional subjects for their inquiry: fortifications, docks, military stores, and the like. In short, the mission was to gather more than political information.
5. The second congressional resolution called for the seizure of military stores and the destruction of installations if Gen. Washington deemed such an expedition practicable. The congress tempered JA's enthusiasm with more caution than he felt, and it insisted upon seeing such an expedition as an integral part of a total effort. The congress preferred to leave the details of mounting an attack to the General's judgment.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0008

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hopkins, Stephen
Author: Gadsden, Christopher
Author: Deane, Silas
Author: Hewes, Joseph
Author: Continental Congress, Naval Committee
Recipient: Saltonstall, Dudley
Date: 1775-11-27

VII. Naval Committee to Dudley Saltonstall

[salute] Sir1

The Congress are now preparing two Ships and two Brigantines to be fitted out as soon as possible to cruise against our common enemy. They have thought of you as a proper person to take the command of one of those ships as Captain. If you enter into this service, which we take to be the service of your country, you will give us the earliest information and repair to Philadelphia as soon as your affairs will possibly admit, and bring with you as many officers and seamen as you can procure at New London and between that place and Philadelphia. Those who may not be able to come with you, leave proper persons to encourage and conduct along after you.
If money should be necessary for the performance of this service { 146 } { 147 } you may draw on Mr. Eleazur Miller Merchant in New York who has money in his hands for that purpose.
In a day or two after you receive this, you will receive by the Messrs. Mumfords2 the Conditions and encouragement offered to the Seamen. We are, Sir, Your humble servant

[salute] Signed by Order of Comme.

[signed] Step. Hopkins
[signed] Christ. Gadsden
[signed] John Adams
[signed] Joseph Hewes
[signed] Silas Deane
Facsim. of MS in unidentified hand ((Magazine of History, 29 [1926]: 242 [Extra No. 116]).)
1. Dudley Saltonstall (1738–1796) commanded the ship Alfred under Como. Esek Hopkins, with John Paul Jones as his first lieutenant (DAB).
2. One of these Mumfords was probably Thomas, of Groton and New London, an active whig (Charles R. Stark, Groton, Conn., 1705–1905, Stonington, Conn., 1922, passim).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0076-0009

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hopkins, Stephen
Author: Gadsden, Christopher
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Hewes, Joseph
Author: Langdon, John
Author: Deane, Silas
Author: Continental Congress, Naval Committee
DateRange: 1775-11 - 1775-12

VIII. Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies

ART. 1. The Commanders of all ships and vessels belonging to the THIRTEEN UNITED COLONIES, are strictly required to shew in themselves a good example of honor and virtue to their officers and men, and to be very vigilant in inspecting the behaviour of all such as are under them, and to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices; and also, such as are contrary to the rules of discipline and obedience, and to correct those who are guilty of the same, according to usage of the sea.2
ART. 2. The Commanders of the ships of the Thirteen United Colonies, are to take care that divine service be performed twice a day on board, and a sermon preached on Sundays, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent it.
ART. 3. If any shall be heard to swear, curse or blaspheme the name of God, the Captain is strictly enjoined to punish them for every offence, by causing them to wear a wooden collar or some other shameful badge of distinction, for so long a time as he shall judge proper: If he be a commissioned officer, he shall forfeit one shilling for each offence, and a warrant or inferior officer six pence: He who { 148 } is guilty of drunkenness (if a seaman) shall be put in irons until he is sober, but if an officer, he shall forfeit two days pay.
ART. 4. No Commander shall inflict any punishment upon a seaman beyond twelve lashes upon his bare back with a cat of nine tails; if the fault shall deserve a greater punishment, he is to apply to the Commander in Chief of the navy in order to the trying of him by a court martial, and in the mean time he may put him under confinement.
ART. 5. The Captain is never by his own authority to discharge a commission or warrant officer, nor to punish or strike him, but he may suspend or confine him; and when he comes in the way of a Commander in Chief, apply to him for holding a court-martial.
ART. 6. The officer who commands by accident of the Captain's absence (unless he be absent for a time by leave) shall not order any correction but confinement; and upon the Captain's return on board, he shall then give an account of his reasons for so doing.
ART. 7. The Captain is to cause the articles of war to be hung up in some public places of the ship, and read to the ship's company once a month.3
ART. 8. Whenever a Captain shall enlist a seaman, he shall take care to enter on his books the time and terms of his entering in order to his being justly paid.
ART. 9. The Captain shall before he sails make return to and leave with the Congress, or such person or persons as the Congress shall appoint for that purpose, a compleat list of all his officers and men, with the time and terms of their entering; and during his cruise, shall keep a true account of the desertion or death of any of them, and of the entering of others; and after his cruise, and before any of them are paid off, he shall make return of a compleat list of the same, including those who shall remain on board his ship.
ART. 10. The men shall (at their request) be furnished with slops that are necessary, by the Captain or Purser, who shall keep an account of the same; and the Captain in his return in the last mentioned article directed to be made, shall mention the amount delivered to each man in order to its being stopped out of his pay.4
ART. 11. As to the term inferior officers the Captain is to take notice, that the same does not include any commission or any warrant officer, except the second master, surgeons mates, cook, armourer, gun-smith, master at arms, and the sail-maker.
ART. 12. The Captain is to take care when any inferior officers or volunteer seamen are turned over into the ship under his command { 149 } from any other ship, not to take5 them on the ship's books in a worse quality or lower degree of station, than they served in the ship they were removed from; and for his guidance, he is to demand from the commander of the ship from which they are turned over, a list under his hand of their names and qualities.
ART. 13. Any officer, seaman or others entitled to wages or prize-money, may have the same paid to his assignee, provided the assignment be attested by the Captain or commander, the master or purser of the ship, or a chief magistrate of some county or corporation.
ART. 14. The Captain is to discourage the seamen of his ship from selling any part of their wages or shares, and never to attest the letter of attorney of any seaman until he is fully satisfied; the same is not granted in consideration of money given for the purchase of his wages or shares.
ART. 15. When any inferior officer or seaman dies, the Captain is forthwith to make out a ticket for the time of his service and send the same by the first safe conveyance to the Congress or agents by them for that purpose, appointed in order to the wages being forthwith paid to the executors or administrators of the deceased.6
ART. 16. A convenient place shall be set apart for sick or hurt men, to be removed with their hammocks and bedding when the surgeon shall advise the same to be necessary: and some of the crew shall be appointed to attend and serve them and to keep the place clean. The cooper shall make buckets with covers and cradles if necessary for their use.
ART. 17. All ships furnished with fishing tackle, being in such places where fish is to be had, the Captain is to employ some of the company in fishing, the fish to be distributed daily to such persons as are sick, or upon recovery, if the surgeons recommend it; and the surplus by turns amongst the messes of the officers and seamen without favour or partiality, and gratis, without any deduction of their allowance of provisions on that account.7
ART. 18. It is left to the discretion of the Commander of squadrons to shorten the allowance of provisions according to the exigence of the service, taking care that the men be punctually paid for the same. The like power is given to Captains of single ships in cases of absolute necessity.
ART. 19. If there shall be a want of pork, the Captain is to order three pounds of beef to be issued to the men in lieu of a two pound piece of pork.
ART. 20. One day in every week shall be issued out a proportion of { 150 } flour and suet in lieu of beef for the seamen; but this is not to extend beyond four months' victualling at one time, nor shall the purser receive any allowance for flour or suet kept longer on board than that time. And there shall be supplied once a year, a proportion of canvas for pudding bags, after the rate of one ell for every sixteen men.
ART. 21. If any ships of the Thirteen United Colonies shall happen to come into port in want of provisions, the warrant of a Commander in Chief shall be sufficient to the agent or other instrument of the victualling to supply the quantity wanted; and in urgent cases where delay may be hurtful, the warrant of the Captain of the ship shall be of equal effect.
ART. 22. The Captain is frequently to order the proper officer to inspect into the condition of the provisions, and if the bread proves damp to have it aired upon the quarter deck or poop, and also to examine the flesh cask; and if any of the pickle be leaked out, to have new made and put in and the cask made tight and secure.8
ART. 23. The Captain or purser shall secure the cloaths, bedding and other things of such persons as shall die or be killed, to be delivered to their executors or administrators.9
ART. 24. All papers, charter parties, bills of lading, pass-ports and other writings whatsoever, found on board any ship or ships which shall be taken shall be carefully preserved, and the originals sent to the court of justice for maratime affairs, appointed, or to be appointed by Congress for judging concerning such prize or prizes; and if any person or persons shall wilfully or negligently destroy, or suffer to be destroyed, any such paper or papers, he or they so offending, shall forfeit their share of such prize or prizes, and suffer such other punishment, as they shall be judged by a court-martial to deserve.10
ART. 25. If any person or persons shall embezzle, steal or take away any cables, anchors, sails, or any of the ship's furniture, or any of the powder or arms, or ammunition or provisions of any ship belonging to the Thirteen United Colonies, he or they shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial shall order.11
ART. 26. When in sight of a ship or ships of the enemy, and at such other times as may appear to make it necessary to prepare for an engagement, the Captain shall order all things in his ship in a proper posture for fight, and shall, in his own person, and according to his duty, heart on and encourage the inferior officers and men to fight courageously, and not to behave themselves feintly or cry for quarters on pain of such punishment as the offence shall appear to deserve for his neglect.12
{ 151 }
ART. 27. Any Captain or other officer, mariner or others, who shall basely desert their duty or station in the ship and run away while the enemy is in sight, or in time of action, or entice others to do so, shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial shall inflict.13
ART. 28. No person in or belonging to the ship shall utter any words of sedition and mutiny, nor endeavour to make any mutinous assemblies upon any pretence whatsoever upon such punishment as a court-martial shall inflict.
ART. 29. Any officer, seaman or marine, who shall begin to excite, cause, or join in any mutiny or sedition in the ship to which he belongs on any pretence whatsoever, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as a court-martial shall direct.14
ART. 30. None shall presume to quarrel with, or strike his superior officer, on pain of such punishment as a court-martial shall order to be inflicted.15
ART. 31. If any person shall apprehend he has just cause of complaint, he shall quietly and decently make the same known to his superior officer, or to the Captain, as the case may require, who will take care that justice be done him.16
ART. 32. There shall be no quarreling or fighting between ship mates on board any ship belonging to the Thirteen United Colonies, nor shall there be used any reproachful or provoking speeches tending to make quarrels and disturbance on pain of imprisonment, and such other punishment as a court-martial shall think proper to inflict.17
ART. 33. If any person shall sleep upon his watch, or negligently perform the duty which shall be enjoined him to do, or forsake his station, he shall suffer such punishment as a court-martial shall think proper to inflict, according to the nature of his offence.18
ART. 34. All murder shall be punished with death.
ART. 35. All robbery and theft shall be punished at the discretion of a court-martial.19
ART. 36. Any Master at Arms who shall refuse to receive such prisoner or prisoners as shall be committed to his charge, or having received them, shall suffer him or them to escape, or dismiss them without orders for so doing, shall suffer in his or their stead, as a court-martial shall order and direct.20
ART. 37. The Captain, officers and others, shall use their utmost endeavours to detect, apprehend and bring to punishment, all offenders, and shall at all times readily assist the officers appointed for that purpose in the discharge of their duty on pain of their being proceeded against, and punished by a court-martial at discretion.21
{ 152 }
ART. 38. All other faults, disorders and misdemeanors which shall be committed on board any ship belonging to the Thirteen United Colonies, and which are not herein mentioned, shall be punished according to the laws and customs in such cases used at sea.22
ART. 39. A court-martial shall consist of at least three Captains and three first Lieutenants, with three Captains and three first Lieutenants of marines, if there shall be so many of the marines then present, and the eldest Captain shall preside.23
ART. 40. All sea officers of the same denomination shall take rank of the officers of the marines.
ART. 41. Every Member of a court-martial shall take the following oath, viz. “You [] swear that you will well and truly try, and impartially determine the cause of the prisoner now to be tried according to the rules of the navy of the United Colonies; so help you God.” Which oath shall be administered by the President to the other members, and the President shall himself be sworn by the officer in said court next in rank.
ART. 42. All witnesses, before they may be admitted to give evidence, shall take the following oath, viz. “You swear, the evidence you shall give in the cause now in hearing, shall be the whole truth and nothing but the truth; so help you God.”
ART. 43. The sentence of a court-martial for any capital offence shall not be put in execution until it be confirmed by the Commander in Chief of the fleet; and it shall be the duty of the President of every court-martial to transmit to the Commander in Chief every sentence which shall be given, with a summary of the evidence and proceedings thereon by the first opportunity.24
ART. 44. The Commander in Chief of the fleet for the time being, shall have power to pardon and remit any sentence of death that shall be given in consequence of any of the afore mentioned articles.25
There shall be allowed to each man serving on board the ships in the service of the thirteen United Colonies, a daily proportion of provisions, according as is expressed in the following table,26 viz.
Sunday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips.
Monday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, 1/2 pint peas, and four oz. cheese.
Tuesday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips, and pudding.
Wednesday, 1 lb. bread, two oz. butter, four oz. cheese, and 1/2 pint of rice.
Thursday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, and 1/2 pint of peas.
{ 153 } | view
Friday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. beef, 1 lb. potatoes or turnips, and pudding.
Saturday, 1 lb. bread, 1 lb. pork, 1/2 pint peas, and four oz. cheese.
Half pint of rum per man every day, and discretionary allowance on extra duty, and in time of engagement.
A pint and half of vinegar for six men per week.
The pay of the officers and men shall be as follows:27
Captain or commander,   32     dollars,   Per Calendar month.  
Lieutenants,   20     do.    
Master,   20     do.    
Mates,   15     do.    
Boatswain,   15     do.    
Boatswain's first mate,   9   1/3   do.    
Ditto, second ditto,   8     do.    
Gunner,   15     do.    
Ditto mate,   10   2/3   do.    
Surgeon,   21   1/3   do.    
Surgeon's mate,   13   1/3   do.    
Carpenter,   15     do.    
Carpenter's mate,   10   2/3   do.    
Cooper,   15     do.    
Captain's or Commander's clerk,   15     do.    
Steward,   13   1/3   do.    
Chaplain,   20     do.    
Able seaman,   6   2/3   do.    
Captain of marines,   26   2/3   do.    
Lieutenants,   18     do.    
Serjeants,   8     do.    
Corporals,   7   1/3   do.    
Fifer,   7   1/3   do.    
Drummer,   7   1/3   do.    
Privates or marines,   6   2/3   do.28    
MS not found. Arts. 1–44 reprinted from (Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies of North-America, Phila., 1775, facsim. edn., Washington, 1944, with “Introductory Note” by Adm. Joseph Strauss); material after Art. 44 from (JCC, 3:383–384).
1. These rules were reported on 23 Nov. by the committee for fitting out armed vessels, later called the Naval Committee, which had been enlarged on 30 Oct. to include four additional members, among them JA. After its reading, the report was ordered “to lie on the table for the perusal of the members.” The congress considered the rules on 25 Nov. and approved them on the { 154 } 28th. The order to have them printed came on 30 Nov. (JCC, 3:293–294, 311–312, 364, 375, 378–387, 393). As will be explained in note 2, the rules before being printed were stylistically revised to facilitate their use, and they were in the hands of fleet officers by 8 Dec. (Strauss, “Introductory Note”).
2. About his role in drawing up these rules, JA wrote: “They were drawn up in the Marine Committee [that is, Naval Committee] and by my hand, but examined, discussed and corrected by the Committee” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:350). Nothing in the Journals specifically indicates that either the original committee or the enlarged one was to draft rules for the regulation of a navy, although rules undoubtedly were necessary for ships being fitted out by the congress. Worthington C. Ford, in citing an endorsement by Charles Thomson in a letter from Washington of 5 Oct., seems to have found some authorization for the committee's rule-making, but Ford misread the MS. The endorsement reads: “That part of this letter which relates to the capture of a vessel in N. Hampshire referred to the committee appointed to bring in regulations for priv[ateers].” Ford read the final word of the endorsement as “navy.” Although Washington's letter was read on 13 Oct., the part requesting “the determination of Congress as to the Property and disposal of such Vessels and Cargoes as are designed for the Supply of the Enemy and may fall into our Hands” received no action in subsequent days. In all likelihood, Thomson wrote his endorsement after a committee on disposal of prizes was established on 17 Nov., in response to a second letter from Washington urging that the congress give him guidance on prizes (JCC, 3: 293 and note 2, 357–358; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:11, 73).
The separately printed version of the rules, of which only one copy is known to be extant, that at Yale University, differs in several respects from the version in the Journals. Only the rules regulating the day-to-day conduct of officers and men were separately printed. The rules on rations and wages and the terms of the covenant which officers and men signed upon entering into service would not have been appropriate for a handbook meant to inform them of fixed duties and rights and of penalties for infractions of the rules. Probably for this reason also, the paragraphs were numbered for ease of reference, and some stylistic changes were made (see note 14, below), although the order to have the resolutions of the congress printed does not specifically authorize such alterations. The handbook was even provided with an enticing subtitle: “Established for Preserving their Rights and Defending their Liberties, and for Encouraging all those who Feel for their Country, to enter into its Service in that way in which they can be most Useful.”
One difference between the handbook and the Journals, however, needs another sort of explanation. Thomson's rough draft shows a change of wording in Art. 24 that was included in the transcribed or corrected Journals, but does not appear in the handbook. Obviously the change occurred after the articles went to the printer (PCC, No. 1, I, f. 248; No. 2, I, f. 130; note 10, below).
3. The first seven articles were taken virtually verbatim from Arts. I–VII under “Rules of Discipline and good Government to be observed on Board His Majesty's Ships of War” in Regulations and Instructions Relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea, eleven editions of which had been issued at London by 1772 (hereafter cited Regulations, page numbers being for the 11th edn.), p. 45–47. In these as in other articles that JA drew upon, all mention of British institutions or administrative bodies was of course omitted and the term “Thirteen United Colonies” or other such terms substituted.
4. Art. 10 was adapted from Art. II under “Instructions relating to the Execution of two Acts of Parliament . . .” in Regulations, p. 49. Slops were clothing and other necessities furnished to seamen out of the ship's stores (OED).
5. A printer's error. Both the rough and transcribed Journals have “rate” (PCC, No. 1, I, f. 246; No. 2, I, f. 128).
6. Arts, 11, 12, 14, and 15 are virtually verbatim from Arts. VII, X, XV, { 155 } and XVI under “Instructions relating to the Execution of two Acts of Parliament . . .” in Regulations, p. 50–54. Art. 11, however, does not list a school-master or a corporal, which are mentioned in the British regulation. The former was meant to teach navigation, arithmetic, and writing to young volunteers on British war vessels. The corporal was an assistant to the master-at-arms (Regulations, p. 136–137). In the British regulation comparable to Art. 14 no mention is made of shares. Indeed, the section on prizes makes no mention of anyone sharing in prize money (same, p. 89–91).
7. Art. 16 was based on Arts. I, II, and III, and Art. 17 is virtually verbatim from Art. IV under “Rules for the Cure of Sick or Hurt Seamen on board their own Ships” in Regulations, p. 55–56.
8. Arts. 18–22 are virtually verbatim from Arts. II, VI, VII, XII, and XVII under “Of the Provisions” in Regulations, p. 61, 63–65, 67. Art. 18, however, neglected to include the British stipulation that when rations had to be reduced, the purser was not to supply the officers full allowance of provisions, that all were “to be equal in Point of Victualling.”
9. The comparable British article provides that the effects of those dying or killed on board should be sold at auction, the proceeds to be given “Executors or Administrators of the Deceased” (Art. XI under “Of Slop-Cloaths” in Regulations, p. 75–76).
10. Except for the designation of the court which was to have jurisdiction, Art. 24 is a close paraphrase of Art. II, Sect. 7 under 22 Geo. II, ch. 33, passed in 1749 (Danby Pickering, The Statutes at Large, Cambridge, Eng., 1765, 19: 327 [cited hereafter Statutes]). Although the handbook mentions the congress as the power appointing a court for maritime affairs, the rough Journal has “Congress” stricken out and the phrase “the legislatures in the respective colonies” substituted (see note 2, above). Obviously the congress was not yet ready for a central court with this jurisdiction. In the fall of 1775 JA would have seen the original language as an important step toward unification.
11. The Statutes make no mention of theft of ship's equipment or arms, but condemn any sort of robbery. See note 19 (below).
12. Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 10, but the British provided the death penalty or other punishment by court martial for faintheartedness (Statutes, p. 328).
13. This provision on desertion was briefly paraphrased from Art. II, Sect. 16 (same, p. 329).
14. Arts. 28 and 29 on seditious speech and mutinous action were adapted from Art. II, Sect. 19 (same, p. 329–330), in which mutiny is mentioned before seditious speech in a single paragraph—just as in the Journal version (JCC, 3:381–382). The presumption is that this order was followed in the committee report and changed only when the paragraphs were numbered for printing. Separation into two articles gave greater emphasis to two kinds of conduct. The Americans, however, lumped together speech and attempting “to make any mutinous assemblies,” behavior which could incur a penalty of less than death. The British punished by death the making of a mutinous assembly, reserving a possible lesser punishment for words alone and failing to make a distinction between assembly and joining in a mutiny.
15. Briefly adapted from Art. II, Sect. 22 (Statutes, p. 330). The British penalty for striking or threatening with a weapon any officer was death.
16. Briefly adapted from Art. II, Sect. 21 (same), which mentions “complaint of the unwholesomeness of the victual, or upon other just ground.”
17. Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 23 (same).
18. Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 27 (same, p. 331), which mentions death as a possible penalty.
19. Arts. 34 and 35 are comparable to Art. II, Sects. 28 and 30, respectively, except that the British rules mention death as a possible penalty for robbery (same).
20. Adapted from the first part of Art. II, Sect. 32 (same), which, however, does not mention the guilty party's suffering in the place of the escaped or dismissed prisoner.
{ 156 }
21. Adapted from the second part of Art. II, Sect. 32 (same).
22. Adapted from Art. II, Sect. 36 (same, p. 332).
23. The British rules require from three to thirteen officers, three of them to be captains. No mention is made of marine officers (Arts. XII and XIV, same, p. 334).
24. Adapted from Art. XIX (same, p. 336), but the British made additional stipulations, particularly when the offense (except mutiny) took place within the “narrow seas,” that is, the English Channel and Irish Sea. Then approval of the death penalty had to come from the lord high admiral.
25. The pardon power for the British was the prerogative of the king. The British rules limit confinement to a maximum of two years and forbid the use of naval court martials for trying soldiers on transports (Arts. III and V, same, p. 332). But generally, the British code is harsher in that it makes the death penalty available for twenty-four offenses; the Americans specify death only for murder. The American rules make no mention of buggery (Art. II, Sect. 29, same, p. 331) nor of a number of other crimes listed in the British rules—spying, aiding the enemy, striking for arrears of wages, failing to protect convoys, wasting ammunition, sabotage of stores or equipment, negligent steering of ships, and several more.
26. Under “Of the Provisions,” Art. I in Regulations (p. 61) sets forth a table of rations which probably inspired the American table, but the latter provides for beef or pork on every day except Wednesday; the British on only four days. Where the British provided for beer (wine and spirituous liquors being substitutes), the Americans stipulated rum. The allowances for cheese are equal, but the British allowed 6 oz. of butter per week to the Americans' allowance of only 2.
27. For officers, rates of pay are difficult to compare, since the British had six different rates for each rank. Thus a British captain, depending upon his rate, could earn from 6s to £1 per day. At 6s per Spanish dollar, the American captain could earn slightly over 6s per day; but an American lieutenant would earn slightly less than 6s per day compared to a maximum of 5s for a British lieutenant. The British able seaman earned 24s per month compared to the American wage of 40s, later raised to 48s (JCC, 3:427). All comparisons must take into account that the British paid in sterling, the Americans in lawful money, which overvalued silver by over one-fourth (Regulations, p. 146–149).
28. In JCC, 3:384–387, the section on pay is followed by “Orders of Congress,” which consists of a covenant of seven parts entered into between the ship's commander, representing the United Colonies, and the officers and men. The latter promised to do their duty and abide by the rules, and in return were assured of pay according to schedule and a fair share of prizes, those disabled having first claim on prize money. It is not clear whether the covenant was part of the Naval Committee's report. In any case, the covenant is omitted here, for it has no apparent relation to the British regulations.

IX. Committee Assignments

14 September – 4 December 1775

  • 14 September. Eliphalet Dyer, Thomas Lynch, John Jay, JA, Francis Lewis (JCC, 2:250).A standing committee to devise ways and means for supplying the Continental Army with medicines. This committee left only scattered evidence of its activities and is treated here through August 1776. JA may not have been an active member for this entire period. { 157 } Thomas Heyward Jr. and Lyman Hall added to the committee: 18 June 1776 (JCC, 5:463).Reported on memorial from Dr. John Morgan and report tabled: 12 July; Dft in PCC (same, 5:460–461, 556; PCC, No. 19, IV, f. 181–184).Resolutions adopted: 17 July (JCC, 5:568–571).Benjamin Rush added to the committee: 7 Aug. (same, 5:636).Reported on petition of Dr. Samuel Stringer and resolutions adopted: 20 Aug.; Dft not found (same, 5:661, 673).Reported on petition of Dr. James McHenry and resolutions adopted: 26 Aug.; Dft not found (same, 5:698, 705).See also, for other references to the committee, JCC, 3:261, 344; 5:528, 622, 633.
  • 25 September. Thomas Lynch, Richard Henry Lee, JA (JCC, 3:261).To prepare an answer to letters from George Washington of 4 and 31 Aug. 1775.Reported and report agreed to: 26 Sept.; Dft not found (same, 3:263; see John Hancock to George Washington, 26 Sept. 1775, LbC in PCC, No. 12A, I, f. 3–6).
  • 9 October.JA, John Rutledge, Samuel Chase, Robert R. Livingston, Silas Deane (JCC, 3:284–285).To prepare an answer to letters and enclosures from Philip Schuyler of 19 and 29 Sept.Reported and report tabled: 10 Oct.; Dft not found (same, 3:287).Report agreed to: 11 Oct. (same, 3:288; see John Hancock to Philip Schuyler, 11 Oct. 1775, LbC in PCC, No. 12A, I, f. 13–16).
  • 13 October. John Rutledge, Samuel Adams, JA, Samuel Ward, Richard Henry Lee (JCC, 3:294).To consider memorials from New York and Philadelphia merchants on tea imported before 1 March 1775.Reported and report postponed: 18 Oct., 13 Nov., 25 Nov.; Dft not found (same, 3:298, 353, 370).Report rejected: 28 Nov. (same, 3:388–389).
  • 2 November. Thomas Lynch, John Jay, Richard Henry Lee, Silas Deane, JA (JCC, 3:317).To draw up instructions for the committee to confer with Philip Schuyler.Letter from Philip Schuyler of 21 Oct. with enclosures referred to the committee: 4 Nov. (same, 3:320).Report agreed to and instructions printed: 8 Nov.; Dft not found (same, 3:339–341).
  • 17 November. George Wythe, Edward Rutledge, JA, William Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, Thomas Johnson (JCC, 3:357–358).To consider the portion of George Washington's letter of 8 Nov. relating to the disposal of captured ships and goods.Reported and report tabled: 23 Nov.; Dft not found (same, 3:364–365). { 158 } Report debated and deferred: 24 Nov. (same, 3:368–369).Resolutions adopted: 25 Nov. (same, 3:371–375).Reported again, modifying second resolution of 25 Nov., after JA had left congress: 19 Dec. (same, 3:437).Additional duties assigned, 25 Nov.: to consider the portion of George Washington's letter of 11 Nov. concerning a vessel captured by inhabitants of New Hampshire (same, 3:375).Report not found.
  • 4 December.JA, Thomas Cushing, Thomas McKean (JCC, 3:406).To inquire into the facts which caused congress to give permission, on 2 Dec., to Capt. Thomas Jenkins to supply Nantucket.Reported and report read: 8 Dec.; Dft not found (same, 3:415).Resolutions adopted: 11 Dec. (same, 3:421–422).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-09-17

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

I have nothing in particular to write. Our most gracious K—— has given a fresh Proof of his Clemency, in his Answer to the City.1 But no more of Politicks, at present—if this Scratch of a Pen should fall into the Hands of the wiseacre Gage, as long as I confine myself, to Matrimony, and Horsemanship, there will be no Danger.
Be it known to you then that two of the most unlikely Things, within the whole Compass of Possibility, have really, and actually happened. The first is the suden Marriage of our President, whose agreable Lady honours us with her Presence and contributes much to our good Humour, as well as to the Happiness of the President.2 So much for that.
The next Thing is more wonderfull still.
You know the Aversion, which your Secretary,3 has ever entertained to riding, on Horseback. He never would be perswaded to mount a Horse. The last time we were here, I often laboured to perswade him, for the Sake of his Health, but in vain.
Soon after We sat out, on the last Journey, I reflected that some Degree of Skill and Dexterity in Horsemanship, was necessary to the Character of a Statesman. It would take more Time and Paper than I have to Spare, to shew the Utility of Horsemanship to a Politician; so I shall take this for granted. But I pointed out the particulars to him, and likewise shewed him that Sociability would be greatly promoted, by his mounting one of my Horses.
On Saturday the second day of September 1775, in the Town of Grafton He was prevailed on to put my servant with his, into Harrisons { 159 } Chaise and to mount upon my Horse, a very genteel, and easy little Creature.
We were all disappointed and Surprized, instead of the Taylor riding to Brentford4 We beheld, an easy, genteel Figure, upon the Horse, and a good deal of Spirit and facility, in the Management of the Horse, insomuch that We soon found our Servants were making Some disagreable Comparisons, and Since our Arrival here I am told that Fessenden (impudent Scoundrel!) reports that the Secretary rides fifty per Cent better than your Correspondent.
In this manner, We rode to Woodstock, where we put up for the Sabbath. It was Soon observed that the Secretary, could not Sit So erect in his Chair as he had Sat upon his Horse, but Seemed to be neither sensible of the Disease or the Remedy. I Soon perceived and apprised him of both. On Sunday Evening, at Mr. Dexters,5 where we drank Coffee and Spent an agreable Evening I perswaded him to purchase, two yards of flannell which we carried to our Landlady, who, with the assistance of a Taylor Woman in the House, made up a Pair of Drawers, which the next Morning were put on, and not only defended the Secretary from any further Injury, but entirely healed the little Breach which had been begun.
Still an Imperfection, remained. Our Secretary had not yet learned to mount and dismount—two Servants were necessary to attend upon these occasions, one to hold the Bridle and Stirrup, the other to boost the Secretary. This was rather a ridiculous Circumstance Still. At last, I undertook to instruct him the necessary Art of mounting. I had my Education to this Art, under Bates, the celebrated Equerry, and therefore might be Supposed to be a Master of it. I taught him, to grasp the Bridle, with his Right Hand over the Pummell of his Saddle, to place his left Foot firm in the Stirrup; to twist his left Hand into the Horses Main, about half Way between his Ears and his Shoulders, and then a vigorous Exertion of his Strength would carry him very gracefully into the Seat, without the least Danger of falling over on [the ot] her Side. The Experiment was tryed and Succeeded to Admiration.
Thus equipped and instructed, our Horseman rode all the Way from Woodstock to Philadelphia, sometimes upon one of my Horses, Sometimes on the other. And Acquired fresh Strength, Courage, Activity and Spirit every day. His Health is much improved by it, and I value myself, very much upon the Merit of having probably added Several years, to a Life So important to his Country, by the little Pains I took to perswade him to mount and teach him to ride.6
{ 160 }
Sully and Cecil were both Horsemen, and you know I would not have our American, inferiour to them in the Smallest Accomplishment.
Pray Mrs. Warren to write to me. I would to her, if I had half so much Time.7
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Massachusetts Bay and Paymaster General to the American Army Watertown favd by Mr. Andw. Cabot”; docketed: “Mr. J. A Lettr Sepr. 1775.”
1. On 16 July the King rejected the demands contained in an “Address, Petition, and Remonstrance” adopted by the City of London on 24 June that called upon him to dismiss his present ministers and end the despotic war against the American colonies. George III replied: “I am always ready to listen to the dutiful Petitions of my Subjects, and ever happy to comply with their reasonable Requests, but while the Constitutional Authority of this Kingdom is openly Resisted by a part of my American Subjects, I owe it to the rest of my People of whose Zeal and Fidelity I have had such constant Proofs, to continue and enforce those Measures by which alone their Rights and Interests can be asserted and maintained” (Boston Gazette, 18, 25 Sept.). Such a reply supported JA's view that there was little to be gained by attempts at conciliation and clearly foreshadowed the fate of the Olive Branch Petition.
2. John Hancock, president of the congress, married Dorothy Quincy at Fairfield, Conn., on 28 Aug. (same, 11 Sept.).
3. Samuel Adams.
4. “Taylor Riding to Brentford” was the title of a well-known puppet show (Alice Morse Earle, Customs and Fashions in Old New England, N.Y., 1893, p. 246).
5. Samuel Dexter of Woodstock Hill, former Massachusetts legislator, moved to Connecticut in 1775 (Clarence Winthrop Bowen, The History of Wood-stock, Connecticut, Norwood, Mass., 1926, 179–181).
6. Samuel Adams wrote to Elbridge Gerry: “I arrived in this city on the 12th instant, having rode full three hundred miles on horseback, an exercise which I have not used for many years past. I think it has contributed to the establishment of my health, for which I am obliged to my friend Mr. John Adams, who kindly offered me one of his horses the day after we sat off from Watertown” (26 Sept., Samuel Adams, Writings, 3:226).
7. This letter and JA's to Mercy Otis Warren of 26 Aug. (above) suggest that JA's absence from Philadelphia had really refreshed his spirit and allowed some of his old playfulness to reappear, however briefly.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0078

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-09-19

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I have but a moments Time to write and nothing of Importance to say.
Mr. Randolph, our former President is here, and Sits very humbly in his Seat, while our new one, continues in the Chair, without Seeming to feel the Impropriety.1 Coll. Nelson, a Hunter, Mr. Wythe, a Lawyer and Mr. Francis Lightfoot Lee, a Planter, are here from Virginia, instead of Henry, Pendleton and Bland. Henry is General { 161 } of Virginia. The other two are old and infirm. I am well pleased that Virginia, has Set the Example of changing Members, and I hope that Massachusetts will follow it, and all the other Colonies.
I Should be glad upon a new Election to be relieved from this Service. This Climate does not agree with my Constitution, so well as our own: and I am not very well fortified you know against the Inclemencies of any.
This Congress, I assure you, feels the Spirit of War, more intimately than they did before the Adjournment. They set about Preparations for it, with Seriousness, and in Earnest.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J. A Lettr Sepr 1775.”
1. In JA's eyes, Hancock's tenure as president was temporary in that he had been elected to fill the vacancy Peyton Randolph made by returning to Virginia to preside as speaker over a session of the House of Burgesses a few days after his re-election in May as president of the Continental Congress. JA's criticism of Hancock suggests the hostility that had grown up between them (JCC, 2:12, 58–59; Adams Family Correspondence, 1:323).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0079

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-19

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I had fixed a determination in my own mind to omitt no Oppertunity of writeing either to you, or my Friend Mr. S. Adams, but I have Indeed so little to say at this time, that I should have thought it hardly worth while to trouble you with a Letter had it not been to Inclose one from Mrs. Adams,1 who with the Children I had the pleasure Yesterday to hear were recovered. I have been much Concerned about them. I presume the Inclosed will give you the State of the Family, and make it Unnecessary for me to Add more. I have been here ever since you left us, without once hearing from you. I wrote to you a week ago, and took pains to Collect every thing I could think of as News foreign or Domestic. Your Intelligence from Abroad is so much better than ours at this Time that I Expect no Success in handing you our foreign News, and of the domestic kind we have very little. We suffer Extreamly for want of it when we meet in the Street. We have not a word more to say than to Enquire after each others Health, or make on Observation on the weather. These are Circumstances so different from what we have been used to, that we are quite out of our Element. Scarcely any one thing has happened since my last worthy of your Notice. We have frequent desertions to us, seldom two Nights without an Instance of that kind. The Night before last were four or five Sailors, by the best accounts given by Gentlemen out of Town. { 162 } The Soldiery are dispirited, by their Confinement, their want of Supplies, and above all by their vast fatigue. They Live in Continual Horror of being Attacked. Their Guards are therefore large, and must be Numerous from the Extensiveness of their works. It is supposed that frequent Shews of Attacking them would soon wear them out. I mentioned this at Head Quarters Yesterday. I hope they will take that Method to harrass them. A Servant of Genl. Howe! deserted about 10 days ago. I heard him tell the General that his Master Constantly set up till one O Clock, and then slept till Morning in his Boots and Cloaths. They seem to be makeing but little preparation for winter. It was reported that they were pulling down the Houses from the Hay-market to the Fortification in order to Erect works to retreat to if they could not hold those they now have.2 They really have begun to pull down the Houses, but it is generally thought to be only for fuel of which they are in great want, and they Choose that place as the Clearing it would be most Convenient for new works if they should have Occasion for more. We have had scarce a Gun fired for 10 days before Sunday Morning when A Number of the Rebels Appearing without their works on Boston Neck, our People fired four Cannon on them which, drove them in, killed two, and wounded five of their Men as we have learned by deserters.3 They returned a smart Fire without any Success, and Yesterday again Roxbury Side had a very heavy Canonade with as little, only one officer very slightly wounded. This is indeed very remarkable as our People Expose themselves without reserve haveing been so Enured to Shott, and shells that do no Execution that they totally disregard them. Cobble Hill is to be possessed and fortified this or Tomorrow Night. Putnam is to be gratified with the Command.4 This must Open a warm Sceen, and will furnish us Abundantly with the Musick of Cannon, and Topicks of Conversation. The Constant Expectation I have had of receiving the Money from Philadelphia has Confined me to this place, Contrary to both my Inclinations and Interest, supposeing it would not do to be Absent when it came. It is not yet arrived. This delay is Astonishing, and I fear will Cause irreperable Injuries to the Army. The Soldiers that are not paid for the Month of August are very Uneasy. The General Can't fulfill his promise to them. The Quarter Master Genl. and Commissary Genl. are both out of money. Their Credit suffering, and their provisions for the Army at a stand, and this at a time when the Season is Approaching that Transportation from distant places will be difficult. Do Apologize to my Friend Adams for my not writeing to him. It is really Oweing to the poverty of the Times. I had no Subject { 163 } without I had entered on Metaphysicks, Mathematics or some subjects foreign from Politics or News which alone Engage my Attention. I will however write him soon, Subject or no Subject. The Councill Adjourned for a week. The Assembly meets tomorrow. Whenever any thing Occurs you shall hear it, and shall on my part be glad to hear of your doings. I want to hear of high Spirited Measures. It is in my Opinion ridiculous to hesitate now, about takeing up Crown officers, and fifty other things.
You won't loose sight of powder, and Money. I wish You Health and every Happiness, and am with Great Sincerity your Friend.
Compliments to all Friends. I forgot to tell you that they are Exerciseing their Wit, and diverting themselves in Boston by versifying the Letters taken from Hitchburne as I hear. I have not been Able to get Sight of it.5
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Sept. 19, 1775 Warren.”
1. Probably AA's letter of 16 [i.e. 17] Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:278–280).
2. Such a line would have protected the harbor, particularly the Long Wharf area, and thus supply lines and escape routes.
3. Reported in the Boston Gazette, 25 Sept.
4. Actually Putnam did not fortify this hill until November (Frothingham, Siege of Boston, p. 268.)
5. Almost certainly a broadside entitled A Paraphrase on the Second Epistle of John, the Round-Head, to James, Prolocutor of the Rump-Parliament, in a Liberal Manner; wherein the True Spirit of the Writer Is Preserved (Evans Supplement, No. 42918). Misdated 25 July and probably taken from the intercepted letter as it appeared in the Massachusetts Gazette, the letter in the broadside took the form of a series of sentences and paragraphs, ten in all, taken in order from the original and labeled “verses.” After each piece of text or verse, the satirist contributed a “paraphrase” or unflattering explication.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0080

Author: Quincy, Josiah
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-22

From Josiah Quincy

[salute] Dear Sir

Under my adverse Circumstances, I stood, and still stand in great Need of your Advice; and am therefore, very sorry I had not an Opportunity to converse with you, before your Return to the Congress.
Your kind Letter of July 29th is now before me. Were my Abilities equal to my Inclination, you would be amply assisted, in giving Birth to a Revolution, which, I think with you, “seems to be in the Womb of Providence as important as any that has happened in the Affairs of Mankind.”
Agreable to the Old Man's Sentiments, in this enclosed Paper, “the Sword and not the Quill is now to decide the Controversy;”1 Nothing therefore, could revive my desponding Hopes more, than the assurance { 164 } you give me, of a sufficient Plenty of Powder against another Year, and of our own make.
In my former Letter2 I said, that “the Harbor might be blocked up; and both Seamen and Soldiers made Prisoners at Discretion;” which seems to you incredible. Please, to read at your Leasure this following Explanation. There are but two Channels, through which Ships of Burthen can pass to and from Boston. One of them runs between the west Head of Long Island, and the Moon, (so called) and is about a Mile across. This Channel is too shallow for any Ship of War above 20 Guns. The other runs between the east Head of Long Island, and the south Point of Dear Island; and is about a Mile and half from Side to Side. This, the only Channel through which capital Ships can pass, leads (outward bound) through the Narrows (so called) between Gallop's Island and Lovel's Island; where the Channel is not wider than the Length of a 50 Gun Ship. In the opening between Gallops Island and George's Island is Nantasket Road; where, one, is always, and at present, five Men of War are stationed, to gaurd the Narrows from being stop'd up.
Upon the foregoing Facts, I thus reason:
The Moon Island communicates with Squantum Neck, at low Water, almost dryshod. A defensible Fort, therefore, upon Squantum, may be so placed, as to secure a Retreat not only from the Moon, but from Squantum to the Main. One upon the east Head of the Moon, and another, if found necessary, upon the west Head of Long Island, secures the Passage between, and covers a Retreat from the Latter to the Former. Another upon the Summit in the middle of Long Island covers the Shore on each Side, so, as that no Force can land without being greatly anoyed, if not entirely prevented. Another strong Battery from 20 to 40 peices of heavy Cannon at the east Head of Long Island, commands, not only the Ship Channel, but the Narrows, and Nantasket Road, so that no Ship can remain there with Safety; and consequently, by sinking Hulks in the Narrows we might prevent any Ship of Force from going out or coming in. If the Passage thro' the Narrows is not stop'd, I am sensible, a Ship with a fresh Gale of Wind, and flood or Ebb Tide, which is rapid between Long Island and Deer Island, might run through without any great Hazard; but, after the east Head of Long Island is fortified, I can foresee Nothing to hinder, the Narrows being reduced to such a Draught of Water, as that, no Vessel of any considerable Force, can pass through there. This, being effected; as I said above, both Seamen and Soldiers, if they dont escape, by a timely Flight, must become Prisoners at Discretion.
{ 165 } { 166 }
I have been told, there is in one of the English Magazines, an accurate Draft of the Harbor.3 If you can procure it, upon Examination, you may determin, the Distance and Depth of Water between the Islands aforesaid with Precision; and consequently, whether such a Scheme is practicable or not.
I have thought, and said from the Beginning, that Row Gallies must be our first mode of Defence by Sea; it gives me therefore, Pleasure to hear, our worthy Friend Doctor F——n is employed in constructing some for the City of Philadelphia. I wish I had the same Employment here, for I am very sure, twenty of them, under proper Direction, would have taken or destroyed all those Cruisers and Cutters, that have infested, and done so much Damage, in, the Vineyard and Long Island Sounds in the Course of the Summer past; besides, being a safe Convoy to our Provision Vessels. When I first proposed the Scheme to our Committee of Safety, it was objected, that, we had no Body skilled in the Construction of them. Afterwards I heard of a Ship Carpenter, just escaped from Boston, who had been several Years a Prisoner in a Turkish Row Galley, and had formed a compleat three feet Model of one. It was then objected, that, heavy Cannon, and Powder were wanting. An insuperable Objection, most certainly; which I hope will soon be removed.
Several Vessels have lately arrived in Boston from England; but the News they bring is industriously secreted. The sullen Silence, and dejected Countenances of the Officers, give Rise to various Conjectures. God grant the Truth may be a Dissolution of a venal P——t, a disbanded Army, and an Order for the Ships and Troops here to return imediately Home.
A few Days since, I received a Letter from my Daughter in Norwich,4 in which is the following Passage: “I have just heard that the Ship in which Mr. —— sailed is arrived in England after 28 Days Passage. I have the Pleasure to hear that there is like to be an Accommodation between Great B—— and America, and that speedily.” By the same Conveyance I received the Resolves Petition and Remonstrance of the City of London to their Sovereign. If such a Spirit of Resentment animates that powerfull Corporation upon the first News of Hostilities, what must be their Indignation, when they come to hear all the Circumstances, that have attended, and disgraced the British Arms, both by Sea and Land! Must not such accumulated Disasters, like so many Flashes of Lightning and Peals of Thunder, penetrate the Hearts of a bloodthirsty Scotch Faction with Dispair of ever enslaving Americans, who have fought with such Valor and Intrepedity as must { 167 } exclude all Hope of Success in any future Attempt! Where will those Sons of Violence, H——n, S——l,5 and others of the same Complection, hide their guilty Heads, when called to answer, for the insidious Arts they have been practicing, against their native Country; to the Ruin and Distruction, of countless Numbers of their industrious Fellow Citizens, whose Worth compared with theirs, is as Diamonds to pebble Stones! When I contemplate the Conduct of such infamous Parricides, my Nerves are braced, my Hand feels the Impulse of my Heart, is ready to drop the Pen and grasp the Sword of Vengeance! I feel my Self young again, and long to exterpate them, and the Memory of them from the Face of the Earth!

“Is there no hidden Thunder, in the Stores of Heav'n,

Red with uncommon Wrath, to blast the men,

Who owe their Greatness, to their Countrys Ruin?”6

Oh! that kindred Flame, has ere this, inspired the Breast of every true Briton; and their s——d S——n7 made to feel, what it is to alienate the Affections of the greatest Part of his Subjects, to gratifie the insatiable Avarice and Ambition, of those treacherous Sycophants, who wish to see him dethroned; and his royal Diadem encircling the Head of a Caledonian Exile.8 Must the Trappings of a M——h and his Minions, which wou'd maintain a Commonwealth be provided for at such an immense Expence of Blood and Treasure? Forbid it Heaven! Shall not the virtuous Part of Mankind, finally prevail over the vicious, notwithstanding the Numbers of the Latter and the Scarcity of the Former? They certainly will, if upon every Occasion, the Spirit of Party is sacrificed, to Unanimity and Perseverance. But whither does my Zeal transport Me? I forget, I am transmitting Sentiments to One, who anticipates all, and more than all I have said or can say upon such interesting Subjects. I beg Leave, therefore, to conclude, with my ardent Wishes, that, the Success of your Endeavors to restore Peace and Tranquility; the genuine Offspring of Order and good Government, may be equal to your distinguished Abilities! And that you and yours, may live long to enjoy the happy Fruits of your patriotic Exertions; however infinite Wisdom may see fit to dispose of Your affectionate and faithfull humble Servant,
P.S. Your good Lady is so well recovered of her tedious Indisposition, as to favour us with a short Visit with your amiable Daughter last Monday.
Be so good as to present my Affectionate Regards to good Doctor F——n; and tell him I have wrote three long Letters to him to { 168 } London, and one since his Arrival at Philadelphia; but, having received no Answer fear they all miscarried.
Please to present my Compliments of Congratulations to Colo. Hancock and his Lady to whom I wish mutual and lasting Happiness.
RC (Adams Papers); with enclosure, for which see note 1.
1. From an enclosure, a letter printed in the New England Chronicle, 24 Aug., and signed “An OLD MAN, from my cottage near Boston.” Probably written by Josiah Quincy himself, it dealt with the exchange of letters between Gen. Burgoyne and Gen. Charles Lee that occurred in July.
2. Of 11 July (above).
3. Probably “A Plan of the Town and Chart of the Harbour of Boston, Exhibiting a View of the Islands, Castle Forts, and Entrances into the Said Harbour,” which originally appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine for Jan. 1775 (vol. 45: facing p. 41). This map is reprinted in reduced size in Adams Family Correspondence, 1: following p. 240, No. 9. JA refers to the map in a letter to James Warren, 8 Oct. (below).
4. Abigail Phillips Quincy, widow of Josiah Quincy Jr. (Josiah Quincy, Josiah Quincy, Jr., p. 288–289). She may be referring to the arrival in London on 14 Aug. of Richard Penn, who carried the Olive Branch Petition from the congress.
5. Thomas Hutchinson and Jonathan Sewall.
6. Written in the margin and its place in the text indicated by an asterisk, this is a quotation with slight modifications from Addison, Cato, Act I, scene i.
7. Sacred sovereign.
8. The Young Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James II.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0081

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-09-26

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

This Afternoon, and not before I received a Line from the excellent Marcia,1 which [is] the first and only Letter I have received from the Family to which She belongs Since I left Watertown. Be pleased to thank her for this Favour, and to let her know that She must certainly have misinterpretted Some Passage in my Letter Since I never thought either Politicks or War, or any other Art or Science beyond the Line of her Sex: on the contrary I have ever been convinced that Politicks and War, have in every age, been influenced, and in many, guided and controuled by her Sex. Sometimes it is to be feared by the unworthy Part of it: but at others, it must be confessed by the amiable and the good. But, if I were of opinion that it was best for a general Rule that the fair should be excused from the arduous Cares of War and State; I should certainly think that Marcia and Portia, ought to be Exceptions, because I have ever ascribed to those Ladies, a Share and no small one neither, in the Conduct of our American Affairs.
I have nothing new to communicate. Every Thing, has been done, and is now doing, to procure the Unum Necessarium:2 I wish I could give you a more agreable account of the Salt Petre Works in this City. { 169 } I fear they have chosen injudiciously a Place for their Vatts, Vaults and Buildings, a low marshy Place which was lately overflowed by the Storm. Still We have Sanguine Accounts of the Skill and Success of some operators.
Coll. Dyer3 produces a Sample of excellent Salt Petre, made by two De Witts, one of Norwich the other of Windham, and he is confident that they can and will make large Quantities. Coll. Harrison of Virginia,4 whose Taste in Madeira, I know, and in Girls I believe, and in Salt Petre I hope to be much Superiour to his Judgment in Men, is very confident that they are making large Quantities from Tobacco House Earth, in his Colony.
We are hourly expecting Intelligence from Canada, as well as Massachusetts, and from London.
My dear sir, Let me intreat you to do every Thing in your Power to get ready the Accounts of all that our Province has done and expended in the Common Cause, for which they expect or hope to be reimbursed by the United Colonies. It has ever appeared to me a Thing of much Importance, that We should be furnished with these Accounts as soon as possible. From present appearances, our session will not be long, and if We should not be furnished with the Necessary Papers, very soon, We shall not be able to obtain any Reimbursement this Fall: and the next Spring We may be involved in so many Dangers, as well as new Expences as to render our Chance for obtaining Justice, more precarious. You know that your Delegates have been here, almost the whole Time since the Commencement of Hostilities, and therefore can say nothing of their own Knowledge concerning your Exertions or Expences, but must depend altogether upon Information from the General Court.
This is really a Strong Reason for a Change in the Delegation. We have been absent so long from our native Country as to be a Kind of Aliens and strangers there. If it is good Policy to reelect one of the old Delegates, because he is personally knowing to what has passed here; it is equally good Policy to elect Some new ones, because they are Witnesses of what has passed with you. For my own Part, as my political Existence terminates with the Year, I Sincerely wish to be excused in the next Election. I long to be a little with you in the General Court, that I may see and hear, and feel with my Countrymen. And I ardently wish to be a little with my Family, and to attend a little to my private Affairs. To be frank and candid to a Friend, I begin to feel for my Family, to leave all the Burthen of my private Cares, at a Time when my affairs are in so much Perplexity, to an { 170 } excellent Partner, gives me Pain for her. To leave the Education of a young Family, entirely to her, altho I know not where it could be better lodged, gives me much Concern for her and them.
I have very little Property, you very well know, which I have not earned myself, by an obstinate Industry, in opposition to the Malice of a very infirm Constitution, in Conjunction with the more pernicious Malice of Ministerial and gubernatorial Enemies. Of the little Acquisition's I have made, five hundred Pounds sterling is sunk in Boston in a Real Estate, four hundred sterling more is compleatly annihilated in a Library5 that is now wholly useless to me and mine, and at least four hundred sterling more, is wholly lost to me, in Notes and Bonds not one farthing of the Principal or Interest of which, can I obtain, and the Signers are dying, breaking, flying every day.
It is now compleatly two years since my Business has been totally ruined by the public Confusions. I might modestly estimate the Profit of my Business before this Period at three hundred sterling a Year, perhaps more. I think therefore I may fairly estimate myself a sufferer immediately, to the amount of two Thousand Pounds sterling. I have purchased Lands, which these Causes have prevented me from paying for, and the Interest is running on without a Possibility of my paying it, and I am obliged to hire Labour yearly upon my Farm to no Small amount.
In the mean Time, all that has been granted me by the general Court for the sessions of this Congress last Fall and this Spring has not defreyed my necessary Expences, however strange it may appear.
The Conclusion from all this is, that I am rushing rapidly into Perplexities and Distresses in my private Affairs from which I can never extricate myself. By retreating from public Life, in some Measure I might, preserve myself and Family from a Ruin, which without it will be inevitable. I am willing to sink with my Country, but it ought not to be insisted on that I Should Sink myself without any Prospect of contributing by that Means to make it Swim. I have taken my Trick at Helm, when it was not easy to get Navigators who would run the Risque of the storm. At present the Course is plain whatever the Weather may be, and the prospect of that is much better than it was when I was called to assist in steering the ship.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J. A Lettr Sepr. 1775.”
1. Mercy Otis Warren to JA, 4 Sept. (above).
2. The “one necessity,” that is, gunpowder.
3. Eliphalet Dyer (1721–1807), delegate to the congress from Connecticut (DAB).
4. Benjamin Harrison (1726?–1791), { 171 } delegate to the congress (DAB).
5. JA's library, given to the town of Quincy in 1822, is now housed in the Boston Public Library.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0082

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-09-26

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Madam

Your Favour, by my Friend Collins,1 never reached me till this Evening. At Newport, concluding to go by Water, he put it into the Post office, least it Should meet with a Fate as unfortunate as Some others. I call them unfortunate after the manner of Men for, altho they went into Hands which were never thought of by the Writer, and notwithstanding all the unmeaning Noise that has been made about them, they have done a great deal of good. Providence intended them for Instruments to promote valuable Purposes, altho the Writer of them, thought so little of them that he never could have recollected one Word in them, if they had been lost. The most that I care about them, is the indecent Exposure of the Name of a Lady,2 who cannot be put to Pain, without giving me Uneasiness by Sympathy.
I boasted, Madam, of my Happiness, in my last to you, because I knew you could excuse the appearance of Vanity, and because I knew very well that the Person who so deservedly holds the first Place in your Heart, could say by Experience, that an Happiness so perfect was not merely ideal.
I am much obliged to you, for your kind Information concerning the Health of a Lady whom I esteem so highly. I presume her Indisposition has been the Cause why I have not heard from her before. I rejoice to hear she is better. I Hope, my invariable Friend, is better and that I shall receive a long Letter from him, Soon. My best Wishes attend him, as well as all His.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed twice in two different unknown hands: “Hon: Jno Adams Septr 26th 1775” and “J Adams Esqr Septr 1775 Philadelphia.”
1. That of 4 Sept. (above).
2. In the original an asterisk is inserted here to go with a note at the bottom of the page written in the hand of Mrs. Warren: “The intercepted letter alluded to was to Mrs. Adams. It was Caryed into New York and some little things said which would naturally be unpleasant both to herself and Mr. Adams.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-09-28

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

I write at this Time, only to remind you that I have received no Letters.
{ 172 }
Let me intreat the earliest Attention of our Houses, to the Accounts and Vouchers of our Province. Accounts must be exact and Vouchers genuine, or We shall suffer. The whole Attention of every Member of both Houses, would be not improfitably employed upon this subject untill it is finished.
The Accounts, I mean are of Ammunition, such as Powder, Ball, Cartridges—Artillery, Cannon Field Pieces, Carriages—Camp Equipage, Cantins, Kettles, Spoons &c Tents, Canvas &c &c &c.
Provisions, Bread, Meat, Meal, Peas, every Thing in short. In fine it is idle for me to enter to detail. The Pay and Cloathing of the Troops &c &c.
But I must entreat, to have these Accounts and Vouchers. I do beseech that it may be remembered that I was importunate, on this Head with several Gentlemen, when I was with you.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J.: Adams Lettr. Septr 28th. 1775.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0084

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-09-30

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

Mr. Lynch, Coll. Harrison, and Dr. Franklyn are preparing for a Journey to Watertown and Cambridge, one of whom will do me the Favour of taking this Letter.1
Mr. Lynch, you have seen before. He is an oppulent Planter of Great Understanding and Integrity and the best Affections to our Country and Cause.
Coll. Harrison, is of Virginia, and the Friend and Correspondent of the General, but it seems by a certain Letter, under some degree of Prejudice against our dear New Englandmen.2 These Prejudices however, have arisen from Misrepresentation and may be easily removed.
Dr. Franklyn needs nothing to be said. There is no abler or better American, that I know of.
I could wish a particular Attention and Respect to all Three.
I know you will be pleased to be introduced to these Gentlemen, because it will give you an opportunity of serving your Country.3 I am your Friend,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J.: A Lettr Septr 30. 1775.”
1. Probably Franklin; see the following calendar entry, JA to James Warren, 30 Sept.
2. A reference to Harrison's letter to Washington of 21 July, which was intercepted with JA's two letters of 24 { 173 } July||—to James Warren and to Abigail Adams—||and published in the Massachusetts Gazette, 17 Aug. (see same).
3. This was the first of a series of letters of introduction (see JA to William Sever, 2 Oct.; to John Winthrop, 2 Oct.; and to Gen. Heath, 5 Oct., all below). The committee of the congress was appointed on 30 Sept. in response to a resolution of the previous day directing that a committee go immediately to Cambridge to confer with Washington, representatives of the New England colonies, and any others who could help in determining “the most effectual method of continuing, supporting, and regulating a continental army” (JCC, 3:265, 266–267). The General Court was officially notified of the committee's mission on 14 Oct. and immediately made preparations for its reception. The committee arrived in Massachusetts on or about 17 Oct. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 162–163; Artemas Ward to JA, 23 Oct., below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-09-30

To James Warren

Philadelphia, 30 September 1775. RC offered for sale by Parke-Bernet Gallery, N.Y., Gribbel sale, pt. 2, 22–24 Jan. 1941, lot 2. Addressed to James Warren as Speaker of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, “favoured by Dr. Franklin.”
After giving the names of the congressional committee members and explaining their function, JA proceeds, “I hope our Province, in every Part of it, will treat these Gentlemen with every possible Demonstration of Respect, Confidence and Affection. . . .
“Let me intreat you, Sir, to be particularly attentive to these Gentlemen, — to Coll. Harrison particularly — convince him, that the only narrow, selfish People belonging to our Province, the only ones actuated by Provincial Prejudices and Attachments, compass the Sample here.
“Will it not be excellent Politicks to make Dr. Franklin welcome by making him a grant of what is due to him from the Province?”
A quotation from Benjamin Harrison's intercepted letter to Washington of 21 July explains JA's comment: “your Fatigue and various Kinds of Trouble, I dare say are great, but they are not more than I expected, knowing the People you have to deal with by the Sample we have here” (Massachusetts Gazette, 17 Aug.).
On 23 Oct. the General Court resolved to pay Franklin £1,854 sterling for his services as agent from 31 Oct. 1770 to 1 March 1775 (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 188).
RC (offered for sale by Parke-Bernet Gallery, N.Y., Gribbel sale, pt. 2, 22–24 Jan. 1941, lot 2).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0086

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-30

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

The manoeuvers of the Camp have afforded Nothing important for a month past. The Works at Plough'd Hill are finish'd, but are useless, because we have not Powder to annoy the Enemy and if we had, it would be an idle Expence of it to expend it in Cannonading at such a Distance. The Enemy have fir'd from their different Works 2000 Cannon Balls and 300 Bombs, without killing ten men of ours.
When Orders were given for 1100 men under Col. Arnold to { 174 } march for Quebec, the men offer'd so readily, that 5 Times the Number might have been draughted for this laborious and hazardous march, had they been wanted. We were in anxious Suspense, during their Passage from Newbury to Kennebeck; We have Accounts since of their safe Arrival in Kennebeck River, and are now only solicitous to hear of the successful Movements of General Scuyler.
The Lovers of Turtle in the Camp are like to be indulg'd with a feast of it, by the Marbleheadmen this Week taking a Schooner belonging to Lewis Gray, bound from New Providence to Boston, loaded with Turtle and Fruit.1 This is no very great Acquisition for Us, but will be a severe Disappointment to our ministerial besieg'd Enemy. The next Day some Boats from Cape Ann took a more valuable Prize, in the Capture of a Brig sent by Genl. Carleton to Boston from Quebec, with 45 horned Cattle and 60 Sheep on board, and the Hold full of Wheat.2 This is but a small Retaliation for the dayly Piratical Acts of Graves's Squadron. There is scarce a Vessel that escapes the Clutches of the Cutters and Men of War that infest the Coast. The Week before last they carried eleven Sail of Vessels into Boston, where after the Formality of a Trial in an admiralty Court, they are confiscated, to the Use of Graves and his Harpies. Notwithstanding these continual Depredations, our Assembly will not be prevail'd on to fit out Privateers.3 The Delicacy is absurd surely.
Two of the Enemy's Sentries left their Post on the Neck last Night and came over to our Camp. They are Privates of the 49th. Regiment. They say, Genl. Gage's Army, consists, sick and well, at Charlestown and at Boston of 6000 Men. That the Troops have the Scurvy very badly and generally, and that it is very sickly among them still.
The Carphenters are all at Work here, building 20 flat bottom Boats, which are to carry 50 men, and which with 250 Whale Boats, which it is said are ordered here, can carry 3000 Men. There are 3 floating Batteries which carry 1 Nine Pounder and 2 six Pounders each, besides, Swivells and small Arms. They are man'd with 30 Hands a peice. From these and some other Preparations it is conjectur'd, Some great Attempt will be made before the Winter sets in. A large Number of Hands are at Work on the Barracks, and it is expected by the End of October, the whole Army Will get into good Quarters.
To our great Astonishment the Surgeon General was this forenoon put under an Arrest for Corresponding with the Army in Boston.4 An intercepted Letter wrote in Characters, and some other Circumstances, have made the Suspicions very strong against him. His House has been search'd and all his Papers seiz'd, by the General's Orders. I am not { 175 } now acquainted with any farther Particulars. You will doubtless have the fullest Information sent the Congress from Head Quarters. Good God! Doctor C——h prove a Traitor! What a Triumph to the Tories? But I quit the shocking Subject.
We have had no Letters from any of You, since the Meeting. I must beg Sir, you would continue your friendly Letters, and oblige me with some further Communications. I am Sir your most oblig'd and very hble Servt.,
[signed] Wm. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esq.”; docketed: “Wm. Tudor Sep. 30. 1775.”
1. The schooner Industry, commanded by Francis Butler, was captured on 27 Sept. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 129–130).
2. The brigantine Dolphin, commanded by William Wallace, was captured on 28 Sept. by men from Gloucester (same, p. 131, 137; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 197).
3. Two days before Tudor wrote, the House of Representatives had appointed a committee to consider the “Expediency of fitting out a Number of Armed Vessels,” which brought in a favorable report on 9 Oct. On 1 Nov. “An Act for Encouraging the Fixing Out of Armed Vessels to Defend the Sea-Coast of America, and for Erecting a Court to Try and Condemn All Vessels that shall be Found infesting the Same” was adopted (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 125, 151–152, 217; Mass., Province Laws, 5:436–441).
4. At the time of his arrest, Benjamin Church was not only director of hospitals for the Continental Army, but represented Boston in the House of Representatives and was a member of the Committee of Safety. On 3 Oct. a Council of War consisting of Washington and his generals ordered Church confined and then referred his case to the Continental Congress and the General Court. On 2 Nov. the House expelled him from that body. On 7 Nov. the congress resolved to have him jailed in Connecticut (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 171, 186, 198, 200–206, 226; (JCC), 3:294, 297, 334). No final determination of his case was made until Jan. 1778, when he was allowed to take passage on the sloop Welcome, which apparently went down with all hands in a New England coastal storm (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:380–398).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0087

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1775-10-01

To William Tudor

[salute] Dr Sir

I have at last the Pleasure to mention to you what I Suppose Mr. H.1 has informed you of, before, vizt that the Pay of the Judge Advocate is raised to fifty dollars per Month for himself and his Clerk, and this is to be allowed from the day he entered upon the service.
There was an Expression in your Representation to the General which alarmed me much, and put me to some Pain lest it should excite a Disgust.2 It was this “The Congress as I have been informed were wholly unacquainted with the Duties of a Judge Advocate, especially in the continental Army.” If this had been true, yet it was indecent to tell them of it, because they ought to be presumed to know { 176 } all the Duties of this officer, but most especially in their own Army. The Construction that I put upon it, was that the Congress had never been made Acquainted with the orders of the General to the Judge to attend every general Court Martial, which made the Duty in the American Army, essentially greater than in any other. By this Interpretation, satisfaction seemed to be given and by the favourable Representation of the General, together with the friendly Notice of General Gates and some Members who had been at the Camp, this Matter was at last well understood, and Justice was done.
I am, very Sorry to learn, that you have been sick, but rejoice to hear you are better. I have this Morning received from my dear Mrs. Adams, two letters which have put all my Philosophy to the Proof.3 Never Since I had a Family was it in such Distress, altho it has often seen melancholly Scenes. I tremble for fear my Wifes Health should receive an irreparable Injury from the Anxieties, and Fatigues, which I know she will expose herself to, for the relief of her Family in their present Sick Condition. I fear too the Contagion of such an Hospital of an House. Whether to return I know not. We expect every Hour, momentous Intelligence from England, and from Schuyler and from Washington. And altho, my Presence here is not of any great Consequence, yet some of my Constituents may possibly think it of more than it is, and be uneasy, if I should be absent. At least, if I am here, and any thing goes differently from my Wishes, I shall have the Satisfaction to reflect that I have done all I could, however little it might be. Yet if I Stay here, I shall not be happy, till I know more from Braintree. Perhaps I may receive another Letter in a day or two. My Respects to your Father and Mother, and all Friends. Pray write me if you are well enough. I am, sir, your Friend,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “To William Tudor Esqr. Judge Advocate in the American Army Cambridge favd by Major Bayard”; docketed: “Octr. 1st. 1775.”
1. Benjamin Harrison.
2. Tudor's memorial of 23 Aug. was enclosure No. 1 in Washington's letter to the President of the Continental Congress, and can be found in PCC, No. 152, I, f. 99–101. JA's quotation is not exact, but the meaning is unchanged.
3. Those of 8–10 and [17] Sept. describing the family's illness and the deaths of several others (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:276–280).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-01

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

This Morning I received your kind Favours of the 11th. and 19th. Ultimo—with the Enclosures. Drapers Paper is a great Curiosity and you will oblige me by Sending it as often as posible.1
{ 177 }
The Foreign News you mention, is all a Delusion my Friend. You may depend upon it, every Measure is preparing by the Ministry to destroy Us if they can, and that a Sottish Nation is Supporting them.
Heaven helps those who help themselves, and I am happy to find a Disposition so <happily> rapidly growing in America to exert itself.
The Letters, by your Packett from my Family, have given me Serious Concern indeed. I am much at a Loss what Course to take. I have thoughts of returning home. I fear, my dear Mrs. Adams's Health will sink under the Burthen of Care that is upon her. I might well enough be Spared from this Place, where my Presence is of no Consequence, and my Family might derive some Advantage from my being there, and I might have an opportunity of attending a Conference between a Committee of this Congress and the Council of Mass. Where perhaps I might be of more service than I can here. However I am not determined. My Friend, your secretary2 is very much averse to my going. I dont know what to do.
The Committee who are going to the Camp, are Dr. Franklin Mr. Lynch and Coll. Harrison, who I hope will be received with Friendship and Politeness—by all our Friends.
I assure you, sir, there is a serious Spirit here—Such a Spirit as I have not known before.
The Committee by whom this Letter will go, are determined Americans. I fear that two of them, I mean Mr. L. and H. may have received Some unfavourable Impressions from Misrepresentations, concerning our Province, but these will be easily removed, by what they will see, and hear I hope. I wish that every Civility may be Shewn them, which their Fortunes, Characters and Stations demand.
Our news from England, is, Troops from England Scotland, Ireland, and Hanover3—Poor old Britania! I am, your Friend,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Coll Warren”; docketed: “Mr: J: Adams. Lettr. Octr. 1. 1775.”
1. None of the enclosures except the letters from AA has been found. Draper's paper would be a copy of the Massachusetts Gazette.
2. Samuel Adams.
3. Great Britain had decided to send some 20,000 troops to America by the spring of 1776 and to do so it was trying to hire mercenaries (Merrill Jensen, The Founding of a Nation, N.Y., 1968, p. 646).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0089

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-01

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

An Event has lately taken place here, which makes much Noise, and gives me much Uneasiness not only as it Affects the Character, and { 178 } may prove the ruin of a Man who I used to have a Tolerable Opinion of, but as it may be the Cause of many suspicions and Jealousies and what is still worse, have a Tendency to discredit the Recommendations of my Friends at the Congress. Dr. C——h has been detected in a Correspondence with the Enemy at least so far that a Letter wrote by him in Curious Cypher and directed to Majr. Cane1 (who is an Officer in the Rebel Army and one of Gages Family) has been Intercepted. The History of the whole matter is this. The Doctor haveing formed an Infamous Connection, with an Infamous Hussey to the disgrace of his own reputation, and probable ruin of his Family, wrote this Letter last July, and sent it by her to Newport with Orders to give it to Wallace, or Dudley to deliver to Wallace for Conveyance to Boston.2 She not finding an opportunity very readily, trusted it with a friend of hers to perform the orders, and came away and left it in his hands.3 He kept it some Time and haveing some suspicions, of Wickedness, had some Qualms of Conscience about Executeing his Commissions, after some Time Consulted his Friend. The result was to Open the Letter which was done. The Appearance of the Letter Increasing their Suspicions, the next question after determining not to send it [to] Boston was what should be done with it. After various Conferences at divers times they Concluded to deliver it to Genl. Washington. Accordingly the Man Came with it last Thursday. After Collecting many Circumstances, the man was Employed to draw from the Girl, by Useing the Confidence She had in him, the whole Secret but without Success. She is a suttle, shrewd Jade. She was then Taken into Custody, and Brought to the Generals Quarters that Night. It was not till the next day that any thing could be got from her. She then Confessed that the Doctor wrote and sent her with the Letter as above. Upon this the General sent a Note desireing Majr. Hawley4 and me to Come Immediately to Cambridge. We all thought the Suspicion quite sufficient to Justify an Arrest of him and his Papers, which was done, and he is now under a Guard. He owns the writeing and sending the Letter. Says it was for Flemming5 in Answer to one he wrote to him,6 and is Calculated, by Magnifying the Numbers of the Army, their regularity, their provisions and Ammunition &c, to do great Service to us. He declares his Conduct tho' Indiscreet was not wicked. There are however many Circumstances new and old which Time wont permit me to Mention, that are much Against him. The Letter I suppose is now decyphering, and when done will Either Condemn, or in some measure Excuse him. Thus much for this long Story.
{ 179 }
A Strong S.W. Wind put into Marblehead last Week a New Providence Man, with a large Number of Turtle, &c &c.7 They Boarded took, and Carryed him to Salem, and prevented the Scoundrels from Enjoying, and feasting on Callipee, Callipach,8 and a desert of Pine Apples &c. A Few Fisher Men also, have taken a Brigantine from Quebec9 with Cattle, Sheep, oatmeal &c A Present from the Tory Merchants &c, to the Sick and Wounded in Boston, and some Forrage for the Light Horse. She is Carried in to Cape Ann. There are two Letters from one Gamble, An officer one to Genl. Gage, the other to Sherriff,10 which tell them that they are to Expect no aid to Government from there. That Carlton dare not Issue his orders to the Militia supposeing they would not be Obeyed. That the Canadians poisoned from N Engld. had got in use the Damned Absurd Word Liberty. I cant recollect the Time She Sailed, her Bills Ladeing dated Sepr. 5 but the Master says that Carlton has had no Success in Recruiting. He went of[f] the Night he came away for St. Johns11 with about 75 Raggamuffins the whole Posse he could Collect. That there were at Quebec 10,000 barrels Powder. I long for them more than Turtle, or Pine Apples. Arnold was last Monday with his detachment 60 miles up Kennebeck, every thing as it should be. We please ourselves with fine Prospects of Success. I say Nothing about St. Johns &c, presuming you know as much or more about it than I do.
The Money Arrived safe here last Fryday, and I assure you gives a New face to our Affairs which by a greater delay must have run into Confusion. I Thank you for your short Letter. Would have Thanked you more if it had been longer. I have no Letter from Braintree to Inclose. I believe they are well.
Is it worthwhile to wonder that some People cant feel Improprieties.12 However Ambition and Vanity I think must predominate, and mark strongly the Character of a Man who can Act such a part if he has any Sense at all. I am glad to find the Congress in such a Temper. I have drawn this Epistle I know not how to An Enormous Length. Intending only to write a few Lines, and Indeed pressed for Time, what it is I hardly know. What you don't like you must Excuse. I give it to you as it is, and with Complements to all Friends, and Assurances of Friendship to Mr. Adams. I am &c
I must write General Court News, and Plans on foot for fixing Armed Vessels, Animated by our late success—in my next, which will be soon after my return from Plymouth where I go in a day or two, having never been there since you left us. I shall also talk to you about { 180 } your Constitution the Climate of Philadelphia and change of delegates in Massachusetts Bay &c.

[salute] Dr. Sir

When I wrote the Inclosed I Expected it would have been called for early this morning. It was not, and by that means I have an opportunity of Inclosing 2 Letters received this day I suppose from your good Family at Braintree.14 I am sorry to hear of the Continued Afflixtions of your good Lady. I am told that her mother is very Ill. I presume the Inclosed will give you the true state of the matter. I hope to hear of her Recovery however Bad she may now be. I have Just heard that the Letter is decyphered, and is much against the writer.15 Shall give you a full state of this matter as soon as I have an opportunity after I am possessed of it. Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honbl: John Adams Esq. Member of Congress att Philadelphia”; docketed by JA: “Septr. 11 Warren Oct. 1. 1775.”
1. Lt. Col. Maurice Cane, 6th Regiment (Worthington C. Ford, British Officers Serving in the American Revolution, 1774–1783, N.Y., 1897, p. 44).
2. James Wallace, commander of the British sloop Rose at Newport (DNB); Charles Dudley, last collector of customs at Newport (Sabine, American Loyalists, 1:394–395)
3. Godfrey Wainwood or Wenwood, an inhabitant of Newport (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:10, note 17).
4. Although Joseph Hawley was merely a member of the House at this time, JA's recommendation of him to Washington apparently caused the general to turn to him from time to time (E. Francis Brown, Joseph Hawley, Colonial Radical, N.Y., 1931, p. 153).
5. John Fleming, printer of the Boston Chronicle with John Mein until 1770, was Church's brother-in-law (DAB).
6. Fleming's letter to Church is printed in Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 204–205.
7. The schooner Industry.
8. Calipee and calipash, considered delicacies, are gelatinous substances found near a turtle's lower and upper shells (OED).
9. The Dolphin.
10. Capt. Thomas Gamble and Maj. William Sheriff of the 47th Regiment (Ford, British Officers, p. 76, 160). Gamble's letters were printed by authority in the Boston Gazette, 9 Oct.
11. The fort on the Richelieu River on the line of march for Gen. Richard Montgomery.
12. See JA to James Warren, 19 Sept., note 1 (above).
13. This portion of the letter, which was written on a separate sheet, the verso carrying the address, was clearly intended to be a continuation despite its separate date and closing.
15. Church's deciphered letter is printed in Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 202–203.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0090

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sever, William
Recipient: Massachusetts Council, President
Date: 1775-10-02

To William Sever

[salute] Dr sir1

I do myself the Honour of writing to you for the sake of introducing to you Three Gentlemen, whose Characters and Embassy will render { 181 } any private Introductions unnecessary. Dr. Franklyn, Mr. Lynch and Coll. Harrison, are a Committee from this Congress to consult, the General and the Council of the Massachusetts, the Governers of Connecticutt and Rhode Island, and the President of the Congress of New Hampshire, upon Points of great Consequence, concerning the Army, which they will open to you.
We are in Hopes of News, every Day, from Genl. Schuyler and from Cambridge. The last Advices from England, are rather alarming. But We expected no better. If Powder can be imported or Petre made, We need not dread their Malice. I am sir, with great Respect and Esteem, your very hml sert,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Adams Papers, Fourth Generation); addressed: “The Hon. William Sever Esqr Watertown Pr Favour of Mr. Lynch.”
1. Sever was president of the Council at this time.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0091

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-02

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

I believe you will have a surfeit of Letters from me, for they will be as inane, as they are numerous.
The Bearer of this is Major Bayard a Gentleman of this City of the Presbyterian Perswasion of the best Character and the clearest Affections for his Country.1 I have received so many Civilities from him, that I could not refuse myself the Pleasure of introducing him to you.
Our obligations of Secrecy, are so braced up, that I must deny myself the Pleasure of Writing Particulars. Not because some Letters have been intercepted, for notwithstanding the Versification of them, they have done good, tho they have made some People grin.
This I can Say with Confidence, that the Propriety and Necessity of the Plan of Politicks so hastily delineated in them is every day, more and more confessed, even by those Gentlemen who disapproved it at the Time when they were written.
Be assured, I never Saw, So Serious and determined a Spirit as I see now every day.
The high Spirited Measures you call for, will assuredly come. Languid and disastrous Campaigns are agreable to Nobody.
Young Mr. Lux desires his Compliments to you and your Lady. He is vastly pleased with his Treatment both from you and her.
Remember me to her. I have Shocking Letters from her Friend at Braintree, such as have put my Phylosophy to the Tryal. I wait only for another Letter to determine, whether I shall come home.
{ 182 }
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown favoured by Major Bayard”; docketed: “Mr. J: A: Lettr Octr. 2. 1775.”
1. John Bayard (1738–1807), who carried back to Massachusetts several of the letters written by JA during this period, was a Philadelphia merchant at this time, an ardent whig, and a major in the second battalion of the Philadelphia Associators (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0092

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Winthrop, John
Date: 1775-10-02

To John Winthrop

[salute] Dr sir

I do myself the Honour of writing you, a very few Lines, just for the Sake of introducing to you, the Gentlemen who compose a Committee of this Congress, who are to consult with your Honorable Board,1 about a Plan for continuing the Army.
I conjecture that the Reduction of the Pay of the private Soldiers, and the Introduction of Some Gentlemen from other Colonies, into the Service as officers will be principal objects.
The Pay of the Privates is generally, if not universally thought to be too high, especially in Winter:2 but whether a Reduction of it would not give Such a Disgust as to endanger the Service, I dont know. If The War Should continue, and their Pay is not reduced this Fall this Congress, will certainly reduce it next Spring, and in a Way that will perhaps be dangerous, at least attended with many Inconveniences. This Way will be by each Colony furnishing its Quota of Men as well as Money.
The other Thing that is wished by many, is not so reasonable. It is altogether Absurd to Suppose, that the Council of Massachusetts, should appoint Gentlemen from the southern Colonies, when Connecticutt, Rhode Island and N. Hampshire do not. But it is idle to expect it of either.
The Council, if they are Men of Honour cannot appoint Gentlemen whom they dont know, to command Regiments or Companies in their service. Nor can they pay a Regard to any Recommendation of Strangers, to the Exclusion of Persons whom they know. Besides it is certain that the Massachusetts has Numbers of Gentlemen, who have no Command in the Army at all, and who would now be glad to get in, who are better qualified, with Knowledge both of Theory and Practice than any who can be had upon the Continent. They have been more in War, and longer in the study of it. Besides can it be Supposed that the private Men will be easy to be commanded by Strangers to the Exclusion of Gentlemen, whom they know being their Neigh• { 183 } bours. It is moreover a Reflection, and would be a Disgrace upon that Province to send abroad for Commanders of their own Men. It would Suppose that it had not Men fit for officers than which nothing can be further from the Truth.3
But I must desist: We have heard nothing from the Committee appointed to write to Us, as yet, nor from that about Lead and salt.4
I pray you sir that We may have, the Accounts and Vouchers sent Us, that our poor suffering Province, may obtain a Reimbursement. I am, with great Respect &c.
RC (MHi:JA-John Winthrop Corr.); addressed: “The Hon. John Winthrop Esqr. L.L.D. Cambridge favoured by Mr. Lynch”; docketed: “Mr. Adams 2 Oct. 1775.”
1. Winthrop was a member of the Council at this time.
2. On pay scales, see JA to Elbridge Gerry, 18 June, note 4 (above).
3. JA is putting himself in opposition to Washington's position that the army be truly continental and that competent officers be assigned regardless of their home colonies. Washington particularly wanted to find places for qualified officers from outside New England (French, First Year, p. 506).
4. The committee named to correspond with the delegates in the congress was composed of William Sever, Jedediah Foster, and Joseph Palmer from the Council, joined by Richard Devens, George Partridge, Isaac Lothrop, and Elbridge Gerry from the House. The committee on lead and salt included Benjamin Greenleaf, Eldad Taylor, and Joseph Palmer of the Council, and Col. Nathaniel Freeman, Capt. Jonathan Greenleaf, Dr. William Whiting, and William Story of the House (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 153–154, 121–122).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0093

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Heath, William
Date: 1775-10-05

To William Heath

[salute] Sir

I never had the Pleasure of a Correspondence or any particular Acquaintance with you, which can justify the Freedom I have taken of giving you this Trouble: But as the good of our Country, which I know is your first Consideration, is my Motive, I presume you will think it a Sufficient Apology.
In the present State of America, which is so novel and unexpected, and indeed unthought of by Numbers of Persons in every Colony, it is natural to expect Misapprehensions, Jealousies and Misrepresentations in Abundance: and it must be our Care to attend to them, and if possible explain what is misunderstood and State truly what is misrepresented.
It is represented in this City by Some Persons, and it makes an unfriendly Impression upon Some Minds, that in the Massachusetts Regiments, there are great Numbers of Boys, Old Men, and Negroes, Such as are unsuitable for the service, and therefore that the Con• { 184 } tinent is paying for a much greater Number of Men, than are fit for Action or any Service. I have endeavoured to the Utmost of my Power to rectify these Mistakes as I take them to be, and I hope with some success, but still the Impression is not quite removed.
I would beg the favour of you therefore sir, to inform me Whether there is any Truth at all in this Report, or not.
It is natural to suppose there are some young Men and some old ones and some Negroes in the service, but I should be glad to know if there are more of these in Proportion in the Massachusetts Regiments, than in those of Connecticutt, Rhode Island and New Hampshire, or even among the Rifle Men.
You may depend, sir upon my Using the most prudent Caution, in the Use of your Letter, and especially of your Name but I could certainly make a good Use, of a Letter from you upon the Subject. Great Fault is likewise found in Several Parts of the Continent of the Massachusetts Officers, whom I believe, taken on an Average, and in Proportion to Numbers to be equal at least if not Superiour to any other Colony.
I must confess I had another View in giving you this Trouble which was to introduce to your Attention, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch and Coll Harrison, a Committee from this Congress to consult with the General and with the New England Colonies, concerning a Plan for future Armies. Mr. Lynch is from S. Carolina, Coll Harrison from Virginia, both Gentlemen of great Fortune, and respectable Characters, Men of Abilities and very Staunch Americans. Dr. Franklyn needs no words of mine. I am, sir, with great Respect, your very huml servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:William Heath Papers); addressed: “To William Heath Esqr Brigadier General in the American Army Cambridge Per favour of Mr. Lynch”; docketed: “from Jno Adams Esqr Octr. 5th. 1775.”
1. On this same date, JA wrote a similar letter to Gen. John Thomas, introducing the committee members and asking about boys, old men, and Negroes among Massachusetts regiments. In addition, he asked particularly about the qualifications of Henry Knox and Josiah Waters as engineers (RC offered for sale, The Collector, March 1948, p. 57).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0094

Author: Lee, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-05

From Charles Lee

[salute] My Dr Sir

As you may possibly harbour some suspicions that a certain passage in your intercepted letters have made some disagreeable impressions on my mind I think it necessary to assure You that it is quite the { 185 } reverse. Untill the bulk of Mankind is much alter'd I consider <your> the reputation of being whimsical and eccentric rather as a panegyric than sarcasm and my love of Dogs passes with me as a still higher complement. I have thank heavens a heart susceptible of freindship and affection. I must have some object to embrace. Consequently when once I can be convincd that Men are as worthy objects as Dogs I shall transfer my benevolence, and become as staunch a Philanthropist as the canting Addison affected to be. But you must not conclude from hence that I give into general misanthropy. On the contrary when I meet with a Biped endow'd with generosity valour good sense patriotism and zeal for the rights of humanity I contract a freindship and passion for him amounting to bigotry or dotage and let me assure you without complements that you yourself appear to me possess'd of these qualities. I give you my word and honour that I am serious, and should be unhappy to the greatest degree if I thought you would doubt of my sincerity. Your opinion therefore of my attainments as a Soldier and Scholar is extremely flattering. Long may you continue in this (to me) gratissimus error. But something too much of this.
Before this reaches you the astonishing and terrifying accusation or rather detection of Doctor Church will be reported to the Congress. I call it astonishing, for admitting his intentions not to be criminal so gross a piece of stupidity in so sensible a Man is quite a portent. And supposing him guilty, it is terrifying to the last degree—as such a revolt must naturally infect with jealousy all political affiance. It will spread an universal diffidence and suspicion than which nothing can be more pernicious to Men embark'd in a cause like ours, the corner stone of Which is laid not only on honour virtue and disinterestedness—but on the perswasion that the whole be actuated by the same divine principles. I devoutly wish that such may not be the effects.
We long here to receive some news from the Congress. Now is the time to shew your firmness. If the least timidity is display'd, We and all Posterity are ruin'd; on the contrary at this crisis courage and steadiness must insure the blessings of liberty not only to G Britain but perhaps to all Mankind. Do not go hobling on, like the Prince of Liliput, with one high heel'd shoe one low one, for you will undoubtedly fall upon your noses evry step you take. It is my humble opinion that you ought to begin by confiscating (or at least laying under heavy contributions) the estates of all the notorious enemies to American Liberty through the Continent. This wou'd lighten the burthen which must otherwise fall heavy on the shoulders of the Community—that afterwards you should invite all the maritime powers of the world into { 186 } your Ports. If they are so dull as not to accept the invitation—weed yourselves from all ideas of foreign commerce—and become intirely a Nation of Plowmen and Soldiers. A little habit, and I am perswaded you will bless yourselves for the resolution but I am running into an essay, shall therefore to prevent pedantry and impertenence stop short with once more assuring you that I am most huly and affectionately yours,
[signed] C Lee
My respects to your namesake and let me hear from you.
Spada1 sends his love to you and declares in very intellegible language that He has far'd much better since your allusion to him for He is carress'd now by all ranks sexes and Ages.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Gen. Lee. Octr. 5. 1775.”
1. The name of one of Lee's dogs.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Quincy, Josiah
Date: 1775-10-06

To Josiah Quincy

[salute] Dear Sir

Two days ago I had the Pleasure of yours of Septr. 22. I am very Sorry to learn from your Letter that you have occasion for any Advice of mine, and have not had an opportunity of taking it. I fully intended to have made you a visit, but my stay was so short and I had So many Engagements that it was out of my Power.
That a great Revolution, in the Affairs of the World, is in the Womb of Providence, Seems to be intimated very Strongly, by many Circumstances: But it is no Pleasure to me to be employed in giving Birth to it. The Fatigue, and Anxiety, which attends it are too great. Happy the Man, who with a plentifull Fortune an elegant Mind and an amiable Family, retires from the Noises, Dangers and Confusions of it. However, by a Train of Circumstances, which I could neither foresee nor prevent, I have been called by Providence to take a larger share in active Life, during the Course of these Struggles, than is agreable either to my Health, my Fortune or my Inclination, and I go through it with more Alacrity and Chearfullness than I could have expected. I often envy the silent Retreat of some of my Friends. But if We should so far succeed as to secure to Posterity the Blessings of a free Constitution, that alone will forever be considered by me as an ample Compensation for all the Care, Fatigue, and Loss that I may sustain in the Conflict.
I am much obliged by your kind Explanation of your opinion that the Harbour might be locked up. I must confess, altho I was born so { 187 } near it, I never before understood the Course of the Channell, and the Situation of the Harbour so well. I have carefully compared your Description of Squantum, the Moon, Long Island, Gallops Island, Lovells Island, and Georges, the Narrows and Nantaskett Road, with “A Plan of the Town and Chart of the Harbour of Boston, exhibiting a View of the Islands, Castle, Forts, and Entrances into the said Harbour, which was published in London, last February.”1 This Plan I knew to be inacurate in some Particulars, and the Chart may be so in others: but by the best Judgment I can make, upon comparing your Facts with the Chart, and considering the Depths of Water marked on this Chart, I think it extreamly probable, with you that nothing but Powder and Cannon are wanting, to effect the important Purposes you mention, that of making soldiers and sailors Prisoners at Discretion.
Dr. Franklyns Row Gallies are in great Forwardness. Seven of them are compleated, manned, armed &c. I went down the River the other Day with all of them.2 I have as much Confidence in them as you have. But the People here have made what some call Chevaux De Frize and others Vesseaux de Frize, Machines to be sunk in the Channell of Delaware River. Three Rowes of them, are phased in the River, with large Timbers barbed with Iron. They are frames of Timber sunk with stone. Machines very proper, for our Channell in the Narrows.
The News you wrote me from my Family, gave me more Pleasure than you could have imagined when you wrote it. My last Accounts from home, before I received your Letter were so melancholly, that I was very unhappy, and was on the Point of returning Home. But your Letter and the Arrival of Mr. Williams,3 have removed my Fears and determined me to continue here in my Post.
We have favourable Accounts from Schuyler. He will have the Province of Canada.
Our Accounts from England breath nothing but War and Revenge. What Pains and Expence, and Misery that stupid People will endure, for the sake of driving the Colonies to the Necessity of a Seperation, and of alienating their best Friends.4
My Compliments to your good Lady and Family, Mr. Wibird and all Friends.
I must entreat your Excuse for the Haste and inaccuracy with which I am obliged to write. Every Letter you can find Leisure and Inclination to write will oblige your Friend & huml sert,
{ 188 }
RC (MHi:Hoar Autograph Coll.); the last page of the MS is a Dft of Quincy's reply to JA of 25 Oct. (below).
1. See Josiah Quincy to JA, 22 Sept., note 3 (above).
2. JA, together with other members of the congress and the Pennsylvania Assembly, made this trip on 28 Sept. For JA's description of it, see Diary and Autobiography, 2:187–188.
3. Mr. Williams, otherwise unidentified, brought to JA the letter which AA had written to him on 25 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:295).
4. The tone of this letter here and above clearly indicates that separation was not something that JA welcomed but something that he felt the colonies were being forced into.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0096

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-07

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

The Debates, and Deliberations in Congress are impenetrable Secrets: but the Conversations in the City, and the Chatt of the Coffee house, are free, and open. Indeed I wish We were at Liberty to write freely and Speak openly upon every Subject, for their is frequently as much Knowledge derived from Conversation and Correspondence, as from Solemn public Debates.
A more intricate and complicated Subject never came into any Mans thoughts, than the Trade of America.1 The Questions that arise, when one thinks of it, are very numerous.
If The Thirteen united Colonies, Should immediately Surcease all Trade with every Part of the World, what would be the Consequence? In what manner, and to what degree, and how soon, would it affect, the other Parts of the World? How would it affect G. B. Ireland, the English West India Islands, the French, the Dutch the Danish, the Spanish West India Islands? How would it affect the Spanish Empire on the Continent? How would it affect the Brazills and the Portuguese Settlements in America? If it is certain that it would distress Multitudes in these Countries, does it therefore follow that it would induce any foreign Court to offer Us Assistance, and to ask us for our Trade or any Part of it? If it is questionable Whether foreign States would venture upon Such Steps, which, would perhaps be Violations of Treatises of Peace, and certainly would light up a War in Europe is it certain that Smugglers, by whom I mean private Adventurers belonging to foreign Nations, would come here, through all the Hazards they must run. Could they be suffered to clear out for America in their own Custom houses? Would they not run the risque of Seizure from their own Custom house officers, or of Capture from their own Men of War? Would they not be liable to be visited by British Men of War, in any Part of the ocean, and if found to have no Clearances be seized? When they arrived on any Part of the Coast of N. America, { 189 } would they not be seized by Brittish Cutters, Cruizers, Tenders, Frigates without Number: But if their good Fortune should escape all these Risques, have We harbours or Rivers, sufficiently fortified, to insure them Security while here? In their Return to their own Country would they not have the Same Gauntlett to run.
In Short, if We Stop our own ships, have We even a Probability that the ships of foreign Nations, will run the Venture to come here, either with or without the Countenance and Encouragement of their severall Courts or States public or private open or secret? It is not easy for any Man precisely and certainly to answer this Question. We must then say all this is uncertain.
Suppose then We assume an intrepid Countenance, and send Ambassadors at once to foreign Courts. What Nation shall We court? Shall We go to the Court of France, or the Court of Spain, to the States General of the United Provinces? To the Court of Lisbon, to the Court of Prussia, or Russia, or Turkey or Denmark, or Where, to any, one, more, or all of these? If We should is there a Probability, that Our Ambassadors would be received, or so much as heard or seen by any Man or Woman in Power at any of those Courts. He might possibly, if well skilled in intrigue, his Pocketts well filled with Money and his Person Robust and elegant enough, get introduced to some of the Misses, and Courtezans in Keeping of the statesmen in France, but would not that be all.
An offer of the Sovereignty of this Country to France or Spain would be listened to no doubt by Either of those Courts, but We should suffer any Thing before We should offer this. What then can We offer? An Alliance, a Treaty of Commerce? What Security could they have that We should keep it. Would they not reason thus, these People intend to make Use of Us to establish an Independency but the Moment they have done it: Britain will make Peace with them, and leave Us in the Lurch And We have more to dread from an Alliance between Britain and the United Colonies as an independent state, than We have now they are under one corrupted Administration. Would not Spain reason in the same manner, and say further our Dominions in South America will be soon a Prey to these Enterprizing and warlike Americans, the Moment they are an independent State. Would not our proposals and Agents be treated with Contempt! And if our Proposals were made and rejected, would not this sink the Spirits of our own People, Elevate our Enemies and disgrace Us in Europe.
If then, it will not be Safe to Stop our own Ships entirely, and trust to foreign Vessells coming here either with or without Convoy of { 190 } Men of War, belonging to foreign States, what is to be done? Can our own People bear a total Cessation of Commerce? Will not Such Numbers be thrown out of Employment, and deprived of their Bread, as to make a large discontented Party? Will not the Burthen of supporting these Numbers, be too heavy upon the other Part of the Community? Shall We be able to maintain the War, wholly without Trade? Can We support the Credit of our Currency, without it?
If We must have Trade how shall We obtain it? There is one Plan, which alone, as it has ever appeared to me, will answer the End in some Degree, at first. But this is attended with So many Dangers to all Vessells, certain Loss to many, and So much Uncertainty upon the whole, that it is enough to make any Man, thoughtfull. Indeed it is looked upon So wild, extravagant and romantic, that a Man must have a great deal of Courage, and much Indifference to common Censure, who should dare to propose it.
“God helps those who help themselves,” and it has ever appeared to me since this unhappy Dispute began, that We had no Friend upon Earth to depend on but the Resources of our own Country, and the good sense and great Virtues of our People. We shall finally be obliged to depend upon ourselves.
Our Country furnishes a vast abundance of materials for Commerce. Foreign Nations, have great Demands for them. If We should publish an Invitation to any one Nation or more, or to all Nations, to send their ships here, and let our Merchants inform theirs that We have Harbours where the Vessells can lie in Safety, I conjecture that many private foreign Adventurers would find Ways to send Cargoes here thro all the Risques without Convoys. At the Same Time our own Merchants, would venture out with their Vessells and Cargoes, especially in Winter,2 and would run thro many Dangers, and in both these Ways together, I should hope We might be supplied with Necessaries.
All this however Supposes that We fortify and defend our own Harbours and Rivers. We may begin to do this. We may build Row Gallies, flatt bottomed Boats, floating Batteries, Whale Boats, Vesseaux de Frize, nay Ships of War, how many, and how large I cant say. To talk of coping Suddenly with G. B. at sea would be Quixotish indeed. But the only Question with me is can We defend our Harbours and Rivers? If We can We can trade.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J: A Octr. 7 1775.”
1. This letter, together with those to James Warren on 19, 20, and 28 Oct. (below), provides a valuable supplement to JA's Diary accounts of the con• { 191 } gressional debates that began on 4 Oct. and continued through December over the trade of America, that is, whether to depart further from the nonimportation stipulations of the Continental Association (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:188–194, 196–197, 204–217, 219–220). Although JA implies that the questions he raises come merely from his own thoughts or from the common talk in the coffeehouses, he was apparently summarizing, at least in part, for Warren the arguments brought out in debate by his colleagues. JA's own solution, stated at the end of the letter, may have been the one he advanced in the debates, although nothing in his Diary indicates that he did so. His solution is not very different from that which he advocated in the first session of the Second Continental Congress. His letter to James Warren of 23 July (above) noted that the congress had had before it a proposal to open its ports to the trade of all nations but that it had “like fools . . . lost it for the present.”
2. That is, when British cruisers could not be so active.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0097

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-08

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

You will not think your Time misspent in Perusing any Plans for the Service of your Country, even altho they may prove, upon Examination chimerical. There are two Channells only, through which Vessells of large Burthen, can pass, to and from Boston: one, is between the West Head of Long Island and the Moon: It is a mile wide, but incumbered with Rocks and too shallow for a Man of War of more than twenty Guns. The other is between Long Island and Deer Island, a mile and an half from Point to Point, the only Channell, thro which capital Ships can pass, leads through the Narrows, between Gallops Island and Lovells Island where it is not wider, than the length of a fifty Gun Ship. In the Interval between Gallops and George's, is Nantaskett Road where, five Men of War are now Stationed; for what other End, do you Suppose, than to guard the Narrows from being obstructed?
The Moon communicates with Squantum, at low Water, even without a Canoe. A Fort, therefore, upon Squantum, may be so placed as to Secure a Retreat from the Moon to Squantum and from that to the Main: one upon the East Head of the Moon, and another on the West Head of Long Island, Secures the Communication, and covers a Retreat from the latter to the former: Another, on the Summit of Long Island, covers the shore on each Side. A strong Battery at the East Head of Long Island, commands the Ship Channell, the Narrows, and Nantaskett Road. Consequently by Sinking Hulks, or Vesseaux de Frize, in the Narrows, We might prevent any Vessell of great Force from going out, or coming in.
In the Month of February last, “a Plan of the Town and Chart of the Harbour of Boston,”1 was published in London. I think in a { 192 } Magazine: I wish you would examine this Project by that Plan, and give me your opinion.
I dont trouble Washington with any of these Schemes, because I dont wish to trouble him with any Thing to no Purpose. But if I could command a Thousand Tons of Powder, and an hundred Pieces of heavy Cannon I would scribble to him till he would be weary of me. Mean Time It may not be amiss for me to amuse myself with some of my Friends, in Speculations of this kind; because Some good, may some time or other Result from them.
Can no Use be made of Rowe Gallies, with you? Eight or Ten are compleated here. Can they be used in the Vineyard Sound? Would not their heavy Metal demolish a Cruizer now and then? There is a shipwright escaped from Boston, who [has] been several Years a Prisoner in a Turkish Galley, and has a Model of one. Coll. Quincy knows him. Or I could procure you Directions from this Place, how to construct them.
We have just received by an express from Schuyler, very promising Intelligence concerning the Operations of the Northern Army. Ethan Allen are in the Heart of the Country joined by 200 Canadians. Montgomery was beginning to bombard St. Johns.2
If We should be successfull in that Province, a momentous, political Question arises—What is to be done with it? A Government, will be as necessary for the Inhabitants of Canada, as for those of the Massachusetts Bay? And what Form of Government, shall it be? Shall the Canadians, choose an House of Representatives, a Council and a Governor? It will not do to govern them by Martial Law, and make our General Governor. This will be disrelished by them as much as their new Parliamentary Constitution3 or their old French Government.
Is there Knowledge and Understanding enough among them, to elect an Assembly, which will be capable of ruling them and then to be governed by it—Who shall constitute their Judges and civil Officers?
This appears to me as curious a Problem as any We shall have to solve. <There are some Gentlemen, whose rule it is to let others think, to play themselves, then claim the Honour and Merit of their Thought and [ . . . ] for them. Oh that I had been born one of this happy breed—with Meanness of Soul enough to applaud myself as they do, when all is done, for their Cunning.>4
When I was at Watertown, a Committee of both Houses was appointed to Correspond with us. We have not received any Letter from it.
Another was appointed to enquire after Virgin Lead and leaden { 193 } ore and the Methods of making Salt and acquaint us with their Discoveries. We have not heard from this Committee.
Please send the enclosed News Paper to my Wife, when you have read it.5
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J. A Lettr Octr. 8. 1775.”
1. Closing quotation marks supplied. Obviously JA is making use of Josiah Quincy's plans without mentioning their author, for his first two paragraphs closely paraphrase Quincy's description (to JA, 22 Sept., above).
2. The express carried letters from Gen. Philip Schuyler of 19 and 28 (bis) Sept., with enclosures including letters from Gen. Richard Montgomery, Ethan Allen, and James Livingston (PCC, No. 153, I, f. 140–175). These were read to the congress on 9 Oct., when JA was named to a committee to answer them. Montgomery's siege of St. John's began 17 Sept. and lasted till 3 Nov. (French, First Year, p. 421, 429).
3. That is, the Quebec Act, which left the peasants as oppressed as they had been under the French government.
4. These six lines of the MS are heavily crossed out. Most of the reading given here is conjectural. Within the brackets are two or three words that could not be read at all.
5. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-10

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

Mr. Jonathan Mifflin, a young Gentleman of this City, a Relation of our Friend the Quarter Master General will hand you this Letter.
I believe you will have enough of my Correspondence this Time, for it has certainly been filled with mere Impertenence and contains nothing of War or Politicks which are so Agreable to your Taste.
Our Expectations are very Sanguine, of Intelligence from Schuyler that Canada is ours. Our Advises from England breath nothing but Malice, Revenge and Cruelty.1
Powder, and Salt Petre are Still the Cry from one End of the Continent to the other. We must, and, God willing, We will have them.
I long to hear concerning our Friends in Boston. My Friends cannot be too particular. I want to know the Condition of every Individual. I want to know also every Event however minute which Turns up in our Camp or Lines. We have most formidable Discriptions of Gages Fortifications in Boston. Ninety Pieces of Brass Field Pieces from four to Eight Pounders have certainly been cast in the Tower for America, and Carriages, Wheelbarrows, Flatbottomed Boats &c. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr. 10. 1775.”
1. Probably a reference to Britain's decision to raise a large army to send to America, including mercenaries. See JA to James Warren, 1 Oct., note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1775-10-12

To William Tudor

[salute] Dr sir

I have received yours of the first of this Instant1 and am glad to find you have me still in Remembrance. I wrote you some time ago, and ventured to acquaint you with the appointment of fifty dollars a Month to the Judge Advocate for himself and his Clerk, to commence from his first appointment. This I hope you received. I feel more anxious about Letters than formerly as you may well imagine. The Times are so critical and there are so many Peepers, that one cant be too carefull. Indeed the horrid Story you allude to in yours of the surgeon2 &c. is enough to make one jealous3 of every Body, but it must not have this Effect. In the Reign of Charles the first, such Instances of Treachery and Infidelity, were not uncommon. I would fain hope however that this has turned out more favourably than was feared: yet from several private Letters received here by Gentlemen, I am Staggered. What shall We say? I think it very odd, however, that every Event which happens at the Camp should regularly come to Governors Ward or Hopkins, or to Coll. Dyer or Mr. Deane, before it comes to me. It is really astonishing. However hush Complaint.
The last Accounts from my Family were very disagreable. And yours mentions not a Word of it. I hope for the best but should be rejoiced to hear.
Three Battalions I believe will be raised in Pensilvania and the Jersies for the Defence of New York.4 News We have none, but such as you see in the Papers.
As you are now in the military Line of Life, I presume it will not be disagreable to have your Thoughts turned to military Speculations. I want to know what Books upon Martial Science are to be found in the Army, and whether, among the many young Gentlemen in the service, any of them are studious of the Principles of the Art. It is a shame for Youths of Genius and Education to be in the Army, without exerting themselves to become Masters of the Profession. If it is objected that Books are not to be had, Measures ought to be taken to procure them. To this End I wish to collect [a] perfect List of the best Authors, and should be obliged to you if you would enquire and make up one for me. And at the same time enquire whether the following are in the possession of any Body in the Army. Dalrymples military Essay. Saxes Reveries. History of Prussia. History of Frederic 3d. Le Blonds military Engineer. History of the late War. Mullers Works Eight Volumes. Maneuvres for a Battalion of Infantry—by Major { 195 } Young. Military Guide, by Simes. Andersons Art of War. Prussian Field Regulations. King of Prussias Advice to young officers. Play-dells Field Fortification. Simes's Medley. Bellidoze, Worth all the rest.5
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “To William Tudor Esqr Judge Advocate in the American Army Cambridge favd. by Mr. Tracy”; docketed: “Octr. 12th 1775.”
1. No letter from Tudor of 1 Oct. has been found; JA is probably referring to that of 30 Sept. (above).
2. Benjamin Church.
3. That is, suspicious (OED).
4. The congress reached this decision on 12 Oct. (JCC, 3:291).
5. The evaluation of the following military titles has been furnished to the editors by Alan C. Aimone, Military History Librarian of the Library of the United States Military Academy, and Robert K. Wright Jr., historian in the Organizational History Branch of the Department of the Army. The former's overall assessment, given in a letter of 10 Sept. 1976, is the following: “Most of the books . . . would be among the best military science works of his age. None indicates new departures such as light infantry tactics or even basic cavalry sources. Such military writers of the time as . . . Lewis Lochée, James Wolfe and Timothy Pickering are missing . . . that would reflect a balanced military library of the John Adams era.”
Campbell Dalrymple, A Military Essay, London, 1761. Considered current literature, this dealt with the problems of recruiting, clothing, arming, and disciplining infantry and cavalry, furnishing information basic for establishing an army. An abridgement, Extracts from a Military Essay, Phila., 1776, is listed in the Catalogue of JA's Library.
Maurice, Marechal de Saxe, Reveries, Edinburgh, 1759. Considered basic, this work regularly appears in military inventories of the time. Listed in the Catalogue of JA's Library.
W. H. Dilworth, The Life and Heroic Actions of Frederick III [II], King of Prussia . . . containing All the Military Transactions of Germany from the year 1740, and including All the Operations of the Campaign of 1757, London, 1758.
Guillaume Le Blond, A Treatise of Artillery, London, 1746. Translated from the French, this work was considered important along with those of Muller's listed below.
Gen. Henry Lloyd, The History of the Late War in Germany; between the King of Prussia and the Empress of Germany and Her Allies, London, 1763.
None of the standard catalogues lists Muller's works in eight volumes, but these titles are found in American libraries: La Mamye Clairac, The Field Engineer, transl. Muller, London, 1773. The Attack and Defence of Fortified Places in Three Parts; the Third Edition . . . enlarged, . . . also Belidor's New Method of Mining; and Valliere on Countermining, London, 1770. A Treatise Containing the Elementary Part of Fortification, London, 1746, 1756, 1774. A Treatise Containing the Practical Part of Fortification, London, 1755, 1774. A Treatise of Artillery, London, 1757, 1768. Muller was the leading English writer on military science.
William Young, Manoeuvres, or Practical Observations on the Art of War, London, 1770, 1771.
Thomas Simes, The Military Guide for Young Officers, London, 1772. A popular work, this contained a section on military terms arranged alphabetically. Volume 2 of the 1776 edition is listed in the Catalogue of JA's Library.
The next three works in JA's listing are of uncertain identity. No standard catalogue lists an art of war by Anderson. Robert K. Wright Jr. suggests two possibilities: Marechal de Puysegur, L'art de la guerre, Paris, 1747, or Granmaison, La petite guerre, Paris, 1756. The British Museum Catalogue lists New Art of War, London, 1726, which was also published under the title The Art of War, neither with author given. Evans lists —— deLamont and others, { 196 } The Act of War, Phila., 1776 (No. 14816). Conceivably JA knew of its forthcoming publication.
According to Wright, “Prussian Field Regulations” might be one of several works: Regulations for the Prussian Infantry, transl. William Fawcett, London, 1757; Thomas Hanson, The Prussian Evolutions in Actual Engagements, 2 vols., Phila., 1775; The Prussian (Short) Exercise, N.Y., 1757, this last probably a reprint of the Fawcett translation.
The “King of Prussia's Advice to Young Officers,” again in Wright's view, seems a garbled title derived from two works perhaps: Frederick the Great, Instructions for His Generals, transl., London, 1762; Gen. James Wolfe, Instructions to Young Officers, London, 1768.
J. L. Pleydell, An Essay on Field Fortification, London, 1768.
Thomas Simes, The Military Medley, London, 1768.
Bernard Forest de Belidor, “the 18th-century Vauban of fortifications,” wrote a number of widely circulated books, almost none apparently translated: La science des ingénieurs dans la conduite des travaux de fortification et d'architecture civile, Paris, 1729, 1739, 1754, 1775. Le bombardier françois ou nouvelle méthode de jetter les bombes avec précision, Paris, 1731. Traité des fortifications, Paris, 1735. Nouveau cours de mathématiques, à l'usage de l'artillerie et du génie, Paris, 1725, 1757. Oeuvres diverses . . . concernant l'artillerie et le génie, Amsterdam, 1764.
It should be added that although JA lists authors and in some instances brief titles, he apparently knew little at this time about his selections, for later he asks Tudor who Belidor is and in what language he wrote (JA to Tudor, 14 Nov., below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0100-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-12

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

I would write often if I had any thing to communicate: But Obligations of Honour forbid some Communications and other Considerations prevent others.
The common Chatt of a Coffee house, is too frivolous for me to recollect or you to read. I have inclosed a Paper upon which I will make no Remark: But leave you to your own Conjectures.1 Only I must absolutely insist that it be mentioned to nobody. It may gratify your Curiosity and give Some Relief to your Cares.
I most earnestly pray that all my Friends, would exert themselves to furnish me with Intelligence of a particular Nature. I mean with a List of all the Depredations committed upon our Trade. A List of all the Vessells which have been taken by the Cutters, Cruizers &c. The Names of the Vessells, Masters owners, Burthen of the ship the Nature of the Cargo's and the Value of both. Nothing will contribute So much to facilitate Reprizals, as an exact Account of our Losses and Damages. I wish our General Court would take it up—and examine it thoroughly.2
We have no Accounts nor Vouchers yet. Nor one Line from the Committee appointed to correspond with Us.
I am very happy—how it is I know not—but I am very happy.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House and Pay Master General Watertown favd. by Mr Tracy”; docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr 12. 1775”; with enclosure in JA's hand.
1. The origin of the enclosure remains obscure. JA probably copied the proposal from some source. The intimate knowledge of Antigua's geography indicates that it was written by some person well informed about the West Indies. Certainly the calling for two ships to go out aggressively and seek munitions accorded with JA's sentiments, for he was a vigorous supporter of the scheme to arm vessels to intercept two British ships known to be carrying munitions to Canada (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:342–345).
It is uncertain whether the proposal was presented to the congress or to one of its committees (perhaps the secret committee on the procurement of gunpowder that had been created on 18 Sept.) and if so, when (JCC, 2:253). The plan is not mentioned in the Journal of the congress, JA's Diary, or any of the other sources examined. If it was presented, it was probably around 6 Oct., when the procurement of gunpowder was debated (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:196–197).
2. JA is here anticipating the action of the congress on 18 Oct., when it resolved that an account of hostilities committed since March be compiled.
To implement the resolution, a committee composed of Silas Deane, JA, and George Wythe was established (JCC, 3:298–299). On, 19 Oct. the committee sent form letters to Massachusetts and elsewhere, seeking information. For the form letter see JA's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec., No. III (above). For JA's interpretation of the period of time to be covered, see JA to James Warren, 19 Oct., first letter, note 3 (below). The province responded on 7 Nov. by naming a committee to compile the requested information, although no record has been found that Massachusetts sent in a formal report (Mass., House Jour., 1175–1776, 2d sess., p. 242).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0100-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-12

Enclosure: A Proposal Regarding the Procurement of Powder

As the Article of Powder is much wanted to carry on the operations vs the ministerial Army, and as the british Ministry, have taken every Step that human Nature could divise to prevent the Americans obtaining So essential an Article; it is humbly Submitted to the Wisdom, of the cont. Congress, whether it will not be prudent to Supply yourselves with that Article at the Expence of the said Ministry, by taking it whenever you can get it. It is thus further recommended that 2 Vessells properly mann'd be sent to the Island of Antigua, one of which may anchor at Old Road on the South Side of the Said Island (where there are only a few Houses) in the Evening under Dutch Colours; passing for a Vessell bound on a forced Trade, to the French Islands; in the night you may land, and take away all the powder; there being not above one or two Persons, in the fort to prevent it. As Soon as the Powder is obtained the Vessell may proceed down to Johnsons Point Fort, at the S. W. point of the Island; and take what is there; there being only a Single Matross in the Said Fort; the other Vessell must be commanded by a prudent Man; well acquainted with the Bar and Harbour at St. Johns; if any Man of War be anchored without the Bar; it will not be prudent to attempt any Thing, but Should there be none; the Vessell may then go over the Bar, and anchor close under the fort; as is commonly the Custom. There are generally 10 or 12 Soldiers in James Fort Situated on a Point on the larboard Hand, Seven miles distant from the Town; the Magazine is in a hollow; on the Left Hand just after entering the Gate, and commonly contains from 500 to 1000 Blls of Powder, or more. 2 miles from thence to the northward is a Small fort call'd Corbresons point fort; and 2 miles from this northward is another Small fort called Dickensons bay fort, in either of which there is not above a Single Matross. All this Powder may be easily obtained, without any opposition, if conducted with Prudence; it will be necessary, that the Captain Should have Some Money, to distribute among the Soldiers, to assist in taking it away; He may go into the Fort in the Afternoon (and see how the Land lies) under pretence of Sailing that night and thereby guide his operation.
The Same Thing may be done by other Vessells at Montserrat, Nevis, Charlesfort at Sandy point, St. Kitts, also at St. Martins; without any Risque.
I would advise the continental Congress, to make a general Sweep of all the Powder, at St. Eustatius, it may first be taken and then paid for afterwards as the Dutch refuse to sell it to us;1 I am well perswaded { 198 } the whole of this Plan may be executed, that near 3000 Blls of powder may be obtained in the Course of 3 or 4 months.
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.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House and Pay Master General Watertown favd. by Mr Tracy”; docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr 12. 1775”; with enclosure in JA's hand.
1. The Dutch States-General, under pressure from Great Britain, had on 20 March ordered that no munitions be exported to the North American continent for six months, an order which was subsequently renewed periodically, but which was not obeyed in the Dutch West Indies during the American Revolution (F. C. Van Oosten, “Some Notes Concerning the Dutch West Indies During the American Revolutionary War,” The American Neptune, 36:156 [July 1976]).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0101

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-12

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I have only a Minute to Cover the Inclosed Letters.1 I have been on an Excursion to Plymouth for a Week and returned Yesterday with Mrs. Warren. On our way we Called a little while on Mrs. Adams as you may well suppose, have the pleasure to Inform you we left her well, and hope to see her here in a few days. The rest the Inclosed will tell you.2 We Condole with her, and you on the great Loss sustained in her Good Mother.3
I Received a Letter from you Yesterday, have Observed your directions, and proposed with Earnestness the Compleating the Accounts.4
{ 199 }
They are Attended with great difficulties but hope to get them along in some Shape or other. I Received before I went Home 2 Letters.5 Can only say at present that I Observe you think me very Negligent. I dont wonder at it, but by this Time believe you are Convinced that it was more oweing to my misfortune than Negligence. They were long while in their passage. I knew [not?] of this opportunity till this minute and Mr. Randolph waits. We have no Remarkables. Adeu,
Mrs. Warren desires her Compliments you will soon here from her. She loves to Scribble to those she has a good Opinion off.
[signed] J:W
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honbl: John Adams Esq Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Octr 12. 1775 Warren”; docketed in a later hand: “J. Warren October 12th 1775.”
1. These have not been identified, but see note 2.
2. Probably Mercy Otis Warren's letter that was begun on 12 Oct. but was not finished until the 14th (see below).
3. AA's mother, Elizabeth Quincy Smith, died on 1 Oct. See AA to JA, 1 Oct., and Mrs. Smith's obituary of 6 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:288–289, 293–294).
4. JA's letter of 28 Sept. (above). The report of the House committee on Massachusetts' accounts with the congress was very long in preparation and was recommitted several times (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 152, 155–156, 159).
5. Probably JA's letters of 19 and 26 Sept. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0102

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-12

From Mercy Otis Warren

I Write again from Waterton, where I Arrived Yesterday with your Excelent Friend who has been so much Engaged by his Necessary Attention to public affairs that he has had time since you Left us only to run to Plimouth four days ago and bring back your Correspondent to this Crouded inconvenient place, where the Muses Cannot dwell, or the Graces of Elegance Reside. Yet the feelings of Real Friendship will not Languish, nor the tender simpathy of a Compassionate Heart Decay, though within the sound of the Cares and Tumults of the more busy scenes. This I Can Attest from the Concern I have Lately felt for the suffering, of those you stand Nearest Connected With.
How fleeting are all the Joys of this precarious state, by what a slender tenure do we hold the Best Blessings of Life.
Within a few days after your agreable Discription of Domestic Happiness, and the temporary Felicity you tasted under your own quiet Roof, the Good Portia was Involved in a Variety of Affliction. But I called on Her yesterday and found the Little Flock Restored to { 200 } Health. Their Mamah perfectly Recovered and Bearing up under A stroke of Adversity with that Fortitude and Equinimity which Can only Result from the Noblest principles. But when we take a Rational survey of the Condition of Humanity and the Narrow Limits within which our Advances both to perfection And Happiness are Circumscribed, at the same time that the Hope of the Christian smooths the passage to a More Exalted state, why should the shocks of private Misfortune, the Allarms of War, or the Convulsions of states, Ruffle the soul Conscious of Its own Integrity.
Mrs. Adams has Doubtless informed you that she has the Highest Consolation under the Loss of a most Exelent parent and how much Less painful ought the temporary seperation from those we are assured are Translated to unfading Felicity to be, then to behold the Depravity of mind into which some Wretched Individuals are sunk.
I fear a Late Instance of perfidy and Baseness in one who Rancked Himself among the Friends to the Rights of society and the Happiness of the Community Will occasion many Inviduous Reflections from the Enemies of the American Cause.
I was Ever sorry that there should be one among the Band of patriots Whose Moral Character was Impeachable for when the Heart is Contaminated, and the Obligations of private Life Broken through, And the man has thrown of[f] the Restraints Both of Honour and Conscience with Regard to His own Domestic Conduct, what Dependance is to be Made on the Rectitude of His public Intentions.1
The Culprit Assumes an air of Inocence, and with the Confidence usual to Veterans in Iniquity Complains that He is unjustly Restraind. But I imagine when he has no further hopes, left of Imposing on the Friends of his Country, he will be mean, And abject in proportion to his affectation of Intrepidity, for no true Fortitude can subsist in a Mind Devoid of these principles which Leads to some Higher hopes. Yet when they are about to Leap the Gulph of Futurity, the Natural Intimations of an Impartial Tribunal, shakes the firmness of the sceptic And plunges him in all the Horrors of Dispair.
The two armies Remain Rather Inactive. Nothing Vigorous or Decisive on Either side.
It is Generally beleved Gage is Gone home.2 The Communication between the town and Country is now intirly Cut off: so that no inteligence Can be Expected from Boston Except the Little by way of Desserters.
There seems to be such a spirit for Navel preperations, that I beleive it will not be many years before your Friend Gadsdens American Fleet3 { 201 } will make A very Respectable Figure on the Western side of the Atlantic. And if we Can once Gaurd our sea coasts from the Depredations of the British Bucaneers I beleive we may soon bid Deffiance to all the, Hessians Highlanders and Hanoverians, Employed by an unfeeling Arbitrary, —— Monarch.
Mr. Warren and myself are just returned from Head quarters where we had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with the Agreable Mrs. Miflin. The Annimated spirit which Reigns there seems to beat in unison with the sentiments Breathed in your Respectable Assembly, if we may Judge by your Letters just Come to Hand. We Expect Great projects are to open upon us, and that A system of politics will soon be disclosed that will do Honour to the Genius of America, and Equal to some of the Capital Characters which Compose the Grand Counsel of the Continent.
I thank you sir for a Line Received Lately,4 and if you find a Leasure Moment shall be Gratifyed and Obliged if you Condescend at any time to write to your assured Friend,
[signed] Marcia
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Marcia's Letter Octr. 12. 1775.” A Tr of this letter erroneously dated 22 Oct. is in MHi: Mercy Warren Letterbook, p. 160–162. The copy was apparently made at a later date from one not now extant. The only significant difference between the two versions is her specific identification of Dr. Church, whose conduct she describes but whose name she does not mention in the letter here printed. The Tr carries this note: “This was Dr. Church recently detected of betraying the affairs of America to the British army.” For comment on Mrs. Warren's “Letterbook,” see Adams Family Correspondence, 1:93–94, note 1.
1. Rumors, probably much exaggerated, flew around concerning Church's private immorality; but the evidence is clear that he had a mistress who carried the letter which was his undoing (Allen French, General Gage's Informers, Ann Arbor, 1932, p. 149–150).
2. Gage had received orders to return to England, and on 13 Oct. the Massachusetts Gazette reported that he had left Boston on the 10th (Gage to Dartmouth, 30 Sept., Gage, Corr., 1:417).
Gage was recalled by the King presumably to help with plans for military operations in 1776, but his recall actually was owing to political enemies in London who used the outcome of the Battle of Bunker Hill as an excuse (John R. Alden, General Gage in America, Baton Rouge, 1948, p. 280–283).
3. See JA to Elbridge Gerry, [ante 11] June (above).
4. That of 26 Sept. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0103

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Charles
Date: 1775-10-13

To Charles Lee

[salute] My dear Sir1

Your obliging Favour of the fifth Inst. I this Moment received, and give me Leave to assure you that no Letter I ever received, gave me { 202 } greater Pleasure. In truth sir I have been under some Apprehensions, that a certain Passage, in a very unfortunate as well as inconsiderate Letter, might have made Some disagreable Impressions on your Mind: I was indeed relieved in some Degree by Accounts which I had from Gentlemen who knew your sentiments, especially such as were present when you first heard it read. The candid, genteel and generous Manner in which it was heard and animadverted on, gave me great Satisfaction: I had thought of writing you on the Subject, but was hindered by certain Notions of Delicacy perhaps as whimsical, as any Thing alluded to in that Letter. But I rejoice exceedingly, that this incident has induced you to write.
I frankly confess to you that a little Whim and Eccentricity, so far from being an Objection to any one in my Mind, is rather, a Recommendation, at first Blush, and my Reasons are, because few Persons in the World, within my Experience or little Reading, who have been possessed of Virtues or Abilities, have been entirely without them; and because few Persons, have been remarkable for them, without having Something at the same Time, truly valuable in them. I confess farther that a Fondness for Dogs, by no means depreciates any Character in my Estimation, because many of the greatest Men have been remarkable for it; and because I think it Evidence of an honest Mind and an Heart capable of Friendship, Fidelity and Strong Attachments being Characteristicks of that Animal.
Your Opinion of my Generosity, Valour, Good sense, Patriotism and Zeal for the Rights of Humanity, is extreamly flattering to me: and I beg leave to assure you, in the Strongest Manner and I flatter myself that my Language and Conduct in public and private upon all occasions, notwithstanding the wanton Expressions in the intercepted Letter have demonstrated, that this Opinion is reciprocal. Your Sincerity, sir, I never doubted, any more than I did my own, when I expressed or implied an opinion of your Attainments as a Scholler and a Soldier. Indeed I might have expressed a much higher opinion of these than I did, with the same Sincerity. But enough of this.
At the Story of the Surgeon General I stand astonished. A Man of Genius, of Learning, of Family, of Character, a Writer of Liberty songs and good ones too, a Speaker of Liberty orations, a Member of the Boston Committee of Correspondence, a Member of the Massachusetts Congress, an Agent for that Congress to the Continental Congress, a Member of the House, a Director General of the Hospital and Surgeon General—Good God! What shall We say of human Nature? { 203 } What shall We say of American Patriots? or rather what will the World Say? The World however, will not be too severe. Indeed, Sir, We ought to expect, in a Contest like this, however we may detest, Such Examples as this. History furnishes Instances more or less, in all Quarells like this. The Doctors Brother Poet Waller2 in the Struggle with a Stuart, was his Antitype. We cannot be too cautious of the Persons We entrust, in such Times as these: yet We ought not to let our Caution degenerate into groundless Jealousy. There is a Medium between Credulity on one hand and a base suspicious Temper on the other from which We need not be induced to deviate, even in such Times as these, and by such Examples as the Doctors.
The Nature of the Conspiracy and the Duration and Extent of it Seem as yet in much Obscurity. I hope Time, and Care will bring the whole Truth to light that exact and impartial Justice may be done, if that is possible.
Before this Reaches you, a Committee from Congress3 will tell you News from hence. I wish, sir that I could write freely to you concerning, our Proceedings: But you know the obligations I am under to be upon the Reserve: and the danger there would be as I know not the Carrier of this Letter, if I was at perfect Liberty. But this I must Say, that I See no danger of our “displaying Timidity.” This Congress, is more united, and more determined, than ever. And, if the petrified Tyrants would but send us their Ultimatum, which is expected Soon, you would see us, in Earnest.
As to confiscating Estates, that is but a Small Part of what will be done when We are engaging seriously.
You began upon a subject, towards the Close of your Letter of infinite Importance; I read with avidity your Thoughts and was much chagrin'd, that you gave me so few of them. The Intricacy and Multiplicity of the Questions involved in it, require more extensive Knowledge and a larger Mind than mine to determine them with Precision. There is So much Uncertainty too, that I believe no Man is capable of deciding with Precision: but it must be left to Time Accident and Experience, to begin and improve the Plan of our Trade.
If We Should invite “all the maritime Powers, of the World into our Ports” would any one of them come? At least, untill they should be convinced that We were able, and determined to fight it out with G.B. to the last? Are they yet convinced of this, or will they be very soon? Besides, if they should, would it be Sound Policy in Us to admit them? Would it not be Sounder to confine the Benefit and the Bargain to one or a few?
{ 204 }
Is it not wiser to send our own Ships to all maritime Powers, and admit private Adventurers from foreign Nations, if by any Means We can defend them against Cutters and Cruizers, or teach them to elude them. I have upon this Subject a System of my own but am not bigoted to it, nor to any other. You will oblige me vastly by your Sentiments at large.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed in an unidentified hand: “Mr. John Adams Oct 13. 1775 X.”
1. Although James Warren was thought by Worthington C. Ford to be the recipient (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:136–139), and his judgment was accepted by William Bell Clark (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:445), this letter was intended for Charles Lee, for it is an almost point by point reply to Lee's letter of 5 Oct. (above), and Lee replied to it on 19 Nov. (below). It may have been enclosed with JA's letter to Warren of 13 Oct. (below), but how it got back among Warren's papers remains undetermined.
2. Edmund Waller (1606–1687), a noted poet and member of the House of Commons, who at the beginning of the struggle against Charles I, appeared to stand with the Commons, but who in 1643 was seized as the perpetrator of “Waller's plot,” a scheme to seize London for Charles. In 1644 he was exiled, saving his life only because he informed on other members of the conspiracy (DNB).
3. That is, Harrison, Lynch, and Franklin.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-13

To James Warren

Yours of october 1. and 2d I received this Morning with the Letters inclosed. These were from my afflicted Wife,1 giving me Such a continued History of her Distresses, as has affected me too much to write you a long Letter.
The Misfortune, or what shall I call it of the Surgion General had been represented here in several Letters in very glaring Colours untill one arrived from the secretary to the general, couched in Terms of more Temper and Candour.2 By your Account, and indeed by the Letter itself it appears an unaccountable Affair—Balaam praying for Leave to curse Israel, is the Emblem. A manifest Reluctance at hurting his Country, yet desirous of making a Merit, with the other Side—what shall We think! Is there reason to believe that other Letters have gone the same Way? I was so little acquainted with the World that I never heard a Suspicion to the Disadvantage of his Moral Character, untill I was lately with you at the Adjournment. I should scarcely have joined in a certain Recommendation, if I had heard before what I heard then3—for Honour and Fidelity violated in Such gross Instances in private Life, are slender securities in public. Be not concerned about your Friends at the Congress—their Recommendations { 205 } will not be discredited by this Event. Gentlemen here have behaved universally with the Utmost Politeness, upon this occasion. They say they pitty us, for the Suspicions that there is danger may arise among us of one another, and the Hurt to that Confidence in one another which ought to be. But any Man ought to be kick'd for a Brute that shall reproach Us in Thought, Word or Deed on this account.
Our Accounts from Schuyler's Army are as agreable as yours from Arnold. We are in hourly Expectation.
Rejoice to hear of your Successes by Sea.4 Let Cargill and Obrien5 be put into continental service immediately I pray. We begin to feel a little of a Seafaring Inclination here. The Powder at Quebec, will place us all upon the Top of the House.
Your Letters are very usefull to me—and I cannot have too many, or too long.
I believe We shall take some of the twenty Gun ships before long. We must excite by Policy that Kind of exalted Courage, which is ever victorious by sea and land—which is irresistable—the Saracens, had it—the Knights of Malta—the Assassins—Cromwells soldiers and sailors—Nay N. England men have ever had it hitherto—they never yet fail'd in an Attempt of any Kind.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.);addressed: “The Hon. James Warren Esq Speaker of the House Watertown By favour of Mr. Tracy”; docketed: “Mr J: A Lettr Octr. 13. 1775.”
1. See James Warren to JA, 1 Oct., note 14 (above).
2. Washington to the President of Congress, 5 Oct. (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:9–13).
3. JA had a hand in getting Church his appointment as director of hospitals on 27 July (JCC, 2:211).
4. That is, the capture of the schooner Industry and the brigantine Dolphin, mentioned in Warren's letter of 1 Oct.
5. Why JA mentioned James Cargill and Capt. Jeremiah O'Brien at this point is not clear. Warren does not name them, nor does the Journal of the House, in connection with the seizure of the two ships. Warren did mention Cargill on 9 Aug. (above), however. O'Brien had shown spirit in leading a group of men on board a sloop belonging to Ichabod Jones to pursue a royal tender, which had escorted Jones to Machias. This incident occurred in June and may have been reported to JA (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 395–396).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0105

Author: Intelligencer
Author: Hughes, Hugh
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-16

From The Intelligencer

[salute] Gentlemen

I1 have been here, almost ever since I had the Pleasure of seeing you at Fairfield, and have attentively observed the Conduct of these People's Leaders; and, according to the best of my slender Judgement, think that their Councils are stampt with Folly, Timidity, and Treach• { 206 } ery. But to trace the whole Labyrinth of their Inconsistency and Perfidy, would be irksome and endless; therefore I shall only mention such as have occurred lately, leaving the Rest for a Day of more Leisure.
In the first Place, the Committee of Safety, during the Recess of the Congress, pass'd a Resolve to impress all the Arms of those who had not sign'd the Association by the 16th of Septr., the Time of passing the Resolve,2 which was done too, only in Consequence of a Letter, or Letters, from your Body, as it is generally imagined. This was first attempted to be carried into Execution on Long Island, in Queen's County, by sending out one or two of their own Board, with 4 or 5 Citizens, who at the same Time were restrain'd from exercising any manner of Coercion whatever by private Instruction, unless endanger'd by Violence &c. According they went out on the 23rd Ultimo and were treated in the most contemptuous Manner, even to Insult and Threat; declaring they knew no Congress, neither would they sign any Association, nor pay any Part of the Expense accruing by an Opposition to the King's Troops &c. On the Contrary, that they were determin'd to support the “King's Laws” and defend themselves against all other Authority &c. Some of this happen'd within 5 or 6 Miles of the City, and some further. They got a few worthless Arms, from some of the most Timid, who, it was tho't, had concealed their best.3
After they had been out 2 or 3 Days a Report was bro't to Town that they were imprison'd, and an Order was made out for the first Battalion of Militia, with some of the Provincials, to go to their Relief. But before this could be carried into Execution, Means were devised, by mustering their whole Force and calling a Committee, to defeat the Measure.
The next Expedient was to appoint a Committee of that Board to wait on them, who return'd as Fruitless as the First. Since the Meeting of the Congress they have endeavour'd to pass a Censure on the whole Proceeding of the Committee of Safety in that Affair and several others.
Some of the Congress have declared that they would not receive the Bills of Credit to be emitted by themselves. Others have said that they would join the King's Standard if Troops came, in order to save their Estates &c. This was said in Congress without any Censure, as reported by a Member in full Company, within these few Days.
A few Days since some Blankets, Sheets Shirts &c. to the Amount { 207 } of several thousand Pounds worth, and what was more necessary, a large Chest of Lint5 was found in the Lower Barracks and secur'd. These were all return'd next Day by Order of Congress.
The Post being just on the Point of going obliges me to omit many Things which I intended to mention.
Finally I inclose you a Paper containing an Extract of Mr. Tryon's Letter to our Mayor, for the Perusal of the Congress.6 I am told this Morning that his Friends had a Meeting on Saturday Night last, to a Considerable Amount, in order to defend him at all Events. I believe there is Truth in it, and shall, as soon as I have put this in the Office make Inquiry. I am also told that he has written a second Letter to the Mayor, desiring to know if [he] cannot be protected against an Order of the Continental Congress &c.7 Both of these last I shall inquire further of, and give you such Intelligence as I receive. This Minute I am inform'd that there is a Vessel at the Hook, in a Short Passage from England, but the Viper Sloop8 detains her, as it is said. Should you want to communicate any Thing to me, direct for the Intelligencer, and cover it to Mr. John Holt, Printer.9 Be assur'd that Mr. Tryon is most assiduously stirring up every Coal that will catch, through the Medium of his mercenary Emissaries &c. If Something be not done very speedily he will give you some Trouble, or I am greatly Mistaken. The Gentleman who told you this Time 12 Month that all would go well here, is now exceedingly alarm'd, and told me Yesterday that we were in a most dangerous Situation. I am, with the greatest Regard, Gentlemen your very Humble Servant,
[signed] The Intelligencer
P.S. Your Candour is begg'd to this hasty Scrawl.10
RC (Adams Papers); directed: “To Messrs. Samuel and John Adams Esqrs.”
1. A comparison of this letter and a second from the Intelligencer of 18 Oct. (below) with letters from Hugh Hughes of 31 March and 29 May 1776 (both below) shows such a similarity in handwriting that it is almost certain that Hughes was the Intelligencer. Hugh Hughes (1727?–1802?) was an unsuccessful businessman who by recurrent financial difficulties was forced also to keep a school. An ardent patriot and member of the New York Sons of Liberty, he was assistant quartermaster general with the rank of colonel for the province of New York from May 1776 till Dec. 1781. He was the brother of John Hughes (1712–1772) of Philadelphia, friend of Benjamin Franklin (New Jersey Archives, 1st ser., 24:646, note; Charles Henry Hart, ed., “Letters from William Franklin to William Strahan,” PMHB, 35:442, note [Oct. 1911]; N.Y. Genealogical and Biographical Record, 47 [1916]: 173; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 306).
That this letter is addressed to both Samuel Adams and JA, together with the mention of Fairfield, Conn., suggests that the author met them when they stopped in Fairfield at “Penfields” on their way to the second session of the Second Continental Congress (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:168).
2. The New York Provincial Congress adjourned on 2 Sept. and reconvened on 4 Oct. During the recess, the Committee of Safety conducted business { 208 } (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:582, 1267). For the committee's resolve, see same, 3:898.
3. Maj. William Williams describes conditions on Long Island and the resistance of the people to efforts to disarm them. In substance, the Intelligencer's account is almost identical (same, 3:912).
4. Probably an abbreviation for “subsequent,” indicating a break in the writing of the letter of perhaps even a day or two.
5. Soft material for dressing wounds (OED).
6. Gov. William Tryon's letter of 13 Oct. to New York Mayor Whitehead Hicks threatened New York with bombardment from warships in the harbor if he was not protected against seizure ordered by the Continental Congress. A reply came from the City Committee to Hicks and from Hicks to Tryon on 13 and 14 Oct., assuring the governor of his safety and asserting they knew of no such order from the congress to arrest him (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:1052–1053). Apparently Tryon was moved by a report that the Continental Congress had entertained a motion for his arrest on 5 Oct. Although the Journal makes no mention of the motion, it was offered and failed to carry (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:195).
7. Tryon's letter of 14 Oct. to Hicks expressed his dissatisfaction with the lack of positive assurances in the replies to his first letter. The mayor and City Committee responded yet again, but Tryon, still unsatisfied, took refuge on the Halifax Packet in the harbor (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:1053–1054). On 19 Oct. the Continental Congress asked the New York Provincial Congress to forward a copy of any order from them or the city in consequence of Tryon's letter and to send an attested copy of the governor's letter (JCC, 3:300).
8. The British sloop of war Viper had arrived at Boston from England in September but was ordered to proceed to New York. It was commanded by Capt. Samuel Greaves (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:38, 611).
9. John Holt (1721–1784), publisher of the New York Journal, a whig paper (DAB).
10. Actually the MS is very clearly written. Although some phrases are interlined, a few words crossed out, and some sentences in the margin, the writer shows unusual care with word choice and placement of modifiers, as well as with punctuation and consistency of spelling.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-18

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

The Letter of Dr—— is the oddest Thing imaginable. There are so many Lies in it, calculated to give the Enemy an high Idea of our Power and Importance, as well as so many Truths tending to do us good that one knows not how to think him treacherous: Yet there are several Strokes, which cannot be accounted for at least by me, without the Supposition of Iniquity. In Short I endeavour to Suspend my Judgment. Don't let us abandon him for a Traitor without certain Evidence.
But there is not So much Deliberation in many others, or so much Compassion.
The Congress declined entering into any Discussion of the Evidence, or any Determination concerning his Guilt, or the Nature of his offence. But in general they had a full Conviction that it was so gross { 209 } an Imprudence at least, and was So Suspicious, that it became them to dismiss him from their Service, which they did instantly.1
Yesterday they chose a Successor, Dr. Morgan an eminent Surgeon of this City.2 We, As usual had our Men to propose, Dr. Hall Jackson and Dr. Forster [Foster]. But Dr. Forsters Sufferings and services— and Dr. Jackson's great Fame, Experience and Merits were pleaded in vain.3
There is a Fatality attends our Province. It Seems destined to fall into Contempt. It was destined that We should make Mistakes I think, in our Appointment of Generals, Delegates, Surgeons and every Thing else except Paymaster and Judge Advocate.4 I hope they will not turn Cowards, Traytors, nor Lubbers, if they do I shall renounce all.
Dr. Morgan will be with you soon. He is Professor of Medicine in the Colledge here, and reads Lectures in the Winter. He is a Brother[-in-law] of Mr. Duche and of our Mr. Stillman. I may write you more particularly about him another Time.
Let me close now with a Matter of Some Importance. Congress have appointed Deane, Wythe, and your servant a Committee to collect a just Account of the Hostilities committed by the ministerial Troops and Navy, in America, Since last March; with proper Evidence of the Truth of the Facts related, the Number and Value of the Buildings destroyed by them, also the Number and Value of the Vessells inward and outward bound, which have been Seized by them, Since that Period, also the Stock taken by them from different Parts of the Continent; We shall write to the Assemblies of New England and Virginia, at least, but we shall likewise write to many Individuals requesting their Assistance and to you among others. I wish you would think a little and consult with others concerning this Business, for it nearly concerns our Province to have it well done.5
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown favoured by Captn. Mordecai Gist”; docketed: “Mr J A Lettr Octr. 1775”; above the address, probably postage: “d ster 2.” It may be that Gist carried the letter as far as Dorchester and posted it from there for 2d. For biographical details on Gist, see DAB.
1. On 14 Oct. (JCC, 3:294).
2. Dr. John Morgan (1735–1789), founder of the University of Pennsylvania medical school, who despite his eminence was removed from the post in the Continental Army in Jan. 1777. His wife, Mary, was a sister-in-law of Rev. Jacob Duché (DAB). His sister was married to Rev. Samuel Stillman of Boston (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:314–316, notes 24). See also JA to James Warren, 25 Oct. (below).
3. Dr. Hall Jackson (1739–1797) was a noted and innovative surgeon from Portsmouth, N.H., who, like Morgan, had studied in England. At the outbreak of the war, he joined the army, was at the capture of Ticonderoga, and ultimately became the chief surgeon for the New Hampshire troops in the Con• { 210 } tinental Army (DAB).
Dr. Isaac Foster (1740–1781) graduated from Harvard in 1758 and soon after the outbreak of war became deputy director in charge of the Eastern Medical Department of the Continental Army. His “sufferings” resulted from the loss of all his property in the burning of Charlestown (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:262–268).
4. JA's friends James Warren and William Tudor.
5. See JA to James Warren, 12 Oct., note 2 (above). On 19 Oct. JA wrote to William Cooper, then speaker pro tem of the House of Representatives, and to Joseph Palmer telling them also about the committee on depredations and requesting their assistance. He also asked each to send him a copy of the authorized account of the Battle of Charlestown, that is, Bunker Hill (25 July, above), which he had forgotten to take to Philadelphia, and which, he told Palmer, he wanted “very much” (to Cooper, MHi:Misc. Bound Coll.; to Palmer, M-Ar:194, p. 150–150a). Form letters on British depredations were sent out on 24 Oct. to James Warren, Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Cooper, and others.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0107

Author: Intelligencer
Author: Hughes, Hugh
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-18

From The Intelligencer

[salute] Gentlemen

Since I closed my last, of this Morning,1 I have been inform'd of a most curious Motion that was made in Committee, last Evening, by a Member of our Congress, on Mr. Tryon's last Requisition.2 It was, that they should not only protect him, and his, from any Attempt which may be made by Individuals &c. but that they should give him Notice if any Order of the Continental Congress came to Hand for that Purpose, i.e., of Seizing him and see him safe onboard one of his Majesty's Ships.3 This is a Fact. I have heard several of the Members declare it publickly, and not one contradict it. This is New York; how do you like it? They have complimented him highly, on the Rectitude of his Administration, I understand; and let him know that, they would protect him, as far as was consistent withe the overruling Law of Self-preservation; but not a Word of the Union, or Continental Congress.
If some speedy Method be not fallen upon to remove this intriguing Courtier, he will become daily, more and more popular, and of Course, very dangerous, at such an important Post as This. If Troops are to be sent, do let them hasten along as fast as possible; the Defection becomes greater every Day, in Town and Country. Those that have been pretty hearty, are now afraid of falling a Sacrifice.
Thursday—What I only heard and conjectured Yesterday, you'l find confirm'd in the inclos'd Paper,4 if you should not see it before this arrives. In it you will also see that our motley Council, as Dr. Church phrases it, is shortly to be dissolved.5 I wish the next may be better, but much doubt it I assure you. There is an insuperable Ignorance predominant here, which the Enemies of our Happiness avail themselves of, by some Means or other, continually.
{ 211 }
An Attempt was made, previous to the last Election for City Officers, to persuade the Citizens to reject those Magistrates who had discover'd an unfriendly Disposition to the Cause; but to very little Purpose. There was but one Alderman, and 3 or 4 Common Council, left out. The inclos'd Hand-bill contains some of the principal Objections to them, and will characterize the Men. If you think well of it, you may hand it to Dunlap, and Bradford;6 for which Purpose I shall inclose a Couple, that their Infamy may be as publick as their Actions are criminal, if possible.
Do inform me, under Cover to Mr. Holt, for The Intelligencer, as mention'd in my First, when the Pensylvania and New Jersey Troops may be expected?7 It is not possible to communicate the Necessity there is, just now, for their being here.
I took the Liberty about 8 or 10 Days ago, to mention our Situation to Col. Seymour, of Hartford,8 begging him to lay it before Governour Trumbull, in order that he might prepare a Number of the Militia to assist us, in Case of an Arrival of foreign Troops &c. as our own were not to be depended on, in general. I wish Mr. Deane, Col. Dyer &c. would back it, if approv'd of. I made use of the same Signature, that I do to you.
Evening—Capt. Cressop, of the Rifflemen, was buried here with Military Honours, this Afternoon, in Trinity Church-yard.9 He return'd from Camp to this Place, about 8 Days since, as I am told. The Procession was pretty well conducted, and made a considerable Appearance, allowing for the Defection of the People. But our Fondness for Parade, I imagine, made up for a Want of Zeal, in this Case.
Low, De Lancey, Walton, Kissam, Verplank10 &c, &c, have labour'd hard in Congress to-day, that the Freemen (Freemen being excluded, they expect that the Freeholders will return none but such as will be for preserving this City at the Expense of the Liberties of America; that is, Creatures of their own Cast, and Complexion)11 of this City should be precluded from voting for new Members, and that they should not vote by Ballot; but by Poll, as we are us'd to do.12
I have tho't that, if it were recommended by the Continental Congress to vote by Ballot, it might have a good Effect. I believe it would be adopted; as there has been an inkling for it here, some Time.
Another Stratagem is, that the Members of the next Congress shall serve gratis, by which Means they are in Hopes of having very few return'd, but such as are in the Pay of the Ministry already, and the others can easily be taken into Pay. But this is ridiculous, when it is only considered that the Present Congress can not bind a Future.
{ 212 }
Friday Morn. There is a Report, by a Sloop from Connecticut River this Morning, that St. John's is taken, but whether true or not, is yet doubtful.13
The Viper Sloop is daily stopping the Vessels and Boats from Sea and New Jersey.

[salute] The Post is waiting, or I could add. I am, with the greatest Regard, Gentlemen, your most obedient Humble Servant,

[signed] The Intelligencer
RC (Adams Papers); directed: “To Messers. Samuel and John Adams Esqrs”; docketed by JA: “Intelligencer Oct. 1775.”
1. No other letter of 18 Oct. from the Intelligencer has been found, but see his of 16 Oct., note 4 (above).
2. Probably Tryon's second letter to Mayor Hicks, that of 14 Oct. (same, note 7, above).
3. The substance of this motion was not included in the letter addressed by the City Committee to Mayor Hicks on 17 Oct., but the committee did compliment the Governor on his administration and did desire him to remain and offered him protection consistent with “our safety” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3: 1053–1054).
4. Not found.
5. A phrase lifted from Dr. Church's intercepted letter and applied here to the New York Provincial Congress, which on 18 Oct. resolved to dissolve itself on 14 Nov. for new elections (same, 3:1295).
6. The handbill has not been found. John Dunlap (1747–1812) published the Pennsylvania Packet; Thomas Bradford (1745–1838), the Pennsylvania Journal (DAB).
7. On 9 Oct. the congress voted to have New Jersey raise two battalions at continental expense and on 12 Oct. Pennsylvania was requested to raise a battalion on the same terms (JCC, 3:285–286, 291).
8. Thomas Seymour (1735–1829), prominent in Connecticut's political affairs, was named a lieutenant colonel in 1774 (Dexter, Yale Graduates, 2:378–379).
9. Capt. Michael Cressop of Virginia, corps of riflemen, died on 18 Oct. in his lodgings (NYHS, Colls., 84:123).
10. Isaac Low (1735–1791), merchant, member of the First Continental Congress, but opponent of independence; James DeLancey (1732–1800)James De Lancey (1746–1804), leader of the loyalist political faction (both in DAB). Jacob Walton, Daniel Kissam, and Philip Verplanck were all opponents of the Livingston faction, which supported the Revolution (Patricia U. Bonomi, A Factious People, N.Y., 1971, p. 246).
11. This passage, given here in parentheses, was written in the left-hand margin, its place in the MS text indicated with a dagger.
12. On 18 Oct. a motion to elect delegates to the next provincial congress by ballot was rejected (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:1294–1295).
13. One of a number of premature reports.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-19

To James Warren

[salute] My dear sir

It was the latter End of August that I left you. All September has run away, and 19 days in Octr.—and We have had no regular Intelligence from Watertown or Cambridge. Your Goodness I acknowledge. But there was a Committee of both Houses appointed, to correspond { 213 } with your Delegates; and We were to be informed of every Thing that occurred in Boston, Cambridge, Roxbury, Watertown &c especially of every Thing which passed in Either House: But have never received a single Letter not even a Scratch of a Pen from this Committee or any Member of it, unless you are one, which I don't know that you are. Should be glad to hear if this Committee, is all defunct or not.1
I have, in almost every Letter I have written, to any of my Friends, entreated that We might have Accounts and Vouchers sent Us, that We might obtain a Reimbursement of some Part at least of the inordinate Expence that has fallen upon Us. But have received No Answer from any one, concerning it.2 I wish to be informed, however, what the Difficulty is, that lies in the Way, if We cannot have the Accounts &c. The Continental Money goes away So fast, that I greatly fear We shall have none left in the Treasury, before We get the Proper Evidence and Information to obtain a Reimbursement for our Province. Dollars go but little Way in Maintaining Armies—very costly Commodities indeed. The Expence already accrued will astonish Us all, I fear.
Congress has appointed a Committee Deane, Wythe and your servant to collect a Narration of Hostilities, and Evidence to prove it—to ascertain the Number and Value of the Buildings destroyed, Vessells captivated, and Cattle plundered &c every where. I hope We shall tell a true Story, and then I am sure it will be an affecting one. We shall not omit their Butchers nor their Robberies nor their Piracies. But We shall want Assistance from every Quarter. I want the Distresses of Boston painted by Dr. Coopers Pencil—every Thing must be supported by Affidavits. This will be an usefull Work for the Information of all the colonies of what has passed in Some—for the Information of our Friends in England—and in all Europe, and all Posterity. Besides it may pave the Way to obtain Retribution and Compensation, but this had better not be talked of at present.
The Committee will write to the assemblies, and to private Gentlemen—no Pains or Expence will be Spared. I hope to render the Execution of this Commission compleat. It concerns our Province very much.3
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “The Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr J: A Lettr Octr. 19. 1775.”
1. In his letter to Joseph Palmer of this same date, JA complained of the failure not only of this General Court committee to write but of the committee on lead and salt as well (M–Ar:194, p. 150–150a; see also JA to Warren, 18 Oct., { 214 } note 5, above). For the membership of these two committees, see JA to John Winthrop, 2 Oct., note 4 (above).
2. JA made a similar complaint to Palmer (M–Ar:194, p. 150–150a). After JA's mention of the congressional committee on damages, he went on to tell Palmer that the congress hourly expected “Floods of Intelligence” from a variety of places and told of a British ship running aground at Egg Harbor, N.J., the crew destroying weapons and powder on board, an incident reported in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 25 Oct.
3. The committee on damages done by the British was the main topic of JA's letter to Warren of 23 Oct., in which he added: “You will observe the Vote limits Us to last March. This was done without design and I dont intend to be so limited; and therefore I hope the two Houses will appoint a Committee upon a larger Scale and collect Facts at least from the Port Bill, i.e. the time when it took place” (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll., printed in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:159–160).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-19

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

What Think you of an American Fleet? I dont mean 100 ships of the Line, by a Fleet, but I Suppose this Term may be applied to any naval Force consisting of several Vessells, tho the Number, the Weight of Metal, or the Quantity of Tonnage may be small.
The Expence would be very great—true. But the Expence might be born and perhaps the Profits and Benefits to be obtained by it, would be a Compensation. A naval Force might be created, which would do something. It would destroy Single Cutters and Cruizers—it might destroy small Concerts or Fleets of those like Wallaces at R. Island and Lord Dunmores at Virginia. It might oblige our Enemies to Sail in Fleets—for two or three Vessells of 36 and twenty Guns, well armed and manned might attack and carry a 64 or a 70 or a 50 Gun Ship.
But, there is a great objection to this. All the Trade of Pensylvania, the Lower Counties, a great Part of Maryland and N. Jersey Sails in between the Capes of Delaware Bay—and if a strong Fleet should be posted in that Bay, Superiour to our Fleet it might obstruct all the Trade of this River.
Further the Trade of Virginia and the rest of Maryland floats into Cheasapeak Bay between the Capes of Henry and Charles where a Fleet might stop all. Besides Virginia and Maryland have no Navigation of their own nor any Carpenters to build ships. Their whole Trade is carried on in British Bottoms by British, most of it by North British Merchants.
These Circumstances distinguish them quite from New England, where the Inlets are innumerable and the Navigation all their own.
They agree that a Fleet, would protect and secure the Trade of New England but deny that it would that of the Southern Colonies.
{ 215 }
Will it not be difficult to perswade them then to be at the Expence of building a Fleet, merely for N. England. We are Speculating now about Things at a Distance—should We be driven to a War at all Points—a Fleet a public Fleet as well as privateers might make prey enough of the Trade of our Enemies to make it worth while.1
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Paymaster of the American Forces Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr. 19. 1775.”
1. Compare this letter with that to Warren of 7 Oct. (above) and those of 19, 20, and 28 Oct. (below). JA was almost certainly giving, in the guise of his own thoughts on the subject, the substance of the debates over trade and the creation of a navy then going on in the congress. Thus, these letters become a useful supplement to JA's Diary entries for this period.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-19

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

I want to be with you, Tete a Tete, to canvass, and discuss the complicated subject of Trade. I Say nothing of private Consultations or public Debates, upon this important Head.
When I write you Letters you must expect nothing from me but unconnected Scraps and broken Hints. Continual Successions of Company allow me Time only to Scrawl a Page of Paper, without Thought.
Shall We hush the Trade of the whole Continent and not permit a Vessell to go out of our Harbours except from one Colony to another? How long will or can our People bear this? I Say they can bear it forever—if Parliament Should build a Wall of Brass, at low Water Mark, We might live and be happy. We must change our Habits, our Prejudices our Palates, our Taste in Dress, Furniture, Equipage, Architecture &c. But We can live and be happy. But the Question is whether our People have Virtue enough to be mere Husbandmen, Mechaniks and Soldiers? That they have not Virtue enough to bear it always, I take for granted. How long then will their Virtue last? Till next Spring?
If We Stop all Trade, Great Britain, Ireland and West Indies will not be furnished with any Thing.
Shall We then give Permission for our Vessells to go to foreign Nations, if they can escape the Men of War? Can they escape the Men of War? How many will escape in Proportion? If any Escape, will they not venture to Britain, Ireland, and W.I. in defyance of our Association? If they do not, will not the British Dominions furnish themselves with our Produce from foreign Ports, and thereby avoid { 216 } that Distress, which We expect will overtake them? Will not the W.I. Islands especially, who cannot exist without our Provisions for 6. Months, unless G[ . . . ]1 Walker were ignorant.
If We should invite other maritime Powers, or private Adventurers from foreign Nations to come here, Will they venture? They run the risque of escaping Men of War, and the Dangers of an unknown Coast. Maps and Charts may give Strangers a confused Idea of the Geography of our Country, and of the Principal Inlets of Harbours, Rivers, Creeks, Coves, Islands &c. but without skillfull Pilots, the danger of Shipwreck will be 10 to one.
This vast object is never out of my Mind. Help me to grapple it. The W.I. Barbadoes particularly begin We are told here, by a late Vessell to be terrified out of their Wits.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Paymaster of the American Forces Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr. 19. 1775 X.”
1. MS torn here. The reference remains obscure.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-20

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Can The Inhabitants of North America live without foreign Trade?
There is Beef and Pork, and Poultry, and Mutton and Venison and Veal, Milk, Butter, Cheese, Corn, Barley, Rye, Wheat, in short every Species of Eatables animal and Vegetable in a vast abundance, an immense Profusion. We raise about Eleven hundred Thousand Bushells of Corn, yearly more than We can possibly consume.
The Country produces Provisions of all Kinds, enough for the sustenance of the Inhabitants, and an immense Surplusage.
We have Wood and Iron in plenty. We have a good Climate as well as a fertile Soil.
But Cloathing. If instead of raising Million Bushells of Wheat for Exportation, and Rice, Tobacco, naval stores, Indigo, Flaxseed, Horses, Cattle, &c Fish, Oyl, Bone, Potash &c &c &c the Hands now employed in raising Surplusages of these Articles for Exportation, were employed in raising Flax and Wool, and manufacturing them into Cloathing, We should be cloathed comfortably.
We must at first indeed Sacrifice Some of our Appetites Coffee, Wine, Punch, sugar, Molasses, &c and our Dress would not be So elegant—Silks and Velvets and Lace must be dispensed with. But these are Trifles in a Contest for Liberty.
{ 217 }
But is there Temperance, Fortitude and Perseverance enough among the People to endure Such a Mortification of their Appetites Passions and Fancies? Is not the Merchantile Interest comprehending Merchants, Mechanicks, Labourers So numerous, and So complicated with the landed Interest, as to produce a general Impatience and Uneasiness, under Restrictions So severe?
By a total Cessation of Commerce, [shall we not drive?] away our Mariners? Will they not go, [to other?] maritime Nations, the French, the Spaniards the Dutch? or which is worse will they not go to England, and on Board of British Men of War?
Shall We not lose a large Property in Navigation which will rot by the Wharves?
On the other Hand if We give Liberty Trade, will not most of our Vessells be Seized? Perhaps all but those of the Tories who may be priviledged.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esq Paymaster of the American Army Watertown pr Favr of Messrs Folwell and Hart”; docketed: “Mr J: A Octr 20 1775.” Small tear in MS.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-20

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

The Bearer of this is John McPherson Esq.1 He is a Genius—an old Sea Warriour, Nine or ten Times wounded in Sea Fights.
He has a son in the Service—Aid de Camp to Schuyler—a very sensible Man.
Of Mr. McPhersons Errand to the Camp ask no Questions and I will tell you no false News. It will make a Noise, in Time—but for the present for Gods sake let not a Word be said.
I hope all our Friends who have Opportunity will show him Respect.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon James Warren Esq Watertown favoured by John McPherson Esq.”; docketed: “Mr J: A Lettr Octr. 20. 1775.”
1. On 20 Oct. the congress sent McPherson to Cambridge to consult with Gen. Washington. He was the originator, according to a JA Diary entry, of a plan to “take or burn every Man of War, in America.” At the camp, Washington and others who heard the plan found it to be based on unsound principles and prevailed upon McPherson to return to Philadelphia to use his energies on row galleys. The exact nature of the plan remained a secret, for those who were given its details took an oath not to divulge it (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:176; JCC, 3:296, 300, 301; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:71–72; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:238, notes; Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 65–66).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0113

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-20

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

After an Interval much longer than I ever designed should take place, I now set down to write again. The Multiplicity of Business, and the Croud of Company here must be my Excuse, every Body either Eats, drinks or Sleeps in this House, and very many do all, so that for A week past I could get no opportunity to write Morning, Noon, or Night.
The Committee of Congress Arrived here last Sunday. Coll. Harrison went through Town without my seeing him. Doctr. Franklin, and Mr. Lynch stopped at Davis.1 I waited on them, and they came over and drank Coffee with us. The next day I dined with them all at Head Quarters, and Yesterday they and the General Officers, and the Gentleman of Character from the Southward2 on a Visit here were Entertained by the House at Coolidges3 on the best Dinner we could get for them, Turtle, Codfish, &c. Every kind of Civility and mark of Respect is shewn them here, and if they don't leave us better satisfied than they came, to us, it will not be our faults. From the little Conversation I have had with them, which has been as much as could be got in A Croud, I presume they will. I am much pleased with them. Doctr. Franklin who I never saw before Appears venerable in the Characters of A Gentleman, A Phylospher, and Statesman. I think Mr. Lynch very Sensible, and Judicious, and all of them firmly Attached to the good Cause, and I flatter myself their Zeal will not be Abated by this Visit.
In my last Short Billet I forgot to Congratulate you on your Appointment to the Supream Bench of Justice here, and I Expect the first Seat, as no doubts are made of it tho' they are not yet ranked. Four only are Appointed, Mr. Adams, Mr. Cushing, Mr. Read, and Mr. Sergeant.4 The Board voted by Ballot for those that should be Nominated and with the four mentioned voted Mr. Sever, but from his Diffidence &c he prevailed not to be Nominated. Where the Next Appointment will fall I can't tell. Some of Paines Friends had it in Contemplation to have him Nominated but gave it up after you was Appointed very naturally supposeing he could not be ranked before you, and he haveing previously declared to them that he would not serve in an Inferiour Station, as every Body must know he was your Superiour. I am told they have A design to Nominate him Kings Attorney; how far his Acceptance of that place is to be reconciled to his declaration you may Judge.5 Lowel seems to stand no Chance, at least { 219 } till he has served An Apprentiship in Purgatory.6 This appointment if you Accept it will Cooperate with your Wishes Expressed in several Letters to Leave the Congress. Indeed we want you here for this and divers other Reasons, but how to be reconciled to your leaving the Congress I cant tell. I shall certainly when such An Event takes place loose some share of my Confidence in, and Reverence for that August Body. We have passed A Bill for the Judges Holding their Commissions qua[m]diu se Bene Gesserunt but could not Compleat their Independency by Established Salaries. As for the Town of Boston it Continues in the same Miserable Situation. A few deserters come out, and of late several of the Inhabitants have stole out in Boats Among the rest our Friend Hitchburne the Night before last.7 One Man who got out last Night has Just called on me. He says one reason of their running all hazards to get out is the Threats of forceing them to take Arms. They all give the same general Account that fresh provisions are very scarce. 1/ sterling per pound and no vegetables, the meat Excessive poor, that the Troops have not been served with it but twice dureing the Summer and Fall, that their Duty is very severe and they Continue sickly about 1500 in the Hospitals, that they suppose Canada is in our Hands, and are not Elated with any certain Expectation of reinforcements. They are Apprehensive of An Attack—were hove into great Confusion A few Nights ago by Admiral Putnam8 who went down into the Bay with our floating Batteries &c. and fired some Shott into the Town which Interrupted their Ball and the Acting of A Play they were then Engaged in and their repose for the Night.9 A Misfortune Attended this Expedition, which Contributed to their relief, and cost us the loss of two Men Killed and six wounded. A Gun splitt in one of the Batteries, and destroyed her also.
Gage sailed about 10 days ago, and is Succeeded by Howe. Gill, Leach & Edess Son are out of Goal.10 Lovel still remains. It is said he refuses to come out but I doubt that. Several Armed Vessels are fixing by the General, and we have passed a Bill to Encourage Individuals to fix out others.11 We have Just received an Account that they have been Canonadeing Falmouth Casco Bay, and that Wallace the Pirate at Newport has Insisted on the Removal of the Troops from Rhode Island, or he will destroy Newport, and shewn Instructions to the Committee there to destroy four Towns, Among which are Plymouth and Machias, the others I cant learn. This account the Govr. Cook has Just received.12
Please to tell Coll. Hancock I have the Honour to be ranked A damned Rebel with him. Upon hearing we were Concerned in a { 220 } Brigantine Bound to London the beginning of Sepr. they sent out A Cruiser on purpose for her, took her, Carryed her in, Condemned her and Cargo and ordered them sold. Our Accounts or rather the delay of them has given me Infinite pain. We are determined to Exert ourselves and prepare them as soon as possible. In the meantime shall forward you An Application which tho a Lumping one is not perhaps far from the Truth.13 I wish it may have a favourable Reception. It is Impossible to describe the field of Business before us, rendered still more difficult and Embarrassing by the Multitude of New questions out of the common road. When are we to see the Resolves upon which is Grounded the Credit of your Bills. The Misers will soon be started upon that question.
I will thank you for the Establishment of my office. You wrote me it was 100 dollars per mo. Coll. Hancock had every other Establishment here but that. Our army are in much the same state they have been for some time past, as vigorous Spirited as ever, and more healthy than they have been, well secured by Impenetrable Lines. So far we are prepared for the defensive. When we are to be so for the offensive I know not. I suppose that depends much on haveing A large quantity of a certain Article with which we have never Yet Abounded.14 We have no News from Coll. Arnold since he left Norridgwalk.15 I flatter myself he is before this in Quebeck, where are large quantities of warlike Stores not less than 10,000 barrels powder. They would be A grand Acquisition but I can hardly hope that they will be so stupid as not to take care to prevent it by setting them A float. We have no late News from St. Johns. We begin to grow Impatient.
The 21st: The Conference I am told is to be finished this Day. I know little about it. There seems to be such a reservedness among those concerned here, that my pride wont permit me to Ask many Questions. By the way the Committee of Council are Coll. Otis, Mr. Sever, and Mr. Spooner, to whom has since been Added Bowdoin, who lately came to Town and took his Seat at the Board. I believe your Committee were very soon Convinced that the Soldiers never had less wages.16 The Bounty given on An Average last war, I suppose might be set at £8—sometimes we gave £12—tho at first less than £8—which will make at least 20/, per mo. to be Added to 36/, the wages then given. We now give them A Coat upon An Average about 24/, which will make 3/, to be Added to 40 s.17 A Blanket they had in both Cases. It will from these facts be easy to Infer that they then had 13/, at least per mo. more than now.
I have given you before A minute detail of Churchs Affair. I have { 221 } learnt that you are furnished with a Copy of the Letter or should not fail to send one. I am Told that he Continues with great Confidence or rather Impudence to Assert his Innocence and against Common Sense and the most flagrant Evidence to pretend he was serving his Country. This is Indeed Hutchinson like, Affronting to our Understandings. I have never seen him. I never wish to again. You know I hate an Apostate. I hate A Traitor. How he is to receive An Adequate Punishment is I suppose A question for your determination. I am sensible of the deficiencies in your Code of Laws and the Objections to post Facto Laws, but something must be done and he made An Example of, or the People will suppose us all Traitors and loose their Confidence in what we say or do. Our House are Adjusting the Ceremonies of proceeding in order to Expulsion, and there will end our Tether.
I believe it is time to think of Concludeing this Letter, or never Expecting you to wish for Another but before I do I must, and do thank you heartily and fervently for your several Letters received by Majr. Bayard, the Gentlemen of your Committee, and Yesterday by Mr. Mifflin. Tho you Communicate no Secrets, I can see and Taste the Traces of that Extensive System of policy which always mark your way and which I hope will be Adopted. Your Last18 has lead me into a Sea so Extensive, and deep that my small Abilities have not yet been Able either to fathom the Bottom or descry the Shore, however I shall rally them and, if I have vanity enough to suppose I can, strike out one particle of Light on so Grand, and Important a Subject shall certainly Attempt it in my next which will soon follow this if Opportunity presents. In the mean time Your Maxim, “God Helps those who help themselves” recurs to mind. We are in a Storm and must make A Port. We must Exert ourselves in some of the ways you mention. I think we must have Trade and Commerce. I see no difficulty in Admitting it in our own Bottoms consistantly with the Association if Individuals will hazard their Interest and opening our Ports to foreigners, one or more. If you could see me at this Instant you would think that the Embarrassments, and hurry of Business on hand would by no means admit of discussions of this kind. The Great Objects some of us would wish to Confine our House to are, the Manufactureing salt Petre and fire Arms, the regulateing the Militia, and fixing out Armed Vessels. The first is in a good way in Connecticut. We have sent Doctr. Whiteing19 there to learn the process and art, and since his return have directed him to Try the Experiment here. I am not able to Inform you of his Success. The next I think we shall { 222 } succeed in. The two others are under Consideration, and a Bill for the last in great forwardness so far as relates to Individuals. We have a difficulty with regard to the Militia from A Construction in our House of your resolve giveing them A power to Appoint officers. I wish it could be Explained.20
The 22d. We have Just heard that the Pirates on the Eastern Shore have destroyed two thirds of Falmouth burnt down, and have orders to destroy every Sea Port from Boston to Pemmaquid.21 This is savage and Barbarous in the highest stage. What can we wait for now. What more can we want to Justifie any Step to take, Kill, and destroy, to refuse them any refreshments, to Apprehend our Enemies, to Confiscate their Goods and Estates, to Open our Ports to foreigners, and if practicable to form Alliances &c. &c.
Hitchburne was to see me last Evening. He seems distressed to Approve his Conduct to us relative to the Letters—very little of a publick kind can I learn from him more than we have from Others. He says they dread and Apprehend the Erecting Batteries on Dochester Hill, and Noddles Island. The first will drive them from their Lines on the Neck, and the other make it Impossible for Ships to Lay in the Harbour I mean above the Castle. I wish and hope we may be able to Effect it.
One peice of good News I had like to have forgot. A Vessel is arrived at Sheepscot, with a very Considerable quantity of Powder, Cannon and Arms. I believe she belongs to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I shall Endeavour to see and form a Judgment of your Plan as soon as I can procure the Chart.22 The Row Gallies you have at Philadelphia may be very serviceable in smooth water but if I am rightly Informed would not do in a Sea. No doubt such might be Constructed as would but I am Inclined to think that our common Armed Vessels, especially as we can be so superiour in Men, and are more used to them will Answer the purpose better, if we choose such as sail well.
I am sensible of the Importance of the question you propose about the Government of Canada. It is indeed a Curious Problem, and I am glad it is in such good hands. I never Expected you would derive any Advantages from the Committees you mention. The Spirit of Indolence is too prevalent.
There is in the western parts of this Province a Lead Mine of 3 Miles in length which Affords one half pure Lead. It is said the Country abounds with Sulphur. We want Nothing but salt petre. I trust Providence will give us that. I cannot Inclose you any of Mother Drapers Papers.23 They are very Scarce. I think I have not seen one { 223 } since that I Inclosed you. I shall Endeavour however to procure you one or two Curiosities of a like kind and Inclose without any Comment, tho' I feel somewhat Inclined to it.
Now please to Recollect, and say if you ever received or read so random a Letter before. If I thought there was occasion to produce Evidence of the Confidence I place in you I should think of this for one.
Mrs. Adams has not yet made us a Visit to Watertown. We suppose the weather has prevented. I believe and hope that She and Family are well. I have no Letter from her to Inclose. Mrs. W is here and to my great Comfort, and Consolation aiding and Supporting me in my daily Labours, for the publick Good, and Joins with me in every Wish for your Happiness. I am Yr. Friend,
[signed] JW
My regards to all Friends. I would write to some of them if I could. I will write to my good Friend Mr. Adams if possible.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in three places: “Warren Octr. 20 1775.”
1. Probably a tavern in Watertown.
2. Jonathan Mifflin.
3. That is, by the House of Representatives at Coolidge's tavern in Watertown.
4. The Council made these nominations on 11 Oct. (M–Ar:Executive Council Records, 17:128). Perez Morton officially notified JA of his appointment as chief justice in a letter of 28 Oct. (below). Although JA intended soon afterward to assume his judicial duties, he could not get free of responsibilities in the congress. He resigned the post in Feb. 1777 (JA, Works, 3:25, note). The other justices named with JA at this time were William Cushing, William Read, and Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant.
5. Actually Paine was named a justice of the Superior Court of Judicature but refused the office. His being ranked below JA exacerbated the hostility that had begun to grow up between the two men (Warren to JA, 5 Nov., below; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12: 474–475).
6. John Lowell (1743–1802), who had been thought by many whigs to be lukewarm to the cause. See the characterization of him in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:299–300.
7. Benjamin Hichborn, the bearer of JA's intercepted letters, who had been imprisoned on Adm. Graves' flagship, the Preston, in Boston Harbor (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:37–38).
8. Gen. Israel Putnam's reputation for impulsive, almost heedless action, ashore or afloat, probably led Warren to bestow the rank of “admiral.”
9. On 17 Oct. (Boston Gazette, 23 Oct.).
10. John Gill, printer of the Boston Gazette with Benjamin Edes, John Leach, and Peter Edes.
11. A bill on armed vessels was originally proposed on 9 Oct. in response to a resolve of the congress of 18 July permitting each colony to make whatever preparation it wished to protect itself from British depredations. It became law on 1 Nov. with the concurrence of the Council (JCC, 2:189; Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 151, 217) .
12. Nicholas Cooke, at this time governor of Rhode Island. Capt. James Wallace of the Rose made a business of harassing Newport traders (David S. Lovejoy, Rhode Island Politics and the American Revolution, Providence, 1958, p. 183, 185; Boston Gazette, 16 Oct.).
13. See General Court to Massachusetts Delegates, 24 Oct. (below).
14. An immediate guess is that Warren refers to gunpowder, but a few lines later without any reticence he mentions how important it would be to get powder from Quebec. Warren may be referring { 224 } to independence. Compare Warren to JA, 20 June, note 5 (above).
15. Norridgewock, Maine, in 1775 the last settlement on the Kennebec River at which Arnold's force could stop before it set off into the wilderness for its attack on Quebec.
16. The proper pay for army privates had long been an issue in the congress, where many southerners were apparently convinced that New England paid too high wages to enlisted men and too low to officers. Presumably the pay question was one of the major concerns of Franklin, Lynch, and Harrison, the committee from the congress. See JA to Elbridge Gerry, 18 June (above).
17. These figures are based on eight months' service in the year, since campaigning in the winter months was very rare.
18. That is, JA's letter of 7 Oct. (above).
19. William Whiting (1730–1792) of Great Barrington, who apparently was the Massachusetts expert on the method for making saltpeter. He probably wrote the recipe for its manufacture that appeared in the Boston Gazette, 23 Oct., and he furnished an appendix for the General Court's republication of the congress' Several Methods of Making Salt-petre, Watertown, 1775 (Evans, No. 14585). For a biographical sketch, see Stephen T. Riley, “Dr. William Whiting and Shays' Rebellion,” AAS, Procs., 2d ser., 66 (1956):119–166.
20. The issue was whether the Council needed to consult the House on the appointment of militia officers. In its resolves of 18 July, the congress suggested that officers above the rank of captain be appointed by assemblies, but the advice of the congress on constituting government in Massachusetts seemed to leave regulation of the militia, as well as all other matters, as it had been under the charter, the governor's powers, including appointment of militia officers of high rank, being exercised by the Council (JCC 2:83–84, 188; Council to Massachusetts Delegates, 11 Nov., below). For JA's view, see his letter to James Otis, 23 Nov. (below).
21. For contemporary accounts of the burning of Falmouth (Portland, Maine), see the Boston Gazette, 23 and 30 Oct., and Nathan Rice to JA, 21 Oct. (below). For a later account, see William Willis, The History of Portland, facsim. 1865 2d edn., Portland, Maine, 1972, p. 516–524.
22. The plan to block up the harbor sketched in JA's letter of 8 Oct. (above).
23. That is, the Massachusetts Gazette.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-21

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I believe I shall surfeit you with Letters, which contain nothing, but Recommendations of Gentlemen to your Attention, especially as you have So many important affairs to take up all your Time and Thoughts.
But the Bearers, are Gentlemen, who come so well recommended to me that I could not refuse my self the Pleasure of giving them an opportunity of Seeing my Friend Warren, of whom you must know I am very proud.
The Name of one of them is John Folwell, the other Josiah Hart, each of them a Captain of a Company of Militia in the County of Bucks in this Province. Mr. Joseph Hart the Father of one of them has exerted himself with much Success in procuring Donations for Boston.
{ 225 }
These Travellers visit the Camp from the best Motive that of gaining Knowledge in the military Art by Experience, that their Country may have the Use of it, whenever there shall be an opportunity.1
You will greatly oblige them by giving them a Letter to General Thomas, and by introducing them to such Persons and Places as will best answer the honest and usefull End they have in View.
I could wish them as well as other Strangers introduced to H. Knox and young Josiah Waters,2 if they are any where about the Camp. These young Fellows if I am not mistaken would give strangers no contemptible Idea of the military Knowledge of Massachusetts in the sublimest Chapters of the Art of War.
Salt Petre is certainly making in considerable Quantities in several Places. I wish to know what success Dr. Whiting has.3
You wonder, that certain Improprieties are not felt. Well you may. But I have done finding fault. I content myself with blushing alone, and mourning in Secret the Loss of Reputation our Colony Suffers, by giving Such Samples of her Sons to the World. Myself, remember the worst Sample of all. Pray change it.4
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown Per Favr Messrs Follwell and Hart”; above the address: “J.A.”; docketed: “Mr. J: A: Lettr Octr. 21. 1775.”
1. On this date JA also addressed to William Tudor a letter of introduction for the two men. The only significant additional information in it is the following: “The Continental association is most rigidly and Sacredly observed, throughout the Continent in all material Branches of it. Not a Vessell puts to Sea any where” (MHi:Tudor Papers).
2. Henry Knox, later in charge of Washington's artillery (DAB), and Capt. Josiah Waters, who helped direct the construction of fortifications near Cambridge after the Battle of Bunker Hill (William Heath, Memoirs, ed. William Abbatt, N.Y., 1901, p. 16).
3. See Warren to JA, 20 Oct., note 19 (above).
4. JA is referring to an earlier exchange between the two on the impropriety of Hancock's conduct. The reference to “Samples” is to the intercepted letter of Benjamin Harrison to Washington. In concluding, JA asks again that he be relieved of his congressional post (JA to Warren, 19 Sept.; Warren to JA, 1 Oct.; JA to Warren, 30 Sept. [calendar entry], all above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0115

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-21

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

We must bend our Attention to Salt Petre. We must make it. While B. is Mistress of the Sea, and has so much Influence with foreign Courts, We cannot depend upon a Supply from abroad.
It is certain that it can be made here because it is certain that it has been formerly and more latterly. Dr. Graham of White Plains in the Colony of New York told me, that he has made Some thousands { 226 } of Pounds Weight, many years ago, by Means of a German Servant whom he bought and found to be good for nothing else.
Messrs. De Witts, one of Windham the other of Norwich have made a considerable Quantity, a sample of which has been shown me by Coll. Dyer, and they have made a large Collection of Materials for making more.
Mr. Wisner of New York,1 informs me that his son has made a Quantity of very good, by the Method published by the Continental Congress.
Two Persons belonging to York Town in this Colony have made one hundred and twenty Weight, have received the Premium and are making more.
A Gentleman in Maryland made some last June from Tobacco House Earth.
Mr. Randolph our venerable President, affirms to me that, every planter almost in that Colony, has made it from Tobacco House Earth. That the Proscess is so simple that a Child can make it. It consists in nothing but making a Lixivium from the Earth which is impregnated with it, and then evaporating the Lixivium. That there is certainly discovered in Virginia a vast Quantity of the Rocks of salt Petre. That these are salt Petre Rocks he says all Chemists and Naturalists who have written agree. And that he was informed by many Gentlemen in Virginia, cautious, incredulous Men, of strict Honour and Veracity, that they have been to see the Rocks and tryed them and found them, by Experiment to be the very Rock of salt Petre.2
The old Gentleman in short, who is not credulous nor enthusiastical but very steady, solid, and grave, is as sanguine and confident as you can conceive, that it is the Easiest Thing in the World to make it, and that the Tobacco Colonies alone are sufficient to supply the Continent forever.
Every Colony My Friend must set up Works at the public Expense.
I am determined never to have salt Petre out of my Mind but to insert Some stroke or other about it in every Letter for the future. It must be had.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr. 21. 1775.”
1. Henry Wisner (1720–1790), a delegate to the congress and a member of the committee for promoting the making of saltpeter (JCC, 3:296; DAB).
2. On 26 Oct., because of the reported discovery of a mineral rich in saltpeter, the Virginia delegates were ordered to send an express to verify the discovery and bring back a sample (JCC, { 227 } 3:307). The express went to Charles Lynch of Bedford co., Va., who, in two letters of 20 Nov., promised to produce the mineral in quantity and described his discovery on the “north East Side of Reed Iseland River” (Jefferson, Papers, 1:261–264).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0116

Author: Rice, Nathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-21

From Nathan Rice

[salute] Dr. Sir

I must acknowledge myself culpable, by a Breach of Orders, should not have neglected writing, but for an almost invincible Disorder in My Hands which has deprived me of their Use for two Months, am now almost recovered.
Many things have happened during the Season which I should have transmitted had it been in my Power. The State of our Army you doubtless Sir are as well acquainted with as myself, by Gentlemen more capable of informing you.
There have been Desertions both from the Enemy, and us; those from us were all Foreigners and of the Corps of Rifle-Men. It were to be wished none were in the Service of America, but Americans. In so large an Army as the American it cant be wondered at if there are some Judas's who will betray and Sell us; some we have found, one in an especial Manner whom I thought the best of our Frinds, has forfeited the Character. Can it be possible Sir that the great Patriotick Dr. Church could be guilty of so great Treachery, how are Men lead from their True Intrest by the False Charms of Riches and Honor. Who can we trust or confide in? Our Dependence is on that honorable Assembly of which Sir you are a Member, our Eyes are to you as to the Fathers of the People and from you we hope for Salvation.
We wait with great Impatience for News from Quebec. The Success of our Arms there will be of the utmost Importance to us, as doubtless there are large Magazines from whence we may have the one thing needful.
Our Navy has not in all Respects been so prosperous as I could wish, our Floating Batteries last Week went down the River in Order to give the Enemy a few Shot into Boston, meaning at least to interrupt their Evening Diversion, it being their first Assembly Night for the Season. Capt. Ayres1 who commanded gave them a Dozen or fourteen with a very good Discretion and Execution as we have since learned, one entering the Chamber of Doctor Canner; another passing through 20 Tents on the Common, Several entering their Hospital &c. At length either through Badness of Mettle or Carelessness in loading, one of the Cannon burst which killed one of our Men, wounded { 228 } several slightly, split of[f] a plank in the Battery between Wind and Water; by which She filled. The Water being shallow, the Guns were got out and She brought up the River.
The Enemies fireing on Bristol you have doubtless heard of and News is just arrived in Camp, of their having burnt Part, the greatest Part, of Falmouth in Casco Bay, for its Non Compliance with their Requision for Provision &c. We have now no Mercy to expect from them, nothing but Fire and Sword; our Sea Port Towns must Fall Victims to their Rage.
I rejoice however to see none disheartened or discouraged. The Field now invite us. Husbandry smiles in the interior Parts. There we defy them, let them come if they dare, but by this Time they are Sensible we shall and will Fight. When the Hanoverians arrive I expect perilous Times, which by Accounts is soon to take place.
The Day after the honorable Committee from the Continental Congress arrived in Town, Part of our Brigade were under Arms and reviewed by them. The Brigade is composed entirely of Troops of our Province. Those Gentlemen will doubtless give you their [opinion] of us. Many Gentlemen think our Troops not inferior to those of other Colonies; altho many things have been said against us, little Animosities and Jealousies will arise in all Societies and Armies composed of various Corps's. I hope we shall act from more noble Motives than to suffer such Trifles to break our Union or disturb our internal Happiness: It cant be wondered at if among our Officers there should be some who do not fill their Posts with that Dignity and Honour which they ought; Our Colony Sir you are Sensible laboured under the greatest Calamities, Disadvantages in distributing their Commissions; done in the greatest Hurry and Confusion, and he that was popular obtained the Commissions; good sensible Men are not all Soldiers. The greatest Fault in our Troops is having bad Officers; I could wish in the next Inlistment we might be culled. Coll. Brewer was Yesterday dismissed the Service for Fraud.2 I am Sr. with the greatest Respect yr. very humble Servant
[signed] Nathan Rice
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr in Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr. Rice's Lettr Octr. 21. 1775”; minor tear at right edge of second page.
1. Possibly Capt. John Ayers (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:303, 304).
2. Col. David Brewer of the 9th Regiment of Foot was court-martialed for drawing the pay for his son's commission as a lieutenant while the son remained on the farm, requisitioning too many blankets, and using troops to work his farm. Washington approved his sentence on 23 Oct. (same, 4:39–40).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0117

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-23

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I have only Time to acquaint you that Yesterday, that eminent American, and most worthy Man The Honourable Peyton Randolph Esqr. our first venerable President, departed this Life in an Apoplectic Fit. He was seized at Table having but a few Moments before set down with a good deal of Company to dinner. He died in the Evening without ever recovering his senses after the first stroke.
As this Gentleman Sustained very deservedly ONE of the first American Characters, as he was the first President of the united Colonies, and as he was universally esteemed for his great Virtues and shining Abilities, the Congress have determined to show his Memory and Remains all possible Demonstrations of Respect. The whole Body is to attend the Funeral, in as much Mourning as our Laws will admit. The Funeral is to be tomorrow.2 I am the more pleased with this Respect on account of an Impropriety, which you know was unfelt.3
This venerable Sage, I asure you, since he has stood upon the same Floor with the rest of Us has rose in the Esteem of all. He was attentive, judicious, and his Knowledge, Eloquence, and classical Correctness showed Us the able and experienced Statesman and senator, whereas his former station had in a great Measure concealed these and showed Us chiefly the upright and impartial Moderator of Debate.
You would have wondered more at the Want of [sensi?]bility which you remarked if you had [been] here and seen, the Difference.
Mr. Randolph was as firm, stable and consistent a Patriot as any here. The loss must be very great to Virginia in Particular and the Continent in general.
I sometimes wonder that a similar Fate does not befall more of the Members. Minds so engaged and Bodies so little exercised are very apt to fall.
This goes by Mr. Gawen Brown.4
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown favoured by Mr. Gawen Brown Jnr”; docketed: “Mr. J: A: lettr Octr. 24th 1775.”
1. JA states that Pevton Randolph died “yesterday”; accordingly, his letter should have been dated 23 Oct. That Randolph died on the 22d is confirmed by Samuel Ward, who refers to his death as occurring on Sunday evening (DAB; Ward to Henry Ward, 24 Oct., Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:240).
2. The funeral was held on the 24th, further evidence that JA misdated his letter (JCC, 3:302–304).
3. See JA's first letter to Warren, 21 Oct., note 4 (above).
4. Boston clock- and watchmaker, { 230 } father of the portrait painter Mather Brown. Why JA tacked on “Jnr” to Brown's name in the address is unclear. Brown had a grandson named after him, the son of John, but no record has been found of a “Junior” (MHS, Procs., 46 [1912–1913]:250; 47[1913–1914]:32, 289–291; Hamilton Andrews Hill, History of the Old South Church, Boston 1669–1884, 2 vols., Boston, 1890, 2:93–94 and note).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0118

Author: Heath, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-23

From William Heath

[salute] Dear Sir

I have to acknowledge the Honor of the Receipt of yours of the 5th. Instant, and shall think myself fortunate if by writeing or Otherwise, I can in the least Contribute to the Good of my Country, or Advantage of my Native Colony.
It is not Surpriseing that Jealousies do Subsist, and that Misrepresentations have been made, respecting our Colony by some, But Such will be despised, by the Wise the Generous and Brave, who will be rightly Informed before they Censure.
A publication in one of the Connecticut Papers Some Time Since, ascribed the Honor of the noble Resistance made at Bunkers Hill on the 17th. of June last, to a Number of Officers by name, belonging to that Colony,1 Some of Whom as I am Informed were not on the Hill, Whilst other Brave Officers belonging to our Colony, such as Colonels Prescott, Brewer, Gardner, Parker &c. who nobly fought, and Some of whom fell, are not even mentioned. But this Account was detested by the Brave Putnam and others of that Colony.
There are in the Massachusetts Regiments Some few Lads and Old men, and in Several Regiments, Some Negroes. Such is also the Case with the Regiments from the Other Colonies, Rhode Island has a Number of Negroes and Indians, Connecticut has fewer Negroes but a number of Indians. The New Hampshire Regiments have less of Both. The men from Connecticut I think in General are rather stouter than those of either of the other Colonies, But the Troops of our Colony are Robust, Agile, and as fine Fellows in General as I ever would wish to see in the Field. We have many Good Officers also, altho Some few have been Disgraced, viz Colos. Gerrish, and Mansfield, and Major Gridley for Backwardness in Duty on the 17th. of June. Some few also have been Guilty of Peculation.
On the 15th. Instant Doctor Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and Colo. Harrison, Arrived at our Camp, the next morning Four Regiments of my Brigade (the other Two being Chiefly on Command, at Medford, Chelsea, Malden &c.) were Under Arms and Reviewed by those Gentlemen. These Regiments are Entirely of our own Colony; and those { 231 } Gentlemen can Inform you how much Inferior they were, either in appearance or Discipline to the other Troops which they Saw.
But why should we tell of the Troops of this or that Colony, we are now One; and Jealousy and Misrepresentation should be banished. In every Colony doubtless there are Some bad mixed with the Good. The Riflemen So much Boasted of by many before their arrival, have been Guilty of as many Disorders as any Corps in Camp, and there has been more Desertions to the Enemy from them, then from the whole Army Besides, perhaps Double. But these were Foreigners, and there is in that Corps as Faithfull and Brave Officers and Soldiers as in any Other. It would be Ungenerous to Characterize the Troops of any Colony, from the Conduct of a few Scounderels. In short we have a Fine Army, and no Colony has Reason to be ashamed of their own Troops as a Body, altho they may as to Some Individuals. Men who Judge wisely will not Expect Suddenly that Regularity in an Army (may I not say) Raised almost from Chaos, that is to be found in an Army of Veterans. We are in a fine way, one thing only is wanting, had we been furnished with it, we should e're this have presented you Some pleasing Laurels of victory. But here I must Close, requesting you to present my Best Regards to my Honor'd Friends, Hancock, Cushing, Adams, and Pain. I am your Engaged Brother in the Cause of America and very Humble Servt
[signed] W Heath
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; docketed: “Gen. Heath. Octr. 23. 1775.”
1. A letter to the printer signed “A Friend to Truth” (Connecticut Courant, 31 July). Heath's complaint is a good example of provincial sensitivity, for the letter obviously means to call attention to Connecticut officers “whose conduct in the battle . . . has not been publickly noticed.” The writer begins by naming three officers mentioned in the New London newspapers, but he wants to celebrate the names of all who distinguished themselves and hopes that justice will be done to others as soon as their names become known. Unfortunately, it is only by implication that the letter refers solely to Connecticut officers, and unfortunately, too, he begins with a panegyric to Gen. Putnam, who a number of Massachusetts men felt had already been given more than his due.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0119

Author: Osgood, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-23

From Samuel Osgood Jr.

Without apologizing for interrupting you a short Moment I have to inform you that Genl. Frye not receiving any Intelligence respecting himself, and being informed that Genl. Washington had received Word from the Honorable Congress that the Appointment of another { 232 } Brigadier was suspended for the present, he left us about the 10th of Octr. unable to account for his not having any particular Intelligence. But when he arriv'd at Cambridge the Mistery was partly unfolded by Mr. Mifflin who had, in a Letter received a Paragraph to this Purport “In Congress we have had some warm Words respecting a Brigadier General. A southern Gentleman was put up but did not obtain some of the southern Gentlemen themselves not voting for him,” from which Genl. Frye draws this Conclusion “that for Peace and Unitys sake our worthy Members would not push the Matter; after a short Suspension of the Affair a more favourable Moment might offer itself.” Thus it stands in Genl. Fryes Mind who doubts not your Inclination to serve him if it may be done consistent with his above Inference otherwise he desires it not.2
The Army is in good Spirits and enjoys unusual Health: prospered and protected by Heaven as we have hitherto been can we but succeed when we have drawn the Sword from the purest Principles of Virtue, to defend the noblest of Causes? Forbid the Tho't that we should sink and Tyranny be indomitable.
If the Cloud thikens with impenetrable Darkness we shall have the Pleasure to fight in the Shade.
New England is the Nusery of brave and hardy Men. She alone Stems the intended rapid Progress of our unnatural Enemy, as yet, and from the Specimen we have had of the Riffle Men I can but conclude she must do it. Genl. Lee wishes they were all in Boston. Genl. Gates says before we have any Action let the Rifle Men be removed to a Distance from the Camp. A Number of them have deserted and gone over to the Enemy.
With the Assistance of the Wealth of the southern Governments the continental Congress will long support in the Field a numerous and brave Army. I am not insensible, that not a Tory Province upon the Continent that has been by Appearance so tho'roughly contemned as ours. It is hard to see it trampled upon by her Sisters, when every Circumstance serves to corroborate the mental Evidence that not one of them all would have received the Shock and bore it with unshaken and unyielding Bravery as ours has done.
But Sir, the Cause we are engaged in peremptorily forbids all Jealousy which is the King Demon of all Tormentors. It is an indisputable Fact that our southern Brethren have not annexed the same Ideas to the Word Liberty as yet that we have neither have we annexed the same to the Words, Honor, Politeness and Dominion which has not a Tendency to make us the most cordial and unreserved Friends: But { 233 } I hope all these Things will be winked out of Sight till Peace is established upon a solid Basis.
The famous Waters Machine from Connecticutt is every Day expected in Camp. It must unavoidably be a clumsy Business as its Weight is about a Tun. I wish it might succeed [and] the Ships be blown up beyond the Attraction of the Earth for it is the only Way or Chance they have of reaching St. Peters Gate.3
I am, Sir, extremely sorry it was not in Genl. Wards Power to treat the Honorable Committee from Congress with those Marks of Friendship and Politeness which would have afforded him much Satisfaction. In not doing which he cannot be tho't deficient. Very soon after their Arrival he had the Pleasure to wait upon them at the General's and asked them separately and repeatedly to afford him an Opportunity of waiting upon them at Roxbury. Genl. Ward was again called to Cambridge before they had finished their Business and then told Genl. Washington that by his other Invitation he meant to have them dine with him and renewed the Request (Genl. Washington and Family also I suppose). His Excellency told Genl. Ward after the Business was finished he would give him Intelligence of it. The Day they had about compleated their affairs I was at his Excellency's and heard him inform the Gentlemen that they were to dine with Gen. Ward the next Day. After this the Connecticutt Officers in Camp at Roxbury sent an Invitation to his Excellency and the Honorable Committee to dine with them upon Turtle the next Day. Compliments were returned and the Invitation accepted. Genl. Ward told Colo. Harrison and Mr. Lynch after they came to Roxbury he expected them to dine with him: they both told him they did not know but they were to dine with him till they had got to Roxbury. They took the Invitation to be the same. The next Day they were to set out upon their Journey.
I should be very unwilling to suppose that it was designed to place Genl. Ward in such a Light to the Honorable Committee as to make him appear deficient in Point of good Manners. These Affairs give no small Pain and Uneasiness. Was he sure the Conduct was pointed he would choose to Leave the Service. For before this his Tho'ts were employed upon the Subject of Resignation by Reason of his Ill state of Health. The Service is very Burthensome But especially the two or three first Months since which Genl. Ward has never enjoyed scarecly a tolerable State of Health and I fear it will Occasion his Resignation sooner or later doubt not but he then laid the Foundation for those consequent Disorders which will long trouble him. His Health would not permit him to tarry now was not the Cause the best that ever { 234 } any Person was engaged in (Vizt.) that of preserving for himself and Family the civil and sacred Rights and Priviledges which God and Nature have bestowed upon him, and not only so but infinitely more, those of a Country extensive and formed to flourish, however it may be marked out for the Rod of Chastisment and Life and Property may be sported with as Objects of little or no Value. But an immutable Enemy to Tyrants and tyrannical Measures he is willing to Sacrifice his own Peace and Quiet and devote himself to sufferings that others may not after him inherit Chains and Slavery. I am Sir your most obedient Humble Servt.,
[signed] Samuel Osgood junr.4
N.B. a Week after the Gentlemen arrived Genl. Ward received your Favor. His Ill State of Health will not permit him to write in Return5 therefor, is much obliged to you for it.
P.S. Pardon me I did not expect to write half so much.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Sam. Osgoods Letter Oct. 1775”; in a later hand, the insertion, “25th.”
1. Osgood refers to his letter of the 23d when he writes to JA on 4 Nov. (below).
2. The attempt to appoint Joseph Frye a brigadier general aroused sectional rivalries that prevented a decision when his name first came up in Sept. 1775. Col. John Armstrong of Pennsylvania had equal support. Frye did not receive his appointment until 10 Jan. 1776; Armstrong had to wait until 1 March, when the congress selected six additional brigadier generals (JCC, 3:257; 4:47, 181; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:204, 307 and note).
3. Osgood had probably heard about the American Turtle, a submarine built by David Bushnell (1742–1824) at Saybrook, Conn., from Benjamin Franklin, who had inspected the vessel on his way north with the committee from the congress. Bushnell began building it soon after Lexington and Concord with the apparent intention of using it against the British in Boston Harbor. By October construction and testing had been completed, but minor problems, particularly a means of lighting the interior when the vessel was submerged, prevented it from being ready for action until after Boston had been evacuated. It was tried out in 1776 and 1777 in New York and Philadelphia, but difficulty in attaching the mine that it carried to the bottoms of British ships caused it to fail. Bushnell then gave up his project, which had produced the first workable submarine (DAB; Frederick Wagner, Submarine Fighter of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1963, p. 1–47; Dr. Benjamin Gale to Silas Deane, 9, 22 Nov., 7 Dec., and 1 Feb. 1776, Conn. Hist. Soc., Colls., 2 [1870]: 315–318, 322–323, 333–335, 358–359).The submarine was finally tried out against the British fleet at New York in Sept. 1776, but failed because of difficulty in attaching the mine that it carried to the bottoms of British ships. Bushnell then gave up the project, which had produced the first workable submarine (Frederick Wagner, Submarine Fighter of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1963).
4. Osgood was an aide to Gen. Ward (DAB).
5. But see the next document. Ward's letter from JA has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0120

Author: Ward, Artemas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-23

From Artemas Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I Received your favour of the fifth Instant,1 a week after the arival of Mr. Lynch, although I had been twice in his company be• { 235 } fore. I have indeavoured to treat the Gentlemen Committe with Decency and Politeness, I invited them to Roxbury twice. The day after I invited them Mr. Lynch came to Roxbury, but did not dine with me, he being Ingaged to dine with Genl. Washington as he said. The next day I was at Cambridge, and mentioned to Washington his and the Committee dining with me. He answered they could not untill they had finished their business and he would let me know when they would come and dine with me. Major Osgood informs me Genl. Washington told the Committee that I depended on their dining with me this day. This day Genl. Gates wrote to the field officers of the Connecticut forces, that the Committee did accept their invitation to dine with them, and accordingly came and dined with them. When they came I informed them I expected they would have dined with me, they said they thought till then, that accepting of the one invitation, was accepting the other; that is they were one and the same invitation. I afterward invited them to dine with me tomorrow. They told me if they did not set out on their Journey they were Ingaged to dine with Genl. Putnam. I think I have given a true state of facts, and now Judge whither, I have been deficient in inviting, and whither I have not been Ill treated. What would not some men do, to make this Colony and the Inhabitants thereof appear contemptible?
They do not boast so much of the Riflemen as heretofore. Genl. Washington has said he wished they had never come. Genl. Lee has damned them and wished them all in Boston. Genl. Gates has said, if any capital movement was about to be made the Riflemen must be moved from this Camp. I am in great concern about the raising a new army, for the Genious of this people is different from those to the southward. Our people are Jealous, and are not Inclineable to act upon an Implisit faith, they Chuse to see and Judge for themselves. They remember what was said of them by some that came from the Southward last summer, which makes them backward in Inlisting or manifesting a willingness to Inlist. Its my opinion we should have began a month ago to Ingage men for another Campain. If the present armys time should be out, and no other secured I fear the Enemy will take advantage thereof. I wish Genl. Frye might be provided for. I think him a good man for the service, and am very sorry he has not been provided for by the Continental Congress before this time. Some have said hard things of the officers belonging to this Colony, and despised them, but I think as mean as they have represented them to be, there has been no one action with the enemy, which has not been { 236 } conducted by an officer of this Colony, except that at Chelsea, which was conducted by Genl. Putnam.2
I am this moment informed, that Major Tupper of this Colony and off [of] the army hath seized two Vessels at the Vineyard loaded with oyl, Belonging to Holmes, and Coffin in Boston two Tories, and has Carried them into Plymouth he having been dispatched for that purpose. He now desires to resign his command in the army, and take the command of one of those vessels, when fitted out for a Privateer.3
You mentioned the scene is thickning, I hope as that thickens our deliverance approaches. I have no doubt, but we shall finally come off victorious, if we continue persevering. There has not been one action with the enemy, without a signal appearance of Divine Providence in our favour. If so what reason can we have to doubt of sucess more than when we began.
I should have wrote you before, but was prevented by Indisposition and frequent avocations of a pulick nature, and probable you may think I had better have spent my time some other way than in writing the above. I hope you will excuse all the foregoing Inaccuracies and honor me with a line, in the mean time I rest your affectionate friend and humble Servant,
[signed] Artemas Ward
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Gen. Ward. Oct. 23. 1775.”
1. Not found, but it was probably similar to those sent on this same date to Gens. Heath and Thomas.
2. The reference is to the burning of the British schooner Diana in Chelsea Creek in May. Convinced that the British had suffered heavy losses in trying to save the ship as it grounded on a bar, American letter-writers hailed a significant victory. Actual British losses were negligible (French, First Year, p. 190–193).
3. On 20 Oct. Washington ordered Maj. Benjamin Tupper to seize two vessels, probably owned by Benjamin M. Holmes and John Coffin, that were then at Martha's Vineyard on their way to Boston with supplies for the British Army. Tupper's use of one of the ships for privateering was made conditional upon its being fit to sail at once for a period of four to six weeks. Tupper was later promoted to colonel in the Continental Army (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:539, 608).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0121

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-23

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have been long waiting for an opportunity to communicate some intelligence worthy of your notice, but nothing very important has taken place since you left the Camp; and every action with the Enemy has been published in the Newspapers, which has superseded the necessity of communicating those events by Letter. The general face of our public affairs both civil and military appear much as they have { 237 } done for months past. By all the intelligence we receive from the Tyrant Country, it appears that the Heathen still rage and the people imagine a vain thing1—That they can enslave America; but none of these things move us, the Spirit of War and Liberty thrives by persecution, and I trust they will be invincible in this Country. I humbly conceive we have a glorious prospect before us notwithstanding the gathering Storm. We are yet in blossom, but ripen fast, and when we have done playing with petitions and making kites for George, I expect we shall exert our united vigour in a direct line to “Liberty Peace and Safety,” and soon reach the summit of human happiness and glory.
That the united efforts of the free the brave and the hardy millions of independent Americans whose minds are enlightened and animated with the divine Spirit of Freedom, should ever be enslaved by British Tyrants is incredible among men! Nothing but the curse of Heaven (which we devoutly deprecate) can spread the cloud of despotism over the extensive region of America. Fear or folly only can produce our ruin; I am happy in believing that these do not dwell in the Great Council of America—but that Wisdom and Fortitude with a steady hand and persevering firmness will guide our political helm until we arrive at the haven of perfect Freedom.
I expect soon to hear that the Continental Congress have published the Confederacy of the Colonies—compleated the Republic of America —and formed a commercial Alliance with France and Spain. Such tidings will be musick in my ears, as I apprehend nothing short of such a plan will secure our Liberties; and if America should be enslaved it is probable freedom will expire thro the World. It is a great and a glorious Prize which the Americans contend for, the happiness of all future ages, and the freedom of the World as the Liberties of all Nations may in some degree be connected with ours.
I should not have taken the freedom to write to you, Sir, had not you condescended to request it,2 and as I had no News to write, this is only to shew that I had not forgot my promise. I am, Sir, with the greatest Respect, yours &c.,
[signed] Joseph Ward3
P.S. I have had the pleasure of seeing the illustrious Doctor Franklyn, and the other American Worthies, who came from the honourable Continental Congress; we have endeavoured to pay them that respect which is due to such distinguished characters. As they are soon to set out for Philadelphia, I write in haste that my letter may go by this conveyance. Your candour, Sir, will make allowance for the inaccuracies in whatever I may write.
{ 238 }
My best Regards to my honoured Friends the Members for this Colony. They, and the whole Congress, have the warmest good wishes, the highest esteem and confidence, and the fervent Prayers of all the wise and good in the circle of my acquaintance, and I trust through all America. The love and veneration of so great so patriotic so brave a people, Kings and Emperors may sigh for in vain. “I am not the most covetous of gold, and care not who my garments wear; but if to covet Honour, be a crime, I am the most offending soul alive!”Henry. V.4
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Jo. Wards. Oct. 23. 1775.”
1. Paraphrased from Psalms 2:1.
2. JA's letter to Ward has not been found.
3. Joseph Ward (1737–1812), Artemas Ward's second cousin once removed, was a schoolmaster, patriot, frequent contributor to newspapers, and correspondent with various Revolutionary leaders. Before the war began, Ward may not have been so strong a patriot as he seems here, for in 1772 and 1773, as the controversy over the Hutchinson letters was growing, he was corresponding with Lord Dartmouth with the hope of obtaining a position in the colonial administration. At the time of this letter, he was aide-de-camp and secretary to Gen. Ward (Charles Martyn, Artemas Ward, N.Y., 1921, p. 90–92; William Carver Bates, “Col. Joseph Ward, 1737–1812: Teacher, Soldier, Patriot,” Bostonian Society, Pubns., 1st ser., 4 [1907]:57–76).
4. Henry V, Act IV, scene iii.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0122

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-24

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

When it is Said that it is the Prerogative of omniscience to Search Hearts, I Suppose it is meant that no human sagacity, can penetrate at all Times into Mens Bosoms and discover with precise Certainty the secrets there: and in this Sense it is certainly true.
But there is a sense in which Men may be said to be possessed of a Faculty of Searching Hearts too. There is a Discernment competent to Mortals by which they can penetrate into the Minds of Men and discover their Secret Passions, Prejudices, Habits, Hopes, Fears, Wishes and Designs, and by this Means judge what Part they will act in given Circumstances for the future, and see what Principles and Motives have actuated them to the Conduct they have held, in certain Conjunctures of Circumstances which are passed.
A Dexterity and Facility of thus unravelling Mens Thought and a Faculty of governing them by Means of the Knowledge We have of them, constitutes the principal Part of the Art of a Politician.
In a Provincial Assembly, where We know a Mans Pedigree and Biography, his Education, Profession and Connections, as well as his Fortune, it is easy to see what it is that governs a Man and determines { 239 } him to this Party in Preference to that, to this system of Politicks rather than another &c.
But here it is quite otherwise. We frequently see Phonomena which puzzle Us.
It requires Time to enquire and learn the Characters and Connections, the Interests and Views of a Multitude of Strangers.
It would be an exquisite Amusement, and high Gratification of Curiosity, this Same Mystery of Politicks, if the Magnitude of the Interests and Consequences did not interest us sometimes too much.1
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Coll Warren”; docketed by James Warren: “Mr. J: A Lettr Octr. 24. 1775.”
The address is a mistake. Probably this letter is the one received by AA, read, and then returned to James Warren in her letter to Mercy Otis Warren of [ca. 5] Nov. In that, AA commented that she “could not comprehend how I came to have such a reply to a subject I had said very little upon” (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:322–324). Very likely JA addressed several letters on 24 Oct. and inadvertently repeated an address.
1. This letter seems less a communication than a thoughtful coda to JA's letter to Warren of 24 [i.e. 23] Oct. (above), in which he remarks that it took some time before he got to know the several sides of Peyton Randolph.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0123

Author: Thomas, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-24

From John Thomas

[salute] Sir

I Received your favour of the fifth Instant,1 am Pleased to hear the Unanimity of the Colony's Increase, as the Salvation of our Country Depends on the United Efforts of the whole. Altho: our Number of men in the New England Colony's may be Sufficient to Repell any Force the Ministry may be able to Send; Yet the Expence of Such an Army as is Necessary to be kept up for that purpose, would be Intolerable for those Colony's Seperate.
I am Sorrey to hear that any Prejudice Should take Place in any of the Southern Colony's with Respect to the Troops Raised in this; I am Certain the Insinuations you Mention are Injurious; if we Consider with what Precipitation we were Obliged to Collect an Army. The Regiments at Roxbury, the Privates are Equal to any that I Served with Last war, very few Old men, and in the Ranks very few boys, Our Fifers are many of them boys, we have Some Negros, but I Look on them in General Equally Servicable with other men, for Fatigue and in Action; many of them have Proved themselves brave, the Officers, the Greatest part of them Unexperienced, and in General not Equal being Unacquainted with Subordination, which to me was not Unexpected as they were Chosen by their Privates.
{ 240 } { 241 }
I would avoid all Reflection, or any thing that may Tend to give Umbridge, but there is in this Camp, from the Southward, A Number Called Riflemen, who are as Indifferent men as I ever Served with, their Privates, Mutinous and often Deserting to the Enemy, Unwilling for Duty of any kind, Exceedingly Vicious, And I think the Army here would be as well without as with them, but to do justice to their Officers, they are Some of them Likely men, but this Matter altho: Truth may not best go from me any further.
The two Gentlemen you Named to me,2 I have had Some Acquaintance with, the first I take to be judicious, and has by Reading, Obtained a Theoretical Knowledge, in fortifications. I have been Pleased with Some of his Projections, but he has had no Opportunity of Practicing any great, as he doth not belong to the Army; but I have thought, had he Practised he would make as good a Figure as any that I am Acquainted with; here, As to Gunnery I blieve has not made that so much his Study; The Last Mentioned, I Apprehend has no great Understanding, in Either, any further than Executing or overseeing works, when Trased out, and by my Observations, we have Several Officers that are Equal or exceed him; the Next to Mr. Knox I Esteem one Lieut. Colo. Putnam,3 who has Planed almost all our works, at Roxbury, and one Capt. Wadsworth4 I should Prefer as the Next, for Executing, but I am Sensible we at Present are Dificient in Persons that Excell, in that Department; Colo. Gridley so famed I think falls much Short of my Expectations, [and] Appears to me to be Superanuated.5
Sir, you may think I make very free with Characters, but by your request, I have given myself Liberty; Supposeing to be in Confidence.
My Complements to the Honble. Mr. Hancock, Adams, Cushing, and Paine, &c. I am, Sir, with respect your most Obedient and very Hble. servt.,
[signed] John Thomas
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Member of The Honble. Continental Congress at Philadelphia”; docketed: “Gen. Thomas Oct. 24. 1775.”
1. Not found, but see JA to William Heath, 5 Oct., note 1 (above).
2. Henry Knox and Josiah Waters.
3. Rufus Putnam (1738–1824), an experienced engineer who was at this time in charge of the defensive works around Boston. Active in the American cause throughout the war, he was made a brigadier general by the congress in 1783 (DAB).
4. Peleg Wadsworth (1748–1829), an engineer attached to Gen. Thomas. In Feb. 1776 he was appointed aide-de-camp to Gen. Ward (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:291–303).
5. Richard Gridley, colonel of artillery and chief engineer of the American Army, was at this time 65 years old. He was soon removed from his artillery command and replaced by Henry Knox (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0124

Author: Massachusetts General Court
Recipient: Continental Congress, Massachusetts delegates
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-24

The General Court to the Massachusetts Delegates

The General Court of the Colony which you represent in Congress, now incloses you an application, made to your Honorable Assembly for a Grant of the sum therein mentioned: which application you will lay before said Congress or not, as you shall judge prudent.1 The frequent calls this Colony has been obliged to attend to in support of the Army, together with those daily made for that purpose, renders it of the greatest importance to it, to have an immediate Grant of the Money applied for.2 This Court therefore desires your Particular Care and attention in procuring the same, according to the best of your prudence and the true interest of your Constituents.
FC (M-Ar:Legislative Council Records, 33:288.)
1. These were the accounts which JA had been calling for since his letter to James Warren of 26 Sept. (above). They arrived in Philadelphia on 16 Nov. and consisted of two parts. The first was an itemized statement of drafts on the province treasurer made by the Provincial Congress, the Committee of Safety, the Committee of Supplies, and other bodies, which totaled £133,055 8s 3d. The amounts were certified by Henry Gardner as treasurer. The second, embodied in the General Court's letter to the congress, consisted of three sums: £65,680 in estimated wages to be paid to soldiers for service to 1 Aug., the date recommended by Gen. Washington; £16,220, the estimated cost of coats given to all enlistees; and £4,083 8s paid to soldiers defending the coastal settlements. These sums were not totaled, but they came to £85,983 8s, for a grand total of £219,038 16s 3d. Further, the General Court pointed out that it had not yet estimated the cost of removing persons from Boston (JCC, 3:356; PCC, No. 65, I, f. 59–67).
2. Lack of sufficient vouchers to support the claim of Massachusetts led the congress to vote only $443,333 1/3 in reimbursement (JCC, 3:402–403). In New England, lawful money meant six shillings to the dollar, or £130,000, as the sum the congress voted, even though Samuel Adams called it £133,000 (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:191).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-25

To James Warren

[salute] Sir

A Method of collecting Salt Petre from the Air which is talked of here is this. Take of Lime and Ashes equal Quantities, and of horse dung a Quantity equal to both the Ashes and Lime, mix them together into a Mortar, with this Mortar and a Quantity of long Straw to keep it together build two Walls Eighteen Inches thick, and three feet high, about four feet asunder. Then make a Center and turn and [an?] Arch over cemicircularly from the Top of one Wall to that of the other, and this Arch may be made Eighteen Inches thick too. These Walls { 243 } with the Arch over them, may be continued to any length you please. There must be a shed over it to keep off the Rain, and the Arch must be wett every Day with Urine. This, in summer, will collect so much salt Petre that an ounce may be extracted from every Pound of the Walls in three Months. In Winter it will make as fast provided you keep a Fire at one End of the Arch, that the Wind may blow the Fire and Smoke under the Arch, and keep it from freezing.
This is one Method as it is affirmed by Gentlemen here.
Sulphur, Nitre, and Lead We must have of our own. We must not depend upon Navigation for these. I wish the Committee of the General Court for Lead and Salt would transmit their Discoveries to me. I dont know whether you are one of that Committee or not.
Pray inform me if Obrian and Carghill1 were or were not commissioned by some Vote of the general Court, and whether they cant be put into the Continental service. An order is gone to Genl. Washington to that Purpose if it can be done.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J Adams Lettr. Octr. 1775.”
1. Mentioned earlier by JA to Warren, 13 Oct. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0126

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-25

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

Governor Ward of Rhode Island has a son about five and twenty years old who has been so far carried away in the Absence of his Father, with a Zeal for his Country as to inlist into the Artillery as a private.1 He never Said a Word to the Governor about, or he would have had a Commission. A younger Brother, who solicited of his father Permission to enter the service, was made a Captain.2 Now it is a Pity, that this young Gentlemans Patriotism, should not be encouraged and rewarded, and it is a greater Pity that an Elder Brother should be a private soldier in an Army where his younger Brother is an officer and a Captain—and a greater Pity still that a Governor of a Province and a worthy Member of the Continental Congress, and the Constant Chairman of our Committee of the whole House, Should have a deserving son in the Army in the Ranks, when Multitudes of others in Commissions have no such Pretensions.
I wish you would mention this Matter at Head Quarters and see if any Thing can be done for him. The Governor had no Expectations I believe that I should interest myself in this Matter, but the Fact { 244 } coming accidentally to my Knowledge, I determined to write about it immediately, and I knew not how to set the Thing in Motion.
I write every Thing to you, who know how to take me. You dont Expect Correctness nor Ceremony from me. When I have any Thing to write and one Moment to write it in I scratch it off to you, who dont expect that I should dissect these Things, or reduce them to correct Writing. You must know I have not Time for that.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esq. Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J A Lettr Octr. 1775 X.”
1. Charles Ward (b. 1747). JA's concern that the son of a governor and member of the congress did not have a commission suggests a view of the fitness of things characteristic of the period and not unknown in our own day. Compare James Warren's response on 14 Nov. (below). On 1 Jan. 1776, Charles Ward was appointed an ensign in the 25th Continental Infantry, an appointment that pleased Samuel Ward (to Catherine Greene, 10 Feb. 1776, Samuel Ward, Correspondence of Governor Samuel Ward, May 1775 – March 1776 [ed. Bernhard Knollenberg] and Genealogy of the Ward Family, comp. Clifford P. Monahon, Providence, 1952, p. 187, 214; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 568).
2. Samuel Ward Jr. (1756–1832) was a captain in the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, and at this time was probably on his way to Quebec, where he was captured in December during the siege (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0127

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-25

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Upon the Receipt of the Intelligence of Dr. [Church's] Letter, Dr. Morgan was chosen in his Room. This Letter is intended to be sent by him, and therefore probably will not go in ten days.1
John Morgan, a Native of this City, is a Doctor of Physick, a Fellow of the Royal Society at London; Correspondent of the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris; Member of the Arcadian Belles Lettres Society at Rome; Licentiate of the Royal Colledges of Physicians in London and in Edinburgh; and Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the Colledge of Philadelphia.
This Gentleman Served an Apprenticeship of six or seven years under Dr. John Redman, an eminent Physician in this City,2 during which Time he had an opportunity of Seeing the Practice of all the eminent Physicians in this City, as he attended at the Hospital, and for one year made up the Prescriptions of all. After this he devoted himself four years to a military Life, and went into the Service as a Physician and Surgeon to the Troops raised by this Colony; after this he went abroad, and Spent five years in Europe, under the most celebrated Masters in every Branch of Medicine, and visiting the princi• { 245 } pal Cities and Seats of Science in Great Britain, Holland, France and Italy.
This Gentleman in 1765, delivered a Discourse upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America, at a Commencement, which was published with a Preface, containing an Apology for attempting to introduce the regular Mode of practising Physic in Phyladelphia.3
Every Winter, Since he has read Lectures to the Students at the Colledge as a Professor &c.
He and our Revd. Chaplain Mr. Duche, who is now promoted to be Rector of the three United Episcopal Churches in this City, married two sisters. Mr. Stillman of Boston, the Antipoedobaptist Minister married Dr. Morgans sister.
The Doctors moral Character is very good. Thus much sir I thought myself well employed in Writing to you, who have a Curiosity after Characters. I wish I could give a Loose to my Pencil and draw Characters for your Inspection, by the Dozen. But Letters dont always go safe.
Dr. Morgan Sir, deserves particular Honour and Respect, where-ever he goes.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr J A Lettr Octr. 1775.”
1. This letter arrived on the evening of 15 Nov.; see Warren's letter of 14–16 Nov. (below).
2. Dr. John Redman (1722–1808), a noted surgeon who had studied widely in Europe, also trained Benjamin Rush (DAB).
3. A Discourse upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America; Delivered ... May 30 and 31, 1765 . . ., Phila., 1765 (Evans, No. 10082).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0128-0001

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-25

From William Gordon

[salute] My dear Sir

I begin upon a half sheet, as a quarter may possibly not hold what I have to write, but should I comprehend the whole within that compass, shall dock your allowance, the times demanding the utmost frugality as well as courage. Pray how many more burnings of towns are we to be abused with by the British Barbarians, ere the long suffering of the Congress is concluded, and every manly exertion of power and wisdom is to be exercised in opposing our enemies? By a Captain arrived from one of the French ports we are told, that the French are ready to trade with us, and to defend such trade. The Buccaneers of America made a great noise in times past; let the Congress give out letters of m[arque] to take all British bottoms, and we shall soon acquire a greater reputation and a better. West India and East India { 246 } ships will make good men of war. The British sailors, who might be taken, would be likely to join us upon receiving proper encouragement; the single men might be married among us; the married might go back to their [own] country after a while. The West India property belongs in general to English merchants, the planters being [to a] man over head and ears in debt to them. If the merchants will support the ministry, we have a right [to] their property when we can catch it, that we may support ourselves.
[Chu]rch that villain Church! He I suppose was the fellow that betrayed the proceedings of the [Cong]ress, for which poor Cushing was suspected and suffered in the opinion of many. I hope you will hang [him]. His crime was committed before he was a military officer; let him be tried therefore as a private person, that he may not escape his deserts, upon the common law or custom of arms, and suffer death as a spy upon proof of the facts alleged against him. I am cold, have no more time to spare, and by reason hereof can write no more than best respects to self and brother delegates, instead of brethren delegates which does not read so well, from your sincere friend,
[signed] William Gordon1
I had forgot a material thing I wanted to mention. The necessity of an hospital on Roxbury side must be self evident to you, and has existed almost from the first; this will make it necessary to appoint two more surgons than what the congress have allowed. Pray you to procure the establishment and continuance of Drs. Howard and Aspenall,2 Who have given great satisfaction, and live the first on the Plain, the other at Brookline. They cannot act as mates, as that would sink them in the opinion of the neighborhood and hurt their practice, especially after having acted as surgeons. Shall inclose Dr. Howards letter.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honle John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr. Gordon Octr. 24. 1775.” The left edge of the sheet is mutilated. The enclosure is without place or date and is addressed: “To the Revd Mr. Gordon Present.” It is microfilmed under the date Oct.? 1775 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 345).
1. Rev. William Gordon had visited JA about a month earlier in Philadelphia, when JA recorded in his diary an unflattering estimate of the man — “an eternal Talker, and somewhat vain, and not accurate nor judicious.... Fond of being thought a Man of Influence” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:174).
The Appendix to JA, Papers, vol. 2 contains an essay entitled “Thoughts upon the Dispute between Great Britain and Her Colonies,” the authorship of which is there erroneously attributed to Gordon. The editors are grateful to Prof. Robert M. Calhoon for calling their attention to the mistake. The author was the historian William Smith Jr. of New York, who wrote the piece between 1765 and 1767. See Calhoon, “William Smith Jr.'s Alternative to the American Revolution,” WMQ, 3d ser., 22:105–118 (Jan. 1965). How Gordon was able to make a copy of an unpublished MS remains a mystery. Gordon was, however, well known to Smith's mother-in-law, who left Gordon a legacy about 1776 (“Letters of the Reverend William Gordon, Historian of the American Revolution,” MHS, Procs., 63 [1929–1930]:498).
2. Dr. Lemuel Hayward (1749–1821) and Dr. William Aspinwall (1743–1823) were Harvard graduates. Hayward studied medicine with Joseph Warren in Boston before opening practice in Jamaica Plain; Aspinwall studied in Philadelphia and began practice in Brookline as that town's first permanent physician. The two joined the army around Boston and were appointed surgeons at Roxbury Hospital (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:32–34; 16:8–12).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0128-0002

Author: Hayward, Lemuel
Recipient: Gordon, William
Date: 1775-10-24

Enclosure: Lemuel Hayward to William Gordon

[salute] Sir

I have attended the Hospital ever since about the middle of May last by Order from Genl. Thomas, but am unable to ascertain the Number I attended or the Event till June 10th. since which Time Doctr. Willm. Aspenwall and myself have attended not less than six hundred Patients as Provincial Surgeons and out of that Number have not lost more than forty. This I have collected from the Hospital Books. Yours most respectfully
[signed] Leml. Hayward
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honle John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr. Gordon Octr. 24. 1775.” The left edge of the sheet is mutilated. The enclosure is without place or date and is addressed: { 247 } “To the Revd Mr. Gordon Present.” It is microfilmed under the date Oct.? 1775 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 345).
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.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0129

Author: Otis, Col. James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-25

From James Otis Sr.

[salute] Sir

I Recived your favor of the first Current1 and Note the Contents and in answer say that I am Obliged for this first favor of the Kind Since you have Been In Congress. The Gentlemen of your Comitee have had Every Demonstration of Respect shewn them by the Councell and house of Representatives of this Province and I hope it Was agreeable to them : We have had an agreeable interview and our Conclusions are to be Laid before the Congress for your Approbation, and In the mean Time matters are kept Secret untill Their determination. Give me Leave to Say that I have the highest opinion of the Conduct of Mr. Lynch and Doctor Frankling. The other Gentleman appears to me to have some Prejudice against the northern Coloneys. Nevertheless there was a Good harmony in our meeting. The Difficulties we are under for want of Powder and the Ravages the Enemy are makeing on our Sea Coast I Presume you are and will be fully acquainted with. Sir from our Long acquaintance and former friendship I have a favor to aske which is as There is a new army to be Raised for another year my Eldest Grandson namely James Otis the third2 who Took his degree Last Commencement has a Great Inclination to Enter the Army (as he Improved himself In the Military art { 248 } while at Collidge). If he Can be Properly Recomended, and the Congress will I Presume Recomend and Leave the appointment to the Generall to whom I shall apply In a sutable Time, and your and my Friends Recomendation will Go a Great way and I think the family name Worthy of Notice all Curcumstances Considered. I am Sir your very Humble sert
[signed] James Otis
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For the Honble. John Adams Esqr In Philadelphia per favor of Doctor Franklin”; docketed: “Coll Otis Oct 25. 1775.”
1. Not found, but it was probably similar to other letters JA wrote to introduce to prominent Massachusetts people the three committee members from the congress.
2. No evidence has been found that he received a continental commission, but he was an adjutant in Col. Joseph Otis' regiment from Barnstable as of 29 Sept. (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, 11:712).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0130

Author: Quincy, Josiah
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-25

From Josiah Quincy

[salute] Dear Sir

I have now before me your obliging Letter of the 6th: Instant. It came to hand with another for your good Lady,1 which was imediately forwarded to her by Mr. Thaxter who was here when I received it. At the same Time, I received a Card from our Friend Doctr: Franklin, assuring me a friendly visit before he returns to Philadelphia. If he can spare Time to take a View of the Harbor I hope to convince him of the Practicability of stoping up the Narrows, and forcing our Enemies to ask our Leave to return home. If you can procure, and send me a Model, or at least a perfect Draft of the Machine you mention for obstructing the Passage of Vessels up the River Delaware, with explicit Directions how to sink, and secure them from being weighed or destroyed by the Enemies Ships, it would greatly facilitate the same valuable Purposes here, not only in the Narrows, but also in the Lighthouse Channel, which in the narrowest Part is not much if anything above half a Mile wide. Could the Depth of Water be reduced there, so as to prevent Line of battle Ships from entering the Harbor, we might, for the future, bid Defiance to our Enemies. But, you shall hear more from me, after I have conversed fully with Doctr. Franklin upon the Subject, which is, to me, of much more Importance, than I had any Conception of 'till I read what you have wrote upon it; and especially, since the cannonading our maritime Towns, and the Destruction of Falmouth demonstrates, the malicious Purpose of our Enemies to execute, their unrelenting Vengeance by every Means in { 249 } their Power. Good God! what savage Barbarity! Let us no longer call our Selves Englishmen but free born Americans. Let us unitedly exert every Faculty to confound the Devices, and frustrate the hostile Attempts of our Enemies! We must, or Vassalage, if not an ignominious Bondage will, inevitably be the Consequence.
But, alass! what can our Strength avail us, when such vile Apostates as H[utchinso]n, C[hurc]h, and others of the same stamp stand ready, for filthy Lucre, to betray our Councels, expose our Weakness, and advise our Enemies what Measures will most effectually secure the Conquest of Us. Pray tell me, what Punishment is due to such Perfidy as C[hurc]h has been guilty of? There are others I shrewdly suspect, but, dare not name, least I should be mistaken; for your Profession has taught me, that, “It is better ten guilty should escape, than one innocent Person suffer.” But this humane Maxim shan't divert me from watching; with the Eyes of Argos, if I had them.
How long must the Courts of Justice remain unopened, and the Law of the Land unexecuted? Shall Criminals escape the Halter? Shall Debtors defraud and starve their Creditors, and every Species of Dishonesty be countenanced and encouraged by a Delay of Justice, which is virtually a Denial of it? I know it is said, that, “inter arma silent Leges.” But will not our Enemies take the Advantage of our deplorable Circumstances, and say, Now, you see, by sad Experience, the dreadful Effects of your Zeal to get rid of the Riens of Government! Is not the Man of Substance reduced to a Level with those who have none? Have not the dishonest many, in every Respect, but that of being honest, the Advantage of the honest few? Does not the Price of every thing depend upon Quantity and Demand? If the continental Congress had opened, a Mine of Silver, and another of Gold, and coined as much Money as they have struck off paper Dollars; would not every Man of Property suffered enough, by such a sudden Plenty of Money, compared with every thing of which it is the Measure? What then, but inevitable Ruin, must be the Consequence of such a Flood of Paper Credit, without any Fund established to secure it from depreciating, especially in this Colony, where it is considered as a lawfull Tender in all Payments; so, that, if you have lent a Man a 1000 Dollars, and should be so unpolite as to ask him for the Interest of it, he will borrow of a rich paper Proprietor a 1000 fictitious Dollars and discharge his Debt: Should you refuse to receive them, because they were not the same you lent, you will be exposed to publick Resentment perhaps Ignominy. But what operates still more injuriously to the N. E. Colonies, especially this, is, that, it is the Seat of War; and of { 250 } Course the greatest Part of the Paper Credit, both continental and colonial, will circulate here; we must therefore, be subjected, not only to the Calamities and Horrors of a civil War, but to all the Loss resulting from a flood of depreciating Paper Bills, for which we have exchanged our Property, as if they were so many Dollars.
But suppose, what is not yet Fact, that you have repelled your Enemies, and secured your darling Liberty: What is become of your Property? Your maritime Towns are destroyed! Your Trade and Navigation are annihilated, and those concerned in it reduced, to Want and Beggary! The Value of your Lands, as you have no Vent for the surplus of your Produce, reduced to half its Value! Your Brethren in the southern Colonies have lent you their Credit; but what does it amount to? A Quantity of Dollars, stamp'd upon Paper by Order of the continental Congress, without any Security to the Possessor, for the Value, or Redemption of them in any reasonable Time? Had a continental Fund been established, and all the Money wanted been borrowed upon the Credit of it, @ :3:4: or 5 per Ct. Interest, redeemable at a certain Period, the Bills could not have depreciated; though all things might, and would have rose, in Proportion to the Quantity and Demand of each. But, under present Circumstances, we shall, from the necessary Consequence of them, soon be able to verifie the late Bishop of Cloyne's Doctrine of Ideas2 for we shall have the Idea of Money Nomen et preterea Nihil.3
Suppose, an artfull insidious Parracide under the Mark of Friendship, to declaim pathetically upon the Topicks above hinted at, before a suffering Auditory: Is there no Danger of his making many Proselites? If there is, since it's foreseen, let us endeavour to prevent the Poison from entering the Body politick, where, I fear it would soon spread and prevail, so as not to be easily eradicated, by any Antidotes in our Power.
Mrs: Q. Mrs: L. Miss: B[ets]y and N[anc]y4 desire their affectionate Regards may be joined with those of, Your Faithfull Friend &ca:
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The honble: John Adams Esquire Philadelphia Per Favour of Doctr: Franklin} Q D C”; docketed: “Coll Quincy Oct 25. 1775.” Quincy's Dft on last page of JA to Quincy, 6 Oct., MHi: Hoar Autograph Coll.
1. Probably that to AA of 7 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:294–296).
2. The idealist philosopher Bishop George Berkeley (1685–1753) (DNB).
3. The name and nothing more.
4. Mrs. Bela Lincoln, the former Hannah Quincy, who had been JA's first romantic interest; Betsy and Nancy were Elizabeth and Ann Quincy, daughters of Josiah by his second and third marriages.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0131

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-25

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

I wrote you by the Post 3 Weeks ago but have not been honour'd with a Line since your Returnto Philadelphia.1 I should write oftener but every Thing of Importance is communicated in the Prints, and I am in no Secrets at Head Quarters, and I hate to set down to write when I can't tell You something worth reading.
About 10 Days ago two floating Batteries were ordered down Cambridge River to fire into the Enemy's Camp on Boston Common and alarm the Troops there. It had the expected Effect, but was attended with an unfortunate Circumstance. A 9 Pounder the sixth Time it was discharg'd burst, and very badly wounded 7 of the Men. It reduc'd the Batterie to a perfect Wreck. She was however brought off with her Remaining Guns &c. The Enemy never return'd the Fire. One of our Men died of his Wounds next Morning and one since.
The Enemy have been very quiet in their movements for some Time. We have 16 or 20 flat bottom Boats which carry 80 Men each finish'd, and the Carppenters are at Work on others. What they are intended for is not yet known. The Conjecture is that they are design'd for a Descenton Boston.
We had an Express yesterday from Falmouth, Casco Bay, who brings News that a Number of the Enemy's Ships were in that Harbour, the Capt.2 of which, after informing the Inhabitants that they must deliver Up all their Arms and give Hostages for their peaceable Behaviour, and allowing them 24 Hours to comply or he should fire the Town. At the Expiration of the Time set, finding they would not comply with the Demand, began a most infernal Connonade and Bombardment on the Town which destroy'd two thirds of it. After the ships had burnt 2 or 300 Houses and drove 2000 People into the Woods they fell down, and it was suppos'd were going to Portsmouth. As they had inform'd the People of Falmouth that they were to visit that place next and make the same Requisition, a Non Complyance with which would be attended with a Bombardment. And that every Sea Port Town on the Continent was to be visited for the like kind Purpose. These beingthe Orders from our most gracious King. Surely it is become Time That we had a French Fleet to protect our Coasts. On Land we can defend ourselves.
The General Voice is throw open our Ports wide to all the World— and If we must be Slaves, let Us be the Slaves of France, Spain, { 252 } Turkey, rather than the Slaves of ungrateful Britain. I am Dr. Sir Yr. most obt. Servt.
[signed] Wm. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq Philadelphia”; docketed: “Tudor Octr. 25. 1775.”
1. JA had written to Tudor on 1, 12 Oct. (above) and 21 Oct. For the latter, see JA to James Warren, first letter, 21 Oct., note 1 (above).
2. Capt. Henry Mowat, who commanded the Canceau, an element of Adm. Graves' fleet (William Willis, The History of Portland, facsim. of 1865 2d edn., Portland, Maine, 1972, p. 516).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0132

Author: Winthrop, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-25

From John Winthrop

[salute] Dear Sir

I received your Favor by Mr. Lynch. I was very sorry I had no opportunity of Shewing respectto the Gentlemen of the Congress, and was particularly concerned that I could not have more ofthe conversation of my excellent Friend Dr. Franklin. But they were continually sitting at Head Quarters, and the Council were every day sitting at Watertown; so that I never saw them butonce, which was when they dined here at the invitation of the House of Representatives. I thoughtitnecessary to communicate your Letter to the Committee of Council appointed to confer with the Delegates from the Congress, who were Mr. Bowdoin, Col. Otis, Mr. Sever and Mr. Spooner.
What news we have here, the Gentlemen will inform you at their return. The two armies remain in the same situation as when you left us. Ours, tis said, continues inactive, for want of ammunition. I heartily wish, any method could be devised to furnish them with a sufficient stock, without delay. I am very much afraid, if those folks are not got out of Boston before they receive reinforcements, we shall never be able to get them out afterwards.
We have just received an account, that last Wednesday two men of war and two Tenders cannonaded the town of Falmouth, and set it on fire, and that 2/3 of it is burnt down. This, without any provocation. The particulars, I suppose, you will see in the Newspapers. Tis expected they intend to treat our other Sea ports in the same manner.
The General Court is constantly sitting. A difficulty has arisen, relating to the choice and appointment of Military officers; founded on a Resolve of the Congress, which seems to leave the appointment of such officers to the Assemblies in the several Colonies.1 The House think this Resolve gives them the power of appointing Military officers. The Board are of opinion, that, by the Charter, this power is lodged with them at present; and as, in the first Resolve of the { 253 } Congress, by which this Court was convened, we were advised to keep as near as possible to the Charter, the Board think themselves obliged to adhere to it. I am afraid, this will bring on an altercation which may be attended with disagreable consequences, unless the Congress should explain themselves on this head.
I have the pleasure to congratulate you on your being appointed a Judge of the Superior Court; and I add, to the universal satisfaction of the people. I hope, e'er long to see you on that Bench. In the mean time, I cannot but pity you under the load of perplexing difficulties with which I suppose you are embarrassed; but hope that by firmness and perseverence you will extricate your selves and us.
It is reported that there is a rich lead mine at South Hampton in this Colony, and another at Middleton in Connecticutt. But whether any thing is likely to be done to effect in either of them, I cannot say.
With respectful Compliments to the Gentlemen of your Company I am with great esteem Your sincere Friend and humble servt
Octr. 29. Last night I was very kindly and hospitably entertained at your Seat in Braintree, having accompanied Dr. Franklin a little way on his journey. This morning, I left your Lady and young Family in perfect health.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honorable John Adams Esq at Philadelphia Favord by Dr Franklin”; docketed: “Dr. Winthrop. Octr 2[5] 1775.”
1. See James Warren to JA, 20 Oct., note 20 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0133

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-26

From Henry Knox

[salute] Sir

Encourag'd by your kindly mentioning my name in your Letters to several Gentlemen this way1 I now take the liberty of writing to you.
A number of the Generals desir'd me to act as engineer and said that when the delegates from the Continental Congress came here the matter should be settl'd—myself as cheif engineer with the rank and pay of Colonel and a Lt. Col. Putnam as second also with the rank of Col.—but the Gentlemen (two of them, Dctr. Franklin was of another opinion)2 delegates did not see proper to engage for any other rank than that of Lt. Col. and I believe have recommended us in that order to your Congress.
I have the most sacred regard for the liberties of my country and am fully determined to actas far as in my power in opposition to the present tyranny attempted to be imposed upon it, but as all honor is { 254 } comparative I humbly hope that I have as good pretensions to the rank of Col. as many now in the service, the declining to confer which by the delegates not a little supriz'd me. If your respectable body should not incline to give the rank and pay of Col. I must beg to decline it, not but I will do every service in power as a Volunteer. It is said and universally beleived that the officers and soldiers of the train of artillery will refuse to serve under their present Commander,3 the reasons of which you no doubt have heard. If it should be so and a new Col. Appointed I should be glad to suceed to that post where I flatter myself I should be of some little service to the Cause. The other field officers of the regiment wish it and I have great reasons to beleive the Generalstoo. This would be much more agreable to me than the first and would not hinder me from being useful in that department. It ever appears to me to detract from the merit of a person when he takes the liberty to reccommend himself, nothing but the flattering Idea of being in a small measure assisting to free my country should induce me to.

[salute] I beg an answer as soon as possible and am Sir Most Respectfully Your very Hble. Servant

[signed] Henry Knox
1. For example, JA to Gen. Heath, 5 Oct., note 1, and to James Warren, first letter, 21 Oct. (both above).
2. Parentheses and comma supplied for clarity. These words were written in the margin with an indication that they should be inserted after “Gentlemen.”
3. Knox, only 25, took over command of the artillery on 17 Nov.; Richard Gridley remained as chief engineer until Aug. 1776 (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10-28

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

Our Association, against Importations and Exportations, from and to Gr. Britain, Ireland andthe British West Indies, if We consider its Influence, upon the Revenue, the Commerce, the Manufactures and the Agriculture of the Kingdom, is a formidable Shield of Defence for Us. It is Shearing of its Beams that Luminary, which in all its Glory might dazzle our feeble Sight.
But a Question arises, whether, our Association against Exportations, can be observed, so as to have its full Effect, upon Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, unless We extend it further?1 We have agreed not to export to B., I. and the W. Indies. Parliament has made an Act that We Shall not export to any other Place. So that Trade is entirely stopped. But will not a Smuggling Trade be opened? That { 255 } is will not Adventurers push out Vessells against the Act of Parliament? If they do, when the Vessells are once at Sea, will they not go, to the Place where a Famine price is to be had. The Spirit of Commerce is mercenary and avaricious, and the Merchants will go where the Scarcity is greatest, the Demand quickest and the Price highest.
What Security then can we have that Merchants will not order their Vessells to the West India Islands British or foreign, to Ireland or even Great Britain, in Defyance of our association?
Besides is there not reason to apprehend, that the concealed Tories of whom there are many in every Colony, and especially in every maritime Town, will send their Vessells to sea, on purpose to be taken by the Enemy and sent to Supply the Army and Navy in America. It is true, their Vessells would be forfeited, and seized and condemned no doubt but they might be pleased with this, and would easily obtain hereafter Compensation or Retribution for this meritorious Sacrifice, from the Ministry.
In Short may not our association be wholly evaded and eluded, if we dont draw it closer? My own opinion upon these great Questions I may possibly give you sometime or other. But I wish to have yours.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J. A Lettr Octr. 1775.”
1. Off and on during October, the congress, sitting as a committee of the whole, had been debating the wisdom of opening up trade. The last of JA's notes on this debate were recorded the day before he wrote this letter (Diary and Autobiography,2:219).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0135

Author: Hichborn, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-28

From Benjamin Hichborn

[salute] Dear Sir

If tears of blood were to follow my pen, they wou'd but faintly marke the distressing anxiety I have suffered for near three months past, to be betrayed into a situation which equally exposed me to the Insults of my Enemies and the Suspicions or Contempt of my Friends, by a Scoundrel whose base duplicity, I coud neither expose or counteract, excited feelings, which often proved too severe a trial for my utmost fortitude.1 I have been a week in the Country and till now have not had resolution enough to write you a line. I have So much to communicate, that at present I shall only relieve my Mind of what I cannot contain. It was generally presumed (and I confess with the greatest apparent reason) that the discovery of those letters was owing to my imprudence—imprudence in such a Case I shoud esteem a Crime, and a crime of such a nature as, in myself, I coud never pardon. The { 256 } circumstances were shortly these. When we came to New York, contrary to our expectations, we found a packet-boat waiting for Passengers, and in the opinion of every one there was not the least danger in crossing the Sound, we accordingly took passage for New-Port, and I never saw more reason for destroying your letters till the second day we had been on board the Man of war, than there was for throwing them in the River Delaware. Capt. Ayscough2 Received us on board the Ship with the greatest politeness and Civility, making a thousand apologies for the rough treatment he had given us, said his object was the Sailors, who were in the boat with us, and was very sorry he had stopt us in our passage. This continued till the next day, when his Conduct suddenly wore quite a different appearance. I told Mr. White, that Scoundrel Stone, (a person who formerly was Clerk to Henry Lloyd,3 and came passenger with us from New York) had given Ayscough some information which had produced this Change in his conduct, and it was time for me to secure my letters, I had before this secreted them in a part of the Ship where I thought them perfectly safe. I immediately loaded them with money of the least value I had about me intending to drop them over board in the Evening. We (Mr. White and myself) were then told that we must look upon ourselves as prisoners, and while Mr. Stone was caressed in the Cabin, we had a Centinel over us. However I had then, not the least doubt of eluding their Strictest scrutiny—my plan I thought was compleat and ensured me success; I had provided a couple of blank letters directed to General Washington and Coll. Warren, which in Case Stone shoud acknowledge himself the Informer and confront me with his declaration, I intended to deliver them up with seeming reluctance and pretend I had concealed them through fear. Just as the boat was preparing to carry our baggage on board Capt. Wallace for examination a Gentleman who came passenger with us from New York sent on board for a trunk which we thro' mistake had taken for our own, this circumstance looked so favourable that I coud not avoid seizing [it] to get the letters on shore. I opened the trunk with my own key, put the letters in the folds of the Gentlemans Linen and with some difficulty locked it again, when the trunk came upon deck the Lieutenant mistook it for mine put it into the boat with the rest of our things and rowed off immediately on board the other Ship. By such a mere accident as this did the letters fall into their Hands. The next day an Officer told Mr. White that he heard Stone giving the Capt. information of the Letters, or we shoud never have been searched or suspected. General Washington does not yet appear altogether Satis• { 257 } fied with my Conduct.4 The only Satisfaction I have at present arises from the generous Reception I met with from Coll. Warren, but my anxiety to know your Sentiments of the part I have taken prevents my attention to any thing else. I am Sensible of the injustice I do you in harbouring the least diffidence of your generosity, but at the same time I know your nice feelings must receive such a shock from having your confidential observations, upon such delicate Subjects exposed, that the Reflection gives me the keenest pain. General Washington and the World, may think meanly of me, but suffer me to say without the appearance of adulation, possessed of your Confidence of favourable opinion, I can be happy under their united frowns. Nothing but a line of approbation from you can restore me to myself. Let me intreat you, if from no other motives but pity, to send me a short letter by the Post, and I will then open myself to you with the greatest freedom. Enclosed you have a rude plan of a design which I am satisfied may be carried into execution with the greatest ease.5 I propose communicating it to the Genl. through Mr: Bowdoin. I am Sir your unhappy but Sincere Friend
[signed] B Hichborn
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esq. Philadelphia”; docketed: “Benja. Hitchbourne Octr. 28. 1775.”
1. This letter is a first installment of Hichborn's defense of his actions and appeal for JA's forgiveness for the capture of JA's letters to James Warren and AA of 24 July. Hichborn also wrote to JA on 25 Nov., and 20 May 1776 (both below). JA's only extant response is his letter of 29 May 1776 (below).
2. Captain of the British sloop Swan (Disposition of the Fleet on 30th June 1775, MHi:Gay Transcripts, The Conduct of Adm. Graves in North America, 1:132).
3. Probably Henry Lloyd (1709–1795), the Boston merchant and loyalist (Sabine, American Loyalists, 2:24).
4. Washington thought that the conduct of Hichborn and Capt. White, who traveled with him, was “imprudent” and added, “If their suffering only affected themselves, I should not think it improper that they should feel a little for their Misconduct or Negligence” (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:398–399, 403).
5. Enclosure not found. It may have concerned the placing of artillery on Dorchester Heights and Noddle's Island that Hichborn had discussed with James Warren (Warren to JA, 20 Oct., above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0136-0001

Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Massachusetts Council
Author: Massachusetts Council, Deputy Secretary
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-28

From Perez Morton

[salute] Sir

I am directed by the Major part of the Council of this Colony, to acquaint You, that by Virtue of the power and Authority in and by the Royal Charter in the abscence of the Governor and Lieutt. Governor lodged in them, they have seen fit to appoint You, with the Advice and consent of Council, to be first or Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature &c. for this Colony. The inclosed is a List of Your bretheren of the Bench, who are to hold their Seats in the Order { 258 } therein Arranged. I am further directed, to request Your Honor to signify to the board in writing Your Acceptance or refusal of said appointment, as soon as may be. In the Name and by the Order of the Council.
[signed] Perez Morton Dpy. Secre.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq at Philadelphia”; docketed: “Dpty Secys. Letter. Octr. 28. 1775.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0136-0002

Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Massachusetts Council
Author: Massachusetts Council, Deputy Secretary of
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-28

Enclosure: List of Superior Court Justices

Honble. John Adams Esqr.
William Cushing Esqr.
William Read Esqr.
Honble. Rob. Treat Paine Esqr.1
Nathl. P. Sargent Esqr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq at Philadelphia”; docketed: “Dpty Secys. Letter. Octr. 28. 1775.”
1. For Paine's placement in the ranking and its consequences, see James Warren to JA, 20 Oct. and notes (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0137

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-28

From William Tudor

[salute] Dr Sir

I received your Letter of the 12th. Instant by Mr. Tracy. But the One you mention to have sent me some Time before I never got.1 I am much oblig'd by your Exertions to get my Pay augmented, which is now made fully equivalent to the Office. The Concern which you have shewn for the Advancement of my Honor and Interest in a thousand Instances, demands something more than bare Acknowlegements. If the Time should come when my Gratitude can be express'd by Actions rather than Words alone, I shall with Eagerness seize the Occasion to discharge my uncommon Obligations to your Kindness and Friendship.
Hichbourn, after 3 Months Imprisonment, luckily escap'd from his Confinement on board the Preston. He told me he should take the first Opportunity of writing you.
I am sorry to acquaint you that some of our Masstts. Officers in the Army here have disgrac'd the Country by practising the meanest Arts of Peculation. Every Subtlety which Avarice could invent, or Rascality carry on, have been used to cheat the Publick by Men who procur'd Commissions, not to fight for the Liberty of their Country, but to prey upon it's Distresses. Col. David Brewer, Lt. Col. Brown2 and 5 Captains have been try'd for defrauding the Publick. The Colonel and 4 of the Captains have been cashier'd.3 The Army that will soon be inlisted I hope will be better officer'd. There must be a Revision { 259 } of the Articles for the Government of it. I have, by the Requirement of the General, made some Strictures on the continental Articles as they were published by Order of Congress, and which will be sent to Philadelphia. The Sooner a New Edition of the Articles of War is published the better.4
I must mention one Grievance we are subject to here. Persons who come from the Southward bring with them the Pensilvania Bills of an Emission long before the present Year, and pass them here at the Rate of 6/ to the Dollar. There are thousands here who don't know the Difference of the Currency and thus get trick'd. A Person told me that in receiving £8 he lost 15/ Lawfull. This Fraud is the more aggravating, as we are told, that our Colony Bills, though emitted for the Publick Safety, are refus'd in Payments at Philadelphia.
I was in the Gallery yesterday at Watertown, during the Examination of Dr. Church at the Bar of the House, respecting the intercepted Letter of his which has occasion'd so much Talk and Uneasiness. He made an artful and masterly Defence. He endeavoured to evade the Censure of the House by insisting, that as it would be before another Court that this Matter must have a final Issue, should the House proceed to expell him it would have a fatal Effect whenever a final Judgement should be given on his Conduct; and to give force to his Objection, adduc'd the Case of Wilkes, who, though accurs'd “of blaspheming his God and Libelling his King,” was not censur'd by the House of Commons as a member, till he was declar'd an Out Law by the Court of King's Bench, Lest it should have had an undue Influence on the Jury. He told the Court, that the Occasion of his writing the Letter on their Table was that some Time in July he received a Letter from his Brother Fleming advising him to secure his Safety with Government by immediately quitting the Cause of Rebellion, and informing him if he would come to Boston, he (Fleming) would procure him a Pardon. This Letter the Doctor said was wrote in Cyphers and one Day having occasion to light his Pipe he burnt it. He could not tell the Name of the Person who gave it to him, nor find out (though he had been indefatigable in the Inquiry) where she lived. In the Course of his Defence, he told the House, that he was once offer'd a Guinea a Day for Life, if he would change Sides. He refus'd it, and has been long Subject to Abuse, and outrage in some Instances. And could it be thought, at a Time when he had a Promise from his Country men of a Post that would gratify Avarice itself, he should turn Traitor, with no other view than securing Pardon? (for { 260 } he was promis'd no more) Such a Conduct would be more than Folly, it would be Insanity.5 The Dr. said he let the Letter lay by him 8 or 10 Days when a Thought struck him of making it advantageous to Our Cause, by a fallacious Answer which might gull Fleming and induce him to send the Doctor some important Intelligence. He made the most solemn Appeal to Heaven that this was his only View in writing the Letter. He then pointed out the Paragraphs which he thought to Minds unwarp'd by Prejudice would evince this to have been his Design. He observ'd that there was not a single Paragraph in the Letter which contain'd Information that could have hurt Us. But that the exagerated Accounts of our Force, Strength and Unanimity, would tend to dishearten the Enemy and keep them quiet, at a Time when we were poorly able to have withstood a vigorous Attack. Those Sentences which look'd as if the Writer despiz'd or was inimical to the Cause which We are all embark'd in, were necessary to blind his Correspondent and produce the Effect he anticipated from it. He reminded the House that at the Time the Letter was wrote he enjoy'd the fullest Confidence, was possess'd of some Secrets and perfectly knew the State of our Politicks and intended Manoevres. Therefore his not communicating an Iota that could injure or betray Us was a convincing Reason, that his Views were friendly to the Cause of our Country. The Reason he said why he did not intrust his Scheme to a Friend, was because he waited for the Success of it when he should have certainly Communicated the advices he receiv'd, with his Project for obtaining them. He observ'd that it was Indiscretion, it was Folly, but conjur'd them not to let the Indiscretion of an Hour cancel the Services of his Life. He appeal'd to the Knowlege of all who knew him for his Principles and Conduct, and for his Uniformity and undeaviating Adherence in them. But it is impossible to write all he said. Let it suffice to acquaint You, That if the Force of Rhetorick and the Powers of Language, if the most Pathetick Arts of Persuasion, enforc'd by All the Ingenuity, Sense of Spirit of the Doctor could have made him innocent, he would have appear'd spotless as an Angel of Light. A few Days before the Doctor had petitioned the House for a Dismission. After He had gone thro' with his Defence and withdrawn, when a Debate insued in the House. Majr. Hawley was for granting him a Dismission, and leaving Censure and Punishment to another Tribunal.6 The House after Debate chose a Committee to consider the Doctor's Case and report.
The Candid think, the Doctor was frightened at the Length to which { 261 } Matters had arriv'd, was dubious and fearful how they might terminate, and was sollicitous to secure a Retreat in Case of Necessity. But that he meant to provide for his own Safety, without Betraying the Interests of America. And that he is rather to be despiz'd for Timidity, than damn'd for Villainy.7
Most of the military Books You mention are at Head Quarters,8 but not more than two of them are in any Officer's Hands in Camp. Bellidore (which General Gates tells me is worth all the rest) is not own'd by any Gentleman in the army that I am acquainted with. His Works are printed in 4 Volumes Qto. and are to be bought at New York for £12 Lawfull.9 I am, Dr Sir Yours Sincerely
[signed] Wm. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Tudor Octr. 28. 1775.”
1. JA's letter of 1 Oct., which went by Maj. Bayard (above).
2. Lt. Col. Abijah Brown (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:19–20).
3. In the MS the preceding two sentences are written in the left margin of the first page and are placed in the text at this point by editorial decision.
4. Tudor's comments on the Articles of War were enclosed in a letter from Washington to Joseph Reed on 30 Oct. He told Reed that, although Tudor might have made “some observations worthy of notice,” they should be “considered with some degree of caution” because “a desire of lessening his own trouble may induce him to transfer many matters from a general court martial, where he is the principal actor, to the regimental courts where he has nothing to do” (same, 4:54–55). A number of Tudor's suggestions were incorporated in the sixteen amendments to the Articles that the congress passed on 7 Nov. Worthington Ford mistakenly associated Tudor's suggestions with the revision made in Sept. 1776 (PCC, No. 41, I, f. 1–4; JCC, 3:331–334; 5:788, note 2).
5. In the MS the preceding eight sentences are written in the left margin of the third page, their place in the text being indicated by Tudor.
6. In the MS the preceding three sentences are written in the left margin of the fourth page and are placed in the text at this point by editorial decision.
7. The session of the Massachusetts House described by Tudor was officially only a hearing on whether formally to expel Church or accept his letter of resignation of 23 Oct. It resulted in his expulsion on 2 Nov. but little else, for although the House returned Church to custody, it tacitly agreed to leave “Censure and Punishment to another Tribunal.” The congress, to which the case had been referred on 3 Oct. by the Council of War, was no more willing to take decisive action than the House, and on 7 Nov. resolved only to send Church to a “secure gaol” in Connecticut. In the end, because of shifting political currents and because no one really knew what to do about him, no final action was taken, and Church remained imprisoned off and on in various locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts until Jan. 1778, when to be rid of an apparently insoluble problem, the congress allowed him to take passage on the sloop Welcome, which was lost at sea (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 186, 203–204, 226; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:9–11; JCC, 3: 334; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:393–397; French, General Gage's Informers, p. 189–201). See also Benjamin Kent to JA, 26 May 1776, note 1 (below).
8. See JA to William Tudor, 12 Oct., note 5 (above).
9. No record of an English translation of Belidor in four volumes has been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0138

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-28

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I did not hear till Yesterday in the Afternoon that Coll. Reed had any Intention to leave us so soon and begin his Journey to Philadelphia on this day. The first reflection on this Occasion was that he would be missed here. I have formed an Excellent opinion of him as a Man of Sense, Politeness, and Ability for Business. He has done us great service. He is I might add strongly Attached to the public Cause of America, but all this you know and perhaps more of his Character than I do. I shall therefore only say that I regret his leaving us and shall wish for his return.1 The next reflection was that I must Embrace the opportunity and write to you. For that purpose I assigned the Evening but Unluckily the House set till 8 O Clock, and prevented me. Church had a hearing before us Yesterday which took us nearly the whole day. After he withdrew there was a Motion for a Suspension of any Judgement upon him, least it might Influence his Court or Jury upon his Trial. Another Motion that we should Accept a Resignation he had made by Letter, and accompany it with a resolve that should save our honour, and not Injure him in his Trial. The End of the whole matter was Appointing a Committee to report how to proceed. I have now only time to thank you for your kind Letters by Mr. Tracy which I received a few days ago, and those by Capt. Mcpherson which came to hand Yesterday.2 You have Obliged me Extreemly. They have Edifyed, Comforted, strengthened, and Encouraged. I feel like a New Man. I have not seen the Bearer of the last, shall try to see him this afternoon. We have no kind of News. Time wont permit me to say anything, on the Important subject of your Letters, but to Compensate for any Observations of mine I shall Inclose what I Guess will be much more Agreable. The Author has stole an hour now and then since we came to Town to proceed so far as you'll see, on purpose to Unbend your mind a little, by Amusements of a Poetical kind well knowing you have a Taste for them. You have the two Acts in Print you wrote for last Summer, and two Subsequent ones and the Epilogue. The whole are at your disposition.3 I shall send Mrs. Adams's Letters &c. this day. I wrote you a long Scroll by Mr. Lynch, and Just as it was going received some Letters from Mrs. Adams which I Inclosed.4 I have received none from her since. I have not Time to Add a word more, and therefore must Conclude, that you may ever be happy is the wish of your Friend,
I forgot to tell you that the powder arrived in our Vessel at the East• { 263 } ward has got from 90 Tons by various Gradations to 7 1/2 which I think I gave you as the true account being what I thought I might rely on, and from thence to 15 hundred, and from thence to 6 hundred, which I believe is the true one, tho' I cant say that it wont descend to 3 ct.5
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Octr. 28. 1775 Warren.” The main body of this letter takes up two pages and four lines of a third page. The final paragraph is written on a separate strip of paper, torn from what may have been an address sheet, for on the reverse appear an “Esqr” and a final “n.” Why Warren should have written his concluding words on a scrap rather than using the ample space of his barely used third page is not clear. A possible explanation is that he wrote his afterthought on the back of a cover sheet carrying the address and covering this letter and others, as well as enclosures; but if this is true, he did not do so because a seal prevented him from adding his concluding words on his own letter. JA might, then, in filing Warren's letter have torn off the strip. An alternative explanation is that someone (CFA?) mistakenly attached this scrap to the wrong letter, although no other extant letter of Warren to Adams in this period is so full that it could not have accommodated these lines.
1. Joseph Reed, Washington's secretary, did not return to Massachusetts but remained in Philadelphia, where he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in Jan. 1776 and was appointed adjutant general by the congress in June 1776 (DAB; JCC, 5:419).
2. Those of 12 and 13 Oct. carried by Tracy and the twofirst and second letters of 20 Oct. carried by McPherson (above).
3. Warren's enclosure has not been found, and his reference here is unclear. He seems to be saying that Mrs. Warren has completed two more acts and an epilogue for her poetic play The Group, which appeared as two acts of four scenes in the version printed by Edes and Gill in the spring of 1775 (see JA, Papers, 2:214, note 2). Yet that version has a concluding speech that, although it is not labeled as such, could be an epilogue. JA had complained in May that he had been unable to get a complete version of the play, the Philadelphia edition, copied from the first version in the Boston Gazette, containing only two scenes. In reply to JA, Warren mentioned an advertisement of the play appearing in the New York press, but the New York edition also had only two scenes (to JA, 27 June, above). It may be that Warren is confusing “acts” and “scenes” and is merely furnishing JA with a complete copy of the play, for the siege of Boston so soon after its publication may have made the Edes and Gill edition unavailable. Still, Warren's mention of Mrs. Warren's activity in Watertown suggests work on something new. If Warren did send an enclosure, JA does not acknowledge receipt of it in any extant letter to either of the Warrens.
4. Warren had last written to JA on 20 Oct. (above) and, if Lynch did not leave at once, probably included two letters from AA to JA, those of 21 and 22 Oct. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:305–308, 309–311). “Mrs. Adams's Letters,” which Warren says he will send on, were probably those of JA to AA of 21 and 23 Oct. (same, 1:309, 311–312).
5. Warren is probably referring to the arrival at Sheepscot of a “very Considerable quantity of Powder, Cannon and Arms” (to JA, 20 Oct., above). It should be understood that he is shifting from tons to pounds; that is, 1,500 pounds, etc. The “ct,” very carelessly written after the 3, is arguable, but this abbreviation for hundredweight seems logical.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0139

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-10-31

To Mercy Otis Warren

I received, this day with great Pleasure your Favour of the Twelfth and fourteenth Instant1—and was the more gratified with it, because it was dated from Watertown, where I wish my excellent Friend very constantly to reside, for the good of the Public and where consequently I wish you to be, because his Happiness will be promoted by it.
The Graces and the Muses, will always inhabit with such Company, whatever Crouds may Surround, whatever Accomodations may be wanting.
MS (Adams Papers); apparently a fragment that was never finished and sent.
1. That is, the letter of the 12th, which was finished on the 14th (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0140

Author: Palmer, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-31

From Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear Sir

Herewith you have a Copy of the Account of the Battle of Charlestown;1 the other matters will be attended to as soon as possible; That there has been an unreasonable delay, is not owing to J. P.; he is employ'd in signing &c. the Bills of Credit, which takes up, as he thinks, too much of his time.
There has been a Sample of Lead-Oar, which has been assayed, and turns out 50 per cent Lead: I am endeavouring to obtain a Committee of Court, to go upon the Spot, and to have it assayed there in their presence, they to report the prospect of Quantity and Quality, Situation for working &c., &c.2 I also send a considerable number of Samples of Oars, which I received from Mr. E. Quincy of Sto[ughtonha]m:3 with directions to forward them to Mr. Hancock, to whom I shall therefore send them: That there are plenty of good Lead-Mines and others in this Colony, I am fully satisfied; and if the Colony, or Continent, wou'd give Such a price for the Lead and other Mettle, which shou'd involve in it a Sufficient bounty, above the common rates, and for a Sufficient length of time to encourage adventurers, I think it wou'd answer all reasonable expectations: In that case, I wou'd again write to England by the first opportunity, and hope we might Succeed so far, as to obtain both Miners and Smelters from thence, provided the Controversy between G.B. and the Cs., does not prevent it. This leads me to Say, what I have not mention'd to you before, That had not this controversy prevented, we Shou'd have had many Families from { 265 } Derbyshire Sent over hither, of both Branches,4 last Spring; they were all engaged, and prepared to come, but were prevented by this unnatural Quarrel: This is a fact you may depend upon.
Since the above, a Committee is appointed to make farther enquiry into the Lead-Oar first mention'd; of this Committee I am one, and intend to go to the Spot next Week, if possible: The result you will be acquainted with in proper time.
Mr. Revere carries from hence a Budget of Letters &c., taken in a Vessel from Ireland, little Capt. Robins of Bulls Wharf, Master;5 I hope your Congress will think there are very important matters contained in it—a Proclamation by the King, in which we are all called Rebels—Letters mentioning a Declaration of War against us—Many Troops, 5 Regiments &c. this fall (some of these we Suppose are arrived)—Russians, Prussians, Hessians, Hanoverians, &c. in abundance next Spring! How long is this Continent to hope for a reconciliation with G B? When will be the proper time to open our Ports to one or more other Nations? How long are we to be embarrassed and plagued with our vile Monarchical Charters? And when will the Congress give leave to all the United Colonies to take any form of Government they may respectively best like, not inconsistant with the General Union, of which the Congress to judge?
Our prospect for Salt-petre rises very fast, and I think we Shall do very well with it;6 But apprehend we Shall need further supplys, large supplys, of Powder before we shall have enough of own Manufacture.
J. Adams, W. Cushing, W. Read, R. T. Paine, and N. P. Sargeant, J[ustices] of the S[uperior] C[ourt]. J.A. must not refuse us, it wou'd hurt us greatly.
I hope to write you again after my return from the Lead-Mine. Pray exert your Selves now to break off the Fetters of T——ny for the Colonies. I wish your whole Congress cou'd See our distress; 'twill distract us, if not liberated. Many of our Friends in Boston are likely to come out as 'tis said; I think that the expected hunger, will give them liberty. A large Canal cut across, by the Haymarket, from Sea to Sea, and a large Breastwork. Adieu, May God bless and direct you all. So Pray your
[signed] J. Palmer
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Palmer. Octr 31. 1775.”
1. See the Committee of Safety's account, 25 July (above).
2. No record of such a special committee has been found. The matter may have been referred to the existing committee on lead and salt, of which Palmer { 266 } was a member (see JA to John Winthrop, 2 Oct., note 4, above).
3. Probably Edmund Quincy (1726–1782). Stoughtonham is now Sharon, Mass.
4. Palmer and Cranch branches? Palmer had married the sister of Richard Cranch, bosom friend of JA. The Cranches and Palmers had emigrated from towns in Devon (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:140, note 1; 3:209). Or it may be that Palmer was referring to family connections in Derbyshire.
5. The letters, written from Cork, Ireland, to British officers in Boston, were taken from the schooner Two Sisters, under Capt. Robbins, which was captured and brought into Beverly on 7 Nov. The General Court, after examining the seized papers and showing copies to Washington, dispatched them to the congress in care of Paul Revere. They were read before the congress on 20 Nov. The documents, which were extracted in the Boston Gazette on 13 Nov. and in the Pennsylvania Gazette on 22 and 29 Nov., as well as in other papers throughout the colonies, reflected both sympathy and hostility to the American cause but, in their overall effect, indicated that Britain would follow a hard line and supported JA's contention that attempts at reconciliation were useless. The King's proclamation for “suppressing rebellion and sedition” of 23 Aug. 1775, was unequivocal in its stand (James Otis to John Hancock, 11 Nov., PCC, No. 65, I; JCC, 3:360; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:82; also extracts from the letters in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:167–169).
6. Probably a reference to the action of the General Court on 31 Oct. and 1 Nov. in appointing a four-man committee to find a reliable method of manufacturing saltpeter by 15 Dec. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 215, 218–219).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-10

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

What think you of a North American Monarchy? Suppose We should appoint a Continental King, and a Continental House of Lords, and a Continental House of Commons, to be annually, or triennially or Septennially elected? And in this Way make a Supreme American Legislature? This is easily done you know by an omnipotent Continental Congress, and When once effected, His American Majesty may appoint a Governor for every Province, as his Britannic Majesty used to do, and Lt. Governor and secretary and judge of Admiralty—Nay his Continental Majesty may appoint the Judges of the Supream Courts &c. too—or if his American Majesty should condescend to permit the provincial Legislatures, or Assemblies [to] nominate two three or four Persons out of whom he should select a Governor, and 3 or 4 Men for Chief Justice &c. out of whom he should choose one, would not this do, nicely?
To his Continental Majesty, in his Continental Privy Council, Appeals might lie, from all Admiralty Cases, and from all civil Causes personal at least, of a certain Value and all Disputes about Land, that is about Boundaries of Colonies should be settled by the Continental { 267 } King and Council, as they used to be by the British K. and Council. What a magnificent System?
I assure you this is no Chimaera of my own. It is whispered about in Coffee Houses, &c. and there are [those] who wish it.
I am inclined to think it is done, as one Artifice more to divide the Colonies. But in vain. It would be very curious to give you an History of the out a Door Tricks for this important End of dividing the Colonies. Last Fall the Quakers and Antipoedobaptists were conjured up to pick a Quarrell with Massachusetts.1 Last Spring the Land Jobbers were stimulated to pick a Quarrell with Connecticutt for the same End.2 The Quakers and Anabaptists were hushed and abashed, or rather the reasonable conscientious Part of them were convinced in one Evening. The Land Jobbers will meet no better success.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J A Lettr Octr 1775.”
1. The Massachusetts delegation met with Quakers and Baptists at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia on 14 Oct. 1774. For the origin of the confrontation and its outcome, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:152–154, note 3, and 3:311–313.
2. The dispute between Pennsylvania and Connecticut over the claims of the Susquehannah Company in the Wyoming Valley once again broke out into armed conflict in the fall of 1775. For the action of the congress and the background of the dispute, see JCC, 3:283, 285, 287–288, 295, 297, 321, 335–336, 377, 435, 439–440; Julian P. Boyd and Robert J. Taylor, eds., The Susquehannah Company Papers, 11 vols., Ithaca, 1962–1971, 5:xlvi–lii.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0142

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

The extensive system of policy which must engross your thoughts, and the vast field of business in which you are engaged, is such that I feel some checks whenever I call of[f] your attention for a moment on anything so unimportant as a letter of mine. Yet I cannot find myself willing to give up the pleasure of corresponding with a gentleman, I hold in high estimation, both as a defender of the rights of mankind, and as the faithful friend to a very worthy person who holds the first place in my heart. I think the last consideration gives me a claim to the indulgence of my scribbling humour, and frequently a letter in return.
As I feel myself as much interested in the welfare and happiness of the community, and the honour of my country, as any individual of either sex, I cannot but express some part of my concern, that any thing should take place among ourselves, which may give our vindictive foes just cause to unbraid us, as being actuated by the same nar• { 268 } row2 and principles, we have so loudly borne testimony against. A new dispute has lately arisen between the board of Consellors and the house of Representatives: a full detail thereof will be given you by Mr. Warren, the first moment of leisure he can find.3 I fear by this, and I will presume to say by some other injudicious steps, the hands of our new goverment will be weakened, and the legislative authority perhaps in time become contemptible among us.
Shall I ask you Sir, what is the reason that man in general, as soon as he is a little elevated towards the pinnacle of power (by whatever means he is invested therewith) grows forgetful at once of primeval principles, and becomes so tenacious of prerogative that he is sore in every part that affects it, and shrinks at the approach of any thing that might injure the newborn bantling. He wishes to cherish the young embrio till it grows to a gigantic size, to a formidable monster, that endangers the choicest claims of society.
I am more and more convinced, of the propensity in human nature to tyranize over their fellow men: and were it not for the few—the very few, disinterested and good men, who dare venture to stem the tide of power, when it grows wanton and overbearing, the ideas of native freedom, and the equal liberty of man would long ee'r this have been banished the western hemisphere. The darkness, the despotism, and slavery, of the eastern world, would soon spread their sable curtain over this clearer region. But I leave every ideal object, either of peace, terror, or war, to give you some further account of what in reality exists among us.
We may look into the capital and simpathize with the miserable remnant of inhabitants yet there; they are pining for bread, emaciated by fears and watching—wasted by sickness, and daily insulted by their cruel inmates who enter and take possession where ever they please. Many convenient houses, are levelled to the ground, and still to aggravate the insolence and barbarism of the times, the sanctuaries of religion are some of them converted into stables, while others are prostituted to the most ludicrous purposes.
The desk, the pews, and other incumbrances are taken down in the old South (a church long venerated in the town) to make it convenient for the accomodation of Burgoyne's light horse;4 while the infamous Dr. Morison5 whose character I suppose you are acquainted with, reads prayers in the Church in Brattle street, to a set of banditti who after the rapines, robberies, and devastations of the week, dare, some of them at least, to lift their sacrilegious hands, and bow before the altar of mercy.
{ 269 }
The troops in Boston lie on their arms every night, in expectation that the Americans will attempt to enter. I wish we had possession of the town, yet, I fear it will be a bloody scene whenever it takes place. I will breath one wish more, and that is for the restoration of peace; peace I mean on equitable terms; for pusillanimous and feeble as I am, I cannot wish to see the sword quietly put up in the scabbard, until justice is done to America: the principles both of honour and humanity forbid it.
I hope Dr. Franklin has safely arrived among you. I was pleased with an opportunity of seeing and conversing with this venerable person, whose philosophic character has long been revered, nor was I less pleased to observe the affability and politeness of the gentleman, happily united with the virtues of the patriot in this respectable man. He commanded the veneration and esteem of every one here by a dignity of deportment, which I candidly hope is the result of conscious worth.
You will permit me to go on and give my opinion of several other distinguished characters, who have an active and important part to exhibit in the American cause. From their high rank in life, their names will be handed down to future generations and I hope with deserved applause. The Generals Washington, Lee, and Gates, with several other distinguished officers from head quarters dined with us three days since.6 The first of these I think one of the most amiable and accomplished gentleman, both in person mind and manners that I have met with. The second who I never saw before, I think plain in his person to a degree of ugliness, careless, even to unpoliteness—his garb ordinary, his voice rough, his manners rather morose,—yet sensible, learned, judicious, and penetrating; a considerable traveller, agreeable in his narrations, and a zealous indefatigable friend to the American cause, but much more from a love of freedom and an impartial sense of the inherent rights of mankind at large than from any attachment or disgust to particular persons or countries. The last is a brave soldier, a high republican, a sensible companion, an honest man, of unaffected manners, and easy deportment. You know these people: if I have made up a wrong judgement, you may correct it.
I am disappointed in not seeing Mrs. Adams here this day;7 but I shall soon call on her, at her own house on my way to Plymouth. I expect now in a few days to set out for that place where I shall go into winter quarters. I shall think myself and family quite safe there, as one of the reconnoitering pirates has reported it too hazardous to venture the Kings ships into that harbour.
{ 270 }
I am exceedingly sorry for the death of so worthy a man, and so firm a friend to America as the Honourable Mr. Randolph.8 When I view him as the unshaken patriot, I grieve for the loss my Country has sustained. When I consider him in the light of an amiable friend, and an affectionate husband, I commiserate the affliction of his lady: I have been told they were remarkably happy in the conjugal relation.
May those of your assembly, who are both capable and disposed to do service to their country be long continued and protected; and may you Sir, when your public duties will permit be returned to your friends, family, and connexions!
My letter has already run to such a length that I will only add, that if all men were like yourself and your friend Mr. Warren, it would not have been necessary for you to have written so often, with so much importunity, and to so little purpose for certain important public accounts. But they are at present in the hands of a set of men, who if left to themselves, would not compleat them till the close of the Millenium, even if it was not to begin till many more centuries are counted up in the score of time.9
That they will soon be put into hands less indolent; and appear in some more hopeful way, is wished, and believed by your sincere friend.10
[signed] Mrs. Warren
The Circumstance I Mentioned with Regard to the old south Church and which you may well think Gives Great affliction to the sisterhood, Comes from Mrs. Hooper who Got out of Boston Last week with a Number of other persons. Howe Has Lately Given Liberty to many people to Come out. But still the Wretchs are Miserable, for General Washington does not think proper to suffer the Boats to Come out by way of Chelsey and the Comander in Boston will not suffer them to Come by Roxbury. Our Caution is on account of the small pox with which Many are infected.
A New Commitee of accounts are to be Appointed <yesterday> soon who may perhaps do something to your satisfaction.12 Your friend thinks the airs of prerogative, and the high sense of Dignity which some New made Creatures assume is Beyond Bearing.
Human Nature is the Cause the Guilty Cause. Nothing but a Rapid Rotation will keep the sins of men within due Bounds.
It was also a Resolve of the House that the Boston people should not Come out by Chelsey.13
LbC (MHi:Mercy Warren Letterbook, p. 156–159;) RC (Adams Papers); addressed in the hand of James Warren: “To John Adams Esqr [M]ember { 271 } of Congress att Philadelphia.” The RC, a supplement to the LbC, is written on a half sheet and dated 7 Nov. at the left (here moved to the right in accord with editorial practice), as was often done when a letter was continued. This half-sheet has been trimmed at the top and bottom and on the right side, but the address on the reverse is almost complete. This fact plus comparison of the half-sheet with full sheets used in the Warren household, particularly with respect to the position of watermarks, suggest that the original letter begun in October ended at the top of a page with only a line or so and the signature. Possibly the top was trimmed off for the benefit of an autograph collector.
1. The nature of Mrs. Warren's so-called Letterbook, which is not arranged chronologically but by correspondents, means that the letters, which are not in her hand, were copied into it well after the time of composition, probably from drafts. Comparison of her letters in the Adams Papers with those in the Letter-book shows differences in phrasing and occasional discrepancies in dating; the drafts may not always have been dated so that conjectural dates were supplied. For possibly more exact dates for the present letter, see notes 6, 7, and 8 (below).
2. The copyist inadvertently left out a word here.
3. See James Warren to JA, 5 Nov. (below).
4. For a brief account of the fate of various buildings in Boston, see Frothingham, Siege of Boston, p. 327–328.
5. Rev. John Morrison (1743–1782) had been a minister of Peterborough, N.H., from 1766 to 1772, when he was dismissed. In 1775 he joined the army at Cambridge but deserted to the British immediately after the Battle of Bunker Hill. In Sept. 1775 he replaced Dr. Samuel Cooper, who had fled the town, as minister at the Brattle Street Church and preached at least one sermon. He left in the evacuation and died in Charleston, S.C. (Sabine, Loyalists, 2: 108; MHS, Procs., 60 [1926–1927]:94).
6. The dinner referred to is possibly that given by the House of Representatives for the congressional committee and high-ranking-officers on 19 Oct. (James Warren to JA, 20 Oct., note 3, above). If this supposition is correct, then this part of Mrs. Warren's letter can be dated 22 Oct. But see the next note.
7. That is, Saturday, 4 Nov. James Warren says she was expected on that day; thus this part of the letter must be a delayed continuation (Warren to JA, 5 Nov., below).
8. At this point the Letterbook includes a footnote: “Mr. Peyton Randolph was the first President of the American Congress.” Randolph died on 22 Oct., further proof that this part of Mrs. Warren's letter must have been written well after that date. Her husband knew of the death by 5 Nov. at least (same).
9. Concerned about the expenses that Massachusetts was incurring in behalf of the colonies, the House on 24 Aug. had appointed a committee to draw up an account of expenditures for supplies and soldiers' wages. The committee, which was to work during the House recess from 24 Aug. to 20 Sept., consisted of Isaac Lothrop, Capt. George Partridge, William Greenleaf, and Deacon David Jeffries. On 4 Oct. two additional committee members were named: James Sullivan and William Story. The enlarged committee reported first on 9 Oct., and its report was recommitted for amendments three times. The report was accepted on 13 Oct., and the accompanying letter to the delegates in the congress, on the 20th (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st and 2d sess., p. 103, 140, 147, 152, 155–156, 159, 160, 176). The date of the actual letter sent to the congress, however, was 24 Oct. (above). Mrs. Warren might well express impatience. The committee took two months to get its request sent off to the congress, and even then the form of the accounts was recognized to be only a “Gross Sum” without sufficient substantiation (House Jour., p. 138, 196).
{ 272 }
10. On 21 Oct. the speaker (James Warren), Elbridge Gerry, Joseph Hawley, Joseph Otis, and Benjamin Mills were named a committee to suggest to the House “a more expeditious Method of settling Accounts.” On 28 Oct. the House, in accordance with the recommendations of this committee, appointed a committee on accounts to authenticate sums spent in behalf of both the congress and the General Court, but the Council nonconcurred. On 8 Nov. the House changed somewhat the makeup of the committee and changed its powers so that it could act during both sessions and recesses. It is not clear whether the Council approved before the session ended, however (same, p. 185, 208, 214, 246, 268).
11. On 25 Nov.JA acknowledged receipt of Mrs. Warren's letter “of Novr. 4th several Days ago” (below). But her 7's look very like 4's.
12. The words “are to be” are written in the margin, a change made necessary by the crossing out of “yesterday.” The implication is that Mrs. Warren had information about a new committee before its establishment had been completed. She may have been referring to one of three new committees in the making: the committee mentioned in note 10 (above), which would keep track of expenditures in behalf of the congress in the future; a committee proposed for estimating the damages done by the British, which the House considered on 7 Nov. (House Jour., p. 242, 247–248, 266–267); or a new committee appointed 9 Nov. to replace the old one that had been working on accounts of money already spent in behalf of the congress (same, p. 256–257). JA would have been pleased with any one of these developments.
13. On 5 Oct. (same, p. 141).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0143

Author: Hayward, Lemuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-01

From Lemuel Hayward

[salute] Honored Sir

The small Acquaintance I have had with your Honor emboldens me to write you on an Affair which has given me no small degree of Perplexity, out of which I hope your Influence, and wonted Benevolence will relieve me. What I have respect to is the fixing of Surgeons in this Hospital.1 Ever since Lexington Battle I have been wholly engaged in the Service of my Country as a Surgeon; on that Day I waited upon the Militia in that Capacity, and afterwards by the Desire of the late Dr. Warren attended with Dr. Aspinwall almost the whole of the Army on this Side, till regular Surgeons were appointed, after which by the Desire of Dr. Warren, Church, and the Generals, was with the above Gentleman, at the Trouble of forming, supplying, and attending a Hospital without either Mate, Steward or Clerk. On the 28th June Dr. Aspinwall, and myself received Warrants as joint Surgeons to the above Hospital intended for the Reception of the Sick of this Colony. This we attended with that Diligence, and Success that we trust was satisfactory, untill Dr. Church was appointed Director General of the Hospital; when we found the Honorable Continental Congress had established a General Hospital for the Reception of the Sick of the whole Army, and as Surgeons were already appointed to it of Consequence found ourselves superceded. This we mentioned to Dr. Church who { 273 } told us that as it was absolutely necessary that a Hospital should be continued in this Camp, and as the Surgeons appointed were barely sufficient to attend the Sick in the other, more Surgeons must be appointed; desired us to continue in the Hospital as Surgeons, till he could obtain Permission from the Honorable Congress to appoint more, when we should be appointed. He afterwards told us he had wrote, soon expected an Answer, and desired us to act as Continental Surgeons. Accordingly by his Order, [we] took up two more Houses, as Hospitals, and attended them. Dr. Church so assured us of our Appointment, that by his Persuasion we were at the trouble, and Expence of sending to Philadelphia for Cloth &c. to dress in Uniform with the other Surgeons.
Upon the Confinement of Dr. Church finding ourselves without Warrants as Continental Surgeons, and without much Prospect of obtaining any, we applyed to his Excellency General Washington, and made him acquainted with our Situation; he appeared not a little surprised that an Affair of this Kind was not settled before, appointed us as Surgeons for the Present, till a new Director should be appointed, when he said the Matter should be further inquired into.2
And now, Sir, as I am unwilling to remain an idle Spectator in the present Contest, and at the same time anticipating the disagreable Sensations (on account of its disgraceful Appearance) that a Dismission from that Hospital I have for so many Months attended, must occasion, take this Me[ans] to sollicit your Influence to our Appointment in the Hospital. That two or more Surgeons must be appointed, I am certain, the Honorable Congress will soon be sensible of as the four Surgeons already appointed are wholly taken up in attending the Hospitals on the other side. I might mention the number of Sick to shew the necessity but as your Honor is already acquainted with the State of the Army I think it needless.
I am with you a friend to the Cause of Liberty and your Honors most obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] Lemuel Hayward
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honorable John Adams Esq: Member of the Honorable Continental Congress in Philadelphia”; docketed: “Dr. Lem. Haywards Letter. Novr. 1. 1775 answd. Novr. 13th by Dr Morgan.”
1. See William Gordon to JA, 25 Oct. (above).
2. See Washington's appeal on behalf of Hayward and Aspinwall in his letter to the President of Congress, 14 Dec. (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:161).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0144

Author: Thomas, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-01

From John Thomas

[salute] Sir

I wrote you some time since the Gentlemen of the Committee from the Congress and presume'd to trouble you once more on the Account of the Hospital at Roxbury.
When I had the command last Spring att this place it was found Necessary to Establish a Hospital here. I Apply'd to the Provincial Congress on the matter and was by them desir'd to Establish One. I Accordingly took the House on Jamaica Plains, where Commadore Loring formerly live'd1 and Doctor Warren Appointed Doctor Aspinwall—A Gentleman regularly educated in the Profession, as Surgeon of said Hospital, who has conducted Extreamly Well, and I am ceartain this Hospital is under <better> the best regulation of any in either Camp, and I understand he is not Provided for. Now if tis Consistant I could freely recommend him for some imployment in that Way, as I am certain no one wou'd give better Satisfaction in this department. I am Sir with Very great respect, Yr honours hum Ser
[signed] John Thomas
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honourable John Adams Philadelphia”; docketed: “Gen. Thomas. Novr. 1. 1775.”
1. The Loring house, commandeered from the tory Joshua Loring, is described in Francis S. Drake, The Town of Roxbury: Its Memorable Persons and Places, Roxbury, Mass., 1878, p. 414–415, with accompanying small engraving.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0145

Author: Osgood, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-04

From Samuel Osgood Jr.

I have no other excuse for troubling you with another Letter but to inform you that my other ought to have been dated at Roxbury Camp Octr. 23d. pardon me the Neglect.
Our worthy Generals have all been together this is the third Day. Tomorrow I hope will finish it marking as some are pleased to term it the black Sheep among the Officers and I suppose the white are to receive enlisting Orders and their Commissions immediately.1 May Heaven remove from us all dangerous Altercations and verify in us the Proverb that if we are smote upon one Cheek we may disposed to turn the other. Otherwise I am perswaded our Colony will not acquiesce in the Determination respecting those that are to be field Officers in the Army to be rais'd.
As the Regiments are reduced from 38 to 26 we must necessarily { 275 } have many Officers Struck out of the List and some are for dismissing as many as possible. The Courtier or something more vile appears in the tame Submission of our own Generals who not boldly asserting their just Rights yield if not favor Incroachment excepting one2 who always seeks that repose of Mind which arises from reflecting that he has always endeavored to prevent Oppression in every Form.
I have many Observations to make upon the Method taken to raise the new Army but have not Time at present. Only poor Massachusetts is like to be cut into flitters therefore I fear we shall not have an Army so soon as it will be absolutely necessary to have one. I am Sir with the greatest Respect your most Humble Servt.
[signed] Saml. Osgood junr
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Member of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia favd. by Capt. Price.”
1. Out of necessity Washington was in the process of implementing the decisions reached during the visit of the congressional committee in October. The maintenance of an army in the field was his prime consideration, for Connecticut enlistments ran out on 10 Dec. and others on the 31st. Moreover, he needed an army with standardized units and a regular chain of command in which personal jealousies would be minimized. To this end the congress decreed that the army be established at 20,372 men, made up of regiments of 728 men each (28 regiments less 12) rather than of 40 regiments of varying sizes (JCC, 3:321, 322; French, First Year, p. 509, 761). This establishment meant a significant decrease in the number of officers and the demotion of some of those that remained in service. Thus, it threatened the New England system, in which the company or regiment was the personal domain of the officer commanding it, in which generals kept their rank as colonels and colonels as captains to maintain control over regiments and companies. Washington and his generals had to decide which officers to retain and how to persuade men to re-enlist when they did not know who their officers were to be. By the end of December, only about 6,000 men had re-enlisted. Obviously reorganization was not the sole cause of this disappointing result. Homesickness, lack of activity, shortages of firewood and clothing as winter approached also had their effect. It was local tradition that one went home from a campaign when the enlistment period was up. Soldiers had not yet learned to think of themselves as fighting for a cause extending beyond their own colonies; provincial rather than nationalistic attitudes persisted (French, First Year, ch. 31).
2. Osgood is probably referring to his immediate superior, Gen. Artemas Ward.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0146

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-04

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I beg leave to recommend to your Notice Capt. Price,1 the Bearer of this, who has commanded one of the Companies of Riflemen in this Encampment; he has supported the Character of a good Officer and a worthy Gentleman; any Services which you may have opportunity to render him, will I apprehend, be serving our Country.
{ 276 }
We have received an account from Halifax, that great disturbances have lately happened in London, but it wants confirmation. A report is just brought into Camp, “That the Continental Congress have resolved to offer a free trade to all Nations, except the British, and never to have any future connection with Britain until she has repaired the injuries we have suffered by her tyranny.” If this news is not true, I hope it is a forerunner of such proceedings. The late infernal conduct of the Pirates at Falmouth, I apprehend is a full answer to all American Petitions, and in its consequences will, I conceive be the best answer we have received. We wait with solicitude to know the success of the Troops which are gone to reduce Quebec and St. Johns. The Army here is now healthy, and notwithstanding our progress is slow, I trust we shall sooner or later conquer the Enemies of Freedom. The Pirates and Rebels in Boston are very busily employed in fortifying themselves, and by late accounts from them, they are very much afraid we shall attack the Town. They however flatter themselves that our Army will be greatly lessened by the cold weather, want of necessaries, &c. It appears from good authority, that the Enemy are sickly, and much distressed for want of provisions, wood, &c. I hope we shall in the course of the Winter bring them to reason, or to ruin. No reinforcements have lately arrived, and it is said by Persons from Boston, that none are expected before next Spring. If no reinforcement should arrive this Fall, and we can secure what troops are now in America before Spring, I apprehend the Contest would be near to an end; and therefore I hope every nerve will be exerted to sweep the Continent and secure every Enemy before they can form a Spring Campaign.

[salute] My constant wishes and prayers are for Wisdom, Prosperity Health and Happiness to the Continental Congress. I am Sir your Obedient and most Humble Servant,

[signed] Joseph Ward
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Jo. Wards Letter 4. Novr. 1775.”
1. Probably Thomas Price of Maryland (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 452).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1775-11-05

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

I am under Such Restrictions, Injunctions and Engagements of Secrecy respecting every Thing which passes in Congress, that I cannot communicate my own Thoughts freely to my Friends, So far as is necessary to ask their Advice, and opinions concerning Questions { 277 } which many of them understand much better than I do. This however is an inconvenience, which must be Submitted to for the sake of Superiour Advantages.
But I must take the Liberty to say that I think We shall Soon think of maritime Affairs, and naval Preparations: No great Things are to be expected at first, but out of a little a great deal may grow.1
It is very odd that, I, who have Spent my Days in Researches and Employments so very different, and who have never thought much of old Ocean, or the Dominion of it, should be necessitated to make such Enquiries: But it is my Fate, and my duty,2 and therefore I must attempt it.
I am to enquire what Number of seamen, may be found in our Province, who would probably inlist in the service, either as Marines, or on board of Armed Vessells, in the Pay of the Continent, or in the Pay of the Province, or on board of Privateers, fitted out by Private Adventurers.
I must also intreat you to let me know the Names, Places of Abode, and Characters, of such Persons belonging to any of the seaport Towns in our Province, who are qualified for Officers and Commanders of Armed Vessells.
I want to be further instructed, what ships, Brigantines, schooners &c. are to be found in any Part of the Province, which are to be sold or hired out, which will be suitable for armed Vessells—What Their Tonnage the Depth of Water they draw, their Breadth, their Decks &c., and to whom they belong, and What is their Age.
Further, what Places in our Province, are most secure and best accommodated for Building new Vessells, of Force in Case a Measure of that Kind Should be thought of.
The Committee have returned, much pleased with what they have seen and heard, which shews that their Embassy will be productive of happy Effects. They say the only disagreable Circumstance, was that their Engagements Haste and constant Attention to Business was such as prevented them from forming such Acquaintances with the Gentlemen of our Province as they wished. But as Congress was waiting for their Return before they could determine upon Affairs of the last Moment, they had not Time to spare.3
They are pretty well convinced I believe of several important Points, which they and others doubted before.
New Hampshire has leave to assume a Government and so has South Carolina,4 but this must not be freely talked of as yet, at least from me.
{ 278 }
New England will now be able to exert her strength which a little Time will show to be greater than either Great Britain or America imagines. I give you Joy of the agreable Prospect in Canada. We have the Colors of the Seventh Regiment as the first fruits of Victory.5
RC (NHpR:Naval MS Coll.); docketed in an unknown hand: “Phila Letter Hon John Adams Esq 4th Novr 1775.” An extract of this letter carries a docket entry: “Mr. Speaker Mr. Gerry Colo. Orne” (M-Ar:207, p. 266). Apparently Gerry extracted part of the letter for the consideration of the House, which had completed action on its own bill on armed vessels on 18 Oct. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 173).
1. On 30 Oct. JA was appointed to a reconstituted committee to fit out armed vessels. For details, see JA's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec. (above).
2. In a very similar letter sent to James Warren on this date (not printed here), JA makes a little more of his duty: he tells Warren “a secret in Confidence [that] it has become my Duty” to serve on a committee to fit out armed vessels. (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:174–175).
3. The congress approved the committee's report on 4 and 7 Nov. (JCC, 3: 321–325, 330–334).
4. JA adds here in his letter to Warren of 5 Nov. (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.): “and so will every other Colony which shall ask for it which they all will do soon, if the Squabble continues.” And toward the end of his letter, he adds this: “Who expected to live to see the Principles of Liberty Spread and prevail so rapidly, human Nature exerting her whole Rights, unshackled by Priests or Kings or Nobles, pulling down Tyrannies like Sampson, and building up, what Governments the People think best framed for human Felicity. God grant the Spirit, success.” For the action of the congress on New Hampshire and South Carolina, see JCC, 3:319 and 326–327.
5. On 19 Oct., 83 men of the Seventh Regiment or Royal Fusileers were captured when Fort Chambly was taken. Their capture meant that St. John's on the route to Montreal could expect no relief from the siege mounted by Gen. Montgomery. Letters from Gens. Schuyler and Montgomery announcing the victory arrived in Philadelphia on 3 Nov. and were read in the congress the next day. With them came flags of the Seventh Regiment, which were hung “in Mrs. Hancocks Chamber with great Splendor and Elegance” (same, 3:320, 353; French, First Year, p. 428–429; Adams Family Correspondence, 1:319–320).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0148

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Trumbull, John
Date: 1775-11-05

To John Trumbull

[salute] My dear Sir

I take an opportunity by this Express, to thank you for Me Fingal, a Poem which has been shewn me within a few days. It is excellent, and perhaps the more so for being misterious. It wants explanatory Notes as much as Hudibrass. I cant conjecture the Characters either of Honorius or Mc Fingal.1
Am Sorry to learn that We are likely to loose some of our best Men. We may have better in their stead for aught I know but We shall certainly loose good ones.
There is scarcely a more active, industrious, enterprising and capable Man, than Mr. Deane, I assure you.2 I shall sincerely lament the { 279 } Loss of his services. Men of such great daring active Spirits are much Wanted.
I shall think myself much obliged to you, if you would write me. I want to hear the great Politicks and even the Small Talk of your Colony.
For my own Part I feel very enthusiastic at Times. Events which turn up everyday are so new, unexpected and surprising to most Men, that I wonder more Heads are not turn'd than We hear of. Human Nature seems to be employed like Sampson, taking Hold of the Pillars of Tyranny and pulling down the whole building at a <Time> at a— Lunge I believe is the best Word. I hope it will not, like him bury itself in the Ruins, but build up the wisest and most durable Frames for securing its Happiness. But Time must determine. I am, sir, with much Esteem your Friend
RC (NjP: de Coppet Coll.); docketed in an unknown hand: “John Adams Esqr [re?] John Trumbull Novr. 5th 1775.”
1. McFingal: A Modern Epic Poem . . . or the Town Meeting was written by Trumbull in the fall of 1775 and published that year by William and Thomas Bradford of Philadelphia (Evans, No. 14528). Almost certainly JA read the MS copy that Trumbull sent to Silas Deane with the admonition to reveal the name of its author to no one but JA (Trumbull to Deane, 20 Oct., Deane Papers, 1:86–90). Deane and other leading patriots, including JA, had probably encouraged Trumbull to write the poem to raise whig morale, ridicule tory efforts to gain control, and to exploit the talent that Trumbull had already shown in other works, such as the piece that appeared in the Connecticut Courant on 7 and 14 Aug. 1775 satirizing Gen. Gage's penchant for proclamations. Written in the mock-epic style of Samuel Butler's Hudibras, McFingal centered on the confrontation between Squire McFingal, representative of Massachusetts tories, and Honorius, traditionally identified as JA, at an imaginary town meeting after the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The poem was a success both in 1776 and after Cornwallis' defeat, when Trumbull expanded the work (Evans, No. 17750). The several American and English editions made Trumbull a major literary figure for his day (Moses Coit Tyler, Literary History of the American Revolution, new edn., N.Y., 1941, p. 430–450; Alexander Cowie, John Trumbull, Connecticut Wit, Chapel Hill, 1936, p. 145–206; see also Lennox Grey, “John Adams and John Trumbull in the ‘Boston Cycle,’” NEQ, 4:509–514 [July 1931], in which the identification of Honorius as JA is disputed).
2. In October, Connecticut had decided to replace Deane and Eliphalet Dyer with Oliver Wolcott and Samuel Huntington as delegates to the congress, while retaining Roger Sherman as the third member of the delegation (Conn. Colonial Records, 15:136). John Trumbull explained to Deane that the General Assembly believed that it was “dangerous to trust so great a power as you now have, for a long time in the hands of one Set of Men, lest they should grow too self-important and do a great deal of mischief in the end” (Deane Papers, 1:87). See also Trumbull's explanation to JA, 14 Nov. (below). In his often repeated plea that he be replaced and allowed to return home to replenish his estate, JA had also argued for the benefits of rotation in office, but Deane was “Confoundedly Chagrined at his recall” (Dyer to Joseph Trumbull, 1 Jan. 1776, Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:292–293).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0149

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-05

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I must begin every Letter with Thanks for the Receipt of your Favours, haveing such Abundant reason for it, that mine would be marked with Ingratitude (a Vice I detest) if I did not. Last Sunday Coll. Reed dined with us in his way to Philadelphia. By him I wrote and Inclosed some packages1 which I hope will reach your hand this day, since which I have not been Able to get one single Hour to write, Paying of the Regiments for Septemr., Attending the House which sets till 8 in the Evening, and some want of Health from the great fatigue I am Obliged to Submit to have prevented. I am reduced to the Necessity of denying myself the pleasure of hearing Good Doctr. Cooper in order to write this. I received yours per Messrs. Fallwell and Hart2 one day last week, at a Time very Unlucky. They came in when I had a room full of Colonels and money. I Endeavoured to Treat them with all the Civility and politeness due to strangers, but partly from the pressure I was under, and partly from want of discretion, or a Fatality or something I can't Account for a material part of Civility was omitted. I did not open the Letters till they were gone. This however did not proceed from any Inattention to your recommendations. They certainly give me great pleasure and do me great honour. I have tryed to remedy the mistake, and hope I shall have an opportunity at least to make my Excuse. I can hope for little more as I hear they go Tomorrow. You will I dare say do it for me. Last Week was an Excessive Busy one. The Regiments to pay, and Majr. Hawley preparing for a Recess which he was bent upon the Amazeing Field of Business before us prevented but I suppose it will take place this week, tho' I think we shall leave things in a State of Confusion.3 I have Just received yours by Mr. Brown.4 I Lament the Death of the Good old President. I had before formed a Good Opinion of him. The Character you give him Enhances it.
I want to tell you a Thousand Things as much as you want to know them. Had I time I should Assuredly tire you with my Scribbles. I Expect little more than An Hour when Meeting will be done and Company return to Interrupt me. The Prices of European and West India Goods, are Notwithstanding our Resolves much Advanced. Trade will have its Course. Goods will rise and fall in proportion to the demand for them and the quantity at Market &c. in Spite of Laws Honour, Patriotism or any other Principle. The People however seem { 281 } to have forgot their Expectations, and the Injunctions laid on the Merchant, and little is said about it.
The Non Exportation is sacredly Observed and I believe never been violated in a Single Instance, and such is the Spirit here, that it cannot be violated with any degree of Safety. Provisions are plenty and Cheap. Beef is a drugg and our People Complain much that the Commissary sends to Connecticut for all his Beef. I think it but fair that he should give this Colony a Chance in that Article at least, especially as we are to Supply the Army with Hay and wood, which our People say they can't do and keep their Cattle now fat over the winter. This has Occasioned great difficulty here. The General has offered 5/. per [ct?] for hay and 20/. per Cord for wood, and cannot be supplyed. This he Imputes to a Monopolizeing Avaritious Spirit and perhaps not wholly without foundations. The prices are indeed high, but the People have much to say, and among other things ask why that Spirit should be Confined to those Articles and why Cyder is to be had at 4/. per barrel.5 In the mean time the Army has suffered much for want of wood, and the officers have not been able to restrain them from Cutting down the fine Groves of Cambridge and threatning to pull down Houses for fuel. The General has made repeated Applications to us.6 We at last set ourselves seriously to remedy the Evil, which perhaps might Terminate in breaking up the Army. We spent the whole of last Fryday and Evening on the Subject. We at last Chose a Committee in Aid to the Quarter Master General to purchase those Articles, and Impowered them to Enter the wood Lotts of the Refugees, Cut, Stack, and procure Teems to Carry to the Camp wood as fast as possible and Hay as soon as they can get it.7 The Teems are passing all day, and I hope this Step will be a radical Cure.
Your next Question is with regard to Trade a Subject Complicated vast, and Unbounded. When I Consider the great Abundance we have of the necessaries and Conveniences of Life, that we want Nothing but Salt Petre and I hope we are in a way to get that, I could wish a Total Stop was put to all Trade but when I consider the Temper, and Genius of the People, the long Habits they have been used to, I fear it would produce Uneasiness, and Bad-Consequences. I believe therefore you will find it necessary to Indulge so much as will not Endanger the Success of your Commercial Measures. If the Merchant will run the Hazard, so much may Tend to Conciliate the Affections of other Nations, and Unite them with us on Principles of Interest. The strongest of all principles in these degenerate days. I am Sensible { 282 } many Important questions may arise on this head, too many and too Important for my Abilities or Opportunities to discuss at present.
I am Extreamly pleased with the Appointment of the Committee you mention, and with the Committee itself.8 I believe this Business will produce great Consequences. You may be assured I shall Exert myself to have your Expectations and wishes Complied with both with regard to Time and manner.
Mcpherson is yet here but I dare not ask questions.9 Nothing Transpires and whether any plan is adopted or not, can't Inform you.
We have no News here. All Things remain in Statu quo, the Enemy I mean. Their Army are quiet and we watch them. Barracks are building for our Troops, and many of them are ready to receive them. The whole will be Compleated in the Course of this Month, and indeed it is Time. The Season is rainy and Cold. The Pirates Continue to rove about, and Threaten our Seaports. They made an Attempt to go into Plymouth but were discouraged by the Appearance of the Harbour, returned and reported to the Admiral that it was not fit to receive Kings Ships. Our People are however prepareing for them if they alter their minds. Our Assembly have Established Saltpetre works at Newburyport under the direction of a Committee, Dr. Whiteing, John Peck, Deacon Baker and one Phips the last of whoom is said to be an Adept that way, and have given a Bounty of 4/. per lb to any man that shall make 50 lbs or upwards this Bounty to Continue to next June. We have also taken Care to Encourage the manufacture of Fire Arms.10 Thus far we have done well, but our militia is still in a miserable, unsettled Situation. This principally or wholly arises from a dispute between the two Houses. We claim an equal Right with them in the Appointment of the Field Officers. This claim we ground on your Resolutions which will bear very fairly that Construction and is certainly the most Eligible Constitution, and say that if that is not the true Construction we that deserve as large privileges as any People are not on an equal footing with the other Colonies. The Board Contend for the Exclusive right, plead the Charter, and Assert the Prerogative with as much Zeal, Pride and Hauture of Dominion as if the powers of Monarchy were vested in them, and their Heirs by a divine Indefeasible right. This is indeed Curious to see a Council of this Province Contend for the dirty part of the Constitution the prerogative of the Governor. How it is to End or when I know not. I wish they had in the Exercise of Powers we dont dispute with them, made Appointments in some Instances less Exceptionable than they have. You will hardly Expect to hear after what I last wrote you11 that Paine is Ap• { 283 } | view { 284 } pointed a Judge, but so it is. At a Time when I least Expected he was Appointed, it is said by the Influence and Management of Hawley. Spooner, Foster and I believe Palmer were the principle Conductors. The Rank is thus John Adams Esqr. Chief Justice, Cushing, Read, Paine, Sargeant. Now we shall see if he will act in an Inferiour Station to his Superiour. The People at the Eastward are Apprehensive the Enemy Intend to possess themselves of an Advantageous Post at Falmouth and hold the place and secure the Harbour.
I have no Letters at present from Mrs. Adams to Inclose. She was very well a few days ago, and had an Intention to have come here Yesterday to spend Sunday and hear Doctr. Cooper. I suppose the weather prevented. My Compliments all Friends Mr. Adams especially. Adeu
Doctr. Church is Expelled by almost an Unanimous Vote.
Favourable Accounts from the Western Army. Doubtless you have the whole.12
Is it not Time for a Test Act. Will the Continent have one from Congress.13 How long are we to wait for the Success of the Petition.14
I long to hear of the [Sweep?], a good devise to furnish the Capital Article.15 You will see in our Papers Howes Proclamation and an Association.16
I now Inclose two Letters received Yesterday from Mrs. Adams.17
We shall rise perhaps Tomorrow or next day. We have some thoughts of comeing to a new Choice of delegates this setting. I could wish to have it put of[f] to hear from you. I cant think of a List without Your Name in it. If we make any Change who shall we get. I do not Expect to be suited.18
One of the Enemies vessels bound to N. Scotia with a Cargo to purchase provisions taken and Carried into Beverly. Another of them on Shore at Cape Cod with 120 Pipes of wine &c. so we get a Supply of Turtle, wine, and all the delicacies that Luxury can wish.19
I congratulate you on the Success at Chamblee. The Bell rings. I must go.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Novbr 5 1775 Warren.”
1. See James Warren to JA, 28 Oct., notes 3 and 4 (above).
2. See JA's first letter to Warren of 21 Oct. (above).
3. The General Court adjourned on 11 Nov. to reconvene on the 29th (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 271). For the confusion, see Warren's comments below about the quarrel between the branches over military appointments.
4. JA to Warren, 24 [i.e. 23] Oct. (above).
5. Cider had taken a sharp decline in { 285 } price in 1774 and had rallied very little in 1775, according to figures given by William B. Weeden. In 1773 it had sold at £2 5s O.T. per barrel; in 1775, at £1 12s 2d (Economic and Social History of New England, 2 vols., Boston, 1894, 2:900). Warren of course is quoting not Old Tenor but lawful money prices.
6. Washington declared that conditions had so deteriorated that “different Regiments were upon the Point of cutting each others throats for a few Standing Locusts near their Encampments” (Washington to the General Court, 27 Oct. and 2 Nov., Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:47–48, 60–61).
7. See Mass., House Jour., p. 229–230.
8. The committee to collect information on British hostilities, on which Silas Deane and George Wythe served with JA.
9. A reference to McPherson's secret scheme to destroy British warships (second letter of JA to Warren, 20 Oct., note 1, above).
10. Whiting, Peck, and Baker were appointed on 31 Oct., Jedediah Phips of Sherburn on 1 Nov. after he had appeared before the House and explained improvements in the production of saltpeter. The resolve on firearms, adopted on 2 Nov., offered a bounty of £3 on arms manufactured in the province and delivered to Watertown (Mass., House Jour., p. 215, 218–219, 225).
11. Warren to JA, 20 Oct. (above).
12. The General Court responded to news of the capture of Fort Chambly by issuing a proclamation of thanksgiving on 4 Nov. (Mass., House Jour., p. 232).
13. The congress did not pass a test act and on 9 March 1776 specifically declared that “no oath by way of test be imposed upon, exacted, or required of any of the inhabitants of these colonies, by any military officers.” New York delegates were dismayed when Gen. Charles Lee imposed such a test on citizens of New York (JCC, 4:195, note 1).
14. The congress received news of the rejection of the Olive Branch petition on 9 Nov. (same, 3:343).
15. Probably saltpeter, about which JA wrote in several of the letters that Warren is answering.
16. Gen. William Howe's proclamation forbade anyone not in the navy to leave Boston without Howe's permission, on pain of imprisonment or even execution. The “Association” of “Loyal Citizens” arose from a request (i.e., order) on 28 Oct. for the loyalists in Boston to organize to take over some of the duties of the regular soldiers. The texts of the “Association” and the “request” were printed in the Boston Gazette, 6 Nov.
17. Probably AA's letter of 5 Nov. with an enclosure—the account of the Battle of Bunker Hill signed by Joseph Palmer (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:320–322; Committee of Safety's Account of the Battle, 25 July, above).
18. On 11 Nov. the General Court extended the commissions of the Massachusetts delegation until 31 Jan. 1776 (Mass., House Jour., p. 269).
19. The first-mentioned ship, the North Britain, going from Boston to Annapolis Royal and carrying dry goods to exchange for provisions, was disabled in a storm and carried into Beverly. The second, owned by Thomas Salter and a victim of the same storm while bound from Philadelphia to Boston, went aground at Eastham on Cape Cod (Boston Gazette, 13 Nov.; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:71–75; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:891, 893, and notes).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0150

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-06

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] Sir

I take the first Opportunity to acknowledg the Honor I receiv'd in a Letter sign'd by you as Chairman of a Committee of the Honorable Congress for obtaining a just and well authenticated [account] of the Hostilities committed by the Ministerial Troops and Navy &c., { 286 } and desiring me to take some Part1 in this Business. You will be so good as to present my Compliments to the other Gentlemen of the Committee and acquaint them, that Nothing could give me greater Pleasure than to contribute all in my Power towards the Aid of my Country in its present Distress, and for facilitating in any degree any Branch of that great and important Service in which the Congress is engag'd. I wish indeed my abilities and present Situation would allow me to do more in the Matter upon which you write. What I can do, shall be done.
Your Letter mentions an Application to several Assemblies on this Point. I know not Whether Massachusett's is included in this Number. A Committee from one or both Houses here, (to whose Care in this Matter I would most readily join my own, should it be needed) would, I imagine, best answer your Intention.2

[salute] Devoutly wishing the Direction and Blessing of Heaven to the Congress, I am Sir, Yours and the Committee's most obedient humble Servant,

[signed] Saml Cooper
1. See JA to James Warren, 18 Oct., note 5 (above).
2. On 7 Nov. the House of Representatives first considered appointment of a committee on British hostilities (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 242, 247–248, 266–267).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0151

Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-08

John Adams' Commission as Justice of the Peace in Massachusetts Counties

Watertown, 8 November 1775. Printed form with spaces filled in appropriately (Adams Papers); signed by Perez Morton, Deputy Secretary, and fifteen Council members.
This commission is identical to that received by JA dated 6 September appointing him Justice of the Peace of Suffolk County (see calendar entry, above) except that it broadened his powers to include all of Massachusetts. Like the previous commission, it was given under the patronage system, for at the same time that JA was appointed, 26 others also received commissions, including the other four members of the Massachusetts delegation to the Continental Congress (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1, Reel No. 9, Unit 1, p. 161). No evidence has been found, however, that JA ever made use of his commission.
Printed form with spaces filled in appropriately (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0152

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Knox, Henry
Date: 1775-11-11

To Henry Knox

[salute] Dr Sir

I had the Pleasure of a Letter from you1 a few days ago and was rejoiced to learn that you have at last determined to take a more im• { 287 } portant share than you have done hitherto in the Conduct of our military Matters. I have been impressed with an Opinion of your Knowledge and Abilities in the military Way for several years, and of late have endeavoured, both at Camp, at Watertown and at Philadelphia, by mentioning your Name and Character, to make you more known, and consequently in a better Way for Promotion.
It was a sincere Opinion of your Merit and Qualifications, which prompted me to act this Part and therefore I am very happy to be able to inform you, that I believe you will very soon be provided for according to your Wishes, at least you may depend upon this that nothing in my Power shall be wanting to effect it.2
It is of vast Importance, my dear sir, that I should be minutely informed of every Thing which passes at the Camp, while I hold a Place in the Great Council of America: and Therefore I must beg the Favour of you to write me as often as you can by safe Conveyances. I want to know the Name, Rank and Character of every officer in the Army. I mean every honest and able one. But more especially of every officer, who is best acquainted with the Theory and Practice of Fortification and Gunnery. What is comprehended within the Term Engineer? and whether it includes skill both in Fortification and Gunnery—and what skillfull Engineers you have in the Army and whether any of them and who have seen service and when and where. I am sir your very humble sert
[signed] John Adams
I want to know if there is a compleat set of Books upon the military Art in all its Branches in the Library of Harvard Colledge, and what Books are the best upon those subjects.3
RC (MHi:Henry Knox Papers); addressed: Mr “Henry Knox Cambridge To the Care of Coll Warren”; docketed: “Honble John Adams Esq Philadelphia Novr 11 1775.”
1. Knox to JA, 26 Oct. (above).
2. See same, note 3.
3. No printed catalogue is available for 1775, but that of 1790 does not list a military arts category, nor do any of the books mentioned by JA to William Tudor (12 Oct., above) appear in it. Since for safety's sake the library was moved out of Cambridge in 1775 and the books stored in several places, it is unlikely that additions of military titles to the collection were practical (Catalogus Bibliothecae Harvardianae, Boston, 1790; The Library of Harvard University: Descriptive and Historical Notes, 4th edn., Cambridge, 1934, p. 17).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0153

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-11

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

I received a Letter from the honorable Committee of Congress for collecting “a just and well authenticated Account of the Hostilities { 288 } committed by the ministerial Troops and Navy in America since last March,” and beg leave to inform You that Colo. Palmer, Mr. Cooper and Colo. Thomson are appointed a Committee to subserve the purpose in this Colony in the Recess of the Court, which is this Day adjourned to the 28th of the Month.1
I am greatly concerned to inform You, that a Dissention has taken Place between the Council and House which must be speedily remedied, or the most unhappy Consequences may be expected therefrom; It relates to the Right of appointing militia Officers in this Colony. The Council conceive that by the Resolve of the Honorable the Continental Congress for resuming Government in the Colony, they are held to observe a strict adherence to the Charter, and that a Deviation therefrom, agreable to another Resolve of the Congress for regulating the militia of the united American Colonies, would counteract the Sense of the Congress and hazard a disunion of the Colonies; and while they profess a Desire of conducting agreably to the last Recommendation and acknowledge that it is most for the Interest of the people, they rigidly oppose the Doings of the House in this Respect upon the principle that they are obliged so to do. The House impressed with the Importance of immediately regulating the Militia in the Middle of the last Session sent a Resolve to the Board for appointing a joint Committee to consider of and report a Method for choosing militia Officers which should be best adapted to promote the Interest of the Colony and warranted by the Resolves of the continental Congress, having Previously chosen a Committee to bring in a Militia Bill who could not report untill the Method of appointing Officers should be first settled and determined. This the Board most unexpectedly nonconcurred, and gave the House Reason to conclude that they inclined to retain the prerogative in their Department as Governor. The House notwithstanding this sent up another Resolve proposing a Conference by Committees, which accordingly took place; but without any salutory Effects. Since this Application has been made from the County of Cumberland for a General Officer to conduct the Militia and Forces stationed there Against the Enemy, and the Resolve of the House for appointing such an Officer in their distressed Circumstances was nonconcurred. Messages from each have been sent to the other, without any other Effects that I can perceive than widening the Breach. In one of those Messages the Council proposed an Application to the Continental Congress for an Explanation of their Resolves, which the House for many Reasons refused; particularly these that the Resolves were so clear and intelligible to the House that { 289 } An Application for that purpose did not appear necessary and it would imply Obscurity and Want of precission in a performance which was evidently penned with great Care and Correctness. This the Council answered, as You will probably See if Copies of the Messages should be sent, by entering into the Argument which the House has hither to studiously avoided; and altho an Officer has been this Day chosen by joint Ballot for Cumberland, yet it is expressly declared by the Board that the same is from the Necessity of the Case and not to be considered as a precedent for the future.2 I am exceedingly sorry that at so critical a Time as this such a Controversy should be persisted in, and the more so, as I apprehend the Board will apply to the Congress for an Explanation, that shall comport with the Sentiments as it is said of some of the Delegation from this Colony, and one of the Gentlemen who was upon the Committee from the Congress, relative to this Matter. Should this be done and the Congress order the Appointment according to the Charter, it will create such a Ferment amongst the people, as well as in the House, as will divide and ruin Us. I cannot say what was the Intent and Design of the honorable Congress touching this Matter, but by the Resolve for Regulating the Militia, it is clearly recommended to the Inhabitants of all the united American Colonies to form themselves into Companies and choose their Captains and other Officers of the Company, and in many Towns in this Colony it is not only considered by the people as their Right but in Conformity to the Resolve they have actually chosen such officers and made Return to the Court that the same may be commissionated. Had it been the Design of the honorable Congress that this Government should have been made an Exception and the Rights of Appointment have been in the Council as Governor, I am certain that the people would have considered it as extremely hard and having once experienced the previlege of choosing would hardly have been prevailed on to give it up; but after having so clear and plain a Resolve of the Continental Congress and knowing from their Representatives the Sense of the House upon it, what can be expected to take place should an Explanation be obtained that will deprive them of a Right which they consider as fairly ceded, other than an Aversion to that Branch of the Legislature which has been instrumental in thus depriving them of the same. If it is proposed to commission the Captains and Subalterns agreably to the Choice of the people, it must then be apparent that the Argument of being held to the Charter in this Respect falls to the Ground and nothing can be said in favour of the Councils Appointing General or Field Officers for the Militia { 290 } that can ever reconcile the House to consent thereto. The House abhor the Thought of ever having the Appointment of militia Officers revert to the Governor, they are not sure of a new Government, they conceive that once the Mode of Appointment is confirmed to and practised by the Assemblies and people thro' out the Continent it never will revert to the Governor, and altho they would not contend about the Matter so strenuously was it held by the Council as the second Branch of the Legislature, yet they are highly displeased at the Conduct of the Council in holding for a detestable Governor this precious Jewel with which he has heretofore gained such advantages over us, and the House considers it altogether needless for the Board so to conduct, for putting the Resolve for exercising Government out of the Question, nothing is more clear than that the Field Officers in this Colony ought to be appointed and commissionated by the Assembly or in their Recess by a Committee of Safety by them appointed, and the lower officers by each Company respectively; and this Resolve can never be supposed to have been intended to exclude this Colony from the Benefit of a Regulation made for all the Colonies and confessedly advantageous to the Colony, and especially as it never proposed a strict Adherence to the Charter, but only one that should be as near as may be to it. And what makes the Supposition that the Congress intended to exclude this Colony from regulating the Militia according to the Resolve made for all the united Colonies, less justifiable, and the Idea that the Congress did not mean to supersede the Charter in any Respect, somewhat unnatural, is the Consideration that in the last paragraph of this Resolve it is recommended to the provincial Congresses and the Assemblies of any Colony which are elective by the people to adopt the Resolve in whole or in Part &c., and it is also recommended to the Assemblies as well as Conventions of all the united Colonies to choose Committees of Safety with powers of appointing and commissionating Officers of the Militia in the Recess of such Assembly or Convention, which is evidently a Supersedeas to the Charters of each Colony now governed by an assembly. I will not trouble You further with the Sense of the House and the Arguments to be produced by it on this subject and only propose, that since Matters are come to such a Crisis, as You will find by the Express Mr. Revere, that no Terms of Reconciliation can ever be expected to take place, a Recommendation of the Congress may issue to the Council which will render them blameless, explicitly blameless for conducting agreably to the Recommendations for regulating the Militia before cited; this will serve to unite both Branches, conduce { 291 } towards the Settlement of the Militia, make the People and House easy and in every Respect I hope be attended with happy Consequences, whereas a contrary Conduct would have an Effect directly the Reverse which You would have discovered at the first agitation of the Matter had We been so happy as to have had You present at that Time.
The packet which Mr. Revere will deliver You from the Board, I apprehend will convince the honorable Congress that Devastation and Slaughter fulfil the Desires of our Enemies who have already reinforced the Army with 3 or 4000 Men and propose sending in the Spring upwards of 20,000. A paragraph of one of the Letters read in the House3 mentions the last petition of Congress as being considered by the Ministry to have discover'd an Inability On the part of the Congress to carry on the War and animated them in their Measures; whether this is the Case or not I cannot say but think it high Time for the Continent to form foreign Alliances, open all their ports, establish 50,000 more Men, order Test Acts thro'out the Colonies, order Brigadiers to each County Militia thro'out the Continent, and Salt-petre Works and powder Mills also; this by the latter End of Spring may put Us in a Situation to welcome 40,000 of our Enemies if we can tell where to find them.
I have been always attentive to the Manufactory of Salt petre and Fire Arms and I think the Art of making the first is now discovered. The Assembly has sent Hand Bills into all the Towns for obtaining both, 4/ bounty in addition to the price offered by Congress for Salt petre and 60/ for all fire arms and Bayonets manufactured in this Colony before the 1st June next is offered by this Government. An Act to encourage the fitting out of Arm'd Vessels has passed and is Published, and an additional Resolve entitling all persons whether commissioned with Letters of Marque or otherwise to prizes brot into this Colony by them hereafter and taken within 30 Leagues of the Shore.4 Mr. Revere is to qualify himself to manufacture powder, and Mills will be soon created. I hope all necessary Assistance will be afforded him at Philadelphia. There wants now a good Settlement of the Militia and an Supply of powder and Arms by Importation and our own Manufactories; and adeiu forever tyrannical Step Mother.
The Delegates from this Colony are further impowered to represent it untill the 31st January as a new Choice could not be made at the last Session of the Court.
I hope soon to see Canada in our Hands, an Army of 30,000 Men at each extreme of the Continent and one of the same Number in { 292 } the Middle, as it is too great a Hazard to put our all on the Sweep of a single Army.
We expect that the Enemy will soon make a Sally and hope they will meet with the Defeat due to their infamous Cause. I remain Sir with Tenders of Friendship and Respect to the other Members from this Colony and particularly to your good self. Your most obedient and very huml. Sert.,
[signed] Elbridge Gerry
Mr. Revere's Waiting prevents my reading the Letter and will excuse Want of Clearness which I am apprehensive You will meet with in the preceding Letter.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams Esqr. in Philadelphia favd per Mr Revere”; docketed: “Mr Gerry Novr 11 1775.”
1. See JA to James Warren, 18 Oct., note 5 (above). On 8 Nov. the House named Cooper and Thomson to the committee proposed by the Council (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 247–248). Actually the General Court adjourned to 29 Nov.
2. The appointment of a general to command the forces at Falmouth in Cumberland co. illustrates the course of the dispute between the two houses. On 31 Oct. the House received Falmouth's request and on 4 Nov. appointed Joseph Frye, requesting the concurrence of the Council. In response, the Council appointed Gen. Frye on its own authority and informed the House that it “unanimously non-concurred” with the House resolution of 4 Nov. Finally, after much argument that covered the whole ground of the dispute, the situation meanwhile becoming desperate, Frye was appointed by joint ballot of both houses (same, p. 213, 232, 241–242, 267).
3. Letters taken on 7 Nov. in the capture of the Two Sisters, under Capt. Robbins; see Joseph Palmer to JA, 31 Oct. – 11 Nov. (above).
4. See James Warren to JA, 20 Oct., note 11 (above), and the resolve of 10 Nov. (House Jour., p. 264).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0154

Author: Massachusetts Council
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Continental Congress, Massachusetts delegates
Date: 1775-11-11

The Council to the Massachusetts Delegates

[salute] Gentlemen

The Manifest Militation between the Resolve which passed the hon'ble the American Congress on the ninth June last relative to Establishing Civil Government in this Colony and the Resolve which passed the Congress on 18th of last July pointing to a method how the Militia should be regulated in the Several United American Colony's hath caused some Altercation between the Hon'ble House of Representatives, and the Council.1 The House have claimed by Virtue of the Last resolve a right to a choice, in the Choice with the Council of the Militia Officers in this Colony. The Council have considered themselves bound to Act in conformity to the first mentioned Resolve. But such is the Prevailing sentiments of the House, that they have a right to join in the Election of Military Officers, that it will be diffi• { 293 } cult for the Council longer to Storm the Torrent of a measure so popular, unless absolutely directed thereto by the Hon'ble Congress. The Council hope an Order of that kind will not take place. They rather wish the Representatives of the people may be Gratified in this claim, as we think it will promote the peace of the Colony and the Public Cause. You will think of the matter and give us your advice, either with or without Compelling your brethren of the Congress as you shall Judge best.
FC ((M–Ar: 195, p. 393–394)); The RC, which has not been found, was signed by James Otis (see JA to James Otis, 23 Nov., below).
1. The dispute between the Council and the House over the appointment of militia officers had been an irritant for weeks (see James Warren to JA, 20 Oct., note 20, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0155

Author: Massachusetts House of Representatives
Recipient: Continental Congress, Massachusetts delegates
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Cushing, Thomas
Recipient: Paine, Robert Treat
Recipient: Hancock, John
Date: 1775-11-11

Credentials of the Massachusetts Delegates to the Continental Congress

Watertown, 11 November 1775. (Misc. Papers of the Continental Congress, Reel No. 8). Although the credentials as passed by the house bear the date 10 November, the Journal of the House of Representatives (1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 269–270) indicates that they were passed on 11 November and immediately concurred in by the Council.
These credentials extended the appointments of JA, Samuel Adams, Thomas Cushing, Robert Treat Paine, and John Hancock as members of the Massachusetts delegation from 31 December 1775 to 31 January 1776. The one-month extension was an interim measure to allow the General Court, which adjourned on 11 November, to consider changes in the delegation at its next session beginning on 29 November. When new credentials, to be in effect until 1 January 1777, were adopted on 18 January 1776, the delegation was retained intact with the exception of the moderate Thomas Cushing, who was replaced by Elbridge Gerry (same, 3d sess., p. 165).
(Misc. Papers of the Continental Congress, Reel No. 8).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0156

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Thomas, John
Date: 1775-11-13

To John Thomas

[salute] Sir

I am much obliged to you for two Letters one by the Committee:1 the other dated Novr. 1.
The subject of the first is not yet determined in Congress, but I have no doubt your Desires will be complied with.2
As soon as I received the last I waited on Dr. Morgan and shewed your Letter, together with one from Mr. Gordon and a very sensible one from Dr. Hayward relative to the same subject.3 Mr. Aspinwall { 294 } was known to Dr. Morgan, and well esteemed. Of this Gentleman I know nothing but by Character. Dr. Hayward I know personally and highly esteemed.
I hope, that neither Aspinwall nor Hayward will be removed, but it will depend much on the Representations of Dr. Morgan, which I dare say will not be against Either of them. No doubt he will think two surgeons necessary at Roxbury, and represent accordingly and then Congress will probably establish them.
You may depend upon the little in my Power at all Times, to assist Merit and promote the service. As Congress has made the Postage of Letters, free4 I hope to receive more frequent Intelligence from my Friends for the future, and you may be assured sir, that every Line from you will be peculiarly acceptable to, sir your most obedient sert
[signed] John Adams
The Sum total of all Intelligence from England is that the first Man5 is “unalterably determined, Let the Event and Consequences be what they will to compell the Colonies to absolute Obedience.” Poor, deluded Man!
RC (MHi: John Thomas Papers); addressed: “To General Thomas Roxbury favoured by Dr Morgan”; docketed: “Mr. J. Adams Letter 13. Nov.”
1. Thomas to JA, 24 Oct. (above), was carried by the congressional committee that had visited Massachusetts in October.
2. Probably Thomas' desire to see Richard Gridley replaced.
3. William Gordon to JA, 25 Oct., containing an enclosure from Dr. Lemuel Hayward, and Hayward to JA, 1 Nov. (both above).
4. On 8 Nov. the congress had resolved that all letters to and from a delegate should go “free of postage” (JCC, 3:342).
5. George III. JA's contemptuous reference loses something with the passage of time, but it should be remembered that Americans still drank the health of the king and referred to “ministerial” policies and troops as a way of shifting blame away from the royal person.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Osgood, Samuel
Date: 1775-11-14

To Samuel Osgood Jr.

I was yesterday favoured with your agreable Letter by Captn. Price, for which as well as a former Letter I acknowledge myself much obliged to you.1
In such a Period as this, Sir, when Thirteen Colonies unacquainted in a great Measure, with each other, are rushing together into one Mass, it would be a Miracle, if Such heterogeneous Ingredients did not at first produce violent Fermentations. These ought to be expected, and prepared for by every Man concerned in the Conduct of our Councils or Arms.
{ 295 }
I hope the Generals will act with Discernment and Integrity in Seperating those officers who are to be discharged from the rest. But the Reduction of the Regiments cannot be avoided. Our Province had So many more officers than other Colonies in Proportion to their Number of Men, that altho the Congress excused it for the Time passed, in Consideration of the Confusion and Distress of our Affairs when the Troops were raised, yet they will not consent that the Inconvenience should continue, now there is Leisure to correct the Error.
I am much concerned at Times on Account of the Pay of the Privates. It is thought here to be very exorbitant, and many Gentlemen are under great Concern about the Consequences. The Expence of the War will accumulate upon the Colonies a Debt, like that of our Enemies. And We have no Funds out of which even the Interest can be paid, and our People are not used to Taxes upon the Luxuries, much less upon the Conveniences and Necessaries of Life.
I shall always be obliged to you for Information, which at this distance is much wanted. You may write [with] the Utmost Freedom to me, the minutest Parti[culars]. I shall make no use of such Freedoms to your Disadvantage, [ . . . ] may improve them to the Benefit of the Public. Be careful however of your Conveyances.

[salute] My respectful Compliments to General Ward and all his Family. I am with much Respect your very humblest,

[signed] John Adams
RC (NHi: Osgood Papers); addressed: “To Samuel Osgood Jur Esqr Aide de Camp to General Ward Roxbury To the Care of Coll Warren”; docketed: “Jno. Adams 1775.” The second page of the MS is mutilated at the right edge.
1. Osgood to JA, [23 Oct.] and 4 Nov. (both above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1775-11-14

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

I received your kind Letter of the 28th. of Octr.—but yesterday. It was such a Letter as I wish all my Friends would write me, as often as possible—that is it was long, full of Intelligence, well written and very entertaining.
I lament the Dishonour which falls upon the Colony by the mean, mercenary Conduct of some of her Servants. But in all Events I hope no Instance of Fraud or Peculation will be overlooked, but Strictly and impartially punished, untill every Rascall is banished from the Army, whatever Colony may have given him Existence.
It behoves the Congress, it behoves the Army to Shew that nothing { 296 } but a rigid inflexible Virtue, and a Spotless Purity [of] Character, can preserve or acquire any Employment.
Virtue, my young Friend, Virtue alone is or can be the Foundation of our new Governments, and it must be encouraged by Rewards, in every Department civil and military.
Your Account of the Doctors Defence at the Bar of the House is every entertaining. I should have formed no Idea of that Hearing if you had not obliged me, with an Account. I think with the Candid, that Contempt is due to him for his Timidity and Duplicity. But I cannot wholly acquit him of something worse. He mentions in his Letter1 his having in a former Letter given his Correspondent a Hint of the Design against Bunkers Hill. Now I never can be clearly freed from Jealousy, untill I see that Letter. The Hint he mentions might have occasioned our Loss of that Post, and of all the Lives which were destroyed on the 17th of June. However I have hitherto kept my Mind in suspense.
I wish you would let me know who Bellidore is.2 What Country man, and in what Language he wrote—what was his Station Employment and Character.
We must make our young Genius's perfect Masters of the Art of War, in every Branch. I hope America will not long lie under the Reproach of not producing her own officers and Generals, as England has done a long Time.
Wearing an Uniform, and receiving Pay is not all. I want to see an Emulation among our young Gentlemen, which shall be the most perfect Master of all the Languages and Arts which are subservient to Politicks and War. Politicks are the Science of human Happiness and War the Art of Securing it. I would fain therefore have both perfectly understood.
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “William Tudor Esqr Judge Advocate in the Army Cambridge”; docketed: “Novr. 14th. 1775.”
1. Benjamin Church's intercepted letter in cipher that led to his arrest (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 202–203).'
2. See JA to Tudor, 12 Oct., note 5 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1775-11-14

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I had yesterday the pleasure of your letter of the 4th instant by Captain Price, for which, as well as a former kind letter,1 I heartily thank you.
{ 297 }
The report you mention, that Congress have resolved upon a free trade, is so far from being true that you must have seen by the public papers before now that they have resolved to stop all trade untill next March.2 What will be done then time will discover. This winter I hope will be improved in preparing some kind of defence for trade. I hope the Colonies will do this separately. But these subjects are too important and intricate to be discussed in a narrow compass, and too delicate to be committed to a private letter.
The report that Congress has resolved to have no more connections, &c., untill they shall be indemnified, for the damages done by the tyranny of their enemies, will not be true so soon as some expect it. Verbal resolutions accomplis nothing. It is to no purpose to declare what we will or will not do in future times. Let reasoning Men infer what we shall do from what we actually do.
The late conduct, in burning towns, so disgraceful to the English name and character, would justify anything, but similar barbarity. Let us preserve our temper, our wisdom, our humanity and civility, though our enemies are every day renouncing theirs. But let us omit nothing necessary for the security of our cause.
You are anxious for Arnold. So are we, and for Montgomery too, untill this day, when an express has brought us the refreshing news of the capitulation of St. Johns, for Arnold I am anxious still. God grant him success. My compliments to Gen. Ward and his Family. I am with respect, Your very humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
Tr (DLC).
1. Ward to JA, 23 Oct. (above).
2. On 1 Nov. the congress voted to end exportation outside the colonies until 1 March (JCC, 3:314–315).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0160

Author: Hawley, Joseph
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-14

From Joseph Hawley, with Notation by John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

En passant. As Church said in his letter to the Regulars, Remember I Never deceived you. If your Congress don't give better encouragement to the Privates, than at present is held forth to them, You will have No Winter Army. There must be some small bounty given them on the inlistment. A Strange Mistaken Opinion Obtains among the Gentlemen of the Army from the Southward and if I mistake Not in your Congress, that our Privates have too high wages and the officers too low. Another thing I just hint, That if your Congress go About { 298 } to repeal or explain away the resolutions of the 18th of July last respecting the Method of Appointing Military officers and vest our Council solely with that power, It will throw the colony into the Utmost Confusion and end in the destruction of the Council. I have wrote Mr. S. Adams on the last head. I am with great regards your Obedt. Servt.,
[signed] Joseph Hawley
Received this Letter at Dinner 4 O Clock Saturday November 25. 1775. Yesterday Morning i.e. Fryday Novr 24. Paul Revere, went off from this Place with my Letter to the Board,1 in which I gave it as my opinion that the Council might give up the Point in Dispute with the House about the Appointment of Militia officers, and that the Resolution of Congress mentioned in this Letter was so clear that We need not apply to that Assembly for any Explanation.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble John Adams Esqr at the American Congress Philadelphia”; written in red ink above the address: “4.16”; below the address: “Poste. fees paid by the Writer”; docketed: “Major Hawley Novr 14. 1775.” JA's notation is on the reverse of the first page.
1. JA's message to the Council is contained in his letter to James Otis of 23 Nov. (below).
2. The Council had already expressed its hope that the congress would not instruct it to act contrary to popular wishes (Council to Massachusetts Delegates, 11 Nov., above). For JA's detailed reply to Hawley, see 25 Nov. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0161

Author: Trumbull, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-14

From John Trumbull

[salute] Sir

I had the satisfaction last evening of receiving your very friendly Letter, which was the more agreable for being unexpected.1 As I am setting out tomorrow on a short Tour to the eastward, I have taken the only leisure moment to answer it.
You may easily guess how much I am flattered by your approbation of the little essay, you mention in yours. As to its being mysterious, as you term it, you know Sir an affected mysteriousness is often a good artifice for exciting the Curiosity of the Public, who are always pleased to have an opportunity of applying fictitious Characters and discovering latent allusions. To you Sir I can explain my design in a few words. To expose a number of the principal Villains of the day, to ridicule the high blustering menaces and great expectations of the Tory Party, and to burlesque the atchievements of our ministerial Heroes, civil, ecclesiastical and military, was my whole plan. This could be done with more spirit in dialogue than plain narration, and by a mixture of Irony and Sarcasm under various Characters and { 299 } different Styles, than in an unvaried harangue in the Author's own Person. Nor is it a small beauty in any production of this kind, to paint the manners of the age. For these purposes, the Description of a Townmeeting and its Harangues, appeared the best Vehicle of the Satire. Had there been any one grand Villain, whose Character and History would have answered exactly, I should have made use of him and his real name, as freely as I have the names of others. But I could think of no One, and therefore substituted a fictitious Character, of a Scotch Tory Expectant,2 which I hope is not drawn so illy, but that the world might find hundreds perhaps to whom it might be properly applied. The other Speaker3 has properly speaking no Character drawn, and no actions ascribed to him. He is anyone whose Sentiments are agreeable to his Speeches. The Picture of the Townmeeting is drawn from the life, and with as proper lights, shades and Colouring as I could give it; and is I fancy no bad likeness.
As to explanatory Notes, the Piece I am sensible would want many more than I have given it, in all those places, where personal Characters and particular Allusions are introduced: beyond that the Reader should for me, be welcome to his own guesses. And so much for a Piece, which tho' the Offspring of my own Brain, I do not feel sufficient fondness for, to be sollicitous about making its apology; and which, I assure you Sir, came very near following many of its former Brethren into the flames, as a Sacrifice to that Poetical Moloch (if such a one there be) who delights in burnt offerings of the Infants of our modern Muses; or at best was in danger of suffering perpetual imprisonment, under the Sentence of Horace's Law, Nonum prematur in Annum;4 which I should have looked on as an Authority directly in Point, had I not recollected that the Piece was of so temporary a nature, that if it was of no value now, it would sink as fast as your Massachusetts old tenor Bills, and in that time become no longer passable.
And now for Connecticut Politics, which you desire an Account of. We are Sir a People of a very independent Spirit, and think ourselves as good as any Body, or on the whole a little better—wiser at least, and more intelligent Politicians. Do you wish to know Sir, what ousted Col. Dyer and Mr. Deane? The Spirit of shewing our own Power, and reminding our Delegates of their mortality, influenced us to change some of the men. Indeed so far, I cannot blame it. But the reason of dropping out those two Men was principally this, that the Congress, last spring being led away by a vain opinion of their own importance and forgetting their inferiority to the venerable Assembly of this Colony, did wickedly, wittingly and willingly of their own forethought and malice { 300 } prepense, wholly pass by, disregard and overthrow the Arrangement of General Officers for the said Colony;5 and the said two Delegates were aiding, abetting, advising and Comforting them therein; against the Appointment and Commissions of this Colony, by their Statute-law in that Case made and provided, against our Honor and Dignity &c. Add to this that Deane is a Young Man, and one who never courted Popularity by cringing to the People, or affecting an extraordinary sanctity of manners; a man, whose freedom of Speech and pointedness of Sarcasm has made him as many enemies, as have been raised against him by envy—and both together form a large Party. In this Colony three or four well invented lies, properly circulated and coming from the right Persons will ruin any the most Respectable Character. However, the Delegates from other Provinces have said so much in Deane's favor since he was dropped, that his Enemies have shut their mouths and adjourned their lies to a more convenient Season. I fancy in a year or two you may be sure of having him again with you: I guess sooner. And the new Delegates we have chosen are all hearty in the Cause and (one only excepted)6 Men of very distinguished Abilities.
I will give you a story or two that may show you a little the Character of our people in this Colony.
A little while since at a Public House in this Town, one of our highest Sons of Liberty was holding forth on the occasion of our Changing our Delegates. “The Congress, said he, have too much power given them to be long intrusted to one Set of Men; and they begin to grow too selfsufficient upon it; it is high Time they were changed. The people must keep the Power in their own hands; The Resolves of the Congress are sacred so far as they do what is right and agreable to the People; but where they fail, the people must take up the matter themselves. The Congress are good men, very good Men; but then they are but Men, and so are fallible; fallible Men, said he, and we must have a special eye to them.” To this you see Sir, nothing could be objected, and so I contented myself with telling him, that tho' it was true that the Congress were Fallible, I looked on it as the peculiar felicity of this Town, that we had so many Men in it who were infallible; and what added to our happiness was that these Gentlemen of Infallibility were so ready to put themselves forward, take the Charge and Oversight of Public Affairs and rectify the mistakes of our wellmeaning, but weak and shortsighted Delegates.
Sometime last Summer A Merchant in this Town had obtained licence from the Assembly of this Colony for exporting some Cattle { 301 } notwithstanding an Embargo just laid upon them, because he alledged they were bought previous to it. It seems he undertook under that Color to purchase and export more. The people were called together in a summary way to stop the exportation. As I was going to the meeting I overtook a very Spirited Man, but of rather ordinary abilities and asked him the occasion of the meeting. He said it was to stop this Gentleman from sending off Cattle under a licence from the Assembly; and added, “the Sons of liberty here do not intend to allow any such doings.” Aye, said I (for I knew the man) Do our Assembly presume to give licences in matters of that importance to the Town, without consulting the Sons of Liberty here, who as they are on the Spot, must be so much better able to judge of the matter? Yes, said he, they have and we do not like it at all. Indeed, said I, I think it a most extraordinary Step, that they should take so much upon them; why, by this rule, they might undo you all, if you do not put some check upon them. “Aye that we shall do, said he, and if they make such laws, the People mean to get together and repeal them; nay they shall not, one of them go Representatives next year if they do not mind better what they are about.”
Can this Spirit which hardly brooks subjection to Men of its own Chusing, ever be brought to yield to the Tyranny of Parliament?

[salute] I have scarcely room left to assure you, with how much respect and gratitude I am Your Obliged Humble Servt. Compts. to Messrs. S. Adams, Cushing and Deane.

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Trumbull. Novr. 14. 1775.”
1. That of 5 Nov. (above).
2. Squire McFingal.
3. Honorious, often identified as JA.
4. Let [your compositions] be kept in your desk for nine years.
5. The ranking of Israel Putnam above David Wooster and Joseph Spencer. See JA to James Warren, 23 July, note 3 (above).
6. Roger Sherman, of whom Trumbull wrote contemptuously in his letter of 20 Oct. to Silas Deane (Deane Papers, 1:87–88).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0162

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-14

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I last Evening received yours by Capt. Gist, and this Morning by Fessenden.1 It gives me great pleasure to see things in such a fine way and you in such Choice Spirits. I Congratulate you on the takeing of St. John's. This news Fessenden brings with him from Hartford. This gives us great Spirits. He says likewise that Arnold was within twelve Miles of Quebec. You must know that our Anxiety for him and his { 302 } party has been great. Last Night I was at Head quarters where Accounts were received that one Coll. Enos2 of Connecticut with three Companies he Commanded as a rear Guard had come off and left him, while Advanced thirty Miles Ahead, and perhaps at Chaudere Pond. This officer certainly deserves hanging.
It will Always give me great pleasure to be Able to give you any Information. Great Numbers of the Whalemen are gone on Voayges which we permitted after haveing taken Bonds for the landing their Oil and Bone in some Port here other than Boston, and Nantucket.3 Some of them are in the Army, and Sea Coast Service, many of them, and the greater part of our Fishermen and Seamen at Home, and in no Service Earnestly wishing to be Employed in the Privateering Business. What Numbers might be Inlisted in that Service I cant readily Compute, but I have no difficulty in supposeing, that at least three Battalions might be raised in this Colony. The Taste for it runs high here.
As to Ships and other Vessels, I believe there are great Numbers very suitable to Arm Already on hand. Almost every Port of any Consequence could furnish more or less either great or small. Perhaps Ships might be difficult to find that could mount 20 Guns or Upwards, but Vessels to Carry from 6 to 16 Guns I think we abound in, and I think they would soon furnish us with Others. These Vessels are of all Burthens, drafts of water, and dimensions and are many of them Excellent Sailors, and may be either purchased or hired, on very reasonable Terms. I think the General gives only 5/4 per Ton per Month. I am not Acquainted at Haverhill, Newberry &c. but from what I have heard, Vessels might be Built there, safe and with great dispatch, and perhaps at Kennebeck and North River &c. &c. We have no want of the best Shipwrights. As to the Time for Compleating them, much will depend on the winter, but they may be ready as soon as wanted in the Spring if Immediately Engaged in. As for your Next Question, the Names &c. of those fit to Command I am not quite so ready to answer. You know we have not practised Privateering so much here as they have in some of the other Colonies and it is A Business I never was Concerned in, but I have no doubt that many fine Fellows can be found who have been Masters of Vessels and at some time in their Lives served on Board Men of War and Privateers. I have one Capt. Samson4 in my Employ who has serv'd in both, and perticularly with Capt. Mcpherson the last War. Him I would venture a Vessel with. There is Souter5 who you know. Time wont permit me to recollect many others, but from the Nature and Circum• { 303 } stances of this Colony there must be many. I will Endeavour to recollect some for my Next. I am glad to see the Policy of Congress turned this way, and to see you Engaged. You must know I think you qualified for anything you will Undertake.
I Congratulate So. Carolina, and New Hampshire, on the Indulgence shewn them by the Congress. I hope they will Improve it to the best Advantage. I wish for the Time when we shall all (<want>) have the same Liberty. Our Situation must be more Irksome than ever to be surrounded on all Sides with Governments founded on proper Principles and Constituted to promote the free and equal Liberty and Happiness of Mankind, while we are plagued with a Constitution where the Prerogative of the Crown, and the Liberty of the Subject are Eternally militateing, and in the very Formation of which the last is but a secondary Consideration to the first. Indeed my Friend I am sick of our Constitution, more so than ever, have seen enough lately to make me so. I hate the name of Our Charter, which fascinates and Shackles us. I hate the monarchical part of our Government6 and certainly you would more than ever if you knew our present Monarchs, but many of them you have no Idea of. They are totally changed since you left us, divers of them I mean. They have got a whirl in their Brains, Imagine themselves Kings, and have Assumed every Air and Pomp of Royalty but the Crown and Sceptre. You might search Princetown, Brookline, Wrentham, Braintree and several Other Towns without finding a Man you could possibly know, or suppose to have been chose a Councillor here by the Freemen of this Colony no longer ago than last July, and for no longer a time than next May. I shall not trouble you with any further and more perticular Account than I have already given of a dispute the last Session between the two Houses, much to our disadvantage and disgrace haveing seen a Copy of a Letter from Gerry to you by Revere where the matter seemed to be fully taken up.7 The Court was adjourned last Saturday to the 29th Instant after haveing Extended your Commission for one Month to the last of January. We were not ready to come to a Choice, and was afraid to postpone to the first of next setting, so near the Expiration of the Time. I shall be Utterly at a loss for three new men. Do advise me.
I expected to have had the roar of Cannon this Morning, and some News from the Army to have given you. Our Army were prepared to Intrench on Cobble Hill and on Lechmores Point last Night.8 I suppose the Weather has prevented. I hear Nothing of it this stormy { 304 } Morning. What Number of the new Recruits are Arrived we can't learn. It is generally thought not many of them, though there has been Appearances of Fleets in the Bay. I wish this Storm may put some of the Transports upon the Rocks and Quicksands.
You will learn by Revere the General State of things here, the Movements and Success of our Land, and Naval Force, perticularly an Account of the several prizes made. A Number of Letters, and the Kings Proclamation taken in one of them,9 will give you a General view of their whole System with regard to America. I think your Congress can be no longer in any doubts, and hesitancy, about takeing Capital, and Effectual strokes. We shall certainly Expect it. It is said that the delicacy of modern Civilization will not Admit of foreign powers while you Continue to Acknowledge A dependency on Britain or Britains King, haveing any Connection with you. Let us so far Accomodate ourselves to their small policy as to remove this obstacle. I want to see Trade (if we must have it) open, and a Fleet here to protect it in opposition to Britain. Is the Ancient policy of France so lost or dwindeled that they will loose the Golden Opportunity.
We must have a Test, that shall distinguish Whiggs from Tories &c. &c. I have a Thousand Things to say to you. I want to see you. I want you there, and I want you here. What shall I do without you and my Friend Adams at Congress, and yet you are both wanted here. I believe you must stay there. I mean belong to that Body once more. I thank him for his kind Letter, will write to him as soon as I can, propose to go Home Tomorrow. Mrs. W<arre>n grows homesick. She wants to see her Boys haveing been Absent 5 weeks. She sits at the Table with me, will have a paragraph of her own. Says you “should no longer piddle at the Threshold. It is Time to Leap into the Theatre to unlock the Barrs, and open every Gate that Impedes the rise and Growth of the American <Empire> Republic,10 and then let the Giddy Potentate send forth his puerile Proclamations to France, to Spain, and all the Commercial World who may be United in Building up an Empire which he cant prevent.”

At Leisure then may G——ge his Reign Review

and Bid to Empire, and to Crowns Adeu

For Lordly Mandates and despotic Kings

are Obsolete like other quondam things

Whether of Ancient or more modern date

Alike both K——gs and Kinglings I must Hate

Extempore

{ 305 }
I have but this Evening received several of your Letters of the latter End of Octr.11 I cant tell you how much I am Obliged to you. I admire the Character you give Dr. Morgan. I think it will do honour to the Station he is to fill. You need not fear a proper regard will be paid to him. I love to see Characters drawn by your pencil. The more dozens you give me the more Agreable. I have a great Respect for Governor Ward, and his Family. I will agreable to your desire mention his Son at Head Quarters Tomorrow.
The method of makeing salt petre you mention, if to be depended upon is simple and easy in the moderate Seasons. I could wish to hear more of it, and also of the Rocks. I am not of the Committee for Sulphur &c. I will look them up and urge them to forward their discoveries to you. I believe Obrian is Commissioned, and Carghill in a Sort Commissioned. There will be no difficulty in haveing them in the Service of the Continent. The General may easily execute his Order. I am very sensible of the Mercenary Avaritious Spirit of Merchants. They must be watched. We oblige all to give Bonds, but how to Guard against throwing themselves in the way to be taken has puzzled us, but such is the spirit here for preserving inviolate the Association, that a Man must have Indisputable Evidence, that his being taken was unavoidable, or never show his Head again, upon this I at present rely. However very few Vessels except Whalemen are gone, and very few have any Intentions to go, unless to the Southern Colonies, and their Characters must be so well Established as to Obtain Certificates from our Committees who are not yet Corrupted. I apprehend more danger from Other places. I think the Association cant be too Close drawn. We had better have no Trade than suffer Inconveniencies from the Interested Tricks of Tories, or even Merchants who pretend to be well principled, and yet are governed by Interest alone. I Believe you have a Curious set of Politicians in your Coffee Houses. The System you Mention is an Instance of it, a Magnificent one Indeed, too much so for you and I, who I dare say will ever be Content to be Excused from the two most Superb Branches, the first more especially. I hope the Tricks of these people will never Answer their purposes. The Union is everything. With it we shall do everything without it Nothing. My good wife sends her Compliments and says I must Conclude and so says my Paper, Adeu
No News this Morning. I think all things on our side look well, and pleasing. I can't however but feel a little uneasy, till our Army has got settled on the new plan. The General has many difficulties { 306 } with Officers and Soldiers. His Judgment and Firmness I hope will Carry him through them. He is certainly the best Man for the place he is in Important as it is, that ever lived. One Source of Uneasiness is that they are not paid four weeks to a Month.12 There are some grounds for it. I believe they Inlisted here in Expectation of it, as it has been at all times the Invariable Custom of our Armies and Garrisons. I could wish the Congress had settled it so. Where are the Articles of Confederation. I want to see some settled Constitution of Congress. My regards to all Friends, and among the rest to Governor Ward, and your Friend Collins. To the last I wrote some time ago. I have never heard from him since. My Compliments to Coll. Reed.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “November 14 1775 Warren.”
1. See JA to Warren, 18 Oct., and to Elbridge Gerry, 5 Nov., note 2 (both above).
2. Lt. Col. Roger Enos (1729–1808) commanded the fourth division of Arnold's expedition against Quebec. He returned because his troops were out of provisions and in danger of starvation. He was acquitted in a court martial on 1 Dec., the decision of the court being that he “was by absolute necessity obliged to return with his division.” Despite the court's decision, the military remained hostile, and in Jan. 1776 he resigned from the army (Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog., 2:359; Enos to Washington, 9 Nov., enclosed in Washington to the President of Congress, 19 Nov., PCC, No. 152, I; French, First Year, p. 437–438; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:131–132, 139; for the proceedings of Enos' court martial, see Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3: 1708–1711).
3. This island off the coast of Massachusetts was vulnerable to British raids.
4. Simeon Samson in 1776 captained the brigantine Independence, one of the first ships built for the Massachusetts State Navy (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 185).
5. Daniel Souther in 1776 captained the brigantine Massachusetts of the State Navy (same, p. 218).
6. Warren's opposition to the Council's attempt to assert the prerogative had something in common with that of the Berkshire Constitutionalists (Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 78–79).
7. Elbridge Gerry to JA, 11 Nov. (above).
8. The fortifications on Cobble Hill were put up on 22 Nov., those on Lechmere's Point, on the 29th (Boston Gazette, 27 Nov. 1775; Frothingham, Siege of Boston, p. 268–269; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:116, 131).
9. See Joseph Palmer to JA, 31 Oct., note 5 (above).
10. The substitution of “Republic” for “Empire” suggests how far the thinking of the Warrens had gone. The term “Empire” just before the poem may be used in the sense of an economic one that would join America and other countries.
11. The second letter of 21 Oct., the threefirst, second, and third letters of 25 Oct., and those of 28 Oct. and [?]Oct. (all above).
12. Traditionally New England had paid its troops by lunar rather than calendar months. On 2 Oct. the congress resolved that “where months are used, the Congress means calendar months by which the men in the pay of the Continent are to be regulated.” This change caused Washington much trouble in his effort to enlist New England men, who were naturally unhappy at the prospect of losing one month's pay per year (JCC, 3:272; French, First Year, p. 518).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0163

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Richard Henry
Date: 1775-11-15

To Richard Henry Lee

[salute] Dear Sir

The Course of Events, naturally turns the Thoughts of Gentlemen to the Subjects of Legislation and Jurisprudence, and it is a curious Problem what Form of Government, is most readily and easily adopted by a Colony, upon a Sudden Emergency. Nature and Experience have already pointed out the Solution of this Problem, in the Choice of Conventions and Committees of safety. Nothing is wanting in Addition to these to make a compleat Government, but the Appointment of Magistrates for the due Administration of Justice.
Taking Nature and Experience for my Guide I have made the following Sketch, which may be varied in any one particular an infinite Number of Ways, So as to accommodate it to the different, Genius, Temper, Principles and even Prejudices of different People.1
A Legislative, an Executive and a judicial Power, comprehend the whole of what is meant and understood by Government. It is by ballancing each of these Powers against the other two, that the Effort in humane Nature towards Tyranny, can alone be checked and restrained and any degree of Freedom preserved in the Constitution.
Let a full and free Representation of the People be chosen for an House of Commons.
Let the House choose by Ballott twelve, Sixteen, Twenty four or Twenty Eight Persons, either Members of the House, or from the People at large as the Electors please, for a Council.
Let the House and Council by joint Ballott choose a Governor, annually triennially or Septennially as you will.
Let the Governor, Council, and House be each a distinct and independant Branch of the Legislature, and have a Negative on all Laws.
Let the Lt. Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, Commissary, Attorney General and Solicitor General, be chosen annually, by joint Ballott of both Houses.
Let the Governor with seven Councillors be a Quorum.
Let all Officers and Magistrates civil and military, be nominated and appointed by the Governor, by and with the Advice and Consent of his Council.
Let no Officer be appointed but at a General Council,2 and let Notice be given to all the Councillors, Seven days at least before a General Council.
Let the Judges, at least of the Supream Court, be incapacitated by { 308 } Law from holding any Share in the Legislative or Executive Power, Let their Commissions be during good Behaviour, and their Salaries ascertained and established by Law.
Let the Governor have the Command of the Army, the Militia, Forts &c.
Let the Colony have a Seal and affix it to all Commissions.
In this Way a Single Month is Sufficient without the least Convulsion or even Animosity to accomplish a total Revolution in the Government of a Colony.
If it is thought more beneficial, a Law may be made by this new Legislature <giving>3 leaving to the People at large the Priviledge of choosing their Governor, and Councillors annually, as soon as affairs get into a more quiet Course.
In adopting a Plan, in some Respects similar to this,4 human Nature would appear in its proper Glory asserting its own real Dignity, pulling down Tyrannies, at a single Exertion and erecting such new Fabricks, as it thinks best calculated to promote its Happiness.
As you was last Evening polite enough to ask me for this Model, if such a Trifle will be of any service to you, or any gratification of Curiosity, here you have it,5 from, sir, your Friend and humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Kevin D. Harrington, Tiburon, Calif., 1977); addressed: “Richard Henry Lee Esqr. Present”; docketed: “Mr. Adams plan of Government.” Tr in the hand of William Cranch (Adams Papers). Cranch notes that the Tr was made on 7 April 1827 from the original, then in possession of Edmund Jennings Lee, son-in-law of Richard Henry Lee.
1. What follows is the germ of JA's Thoughts on Government, written in the spring of 1776. It anticipates the later call for a government in which the legislative, executive, and judicial branches balance each other. What it lacks is any general discussion of the purpose of government and the meaning of representation, as well as provisions for the franchise, education, and the militia, all included in the later effort (see Thoughts on Government, ante 27 March–April 1776, below).
2. The appointment of officers at a “General Council” was the practice in Massachusetts. In 1776 such a council met usually on Thursdays. What distinguished it was advance notice of the day it would act upon specific business.
3. JA was firm in his conviction that privileges and rights were not given to the people; they were theirs inherently. It was they who gave powers to their government. He repeatedly stressed to later correspondents that what the people wanted should be accepted.
4. Comma supplied here.
5. Lee circulated copies of this letter and probably made it into a handbill with some modifications. At least one copy of the letter found its way to England. The handbill was printed in Purdie's Virginia Gazette on 10 May 1776 and had some influence on the form the Virginia constitution took (John E. Selby, “Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, and the Virginia Constitution of 1776,” VMHB, 84:387–400 [Oct. 1976]; P.R.O.:C.O. 5, vol. 93: 395, via DLC:British Reproductions; Jefferson, Papers, 1:334–335).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0164

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Osgood, Samuel
Date: 1775-11-15

To Samuel Osgood Jr.

Your first Letter to me is now before me.1
The true Cause why General Frie, has not received from me, any particular Intelligence, is that the Matter has been hitherto Suspended, and that I am under Such Engagements of Secrecy,2 that I could not in Honour acquaint him with any Thing that has pass'd in Congress.
As Soon as I arrived in Philadelphia, I made it my Business to introduce General Fries Name and Character into Conversation in every private Company where it could be done with Propriety, and to make his long services and Experience known. But I found an Interest making in private Circles in Favour of Coll. Armstrong of Pensilvania, a Gentleman of Character, and Experience in War, a Presbyterian in Religion, whose Name runs high for Piety, Virtue and Valour. What has been done in Congress I must be excused from Saying, but nothing in my Power has been omitted, to promote the Wishes of our Colony or the Honour and Interest of General Frie. It is Sufficient to say, that nothing has as yet been determined. But it will be settled soon. And let it be decided as it may, every good American, will acquiesce in the Decision.
New England, as you justly observe is the Nursery of brave and hardy Men, and has hitherto Stemmed the Torrent of Tyranny, and must continue to do it, but the other Colonies are making rapid Advances in the military Art, and We must be cautious that we dont hold our own Heads too high, and hold up invidious Distinctions. The other Colonies are capable of furnishing good Soldiers, and they Spare no Pains to emulate New England herself.
You observe that no Tory Province has been So contemned as ours. There may be Some ground of Complaint, but have not our People aimed at more Respect than was their due? No other Colony I am fully sensible could have born the shock as ours has done and it is possible that this Circumstance may have made our people expect more than their due.
It is certainly true that some of our Southern Brethren have not annexed the Same Ideas to the Words Liberty, Honour and Politeness that we have: But I have the Pleasure to observe every day that We learn to think and feel alike more and more.
I am Sorry that the Committee did not dine with General Ward, but am convinced there was no unfriendly Design. The Gentlemen { 310 } politely told me that the only disagreable Circumstance in their Journey was that they had not Time to cultivate an Acquaintance, with Gentlemen in Camp and at Watertown, as they earnestly wished.
Am very Sorry for General Wards ill State of Health, and that this has made him entertain Thoughts of resigning. I cannot think that the Acceptance of the Invitation from the Connecticutt officers, was pointed, or intended as a Slight to General Wards. Perhaps the Connecticutt Gentlemen might send a Card, which General Ward might omit, or it might be mere Inadvertence or Accident. A Card is an Engine of vast Importance in this World. But even if it was designed it is not worth regarding. These Little things are below the Dignity of our glorious Cause, which is the best and greatest that ever engaged the human Mind.
It has been an inexpresible Mortification to me, to observe in So many Instances, the Attention of Gentlemen in high Departments both civil and military, to the little Circumstances of Rank and Ceremony, when their Minds and Hearts ought to have been occupied, by the greatest objects on this side of Heaven.
I have been sufficiently plagued with these Frivolisms myself, but I despise them all, and I dont much revere any Man who regards them.
I wish you to write me often and with Freedom. But you must not be too punctilious in waiting for my Answers for I assure you I have more things to do than I am fit for, if I had three Hours where I have one. I am &c.,
[signed] John Adams
RC (NHi: Osgood Papers); docketed twice: “Jno Adams” and “From Jno Adams’ 75 to Samuel Osgood.”
1. See Osgood to JA, 23 Oct. and note 1 there (above).
2. A reference to an agreement of secrecy signed by members of the congress on 9 Nov. (JCC, 3:342–343; see also JA's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec., Editorial Note, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0165

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-16

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir1

I am well assured that a Supply of Powder is arrived at Statia,2 so writes Captain Waters on 10th. October. A Dutch Vessell bound to Surrinam has contracted with a Captain of this place for twenty five Tons, if he comes for it by Xmas.
I have seen several of the principal Gentlemen here. They are wishing for the Destruction of Lord Dunmore and his fleet.3 Inclosed You receive the Terms on which two Vessells can be procured here.4 { 311 } The first I am well assured is very reasonable. The province have 15 – 6 pounders, and the Merchants here will furnish a Ton of Gunpowder for that Expedition. If either of the Vessells should be accepted, write to Robert Alexander Esqr. of this town. My Compliments to your worthy Colleagues. Yr. obedt. Servt.
[signed] S Chase
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esquire One of the Delegates of the Congress Philadelphia”; postal markings: in red ink, “2/5,” in black ink, “1N4”; stamped: “Baltimore Nov. 18”; docketed: “Mr Chase Nov 16. 1775.”
1. Chase probably wrote to JA in the latter's capacity as a member of the committee for fitting out armed vessels (JA's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec., Editorial Note, above).
2. St. Eustatius, a Dutch possession in the West Indies, was the major conduit for trade between Europe and the American colonies, particularly in arms and ammunition. This trade, which continued relatively unabated from 1774 through 1780 despite vigorous British objections, was a major reason for the declaration of war between the United Provinces and Britain on 20 Dec. 1780. The British ambassador to the Hague reported that between January and May 1776 eighteen Dutch vessels had cleared for St. Eustatius carrying arms, obviously for the American market (J. Franklin Jameson, “St. Eustatius in the American Revolution,” AHR, 8:683–708 [July 1903]).
3. After Gov. Dunmore had taken refuge with the British navy, he made raids on Virginia in the fall of 1775. Americans estimated the number of blacks under his command at up to one hundred (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:630, 994).
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0166

Author: Lee, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-19

From Charles Lee

[salute] My Dr Sir

I receiv'd your obliging letter1 and cannot express the pleasure I feel in standing so high in your opinion as without flattery I esteem you a Man of excellent judgment and a singular good heart. Some of the queries You offer to my consideration are perhaps above my sphere, but in a post or two I shou'd endeavour to answer 'em, had I not hopes of conversing with You soon in propria persona. I think it absolutely necessary for the service of your Country that You or your name-sake or both shou'd without delay repair to this Province, the affairs of which are really in a most alarming if not frightfull situation. There seems to be a dearth or at least a total stagnation of all public virtue amongst your Countrymen. I do assure you that this assertion is no discharge of a splenetick humour but a most melancholly truth. Little malice little intrigues and little pecuniary jobbs prevail amongst all orders of men; the officers are calumniating and pulling at each other. Your Assembly is benumb'd in a fix'd state of torpitude. They give no symptoms of animation unless an apprehension of rendering them• { 312 } selves unpopular amongst their particular constituents by any act of vigor for the public service deserves the name of animation. In short They seem to dread losing their seat in a future assembly more than the sacrifice of the whole cause. Perhaps my idea may be idle, and unjust, but it is not singular. We have indeed no other way of accounting for their inconsistent and timid conduct. To what other principle can We ascribe their taking out of the Quarter Master General's hand the business of supplying the Army with necessaries and failing us in the articles of supply which We were taught to expect from 'em.2 In consequence of this torpor narrow politics, or call it what You will, the Army has been reduc'd to very great distress, particularly in the article of wood. The uncomfortableness of the soldiers situation has of course given a most dreadfull check to the ardor of inlisting. If You therefore or some good Genius do not fly and anticipate the impending evil, God knows what may be the effects. I conjure You therefore. We all conjure you to come amongst us. You and your Friend Samuel have ever been their prime conductors —and unless they have from time to time a rub of their prime conductors no electrical fire can be struck out of 'em. The game is now thank God and the elements in our hands, nothing but the most abominable indolence cowardice or want of virtue can make us lose it. If You are enslav'd You richly deserve it. You have, My Dear Sir, liberallity of mind and zeal sufficient in the great cause of the human race (for it is the cause of all mankind to bear truths, be they ever so grating)—in this persuasion I venture to unbosom myself. There are most wretched materials in the composition of your Officers and People. Every day furnishes us with some fresh instance of mutiny faction and disaffection amongst the former, and cowardice amongst the latter. You will have heard before this of the astonishing desertion of Colonel Enos from a service on which the whole fate of America depended, and the cowardice of the People of Falmouth who with at least two hundred fighting Men and powder enough for a battle cou'd suffer with impunity twenty five marines to land and set their Town in flames. In short You must come up and infuse vigor spirit and virtue into evry part of your community. Your presence cannot be so importantly necessary in the congress as it is here, for the love of Heaven therefore and that fairest gift of Heaven let us see one of the Adams's. I intreat You will consign this letter to the flames, the instant you receive it and believe that it proceeds alone from the irresistible zeal of, Dr Sir, yours most sincerely3
[signed] C Lee
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “G. Lee. Novr. 19. 1775.”
{ 313 }
1. That of 13 Oct. (above).
2. Washington complained to the General Court about what he believed was an artificial shortage of wood and hay and expressed his fear that soldiers would begin pulling down houses for firewood (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:47–48, 60–61). The sentiments of Lee were quoted virtually verbatim by William Gordon in The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America, 2d edn., 3 vols., N.Y., 1794, 1:418. The quotation is strong evidence that Gordon had access to JA's papers and made use of them. See Lemuel Robinson to JA, 30 Nov., note 3, and Samuel Adams to JA, 15 Jan. 1776, note 6 (both below); compare with Adams Family Correspondence, descriptive note, 1:229.
3. On 2 Dec., Gen. Lee wrote in similar vein to one of the Lees, urging the necessity of the return to Massachusetts of either John or Samuel Adams (Adams Papers). Lee was quick to criticize, but his professional background and air of assurance impressed many besides JA (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Otis, Col. James
Date: 1775-11-23

To James Otis Sr.

[salute] Sir

I had the Honour of your Letter of Novr. the Eleventh,1 by Express, and am very Sorry to learn that any Difference of Sentiment has arisen between the two Honourable Houses, respecting the Militia Bill, as it is so necessary at this critical Moment, for the public Service.
If I was of opinion that any Resolution of the Congress now in Force was against the Claim of the Honourable House, as the Honourable Board have proposed that We should lay the Question before Congress I should think it my Duty to do it; But it appears to me that Supposing the two Resolutions to clash, the last ought to be considered as binding. And as, by this, it is left in the “Discretion of the Assembly either to adopt the foregoing Resolutions, in the whole or in Part, or to continue their former, as they on Consideration of all Circumstances shall think fit,” I think it plain, that the Honourable Board may comply with the Desire of the Honourable House if, in their Discretion they think fit.2
I am the more confirmed in the opinion, that it is unnecessary to lay this Matter before Congress, as they have lately advised the Colonies of New Hampshire, and one more, if they think it necessary, to establish such Forms of Government, as they shall judge best calculated to promote the Happiness of the People.
Besides the Congress are So pressed with Business, and engaged upon Questions of greater Moment that I should be unwilling, unless in a Case of absolute Necessity to interrupt them by a Question of this Kind, not to mention that I would not wish to make known So publickly and extensively, that a Controversy had so soon arisen, between the Branches of our new Government.
{ 314 }
I have had frequent Consultations with my Colleagues, since the Receipt of your Letter, upon this subject; but as we are not unanimous, I think it my Duty to write my private sentiments as soon as possible, If either of my Colleagues shall think fit to propose the Question to congress, I shall there give my candid opinion, as I have done to you.

[salute] I have the Honour to be with great Respect to the Honourable Board, Sir, your most obedient and very humble Servant

[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC: J. P. Morgan Coll., Signers of the Declaration of Independence); docketed: “In Council Decr 30th 1775 Received and ordered to be entered in the files of Council Perez Morton Dpy Secry.”
1. That is, the letter of the Council to the Massachusetts delegation signed by Otis (above).
2. JA's circumspect reply closely paralleled Samuel Adams' answer of 23 Nov. to Otis' letter (Writings, 3:242–243). Both men not only opposed presenting the question to the congress but rejected the Council's position. John Hancock and Thomas Cushing, apparently the colleagues to whom JA later refers, stated in a joint letter to the Council dated 24 Nov. that “we dare not venture our opinions what would be the sentiments of Congress upon such a measure as the House proposes, and therefore are clearly of opinion the matter ought to be laid before the Congress” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:1662–1663). On 29 Nov., after consulting with other members of the congress, Hancock and Cushing wrote again to advise the Council that most members were against presenting the issue to the full congress. They added that although the Council might be on solid ground in its dispute with the House, it should, in the interest of harmony at a difficult time, give the House a voice in the appointment of militia officers (same, p. 1705). In a far more candid opinion of the controversy, expressed to Joseph Hawley in a letter of 25 Nov. (below), JA attacked Cushing for his obstructionism.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0168

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Morton, Perez
Recipient: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Date: 1775-11-24

To Perez Morton

[salute] Sir

I had the Honour of receiving your Letter of the Twenty Eighth of October last,1 by Mr. Revere; in which you acquaint me that the Major Part of the Honourable Council, by Virtue of the Power and Authority, in and by the Royal Charter of the Massachusetts Bay, in the absence of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor lodged in them have Seen fit to appoint me, with the Advice and Consent of Council, to be a Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, &c. for that Colony, inclosing a List of the Honourable Gentlemen, who are to hold Seats on the Same Bench, and requesting me to signify in Writing my acceptance or Refusal, of Said Appointment as Soon as might be.
I am deeply penetrated, sir, with a sense of the high Importance of that office; at all times difficult, but under those Distresses in which { 315 } our Country is involved, exposed to greater Hazards and Embarrassments, than were ever known, in the History of former Times.
As I have ever considered the Confidence of the Public the more honourable, in Proportion to the Perplexity and Danger of the Times, So I cannot but esteem this distinguished Mark of the Approbation of the honourable Board, as a greater Obligation, than if it had been bestowed at a season of greater Ease and Security: Whatever discouraging Circumstances, therefore may attend me, in Point of Health, of Fortune or Experience I dare not refuse to undertake this Duty.
Be pleased, then to acquaint the Honourable Board, that as soon as the Circumstances of the2 Colonies, will admit an Adjournment of the Congress, I shall return to the Honourable Board and undertake, to the Utmost of my Ability, to discharge the momentous Duties, to which they have seen fit to appoint me.3
Although I am happy to see a List of Gentlemen appointed to the Bench, of whose Abilities and Virtues I have the highest Esteem, and with whom I have long lived in Friendship;4 yet the Rank in which it has pleased the Honourable Board to place me, perplexes me more than any other Circumstance but as I ought to presume that this was done upon the best Reasons,5 I must Submit my private opinion to the Judgement of that honourable Body, in whose Department it is to determine.
With the most devout Wishes for the Peace and Prosperity of the6 Colonies, and of the Massachusetts Bay in particular and with the greatest Respect to the Honourable Board I am, sir, your most obedient, humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (M–Ar: 194, p. 162–164); addressed: “Perez Morton Esqr Depty Secy to be communicated to the Honourable Board”; docketed: “In Council Decr. 1st 1775 Read and ordered to be entered on the files of Council Perez Morton Dpy Secry.” Dft (Adams Papers) shows variations, some noted below.
1. In the draft “two days ago” follows here.
2. The draft has “united” lined out before “Colonies.”
3. JA never served. See James Warren to JA, 20 Oct., note 4 (above).
4. In the draft the first clause, not introduced by “although,” comprises the whole paragraph. The second part of the present paragraph was separately written on the blank page following the signature in the draft. JA probably had in mind the hard feelings the ranking produced in Robert Treat Paine.
5. The draft has “done upon the most enlarged View of the whole subject.”
6. The draft has “thirteen united” lined out before “Colonies.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0169

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hawley, Joseph
Date: 1775-11-25

To Joseph Hawley

[salute] My dear sir

This afternoon at five o Clock, I received your kind Letter of November the 14. dated at Brookfield—which was the more agreable because such Favours from you short as this is are very rare.
You tell me, Sir, “that We Shall have no Winter Army, if our Congress dont give better Encouragement to the Privates than at present is held forth to them”—and that “there must be Some Small Bounty given them, on the Inlistment.”
What Encouragement is held forth, or at least has been, I know not, but before this Time no doubt they have been informed of the Ultimatum of the Congress. No Bounty is offered. 40 shillings lawfull Money Per Month, after much altercation, is allowed.1 It is undoubtedly true, that an opinion prevails among the Gentlemen of the Army from the Southward, and indeed throughout all the Colonies, excepting New England, that the Pay of the Privates is too high and that of the officers too low. So that you may easily conceive the Difficulties We have had to surmount. You may depend upon it, that this has cost many an anxious Day and Night. And the utmost that could be done has been. We cannot Suddenly alter the Temper, Principles, opinions or Prejudices of Men. The Characters of Gentlemen in the four New England Colonies, differ as much from those in the others, as that of the Common People differs, that is as much as several distinct Natures almost. Gentlemen, Men of sense, or any Kind of Education in the other Colonies are much fewer in Proportion than in N. England. Gentlemen in the other Colonies, have large Plantations of slaves, and the common People among them are very ignorant and very poor. These Gentlemen are accustomed, habituated to higher Notions of themselves and the Distinction between them and the common People, than We are, and an instantaneous alteration of the Character of a Colony, and that Temper and those sentiments which, its Inhabitants imbibed with their Mothers Milk, and which have grown with their Growth and strengthend with their Strength, cannot be made without a Miracle. I dread the Consequences of this Dissimilitude of Character, and without the Utmost Caution on both sides, and the most considerate Forbearance with one another and prudent Condescention on both sides, they will certainly be fatal. An alteration of the Southern Constitutions, which must certainly take Place if this War continues will gradually, bring all the Continent nearer and nearer to each other in all Respects. But this is the Most Critical { 317 } Moment, We have yet seen. This Winter will cast the Die. For Gods sake therefore, reconcile our People to what has been done, for you may depend upon it, that nothing more can be done here—and I should shudder at the Thought of proposing a Bounty. A burnt Child dreads the fire. The Pay of the officers is raised that of a Captain to 26 dollars and one third per Month Lieutenants and Ensigns in Proportion.2 Regimental officers not raised. You then hint, “that if Congress should repeal or explain away the Resolution of 18 July respecting the appointment of military officers, and vest the Council with the sole Power, it would throw the Colony into Confusion and end in the Destruction of the Council.”
The Day before Yesterday I wrote a Letter to the Honourable Board in answer from one from their President by order to us upon that Subject, which Letter Revere carried from this City yesterday Morning.3 Therein I candidly gave my opinion to their Honours that our Resolution was clear and plain, that the Colony might Use their own Discretion, and therefore that they might yield this Point to the House—and that the Point was So plain that I did not see the least occasion for laying the Controversy before Congress. But my dear Friend I must, take the Freedom to tell you that the same has happened upon this occasion which has happened on a thousand others, after taking a great deal of Pains with my Colleague your Friend Mr. Cushing, I could not get him to agree with the rest of us in Writing a joint Letter, nor could I get him to say what opinion he would give if it was moved in Congress.4 What he has written I know not. But it is very hard to be linked and yoked eternally, with People who have either no opinions, or opposite opinions, and to be plagued with the opposition of our own Colony to the most necessary Measures, at the same Time that you have all the Monarchical superstitions and the Aristocratical Domination, of Nine other Colonies to contend with.
Dft? (Adams Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “Mr John Adams Novr 27. 1775.” That this document is a Dft rather than an RC seems probable because of its presence in the Adams Papers and the absence of any address or closing. Hawley replied on 18 Dec. (below).
1. On 29 July the congress voted $6 2/3 per month; it confirmed its decision on 4 Nov. (JCC, 2:220; 3:322).
2. Lieutenants and ensigns were to get $18 and $13 1/3 per month respectively (same, 3:322).
3. JA to James Otis, 23 Nov. (above).
4. Samuel Adams expressed himself similarly about Thomas Cushing in a letter to James Warren on [5] Dec. (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:191–192). Cushing lost his place in the delegation to Elbridge Gerry when new appointments were made by the General Court on 18 Jan. 1776 (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 165).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-11-25

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Madam1

I had the Pleasure of yours of Novr. 4th several Days ago.2
You know Madam, that I have no Pleasure or Amusements which has any Charms for me. Balls, Assemblies Concerts Cards, Horses, Dogs, never engaged any Part of my attention or Concern. Nor am I ever happy in large and promiscuous Companies. Business alone, with the intimate unreserved Conversation of a very few Friends, Books, and familiar Correspondences, have ever engaged all my Time, and I have no Pleasure no Ease in any other Way. In this Place I have no opportunity to meddle with Books, only in the Way of Business. The Conversation I have here is all in the ceremonious reserved impenetrable Way. Thus I have sketched, a Character for myself of a morose Philosopher and a Surly Politician, neither of which are very amiable or respectable, but yet there is too much truth in it, and from it you will easily believe that I have very little Pleasure here, excepting in the Correspondence of my Friends, and among these I assure you Madam there is none, whose Letters I read with more Pleasure and Instruction than yours. I wish it was in my Power to write to you oftener than I do, but I am really engaged in constant Business of seven to ten in the Morning in Committee, from ten to four in Congress and from Six to Ten again in Committee. Our Assembly is scarcly numerous enough for the Business. Every Body is engaged all Day in Congress and all the Morning and evening in Committees. I mention this Madam as an Apology for not writing you so often as I ought and as a Reason for my Request that you would not wait for my Answers.
The Dispute you mention between the House and Board, I hope will be easily settled. Yet I believe the Board acted with great Honour and Integrity and with a wise Design and a virtuous Resolution to do nothing that should endanger the Union. But I am clear that it is best the two Houses should join in the Appointment of officers of Militia, and I am equally clear that the Resolve of Congress was intended to leave it to the Discretion of the Colony to adopt such a Mode as should please themselves and I have done myself the Honour to write these Sentiments to the Board, who were pleased to write to us upon the occasion.
Am obliged to you for your Account of the state of Things in Boston, I am ever anxious about our Friends who remain there and nothing is ever more acceptable to me than to learn what passes there.
{ 319 }
The Inactivity of the two Armies, is not very agreable to me. Fabius's Cunctando3 was wise and brave. But if I had submitted to it in his situation, it would have been a cruel Mortification to me. Zeal, and Fire and Activity and Enterprize Strike my Imagination too much. I am obliged to be constantly on my Guard. Yet the Heat within will burst forth at Times.
The Characters drawn in your last entertained me very agreably. They were taken off, by a nice and penetrating Eye. I hope you will favour me with more of these Characters. I wish I could draw a Number of Characters for your Inspection. I should perhaps dawb on the Paint too thick—but the Features would be very strong.
The General is amiable and accomplished and judicious and cool; you will soon know the Person and Character of his Lady.4 I hope she has as much Ambition, for her Husbands Glory, as Portia and Marcia5 have, and then the Lord have Mercy on the Souls of Howe and Burgoigne and all the Troops in Boston.
Dft (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Warren”; docketed in a late hand by JA: “J. A to Mrs Warren Nov. 25 1775.”
1. This letter was probably never sent. Its presence in the Adams Papers, the absence of a closing, and the docketing by JA all suggest it was retained, perhaps for completion later. On 8 Jan. 1776 (below) JA wrote another letter to Mrs. Warren, apologizing for not writing and commenting once again on the “three Characters [Washington, Lee, and Gates] drawn by a most masterly Pen, which I received at the southward.”
2. Mercy Otis Warren to JA, [?]Oct. (above), which includes a later addition. See note 11 there.
3. Delaying. A reference to the Roman general Fabius, nicknamed Cunctator, or delayer, for his avoidance of pitched battles with the Carthaginians and his preference for harassing action (Dict. of Americanisms; Century Cyclo. of Names).
4. Washington asked his wife to join him at headquarters partly to remove her from the danger posed by Lord Dunmore's activities in Virginia. She arrived in Philadelphia on 21 Nov. and remained there until the 28th, during which time JA undoubtedly met her (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:28; Freeman, Washington, 3:580–581).
5. Intimate names used by AA and Mercy Otis Warren respectively.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0171

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-25

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

I did Myself the Pleasure to write to You from Baltimore Town,1 relative to two Vessells, which could be procured there, and that I was informed and beleived the Brigg was reasonable. The Owner is waiting your Answer, I therefore beg You to send the Determination of the Committee to Mr. Robert Alexander of that Town.2
{ 320 }
I this Evening learn the Capture of Quebec. Montreal would gloriously close the first Years War.3
I am alarmed at the Instructions to the Deputies of Pennsylvania. I heartily condemn them. I think them ill timed, timorous and weak, they were not drawn by Men fit to conquer the world and rule her when she's wildest. How are they received by the Members of Congress? They suit the Palates of the persons instructed, and were probably drawn by themselves.4 But I may censure too rashly. I am young and violent.
I return to Annapolis on tomorrow Week, and shall always be glad to hear from You.

[salute] I beg a Tender of my most respectful Compliments to your Brethren. Your Affectionate and Obedient Servant

[signed] Saml. Chase
Connolly is seised. I examined him. The proceedings are sent to Colo. Hancock.5
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esquire Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mr Chase Nov 20 1775” [an obvious misreading].
1. 16 Nov. (above).
2. None found.
3. It was Montreal that had fallen, not Quebec.
4. The instructions for the nine-man Pennsylvania delegation, which included John Dickinson and Benjamin Franklin, were drawn up by a committee headed by Dickinson and adopted by the Assembly on 9 Nov. The delegates were ordered to exert themselves to the utmost to secure a redress of grievances in order to restore “Union and Harmony” between the colonies and Great Britain. The most controversial provision instructed the delegates to “dissent from, and utterly reject, any Propositions, should such be made, that may cause, or lead to, a Separation from our Mother Country, or a Change of the Form of this Government” (Penna. Archives, 8th ser., 8:7347, 7350, 7352–7353).
5. Dr. John Connolly (ca. 1743–1813), an acquaintance of Washington, was captured with two others on his way to recruit a regiment, the Loyal Foresters, in the western lands and Canada under a commission from Lord Dunmore. Connolly's examination took place on 23 Nov. before the Fredericktown Committee of Safety, and its results, together with seized documents, were immediately sent to the congress. On 8 Dec. Connolly was ordered brought to Philadelphia for imprisonment. On 22 Dec. the results of the examination and the captured documents were printed. They appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 27 Dec. Connolly apparently remained in prison for the duration of the war (DAB; Clarence Monroe Barton, “John Connolly,” AAS, Procs., 20 [1909–1910]:70–105; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 3:1660–1662; JCC, 3:394, 415, 445; PCC, No. 78, XI).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0172

Author: Hichborn, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-25

From Benjamin Hichborn

[salute] Dear Sir

From my last,1 you may form some judgment of the disagreeable state of mind I have suffered from the Commencement of my late misfortunes. Anticipating your approbation, I have so far overcome the { 321 } restraint I have long labour'd under, as to attempt again to write you. My first interview with Ayscough, after his discovery of the Letters, I think worth relating—(if I had been subject to fits, I am sure he wou'd have thrown me into the most violent Convulsions)— “Oh the damn'd, black, hellish, bloody Plots contained in these Letters! Pray Capt. Ayscough what do they contain? Oh too shocking to relate! Treason! Rebellion! Massacre! (then beating his breast, with the most unnatural distortions of his face and body) O my God! It makes my blood run cold to think on it. For God's sake, Capt: Ayscough, if you have any compassion for my feelings, tell me what you mean. Oh! (beating his breast again) it chilled the very blood in my veins when I read them. There is a plan laid to seize and massacre all the Officers and Friends of Goverment and all the Churchmen upon the Continent in one Night. Pray Gentlemen is it a fair question, to ask if you are Churchmen? (Mr. White said he was, I told him I was not.) Such cruel, black designs, never before entered the heart of Man! But Capt. Ayscough, are you not mistaken? Oh I read them over and over again. I am not disposed to question your veracity, but if I had read it myself I woud not believe it. Pray Sir, whose signature do they bear? They are all signed John Adams.” I imagine at this time, he had no thoughts of their being published, and was determined to make the most of them. This may account For the apparent Chagrin and disappointment of our Enimies at Boston upon their appearing in Print. They had been taught to believe the most infernal plots would be disclosed with these Letters, but to their great mortification, were obliged to confess (to use their own terms) that they were very sensible and consistent, and discovered the author to be a capable, determined, finished Politician. This had a very good effect upon my Spirits, and I must own I felt no small degree of pride in being the Bearer of them. Poor Ayscough in the height of his zeal against your Letters, dropt, or rather bolted out, what I think in justice to his Friend, he ought to have kept a secret. He said they were fully acquainted with all the proceedings of the Congress not withstanding their fancied security; and then went on railing at our Members, who he said were pushing matters to extremes against the general opinion of the Body. He asserted that upon a motion made by one of the Adams's, leading to independence, Mr. Randolph the then President, and one of the New York Members, were so much disgusted, that they took their Hats and left the Congress in resentment; and that Randolph was determined not to meet them again. Upon our appearing to doubt the authenticity of his information, he declared he had it from the New York Member { 322 } himself. He spoke highly in the praises of this New Yorker, and added with a good deal of rancour, that the Congress were much disunited, and the appearance of uninimity, which was all they had been able to preserve, was owing to the damned artful, unfair management of our Members.
Being interrupted by Company, on the Eveng I had devoted to this Letter, I rose early the next morning intending to fill this sheet, at least, and send it by Mr. Revere. I had wrote to the bottom of the preceding page, when a Gentleman called me aside and whispered that he had the day before been in a large Company, among whom were Collel. Otis, Doct: Winthrop and his Lady. That Mrs. Winthrop censured my Conduct respecting the letters very highly; in which she was joined by her Husband and Col. Otis. One of the Company suggested that I had satisfied General Washington, but was answered by Colel. Otis, with a good deal of warmth, that he knew neither the General nor any of the Officers about him, were in any degree satisfied with my Conduct.2 This story induced me to postpone writing till I shoud hear from you. Your most welcome Letter of the 6th ultimo3 did not reach me till yesterday. This delay happen'd by my taking a different hous in the Country, to what my Friend (who took it out of the Post Office) expected. I assure you Sir, nothing cou'd have come more opportunely, no event cou'd have given me equal satisfaction; it contained everything I coud wish for, so far as respected myself and is full of sentiments, that are certainly just, independent and liberal.
One thing only, I must dissent from you in, because I know you are mistaken. You suppose, the accident that threw your Letter into their possession, has exposed you to the ridicule of our common Enimies. Believe me Sir, it is directly the reverse. They all dread (and many of them were ingenuous enough to aknowledge that they respected) your firmness in a system of Politics that must prove fatal to their Schemes. The incidental Remarks upon private Characters and occurrences, they found themselves so little interested in, and so much qualified by other observations, that I scarcly heard them mentioned. Even the humorous anecdotes of H——4 (at which I believe the G——l is so much disgusted) they called a Boyish performance and it hardly provided a smile.
You are a better Judge of the Effect it may have upon private Friends, than I can pretend to be; but I am certain it will have but one bad tendency, among many good ones, with your adversaries. Till this Event, your political Character has been so blended with your { 323 } Name-Sake's, in the Minds of those who had not a personal Acquaintance with you, that he has been saddled with a great share of your political Crimes; but since your treasonable designs have been convey'd to his Majesty under your own Hand, you may possibly have the Honor of an Exception, in the next tender of a general Pardon.5 You are pleased to say you shoud be glad to have my whole Story. I woud with pleasure give it to you, but as it is very long, and I am yet weak and but poorly provided with every material for writing, I must beg leave for the present to omit it.
From an expression in your Letter, I imagine you presume I was discharged by Graves and Gage. The fact is this—my very ill State of Health preventing my Swiming away while the water was mild enough for such an enterprise, I had constructed a vehicle of two kegs and a strip of pine board, which I coud put together in two minutes, and was determined to set off on it the first favourable opportunity: but fortune made better provision for me than I was able to make for myself. On a very stormy day a small Canoe belonging to the Capt: was fastened to the Stern of the Ship. An exceeding dark night succeeding and the Storm continuing, afforded a season exactly suited to my purpose. From long confinement, miserable diet and a disorder which had not then entirely left me, I was quite feble: but anticipating the pleasures I have since realized with my Friends, I felt superior to every difficulty and hazzard. About ten o'Clock that Eveng: I stole out of the Gun-room-port and by the rudder Chains, let myself down (not without some danger as the sea run very high) into the Canoe. After being upon the Water about two hours and an half I reach'd Dorchester Neck, half drowned but completely happy.
As I find you are upon a Committee for collecting Evidence of the Hostilities committed by the British troops and Navy, I cannot omit the following anecdote, as a remarkable Instance of their Savage barbarity. One Drew6 now a Lieutenant of the Scorpion or Viper, I am uncertain which, and Bruce a private belonging to the Preston, landed on Bunkers Hill, soon after the battle of the 17th of June. Drew, after walking for some time over the bodies of the dead, with great fortitude, went up to one of our wounded Men, and very deliberately shot him through the Head. Bruce advanced further over the Hill, and meeting with a forlorn wretch, begging Mercy for Gods Sake! he advanced and with a “damn ye, you Bugger you! are you not dead yet?” instantly demolished him. In a day or two after, Drew went upon the Hill again opened the dirt that was thrown over Doctr: Warren, spit in his Face jump'd on his Stomach and at last cut off his Head { 324 } and committed every act of violence upon his Body. I had this Story from two Gentlemen belonging to the Preston who were eye Witnesses of the facts. In justice to the officers in general I must add, that they despised Drew for his Conduct, the other was below their notice.
I am very happy to find that your zealous Efforts in promoting so important a Matter as the better regulation of the Army have not been altogether without effect. Knox is in a station that I think he is fit for, and dare say, he will make a figure in. I am pleased to find Tudor so agreeably circumstanced, but must own I shoud be much more happy to see him in a station that wou'd give him greater military Consequence, and more extensive advantages for improvement in the Art of War. For my own part, I can truely say, as I never had a view seperate from the interest of my Country in wishing to be concerned in public affairs, I can be not merely contented, but happy in a path of private life, among a few Friends whose Confidence I am sure to possess without bounds and whose esteem it is my greatest ambition to merit. However I have done, and ever shall do everything in power consistent with the Character of a man of honor, to alleviate the distresses and promote the happiness of my Country.
The speculation you were so partial as to call ingenious, I must confess I was so much engaged in, that I feel no small disappointment in not finding it encouraged.7 I wou'd not propose a Plan, which I was afraid to execute, and therefore offered to rest my life upon it's Success. It would be illiberal in me, to suppose it was rejected merely because it was a proposal of mine; I must, therefore presume there were some good reasons against it, tho I am not able to fathom them.
Many People have been much alarmed at the backwardness of the Soldiers to enlist for another year, but this disposition I think, may be accounted for very easily, without attributing to them an indifference to the Cause; indeed I can say from my own knowledge, that the People are as warm and annimated to support the Contest as ever they were; and the ready supply of 7,000 minute-Men upon a late Demand of the General, appears to me full evidence of it.8
Our privateers have made so many Captures that it is impossible for me to be particular, most of those from Europe I am informed have considerable quantities of Coal in them. Capt: Broaton who in Company with another, (I think Capt. Selmon)9 were ordered to cruise in the Mouth of the River St. Laurence have done a feat which seems to meet with general disapprobation. In their way home, they called in at the Island of St. Johns and by force brought off Mr. Calbeck who married N. Coffins Daughter and Capt. Higgins who married a { 325 } Daughter of Job Princes. Higgins had just arrived from Europe and I believe had not been on shore. Higgins told me he expected to be released, with his Vessel and Cargo immediately. Capt: Broaton may perhaps deserve censure for going counter to his orders, but I think in justice to ourselves we ought to seize every officer in the service of Goverment wherever they may be found. For the propriety of this observation, we need only observe the Effects of our politeness to Lord Dunmore, and I am much mistaken if we don't soon see a Tryon immitating that malevolent Genius.
I never was more shocked than when I saw an article in the Instructions for the Pensilvania Delegates enjoining them “to dissent from, and utterly reject any proposition that shoud be made, that may Cause, or lead to a separation from the Mother Country” &c. &c. How long shall we torture all language to reconcile inconsistencies, and court insult, by cringing to our determined foes? As if the terror of our arms were owing to accident, shall we meanly relinquish the field, at the very Eve of Victory?
Suffer me Sir, to enquire what can we expect from a patched-up truce with Men, who have made their Salvation to depend upon our ruin? What terms can we expect to make for our Brethren at Canada, to whom we have pledged our honor and our Religion for their Security? In short, what a figure must we make, in the Eyes of every Power, whose influence and Commerce we wish to engage in our favour, while we have not Resolution enough to fight, but under the Banners (tho' by a fiction) of the very Tyrant we are contending with?
I find the People in general here, breathing the same sentiments, and seem on tip-toe for Independence as their only security against total ruin. I wish an unreasonable moderation, might not abate their ardour.
It is not easy to conceive the advantages that now instantly arise, upon a Continental Declaration of Independence. Many thousands of our Merchants and Mechanics who are now idle in the Country, woud repair to the Sea Coast and begin a Commerce that must be constantly encreasing; a very numerous Body who are now a burthen upon the Community, woud be thrown into employment, the Laws woud be rendered respectable and every one woud wear a cheerful Countenance.
As we may expect our Coast to swarm with Transports and Men of War next Spring, I hope the Congress will take the precaution of having some ships of considerable force prepared to receive them. Two or three Frigates of two and thirty Guns, woud be of incredible Ser• { 326 } vice, with Such a naval force, we might venture among a fleet of Transports and perhaps captivate the greatest part of their mighty armament. Shoud any thing of this kind be in agitation, I woud beg leave to mention Mr. Natl. Tracy10 as a Person every way qualified to undertake the building and fitting such Vessels for the Sea, and I think his zeal and service to the Publick in providing transports for Coll. Arnold's Expedition, without the least consideration, (tho he advanced large sums of Money, which he has not yet received) may entitle him to some notice. But I presume you are too well acquainted with his Character and disposition, to need any thing I can say by way of Recommendation.
I am under a necessity of omitting many Matters which I wish to mention, but you may expect to be troubled with a series of Letters, unless you forbid it in Season. Please to accept in Return for your kind endeavours to promote my happiness and success in every laudable pursuit, the warmest wishes of my heart for yours. I am Sir, with great Truth, your Friend & Servt.
[signed] Benja. Hichborn
An Extract of (what I called) a State of facts, drawn up by the direction of the Admiral.
Scene, in Mrs. Yards House11 in Company with some Members of the Continental Congress.
The Conversation turned upon a variety of topicks. The only Matter of a political kind that engaged my attention, was the probability of a Reconciliation between great Britain and her Colonies.
From implication only I learnd that in a late Address to his Majesty which is not yet made publick, they had ceded in essence, if not in form, every thing that the Parliament coud pretend to demand. But the difficulty lay in this: his Majesty wou'd have the Same Reasons to treat this address with Contempt that he had the former ones they had sent him—that they coud address him in no other manner, because in no other way, cou'd the Sentiments of the whole be jointly collected—that Goverment, while they held out proposals in one hand, presented a dagger in the other, even before any hostilities had been commenced, or they coud possibly have known it, had they taken place —that the proposals themselves were partial, and instead of conciliating, were evidently calculated to divide the Colonies, and thereby make them, seperately an easier prey—that these Considerations led them to conclude; there was a Systematical design in the Ministry to reduce them to a State of Vassalage and as they had openly boasted of Success from the Impotence and pusilinimity of the Continent, they were determined to exert every Power in their possession, to make a { 327 } desparate Resistance. This they were sensible, must issue in a total reduction of the Colinies or their Independence; either of which, was so little the object of their wishes, that nothing short of necessity, wou'd induce them to place the Controversy upon that footting; and therefore they were always ready to Submit to an equal Administration, under those strong ties of mutual Interest and affection, which had so long and happily united them with Great Britain.
The admiral enquired where I lodged, and what Company I kept at Philadelphia, and insisted upon my giving him a particular account of the Conversation of the Adamses and other Members of the Congress. I believe the above is pretty just, and cou'd not conceive of its' having a bad tendency or I shou'd not have given to him. I hope it will not meet your disapprobation.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “B. Hichborn Novr 25. 1775.”
1. 28 Oct. (above).
2. For Washington's opinion of Hichborn, see same, note 4.
3. Not found.
4. Benjamin Harrison, whose letter to Washington was also seized at the same time as JA's letters.
5. As Samuel Adams and John Hancock had been excepted from Gage's pardon on 12 June.
6. James Drew was first lieutenant on the sloop Scorpion (Philip Stephens to Vice Adm., Graves, 27 Sept., The Present Disposition of His Majesty's Ships and Vessels in Sea Pay, 1 Dec., Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:736–737; 3:1400).
7. See Hichborn to JA, 28 Oct., note 5 (above).
8. Hichborn is probably referring to the militia force of 5,000 men, 3,000 from Massachusetts and 2,000 from New Hampshire, that Washington called out in early Dec. 1775 to replace the Connecticut forces whose enlistments ran out on 10 Dec. (French, First Year, p. 521; Washington to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, 2 Dec., Writings, ed., Fitzpatrick, 4:137–138).
9. Ordered on 5 Oct. by the congress to capture two ships headed for Canada, Washington directed Nicholson Broughton, commander of the Hancock, and John Selman, captain of the Franklin, to undertake the mission. Although they failed to capture the ships, they did manage to create confusion around Nova Scotia and particularly in the Gut of Canso. In the process, however, they largely ignored their orders, and Washington was forced to free their prizes and their prisoners—Philip Callbeck, Thomas Wright, and a Mr. Higgins (Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 19, 46–57, 75–79; Washington to Nicholson Broughton, 16 Oct., and to the President of Congress, 7 Dec., Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:33–34. 152).
10. Nathaniel Tracy (1751–1796), a Newburyport merchant who entered into partnership with his brother John and Jonathan Jackson shortly before the Revolution began. In Aug. 1775 he sent out his first privateer and during the war sent out 23 others, a few of which made satisfactory profits. Soon after the war's end bad luck with his merchant ships caused his early retirement from trade (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:247–251; Benjamin W. Labaree, Patriots and Partisans: The Merchants of Newburyport, 1764–1815, Cambridge, 1962, p. 218–219).
11. Mrs. Sarah Yard, at whose boardinghouse JA stayed in Philadelphia (Diary and Autobiography, 2:115, note 4).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0173

Author: Osgood, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-30

From Samuel Osgood Jr.

[salute] Sir

I have to acknowledge your Favors of the 14th and 15th Novr. and now Sir I think myself sufficiently happy since you have authorized me to write with Freedom and no advantage will be taken of my Simplicity. I flatter myself that the most triffling Intelligence from Camp if sometimes there is interspersed any Thing of Importance will not be disagreeable to you in your present Situation. Their Motions Feelings, general Sentiments, Immoralties, general Supply of Necess[aries], Hopes and Fears, Success and Disappointment may all in their Turn afford Matter worthy of Contemplation.
The Conduct of our General Officers is such with Regard to raising a new Army that many suppose we have a Specimen of a small Degree of Tyranny concealed in the Heart. All the Colonies are to be united. All Distinctions are to be thrown aside. No Difference of sentiment, no Regard or Attachment a Soldier has to this or that Officer of his own Colony to be respected—but on the contrary despised. And is the faithful obedient Soldier to be contemned because he says I know my own Colony Men, I choose to be commanded by them? Is it not opening a Door for needless Altercation? And besides does it not destroy a grand Stimulus that has always actuated different Bodies of Men most powerfully? Allied Armies of different Nations have found Honor and Reputation as strong an incentive to Action as self Preservation and perhaps much more so.
This same kind of emulous Ambition has and will subsist between the Several Colonies, and the same Argument that will prove it best to intermix the Colonies, will also convince me that it is best to loose all that noble Ambition which fires the manly Breast and raises a just Indignation at being second when it is possible and equitable to be first. Can anything, Sir, fire upon us a more infamous Name, than that we are able to raise Men, but cannot officer them! Alas, Sir, we may do the Drugery, but must not share the Honor. I heard an Officer of the first Rank say, soon after his Arrival in Camp, that the Men were very good, but by —— we must send to the southward for Officers. Now, Sir, Jealousy will look out with a Sharp Eye, and predict hard Things. Southern Gentlemen are some how or other to be introduced to command nothern Men, for they are sufficiently sick of their own. (A Number of them have deserted and one about three Nights Since being placed as one of the most advanced Sentries before Midnight deserted and the Camp might have been sacrificed as he undoubtedly carried { 329 } in the Countersign). The nothern Men are determined not to be commanded by them. If our Notions in some Respects are different from our Brethren, yet by Heavens we are not destitute of common Sense and Feelings; for if Oppression only makes wise Men mad, I believe, Sir, we have sufficiently proved ours to be the wisest Colony the Sun blesses with its Rays.
I never mean to intimate that we are to be revered and adored upon that Account; neither are we to be oppressed for it. We are, Sir, nearly all of us Freeholders in this Colony, which emboldens us to look any Man in the Face. We are not accustomed to any other Treatment than such as a Freeholder may receive, which creates a Kind of Equality, that we shall always highly prize. But I fancy Sir it is not so in all the Colonies.
The above motly Plan (I mean the Plan of mixing the Officers of the different Colonies and also the several Regiments belonging to this Colony. The Officers are so ranged that if they belong to the Colony they do not belong to the same County and are entire Strangers to each other which is disagreeable to the privates)1 was opposed by two worthy Generals—only two, Sir! Generals W——d and Sp——r.2 The first opposed it with as much Firmness as was prudent with Peace and Quietness; desiring them to observe he was against it. Genl. Sp——r has an open upright and honest Mind. Knowing our Situation is peculiar, he is loth even to try an Experiment, but choses to travel in the Road that has been so often trod with pleasing Sucess and crowned with Honor.
I can but think some other Plan might have been adopted that would have given general Satisfaction. Genl. Spencer observes, that their Colony always was able to raise, and always did without Fail, the Number of Men they were calld upon for; but this Day, Sir, the General Officers are all call'd together to consult, and find out (if possible) what Step is best to be taken now, for the Connecticutt Soldiers Time has expired, or does the beginning of next Week, and none are raised to supply their Place, and they at present appear to be determined to Leave the Camp, at Least a great Majority of them. Genl. Spencer exerts himself like a good Man among his Troops, but it is a hard Task to force Men to act contrary to their Inclination.
I fear Sir (and therefore dread to have the Time arrive) that our province Men will dance to the same Tune when their Time is ended. It was so in the last War and altho this is infinitely Different from all others: yet they neither Reason civilly or politically; they Doubtless are possessed of cogitative Powers; but like Gold in the Ore, which is { 330 } scarcely perceived till refined, the Commonalty always will be. I hope, Sir, it will prove to be the best that the Generals were obliged to take those Officers that have served this Season: yet Sir you will readily conclude we might get much better Men in the Colony for Officers, now we have got Government to assist us, than when we were all in Chaos. Pray Sir, (if Time and Opportunity Serves) unfold to me the disadvantages in calling upon each Colony, that I trust now joyfully supply Men to oppose our blood thirsty Tyrants, for their Quota of Men. I fancy our Colony would have its Quota ready being allowed a proper Time. And now Sir I doubt not but the generals will all agree, it is of the last Importance to keep a sufficient Army together, and will therefore be obliged to call upon our Colony, for the Militia which will not be vastly agreeable.
But Sir when I consider how apparent it is thro' the whole Season that Providence has been on our Side I dispel the Gloom and forget my Fears. You gave me Leave to write freely. I fancy you will imagine me now sufficiently free. I am, Sir, with the Greatest Respect, your most Humble Servant
[signed] Samuel Osgood junr.
1. Parentheses supplied. The sentences within parentheses were written in the margin, and the text was marked to indicate where they should be inserted.
2. Artemas Ward of Massachusetts and Joseph Spencer of Connecticut.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0174-0001

Author: Robinson, Lemuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-30

From Lemuel Robinson

[salute] Dear sir

These Lines are to inform you of my Situation1 which in the Multaplicity of your Business is undoubtaley far from your Mind. Let it Suffice to Say an Army is Raising in which I have no part. As to the part I have taken for Several Years past to prepare for the Last Appeal is not unknown to You. At the Battle of Concord, So Called, You was there When we took post On Roxbury Hill. I was obliged to Act the part of General Till Genll. Thomas took Command and he Being a Stranger the Burden Lay upon me for a Considerable Time. The Intercepted Letters in May Mention me as the First in Command at Roxbury Camp.2 I Mention this as proff that I was not Idle. At the Time the Committee of Safety were Giving out their Orders to Raise Regiments. I was then Ordered To Marshfield with 1100 Men to dislodge the Enemy who it was Said were Strongly Reinforct. On my Return I met A Gentleman who informd me that the Committee of Safety had Determind there Should be but one Regiment in the { 331 } County of Suffolk and that his, upon which I Continued in Camp and Did my duty Acting as 2d. To Genll. Thomas. The Officers at this Time Left the Camp to Raise Men and Men went off to List and fix for the Campaign, Till the Daily Returns wer Less then 700 Men 300 of which were of my Regiment and Relievd Every 3d. day. The duty you must be Sensable Lay hard upon me. At this Time for 9 days and Nights I Never Shifted my Cloths nor Lay down to Sleep bing obliged to do the duty Even Down to the Adjutant. And no officer of the Day, I was obligd to Patrole the Guards Every Night which was a Round of 9 Miles.3 This Took up my time So that I never Saw the Committee of Safty in Order to know the Truth, of the One Regiment Only bing Raisd. The Committee bing So Imbarast at this time that Although they Had me principally in view yet Gave out their Orders So fast that they overan their Complment before they were aware and desird me to Continue in Service Assuring me of a Regiment.4 In the Meun while Appointd me Muster and Pay Master. Thus I Continued Till Goverment took place when I was Assurd of Regiment. Several Vacancys then Hapning, the Councill Applied to Gell. Washington for a Return of Vacancis but he never made any upon which the Concill Sent him a Recommendation, in my Favour. But the Generall Saith that he is Tied up By Instructions and Cannot Admit any person who Has Not been Commissiond5 thus I am entirely Left out of the Army Although I have the Voice of Both Civil and Military in my favour. The Modeling the Army out of the Old one intirely, with Submison and Raising the pay of the officers will be Attended with many bad Consequences. The Men through the Course of the Summer Have had oppertunity to know the Officers. Those few who have behavd well will get their men. The Others Never will And as all the Officers are appointed by the Generall To Each Regiment I believe there will not be One full Regiment. The Camp is this Moment in Alarm. The Coneticut Forces whose Time is out Universally going home. No Intreaty Can Stop them. If this Should be the Case of the Rest God Only knows what will Become of us. I Expect if nothing more favourable Turns up the Militia must be Called in. I believe I Can Collect frinds Enough to hold them in on Roxbury Side once more. A Store Ship is Carried in to Cape Ann Loaded with warlike Stores Valud at £10000 Sterling.6 If you Can procure an Exeption for me with Respect to the Resolve that no officer be Admitted into the Army you will Lay me under the Greatest Obligation. I Can Assure you that my inclination to the Service is Such that I Cannot any way Content myself out of the Same.
{ 332 }
The Inclosd is Signd as you will See by the Committee of Safety Which gave out the Orders. I Remain Your Hue. Sert.
[signed] Lemuel Robinson
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honbl. Jno Adams Esqr. at the Congress in Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Lem Robinson 1775 Nov 30th”; and enclosure.
1. Lemuel Robinson (1736–1776) of Dorchester was the proprietor of the Liberty Tree Tavern, where, on 14 Aug. 1769, 350 Sons of Liberty, including JA, met to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the founding of “the True Sons of Liberty.” Robinson was elected to the First and Third Provincial congresses and at the beginning of the war was lieutenant colonel in Col. Heath's Suffolk co. Regiment. Despite the problems described in the letter, perhaps because of them, Robinson was appointed by the General Court on 23 Jan. 1776 colonel of a new regiment to be raised out of Suffolk and York cos. He died soon after of smallpox (Boston Gazette, 21 Aug. 1769; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:341; NEHGR, 39:83 [Jan. 1885]; 49:341 [July 1895]; Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 7, 273; Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, 13:458).
2. These may have been letters examined and ordered printed by the Provincial Congress on 1 May 1775. The excerpts printed, however, do not mention Robinson (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 173; New-England Chronicle, 2 May).
3. Robinson's account of his activities at Roxbury as second in command to John Thomas was quoted virtually verbatim by William Gordon in his history under the date 28 April (The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America, 2d edn., 3 vols., N.Y., 1794, 1:337). Gordon, who neither cited his source nor mentioned Robinson's reference to Thomas, gives the impression that Robinson was in sole command. This treatment led Allen French to criticize Gordon for his handling of this episode (First Year, p. 719). Although the light shed on Gordon's inaccuracies is interesting, of some significance is this further evidence that Gordon, barring the unlikely possibility that Robinson kept a copy of his letter, made use of JA's papers. Compare Charles Lee to JA, 19 Nov., note 2 (above).
4. Robinson had failed in June 1775 to raise the necessary number of men for his commission as colonel. It was William Heath that was competing with him in Suffolk co. (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 339, 342, 563; Wroth and others, eds., Province in Rebellion, p. 2502, 2706).
5. According to the instructions of the congress, colonels and officers of lesser rank had to be commissioned by the colonial governments (JCC, 2:100–101).
6. The brig Nancy out of London was taken by Capt. John Manley of the Lee, a privateer, on 28 Nov. The capture of this ship was of great importance to the American Army, for it was loaded with ordnance for the British Army in Boston. Among other things, the Americans gained 2,000 muskets, 100,000 musket flints, 62,500 pounds of musket shot, 75 carbines, 11 mortar beds, and one complete 13-inch brass mortar that with its bed weighed over 5,000 pounds. This mortar, described as “the noblest piece of ordnance ever landed in America,” arrived in Cambridge on 2 Dec. and was christened by Israel Putnam “The Congress.” It exploded during the bombardment of Boston in March 1776 (Boston Gazette, 11 Dec.; Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 60–64, 74, 122).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0174-0002

Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Robinson, Lemuel
Author: Palmer, Joseph
Author: Orne, Azor
Author: Holten, Samuel
Author: White, Benjamin
Author: Watson, Abraham
Author: Cushing, Nathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-30

Enclosure: Endororsement for Lemuel Robinson from the Committee of Safety

Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay

[salute] To all whom it may concern

We the Subscribers, Members of the late Committee of Safety of this Colony, do certify, That Colo. Lemuel Robinson of Dorchester has exerted himself in his Countrys cause, perhaps, as much as any other Man in the Government, and so as, in our opinion, to merit much of his Country, and said Committee did all in their power to obtain the Command of a Regiment for him, in the Colony Service, but thro' an unhappy mistake, some misrepresentations of Facts prevented its taking place.
[signed] J. Palmer
[signed] Azor Orne
[signed] S Holten
[signed] Benjan. White
[signed] Abram. Watson
[signed] Nathan Cushing
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honbl. Jno Adams Esqr. at the Congress in Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Lem Robinson 1775 Nov 30th”; and enclosure.
{ 333 }
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.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0175

Author: Palmer, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-02

From Joseph Palmer

[salute] My dear Sir

Yesterday Mr. Revere returned, and brot your acceptance,1 which was truly acceptable to our Friends. Since mine by Revere,2 I have been exploreing some of the Mountains of North and Southhampton; and in the former we examined a Lead-Mine which has been worked, and in which, much loss has been Sustained.3 The circumstances of this Mine I will now give you, as near as I can recollect, but shall be able to do better, perhaps, after we have prepared our Report. The present Proprietors of it, are Colo. Ward 6/15ths, Mr. Hedge 3/15ths, and Mr. Bowdoin 6/15ths; These, or former Proprietors, have pursued the Vein of ore about 30 feet deep, and the Clerk4 says, that it grows richer, as they go deeper. The Clerk keeps a Tavern about 4 or 5 Miles distant from the Mine, and boards the workmen; what days work were done, and who had the profit, may be easily conjectured. It has not been work'd for some time past. The best pieces of the ore produced 75 per Cent Lead, in their Essays; others 50 per Cent; and some coud hardly be called ore. But when they came to work it in the large way, not knowing what Fluxes to use, or how to discharge the oar of the Sulphur, they burnt it all up, and obtained no Lead. At the Mine, they have brot a Stream of Water which drives a Wheel, that works the Pumps, which empties the Water [out of] the Mine. This Mine is near the Summit of the Mountain, at the foot [of] which runs a Small River; and the owners { 334 } of the Mine have 200 Acres of Land bounding about 1/2 a Mile upon the river, and running up to the Summit of the Hill, or near it; besides which, they have a long Lease, for 999 Years for 25 Acres more adjoining; upon condition of delivering a certain part of the Ore dug (how much I don't know) from thence. Near the Mine, they have a Small Store, with a Chimney. And from the Mine is a Cartway, about 3/4 of a Mile, Slanting down to the River, which has there an Elbow, across which is brot a Stream which drives the Stampers; at this place is their Stamping-Mill, Washing Troughs, and Smelting House. They Stamp and Wash the ore, which, without Smelting, produces very good Lead for the Potters, and is much used for the purpose of Glazeing their Ware. The Proprietors ask £1000 Sterling for all their Interest there; but wou'd probably be glad to sell for £1000 Lawful money.5 Their Works are all much ruined. Their Land is worth about £200 Lmo. This leaves 800 for the Supposed Riches in the Mine, with their Works; which Works are worth nothing for any other purpose; and if applied to this, will not be worth more than one or £200 Lmo. 'Tis not unlikely but that other rich Mines in the vicinity, will hereafter be discovered, especially if this is worked; for that wou'd naturally lead to farther discoveries. We found, in other Lands, about 20 Rods distant from the Mine, a very rich Rock of ore; and it has been traced, with short intervals, Several Miles upon the Mountains. There will be 12 or 14 Miles Cartage from the Mine to good Water-Carriage; unless it shou'd be found practicable to remove Some obstructions so as to carry the Lead upon Rafts, or Floats down the river runing near the Mine; but of this I am wholly ignorant. The vein is seen in the Summer time where it crosses a river. Shou'd the Continent, or Colony, purchase of the Proprietors, and give £1000 Lmo.; it will cost as much more to purchase other Lands to secure the full benefit of the Streams, to accomodate the workmen, to command Wood and Roads, and especially to command all the Summit of the Hill, so as to have all the Mines in that Mountain; and it will probably take £1000 Lmo. more to set the Works all in proper order, and carry it on so far, as to produce the first Ton of Lead. After this, 'tis probable, it will prove profitable, but far from certain, because there may not be a Quantity equal to the prospect, which is doubtless very promising. I do not think that it will do for either the greater or lesser public to work it upon their own account; but if either will purchase and Supply, as above, then Sell to AB the Land, which Shall be Mortgaged as Security for the whole without Interest so many Years; AB to give { 335 } Bond to deliver all the Lead produced for such number of Years, he to have Security that the public will receive it, at Such a price, at Such a place, and at all times within said Term; said Price to be so large as to involve in it some considerable bounty: Then, if the public do not make a mistake in their Man, they will be well served; and AB will have a fair chance for making somthing hansome for himself: But the public must be careful who this AB is. We went also to the Summit of another Mountain, in So.hampton, where we found some ore; but as the ground had not been opened, and near Night, we cou'd not inspect so closely into that, but left directions for opening a Suspected place. The ore we brot down will be assayed next Week; after which if time and opportunity permits, I intend to send you the result. If any thing is done, I will, if possible, send four of my Derbyshire Friends.
Whether the Study of Mineralogy naturally produces Dreamers, or not, I shall not take upon me to say; but certain it is, that smatterers in it often dream. Whatever was the cause, upon my tour, I dreamt more of Political matters, than of Gold and Silver; and of the latter only as subservient to the former. Whether in company, or alone, my mind was constantly possessed with a notion that the Ameri