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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3


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 American Congress had, or very soon wou'd, publish a Manifesto to the [world]6 purporting, That in Such a Year, the British Ministry made such and such unconstitutional claims upon some one or other of these Colonies, &c. &c.; giving an Historical account of matters, up to the present day: Then adducing these Facts, as Sufficient reasons for Declareing themselves the United Colonies, absolutely independant of GB. But, in order to put a stop to the effusion of human Blood; from naturel affection &c., &c., offer'd to treat with her upon terms of Commerce, provided She withdrew all her forces on or before Such a day, and then accepted to treat, on or before Such a day; but if She neglected to withdraw, or neglected or refused to treat, as aforesaid, then declared themselves no farther bound by this tender: and no cessation of hostilities, until such withdraw. Then it held up to the [world], in clear and Strong terms, that this tender contained, all that GB ever had any equitable right to, from the Colonies. That the appointment of Crown-Officers here, was no benefit to GB, but an infinite evil to both them and the Colonies; and that the Colonies will never more submit to it, be the consequences what they may; and that this is the last offer will ever be made to 'em; and which, if refused, or neglected, on the part of GB, Their Ports are thereby declared free to all the World excepting GB { 336 } only, after such a day, and such refusal. I had tho't of this matter, and talked of it so much, that I had almost persuaded myself that I shou'd meet with such a Manifesto by Revere's return. 'Tho I have not yet met with it, my enthusiasm works so strong, that I cannot persuade myself but I shall soon see it: The deep-vaulted Chemist never more earnestly expected the Philosopher's stone. This general affair, which respects the whole Union, leads me to ask, what is there now in the way, that can possibly prevent a Congress-Declaration, of liberty to each Colony to take up such form of Government as they may respectively most approve of? I think, the sooner the better, particularly for this Colony; I long to be more free; but only so, as best to promote the Union of the whole; and I think, that if we were Set entirely free from the Charter, we shou'd act with more vigour and expidition. I had like to have said, that I knew we shou'd. A Representative body, equal and frequent, with their Committees will do better, and more business, in like time, than 3 Branches. I freely own that I do not wish for any Governor or Council, not even if chosen by ourselves. But why do I, who am so tired of public business, and wait only for a favourable opportunity to withdraw myself, project Schemes for future Ages? 'Tis the love of liberty! 'Tis Heaven its Self that points out liberty!
Two critical experiments have been made in the Saltpetre way, one by Colo. Orne, the other by Colo. Lincoln;7 the former of these I have, and have the promise of the latter; when possessed of them, I intend to transmit 'em to you; or if they permit, publish 'em for public Use: They are short, plain and Simple, so that Dick, Tom, and Joan, may understand 'em, so as to practice upon it with certain success. I intend to propose farther encouragement upon that Article: Now is the critical time, and we may now establish it, so as to make it a perminant article in our Manufactures.
The General has sent you an Account of the Store-Ship carried into Cape-Ann. 2000 Stand of Arms, a Brass 13 In. Morter, with a Thousand Military &ca's to the value of £20000 Stg., as 'tis Said, makes our Army rejoice; the Genl., Washington, Shew'd me the Invoice, and appeared much pleased.8 There is, Since the Store Ship, a Small Vessel with Wood &c., brot into Salem; and another Vessel into Plymouth.9
There is a farther account of the Storm at Nfd. Land;10 all their Vessels so damaged, that it was tho't not one of 'em wou'd be able to return loaded; 4000 Men lost; 1000 dead Bodies draged on Shore with Nets; A Lieutenant who had been there to enlist Men for the { 337 } Army at Boston, when the Fishery was finished, had enlisted many, but such an unusual Storm, carrying such amazing destruction with it, pointed to him so plainly the hand of Providence against these oppressive measures, that he openly declared, that he “beli'ved God almighty was against 'em, and that he wou'd no longer bear his Commission, or act against his Brethren in the Colonies.” This, and more, is Said and believed; but I am not possessed of the particular evidence. As was said in another case, “Seeing &c. ——, what manner of Persons ought we to be &c.” It is also Said, that the Vessell in which Mrs. Borland &c. went passengers to England, is lost, and all perished.11 One Vessel in the Bay was lately burnt, supposed by Lightening; Frank Green (at the Lines) said that it was a Ship, the Juno, from England, with Hay; by circumstances, I suspect she had Powder.12 'Tis supposed that the Enemy are watching our motions, and hope to find a weak moment in the change of the Army, that may favour an Attack upon us; but we are taking measures to prevent their Success: 2000 Men from Hamshire, and 3000 from our Colony, to be at Head Quarters the 10th. Instant; besides all the Militia in the vicinity of Cambridge and Roxbury (who do not furnish any part of the 3000) to be in readiness on the shortest notice. I hope much, from the goodness of our Cause; and firmly believe that Heaven will be with us: The short remainder of my life, I am willing to devote in support of this righteous Struggle; and in such a way as the public may direct; but it may be, I would rather retire, and give way to some one firmer in Body and Mind. My affectionate regards attend all our Friends, may the path of your duty be made, as the riseing light, more and more plain to all the Congress, every day and every Hour.
The last I heard from Braintree, all was well; but I have not had opportunity to see Mrs. Adams for several Weeks past. Adieu my dear Sir, may every blessing be Yours, and believe me to remain Your Affect. Frd. and Hble. Servt.
[signed] J. Palmer
PS. Decr. 3d., 8 o'Clock PM, this Moment received the News of a Brig from Britain, with Coals and Bale Goods, carried into Beverly.13
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Palmer Decr 2. 1775”; outside edges of the MS are mutilated.
1. JA's acceptance of his appointment as chief justice of the superior court (JA to Perez Morton, 24 Nov., above).
2. Palmer to JA, 31 Oct. (above).
3. This mine, located about six miles from the center of Northampton, had been worked periodically, with limited success, since 1679. In 1769 William Bowdoin, brother of James, bought the mine in partnership with two others and began operations. By 1775 operations had stopped, probably because of lack { 338 } of profits (J. R. Trumbull, History of Northampton, 2 vols., Northampton, Mass., 1898, 1:359, 361, 364–365). On 17 Feb. 1776 the Joint Committee on Virgin Lead, of which Palmer was a member, presented its report, which closely followed the facts of this letter, clearly stating the expense involved in returning the mine to operation, but which came to no conclusions about continuing operations (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 304–305). The congress, to which the report was forwarded, finally resolved on 5 July 1776 that immediate steps be taken to procure lead from the mine (JCC, 4:185–186; 5:522). None of these actions had much effect, for the land was ultimately sold for about two dollars an acre and mining was not resumed until 1807 (Trumbull, Northampton, 1:366).
4. The clerk was a Mr. Clap, called Maj. Clap by James Russell Trumbull (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 304–305; Trumbull, History of Northampton, 1:365).
5. Lawful money was about 29 percent less valuable than sterling, for it valued an ounce of silver at 6s 8d instead of 5s 2d.
6. “World” is represented in the text with a sign: ⊙. In the Library of Congress facsimile edition of Two Rebuses from the American Revolution (Washington, 1973), the symbol of a snake holding its tail to form a circle is translated “unity” as an alternative to the ancient meaning “eternity.” But in a later passage Palmer crosses out “rest of the ⊙” and substitutes “all the world.” It is impossible to tell whether Palmer intended a snake or merely a circle, but the line is thickened where a snake head might be.
7. Azor Orne and Benjamin Lincoln (1733–1810), latter in DAB.
8. The Nancy (see Lemuel Robinson to JA, 30 Nov., note 6, above).
9. The Boston Gazette of 4 Dec. reported that in the previous two weeks two vessels had been brought into Cape Ann, one into Portsmouth, and several small vessels into Plymouth.
10. Palmer's account of the storm that hit Newfoundland on 9 Sept. was taken from the same issue of the Gazette. The newspaper put the loss at £140,000 sterling and noted that the fifteen or sixteen transports that had sailed to pick up the men who were to enlist in the army at Boston were destroyed in the same storm.
11. Probably Anna Vassall Borland (1735–1823), widow of the Boston merchant John Borland (Edward Doubleday Harris, “The Vassalls of New England,” NEHGR, 17:119–120 [April 1863]).
12. The ship's destruction was described in the Boston Gazette of 4 Dec.
13. The Concord (same, 11 Dec.; Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 61–62).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1775-12-03

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I have only Time to acquaint you that Congress have ordered the arrears of Pay to be discharged to the soldiers and one Months Advance Pay to be made. No Bounty nor any allowance for Lunar Months.2
I have a Thousand Things to say—But no Time. Our Army must be reconciled to these Terms, or We shall be ruined for what I know. The Expenses accumulating upon the Continent are so vast and boundless that We shall be bankrupt if not frugal.
I lately had an opportunity, suddenly, of mentioning two very deserving officers, Thomas Crafts Junior who now lives at Leominster { 339 } and George Trot who lives at Braintree to be, the first a Lt. Colonel the second a Major of the Regiment of Artillery under Coll. Knox.3 These are young Men under forty, excellent officers, very modest, civil, sensible, and of prodigious Merit as well as suffering in the American Cause. If they are neglected I shall be very mad, and kick and Foume like fury. Congress have ordered their Names to be sent to the General, and if he thinks they can be promoted without giving Disgust and making Uneasiness in the Regiment, to give them Commissions. Gen. Washington knows neither of them. They have too much Merit and Modesty to thrust themselves forward and solicit, as has been the Manner of too many. But they are excellent officers, and have done great Things both in the political and military Way. In short vast Injustice will be done if they are not provided for. Several Captains in the Artillery Regiment were privates under these officers in Paddocks Company.4 Captain Crafts who is I believe the first Captain, is a younger Brother to Thomas.5 I believe that Burbeck, Mason, Foster &c. would have no objection.6
The Merit of these Men from the Year 1764 to this day, has been very great tho not known to every Body. My Conscience tells me they ought to be promoted. They have more Merit between you and me than half the Generals in the Army.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J Adams. Decr 1775.”
1. This and one to AA of the same date are the last known letters written by JA from Philadelphia in 1775. On 8 Dec., “worn down with long and uninterrupted Labour,” JA successfully requested the congress for permission to return to Massachusetts. On 9 Dec. he began his journey, arriving in Braintree on 21 Dec. (JA to AA, 3 Dec., Adams Family Correspondence, 1:331; Diary and Autobiography, 3:350; 2:223–224 and notes).
2. The congress took this action on 1 and 3 Dec. (JCC, 3:394, 400; compare James Warren to JA, 14 Nov., note 12, above).
3. On 2 Dec. the congress established the organization of the artillery regiment and recommended that Crafts and Trott be appointed field officers (JCC, 3:399). When Washington offered them commissions, however, Trott chose not to serve and Crafts' “ambition was not fully gratified by the offer of a Majority” rather than a lieutenant colonelcy (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:161; see also James Warren to JA, 11 Dec. and Thomas Crafts Jr. to JA, 16 Dec., both below).
4. For a partial listing of the officers and men of Capt. Adino Paddock's artillery company, see Thomas J. Abernethy, American Artillery Regiments in the Revolutionary War, unpubl. bound typescript, MHi, p. 4–5.
5. Capt. Edward Crafts (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, 4:64).
6. William Burbeck, David Mason, and Thomas Waite Foster, all officers under Richard Gridley and later Henry Knox (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 133, 383, 234).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0177

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-03

From William Tudor

[salute] Dr Sir

Long before the Receipt of this You will have heard by Express from the General, of the important Prize we have made in the Capture of the Brig Nancy loaded with Ordnance Stores for the Army at Boston. Orders were given that she should be unloaded with all possible Expedition, and we have now the greatest Part of her Cargo safely hous'd in the Laboratory here.1 The Loss must be very great to the Enemy, but the Acquisition is immense to Us. Col. Barbeck assured me that it would have taken eighteen Months to have prepar'd a like Quantity of Ordnance Materials, could they have been furnish'd with every Thing requisite to make them. There are many Things which Money could not have procur'd Us. I heard Col. Mason say that, had all the Engineers of the Army been consulted they could not have made out a compleater Invoice of military Stores, than we are now in Possession of. We want Nothing now but a Ship Load of Powder, to raise such a Clatter in the Streets of Boston, as to force George's Banditti to seek Protection in his Ships, or fly to his Ministers for Security.
We have had much Disturbance in The Camp here, by the Connecticut Troops insisting upon returning home at the Expiration of their Enlistment which was the 1st. Instant.2 Every Act of Persuasion was used to prevail with them to reinlist, but to no Purpose. Numbers of them refused staying only till the Militia could be called in to man the Lines. When Intreaty fail'd, force was used, and the greatest Part of them have at Length consented to stay Ten Days longer. Orders have been issu'd for 5000 Militia to come down immediately and join the Camp. The Massachusetts Soldiers shew as much Backwardness in inlisting as the others. They complain of a Poll Tax being laid on them; that the Province is in arrears to them; they want bounty money, and lunar Months instead of Calendar ones. In short they expect to be hir'd and that at a very high Price to defend their own Liberties, and chuse to be Slaves unless they can be bribed to be freemen. Quid facit Libertas, cum sola Pecunia regnat?3 The mecernary Disposition of our Soldiery, made a Gentleman observe, that had Lord North sent over Guineas instead of Cannon Balls, New England would have been conquer'd in a Twelvemonth. This was an illnatur'd Remark, but similar to others which are daily made by a certain Set of Gentlemen, who affect to think that neither Patriotism or Bravery is the principal Motive of Action in any Man born and educated to the Northward of New York.
{ 341 }
At a General Court Martial held last Friday, Lt. Col. Enos was try'd, “for leaving the Detachment under Col. Arnold (on the Canada Expedition) and returning home without Permission from his commanding Officer” and after a full Hearing acquitted with Honour. It fully appear'd that absolute Necessity was the Cause of his Retreat, and had he not return'd his whole Division must have perish'd for Want of Provision. The News of his Return at first rais'd a prodigious Ferment and excited much Indignation; the Instant he arriv'd he was put under an Arrest, but has since been honorably discharged.
Bellidore was a Lt. General in the Emperor's Service, and the first Engineer in Europe. The Work I mentioned is the compleatest System of Fortification and Gunnery extant. It was originally wrote in French, but there is an indifferent English Translation of it.4 The great Number of valuable Plans which are inserted in the Books make them very dear.
We have just had an Express from Marblehead which informs Us that the same Privateer, which took the Brig Nancy, has taken a large Scotch Ship of 250 Tons, with a Cargo of 350 Chaldrons of Coals and £5000 Sterlg. of dry Goods bound to Boston.5 The Letters are brought up some of which I have just read at the General's. They contain Denunciations of British Vengeance against the rebellious Colonies, and Effusions of Scotch Loyalty. None that I saw had any Thing very material. Both these Vessels were taken by Capt. Manley, who You may recollect—When told he was your Client formerly in an Action brought against him by Vernon.6
I was particularly obliged by your very kind Letter of 14th. Novr. and intreat a Continuance of your Favours. I will make no other Reply to your Partiality than in the Words of Tully Laetus sum laudari a Te laudato Viro.7 It was ever my Ambition to meet your Approbation, as it is now my Pride to be distinguish'd by your Friendship. I am with the highest Esteem and Respect your most obliged and very hble Servt.
[signed] Wm. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams. Esq Philadelphia P Post Free”; docketed: “Tudor Decr. 3. 1775.”
1. That is, at Harvard College.
2. The Connecticut enlistments actually ran out on 10 Dec., although even Washington believed they ran out on the 1st (French, First Year, p. 514; Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:506).
3. Freely, how can there be freedom when money alone rules?
4. See Tudor to JA, 28 Oct., note 9 (above).
5. The Concord; see Joseph Palmer to JA, 2 Dec., note 13 (above).
6. See JA, Legal Papers, 3:344 .
7. I am delighted to be praised by one who is praised by all men.

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0178

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-03

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I had the honour some time since to receive your Favour of the 14 Ultimo which I am now to acknowledge. The Enemy have not made any important movements for a considerable time. Last week Genl. Howe sent 300 of the poor inhabitants of Boston to be landed near Point Shirley,1 which was such a distance from any Houses where they might receive entertainment and many of them being in very poor circumstances, without provisions, that several persons died before assistance could be had! Such barbarity might well make a Savage blush—and the Brute creation cry out with indignation and astonishment. But I hope Americans will, be their trials ever so great, “preserve their temper, their wisdom, their humanity, and civility— tho' our Enemies are every day renouncing theirs;” as you Sir, have with great propriety and justice observed.2 I would not be enthusiastic but I cannot believe that Heaven will smile upon that cause which is supported by such infernal means and measures as our Enemies make use of. The good success of our Privateers, which you will hear before this reaches you, is very encouraging, and I hope it will stimulate the seafaring Gentlemen to greater exertions in that way. I think we have a prospect of important advantages from exertions by Sea; and I hope, with you Sir, this will be done by the Colonies separately,3 as, for many reasons, greater advantages will arise thereby to the great Cause of America.
Altho' I repose high Confidence in the Great Council of America, I fear they will too long delay (in hopes of reconciliation with Britain) those important and decisive steps necessary for the independence and compleat Freedom of America.4 Such a false hope has already given the Enemy advantage against us. May Heaven guide where human wisdom fails.
The Army is healthy, and many happy circumstances attend us here; but our success in raising a new Army is not equal to our wishes, however I hope we shall surmount all difficulties. Unhappily, as I humbly conceive, the best plan was not adopted to raise the new Army, for the sake of greater advantages, the old experienced path which has conducted our Fathers with safety and glory 150 years, was neglected, and a new one chosen. But I will not charge it as a fault upon any man as I believe all acted with a sincere regard to the public interest; and perhaps, notwithstanding appearances, it may eventually terminate for the best. I think these times require great caution in remark• { 343 } ing upon public men and measures; and wish that the distinctions of Southern and Northern were lost in the glorious Name of American. Certain necessary distinctions between Colonies, in raising men, and money, may I conceive, always subsist with advantage to the great Republic. To preserve union and harmony among our American Brethren of the different Colonies will be the study of every good man; my small influence has and shall be exerted for this purpose in the Army.
You justly observe, Sir, “verbal resolutions accomplish nothing, it is to no purpose to declare what we will or will not do in future times,” unless we carry our Resolves into execution— which we ought punctually to do. It is said Caesar's Name conquered, and I hope it will be said in future time, the Name of Americans, made the wicked tremble and submit, and the virtuous rejoice and triumph. Scarcely anything is so important to an individual as a good Name, and it is vastly more interesting to a Community. If the Americans should uniformly maintain the Character of humane, generous, and brave, we shall be invincible to all the tyrants in the world, and even our Enemies will at once fear and reverence the guardians of Liberty. Nothing gives me so much pain as any appearance of the Demon Discord, among our American Brethren, the Farmer never said a wiser thing nor gave a more important caution to his Countrymen than this, “United we stand, divided we fall.”5 Every spark of contention ought to be carefully extinguished, and harmony cultivated as the vital springs and Lamp of Life. I cannot say that I have not some times been grieved and astonished by observing private interest and self honour occupy some minds which ought to be wholly employed to promote the honour and interest of their Country; it is the lot of humanity to meet with such mortifications, but I pray that such vile things may be rare in America, and the love of Virtue and Freedom may extinguish every ignoble and inferier passion in the Breasts of our Countrymen. Nothing can be more vile and base in this great Day of contest, for all that is sacred and glorious in this world, than to forget or neglect the Public in a mean regard to little self. Altho' there may be an inequality among the Colonies, in numbers in riches in strength and in wisdom, yet I conceive it will in general be wise for the greatest to claim no more than an equality with their brethren. Mankind will bear with equals who only share with them in honour, but they hate to be eclypsed and thrown into the shade by haughty Superiors. To preserve Union, being the highest point of Wisdom, I hope every American whether in Senate or the Field will steadily pursue it.
{ 344 }
As my duty often calls me to attend a Flagg of Truce when Letters are sent into Boston, or a Conference is permitted between people in Boston and those who belong to different parts of the Continent, I have an opportunity to observe the Air of the Tories and the Regular Officers, and of late they are more complaisant than formerly and discover an earnest desire (particularly the Officers) that the grand Controversy might be amicably settled; and some of them say it will be settled next Spring; but their information is not at all to be regarded.
But very few Vessels have arrived at Boston from Britain for a long time, and by the best accounts, not more than 250 of the great reinforcement which the Enemy have so long talked of. I believe 2300 is the most that they expect this Fall. The Troops in Boston continue sickly, and it is said they are not in so good Spirits as they were in the Summer. If we can obtain a supply of Powder I trust we shall give a good account of them before Spring; if it be possible we must subdue the Ministerial Fleet and Army which is in America this Winter, otherwise we may expect a strong reinforcement in the Spring. Should we conquer what are here I apprehend the Ministry would not hazard another expedition, but if they should we might be able to resist all their force. I think we have nothing to fear but ourselves, and if we do our duty we may gain every political advantage the heart of Man can desire.
I have just seen the Instructions of the Pennsylvania Assembly to their Delegates in Congress.6 I am astonished and mortified to see at this day such wretched instructions from an American Assembly! May Heaven inspire them with more wisdom! I am Sir with great Esteem your obedient and most Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. The Small Pox is now spreading in Boston by inoculation; I conceive that the Enemy have a design to spread it into our Army, but I hope our precautions will defeat all their malicious designs.
December 20. Last Sunday we began a work on Lechmeers point, the nearest land to Boston, on Cambridge side, where we intend to have a Bomb Battery; the Enemy seem much disturbed at this movement of ours, and have been cannonading and bombarding our people who are employed in the new works every day and night since we began, but by the good hand of Providence, not one man has yet been killed, and but one slightly wounded! Heaven, my honoured Friend, is certainly for us—our Enemies who boasted of superiour and unequalled skill in the art of war, have thrown about forty shot and { 345 } shells to one shot that we have thrown and we have done more execution than they—is not this a demonstration that the “God of our Fathers” regards our cause and guides our hands?
Of late the Army for the next year fills up faster than at first, and I hope it will be compleated in good season.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Jo. Ward. Dec. 5. 1775.”
1. The point of land across the gut north of Deer Island in the present town of Winthrop (Shurtleff, Description of Boston, p. 437). Although the Americans were sympathetic to the plight of those expelled from Boston, they were more concerned that the refugees might spread smallpox to the American Army (Boston Gazette, 27 Nov.; French, First Year, p. 493–495). Their fears were increased by reports that “a Number of Persons who had been Innoculated, were to be sent out of Boston by Gen. Howe, with a Design to spread the Small-Pox among the Troops” (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 13). Washington forbade any of the refugees' going to Cambridge. On 6 Dec. the General Court allowed the removal of those certified to be free of the disease while continuing to quarantine the rest and making some provision for their care (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:118; House Jour., p. 19, 35).
2. This and a second quotation below are from JA to Joseph Ward, 14 Nov. (above).
3. JA had already committed himself with other members of the congress to Continental privateers and a navy (JA's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec., Editorial Note, above).
4. JA had already received calls for independence from Mercy Otis Warren, Benjamin Hichborn, and Joseph Palmer (James Warren to JA, 14 Nov.; Hichborn to JA, 25 Nov.; Palmer to JA, 2 Dec., all above).
5. John Dickinson, The Liberty Song, 1768: “By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall” (The Writings of John Dickinson, ed. Paul L. Ford, Hist. Soc. Penna., Memoirs, 14 [1895]: 421–432). This song was widely reprinted in the newspapers and sung at patriotic gatherings.
6. See Samuel Chase to JA, 25 Nov., note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0179

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-03

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I Returned from Plymouth last Wednesday after An Absence of about 10 days. In my way I called on Mrs. Adams and found her pretty well, having recovered her Health after a Bad Cold which threatoned A fever. From her I received the Inclosed Letter,1 which I presume will give you A full Account of herself and Family. I came to Watertown with full Expectation of receiving several of your favours. You may Guess my disappointment when I found not One. Doctr. Morgan who with his Lady had lodged in my Chamber the Night before had left a Packet Containing Letters &c. to your Friend, which I have taken proper Care off. This Gentleman I have not yet seen. He was Attended next day by the Surgeons of the Army, and Escorted to head quarters, in state. I propose to see him Tomorrow, { 346 } and shall look on him with all the reverence due to so Exalted A Character as you give him.
Revere returned here on Fryday. No Letters by him from you or my Other Friend at Congress. I have run over my Sins of Omission and Commission, to see if they were Unpardonable and at last presumed to Account for it from the Nature, and Magnitude of the Business you are Engaged in, and the Constant Application it requires.
I Congratulate you on the success of our Northern Army. We have no late Accounts from Arnold, but have sanguine Expectations that before this the whole Province of Canada is reduced. You will no doubt have heard before this reaches you that A Lieutenant Colonel and A Considerable Number of Men had come of[f] from Arnolds detachment and returned here.2
Our Army here have taken possession of and fortified Cobble Hill, which the Enemy seem to view without any Emotion not haveing fired A Gun. It is said they Confidently rely on our Army's dispersing when the Terms of their Inlistment Ends, and leaving the Lines defensless, and an easy Conquest to them. Howe I believe has received such Intelligence and Assurances from One Benja. Marston3 who has fled from Marblehead to Boston. This fellow is A Cousin of mine. Had ever any Man So many rascally Cousins as I have. I will not presume any danger of that kind tho' I own My anxiety is great. Our Men Inlist but slowly and the Connecticut Troops behave Infamously. It was with difficulty the General prevented their going of[f] in great Numbers last Fryday. However they Consented finally to return to their duty till the Army could be Reinforced.
The General on the first day of our meeting had Represented to the Court the difficulties he laboured under and the dangers he Apprehended, and desired A Committee to Confer with him and the other General Officers. A Committee went down. The result of the Conference was that 5000 Men should be immediately raised in this and New Hampshire Colony and brought into Camp by the 10th. Instant, to supply the deficiencies in the Army by the going off, the Connecticut Troops, and the Furlows the General is Obliged to give the New Inlisted men by way of Encouragement. Genl. Sullivan Undertook to raise 2000 of them, and we reported that the rest should be raised in several parts of this Colony, and Yesterday sent off, more than 20 of our Members to Effect it,4 knowing no Other way as our Militia is in a perfect state of Anarchy some with, and some without Officers. If they don't succeed I know not where I shall date my next letter from, but I have such An Opinion of my Countrymen as to believe { 347 } they will. The only reasons I know of that are Assigned by the Soldiers for their Uneasiness, or rather backwardness to Enter the service again are the Increase of the Officers wages lately made and the paying them Contrary to their Expectation, and former usage by Calender instead of Lunar Months. The last I have given you my opinion of in a former Letter,5 and the first I think was very Unluckily timed. I have till lately thought it A favourable Circumstance that so Many Men were raised in these Goverments. I begin to think Otherways and many reasons operate strongly to make me wish for more Troops from the Southern Goverments.
I Pity our Good General who has A greater Burthen on his Shoulders, and more difficulties to struggle with than I think should fall to the Share of so good A Man. I do every thing in My power to releive him, and wish I could do more. I see he is fatigued and worried. After all you are not to Consider us as wholly Involved in Clouds and darkness. The Sun shines for the most part, and we have many Consoleing Events. Providence seems to be Engaged for us. The same Spirit and determination prevails to Conquer all difficulties. Many Prizes have been taken by our Cruisers, and A Capital one last week carried into Cape Ann, of very great value perhaps £20,000 sterling. A Brigantine from England with a A Cargo Consisting of Almost every Species of Warlike stores except powder and Cannon. 2,000 very fine small Arms with all their Accoutrements, four Mortars one which Putnam has Christened and Called the Congress the finest ever in America, Carcases, Flints Shells, Musket Balls, Carriages &c. &c. These are principally Arrived at head quarters and the great Mortar is a Subject of Curiosity. I hope we shall be Able to make good use of them before Long. A small Cutter has since been taken loaded with provisions from Nova Scotia to Boston and Carried into Beverly the first by a Continental Vessel, the second by A private one.6 All serves to distress them and Aid us.
The Reinforceing the Army has Engrossed the whole Attention of the General Court since their Meeting. The Manufactory of Salt Petre proceeds but slowly, tho it is made in small quantities. Our General Committee seem to me too much Entangled with perticular Systems, and general Rules to succeed. In practice they have done nothing. Coll. Orne and Coll. Lincoln have made tryals in the recess and succeeded According to their wishes. They Affirm the process to be simple and easy and that great quantitys may be made. They shew Samples of what they have made, and it is undoubtedly good. No Experiments with regard to Sulphur have yet succeeded. We have { 348 } good prospects with regard to Lead. Coll. Palmer has promised me to write you on that Subject.7
I hope soon to hear from you. The Confidence in the Congress prevailing among all ranks of People is Amazeing, and the Expectation of great Things from you stronger than ever. It gives me great pleasure to see the Credit, and reputation of my two perticular friends, Increasing here.8 Their late disinterested Conduct, as it is reported here does them much Honour. A certain Collegue of yours has lost or I am mistaken A great part of the Interest he Undeservedly had.9 Major Hawley is not yet down.10 What he will say to him I know not. Paine I hear is gone to Gratify his Curiosity in Canada.11 A good Journey to him. He may possibly do as much good there as at Philadelphia tho' I find some People here would not have pitched on him for the Business we suppose he is gone on, and perhaps there are some who would not have done it for any. Many men you know are of many Minds.12 My regards to my Friends. I thank Mr. Adams and Mr. Collins for their kind Letters. Shall write Mr. Adams first opportunity. I am yr. Sincere Friend,
[signed] Adieu JW
The Great Loss at Newfoundland of Men &c. I think may be Considered as An Interposition of Providence in our favour.13
Doctr. Adams has Just called on me to Acquaint Me that Mr. Craige who has been Apothecary to the Army is like to be superceeded, and Mr. Dyre Appointed in his room.14 As he Appears to me a very clever fellow and such Changes do us no good I could wish it might be prevented.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “Warren Decr 3. 1775”; also “Mr Gerry.”
1. AA to JA, 27 Nov. (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:328–331).
2. See Warren to JA, 14 Nov., note 2 (above).
3. Benjamin Marston (1730–1792) fled Marblehead on the night of 24 Nov. and ultimately followed the army to Nova Scotia in March 1776 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:439–454).
4. The resolve to raise 3,008 men was adopted on 1 Dec., and the committee to put it into effect was appointed the next day (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 7, 9–10; see also John Sullivan to JA, 21 Dec., below).
5. Warren to JA, 14 Nov. (above).
6. The Nancy, a brig not a brigantine, and the sloop Polly were captured by Capt. John Manley of the Lee on 28 and 27 Nov. (Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 60–61).
7. Joseph Palmer to JA, 2 Dec. (above).
8. This and the following seven sentences were copied by Thomas Cushing and given to Robert Treat Paine; a copy of them in Cushing's hand is in the Robert Treat Paine Papers (MHi). Paine himself explained how Cushing was able to make the copy. After JA had read Warren's letter he returned it unsealed to the bearer with instructions, according to the bearer's story, to deliver it to the other Massachusetts delegates. JA had intended it to be delivered to Samuel Adams, but the bearer, not finding him, handed it to Cushing, who, { 349 } because it was unsealed, thought it was simply news from the province (Paine to Joseph Hawley, 1 Jan. 1776, Dft, MHi: Robert Treat Paine Papers). Cushing could not resist copying out the jibe at Paine and himself.
9. That is, Thomas Cushing.
10. Hawley, a good friend of Cushing's, arrived at Watertown for the General Court on 15 Dec. (Hawley to JA, 18 Dec., below).
11. Paine had been named with Robert R. Livingston and John Langdon as a committee to confer with Gen. Schuyler at Ticonderoga; in fact, JA was on the committee that drafted instructions for the guidance of the three men (JA's Service in the Congress, 13 Sept. – 9 Dec., No. IX, 2 Nov., above). Warren shows his pique by implying that Paine's trip was a junket.
12. This whole passage underlines the growing dissatisfaction among the leadership in Massachusetts, at least as represented by Warren and JA, with the moderate positions of Cushing and Paine. Cushing was replaced in Jan. 1776, and Paine, although he retained his seat in the congress, broke with Warren and became more embittered with JA (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 165; Paine to Warren, 5 Jan. 1776, enclosed with Warren to JA, 31 Jan., below). Paine's ranking below JA on the bench of the superior court became known to Paine when he returned from Ticonderoga. For comments on the ranking, see Warren to JA, 20 Oct. and 5 Nov. (above). There is no reason to think that Paine saw these comments, but he needed only to see the positions to feel aggrieved. JA was a major figure in these disputes, but how much he was directly involved is unclear. He had not yet taken his seat on the Council when the election of delegates took place (Perez Morton to JA, 19 Jan. 1776, note 1, below). Joseph Palmer and Warren, however, kept him informed of the correspondence passing between Paine and others (for example, Tr of Paine to Palmer, 1 Jan. 1776, below). Yet there seems to have been no violent public dispute between the two men at the congress, perhaps because Hawley advised Paine by letter that for the good of the country he “Stifle every private resentment, incompatable with the public good” (24 Jan. 1776, MHi:Robert Treat Paine Papers). Hawley may also have talked with JA in Watertown. AA, however, was not willing to let the friction subside; she told JA that Paine's attack on Warren had caused Paine to become “an object of contempt” (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:350–352 and note 2).
13. See Joseph Palmer to JA, 2 Dec., note 10 (above).
14. Dyre remains unidentified. Andrew Craigie (1743–1819) remained Apothecary to the American Army, a post to which he had been appointed by Benjamin Church in response to the resolve of the congress on 27 July creating the position (JCC, 2:209–210, 211). Craigie was named Apothecary General in 1777 and remained in that position for the rest of the war (same, 7:232; 15:1214; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0180

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-04

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear sir

I received your Favour of the 5th of Novr and the Enquiries relative to Vessels suitable to be armed, Commanders and Seamen to man the same, secure places for building new Vessels of Force &c. are important in their Nature, and to have the same effectually answered I propose to submit them as soon as may be to the Court that a Committee may be raised for obtaining the Facts from the Maritime Towns.1
I congratulate You on the Success of the Continental privateers { 350 } which have lately brot in one of the ministerial store Ships and several other prizes of which You will doubtless have a List from the General. A privateer is fitting out by Private persons at New Port to mount 14 Guns and I hope soon to give an Account of several by the Government and many more by Individuals. The late Act and Resolve for fitting out armed Vessels in this Colony,2 I apprehend will have a good Effect, having already animated the Inhabitants of the Seaports who were unable to command much property, to unite in Companies of twenty or thirty Men and go out in Boats of 8 or 10 Tons Burthen which they call “Spider Catchers”. One of these the last Week brot in two prizes, the last of which was a Vessell of 100 Tons burthen from Nova Scotia loaded with potatoes and 8 or 10 head of Cattle. Two Days since I was at Marblehead and the Lively, prepared for a Decoy,3 appeared about two Leagues off and so deceived one of the Continental Commanders then in the Harbour that he put to Sea after her. One of the Spider Catchers like a brave Fellow gave likewise Chase to the Frigate, and by the Time they had got within Reach of her Guns they found their Mistake and were obliged to make Use of their Heels whilst the Ship with a Cloud of Sail pursued and pelted them; they Ran with great Dexterity and like Heroes escaped.
The Situation of the Army at this Time is critical, the Men declining to inlist on the Terms proposed by the General. The Connecticut Forces are with much Difficulty persuaded to tarry 'till the 10th of the present Month, at which Time it is expected they will all leave the Camp. The Court have ordered in 3000 of the Militia and General Sulliven is gone to New Hamshire for 2000 more to be all in by the Time mentioned. The Men are dissatisfied at the Reduction of their Wages by payment according to Calendar instead of lunar Months while the Officers Wages are augmented. They likewise dislike the new Arrangement in which Officers are displaced and all the Field Officers belonging to some Counties are dropped—and No Bounty they say is offered. These are the Difficulties complained of, as far as I can collect and whether just or not I will not undertake to determine. I wish that a patriotic Spirit in the Men would outweigh such trifling Considerations, but since it is otherwise the Enquiry naturally arises, what must be done? To loose the Affections of so great a Number of brave Men, who perhaps are led to be pecuniary by Suspicions that they are not treated with the Genoristy exercised towards the officers and that ought to be exercised also to them, may not be that prudent; indeed however mistaken they may be, It may prove fatal to the Continent should their Affections be lost and I have { 351 } Reason to think it will be the Case if the Matter is not overruled by the honorable Congress before the last of the present Month. It will be peculiarly unhappy after a Series of the most happy Events in Favour of the Colonies, if a trifling Consideration compared with the Object of their Struggles should disaffect and defeat them. I have great Confidence in the Wisdom of the Congress and apprehend they will think it necessary to conciliate the Affections of the Soldiers and gain their Confidence, since without these an Army may be altogether useless. I hope this will be done and the Army reinforced in proportion to our Enemies and there will be little Danger of the Enemy's prevailing in this part of the Continent.
The military Stores are at the present Time all at Cambridge excepting what are wanted at Roxbury, but is this altogether prudent since a place may be fortified a few Miles in the Country and what are not wanted for immediate Use be kept therein. This is a Matter belonging to the General, but it is nevertheless wished here that it was otherwise regulated.
I hope the Army will in future be reinforced from the Southern Colonies since the Number of Men raised from this Colony has so increased the Burthen of Husbandry on those left behind that We found a Difficulty in apportioning 3000 Men only as a temporary Reinforcement to the Army, and as the Colony will probably be the Seat of War it will be expedient to have a powerful militia ready to reinforce at a short Notice. This We are destitute of at present as nothing is done to organize our Militia. Mr. Fessenden is waiting and gives me only Time to assure You sir that with much Respect I remain your most obedet. and very hum ser
[signed] Elbridge Gerry
P.S. By Mr. Sullivan from Biddeford We are just informed that another Store Ship is carryed into Portsmouth;4 he Came thro that Town so that there is little Reason to doubt it.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Gerry Decr 4. 75.”
1. On 9 Dec. Gerry submitted JA's request for information to the General Court, which referred it to a committee composed of Gerry, James Warren, and Azor Orne. When the three men reported on 11 Dec., the General Court resolved to request the seacoast towns to complete a blank form with the information wanted by JA and return it as soon as possible (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 32, 33–34). No record of the returns has been found.
2. See James Warren to JA, 20 Oct., note 11 (above).
3. Commas supplied.
4. This may have been the schooner Rainbow, Capt. John McMonagle, containing potatoes and turnips for Boston that was captured by the Warren, under Capt. Winborn Adams, on 25 Nov. and carried into Portsmouth (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 2:1152–1153, 1217; see also the New-England Chronicle, 30 Nov.).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0181

Author: Osgood, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-04

From Samuel Osgood Jr.

[salute] Sir

I fancy such an Army was scarcly ever collected together before. What a Contrast do my Eyes behold every Day: in Boston an Army of Slaves!—on this Side the Sons of the respectable Yeomanry of New England. At Home we are Lords of our own little but sufficient Estates. Some of the worthy Committee from the Honble. Continental Congress were very uneasy, the Soldier's Pay being too high in their Opinion; and Men enough at the Southward could be rais'd for 5 or 6 Dollars per Month, and now the Season was such that our Men would be out of employ, if they should return Home; which is altogether a Mistake. A Farmer, Sir (if he does his Duty) finds very little Leisure in the Winter. His Wood, which he will certainly procure in Sufficiency till the Season revolves, his Materials, and Stuff for his Fences in the Spring and consider what an almost infinite Lenght of Fences (I mention this because I fancy our Farms are smaller and more Divided with Fences than the Southward Plantations) not less than eight or ten Million of Miles in this Province which must all be attended to in the Spring; removing Manure for his Land, and tending his Stock &c. Engage his Attention thro the cold Season. From my own Knowledge, I am sensible, that Farmers have little Leisure in the Winter, but if we should grant it to be the Case, yet the Enlistment is to be for twelve Calendar Months, which must include the Leisure and Busy Times, if it is allowed we have such. If we compare the Pay the Soldier is to have the succeeding Campaign, with what the Massachusetts Soldier had last War, it will appear to be eighteen Dollars less per Year. They were pay'd lunar Months at the Rate of 6 Dollars which amounts to 78 Dollars; and their Bounty was twenty Dollars, which equals 98 Dollrs. But their present neat Pay is 80 Dollrs. I do not desire, Sir, from the above, to infer that their pay is low, for it is certainly generous and noble, but they have a Precedent of higher pay. I find, Sir, the raising the Pay of the Subalterns, gives great Uneasiness to the Privates, whether they can have any Objection in Reason or not; that, with the Rate laid upon them by our Genl. Assembly, is supposed will prevent many Persons Enlisting. The Policy of Rating the Army at this juncture I submit to better Judgments than mine. It may have a Tendency to disgrace our Colony, and will as far as it prevents any from Enlisting. The General has good Reason to complain of the Unwillingness of our Army in General to tarry after their Time is out. A considerable Number of the Connecti• { 353 } cut Forces went of[f] in a mutinous Manner, but the greatest Part have, by the Exertion and Perswasion of the Officers, been bro't back to Camp.
I wish to Heaven I could impress upon the Minds of all our Soldiers the pressing Importance of their continuing in the Service. Every Officer of true genuine Sentiments, will use his utmost Endeavors. But there will be some sordid Souls among them, (I mean of the Subaltern Kind) who will for the present, stay the Mens enlisting, flattering themselves, they are able to raise a Company, and are therefore entitled to a Captaincy which will after the Generals find the Wheels move heavily on, be conferred upon them. Such infamous Hirelings will sooner or later meet with a Punishment adequate to such mean, low lived Behavior. A good Soldier will eternally act with a great generous and open Soul. My Soul bleeds to hear even a Hint (it is too much) that it is in the Power of the southern Colonies to make their Terms of Peace and forsake us and that they will do it excepting we appear more spirited than we at this Time of raising a new Army appear to be. Gentlemen at the Helm here, say, they know it will take Place if as above &c. for our Militia are a damn'd pack of Scoundrels not that they believe! I cannot express myself decently upon the above Assertions and therefore leave them to your Honor. But this I beleive (if I do not know it) that Newengland had much better stand out till the Earth is fertilized with the last drop of Blood in her Veins if she is forsaken by every other Colony nay if they all join against her—than submit. The Newengland Colonies may and probably will harmonize in the same Form of Government but no more, and therefore when we have finished this War with Credit (as I firmly beleive it will be) we may anticipate what may turn up afterwards. Forgive me!!! I am with the greatest Respect your Honors most Humble Servant
[signed] S. Osgood
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “S. Osgood. D. 1775 Novr 30.”

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0182

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

From James Swan

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0183

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

From John Warren and Others

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0184

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

From William Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

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

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0185

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

The General Court to the Massachusetts Delegates

[salute] Gentlemen1

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0186

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

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0187

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

From William Tudor

[salute] Dr Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0188

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

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

[salute] Adeu

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0189

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

From Thomas Crafts Jr.

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0190

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

From Lemuel Hayward

[salute] Honored Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0191

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

From Joseph Hawley

[salute] Dear Sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0192

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

From Jonathan Williams

[salute] Dear Sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0193

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

From John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0194

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

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

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

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

Editorial Note

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

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

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

Resolution to pay post-riders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommendation to towns to promote the manufacture of saltpeter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resolution approving a new levy of men for the seacoast forces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message to House concerning the guarding of Hull and other towns

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

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

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

Resolution to supply the Continental Army with 4,000 blankets

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

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

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

Resolution concerning mittimus of sixteen named men to Worcester jail

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

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

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

Order to Plymouth jail to release James Middleton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resolution to allow the accounts of the treasurer of Barnstable county

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

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

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

Order to Worcester jail to release Thomas Mullin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. Report of a Committee on Fitting Out Armed Vessels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV. A Proclamation by the General Court

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0196

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

Samuel Hopkins to Thomas Cushing

[salute] Much honored Sir1

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0197

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

Robert Treat Paine to Joseph Palmer

[salute] My Dear Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0198

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

From Josiah Quincy

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0199

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

To William Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0200

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

To George Washington

[salute] Dr Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0201

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

From George Washington

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0202

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

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Madam

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0203

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

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0204

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

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0205

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

From Jason Haven

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0206

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

From George Washington

[salute] Dr Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0207

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

From Samuel Gelston

[salute] Sir

Pardon me for the Liberty I take in Sending a Billet to a Gentleman of your exolted Station and Character, when I have not the Honour to be in the number of your Acquaintance. Had not my situation been Really distressed, I should not have done it. When the Council Rose { 406 } Yesterday p.m. I was Acquainted by one of the Members That they had come into sundry Resolutions on my Matters and that Business was to be finished in the afternoon by a comitte chosen for that purpose. Since which I am told the court have it under Consideration. How far that may be consistant with the present Constitution I dont pretend to say, but I'm sure it is widely Different from every Idea I have Formed of the Custom of Courts. Perhaps there may be something very extreordinary in my case to Require it.
For God's sake Sir take a View of my Situation, to be dragd from my family and Business upwards of an Hundred miles through thick and thin, mud and mire bearing the insults of the Missled and unknowing for a supposed offence only—for I think no one in his sences