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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3

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

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

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

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

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


{ 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

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

Resolution to pay post-riders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recommendation to towns to promote the manufacture of saltpeter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resolution approving a new levy of men for the seacoast forces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Message to House concerning the guarding of Hull and other towns

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

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

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

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

Resolution to supply the Continental Army with 4,000 blankets

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

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

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

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

Resolution concerning mittimus of sixteen named men to Worcester jail

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

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

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

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

Order to Plymouth jail to release James Middleton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resolution to allow the accounts of the treasurer of Barnstable county

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

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

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

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

Order to Worcester jail to release Thomas Mullin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. Report of a Committee on Fitting Out Armed Vessels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV. A Proclamation by the General Court

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0196

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

Samuel Hopkins to Thomas Cushing

[salute] Much honored Sir1

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0197

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

Robert Treat Paine to Joseph Palmer

[salute] My Dear Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0198

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

From Josiah Quincy

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0199

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

To William Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0200

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

To George Washington

[salute] Dr Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0201

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

From George Washington

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0202

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

To Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Madam

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0203

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

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0204

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

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0205

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

From Jason Haven

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0206

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

From George Washington

[salute] Dr Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0207

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

From Samuel Gelston

[salute] Sir

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

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

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

From Perez Morton

[salute] Sir

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

[salute] By order of the Genl. Court,

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

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

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

Enclosure: Resolution Appointing Massachusetts Delegates to the Continental Congress

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0209

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

From Jeduthun Baldwin

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0210

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

From William Heath

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0211

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

From Lemuel Hayward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0212

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

From Humanity

[salute] sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0213

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

From Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0214

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

From William Judd

[salute] Gentlemen

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

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

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

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

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

Enclosure: Robert Treat Paine to James Warren

[salute] Sir

I wrote you Last from Hackinsack, dated Nov. 15 that I had put my trunk on board a Waggon bound for Cambridge, and had directed { 415 } it to your Care; this Letter I think I Sent by the Post, but the Waggon and Trunk never Sett off from Phila. By this means you are Saved any further trouble and I the burthen of any further Obligation to you.
How far your malevolent disposition towards me, would have Suffered you to have kept up the external appearance of Good offices, I know not, tho' I believe another disposition would have prompted you to it.
I dare Say by this time you are trying to pretend to yourself a Surprise at this kind of Expression from a person whom you Supposed Considered you as his best Friend; but I dare appeal to your conscience which will at Some time do the Strictest Justice, that you deserve Severer censures from me; however it is not my design to take notice of your conduct towards me in any other way than expostulation and call back your mind to the first principles of our common opposition from which it seems to me you are widely Straying; Union is undoubtedly the platform of our opposition, upon this we Sat out, and whenever we depart from it there is an end of our defence; whoever directly or indirectly doth anything to break this Union, is so far an Enemy to American Liberty, whoever abuses, disparages or discourages a fellow Labourer, is so far an Enemy to the cause; without enlarging in this strain to which there would be no End, I must refer your contemplations to a Letter you Sent to Mr. John Adams dated Nov. 3. 1775;1 Mr. Adams met this Letter on the Road home, and (forgetting what destruction, the discovery of traducing Letters has brought on Some others,2 and how necessary it is that Such a Correspondence should be kept Secret, in order to answer the vile purposes of it) Sent it open to his brother delegates; I cannot describe the Astonishment, Grief and vexation I felt when I read it: if possible Explain to me wherein I deserve such treatment from you; in the close acquaintance of 15 years and more, did you ever find me unfaithful? Was I not watchfully observant of your Interest, Reputation and happiness? Has any person been more attentive to the Interest and welfare of the family with which you are connected your Dulce decus et presidium,3 and that at a time when my Interest and promotion would have been much advanced by contrary conduct? I mention not these matters to upbraid, but to Give you an Idea of the reflections with which your conduct agitates my mind.
I know not what principle to derive your treatment of me from, unless it be that, to the opposing of which in other persons you owe all your Glory; could you not have “particular friends” without calumniating, ridiculing and degrading your other friends? “Paine I hear { 416 } is gone to gratify his curiosity in Canada,” did you “hear” this from any of your “particular friends”? Alass I fear what you call “Friendship,” has for its object a very contracted monopolising System, for the Support of which many incumbrances must be cleared off! “A Good Journey to him he may possibly do as much good there as at Philadelphia,” what apprehensions have you of the Little Good I do at Philadelphia, unless from the intimations of your “particular friends”? And pray Sir what good do you do at Watertown or Cambridge? Do you consider how far and to what Subjects, Such Questions may be extended? And do you know as well as I do what the answer might be? “Tho I find some people here would not have pitched on him for the business we Suppose he is gone on, and perhaps there are some who would not have done it for any.” By all accounts if your machinations had Succeeded, I had not been chosen into the Councill,4 and I could easily percieve when there Last, that the influence of one of your party in favour of one of your “particular friends” degraded me in point of Rank; and what other Plotts you have Laid against me you well know.
Pray Sir do you really think that when such important matters were to be consulted and determined respecting our Expedition in the North that I took that Fatiguing Journey at Such a season to Gratify my Curiosity? If you knew how I spent all the time I was absent in this Journey, and what report the Committee made, you would not think that curiosity either prompted or Engaged my pursuit: I certainly took Great pains to be Excused from the Service, but was Urged to it by one of your “particular friends.” If I have not acquitted myself well in this and all other my political undertakings, let my Deficiencies be pointed out to me that I may amend.
That there are some in our Colony who would not have “Chosen” me to this or any other “business,” may be true, but if you were not one of them wherefore this insidious, clandestine way of spreading the knowledge of it? Who these people are, and how many of them owe their Sentiments to your influence, you do not say: are there any, or how many do you think there are, who have the same opinion of you.
Do you really think I have done and do no Good here? Do you know how I have Spent and do Spend my time? I could Set this matter in a Light that would Sufficiently account for some things, but I have affairs of more importance to attend to.
That you are my Enemy, and have been Labouring my disgrace, I am Satisfy'd; that finding yourself detected, your implacable temper { 417 } will urge you on to execute your Ill-will I have so much reason to think, that I must necessarily take care of myself.
[signed] R T Paine
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume have been moved to the end of the preceding document.
Tr (Adams Papers;) Dft, dated 1 Jan. (MHi:Robert Treat Paine Papers).
1. A mistake for 3 Dec., the mistake occurring also in the draft. The letter is printed above. There is no indication that Paine knew of the letter from Warren to JA of 5 Nov., which comments on Paine's appointment to the superior court; yet Paine's letter to Joseph Hawley of 1 Jan., mentioned in note 8 of Warren's letter of 3 Dec., indicates that Paine strongly suspected that other letters critical of him had been written.
2. A jibe at JA for his criticism of John Dickinson in the intercepted letter of 24 July 1775 (above).
3. Sweet pride and protection. Warren through his wife was connected with the Otis family. Paine may be referring to his support for James Otis in preference to Thomas Hutchinson for appointment to the superior court. Gov. Bernard's refusal of the post to Otis was important in alienating many from the royal government.
4. Paine was elected to the Council when JA was, in July 1775 (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 6).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.