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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3

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.