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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0113

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lowell, John
Date: 1776-06-12

To John Lowell

[salute] Dear Sir

Yesterdays Post brought me a Newspaper of the 3d. Instant, containing a List of your House, and Board, and upon my Word I read it with more Pleasure than I ever read any other List of the two Houses. I dont believe the Records of the Province can show, a more respectable set of Representatives or Councillors. Sergeant, Lowell, Pickering,1 Angier are great Acquisitions in the House: So are Dana, and Sewall at the Board, not to mention many other very respectable Characters among the new Members of each.
From this Collection of wise and prudent Men, I hope great Things. I hope that the most vigorous Exertions will be made to put the Province in the best State of Defence. Every Seaport in it, ought to be fortified in Such a Manner that you may sett the Enemy at Defyance. To this End, large Additions must be made to the Cannon of the Colony. I wish to know, whether, they are cast, at any Furnace in the Province, if not no Expence I think should be Spared to procure them. They are casting them Successfully in Maryland, Pensylvania, and Rhode Island. Another Article essentially necessary, is that of MUsquetts. I wish that every Man in the Province who can work about any Part of a Gun or Bayonnett was set to work. No Price, should be thought extravagant.
{ 250 }
Salt Petre it seems you are in a Way to procure in sufficient Quantities. But Sulphur and Lead I have not yet learnt to be made among you. I hope you will take effectual Measures to make Salt. You must do it. The other Colonies are too lazy and shiftless to do any Thing untill you set them the example.
The Defence of the Colony is the first object. The second is the Formation of a Constitution. In this Business, I presume you will proceed Slowly and deliberately. It is a difficult Work to atchieve and the Spirit of Levelling, as well as that of Innovation, is afloat. Before I saw, the List of the new Election I was under fearfull Apprehensions I confess. But my Mind is now at Ease, in this Respect. There are So many able Men in each House that I think, they will have Influence enough to prevent any dangerous Innovations, and yet to carry any necessary and usefull Improvements.
Some of you must prepare your stomachs to come to Philadelphia. I am weary, and must ask Leave to return to my Family, after a little Time, and one of my Colleagues at least, must do the same, Or I greatly fear, do worse. You and I know very well the Fatigues of Practice at the Bar: But I assure you, this incessant Round of thinking and Speaking upon the greatest Subjects that ever employed the Mind of Man, and the most perplexing Difficulties that ever puzzled it, is beyond all Comparison more exhausting and consuming.
Our affairs in Canada are in a confused and disastrous situation. But I hope they will not be worse. We have made large Requisitions upon you. How you can possibly comply with them I know not: but hope you will do as much as you can.
We have no Resource left my Friend, but our own Fortitude, and the Favour of Heaven. If We have the first I have no doubt We shall obtain the last. And these will be Sufficient. All Ideas of Reconciliation, or Accomodation Seem to be gone with the Years before the Flood.
I have nothing new to communicate, but what is in every Newspaper, and I began this Letter only to make my Compliments to you, and ask the Favour of your Correspondence; but have wandered, I know not whither. It is Time to subscribe myself your Friend and servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Both John and Timothy Pickering were representatives from Salem.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sewall, David
Date: 1776-06-12

To David Sewall

[salute] Dear Sir1

In the Boston Gazette of the 3d. Instant, I have the Pleasure to see your Name among the Councillors, where I have wished to see it, for some Time. That refined Ingenuity and pertenacious Industry, which distinguished my Classmate at Colledge, and my Brother at the Bar, I am sure will be of great service to the Province, at the Councill Board, especially at this Time, when the public Stands so much in Need of the services of her best Men. Your Mathematical and Philosophical Genius, will be agreably entertained with Speculations for the Defence of Places, and the Fortification of the Harbours and seaport Towns.
Let me Suggest to your Consideration two Objects of Inquiry; the one is Row Gallies and the other is Fire ships. Row Gallies and Floating Batteries, are Engines very formidable to Men of War, because they are So low and small that it is almost impossible for a Man of War to bring her Guns to bear upon them So as to do Execution, and the great Weight of Mettal, which is carried by the heavy Cannon, on board such Gallies and Batteries, tear the Ships to Pieces, and the shot is very sure.
Fire ships and Rafts, are the King of Terrors to Men of War, when so protected by Row Gallies and floating Batteries, that they cannot grapple them and anchor them by Means of their Boats, and Barges. I have inclosed to your excellent Speaker, a little Treatise2 upon the Art of making the Compositions and constructing the Vessells. There seems to be Something infernal in this Art. But our quondam Friend Jonathan used to quote from Mat. Prior,3 “When it is to combat Evil, Tis lawfull to employ the Devil.” There is no greater Evil on Earth or under it than the War that is made upon Us. And We have a Right, and it is our Duty to defend our selves, by such Means as We have.
There are Such Preparations of Vesseaux de Frizes, Fire ships, Fire Rafts, floating Batteries and Row Gallies in Delaware River, that they would Spread Destruction through any British Fleet, that should attempt to come up here. I wish that Similar Preparations were made in every Seaport in the Mass. Bay.
After you have done every Thing that is necessary for the Defence of the Colony, and her Sisters, I presume you will turn your Thoughts to the Establishment of a permanent Constitution of civil Government. The Board is so unwieldy a Body to conduct the Executive Part of Government, productive of So much Delay, and unnecessary Trouble, { 252 } that you will no doubt, choose a Governor. Will you give him a Negative upon your Laws, or only make him Primus inter Pares, at the Board? I suppose the high, free Spirit of our People will demand the latter. But, I must conclude, my Letter, by requesting the Favour of your Correspondence, and assuring you that I am with great Esteem, your Friend and humble Servant
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. David Sewall (1735–1825) of York, Maine, had a reputation at Harvard for skill in astronomy that JA recalled in his old age. Sewall went on to become a prosperous lawyer and later a state and federal judge (JA to Sewall, 4 Nov. 1821, LbC, Adams Papers; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:638–645).
2. See JA to James Warren, 9 June, note 2 (above).
3. Jonathan Sewall's quotation from the poet Matthew Prior has not been located.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0001

Editorial Note

On 12 June 1776, almost five months after a committee had been named to consider the establishment of a war office, the Continental Congress resolved to create “a Board of War and Ordnance” and on the following day appointed John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Harrison, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge as its first members (JCC, 4:85; 5:434, 438). The new body, without which Washington believed “Affairs can never properly be conducted,” was an effort finally to bring organization into a chaotic situation. The Board was created to deal with the day-to-day administration of the army, including appointments, promotions, provisions, and prisoners (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:128).
Adams played a major role on the Board and thus in the war effort, for he served as the body's president from its creation until he left Congress in November 1777. It was a responsibility, as he explained to his wife, “to which I never aspired, a Trust to which I feel my self vastly unequal.” It must have taken up much of his available time, for he reported that it was meeting “every Morning and every Evening” (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:24). The burden for Adams was the heavier since he was also on committees to draft the Declaration of Independence and a treaty plan and was almost certainly active in the daily debates of the congress.
Although the Board was very busy during its first two and one-half months, neither Adams nor anyone else said very much about its activities. Between 12 June and 27 August the Board sent thirty-eight reports to con• { 253 } gress on subjects ranging from the appointment of chaplains to the issuance of an invitation to an Indian chief to visit congress. Only two of these reports, those of 13 August (printed below) and 22 August (calendared), are extant and only the first, because it is partially in Adams' hand, gives any evidence of his role in its formulation. For the remaining reports there is no way to determine the part played by Adams in the debates of the Board concerning them. Neither is there any indication of the extent to which actions taken by the Continental Congress on military matters but not touched upon in reports of the Board resulted from informal action by that body or of its members as individuals. The reader, therefore, to gain what little additional information exists on the actions of the Board for this period, must turn to the Board's correspondence and to references, often oblique, in John Adams' private letters.
In the Journals of the Continental Congress the reports of the Board of War take the form of resolutions passed by the congress. Comparison of later MS reports with the printed resolutions warrants the assumption that the latter typically follow closely the texts of Board reports. The congressional resolutions here calendared may then be viewed as reports of the Board of War. For the Board's expectations regarding its relations with General Washington, see its letter to him of 21 June (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-17

17 June.

17 June. The congress resolved, in response to a letter of 10 June from Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, that two battalions raised in Connecticut for service at Boston and New York, respectively, be sent to Canada; that blank commissions be sent to Trumbull for the officers of the battalion intended for New York; and that another battalion of militia be sent to Boston, Connecticut to receive $10,500 to defray the cost (JCC, 5:447–448; Note: Two additional resolutions immediately following and concerning the commissioning of officers by the Connecticut Assembly and the sale of gunpowder by the Secret Committee to New Jersey may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-19

19 June.

19 June. The congress resolved in regard to several letters, particularly one of 16 June from George Washington, that commissions given by Brigadier General Sullivan to officers in Canada be confirmed and that $300,000 be sent to the paymaster general in New York (JCC, 5:465).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-21

21 June.

21 June. The congress, considering the status of several officers who had served in Canada during the last winter, resolved that New York raise a new regiment and in doing so commission the veterans of the Canadian service; that the commissions be granted on the condition of their companies being raised to full strength; that Maj. Lewis Dubois in particular be provided for; and that Maj. John Vischer be commissioned as lieutenant colonel (JCC, 5:471–472).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-24

24 June.

24 June. The congress tabled a petition from Carpenter Wharton (see resolution of 6 July, below) and desired that General Washington inform it as to the cost of a ration as provided by the commissary general (JCC, 5:477).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-25

25 June.

25 June. In response to letters from Schuyler, Sullivan, and Arnold transmitted in a letter of 23 June from George Washington, the congress resolved that the number of men for the Northern Department be increased to 4,000; that Major Dubois be made a colonel and ordered to raise a regiment; that the force to be sent to the Northern Department be augmented by one regiment from New Hampshire, two regiments from Massachusetts, and one regiment from Connecticut, the regiments to be supplied by their respective colonies with reimbursement to come from the congress; that a regimental paymaster, not an officer of the army, be appointed by each of the colonies for the battalions (JCC, 5:477, 478–480; Note: A resolution immediately following that a committee be sent to confer with George Washington on further measures may have proceeded from the same report but was expunged from the record the following day).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-26

26 June.

26 June. The congress resolved that M. Felix Weibert be permitted to serve in the capacity of an engineer under General Washington (JCC, 5:480–482; Note: Three additional resolutions immediately following concerning the appointment of officers for the regiment to be raised by Col. Lewis Dubois, a letter to the New York Convention explaining the need for Dubois' regiment, and the empowering of the Marine Committee to purchase the Catharine may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-27

27 June.

27 June. In response to a letter from George Washington, the congress resolved that six companies of riflemen in addition to the three in New York be raised and placed in a regiment with Hugh Stephenson as commander; that four companies of riflemen be raised in Virginia and two in Maryland to serve in the above regiment; and that General Washington send to Congress a list of all vacancies in the Army (JCC, 5:486).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-28

28 June.

28 June. The congress resolved that M. Le Chevalier de Kirmovan be employed by Pennsylvania in planning and laying out the fortifications at Billingsport on the Delaware River (JCC, 5:490–491).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-05

5 July.

5 July. The congress resolved that a regiment be raised out of the officers who had served in Canada on the same basis as that of Colonel Dubois and designated the officers for this regiment (JCC, 5:518–519; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and concerning the dispatch of ship carpenters to General Schuyler at Albany to build boats for the defense of the lakes may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-05

5 July.

5 July. The congress resolved that John Coburne, assistant conductor of military stores in Canada, be allowed lieutenant's pay from 1 March – { 255 } 1 June 1776; that a chaplain be appointed to each regiment in the Continental Army; that immediate steps be taken to procure lead; and that an express be established between New York and Philadelphia to permit General Washington to send daily dispatches to the congress (JCC, 5:522).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-05

5 July.

5 July. The congress resolved that five tons of powder be sent to Gen. Andrew Lewis at Williamsburg for use in the Southern Department and that part of it be sent to South Carolina; that British prisoners in New Jersey be sent to York, Pennsylvania; and that four companies of militia be retained in Philadelphia to guard continental stores (JCC, 5:522–523).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-06

6 July.

6 July. The congress resolved that Carpenter Wharton be appointed commissary to the militia being sent from Pennsylvania to New Jersey; that William Sherman Jr. be named paymaster for Col. Seth Warner's regiment; and that Maj. Robert Rogers be sent to New Hampshire “to be disposed of” as that government thinks best (JCC, 5:523). Rogers, who was living in New Hampshire, was a half-pay officer in the King's forces and had gone to Philadelphia presumably to secure an American commission. Washington did not trust him (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1108–1109).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-08

8 July.

8 July. The congress resolved that George Washington have the power to call to New York the continental regiments in Massachusetts not bound for Ticonderoga; that Washington have permission to employ as many Indians as necessary from the St. Johns, Nova Scotia, and Penobscot tribes; and that the commissary general have full power to supply the armies on the lakes and at New York respectively and to appoint and remove subordinates (JCC, 5:527).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-09

9 July.

9 July. The congress named officers for the Virginia Rifle Company and resolved that money be sent to Virginia and Maryland for the rifle companies (JCC, 5:529; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and concerning the appointment of William Palfrey to the rank of lieutenant colonel may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-10

10 July.

10 July. The congress resolved that the Committee of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, be empowered to mount a guard over the prisoners there and construct a stockade and that privates held as prisoners at Reading be sent to Lancaster (JCC, 5:531).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-11

11 July.

11 July. In response to a letter from the New Jersey Convention the congress resolved that New Jersey be informed of the measures being taken by the congress for the defense of the Province (JCC, 5:541).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-16

16 July.

16 July. The congress resolved that the new positions of sergeant major, quartermaster sergeant, drum major, fife major, and paymaster be created at the regimental level; that payment be made to each member of the Con• { 256 } necticut light horse for the maintenance of his mount; that General Schuyler be directed to work to free the army of smallpox; that the Pennsylvania Provincial Convention take proper measures to secure lead for the Flying Camp; that commissioners be appointed to audit the accounts of the army in New York and that in the north; and that General Washington be informed of the application of its recently passed bounty system (JCC, 5:563–566; Note: Additional resolutions immediately following and concerning appointments to and reinforcements from the Flying Camp and the need of the army at New York for reinforcements from Connecticut may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-17

17 July.

17 July. The congress resolved that Washington had acted with dignity in refusing to receive an improperly addressed letter from Lord Howe and resolved further that no American commander should receive a letter from the enemy that failed to use his official rank in the address (JCC, 5:567).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-19

19 July.

19 July. The congress resolved that General Schuyler should police the pricing of goods sold to soldiers, observe the rule of the congress that officers hold no more than one office each, and promote harmony among the units of the different states (JCC, 5:591: Note: Two additional resolutions immediately following and calling on Pennsylvania and Maryland to expedite the movement of their troops into New Jersey and New York may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-20

20 July.

20 July. The congress resolved that Jacques Antoine de Franchessin be commissioned a lieutenant colonel and assigned to the Flying Camp (JCC, 5:595; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and recommending Dr. Isaac Senter to Dr. John Morgan may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-23

23 July.

23 July. The congress resolved, despite allegations, to allow Col. Lewis Dubois to proceed in recruiting his regiment as originally planned; to inform Washington of the confidence the congress had in his military judgment in disposing troops and of its approval of the loan to the New York Convention; and to appoint M. St. Martin lieutenant colonel as an engineer (JCC, 5:602–603; Note: An additional resolution immediately following concerning the appointment of Dr. David Griffith as chaplain and surgeon in the Third Regiment of Virginia may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-24

24 July.

24 July. The congress resolved to take into continental service the South Carolina rangers and prescribed their table of organization and rates of pay and further resolved to take on the same conditions rangers to be raised in Georgia (JCC, 5:606–607; Note: Additional resolutions immediately following and permitting Col. Henry Knox to raise another battalion of artillery; the exchange of Phillip Skene for James Lovell; and the { 257 } entry into the continental service of a troop of light horse under Capt. John Leary Jr. may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-29

29 July.

29 July. The congress resolved that General Washington could use the newly formed Connecticut regiment at his discretion; that M. Jean Artur Vermonet be appointed brevet captain and another French volunteer, M. Marie Fidel Dorrè, be used as seemed proper; that M. Christopher Pellisier be appointed an engineer with the rank of lieutenant colonel and sent to New York; that General Washington issue commissions to such officers of Colonel Elmore's regiment as bring men to join him and, in the same regiment, that John Brown be commissioned lieutenant colonel and Robert Cochran be appointed major in place of the deceased Maj. Israel Curtis (JCC, 5:614–615; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and calling for the appointment of a lieutenant colonel for the Second Pennsylvania Battalion may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0024

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-30

30 July.

30 July. The congress resolved that the recruitment bounties paid to officers be extended to those enlisting men in the new army for three years; that General Mercer's plan to build boats be approved and materials supplied for that purpose; that General Schuyler be permitted to publish portions of the treaty with the Six Nations; and that an Indian chief, Cayashuta of Niagara, be invited to visit the congress (JCC, 5:620–621).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0025

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-31

31 July.

31 July. The congress resolved that five tons of powder be sent to General Washington at New York and that those militia forces thought necessary by the Massachusetts General Court be supplied and paid by the Continent (JCC, 5:623).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0026

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-01

1 August.

1 August. The congress ordered transcribed and sent a draft letter to George Washington stating that the power given to General Gates in Canada to appoint officers resulted from no lack of confidence in him and would establish no precedent (JCC, 5:625; see John Hancock to George Washington, 2 Aug., Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:725).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0027

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-01

1 August.

1 August. The congress resolved that Col. John Brown be permitted the rank and pay of lieutenant colonel from 20 November 1775 and that Col. James Easton be allowed the rank and pay of colonel from 1 July 1775 until his discharge pending the decision of a court of inquiry or court martial which, if favorable, would recommend him for further employment (JCC, 5:626; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and appropriating money to feed the militia passing through Philadelphia to the Flying Camp may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0028

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-02

2 August.

2 August. The congress resolved that Jonathan Trumbull, deputy paymaster general of the Northern Department, be sent $200,000 and additionally that he send a return of all monies intrusted to him since his appointment; that General Washington be permitted to employ as many { 258 } Stockbridge Indians as necessary; that one hundred old arms held by the congress be sent to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety for repair and issuing to soldiers going to the Flying Camp; that the paymaster general and deputies, commissary general and deputies, and quartermaster general and deputies be required to submit weekly returns of monies supplied them; that the commissary general and deputies and quartermaster general and deputies make monthly returns of supplies in their care; and that the commanders of each department make monthly returns of drafts made on them by the paymaster (JCC, 5:627–628).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0029

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-05

5 August.

5 August. The congress resolved that commanders of American naval vessels or privateers be allowed to enlist sailors taken from the enemy and that those who refuse enlistment be held and exchanged for American sailors; that Rufus Putnam be appointed an engineer with the rank of colonel and pay of $60 per month (JCC, 5:630).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0030

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-07

7 August.

7 August. The congress ordered payment of $222 to three Canadians, Messrs. Giasson, Hertel, and de la Magdelaine, for their expenses from 15 Nov. to 31 July as prisoners at Bristol (JCC, 5:636).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0031

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-09

9 August.

9 August. The congress resolved that the Secret Committee supply the Delaware battalion with those articles in the Committee's possession thought necessary by the Board of War and that it also send 30,000 flints to General Washington (JCC, 5:640; Note: The report for this date was tabled, but it is likely that the resolutions immediately following it proceeded from that report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0032

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-10

10 August.

10 August. The congress resolved that the officers recommended by the Board be issued commissions, excepting only those named to fill positions held by captured officers, which were to remain open until an exchange was effected; that in the 10th and 20th regiments, respectively, Lieutenant Colonels John Tyler and John Durkee be commissioned colonels and Majors Samuel Prentiss and Thomas Knowlton, lieutenant colonels (JCC, 5:644). On 19 Aug., to fill the vacancies caused by the promotion of Prentiss and Knowlton, the congress accepted a recommendation of the Board and resolved that Captains James Chapman and Thomas Dyer be commissioned as majors (JCC, 5:667–668).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0033

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-13

13 August.

13 August. The congress resolved that General Washington supply it with a copy of Massachusetts Bay's treaty with the St. Johns and Micmac Indians; that Colonel Wilson's battalion of militia be supplied with 22 muskets, 22 lbs. of powder, and 88 lbs. of lead; and that William Caldwell and William Lawrence be appointed paymasters of Col. Loammi Baldwin's and Col. John Shee's regiments, respectively (JCC, 5:651).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0034

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-13

14 August.

14 August. See the Board of War report for 13 August printed below.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0035

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-15

15 August.

15 August. The congress resolved that James Livingston be commissioned as colonel and ordered to raise as many companies of Canadians as would serve and that the commander in chief of the Northern Department recommend officers to serve under him (JCC, 5:657).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0036

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-17

17 August.

17 August. The congress resolved that Gustavus Risberg be appointed an assistant to Clement Biddle, deputy quartermaster general to the Flying Camp (JCC, 5:665–666; Note: Several other resolutions immediately following concerning the exchange of prisoners, troops raised in Maryland, and supplies requested by General Mercer may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0037

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-21

21 August.

21 August. The congress resolved that the cannon committee let a contract for casting in brass or iron six 6-pounders, six 12-pounders, four 8-inch howitzers, and 6 Cohorn mortars for use by General Gates, and further that this committee take possession of the copper belonging to the United States at New London; that, until further orders, Maj. Gen. Artemas Ward remain in command of the Eastern Department (JCC, 5:693–694; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and appropriating money for the use of Col. Henry Knox in procuring copper may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0038

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-22

22 August.

22 August. On this date the Board presented a report that was tabled, with no indication given of its content (JCC, 5:696). This was probably the report on the petition of Preudhome La Jeunesse that had been referred to the Board of War on 21 Aug. (same, p. 692). This report, dated by the Board 21 Aug. but not recorded under that date in the JCC, is extant and in the hand of Richard Peters. Bearing the notation “Agreed to report to Congress” and docketed “Order'd to Lie,” the report recommended that La Jeunesse be given a commission as captain and attached to Col. James Livingston's regiment at Ticonderoga (PCC, No. 147, I).
(PCC, No. 147, I).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0039

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-27

27 August.

27 August. The congress resolved that the expense of clothing the soldiers for the Continental Army raised in Virginia be assumed by the Continent and deducted from the soldiers' pay and that Mr. Measam's petition for compensation be referred to the Treasury Board (JCC, 5:706; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and directing the Secret Committee to deliver arms to the Maryland troops may have proceeded from this same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0001

Editorial Note

The Plan of Treaties of 1776 had its origin in a resolution of the Continental Congress on 11 June. Coming on the day following the resolution to appoint a committee to prepare a declaration of independence, it stated that a committee should be named “to prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers.” The next day John Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Benjamin Harrison, and Robert Morris were appointed to undertake the task. On 18 July the plan was reported to Congress, and two months later, on 17 September, the treaty plan was adopted and incorporated into instructions for the American representatives in Europe (JCC, 5:431, 428–429, 433, 575, 768, 813).
The Plan of Treaties was the work of John Adams, and of all the documents composed by him during his career in the congress, it was perhaps the most important and certainly had the most lasting effect. It was the first major state paper dealing with the conduct of the United States toward other sovereign states. It would guide the makers of American foreign policy far beyond the exigencies of the Revolution. Indeed, its tone and the principles on which it was based lie at the core of almost all major pronouncements on foreign policy by American statesmen from that time until at least the beginning of World War II.
In his Autobiography, Adams states that in the committee's deliberations over the Plan of Treaties, he “contended for the same Principles, which I had before avowed and defended in Congress.” His claim is supported by an entry in his Diary for March–April 1776, a period during which overtures to France were recurrently debated in Congress. There Adams set down the principle that he believed should guide any attempt to form a Franco-American treaty: that is, that there should be only a commercial connection, with no political or military ties (Diary and Autobiography, 3:337; 2:236; see also JA to John M. Jackson, 30 Dec. 1817, JA, Works, 10:269–270). It was Adams' strong advocacy of a treaty that probably brought him the task of drafting the plan, for he had come to see an intimate connection between independence and an “alliance.” As he { 261 } championed the first, he strove mightily for the second. It is perhaps not too strong to say that by June, as he was in the midst of drafting the Plan of Treaties, Adams had come to believe that independence was necessary if a treaty was to be negotiated, but that a treaty was necessary if independence was to be maintained (see JA to Charles Lee, 13 Oct. 1775; JA to John Winthrop, 12 May; JA to Patrick Henry, 3 June, all above; JA to John Winthrop, 23 June, below).
Two principles guided Adams as he drafted the Plan of Treaties: that it would be with France and that it would be a commercial agreement. That France was the obvious choice for a treaty was clear to all, since it was the only European power with the resources to provide the needed aid. Further, France was still unreconciled to defeat in the Seven Years' War and suffering the humiliation of a subordinate role to Great Britain in the European political arena. Although a treaty with France would go in the face of ingrained American prejudices against Roman Catholicism, deepened in France's case by the long history of Anglo-French conflict in North America, the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. In Articles 8 and 9 of the draft Adams took care to insure that France would be prohibited from establishing itself once again on the American continent and thereby posing a threat to American independence.
Yet the Plan of Treaties was first and foremost a commercial agreement. Adams strongly believed that the right to trade with the United States was sufficient compensation for any aid given to it, even if the act of providing aid involved the other nation in a war with Great Britain. Such treaties were in the interest of the United States because they avoided a political or military alliance that “might embarrass Us in after times and involve Us in future European Wars,” thus compromising the true policy of the new country, perfect neutrality (Diary and Autobiography, 2:236; 3:337–338; see JA to James Warren, 16 April, above; JA to John Winthrop, 23 June, below).
The commercial provisions of the treaty plan had several facets. First, although free trade may have been an ultimate goal, the plan provided not so much for that as for an equality of trade. Americans were to pay no higher duties on imports into France than natives of that country and vice versa. Equally important, the same principle applied to France's colonial possessions. Second, the treaty provided for a limited list of wartime contraband and the principle that free ships make free goods. Thus a strong basis for future American neutrality was laid down, since a neutral nation, by definition, would want contraband limited as much as possible and non-contraband goods, regardless of their ownership, free from seizure when carried by its ships.
These provisions, certainly in the interest of the United States, were also seen as offering advantages to France that would induce it to sign the treaty and provide aid without demanding a military or political alliance. In any future war with Great Britain it was likely that the French Navy would be rendered relatively impotent, as had been the case in the past, { 262 } with the result that French colonial trade would be cut off. A neutral America, supporting the provisions contained in the treaty plan, would be of immense benefit to France by taking over its carrying trade and mitigating for it the consequences of British naval superiority. In addition, though not necessarily considered by Adams as he drafted his plan, if this treaty opened French colonial trade to the United States in time of peace, it could avoid in wartime collision with the British Rule of 1756. In its simplest form, this rule declared that opening in time of war trade that was forbidden during peace (a common French practice in regard to its colonial trade) was illegal. Neutral ships violating the rule were subject to seizure.
Adams states in his Autobiography that “the Committee after as much deliberation upon the Subject as they chose to employ, appointed me, to draw up a Plan and Report” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). With that mandate and his own clear conception of what the treaty should include, he set to work, producing a draft made up of two distinct parts.
The first section, Articles 1 through 13, was apparently written almost entirely by Adams with occasional references to the third volume of A Collection of State Tracts Publish'd . . . during the Reign of King William III. To which is Prefix'd The History of the Dutch War in 1672, 3 vols., London, 1705–1707, and to [Alexander Justice], A General Treatise of the Dominion of the Sea: And a Compleat Body of the Sea-Laws . . . To which is subjoin'd, An Appendix concerning the present State and Regulations of the Admiralty and Navy, London, 1709?, both of which works are cited in marginal notes opposite the preamble and Article 5 of the draft (see No. I, notes 1 and 6, below). The pages referred to in these notes contain treaty articles that seem appropriate to Adams' purpose, and he incorporated some of their language into the articles he drafted for the treaty plan. In regard to the first thirteen articles, however, the two volumes seem to have been used by Adams as guides to the proper forms for composing treaty provisions rather than as sources for complete articles, taken verbatim from existing treaties and changed only to fit American needs.
For the remaining seventeen articles, together with the passport and certificates appended at the end of the treaty plan, we know that Adams copied appropriate articles from treaties contained in a particular collection: Henry Edmunds and William Harris, comps., A Compleat Collection of All the Articles and Clauses which Relate to the Marine, in the Several Treaties Now Subsisting Between Great Britain, and Other Kingdoms and States, To which is Prefixed a Preface or Introductory Discourse, London, 1760 (see No. I, notes 11, 17, and 18, below). The copy that Adams used was lent to him: “Franklin had made some marks with a Pencil against some Articles in a printed Volume of Treaties, which he put into my hand” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). The Houghton Library of Harvard University now owns Franklin's copy of A Compleat Collection, and in it various treaty articles have an “X” beside them. Moreover, the { 263 } page numbers cited opposite Articles 24 and 25 of the draft are those for the corresponding articles copied by Adams from this book.
This volume, which almost certainly came to Adams in the midst of his labors, was a godsend, enabling him to speed the drafting process. That he had not possessed it earlier is suggested by his using State Tracts and Sea Laws for the first thirteen articles. A Compleat Collection was more appropriate to his needs, for two of the treaties consulted in State Tracts and Sea Laws were also included in A Compleat Collection. It is reasonable to suppose that if Adams had possessed the latter sooner he would have followed for the earlier articles the same practice that he used for the remaining ones, that is, verbatim copying. Even though the substance of the first thirteen articles, which deal largely with the interests of the United States, did not in every case lend itself to coverage by articles simply copied from other treaties, the alterations required would have taken less time than drafting each article individually.
The process by which Adams drafted Articles 14 through 30, with the accompanying passport and certificates, is significant for revealing his intentions. From Article 14 on, the provisions of the treaty plan were copied from three existing agreements between Great Britain and France, especially the commercial treaty concluded at Utrecht in 1713. Franklin had marked three treaties between Great Britain and Spain, but Adams' object was probably to choose articles to which France was already a party, thereby making it easier for her to accept the Plan of Treaties as it was rather than insist on different articles that might compromise American interests. Whether Adams had it in mind or not, his draft was essentially a transformation of existing Anglo-French agreements into Franco-American treaties and for France amounted merely to a reratification of them in favor of the United States.
Adams' draft of the Plan of Treaties served as the basis for the report made to Congress on 18 July (see No. I, descriptive note, below). The differences between the draft and the report as ordered printed on 20 July (JCC, 5:594; No. II, below) indicate that the committee in debating the draft made additions and deletions. The Plan of Treaties as adopted by the congress (No. III, below) emerged from debates on 22 and 27 August, when it was referred back to the original committee enlarged by the addition of Richard Henry Lee and James Wilson (JCC, 5:696, 709–710). The expanded committee put the plan into its final form; yet when adopted on 17 September, the treaty plan differed little in its essentials from Adams' original draft.
The adoption of the Plan of Treaties did not, however, end Adams' worries. Much depended on the instructions that were to guide the American negotiators in Europe, for if these differed markedly from the principles set down in the plan, Adams would have labored in vain. It is not known to what extent Adams participated in the expanded committee's deliberations, but the instructions which were adopted on 24 September and which dealt specifically with Articles 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 25, and 26 { 264 } { 265 } did not, with three important exceptions, conflict with the plan as drafted (JCC, 5:813–817). The exceptions are discussed in No. III, notes 2, 6, and 8 (below).
The editors have included the adopted version of the treaty plan, even though its inclusion adds to the repetition of text, because it has never been printed exactly as written (compare the version in JCC, 5:768–779, with No. III, below) and because notes that relate the instructions to its provisions can be provided without the clutter of notes on textual changes. The version printed in Journals of the Continental Congress, 5:576–589, seems to be a conflation of Adams' draft and the printed committee report.
Although the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded between the United States and France on 6 February 1778 differed from the Plan of Treaties in some ways, it clearly reflected the principles set down by John Adams. The accompanying Treaty of Alliance, however, did not (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:3–29, 35–41). A political and military alliance had been no part of Adams' plan, and its conclusion undoubtedly colored his later attitude toward both France and Benjamin Franklin. Indeed, Franklin's part in the negotiation of 1778 probably accounts for Adams' assessment of him in the Autobiography: “Franklin although he was commonly as silent on committees as in Congress, upon this Occasion, ventured so far as to intimate his concurrence with me in these Sentiments [that there should be only a commercial connection with France], though as will be seen hereafter he shifted them as easily as the Wind ever shifted: and assumed a dogmatical Tone, in favour of an Opposite System” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338).
In 1776, however, Adams could look upon the adoption of the treaty plan as a victory. He had drafted it and defended it in the congress, and in the end, “the Treaty passed without one Particle of Alliance, exclusive Priviledge, or Warranty” (same, 3:338). It was his plan that would guide the American negotiators when for the first time the United States exercised the most fundamental right of sovereignty, the conclusion of a treaty with another sovereign state.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-06-18

I. A Plan of Treaties

There Shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal Peace, and a true and Sincere Friendship between the most Serene and mighty Prince, Lewis the Sixteenth, the most Christian King his Heirs and Successors, and the united States of America; and the Subjects of the most Christian King, and of the Said States; and between the Countries, Islands, Cities, and Towns Situate under the Jurisdiction of the most Christian King and of the Said united States, <and every of them> and the People and Inhabitants thereof of every degree; without Exception of Persons or Places; and the Terms hereinafter mentioned Shall be per• { 266 } petual between the most Christian King, his Heirs and successors, and the Said united States.1
Art. 1. The Subjects of the most Christian King Shall pay no other Duties or Imposts in the Ports, Havens, Roads, Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns of the Said united States, or any of them, than the Natives thereof, or any Commercial Companies established by them or any of them, Shall pay, but Shall enjoy all other the Rights, Liberties, Priviledges, Immunities, and Exemptions in Trade, Navigation and Commerce in passing from one Part thereof to another, and in going to and from the Same, from and to any Part of the World, which the Said Natives, or Companies enjoy.2
Art. 2 The Subjects, People and Inhabitants of the Said united States and every of them Shall pay no other Duties, or Imposts in the Ports, Havens, Roads, Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns of the most Christian King, than the Natives of Such Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns of France, or any commercial Companies established by the most Christian King Shall pay, but shall enjoy all other the Rights, Liberties, Priviledges, Immunities and Exemptions in Trade, Navigation and Commerce, in passing from one Part thereof to another, and in going to and from the Same, from and to any Part of the World, which the Said Natives, or Companies enjoy.3
Art. 3. The most Christian King Shall endeavour, by all the Means in his Power to protect and defend all Vessells, and the Effects belonging to the Subjects People, or Inhabitants of the Said united States, or any of them, being in his Ports, Havens, or Roads, or on the Seas, <and> near to his Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns, and to recover and restore, to the right owners, their Agents or Attornies, all Such Vessells, and Effects, which Shall be taken, within his Jurisdiction; and his Ships of War, or any Convoys Sailing under his Authority, Shall upon all occasions, take under their Protection all Vessells belonging to the Subjects, People or Inhabitants of the Said united States, or any of them, and holding the Same Course, or going the Same Way, and shall defend Such Vessells as long as they hold the Same Course, or go the same Way, against all Attacks, Force, and Violence, in the Same manner, as they ought to protect and defend Vessells belonging to the Subjects of the most Christian King.4
Art. 4. In like manner the Said united States, and their Ships of War and Convoys Sailing under their Authority Shall protect and defend all Vessells and Effects belonging to the Subjects of the most Christian King, and endeavour to recover and restore them, if taken within the Jurisdiction of the Said united States, or any of them.5
{ 267 }
Art. 5. The most Christian King and the Said united States Shall not receive, nor Suffer to be received into any of their Ports, Havens, Roads, Countries, Islands, Cities or Towns, any Pirates, or Sea Robbers, or afford, or suffer any Entertainment, Assistance, or Provision to be afforded to them, but shall endeavour by all Means, that all Pyrates, and Sea Robbers, and their Partners, Sharers, and Abettors be found out, apprehended, and Suffer condign Punishment; and all the Vessells and Effects piratically taken, and brought into the Ports or Havens of the most Christian King, or the Said united States, which can be found, altho they be Sold, Shall be restored, or Satisfaction given therefor to the right owners, their Agents or Attornies demanding the Same, and making the right of Property to appear by due Proof.6
Art. 6. The most Christian King Shall protect, defend and Secure, as far as in his Power, the Subjects, People and Inhabitants of the Said united States and every of them, and their Vessells and Effects of every Kind, against all Attacks, Assaults, Violences, Injuries. Depredations or Plunderings by or from the King or Emperor of Morocco, or Fez, and the States of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, and any of them, and every other Prince, State, and Power, on the Coast of Barbary in Africa and the Subjects of the Said King<s> Emperor<s or> States and Powers, and of every of them, in the Same manner, and as effectually and fully, and as much to the Benefit Advantage Ease and Safety of the Said united States and every of them, and of the Subjects, People, and Inhabitants thereof, to all Intents and Purposes, as the King and Kingdom of Great Britain, before the Commencement of the present War, protected, defended, and Secured the People and Inhabitants of the Said united States, then called the British Colonies, in North America, their Vessells and Effects, against all Such Attacks, Assaults, Violences, Injuries, Depredations and Plunderings.
<Art. 7. If the most Christian King Shall in consequence of this Treaty, engage in a War with the King of Great Britain, the Said united States, Shall not assist the latter.>7
Art. 7. If, in Consequence of this Treaty the King of Great Britain, should declare War, against the most Christian King, the Said united States shall not assist Great Britain, in Such War, with Men, Money, ships, or any of the Articles in this treaty denominated Contraband Goods <or in any other way>. And if France to favour the said united States Shall join with them in their present War against Great Britain they shall not make a separate Peace.
Art. 8. In Case of any War between the most Christian King and the King of Great Britain, the most Christian King Shall never invade, { 268 } nor attempt to invade, or get Possession, for himself of Labradore, New Britain, Nova Scotia, Accadia, Canada, Florida, nor any of the Countries, Cities, or Towns, on the Continent of North America, nor of the Islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, St. Johns, Anticoste, nor of any other Islands lying near to the Said Continent, in the Seas, or in any Gulph, Bay, or River, it being the true intent and meaning of this Treaty, that the Said united States Shall have the Sole, exclusive undivided and perpetual Possession of all the Countries, Cities, and Towns, on the Said Continent, and of all Islands near to it, which now are, or lately were under the Jurisdiction of or subject to the King or Crown of Great Britain, whenever the Same can be invaded, and conquered by the Said united States, or shall in any manner submit to or be confederated with them.
Art. 9. Nor Shall the most Christian King, at any Time, make any Claim, or demand's to the Said Countries, Islands, Cities, and Towns mentioned in the next preceding Article, or any of them, or to any Part thereof, for, or on Account of any Assistance afforded to the Said united States, in attacking or conquering the Same, or in obtaining Such a Submission, or Confederation as has been mentioned in the Said Preceding Articles, nor on any other Account what ever.8
Art. 10. If in any War, the most Christian King, Shall conquer, or get Possession of the Islands in the West Indies, now under the Jurisdiction of the King or Crown of Great Britain, or any of them, or any Dominions of the Said King or Crown in <Europe>[any other parts of the world], the Subjects <and> People and Inhabitants of the Said united States, and every of them Shall enjoy the Same Rights, Liberties, Priviledges, Immunities and Exemptions in Trade, Commerce and Navigation to and from the Said Islands, and Dominions, that are mentioned in the Second Article of this Treaty.
Art. 11. It is the true Intent and Meaning of this Treaty, that no higher or other Duties Shall be imposed on the Exportation of any Thing of the Growth, Production, or Manufacture of the Islands in the West Indies now belonging, or which may hereafter belong to the most Christian King, <or which>9 to the Said united States, or any of them, than the lowest that are or shall be imposed on the Exportation thereof to France or to any other Part of the World.
Art. 12. It is agreed, by and between the Said Parties that no Duties whatever more than []<Per Gallon>10 shall ever hereafter be imposed on the Exportation of Molasses, from any of the Islands and Dominions of the most Christian King in the West Indies to any of these united States.
{ 269 }
Art. 13. The Subjects, People, and Inhabitants of the Said united States, or any of them, being Merchants and residing in France, and their Property, and Effects of every Kind, shall be exempt from the Droit de Aubeine.11
Art. 14 The Merchant Ship of either of the Parties, which shall be making into a Port belonging to the Enemy of the other Ally,12 and concerning whose Voyage, and the Species of Goods on board her, there Shall be just Grounds of Suspicion, Shall be obliged to exhibit, as well upon the high Seas as in the Ports and Havens, not only her Passports, but like wise Certificates, expressly Shewing that her Goods are not of the Number of those which have been prohibited, as Contraband.
Art. 15 <That> If by the exhibiting of the abovesaid Certificates, the other Party discover there are any of those Sorts of Goods, which are prohibited and declared Contraband, and consigned for a Port under the Obedience of his Enemies, it Shall not be lawfull to break up the Hatches of such ship, or to open any Chests, Coffers, Packs, Casks, or any other Vessells found therein or to remove the Smallest Parcells of her Goods, whether such Ship belong to the Subjects of France, or the Inhabitants of the said united States, unless the lading be brought on Shore in the Presence of the Officers of the Court of Admiralty, and an Inventory thereof made; but there Shall be no Allowance to sell, exchange, or alienate the same in any manner, untill after that due and lawfull Proscess shall have been had against such prohibited Goods, and the Court of Admiralty shall, by a Sentence pronounced, have confiscated the same, Saving always as well the Ship itself, as any other Goods found therein, which by this Treaty are to be esteemed free; neither may they be detained on Pretence of their being as it were infected by the prohibited Goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawfull Prize: But if not the whole Cargo, but only Part thereof Shall consist of prohibited or contraband Goods, and the Commander of the ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to the Captor who has discovered them, in such Case the Captor having received those Goods, shall forthwith discharge the ship, and not hinder her by any Means freely to prosecute the Voyage on which she was bound.
Art. 16 On the Contrary, it is agreed, that whatever Shall be found to be laden by the Subjects and Inhabitants of either Party, on any ship belonging to the Enemy of the other or to his Subjects, the whole, although it be not of the sort of prohibited Goods, may be confiscated in the Same Manner as if it belonged to the Enemy himself, except { 270 } Such Goods and Merchandise as were put on board Such Ship before the Declaration of War, or even after Such Declaration, if So be it were done without Knowledge of such Declaration. So that the Goods of the Subjects and People of either Party, whether they be of the Nature of Such as are prohibited, or otherwise which, as, is aforesaid, were put on board any Ship belonging to an Enemy before the War, or after the Declaration of the Same, <within the Time and>13 without Knowledge of it, Shall noways be liable to Confiscation, but Shall well and truly be restored without delay to the Proprietors demanding the Same; but so as that if the Said Merchandizes be contraband, it Shall not be any Ways lawfull to carry them afterwards to any Ports belonging to the Enemy.
Art. 17. And that more effectual Care may be taken, for the Security of the Subjects, and Inhabitants of both Parties, that they Suffer no Injury by the Men of War or Privateers of the other Party, all the Commanders of the Ships of the most Christian King, and <all their Subjects, Shall be forbid,>14 of the said united States, and all their subjects and Inhabitants, Shall be forbid, doing any Injury, or Damage to the other Side; and if they act to the contrary, they Shall be punished, and Shall moreover be bound to make Satisfaction for all matter of Damage, and the Interest thereof, by Reparation, under the Pain and Obligation of their Person and Goods.
Art. 18 All Ships, and Merchandizes, of what Nature So ever, which Shall be rescued out of the Hands of any Pirates, or Robbers on the high Seas, Shall be brought into Some Port of either State, and Shall be delivered to the Custody of the Officers of that Port, in order to be restored entire to the true Proprietor, as Soon, as due and Sufficient Proof Shall be made, concerning the Property, thereof.
Art. 19 It Shall be lawfull for the Ships of War of either Party and Privateers, freely to carry whithersoever they please, the Ships and Goods, taken from their Enemies, without being obliged to pay any Duty to the Officers of the Admiralty or any other Judges; nor Shall Such Prizes be arrested, or Seized, when they come to, and enter the Ports of either Party; nor Shall the Searchers, or other Officers of those Places Search the Same, or make Examination concerning the Lawfullness of Such Prizes, but they may hoist Sail, at any Time and depart and carry their Prizes to the Place expressed in their Commissions, which the Commanders of Such Ships of War Shall be obliged to shew: on the Contrary, no shelter, or Refuge Shall be given in their Ports to Such as Shall have made Prize of the Subjects, People, or Property, of either of the Parties; but if Such Should come in, being { 271 } forced by Stress of Weather, or the Danger of the Sea, all proper Means Shall be vigorously used, that they go out, and retire from thence as Soon as possible <, so far as>.15
Art. 20. If any Ships belonging to either of the Parties, their People, or subjects Shall, within the Coasts, or Dominions of the other, Stick upon the Sands or be wrecked, or Suffer any other Damage, all friendly Assistance and Relief Shall be given to the Persons Ship wrecked, or such as Shall be in danger thereof; and Letters of Safe Conduct Shall likewise be given to them for their free and quiet Passage from thence, and the Return of every one to his own Country.
Art. 21. That in Case the Subjects and Inhabitants of Either Party, with their Shipping, whether public, and of War, or private and of Merchants be forced through Stress of Weather, Pursuit of Pirates or Enemies or any other urgent Necessity, for Seeking of shelter and Harbour to retreat, and enter into any of the Rivers, Creeks, Bays, Havens, Roads, Ports, or shores, belonging to the other Party, they shall be received and treated with all Humanity and Kindness, and enjoy all friendly Protection and Help; and they Shall be permitted to refresh and provide themselves, at reasonable Rates, with Victuals and all Things needfull for the sustenance of their Persons, or Reparation of their Ships, and Conveniency of their Voyage, and they shall no Ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the Said Ports or Roads, but may remove and depart when and whither they please, without any Lett or Hindrance;
Art. 22 The Subjects, Inhabitants, Merchants, Commanders of Ships, Masters and Mariners of the States, Provinces, and Dominions of each Party respectively, shall abstain and forbear to <trade and>16 fish in all Places possessed, or which shall be possessed by <one or> the other Party <in>. The most Christian Kings Subjects Shall not fish in the Havens, Bays, Creeks, Roads, Coasts, or Places, which the said united States hold or shall hereafter hold: and in like manner, the subjects, People, and Inhabitants of the said united states, shall not fish in the Havens, Bays, Creeks, Roads, Coasts, or Places, which the <said> most Christian King possesses, or shall hereafter possess; and if any ship or Vessell shall be found <trading> fishing, contrary to the Tenor of this Treaty, the Said ship or Vessell, with its Lading, Proof being made thereof, shall be confiscated.
Art. 23 For the better promoting of Commerce on both Sides, it is agreed, that if a War should break out between the Said two Nations, Six Months, after the Proclamation of War, Shall be allowed to the Merchants, in the Cities and Towns where they live, for settling { 272 } and transporting their Goods and Merchandizes; and if any Thing be taken from them, or any Injury be done them within that Term by either Party, or the People or subjects of either, full Satisfaction shall be made for the Same.
Art. 24 No Subjects of the <said> most Christian King, shall apply for, or take any Commission or Letters of Marque for arming any Ship or Ships to act as Privateers, against the Said united States or any of them, or against the Subjects, People, or Inhabitants of the Said united States or any of them, or against the Property of any of the Inhabitants of any of them, from any Prince, or State with which the Said united States Shall be at War:17
Nor shall any Citizen, Subject, or Inhabitant, of the said united States or any of them, apply for, or take any Commission or Letters of Marque for arming any ship or Ships to act as Privateers, against the Subjects of the <said> most Christian King or any of them, or the Property of any of them, from any Prince or State, with which the Said King Shall be at War: And if any Person of either Nation Shall take Such Commissions or Letters of Marque, he shall be punished as a Pirate.
Art. 25. It Shall not be lawfull for any foreign Privateers, not be<ing>[longing][to the]18 Subjects of the <said> most Christian King, nor Citizens of the Said united States, who have Commissions from any other Prince or State, in Enmity with either Nation, to fit their Ships in the Ports of either the one or the other of the aforesaid Parties, to Sell what they have taken, or in any other manner whatsoever to exchange either Ships, Merchandizes, or any other Lading: neither Shall they be allowed even to purchase Victuals, except Such as Shall be necessary for their going to the next Port of that Prince or State from which they have Commissions.
Art. 26 It Shall be lawfull for all and Singular the Subjects of the <said> most Christian King, and the Citizens, People, and Inhabitants of the Said united States, to Sail with their Ships, with all manner of Liberty and Security; no distinction being made, who are the Proprietors of the Merchandizes laden thereon from any Port, to the Places of those who now are, or hereafter shall be at Enmity with the most Christian King, or the united States. It shall likewise be lawfull for the Subjects and Inhabitants aforesaid, to Sail with the Ships and Merchandizes aforementioned; and to trade with the Same Liberty and Security, from the Places, Ports, and Havens of those who are Enemies of both or either Party, without any opposition or Disturbance whatsoever, not only directly from the Places of the Enemy aforemen• { 273 } tioned to neutral Places; but also from one Place belonging to an Enemy, to another Place belonging to an Enemy, whether they be under the Jurisdiction of the Same Prince or under Several: And it is hereby Stipulated that free Ships Shall also give a Freedom to Goods, and that every Thing Shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which Shall be found on board the Ships, belonging to the Subjects of either of the Confederates; although the whole Lading or any Part thereof, should appertain to the Enemies of Either, Contraband Goods being always excepted. It is also agreed in like manner, that the Same Liberty, be extended to Persons, who are on board a free ship with this Effect, that although they be Enemies to both or either Party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they are Soldiers, and in actual Service of the Enemies.
Art. 27 This Liberty of Navigation and Commerce Shall extend to all Kinds of Merchandizes, excepting those only which are distinguished by the Name of Contraband: and under this Name of Contraband, or prohibited Goods, Shall be comprehended Arms, Great Guns, Bombs with their Fuzees, and other Things belonging to them; Fire-balls, Gunpowder, Match, Cannon Ball, Pikes, Swords, Lances, Spears, Halberds, Mortars, Petards, Granadoes, Saltpetre, Musketts, Muskett Ball, Helmets, Head Pieces, Breast Plates, Coats of Mail, and the like Kinds of Arms proper for arming Soldiers, Muskett-rests, Belts, Horses with their Furniture, and all other warlike Instruments whatever. These Merchandizes which follow, Shall not be reckoned among Contraband or prohibited Goods: that is to Say, all Sorts of Cloths, and all other Manufactures woven of any Wool, Flax, Silk, Cotton, or any other Materials whatever; all Kinds of Wearing Apparell, together with the Species whereof they are used to be made; Gold and Silver, as well coined as uncoined, Tin, Iron, Lead, Copper, Brass, Coals; as also Wheat and Barley, and any other Kind of Corn and Pulse; Tobacco, and likewise all manner of Spices; Salted and Smoaked Flesh, Salted Fish, Cheese and Butter, Beer, Oils, Wines, Sugars, and all Sorts of Salt; and in general, all Provisions which Serve for the Nourishment of Man kind, and the Sustenance of Life: Furthermore, all Kinds of Cotton, Hemp, Flax, Tar, Pitch, Ropes, Cables, Sails, Sail Cloths, Anchors, and any Parts of Anchors; also ships Masts, Planks, Boards, and Beams, of what Trees soever; and all other Things proper either for building or repairing Ships, and all other Goods whatever which have not been worked into the Form of any Instrument or Thing prepared for War, by Land or by Sea, shall not be reputed Contraband, much less Such as have been already wrought and made { 274 } up for any other Use; all which shall wholly be reckoned among free Goods; as likewise all other Merchandizes and Things which are not comprehended, and particularly mentioned in the foregoing Enumeration of Contraband Goods; So that they may be transported and carried in the freeest Manner by the subjects of both Confederates, even to Places belonging to an Enemy, such Towns or Places being only excepted as are at that time besieged, blocked up, or invested.
Art. 28 To the End that all manner of Dissentions and Quarrells may be avoided and prevented on one Side and the other, it is agreed, that in Case either of the Parties hereto, Should be engaged in War, the Ships and Vessells belonging to the Subjects or People of the other Ally, must be furnished with Sea Letters or Passports expressing the Name, Property and Bulk of the Ship, as also the Name and Place of Habitation of the Master or Commander of the Said Ship, that it may appear thereby, that the Ship really and truly belongs to the Subject of one of the Parties; which Passport Shall be made out and granted according to the Form annexed to this Treaty; they Shall likewise be recalled every Year that is, if the Ship happens to return home within the Space of a Year. It is likewise agreed, that Such Ships being laden, are to be provided, not only with Passports as above mentioned, but also with Certificates containing the Several Particulars of the Cargo, the Place whence the Ship Sailed, and whither she is bound; that So it may be known whether any forbidden or Contraband Goods, be on board the Same; which Certificates Shall be made out by the Officers of the Place whence the Ship Set Sail, in the accustomed Form. And if any one Shall think it fit or adviseable to express in the said Certificates the Person to whom the Goods on board belong, he may freely do So.
Art. 29 The Ships of the Subjects and Inhabitants of either of <their Most Serene>19 the Parties, coming upon any Coast belonging to either of the Said Allies, but not willing to enter into Port, or being entered into Port, and not willing to unload their Cargoes, or break Bulk, Shall not be obliged to give an Account of their Lading, unless they Should be Suspected upon Some manifest Tokens, of carrying to the Enemy of the other Ally, any prohibited Goods called Contraband. And in Cases of Such manifest suspicion, the Said Subjects and Inhabitants, of either of the Parties, shall be obliged to exhibit in the Ports, their Passports and Certificates, in the manner before Specified.
Art 30. That if the Ships of the Said Subjects, People or Inhabitants of either of the Parties, Shall be met with, either Sailing along the Coast, or on the high Seas, by any Ship of War of the other, or by any { 275 } Privateers, the Said Ships of War or Privateers, for the avoiding of any disorder, Shall remain out of Cannon Shot, and may Send their Boats, aboard the Merchant Ship, which they Shall So meet with, and may enter her to the Number of two or three Men only, to whom the Master or Commander of such Ship or Vessell Shall exhibit his Passport, concerning the Property of the Ship, made out according to the Form inserted in this present Treaty; and the Ship when she Shall have Shewed Such Passport, Shall be free and at Liberty to pursue her Voyage, So as it shall not be lawfull to molest or Search her in any Manner, or to give her Chase, or force her to quit her intended Course.20
Form of the Passports and Letters, which are to be given, to the Ships and Barks, which shall go according to the twenty-seventh21 Article of this Treaty.
To all who shall see these Presents Greeting: It is hereby made known, that Leave and Permission has been given to [] Master and Commander of the ship called [] of the Town of [] Burthen [] Tons or thereabouts, lying at present in the Port and Haven of [] and bound for [] and laden with [] After that his ship has been visited, and before Sailing, he shall make oath before the officers who have the Jurisdiction of maritime Affairs, that the Said Ship belongs to one or more of the subjects of [] the Act whereof shall be put at the End of these Presents; as likewise that he will keep and cause to be kept by his Crew, on board, the Marine ordinances and Regulations, and enter in the proper Office a List signed and witnessed containing the Names and sirnames, the Places of Birth and Abode of the Crew of his ship, and of all who shall embark on board her, whom he shall not take on board without the Knowledge and Permission of the Officers of the Marine; and in every Port or Haven where he shall enter with his ship, he shall Shew this present Leave to the Officers and Judges of the Marine, and shall give a faithfull Account to them of what passed and was done during his Voyage, and he shall carry the Colours, Arms, and Ensigns of the King, (or of the united states) during his Voyage. In Witness whereof, We have Signed these Presents, and put the seal of our Arms thereunto, and caused the same to be countersigned by [] at [] the [] day of [] 17 []
Form of the Act containing the oath
We [] of the Admiralty of [] do certify that [] Master of the ship named in the above Passport, hath { 276 } taken the oath mentioned therein. Done at[] the [] Day of [] 17[].
Form of the Certificates to be required of and to be given by the Magistrates or Officers of the Customs of the Town and Port in their respective Towns and Ports, to the Ships and Vessells, which Sail from thence, according to the Directions of the [] Article of this present Treaty.
We A.B. Magistrate, (or) Officers of the Customs of the Town and Port of C. do certify and attest, that on the [] Day of the Month of [] in the Year of our Lord 17[] D. E. of F. personally appeared before Us, and declared by a Solemn Oath, that the Ship or Vessell called G. of about [] Tons whereof H. I. of K. his usual Place of Habitation, is Master or Commander, does rightfully and properly belong to him and others subjects of [] and to them alone: That she is now bound from the Port of L. to the Port of M. laden with the Goods and Merchandizes hereunder particularly described and enumerated, that is to say, as follows.
In Witness whereof We have Signed this Certificate, and seal it with the Seal of our Office. Given the [] day of the Month of [] in the year of our Lord 17[] .
Dft (PCC, No. 47, f. 129–149 with a gap in the numbering); docketed in Charles Thomson's hand: “Report of the comee. on the plan of treaties read 18 July 1776 Ordered to lie on the table.”
The docketing may be somewhat misleading. The committee's report was read to the congress on 18 July and tabled, but two days later was ordered to be printed for the use of the members during debate over its final form. The substantial difference between the printed version (No. II, below) and the Dft makes it unlikely that it was this Dft that was read on 18 July. No evidence has been found that changes in phrasing were made between the reading of the report and the order for printing. Two additional considerations seem to support this supposition: when the Dft was discussed in committee, changes were made which subsequently appeared in the printed version but not on the Dft; it is unlikely that a report containing so many cancellations and additions would have been presented to the congress without being recopied. It may be that the report of the committee was not returned by the printer, a not unusual circumstance, leaving JA's Dft as the only “original” approximating the final report and as such placed among the papers of the congress.
In printing JA's Dft, the editors have sought to reproduce as closely as possible the text of the MS before it was submitted to the committee. But in some instances changes made by JA while composing the Dft have been difficult to distinguish from his recording of changes made by the committee and the congress. The first step in the editorial process was the comparison of the Dft with the committee's printed report, on which Charles Thomson recorded all changes made during the debate. This comparison made possible the removal of the majority of the additions and deletions jotted down by JA. The next step was to determine the changes made by JA before he presented his Dft. { 277 } These were relatively easy to identify when his strikeouts were made necessary by overzealous copying from his sources, as in Articles 16, 17, 19, and 29. All such changes have been annotated. The remaining alterations, and there are not many, could have been made by either JA or the committee. The lack of any other copy of the Dft or committee report known to us makes determination impossible. When they involve several words or are significant, these changes have been annotated. In any case, all recorded changes that were not the result of congressional debate have been included in JA's Dft as here printed, deletions appearing, as usual, in italics within angled brackets and additions within double parentheses. All marginal notes, which are in JA's hand and in the left margin unless otherwise stipulated, have been indicated, regardless of when they were inserted. All references below to articles in the treaty plan are by Arabic numerals to differentiate them from articles in other treaties mentioned, for which Roman numerals are used.
1. In the margin opposite the opening lines appears this notation: “Coll. of State Tracts 109. Coll of Sea Laws 541.” These references are to A Collection of State Tracts and to Justice, A General Treatise of the Dominion of the Sea (both fully cited in the Editorial Note, above). State Tracts, p. 109, contains the first four articles and part of the fifth of the Treaty of Reswick, concluded between Great Britain and France on 20 Sept. 1697. Art. I contains much of the phrasing used in the preamble to the treaty plan, and it is probable that JA referred to it to obtain the proper form to use in referring to Louis XVI. Compare the phrase “the most Serene and Mighty Prince Lewis the Fourteenth the most Christian King” and that used in the treaty plan. On p. 541 of Sea Laws is Art. I of the Treaty of Peace and Union concluded between Oliver Cromwell and the United Provinces of the Low Countries in 1654, which was probably similarly used by JA as a guide for the preamble to the draft.
2. In the margin is the notation “ag.” Since this and other such notations appear also in Thomson's marked-up copy of the printed report, JA's notation very likely refers to congressional rather than committee action.
3. In the margin appear two notations: “2. Should there not be an Exception of Asia, and perhaps of Africa” and “ag.” Who proposed the exception remains undetermined.
4. In the margin is the notation “ag.”
5. In the margin is the notation “ag.”
6. In the margin appear two notations: “ag.” and “See all the Articles in Sea Laws from pa. 544 to 549. Art. 19 and 24 in pa. 542. Art. 10 in pa. 520— Art. 5 in pa. 519. if proper.” Pages 544 to 549 contain part of Art. XX and Arts. XXI through XXXVIII of the Treaty of Breda, signed by Charles II and the States General on 31 July 1667. JA may have intended that all of Art. XX, which begins on p. 543, be included, for it deals with pirates. Arts. XIX and XXIV on p. 542 are from the treaty between Cromwell and the United Provinces, mentioned in note 1 (above). Arts. V and X from p. 519 and 520 are from a treaty concluded between France and Denmark in 1645. Each of the articles noted was relevant to JA's desire that there be only a commercial agreement.
7. The replacement of this article with another with the same number indicates that JA, not the committee, decided that his first effort was insufficient.
8. In the margin, probably in Thomson's hand, is the notation “rejected”; that is, it was rejected by the congress, not the committee.
9. This deletion was almost certainly made by JA while drafting the treaty plan.
10. "Per Gallon" was canceled by either JA or the committee, probably the latter, for it is omitted in the printed version (see No. II, note 11, below).
11. Droit d'Aubaine was the ancient right of French kings to claim the property of foreigners who died within the country without being naturalized. A waiver of this right, which was not formally renounced until 14 July 1819, { 278 } was a provision common to most treaties concluded with France (OED).
This article ends in the middle of a page, Art. 14 beginning at the top of a new page. The break is significant. JA copied Arts. 14 through 30, together with the “Passport and Letters” appended to the treaty plan, from Edmunds and Harris, A Compleat Collection (cited fully in the Editorial Note, above), lent to him by Franklin. The latter had put X's opposite Arts. XV, XVII, XIX, XX, XXXVI, and XXXVII of the Treaty of Navigation and Commerce signed at Utrecht on 11 April 1713 by Great Britain and France; Art. VIII of the Marine Treaty concluded by Britain and France on 24 Feb. 1677; Arts. XXI, XXII, and XXIV of the Treaty of 1667 between Britain and Spain; Art. IX of the Treaty of Peace and Alliance signed by Britain and Spain on 15 Nov. 1630; and Art. XX of the Treaty of Peace and Alliance of 1604 between Britain and Spain. Franklin also entered page numbers referring to treaties on three pages of the introduction to A Compleat Collection, but these were not useful to JA.
As he says in his Autobiography, JA made his own selection, retaining some of Franklin's choices and rejecting others (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). But in the end, he limited himself to three treaties between Great Britain and France. The treaties used by JA, the articles taken from them (Roman numerals), and the corresponding articles in the draft (Arabic numerals) are as follows: Treaty of Navigation and Commerce, Utrecht, 11 April 1713: Arts. XXV—14; XXVI—15; XXVII—16; XXVIII—17; XXXV—18; XXXVI—19; XV—25; XVII—26; XVIII, XIX, XX—27; XXI—28; XXII, XXIII—29; XXIV—30; and “Passport and Letters” following Art. XXXIX and 30, respectively. American Treaty of Peace, Good Correspondence, and Neutrality, London, 16 Nov. 1686: Arts. VII—20; VI—21; V—22; XV—24. Treaty of Peace, Westminster, 3 Nov. 1655: Art. XXVI—23.
12. As used in the 18th-century sense, an ally was a party to a treaty. See JA to William Cushing, 9 June, note 3 (above).
13. JA's deletion, made necessary because in copying Art. XXVII of the Treaty of Utrecht, he had gone too far. JA chose not to include in Art. 16 references to periods of time for news of war declarations to get abroad. He started to write “within the Time and Limits abovesaid,” but obviously that was not appropriate.
14. Obviously JA's deletion, made necessary by his copying from Art. XXVIII of the Treaty of Utrecht, which refers to the Queen of Great Britain and the French King.
15. JA recognized that his copying from Art. XXXVI of the Treaty of Utrecht had gone too far. The remainder of the passage reads: “so far as this shall not be contrary to former Treaties.”
16. The copying of “trade” and “trading” is another instance of JA's hand moving faster than his mind. Forbidding trade was inconsistent with earlier articles in the treaty plan.
17. In the margin is the notation: “comp. Coll. Treaties pa. 20.” On p. 20 of Edmunds and Harris, A Compleat Collection, is Art. XV of the American Treaty of Peace of 1686, which forms the basis of Art. 24 of the draft. JA's only change was to divide the article into two parts, one for France, the other for the United States.
18. Apparently the committee made a nice distinction, and JA, making the change on the draft, forgot to enter “to the.” In the margin is the notation “pa. 4,” another reference to A Compleat Collection. On that page is Art. XV of the Treaty of Utrecht, from which Art. 25 is copied verbatim.
19. Another instance of JA's copying too furiously. Art. XXII of the Treaty of Utrecht reads: “their most Serene Royal Majesties.”
20. Following this article is a paragraph on a separate page headed: “To succeed the 30th Article.” In the hand of Edward Rutledge, this addition was composed during the debates in the congress, for it was also written on the printed copy of the committee report. See No. II, note 16 (below). It was integrated into Art. 30 in the treaty plan as adopted on 17 Sept. (No. III, below).
21. The words “twenty-seventh” are not in JA's hand. The reference, of course, should be to the 28th article.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-27

II. Committee Report on A Plan of Treaties

There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship between A. and B.1 and the subjects of A. and of B. and between the countries, islands, cities, and towns situate under the jurisdiction of A. and of B. and the people and inhabitants thereof of every degree, without exception of persons or places; and the Terms herein after mentioned shall be perpetual between A. and B.
I. The subjects of A. shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of B. than the natives thereof or any commercial Companies established therein shall pay, but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce, in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or Companies enjoy.2
II. The subjects of B. shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of A. than the natives thereof or any commercial Companies established therein; but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or Companies enjoy.3
[That A <be permitted to> shall retain the same rights of fishery on the banks of Newfoundland and all other rights relating to any the said islands which he is intitled to by virtue of the treaty of Paris.]
III. A. shall endeavour by all the means in his power to protect and defend all vessels and the effects belonging to the subjects and people of B. being in his ports, havens or roads, or on the seas <, or>4 and near to his countries, islands, cities or towns, and to recover and restore to the right owners, their agents or attornies, all such vessels and effects which shall be taken within his jurisdiction; and his ships of war or any convoys sailing under his authority shall upon all occasions take under their protection all vessels belonging to the subjects or people of B. and holding the same course or going the same way, and shall defend such vessels so long as they hold the same course or go the same { 280 } way, against all attacks, force and violence, in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend vessels belonging to the subjects or people of A.5
IV. In like manner B. and his ships of war, and convoys, sailing under his authority, shall protect and defend all vessels and effects belonging to the subjects or people of A. and endeavour to recover and restore them, if taken in his jurisdiction.
V. A. and B. shall not receive nor suffer to be received into any of their ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns, any pirates or sea robbers, or afford or suffer any entertainment, assistance or provision to be afforded to them, but shall endeavour by all means that all pirates and sea robbers and their partners, sharers and abettors be found out, apprehended and suffer condign punishment; and all the vessels and effects piratically taken and brought into the ports and havens of A. or B. which can be found, altho' they be sold, shall be restored or satisfaction given therefor to the right owners, their agents or attornies demanding the same and making the right of property to appear by due proof.
VI. A. shall protect, defend and secure, as far as in his power the subjects or people of B. and their vessels and effects of every kind, against all attacks, assaults, violences, injuries, depredations or plunderings by or from the King or Emperor of Morocco or Fez, and the States of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, and any of them, and every other prince, state and power on the coast of Barbary in Africa, and the subjects of the said Kings, Emperors, &c. in as full a manner, &c.6
VII. If, in consequence of this Treaty, the——of——should declare war against A. the said B. shall not assist——with men, money, ships, or any of the articles in this treaty denominated contraband goods,7<or in any other way. And if A. to favour the said B. shall join in the present war against——, A. shall not make a separate peace.>8
VIII.<In case of any war between A. and——,> A. shall never invade, nor <attempt to invade, or get possession for himself>[under any pretence attempt to possess himself] of——, nor any of the countries, cities or towns, on the Continent of——, nor of the Islands of——nor any other island lying near to the said Continent, in the seas, or in any gulph, bay, or river thereof, it being the true intent and meaning of this Treaty, that the said B. shall have the sole, exclusive, undivided and perpetual possession of all the countries, cities and towns on the said Continent, and of all islands near to it, whenever the same9<can be invaded and conquered by B. or shall in any { 281 } manner submit to or>[they] be confederated <with B>[or united with B].
IX. <Nor shall A. at any time make any claim or demands to the said countries, islands, cities and towns mentioned in the next preceding article, or any of them, or to any part thereof, for or on account of any assistance afforded to B. in attacking or conquering the same, or in obtaining such submission or confederation as has been mentioned in the preceding articles, nor on any other account whatever.>10
X. If in any war A. shall conquer or get possession of——, now under the jurisdiction of——or any of them, or any dominions of——in——, the subjects or people of B. shall enjoy the same rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, commerce and navigation to and from the said——that are mentioned in the second article in this treaty.
XI. It is the true intent and meaning of this Treaty that no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the exportation to B. of any thing of the growth, production, or manufacture of——, now belonging or which may hereafter belong to A. than the lowest that are or shall be imposed on the exportation thereof to——or to any other part of the world.
XII. It is agreed by and between the said parties, that no duties whatever <more than []>11 shall ever hereafter be imposed on the exportation of——from any of the islands and dominions of A. to B.
XIII. The subjects or people of B. being merchants and residing in—— and their property and effects, shall be exempt from——.12
XIV. The merchant ship of either of the parties, which shall be making into a port belonging to the enemy of the other ally, and concerning whose voyage and the species of goods on board her there shall be just grounds of suspicion, shall be obliged to exhibit as well upon the high seas as in the ports and havens, not only her passports, but likewise certificates expressly shewing that her goods are not of the number of those which have been prohibited as contraband.
XV. If by the exhibiting of the abovesaid certificates the other party discover there are any of those sorts of goods, which are prohibited and declared contraband, and consigned for a port under the obedience of his enemies, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches of such ship, or to open any chest, coffers, packs, casks or any other vessels found therein, or to remove the smallest parcels of her goods, whether such belong to the subjects or people of A. or B. unless the lading be brought on shore in the presence of the Officers of the { 282 } Court of Admiralty and an inventory thereof made; but there shall be no allowance made to sell, exchange, or alienate the same in any manner until after that due and lawful process shall have been had against such prohibited goods, and the Court of Admiralty shall, by a sentence pronounced, have confiscated the same, saving always as well the ship itself as any other goods found therein, which by this Treaty are to be esteemed free; neither may they be detained on pretence of their being as it were infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawful prize; but if not the whole cargo, but only part thereof, shall consist of prohibited or contraband goods, and the Commander of the ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to the captor, who has discovered them, in such case the captor, having received those goods, shall forthwith discharge the ship and not hinder her by any means freely to prosecute the voyage on which she was bound.
XVI. On the contrary it is agreed, that whatever shall be found to be <taken>13 laden by the subjects or people of either party on any ship belonging to the enemy of the other or to his subjects, although it be not of the sort of prohibited goods, may be confiscated in the same manner as if it belonged to the enemy himself; except such goods and merchandizes as were put on board such ship before the declaration of war, or even after such declaration, if so be it were done without the knowledge of such declaration. So that the goods of the subjects and people of either party, whether they be of the nature of such as are prohibited or otherwise which, as is aforesaid, were put on board any ship belonging to an enemy before the war, or after the declaration of it without knowledge of it, shall nowise be liable to confiscation, but shall well and truly be restored without delay to the proprietors demanding the same; but so as that if the said merchandizes be contraband, it shall not be any ways lawful to carry them afterwards to any ports belonging to the enemy.
XVII. And that more effectual care may be taken for the security of the subjects and people of both parties, that they suffer no injury by the men of war or privateers of the other party, all the Commanders of the ships of A. and of B. and all their subjects and people shall be forbid doing any injury or damage to the other side; and if they act to the contrary, they shall be punished, and moreover shall be bound to make satisfaction for all matter of damage and the interest thereof, by reparation, under the pain and obligation of their person and goods.
XVIII. All ships and merchandizes, of what nature soever, which shall be rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers on the high { 283 } seas, shall be brought into some port of either state, and shall be delivered to the custody of the Officers of that port, in order to be restored entire to the true proprietor as soon as due and sufficient proof shall be made concerning the property thereof.
XIX. It shall be lawful for the ships of war of either party, and privateers, freely to carry whither soever they please the ships and goods taken from their enemies, without being obliged to pay any duty to the Officers of the Admiralty or any other judges; nor shall such prizes be arrested or seized where they come to, and enter the ports of either party; nor shall the Searchers or other Officers of those places search the same, or make examination concerning the lawfulness of such prizes; but they may hoist sail at any time and depart and carry their prizes to the place expressed in their commissions, which the commanders of such ships of war shall be obliged to shew: On the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given in their ports to such as shall have made prizes of the subjects, people or property of either of the parties; but if such should come in, being forced by stress of weather or the danger of the sea, all proper means shall be vigorously used, that they go out and retire from thence as soon as possible.
XX. If any ships belonging to either of the parties, their subjects or people, shall within the coasts or dominions of the other stick upon the sands or be wrecked, or suffer any other damage, all friendly assistance and relief shall be given to the persons shipwrecked or such as shall be in danger thereof; and letters of safe conduct shall likewise be given to them for their free and quiet passage from thence, and the return of every one to his own country.
XXI. In case the subjects and people of either party with their shipping, whether publick and of war or private and of merchants, be forced through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies, or any other urgent necessity, for seeking shelter and harbour to retreat and enter into any of the rivers, creeks, bays, havens, roads, ports or shores belonging to the other party, they shall be received and treated with all humanity and kindness, and enjoy all friendly protection and help; and they shall be permitted to refresh and provide themselves at reasonable rates with victuals and all things needful for the sustenance of their persons or reparation of their ships and conveniency of their voyage; and they shall no ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the said ports or roads, but may remove and depart when and whither they please, without any lett or hindrance.
XXII. The subjects, inhabitants, merchants, commanders of ships, master and mariners of the states, provinces and dominions of each { 284 } party respectively, shall abstain and forbear to fish in all places possessed, or which shall be possessed, by <one or> the other party. A.'s subjects shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which B. holds or shall hereafter hold; and in the like manner the subjects and people of B. shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which A. possesses or shall hereafter possess; and if any ship or vessel shall be found fishing, contrary to the tenor of this Treaty, the said ship or vessel, with its lading, proof being made thereof, shall be confiscated.14
XXIII. For the better promoting of commerce on both sides it is agreed, that if a war shall break out between the said two nations, six months after the proclamation of war shall be allowed to the merchants in the cities and towns where they live, for settling and transporting their goods and merchandizes; and if any thing be taken from them or any injury be done them within that term by either party or the people or subjects of either, full satisfaction shall be made for the same.
XXIV. No subjects of A. shall apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against B. or the subjects or people of B. or any of them, or the property of any of them, from any prince or state with which B. shall be at war: Nor shall any citizen or subject of B. apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the subjects or people of A. or any of them, or the property of any of them, from any prince or state with which A. shall be at war: And if any person of either nation shall take such commission or letters of marque, he shall be punished as a pirate.
XXV. It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers not belonging to the subjects or people of A. or of B. who have commissions from any other prince or state in enmity with either nation, to fit their ships in the ports of either the one or the other of the aforesaid parties, to sell what they have taken, or in any other manner whatsoever to exchange either ships, merchandizes or any other lading; neither shall they be allowed even to purchase victuals, except such as shall be necessary for their going to the next port of that prince or state from which they have commissions.
XXVI. It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects and people of A. and B. to sail with their ships with all manner of liberty and security, no distinction being made who are the proprietors of the merchandizes, laden thereon from any port to the places of those who now are or hereafter shall be at enmity with A. or B. It shall likewise be lawful for the subjects and people aforesaid to sail with the ships { 285 } and merchandizes aforementioned, and to trade with the same liberty and security from the places, ports and havens of those who are enemies of both or either party, without any opposition or disturbance whatsoever, not only directly from the places of the enemy aforementioned to neutral places, but also from one place belonging to an enemy to another place belonging to an enemy, whether they be under the jurisdiction of the same prince or under several: And it is hereby stipulated that free ships shall also give a freedom to goods, and that every thing shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which shall be found on board the ships belonging to the subjects of either of the Confederates; although the whole lading or any part thereof should appertain to the enemies of either, contraband goods being always excepted. It is also agreed in like manner that the same liberty be extended to persons who are on board a free ship with this effect, that although they be enemies to both or either party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they are soldiers and in actual service of the enemies.
XXVII. This liberty of navigation and commerce shall extend to all kinds of merchandizes, excepting those only which are distinguished by the name of contraband; and under the name of contraband or prohibited goods shall be comprehended arms, great guns, bombs, with their fuzes and other things belonging to them, fire-balls, gunpowder, match, cannon balls, pikes, swords, lances, spears, halberts, mortars, petards, granadoes, salt-petre, muskets, musket balls, helmets, head-pieces, breast-plates, coats of mail, and like kinds of arms proper for arming soldiers, musket-rests, belts, horses with their furniture, and all other warlike instruments whatever. These merchandizes which follow shall not be reckoned among contraband or prohibited goods, that is to say, all sorts of cloths, and all other manufactures woven of any wool, flax, silk, cotton or any other materials whatever <indigo and all other materials for dying>15; all kinds of wearing apparel, together with the species whereof they are used to be made; gold and silver as well coined as uncoined, tin, iron, lead, copper, brass, coals; as also wheat and barley, and any other kind of corn and pulse; tobacco and likewise all manner of spices; salted and smoked flesh, salted fish, cheese and butter, beer, oils, wines, sugars, and all sorts of salt; and in general all provisions, which serve for the nourishment of mankind and the sustenance of life; furthermore all kinds of cotton, hemp, flax, tar, pitch, ropes, cables, sails, sail-cloth, anchors and any parts of anchors; also ship-masts, planks, boards, and beams of what trees soever, and all other things proper either { 286 } for building or repairing ships, and all other goods whatever which have not been worked into the form of any instrument or thing prepared for war by land or by sea shall not be reputed countraband, much less such as have been already wrought and made up [f]or any other use; all which shall wholly be reckoned among free goods; as likewise all other merchandizes and things, which are not comprehended and particularly mentioned in the foregoing enumeration of contraband goods, so that they may be transported and carried in the freest manner by the subjects of both Confederates even to places belonging to an enemy, such towns or places being only excepted, as are at that time besieged, blocked up or invested.
XXVIII. To the end that all manner of dissensions and quarrels may be avoided and prevented on one side and the other, it is agreed, that in case either of the parties hereto shall be engaged in war, the ships and vessels belonging to the subjects and people of the other ally must be furnished with sea letters or passports expressing the name, property, and bulk of the ship, as also the name and place of habitation of the master or commander of the said ship, that it may appear thereby, that the ship really and truly belongs to the subjects of one of the parties; which passport shall be made out and granted according to the form annexed to this Treaty; they shall likewise be recalled every year, that is, if the ship happens to return home within the space of a year. It is likewise agreed, that such ships being laden are to be provided not only with passports as above mentioned, but also with certificates containing the several particulars of the cargo, the place whence the ship sailed and whither she is bound; that so it may be known whether any forbidden or contraband goods be on board the same; which certificates shall be made out by the officers of the place whence the ship set sail in the accustomed form; and if any one shall think it fit or adviseable to express in the said certificates the person to whom the goods on board belong, he may freely do so.
XXIX. The ships of the subjects or people of either of the parties coming upon any coast belonging to either of the said allies, but not willing to enter into port, or being entered into port and not willing to unload their cargoes or break bulk, shall not be obliged to give an account of their lading, unless they should be suspected upon some manifest tokens of carrying to the enemy of the other ally any prohibited goods called contraband; and in case of such manifest suspicion, the said subjects or people of either of the parties shall be obliged to exhibit in the ports, their passports and certificates in the manner before specified.
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XXX. If the ships of the said subjects or people of either of the parties shall be met with either sailing along the coasts or on the high seas by any ship of war of the other, or by any privateers, the said ships of war or privateers, for the avoiding of any disorder, shall remain out of cannon shot, and may send their boats aboard the merchant ship which they shall so meet with, and may enter her to the number of two or three men only, to whom the master or commander of such ship or vessel shall exhibit his passport concerning the property of the ship, made out according to the form inserted in this present Treaty; and the ship, when she shall have shewed such passport, shall be free and at liberty to pursue her voyage, so as it shall not be lawful to molest or search her in any manner, or to give her chase, or force her to quit her intended course.
[It is also agreed that all goods when once put on board the ships or vessels of either parties shall be subject to no farther visitation; <or search> but all visitation or search shall be made before hand and all prohibited goods shall be stopped on the spot before the same be put on board the ships or vessels of the respective state: nor shall either the persons or goods of the subjects of his most Christian Majesty, or the united States be put under any arrest or molested by any other Kind of Embargo for that cause; and only the subject of that State to whom the said goods have been or shall be prohibited and shall presume to sell or alienate such sort of goods shall be duly punished for the offence.]16
Form of the Passports and Letters which are to be given to the ships and barks which shall go according to the [] Article of this Treaty:
TO ALL who shall see these presents, Greeting: It is hereby made known, that leave and permission has been given to——master and commander of the ship called——of the town of——burthen——tons or thereabouts, lying at present in the port and haven——and bound for——and laden with——after that his ship has been visited and before sailing he shall make oath before the Officers who have the jurisdiction of maritime affairs, that the said ship belongs to one or more of the subjects of——the act whereof shall be put at the end of these presents; as likewise, that he will keep and cause to be kept by his crew on board, the Marine Ordinances and Regulations, and enter in the proper office a list signed and witnessed of the crew of his ship and of all who shall embark on board her, whom he shall not take on board without the knowledge and permission of the Officers of the Marine; and in every port or haven where he shall enter with his ship { 288 } he shall shew this present leave to the Officers and Judges of the Marine, and shall give a faithful account to them of what passed and was done during his voyage, and he shall carry the colors, arms and ensigns of——during his voyage. In Witness whereof we have signed these presents and put the seal of our arms thereunto, and caused the same to be countersigned, by——at——the—day of—, A.D.—.
Form of the Act containing the Oath
WE——, of the Admiralty of——, do certify, that——master of the ship named in the above passport hath taken the oath mentioned therein. Done at——, the——, day of——, A.D.
Form of the Certificate to be required of and to be given by the Magistrates or Officers of the Customs of the town and port in their respective towns and ports to the ships and vessels which sail from thence, according to the directions of the——Article of this present Treaty.
WE——, Magistrates (or Officers of the Customs) of the town and port of——, do certify and attest, that on the——day of the month of——, in the year of our Lord——, personally appeared before us——of——, and declared by a solemn oath that the ship or vessel called——of about——tons, whereof——of——his usual place of habitation, is master or commander, does rightfully and properly belong to him and other subjects of——and to them alone, that she is now bound from the port of ——to the port of——, laden with the goods and merchandizes here—under particularly described and enumerated, that is to say as follows——
In witness whereof we have signed this certificate, and sealed it with the seal of our office. Given the——day of the month of——in the year of our Lord——.
MS not found. Reprinted from copy in (PCC, No. 47;) docketed in the hand of Charles Thomson: “Plan of treaties gone through in comee. of the whole Aug. 27. 1776 & recommended, that instructions may be drawn conformable thereto. Aug. 29 1776 The Comee. farther impowered to prepare such instructions as to them shall seem proper & make report thereof to Congress.”
This copy of the treaty plan was printed for the use of the members of the congress exclusively and was not circulated outside that body. The document here printed was that used by Thomson to record changes made in the plan during debate. The additions made are inserted at the points indicated by Thomson and are set off with double parentheses. On another copy, also in PCC, No. 47, James Wilson made notes relating to the instructions that his committee would be writing.
{ 289 }
1. An immediately perceived difference between the printed report and JA's draft is the absence of the names of the parties to the proposed treaty: “A” for France and “B” for the United States were substituted. The change was ordered on 20 July, when the congress resolved that the committee's report should be printed “under the restrictions and regulations prescribed for printing the plan of confederation.” That is, only eighty copies were to be printed, one going to each member; the printer was to be under oath to deliver all the printed copies, together with the copy sheets, to the secretary of the congress; and no member was to furnish any person with his copy or make any effort to have it reprinted (JCC, 5:594, 555—556). Despite these stringent precautions, the copy from which the printer worked is not among the papers of the congress, as mentioned earlier. These regulations reflected the continuing desire of the congress for secrecy and probably also the conviction that although France was the obvious choice for such a treaty, the premature and unofficial disclosure of plans for such an agreement would cause problems among the American people and place obstacles in the way of future negotiations. The lengths to which the congress went to preserve secrecy and avoid problems are apparent in Arts. 6, 12, and 13. See notes 6, 11, and 12 (below). The decision not to have printed the treaty plan as finally adopted thus becomes understandable.
2. In the margin is the notation “Agreed.” For the remaining articles, with the exception of 7, 8, and 9, Thomson indicated adoption by writing “pass'd” beside Arts. 2 through 6 and “agreed” beside Arts. 10 through 30.
3. In the margin beside Art. 2 is the notation: “The additional Resolution to follow this article.” The addition, which follows in parentheses, was at the bottom of the page. In the treaty plan as adopted it became Art. 3. It refers to Arts. V and VI of the Definitive Treaty of Peace signed by Great Britain, France, and Spain at Paris on 10 Feb. 1763 that ended the Seven Years' War. These articles confirmed French fishing rights on Newfoundland and ceded to France the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon as places of refuge for its fishermen. The passage as written by Thomson has “be permitted to” underlined; it was apparently meant to be canceled, for it does not appear in Art. 3 of No. III (below).
4. This change from “or” to “and” does not appear in the corresponding Art. 4 of No. III (below). This may be because the “and,” inserted by Thomson in the form of a very faint “&,” was not noticed when the plan was put into its final form.
5. In the margin is a notation that has been canceled: “A Resolution of [ . . . ] subjoined to this Article.” What the resolution was remains undetermined.
6. In the margin is the notation: “Pass'd with an additional R.” It refers to the omission of the remainder of this article as it appears in both JA's draft and the treaty plan as adopted (Art. 6 in No. I, above, and Art. 7 in No. III, below). Calling on “A” to protect American shipping from the Barbary pirates as satisfactorily as Britain had done in the past hardly accorded with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. Such a demand was certain to provoke controversy if it came to the attention of the public. Keeping it out of print but retaining it for negotiations that would be in the American interest must have seemed prudent.
7. In the margin is the canceled notation: “P[ost] P[oned] for consideration.”
8. Although this canceled provision would seem necessary if France was to give aid and possibly enter the war, it may have seemed inappropriate for a commercial treaty. Such a provision did become part of the Franco-American Treaty of Alliance of 1778.
9. Failure to cancel “the same” was an inadvertence.
10. This article was probably canceled because Art. 22 made it redundant and it would be an unnecessary irritant to France in any negotiations.
11. In JA's draft this phrase appeared as “more than [] Per Gallon.” Because “more than” is canceled on the draft and is omitted from the plan as adopted, its appearance here and subsequent deletion indicates that it was done during the congressional debates rather than { 290 } earlier by JA or the committee and that his cancellation on the draft was a result of this later action. See No. I, note 10 (above). The decision “that no duties whatever” were to be imposed on molasses was probably a concession to New England as well as other sections where molasses was important for the rum distilleries.
The removal of the word “molasses,” which had appeared in JA's draft, from this article is also significant. Since molasses was a valuable import from the French islands, leaving out the word may have been intended as an effort to conceal the name of the intended party to the treaty in keeping with other such efforts in the printed version.
12. The omission here of Droit d'Aubaine is meant to conceal the participation of France in the treaty.
13. A printing error.
14. In the margin is the notation: “to be transposed and placed so as immediately follow the 8th.” In the treaty plan as adopted this provision became Art. 10 rather than 9 because of the addition of a new Art. 3.
15. This phrase was written in the margin for inclusion at this point, perhaps to appeal to indigo growers. It may have been canceled because on such an important subject as contraband and noncontraband, the congress decided not to depart from the text of the Treaty of Utrecht.
16. This, the longest addition to the treaty plan, was written in the margin for inclusion here. See No. I, note 20 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-09-17

III. Plan of Treaties as Adopted (with Instructions)

There shall be a firm inviolable and universal peace and a true and sincere friendship between the most serene and mighty prince Lewis the Sixteenth, the most Christian King, his heirs and successors and the United States of America; and the subjects of the most Christian King and of the said states; and between the countries, islands, cities and towns situate under the jurisdiction of the most Christian King, and of the said United States and the people and inhabitants thereof of every degree, without exception of persons or places; and the terms herein mentioned shall be perpetual between the most Christian King, his heirs and successors and the said United States.
Art. I. The Subjects of the most Christian King shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of the said United States or any of them than the natives thereof, or any commercial companies established by them or any of them shall pay; but shall enjoy all other the rights liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce, in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or companies enjoy.
Art. II. The Subjects, people and inhabitants of the Said United States and every of them shall pay no other duties or imposts in the { 291 } ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of the most Christian [King] than the natives of such countries, islands, cities, or towns of France or any commercial companies established by the most Christian King shall pay but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce in passing from one port thereof to another and in going to and from the same from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or companies enjoy.1
Art. III. His most Christian Majesty shall retain the same rights of Fishery on the banks of Newfoundland and all other rights relating to any of the said islands, which he is entitled to by virtue of the treaty of Paris.
Art. IV. The most Christian King shall endeavour by all the means in his power to protect and defend all vessels and the effects belonging to the subjects people or inhabitants of the said United States or any of them, being in his ports, havens, or roads or on the seas near to his countries, islands cities or towns, and to recover and to restore to the right owners, their agents or attornies all such vessels and effects, which shall be taken within his jurisdiction; and his ships of war or any convoys sailing under his authority shall upon all occasions take under their protection all vessels belonging to the subjects people or inhabitants of the said United States or any of them and holding the same course or going the same way and shall defend such vessels as long as they hold the same course or go the same way against all attacks, force and violence in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend vessels belonging to the subjects of the most Christian King.2
Art. V. In like manner the said United States and their ships of war and convoys sailing under their authority shall protect and defend all vessels and effects belonging to the subjects of the most Christian King and endeavour to recover and restore them if taken within the jurisdiction of the said United States or any of them.
Art. VI. The most Christian King and the said United States shall not receive nor suffer to be received into any of their ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns any pirates or sea robbers or afford or suffer any entertainment, assistance or provision to be afforded to them, but shall endeavour by all means that all pirates and sea robbers and their partners, sharers and abettors be found out, apprehended and suffer condign punishment: and all the vessels and effects piratically taken and brought into the ports and havens of the most Christian [King] or the said United States, which can be found, although they be sold shall be restored or satisfaction given therefor, { 292 } the right owners, their agents or attornies demanding the same and making the right of property to appear by due proof.
Art. VII. The most Christian King shall protect defend and secure, as far as in his power, the subjects, people and inhabitants of the said United States and every of them and their vessels and effects of every Kind, against all attacks, assaults, violences, injuries, depredations or plunderings by or from the king or emperor of Morocco, or Fez and the States of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli and any of them and every other prince state and power on the coast of Barbary in Africa and the subjects of the said kings, emperors, states and powers and of every of them in the same manner and as effectually and fully, and as much to the benefit advantage, ease and safety of the Said United States and every of them and of the subjects, people and inhabitants thereof, to all intents and purposes as the King and Kingdom of Great Britain before the commencement of the present war protected, defended and secured the people and inhabitants of the said United States then called British colonies in North America, their vessels and effects against all such attacks, assaults, violences, injuries, depredations and plunderings.3
Art. VIII. If in consequence of this treaty the King of Great Britain should declare war against the most Christian King, the said United States shall not assist Great Britain in such war with men, money, ships or any of the articles in this treaty denominated contraband goods.4
Art. IX. The most Christian King shall never invade, nor under any pretence attempt to possess himself of Labradore, New Britain, Nova Scotia, Acadia, Canada, Florida nor any of the countries, cities or towns on the Continent of North America nor of the islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, St. Johns, Anticosti nor of any other island lying near to the said continent in the seas or in any gulph, bay or river, it being the true intent and meaning of this treaty, that the said United States shall have the sole exclusive, undivided and perpetual possession of all the countries, cities and towns on the said continent and of all islands near to it, which now are or lately were under the jurisdiction of or subject to the king or crown of Great Britain, whenever they shall be united or confederated with the said United States.
Art. X. The subjects, inhabitants, merchants, commanders of ships, masters and mariners of the states provinces and dominions of each party respectively shall abstain and forbear to fish in all places possessed or which shall be possessed by the other party. The most { 293 } Christian King's subjects shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which the said United States hold or shall hereafter hold. And in like manner the subjects, people and inhabitants of the said United States shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which the most Christian king possesses or shall hereafter possess. And if any ship or vessel shall be found fishing contrary to the tenor of this treaty, the said ship or vessel with its lading, proof being made thereof, shall be confiscated.
Art. XI. If in any war the most Christian king shall conquer or get possession of the islands in the West Indies now under the jurisdiction of the king or crown of Great Britain or any of them, or any dominions of the said king or crown in any other parts of the world, the subjects, people and inhabitants of the said united states and every of them shall enjoy the same rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, commerce and navigation to and from the said islands and dominions that are mentioned in the second article of this treaty.
Art. XII. It is the true intent and meaning of this treaty that no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the exportation of any thing of the growth, production or manufacture of the islands in the West Indies now belonging or which may hereafter belong to the most Christian King to the said United States or any of them than the lowest that are or shall be imposed on the exportation thereof to France or to any other part of the world.
Art. XIII. It is agreed by and between the said parties that no duties whatever shall ever hereafter be imposed on the exportation of Molasses from any of the islands and dominions of the most Christian king in the West Indies, to any of these United States.5
Art. XIV. The subjects, people and inhabitants of the said United States or any of them being merchants and residing in France and their property and effects of every kind shall be exempt from the Droit d'Aubeine.6
Art. XV. The merchant ship of either of the parties which shall be making into a port belonging to the enemy of the other ally and concerning whose voyage and the species of goods on board her there shall be just grounds of suspicion, shall be obliged to exhibit as well upon the high seas as in the ports and havens not only her passports but likewise certificates expressly shewing that her goods are not of the number of those which have been prohibited as contraband.
Art. XVI. If by the exhibiting of the above certificates the other party discover there are any of those sorts of goods which are prohibited { 294 } and declared contraband and consigned for a port under the obedience of his enemies, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches of such ship or to open any chest, coffers, packs, casks or any other vessels found therein or to remove the smallest parcels of her goods, whether such ship belong to the subjects of France or the inhabitants of the said United States unless the lading be brought on shore in the presence of the Officers of the court of admiralty and an inventory thereof made; but there shall be no allowance to sell, exchange or alienate the same in any manner, untill after that due and lawful process shall have been had against such prohibited goods and the courts of admiralty shall by a sentence pronounced have confiscated the same saving always as well the ship itself as any other goods found therein, which by this treaty are to be esteemed free; neither may they be detained on pretence of their being as it were infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawfull prize; but if not the whole cargo, but only part thereof shall consist of prohibited or contraband goods and the commander of the ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to the captor who has discovered them, in such case the captor having received those goods shall forthwith discharge the ship and not hinder her by any means freely to prosecute the voyage on which she was bound.7
Art. XVII. On the contrary it is agreed that whatever shall be found to be laden by the subjects and inhabitants of either party on any ship belonging to the enemy of the other or to his subjects although it be not of the sort of prohibited goods may be confiscated in the same manner as if it belonged to the enemy himself; except such goods and merchandize as were put on board such ship before the declaration of war or even after such declaration, if so be it were done without the knowledge of such declaration. So that the goods of the subjects and people of either party whether they be of the nature of such as are prohibited or otherwise, which as is afore said, were put on board any ship belonging to an enemy before the war or after the declaration of it without the Knowledge of it, shall no wise be liable to confiscation but shall well and truly be restored without delay to the proprietors demanding the same; but so as that if the said merchandizes be contraband it shall not be any ways lawful to carry them afterwards to any ports belonging to the enemy.
Art. XVIII. And that more effectual care may be taken for the security of the subjects and inhabitants of both parties, that they suffer no injury by the men of war or privateers of the other party, all the commanders of the ships of the Most Christian King and of the said { 295 } United States and all their subjects and inhabitants shall be forbid doing any injury, or damage to the other side, and if they act to the contrary they shall be punished and shall moreover be bound to make satisfaction for all matter of damage and the interest thereof by reparation under the penalty and obligation of their persons and goods.
Art. XIX. All ships and merchandizes of what nature soever, which shall be rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers on the high seas shall be brought into some port of either state and shall be delivered to the custody of the Officers of that port, in order to be restored entire to the true proprietor as soon as due and sufficient proof shall be made concerning the property thereof.
Art. XX. It shall be lawful for the ships of war of either party and privateers freely to carry whithersoever they please the ships and goods taken from their enemies without being obliged to pay any duty to the Officers of the admiralty or any other judges, nor shall such prizes be arrested or seized when they come to enter the ports of either Party; nor shall the searchers or other Officers of those places search the same or make examination concerning the lawfulness of such prizes, but they may hoist sail at any time and depart and carry their prizes to the place expressed in their commissions, which the commanders of such ships of war shall be obliged to shew: On the contrary no shelter or refuge shall be given in their ports to such as shall have made prize of the subjects, people or property of either of the parties, but if such should come in, being forced by stress of weather or the danger of the sea, all proper means shall be vigorously used that they go out and retire from thence as soon as possible.
Art. XXI. If any ships belonging to either of the parties, their subjects or people shall within the coasts or dominions of the other stick upon the sands or be wrecked or suffer any other damage all friendly assistance and relief shall be given to the persons shipwrecked or such as shall be in danger thereof, and letters of safe conduct shall likewise be given to them for their free and quiet passage from thence and the return of every one to his own country.
Art. XXII. In case the subjects and people of either party with their shipping, whether public and of war or private and of merchants be forced through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies or any other urgent necessity for seeking of shelter and harbor to retreat and enter into any of the rivers, creeks, bays, havens, roads, ports or shores belonging to the other party, they shall be received and treated with all humanity and kindness and enjoy all friendly protection and help; and they shall be permitted to refresh and provide them• { 296 } selves at reasonable rates with victuals and all things needful for the sustenance of their persons or reparation of their ships and conveniency of their voyage; and they shall no ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the said ports or roads, but may remove and depart when and whither they please without any let or hindrance.
Art. XXIII. For the better promoting of commerce on both sides, it is agreed that if a war shall break out between the said two nations, six months after the proclamation of war shall be allowed to the merchants in the cities and towns where they live for settling and transporting their goods and merchandizes; and if any thing be taken from them, or any injury be done them within that term by either party or the people or subjects of either, full satisfaction shall be made for the same.
Art. XXIV. No subjects of the most Christian king shall apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the said United States or any of them or against the subjects, people or inhabitants of the said United States or any of them or against the property of any of the inhabitants of any of them from any prince or state with which the said United States shall be at war. Nor shall any citizen, subject or inhabitant of the said United States or any of them apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the subjects of the most Christian king or any of them or the property of any of them from any prince or state, with which the said King shall be at War; and if any person of either Nation shall take such commissions or letters of marque he shall be punished as a pirate.
Art. XXV. It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers not belonging to subjects of the most Christian King nor citizens of the said United States, who have commissions from any other prince or state in enmity with either nation to fit their ships in the ports of either the one or the other of the aforesaid parties to sell what they have taken or in any other manner whatsoever to exchange either ships, merchandizes or any other lading; neither shall they be allowed even to purchase victuals except such as shall be necessary for their going to the next port of that prince or state from which they have commissions.8
Art. XXVI. It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects of the most Christian King and the citizens people and inhabitants of the said states to sail with their ships with all manner of liberty and security, no distinction being made, who are the proprietors of the merchandizes laden thereon from any port to the places of those who { 297 } now are or hereafter shall be at enmity with the most Christian King or the United States. It shall likewise be lawful for the subjects and inhabitants aforesaid to sail with the ships and merchandizes aforementioned, and to trade with the same liberty and security from the places ports and havens of those who are enemies of both or either party without any opposition or disturbance whatsoever not only directly from the places of the enemy aforementioned to neutral places, but also from one place belonging to an enemy to another place belonging to an enemy, whether they be under the jurisdiction of the same prince or under several. And it is hereby stipulated that free ships shall also give a freedom to goods and that every thing shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which shall be found on board the ships belonging to the subjects of either of the Confederates, although the whole lading or any part thereof should appertain to the enemies of either, Contraband goods being always excepted. It is also agreed in like manner that the same liberty, be extended to persons who are on board a free ship with this effect that although they be enemies to both or either party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they are Soldiers, and in actual service of the enemies.
Art. XXVII. This liberty of navigation and commerce shall extend to all Kinds of Merchandizes excepting those only which are distinguished by the name of contraband: And under this name of Contraband or prohibited goods shall be comprehended Arms, great guns, bombs with their fuzes and other things belonging to them, fire balls, gunpowder, match, cannon ball, pikes, swords, lances, spears, halbards, mortars, petards, granadoes, saltpetre, musquets, musket balls, helmets, head-pieces, breastplates, coats of mail, and the like kind of arms proper for arming Soldiers, musket rests, belts, horses with their furniture and all other warlike instruments whatever. These merchandizes which follow shall not be reckoned among contraband or prohibited goods, that is to say, all sorts of cloths and all other manufactures woven of any wool, flax, silk, cotton or any other materials whatever, all kinds of wearing apparel together with the species whereof they are used to be made, gold and silver as well coined as uncoined, tin, iron, lead copper, brass, coals, as also wheat and barley and any other kind of corn and pulse, tobacco and likewise all manner of spices, salted and smoked flesh, salted fish, cheese and butter, beer, oils, wines, sugars and all sorts of salt, and in general all provisions which serve for the nourishment of mankind and the sustenance of life. Furthermore all kinds of cotton, hemp, flax, tar, pitch, ropes, cables, sails, sail-cloth, anchors and any parts of anchors, also ships { 298 } masts, planks, boards, and beams of what trees soever, and all other things proper either for building or repairing ships and all other goods whatever, which have not been worked into the form of any instrument or thing prepared for war by land or by sea shall not be reputed contraband, much less such as have been already wrought and made up for any other use, all which shall be wholly reckoned among free goods; as likewise all other merchandizes and things which are not comprehended and particularly mentioned in the foregoing enumeration of contraband goods; so that they may be transported and carried in the freest manner by the subjects of both confederates even to places belonging to an enemy, such towns and places being only excepted as are at that time besieged blocked up or invested.
Art. XXVIII. To the end that all manner of dissentions and quarrels may be avoided and prevented on one side and the other, it is agreed that in case either of the parties hereto should be engaged in a war, the ships and vessels belonging to the subjects or people of the other ally must be furnished with sea letters or passports expressing the name, property and bulk of the ship as also the name and place of habitation of the master or commander of the said ship, that it may appear thereby that the ship really and truely belongs to the subjects of one of the parties, which passports shall be made out and granted according to the form annexed to this treaty. They shall likewise be recalled every year, that is, if the ship happens to return home within the space of a year. It is likewise agreed that such ships being laden are to be provided not only with passports as abovementioned, but also with certificates containing the several particulars of the cargo, the place whence the ship sailed and whither she is bound, that so it may be known, whether any forbidden or contraband goods be on board the same, which certificates shall be made out by the officers of the place, whence the ship set sail, in the accustomed form; and if any one shall think it fit or adviseable to express in the said certificates the persons to whom the goods on board belong, he may freely do it.
Art. XXIX. The ships of the subjects and inhabitants of either of the parties coming upon any coast belonging to either of the said allies, but not willing to enter into port, or being entered into port and not willing to unload their cargoes or break bulk shall not be obliged to give an account of their lading, unless they should be suspected, upon some manifest tokens, of carrying to the enemy of the other ally any prohibited goods called Contraband. And in case of such manifest suspicion the parties shall be obliged to exhibit in the ports their passports and certificates in the manner before specified.
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Art. XXX. If the ships of the said subjects, people or inhabitants of either of the parties shall be met with either sailing along the coast or on the high seas by any ship of war of the other or by any privateers, the said ships of war or privateers for the avoiding of any disorder shall remain out of cannon shot and may send their boats on board the merchant ship which they shall so meet with and may enter her to the number of two or three men only to whom the master or commander of such ship or vessel shall exhibit his passport concerning the property of the ship, made out according to the form inserted in this present treaty and the ship when she shall have shewed such passport shall be free and at liberty to pursue her voyage so as it shall not be lawful to molest or search her in any manner or to give her chase or force her to quit her intended course. It is also agreed that all goods when once put on board the ships or vessels of either parties shall be subject to no farther visitation, but all visitation or search shall be made before hand and all prohibited goods shall be stopped on the spot, before the same be put on board the ships or vessels of the respective State. Nor shall either the persons or goods of the subjects of his most Christian Majesty or the United States be put under any arrest or molested by any other kind of embargo for that cause, and only the subject of that state to whom the said goods have been or shall be prohibited and shall presume to sell or alienate such sort of goods shall be duely punished for the Offence.
The form of the Sea letters and passports to be given to ships and vessels according to the 28 Article
To all who shall see these presents Greeting. It is hereby made known that leave and permission has been given to——master and commander of the ship called——of the town of——burthen——tons or thereabouts lying at present in the port and haven of——and bound for——and laden with——after that his ship has been visited and before sailing he shall make oath before the Officers who have the jurisdiction of maritime affairs that the said ship belongs to one or more of the subjects of——the act whereof shall be put at the end of these presents; as likewise that he will keep and cause to be kept by his crew on board the marine Ordinances and regulations and enter in the proper office a list signed and witnessed of the crew of his ship and of all who shall embark on board her, whom he shall not take on board without the knowledge and permission of the Officers of the marine and in every port and Haven where he shall enter with his ship he shall shew this present leave to the Officers and judges of the marine and shall give a faithful account to them of what passed and { 300 } was done during his voyage and he shall carry the colours, arms and ensign of——during his voyage. In witness whereof we have signed these presents and put the seal of our arms thereunto and caused the same to be countersigned by——at——the——Day of——A.D.——.
The form of the act containing the Oath
We——of the admiralty of——do certify that——master of the ship named in the above passport hath taken the oath mentioned therein. Done at——the——Day of——A.D.——.
The form of the certificate to be required of and to be given by the Magistrates or Officers of the customs of the town and port in their respective towns and ports to the ships and vessels which sail from thence, according to the directions of the 28 Article of this present treaty
We——Magistrates (or officers of the customs) of the town and port of——do certify and attest that on the——day of the month of——in the year of our Lord——personally appeared before us——of——and declared by a solemn oath that the ship or vessel called——of about——tons, whereof——of——his usual place of habitation is master or commander does rightfully and properly belong to him and other subjects of——and to them alone, that she is now bound from the port of——to the port of——laden with the goods and merchandizes hereunder particularly described and enumerated that is to say——.
In witness whereof we have signed this certificate and sealed it with the seal of our office. Given the——day of the month of——in the year of our Lord——.
MS (PCC, No. 5, f. 5—26). Taken from the Secret Foreign Journal, this presumably is the most accurate text of the treaty plan as adopted by congress on 17 Sept. There was no contemporary printing of it.
As the final view of the congress on the form that a commercial treaty with France should take, the Plan of Treaties as adopted became the basis for the commercial treaty signed with that nation in 1778. To come to life, this treaty plan had to be implemented by negotiators who were guided by instructions embodying the sense of the congress. On 24 Sept. these instructions were adopted and on 20 Oct. sent by the Committee of Secret Correspondence with the Plan of Treaties to Silas Deane, then in France (JCC, 5:813–817; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:162–163).
The instructions defined how far negotiators might depart from specific articles in trying to conclude a treaty and even suggested alternatives. To some degree the instructions were more realistic than the plan, which was designed to serve American without much regard to French interests. The fears of some members of the congress, as noted by JA in his Autobiography, “that the present Plan reported by the Committee held out no sufficient temptation to France” were genuine and had to be taken into account if the United States was to secure the aid it desperately needed (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338).
{ 301 }
Formulation of instructions was entrusted to the committee responsible for the treaty plan; but because it has proved impossible to determine the role played by JA in their composition, they have not been printed here in full. Only those have been quoted which bear on articles in the Plan of Treaties. Quotations are taken from the Secret Foreign Journal (PCC, No. 5, f. 27–30) and cancellations from PCC, No. 47, f. 157, 158, 169.
1.
“If his most Christian Majesty shall not consent that the inhabitants of the United States shall have the privileges proposed in the second article, then the United States ought not to give the subjects of his most Christian Majesty the privileges proposed in the first article; but that the United States shall give to his most Christian Majesty the same privileges, liberties and immunities at least and the like favour in all things which any foreign nation the most favoured shall have, provided his Most Christian Majesty shall give to the United States the same benefits, privileges and immunities which the most favoured nation now has, uses or enjoys. And in case neither of these propositions of equal advantages are agreed to, then the whole of the said articles are to be rejected <without absolutely barring> rather than obstruct the farther progress of the treaty.”
This proposed alteration of the trade provisions of the treaty plan was well taken, for it was unrealistic to believe that France, whose trade was enmeshed in a restrictive mercantile system, would agree to place Americans on an equal basis with Frenchmen in trade, particularly with the French colonies.
2. “The fourth article must be insisted on.”
3.
“The seventh article ought to be obtained if possible, but should be waved rather than that the treaty should be interrupted by insisting upon it. His most Christian Majesty agreeing nevertheless to use his interest and influence to procure passes from the states mentioned in this article for the vessels of the United States upon the Mediterranean.”
This language would be a considerable softening of the original demand that the King of France furnish the protection afforded by Britain in the past.
4. Suggested alterations of Art. 8 appeared at two points in the instructions. The first, included as the fourth stated instruction, was altered during the debates by the cancellation of most of its original text and its replacement by an amendment (in double parentheses, below) in the hand of George Wythe. The second passage having a bearing on Art. 8 was an amendment, in the hand of Richard Henry Lee, which was not accepted and is printed here immediately after the Wythe amendment.
“The eighth article will probably be attended with some difficulty. If you find his Most Christian Majesty determined not to agree to it, you are empowered to add to it, <any of the following Proposals Offers or two of them, or all of them if one or two of them should be discovered to be unsatisfactory.>
<1. If A should undertake an Expedition to recover what she lost in the West Indies during the last War with G. Britain the United States will, in that Expedition, supply France with Provisions if required, and will not supply G. Britain with any.>
<Postpon'd 2. The United States will agree to an exclusive Contract in Favour of A. during the Term of [] Years, for Masts and naval Stores, as far as they can spare them.>
<Agreed 3. The United States will not, upon a Peace with Great Britain grant to her Terms of Commerce more advantageous than those they will grant to A> as follows [That the United States will never be subject or acknowledge allegiance or obedience to the king or crown or parliament of Great Britain, nor grant to that nation any exclusive trade or any advantages or privileges in trade more than to His Most Christian Majesty; neither shall any treaty for terminating the present war between the King of Great Britain and the United States, or any war which may be declared by the King of Great Britain against his most Christian Majesty in consequence of this treaty, take effect until the expiration of <eight> six calendar months after the negotiation for { 302 } that purpose shall have been duely notified in the former instance by the United States to his most Christian Majesty, and in the other instance by his Most Christian Majesty to the United States, to the end that both these parties may be included in the peace, if they think proper.]
<If the Court of France cannot be prevailed on to engage in the War with Great Britain for any considerations already proposed in this Treaty, you are hereby authorized to agree as a further inducement, that these united States will <wage the war in union with France> not make peace with Great Britain until <the latter> France shall gain the possession of those Islands in the West Indies formerly called Nieutral, and which by the Treaty of Paris were ceded to G. Britain; provided France shall make the conquest of these Islands an early object of the War and prosecute the same with sufficient force.>
As adopted, the instructions for Art. 8 represented a return to JA's original intention as expressed in his draft but which had been altered during the congressional debates. See Art. 7 in Nos. I and II (above). The portions finally deleted from the instructions were put forward by those who felt that the proposed treaty, which might result in an Anglo-French war, did not offer France enough inducement. The canceled material proposed “Articles of entangling Alliance, of exclusive Privileges, and of Warrantees of Possessions” that JA writes of in his Autobiography and that he kept out of the plan (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). Although the introduction of such provisions into the instructions was successfully opposed, their substance was eventually embodied in the Treaty of Alliance of 1778.
5. “The twelfth and thirteenth articles are to be waived if you find that the treaty will be interrupted by insisting on them.” France was not likely to accept the equality in colonial trade proposed in Art. 12, and there were uncertainties about Art. 13, as is apparent from earlier revisions of this article, formerly Art. 12. See No. II, note 11 (above).
6. “You will press the fourteenth article, but let not the fate of the treaty depend upon obtaining it.”
7. “If his most Christian Majesty should be unwilling to agree to the sixteenth and twenty sixth articles, you are directed to consent that the goods and effects of enemies on board the ships and vessels of either party shall be liable to seizure and confiscation.”
The abandonment by the United States of the doctrine that free ships make free goods would have been inconsistent with its desire to expand trade and, at least in JA's mind, to be neutral in future European wars so that it could take over the carrying trade. The doctrine was becoming a standard feature in commercial treaties of the northern European trading countries. Even Great Britain, which stood to suffer the most if it became an established principle of the law of nations, had agreed to it in the Treaty of Utrecht, which formed the basis for the treaty plan.
8. “The twenty-fifth article is not to be insisted on.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0117

Author: Quincy, Josiah
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-06-13 - 1776-06-25

From Josiah Quincy

[salute] Dear Sir

Your worthy Lady has been so good as to lend me a Pamphlet printed at Philadelphia intituled “Thoughts upon Government”: I have perused it with Pleasure, because, in general they are agreable to my own. It is difficult to contract, within the Limits of a Sheet of Paper, ones Thoughts upon such a copious Subject: however, I have selected the { 303 } following for your Amusement; and when you are not better employed, please to let me know how you like them.
It would be impious to suppose, when the Deity gave Existence to the human Species, that, his Wisdom did not provide them the Means of as much Happiness, as his Goodness inclined him to bestow, upon Creatures of their Rank in the Scale of Beings: But, it is no Impeachment of his Wisdom or Goodness to say, that the Degree of their Happiness, should be in Proportion to their Care and Diligence, in the Improvement of the Means of it.
The selfish as well as social Passions were, doubtless, designed as Means of our Happiness: But, from the opposite Attraction of their respective Objects would, probably, have proved ineffectual, had not our universal Parent, in every Age, endued, certain Individuals, with a superior Understanding above the Rest, and disposed them to restrain the Vices, correct the Errors, and improve the Minds and Morals of the Multitude, who would, otherwise, have remained in Ignorance and Barbarism; as is still the Case, to the Disgrace of human Nature, in some Countrys: Hence the Necessity of Government and Laws: But here an important Question arises: By what Criterion are, these rare Geniusses to be distinguished? Since, melancholly Experience has taught Mankind, that Integrity and Wisdom are, not inseperably connected with a refined Understanding: On the contrary, History is replete with Instances, of Men of the greatest Abilities, who have perverted them to the worst Purposes: To make their fellow Creatures miserable insted of making them happy: To make them Slaves, insted of preserving and securing their Freedom: Inestimable, therefore, would be the Worth of that Man, his Memory blessed, and his Name immortal, whose Genius and Address enabled him to contrive, and render acceptable, a Constitution of Government, upon such Principles, as in the Administration of it should be effectual, for the Suppression of Vice, and Encouragments of Virtue; because, publick Happiness depends upon publick Virtue.
Whoever duely attends, to the Process of animal and vegitable Life, in the first Stages of it will find, the Fermentation of the Juices, in both, exceeding slow; but, astonishingly rapid, before it produces those Effects which discover, the inexhaustible Goodness of unerring Wisdom. In the Refinement of head Matter, by the Art of Man, if the refining Materials are not gently applied, and in small Quantities at first, the Process will be greatly obstructed; but, the Heat must be intense, and the Fermentation violent, before that brilliant Luminary can be produced, which gives such a Lustre to all around it: By a very { 304 } simple Analogy, therefore, may it not be justly inferred, that, in the Process of political Refinement, in the first Stage of it, the Fermentation ought to be as gentle as possible, but, gradually increased, from Stage to Stage, 'till the Rays of Wisdom, like the Rays of the Sun, in the Focus of a burning Glass are collected, in the Supreme Legislative, and from thence expanded, like the vital Flame in the natural Body to animate, and invigorate every Part of the Body politick? Permit me to explain my Meaning. The Inhabitants in each of these Colonies are scattered, over such an Extent of Territory, as renders their assembling in Person, for the Purpose of forming a Constitution of Government impracticable; But, if this Difficulty could be removed, such a numerous Assembly would be only a many headed Monster; incapable of Action, or acting, at best, to no valuable Purpose: It follows, therefore, upon the Principles above mentioned, that the scattered Sparks of Wisdom should be collected from the Multitude, by a slow and equal Fermentation; or, in other Words, by an equal Representation. An unequal Representation, would in Time, be productive of fatal Consequences.
Had Britons been equally represented they would not have patiently suffered, the Ferocity of a royal Despot, to plunder the Property, destroy the Towns, and wantonly shedd the Blood of their innocent Brethren in America: But, the Consequences of their being unequally represented are, that, their Sovereign is absolute, their Chains are rivetted and they are no longer a free People! How cautious, therefore, ought Mankind to be, in originating the Powers of Government! How carefull, to reserve to themselves, a due share in framing the Laws which are to be the Rule of their Conduct, and a constitutional Controll over those to whom, the Administration of Government, and the Distribution of Justice are intrusted! To keep it always in their Power, with a firm Resolution, to reward, and punish with a liberal, but impartial Hand; and to guard with a watchfull Eye every Avenue of Bribery and Corruption.
Bribery and Corruption have, already stab'd the Vitals of English Liberty; and unless timely suppressed will, sooner or later, prove the Ruin of this Country: For, how can the Wisdom of the Community be collected, in that legislative Body, where, any of the Members of it are suffered to hold a Seat, whose Virtue, though it might rest upon the Point of a Needle, yet, have Cunning enough to perswade, many of their thoughtless Electors to guzzle a Theif down their Throats, and steal away their Senses: And having cheated them of their Suffrages, and made the most of an infamous Bargain, are paid for their Perfidy { 305 } by the Towns they represent. This is a Crime of the deepest Dye! and the guilty ought to answer for it at their utmost Peril.
Innovations in Governments long established, are, doubtless, attended with Hazard; and ought not to be admitted without an apparent Probability of great Advantage to the State: But the present Governments of these Colonies are, upheld only by Courtesy and Consent; and it is become absolutely necessary, that new ones should be formed, upon Principles most conducive to the Happiness and Security of the People who are to be subject to them: I ask therefore, upon the foregoing Scheme of political Refinement, in the first Stage of the Process, whether it would not be the best Mode of collecting, the scattered Sparks of Wisdom from the People at large, were they to be represented, in the most equal Manner that can be devised, in a Country Convention; with a Rotation of the Members by Lot, the two first Years, the third year involving a perpetual Series? and whether, it would not be in some Measure a Bar, tho not an effectual One, to the enormous Vice abovementioned?
The scattered Sparks of Wisdom being thus collected from the People, will not their Representatives in Convention, be better qualified, by all the Difference between an ignorant Multitude, and a few wise Men selected from them, to proceed to the second Stage of the foregoing Process and chuse, with Discretion and Judgment, out of their own Body, or from their Constituents, such a Number of Persons, and under such Qualifications as shall be by Law established, to represent the County in the General Assembly? The Election of Representatives for the County being finished: The Time of the Convention's sitting limitted, and the Pay of the Members settled by Law: Why may not those Matters, of little or no Importance, which used to waste the Time, and disgrace the Dignity of former General Assemblies, be considered, and determined upon in the County Convention, as the proper Objects of their Deliberation, with a Right of Appeal to those, who shall apprehend themselves aggrieved by their Decisions? Would not the capital Objection, of an Assembly too numerous and expensive, by this Mode of Representation, be removed? Would the People have any Body to blame, but themselves in the Choice of their Representatives in Convention, if They did not chuse the best Men in the County, to represent Them and their Constituents in the general Assembly? Would not the House of Commons in each Colony, by such a Constitution consist, of the most suitable Number of Persons, and the best qualified for the Purposes of Colony Legislation?
{ 306 }
The Wisdom of the Representatives of the People, in their respective County Conventions, being thus collected, and one Branch of the colony Legislative formed: Let the Commons proceed to the third Stage in the Process of political Refinement, and form, by an unbiassed Choice, a colony Council, or second legislative Department in the State; consisting of such a Number, and of such Qualifications, as are suitable to the Dignity, and Importance of the Trust to be reposed in them.
The Wisdom of the Community being thus sublimated, and composing two distinct Branches of the legislative Body, and the Powers of each respectively settled, and determined by Law: Let them proceed to the fourth Stage in the Process abovementioned, and chuse by joint Ballot, unconfined to any other Limits, than the Colony, A President, vice President, Treasurer, and such other executive Officers, as shall be found necessary, for the well ordering, and governing the People within the Limits of their Jurisdiction.
A colonial Government being, thus model'd and established: The Relation and Connection formed, and to be formed, with the other Governments upon the Continent, and the best Mode of forming, a supreme Legislative over the WHOLE, will, doubtless, be some of the first Objects of each Colony's Attention; as they are certainly some of the most interesting and important, that ever did, or can come under the Deliberation of human Wisdom: For this Purpose, therefore, and as the fifth Stage in the Process of political Refinement, let each Colony exercise, their best discretion and Judgment, in the Choice of such Persons as they shall think, most suitably qualified to represent them in the Assembly of the States General, or continental Assembly.
The Wisdom of each Colony being, by this or some similar Mode collected, in a continental Assembly, They will be necessarily led to the sixth and last Stage in the foregoing Process: vizt:, forming a supreme Legislative; which, to consider minutely exceeds, not only the Limits of a Letter, but, the Capacity of your Friend: However, Lord Chatham in his Speech before the House of Lords, the 20th: Jany. 1775 said: “For genuine Sagacity: For singular Moderation: For solid Wisdom, manly Spirit, sublime Sentiments, and simplicity of Language: For every thing respectable and honorable, the Congress of Philadelphia shine unrivaled.”1 May we not, therefore, rest assured, that, such an Assembly of Sages, will confirm his Lordship's Judgment; and demonstrate to the World, that it is within the Reach of human Wisdom, duely sublimated, to “fix the true Point of Happiness and Freedom” by framing, and establishing a Constitution of Govern• { 307 } ment upon such Principles, as shall to endless Ages be productive of, “the greatest Sum of individual Happiness, with the least national Expence.”2
I cannot say, that one of the foregoing Thoughts are new, or worthy of your Notice; but this I can say, they certainly would be both, if it was in my Power to make them so: Often, have I thrown away my Pen, resolving to write no more, upon a Subject so much better understood, by the Friend I was writing to, than I could pretend to; however, my Inclination to converse with you upon Paper would have prompted me to write oftener, could I have found Subject Matter worthy of your Attention.
It is now almost three Months since, by the Smiles of Providence upon our Arms, that General Howe, with the rest of our unnatural and perfidious Enemies, were forced, with Ignominy to abandon the Capital of this Colony; on which memorable Event I sincerely congratulate you: But, to my Astonishment, Anger, and just Resentment, a single fifty-gun Ship has ever since kept Possession of Nantasket Road; and by her Tenders taken more Prizes, than at a moderate Computation, would have fortified and rendered impregnable every Island in the Harbor: Besides, had the remaining naval Force been excluded, after the Army sail'd, a Trap would have been formed, in which Prizes would probably been taken to the amount in Value to us of near or quite half a Million Sterling. For when a Ship with a leading Gale of Wind at East is off the Lighthouse, with a flood Tide and Night coming on, she must enter the Harbor, or be beat to Pieces upon the Rocks on one Side or the other. Sentiments similar to these, were published almost two months ago, but to no Purpose.3 To increase our Hazard, and add to our Mortification, the 10th: Instant, 7 Transports filled with highland Troops arrived in Nantasket Road: This Event has “waked the Watchmen of the publick Weal”4 for, whilst I am writing I hear, there are Parties with Cannon, Mortars, and Entrenching Tools going this Night, to fortifie the Moon, great Hill at Hough's Neck, Petticks Island, Long Island, and Nantasket: The Commodore,5 about 11 O'Clock, brought his Broad Side to bear upon Nantasket and fired about 20 of his lower Tier Guns at which Place I suppose they are now at work. I shall keep a Journal of Occurrences as follows vizt:
About 5 O'Clock this Morning the revd: Mr: G——n6 who lodged with us last Night in Expectation that something of Importance was going forward, rode with me to Squantum, where were about 300 { 308 } Voluntiers collected from Boston, Dorchester, Milton, and Stoughton; but, to the Shame of our Rulers without a Director or Directions! However, with our Glass we could see, a large Number of Men collected upon the east Head of Long Island,7 and about 6 O'Clock, an 18 pounder was discharged upon the Ships in the Road, when the Transports and Tenders immediately came to sail: After about half a Dozen Shot were discharged, from the first Cannon, a second, of the same Bore was got ready, and a warm cannonading of the Commodore ensued, when he clap'd a Spring upon his Cable, brought his broadside to bear and return'd the Fire with seeming Resolution: But, very soon discovering a Shell from an 18 Inch Mortar, burst in the Air about 2/3ds: of the Way to his Ship, he slip'd, or cut both his Cables and came to sail.
It being almost calm, it was more than an hour before he got out of the Reach of our Guns; and its said, was hull'd more than once, as were several of the Transports and Cruisers. This confirmed the Truth of Govr. Johnstone's Observation, that “a single Gun in a retired Situation, or on an Eminence, or a single howitzer, will dislodge a first rate Man of War, and burn her to add to the Disgrace.”8
The preceeding Night was so calm, that the Vessels carrying Cannon to Petticks Island, and Nantasket, could not get to either of those Places till it was too late to do Execution: However, the Commodore was saluted with a few Shot from Nantasket, to let him know we should be better prepared for him if he should chuse to return.
After we got home, between 11 and 12 O'Clock, we perceived the light House was on fire, and after burning about an Hour, the Tower was blown up, and reduced to a Heap of Rubbish: By this Time, the Weather being Hazey, our Enemies were got out of Sight, and soon afterwards, 6 Sail of our Privatiers triumphantly entered the Harbor, and went up to Town.
Had Wisdom been at Helm, and some heavy Cannon placed upon Petticks Island, and Nantasket, before the Entrenchments were opened upon the east Head of Long Island, the Enemy would have remained undisturbed 'till this Morning, when a fresh easterly Wind and a flood Tide would not suffer them to go out; consequently, without running the least Hazard on our Side, they must have took their Choice of a watery Grave, or becoming Prisoners at Discretion; for they had no means of escape, nor Power of defending themselves with any Chance of Success.
{ 309 }
About 2 O'Clock afternoon a Ship and Brigantine hove in Sight with three small Privateers hovering round them; but durst not venture near the Ship which complimented them with her Guns: They turned into the lighthouse Channel about Dusk, when 4 Schooners, and a Brigantine of 14 Guns from Connecticut, with the Assistance of two Shot from our Works at Nantasket, attacked, and made Prizes of them, and Prisoners of about 240 Sailors and Highland Soldiers; the Major of the Regiment was kill'd; and about 20 Privates killed and wounded: none killed, and only one said to be mortally wounded on our Side.
Went to Boston, and had the Pleasure of conversing a few minutes with Lieut. Colo: Campbel of the Highlanders,9 at General Wards: He appeared to be well bred, spoke extreme good English, rendered disagreable by those haughty Airs which are characteristick of his Country.
Another Transport with 112 highland Troops were taken by our Privatiers without any Resistance, and in sight of our House. There are now near or quite 500 of them our Prisoners, mostly Farmers and Manufacturs, decoyed (as its said) into the Service by being assured, that, Boston and 40 Miles round it was in possession of Genl. Gage's Troops, and all that would be required of them was, only to take up the forfieted Lands at a moderate Quitrent: Notwithstanding their national Attachment, its probable many of them will in time become our worthy fellow Citizens: They give an Account of 30 Sail more that came out with them, shall therefore keep this Letter open a few Days, in Expectation of giving you further Intelligence.
Yesterday, an Express arrived from Cape Ann with Advice, that eleven large Ships were seen off steering for Boston; and to Day, about [ . . . ] I discovered them with my Glass: but, they have the Wind a head which will prevent their reaching the Harbor before Night.
No appearance of any Ships this Morning but in the afternoon heard they were seen off in the Bay.
{ 310 }
About noon a Man of War and 8 Transports came in Sight and turned with the Wind ahead almost up to the Mouth of the Harbor but finding no Pilot come off. Seeing no Light House, and every thing wearing a disagreable Aspect they stood out to Sea again. An Express arrived this Day from Falmouth with Advice, that 25 Sail of Ships were seen off Casco Bay last Sunday: if so, we shall soon have another Visit.
If my worthy and honored Friend Docter Franklin is returned to Philadelphia10 pray present my most respectfull Compliments of Congratulation to him, with Thanks for his obliging Letter of the 15 of last April, which came safe to hand: Please to acquaint him with the Contents of this long Letter, so far as you think them worthy of his Notice.
Be so good as to redeem Time enough to let me know from under your Hand, that you have not forgot an old Friend, who is, unalterably, Your affectionate and faithfull humble Servant
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honble. John Adams Esquire Philadelphia”; docketed: “Quincy June 13. 1776.”
1. Although William Pitt's celebrated speech calling for the removal of troops from Boston was made available in pamphlets (T. R. Adams, American Independence, Nos. 190a–e), the wording here comes from the journal of Josiah Quincy, 1744–1775 (Josiah Quincy, Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy, Junior, 2d edn., Boston, 1874, p. 268).
2. These two quotations are from Giacinto, Marquis de Dragonetti, A Treatise on Virtues and Rewards, as quoted by Thomas Paine in Common Sense (Thomas Paine: Common Sense and Other Political Writings, ed. Nelson F. Adkins, N.Y., 1953, p. 32, 176).
3. A reference to an unsigned piece dated 16 April that appeared in the Boston Gazette, 29 April. Quincy's complete familiarity with it suggests that he wrote it. See notes 4 and 8 (below).
4. The piece in the Boston Gazette began, “Fearful, I take my pen, 'with honest zeal / To rouse the watchmen of the public weal.'’
5. That is, Francis Banks, commander of the British ship Renown. See Samuel Cooper to JA, 22 April, note 1 (above).
6. Very likely William Gordon.
7. For the number and distribution of troops, see Adams Family Correspondence, 2:11.
8. This quotation from George Johnstone, M.P., was taken from a longer one in the Boston Gazette piece. Johnstone's speech of Oct. 1775 supported Rockingham's amendment to the Address of Thanks, the amendment castigating the ministry for its American policies (Parliamentary Hist., 18:708–709, 740–757, the excerpt being on p. 753). Neither Evans nor T. R. Adams, American Independence, lists any pamphlet publication that includes Johnstone's very pro-American speech. How Quincy obtained it remains undetermined. Johnstone was made governor of West Florida in 1763, but returned to England in 1767 (DNB).
9. On 7 June two ships from Scotland were captured, which had on board over two hundred Highlanders, who were temporarily imprisoned in Boston. The officers were later sent to Concord (Boston Gazette, 10, 17, and 24 June). Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell was in the Second Battalion of the regiment raised by Simon Fraser. Ultimately he was exchanged for Ethan Allen (DNB; Worthington C. Ford, British Officers { 311 } Serving in the American Revolution, 1774–1783, Brooklyn, 1897, p. 9, 40; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:576, note 2).
10. Franklin returned from Canada to Philadelphia on 31 May (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:lix).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0118

Author: Webster, Pelatiah
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-13

From Pelatiah Webster

[salute] Sir

I Take this opportunity Just to advise You that if Your Congress will Appoint Capt. Job Prince (the Father)1 to the Command of one of the Continental frigates, he will Accept. His Great Abilities as A Seaman and Long Experience both in Mercantile and War Vessels Make no sort of Recomendation Necessary to You Who have Long known him as a foremost Man in the Character of an Able Seaman &c. His Great Influence and Authority Among the sailors will Make his Services peculiarly necessary At this Time, and he is Much Approved by Every Gentleman with Whom I have Conversed.
Last Night Dawson in Blewers Brig was Chased into this harbor by our Privateers.2
11 Enemies Vessels are at Nantasket Mostly Transports Lately Arrived.
The Bostonians will Occupy the heights of Alderton Point, Long Island and Petticks Island this Night and design to Clear the harbor soon of Enemy Ships.3 Forts at Dochester Point Noddles Island (Camp Hill) and Point Shirly, the Castle and Charleston Point are in Great Forwardness. I am Sir Yr. Mo. Huml. Servt.
[signed] Pelatiah Webster4
1. Job Prince (1723–1790), a wealthy shipmaster of Boston. No evidence has been found that he was given a commission (George Prince, Elder John Prince of Hull, Mass. A Memorial, Biographical and Genealogical, n.p., n.d., p. 25).
2. Lt. George Dawson, commander of the brig Hope, formerly the Sea Nymph, taken from the Americans in Philadelphia by the British in Oct. 1775. Capt. Joseph Blewer was part owner of the brig (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:507; 3:1104– 1105).
3. Unfavorable winds and “unforeseen obstructions” prevented the militia and Continental troops from reaching their destinations in the lower part of the harbor until the early morning of the 14th. After a brief encounter, the British fleet fled. The Hope stopped only long enough on its way out to sea to blow up the Boston lighthouse (Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 159–160). For contemporary accounts of the action see Josiah Quincy to JA, 13 June (above), and Boston Gazette, 17 June.
4. Pelatiah Webster (1726–1795), prosperous Philadelphia merchant, political economist, active whig, and Revolutionary pamphleteer (DAB; Dexter, Yale Graduates, 2:97–98).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0119

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-14

From Samuel Chase

Mr. Chase will excuse the late Neglects and Inattention of Mr. John Adams to him, upon the express Condition, that in future he constantly communicate to Mr. Chase every Matter relative to persons or Things. Mr. Chase flatters himself with seeing Mr. Adams on Monday or Tuesday fortnight with the voice of Maryland in favor of Independance and a foreign Alliance, which are, in Mr. Chases opinion, the only and best Measures to preserve the Liberties of America. Direct to Annapolis.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esqr.”; docketed: “Chace.”
1. See JA to Chase, 14 June (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0120

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-06-14

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Bedford2 put into my Hand this Moment a Card from you, containing a Reprehension for the past, and a Requisition for the Time to come.3 For the past I kiss the Rod: but from complying with the Requision at least one Part of it, I must be excused. I have no Objection to writing you Facts, but I would not meddle with Characters, for the World. A burn'd Child dreads the Fire. I have Smarted to severely, for a few crude Expressions, written in a Pet, to a bosom Friend,4 to venture on such Boldnesses again. Besides if I were to tell you all that I think of all Characters, I should appear so illnatured and censorious, that I should detest myself. By my Soul, I think very heinously, I cant think of a better Word, of some People. They think as badly of me, I Suppose, and neither of us care a farthing for that. So the Account is ballanced and perhaps after all both sides may be deceived, both may be very honest Men.
But of all the Animals on Earth, that ever fell in my Way, your Trimmers your double tongued and double minded Men, your disguised Folk, I detest most. The Devil I think has a better Title, to those, by half, than he has to those who err openly, and are bare faced Villains.
Mr. Adams ever was and ever will be glad to see Mr. Chase, but Mr. Chase never was nor will be more welcome than, if he should come next Monday or Tuesday fortnight, with the Voice of Maryland in Favour of Independence, and a foreign Alliance. I have never had the Honour of knowing many People from Maryland, but by what I { 313 } have learnt of them and seen of their Delegates they are an open, sincere <and consistent> and united People—a little obstinate to be sure, but that is very pardonable when accompanied with frankness.5 From all which I conclude, that when they shall be convinced of the Necessity of those Measures, they will all be convinced at once, and afterwards be as active and forward as any, perhaps more so than most.
I have one Bone to pick with your Colony. I Suspect they levelled one of their Instructions at my Head.—This is a distinction of which you may Suppose I am not very ambitious.—One of your Colleagues moved A Resolution that No Member of Congress should hold any Office under any of the new Governments6 and produced an Instruction to make him feel strong. I Seconded the Motion with a trifling Amendment that the Resolution should be that no Member of Congress should hold any office civil or military, in the Army or in the Militia under any Government old or new.—This Struck through the Assembly like an Electric shock, for every Member, was a Governor, or General, or Judge, or some mighty Thing or other in the militia or under the old Government or some new one. This was so important a Matter that it required Consideration, and I have never heard another Word about it.
The Truth as far as it respects myself is this. The Government of the Massachusetts without my solicitation and much against my Inclination, were pleased sometime last Summer to nominate me to an Office. It was at a Time, when Offices under new Governments were not in much demand, being considered rather precarious.—I did not refuse this Office, altho by accepting it, I must resign another Office7 which I held under the old Government, three Times So profitable because, I was well informed that if I had refused it no other Man would have accepted it, and this would have greatly weakened perhaps ruined the new Constitution.—This is the Truth of Fact.—So that one of the most disinterested and intrepid Actions of my whole Life, has been represented to the People of Maryland to my Disadvantage.—I told the Gentleman that I should be much obliged if they would find me a Man who would accept of my office, or by passing the Resolution, furnish me with a Justification for refusing it. In either Case, I would Subscribe my Renunciation of that Office before I left that Room. Nay I would go further, I would vote with them, that every Member of this Congress should take an oath, that he never would accept of any office, during Life, or procure any office for his father, his Son, his Brother, or his Cousin. So much for egotism.
McKean has returned from the Lower Counties with full Powers. { 314 } Their Instructions are in the Same Words with the new ones to the Delegates of Pensilvania. New Jersey, have dethroned Franklyn, and in a Letter which is just come to my Hand from indisputable Authority, I am told that the Delegates from that Colony, will “vote plump.” Maryland, now Stands alone. I presume She will Soon join Company—if not she must be left alone.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. This date may be questionable, for JA mentions two events at the close of the letter of which he could not have been aware before 15 June. The first is the order on that date for the arrest of William Franklin (1731–1813), son of Benjamin Franklin and the last royal governor of New Jersey. The Provincial Congress declared him “an enemy to the liberties of this country” (Archives of the State of New Jersey, 1st ser., 10:720; DAB). The second is the receipt of a letter dated 15 June (below) from an “indisputable Authority,” Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant. On 28 June, Chase acknowledged JA's letter of “the 17th . . . Instant.” JA's letter may have been started on the 14th, but in all probability it was not completed until the 17th.
2. Gunning Bedford Sr. (1742–1797), deputy quartermaster-general, lieutenant colonel of a Delaware regiment, politician, and friend of Samuel Chase (DAB; J. C. Wylie, comp., “Letters of Some Members of the Old Congress,” PMHB, 29:191 [April 1905]).
3. Samuel Chase to JA[ante 14 June] (above).
4. JA to James Warren, 24 July 1775 (above), the intercepted letter.
5. As a result of vigorous campaigning on the part of Chase and other delegates, the Maryland convention on 28 June empowered its delegates to vote for independence (Samuel Chase to JA, 28 June, below; Ronald Hoffman, A Spirit of Dissension, Baltimore, 1973, p. 167–168; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1491). On 21 May, however, the Maryland convention had renewed its instructions of 11 Jan. to its delegates (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 5:1589).
6. See JA to James Otis Sr., 29 April, note 2; and JA to James Warren, 20 May, note 8 (both above).
7. The office of barrister (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:362).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0121

Author: Foster, Isaac
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-14

From Isaac Foster Jr.

[salute] Respected Sir

When I left the Camp at Cambridge I promised myself the pleasure of waiting on you in person at Philadelphia before this time, but the necessary Duty of my Station in the service of our Country has hetherto prevented, and the same service requiring the attendance of the director General1 at Philadelphia, I am obliged at least for the present to deny myself that happiness, which will I flatter myself excuse my addressing you by Letter and I hope with what I have further to offer will engage your Interest in my favour.
It is not improbable the attempts of the abandoned british administration to Subjugate the United American Colonies may require such a part of the Continental Army for defence of the New England Colonies, as to render the Establishment of a Military Hospital highly { 315 } expedient, if not absolutely necessary there. If that should be the case, I beg leave to offer myself a Candidate for, and solicite your interest towards my obtaining the Directorship, with such an appointment, and under such regulations as may best promote the good of the Service in general and be most agreeable to the Honourable Continental Congress.2 I have so high an esteem for that Venerable Body and do from my heart so much approve their resolve that promotions in the Army should not take place by Succession only3 that I wave all Claim founded on the Title which my being Senior Surgeon of the principal Hospital, or the length of time I have been in the Service might otherwise give me, and hope I may without the imputation of boasting mention some facts that upon the principle of encouraging a diligent attention to Duty, in every Department, and begetting a laudable spirit of emulation amongst officers of all Ranks induce me to hope for your Interest on this Occasion. At the Commencement of hostilities, I the Day after the Battle of Lexington at the request of General Ward quitted my family and private Business to attend such of our own people and the Regular prisoners as were wounded in that Action without Stipulating, or at that time expecting any other reward than the Consciousness of having served my Country. On the 17th. of June by order of General Ward, I attended at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and exerted myself in dressing and takeing Care of the Wounded, while my native place and most of My property were in flames before my face. By order of the Committee of Safety I opened,4 attended, and Supplied the first Military Hospital established since the beginning of this War, in the directions of which I continued untill it became Continental. Upon Doctor Church's Arrest I was honoured by his Excelency General Washington with the pro-tempore Director Generalship.5 While the present Director General was Necessarly detained at Boston, adjusting Accounts and procuring Medicines for the Army,6 I was intrusted by him with the Care of opening the general Hospital at head Quarters here.7 I beg leave to refer you to the Director General who honours me by Conveying this Letter, for Information how I have discharged these trusts. Permit me to add that should a younger Man than I am, or one who has never been in the service be sent to New England as Director of the Hospital there, it would not only greatly lessen my reputation among my Countrymen there, to most of whom I am personally known, but make me very unhappy in my own mind by begetting an apprehension that the place I now hold was to the Exclusion of some person better qualified to discharge the Duties of it. Your friendly Interposition at this time will { 316 } be ever greatfully Acknowledged, by much esteemed Sir Your most Obedient and most humble Servt.,
[signed] Isaac Foster Junr
1. John Morgan, director general of Hospitals.
2. Foster was appointed deputy director-general of the hospital in the Eastern Department, 11 April 1777 (JCC, 7: 254).
3. See Samuel H. Parsons to JA, 20 May, note 1 (above).
4. On 29 April 1775 (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 527).
5. Terminal punctuation supplied.
6. Terminal punctuation replaced by comma.
7. The hospital was opened 11 June (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:264).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0122

Author: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-15

From Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear Sir

Jacta est Alea.1 We are passing the Rubicon and our Delegates in Congress on the first of July will vote plump.2 The Bearer is a staunch Whigg and will answer any Questions You may need to ask. Have been very busy here and have stole a Minute from Business to write this. In haste Yours,
[signed] Jona D Sergeant
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “J.D. Sergeant. June 15. 1776.”
1. The die is cast.
2. On 22 June the Third Provincial Congress of New Jersey instructed its delegates to the Continental Congress to support, if necessary, any move toward independence (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1628–1629).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0123

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-06-16

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favours of June 2d and 5th. are now before me. The Address to the Convention of Virginia, makes but a Small Fortune in the World. Coll. Henry, in a Letter to me,1 expresses an infinite Contempt of it, and assures me, that the Constitution of Virginia, will be more like the Thoughts on Government. I believe, however, they will make the Election of their Council, Septennial. Those of Representatives and Governor annual. But I am amazed to find an Inclination So prevalent throughout all the southern and middle Colonies to adopt Plans, So nearly resembling, that in the Thoughts on Government. I assure you, untill the Experiment was made, I had no adequate Conception of it. But the Pride of the haughty, must, I see come down, a little in the South.2
You Suppose “it would not do, to have the two Regiments you are now raising converted into continental Battallions.” But why? Would the Officers, or Men have any Objection? If they would not, Congress { 317 } would have none. Indeed this was what I expected, and intended when the Measure was in Agitation. Indeed I thought, that as our Battallions with their Arms, were carried to N. York and Canada in the Service of the united Colonies, the Town of Boston, and the Province ought to be guarded against Danger by the united Colonies.
You have been, Since call'd upon for Six Thousand Militia for Canada and New York.3 How you will get the Men, I know not. The Small Pox, I Suppose will be a great Discouragement,4 But We must maintain our Ground in Canada. The Regulars, if they get full Possession of that Province, and the Navigation of St. Lawrence River above Dechambeault, at least above the Mouth of the Sorrell,5 will have nothing to interrupt their Communication, with Niagara, Detroit, Michilimachinac, they will have the Navigation of the five great Lakes quite as far as the Mississipi River, they will have a free Communication with all the numerous Tribes of Indians, extending along the Frontiers of all the Colonies, and by their Trinketts and Bribes will induce them to take up the Hatchett, and Spread Blood and Fire among the Inhabitants by which Means, all the Frontier Inhabitants will be driven in upon the middle settlements, at a Time when the Inhabitants of the Seaportts and Coasts, will be driven back by the British Navy. Is this Picture too high colored? Perhaps it is. But surely We must maintain our Power, in Canada.
You may depend upon my rendering Mr. Winthrop, all the service in my Power.
I believe it will not be long, before all Property, belonging to British Subjects, Whether in Europe, the W. Indies, or elsewhere will be made liable to Capture.6 A few Weeks may possibly produce great Things. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A. Letter June 16. 1776.”
1. Patrick Henry to JA, 20 May (above).
2. JA had thought his pamphlet might be too popular for colonies south of New England.
3. This figure is incorrect. On 1 June the congress resolved to request Massachusetts to supply 3,000 of its militia and on 3 June another 2,000 as reinforcements for the armies in Canada and New York, respectively (JCC, 4:410, 412).
4. American forces in Canada numbered 7,000 in mid-May, but within two weeks 1,800 were disabled by smallpox (Gustave Lanctot, Canada and the American Revolution, 1774-1783, Cambridge, 1967, p. 143).
5. Deschambault is located 45 miles southwest of Quebec. The Sorel River, now the Richelieu, flows into the St. Lawrence River approximately 120 miles southwest of Quebec. On 25 May the congress resolved that Deschambault and the mouth of the Sorel be fortified, “to prevent the enemy's passing to the upper country” (JCC, 4:395–396).
6. See James Warren to JA, 5 June, note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0124

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-06-16 - 1776-06-17

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure to inform you that we have driven the Pirates out of this Harbour. The thirteenth instant at evening a detachment of five hundred men, with several pieces of battering Cannon and a thirteen inch Mortar, under the command of Col Whitcomb was ordered to take post on Long Island and throw up works, the next morning they began a fire upon the Enemy's Ships from the Cannon and Mortar, which soon drove them all out of the Harbour. They were thirteen in number, one Ship of 50 Guns and several smaller Ships of War, the rest were Transports with Soldiers and Stores on board; it was judged they had about 800 Troops on board the Transports. The Enemy blew up the Light House and put to Sea with their whole fleet; but I apprehend they will leave some Frigates to cruize in the Bay. The Colony troops the same night were to take post on Petticks Island (which was very near to the Ships) and on Nantasket Head, but by some unforeseen obstruction they did not get up their Cannon in time, however they gave the Pirates a number of 18 pound shot from Nantasket as the Ships passed through the Channel. Our Shot cut away some of their yards and rigging, and several went into the Ships sides, but the Shells from the Mortar appeared to terrify them most; they returned a few shot from the Renown the Commodore's Ship, without any effect, and got under sail with all expedition. We intend to place a decoy Ship in the place where the Men of war lay with a broad pendant flying, in order to draw in the Enemy's Ships which may come this way.1 The success of our Privateers you will have an account of in the Newspapers. I am very solicitous to have the Continental Frigates fitted out with all possible expedition, they might be of vast service in clearing the Coast of the Enemy's armed Schooners, which not only take our Vessels, but protect their Transports and merchant Ships which might otherways fall into our hands.
We hear disagreeable accounts from Canada, but hope for better things. We must be prepared for “sudden changes and evil tidings, our hearts being fixed trusting in the Lord,” this year we must expect trying scenes and great events, and may it be our prayer to the God of Armies for Wisdom and Fortitude equal to our Day. To whose protection I commit you and your illustrious Brethren of Congress And am with great Respect Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. As a number of Seamen and Soldiers are in our service, who { 319 } deserted from the Enemy, will it not be necessary for Congress to pass some Resolve respecting them, for their security in case they should fall into the hands of their former masters? Otherwise they will be exposed to be hanged or shot, which will be a great discouragement to future desertions, which I think ought to be encouraged by all means in our power. If there was some public encouragement given by Congress to stimulate men to leave the infamous and diabolical service of George Tyrant of Britain and join the free United Colonies (and independant States of America) I apprehend we might considerably weaken our Enemies in this way, and certainly no wheel should now be left untouched which we can move to advantage.
I have just received the agreeable news of our Privateers having brought into Nantasket a Ship and Brig from Glasgow with two hundred and ten Highlander troops on board, with their baggage; the Ship mounted six carriage guns and fought some time before she struck. We had four men wounded, the Enemy had three privates killed and a Major, and eight or ten wounded. The prisoners are coming up to Town, among them is a Colonel.2 If we should learn anything interesting from them you will receive the first conveyance. I have just [been] informed that the Providence Privateers have taken two Store Ships from the Enemy.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble: John Adams Esqr Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Major Ward June 16. 1776 ansd. July. 5.”
1. Up to this point this letter was copied, almost word for word, from a letter of the same date sent by Artemas Ward to Washington (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:562, note 2). In all probability, the general's secretary, Joseph Ward, wrote the original letter and simply copied it into JA's letter.
2. See Josiah Quincy to JA, 13 June, note 9 (above).
3. The reference is too vague to identify from newspaper accounts of seizures.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gates, Horatio
Date: 1776-06-18

To Horatio Gates

[salute] My dear General

We have ordered you to the Post of Honour, and made you Dictator in Canada for Six Months, or at least untill the first of October.1— We dont choose to trust you Generals, with too much Power, for too long Time.
I took my Pen, at this Time, to mention to you the Name of a young Gentleman, and recommend him to your Notice and Favour. His Name is Rice. This Gentleman is the Son of a worthy Clergyman. He was educated at Harvard Colledge, where he was an Officer of the { 320 } Military Company, and distinguished himself as a soldier in the manual Exercises and Manoeuvres. After he came out of Colledge he put himself under my Care as a Student of the Law. While he was in my Office he was very usefull in the Neighbourhood in training the Companies of Militia there. He is a modest, sensible, and well read young Man, and a very virtuous and worthy one. In my Absence from home, after the Battle of Lexington, he applied for a Commission in the Army, and obtained a Place, in my opinion vastly below his real Merit; I mean that of Adjutant in General Heaths now Coll. Greatons Regiment. In this Capacity, he has continued, from his first Engagement which was immediately after the Battle of Lexington, untill this Time, and is now in Canada with his Regiment—and I have been informed by a Variety of Officers, that he has behaved remarkably well. As you are going to Canada, with full Powers, I must beg the Favour of you to think of this young Gentleman, inquire into his Character and Conduct, and if you can, consistently with the Public Service, advance him to some Place more Adequate to his Abilities and Merits, and services, I should take it as a Favour.

[salute] I pray God to prosper you in Canada, and grant you a plentifull Crop of Laurells, and am your Affectionate humble Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC (NHi: Gates Papers); docketed: “Mr. John Adams's Letter June 18th 1776.”
1. The congress appointed Gates on 17 June. His power to suspend officers and fill vacancies was to expire on 1 Oct. (JCC, 5:448).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0126

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-20

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure to inform you that another Scotch Transport with a Company of Highland Grenadiers on board was brought into this Port by the Privateers on the eighteenth Instant. Each Transport brings a quantity of provisions and camp equipage for the Troops. We have now about four hundred and fifty Highlanders prisoners; they are going into the Country Towns agreeable to the Order of Congress.
The Lieut. Colonel, I mentioned in my last,1 is commander of one of the Battalions in Genl Frazers Regiment. His name is Campbell, he is a member of Parliament, a man of family, and fortune, and what is much more than either, appears to be a Soldier and a Gentleman.
General Ward has been so very much indisposed for some time past as to be confined to his chamber, and there is no prospect of his { 321 } being better until he has relaxation from business. His illness makes my duty extremely difficult and fatiguing, much more so than can easily be conceived, as I am obliged to perform the duty without the authority belonging to the Department, and thereby go over the ground twice, and under great disadvantages in many cases. The business of this Department increases by reason of the Continental Shipping, and the many Fortresses building &c. The General has wrote pressingly to General Washington to be relieved, but has received nothing from him of late upon the Subject.2
Being in great haste I can add no more particulars, the post is just setting off. Yours &c.
Col. Campbell is confident that Commissioners are coming to America to compromise matters, and says that was the opinion when he left Britain; but for myself, I believe [ . . . ] thrown out by the Tyrants in order to amuse us while they may gain some advantage. I trust the Congress is too wise to be caught with any of their baits; however, such idle reports are improved by timid toryfied geniuses and have a bad tendency, if they are not contradicted by some good authority.
I have been waiting with earnest expectation to see the grand Declaration of Independence of the United Colonies. May I not expect it soon?
RC (Adams Papers). Small piece missing where seal was cut out.
1. That of 16 June (above).
2. Ward initially offered his resignation on 22 March, and the congress accepted it on 23 April, but he was not relieved until many months later. As recently as 16 June, Washington had offered to relieve him with Gen. John Whitcomb when his appointment had been certified (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:427, note 63; 5:145; JCC, 4:300; see also Benjamin Hichborn to JA, 20 May, note 3, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0127

Author: Adams, John
Author: Sherman, Roger
Author: Harrison, Benjamin
Author: Wilson, James
Author: Rutledge, Edward
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Recipient: Washington, George
Date: 1776-06-21

The Board of War to George Washington

[salute] Sir

The Congress having thought proper to appoint us to the Board of War and Ordinance, we do ourselves the Honour to transmit you the foregoing Extracts from their Proceedings establishing a War Office1 for the more speedy and effectual Dispatch of military Business. You will percieve, on Perusal of the Extracts, that it will be necessary for you forthwith to furnish the Board with an exact State of the Army under your Command and everything relative thereto. You will therefore be pleased, as speedily as possible, to give the necessary Directions for true and accurate Returns to be made to you, so as to en• { 322 } able you to give the Board the proper Information. As much depends on reducing into Method the Business recommended to our Notice, we beg you will forward all Measures conducive to this desirable Purpose by every Means in your Power. It is expected that in future monthly Returns be regularly transmitted to the War Office that Congress may frequently have a full and general Knowledge of the true Situation of their military Affairs without which it will be impossible to conduct them with Propriety and Success. We must farther request that you will keep up a constant and regular Correspondence with us that we may cooperate with you in such Measures as may tend to advance the Interest of America in general and the particular Department committed to your Care. You will be pleased in the Returns of the several Regiments to mention the Colonies in which they were raised, the Times when and the Periods for which the Men were enlisted as it will be necessary for us to have sufficient Notice of these Matters that Congress may keep up the Army to its full Compliment. We are your Excellency's most obedient and most hble. Servants,
[signed] John Adams
[signed] Roger Sherman
[signed] Benj Harrison
[signed] James Wilson
[signed] Edward Rutledge
(Circular)2
RC (DLC:Washington Papers); addressed: “Genl. Washington Commander in Chief of the Continental Army New York”; docketed: “Board of War & Ordnance 21st June 1776”; “Extracts from Journals of Congress War Office.”
1. The extracts would be the resolution on the Board of War in JCC, 5:434–435, which was passed on 12 June.
2. This letter was obviously sent as well to generals like Ward, Gates, Schuyler, and Lee. The New York Public Library has a copy among its Presidential Papers under JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0128

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-21

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

To remind our friends of their Inattention and Neglect must give Pain. I am almost angry with You.1 If You are inclined to oblige or please Me write constantly.
I found my Lady very ill, but have the pleasure to say she is better, tho' still very low and weak.
An Express from Canada and not one Line to acquaint Me of the { 323 } Contents. General Sullivan writes Me, that he has the most pleasing Prospect, and refers Me to his Letter to Genl. Washington for the Account.2 I am almost resolved not to inform You, that a general Dissatisfaction prevails here with our Convention. Read the paper, and be assured Frederick speaks the Sense of many Counties.3 I have not been idle. I have appealed in Writing to the People.4 County after County is instructing.

[salute] Remember Me to Mrs. Adams and all independent Souls. Shall I send You my Circular Letter. Adieu. Your Friend,

[signed] S Chase
1. Chase had not yet received JA's letter of 14 June (above), which was probably completed on the 17th.
2. Sullivan to Washington of 5–6 June, which was enthusiastic in its account of the prospects for the American army (Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army, ed. Otis G. Hammond, 3 vols., Concord, N.H., 1930–1939 [N.H. Hist. Soc., Colls., vols. 13–15], 1:217–221; JA to Chase, 24 June, below).
3. The resolutions of Frederick co., dated 17 June, were printed in the Maryland Gazette and declared in part: “every resolution of Convention tending to separate this Province from a majority of the Colonies, without the consent of the people, is destructive to our internal safety, and big with publick ruin” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:933).
4. Chase's appeal to the people has not been identified. Since he did not return from Canada to Philadelphia until 11 June, it would have had to appear between that date and the date of his letter to JA (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:xlv).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1776-06-22

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of the second Instant has lain by me, I suppose these Eighteen days, but I fear I shall often have occasion to make Apologies for Such omissions, which will never happen from Want of Respect, but I fear very often for Want of Time.
Your Reasoning, to prove the Equity, and the Policy of making Provision for the Unfortunate Officer, or soldier, is extreamly just, and cannot be answered, and I hope that when We get a little over the Confusions arising from the Revolutions which are now taking Place in the Colonies, and get an American Constitution formed, Something will be done. I should be much obliged to you for your Thoughts upon the subject. What Pensions should be allowed or what other Provision made? Whether it would be expedient to establish an Hospital &c. It is a Matter of Importance, and the Plan should be well digested.
I think with you that every Colony should furnish its Proportion of Men, and I hope it will come to this. But at present, Some Colonies have such Bodies of Quakers, and Menonists, and Moravians, who { 324 } are principled against War, and others have such Bodies of Tories, or Cowards, or unprincipled People who will not wage War, that it is, as yet impossible.
The Dispute, is, as you justly observe, in all human Probability, but in its Infancy; We ought therefore to Study, to bring every Thing, in the military Department into the best order—Fighting, is not the greatest Branch of the Science of War. Men must be furnished with good and wholesome Provisions in Sufficient Plenty. They must be well paid—they must be well cloathed and well covered, with Barracks and Tents—they must be kept Warm with Suitable Fuel. In these Respects, We have not been able to do So well as We wished. But, Why the Regiments have not been furnished with proper Agents, I dont know.1 Congress, is ever ready to hearken to the Advice of the General, and if he had recommended such Officers, they would have been appointed. Collonells should neither be Agents, nor suttlers. Congress have lately voted that there shall be regimental Paymasters, who shall keep the Accounts of the Regiments. If any other Agent is necessary let me know it. Good Officers, are no doubt the Soul of an Army, but our Difficulty is to get Men. Officers, present themselves, in Supernumerary Abundance.
As to Pay there is no End to the Desire and Demand of it. Is there not too much Extravagance, and too little OEconomy, among the officers?
I am much at a Loss, whether it would not be the best Policy, to leave every Colony to raise their own Troops, to cloath them, to Pay them, to furnish them with Tents, and indeed every Thing but Provisions, fuel and Forage. The Project of abolishing Provincial Distinctions, was introduced, with a good Intention, I believe, at first but I think it will do no good upon the whole. However, if Congress, is to manage the whole, I am in hopes they will get into a better Train. They have established a War Office, and a Board of War and ordinance, by means of which I hope they will get their affairs into better order. They will be better informed of the State of the Army and of all its Wants.
That the Promotion of extraordinary Merit, may give disgust to those officers is true, over whom the Advancement is made—but I think it ought not. That this Power may be abused, or misapplied, is also true. That Interest, Favour, private Friendship, Prejudice, may operate more or less in the purest Assembly, is true. But where will you lodge this Power? To place it in the General would be more dangerous to the public Liberty, and not less liable to abuse from sinister and un• { 325 } worthy Motives. Will it do, is it consistent with common Prudence to lay it down, as an invariable Rule, that all Officers, in all Cases shall rise in succession?
I am obliged to you for your Caution not to be too confident. The Fate of War is uncertain—So are all Sublunary Things. But, We must form our Conjectures of Effects from the Knowledge We have of Causes, and in Circumstances like ours must not attempt to penetrate too far into Futurity. There are as many Evils, and more, which arise in human Life, from an Excess of Diffidence, as from an Excess of Confidence. Proud as Mankind is, their is more superiority in this World yielded than assumed. I learned, long ago, from one of the greatest Statesmen, this World ever produced, Sully, neither to adventure upon rash Attempts from too much Confidence, nor to despair of success in a great Design from the appearance of Difficulties. “Without attempting to judge of the future which depends upon too many Accidents, much less to subject it to our Precipitation in bold and difficult Enterprises, We should endeavour to subdue one Obstacle at a Time, nor Suffer ourselves to be depress'd by their Greatness, and their Number. We ought never to despair of what has been once accomplish'd. How many Things have the Idea of impossible been annexed to, that have become easy to those who knew how to take Advantage of Time, Opportunity, lucky Moments, the Faults of others, different Dispositions, and an infinite Number of other Circumstances.”2
I will inclose to you, a Copy of the Resolution establishing, a Board of War and Ordinance; and as you may well imagine, We are all, inexperienced in this Business. I Should be extreamly obliged to you for, any Hints for the Improvement of the Plan, which may occur to you, and for any Assistance or Advice you may give me, as a private Correspondent in the Execution of it. It is a great Mortification to me I confess, and I fear it will too often be a Misfortune to our Country, that I am called to the Discharge of Trusts to which I feel myself So unequal, and in the Execution of which I can derive no Assistance from my Education, or former Course of Life. But my Country must command me, and wherever she shall order me, there I will go, without Dismay. I am, dear Sir, with the greatest Esteem, your humble Servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. See Samuel Holden Parsons to JA, 7 July, note 2 (below).
2. Closing quotation marks supplied. Except for minor differences in punctuation, the capitalization of some words, and the italicizing of “We ought never to despair of,” the entire passage was copied from a letter to JA from { 326 } AA ([27 May], Adams Family Correspondence, 1:416). AA introduced the passage as follows: “The dissagreable News we have from Quebeck is a great damper to our Spirits, but shall we receive good and not Evil? Upon this occasion you will recollect the Sentiments of your favorite Sully.” Neither the extent of the quotation from the French statesman Sully nor its source has been determined.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0130

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Kent, Benjamin
Date: 1776-06-22

To Benjamin Kent

[salute] Sir

Your Letters of April 24. and May 26 are before me, both dated at Boston, a Circumstance which alone would have given Pleasure to a Man who has such an Attachment to that Town, and who has suffered So much Anxiety for his Friends, in their Exile from it.
We have not many of the fearfull, and Still less of the Unbelieving among Us, how Slowly soever, you may think We proceed. Is it not a Want of Faith, or a Predominance of Fear, which makes some of you So impatient for Declarations in Words of What is every day manifested in Deeds of the most determined Nature, and unequivocal signification?
That We are divorced, a Vinculo1 as well as from Bed and Board, is to me, very clear. The only Question is, concerning the proper Time for making an explicit Declaration in Words. Some People must have Time to look around them, before, behind, on the right hand, and on the left, then to think, and after all this to resolve. Others see, at one intuitive Glance into the past and the future, and judge with Precision at once. But remember you cant make thirteen Clocks, Strike precisely alike, at the Same Second.
I am for the most liberal Toleration of all Denominations of Religionists but I hope that Congress will never meddle with Religion, further than to Say their own Prayers, and to fast and give Thanks, once a Year. Let every Colony, have its own Religion, without Molestation.
The Congress, ordered Church to the Massachusetts Council to be let out upon Bail. It was represented to them that his Health was in a dangerous Way and it was thought, he would not now have it in his Power to do any Mischief. No Body knows what to do with him. There is no Law to try him upon, and no Court to try him. I am afraid he deserves more Punishment, than he will ever meet. I am, your humble sert.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. A legal term for complete divorce.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Date: 1776-06-22

To Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear sir

Your obliging Favour of the third of June, has been too long unanswered. I acknowledge the Difficulty of ascertaining, the comparative Merit of Officers, and the danger of advancing Friends, where there is no uncommon Merit. This danger cannot be avoided, by any other Means, than making it an invariable Rule, to promote officers in succession. For if you make a King the Judge of uncommon Merit, he will advance favorites, without Merit, under Colour or Pretence of Merit. If you make a Minister of State the Judge, he will naturally promote his Relations, Connections and Friends. If you place the Power of judging of extraordinary Merit, in an Assembly, you dont mend the Matter much. For by all the Experience I have had, I find that Assemblies, have Favourites as well as Kings and Ministers. The Favorites of Assemblies, or the leading Members, are not always the most worthy. I dont know whether they ever are. These leading Members have Sons, Brothers and Cousins, Acquaintances, Friends, and Connections of one sort or other, near or remote: and I have ever found, these Leading Members of Assemblies, as much under the Influence of Nature, and her Passions and Prejudices, as Kings, and Ministers. The principal Advantage and Difference lies in this, that in an Assembly, there are more Guards and Checks, upon the Infirmities of leading Members, than there are upon Kings and Ministers.
What then shall We Say? Shall We leave it to the General and the Army? Is there not as much Favoritism, as much of Nature, Passion, Prejudice, and Partiality, in the Army, as in an Assembly? As much in a General as a King or Minister?
Upon the whole I believe it wisest to depart from the Line of Succession, as seldom as possible. But I cannot but think that the Power of departing from it at all, tho liable to Abuses every where, yet safest in the Hands of an Assembly.
But, in our American Army, as that is circumstanced, it is as difficult to Settle a Rule of Succession, as a Criterion of Merit. We have Troops in every Province, from Georgia to New Hampshire. A Colonel is kill'd in New Hampshire. The next Colonel in the American Army, to him, is in Georgia. Must We send, the Colonel from Georgia, to command the Regiment in New Hampshire. Upon his Journey, he is seized with a Fever and dies. The next Colonel is in Canada. We must then send to Canada, for a Colonel to go to Ports• { 328 } mouth, and as the next Colonel to him is in South Carolina We must send a Colonel from S. Carolina to Canada, to command that Regiment. These Marches, and Countermarches, must run through all the Corps of Officers, and will occasion such inextricable Perplexities, delays, and Uncertainties, that We need not hesitate to pronounce it, impracticable and ruinous. Shall We Say then that Succession shall take Place, among the Officers of every distinct Army, or in every distinct Department?
My own private Opinion is, that We shall never be quite right, untill every Colony is permitted to raise their own Troops, and the Rule of succession is established among the Officers of the Colony. This, where there are Troops of Several Colonies, Serving in the Same Camp, may be liable to some Inconveniences. But these will be fewer, than upon any other Plan you can adopt.
It is right I believe, to make the Rule of Promotion among Captains and Subalterns, regimental only. And that among Field Officers, more general. But the Question is how general, it shall be? Shall it extend to the whole American Army? or only to the whole District, or Department? or Only to the Army, serving at a particular Place?
That it is necessary to inlist an Army to serve during the War, or at least for a longer Period than one Year, and to offer some handsome Encouragement for that End, I have been convinced, a long Time. I would make this Temptation to consist partly in Money, and partly in Land, and considerable in both. It has been too long delayed But I think it will now be soon done.
What is the Reason that New York must continue to embarrass the Continent? Must it be so forever? What is the Cause of it? Have they no Politicians, capable of instructing and forming the sentiments of their People? or are their People incapable of seeing and feeling like other Men. One would think that their Proximity to New England, would assimilate their Opinions, and Principles. One would think too that the Army would have some Enfluence upon them. But it Seems to have none. N. York is likely to have the Honour of being the very last of all in imbibing the genuine Principles and the true system of American Policy. Perhaps she will never, entertain them at all. I am, with much Respect, your Friend and servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gordon, William
Date: 1776-06-23

To William Gordon

[salute] Dear Sir

Your agreable Favour of May the first has lain by me neglected, not for Want of Inclination to answer it, but for Want of Time.
You have deserved highly of this Country, sir, by Setting So amiable and laudable an Example of public Spirit in Signing the subscription for Fortifications. With great Pleasure I have learn'd that, the Harbour is pretty well secured. I hope, in a Post or two, to be informed that every hostile Ship, is either burnt Sunk or driven out of the Harbour.
I am obliged to you, sir, for your Solicitude for the Credit of the American Currency. It is a subject of great Importance. That milled Dollars are esteemed better, is Proof of an Apprehension, that the Paper will, depreciate, rather than a certain Evidence that it has depreciated. The Rise of Goods, in Consequence of the Scarcity and the Demand, makes an Appearance of Depreciation in the Currency greater than it is. However, I candidly acknowledge, that neither the increasing Scarcity of Goods, nor the increasing Demand for Goods for the Use of Armies, are Sufficient to account in my Mind for the Rise of Labour, the Produce of Lands, Manufactures and every Necessary of Life, as it is in the Eastern Colonies, without Supposing that the Currency has Somewhat depreciated.
But you must not Say, that a milled Dollar is better than a Paper Dollar. It is an offence against the Public, which ought to be punished, and the Criminality of it must be ascertained, and punished, to give or take a farthing more for Silver than Paper.
That it is Time to put a Stop to Emissions of American Paper Dollars, I have been convinced, Some time. We must attempt other Ways and Means of Supply. I know of but one Method, and that is to borrow American Bills, and to give in Exchange for Them Notes of the Treasury upon Interest. There will be two Difficulties, attending this. One will be the Rate of Interest. In my Opinion We Shall not be able to borrow at an Interest, lower than Six per Cent. But Some Gentlemen will be obstinately set against an Interest so high as that. Another Difficulty will be to establish proper Funds for the prompt Payment of the Interest, without which the Continental Credit will not be Supported. However all Difficulties give Way, before the Spirit of Americans, whose Vigour Fortitude and Perseverance, will be increased, by those Revolutions in Government which are now taking Place in all the Colonies.
{ 330 }
Unlocated Lands and Quit Rents, may be Some Resource, but not very Soon. We may lay our Account for Taxes, heavy Taxes for many Years.
We expected before this Time to have had the Sense of our Province upon Declarations of Independency, Confederation, and foreign Alliances.1 But I begin to Suspect, that your Delegates must have the Honour of declaring your sense without your positive orders. This will be no Hardship to me, who have been at no loss about the Sense of my Constituents, for a long time, upon these great subjects. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. See Samuel Cooper to JA, 27 May, note 2 (above), for the action on independence. The province had taken no action on a confederation and foreign alliances.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sullivan, John
Date: 1776-06-23

To John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

Your agreable Favour of May the fourth has lain by me unanswered, till now. The Relation of your Negotiations at New York, in order to convince the People of the Utility and necessity of instituting a new Government, is very entertaining, and if you had remained there a few Weeks longer, I conjecture you would have effected a Change in the Politicks of that Region. Is it Deceit, or Simple Dulness in the People of that Colony, which occasions, their excentric and retrograde Politicks?
Your late Letter from Sorell gave Us here many Agreable Feelings.1 We had read Nothing, but the dolefull, the dismall, and the horrible from Canada for a long Time.
The Surrender of the Cedars,2 appears to have been a most infamous Piece of Cowardice. The Officer, if he has nothing to Say for himself more than I can think of, deserves the most infamous Death. It is the first Stain upon American Arms. May immortal Disgrace attend his Name and Character.—I wish however, that he alone had been worthy of Blame.
We have thrown away Canada, in a most Scandalous Manner.
Pray did not opening the Trade to the upper Country, and letting loose the Tories bring upon Us, So many Disasters? For Gods Sake explain to me, the Causes of our Miscarriages in the Province. Let Us know the Truth, which has too long been hidden from Us.
All the military Affairs in that Province, have been in great Confusion, and We have never had any proper Returns, or regular Information, from thence. There is now a Corps of Officers, who will { 331 } certainly Act with more System and more Precision and more Spirit. Pray make Us acquainted with every Thing that is wanted, whether Men, Money, Arms, Ammunition, Cloathing, Tents, Barracks, Forage, Medicines or whatever else. Keep Us constantly informed. Give Us Line upon Line. I fear their is a Chain of Toryism, extending from Canada, through N. York and N. Jersey into Pensilvania, which conducts, Misrepresentation and false Information, and makes Impression here upon credulous, unsuspecting ignorant Whiggs. I wish it may not have for its object, Treasons and Conspiracies of a deeper Die.
There is a young Gentleman bred at Colledge and the Bar, an excellent soldier a good scholar, and a virtuous Man, in your Brigade, who deserves a Station far above that in which he Stands, that of Adjutant to Colonel Greatons Regiment.3 Any Notice you may take of him will be gratefully acknowledged by me as well as him.4
Pray let me know the State of the Small Pox, an Enemy, which We have more Cause to fear than any other. Is it among our Troops? Is it among the Canadians, I mean the Inhabitants of the Country? Can no effectual Means, be used to annihilate the Infection? Cannot it be kept out of the Army? The New England Militia will be of no Use, if they come in ever So great Numbers, if that distemper is to Seize them, as Soon as they arrive.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.” See note 4.
1. See Samuel Chase to JA, 21 June, note 2 (above).
2. The fort at the Cedars, which was about 45 miles southwest of Montreal, was surrendered with apparently little resistance by Maj. Isaac Butterfield on 19 May. Reinforcements under Maj. Henry Sherburne had set out on 16 May to strengthen the fort; unaware that Butterfield had already surrendered, they were ambushed by Canadians and Indians on the 20th (New-England Chronicle, 27 June; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 138, 494).
3. Nathan Rice. See JA to Horatio Gates, 18 June (above).
4. JA's notation that he sent this letter to Sullivan appears at this point, which is at the bottom of the Letterbook page, as well as at the end of the letter. The next paragraph may have been an addition.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Winthrop, John
Date: 1776-06-23

To John Winthrop

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of June the first is now before me. It is now universally acknowledged that we are, and must be independant states. But Still Objections are made to a Declaration of it. It is said, that such a Declaration, will arouse and unite Great Britain. But are they not already aroused and united, as much as they will be? Will not such a Declaration, arouse and unite the Friends of Liberty, the few who are left, in opposition to the present system? It is also Said that such a Declara• { 332 } tion will put us in the Power of foreign States. That France will take Advantage of Us, when they see We cant recede, and demand severe Terms of Us. That she and Spain too, will rejoice to see Britain and America, wasting each other. But this Reasoning, has no Weight with me, because I am not for soliciting any political Connection, or military Assistance, or indeed naval, from France. I wish for nothing but Commerce, a mere Marine Treaty with them. And this they will never grant, untill We make the Declaration, and this I think they cannot refuse, after We have made it.
The Advantages, which will result from Such a Declaration, are in my opinion very numerous, and very great. After that Event, the Colonies will hesitate no longer to compleat their Governments. They will establish Tests and ascertain the Criminality of Toryism. The Presses will produce no more, Seditious, or traitorous Speculations. Slanders, upon public Men and Measures, will be lessened. The Legislatures of the Colonies will exert themselves, to manufacture, Salt Petre, Sulphur, Powder, Arms, Cannon, Mortars, Cloathing, and every Thing, necessary for the Support of Life. Our civil Governments will feel a Vigour, hitherto unknown. Our military Operations by Sea and Land, will be conducted with greater Spirit. Privateers will Swarm in great Numbers. Foreigners will then exert themselves to Supply Us with what we want. Foreign Courts will not disdain to treat with Us, upon equal Terms. Nay further in my opinion, such a Declaration, instead of uniting the People of Great Britain against Us, will raise Such a Storm against the Measures of Administration as will obstruct the War, and throw the Kingdom into Confusion.
A Committee is appointed to prepare a Confederation of the Colonies, ascertaining the Terms and Ends of the Compact, and the Limits of the Continental Constitution, and another Committee is appointed1 for Purposes as important. These Committees will report in a Week or two, and then the last finishing Stroke will be given to the Politicks of this Revolution. Nothing after that will remain, but War. I think I may then, petition my Constituents for Leave to return to my Family, and leave the War to be conducted by others, who understand it better. I am weary, thoroughly weary, and ought to have a little Rest.2
I am grieved to hear, as I do from various Quarters of that Rage for Innovation, which appears, in So many wild Shapes, in our Province. Are not these ridiculous Projects, prompted, excited, and encouraged by disaffected Persons, in order to divide, dissipate, and distract, the Attention of the People, at a Time, when every Thought { 333 } Should be employed, and every Sinew exerted, for the Defence of the Country? Many of the Projects that I have heard of, are not repairing, but pulling down, the Building, when it is on Fire, instead of labouring to extinguish the Flames. The Projects of County Assemblies, Town Registers, and Town Probates of Wills, are founded in narrow, Notions, Sordid Stingyness and profound Ignorance, and tend directly to Barbarism. I am not Solicitous who takes Offence at this Language. I blush to see such Stuff in our public Papers, which used to breath a Spirit much more liberal.
I rejoice to see, in the Lists of both Houses, So many Names, respectable for Parts and Learning. I hope their Fortitude and Zeal will be in Proportion: and then, I am Sure their Country will have great Cause to bless them. I am, sir, with every sentiment of Friendship and Veneration, your affectionate and humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:JA-Winthrop Corr.); docketed: “John Adams June 23. 1776”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. LbC after “appointed” reads: “to draw up a Declaration that these Colonies are free and independent States ——and other Committees are appointed for other Purposes, as important.”
2. In LbC the following clauses are set off here in parentheses with a marginal note reading “not sent”: “unless the General Court will send my Wife and Children to me, and in that Case, I should be as happy here as any where.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0135

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-06-24

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear sir

I received your obliging Favour of the 21st. this Morning, and I thank you for it. Dont be angry with me. I hope I shall attone for past Sins of omission soon.
The Express which you mention brought Us Such contradictory accounts, that I did not think it worth while to write to you upon it. In general, Sullivan writes2 that he was intrenching at the Sorell, that the Canadians expressed a great deal of Joy at his Appearance, that they assisted him with Teams and with Wheat, that he had ordered General Thompson with 2000 Men to attack the Enemy, consisting of about 300 according to his Intelligence at the Three Rivers where they were fortifying, and from the Character of Thompson and the goodness of his Troops he had much Confidence of his Sucess—that he hoped to drive away the Enemies ships which had passed the Rapids of Richlieu. This Narration of Sullivans was annimating. But a Letter from Arnold of the Same date, or the next day rather, was wholly in the Dismalls.3
{ 334 }
Gates is gone to Canada and We have done every Thing that you recommended and more to support him.—But for my own Part I confess my Mind is impressed with other Objects the Weight of which appears to me to have been the Source of all our Misfortunes in Canada, and every where else. Make the Tree good and the Fruit will be good. A Declaration of Independency, Confederation, and foreign Alliances, in Season would have put a Stop to that embarrassing opposition in Congress, which has occassioned Us to do the Work of the Lord deceitfully in Canada and elsewhere.
A Resolution of your Convention was read in Congress this Morning, and the Question was put whether your Delegates should have leave to go home, and whether those great Questions should be postponed, beyond the first of July.4 The Determination was in the Negative. We should have been happy to have obliged your Convention and your Delegates, But it is now become public, in the Colonies that those Questions are to be brought in the first of July. The lower Counties have instructed their Members, as the Assembly of Pensilvania have. Jersey has chosen five new Members all independent Souls, and instructed them to vote on the first of July for Independence.5
There is a Conference of Committees from every County of Pensilvania, now Sitting in this City, who yesterday voted that the Delegates for this Colony ought on the first of July to vote for Independence.6 This Vote was not only unanimous, but I am told by one of them, that all the Members declared Seriatim that this was their opinion, and the opinion of the several Counties and Towns they represented, and many of them produced Instructions from their Constituents to vote for that Measure. You see therefore that there is such a universal Expectation that the great Question will be decided the first of July, and it has been already So often postponed, that to postpone it again would hazard Convulsions, and dangerous Conspiracies. It must then come on and be decided. I hope that before Monday Morning next, We shall receive from Maryland, Instructions to do right.

[salute] Pray Send me your Circular Letter and believe me your Friend and sert.

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Begun on the 24th, this letter must have been concluded on the 25th without JA's altering the date. See note 6 and Chase to JA, 28 June (below), where Chase acknowledges receiving JA's letter of the 24th.
2. See Samuel Chase to JA, 21 June, note 2 (above).
3. Probably Gen. Arnold's letter to Gen. Schuyler of 6 June, which was referred to the Board of War on the 18th (JCC, 5:459). In it Arnold says that he expects that Sullivan will have to abandon his post and that he himself will have to give up Montreal if the enemy proceeds along the northern side { 335 } of the river. He goes on to underscore the effects of smallpox and the lack of supplies, adding that “it will be a miracle if we keep the country” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:925–926).
4. Passed on 21 June, the resolution of the Maryland Convention urged the attendance of their congressional delegates at the Convention in Annapolis on condition that the congress could be persuaded to postpone consideration of independence, a foreign alliance, and confederation until the Maryland delegates returned to the congress (same, p. 1485). Because the congress rejected Maryland's resolution, the JCC make no mention of it.
5. On Delaware and Pennsylvania see JA to Samuel Chase, 14 June, and JA to James Warren, 20 May, note 5 (both above). On New Jersey see Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant to JA, 15 June, note 2 (above).
6. A conference of Pennsylvania county committees, which had been called by the Committee of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, met 18–25 June. The occasion was the need to act on the recommendation of the congress to establish independent state governments. Popular leaders no longer trusted the General Assembly of the province to act. Out of the conference came a call for a convention to draft a constitution, but conference members found that they had to take other actions as well, such as declaring their willingness to support independence and raising 4,500 men for defense. The resolution for independence, which JA says was passed “yesterday,” was adopted on 24, not 23, June. The proceedings of the conference are in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:951–966. They were printed by W. and T. Bradford, Phila., 1776 (Evans, No. 14974).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0136

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1776-06-24

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of May 4th. has lain by me, till this Time unanswered, and I have heard nothing from you Since. I have entertained Hopes of seeing you here before now, as I heard you intended Such an Excursion. I was much obliged to you, for your particular Account of Major Austin, and Mr. Rice. The first I find has the Command of Castle William. The last is gone to Canada, where if he lives through the Dangers of Famine, Pestilence and the sword, I hope General Gates will promote him. I have written to the General concerning him,1 recommending him to the Generals Notice and Favour, in as strong and warm Terms, as I ever used in recommending any one. Rice has got Possession of my Heart, by his prudent, and faithfull Attention to the service.
What is the Reason, that New York is still asleep or dead, in Politicks and War? Must it be always So? Cannot the whole Congregation of Patriots and Heroes, belonging to the Army, now in that Province, inspire it, with one generous Sentiment? Have they no sense, no Feeling? No sentiment? No Passions? While every other Colony is rapidly advancing, their Motions seem to be rather retrograde.
The timid and trimming Politicks of some Men of large Property here, have almost done their Business for them. They have lost their Influence and grown obnoxious. The Quakers and Proprietarians to• { 336 } gether, have little Weight. New Jerseys shews a noble Ardor. Is there any Thing in the Air, or Soil of New York, unfriendly to the Spirit of Liberty? Are the People destitute of Reason, or of Virtue? or what is the Cause?
I agree with you, in your Hopes, that the Massachusetts, will proceed to compleat her Government. You wish me to be there, but I cannot. Mr. Bowdoin or Dr. Winthrop, I hope, will be chosen Governor. When a few mighty matters are accomplished here, I retreat like Cincinnatus, to the Plough and like Sir William Temple to his Garden;2 and farewell Politicks. I am weary. Some of you, younger Folk, must take your Trick and let me go to Sleep. My Children will Scarcely thank me for neglecting their Education and Interest so long. They will be worse off than ordinary Beggars, because I shall teach them as a first Principle not to beg. Pride and Want, though they may be accompanied with Liberty, or at least may live under a free Constitution, are not a very pleasant Mixture, not a very desirable Legacy, yet this is all that I shall leave them. Pray write as often as you can to your
[signed] John Adams
It is reported here that Coll. Read, is intended for the Governor of New Jersey.3 I wish with all my Heart, he may. That Province, is a Spirited, a brave and patriotic People. They want nothing, but a Man of sense, and Principle at their Head. Such an one is Read. His only fault is that he has not quite Fire enough. But this may be an Advantage to him as Governor. His Coolness, and Candour, and goodness of Heart, with his Abilities will make that People very happy.
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); docketed: “June 24th. 1776.”
1. JA to Horatio Gates, 18 June (above).
2. Sir William Temple (1628–1699), English statesman, who forged the triple alliance to combat French ambitions, but whose pro-Dutch policies were undermined by Charles II, causing Temple to return to his carefully tended garden of wall-fruit at Sheen. When peace returned, he served again as ambassador, only to resume his gardening when he fell out of favor once more. He refused a high post under William and Mary (DNB).
3. The first governor of New Jersey was William Livingston. Col. Joseph Reed, a native of New Jersey, had moved his law practice from Trenton to Philadelphia and had held political positions in Pennsylvania before joining Gen. Washington's staff in 1775. After resigning as Washington's secretary, he returned to Pennsylvania, but when he became adjutant general with the rank of colonel in place of Gates, his family returned to New Jersey (DAB; William B. Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, 2 vols., Phila., 1847, 1:189–190).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0137

Author: Gates, Horatio
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-24

From Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear Sir

By the Letters you will by this Post receive in Congress from the Brigadiers Sullivan, and Arnold, it appears to me, that Our Army in Canada are in the Utmost Peril of being lost. An unadvised Step taken in the Sending Genl. Thompson with a Large Detachment to Attack the Enemys post at the Three Rivers, has ended in Defeat, and Disgrace, with The Loss of Thompson, Col. Irwine,1 and 3 Principal Officers taken Prisoners. Arnold for the best Reasons, has retired to St. Johns, where he writes there are near Three Thousand Sick. Now, if Sullivan is Obstinate to retain the Post at Sorrell, and the Enemy push directly A Cross from Montreal to St. Johns, where Arnold is in no Condition to make a Stand, all General Sullivans Command will be cut off. I sett out this Evening, or tomorrow morning for Albany, by Water, as that is the most Expeditious way at this Season of the Year. Where, or in what Condition I shall find the Army, I have no conception! The Prospect is too much Clouded to distinguish Clearly. I have not yet received The Instructions, and Resolves, which Mr. Braxton tells me were preparing for me in Congress, when he left Philadelphia.2 Pray be expeditious in forwarding all Your Orders, and Directions: and you may depend upon an Exact, and regular Communication of Intelligence from me. My Mind is too much employ'd in seeking for resources in the present Critical Emergency, to say more at present. Heaven Guard the Libertys of America, and Inspire Her Officers and Soldiers with that Wisdom and Courage which can alone save Her from Tyranny and Destruction. Yours most truly and Affectionately,
[signed] Horatio Gates
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia”; stamped: “N. York*June*24 FREE”; docketed: “Gates June 24. 1776.”
1. Col. William Irvine of the 6th Pennsylvania Battalion.
2. The resolutions of the congress affecting Gates' command were adopted on 17 June (JCC, 5:488–451, 453). Gen. Washington sent instructions to Gates on 24 June (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1052–1053).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0138-0001

Author: Walker, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-24

From Thomas Walker

[salute] Honble. Sir

I take the Liberty to enclose you a Letter,1 that you may see the use that is made of the Indulgence, shewn to your prisoners. Another written by Major Dunbar, has been stopped by this Committee,2 and is { 338 } upon their file; giving an Account of the great Confusion in our Provinces and the Attack that is expected to be made by the King's forces. The enclosed Letter is addressed to the Church of England Minister at Montreal, who is King's Chaplain, Chaplain of the Garrison, and has a Salary from the Society depro:3 a violent royalist. It is writ' by a merchant who is married to a Lorimier,4 one of the Noblesse, who has two Brothers, active Indian partizans, who were at the Cedars, and are referr'd to in the postscript. I am with much respect Honble. Sir yr. most obedt and very hum. Servt.
[signed] Thomas Walker5
PS Monsr. Duchenay Seigneur of Beauport, who has been here, a long while said in Confidence to a french man, who reported it to me yesterday that, he staid here, in order to send the News, to the prisoners at Bristol, and Burlington.6
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “(on Continental service) To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE New-York, July 3”; docketed by JA: “Walker June 24. 1776”; in another hand: “T Walker June 24th 1776.” MS torn where the seal was removed. For the enclosure see note 1 (below).
1. The enclosed letter in French from P. Gamelin was addressed: “au Révérénd Docteur Chabrand Delisle, Montréal.”
2. The Albany Committee of Safety, Protection and Correspondence (James Sullivan, ed., Minutes of the Albany Committee of Correspondence, 1775— 1778, 2 vols., Albany, 1923–1925, 1:iii).
3. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, headquartered in London, which gave support to Anglican missionaries in America.
4. M. de Lormier had urged the attack on the American post at the Cedars. His exploits as a commander of Indians are recounted in “Mes services pendant la guerre américaine de 1775” in H. A. Verreau, Invasion du Canada, collection de mémoires recueillis et annotés par M. l'abbé Verrau, prêtre, Montréal, 1873 (Gustave Lanctot, Canada and the American Revolution, 1774–1783, Cambridge, 1967, p. 141, 287).
5. Walker was a prominent Montreal merchant who supported the American cause and by this time was well known to the members of the congress (JA to John Thomas, 7 March, note 3, above).
6. Bristol, Penna., and Burlington, N.J. (JCC, 6:915; 5:673).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0138-0002-0001

Author: Gamelin, P.
Recipient: Delisle, Chabrand
Date: 1776-06-08

Enclosure: P. Gamelin to Chabrand Delisle

[salute] Monsieur

Quoi que privé de vos belles lettres, mon Epouse ma donné de Vos nouvelles et m'a appris la convalessence de Madame, dont la Maladie vous avois si justement trés occuppé; je Vous prie Monsieur de lui presenter mes respects: j'embrasse vos jolies Enfans, ha? que je resentiré de joie de Vous rejoindre tous, Et qu il m'est flateur de penser que je pourré réprendre l'agréable habitude de Votre bonne Et trés honnête Société.
Un certain Mr. Mersier, m a dit en Son tems, avoir laisé Quebec le 6–may Et Montreal le 10—Etant arrivé a New York le 17. II y a apporté le premier la nouvelle de leur Echec. II m a dit encor ingenument, que l'occasion leur Etoient echapé de reunir le Canada a leurs provs.; je l ai crû Sur Sa parole Sen Exiger de lui le Sermant, les papiers publique ne nous Sonts point déffandû, j'ai souscrit pour avoir les meilleurs que j espere Vous porter chés-vous: je prie l'Eternel, d'ordonner que sa soit bientot, Employé je vous en Suplie Monsieur, toute votre meilleur credit auprés de notre bien fésant Général, pour mon rapel auprés de Ma chere famille, pour vu que Sela puise S'accorder avec L'honneur Et les Sentiments delicat que vous m avés toujours connû. Je crois que tout les individus, qui ont fait retentir les airs, du mot liberté, Se Sonts tous trés eloigné de Se precieux trésor, qu ils ont En fouis, pours des Siecles qui Séronts avec peinne découvert par leur arriere Neveûx. Je Sai que la liberté, Est le premier des biéns; mais se ne sera jamais l'entousiasme qui me la fera recouvrer: je m estime heureux dans ma prison de Pinsilvanie, parce que je me flatte que le calme qui va Succeder a l'horible tempête qui ma frapé me procurera beaucoup de douceur, m'a liberté: m'a precieuse liberté amen.
{ 339 }
Dr. Franklin, et Son confrere loyaliste, mon bien vouluent assurer a leur retour de notre province, qu ils n'avoient connu aucun des miens en Canada, ce qui m'a fait un vrai plaisir. Ser Wam. J——a Eté delivré de La captivité de prisonnier par les Six Nations Sauvages, et ont le dit être avec eux, à la tête de 900 Blanc. Les 24 Sauvages qui Sont actuellement a philadelphia, ni sont à se que l'on M'a assuré de trés bonne part que pour queus ailler des presents et non pour faire aliance avec les membres (infirmus) Congrés.
A Dieu Monsieur, je vais cesser de vous ennuyer, ces abuser de votre Complaisance: mais Veuillé donc encor avoir la bonté de me permettre de me dire avec le plus profond respect. Monsieur, votre trés humble & trés obeysant Serviteur
[signed] P Gamelin
NB. Je vous prie de proteger mes freres, je suppose que Si Dieu, les à conservé qu ils auronts Eté En bon occasion de Sa quiter de leur precieux dévoir. Ils Sont Braves. Sela Suffit, pour qu ils ayont den Ennemi parmi. Nos cheres, et parfait jaloux, compatriotes. L'on parle bien fort de nous s'envoyer à nos cheres familles, Se que je Souhaite.
[signed] GN

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0138-0002-0002

Author: Gamelin, P.
Recipient: Delisle, Chabrand
Date: 1776-06-08

P. Gamelin to Chabrand Delisle: A Translation

[salute] Dear Sir

Although I have been deprived of your fine letters, my wife has given me news of you and has informed me of the convalescence of Madame, whose illness had kept you understandably very busy; please forward my respects to her: I embrace your lovely Children. Ha! what joy it would be for me to be with you again, and how flattering is the thought that I might resume the pleasant habit of Your good and very honorable Company.
A Mr. Mersier has told me in due course of having left Quebec on the 6th of May and Montreal on the 10th—arriving in New York on the 17th. He was the first one to bring there the news of their Failure. He also added frankly, that they had lost their chance of uniting Canada to their provinces; I took his word for it without requesting the Oath. The newspapers are not forbidden us; I took a subscription to get the best which I hope I shall be able to bring home to you: I pray God the Eternal that He order it soon. I beg you Sir to use all your influence with our beneficient General, for my recall close to my dear family, so far as it accords with the honor and noble feelings you have always found in me. I think that those who have made the air resound with the word Liberty, have strayed far from that precious treasure, burying it for centuries and that it will be unearthed only with difficulty by their grandnephews. I know Liberty to be the foremost good; but enthusiasm for it will never recover it for me: I deem myself happy in my Pennsylvania jail, for I like to think that the calm which will follow the horrible storm that has beset me will bring me much solace, my freedom: my precious freedom, amen.
{ 340 }
Dr. Franklin, and His loyalist1 colleague, have been good enough to assure me, upon returning from our province, that they had met no one from my family in Canada, which really pleased me. Sir William J——2 was released from imprisonment by the Six Nations and he is said to be with them, at the head of 900 white men. The 24 Savages now in Philadelphia are there, according to what I have been told by very good sources, only to bring gifts and not to form an alliance with the members of a (weak) Congress.
Farewell, dear Sir, I shall not trouble you further for it would be an abuse of your Patience: but do allow me the liberty of expressing my deepest respect for you, while remaining, Sir, your very humble and very obedient Servant.
[signed] P. Gamelin
NB. I ask you to protect my brothers. I suppose that if God has kept them alive they were able to accomplish their precious duty. They are Brave. That is reason enough to have enemies amongst our dear and perfectly envious fellow countrymen. There has been strong talk of sending us back to our dear families, my deepest Wish,
[signed] GN
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the enclosing document.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “(on Continental service) To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE New-York, July 3”; docketed by JA: “Walker June 24. 1776”; in another hand: “T Walker June 24th 1776.” MS torn where the seal was removed. For the enclosure see note 1(below)for JA to Thomas Walker, above.
1. Possibly Father John Carroll, who had accompanied the three commissioners, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll, on their mission to Canada in the spring of 1776. The priest came to the conclusion that the Canadians had less reason to fight than the Americans and that, therefore, in good conscience he could not try to persuade them to abandon their neutrality (Lanctot, Canada and the American Revolution, p. 135).
2. A mistake for Sir John Johnson, who succeeded to Sir William's title. In January, Gen. Schuyler had marched toward Johnstown, parleyed with alarmed Mohawk sachems, and forced Sir John to surrender most of his arms and accept a condition of parole. By the following May, Schuyler, now convinced that Sir John was actively hostile to the American cause, sent a force to put him under close arrest. He escaped, and it was thought that Indians had helped him to get away (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:818–829; 6:447, 480, 511). Sir John was made colonel of the Royal Greens Regiment, { 341 } which later took part in St. Leger's expedition in the Mohawk Valley in 1777 (Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, ed. John Richard Alden, 2 vols., N.Y., 1952, 2:478, 481–482).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0139-0001

Editorial Note

No member of the congress played a greater role in 1775 and 1776 in bringing about a separation of the American colonies from Great Britain than John Adams, even if we make allowances for his tendency in old age to push back into time the moment when he became unequivocally committed to independence. His influence was exerted right up through the adoption of the formal resolution itself, but his contribution to the language of the Declaration of Independence was slight. He readily admitted that, and by 1805 he was uncertain whether he had made any contribution at all (Diary and Autobiography, 3:336–337).
The admission did not bother him, for, as he saw it, the fact of declaring independence was the critical matter. In 1776 he never imagined, nor did most delegates, that the words which declared the colonies free and independent would play the role in American history that they have. This accounts for his writing to Abigail that 2 July would be “the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:30). The ideas of the Declaration were common enough among Americans and had been for years. “Hackneyed,” John Adams later called them. Moreover, in mid-summer of 1776 there was need for haste (JA to Samuel Chase, 1 July, below; JA to Timothy Pickering, 6 Aug. 1822, Works, 2:514). In the view of a majority in the congress, formal separation had already been too long delayed; the people in most of the colonies had plainly indicated that they were ready for the step. In the face of such urgency, what matter the words? The draft was written by an acknowledged master penman. Why waste time quibbling? But the members of the congress took considerable pains with Jefferson's handiwork, and even the greatest admirers of Jefferson today believe that the rephrasing and excisions of the congress gave the document more force, here and there, and made it politically more feasible.
A formal declaration of independence became an unavoidable issue on 7 June, when Richard Henry Lee introduced his three-part motion resolving that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and { 342 } independent States,” that measures should be taken to form alliances with foreign powers, and that a scheme of confederation should be drafted and sent to the several colonies for their approval (John H. Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence: Its History, N.Y., 1906, photograph of Lee's resolution in his handwriting, facing p. 108). Adams seconded Lee's motion. No record of this fact has been found other than a statement in Adams' Autobiography, but there is no reason to doubt his word, for it is unlikely that he would have become confused about so simple a matter. There is no need, however, to accept his further statement that the records omit mention of his and Lee's names because Secretary Thomson, as a member of the group opposed to Adams and others who were pushing for extreme measures, deliberately excluded them. The secretary never included the names of makers of motions nor their seconders.
Lee was speaking in behalf of the Virginia delegation, for that colony on 15 May had resolved that its delegates should propose to the congress a declaration of independence. The Virginia resolution had been laid before the congress on 27 May, but Lee did not offer his motion until eleven days later. Obviously among those desiring independence soon there was some consultation about the appropriate time to make a motion. Samuel Adams knew at least one day in advance when Lee would rise for the purpose (JCC, 4:397; 5:425; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:475). According to Jefferson's notes of the proceedings, taken at the time, the pressure of other business caused discussion of Lee's motion to be put off until the 8th, when the congress in committee of the whole spent virtually the entire day on it, with the debate continuing on the following Monday, 10 June.
Those who argued against the motion—John Dickinson, James Wilson, Edward Rutledge, and others—believed that it was premature. For one thing, the Middle Colonies had not yet modified their instructions to their delegates on the question of independence. For another, it was best to wait for the American agent's report on the attitude of France. Adams was one of several who spoke in favor of Lee's motion. Unfortunately, although Jefferson summarized in some detail what was said on each side, he did not attach names to particular arguments. Several, however, seem characteristic of Adams: a declaration would merely acknowledge an already existing fact; regulation of American trade by Parliament was owing, not to any right but to the colonies' acquiescence; allegiance to the King had been dissolved by his declaring the colonies out of his protection and making war on them. No doubt there are others as well (JCC, 5:427; Jefferson, Papers, 1:309–313).
Those opposed to a declaration sought delay. Edward Rutledge confessed to John Jay that he would move to postpone a vote “for 3 Weeks or Months.” As it was, the vote on Lee's motion was put over until 1 July; but, so that no time would be lost, the congress agreed to appoint a committee to draft a formal declaration to be ready if the delegates should vote for independence (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:476–477; { 343 } JCC, 5:428–429). The congress chose Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston for the committee. Adams and Jefferson later gave somewhat different accounts of how it happened that Jefferson made the draft for the committee's consideration. In essence, Adams claimed that the two men were members of a subcommittee, and that he pressed the chore upon his younger colleague for a variety of political and personal reasons; Jefferson simply said that he was chosen by the committee of five (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:336; Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, Princeton, 1945, p. 10–11). Scholars now generally agree that Jefferson showed his draft first to Adams and then to Franklin before he presented it to the entire committee (but see Julian Boyd's penetrating discussion of the evidence, Jefferson, Papers, 1:404–406, note).
At an early stage of the revisions that Jefferson's draft underwent, Adams copied off the entire document. By the calculations of Julian Boyd, who has made in books and articles a masterly analysis of the texts of the Declaration of Independence, “only sixteen of an ultimate total of eighty-six alterations had been made when Adams transcribed it, and these were chiefly of a minor character” (Declaration of Independence, p. 18). The Adams copy is extremely important for demonstrating the evolution of the text from Jefferson's “original Rough draught,” as he called it, which exists now only as a much marked-up document, to the Declaration so familiar today. The copy is also important for another reason. Adams' laboriously transcribing it when he did suggests that he was satisfied with Jefferson's work before it had undergone much alteration, so much so that on 3 July he sent the copy to his wife. In her reply to her husband of 14 July, Abigail remarked, “I cannot but feel sorry that some of the most Manly Sentiments in the Declaration are Expunged from the printed coppy. Perhaps wise reasons induced it.” Because the copy was in his handwriting, she may have concluded that he had written the Declaration and was quick to defend his work. She also had strong feelings about the evil of slavery, which Jefferson's draft condemned (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:46–49 and notes).
In his old age Adams expressed some reservations about the language of the Declaration that he claimed to have had at the time of its composition. Although he was “delighted” with Jefferson's attack on the slave trade, he knew that the southern members would not accept that part of the Declaration; and Adams objected to Jefferson's calling George III a tyrant: “I thought the expression too passionate, and too much like scolding, for so grave and solemn a document” (JA to Timothy Pickering, 6 Aug. 1822, Works, 2:514). The two identifiable contributions that Adams made to the wording and noteworthy changes that Jefferson made before Adams took his copy are indicated in the annotation to the copy (below).
The report of the committee of five was delivered to the congress and read on 28 June, but discussion of it had to wait until the members had { 344 } acted on Lee's resolution calling for independence (JCC, 5:491). As agreed, debate in the committee of the whole began on 1 July. That a majority in favor of independence would prevail was a foregone conclusion, but for obvious reasons the members wanted unanimity if it could be secured. The prospects were excellent. All but two of the doubtful colonies had apparently fallen into line. On 14 June, Pennsylvania had repealed its instructions to its delegates which had forbidden them to support independence; on the 22d New Jersey had empowered its delegates to vote for independence, as had Maryland on the 28th. Delaware also gave its delegates “full Powers” (JA to James Warren, 20 May, note 5, above; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1628–1629; JA to Samuel Chase, 14 June and note 5, above). Meanwhile, the New York delegates wrote home, urgently asking for instructions if the vote should go in favor of independence. In its answer the New York Convention declared it “imprudent” to raise the question of independence with its constituents when they were being asked to consider a new government. Feeling that it lacked any clear mandate from the people on independence, the Convention refused to instruct the delegates on that subject, leaving them unable to act (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:477; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:814).
The debate ran on for most of the day, and, when the vote was taken in the committee of the whole, Pennsylvania and South Carolina stood opposed; Delaware, with only two of its three delegates present, was divided and therefore not counted; and New York, despite the private sentiments of its delegates, perforce abstained. When the committee of the whole rose and reported, Edward Rutledge, who had opposed a declaration, sought to defer the official vote until the next day, when he thought members of his delegation might vote in favor of the resolution for the sake of unanimity. On 2 July, Rutledge's anticipations were fulfilled; Caesar Rodney, summoned by Thomas McKean, rode posthaste and arrived in time to break the tie in the Delaware delegation; and enough Pennsylvania delegates took advantage of the freedom recently granted them by the Assembly, which was now a discredited body anyway, to carry that province into the favorable column. Only New York remained on the fence; its delegates were unable to join the other twelve United Colonies until the New York Convention gave them authorization on 9 July (Jefferson, Papers, 1:314; McKean to Caesar A. Rodney, 22 [Sept.?] 1813, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:534).
According to John Adams, the extended debate on 1 July produced no new arguments on either side; but in his Autobiography, he recalled that Dickinson “in a Speech of great Length, and all his Eloquence” combined and summarized all that had been said before on independence. When no one rose to reply, Adams reluctantly got to his feet to show the weaknesses in the carefully prepared oration that he had just heard. Later Adams remembered that Dickinson had spoken with “Politeness and Candour: and was answered in the Same Spirit” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:396; JA to Samuel Chase, 1 July, below). Dickinson's speech has been carefully { 345 } reconstructed from his notes, but Adams spoke extemporaneously and in later years could recall no details of what he had said except his expressed wish that he could have had the speaking powers of the great orators of Greece and Rome on that historic occasion. That he was correct in saying that he replied to Dickinson rather than the other way around is borne out by a thoughtful analysis of Dickinson's speech (Diary and Autobiography, 3:396–397; J. H. Powell, “Speech of John Dickinson Opposing the Declaration of Independence, 1 July, 1776,” PMHB, 65:458–481 [Oct. 1941]). In his Autobiography, Adams describes himself as speaking a second time, repeating most of what had been said, for the benefit of newly elected and late-arriving delegates from New Jersey, although two years later, in a letter to Mercy Otis Warren, he mentions speaking only once (JA to Mrs. Warren, 17 Aug. 1807, MHS, Colls., 5th ser., 4 [1878]: 465–469).
Whether Adams spoke once or twice, contemporaries left warm tributes to the importance of his efforts on that day. George Walton in a letter to Adams in 1789 wrote of his able and faithful development of the great question. Richard Stockton's son recalled that his father, a New Jersey delegate, called Adams “the Atlas of American Independence.” And in 1813 Jefferson described Adams as “the pillar of [the resolution's] support on the floor of Congress, it's ablest advocate and defender against the multifarious assaults it encountered” and reportedly referred in 1824 to Adams as “our Colossus on the floor,” adding, “He was not graceful or elegant, nor remarkably fluent, but he came out occasionally with a power of thought and expression, that moved us from our seats” (all quoted by Hazelton, Declaration of Independence, p. 161–162).
Once Lee's resolution on independence had passed, the congress turned immediately to the Declaration itself, and for parts of three days the committee of the whole worked over its language. Adams' Autobiography makes no mention of the work of revision or whether he said anything in defense of Jefferson's composition. The omission only confirms the belief that for Adams, even as late as 1805, the significant thing was not the cadences of Jefferson's prose or the enshrinement of noble ideals by which Americans could measure their performance, but the fact of independence, for which he had labored for so many months.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0139-0002

Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-06-28

A Declaration by1 the Representatives of the United States of America in general Congress assembled

When in the Course of human Events it becomes necessary for a People to advance from that Subordination, in which they have hitherto remained and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the equal and independent Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Natures God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Man• { 346 } | view { 347 } kind requires that they Should declare the Causes, which impell them to the Change.
We hold these Truths to be self evident;3 that all Men are created equal and independent; that from that equal Creation they derive Rights inherent and unalienable; among which are the Preservation of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; that to Secure these Ends, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the governed; that whenever, any form of Government, Shall become destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter, or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in Such Form, as to them Shall Seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate that Governments long established Should not be changed for light and transient Causes: and accordingly all Experience hath Shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to Suffer, while Evils are Sufferable, than to right themselves, by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, begun at a distinguish'd Period, and pursuing invariably, the Same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute4 Power, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off Such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and Such is now the Necessity, which constrains them to expunge their former Systems of Government. The History of his present Majesty,5 is a History, of unremitting Injuries and Usurpations, among which no one Fact Stands Single or Solitary to contradict the Uniform Tenor of the rest, all of which have in direct Object, the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be Submitted to a candid World, for the Truth of which We pledge a Faith, as yet unsullied by Falshood. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation, till his Assent Should be obtained; and when So suspended he has neglected utterly to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature,6 a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.7
He has dissolved Representative Houses, repeatedly, and continually, { 348 } for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions, on the Rights of the People.
He has refused,8 for a long Space of Time after Such Dissolutions,9 to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their Exercise, the State remaining in the mean Time, exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion, from without, and Convulsions within—
He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither; and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has Suffered the Administration of Justice totally to cease in some of these Colonies, refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing judiciary Powers.
He has made our Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and amount of their Salaries:
He has created a Multitude of new Offices by a Self-assumed Power, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our People and eat out their Substance.
He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies and Ships of War.
He has affected to render the military, independent of, and Superiour to, the Civil Power:
He has combined10 with others to subject Us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their pretended Act of Legislation; for quartering large Bodies of armed Troops among Us; for protecting them by a Mock Tryal from Punishment for any Murders they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States; for cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World; for imposing Taxes on us without our Consent; for depriving us of the Benefits of Trial by Jury; for transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences: for taking away our Charters, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments; for suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for US in all Cases Whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, withdrawing his Governors, and declaring us, out of his Allegiance and Protection.
He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.
He is at this Time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries { 349 } to compleat the Works of death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with Circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
He has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare is an undistinguished Destruction of all Ages, Sexes, and Conditions of Existence.
He has incited treasonable Insurrections of our Fellow Citizens,11 with the Allurement of Forfeiture and Confiscation of our Property.
He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most Sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere, or to incur miserable Death, in their Transportation thither. This piratical Warfare, the opprobrium of infidel Powers, is the Warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain, <determined to>12
He has prostituted his Negative for Suppressing every legislative Attempt to prohibit or to restrain an execrable Commerce, determined to keep open a Markett where Men Should be bought and Sold, and that this Assemblage of Horrors might Want no Fact of distinguished Die
He is now exciting those very People to rise in Arms among US, and to purchase that Liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the People upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off, former Crimes committed against the Liberties of one People, with Crimes which he urges them to commit against the Lives of another.
In every Stage of these Oppressions we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble Terms; our repeated Petitions have been answered by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every Act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a People who mean to be free. Future Ages will Scarce believe, that the Hardiness of one Man, adventured, within the Short Compass of twelve years only, on So many Acts of Tyranny, without a Mask, over a People, fostered and fixed in the Principles of Liberty.
Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of attempts of their Legislature, to extend a Jurisdiction over these our States. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here, no one of which could warrant So Strange a Pretension. That these were effected at the Expence of our own Blood and Treasure, { 350 } unassisted by the Wealth or the Strength of Great Britain: that in constituting indeed, our Several Forms of Government, We had adopted one common King, thereby laying a Foundation for perpetual League and Amity with them: but that Submission to their Parliament, was no Part of our Constitution, nor ever in Idea, if History may be credited: and We appealed to their Native Justice and Magnanimity, as well as to the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which were likely to interrupt our Correspondence and Connection. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity, and when Occasions have been given them by the regular Course of their Laws of removing from their Councils, the Disturbers of our Harmony, they have by their free Election, reestablished them in Power. A[t] this very Time too, they are permitting their Chief Magistrate to send over not only Soldiers of our common Blood, but Scotch and foreign Mercenaries, to invade and deluge Us in Blood. These Facts have given the last Stab to agonizing Affection, and manly Spirit bids us to renounce forever these unfeeling Brethren. We must endeavour to forget our former Love for them, and to hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. We might have been a free and a great People together; but a Communication of Grandeur and of Freedom it seems is below their Dignity. Be it So, Since they will have it: The Road to Happiness and to Glory13 is open to Us too; We will climb it, apart from them,14 and acquiesce in the Necessity which denounces our eternal Seperation!15
We therefore the Representatives of the united States of America in General Congress assembled, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these States, reject and renounce all Allegiance and subjection to the Kings of Great Britain, and all others, who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; We utterly dissolve and break off all political Connection which may have heretofore Subsisted between Us and the People or [Parliament] of Great Britain, and finally We do assert and declare these Colonies to be free and independent States, and that as free and independent States they shall hereafter have Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which independent States may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honour.
MS in JA's hand (Adams Papers); written on four folio pages made from a large folded sheet of paper like that used by Jefferson for his draft; several small tears partially obscuring a word or two.
{ 351 }
1. Jefferson substituted “by” for “of.” Identification of this and other changes that were made before JA made his transcript is based on Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, p. 22–25. This work includes photographs of Jefferson's draft, JA's copy, and other pertinent documents. It should be noted that JA followed his own preference in capitalizing letters and words.
2. JA made his copy before the committee of five made changes and thus before the committee reported to the congress.
3. Boyd has argued persuasively that the substitution of “self-evident” for “sacred and undeniable” was Jefferson's work.
4. Jefferson substituted “reduce” for “subject” and “under absolute” for “to arbitrary.”
5. After he had made his copy, JA suggested substituting “the present King of Great Britain” for “his present majesty.” In a marginal note to his draft, Jefferson indicated that JA wrote in this alteration.
6. In his draft Jefferson inserted “in the legislature” above the line.
7. Jefferson substituted “only” for “alone,” which was erased.
8. Jefferson substituted “he has refused” for “he has dissolved.”
9. “After such Dissolutions” is inserted above the line in Jefferson's draft. A marginal note attributes the change to JA.
10. The first three letters of this word are hardly legible because of a blot in JA's copy.
11. Jefferson substituted “citizens” for “subjects,” which was erased.
12. JA started to continue on here as does Jefferson's draft, not observing at first that “determined to keep open . . . bought & sold” was bracketed for omission. The phrase was interlined below after “execrable commerce,” but “determined” was changed to “determining,” an alteration that JA overlooked.
13. Jefferson substituted “to happiness & to glory” for “to glory & happiness.”
14. Jefferson substituted “apart from them” for “separately,” which he had substituted for “in a separate state.”
15. Jefferson substituted “denounces” for “pronounces” and “eternal separation” for “everlasting Adieu.” In summary, before JA made his copy he made only a single alteration in Jefferson's draft (see note 9, above). All the other changes here noted were made by Jefferson in the course of writing and before JA did his copying. Additional changes were made in the committee of five, but apart from the one mentioned in note 5 (above), it is impossible to tell what changes, if any, were suggested by JA. Boyd describes committee-made changes at p. 28–31.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0140

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-28

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank You for your two Letters of the 17th. and 24th Instant. They were handed to Me in Convention. I shall offer no other Apology for Concluding, than that I am this Moment from the House to procure an Express to follow the Post with an Unanimous Vote of our Convention for Independence etc. etc. See the glorious Effects of County Instructions. Our people have fire if not smothered. Poor Genl. Thompson!
I charge You to write to Me!
Now for a government.

[salute] Jubeo Te bene valere.1 Adieu. Your Friend,

[signed] S Chase
1. Freely, stay well.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bulloch, Archibald
Date: 1776-07-01

To Archibald Bulloch

[salute] Dear Sir

Two Days ago I received, your Favour of May 1st. I was greatly disappointed, Sir, in the Information you gave me, that you Should be prevented from revisiting Philadelphia. I had flattered myself with Hopes of your joining Us soon, and not only affording Us the additional Strength of your Abilities and Fortitude, but enjoying the Satisfaction of Seeing a Temper and Conduct here, Somewhat more agreable to your Wishes, than those which prevailed when you was here before. But I have Since been informed, that your Countrymen, have done themselves the Justice to place you at the Head of their Affairs, a Station in which you may perhaps render more essential Service, to them and to America, than you could here.
There Seems to have been a great Change in the sentiments of the Colonies, Since you left Us, and I hope that a few Months will bring Us all to the Same Way of thinking.
This Morning is assigned for the greatest Debate of all. A Declaration that these Colonies are free and independent States, has been reported by a Committee appointed Some Weeks ago for that Purpose, and this day or Tomorrow is to determine its Fate. May Heaven prosper, the new born Republic,—and make it more glorious than any former Republic has been.
The Small Pox has ruined the American Army in Canada, and of Consequence the American Cause. A series of Disasters, has happened there; partly owing I fear to the Indecision at Philadelphia, and partly to the Mistakes or Misconduct of our Officers, in that Department. But the small Pox, which infected every Man We sent there compleated our Ruin, and have compell'd us to evacuate that important Province. We must however regain it, sometime or other.
My Countrymen have been more successful at sea, in driving all the Men of War, compleatly out of Boston Harbour, and in making Prizes of a great Number of Transports and other Vessells.
We are in daily Expectation of an Armament before New York, where, if it comes the Conflict must be bloody. The Object is great which We have in View, and We must expect a great Expence of Blood to obtain it. But We should always remember, that a free Constitution of civil Government cannot be purchased at too dear a Rate; as there is nothing on this Side of the new Jerusalem, of equal Importance to Mankind.
It is a cruel Reflection that a little more Wisdom, a little more { 353 } Activity, or a little more Integrity would have preserved Us Canada, and enabled Us to Support this trying Conflict at less Expence of Men and Money. But irretrievable Miscarriages ought to be lamented, no further, than to enoble and Stimulate Us to do better in future.
Your Colleagues Hall and Gwinn[ett], are here in good Health, and Spirits, and as firm as you yourself could wish them.1 Present my Compliments to Mr. Houstoun. Tell him the Colonies will have Republics, for their Government, let us Lawyers and your Divine Say what We will.2 I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem and Respect, Sir, your, sincere friend, and most humble Servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Lyman Hall and Button Gwinett, delegates from Georgia. Hall had been serving since March 1775, representing St. John's Parish before the colony itself chose to be represented. Gwinett was a new member (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, i:xliv).
2. John Houstoun, a former member from Georgia, was a lawyer and an early advocate of the whig cause. The “Divine” was John J. Zubly, Presbyterian minister, who as one of the Georgia members in 1775 favored reconciliation and declared, according to JA, that “A Republican Government is little better than a Government of Devils. I have been acquainted with it from 6 Years old” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:204). The implication of JA's remark is that the people, not lawyers, were pushing for independent republican government. Zubly later became a loyalist (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-01

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favour by the Post this Morning gave me much Pleasure, but the generous and unanimous Vote of your Convention, gave me much more. It was brought into Congress this Morning, just as We were entering on the great Debate.1
That Debate took up the most of the day, but it was an idle Mispence of Time for nothing was Said, but what had been repeated and hackneyed in that Room before an hundred Times for Six Months past.
In the Committee of the whole, the Question was carried in the Affirmative and reported to the House. A Colony desired it to be postponed untill tomorrow.2 Then it will pass by a great Majority, perhaps with almost Unanimity: yet I cannot promise this. Because, one or two Gentlemen, may possibly be found, who will vote point blank against the known and declared Sense of their Constituents, Maryland, however, I have the Pleasure to inform you, behaved well: Paca,3 generously and nobly.
{ 354 }
Alass Canada! We have found Misfortune and disgrace in that Quarter. Evacuated at last. Transports arrived at Sandy Hook, from whence We may expect an Attack in a Short Time, upon New York or New Jersey, and our Army not So Strong as we could wish. The Militia of New Jersey and New England, not So ready, as they ought to be.
The Romans made it a fixed Rule never to send or receive Embassadors, to treat of Peace with their Enemies, while their Affairs, were in an Adverse or disastrous Situation. There was a Generosity and Magnanimity in this, becoming Freemen. It flowed from that Temper and those Principles, which alone can preserve the Freedom of a People. It is a Pleasure, to find our Americans, of the Same Temper. It is a good Symptom forboding a good End.
If you imagine that I expect this Declaration, will ward off, Calamities from this Country, you are much mistaken. A bloody Conflict We are destined to endure. This has been my opinion, from the Beginning. You will certainly remember, my decided opinion was, at the first Congress, when We found, that We could not agree upon an immediate Non Exportation, that the Contest, would not be Settled without Bloodshed, and that, if Hostilities Should once commence, they would terminate in an incurable Animosity, between the two Countries.4 Every political Event, Since the Nineteenth of April 1775 has confirmed me in this opinion. If you imagine that I flatter myself, with Happiness and Halcyon days, after a Seperation from Great Britain, you are mistaken again. I dont expect that our new Governments will be So quiet, as I could wish, nor that happy Harmony, Confidence and Affection between the Colonies, that every good American ought to study, labor, and pray for, a long time.
But Freedom is a Counterballance for Poverty, Discord, and War, and more. It is your hard Lott and mine to be called into Life, at such a Time.—Yet even these Times have their Pleasures. I am your Friend and servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.” Tr (Adams Papers) in an unknown hand differs in punctuation and capitalization and includes a signature, which looks too carefully formed to be genuine; moreover, for security reasons JA did not usually sign letters in this period. At the top is the notation “No. II.”
1. Chase's letter of 28 June (above) reported Maryland's vote empowering its delegates to vote for independence. See JA's Copy of the Declaration of Independence [ante 28 June], Editorial Note (above).
2. South Carolina.
3. William Paca, delegate from Maryland.
4. JA had written in this vein to James Burgh in Dec. 1774 (JA, Papers, 2:206).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0143

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-01

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

We are full of anxious Expectation here. Howe has sail'd from Hallifax, it is suppos'd for N. York, and is probably there before this Time, for he left the former place on 10th June as we have been inform'd by several Masters of Vessels arriv'd here. Just after receiving this Advice we were alarm'd with an Account of the Plot at N. York.1 The Discovery seems very fortunate, and the whole may turn out to the Advantage of the common Cause. We ought to guard ev'ry where in the strictest Manner against such Treachery, and to make striking Examples of the guilty. We are in ev'ry Sense too unguarded here for Want of an active Commander. W. tho out of Health, and seldom seen by any Body, and tho his Resignation has been accepted long ago, is still consider'd as having the Command. I have wrote to Mr. S.A. upon this Point. All Canada is, I am afraid, lost for this Year. We have just receiv'd Advice from Schuyler that our Forces have retir'd to Isle Noix.2 Whence comes this strange Reverse before any large Reinforcements could have come to act against us? Resolution and Activity may yet repair all. Providence seems not to intend that Canada should incorporate with us and make Part of the American States.
In your last to me you express'd the kindest Concern for the Safety of our Harbor in what you Suggested about Gallies, Fire Rafts &c. At present we seem not to be in immediate Want of this Kind of Defence, and to be as safe, had we a military Genius at our Head, as any Port on the Continent. The Driving away the Enemies Ships demonstrates what might have been done long ago.
I know you must be greatly press'd with the Multiplicity and Weight of public Affairs; yet I cannot forbear saying a Word or two on our Paper Currency. It must as Things now go on greatly depretiate. To prevent this, Would it be expedient, That no Currency should be allowed in any of the Colonies but Continental—that ev'ry Colony should call in its own outstanding Notes, exchanging them for continental, borrowed for its own internal Use? Would not this prevent indiscreet Emissions in the smaller ones, and a thousand Altercations respecting their Credit? Would not the pledg'd Faith of an whole Continent better support the Value of all the Notes now extant, than it can be supported in their present various Forms? Would not this cement us more together, and be attended with other advantages? And might not the Congress, should it find its Notes abroad in too great a Quantity, borrow them of the Possessors at an Interest, which would lessen { 356 } their Quantity and enhance their Value. I only give these imperfect Hints upon a Subject that appears to me, and to your Friend Col. Quincy greatly important, who earnestly desir'd me to mention it to you. I am Sir, with great Regard, Your's
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in CFA's hand: “from Dr. Cooper.”
1. How Cooper acquired his information about a plot in New York is not known, but on 4 July the New-England Chronicle carried an extract of a letter from New York dated 23 June that told of a plot of about a hundred people to join the forces of Howe upon his arrival. Some were to undertake the killing of Gen. Washington and other generals, and others were to blow up the American magazines. All of the relevant documents are printed in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1152–1183. A detailed narrative account is in Freeman, Washington, 4:114–121. See also William Tudor to JA, 7 July (below).
2. About fifteen miles below St. John's (New-England Chronicle, 4 July).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0144

Author: Palmer, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-01

From Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear Sir

Yesterday I had the honor of dining with your Lady, all well. Having an opportunity by my Friend Dr. Craigie, I Steal a few moments from the public, just to thank you, Mr. Paine, and other my good Friends for their many Friendly Letters respecting public matters. They have had good effects; and this assurance will, I hope, encourage you all in persevereance. I am not able to write, unless by breaking in upon the public; but I hope Soon to write much more fully; my hands have really been very full; in addition to other public matters, I have been called upon Several times in my Military capacity,1 and have been obliged to attend much upon the Fortifications. Since we drove the Enemy out of the Harbour, we have been visited by a part of the Scotch Fleet; the 2 first we Secured; but then appeared 10 more, whose Comodore appeared very cautious, and wou'd not come within the Light House, and after about a Week being in the Bay, they disappeared : We waited upon them in hope of their coming in, having at Nantasket about 7 or 800 of Colonial Troops, and a part of my Brigade; we hid ourselves, and covered our Works, but it wou'd not do, the enemy wou'd not venture in.

[salute] I am call'd upon—so bid you adieu, wishing you and all our Friends all that wisdom which is necessary to direct the arduous affairs you are ingaged in.2

[signed] J. Palmer
I know not any thing of the Drs. business, but as I think him a worthy Man, ask your favour if any occasion.
Since the above, received another favour from my Friend Paine. { 357 } May every blessing attend the Adams's, Paine, Gerry, Hancock, and all the Congress.
[signed] JP
1. Palmer had been recently named brigadier general for Suffolk co. as a replacement for Benjamin Lincoln (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors).
2. This last paragraph is written along the edge of the first page.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-02

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

Your obliging Favour of 17 June is now before me.1 It contains an elegant and masterly Narration of the late Expedition against the British Men of War, in Nantaskett Road, and its happy and glorious Event. I am a little mortified however that my good Friends and Neighbours the Militia of Braintree, Weymouth and Hingham, did not execute their Part with So much Activity, as they ought. But the very Post which brought us, this agreable Intelligence from Boston, brought Us from Canada, the melancholly Tidings that our Army, had evacuated Canada, with such a Complication of Circumstances, of Famine, Pestilence, Distress, Defeat, and Disgrace, as are sufficient to humble a prouder Heart than mine.
The Small Pox is an Enemy more terrible in my Imagination, than all others. This Distemper will be the ruin, of every Army from New England if great Care is not taken. I am really Sorry that the Town of Boston attempted to clear itself of the Infection.2 I cannot but wish, that an innoculating Hospital, was set up in every Town in New England. But if this is not done, I am Sure that Some Hospitals, ought to be erected in Some convenient Places.
Between you and me, I begin to think it Time for our Colony to think a little more highly of itself.—The military operations have been at least as well conducted, under our own Officers, when left to themselves, as any others. You and several others of my best Friends have been pressing for a Stranger to command in Boston, and from two political Motives, I have been pressing for it too. The one was this, the People, and the Soldiery, at Boston, would not be so likely to respect, a General from among themselves, as a Stranger, the other was that the People of the Southern and middle Colonies, would have more Confidence in one of their own Officers, than in one from New England. And in Case of any Thing Unlucky I had rather hear them groan for one of their own, than scold or curse at a New England man.
The Reverse of Fortune in Canada, and the Arrival of the Hallifax { 358 } Fleet, at Sandy Hook have now, removed all Expectation of having such an Officer Sent to Boston as We wished and therefore I wish that some Massachusetts Man, could command at Boston.
Since the above was written, I have received a Letter from Braintree containing a very circumstantial Relation of the Expedition against the Men of War, by which I find that my Neighbours were not in fault.3 They were becalmed, and by that unforeseen and unavoidable Accident, retarded and belated. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent”
1. In Adams Papers but not printed here.
2. That is, that the town refused to permit inoculations, which actually gave patients a mild case and made them infectious for a time.
3. JA probably meant a detailed letter from Mary Palmer of 15–17 June, which described the clearing of Boston Harbor of British warships on 14 June, but does not specifically say that the men from Braintree and other towns did not arrive because of lack of wind. Her letter, as well as that from Cotton Tufts, which also describes the action, does mention the calm that hampered operations (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:9–11, 17–19).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0146

Author: Reed, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-04

From Joseph Reed

[salute] Dear Sir

I do not know whether I take the proper Channel of Recommendations, but I cannot help mentioning to you a Gentleman of your own Province whose Rank and Services seem to me intitle him to farther Notice than he has yet had. His Name is Henshaw of Worcester County.1 He came a Colonel of Militia in the Service afterward stayed as Assistant to Genl. Gates in his Department 5 Months for which he secured no Pay. He has come down here a Lieutt. Colonel and has had the Mortification to see himself repeatedly commanded by Junior Officers whom Accident has brought rapidly forward to the Command of Regiments. He is certainly a worthy Man and a useful Officer but is so dispirited with his Situation that unless he can be promoted I suppose will retire as soon as the present Alarm is over. I am sure you will do a publick Service and benefit a good Character to take him under your Patronage and recommend him to that of your Colleagues.
I cannot close my Letter without calling your Attention particularly to our present Situation which however it may appear to the absent and distant in my Opinion is more alarming to this Country than any Thing which has occur'd during the present Contest. I suppose it will be agreed that the Interests and Fate of America most eminently depend upon that of this Army here and the few old Regiments the Stores of Artillery, Arms Ammunition &c. which if lost or destroyed { 359 } may be deemed an irreparable Loss. Here are some of your best Officers and this is a Post of the greatest Consequence—to be defended against 8000, disciplined Troops already arrived a larger Number hourly expected and a mighty Fleet; we cannot reckon the whole of the Land Forces at less than 18, or 20,000—Marines Sailors &c who may be used on Shore occasionally 2000 at least. Besides this we are incircled with secret Enemies whose Schemes and Contrivances are daily coming to Light. With an Enemy of Force before and a secret one behind we stand on a Point of Land with about 6000 old Troops, (if a Years Service of about half can intitle them to the Name) and about 1500 new raised Levies of this Province many disaffected and more doubtful. We have called in the Militia not such a one as yours,2 tho that was very unequal to the Contest with old Troops; but Farmers and Labourers some of whom scarcely knew how to load a Gun and from whom we can expect nothing in Case of a severe and desperate Attack unless to dispirit those few brave Men who would boldly meet it. In this Situation we are, every Man in the Army from the General to the private (acquainted with our true Situation) is exceedingly discouraged. Had I knew the true Posture of Affairs no Consideration would have tempted me to have taken an active Part in this Scene and this Sentiment is universal. For Gods' Sake therefore my dear Sir let it be a Matter of serious Consideration and wherever Reinforcements can be had let them be procured. The Enemy accord[ing] to our best Accounts are waiting for the Arrival of a European Fleet. This is a golden Opportunity to pour in Troops which if neglected can never be recalled. There are 5 Regiments at Boston of Continental Troops better armed than any of ours. All Accounts agree that no Attack is meditated there except what the Militia might and in the Province have repelled viz plundering the Coast. Major Hawly whose Attachment to his Province as well as Zeal in the Cause is undisputed is clearly of Opinion they may be all spared and presses it as a Measure of Propriety; other Gentlemen concur in the same Opinion. The General's Delicacy and Fear of urging what may be disagreeable to you and Colleagues does not allow him to press it so strongly on Congress as he otherwise would. But I am authorized to tell you that he views it as a Measure of the last Necessity and hopes for your Acquiescence in it. There are other Troops. Col. Miles's3 Battalions tho not quite under the same Circumstances (being properly provincial Troops) that from their Character might be much more usefully employed than at Philad. Barracks. I do not know whether it will do to touch that String but all is at Stake and Punctilio { 360 } must be laid aside. The new Levies come in very slowly and we have no Expectation of their being completed to above half their Complement from either Jersey or Connecticut. If the Destruction of this Army would save our Country I make no Doubt many would chearfully yield to it, but when the Safety of the one must depend upon the Success of the other there can be no Consolation in falling to Sacrifice accompanied with the loss of every Thing.
Excuse this long Epistle it arises from my Judgment of what must be the Event if speedy Measures are not taken for our Relief and contains not only my own but the Sentiments of many to whom I am sure you would pay much Respect. I am with Compliments to your Circle at Mrs. Yards D Sir Your most obed and very Hbbl. Sert.
[signed] Jos. Reed4
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Coll Reed. July 4th. 1776 ans. July 7.”
1. William Henshaw was a lieutenant colonel of the 12th Continental Infantry (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 286).
2. Punctuation supplied for meaning.
3. Col. Samuel Miles, commander of a Pennsylvania rifle regiment (same, p. 391).
4. See JA to William Tudor, 24 June, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-05

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yours of the 16 June, and that of the 20th. of the Same Month, are before me. I congratulate you on those happy Events which are the Subjects of them.
It is very true that We have disagreable Accounts from Canada. Our Army has retreated from that Country. Where they will make a Stand I know not. Weakened and dispirited as they are, both with the Small Pox, and with several Defeats, I fear they will retreat not only from St. Johns and Isle au Noix but from Crown Point, at least as far as Ticonderoga.
Many Gentlemen here, who are good Americans, Say, that this is good Fortune—because the Distance to Canada is so great, and the Expences of Supporting an Army there so enormous, that We are better out of it than in it. I am not of this opinion myself, but We must acquiese in the Dispensation, let it be good or evil.
The Small Pox has been our most fatal Enemy. Our People must reconcile themselves, to inocculating Hospitals.
I am Sorry to hear of General Wards ill Health, and hope for his Speedy Recovery. I should be Sorry to hear of his leaving the Army.
{ 361 }
You are Still impatient for a Declaration of Independency. I hope your Appetite will now be Satisfyed. Such a Declaration passed Congress Yesterday and this Morning will be printed.1
LbC (Adams Papers). JA's omission of the word “sent,” which he customarily used, from this and another letter to Ward of 17 July (below) probably means that the two letters were not sent. None of Ward's later letters to JA of 28 July, 8 Aug. (both below), or 6 Sept. (Adams Papers) acknowledge receipt of either letter, although those of 8 Aug. and 6 Sept. mention the receipt of JA's of 10 July and 20 Aug. (both below), respectively.
1. John Dunlap printed the first copies of the Declaration of Independence. In Massachusetts the Declaration was printed in the Massachusetts Spy on 17 July, in the New-England Chronicle on the 18th, and in the Boston Gazette on the 22d.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0148

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-05

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir

Your Letter of the 1st. conveys both pleasure and Grief. I hope eer this Time the decisive blow is struck. Oppression, Inhumanity and Perfidy have compelled Us to it. Blessed be Men who effect the Work, I envy You! How shall I transmit to posterity that I gave my assent? Cursed be the Man that ever endeavors to unite Us. I would make Peace with Britain but I would not trust her with the least particle of Power over Us, she is lost to every Virtue and corrupted with every Vice.
I am distressed for our Army, I suppose at Crown Point, dont neglect to build Vessells to keep the Command of the Lakes, if You do, the British Army in Canada will not injure Us this Summer, and in the Winter You may regain that Country.
I am miserable when I reflect on the Consequences of a Defeat at N. York. Act on the defensive, entrench, fortify and defend Passes. Make it a War of Posts. Scramble thro this Summer and for the next, it will be our own fault if We have not a probability for Success.
If We should be endangered this Summer from the Addition of foreigners to the National Strength of Gt. B., what blame is justly imputable to those who have neglected to provide for Assistance in Time. You know in November last I was for Sending Ambassadors to France with conditional Instructions. I gave the Motion to Mr. Lynch, I am told he strowed1 the Matter.
I have sent You an Paper and Some Resolves of our Convention. Do they not do Us Honor.
Mr. Paca will show You the News from Virginia, desire him to { 362 } send Me Dr. Prices observations on Civil Liberty2 and the proceedings of the Committees of Penna.3

[salute] I cannot conclude without requesting my most respectful Compliments to Mr. Adams Coll. Hancock &c. &c. and all independent Americans. Your affectionate & obedt Servant

[signed] Saml. Chase
1. This reading is conjectural. “Strowed,” an old past tense form of “strew,” has an obsolete meaning of “laid low” (OED).
2. Richard Price (1723—1791), a dissenting English minister, published in 1776 his pamphlet entitled Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of Government, and the Justice and Policy of the War with America, which went through many editions, including Dutch and French ones, and made its author widely known and honored in both Great Britain and America, although Price had several prominent critics, among them John Wesley and Edmund Burke. From the start Price opposed war with the colonies (T. R. Adams, American Independence, Nos. 224a–z; DNB).
3. See JA to Samuel Chase, 24 June, note 6 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Reed, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-07

To Joseph Reed

[salute] Dear sir

Yesterday your Favour of the 4th. Instant was handed me by the Post. Am much obliged to you for it, and will give all the Attention I can to its Contents. Am not certain that I know the Gentleman whom you recommend by the Name of Henshaw—but I believe I do. There are several very worthy Men of that Name: which of them this is, I am not clear. The Difficulty is that We dont know what Vacancies there are, to which Congress may with Propriety promote Such Officers. If the General should recommend him to any Advancement, he would readily have it. But if any Individual Member here should move for his Promotion without a Recommendation from Head Quarters, a suspicion would arise that he did not Stand well there. Does he come to New York as Lt. Coll. of a Regiment of Militia, or in what Capacity. Should be obliged to you for his Christian Name, and for a Hint of any Vacant Place to which he may be promoted. Nothing in my power shall be wanting to serve a worthy Man and a usefull Officer.
Your Description, of the Force of the Enemy and your own Weakness, is Indeed allarming. The Importance of the Post you hold is very great; and it must be maintained and defended at all Events.
Congress have already ordered three of the Battallions at Boston, to N. York, and tomorrow will order the other two. The two Pensilvania Battallions are ordered to N. York, and Measures have been taken to send all the Militia of Pensilvania, who can be armed to N. { 363 } York and N. Jersey. Maryland is requested to send along their Proportion of the flying Camp.1 I hoped that the Militia from New England would have been with you before this Time, at least a considerable Part of them. You will Soon see Some of them I think. I have the Pleasure to agree perfectly with you, that now is the golden opportunity, for Sending into New York, Troops from every Quarter. The General may rely upon it, that no Tenderness for my own Province, nor any other Consideration shall induce me, to throw the least Impediment in the Way of any Measure that shall be proposed for that Purpose. I have even promoted the order for calling away the five Battallions from Boston, altho I know not how the numerous Fortifications there are to be garrisoned, or even the Continental Stores to be defended.
There really is a Strong, an earnest, and sincere desire, here, to do every Thing to forward the Militia from every Quarter. I wish their was as laudable a Spirit to give Bounties in Money, and Land to Men, who would inlist during the War. But there is not. Congress offers Ten dollars Bounty to inlist for three years, when New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Mass. Bay and New Hampshire are voting Six, Eight, or Ten Pounds a Man to serve for Six Months. This Aeconomy at the Spigot, and Profusion at the Bung will ruin Us. Do for Gods sake Coll. Reed, convince our Southern Brethren that the Common People and even Common Soldiers are rational Creatures, and that they can see, hear, and feel.
My Heart bleeds in every Veign of it, for New York, and the Army in it: But there is another Scene more affecting Still. The Army under Schuyler and Gates, is an object miserable enough to affect, less feeling Hearts than Yours or mine. An Army, disgraced and dispirited, with repeated defeats; devoured with Vermin; without a Second Shirt, or Pair of Hose, without Beds, or Blanketts. Diseased with the Small Pox, and nothing to eat, but salt Pork and flour. Incapable of Succour, by fresh Recruits, because such as have had the Small Pox are not to be found, and such as have not, would only bring fresh Wretchedness among them! What shall We do? Is it possible to cleanse that Army from Infection? Without this, I fear, our Hopes in that Quarter, are but Delusions.
After all I am not disconcerted by all these Confusions, because I have expected them these twelve Months and because I have known our Affairs in a situation much worse than they are even now. A fatal Delusion, from fond Hopes of Reconciliation, entertained, fostered and cherished, against the clearest Evidence, which is ever to be ex• { 364 } pected in such Cases, has held Us back, from making Such Preparations, for our better security as were in our Power. These Hopes are now extinguished, and I think that more Vigour will take Place, and another winter will greatly befriend Us. The golden Opportunity however, is irrecoverably lost. Canada is our Enemy, and We are now compleatly between two Fires. I expect an horrid Carnage upon our Frontiers, and a great Deal of Desolation upon the Sea Coast, but I hope still that We shall come out of the Furnace of affliction, double refined. I am with great Respect,
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent”
1. A flying camp was a special force maintained in the field and designed to move rapidly to wherever needed. On 3 June the congress had authorized such a force for the protection of the middle colonies. It was to consist of 10,000 men drawn from the militia of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware and stationed at Perth Amboy, N. J. But the response of the three provinces was insufficient, and such militia as did arrive at the camp did not stay very long. The Flying Camp did not last beyond 1776 (OED; JCC, 4:412–413; Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, 2 vols., N.Y., 1952, 1:204).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Recipient: Warren, James
Recipient: Massachusetts House of Representatives, Speaker of
Date: 1776-07-07

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Congress has been pleased to establish a War Office, and have done me the Honour to make me a Member of that Board, which lays me under obligation to write you upon the subject of Flints.
Congress has impowered and directed the Board to employ a Number of Persons, wherever they can find them, to manufacture Flints, and also to enquire in the Several Colonies, for the proper Flint Stone.
It would be unpardonable Negligence in Us, in our Circumstances, to depend upon Supplies from abroad, of any Articles necessary to carry on the War; Materials for the Manufacture of which, are afforded, by our own Country in Sufficient Plenty. This is the Case of Flint Stone. It is affirmed by Gentlemen of undoubted Credit, that large Quantities of the genuine Flint Stone are found in Orange County, in the Government of New York. And it is reported that other Quantities are found in various other Parts of the united American States. Congress is determined to leave no proper Measures unessayed, to discover the Truth, and to obtain Information, in what Parts of America this Kind of stone is to be found and in what Quantities.
To this End the Board of War and ordinance, is directed to invite the assistance of the Several Legislatures of all the States in Union, in promoting an Inquiry.
I am directed by the Board to request you to lay this Letter, before { 365 } the Legislature of the Massachusetts Bay, and to ask their Attention to this Subject and that they would be pleased to appoint a Committee of their Body, or take any other Measures which they may think proper and effectual, for inquiring whether there is any Quantity of this necessary Stone, in their Country, in what Counties or Towns of it, it lies, and whether there are any Persons who have ever practiced the Art of making the Flint into suitable Sizes and shapes for military Service. And it is further requested, that after a proper Enquiry shall have been made, the Result of it, be reported to the Board of War and ordinance, at the War Office, in Markett Street near the Corner of Fourth Street Philadelphia.1 I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. The formality of this letter to his old friend was dictated by JA's request that it be laid before the legislature; a personal word would have been inappropriate. He wrote to Warren as speaker of the House.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0151

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-07

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Sir

Want of particular confidential Acquaintance with the Delegates from the State of Connecticutt, occasions you more Trouble than I should think myself at Liberty to give you; As I am Sure what I at any Time say to you will be taken in good Part and as well intended however in any Points we may differ in Opinion; therefore I disclose my Sentiments without Reserve, if they are of any Service I am fully Satisfied, if not I am sure not to be disgraced. Tis our Business to make known our Greivances, yours to Redress them. I am yet much concernd that no greater Incouragment is given to inlisting a new Army. There never yet has been a new Country Settled but a grant of Land has been made to Settlers to incourage the Population, this always inhanced the Price of the Adjacent Country so that it operated as a Sale of the Land granted, that even on principles of Economy and Frugality it appears to me very proper to make a grant of Land to the Soldiery, who ingage in a further Service; in New England you are Sensible there are few independant Estates, perhaps tis best there never should be.1 A Farmer with half a Dozen Sons thinks them well provided for if he can give Each 100 Acres of wild Land a Yoke of Oxen and a Small Quantity of other Stock with One Years Provision. This enables him with Industry by the next Year to take Care of himself; on the Same Principles our considerate young Men, will more readily engage in a Service which at the End of a few Years provides { 366 } them Farms to spend the remainder of the Days on, than a small pecuniary Premium which is soon expended. I wish an ill tim'd Parsimony may not prove of fatal Consequence by totally preventing Such Persons entering into Service on whom some Dependance may be placed. Another Thing I think ought to be done viz, to appoint regimental Paymasters.2 This Duty now lies on the Colonels without a farthing compensation, indeed I think it much better to be continued with them than to appoint any Man who is not of the Regiment for there are necessarily many Accounts in the Regiment to be Settled, as Monies advanced by the Officers to their Soldiers which cannot be so well adjusted by another as by the Officers of the Regiment, but Some Allowance ought to be made for this Trouble and Risk: the Colony from whence I came always made Each Captain Paymaster to his Company and gave 1½ per Cent for Monies paid Out. I think this a good Mode, but perhaps the Paymaster General may think it too much Trouble to Settle the Abstracts of the Pay of Each Company, being Eight Times his present Trouble.
I wish Some Method may be found to Satisfy those Officers who suppose themselves injurd by being neglected in the Preferments already made, or Suppose themselves intitled to the Vacant Offices. I know there are Difficulties in any Method which may be adopted, but cannot beleive there would [be] so much Uneasiness if any fixed Mode was established and adher'd to. I have at present no Interest of my own to serve unless it be in the Question as it may hereafter affect me, at present I am very happy in my Station and Rank which as Settled is the 6th. Colonel and the 4th. present in this Camp: I have no Expectation of Vacancies Falling so as to give Room for me to be advanced. If Advancments should be made, I know I should have the Same Tho'ts my Brethren have who have been superceded, if I was disgraced by placing over me One of lower Rank; therefore When I wish them Satisfied I am on sure Grounds of doing as I would be done by. I would not have you think me Urging a Point to serve myself, for I assure you I dont entertain a Tho't I shall be neglected when it comes my Turn, on these Principles, to claim Preferment. I am Dr Sr. your Friend & hl. Servt.
[signed] Saml H. Parsons
P.S. would it not be just for Congress to make a Difference, in the Treatment of the Hessians &c., mere Mercenaries, if they Should fall into our Hands and the British Troops? The One have an Interest in the Controversy, the other None, but are hird Assassins to murther Us for Money. If A Declaration should now be made that none of their Prisoners should be exchanged if the Fortune of War { 367 } cast them into our Hands; and also an Encouragement to Settle in the Country by granting Land &c. if it did not so Operate as to prevent their Fighting it might probably infuse a Spirit of Jealousy among their Troops of which we might make great Advantage. Yr [ . . . ]
[signed] SP
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Parsons. July 7. 1776.”
1. Terminal punctuation supplied.
2. A committee from the congress sent to confer with Gen. Schuyler recommended among other things in its report of 23 Dec. 1775 that regimental paymasters be appointed, but apparently nothing was done (JCC, 3:450). On 5 June 1776 a committee of the whole considered along with other matters the appointment of such paymasters, but rejected the idea (same, 5:418). Yet on 25 June regimental paymasters were urged upon colonies supplying militia for Continental service (same, p. 479). Not until 16 July, on recommendation of the Board of War, did the congress authorize paymasters for every regiment (same, p. 564).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0152

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-07

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

I am to acknowlege your Favour of the 24th. of June and to apologize for not having wrote you more than twice since I have been at York. Indeed I expected before this to have had the Pleasure of seeing You at Philadelphia. Where I have been long sollicitous to get in order to prevail on Congress to establish a new Set of Articles for the Government of their Forces, the present Regulations being very deficient and in many Instances incompetent to the Purpose. I have carefully read the military Code which regulates the British Army, and heartily wish it could be adopted by the Continental Government, with a very few Alterations, such as making fewer Crimes punishable capitally and limiting the Number of Lashes to 1 or 200. The General joins with me in this Opinion.1 If You would ever have an Army to depend upon it must be by a Severity of Discipline. But I have not been able to leave York, as a Court Martial has set continually for these two Months. The large Army we have here, quartered in or near a City debauch'd enough to corrupt the best Forces in the World, furnishes so many Subjects for Punishment that I am uninterruptedly employ'd at a Court Martial.
I am glad to find, Sir, You have strongly recommended Mr. Rice to General Gates's Notice. He really has much military Merit. I wish he was not in a Country which affords Nothing but Defeat and Disgrace to all who act in it.
You ask “if York is still asleep in Politicks and War?” It is worse. Hundreds in this Colony are active against Us and such is the Weak• { 368 } ness of the Government, (if it can deserve the Name) that the Tories openly profess their Sentiments in Favour of the Enemy, and live unpunished. In King's, Queen's and Dutchess Counties the Tories are 3 to 1 against the Whiggs. Indeed the great Part of the Colony are fitted for Slavery, and would without Difficulty, if not prevented, put on any political Shackles which the Despot of Britain would forge for them. There is no other Colony but this who would have suffer'd such a Notorious Traitor as the Mayor2 to have continued unhanged till this Time. This Man after being detected in corresponding with one of the greatest Enemies America knows, and after being convicted of furnishing Money for the Purpose of inlisting Traitors, and corrupting some of the General's own Guard to destroy him and ruin the Army, is only kept confined, because there is no Law to punish him. If political Institutions are insufficient, those of Nature are not. The Laws of Self Preservation point out the Criminality of Mr. Mathews's Conduct and prescribe the Punishment of his Villainy. Strange Hesitation, not to recurr immediately to them, in a Time critical as the present.
You talk of soon retreating to your Plough and your Garden. I wish your Country could as easily spare You, As Rome could Cincinnatus. But the rising States of America will long want Men of your Abilities to permanently fix that Independance which is only yet declared. Thanks to You and a few other bold, consistent Patriots the Gordian Knot is at Length cut and America is emancipated from British Despotism.
General How has landed his Army on Staten Island where they are incamp'd and are intrenching, but have made no Movements yet of any Consequence. Should they attack the City I think they must be repuls'd. Our Men are in exceeding good Spirits and well prepared to give an Enemy a warm Reception. Surely there can be but few Americans (the Inhabitants of this Colony excepted) who would not rather hazard Death in a noble Struggle, than enjoy Life upon the infamous Terms which we must if British Arms prevail. Unconditional Submission is now the Cry of British Government. Freedom or Death seems to be the Choice of our Countrymen; and I hope in God that the Intrepidity of their Conduct will confirm their Claim to the Motto.
I am grown tir'd of my Situation in the Army. Without Command or even Rank. In Case of an Action I am only a Cypher. And though I have the pompous Title of Judge Advocate, my Business is little more than the dull, laborious Employment of a Clerk. There is little Room at a Court Martial to exhibit either Ingenuity or Learning (if { 369 } I possess'd them) and as little Credit in directing the Judgement of Men who have neither. Besides while I am here I am forgot at home and while I continue in the Army am precluded from any Notice in my own particular Colony. I much want your Advice. If You should not soon leave Philadelphia pray write me on this Subject. If you should, I must beg You would let me see You at York in your Way to the Eastward. As I have been more indebted to your advice and good Offices than to any other Man I know, I shall be happy, and I hope not ungratefully so, to deserve a Continuance of the one, and to follow the other. I am with the purest Esteem, Dear Sir, Your most obliged & very hble. Servt.
[signed] Wm. Tudor
The Provincial Congress meet at West Chester tomorrow. Whether they will act with more Vigour than the last, Time will discover. I hear there are some good Members return'd which [were] not in the last.
Your Army are very healthy. The Spade and Pick Are incessantly going. Every advantageous Spot for several Miles back of the City has some Work upon it. And I believe by the Time General How although aided by the Hessian Auxiliaries, has forced all our Batteries, Forts, Redoubts, Entrenchments and Breast Works, he will have but few Men left to prosecute his Conquest.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams, Esq Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE New-York, July 8”; docketed: “Tudor. July 7. 1776 Ansd. July 10.”
1. The congress undertook revision of the Articles of War at the end of the summer. JA was on the committee to report proposed changes (JA's Service in the Congress, 9 Feb.–27 Aug., No. XI, under 5 June, above).
2. David Matthews, mayor of New York and alleged conspirator with Gov. Tryon in the plot to enlist men to side with Gen. Howe when he arrived at the city. Matthews' examination before a committee of the Provincial Congress is in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1158, 1164–1166. At the request of the Provincial Congress, Washington had had Matthews arrested, and he was later imprisoned in Connecticut (Sabine, Loyalists, 2:51–52). See also Samuel Cooper to JA, 1 July, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0153

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-08

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir

Mr. Paca can show You the Declaration of our Convention, different from the one in December.1 We have declared the Throne vacant, and by the Omnipotence of our Power, in the Stile of the Papal Chair, We have absolved the people from their Allegiance—this too before You have done it. I hope the Congress will not be offended with our advancing before we received their Orders.
{ 370 }
Our Colony will exert every Nerve to force the Cause. The Utmost Diligence will be used to raise our Militia.2 Our Battalion of Regulars leave this on Tomorrow.3 Think them worthy of being seen by You, and your Brethren.
We are in the greatest Distress for Arms. Our Convention has advanced a Months pay to the Militia and have ordered £5,000 to buy Arms. Would it not be prudent immediately to send one of our Men of War to Martinico to purchase 20,000 Stands of Arms, 20 brass field pieces and 50 Ton of powder on the Credit of the United Colonies—to be paid in Money or produce at a stated price? Think of this.
I have some Hopes of Seeing You in about ten Days. Mr. Carroll leaves his Home next Sunday.

[salute] I must be remembered to Mrs. Adams and our Independent Souls. Adieu. Your Friend and Servant

[signed] S Chase
1. The Maryland declaration, entered in the journal of the Convention on 6 July, is in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1506–1507. Apparently Chase had not yet heard of the action of the congress or of the Declaration of Independence.
2. The congress had requested Maryland to furnish 3,400 militiamen for the Flying Camp (JCC, 4:412–413).
3. Probably a reference to the four companies of Germans, which, together with four such companies from Pennsylvania, were to serve three years as the German battalion (same, 5:487–488).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0154

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-08

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

The Small pox having of late spread much in the Town, it was judged impracticable to prevent its going through the Town, and on Friday last the General was inoculated, and gave permission to the Regiments in Town to inoculate. We have taken every precaution to prevent the Troops at the Posts out of Town from taking the distemper, and disposed matters in the best manner we can for defence in case of an attack.
It seems that the Devil and the Tories have over shot their mark at New York; having found we were not so easily conquered by the Sword as they imagined we should have been, they have been trying their luck at secret powder plots and conspiricies. I think this will produce good to America. As the Enemy's fleet is at New York we expect some important event will soon take place. May Heaven give us a decisive victory which shall make the impious Tyrant of Britain tremble as did an antient Tyrant, when he read the hand writing upon the wall.
{ 371 }
When will America appear in character, and take rank as a Nation?1 If we wish to prolong the war, to waste our blood and treasure, to form an inconsistent character, and to be condemned by the wise, and by posterity—let us still talk of treating with British Commissioners and after they have exerted all their power to divide, to bribe, to poison, to kill burn and destroy, then form a reunion and reconciliation. We do not question that there are some weighty reasons for delaying a Declaration of Independence, but we are puzzled to find what those reasons are. I rejoice to see the Declaration of the Philadelphians,2 and hope this will be a leading step. In my humble apprehension, an early Declaration, might have saved the United Colonies three millions sterling, and ten thousand lives. However, I hope all is for the best; none of these delays discourage me in the least, but I want to shorten the work.
I have just received intelligence from Cape Ann, that a Privateer which belongs to this Town has taken and sent into that Harbour two Ships from the West Indias, one of them has four hundred and fifty Hogsheads of Rum on board, which was designed for General Howe, the other was bound to England with four hundred hogsheads of Sugar, two hundred hogsheads of Rum, Cotton Wool &c. &c.3
Genl. Ward has no encouragement of being relieved, notwithstanding his repeated and pressing solicitations, Genl. Washington informs him that there are not so many Genl. Officers at New York as are wanted at that Post, therefore I expect still to have the burthen without any reward. I had the honour of being the first Aid de Camp, and Secretary at War, in the service of the United Colonies, and to do the double duty for the first months of the War, and the most difficult and dangerous part that we have yet seen. After the Scene brightened, others came into the same office, and agreeable to the Text, the last are first. Mr. Mifflin, is now a Brigadier Genl. Mr. Reed, Adjutant Genl. Mr. Moylan, Quartermaster Genl. Mr. Palfrey, Paymaster Genl.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble: John Adams Esqr Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Jo Ward. July 8. 1776 ansd. July 17.”
1. The earliest account in the Massachusetts press of a vote for independence was a brief notice in the Massachusetts Spy of 10 July which stated that it was reported that the congress had “declared the American Colonies independent . . . Which we hope is true.” On 11 July the New-England Chronicle announced, “We are assured, that on July the Second, the Congress voted for INDEPENDENCY, not one Colony dissenting; but the Delegates of New-York remained neuter, for want of being instructed on the Head.” On 15 July the Boston Gazette carried under a Philadelphia dateline of 3 July the notice about as it appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette: “Yesterday the CONGRESS unanimously Resolved to declare the United Colonies, FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES.”
{ 372 }
2. On 27 June the New-England Chronicle carried the vote of the Pennsylvania General Assembly which freed its congressional delegates to vote for measures that would promote the “liberty, safety, and interest of America.” With it appeared the vote in favor of independence of several battalions of associators.
3. On 3 July, Henry Johnson, commander of the sloop Yankee, in the Continental service, captured the Creighton, 200 tons and commanded by George Ross, and the Zechariah Baily, 300 tons and commanded by James Hodge (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 328; New-England Chronicle, 11 July).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-09

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of the 5th came to me the 8th. You will see by this Post, that the River is past and the Bridge cutt away. The Declaration was yesterday published and proclaimed from that awfull Stage, in the State house Yard, by whom do you think? By the Committee of Safety,! the Committee of Inspection, and a great Crowd of People. Three cheers rended the Welkin. The Battallions paraded on the common, and gave Us the Feu de Joy, notwithstanding the Scarcity of Powder. The Bells rung all Day, and almost all night. Even the Chimers, Chimed away. The Election for the City was carried on amidst all this Lurry,1 with the Utmost Decency, and order. Who are chosen I cant Say; but the List was Franklin, Writtenhouse, Owen Biddle, Cannon, Schlosser, Mattlack and Khull.2 Thus you See the Effect of Men of Fortune acting against the Sense of the People.
As soon as an American Seal is prepared,3 I conjecture the Declaration will be Subscribed by all the Members;4 which will give you the Opportunity you wish for, of transmitting your Name, among the Votaries of Independence.
I agree with you, that We never can again be happy, under a single Particle of British Power. Indeed this sentiment is very universal. The Arms,5 are taken down from every public place.
The army is at Crown point. We have sent up a great number of Shipwrights, to make a respectable Fleet upon the Lakes.
We have taken every Measure to defend New York. The Militia are marching this day, in a great Body from Pensilvania. That of Jersey has behaved well, turned out universally. That of Connecticutt, I was told, last night by Mr. Huntingdon,6 were coming in the full Number demanded of them, and must be there before now. We shall make it do, this year, and if We can Stop the Torrent, for this Campaign, it is as much as We deserve for our Weakness and sloth, in Politicks, the last. Next year We shall do better. New Governments will bring new Men into the Play, I perceive: Men of more Mettle.
{ 373 }
Your Motion, last Fall for sending Embassadors to France, with conditional Instructions, was murdered, terminating in a Committee of secret Correspondence, which came to nothing.
Thank you for the Paper and Resolves.7 You are attoning for all past Imperfections, by your Vigour, Spirit, and Unanimity.
Send along your Militia for the flying Camp. Dont let them hesitate about their Harvest. They must defend the Field, before they can eat the Fruit. I shall inclose to you, Dr. Price. He is an independent, I think. My Compliments to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Carroll, and all your Friends whom I have the Honour to know, and believe me to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.” Tr (MB), in an unknown hand, differs in punctuation and capitalization and even omits a word or two. The signature “John Adams” is too carefully formed to be genuine; moreover, at this period JA did not usually sign his letters for security reasons. Compare descriptive note for JA to Chase, 1 July (above).
1. Babel or hubbub (OED).
2. Benjamin Franklin, David Rittenhouse, Owen Biddle, James Cannon, George Schlosser, Timothy Matlack, and Frederick Kuhl were all elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1776 (William H. Egle, “The Constitutional Convention of 1776: Biographical Sketches of Its Members,” PMHB, 3: 96–101, 194–201, 319–330, 438–446 [Nos. 1–4, 1879]; 4:89–98, 225–233, 361–372, [Nos. 1–3, 1880]).
3. On 4 July JA with Franklin and Jefferson was named to a committee to devise a seal for the United States, but no seal was adopted until 1782. See Julian Boyd's discussion of the project and its outcome in Jefferson, Papers, 1: 494–497. See also JA to AA, 14 Aug., Adams Family Correspondence, 2:96–98 and notes there. For the definitive study of the evolution of the seal, see Richard S. Patterson and Richardson Dougall, The Eagle and the Shield: A History of the Great Seal of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1976 [1978].
4. This passage has been cited by some as evidence that the Declaration was not signed until the engrossed copy was ready in August, but see Julian Boyd's discussion of the possibility that it may have been signed on 4 July (Jefferson, Papers, 1:305–308).
5. That is, the royal arms.
6. Samuel Huntington, member from Connecticut.
7. Enclosures not found, but see Chase to JA, 5 July (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0156

Author: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-09

From Jonathan Mason Jr.

[salute] Respected Sir

Whether to act in a civil or military department, many are the disadvantages attendant upon those who are just entering upon the stage of Life—The universal confusion throughout all America—This I doubt not, being intended as the Era of a glorious independancy, tho' of happy consequences, yet they have cast a temporary veil upon the prospects of the rising Generation. The mature have a task unexpectedly prepared for them, by the barefaced, impolitic, unrighteous claims of Briton, and the Youth are taught by the actions of their Fathers to { 374 } admire at the Process of the American cause, and wait with eager expectation for the event. This General action hath called for many from their usual course, hath directed many to quite different paths, and many have been obliged to change the retired Scenes of peacefull Science for the more martial ones of War. This hath not yet been my Lot. How soon it will be, is uncertain. My desire from my very youth to obtain a knowlege in the Law, proportioned to my Abilities, will prompt me to pursue the tract, till fortune removes even a possibility of succeeding. At that period, neither my heart nor my hand will hesitate, for a time to dispense with the character of a citizen and to assume that of a Soldier.
Since my commencement of the Study, I have laboured under many disadvantages. Tho' driven from Boston, tho' at times totally destitute of a patron, I have constantly endeavoured to lay a theoretical foundation, but even the minutest forms of practise it has hithertoo been impossible for me to acquire. The usual period of three years is now almost two thirds elapsed. Fifteen months only I have to continue in the Study, and as the time passes my anxiety naturally increases. I should wish not to be backward—neither should I wish to enter unprepared. I feel an ambition to be in the field, a neutral character I ever disliked and it would be productive of not a little concern, had I the least suspicion, that I should be obliged to continue inactive in the Study after the expiration of my term. The law we hope is now flowing into its original channel. The practise now in execution, tho' not exceedingly important, yet, Sir, I conclude, you will say absolutely necessary to be thoroughly understood by the Student. Offices in Boston begin now to be opened, and both my Father and myself feel a concern, whether or not, it would not be necessary for me to remove and obtain the knowlege. A request of your advice in my peculiar circumstances is the occasion of my troubling you, and should esteem your sentiments upon the present topic as laying me under a great obligation. Almost every Author I have yet read, puts me in mind of that, which he calls the science of well pleading, and as often as this hath been the case, just so often I have felt an inward blush, to think that of that Branch I am totally ignorant. I must confess I feel a strong desire, and there seems an apparent necessity of my removal into some office of practise, but your advice I would with pleasure pursue. I cannot but be confident, that you would direct me to that path, you in your wisdom should think most proper, and should consider myself highly favoured, if you would condescend to mark the line of my conduct. My confused conceptions of law, have { 375 } already convinced me, that it is an extensive Science, that universal knowlege is absolutely necessary to compleat the character, and tho' I totally despair of ever climbing such a precipice of difficulty, yet the present prospects, the scarcity of young Students in the Stage, encourage me to continue in the Science. Should the pupil ever arrive to half the eminence of his Patron, he should think that fortune had nursed him with a partial hand. I doubt much my attaining to that step upon the stage, but my utmost wishes are and I sincerely hope ever will be, that the Plough may be an honour to its Master, that the instructor may never have occasion to be ashamed of his Student.
Your advice as soon as convenient would much oblige me, your favour and notice will ever highly honour me and my most ardent endeavours shall be exerted that I may always be an object deserving them. From Sir. Yr. Most hum: Servt.
[signed] J Mason Jr.1
The small Pox hath been accidentally, or rather designedly suffered to spread amongst us. Mrs. Adams hath determined immediately to remove and trust to the danger of the Process. Mr. Isaac Smith's House is designed as a reception for them.2 The situations of some of the Provinces middle and southern excites a disagreeable feeling in the Breasts of New England Patriots, we all wait, timid to hear the event.
Capt. Harry Johnston hath sent into Cape Ann two fine Ships containing a thousand and odd Hogsheads of Sugar and Rum besides a quantity of Cotton.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. In Philadelphia Pr favour <post paid>.”
1. Jonathan Mason (1756–1831), law student of Josiah Quincy Jr. and later of JA and Perez Morton, was admitted to the bar in 1779 (JA, Legal Papers, 1:civ).
2. See AA to John Thaxter, 7 July and AA to JA, 13–14 July, Adams Family Correspondence, 2:37, 45–48.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-10

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

Your last Letter relates to a Subject of the last Importance, to America. The Continental Currency, is the great Pillar, which Supports our Cause, and if that Suffers in its Credit, the Cause must Suffer: if that fails the Cause must fail.
The Subjects of Coin and Commerce, are the most nice, and intricate of any within the compass of political Knowledge, and I am very apprehensive We Shall Suffer Some Inconveniences, from our Inexperience, in this Business. However, in Circumstances like ours, We { 376 } should expect and be prepared in our Minds to suffer Inconveniences in every Particular Department of our Affairs: We must try Experiments—and if one fails, try another, untill We get right.
Whether We can with Propriety, order in all the Colonial Currencies is an important Question. Will it not be interfering too much with the internal Polity of particular States? Can any one of them be a free State if they have not the Management of their own Coin, and Currency, which is but a Representation of Coin, as that is a sign of Wealth?1
That it will be dangerous to proceed much farther in Emissions, is to me probable, that it will be ruinous to go so far, as our occassions will call for in the Prosecution of this War, I am certain, and therefore I am convinced that the Sooner, We begin to borrow Money, upon an Interest and to establish Funds and levy Taxes, to pay that Interest, the better, because I would not venture to try the Continental Credit so far, as to endanger a general Depreciation of the Bills. It would be better Policy to emit a less Quantity than the Credit of the States would bear, than to emit So much as to depreciate it.
We Shall very soon begin to borrow, and we shall continue to emit, untill We get enough, upon Loans to answer the demands of the Public service. We shall not go beyond four Per cent, and Surely any Man who has the Bills, had better lend them at that low Interest than keep them at none at all. The Married Men, will see their Interest in lending, because, the least Excess in an Emission of Paper Currency, becomes a Tax upon them. It is an Ease, and a Profit to Debtors, and a Loss to Creditors.
Is our Province, about framing a new Constitution, or not? I Should advise them to proceed cautiously, for the Eyes of the whole Continent are fixed upon them, and Some Colonies are waiting to copy their Model. I am
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. JA's opinion here reveals his thinking at this time about the nature of the United States. It appeared unthinkable then that the individual states would not retain control over their money supply.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1776-07-10

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 7th. instant I received yesterday. I wish to see you here for Several Reasons. But particularly, to hear your Observations upon the Articles of War. I am perfectly of your Opinion, that they { 377 } must be amended, for the Value of an Army depends upon its Discipline. The Discipline of Rome and Britain, occasioned the Tryumphs of their Arms.
I am Sorry you are tired of your situation in the Army. Without Command or even Rank, you have in your Office of Judge Advocate as good an Opportunity to make yourself acquainted, with the whole Army, the World, and the Art of War, as you could in any other. Rank, without Command, is, in my Eyes, rather ostentatious, vain and despicable, than any Advantage to a Gentleman. You are pleased to ask my Advice, and I am very willing to give it. I would not by any Means advise you to continue in your present situation, longer, than this Year. But I hope you will not leave the Army this Campaign. This is the most critical, and hazardous summer, We ever Saw, or I think shall see. Serve it out, and then resign. You will be wanted in your own Country, and you cannot be desired to serve longer, without Promotion.
With your Education, and Fortune you will be able to serve your Country at home with great Advantage. But if Promotion in the military Line is your Wish, I should think the General would readily recommend you to be a Field Officer in some of the vacant Regiments. I wish our Massachusetts Officers, had better Educations, and more Capacity and Spirit, than I fear some of them have, and I wish to introduce you and other Gentlemen of the younger Sort, who have Foundations laid on which any Superstructure may be built, into the Army. But I cannot wish you to forego, better Prospects of serving yourself and your Country too at home.
Some how or other, Massachusetts Gentlemen, have been neglected. Tudor, Austin, Osgood, Ward, Smith, Rice,1 and many others might be mentioned who need not give Place to others of their Age in the Army. But others not their Superiours, have found better Fortune. There is a base Jealousy of the Massachusetts in more Places than one. I Said a Jealousy. I meant an Envy. I dont blame the Massachusetts Generals, for resigning,2 one after another. They have had Reason.
RC (MHi: Tudor Papers); docketed: “July 10th. 1776.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Tudor, Austin, and Rice had studied law with JA. On the last two named, see Tudor to JA, 4 May and JA to Horatio Gates, 18 June (both above). Samuel Osgood Jr., like Joseph Ward, was an aide to Gen. Artemas Ward. William Smith Jr., AA's brother, wanted to be a field officer, and she sought from members of the Massachusetts House a recommendation of him to the congress for a commission (AA to JA, 3 June, Adams Family Correspondence, 2:4).
2. At this point in the LbC, “in disgust” was canceled.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-10

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yours of 1 July, came duly to Hand.1 The Establishment of the War Office as you observe has given me Work enough—more than I have a Relish for, and of a Kind not very suitable to my Taste. But must acquiesce. Should be greatly obliged to any officer of the Army for a Hint of any Improvement in the Plan, and for any assistance in the Execution of it.
The continual Reports of our Disasters in Canada, have not intimidated the Congress. On the Contrary in the midst of them, more decisive steps have been taken than ever—as you must have seen, or will see before this reaches you. The Romans never, would send or receive an Ambassador to treat of Peace when their Affairs were in an Adverse situation. This generous Temper is imitated by the Americans.
You hear there is not Candor and Harmony between Some of the Members of this Body. I wish you would mention the Names and Particulars of the Report—the Names I mean of the Members, between it is reported there is not Candor and Harmony. The Report is groundless. There is as much Candor and Harmony between the Members, as generally takes Place in assemblies, and much more than could naturally be expected in such an assembly as this. But there is a Prospect now of greater Harmony than ever. The principal object of dispute is now annihilated, and several Members are left out.
In making a Return of your Division of the Army, pray give us the Name and Rank of every Officer. We want to make an Army List for Publication.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. In Adams Papers, but not printed.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0160

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-10

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I have for some time past been at Home in daily Expectation of the Courts riseing. It has however Continued setting till this time. What they have lately been Employed about I am not able to say. I believe nothing very Important. A very large Committee are out to raise the Men. I mean the 5000 requested by Congress for Canada and York.1 I hope they will by the large Encouragement of £7–for Canada and £3–for York with some Additional Bounty from Individuals in the { 379 } several Towns, be soon raised, and sent forward. The Court have spent much more time about this Business, than was Consistent with the Exigency of the Service. There was no Objection to A Compliance with the Requisition, but the manner of doing it, or rather the places from whence they should be taken have occasioned the delay. Indeed the Levies on perticular Towns fall very heavy.2 A much greater proportion of our Men are in Service than Congress seems to be Aware off. How we are to get the 1500 now Called for3 I cant tell nor do I know how Congress will like the Bounties given Already, but it was thought Impossible to raise them without A large Encouragement especially at this Season of the year.
I had a few days ago the pleasure of your favour of the 9th June. I presume the Papers before this have Informed you that I am in the same station you left me in, and I can Inform you that I am in that only,4 and if it be my ne plus ultra, perhaps it cant be said of me as it may of some others that I have not my deserts. Calls for men and Other matters of the same kind have hitherto prevented our doing any thing about the matter of Government. Our Recess will be short, and if we are not pressed with such Matters when we meet next I presume we shall go upon it. I Congratulate you on the discovery of the Plot at New York. I hope it will do great service. I Expect soon to hear of some great Events from that quarter. If they should be favourable to us, what will they do next.
We have but little News here. Now and then A prize from the West Indies is sent in. Last Saturday got into Cape Ann two prizes taken by A small Sloop belonging to four or five persons in and about Boston. One from Jamaica A 3 decker with 400 hhds. sugar 200 hhds. rum 30 Bales Cotton &c. &c. the Other from Antigua with 400 hhds. rum. This sloop could have taken Another Ship but had not Men to bring her off, and so let her go. When are we to hear of your proceedings on the first Instant.5 What Alliances and Confederations have you Agreed on. I want to see some French Men of War on the Coast. Our Borders seem to be in A state of peace and Tranquility. How long they will Continue so I know not. The Small Pox prevails, and is scattered about the Country. In Boston they have given up all thoughts of stopping it, and every Body is Inoculating. I wrote to Mr. Gerry A few days ago, and among Other things about some of my private Affairs in the paymaster' Office. I desired him to Communicate to you so shant trouble you with a repetition. I will thank you for your Assistance. If I cant help myself I must loose this Money, but it will be a hard Case. I did great services to the Army in and out of this Office which I Ex• { 380 } ecuted with diligence Oeconomy and Integrity, and you will see this Loss was sustained in Winthrops hands. I have no reason to question his Integrity. My regards to all Friends I am Yours &c.
PS. I see Advertised in one of the Philadelphia Papers, A peice on Husbandry.6 If it is well Executed and of any Consequence shall be Obliged to you to purchase and send me one.
1. See JA to James Warren, 16 June, note 3 (above).
2. A schedule of the levies by counties and towns within counties is in Council Records, 25 June (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 2, p. 346–348).
3. On 25 June the congress requested that Massachusetts send an additional two regiments of militia to augment the forces in Canada (JCC, 5:479).
4. Warren is probably indicating that he did not accept the appointment to the Superior Court of Judicature that JA hoped he would. The General Court did make him a second major general in the militia in June, however (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 29; Council Records, 19 June, Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 2, p. 317). Earlier Warren had declined this military appointment; see JA to James Warren, 12 May, note 4 (above).
5. That is, the vote on declaring independence.
6. Not identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0161

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-14

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

I received your Letter of the 22d. of June, if it was necessary for you to Apologise for not writing sooner it is necessary also for me. But as the express conditions of my corresponding with you was to write when I had time and leave you to answer at your leisure, I think an Apology is unnecessary on either side. But I can Assure you, as you did me, that it is not for want of respect that your Letter has been unanswered so long.
I am glad to find you agree with me in the Justice and propriety of establishing some provision for the unfortunate. I have not had time to fix upon any plan for that purpose, but I will write you more fully in my next. I have never mentiond the matter to but one or two particular friends for fear the establishment should not take place. The Troops expectations being once raisd a disappointment must necessarily sour them. On the other hand if the Congress established a support for the unfortunate unsolicited, it must inspire the Army with love and gratitude towards the Congress for so generous an Act.
You query whether there is not a want of Oeconemy in the Army amongst the Officers. I can Assure you there is not, among those of my Acquaintance. The expences of the Officers runs very high unless { 381 } they dress and live below the Gentleman. Few that have ever livd in Character will be willing to decend to that. As long as they continue in service they will support their Rank and if their pay is not sufficient they will draw on their private fortunes at Home. The pay of the Soldiers will scarcely keep them decently cloathed. The Troops are kept so much upon fatigue that they wear out their cloathing as fast as the Officers can get it. The Wages given to common Soldiers is very high but every thing is so dear that the purchase of a few Articles takes their whole pay. This is a general complaint through the whole Army.
I am not against rewarding merit or encourageing Activity, neither would I have promotions confind to a regular line of succession. But every man that has spirit enough to be fit for an Officer, will have to much to continue in service after another of Inferior Rank is put over his Head. The power of rewarding Merit should be lodged with the Congress, but I should think the Generals recommendation is the best testimonial of a Persons deserving a reward that the Congress can have.
Many of the New England Colonels have let in a Jealosy that the Southern Officers of that Rank in the Continental establishment are treated with more respect and Attention by the Congress than they are. They say several of the Southern Colonels have been promoted to the Rank of Brigadier General, but not one New England Colonel.1 Some of them appear not a little disgusted. I wish the Officers in general were as studious to deserve promotion as they are Anxious to obtain it.
You cannot more sincerely lament the want of knowledge to execute the business that falls in your department, than I do that which falls in mine, and was I not kept in countenance by some of my superior Officers I should be sincerely disposd to quit the command I hold in the Army. But I will indeavor to supply the want of Knowledge as much as possible by Watchfulness and Industry. In these respects I flatter my Self I never have been faulty. I have never been one moment out of the service since I engagd in it. My Interest has and will suffer greatly by my Absence, but I shall think that a small sacrifice if I can save my Country from Slavery.
You have heard long before this will reach you, of the Arrival of General and Admiral How, the Generals Troops are encamped on Statten Island. The Admiral Arrivd on Fryday last, a few hours before his Arrival two Ships went up the North River2 amidst a most terrible fire from the different Batteries. The Admiral sent up a flag today, but { 382 } as the Letter was not properly Addressed it was not receivd.3 The Admiral laments his not Arriveing a few days sooner, I suppose he alludes to the declaration of Independance. It is said he has great powers to treat as well as a strong Army to execute.
I wrote you sometime past I thought you was playing a desperate game, I still think so. Here is Howes Army arrivd, and the Reenforcement hourly expected. The whole force we have to oppose them, dont amount to much above 9,000 if any. I could wish the Troops had been drawn together a little earlier, that we might have had some opportunity of deciplineing them. However what falls to my lot I shall endeavor to execute to the best of my Ability. I am with the greatest respect your most obedient humble servant
[signed] Nath Greene
RC (Adams Papers;) docketed: “Green. July 14. 1776 ans. Aug. 4.”
1. In 1776 through June, eight men were promoted from colonel to brigadier general, only two being from New England. In order of appointment these were Benedict Arnold (Conn.), William Thompson (Penna.), James Moore (N.C.), William Alexander (N.J.), Robert Howe (N.C.), Thomas Mifflin (Penna.), Hugh Mercer (Va.), John Whitcomb (Mass.). Whitcomb declined his promotion. Andrew Lewis (Va.), without holding lower rank in the Continental Army previously, was appointed brigadier general on 1 March (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 9–10 and passim; JCC, 5:420).
2. The old name for the Hudson River. The two British ships were the Phoenix and the Rose, whose journals for 12 July are printed in Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:1037–1038. The ships went as far up as the Tappan Zee.
3. Freeman describes the meeting between the British officer and Joseph Reed. The letter was simply addressed to George Washington; Americans insisted that it be addressed to General George Washington. The British officer trying to deliver it claimed that it had been so addressed because it concerned only “civil,” not military, matters (Washington, 4:138–139).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0162

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-07-15

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

I have Time only to tell you that I am yet alive, and in better Spirits than Health.
The News, you will learn from my very worthy Friend Gerry. He is obliged to take a Ride for his Health, as I shall be very soon or have none. God grant he may recover it for he is a Man of immense Worth. If every Man here was a Gerry, the Liberties of America would be safe against the Gates of Earth and Hell.
We are in hourly Expectation of sober Work at New York. May Heaven grant Us Victory, if We deserve it; if not,1 Patience, Humility and Persistence under Defeat. However, I feel pretty confident and Sanguine that We shall give as good an Account of them this Year as we did last. Adieu
{ 383 }
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A Lettr July 15. 1776.”
1. Punctuation supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0163

Author: Barber, Nathaniel Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-15

From Nathaniel Barber Jr.

[salute] sir

You being President of the board of War, I make bold to ask a favour of you.
I have the care of all Military Stores under The Honble. General Ward, as you will se by my return of the 2d. Instant.1 My pay is not fixt,2 and I know of no better method to get it done than by making application to The Honble. board. I have not the Pleasure to be personaly acquainted with you, yet hope you'l excuse the freedom I have taken. While I continue in the service of my Country, I desire no more than will enable me to support a decent appearance and keep good Company. It will be needless to acquaint you that I am in a Place of trust, please to examine my return and judge for yourself. My duty is such, that I must give constant attendance every day, and think I am justly intitled to Captains pay. If you will be kind enough to afford me your Interest in this matter, I will thankfully acknowlege the favour, and Shall always endeavour to merit your esteem. I have the honour to be with deference sir, your most obedient and very huml. Servant
[signed] Nathl: Barber Junr.
P.S. I have two Conductors in the Store with me, and their pay is not fixt, Genl. Gates promised his influence to get them 15 Dollars per Month
[signed] N. B Jr.
1. Not found.
2. As commissary of military stores, Barber began receiving continental pay on 1 Jan. 1777 (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0164

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-15

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

It gives me high Pleasure, if my Narration of Nantasket was acceptable to you.1 I did not lay the least Imputation upon your Neighbors. They did all that Circumstances would allow.
Canada, you know, lay much upon my Mind. I was long ago apprehensive. There was too much Neglect on all Sides of that important Quarter, and, without doubt, great Misconduct there. Pray let it be strictly examin'd, and exemplary Punishment dispens'd where it is deserv'd. Our all depends upon strict Discipline in the American { 384 } Army. It must be brac'd up as much as Circumstances will possibly admit. Upon this Reverse, I am cast down but not in Dispair. Perhaps we can do more in the End by making a good Stand at or near our own Borders. Distance of Place renders ev'ry kind of Recruit and Supply slow and heavy. The Enemy may find it so, as they advance towards us. I hope Gates will make a good Choice of Situation to receive Burgoine. I have thought of Crown Point and Ticonderoga. We are doing ev'ry Thing here to compleat our requir'd Levies—and more than was thought at first could have been done, considering the Men we have already furnish'd, and the Price of Labor. Great Difficulties do not discourage us. Ardor and Perseverance will surmount all. In all Views we need not be asham'd of our own Colony.
I wrote particularly not long since, either to you or to Mr. S. A. on the Subject of a military Commander here.2 Our Colony is not destitute of proper men but we have them not here in that Rank in the Army, which would allow such an Appointment without Difficulty. Lincoln whose Merit stands high, is not in the Continental Service, and seems at present not dispos'd to engage in it. We want him too as a dernier Resort in the Militia. Glover is the best Man I know, but he is the Second Colonel here. Whitcomb is the first.
I am entirely in your Sentiments respecting the small Pox—and have labor'd with all my Might for innoculating Hospitals. The Whole Town is one now, and thousands from the Country are now here innoculated. Among whom are your dear Wife and Children, at Deacon Smiths House. I have seen, and shall continue to visit them, and contribute all in my Powers to amuse, and make their Stay here agreable. Some have already the Eruption in the most favorable Manner. The Prospect hitherto is the most pleasing you can imagine. The Court has taken Measures at last for establishing Hospitals thro the Colony.
I congratulate you on the Declaration of Independence with so much Unanimity.3 The Declaration is admir'd, diffuses Joy, and will have great Effect. It will be follow'd I trust with Alliances &c. France must make a Deversion in our Favor. It is her Interest, and upon that Ground we may expect it if we take proper Measures. My dear Sir Adieu &c.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Cooper. July 15. 1776.”
1. A reference to JA's letter to Cooper of 2 July (above).
2. He wrote to Samuel Adams but mentioned the problem also to JA (Cooper to JA, 1 July, above).
3. Since the earliest printing of the Declaration of Independence in Massachusetts newspapers appeared after the date of Cooper's letter, he probably saw a copy of the Dunlap printing.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0165

Author: Cushing, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-15

From Thomas Cushing

[salute] Sir

The last Will and Testament of Mr Josiah Quincey junr has lately been left at the Probate Office. I find he appointed Francis Dana Esqr his Executor and in Case of his Death and refusal he appoints Mr. Jonathan Jackson of Newbury Port1 and in Case of his Death or refusal he nominates and appoints John Adams Esqr. his Executor. As Mr. Dana and Mr. Jackson have both refused to Accept the Trust, it falls to you. Should be glad therefore you would Inform me whether you will Accept this Trust as soon as you Conveniently Can, as the Heirs are Sollicitous to have the Will proved.2 I am remain with respect Your most humble Sert.
[signed] Thomas Cushing
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; docketed: “T. Cushing Esqr July 15. 1776” and “T. Cushing Esq. J. of Probate.”
1. Jonathan Jackson (1743–1810), a prominent merchant, who had formed a shipping firm with Nathaniel and John Tracy, and who was a cousin of Josiah Quincy, 1744–1775 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:56–67).
2. For JA's refusal, see JA to Cushing, 24 July (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0166

Author: Sewall, David
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-07-15 - 1776-07-19

From David Sewall

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 15th. ultimo reached me at Watertown some few days since. Gladly would I have remained unnoticed in these Times of difficulty. But I am unexpectedly and unprepared drawn forth (litterally from the Plow) and I fear by some evil Genius in order to stop some greater ability, from lending Aid to Guide the State. Unacquainted With the Arts of Warr, Raw and unexperienced in the Grand Vortex of Politicks, I feel my self quite unequal to the Sphere I am dragged unto. For my Conduct in this department I can promise Nothing. I therefore hope my Friends Expectations will be neither raised or depressed from my Supposed ability, natural or Acquired. As I am Scribling give me leave to Suggest my Ancxiety (Timid creature you will Say or think) from the Immence quantity of Paper Money that is daily Issuing. Money is said to be the Sinues of Warr, But if they are Stretched beyond bearing will they not be in danger of Breaking. Every Government I suppose on the Continent has more or less extant. Will not Some be in danger of Issuing beyond their proportions. Would it not be a matter Worthy the Attentions of Congress to enquire into the Sums extant from each Government and upon What footing? That after any Government shall have extant of their { 386 } own to a Certain amount, it be recommended to them to Issue no more but to Borrow at a Certain Interest, if they shall be unable in their own Government, to Borrow of the Continent. That While the money is Circulating Suitable assesments be made and in as large Proportions as each Colonys Circumstances will admit. These are Ways that will have a tendency to keep the money Valuable, at the same Time to have a bright look out against Altering or Counterfeiting and perhaps, if No moneys were a Tender in any Government except its own, and Continental it would have a good Tendency and be a Sufficient Check to small Colonys Issuing on their own Credit, beyond their bearings. The manufacturing of Salt Peter in such quantitys in our Colony is really marvellous, and I have an Enthusiastick believe at Times that opportunity will be, to America as 1688 was to England.

[salute] I shall be glad of your Correspondence and believe me to be Your most Huml Sert.

[signed] David Sewall
The New modelling our Government is I concieve as yet a little premature. The Representative Body is now too large, and from necessity before the year comes about will be curtailed. Innovations in a Constitution where there has been a general Acquiescence should be made with Caution. There is an Inconvenience at the Board in having the Signature of 15 to every Act of State, and We have in Contemplation a Remedy Whether it will be by any 7 or the Signature of the President only is uncertain.
P.S. Watertown Augt.1 19. 1776
Since Writing the foregoing the Year 1777 is comming in 76.2 The expected Independency is arrivd. I have now only Time to say that the Superior Court has Sat at Essex and in the Province of Mayne.3 My attendance here at those Periods prevents my attending them but, all things I learn were Conducted in Decency and good order.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr of the Continental Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Sewall, July 15. 1776.”
1. Almost certainly an inadvertence. Sewall would hardly go on to exclaim about the arrival of independence as late as August. The Declaration was printed in the Massachusetts Spy on 17 July and in the New-England Chronicle on the 18th.
2. Presumably a new year is beginning with 4 July. It became common to date documents not only with the year but with the year since independence— “in the year of Independence the first” (or the second, and so on).
3. Although the spring sessions of the Superior Court for Middlesex, Worcester, Hampshire, and Plymouth cos. were postponed to their regularly scheduled fall meetings, the court did meet in June at the appointed times in Essex and York cos. (Mass., Province Laws, 5:44; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 2, p. 85, 136, 137, 181, and 255).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-17

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterdays Post brought me your Letter of the 8th. instant with Several others containing Intelligence of a Nature very interesting to me. The Prevalence of the Small Pox in Boston, is an incident, which I cannot but esteem fortunate for the public, atho the Stake I have in it, having all my nearest Connections among the earliest Adventurers makes me feel an Anxiety too private and particular, for the situation I am in.
The Small Pox is really the most formidable Enemy We have to contend with, in the whole Train. And I cannot but rejoice at the Resolution of my Countrymen to Subdue this Enemy first. It is a great Satisfaction to see that no Dangers dismay, no Difficulties discourage, the good People of America.
You ask when will America take Rank as a Nation? This Question, was answered before it was put, but it Seems the answer had not reached Boston. Before now you are Satisfied I hope. What would you have next?
Your Troops are all ordered to N. York and Crown Point. The small Pox will Stop all who have taken it, at least for some time. We have not a sufficient Number of Men at New York. I hope our Militia will go. It is a great Grief to me to find by the Returns, that no Massachusetts Militia are yet arrived at New York. I almost wish the Council would order the Regiments from Worcester Hampshire and Berkshire to march thither.
Rank is not always proportional to Merit, and Promotion seldom keeps Pace with services. The Promotions you mention, are I hope worthy Men: but their Merit and services might perhaps have been Sufficiently rewarded with fewer Steps of Advancement. Or there may be others, who have equally deserved. All that I can Say is that Time and Chance happens to all Men and therefore I hope yours will come Sometime or other. Mine I am pretty sure never will. If you come to New York, which I hope you will, you may perhaps have a better Chance.
Our Privateers, have the most Skill or the most Bravery, or the best Fortune, of any in America. I hope Captain Johnson was in a private Ship. I dont like to hear that the continental Cruisers, have taken so many and the Provincial Cruisers and privateers so few Prizes. Our People, may as well fight for themselves as the Continent.1
{ 388 }
LbC (Adams Papers). This letter was probably not sent; see JA to Joseph Ward, 5 July, descriptive note (above).
1. Johnson's ship was in Continental service (Ward to JA, 8 July, note 3, above). JA's indiscreet remarks in the final paragraph may help explain why he probably did not send this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0168

Author: Gates, Horatio
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-17

From Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear Sir

The Bearer, and my Letter to Mr. Hancock will acquaint you that I am no Dictator here, and consequently have it not in my power to serve Mr. Rice.1 I desire if Chase is return'd to Congress, he may know, how much I have been Deceived, and Disappointed in being removed from a place where I might have done the Publick Service, and Fix'd in a Scituation where it is exceeding Doubtfull, if it will be in my Power to be more than the wretched Spectator of a ruin'd Army. The Publick Affairs here have been destroy'd by Pestilence, Peceulation, Rapine, and every Evil, those produce. Mr. Chase passed too Speedily through this Country, he saw Superficially, and like a Sanguine Man, drew conclusions from the Consequence, and not the Cause. Tell him, if he, and I meet, He must expect to be called to a serious Account upon this matter. I know he is my Sincere Friend, but I also know he has Deceived himself, and his Friend. I am not Angry. I am only Vex'd with Him. I cannot write to you upon Publick matters, it is too disagreeable a Tale to dwell upon, my Letter to the President is enough for a Man of Sense.2
I am happy to have lived to know that Independence is Establish'd by the Convention of the United States of America, go on and prosper in the Glorious Work. My respectfull Compliments to Mr. Gerry, my hands are too full to write Instructions for Paymasters of Regiments, if so many Lawyers cannot contrive to Frame Orders that will make the Paymaster, be a Cheque upon the Avarice of the Commanding Officer, what is become of Human Wit. Mr. Gerrys letter3 to me is as good an Instruction, as any Paymaster need to have. At your War Office be very exactly, and minutely acquainted, with the State of every Regiment, let the General, the Colonel, the Muster, and Paymasters, do this, and then let them Compare these together; if you have four Men to Watch One, you may make that one less a knave than he likes to be.
Poor Boston is again Vissited by Calamity, it is the last I hope she will know for a Century at least, surely this Warning will make your Countrymen Wise in regard to the Small Pox. When I have reason to { 389 } be in better Temper you shall here again from Your affectionate Humble Servant
[signed] Horatio Gates
1. See JA to Gates, 18 June (above).
2. Gates wrote to the president of the congress on 16 July, explaining that smallpox required the removing of troops from Crown Point and that a council of officers agreed to establish a strong point opposite Ticonderoga as part of a scheme to ensure naval superiority on Lake Champlain (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:375–376). Gates began his letter by noting that Gen. Schuyler insisted that the resolutions of the congress and the orders of Washington applied only while the army was in Canada, that once it had left that country it fell under Schuyler's command. For an interpretation of the conflict between the two generals on this point, see Bernhard Knollenberg, “The Correspondence of John Adams and Horatio Gates,” MHS, Procs., 67 [1941–1944]: 146–147, and also Samuel Adams to JA, 16 Aug., note 4 (below).
3. Elbridge Gerry had written to Gates on 25 June, telling him that he was “very fond of the measure” for creating regimental paymasters and that the congress wished for Gates' views on the subject. Gerry went on to outline his ideas for supplying and disciplining the army (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:21–22).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0169

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-17

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

When you are Informed, that on the variety of Changes that have taken place in this Town, it is now become A Great Hospital for Inoculation, you will wonder to see A Letter from me dated here, but so it is that the rage for Inoculation prevailing here has whirled me into its vortex, and brought me with my other self into the Croud of Patients with which this Town is now filled. Here is A Collection of Good, Bad, and Indifferent of all Orders, Sexes, Ages and Conditions. Your good Lady and Family among the first. She will give you (I presume) such an account of her self &c. as makes it unnecessary for me to say more on that head.
She will perhaps tell you that this is the reigning subject of Conversation, and that even Politics might have been suspended for A Time, if your Decleration of Independence, and some other political Movements of yours had not reached us. The Decleration came on Saturday,1 and diffused A general Joy. Every one of us feels more Important than ever. We now Congratulate each other as freemen. It has really raised our Spirits to A Tone Beneficial to mitigate the Malignancy of the small Pox, and what is of more Consequence seems to Animate, and Inspire every one to support, and defend the Independency he feels. I shall Congratulate you on the Occasion and so leave this subject, and go to one not quite so Agreable. Congress have Acted A part with regard to this Colony, shall I say Cunning, or Politic, or only { 390 } Curious, or is it the Effect of Agitation. Has the Approach of Lord Howe had such An Effect on the southern Colonies, that they have forgot, the very Exntensive Sea Coast we have to defend, the Armed Vessels we have to Man from South Carolina to the Northern Limits of the United Colonies, that A large part of the Continental Army is made up from this Colony, that the General has not only got our Men but our Arms, and that they within two months ordered A reinforcement of three Battalions to the five Already here. Lucky for us you did not give time to raise these before your Other requisitions reached us, or we should have been striped indeed. Dont the Southern Colonies think this worth defending or do they think with half our Men gone the remainder can defend it, with Spears and darts, or with Slings (as David Slew Goliah). I was surprised to find the whole five Battalions called away. No determination is yet taken how their places shall be supplyed. The General Court are not setting, they were prorouged on Saturday. The Council have this matter under Consideration. What can they do but Call in the Militia or perhaps stop the last 1500 Men Called for to go to Canada if in their power. The works for the defence of this Town must not be Abandoned. They must be defended with or without Continental Assistance. Don't suppose that I am a Preacher of Sedition, or intend to be factious, or that the Eruptive fever is now upon me. Neither of these is true. I shall suppress all Sentiments of Uneasiness but to you and some few who I have reason to Suppose think of these Matters in the same way, and determine to do and suffer any and every thing for the good of the whole. But I think, tho' the Grand Object will be York, and Canada and their principal Force there, we are not so safe as we ought to be.
I can give you little or no News. Two of our Vessels have been brought too by A Man of War at sea, and the Masters taken as they were told before Lord Howe, who told them he was Bound directly to Philadelphia to settle with the Congress the unhappy dispute. He dismissed both the Vessels and gave them passes to protect them against any or all Cruisers, haveing first reprimanded one of them for the violation of Acts of Parliament in the Illicit trade at St. Petres2 from which place he then came with French Commodities. Our Coast is Clear. I hear of no Cruisers at present to Interrupt the passage of Vessels. Last saturday was the first time, I have been in this Town since the flight of the Invincible British Troops. I can't describe the Alteration and the Gloomy Appearance of this Town. No Business, no Busy Faces but those of the Physicians. Ruins of Buildings, Wharfs { 391 } &c. &c. wherever you go, and the streets covered with Grass. I have just heard that an honest Man from St. Petres, in 25 days says they had there Intelligence of A decleration of War between Spain and Portugal. This is neither Impossible or Improbable, and may Account for Lord Howe's being in A Single Ship, as we are told he had Arrived at the Hook. I wish you all Happiness and am with regards to Mr. Adams and Gerry Yours &c.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren July 17. 1776.”
1. That is, on 13 July. Warren had received the Dunlap broadside from Elbridge Gerry (James T. Austin, The Life of Elbridge Gerry, 2 vols., Boston, 1828–1829, 1:202–203; Adams Family Correspondence, 2:48, note 8).
2. Probably St. Pierre in Martinique.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Date: 1776-07-18

To Jonathan Mason Jr.

[salute] My dear Sir

Your agreable Letter from Boston the 9th. July, was handed me, on Tuesday last by the Post.
The Confusions in America, inseparable from So great a Revolution in affairs, are Sufficient to excite Anxieties in the Minds of young Gentlemen just stepping into Life. Your Concern for the Event of those Commotions, is not to your dishonour. But let it not affect your Mind too much. These Clouds will be disperssed, and the Sky will become more Serene.
I cannot advise you, to quit the retired scene, of which you have hitherto appeared to be so fond, and engage in the noisy Business of War. I doubt not you have Honour and Spirit, and Abilities sufficient, to make a Figure in the Field: and if the future Circumstances of your Country should make it necessary, I hope you would not hesitate to buckle on your Armour. But at present I See no Necessity for it. Accomplishments of the civil and political Kind are no less necessary, for the Happiness of Mankind than martial ones. We cannot be all Soldiers, and there will probably be in a very few Years a greater Scarcity of Lawyers, and Statesmen than of Warriours.
The Circumstances of this Country, from the Years 1755 to 1758, during which Period I was a student in Mr. Putnams Office, were almost as confused as they are now. And the Prospect before me, my young Friend was much more gloomy than yours. I felt an Inclination, exactly Similar to yours, for engaging in active martial Life, but I was advised, and upon a Consideration of all Circumstances concluded, to mind my Books. Whether my determination was prudent or not, it is not possible to say, but I never repented it. To attain { 392 } the real Knowledge, which is necessary for a Lawyer, requires the whole Time and Thoughts of a Man in his youth, and it will do him no good to dissipate his Mind among the confused objects of a Camp. Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurnâ1—must be your Motto.
I wish you had told me, particularly, what Lawyers have opened Offices in Boston, and what Progress is made in the Practice, and in the Courts of Justice. I cannot undertake to Advise you, whether you had better go into an office in Boston or not. I rather think that the Practice at present is too inconsiderable to be of much service to you. You will be likely to be obliged to waste much of your Time in running of Errands, and doing trifling drudgery without learning much.—Depend upon it, it is of more Importance that you read much, than that you draw many Writts. The common Writts upon Notes, Bonds and Accounts, are mastered in half an Hour. Common Declarations for Rent, and Ejectment and Trespass, both of Assault and Battery and Quare Clausum fregit,2 are learn'd in very near as short a Time. The more difficult Special Declarations, and especially the Refinements of Special Pleadings are never learnd in an office. They are the Result of Experience, and long Habits of Thinking.
If you read Ploudens Commentaries,3 you will see the Nature of Special Pleadings. In Addition to these read Instructor Clericalis, Mallory, Lilly, and look into Rastall and Cooke.4 Your Time will be better Spent upon these Authors, than in dancing Attendance upon a Lawyers Office and his Clients. Many of our most respectable Lawyers never did this att all. Gridly, Pratt, Thatcher, Sewall, Paine.5 Never served regularly in any office.
Upon the whole, my young Friend, I wish that the State of public Affairs, would have admitted of my Spending more Time with you. I had no greater Pleasure in this Life, than in assisting young Minds possessed of ambition to excell, which I very well know to be your Case. Let me intreat you not to be too anxious about Futurity. Mind your Books. Set down patiently to Ploudens Commentaries, read them through coolly, deliberately, and Attentively. Read them in Course. Endeavour, to make yourself Master of the Point on which the Case turns. Remark the Reasoning, and the Decision. And tell me a year hence, whether your Time has not been more agreably, and profitably Spent than in drawing Writs and running of Errands. I hope to see you eer long. I am obliged to you for this Letter, and wish a Continuance of your Correspondence. I am anxious, very anxious, for my dear Mrs. Adams, and my Babes. God preserve them. I can do them no kind office, whatever.
{ 393 }
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Give your days and nights to the study of these authors.
2. Trespass because he has broken the close.
3. The Commentaries or Reports of Edmund Plowden . . . , London, 1761, which is listed in the Catalogue of JA's Library.
4. Robert Gardiner, Instructor Clericalis or Precedents in the Court of King's Bench and Common Pleas, for Young Clerks, appeared in six parts over a period of years and in various editions. The Catalogue of JA's Library shows he owned Parts 1 and 3–5 [London,] 1713–1727. John Mallory, Modern Entries in English, Being a Select Collection of Pleadings . . . , 2 vols. [London,] 1734–1735, is not in the Catalogue. John Lilly, Modern Entries, Being a Collection of Select Pleadings . . . , transl. [London,] 1741, is found in the Catalogue only in the Latin edition of 1723. William Rastell, Collection of Entrees, of Declarations, . . . , and Divers Other Matters [London,] 1596, is in the Catalogue. The latest edition was 1670. Sir Edward Coke, A Book of Entries, London, 1671, is also in the Catalogue.
5. The legal careers of Jeremiah Gridley, Benjamin Prat, Oxenbridge Thacher, Jonathan Sewall, and Robert Treat Paine are briefly sketched in JA, Legal Papers, 1:ci, cvi, cix–cxi, cv–cvi.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0171

Author: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-19

From Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear Sir

I am told You are alarmed at Philadelphia with the last clause in our charter.1 That and another respecting Judges2 was hard fought; especially that of Reconciliation, upon a Motion to defer printing the Copy 'till it could be reconsidered.
However we have formally ratified Independency and assumed the Stile of the Convention of the State of New Jersey.3 This very unanimously, and the Votes go down by this Express to the printer.
We are mending very fast here. East Jersey were always firm; West Jersey will now move with Vigour. The Tories in some parts disturbed us; but they have hurt us more by impeding the Business of the Convention and harassing with an Infinity of Hearings. But for this we have provided a Remedy by an Ordinance for trying Treasons Seditions and Counterfeitings.4 And now we shall apply our chief Attention to Military Matters, for which End we remove to Brunswick on Monday, after delaying it too long. In haste, Sir, Yours
[signed] Jona D Sergeant
P.S. Since writing the above, I find Time to add. May I beg the Favour of a Line from You once in a while. We want Wisdom here. Raw, young and unexperienced as your humble Servant is, I am really forced to bear a principal part. Would to Heaven that I could look round here, as when with You, and see a Number in whose Understanding I could confide. But we have a miserable prejudice against Men of Education in this State. Plain Men are generally { 394 } returned, of sufficient Honesty and Spirit, but most of them hardly competent to the penning of a common Vote.
I wrote to You from Bristol more than a Month ago; but received no Answer. Did You receive it? Our new Delegates You find sound and hearty.
You will pardon the Freedom I have repeatedly taken, and favour me with a Line in Answer. Your most obedt.
[signed] J. D S.
Upon Recollection it was Mr. S. Adams, I wrote to from Bristol. Will You ask him if he received it?
1. The last clause of New Jersey's charter read: “Provided always, and it is the true intent and meaning of this Congress, that if a reconciliation between Great-Britain and these Colonies should take place, and the latter be taken again under the protection and government of the crown of Britain, this Charter shall be null and void—otherwise to remain firm and inviolable.” This charter was passed 2 July (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 5:2598).
2. Art. XII set terms for Supreme Court judges at seven years and those for inferior judges at five, with reappointment possible for both. Art. XX denied a seat in the assembly to all judges and others who held places of profit in the government, with the exception of justices of the peace (same, p. 2596, 2598). JA, of course, believed in judicial tenure during good behavior, but he would have approved the intent of Art. XX.
3. The charter referred throughout to the Colony of New Jersey. The avoidance of the term “constitution” was itself significant. The designation “State of New Jersey” was enacted on 18 July (Minutes of the Provincial Congress and the Council of Safety . . . , Trenton, 1879, p. 511).
4. The ordinance, passed 18 July, provided the death penalty for those levying war against the state, giving aid or comfort to the King of Great Britain or his associates, and counterfeiting the paper currency of any of the states or the congress (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:412–413).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0172

Author: Heath, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-20

From William Heath

[salute] Dear Sir

I must ask your Pardon for having repeatedly received your favors Since I have been in the Army, without returning you an Acknowledgement of them. From the opinion which I have long had of your abilities and Patriotism, I have wished for an Intimate Acquaintance with you, And Shall ever Consider it as a great Honor to Correspond with you.
In your last to me of the 15th. of April you were Urging the necessity of a Speedy Declaration of the Independence of the Colonies. I do now most Heartily Congratulate you on the Declaration of an Event So momentous to the United States, and that it has been Effected with So much Unanimity.
{ 395 }
Having Declared the Colonies Free and Independant States, the Grand Object now is to maintain and Defend that Freedom and Independence, which Cannot be Done but by Vigorous Exertions in Arms. The Prussian monarch tells us that the Entire Prosperity of every State rests upon the Discipline of its Army. It is requiste that yours be numerous, well Officer'd, Armed, Disciplined, fed, Clothed and Paid, each of which are Objects of Importance and if either is neglected the State Suffers the Ill Consequences of it. Ordnance and Ordnance Stores should be Provided in Plenty, Light Brass Field Peices and Hawtzers I think are much wanted, Particular Attention should be paid to the mens Clothing. The great and Constant fatigue of the Army in the differant works is Such as Causes an Uncommon Wear of their Clothing which added to the Exorbitant prices of Goods, exhausts almost the whole of the Soldiers Wages. Some method must be Devised for the redress of this Difficulty, and with respect to another Army. In Confidence I must tell you, that Unless a Handsome Bounty is Given the men will not be Enlisted, And why should we Stick at a Triffleing Expence when our all is at Stake. Had the army at First been Enlisted for the war what an happy Circumstance would it have been, a Six weeks Two months &c. Militia, has prevented our having a proper Disciplined Army.
I Congratulate you on our late Success in Carolina,2 I wish our Northern Affairs wore a more favorable Aspect. General Sullivan I am Informed is returning from that army,—And Here my Dear Sir permit me to Express my Self a little freely on the Subject of Promotions, (not in the least Calling in Question the Rights or Wisdom of the Honble. Congress in regard to appointments). We are told that the Officers of the army are not to Expect Promotion in Succession, but that Commissions are to be given to Persons of merit (as it is Called) regardless of any Claim by Succession &c. The merit of the Officers is Doubtless to be reccommended by some Person or Persons, But alas how much are even the Best of men Prone to be Biased in Judgement through Particular Friendship or Connections, we are apt to over Rate the merits of our friends, and perhaps Scarcly notice the greater abilities of others. I my Self Could mention Instances, where Some have had Encomiums bestowed upon them, whilst those who Deserved them have Scarcly been noticed. But even Supposing that none should be Promoted but Such as Distinguish themselves, yet Such a Rule may work wrong.
We will Suppose that A: B: C. and D. are Officers of the Same Rank in the Army and of Equal abilities. A. is the Senior and so { 396 } on.3 The Service requires that A: B. and C. should Command Certain Important Posts in Camp. D. is Sent on Command and Distinguishes himself, either of the Others had they been Sent would have Equally Done it. Now Shall D be promoted to the Prejudice of A. B, and C. Would it not be more Just to reward D by Publick Thanks, by makeing him Commander of a place of Importance, and Promoteing him on the first vacancy, without Injury to any Other, and in this way how Could merit ever Complain of being treated with neglect. In all Service particular Care is taken not to Promote a Junior Officer over the Head of his Superior in Command as its Consequences Seldom fail of being banefull.
Such Maneouvres my Dear Sir are the most delicate of any that you will ever have Occasion to make, and in all Important Maneouvers we should well Consider whether they tend to the gain or loss of Ground and govern ourselves Accordingly.
Among many men there are many minds and every man has his own Opinion, and I have mine of men and Things. I may be mistaken, I may not. Every man has his Friends and Enemies. I have been now more than Fourteen months in the Service at the Risk of my Life and Sacrifice of Ease and Domestick Enjoyments with great Chearfullness. I do not wish advancment, But I have so much Sensibility as to feel when a Junior Officer is advanced over my Head,4 my feelings are as Keen as those of others, and nothing but the Interest of my Country, which I early Steped forward to Defend, (and which I still prefer to every Consideration) has prevented my Expressing of them. Please to Give my Best regards to the Honble the President, and the Rest of your worthy Colleagues, and Beleive me my Dear Sir with the greatest Sincerity to be your Hearty Friend and Humble Servt.
[signed] W Heath
General Sullivan has arrived in Town.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Heath. July 20. 1776 ans. Aug. 3.”
1. The “o” in “20” is written over a “2,” but Health neglected to alter the “nd.”
2. The failure on 28 June of the army under Gen. Henry Clinton and the fleet under Como. Peter Parker to take Charleston, S.C. (William B. Willcox, Portrait of a General: Sir Henry Clinton in the War of Independence, N.Y., 1964, p. 88).
3. Terminal punctuation supplied.
4. A reference to Horatio Gates, who had been promoted to major general in May. Heath was not promoted to that rank until August; yet Heath had begun his service at Lexington and Concord and had been named a major general in the Massachusetts militia in June 1775. Gates had been only a major in the British Army before becoming a brigadier in the Continental Army in June 1775 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 244, 284).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Date: 1776-07-21

To Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of the 19th. from Trenton, reached me, Yesterday. It is very true that We were Somewhat alarmed at the last Clause in your Constitution. It is a pity that the Idea, of returning under the Yoke, was held up, in So good a System, because it gives Something to Say, to a very unworthy Party.
I hope you will assume the Style of the Common Wealth of New Jersey, as Soon as your new Government is compleated.1 Virginia has done it—and it is the most consistent, Style.
It is a great Pleasure to learn that you have formally ratified Independency, and that your Unanimity and Firmness increase. This will be the Case every where as the War, approaches nearer. An Enemies Army brings a great Heat, with it, and warms all before it. Nothing makes and Spreads Patriotism So fast. Your Ordinance against Treasons, will make Whiggs by the thousand. Nine tenths of the Toryism in America, has arisen from Sheer Cowardice, and Avarice. But when Persons come to see their is greater danger to their Persons and Property from Toryism than Whiggism, the same Avarice and Pusillanimity will make them Whiggs. A Treason Law is in Politicks, like the <Law> Article for Shooting upon the Spot, a Soldier who shall turn his back. It turns a Mans Cowardice and Timidity into Heroism, because it places greater danger, behind his back than before his Face.
While you are attending to military Matters, dont forget Salt Petre, Sulphur, Powder, Flints, Lead, Cannon, Mortars.
It grieves me to hear that your People have a Prejudice against liberal Education. There is a Spice of this every where. But Liberty has no Enemy more dangerous than such a Prejudice. It is your Business, my Friend, as a Statesman to Soften and eradicate this Prejudice.—The surist Mode of doing it is to persuade Gentlemen of Education to lay aside Some of their Airs, of Scorn, Vanity and Pride, which it is a certain Truth that they Sometimes indulge themselves in. Gentlemen cannot expect the Confidence of the common People if they treat them ill, or refuse hautily to comply with some of their favourite Notions, which may often be most obligingly done, without the least deviation from Honour or Virtue.
Your Delegates, behave very well: but I wish for you among them. I think however, that you judged wisely in continuing in Convention, { 398 } where I believe you have been able to do more Good, than you could have done here.
I Should be obliged to you for a Line now and then. Mr. S. Adams received your Letter from Bristol. You will See the new Delegates for Pensilvania.2 What is the Cause, that Mr. Dickinson never can maintain his Popularity for more than two or three Years together, as they tell me has ever been the Case!—He may have a good Heart, and certainly is very ready with his Pen, and has a great deal of Learning, but his Head is not very long, nor clear. I am
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. “Commonwealth” in the sense of a state in which power is vested in the people (OED). Only four of the original states officially designated themselves as commonwealths—Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Kentucky, offspring of Virginia, also adopted the term.
2. Added to the delegation were George Clymer, Benjamin Rush, James Smith, and George Taylor. Dropped were Charles Humphreys, Thomas Willing, as well as John Dickinson. Humphreys and Willing had opposed the Declaration, while Dickinson had abstained from voting (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:lxi-lxvii; Robert L. Brunhouse, The Counter-Revolution in Pennsylvania, 1776–1790, Phila., 1942, p. 13).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0174

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
DateRange: 1776-07-21 - 1776-07-22

Elbridge Gerry to Samuel and John Adams

[salute] Dear sirs1

I have been fully employed since Thursday Noon in obtaining some Knowledge of the State of the Army and conferring with the different Corps of Officers from the General to the Field officers, and have the pleasure to inform You that they appear to be in high Spirits for Action and agree in Sentiments that the Men's as firm and determined as they wish them to be, having in View since the Declaration of Independence an object that they are ready to contend for, an object that they will chearfully pursue at the Risque of Life and every valuable Enjoyment.
The Army including Officers and the Sick are about 18000 strong, and these are posted at Powlis Hook3 Governors Island which is about half a Mile from the Battery near the Bowling Green, Long Island, New York City, and this post, at which places they have thrown up a great Number of Works some of which exceed any I ever have seen and appear to be well calculated for Defence. In short our Men are so expert at the Shovel and Haw,4 that they light on every advantageous Spot and in a Day or two produce a Fortification that a few Years ago would have been considered by our Assemblies as a great Undertaking for a Colony and cost it more for the Time spent { 399 } in considering the Measure than it now Costs the Continent to compleat the Work. It is however necessary that the remaining seven thousand Men5 should come in and the Harvest being nearly over I hope it will soon be the Case. It is a happy Circumstance that in the Jersies, this Colony and the eastern Ones the Women and Children are endeavouring to supply the places of the Men who are called to defend the Country, and with a Zeal little short of Enthusiasm are exerting themselves in the Field to gather the Harvest and perform the Business which they have heretofore been mostly Strangers to. Surely whilst such a Spirit remains there can be but little Danger of loosing our Cause. Stores of every kind are plenty here excepting Flints, and I shall endeavour to send some from the Massachusetts Bay.
I most heartily Congratulate You on the Success of our Arms at the Southward; the News reached New York yesterday and was highly relished by the Camp. I wish Mr. Howe could be prevailed on to make his Attack with the Troops he now has. I think he would not find it necessary to be at any further Expence on their Account.
You will undoubtedly be informed by the General with the Substance of the Intercourse between him and General Howes Adjutant General by Flag of Truce.6 It seems that Lord Howe is sorry that he did not arrive a Day or two before and thinks he could have prevented the Declaration of Independence. General Howe is desirous of keeping open a Communication with our General and thinks he has made the first Advances to an Accomodation. I suppose he would be glad to amuse him daily, as his Officers who are our prisoners have attempted to amuse Congress, that his Attention to more important Objects may be diverted. He proposed to exchange Master Lovell for Major Skaene,7 but the General referred him to Congress as the offer originated from thence, And being refused by him must now be confirmed by the same Body.
I think Things are in a good Way in this Government. The Convention have resolved to raise 6000 Men for the Defence of the Highlands and places adjacent at their own Expence and have applyed to Gen. Washington for the Loan of £20000 for the purpose, the military Chest being low the General could not oblige them but to promote the Measure has lent them 20000 Dollars.8
The important objects of Congress appear to be few and if conducted with Spirit must soon make the united States most formidable to their Enemies.
In the first place the northern Army must be assisted and in order { 400 } thereto Schuyler recalled as the good of the Service requires it. I am well informed that the Officers and Soldiers in that Army are dissatisfied at his having the Command and never will have Confidence untill he is removed. The N England Colonies are warm for the Measure and the Officers in general in this Department. This You may depend on that Matters never will go well untill this evil Genius is removed. Why is the honest Wooster censured and tried and finally found faultless and Schuyler unimpeached amidst many Misdemianors. He is exceedingly attached to the present Deputy Commissary Livingston9 and between them I wish the Continent may not be unnecessarily drained of large Sums of Money. I have seen a Receipt of Mr. L. of £24000 for 4000 bls. pork purchased last April when pork was £4 per barell. He gave his Receipt in June promising to return the pork when called for or to pay the market price at the Time demanded. The Demand was not made untill July and thus has he thrown away or given to his Relative Livingston in one Article £8000. The Quarter Master General was lately applyed to by Schuyler for Cloathing for the naked Men that were taken prisoners at the Cedars, and he gave him an Order for the Cloathing on a Man that lived within three Doors of his House Who had before offered him (Schuyler) the Cloathing 50 per C Cheaper as I am credibly informed than it could be obtained in New York; this he refused and the Men were suffering whilst he was taking this extraordinary Step. He certainly acted a weak or wicked part in giveing Notice of his Intention to Sir John Johnson10 to take him and thus loosing the Opportunity of securing this dangerous Enemy to America. He has been uniformly obliging to Officers of the Enemy and morose and insolent to our Officers and Men. He has been constantly attached to the proprietary Interest in the middle Colonies and kept in his place by their Influence in Congress, but if he is not to be removed the Army must continue retreating and I expect in a Short Time that they will be in good Quarters in the City of Philadelphia. It gives me Pain to say anything on this Head to my Friends, but if he can be sent to Boston, recalled to answer any Charges that may be brot against him, or otherwise removed, I know it will give them pleasure and certain it is that there is a prospect of Serving the Cause. The Army must be cleansed of the small pox and Cloathing sent for this purpose; if the Quarter Master was directed to send 1000 Suits I think it would be done.
I have conferred with the General upon the Necessity of giving Bounties to reinlist our Men for the next Campaign, he is very attentive to it and is convinced that the present Offer of ten Dollars is { 401 } ineffectual. He thinks that 5000 Men may be obtained, and if 20 Dollars is afterwards offered perhaps 5000 more may enlist for 3 Years; but is convinced that nothing less than 20 Dollars and 200 Acres of Land will obtain the Number wanted, and if the Numbers first mentioned should inlist without Land he thinks it would be a Source of constant uneasiness if Lands should be afterwards given unless they also should have it. Upon the whole the Generals Sentiments fully coincide with those of many Gentlemen who were for a generous Bounty. That It will be the most prudent politic and cheapest Method to make a generous offer at first and never to deviate from it, rather than for Congress to bid on itself and prevent Men from inlisting for one Bounty by giving them Hopes that a greater will be hereafter offered. If this Matter is left as it was the last Year We shall run a Risque that may be ruinous and it is now the eleventh Hour; indeed there is a difficulty in Congress coming at the Land which I mentioned to the General. He thinks it may be easily removed and has promised his Sentiments in writing against my Return. I think it ought not however to be omitted a Moment longer.
A third Thing is Cloathing which I find will be greatly wanted in the Army, in addition to what has been done. I wish the Assemblies and Conventions could be immediately called on for an Estimate of the Cloathing that Congress may depend on their manufacturing or purchasing for the Army. This would be acting understandably and I think it would be a fresh Stimulus to the Assemblies and a Hint that the Measure is important. Pray carry in a short Resolve and the Business is done in a Second. If the paymasters of the Regiments were directed to procure Frocks of Oznabrigs11 which is plenty in Philadelphia the Soldiers would save their Cloathing and pay for them out of their Wages.
The fourth Thing is an Augmentation of the Army at New York. By undoubted Intelligence it is the Intent of the Enemy to aim at taking a Ridge about 12 Miles from Kings Bridge which runs from River to River12 and thus endeavour to cut of[f] the Communication between the Camp and the eastern Colonies. General Mifflin is of opinion that 5000 Men added to the 25000 already ordered here will enable the General to possess himself of the Ridge, and I am certain that not a Man less will answer the purpose. It is not worth while to starve the Campaign for such an inconsiderable Number, and I am for bringing them from the NE Colonies and letting the Army know that We expect them to beat these Fellows at all Events. I cannot see the Necessity of keeping two Regiments at Rhode Is• { 402 } land and am for ordering one of them to this place. The Augmentation of the flying Camp, plan of foreign Treaty, Manufactory of Flints, Resolve for obtaining the Lead on Houses thro' out the Continent, and Loan office Resolves I conclude are nearly finished,13 at least that they are vigourously pursued. Would it not be a good Measure to propose to the French Court to supply with Grain their Army in the West Indies and to impower them to employ suitable persons in the States for that purpose who shall be supplyed by Congress with Money and Ship it in their own Vessels; Whilst they are to make Returns by allowing Us a Factor in their Kingdom to purchase Arms or other military Stores to a certain Amount who is to be furnished by their Court with Money for that purpose. This would be a speedy Way of coming at Arms and Ammunition, and open a Channel for a Breach with Britain. I have not yet received a Copy of the Confederation.14
Pray Subscribe for me the <Articles> Declaration of Independence if the same is to be signed as proposed. I think We ought to have the privilege when necessarily absent of voting and signing by proxy.
I have seen some Members of the York Convention and am to dine at White Plains this day. I have a plan in View for obtaining in a short Time a Number of brass Cannon and Howitzer that I think will be adopted by the Convention and will be Very useful. It will be <privately> put on Foot by the Members I have seen and may Supply Us with an Article that We have not been able to procure and is exceedingly necessary. A Mr. Wybert15 recommended as an Engineer by the War Office if I rightly remember, is a very useful Man and does great Service here. He mentions a Monseiur DeSaint Martin16 as an able Officer of Artillery which General Mifflin tells me is exceedingly Wanted. Pray appoint him to a Captaincy which Will do to begin with and send him to the Camp here. Mifflin is very desirous of its being done speedily.

[salute] I think it Time to conclude in Haste and remain sirs your Assured Friend and very huml. Sert.

[signed] Elbridge Gerry
P.S. Mon. Martin lives with a Mr. Dusheman in Philadelphia.
RC (NN: Samuel Adams Papers); addressed: “Hon Samuel Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE N*York, July 23”; docketed: “from E Gerry July 1776” and “Letter from Elbridge Gerry Esqr July 21 1776”; several illegible words written along the edge, some crossed out.
1. Despite the address, Gerry intended his letter for both Adamses; at the bottom of the last page he wrote: “Messrs. Samuel and John Adams Esqrs.”
{ 403 }
2. King's Bridge, a small wooden one, was the only connection between the island of Manhattan and the mainland (Johnston, Campaign around New York and Brooklyn, p. 41). Gerry was in New York because he was on his way home on a month's leave to improve his health (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:lii).
3. Paulus or Powle's Hook, a point of land in New Jersey, opposite New York city, now swallowed up in Jersey City (Johnston, Campaign of 1776, p. 89).
4. Obsolete form for “hoe” (OED).
5. On 3 June the congress had requested a total of 10,800 militia from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey to assist in the defense of New York (JCC, 4:412). Apparently only about 3,000 had arrived in the province up to this time. A few days before, Washington had written to the president of the congress: “The Connecticut Militia begin to come in, but from every Account the Battalions will be very incomplete, owing they say to the busy season of the Year” (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:249).
6. See Nathanael Green to JA, 14 July, note 3 (above).
7. James Lovell, arrested by the British in Boston, had become a matter of concern to Washington, who early in 1776 had proposed to the congress that Philip Skene be released in exchange for Lovell. Congress granted the necessary permission, but Gen. Howe rejected the proposal, alleging that Lovell had engaged in illicit correspondence. Lovell had gained respect from many by his refusal to compromise with his captors (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:174, 286–287, 294–295 and note there; Jonathan W. Austin to JA, 7 July 1775, above). On 24 July the congress again empowered Washington to attempt to arrange the exchange, which was finally consummated in October (JCC, 5:607). On Skene see JA to Joseph Warren, 21 June 1775, note 2 (above).
8. See Washington to the New York legislature, 19 July, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:308–310.
9. New England dissatisfaction with Gen. Schuyler had smoldered from the beginning of the northern campaign. The large part of his army made up of troops from that section resented his aristocratic ways and the demands for orderliness he made; moreover, the General's diliatory conduct of the campaign caused a loss of confidence in his leadership. Friendly biographers defend Schuyler for his role in keeping supplies moving to Canada, but military historians like Christopher Ward and Don Higginbotham blame him for his excessive caution. For Schuyler's quarrels with Gen. Wooster and the action of the congress against the latter, see JA's Service in the Congress, 9 Feb. – 27 Aug., No. II, note 1, and JA to James Warren, 18 May, note 4 (both above). Walter Livingston, Schuyler's nephew, became a subject of controversy when Gen. Gates, sent to command in Canada, sought to name his own commissary, Elisha Avery, and thus supplant Livingston. Washington was brought into the dispute and left it to Joseph Trumbull to iron it out (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:223–224 and note 81; Schuyler to Washington, Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:793; Bayard Tuckerman, Life of General Schuyler, N.Y., 1903, p. 140–141). Gerry, a good New Englander and supporter of Gates, would be quick to find fault with Livingston and Schuyler's support of him, but his specific charges were not investigated by the congress. JA was more balanced than Gerry in his appraisal of Schuyler (JA to John Thomas, 7 March, above).
10. See Thomas Walker to JA, 24 June, note 8the enclosure of Thomas Walker to JA, 24 June, note 2 (above).
11. Coats of Osnaburg, or coarse linen, the name corrupted from that of the North German town of Osnabrück, where the linen was made (OED).
12. That is, from the Hudson to the Harlem.
13. On the Flying Camp, see JA to Joseph Reed, 7 July, note 1 (above). On 15 July the congress had appointed a committee to consider increasing its size and on the 20th action was taken on its report by the congress' directing that two battalions from Virginia, four from Pennsylvania, and three from New Jersey join the camp (JCC, 5:561–562, 597–598).
On the Plan of Treaties and action { 404 } taken on it, see 12 June – 17 Sept. (above).
On 4 July the Board of War was empowered to employ persons to manufacture flints (JCC, 5:517). One of the recommendations of the Board of War favorably received by the congress on 5 July was that measures be taken at once to obtain lead in all the colonies. An important source was window and clock weights, which some of the colonies soon began to procure (same, 5:522; Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:1290, 1296, 1397).
Not until 3 Oct. did the congress establish a loan office (JCC, 5:845).
14. The committee on the Articles of Confederation, made up of one delegate from each state (Samuel Adams served for Massachusetts), reported its work on 12 July in the form of twenty articles, and the congress immediately ordered eighty copies to be printed, one for each member, under tight security rules. The delegates began consideration of the report on 22 July (same, p. 433, 491, 546–556, 600).
15. Very likely Antoine Felix Weibert; see Thomas Mifflin to JA, 5 Aug. (below).
16. On 23 July the congress appointed “Monsieur St. Martin” an engineer with the rank of lieutenant colonel (JCC, 5:602).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0175

Author: Baldwin, Jeduthun
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-22

From Jeduthun Baldwin

[salute] Sir

The strong inclination I have to Serve the Continent, has induced me to continew in the Service of the Publick. I have ever complied with all orders, and cherfully gone whereever I have been directed, and with the greatest dilligence, I have done my duty in the best manner I have been capable of. I feel with gratitude what the Congress have done for me—but I must request liberty from the Congress to retire from the Service, unless they Shall think my Service and abilities equal to the Rank and pay of a Colonel. I acknowledge it is with some reluctancy, I shall leave the Service, but I see a Plenty of hard fateague before me, and this is not one of the pleasantest Countries to live in. I doubt not you will find a person more equal to the Service than I am. Sir, Pleas to make a Just representation of me to Congress,1 which will ever be thankfully Acknowledged by your Very Humble Sert.
[signed] Jeduthun Baldwin
P. S. Genl. Sullivan is acquainted with me and will be at Philadelphia.
1. On 3 Sept. Baldwin was appointed by the congress a full colonel (JCC, 5:732).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0176

Author: Hitchcock, Daniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-22

From Daniel Hitchcock

[salute] Worthy Sir

Altho I've been in the Continental Service ever since the Lexington Battle with a Regiment under my Command; and wish'd many { 405 } Times to have wrote You; yet partly from the Slender Acquaintance I've had with You and partly from knowing your Time was wholly taken up circa Ardua Regni,1 and much more profitably employ'd than Reading my Scrawls, I've not till now presumed to write you a Letter. Dear Sir, none but he, who has had the Care and Command of a Regiment, can have any Conception of the Fatigues that the Colonels have gone thro', since the new Establishment; they have been obliged to contract for, and purchase all the Cloathings for their Regiments; buy Guns wherever they could be found, and fit them with Accoutrements; (Money being furnish'd them) be accountable at all Events for every Article so taken up; and that for the little Pittance of Reward in Wages of Fifteen Pounds per Month; a Sum less than a Captain receives in that Army, who are now endeavouring to execute the black Designs of a most despotic Ministry; unless the Colonel should take it from the poor Soldiers, (whose Forty Shillings now, considering the Rise of everything, is not so good as twenty five Shillings was, at the Opening of the War); I mention not this as finding Fault with the Generals, for I know, tho it was not strictly the Duty of the Colonels to have done it, yet the Exigency of things required it; what I find Fault with is, that instead of Augmenting the Wages of those Officers, who bear the Burden, the Chaplains and Surgeons, who of all Officers in the Army had the least Reason for any Augmentation, had theirs done, and no Notice taken of the Field Officers; I know tis said, they are at great Expence for their Learning; but give me Leave to say, that this Army is not like Armies that are usually raised; for this Army is composed of Colonels and Field Officers, who, many of them, have left Employments at Home, to fit them for which their Learning cost them full as much as the Chaplains or Surgeons; for Instance the Law; among which I reckon Myself; whereas the Surgeons are pursuing their Employments, and perfecting themselves constantly in their own Art; which many of them have much need of.
I dare warrant it Sir, there is not a Colonel, who has been in the War from the Beginning of it, unless as I said before, he gripes from the poor Soldiers, (which God forbid any Should do) but what will sink, besides losing his Business, One Hundred Pounds Lawful Money; I'm sure I shall, and I believe I've lived as frugal as any Colonel in the Army; for, besides what is lost by Deserters, there always was and ever will be an amazing Loss to him, that deals out Goods, where no Advance is put on; in short the Colonels have been the Sub Quarter Masters, and the Quarter Master General has run { 406 } away with the Profits. Why such Distinction should be made between the Wages and Rations of a Brigadier General and a Colonel, is another thing, that I'm much at a Loss to conceive; no Author that ever I read, made any more or greater Difference between the Rank of a Brigadier and a Colonel, than between a Colonel and a Lt. Colonel, or a Lt. Colonel and a Major; for from the Commander in Chief to the lowest Corporal, there is one gradual Chain of Rank; whereas the Wages of One is £36 and 12 Rations, and the other only £15 per Month and Six Rations. Another thing that I fear will have a Tendency to brake the Band of Union (for give me Leave to say, I am under better Circumstances to know it, than any General) is the Advancing Officers faster to Posts of Honor to the Southward, than Northward; every one that was Colonels there last Year, are Now, made Brigadiers, But there is not an Instance of that kind to the Northward, excepting Arnold,2 who in my Opinion and in the Opinion of every Colonel in the Army, woud have been amply rewarded for his Enterprise, by being made a Colonel of a Regiment; and if he had been made that instead of what he was, I believe Quebec this Day woud have been ours. I am very sorry to hear that the Honorable Congress have not offered Twenty instead of Ten Dollars Bounty for those that will enlist for three Years;3 for it will not procure the Men, as that Sum is given by the New England States to the new Levies only for 5 or Six Months, and our Soldiers all know it, nay in New York £22 York Currency has been given; be assured that the People from New England will not be perswaded to enlist for it. I intended to have wrote a Letter to the Honorable Stephen Hopkins Esqr. of the same Import, to Whom I bear the greatest Respect, but the Bearer of this now waits which prevents Me; beg you to communicate this to him with my best Respects to him. Am with the greatest Esteem Your most obedt. Hble. Servt.
[signed] Danl Hitchcock4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble John Adams Esqr. Member of the Honble C. Congress Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE N*York, July 31”; docketed: “Coll Hitchcock July 22. 1776.”
1. Freely, with the difficulty of governing.
2. See Nathanael Greene to JA, 14 July, note 1 (above).
3. The congress offered a bounty of $10 on 26 June (JCC, 5:483).
4. Daniel Hitchcock (1740–1777) was commander of the 11th Continental Infantry Regiment. Born in Springfield, Mass., he graduated from Yale in 1761 and studied law in Northampton, where he practiced until 1771. He moved to Providence, R.I., at that time. For his leadership in the battles of Trenton and Princeton he received a commendation from Gen. Washington. He died of a fever at Morristown in Jan. 1777 (Dexter, Yale Graduates, 2:695–696; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 291).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0177

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Barber, Nathaniel Jr.
Date: 1776-07-24

To Nathaniel Barber Jr.

[salute] Sir

Your Letter of the 15th. instant came duely to Hand, by Yesterdays Post. I shall be happy to render you any Service in my Power, But I conceive the most regular Method will be for you to make application to General Ward, and request him to make a Representation of your Affair to Congress, either directly, or through General Washington. In this Mode, I conceive there will be no difficulty in obtaining Captains Pay for yourself and fifteen dollars Per Month for the two Conductors under you.
If I were to move in Congress, or in the Board of War, for these Establishments, for Want of Sufficient Information of the Nature and Duties of your Office, I should not be so likely to succeed, as if the Proposition came from the Commander in Chief in your department.1 I am, your humble Servant
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. On 8 Aug., Barber replied that Gen. Ward would intercede with the congress (Adams Papers, not printed here).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0178

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cushing, Thomas
Date: 1776-07-24

To Thomas Cushing

[salute] Sir

I had, by yesterdays Post, the Honour of your Letter of the 15th. instant. I Should esteem it an Honour, and an Happiness, to discharge the friendly Trust of Executor to Mr. Quincys Will, (because I have a great Respect to his Memory and a great Regard for his Family,) if my Situation and Circumstances were such that I could possibly accomplish it, with Advantage to the Interest of the Family. But as it is very obvious that this is not in my Power, I hope they will think that I consult their Welfare, in refusing this Office of Executor, which Refusal, I hereby Signify to you, Sir, and request that some other Method may be Speedily taken for the Completion of this Business. I am, with Respect, your most humble servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0179

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-07-24

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Yours of the 10th. instant, came by Yesterdays Post. This I Suppose will find you, at Boston, growing well of the Small Pox. This Dis• { 408 } temper is the King of Terrors to America this Year. We shall Suffer as much by it, as We did last, Year by the Scarcity of Powder. And therefore I could wish, that the whole People was innoculated. It gives me great Pleasure to learn, that Such Numbers have removed to Boston, for the Sake of going through it, and that Innoculation is permitted in every Town. The plentifull Use of Mercury is a Discouragement to many:1 But you will see by a Letter from Dr Rush which I lately inclosed to my Partner,2 that Mercury is by him wholly laid aside. He practices with as much success and Reputation as any Man.
I am much grieved and a little vexed at your Refusal of a Seat on a certain Bench. Is another appointed? Who is it?3
Before now you have the Result of our Proceedings the Beginning of this Month. A Confederation will follow very Soon, and other mighty matters.
Our Force is not Sufficient at New York. Have Suffered much Pain, in looking over the Returns, to see no Massachusetts Militia at N. York. Send them along, for the Lands sake. Let Us drubb Howe, and then We shall do very well. Much depends upon that. I am not much concerned, about Burgoine. He will not get over the Lakes this Year. If he does he will be worse off.
I rejoice at the Spread of the Small Pox, on another Account. Having had the Small Pox, was the Merit,4 which originally, recommended me to this lofty Station. This Merit is now likely to be common enough, and I shall Stand a Chance to be relieved. Let some others come here, and see the Beauties and Sublimities of a Continental Congress. I will Stay no longer.5 A Ride to Philadelphia, after the Small Pox, will contribute, prodigiously to the Restoration of your Health. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.;); docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr. July 24. 1776.”
1. Probably a reference to the heavy dosage of “Mercurial and Antimonial Pills” accompanying inoculation (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:40).
2. See JA to AA, 23 July (same, 2:59).
3. The Council did not appoint another in place of Warren until 6 Sept., when Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant was named by a ten-to-five vote over Artemas Ward. Sargeant had declined an earlier appointment to the court, made in the fall of 1775, but members of the court pressed for another effort to name him (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1, Reel No. 9, Unit 3, p. 218; James Warren to JA, 20 Oct. 1775, note 4, and William Cushing to JA, 20 May 1776, both above; Cushing to JA, 29 July, below).
4. It was JA's half-serious belief that he was originally sent to the Continental Congress because he had been inoculated and Joseph Hawley, in JA's view the more likely candidate, had not been. See JA to Warren, 26 July (below).
5. Actually JA did not leave the congress until October.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0180

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-24

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear Sir

I received yours1 in which I find some Encouragement is proposed for raising a new Army. I wish it had been greater; I think there is not a great Inclination in the Soldiers for the continental Service. They in general are more inclined to inlist under the Direction of their own Colonial Authority, where in general they are better provided; this will make it necessary to offer Bounties at least as great as are given by the Provincial Assemblies; indeed the extravagant Prices of Clothing of every kind will render it impossible for Soldiers to save any part of their Wages for their Families, this they seem sensible of, and if something is not offerd to fix their Attention their can be little Hope of Success; I am sure if the Trial is long delayed till the Term of their Present Engagement draws toward a Close there will not remain a Possibility of reinlisting, the Men before the Term is out and they have been Home to visit their Friends: if Lands should be given in Addition to the Pecuniary Bounty I think the Prospects would be better.
The Rule of Promotion of Officers, whither it shall be Continental, Colonial or Regimental, I hear is yet undetermined in Congress. On this Subject I beg your Attention a Moment. I wish a general Rule may [be] Settled and when Settled may be adherd to. If Merit is the only Rule there can be no Ground for making the Question, as this by a former Resolve seems to have been Settled. There can be no Propriety in limiting the Reward of extraordinary Merit to Regiments or Colonies; but if a New Rule is to be adopted which will, in Practice, better Serve the Cause of Country and incourage and promote that Ambition so necessary to form a Soldier for the Duties of his Station, I hope those Measures will not be fallen upon which will damp the Ardor of the Soldier and take from him One great Incentive to exert himself in performing the Deeds great and noble. There never yet was an Army formed in any civilized Nation, where the Succession of Field Officers was regimental only; the Honor of <a Soldier> An Officer, you are Sensible is necessary to be Supported, his Rank is what he never can give up without incuring the Censure and Contempt of his fellow Officers, whither this Opinion in them be justly founded or not can very little alter the Case now; if wrong, the Sentiment has been so long adherd to in the Army, that the Effects of deviating from it when an Army is raised and established under those Ideas and with those Expectations will be the same as though the Opinion had a just { 410 } Foundation. If the Succession is regimental, A field Officer has no greater Expectations than a Captain or Subaltern, but is in much worse Condition, because as the Case may be a Lt Col. or Major, may very soon be commanded by a Lt. or Ensign in another Regiment. Promotions of this Sort being regimental the Death or removal of a Colonel, will give Room for the preferment of the Captains and other Officers of that Coir2 only by which the lowest Officer may have the Command of the Regiment before a Major can be advanced to be a Lt. Col. in another Coir: this is so perfectly repugnant to every Idea of military Honor and so opposite to all Practice in the British or American Armies I cannot think it will be adopted; Whither the Succession Shall be Colonial or Continental, I think cannot be so material as the other; yet if the Army is continental raised and established by the United States I cannot see the Propriety of confining the Succession to Colonies. This keeps up the Idea of different Jurisdictions to which the Parts of the Army have particular Relation which is not the Case when raised in this Way; if the different States raise and Commission their own Numbers by Requisition from Congress, then the Army are a Collection of Allies and can never Succeed to the Command of Regiments raised in another State.
The Case of Col. Tyler and Majr. Prentice3 is the particular Reason of my troubling you on this Head. In Rank the first in the Lines in Merit inferior to None, Altho' Col. Durkee, and Majr. Knowlton of Arnold's Regiment4 have in general been considerd as worthy good Officers, yet the One came out a Major the other a Captain and received their Commissions as Lt. Col. and Majr. but last January. Indeed Majr. Knowlton to this Time is in Rank the lowest save Two in the Lines; if Col. Durkee for any Special Reasons should be appointed to the Command of that Regiment yet Majr. Prentice ought to be appointed the Lt. Col. I am sure Majr. Knowlton did not expect Promotion at present, he has the same Ideas of the Right of Succession which other Officers have and has said he had no Claim to Preferment till other Majors Were provided for. I am very sure that great Disatisfaction will be given by deviating from this Rule, I am sure I cannot be personally interested in the Question so as to blind my understanding, I cannot expect the Principal to affect Me; for in my Opinion the Rule is not the same in Appointing General Officers; They are a distinct List and refer only to their own List, between which and the Field Officers there is no Relation by which Succession can be claimed.
The Unhappy Fate of my Brother about 4 Years ago occasioned my prefering a Memorial to Congress for an Order to try one Basil { 411 } Bouderot, Accused of Murther and Robbery, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay; The Propriety of the Application I am in some Doubt of; whither it should be to Congress or to your Provincial Legislature.5 I beg you Sir to take the Memorial, make such Alterations as you think proper, or if not proper to be Preferd to Congress advise me in what Way to proceed to Avenge my Brother's Death.
The Concern I feel for the Good of the Country and the Two Worthy Officers of my own Regiment in particular must appologise for my troubling you so often on this Subject. I have no other Acquaintance in Congress with whom I can correspond with Freedom. I know what I commit to you is Safe.6 At least I shall never suffer by freely unbosoming myself to my Friend. I am Sr. with Esteem & Regard yr. most hl. Servt.
[signed] Saml H. Parsons
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “[ . . . ] Parsons. July 24. 1776.”
1. JA to Parsons, 22 June (above).
2. Corps? choir?—in the sense of an organized group (OED).
3. See Parsons to JA, 20 May (above).
4. Lt. Col. John Durkee and Maj. Thomas Knowlton, both of Connecticut, were named to these positions in Benedict Arnold's 20th Continental Infantry on 1 Jan. 1776. What Parsons feared might happen did occur. On 10 Aug., Durkee was made full colonel and Knowlton, lieutenant colonel of the 20th Infantry; Lt. Col. Tyler and Maj. Prentiss, however, were promoted to colonel and lieutenant colonel respectively in what had been Parsons' regiment (JCC, 5:644).
5. On 25 July, Parsons' memorial was read in the congress and referred to a committee consisting of Thomas Jefferson, James Wilson, and Roger Sherman, to which JA was later added. On 21 Aug. the congress approved the committee's recommendation that Bouderot be tried in Massachusetts, or, if the laws of that state did not permit trial of persons accused of crimes committed outside the state, Bouderot be held until the times permitted a trial in Nova Scotia, where the murder had been committed (JCC, 5:609, 661, 692–693). Bouderot had come under the control of Gen. Schuyler (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:913).
6. Terminal punctuation supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0181

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Avery, John
Date: 1776-07-25

To John Avery

[salute] Sir1

I find myself, under a Necessity of applying to the Honourable the general Court for Leave to return home. I have attended here, So long and So constantly, that I feel myself necessitated to ask this Favour, on Account of my Health, as well as on many other Accounts.
I beg Leave to propose to the Honourable Court an Alteration in their Plan of Delegation in Congress, which it appears to me, would be more agreable to the Health, and Convenience of the Members and much more conducive to the public Good, than the present. No Gentleman can possibly attend to an incessant Round of thinking, Speaking, and writing, upon the most intricate, as well as important Concerns { 412 } of human Society, from one End of the Year to another, without Injury both to his mental and bodily Strength. I would therefore humbly propose, that the Honourable Court would be pleased to appoint Nine Members to attend in Congress, Three or Five at a Time. In this Case, four, or Six, might be at home, at a Time, and every Member might be relieved, once in three or four Months. In this Way, you would always have Members in Congress, who would have in their Minds, a compleat Chain of the Proceedings here as well as in the General Court, both Kinds of which Knowledge, are necessary, for a proper Conduct here. In this Way, the Lives and Health, and indeed the sound Minds of the Delegates here, would be in less Danger than they are at present, and, in my humble Opinion the public Business would be much better done.
This Proposal, however, is only Submitted to the Consideration of that Honourable Body, whose Sole Right it is to judge of it.
For myself, I must intreat the General Court to give me Leave to resign, and immediately to appoint Some other Gentleman in my Room. The Consideration of my own Health, and the Circumstances of my Family and private Affairs would have little Weight with me, if the Sacrifice of these was necessary for the Public: But it is not, because those Parts of the Business of Congress, for which, (if for any) I have any Qualifications, being now nearly compleated, and the Business that remains, being chiefly military and commercial, of which I know very little, there are Multitudes of Gentlemen in the Province, much fitter for the public Service here, than I am.

[salute] With great Respect to the General Court, I am, sir your most obedient servant

[signed] John Adams
RC (M–Ar: 195, p. 144–145a); docketed: “Honbe. John Adams Letter—to be laid before the Honbe. House July 26. 1776 Record page 123, 124”; LbC (Adams Papers) shows two or three minor variations.
1. John Avery was deputy secretary of the General Court.
2. In JA's Letterbook, the figure “25” was written over “17,” and the placement of this copy among other letters dated 17, 18, and 20 suggests that JA wrote out his letter on the 17th but delayed copying it off for mailing until the 25th.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0182

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-07-26

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

My Health has lasted much longer, than I expected but at last it fails. The Increasing Heat of the Weather added to incessant application to Business, without any Intermissions of Exercise, has relaxed { 413 } me, to such a degree that a few Weeks more would totally incapacitate me for any Thing. I must therefore return home.
There will be no difficulty, in finding Men Suitable to send here. For my own Part, as General Ward has resigned his Command in the Army, I Sincerely wish you would Send him here. The Journey would contribute much to the Restoration of his Health, after the Small Pox, and his Knowledge in the Army and of military Matters is very much wanted here, at present.
Send Dana along for another, and come yourself by all Means. I should have mentioned you, in the first Place. Will Lowell do? Or Sewall? You will want four or five new ones.
Major Hawley must be excused no longer. He may have the Small Pox here without keeping House an Hour, and without Absence from Congress four days. It would be vastly for his Health to have it.
Send Palmer, or Lincoln, or Cushing1 if you will. Somebody you must send. Why will not Mr. Bowdoin or Dr. Winthrop take a Ride?
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J: A: Lettr July 26. 1776.”
1. It is unlikely that JA meant Thomas Cushing, who had served in the Continental Congress, 1774–1775, for his unwillingness to take clear-cut stands had annoyed JA (to Joseph Hawley, 25 Nov. 1775, above). He may have meant William Cushing, who sat on the Superior Court, and with whom JA's relations were cordial.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-07-27

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I have directed a Packett1 to you, by this days Post, and Shall only add a few Words by Fessenden. I assure you the Necessity of your sending along fresh delegates, here, is not chimerical. Paine has been very ill for this whole Week and remains, in a bad Way. He has not been able to attend Congress, for several days, and if I was to judge by his Eye, his Skin, and his Cough, I should conclude he never would be fit to do duty there again, without a long Intermission, and a Course of Air, Exercise, Diet, and Medicine. In this I may be mistaken. The Secretary,2 between you and me, is compleatly worn out. I wish he had gone home Six months ago, and rested himself. Then, he might have done it, without any Disadvantage. But in plain English he has been so long here, and his Strength, Spirit and Abilities so exhausted, that an hundred such delegates, here would not be worth a shilling. My Case is worse. My Face is grown pale, my Eyes weak and inflamed, my Nerves tremulous, and my Mind weak as Water—fevourous Heats { 414 } by Day and Sweats by Night are returned upon me, which is an infallible Symptom with me that it is Time to throw off all Care, for a Time, and take a little Rest. I have several Times with the Blessing of God, saved my Life in this Way, and am now determined to attempt it once more.
You must be very Speedy in appointing other Delegates, or you will not be represented here. Go home I will, if I leave the Massachusetts without a Member here. You know my Resolutions in these Matters are not easily altered. I know better than any Body what my Constitution will bear, and what it will not, and you may depend upon it, I have already tempted it, beyond Prudence, and safety. A few Months Rest and Relaxation will recruit me. But this is absolutely necessary for that End. I have sent a Resignation to the General Court, and am determined to take six Months rest at least. I wish to be released from Philadelphia forever. But in Case the General Court should wish otherwise, which I hope they will not, I dont mean Surlily to refuse them. If you appoint Such a Number, that We can have a Respit, once in six Months at furthest, or once in three if that is more convenient, I should be willing to take another Trick or two. But I will never again undertake upon any other Terms, unless I should undertake for a Year, and bring my Wife and four Children with me, as many other Gentlemen here have done—which, as I know it would be infinitely more agreable, and more for the Benefit of my Children, So in my Sincere opinion, it would be cheaper for the Province, because I am sure I could bring my whole Family here, and maintain it, as cheap, as I can live here Single at Board with a servant and two Horses.3 I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J: A Lettr July 27. 1776.”
1. Not identified.
2. Samuel Adams (JA to James Warren, 30 July 1775, note 1, above).
3. JA's urgency in proposing relief for the Massachusetts delegates is perhaps underlined by his extravagance in having written Warren three letters within the space of four days, all of them taking less than two pages of sheets folded to make four pages each—this at a time of acute paper shortage.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0184

Author: Dana, Francis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-28

From Francis Dana

[salute] My worthy Friend

I had the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 12th. ultimo on the 1st. instant. It reminded me of my duty, or rather the omission of it. Indeed I know not what appology to make you for not having wrote { 415 } you before it came to hand. The favor I esteem the greater on that account. Business I feel almost ashamed to offer in excuse, when I consider how constantly you are engaged in matters of the highest importance that ever fixed the attention of Men. But my private affairs were in confusion, having been almost totally neglected during my long absence; before I cou'd restore these to any tolerable order, you know by the suffrages of the most respectable part of my Countrymen, I was placed in a station wherein I have found no rest. This is the third Freshmanship I have already served.1 Juniores ad Labores2 is repeated to me if I complain. I shou'd have been heartily glad to have been excused from any publick employment for the space of three or four months after my return home,3 which wou'd have afforded me sufficient time to put my private affairs (which now lay unsettled) in good order, and prepared me to meet any event. Notwithstand[ing] the inconveniences I foresaw I shou'd Labor under, I thought it my duty to accept my seat. I return'd to my Country with a fix'd determination not to decline any station, my Countrymen shou'd please to honor me with, in which I thought I cou'd be of service to the general cause. I flatter myself I have already done it some little service, and am sorry I have not abilities to do it more essential service. I receive the compliment you are pleased to pay me, as one friend shou'd receive a compliment from another. I hope you have better evidence of the advantages resulting to the community from a middle branch of the Legislature. I am a zealous advocate for it, and think without it we can never have a fixed Government. I am much pleased to find that the several States already formed are erected on such a basis; but I have some Fears whether under an idea of establishing the freest possible Government ours will not consist of a single Assembly. This people have been so plagued with Governors they seem almost to abhor the Term; and none but men versed in History Politicks and Government, can see that the Freedom of the community will be better secured by adopting our old Form with few alterations, when the People shall be made the source of all Power and Authority within the State. A participation of foreign Influence has ever been distructive of the Harmony Peace and Happiness of Societies while it continued; too often has it ended in a fixed Tyranny. That we are freed from this political poison at last, I thank God. The shackles are now thrown away, and I doubt not the public mind will expand sufficiently to comprehend the grand objects presenting themselves to our view. Our former subordinate state cramped the Genius of this People. It had its bounds marked out, beyond which it was afraid to ramble forth. { 416 } It may now range with freedom the whole political world. Your's my Friend has long since burst its bounds. May it continue to be properly directed in its course.
Instead of being the first we shall be the last Colony to form a Government. The House have of themselves taken this important matter in hand, but when their Committee will be ready to report I know not. I think they have not an inclusive right to settle the Government.4 Their assuming it leads me to fear what I have abovementioned, when I consider the many encroachments they have already made upon the middle branch of the Legislature. They have almost annihilated it. We want much your aid in this great business. I have seen your little pamphlet. I lament its littleness. I mean that you have not enlarged upon it in the manner you told me you intended to do, if you cou'd spare the time. Why was I not favored with one?
I wish I had leisure to inform you of our present State and of our progress step by step, as you desire, but 'tis impossible. I feel myself under great obligations to you and my other friends at Philidelphia for the favorable sentiments of me which I understand you communicated to your friends here. It now appears beyond question that my intelligence respecting the Commissioners &c. was good.5 I have heard nothing of Majr. Wrixon since I left you.6 I hope his <pretensions> professions of regard to our Country were sincere. Baron Wooldkee I hear proves a scoundrel.7 We last evening receiv'd a confirmation of the engagement at Sullivan's Island, Carolina. The Yankees fought well. I cant but observe that every days experience proves Govr. Johnstone's assertion respecting the certain effect of Batteries judiciously situated, against Ships.8 I cou'd wish all our Forts in our Harbours and Rivers were plentifully supplied with chain shott. I presume, had this been the Case at the Southward, Sir Peter's Fleet wou'd have been totally disennabled, and some of them must have fallen into our hands. I hope soon to see another assertion of that Gentleman's equally well established, that respecting Fire Rafts or Ships. New York now gives us a fair opportunity for the experiment.
You know what intelligence will be agreable to me: please to favor me with as much as possible. I will endeavor to make some returns.
Shou'd you see Mr. Ellery9 please to acquaint him I have receiv'd his letter of the 10th. June and shall write him soon, that I am in Town with Mrs. Dana and Little Ned who are under innoculation and in a fine way, and request him to write me as often as possible. I am just about setting off for Cambridge. I hope to hear from you by the next Post after your receipt of this letter. I ought not sooner to expect { 417 } it. You will please to present my best regards to my friends with you. I am Sir, with great Respect your Friend & hble. Servt.
[signed] F M Dana
PS. Remember to write of Majr. Wrixon.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Dana July 28. 1776.”
1. As a new member of the Massachusetts Council. Earlier he had been a freshman at Harvard and at the law as clerk to his uncle Edmund Trowbridge (DAB).
2. Freely, the burden is for young shoulders.
3. See JA to George Washington, 1 April, note 1 (above).
4. On 4 June the House of Representatives voted to appoint a committee to “report . . . a mode of civil government for this colony” and on the 6th named twelve committeemen, among them Joseph Palmer, James Warren, and Joseph Hawley (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 13, 18).
5. Dana had reported to the congress on his mission to England upon his return. The “Commissioners” refers to the Howe peace commission.
6. On Wrixon, see JA to Horatio Gates, 27 April, note 3 (above).
7. On Baron de Woedtke, see Joseph Palmer to JA, 19 Feb., note 2 (above). The Baron proved to be a drunkard (Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield, 2 vols., Princeton, 1951, 1:112).
8. On Gov. Johnstone, see Josiah Quincy to JA, 13 June, note 8 (above).
9. William Ellery (1727–1820), delegate from Rhode Island and Dana's father-in-law (Cresson, Francis Dana, p. 21; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0185

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-28

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure to inform you that the Continental armed Schooners Hancock and Franklin sent into Marblehead this day a Transport from Hallifax bound to New York with provisions and dry goods. There are many Tories on board, among whom is the noted Benjamin Davis.1
Last Sunday a Transport from Ireland came into this Harbour, (not knowing the Pirates were gone) and was taken; She had seventeen hundred Barrels of Beef and Pork and four hundred Casks of Butter for the use of the Enemy.2
Some days since our Hearts were made glad with the glorious Declaration of the Independent States of America! Blessed be their memory and immortal Fame attend those who had the Wisdom and Virtue and Magnanimity to Do This! We have undoubtedly many and great things yet to do, but in my humble opinion, the greatest is done; the Foundation is now laid.
We now learn who the mighty Commissioners are, and also the great things they have to propose. Of all the conduct of the British Court I think this is the most ridiculous, and serves to crown all their { 418 } past folly. It must serve the Cause of the American States by shutting the last mouth that was open in favour of Britain, and will open the last of the blind Eyes in these United States.3
The Two Regiments in Boston will march for New York this week, as they are chiefly recovered of the Small pox. The Government have determined to raise between two and three thousand Men to replace the Continental Troops, in addition to those now in the pay of this Government.4
General Ward had the small pox very lightly, but his nervous complaints still remain; he intends to retire from a military life as soon as these Regiments are marched. Who will command the Troops who are to take the place of the Continental Regiments, I have not yet learnt; it seems necessary that as these men will be supported by the Continent, that a General Officer should be appointed by Congress to command them and to draw provisions and military Stores for them out of the Continental Stores, as those Commissaries and Storekeepers cannot answer an order from any one but a Continental Commander. Besides, Guards are necessary to guard the Stores and Magazines belonging to the Continent; the Agents for the Continental armed Vessels want frequent supplies, and other assistance from the General, which none but a Continental Commander can furnish. You will excuse me Sir, for mentioning these things, as it is not my apprehension only, but General Ward's, and those who are most acquainted with matters and things relating to our military and naval Concerns.
It is natural to suppose that when the Regiments were ordered from this place all those matters did not occur to Congress, nor to General Washington, or some mention would have been made of them; indeed you must be something more [than] Men if nothing escaped your attention in the vast Circle of business and great Concerns in which you are engaged. I am Sir Your most obedient and very humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. We have just received the agreeable News from South Carolina, I hope it is a prelude to our future Success in every part of America.
RC (Adams Papers); a piece cut from the bottom of p. 3 has mutilated the docketing on the verso, which now reads only “W J,” undoubtedly for “Ward July.”
1. Samuel Tucker in command of the Hancock and John Skimmer in command of the Franklin captured the Peggy on the high seas on 22 July. She was en route to New York to supply the British there (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:1268–1269). Benjamin Davis, a Boston merchant, was probably notorious for being an addresser of both Hutchinson and Gage upon the departure and arrival of { 419 } those two much-despised men (Sabine, Loyalists, 1:359–360).
2. The Queen of England, James Arnout master, was captured by Capt. Caleb Hopkins, commander of the George, in Nantasket Roads (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 155; the New-England Chronicle, 25 July, mistakenly calls Hopkins “commodore”).
3. On the Howe peace commission see James Warren to JA, 7 March, notes 2 and 3 (above).
4. On 18 July the Council ordered Maj. Gen. James Warren to draft out of the training band and alarm list of each county every twenty-fifth man, “their pay and Establishment . . . to be the same as is Allow'd in the Continental Army.” Their service confined to the province and extending to 1 Dec., they were raised to replace the five regiments that Gen. Washington had ordered to march to New York (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1, Reel No. 9, Unit 3, p. 89–91).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0186

Author: Cushing, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-29

From William Cushing

[salute] Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your favor of the 9th June, which I did not receive till the 15th instant, when I came to town for inoculation; general permission having been given by authority therefor, and that being the last day: I had just returnd from Falmouth time enough to take hold of the Opportunity.
I have the pleasure to congratulate you on the light and easy manner, in which Mrs. Adams and your family, as well as Mr. Cranche's have gone through the disorder. Upon this occasion, people are collected here from all quarters by thousands, Col. Warren and wife, Mr. Sargeant and his new wife, Pincin,1 Lowell with his children, Dana with his wife and child, &c., &c. This is the 14th day with Mrs. Cushing and Me; the Symtoms have been somewhat disagreeable, owing chiefly, I imagine, to the present warmth of the Season, but I have only three pox that come to any thing, which are filling, she not more, both of us likely to be rid of the distemper soon. As to the affair of appointments, I had diverse times heard before, and felt, your generous and disinterested behavior—but rejoice that it is, as it is—having beforehand dictated the same thing to diverse Reps. [Representatives?] our way.2
Col. Warren has absolutely refused. Our minds are still upon Sargeant; if peradventure he may be once more appointed, he will accept. Brother Foster and Sullivan are fond of the matter and are determined to say all they can to bring it to pass. With respect to the manner of our holding courts, we did it perhaps, with as much Solemnity as heretofore, and with better acceptance than when last attending; our sitting being to all appearance agreeable to people of all ranks and degrees. By an order of General Court we took up all actions standing on the book continued before, and continued them again, { 420 } also by like power admitted entry of appeals and complaints which had fallen to the ground by the failure of Courts, giving Judgment on defaults, but continuing such matters as were any ways open to dispute, and ordering notice to be given to adverse parties, by those bringing actions forward. At Ipswich, where we whil'd away the time till Friday morning, the Grand jury found four bills, two for theft, one for housebreaking the other for robbery on the high way, but leaving out the felonies, being determined to have no hanging matters in hand, till you come to help pull a rope. Indeed the man robbed (of some paper money) was absent and out of the province, so that the felony could not have been proved, had it been laid. Two pleaded guilty; the housebreaker, who in a drunken fit blundered into Dr. Putnam's house in Salem3 at midnight, mistaking the house where his sweetheart lived, and the Robber were tried and convicted, and all punished. Great number of Complaints were entred at Ipswich. No jury trial in any civil action. Attornies present, Pincin, Sargeant, Lowell, Mansfield—Hichborn, Morton, two Parsonses and Wetmore;4 the five last being admitted to their oaths on motion, without delaying a term, considering the Scarcity of Lawyers arising from deaths toryism and running their country. Mansfield was appointed to act instead of Attorney General; government not having given us one yet, and the three first Gentlemen not coming in till the Charge was over. Sargeant and Lowell came directly from General Court, to which they belong. Both at Ipswich and York we were introduced by the Sheriffs with some degree of pomp and Respect. Moulton5 was particularly zealous in the matter. At York and Falmouth we adjourned the Courts to Monday 5 oC. afternoon before the next terms respectively, as Mr. Sewall was at Council and Bradbury6 desired the same favor. No bills at York. No Grand jury at Falmouth, the venires to Lincoln, miscarrying. But the Cumberland jurors appeared, which were insufficient to make a Pannel. The two last Courts were very Short, especially Falmouth. Col. Sparhawk was over at York at the opening of Court and Parson Stevens7 and dined with us. All things went on decently and in Order.
Brother Foster Winthrop and I went over to Kittery and Spent a day and a night with the Colonel and view'd the forts there, which with what nature has done, seem a Sufficient defence of Portsmouth from any naval Attacks. John Wait our Sheriff at Falmouth is a very likely man and will make a very good Officer. The ruins of Falmouth are truly melancholy to behold: All below Bradbury's house, and both Sides of what they called Kingstreet, with old Parson Smith's house at { 421 } the head of it, are in ashes—excepting only Mrs. Rosses Two houses standing together, which Mowat drew up his Ship against, as it is said, to prevent our people from setting fire to.8 At the foot of Kingstreet Brother Sullivan has built a fine battery, besides diverse others in convenient places for annoying the Ships, also there are two considerable forts on the Top of the great hill.
Your declaration of Independence happend in good season, to preclude all shorn proposals and pretences of reconciliation. We hear of ten thousands Germans on their way to New York, when tis said their army will amount to nigh 20,000, and not more. I hope this Summer will put a Settled period to the Sanguine impudent expectations of Tyranny. Low regimen, mercurials and the operation of Small pox have prevented my writing you Sooner. By Act of General Court we are to hold Superior Court at Brantree; but I imagine Boston will be sufficiently clear of Infection to hold it here by the fourth Tuesday of August. Yr. affte. Friend & humble Servt.
[signed] Wm. Cushing
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “J Cushing July 29. 1776.”
1. In May, Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant had married Mary Pickering. William Pynchon (1723–1789) was a Salem lawyer and loyalist, who had refused to flee the country (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:577; 11:295–301).
2. Cushing is referring to JA's expressed wish that another, probably Cushing himself, had been named chief justice (see JA to Cushing, 9 June, note 1, above).
3. Dr. Ebenezer Putnam (1717–1788), a successful Salem physician, had bought a house on the corner of the present Washington and Church streets (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:395–397).
4. Probably Perez Morton, who had been admitted to the Suffolk co. bar in 1774; Theophilus Parsons (1750–1813), later a distinguished jurist and teacher of law students, and possibly Moses Parsons (1744–1801), who returned from New Hampshire to practice law in Haverhill; William Wetmore (1749–1830), who practiced in Salem in association with Pynchon (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:555–561, 190–207; 16: 196; 17:447–451). Isaac Mansfield, as mentioned below, acted as attorney general for this session (Minute Books, Superior Court of Judicature, Microfilms, Reel No. 4).
5. Jotham Moulton was appointed sheriff for York co. on 29 Aug. 1775 (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1, Reel No. 9, Unit 1, p. 68).
6. Theophilus Bradbury (1739–1803), lawyer in Falmouth (Portland, Maine) and later in Newburyport (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:143–146).
7. Nathaniel Sparhawk of Kittery, colonel in the militia and son-in-law of Sir William Pepperrell, hero of Louisbourg (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 510; Byron Fairchild, Messrs. William Pepperrell, Merchants of Piscataqua, Ithaca, N.Y., 1954, p. 140–141). Rev. Benjamin Stevens (1721–1791), Kittery Point pastor, a man of culture and close friend of William Pepperrell, once considered for the presidency of Harvard and later awarded a D.D. by Harvard (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:535–539).
8. Capt. Henry Mowatt's burning of the town in Oct. 1775 had shocked all New England. That Cushing's description of the extent of the damage is accurate is apparent from a map of the affected area inserted in the back of William Willis, The History of Portland, facsim. of 1865 2d edn., Portland, Maine, 1972. The map shows that all the buildings on Falmouth Neck north-east of Theophilus Bradbury's house, { 422 } with the exception of two houses belonging to Mrs. Alexander Ross, were burned. At the time, these houses were occupied by Mrs. Ross' son-in-law, Sheriff William Tyng, a supporter of the King. In the whole town all but one hundred houses were destroyed, including that of Rev. Thomas Smith, who had come to Falmouth as a young man in 1725 (History of Portland, p. 360, 511, note 1; 515, note 1; 516–523).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0187

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-29

From Henry Knox

[salute] Sir

Mr. Paine has done me the honor to write to me on the subject of casting cannon, in consequence of which Mr. Byers a Cannon founder from this place has proceeded to Philadelphia.1 I take the liberty to beg he may be set to work immediately and if upon a large scale the advantages must be proportionate. As every hint to a Gentleman in Acting in your important Station may be attended with good consequences, I also take the liberty of mentioning the Importance of the working the Copper mine in the Jersies.2 The members of Congress from that Province can without doubt give you some good information Respecting it. I am informd if the works were repaird 100 tons a Year might be gotten from it. If so it is of infinite consequence that it should be look'd into. I hope the importance of the Affair will be a sufficient excuse for my troubling you with it.3 Wishing you every blessing in life I am with the utmost Respect, Your Most ObDt Hble Servant
[signed] Henry Knox
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; stamped: “N*York, July 29 FREE”; docketed: “Knox July 29. 1776.”
1. In his capacity as member of a cannon committee, Robert Treat Paine had written to Knox on 16 July, informing him that the congress would probably employ James Byers for casting brass cannon (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:12 and notes there).
2. The richest copper deposits in New Jersey were found about 1719 in the town of Hanover, Hudson co., where the Schuyler mine was established. This and one near Bound Brook were worked in the Revolutionary period. Mines near New Brunswick and Somerville were worked during the colonial period but abandoned because of labor costs (J. Leander Bishop, A History of American Manufactures from 1608 to 1860, 2 vols., Phila., 1864, 1:546–548).
3. JA replied on 13 Aug. (LbC, Adams Papers, not printed), assuring Knox that the cannon committee would take advantage of New Jersey copper. JA also offered to send Knox directions for making fireships. On this subject, see JA to James Warren, 9 June, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0188

Author: Washington, George
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-29

George Washington to the Board of War

[salute] Gentn

At length I have been able to comply with the first part of a Resolution of Congress of the 27 Ultimo relative to a return of the vacancies { 423 } in the Several Regiments composing that part of the Army under my immediate command.1
I thought to have made this Return much sooner, but the dispersed situation of our Troops—the constant duty they are upon—the difficulty of getting returns when this is the case, especially when those Returns are more than probable to undergo several corrections and the variety of Important Occurrences which have intervened of late to withdraw the attention from this matter will I hope, be admitted as an excuse, and the delay not ascribed to any disinclination in me to comply with the order, as I shall while I have the honor to remain in the service of the United States obey to the utmost of my power and to the best of my Abilities, all orders of Congress with a scrupulous exactness.
With respect to the latter part of the aforementioned Resolution of the 27 of June, I have to observe that I have handed in the Names of such persons as the Feild Officers of the Several Regiments and their Brigadiers have pointed out as proper persons to fill those vacancies. I have niether added to, or diminished ought from their choice, unless the following special information which I conceivd my indispensible duty to give, should occasion any alterations.
For the 20th Regiment then, late Arnolds, there are two Competitors, to wit Col. Durkee the present Lieut. Col. who has had charge of the Regiment ever since the first establishment of It, and Lt. Col. Tyler of Parson's Regiment. The pretensions of both and a State of the case, I have subjoined to the list of vacancies given in by Genl. Spencer as I have also done in the case of Colo. Learned to another list Exhibited by Genl. Heath. If Learned returns to the Regiment, the Vacancies stand right. If he should not, I presume the Regiment will be given to the Lieut. Colo. Wm. Shepherd who stands next to Tyler in Rank and not second to him in reputation.2 This change would in its consequences occasion seviral moves. There is a third matter in which I must be more particular, as It is unnoticed elsewhere, and that is, the Lieut. Colonel of Wyllys's Regiment,3 Rufus Putnam acts here as a Cheif Engineer, by which means the Regiment is totally deprived of his services, and to remove him from that department, the public would sustain a Capital Injury: for altho he is not a man of scientific knowledge, he is indefatigable in business and possesses more practical knowledge in the art of Engineering than any other we have in this Camp or Army. I would humbly submit It therefore to Congress, whether It might not be best to give him (Putnam) the appointment of Engineer with the pay of sixty dollars per Month:4 less than which I do not suppose he would accept as I have been obliged in order to { 424 } encourage him to push the business forward in this our extreme hurry to give him reasons to believe that his Lt. Colo. pay would be made equal to this sum. If this appointment should take place then, It makes a vacancy in Wyllys's Regiment which I understand he is desirous of having filled by Majr. Henley5 an active and Spirited Officer, now a Brigade Major to Genl. Heath.
I am sorry to take up so much of your time as the recital of these particular cases and some others require, but there is no avoiding It unless Congress would be pleased to appoint one or more persons in whom they can confide, to visit this part of the Army once a Month—Inspect into It, and fill up the Vacancies as shall appear proper to them upon the Spot. This cannot be attended with any great trouble, nor much expence, as It is only in the part of the Army under my immediate direction that such a regulation would be necessary, the Officers commanding in other Departments having I beleive this power already given them.6
I have the honor to inclose a list of the Officers of the Regiments at this place and long ago directed the like return to be made from the Northern and Eastern Troops which I hope is complied with. I also make return of the Artillery according to Colo. Knox's report and of the Ordnance Stores &c. agreable to the Commissary's Return.
I come now to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 20 Instant with seviral Inclosures relative to a proposal of Mr. Goddart7 and beg leave to give It as my Opinion, that the Introduction of that Gentleman into the Army as Lieut. Colo. would be attended with endless confusion. I have spoke to Colo. Parsons who is a very worthy man, upon this subject. I have done more—I have shown him the Memorial: in answer to which he says, that in the conversation had between him and Mr. Goddart, the latter was told, that unless Lieut. Colo. Tyler was provided for—The Major Prentis advanced to a Lieut. Colonelcy in some other Regiment—and his eldest Captain—(Chapman)8 not deprived of his expectation of the Majority, his coming in here would give uneasiness, but nevertheless if It was the pleasure of Congress to make the appointment he would do every thing in his power to make it palatable. If all these Contingencies were to take place before Mr. Goddart could get into a Regiment he had been paving the way to, what prospect can there be of his getting into any other without spreading Jealousy as he goes?
With respect to the Regiment of Artificers, I have only to observe that the forming them into one Corps at the time I did, when immediate Action was expected, was only intended as a Temporary expedi• { 425 } ent to draw that usefull body of near 600 Men into the feild under One head and without confusion. The appointment of Officers therefore in this Instance was merely Nominal and unattended with expence.
The mode of promotion whether in a Continental, Colonial or Regimental line, being a matter of some consideration and delicacy to determine, I thought It expedient to know the Sentiments of the Genl. Officers upon the consequences of each, before I offered my own to your Board, and have the honour to inform you that It is thier unanimous Opinion, as It is also mine from Observations on the Temper and local Attachments of each Corps to the Members thereof, that Regimental promotions would be much the most pleasing; but this it is thought had better appear in practice than come announced as a Resolution, and that there ought to be Exceptions in favour of extraordinary merit on the one hand and demerit on the other—the first to be rewarded out of the common course of promotion whilst the other might stand and sustain no Injury. It is a very difficult matter to Step out of the Regimental line now, without giving much Inquietude to the Corps in which it happens. Was It then to be declared as the Resolution of Congress, that all promotions should go in this way without some strong qualifying clauses, It would be almost impossible to do It without creating a mutiny. This is the sense of my Officers. As also that the Promotions by succession are not meant to extend to Non Commissioned Officers further than Circumstances of good behavior &c. may direct.
As the list of Vacancies are returned in consequence of an Order of Congress and would I doubt not be referred to your Board, I have sent no Duplicate—nor have I wrote to Congress on the Subject, but that I may not appear inattentive to their Commands, I must request the favor of having this Letter or the substance of It laid before them. I have the Honor to be Genle. &c.
[signed] G.W.
LbC (DLC: Washington Papers); the names of all five members of the Board are written at the end.
1. JCC, 5:486.
2. These promotions, as well as that of Prentiss brought up below, had been mentioned by S. H. Parsons to JA in letters of 20 May and 24 July (above).
3. The 22d Continental Infantry, commanded by Samuel Wyllys (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 608).
4. The congress complied on 5 Aug. (JCC, 5:630).
5. David Henly became deputy adjutant general to Gen. Spencer on 6 Sept. (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 285).
6. The final phrase of this sentence was substituted for a line and a half heavily crossed out. Washington perhaps preferred more diplomatic phrasing than his first attempt. At any rate his apparent pique in being treated differently from other generals was not missed by the congress. In response to a recommendation from the Board of War the president wrote to explain that { 426 } he was not being treated differently and to assure Washington that if the congress decided to permit generals to fill up vacancies, he would be the one most trusted to do it (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:349, note 18).
7. In a petition signed 21 June and read by the Board of War on the 24th, William Goddard sought appointment as a field officer in one of two regiments lacking a colonel. Such a place, he felt, would compensate him for the losses he had sustained as surveyor under the postmaster general (PCC, No. 42, III, f. 176–178).
8. James Chapman became a major in the 10th Continental Infantry on 15 Aug. (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 151).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0189

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Heath, William
Date: 1776-08-03

To William Heath

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 20th. Ultimo is before me. I am much obliged to you for it, and most heartily wish for a more free and intimate Communication of Sentiments, upon the State both of our Councils and Arms. I should be happy, in a few Hours Conversation, but as this cannot be, I must be content with a Letter.
We have now a Nation to protect and defend; and I can easily see the Propriety of the observation you quote from the Prussian Hero, that the Prosperity of a State depends upon the Discipline of its Army. This Discipline reared the Roman Empire and the British: and the American will Stand or fall, in my Opinion, according as it adheres to or deviates from the Same Discipline.
If there is not Wisdom and Vigour enough in the civil Government to Support the military Officers, in introducing and establishing Such a Discipline; it must be owing to the Advantages of soil and Climate, and our extream Distance from our Enemies, not to our own Strength, Virtue, or Wisdom, if We do not fail.
The Army must be well officered, Armed, disciplined, fed, cloathed, covered, and paid. In these Respects We do, as well as We can. Time, I hope, will assist Us. And every Officer of the Army, would do well to suggest to his Friends and Correspondents in Congress, and in the Legislatures of the Several States, every defect, and every Improvement in those Particulars, which occurs to him. I am in more Anxiety for Cloaths and Tents than any Thing. Because the Health as well as Discipline of the Army, depend much upon them.
We shall never do well, untill We get a regular Army, and this will never be, untill Men are inlisted for a longer Duration, and that will never be effected untill We are more generous in our Encouragement to Men. But I am convinced that Time alone, will perswade Us to this Measure: and in the mean Time We shall, very indiscreetly waste a much greater Expence than would be necessary for this great Purpose { 427 } in temporary Calls upon Militia, besides risquing the Loss of many Lives, and much Reputation.
Congress has not determined to have no Regard to the Line of succession in Promotions, but only that this Line Shall not be an invariable Rule. Caeteris paribus,1 the Line will be pursued, But they mean to reserve a Right of distinguishing extraordinary Merit, or Demerit. This Rule may be abused, But is it not necessary? All good Things are liable to abuse. I am afraid, nay I know it will be abused, in particular Instances. But if We make the succession an invariable Rule, will not the Abuses be greater?
Is it not common in the British Army, to promote junior Officers, over the Heads of their Superiours? Nay even Officers in the Same Regiment and on the Same Command? I have been told of several Instances. This however is wrong.
Your opinions of Men and Things, I wish I knew in more detail, because I have a good opinion of your Judgment of both, and I fear, situated, as I am, many Things relating to both may not have come to my Knowledge, that I ought to know. As the first officer in the Massachusetts service, you have in some sort the Patronage of all the Officers of that State. I hope you will recommend the best Men, for Promotion. I confess myself very ignorant of the military Characters from that State.
By some Expressions in the Close of your Letter, I conclude you were not perfectly Satisfyed with a late Promotion.2 Be assured, sir, if that was raising a Junior Officer, over the Head of any Superiour, it was not considered in that light by the Gentlemen who did it. The Person promoted was thought to be the oldest Brigadier, and intituled to Advancement by the Line of succession. And it is my Opinion he would have been made a Major General, much sooner if his Experience had not been thought indispensable in the Adjutant Generals Department. I am, Sir with great Respect, your Affectionate servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Heath Papers); addressed, on a separate cover with seal: “The Hon. General Heath New York Favored by Coll Tudor.”
1. Other things being equal.
2. The reference is to the promotion of Horatio Gates.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0190

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hitchcock, Daniel
Date: 1776-08-03

To Daniel Hitchcock

[salute] Sir

Your obliging Favour of the 22, Ultimo came duely to Hand, and I thank you for it. A free Correspondence between the Members of { 428 } Congress and the Officers of the Army, will probably be attended with Advantages to the public by improving both the Councils and Arms of America.
The Burthen of contracting for Cloaths, Arms, and Accoutrements, for the Regiments ought not to lie upon the Collonells. A Paymaster for each Regiment has been ordered by Congress,1 and if this Officer is not enough, if a Representation, was made of it, another would be appointed. But I suppose a Paymaster would answer all the Purposes, if not be so good as to point out to me, what other Regulation is needfull.
There is Some Ground for your Observation, that Officers are advanced faster to Posts of Honour, to the Southward than Northward. But I cannot think that the Instance you have mentioned, is a Proof of it, or that in that Case the Promotions were exceptionable. You Say that every one, who was Collonell there last year, has been this year made a General. This in two illustrious Instances, Henry and Gadsden did not hold,2 But in the other Cases it was not Wrong. Mercer, Lewis, More, and How, were not only Men of Fortune, and Figure, in their Countries, and in civil Imployments, but they were all, veteran Soldiers, and had been Collonells, in a former War.3 It is true, their Provincial Legislatures had made them only Collonells last year, and the Reason was because they only raised Regiments, not Brigades. But as soon as those Colonies came to raise Brigades, it was but reasonable, these Officers should be appointed Brigadeers. These Officers stood in the Light of Thomas, Fry, Whitcomb, Putnam, &c. &c. with this difference, that the Gentlemen themselves were Superiour in Point of Property and Education. Besides, it has been our constant Endeavour, that each State should have, a reasonable Number of General Officers in Proportion to the Number of Troops they raise. It should be considered that We have constituents to Satisfy as well as the Army, and Colonies to rank, as well as Collonells, and Generals. Massachusetts has most Cause of Complaint upon this Head. That there have not been many Promotions of Collonells to the Northward, is true. But how can it be avoided. If I were left to myself, to my Judgment and Inclination, I should not hesitate a Moment. But, We must not deviate from the Line of succession. If We do, We are threatened with Disgusts and Resignations. And how can We follow the Line? Wooster, Heath and Spencer, ought to be made Major Generals <in my Opinion>. But Is this the Opinion of the Army?
Reed, Nixon, Prescott and others, the oldest Collonells, and veteran soldiers and undoubtedly <the bravest of> brave Officers. But, there is { 429 } not one Gentleman in this Congress, I believe who knows the Face of any one of them except the last—or that ever received a Letter from any one of them.4 What are their Educations, their Abilities, their Knowledge of the World, their sentiments? Have they that Authority and Command, which a General Officer ought to have, and which is so essential to the Discipline of an Army, upon which according to the K. of Prussia the intire Prosperity of every State depends.
My own opinion is, that it is Safest to promote these Officers in Succession, but I fear it will never be done. It never will unless the General recommends it, and I dont believe he will do it. Besides the Colonies want and will have their shares of Generals, except the Massachusetts.
Such is the Nature of Mankind in Society, especially in Armies, that I believe it is best to pursue the Line of succession in Promotions excepting extraordinary Cases of Merit and Demerit. But if it would not occasion Confusion, I think a General Officer ought to be a Man of Letters, Taste and sense, and therefore Parsons, Varnum,5 Hitchcock, and others of the like Character would certainly have my Vote. But then you know that old Officers, would tare up the Ground, if such youths, and inexperienced People, as they would express themselves were put over their Heads.
I have written with great Freedom, in Confidence that no ill use will be made of it. I wish your sentiments upon these subjects with the Same Candor.
The Affair of the Bounty, has given me Uneasiness enough to no Purpose. I see We shall never get a regular, permanent Army, but must go on patching up an Army every 3 Months, with fresh Militia, at double the Expence. Reason and Experience are Sometimes lost upon the Wisest and the best of Men <who have been accustomed to be governed by Caprice>.6
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. See S. H. Parsons to JA, 7 July, note 2 (above).
2. Patrick Henry and Christopher Gadsden, the latter being promoted to brigadier general on 16 Sept. (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 286, 240).
3. Hugh Mercer (ca. 1725–1777), Pennsylvania physician, was promoted during the French and Indian War to colonel of the third battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment. He was commandant of Fort Pitt after the capture of Fort Duquesne. A friend of Washington, he moved to Fredericksburg, Va., after the war and returned to the practice of medicine. Early in the Revolution he was named colonel of the 3d Virginia Regiment. Andrew Lewis (1720–1781), of Botetourt co., Va., a well-to-do planter, had fought in the French and Indian War but achieved fame for his victory over the Indians at Point Pleasant in 1774, which was significant in pacifying the frontier for the early years of the Revolution. James { 430 } Moore (1737–1777), of New Hanover co., N.C., was a captain in the French and Indian War, for some years a member of the colonial legislature, and a prominent Son of Liberty. When Gov. Tryon marched against the Regulators, Moore went as a colonel of artillery, but he was an adamant opponent of Great Britain. He served on his county's committee of safety and sat in the Third Provincial Congress, which appointed him colonel of the 1st North Carolina Regiment. Robert Howe (1732–1786), a wealthy North Carolina rice planter, served for some years in the colonial assembly. He went on Gov. Tryon's expedition as a colonel of artillery. With the outbreak of the Revolution he sat in the provincial congresses. In 1775 he was appointed colonel of the 2d North Carolina Regiment (all four men in DAB).
4. James Reed, John Nixon, and William Prescott had been named on 1 Jan. 1776 colonels of the 2d, 4th, and 7th Continental Infantry regiments, respectively. Prescott, of course, was a hero at Bunker Hill. Reed and Nixon were named brigadier generals on 9 Aug. (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 461, 414, 452).
5. James Mitchell Varnum (1748–1789), lawyer, friend of Nathanael Greene, and colonel of the 9th Continental Infantry. He became a Continental brigadier general in Feb. 1777 (DAB).
6. In place of the canceled clause JA interlined “the Wisest and the best of.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0191

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Date: 1776-08-03

To Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of 24. July is before me. Your Observations concerning the Encouragement We ought to give, to soldiers to inlist I think are just, but a Wisdom Superiour to mine determines otherwise, and therefore I must take it for granted that it is Superiour Wisdom to live from Hand to Mouth, to depend upon fresh Reinforcements of raw Militia every three Months, instead of a regular well disciplined Army.
The Rule of Promotion is still unsettled, and I believe will continue so. The Time will soon arrive, when every State will appoint its own Officers and fill all Vacancies, under a General Officer. For my own Part I have Sometimes thought the best Rule would be to make the Promotion of Captains and subalterns Regimental, and of Field Officers colonial. To make it continental is impracticable. The Case of Coll. Tyler and Coll. Durkee, will be considered by the Board of War, this Evening. How they will determine I know not. It will be determined, with Integrity, I am very sure. I hope with Judgment, and in a manner that will give Satisfaction. But this I am fully convinced of, that every Promotion, almost without Exception, that ever will be made, let it be done with ever so much skill, and ever so much Integrity, let us observe what Rule We may will give discontent open or secret to somebody or other. There is no Possibility of giving universal satisfaction to great Numbers of Men.
Your Memorial has been duely attended to, and is under Consider• { 431 } ation of a Committee.1 It is a difficult Case. I am, with Respect, your humble Servant
1. See Parsons to JA, 24 July, note 5 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0192

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1776-08-03

Elbridge Gerry to Samuel and John Adams

[salute] My dear sirs

Since I wrote You from New York,1 I have spent most of my Time in endeavouring to get Information of the true State of Things in the eastern Colonies.
With Respect to the Levies for New York and the northern Department they are nearly compleated. I have wrote to the president giving an Account of them and proposing an order of Congress for reinforcing the Army at New York with one of the continental Battalions at Rhode Island and another at Connecticut raised for this Government, and desired him to communicate the same to his Colleagues which You will undoubtedly attend to if You think it of Importance.
I have heard this Morning that Colo. Warren has received a Letter mentioning Mr. Pain's Illness and your Intention to set off for N England in a fortnights' Time; and that the Government would be unrepresented.2 I left Boston yesterday and the Letter had not then arrived, but Mr. Edes mentions it as a Fact communicated to him by Colonel or rather Major General Warren and therefore I have no Doubt of it. I should have been glad that You had tarryed untill my Return, as the Absence of so many at one Time will I fear be considered by the people as a discourageing Circumstance; but I shall at all Events Return in a Week or ten Days from hence notwithstanding It will be impossible in so short a Time to benefit much by the Journey, and to recover from a febrile State which the southern Climate has fixed upon me and within this Day or two I find increased.
A General Officer must be appointed to take the Command of the Troops in Boston, and I know of none that will better answer the purpose than General Lincoln; but as he is a Major General of the Militia the Government will not suffer him to be removed from the State if they have any Regard for their own Security.3 I would therefore propose that the Assembly be directed to appoint to the Command of the Troops on Continental pay in this Government one of their General Officers who shall be invested with all the powers of a Brigadier in this State, receive the same pay, and not be removed { 432 } therefrom without a Resolve of the Assembly. This may be done without Loss of Time and as General Ward proposes in a Day or two when the Remainder of the Continental Batalions are marched from Boston to return Home (by Consent of General Washington as I am informed by the former) and there will be left no officer to order a supply of provisions or military Stores for the Garrison, It must be done that the Troops may be supplyed agreable to the Intentions of Congress Out of the continental Magazines in this Government. Had there been left a continental officer of any Kind in the military Department this would not have been necessary, but the Assembly having raised two Colonial Batalions for the Defence of the Government previous to the order of Congress for that purpose, have determined to make them perform the Service of the two Continental Batalions ordered by Congress as aforesaid4 and receive pay agreable to the Colonial which is less than the continental Establishment. Thus the Continent will make a saving in the pay of the two Batalions, while the Government is secure in having the Matter so conducted that they cannot be removed from it without an Order from the Assembly: but at the same Time it is evident that neither the Officers of these Regiments nor of the Militia that is to supply the places of the five Batalions already marched or ordered from Boston5 can command the provisions or military Stores of the Continent and that therefore an officer must be appointed, by Congress or its order for that purpose.
I have had the pleasure of seeing both Mrs. Adams and find them and Families in fine Health and Spirits. Mrs. Samuel Adams is removed from her own Habitation to a House near Liberty Tree, and with the greatest pleasure speaks of the Inconveniences she has suffered as trifling and such as must always be expected at the forming a mighty Empire. Mrs. John Adams with two of her little Heroes by her Side is perfectly recovered of the small pox; the others are in a fair Way. Generals Warren, Lincoln Mrs. Bodwoin and a Number of our other Friends are recovered. Mrs. Warren in a good Way, poor Colo. Lem. Robinson dyed by imprudently pumping Cold Water on his Arm after getting well of the Distemper. Several who supposed they had gone thro Innoculation are now taken down the natural Way or the Town might soon have been cleansed from Infection.
I like the Looks of Things in general very well; the Army at New York will I think be in a good Situation; Gates will be soon reinforced and by the best Accounts able to make an effectual Stand at Ticonderoga; the Convention of New York are very firm and determined, and I beleive We shall scarcely have the pleasure of seeing again in { 433 } Congress our old Friend Mr. <L>—— or any other suspected Characters.6
By strict Enquiry into the State of the Militia in the Jersies and Colonies eastward thereof, I find by the most authentick Evidence to be at this Time procured that in the Jersies the currber of Fire Arms including those in the Service are   10000  
New York by the Convention Estimate about   20000  
Connecticut by Governor Trumbul's about   32000  
Rhode Island about   6000  
Massachusetts at least   35000  
New Hamshire at least   8000  
  111,000  
By this Schedule We have eastward of Hudson's River at least 100000 Men well armed, a Force sufficient to repulse the Enemy if they were forty thousand strong at New York and Canada and We were obliged to fight them with double Numbers and leave a sufficient Number of the Militia to withstand any Diversions that may be made this Way.
I hope We shall be able to give a pretty good Account of the Hessian and Scotch Gentry in the last Fleet and remain with great Sincerity and Respect your Assured Friend & hum sert
[signed] E Gerry
PS. I shall be glad to know how Mr. Pain is and whether there is any Difficulty in his Case. Hope e'er this arrives he will be in a fair Way of Recovering.
Are any effectual Measures taken to recruit the new Army? It is a Matter of great Moment, and people are generally anxious about it in the N England States. If Congress should vote a Bounty of Land, and recommend to the States that could supply more than their proportion to do it on reasonable Terms, and send their proposals to Congress; the States that have no Lands may be assessed for the Money to be given those States that should furnish Lands for them.
One thing I had forgot to mention that is favourable to this Government and New Hamshire; the Drought which threatned them greatly, was followed by a seasonable and plentiful Rain whereby the Corn Flax &c were greatly releived and there is a good prospect of a plentiful after Feed.7 Hay is indeed Dear, but as the Camp is removed from the Government I doubt not the Inhabitants will get thro with their Stocks as well as the last Season. Provisions will not be wanting.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Gerry”; and in a different hand: “Aut 3. 1776.”
1. 21 July (above).
2. The letter is probably JA's to James Warren of 27 July (above), which describes Paine's illness; but although JA insisted that he was returning to Massachusetts, he did not say that he was { 434 } leaving in a fortnight. Thus Gerry could be referring to a letter from Samuel Adams.
3. Benjamin Lincoln did not become a major general in the Continental Army until Feb. 1777 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 351).
4. Probably Gerry is referring to the regiment commanded by Josiah Whitney, which was authorized in early April, and that commanded by Thomas Marshall, authorized soon afterward (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 4th sess., p. 90, 105, 221; same, 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 19). On 16 May the congress requested two additional regiments from Massachusetts, as well as one from Connecticut, to serve in the eastern department (JCC, 4:360). These the House of Representatives discussed over a period of some days, but concluded on 17 June to take no action until it had heard further from the congress (House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 32). The terms “battalion” and “regiment” were frequently used interchangeably.
5. On 5 July the congress had authorized Washington to withdraw three Continental regiments from Boston for service at Ticonderoga and on the 8th two more regiments for service in New York (JCC, 5:522, 527). To take the place of the Continental regiments, the Massachusetts Council on 18 July, when the General Court was in recess, ordered a draft (see Joseph Ward to JA, 28 July, note 4, above).
6. Probably Philip Livingston. See Hugh Hughes to JA, 31 March, note 6, and JA to William Heath, 15 April, note 4 (both above). Livingston, however, did remain in the congress through 1776, although, judging from the record of its proceedings, he did not play a prominent role (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:lix).
7. That is, after grazing (OED). Forage crops will be plentiful after pasture and stubble no longer suffice.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0193

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1776-08-04

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favour of the 14 of July is before me. I am happy to find your Sentiments concerning the Rewards of the Army, and the Promotion of Officers So nearly agreable to mine. I wish the general sense here was more nearly agreable to them. Time I hope will introduce a proper sense of Justice in those Cases where it may for Want of Knowledge and Experience be wanting.
The New England Collonells, you observe, are jealous, that southern Officers are treated with more Attention than they, because Several of the Southern Collonells have been made Generals, but not one of them.
Thompson, was Somehow or other, the first Collonell, upon the Establishment, and So intituled to Promotion, by succession, and it was also supposed by Ability and Merit. This ought not therefore to give offence. Mercer, Lewis, Howe, More, were veteran Officers, and Stood in the Light of Putnam Thomas, Fry, Whitcomb &c. among the New England officers. Added to this, We have endeavoured, to give Colonies General Officers in Some Proportion to their Troops. And Colonies have nice feelings about Rank as well as Collonells. So that I dont think, our Collonell's have just Cause to complain of { 435 } these Promotions. Lord Sterling, was a Person so distinguished by Fortune, Family, and the Rank and Employments he had held in civil Life, added to his Experience in military Life that it was thought, no great Uneasiness would be occasioned by his Advancement. Mifflin, was a Gentleman of Family, and Fortune in his Country, of the best Education and Abilities, of great Knowledge of the World, and remarkable Activity. Besides this, the Rank he had held as a Member of the Legislature of this Province, and a Member of Congress, and his great Merit in the civil Department, in Subduing the Quaker and Proprietarian Interests added to the Tory Interests of this Province to the American system of Union, and especially his <surprising> Activity and success in infusing into this Province a martial Spirit and Ambition which it never felt before, were thought Sufficient Causes for his Advancement.
Besides all this my dear sir, there is a political Motive. Military Characters in the southern Colonies, are few—they have never known much of War and it is not easy to make a People Warlike who have never been so. All the Encouragement, and every Incentive therefore, which can be given with Justice ought to be given, in order to excite an Ambition among them, for military Honours.
But after all, my dear Sir, I wish I could have a few Hours free Conversation with you upon this important Subject. A General Officer, ought to be a Gentleman of Letters, and General Knowledge, a Man of Address and Knowledge of the World. He should carry with him Authority, and Command. There are among the New England Officers, Gentlemen who are equal to all this. Parsons, Hitchcock, Varnum, and others younger than they and inferiour to them too in command. But these, are a great Way down, in the List of Collonells. And to promote them over the Heads of so many Veterans, would throw all into Confusion. Reed, Nixon, and Prescott, are the oldest Collonells. <The two first> They are <universally> allowed to be experienced Officers, and brave Men. But I believe there is not one Member of Congress who knows the face of either of them. And what their Accomplishments are, I know not. I really wish, you would give me your Advice freely upon these Subjects in Confidence. It is not every Piece of Wood that will do, to make a Mercury.1 And Bravery alone, is not a Sufficient Qualification for a General Officer. Name me a New England Collonell of whose real Qualifications, I can Speak with Confidence, who is intituled to Promotion by succession and If I do not get him made a General Officer, I will join the N. E. Collonells, and outclamour the loudest of them2 in their Jealousy <nay I will { 436 } go further>. There is a real difficulty, attending this subject, which I know not how to get over. Pray help me. I believe, there would be no Difficulty in obtaining Advancement for some of the N. E. Collonells here. But by promoting them over the Heads of So many, there would be a Difficulty in the Army. Poor Massachusetts will fare the worst.3
1. A sign- or guidepost (OED).
2. The phrase “and outclamour the loudest of them” was written by JA above the line, overlapping the final words of the sentence and the canceled phrase. No indication was given as to whether it should be inserted here or at the end of the sentence.
3. This final sentence is in the hand of CFA, who apparently had access to the recipient's copy.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0194

Author: Mifflin, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-05

From Thomas Mifflin

[salute] Dear Mr. Adams

Monsieur Weibert who was orderd by Congress to this Post has requested me to apply in his Behalf to you for Rank and pay in our Army; and has desird me to give you my Opinion of his Conduct and Services.
Monsieur Weibert is in my Opinion a Gentleman of much Knowledge in his profession. He has been very, attentive to the perfecting this post and has never absented himself One Hour from his Duty once he arrivd here. Whoever is to command here, while the Works are incompleat, will find Monsieur of infinite Service to him. As a Man of Science and Business I think he is further entitled to the pay of Lieutenant Colonel.2 Rank no Doubt is his principal Object. Indeed it is essential to the Service as he cannot otherwise command Captains and Subalterns who Superintend work, or Fatigue, parties. The Rank and pay of Lt Col may not be too great a Reward for his Services. The whole however is submitted to you at his Request to solicit or not as you think proper. I am Sir affecty. Yours
[signed] T Mifflin
1. The high ground on which Fort Washington was situated, 230 feet above the Hudson River (Johnston, Campaign around New York and Brooklyn, p. 263).
2. Antoine Felix Weibert was named lieutenant colonel on 14 Aug. (JCC, 5:656).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0195

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-06

From Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Mr. Adams

Yours of the 17th. Ultimo1 I have received, As to the Massachusetts raising more Men—would say, the seaports are driand very much by there going a privateering &c. and the late success of One belonging { 437 } here (Cap. White)2 who with Another has taken four ships &c. two are in att the Eastward. One between 4 and 500 hhds claid Barbadoes Sugars, the Other from Antigua. His success, now with two other prizes, sent in before, makes every body this way going upon the business.3 There is now four or 5 fiting Out. One sails to day. We have had Our Coast pretty clear for sometime till lately, and a ship or two are att the Eastward, and have taken A Number of Coasters [ . . . ] fisherman &c. Amongst which I have One by which shall Suffer £300 ster. And last week a ship off Cape Codd took a brig with flour from Phila. We have and are still paying for a Vessell to gaurd the Eastward Coast, but, has been lying in harbour, the chief of his time and doing no service (Obrian).4
I am Anciously concernd as to the event of Our Affairs att York as there must happen some, grand event soon.5 May itt please God to disappoint Our enemies in all there Scheams and bless all Undertakeings for Our defence and priveledge's. I have heard today As though a Number of Vessells were orderd from Connecticut which I think would be of great importance properly managed to stop or set fire to the fleet when they may come to Attack the Town. I suppose the first division of the Hessians are Arrived before now att York, after which there will be a movement.

[salute] I refer you to Mrs. Adams as to the state of your family and friends, and are Yrs &c

PS Old Mr. Bernaid dyed a few days since and is to be entered to day.
2. Capt. Joseph White, commander of the sloop Revenge (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 6:78).
3. Terminal punctuation supplied.
4. Capt. Jeremiah O'Brien, commander of the Machias Liberty, a schooner owned by the state (same).
5. Terminal punctuation supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0196

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-07

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

Reading and writeing have for some time past been Interdicted on Account of the small Pox Affecting my Eyes, which is the reason that you have heard from me so seldom of late. I generally scribble to you when Oppertunity presents whether I have much, or Indeed anything of Consequence to say or not. I Received yours of the 24th. 26. and 27th. July with the Inclosed1 which I have delivered as directed. I cant Express the Uneasiness they have given me. I have all along { 438 } feared that the Continual Application to Business, in a place and Season so unfavourable to Health would be too much for you, but had begun to flatter myself that either from being more used to the Climate, or from A firmer state of Nerves you would be able to go through this Season. I hope A ride will recover you and my good friend the Secretary. This I hope for sincerely both for my own sake and that of the publick, for I know not how to fill your places. Sure I Am that whoever succeeds must go on the great Theatre under great disadvantages. However I am willing to give you all the relief in my power. You should have rest and relaxation. I would therefore make An Addition to the delegation which might serve till you are recruited.2 I have mentioned it to Dana who I think I should like for one. I suppose we shall not be able to perswade Major Hawley. I wish we could. The Others you mention I fear either for want of Abilities or determined resolution will not do. I am sorry to hear that Pain is also sick. Why do you fix yourselves down in A place so unhealthy. Is there no Other on the Continent to which you might Adjourn at least for the summer months. I shall Expect you very soon. Our Friend Mr. Gerry Intends to return next week.
I have no kind of News. Our Attention is turned to New York from which place we Expect something Important very soon. The Spirit of Privateering prevails here, and I think great Numbers will soon be out. The General Court is Prorouged to the last of this month. I hope our Recruits are in the Army at York before now. I have done every thing I can to hurry them. I presume Mrs. Adams will give you A state of your Family by this Post and tell you they are well, and most of them through the small Pox. This distemper has been generally more severe than usual, and Attended with one Circumstance Unusual, and very disagreable the failure of Inoculation in many Instances, and the Uncertainty of it in many Others, by which means many take it in the Natural way. I wish you better Health and every Happiness and am Yours Sincerely
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren Aut 7. 1776.”
1. See JA to Warren, 27 July and note 1 there (above).
2. Have recovered strength and health (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0197

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-08

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Your Favour of the 10th July I have had the honour to receive, but it did not come to hand until the 5th Instant. I am happy to hear { 439 } of the harmony that prevails in the Great Council of the United American States; with respect to the information which was given me, it was from a Southern Gentleman,1 he mentioned no Names, but speaking on the subject of Independence, he said this occasioned such warm debates that it lessened personal esteem, and Independents and Dependents were hardly upon speaking terms; this gave me concern lest through the weakness of some the great Cause might suffer, (for I don't suppose that perfection is given to every one, even in ––). This induced me to mention it: As I conceive it may be of advantage to know what passes of this sort, and knowing that you would make a proper use of every information, therefore I inserted it.
No important occurrences have taken place in this Quarter of late. The last of the five Continental Regiments, which were stationed here when the Army went to New York, marches this day for Ticonderoga: we have now only one Company of the Train, and a few Invalids belonging to the marching Regiments left; two or three thousand men are ordered by the Council to defend our Posts in the room of the Continental Troops. It is expected that Congress will appoint a General Officer to command these Troops and to superintend this Department; if there is no Man in this State equal to the Trust, there are enough in America. It is very remarkable, that last Spring we had four Brigades which were raised in this State, we then had three Brigadiers General, Genl Thomas was promoted, and Genl Frye resigned, by which means we had three vacant Brigades; Genl Thomas has deceased, Genl Ward resigned, not one promotion of any military Gentleman in this State; and at this time but only Brigadier Genl Heath wears a Continental Commission! These things must have some Cause, and must have some meaning. I think I understand them. Do they not seem to justify the observations which some have had the impudence to make, “The Massachusetts men make good Soldiers, but we must send to the Southward for Officers.” Was it not even in contemplation, (if not determined) to send two southern Generals2 to command Us in defence of Ourselves, to the exclusion of all the warlike Sons of Massachusetts! And one of those Generals, was young in the Service and in experience,3 entered the list after we had fought repeated Battles indured every kind of care labour and fatigue and gone through firebrands arrows and Death in defending our Country. I honestly confess I felt the Indignity. The Salvation of America is my Object, and I have ever laboured to reconcile every mind to the measures of Congress, and if in pursuing this great and glorious Object it should be necessary to advance A. B. C. or D. above me and my { 440 } Brother Officers, altho' they may be younger in every sense and come from the ends of the Earth, I will submit with the utmost chearfulness. All orders of Congress must be held sacred, and obeyed implicitly.
I am sorry to hear that You have determined to resign your Seat in Congress in so important a day as this; if your place could be equally well supplied, I should rejoice, for your presence is much wanted in this State, and especially to preside at that Court where your Country has done You and themselves, the Honor to place you.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Ward Aut. 8. 1776.”
1. Ward is referring to his comment in a letter to JA of 1 July (Adams Papers, not printed here): “It gives me pain to hear . . . that there is want of candor and harmony between some of the Members of Congress.”
2. JA earlier had tried to have Horatio Gates and Thomas Mifflin sent to Boston, the one originally from Virginia, the other from Pennsylvania (JA to James Warren, 15 May, above).
3. Gen. Mifflin.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0198

Author: McKean, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-09

From Thomas McKean

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I received a Letter from General Washington1 respecting the Baron de Calbiac,2 wherein he wishes to know whether any promotion in the military line is intended for him by Congress, and begs that the Letters and Credentials belonging to this Gentleman may be immediately forwarded to him, that he may restore them to the Baron, who complains loudly of their long detention from him.
These letters and credentials came to my hands as one of the Committee of Qualifications,3 and upon the establishment of the war-office were delivered to Mr. Secretary Peters. If you recollect, I frequently mentioned the desire of the Baron to have them again to you, Mr. Wilson &c. If the credentials are not with the letters, Mr. Samuel Adams must have them. Be so good as to send all the papers to General Washington, and endeavour to get an answer from Congress respecting the Baron. He seemed to expect the Rank of a Lieutenant Colonel, and I suppose the pay too. He did not appear to me to understand any thing of the business of an Engineer, having been a Captain in a marching Regiment in France.
You have no doubt heard, that General Clinton and his whole army are arrived at Staaten-Island; that he had upwards of three hundred killed and many wounded in the attack on Sullivan's Island, and that Sir Peter Parker is reported to have died of his wounds.4
Some of our Militia give us a great deal of trouble on account of their being detained longer here than they expected, and will return { 441 } unless prevented by force, which will be used, as we expect an attack on New-York daily, and the moment it is made I hope we shall take possession of Staaten-Island. A fellow deserted from Col. Miles's Battalion yesterday about noon; he was one of the prisoners taken at St. John's; several shots were fired at him as he swam across and I believe one hit him, tho' at 400 yards distance: With difficulty two english soldiers helped him on shore and carried him up to an house.
A re-inforcement of three Battalions are ordered from hence for New York tomorrow. The men of war all drew up in a line yesterday in the front of the rest of the fleet. What they mean by this I cannot guess, unless to prepare for an Attack of the city.
I am perfectly satisfied, that there are now upwards of sixteen thousand of the Enemy arrived. They think we have on Long-Island, at New-York and along the sound here about thirty thousand; which is near the truth.5 The inferior officers and the soldiers, we are told, are assured of success, and have already fixed upon their houses and farms, but the two Brothers, who command, are said to look very demure.
About 30 privates of my Battalion have, I am just now told, set out for Philadelphia, besides several others from different Battalions. If they should get to Philadelphia I hope they will be secured; they are of the very lowest sort: However, I trust, they will be taken up before they go many miles. An army can never be governed but by the strictest laws and discipline.
Please to present my compliments to Messrs. Rodney and Read6 and all other enquiring friends, and believe me to be with great esteem, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant
[signed] Tho M:Kean
P.S. The scotch regiment7 mutinied on Tuesday, and have occasioned a good deal of confusion; the Lord increase it.8
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Coll Mckean Aut 9. 1776.”
2. Baron de Calbiac was a French volunteer from Guadeloupe (same, p. 328, note 94).
3. McKean, representing Delaware, had been chosen on 16 Jan. to take the place of Caesar Rodney on the committee, which examined the qualifications of those applying for positions (JCC, 4:61).
4. Although Parker was wounded, he took his fleet north to join the British forces at Staten Island. The British losses were heavy, but the figure of 300 killed is a considerable exaggeration; fewer than 100 lost their lives (Willard M. Wallace, Appeal to Arms, N.Y., 1951, p. 95; Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, 2 vols., N.Y., 1952, 1:209).
5. A modern estimate is that the Americans had a paper strength of 28,500 men, of whom only about 19,000 were fit for fighting. They were confronted by approximately 32,000 British professional soldiers and 10,000 seamen (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:207, 209).
6. George Read, dele• { 442 } gate from Delaware (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:xli).
7. There were three Scottish regiments among the British forces at this time—the 26th, the 42d, and the 71st. The last, called the Highlanders, had had a good part of its men captured by the Americans from transports at sea and apparently did not take part in the Battle of Long Island, although members of it were on Staten Island (Henry Belcher, The First American Civil War, 2 vols., London, 1911, 1:339–344; Josiah Quincy to JA, 13 June, note 9, above; George Otto Trevelyan, The American Revolution, Part II, 2 vols., N.Y., 1903, 1:238). Apparently the mutiny of a Scottish regiment was an unfounded rumor.
8. JA answered McKean on 15 Aug., urging a continuance of correspondence and thanking McKean for the information he had sent regarding reinforcement of British and American forces (LbC, Adams Papers, not printed here).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0199

Author: Temple, Harriet
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-10

From Harriet Temple

[salute] Sir

In May last, I took the liberty of writing to Mr. Hancock President of the Continental Congress, and inform'd him of the distrest Situation which myself, and large family are reduced to, by the destroying hand of desolation and War, and having received no answer from Mr. Hancock, am doubtfull whither my letter reach'd him, will you therefore permit me Sir, (which I am Induced to thro. the advice of Mr. Temples, and my Good friend, Colonel Warren, and the Benevolent, and humain, Charactofr, which you so Justly Sustain, amongst all Ranks of People)1 to beg the favor of you, through your Influence, with the other Worthy members, of the Congress, to procure me some relief, in my present Emergency, I have been inform'd that many Persons, in this Province have been paid for thier Trees as Cord Wood, may I not hope for this Indulgence Sir; Altho, the Value of the Trees, as Cord Wood, will by no means be adequit to their loss on the farm, yet it will be a great help to me, in my present distrest Situation, without Money, and without friends, most of my friends being fled to Halifax, as well as the Gentleman, on whom Mr. Temple, left me a Credit, so that I have no Conections left behind that can releive me, till Mr. Temple arrives which is rendered uncertain, if not impossible, by means of the present War, which will I hope plead my excuse for the liberty I now take in troubling you with my domestick affairs, at a time when I know your whole time, and thoughts, are most importunately engag'd. The enclosed Coppy of my letter, to Mr. Hancock,2 will give you, a particular account of the great losses, which my good Mr. Temple, has sustain'd in this unhappy War, therefore, I will not here trouble you with a reppition of them.
Give me leave Sir, which I most sincerely do, to Congratulate you, on your Good Ladys, recovery from the small Pox, I did myself the { 443 } Honor of paying her a Visit, a few days before I left Boston, and had the pleasure of finding her perfectly well, and in good Spirits. I am with great Esteem Sir your obedient Humble Servt.
[signed] Harriet Temple3
1. The opening parenthesis is supplied.
2. Not found.
3. The disposition of the plea of Harriet Temple, daughter of former Gov. William Shirley and wife of Robert Temple, is fully described in Adams Family Correspondence, 2:87–88, note 2. The shortage of firewood during the winter of 1775–1776 had caused the Continental Army around Boston to confiscate trees and wood of all kinds.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0200

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Date: 1776-08-11

To Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear Sir

Last Evening I received yours of 7 July. It should have been August I suppose.1 I am perfectly of your opinion of the Policy, and the Necessity of offering Land to inlist Soldiers. There is a Difficulty attends it—some Colonies have no Lands to give. However this might be got over, if the General would recommend the Measure—but it seems to me it never will be done, untill he does.
Congress has already ordered a Paymaster to every Regiment. Whether these officers have been appointed or not I cant Say. If proper Persons were recommended to Congress, they would be appointed at once.
I can now inform you that We have made a great Number of Promotions, and give me Leave to assure you that none, ever gave me more Pleasure than yours.2 I had the Pleasure of doing Justice to your Character upon the occasion, at least as far as my Voice and Testimony would go, from an Acquaintance of about 24 years. Tyler is Coll of Your Regiment, and Prentice Lt Coll. Durkee Coll of the twentyeth and Knowlton Lt Coll.3 Whether the Promotions We have made of General Officers, will allay the Discontent you Speak of, or increase them I know not. Let the Rank of Officers be as delicate a Point as it will, the Rank of Colonies, is equally delicate and of more Importance. The Massachusetts Bay has not its Proportion of General Officers. And the Mass. Coll's I expect will be discontented. I cant help it. They are brave Men I doubt not. But whether, they are Gentlemen of liberal Education, of any Knowledge of the World, of any Spirit of Command, of any Extent of Capacity, I know not, never having had the Pleasure of any Acquaintance with any of them save Porter, Serjeant [Sargent], and Ward.4 Of Porter and Ward I have a { 444 } very good Opinion, but they Stand low in the list. Knox and Porter must be promoted eer long.
I am grieved to my inmost Soul, for a Province, which I love and revere above all Things in this World, excepting that whole of which it is the most powerfull Part, I mean America. Winslow, Ruggles, Saltonstall, Barker,5 and many others of our ablist officers, were abanded Tories. Prebble and Pomeroy, were incapacitated with Infirmities of Age. Warren and Thomas are fallen. Ward, Fry and Whitcomb have resigned. So has Learned.
Heath unfortunately has not a Reputation, equal to his Merit. If this is owing to Slander I wish to God he would prove it to be a Slander. Nixon is brave, but has not a large Mind that I can learn. In this State of Things that Province which ought to have an indisputable Superiority to every other upon the Continent, has now in the List of General Officers an undisputed Inferiority. I never will bear this long. Let it occasion what discontents it will among the Collonells. Altho I have hitherto been as Steady an Advocate for Promotions in Succession, generally as any Man, I will never the less, totally disregard the Succession, and exert my Utmost Endeavours to promote Young Fellows whose Genius, Learning, sentiment, Authority, and Spirit I can answer for, over the Heads of old ones, who will leave it disputable whether they have either or not.
I am out of all Patience at the Dishonour and Disgrace brought upon my Native Province. There are young Gentlemen, who have every Qualification necessary. Osgood, Ward, Austin, Tudor,—I wish they all had Regiments. I have Serious Thoughts of moving to have our Major General Warren,6 Lincoln, or Orne, made a Continental Major General. I know there would be a Vote for it here. Let me beg of you in Confidence to give me the Characters of our best Massachusetts Field Officers. I want to know if there are none fit for Generals. If not it is high Time to make some new ones.
If there is a Partiality against the Field Officers of that Province, and they are not recommended in Proportion to their Merit, I wish to know that, because Such a Partiality may be rectified. If their Merit is inferiour I wish to know that, that better Officers may be introduced in their stead. Excuse this freedom, which I have indulged in Confidence, that no ill Use will be made of it. I am with Respect, and Esteem, your Affectionate servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent. by Tudor.”
1. There is nothing in Parsons' letter of 7 July (above) to indicate that it had been misdated, but compared with other letters between the two men at { 445 } this time, it did take more than twice as long to arrive. Unfortunately, no means of conveyance is indicated for this letter.
2. Parsons was promoted to brigadier general on 9 Aug. (JCC, 5:641). The words after “and” in this sentence and the entire following sentence were written in the margin, their place in the text being indicated by JA.
3. These promotions were recommended by the Board of War (JA and the Board of War, 12 June–27 Aug., calendar entry for 10 Aug., above).
4. Elisha Porter, a colonel in the Massachusetts militia, and Col. Jonathan Ward of the 21st Continental Infantry (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 23, 447).
5. Gen. John Winslow (1702–1774) of Marshfield was one of the most distinguished of New England soldiers in the French and Indian War. In writing of his loyalism, JA is probably thinking of members of his family who remained steadfast supporters of Britain. Gen. Timothy Ruggles (1711–1795) became notorious as an organizer of a loyalist association. Col. Richard Saltonstall (1732–1785) of Haverhill was an excellent soldier who refused to fight on either side in the Revolution, leaving the country for England, where he died. Barker remains unidentified. There were several Barkers who served in the French and Indian War, but none of them was of high rank. Possibly he refers to Joshua Barker of Hingham, who served as a captain in the British Army in the French and Indian War (Stark, Loyalists of Mass., p. 434–436, 225–229, 273–274; Nancy S. Voye, ed., Massachusetts Officers in the French and Indian Wars, 1748–1763, [Boston,] 1975; Sabine, Loyalists, 1:209).
6. Comma supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0201

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-11

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

The singular situation and great suffering, of Mrs. Temple have Induced me to Advise her to write to you, and hope from An Application to your Justice and Benevolence for all the Aid and Compensation that can with propriety be given. I have Encouraged her to Expect at least An Answer to her Letter, which is more than the President with all his politeness gave to one of which the Inclosed is A Copy.1 Had I known your state of Health, or determination to return home I should not have been the Occasion of this trouble. I wish I could Entertain you with any Important Intelligence. We have nothing going forward here, but fixing out Privateers, and Condemnation and Sale of Prizes sent in by them, so many that I am quite lost in my Estimate of them, and West India Goods, are falling at A great rate. Yesterday Arrived A prize2 taken by A York Privateer with several hundred Bags of Cotton (A Capital Article) &c. &c. while all this is going forward and whole fleets have been here and might have been taken by your Ships if at Sea. I cant sufficiently Lament the Langour, and seeming Inattention to so Important A matter. A very fine Ship lies at Portsmouth waiting only for Guns, and I am told there are not yet Orders Issued for maning those at Newberry Port.3 This delay disgusts the officers and occasions them to repent Entering the service. I Informed you in my last that we were Calling in every { 446 } 25th. Man of the Train Band, and Alarm List to supply the places of your Battalions called away and already Marched. These Men are coming into the place of Rendesvous Dochester Heigths, but you have Appointed no General Officer to Command them, and unless General Ward can be prevailed on to Continue, I know not how they can be furnished with pay subsistence Barrack Utensils, or Ordinance Stores. Would it not be well to Appoint A Major General to Command in the Eastern department only. I am not Aware of any disadvantages in such An Appointment. I hope before this the Confederation, and matter of foreign Alliances are determined, As I suppose matters will go more glibly after the decleration of Independance, which by the way was read this Afternoon by Doctor Cooper, and Attended to by the Auditory with great Solemnity, and satisfaction.4
Matters of great Importance must after all remain to be settled, Among which I Conceive Coin and Commerce are not to be reckoned Among the smallest. These are indeed such Intricate subjects that I dont pretend to Comprehend them in their full Extent. Your Currency still retains its Credit, but how long that will last if you Continue large Emissions is difficult for me to Guess. Commerce is A Subject of Amazeing Extent. While such Matters are on the Carpet how can we spare you.
I suppose Mrs. Adams will Inform you by this Post5 that She and the Children are well tho' Charles has not yet had the Small Pox, which is the Case with many others After being Inoculated 2. 3. and even 6 or 7 Times. The Physicians cant Account for this. Several Persons that supposed they had it lightly last winter, and some before, now have it in the Natural way. Mrs. Warren and myself have been fortunate enough to have it very Cleverly6 and propose going home this week. She Joins me in the sincerest regards, for you and Mr. Adams, and wishes for your Health and Happiness. I am &c.
If the News you have from France be true the Ball must wind up soon.7 God Grant a Confirmation. I long to be A Farmer again.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren. Aut 11. 1776.”
1. Enclosure not found.
2. The Earl of Errol, bound from Jamaica to London, was sent into Boston “by 2 Letters of Marque from New-York” (New-England Chronicle, 15 Aug.). See Jonathan Mason Jr. to JA, 12 Aug., note 6 (below).
3. The Continental ship at Portsmouth was the Raleigh, and those at Newburyport, the Boston and the Hancock. The congress had authorized these names on 6 June (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 6: 143; JCC, 5:422–423). One of the Newburyport frigates was launched on 3 June (Boston Gazette, 10 June).
4. By order of the Council, the Declaration was read in all the churches on Sunday, 11 Aug. (New-England Chronicle, 15 Aug.). On 17 July the Council, in response to a committee report, ordered that the Declaration be printed and “a Coppy sent to the Ministers of { 447 } every Parish of every Denomination . . . and that they severally be required to read the same to their respective Congregations, as soon as divine Service is Concluded in the Afternoon, of the first Lords Day, after they shall have received it.” After the reading, each minister was to deliver his copy to his town clerk for recording in the town book “there to remain as a perpetual Memorial” (Records of the States, Mass. E.1, Reel No. 9, Unit 3, p. 82).
6. Agreeably or nicely, obs. (OED).
7. Since Richard Cranch and his family were in Boston at the same time as the Warrens to undergo inoculation for smallpox, Warren probably saw a letter from JA to Cranch which reported the arrival of a ship bringing arms and ammunition from Marseilles and added “She brings no bad News from France” (William Cushing to JA, 29 July, above; JA to Richard Cranch, 2 Aug., Adams Family Correspondence, 2:74).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0202

Author: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-12

From Jonathan Mason Jr.

[salute] Honoured Sir

Your favour of July the 18th came safe to hand. I consider it as a favour, this amid so great a variety of business, of the first importance, you have condescended so freely to offer me your advice, my situation warmly calling for it. The Obligation will be ever fresh in my memory, which in addition to many others I have received from yourself and your agreeable Lady, how to compensate for I am entirely at a loss—but when I reflect that the whole labours of your Life have been expended in the Service of your Country and the welfare of its individuals, that you have shown to the World that your chief happiness consists in that of mankind universally, I feel a pride that I am still indebted.
My first inclinations, which prompted me to the field, I have determined to lay aside, and till necessity calls, have resolved within myself closely to pursue the science of the Law. It is a Study I have never found so dry and barren of entertainment as represented. The path is sufficiently pleasing. One thing however often occurs, and that is the further I travel, the more I read, the remaining task is still so great, that I seem further from my object than at my first setting out. The business of my Life shall be to trace the tract as far as ability will permit [to?] obtain the protection and favour of its patrons. I readily conceive of great reading being much more serviceable than much practice, and I believe it would be full as advantageous if every pupil should spend one or two years in reading, before he touches at all upon the practical part. Thro' forgetfullness, I omitted in my last, the least information concerning what I had read, or how long I had been in the Study, and I since have thought that had you been previously acquainted with those circumstances, you perhaps might have entertained different Sentiments. Two years are passed since I { 448 } commenced the Study, and my whole time has been devoted to a theoretical foundation. Hume, McCaulay, and Smollet,1 were the first that I read. I have been twice thro' Judge Blackstone's Commentaries and Dr. Sullivan's Lectures.2 Wood's institutes and My Lord Coke upon Littleton, I have studied diligently, and also Hawkins's Pleas of the Crown. These are the principal that I have yet read. Since my removal to Boston, agreeable to your direction, I have entered upon Plowden's reports.
Tho' perhaps of advantage in the end, yet I frankly confess I should not wish to continue longer than three years in the Study, without entering into the practice of the inferior Court, and I flatter myself that the little knowledge I have already acquired, and my exertions in the approaching year will put me upon a standing with my cotemporaries that will enter at the expiration of their term. I am anxious, perhaps too much so, to be in some field or another. A dependant Life is what we all dislike, especially when we imagine we are able to extricate ourselves. I should wish yet and till I enter the bar to be considered as the pupil of Mr. Adams. Mr. Morton, who hath ever proved himself a warm friend to me, hath given me the offer to enter into his Office in the capacity of a Companion, and he hath promised me, he will make it his business to instruct me in as much of the practice as he himself is master of. Whether this step, would be profitable; Whether it is not full time, provided I enter at the close of my third year, to intermix with my reading the knowlege of practice, I would once more request your Opinion. The time of life we engage in this Study, which some call, and I do not know, but with the greatest propriety, the most abstruse and difficult, requires I am sensible the greatest circumspection the least allurements and temptations possible. Law is not a lesson for a school Boy, neither is it a task for a parrot: Unless we understand the reason, we shall never know the substance, we shall never know the beauty of the Law. I therefore readily conceive that a life of reading, with a year or two only of practice, would make much the greater Lawyer than its Opposite. This must be done by him only who thinks he has already a sufficiency of interest to support him, and such a mode would be well worth his while pursuing, if he had a prospect that the fruit of his industry would prove a part of the means in snatching his Country from the jaws of Slavery. If otherwise, would not the honest knowing practitioner be a more usefull member of Society, than the secluse Student, who is continually sowing for self satisfaction, totally regardless what becomes of his neighbour.
{ 449 }
The State of the Mass: Bay tho' the Fleets and Armies of Britain have left off to trouble her, tho' they have precipitately and shamefully, with scorched fingers fled, yet such is the invincible, manly spirit of her brood that she seems as yet unwilling to loose the merit of contributing her share to the glorious Struggle. First in the attack, she played an entire game of Hasard,3 uncertain of the Sentiments of her Sisters, she never once hesitated to strike the important stroke, and it astonished the most sanguine. Tho' she should fall alone, for the success of the cause, she thought it worth dying. She withstood, She conquered the force of Britain, and since the departure of those enemies to our sea Costs, I beleive she has been as diligent at Sea as any one Colony whatever. This last Week was sent into Portsmouth a large prize of 700 Hogsheads of Sugar and 100 of Rum, Cotton &c.4 One White in Captain Darby's employ hath mastered and took seven within three weeks past5 and on Saturday one from the Granada's came into Boston Harbour, with 500 Hogsheads of Sugar and 25 Tons of Cotton.6 We shall ever lament the scarcity of guns to mann our continental cruisers. In all probability had they have been ready six Weeks since, we should have been able to hold a much more satisfactory story.
Mrs. Adams, I have just waited upon, she is in good health and Spirits. Your Children have been extreemly favoured in the distemper, excepting Charles. Mrs. Adams is doubtfull whether he is ever taken it. Miss Nabby has been breaking out with it this last Week, she has about fifty in her face. From Yr. Most Obedient hum: Servt:
[signed] Jona: Mason Jr
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honble. John Adams Esqr. In Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mason Aut 12. 1776.”
1. Three historians of England. For titles of their works, see JA, Papers, 2: index.
2. Francis S. Sullivan, Historical Treatise on the Feudal Law, and the Constitution and Laws of England . . . Lectures in the University of Dublin, London, 1770. For Blackstone, Wood, Coke, and Hawkins, see JA, Papers, 2: index.
3. Hazard, a game played with dice (OED).
4. On 7 Aug., Pennsylvania's warship the Hancock captured the Reward, which was reported to have between 1,000 and 1,100 hhds. of sugar, 12 bales of cotton, and cannon aboard (New-England Chronicle, 15 Aug.).
5. Capt. Joseph White, commander of the Revenge, listed his prizes, most of which were carrying sugar and rum (same, 8 Aug.; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 6:29–30, 347). On Capt. John Derby, see James Warren to JA, 20 July 1775, note 5 (above).
6. This prize was the Earl of Errol, coming from Grenada, mentioned by James Warren (to JA, 11 Aug., note 2, above). The two New York privateers that captured it were the Enterprize and the Beaver (Boston Gazette, 19 Aug.; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 6:193, note 1).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0203

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gates, Horatio
Date: 1776-08-13
Date: 1776-08-18

To Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favours of 24 June, and 17. July, are before me. I wish with all my Heart that you were Dictator at Ticonderoga, as much as it was intended you Should be, in Canada. Not for the sake of promoting Mr. Rice, nor any other particular Person, but for the good of the Service in general. <Let me ask you however, by the Way, whether, Rice would not do for a Judge Advocate in that Department?>
I Showed your last Letter to Mr. Chase, who begged it to write you an answer. I have exactly the Same Idea of him, which you express. He had the good of the Service at Heart, but was too Sanguine, and had too little Experience in such Scenes, and too little Penetration into the Characters of Men.1
I lament the wretched State of your Army: but am happy to find by your last Letter to Congress,2 that Things are getting into a better Train. The Small Pox must be cleansed out of the Army, or it will be undone. A Circular Letter went,3 Sent to you or to General Schuyler, for a compleat Return of every Thing in your Department to the War office. We have as yet received no answer. Let me beg of you to transmit it as soon as possible. The Want of regular Returns has ruined our Affairs in Canada, and without them from every Department, We shall ever be in Confusion.
Since the Receipt of your Letter, I have procured Resolutions to be past that regular Returns shall be made at least once a Month, by the Commanding officer the Paymaster, the Quarter Master, Muster Master and Commissary, and if these Returns are not now made, I think there will Inquiries [be] made, into the Cause of the Neglects, which will not be very pleasant to the Negligent. We shall know who is General, who Quarter Master who Paymaster, who Commissary and who Muster Master, important secrets in Canada, which all our Penetration was never able to discover.
We are very anxious, for you and your Army, as well as for the General and his at New York: We expect some bold Strokes from the Enemy, but I dont believe that How and Burgoigne will unite their Forces this year.
Since the above was written We received your Return.4 It is the most Systematical, that I have seen. Your Letter gives us great Joy.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
{ 451 }
1. According to Benjamin Rush, JA's assessment for the congress of Chase's performance was not so tempered. The congress debated mainly during July and August the causes of the failure of the Canada campaign. When Chase tried to lay a principal part of the blame on New England troops, JA accused Chase of having “fomented jealousies and quarrels between the troops from the New England and Southern States.” He added that if Chase understood “his improper and wicked conduct, he would fall down upon his knees . . . and ask our forgiveness. He would afterwards retire with shame, and spend the remainder of his life in sackcloth and ashes, deploring the mischief he has done his country” (The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush, ed. George W. Corner, Princeton, 1948, p. 141; JCC, 5:617–618, 623, 633).
2. That of 29 July (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:649).
3. Comma supplied.
4. Included with Gates' letter of 6 Aug. to the president of the congress (same, p. 795–797).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0204

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-13

A Report of the Board of War

Agreed to report to Congress
That Monsr. Weibert now serving in the continental Army at New York as an Engineer be appointed Assistant Engineer with the Rank and Pay of Lieut. Colonel and that his Pay commence from the Time of his engaging in the Service.1
That General Mercer be directed to discharge or grant Furlows to Joseph Kerr Hatter a private of Capt Will's Company in the first Battallion and to Philip Mouse Stocking Weaver a Private in Capt Kling's Company of the fourth Battallion of Philadelphia Militia, these two Persons being applied for by Messrs. Mease and Caldwell, Commissaries, to whom their Services are indispensibly necessary in making and providing Clothing for the Army.
That the Council of the Massachusetts Bay, be requested to appoint, one of the General Officers of their Militia to command the Troops, which that State has ordered for its Defence, in the Room of the Continental Regiments lately ordered from Boston to N. York and Ticonderoga, which General Officer, Shall be invested with the Same Powers, and Subject to the Same Duties, within that State, and be upon the Same Establishment, with the Continental General Officers, during the Continuance of the Said Troops in the Continental Service.2
MS (PCC, No. 147, 1); docketed: “August 13 1776 Report of the board of war partly agreed to Aug. 14 1776 recmd. postponed till tomorrow.” Opposite the first two paragraphs, which are in Richard Peters' hand: “agreed”; opposite the third paragraph, which is in JA's hand: “orderd. to lie.”
1. See Thomas Mifflin to JA, 5 Aug. (above).
2. Several of JA's correspondents for practical reasons pointed out the urgent necessity for a general officer to command the Massachusetts troops replac• { 452 } ing the Continental regiments withdrawn from the state, but the advice of Elbridge Gerry was followed most closely (Joseph Ward to JA, 28 July, 8 Aug.; Gerry to Samuel Adams and JA, 3 Aug.; James Warren to JA, 11 Aug., all above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0205

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-13

From Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear sir

Before this reaches you, you will have heard of the Arrival of near an hundred more of the Enemies ships.2 There are too many Soldiers now in Philadelphia waiting for Arms. Is it not of the utmost Importance that they should march even without Arms, especially as they may be furnished with the Arms of those who are sick at N York. Would it not be doing great Service to the Cause at this time if you would speak to some of the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania relative to this matter. I write in haste. The Bearer3 will inform you of the State of things. Your Friend
[signed] S Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hon John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr S. Adams Aug. 13. 1776.”
1. Samuel Adams, who was in bad health, left Philadelphia on 12 Aug. in the company of William Whipple, delegate from New Hampshire, to return home for rest (JA to AA, 12 Aug. [bis], Adams Family Correspondence, 2:88, 89).
2. Como. William Hotham appeared on 12 Aug. with 2,600 British and 8,400 German troops. The Germans were so tightly packed in the transports that they could hardly move, and most were sick from bad food (Willard M. Wallace, Appeal to Arms, N.Y., 1951, p. 100, 102).
3. Not identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0206

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-13

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear Sir

My sincere Thanks are due to my Friend in Congress for the unexpected Honor, done me in my late Preferment. As it was unsolicited and unthought of by me, I cannot but feel the most grateful Sense of the Obligation my Friends have laid me Under by this Token of their Esteem for me. I wish I may discharge the Duties of this important Trust in a Manner which may fully Answer the just Expectations of my Country and Friends. I beg Leave to recommend to your Notice my Friend Captain Thomas Dier1 of Col. Durkee's Regiment as person Suitable to discharge with Honor the Duty of a Major in that Regiment. This is One Instance wherein I agree the Rule of Succession will not be for the best Good. The first Captain by the best Information I can get, perhaps possesses not a Single Qualification for that { 453 } Office, except his Rank, Mr. Diar is the next in Rank, and will do Honor to the Appointment. Capt. James Chapman of my Quondam Regiment2 is an Officer of Unquestionable Abilities and Universally beloved and Esteemed and I suppose would have a Universal Suffrage in the Regiment, if called for, I therefore beg your Friendship for him to be Major of that Regiment. I am with great Respect & Esteem Yr. Friend & hl Servt3
[signed] Saml H. Parsons
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Hon John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress in Philadelphia”; stamped: “N*York. Aug:14 FREE”; docketed: “G. Parsons Aut 13. 1776.”
1. Dyer of the 20th Continental Infantry was a son of Eliphalet Dyer of Connecticut. He was promoted on 19 Aug. (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 23).
2. Chapman was made major of the 10th Continental Infantry on 15 Aug. (same, p. 21).
3. JA answered this letter and another from Parsons of 15 Aug. (below) on 19 Aug. and from his Letterbook copied his answer into his Autobiography, where it is printed (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:447–449.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0207-0001

Author: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-13

From Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear Sir

Inclosed is a rough Sketch of a plan, which, for ought I know, may be about as wise as an hundred others, that have made their Appearance in this World. I had Thoughts of giving it my last Hand and printing it; but determined first to inclose it for your perusal. If you should think it of any Importance please to return it cum Notis; or else, if You find Leisure and Inclination You may finish it for me, in which Case “e'en what You'd have it make it.” However I rather apprehend it to be heretical: if so commit it to the Flames, or deal with it in what other Manner You think best; only I except to Tarring and Feathering, for the poor thing is no Tory.
This is the Day of our general Election, for which Reason our worshipful Convention have adjourned, after ordering out Half the Men of New Jersey besides the 5,500 before ordered. As I have the Misfortune to be a Lawyer I have thought it not best to risque my Reputation by setting up, as we phrase it; which, that You may understand it, is to carry a Man all round a County like a Show, that People may see how they like him, and according As they like his Appearance, or find Faith to believe the several Lies of the Election, vote for him or against him. We have been wormed out of the plan of voting by Ballot, thro' one dirty Artifice or other; and I am resolved never again to set up; tho I once submitted to it at the last Election.
{ 454 }
I have therefore stayed at home and amused myself with the Scheme of a Negroe Battalion.
A few Weeks, perhaps a few Days will in a great Measure decide our Fate. I wish our Preparations were a few Months more forward; but—
Can You satisfy my Curiosity by informing me the Reason of the New Englandmen's Backwardness this Campaign? My best Compliments to my old Friends. Adieu Yr. most hble Servt.
[signed] Jona D Sergeant
RC with enclosure (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0207-0002

Author: Speculator
Author: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson

Enclosure: Draft of an Article

[salute] Mr. Printer

At this Time of general Danger, when every one is anxiously considering by what Means our Liberties may be preserved, I hope to be at least forgiven, if I attempt to suggest a Hint which, perhaps, by wiser Heads, may be improved to publick Advantage.
The Calling out our Militia in such Numbers for the Defence of our Country is attended with this Difficulty among others, that the Slaves left at home excite an Alarm for the Safety of their Families; an Alarm which, on such Occasions, is industriously increased by designing Men, who make it their Business to obstruct every Measure which is taken for the publick Good.
I would therefore desire that it may be considered whether a Method might not be devised for employing those Slaves as Soldiers in the publick Service.
Suppose the Congress to enlist under proper Officers a Number of Slaves within a certain Age sufficient to form a Battalion, paying their Masters according to a certain Rate (say fifty Pounds a piece) and as a farther Compensation for their additional Value let the Master be exempted from bearing Arms. Many Slaves would willingly enlist and I suppose a great many Masters would be glad to purchase an Exemption from bearing Arms upon these Terms.
Let every one of these Slaves become free as soon as by Stoppages from his Pay or otherwise he can reimburse the Money advanced for his Purchase and as a Security to the Publick let the Survivors be answerable for the Deficiencies of such as may die in the Service. This will not be heavier upon the Survivor than if each Individual was bound to make good the full Amount of his real Value.
Let these People, during the Time of their Redemption, be on their good Behaviour. Let every great Offence or gross Misconduct be punished by reducing them back to Slavery.
Other Regulations may be found necessary. I shall only add that { 455 } if Peace should be restored before these people had redeemed themselves, they might be set to labour on some publick Works until they had made Satisfaction. Or also possibly it might be as well, instead of the Plan of their redeeming themselves by Stoppages, to enlist them at Once for 7 or 10 Years at 30/ a Month, instead of 50/.1
There are two or three Objections to this Scheme which deserve to be considered.
1. It may be said that these People will want Courage. Slaves generally are Cowards: but set Liberty before their Eyes as the Reward of their Valour and I believe we should find them sufficiently brave. Neither the Hue of their Complexion nor the Blood of Africk have any Connection with Cowardice. It is their Condition as Slaves that stifles every noble Exertion. Change their Conditions and You will change their Tempers. If any one has further doubts upon this subject, let him consider the free Negroes of Jamaica who purchased their Freedom by Arms, or the Case of the brave Caribbs.2
2. The Danger of putting Arms into such Hands may be objected. This can only be obviated by restricting their Numbers, so as not to suffer them to bear any large Proportion to the whites. When at length they had wrought out their own Freedom they would have the same Interest with the Rest of the Community in quelling Insurrections.
3. Some may be narrow enough to enquire what is to become of those People when they are free and discharged? I answer, let them have Land, let them form a Settlement of Blacks if they will. There is Room enough on this Continent for them and us too.
If this Experiment should be thought worth trying and should answer any valuable Purpose I shall rejoice to have furnished these Hints; if otherwise I am content.
[signed] Speculator
RC with enclosure (Adams Papers).
1. The concluding sentence of this paragraph was written in the margin of p. 3 of the MS but is inserted here according to the author's direction.
2. The Maroons of Jamaica were descendants of Spanish slaves and others who had not submitted at the time of the English conquest of Jamaica. Later the term was broadened to include slaves who successfully rebelled under Cudjoe in the 1730s. These free blacks were recognized in a peace treaty, were settled in several different places on the island, and actually helped the government to seize runaway slaves. By the 1760s the Maroons numbered about 4,000. The Caribs were inhabitants of the so-called Neutral Islands in the Windwards—St. Vincent, Dominica, St. Lucia, and Tobago—none of these clearly belonging to England or France before 1763. The Caribs, many of them of mixed parentage, Indian and black, resisted dominance by either country for many years (George Wilson Bridges, The Annals of Jamaica, 2 vols., London, 1828, 1:407, note 55, 494–496, 499; Richard Pares, War and Trade in the West Indies, 1739–1763, Oxford, 1936, p. 252, 195–196, 202, 215).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0208

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1776-08-14

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear sir

By a Return from the Adjutant General of the 10. instant, I see a new Brigade, makes its appearance, under the Title of General Fellow's Brigade, composed of Coll. Holman's Coll. Smith's, and Coll. Carys Regiments,1 making in the whole 1544 Men. These I conclude are from the Massachusetts.
Neither the Council, nor the House nor any Individual, of our Province, have ever mentioned one Word, in any of their Letters of these Troops or any one of their officers, an omission, like a thousand others, which have given me, much Uneasiness.
I must therefore make Use of my Friends at New York to gain a little Information, which the Province, from Regard to its own Interest and Honour, if they had no Regard to me, and their other Delegates, here, ought to have given, of Course, without giving Us the Trouble of Writing Letters to obtain.
Let me beg of you, Sir, to make the earliest Enquiry concerning these officers, their Characters, the Parts of the Province from whence they came, and the Kind of Troops under their Command, and as I see the Regiments are not full, whether any more Recruits are expected to fill them. I have a Suspicion that Coll. Smith may be my Brother,2 but have never had the least Intimation of it, from any of my Friends.
We have nothing new, but the Arrival of a large ship from Havre de Grace, with a very valuable Cargo of Duck, Powder, Lead, and dry Goods. This is all which has happened here to distinguish the Anniversary of the 14 August, the Birth day of American Independence.3
Pray let me know if Major Austin is at New York, and how the new Promotions of General Officers is relished in the Army.4 I am, your Friend & servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Tudor Papers); docketed: “Phila. Aug 14th 1776”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. For information on these officers see William Tudor to JA, 19 Aug. and note there (below).
2. A year before JA had sought the preferment of his brother-in-law William Smith Jr., but the Smith mentioned here was not he (same; JA to Washington, [19 or 20] June 1775, above).
3. The anniversary of the Stamp Act riots in Boston in 1765.
4. JA added the final sentence as an afterthought, for in the Letterbook he started to write his complimentary close before it.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0209

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-14

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Letter of June 10,1 in Answer to mine on the Continental Currency, I have now to thank you for. Who brought it I know not, but it was never deliver'd to me till four days ago.
A Number of the most sensible Gentlemen among us, with whom I have convers'd upon the Subject are fully of opinion that there is no Way they can at present think of, so effectual to promote public Credit in the Colonies, and consequently the grand Cause, as by having only Continental Bills pass among us. A thousand Inconveniences will be avoided by this, some of which begin already to take Place. An Officer of Rank in our Army at N. York in a Letter of 4th Aug:2 after mentioning the Dearness of Provision there, and that it requires double the Sum to support the Army there that it did here, writes me in these Words—“The Members of the Provincial Congress here refuse taking either Massachusetts, New Hampshire, R. Island or Connecticut Money, in pay for any Thing. Unless this is remedied, and a Stop put to such Impositions I am perswaded it will have a fatal Tendency. One of the Members who refused taking Massachusetts' Money is named De Witt:3 This I know bieng present at the Time.” Nothing is more threatning to the Union of these States than Disputes of this Nature arising among us which would all be prevented by the proposed Plan. No State could esteem itself confin'd, or depriv'd of it's Liberty by it, since it is to be understood that ev'ry State may borrow of the Congress according to it's Exigencies; and were the Congress to originate a Plan of this Kind and propose it to the several States, I am perswaded they would all be so convinc'd of it's great Utility if not absolutely Necessity as to desire it might take Place; and would in this Way obviate the Objection, and make it their own Act.
I Yesterday saw Mr. Tracy of Newbury Port,4 just return'd from a Negotiation with Lord Howe, respecting the Officers and Crew taken in the Yankee Hero. He speaks in the highest Terms of the Politeness and insinuating Address of his Lordship, which I find made an Impression upon him: His Lordship, however, declar'd that he had no Powers to treat with us as independent States, and that the Sword must decide it. This military Commander and Negotiator seems to be of the cunning glozing Cast of Hutchinson and Lord North and I hope as short-sighted as either of them. Our People should be allowed, I think, Interviews with him as seldom as may be, and only in Cases { 458 } of Necessity. For I am perswaded he hopes to find his Account in enlarging the Communication. The Foreigners, it seems, hir'd by Britain, have insisted much in Europe upon a Cartel—and perhaps may have a Promise not to be requir'd to fight till this Point is settled. Howe's great Earnestness to have his Letter on this Subject receiv'd, favors such a Conjecture. If an absolute Refusal of a Cartel for the Germans should not be determin'd on, a long Negotiation on this Matter might tie their Hands for the remainder of this Campaign.
The Papers will inform you of the many rich Captures that have been lately sent in to this Quarter. They have given a Spring to our naval Armaments, and ev'ry Body seems now engag'd in fitting out Privateers, tho' I wish we had greater Plenty of the Means.
Last Sunday, by Order of Council, the Declaration of Independency was read after divine Service thro this State with some Exception of Episcopalians.5 That Masterly Performance cannot fail of it's deserved Weight upon the Minds of the People. I could wish, however, that some great Strokes I saw in a Manuscript Draught had not been omitted.6 I have been put in Pain by hearing of your ill Health. I hope your own, and that of our Friends with you is before now reestablished. Pray take the best Care of it for the Sake of your Friends and the Public. With every Sentiment of Esteem and Friendship, I am, my dear Sir, your most obedt. humle. Servant
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Cooper Aut 14. 1776.”
1. Cooper's original misdating of the month probably led him to give the wrong date to his letter from JA to 10 July (above).
2. Cooper's correspondent remains unidentified.
3. Charles DeWitt of Greenkill, Ulster co. (Marius Schoonmaker, The History of Kingston, New York, from Its Early Settlement to the Year 1820, N.Y., 1888, p. 148, 259).
4. Probably Nathaniel Tracy, one of the owners of the privateer Yankee Hero, which was commanded by Capt. James Tracy (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 48, 329). See also Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 29 Feb., note 3 (above).
5. Anglican clergy were bound by their special oath of allegiance to the king as head of the church and the liturgical requirement that prayers be said for the king.
6. Almost certainly a reference to the draft of the Declaration of Independence sent to AA by JA, which included the strong clauses against the slave trade. See JA's Copy of the Declaration, [ante 28 June,] Editorial Note (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0210

Author: Lowell, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-14

From John Lowell

[salute] Dear Sir

By some Accident your Letter of the 12th. of June did not reach me till last Week, or I should not have delayed so long to accept a Proposal so much to my Advantage, as a Correspondence with you.1 { 459 } From a Sense of its being my Duty to take a more active Part in our Public Matters, than I had in the first Part of my Life determined at any Time to have done, I willingly entered into the General Assembly, and think myself bound, in this Crisis, to afford my Country the little Assistance that I may be able to. I am happy in finding a very considerable Number of worthy Charecters in both Houses, and also that your Sentiments (which before I doubted not of) and those of some other my Friends at Congress, coincide with mine in our Line of Conduct; I wish to see the Liberties of America fixed on a firm, immoveable Basis, and to effect it I know they must be constructed on a broad and liberal Scale. The only Difficulty in our Assembly is that some of the narrow Ideas which were contracted by Some, and are still retain'd, prevent our yet knowing each other, and a Timidity of opposing Principles that begun to be too popular, prevent many of us from opening as we ought; but I trust these Things will wear away, and that we shall uniformly pursue the public Good, without deviating from our Course to catch the Straws which float upon the Surface. Our Defence, I am very sensible, is an Object so important that it ought to engross our whole Attention; I have no Doubt that this is the critical Year, and I have not more Doubt that the Crisis will be favourable; but our Fortitude and unremitting Endeavours must not abate, for it is these that are to insure Success. A Committee was chosen to devise during the Recess of the Court, some successfull Method of making Cannon,2 and I hope this Matter will be bro't forward to Advantage. I have no Doubt that the Manufacture of Small Arms, will at the first Meeting of the Assembly receive every possible Encouragement. We have happily succeeded in the Manufacture of Saltpetre, and we have 3 Powder Mills at Work, and a fourth erecting; Salt I have no Doubt will be made as soon as we feel the Necessity of it; hitherto, tho it has been at an high Price, we have not suffered for the Want of it. I am more ignorant as to the Probability of our getting Sulphur, and Lead; the first I believe we shall be able at some Seasons to import, if the Cruisers of the Enemy are ever so vigilant; they are however both of them Objects that deserve Attention. The mention of the Enemies Cruisers, reminds me of our own. It is an unlucky Circumstance that the continental Frigates are not yet at Sea, had they been many more of the Enemies Vessells, and a Number of their Troops would have fallen into our Hands, I suppose the Delay has been inevitable; it is a Matter that surely will not be neglected. Is it not worthy Consideration whether it will not be adviseable, to order those continental armed Vessells which are ready for Service, in Conjunc• { 460 } tion with the <colonial> Vessells of the particular States, and such private armed Vessells as will engage, immediately to Newfoundland. Much may be done against the British Fishery, on Shore, as well as at Sea. We shall be furnished with a Commodity to exchange for such french goods as may be bro't us, the West India Islands will be without their Supply of Fish, and the Poole Men,3 who meant us much Harm, will be rewarded according to their Deeds. I hear you are now on the continental Confederation, I hope this and our internal Police will both be settled on the best Principles. Will it not be necessary that the respective Legislatures, or the People in the several States, should be consulted on this continental Constitution, to remove any future Objections to the Validity of it; while we are in common Danger we may not be apprehensive of nice Disquisitions into these Matters, but in Peace, when the Interest of a particular State may clash with the Interest of the whole, there may be more Danger, if Things are not well settled at first.
We have been in an unfortunate Situation with respect to a general Officer here, it is proposed to recommend Genl. Lincoln to this Command, he will be universally agreable, he has been appointed to the Command of the Forces in the Pay of this State; and is well acquainted with the Arrangements in this Quarter.
The Assembly will doubtless make an Addition to the Number of Delegates at Congress, but you must not be excused yet as I hear you have desired, a temporary Relief is all you must expect.
The Formation of an internal Constitution is a Matter of great, and important Consequence. I perfectly agree with you in your Sentiments on this Head, that it ought to be slowly and deliberately done. We have chosen a large Committee, one from each County to consider of this Matter,4 but they will not bring about anything in Haste; I do not think the Method of chusing them was wise, they would have taken better Men in some Instances, if they had not confined themselves to Counties. We have now such a Constitution as will well answer our present Exigencies, tho it may doubtless receive great Amendments, but by Delay we may avail ourselves of the Wisdom, and in some Measure of the Experience of our Sister States in their Forms of Government.
I hear it is proposed to establish certain maritime Courts on a continental Establishment, to hear Appeals, if not of original Jurisdiction5, something of this Kind ought to be done soon, as there are already Appeals claimed from our Courts in this State, unless the Congress should think it best to direct that all Appeals should be to the Su• { 461 } periour Court. This will be attended with some Inconveniences, where the Interests of different States clash, in other Cases would be very convenient to the Parties. I have hitherto acted generally as Advocate for the Captors in this District, and shall have no Objection if there should be an Appointment to continue as such if the Establishment is Such as would not make it preferable to be free to engage for Individuals. You see I have in good Earnest embraced your Proposal for a Correspondence. I hope I shall not make you wish it had not been made, I shall always be gratified by a Line from you and am with much Esteem I can truly add but I know you will not like it better with much Respect your obliged Friend and hble Servt.
[signed] J Lowell
1. Here and at several other points, terminal punctuation has been supplied in place of semi-colons and commas in order to break up sentences.
2. The committee was appointed on 29 June and consisted of Messrs. Hall, Cooper, Davis, Crane, and Col. Mitchel. It reported on 1 July, its report being recommitted and two additional members being added to the committee, Messrs. Sumner and Brown (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 52, 54).
3. Poole was one of the English west country ports whose merchants had played an important role in trying to dominate the Newfoundland fisheries; they had no love for the New Englanders (Ralph Greenslee Lounsbury, The British Fishery at Newfoundland, 1634–1763, New Haven, 1934, p. 288 and passim).
4. See Francis Dana to JA, 28 July, note 4 (above).
5. The original draft of the Articles of Confederation, presented on 12 July, contained a provision for “Appeals in all Cases of Captures,” but in having the draft printed, the congress provided for the strictest secrecy (JCC, 5:550, 555). Lowell had probably heard about the provision in a general way, possibly from someone like Elbridge Gerry. The clause was carried over into Art. IX of the Articles as finally adopted (same, 9:916).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0211

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Mifflin, Thomas
Date: 1776-08-15

To Thomas Mifflin

[salute] Dear Sir

I received yours of the 5th. instant by Tuesdays1 Post, and laid it before the Board of War, who recommended Monsr. Weibert to Congress for the Rank and pay of a Lieutenant Coll., and the Office of an assistant Engineer, to which he was appointed, without opposition and the President I suppose will transmit his Commission by the first opportunity.
I am happy to learn that his Conduct, Skill, and services have been So acceptable to you.
We are waiting with anxious Expectation, for Intelligence of an Attack. A Great Event it will be. The Thought of it, is enough to arouse a Sleepier Soul than mine. I almost envy, your Situation.
What Glory will accrue to our Arms, what Laurells will be reaped { 462 } by our Officers, if We Should give the Enemy an overthrow. But if even the worst should happen, which is possible, Duke et decorum est.
We have been making a fresh Emission of Generals. I wish to know how it Sitts upon certain Stomacks. One Thing gives me much concern. The Massachusetts, which furnishes So many Men, has only two Generals. When other Colonies, which furnish very few Troops have many more Generals. This I much fear will give disgust and discontent both to the People of the Colony and to the officers and soldiers from that State. That Province never did and never will desire more than its just Proportion of the good Things of this Life, but I am vastly deceived in its Character if it can bear to have less. Will you drop me a Line now and then?
There is a Person who has been in some Place under you, whose Honesty Diligence and Capacity for Business, intitle him to something much better than he has ever had. He has the Additional Claim of Suffering to a large Amount—having been robbed in Boston of his all which was Something handsome too. His Name is Nathaniel Cranch.2 If any Thing could be given him, better than what he has it could not be more honestly bestowed. I am
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. 13 Aug.
2. Nathaniel Cranch (d. 1780) was a nephew of Richard Cranch, AA's brother-in-law. Richard had written to JA on 22 July, noting that Nathaniel deserved something better than being a clerk in the quartermaster general's office and suggesting that if opportunity offered, JA might do something for him. In leaving Boston during the occupation without a pass, Nathaniel had had several hundred pounds' worth of property confiscated by the British (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:58).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0212

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-15

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favors of the 3d. and 11th. Instant I received this Day for which I am much obliged. I know not whither the Promotion of Generals will give perfect Content, the Uneasiness amongst the Brigadiers who are promoted I beleive will Satisfy them,1 the Promotion of Colonels I dont hear objected to, except that <None> One from Rhode Island are not promoted;2 on my Part I ought to be contented when you have done much more than my most sanguine Expectations gave Reason to hope, at this Time. The Two Regiments of Tyler and Durkee are Satisfied. To the Majority of these Regiments I beg Leave again to recommend to you Captain James Chapman of Tyler's Regiment, the first Captain, an officer faithful and Approved in a Variety of Campaigns the last and present War, of a liberal capacious Mind, { 463 } | view well acquainted with Men and in every Respect an able good Officer universally esteemed as such, he has already a temporary Appointment by the General which is all he can do. Capt. Dier of Col. Durkee's Regiment is Son to Col. Dier, and a Gentleman of a liberal extensive Education and has every Character of a Soldier, he is the Second Captain and without Exception the best Man in the Regiment for a Majority. The first Captain is an honest Man, (and that is a good Character), but by no Means fit to command. I know I may write in Confidence to you, and therefore will endeavor to give the Characters of your Officers as I am able from my Acquaintance, tho' I think the Task hard and not the most agreable.
Colonels3    
Whitcomb   has no Trace of an Officer, his Men under no Government  
Reed   A good Officer not of the most extensive Knowledge but far from being low or despicable  
Prescot   A Good Soldier to fight no Sense after Eight o'Clock A M  
Little   A Midling Officer and of tolerable Genius, not great  
Serjeant   has a pretty good Character but I have no Acquaintance  
Glover   is said to be a good Officer but am not acquainted  
Hutchinson   An easy good Man not of great Genius  
Baley   is Nothing  
Baldwin   a Personable Man but not of the first Character  
Learned   Was a good Officer, is old, Superanuated and Resigned  
Greaton   An excellent Disciplinarian his Courage has been questioned, but I dont know with what Justice  
Bond   I dont know him  
Patterson   A Good Officer of a liberal Education, ingenious and Sensible  
Lt. Colonels4    
Shephard   an excellent Officer none before him, of good Understanding and good common Learning  
Jacobs   is less than Nothing  
Wesson   An Able Officer  
Clap   Pretty good  
Reed   Pretty good  
Moulton   Am not acquainted  
{ 464 }
Henshaw   Am not acquainted  
Johonnot   Very good a fine Soldier and an extensive Acquaintance  
Majors5    
Sprout   a good, able, Officer  
Brooks   an Officer, Soldier, Gentleman and Scholar of the first Character  
Smith   a midling Officer  
Haydon   a good Officer faithful and prudent not of the most Learning or great Knowledge of the World  
Lt. Col. Nixon I had forgot he is a discreet good Officer not of the greatest Mind.6
Col. Ward is a diligent faithful Man and a good Soldier.
These are all the Field Officers from your State which I at present recollect with whom I have any Acquaintance; amongst them all tis my Opinion Lt. Col. Shephard would make as good an Officer as any at the Head of a Regiment and that Major Brooks would Honor any Command he Should be appointed to, he is now a Major of Col. Wibb's Regiment7 and as fit to command a Regiment as any Man in the Lines. Thus you have my Opinion without disguise and I am sure you will make no improper Use of it. Lt. Col. Shephard is a Man of great Spirit he highly resents Col. Learned's being sent for to command the Regiment after his Resignation; I think we shall loose an able good Officer if he leaves the Service and one who was always Col. Learned's equal, at least, before he lost his Health and his Powers of Mind were impaired. I wish him to have the Regiment. Am sure no Man better deserves it. Several Young Gentlemen in the Service I think justly Merit further Notice from their good Conduct and liberal Education and largeness of Mind; Capt. Warham Park8 of West Field is not the most inconsiderable of the Number. Tudor, Osgood, and Ward I am well acquainted with and think they will honor their Country in any Military Character. Orne I dont know, Warren I imagine will do Justice to your Expectations; but we much differ in our Ideas of a military Character or I am totally deceived in Lincoln who may serve his Country well in a civil Department, but I imagine has very little of the Soldier.
The Objection to a grant of Lands to the Soldiery can have very little Weight when it must be purchased. Let it be Scituated in one State or another, And this Purchase at the joint Expence of the United States will make the Burthen equal on the Whole and perhaps a Purchase of the Natives erected into a new Government might { 465 } best Answer the Purposes and serve as a Barier to the other States.
The great the important Crisis is now at Hand when we must decide the Question whither we will be freemen or Slaves, I wish we may prove to our Enemies that Life without our Liberty we think not worth our Enjoyment; by the Preparations of our Enemy we expect an Attack the first Wind and Tide. I am Sir with Esteem & Regard yr. most obedt. hl Servt.9
[signed] Saml H. Parsons
1. William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Sullivan, and Nathanael Greene were promoted from brigadier to major general as of 9 Aug. Although his brigadier's commission bore the same date as that of the others, David Wooster was passed over, probably because of congressional criticism of his performance in Canada (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 9).
2. James Reed, John Nixon, Arthur St. Clair, Alexander McDougall, Samuel Holden Parsons, and James Clinton were all promoted from colonel to brigadier general as of 9 Aug. Cols. James Mitchell Varnum and Daniel Hitchcock, both from Rhode Island, whose commissions as colonels in the Continental Army dated from 1 Jan. 1776, as did those of Reed, Parsons, and Nixon, were passed over. St. Clair's commission was dated 3 Jan., and the two New Yorkers, Clinton and McDougall, had not held a Continental commission before becoming brigadier generals (same, p. 10, 559, 291, 461, 428, 414, 516, 161, and 368). JA had said that he would cast his vote for promotion for Varnum, Parsons, and Hitchcock (to Hitchcock, 3 Aug., above). Varnum talked to Washington of resigning (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:432). For other disappointments see William Tudor to JA, 19 Aug. (below).
3. For the colonels, as well as for the other officers listed, only those not mentioned earlier are identified by their commands, which are listed in Heitman, passim. Joseph Read, commander of the 13th Continental Infantry; Moses Little, commander of the 12th Continental Infantry; John Bailey, commander of the 23d Continental Infantry; Loammi Baldwin, commander of the 26th Continental Infantry (Baldwin was a member of the legislature, 1778–1779, 1780, and sheriff of Middlesex co., 1780–1794—Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog.); Ebenezer Learned was 48 in 1776, and although he resigned in May, he became a brigadier general in 1777 (DAB).
4. John Jacobs of the 23d Continental Infantry; James Wesson, of the 26th; Ebenezer Clapp, of the 13th; Seth Reed, of the 15th; Johnson Moulton, of the 7th; Gabriel Johonnot, of the 14th.
5. Ebenezer Sprout, of the 3rd Continental Infantry; John Brooks, of the 19th (Federalist governor of Massachusetts, 1816–1822—DAB); Calvin Smith, of the 13th; Josiah Hayden, of the 23d.
6. Thomas Nixon of the 4th Continental Infantry.
7. Charles Webb.
8. Warham Parks, a captain in the 3d Continental Infantry.
9. JA answered this letter and an earlier letter from Parsons of 13 Aug. and from his Letterbook copied his answer into his Autobiography, where it is printed (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:447–449).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1776-08-16

To Francis Dana

[salute] My dear Sir

Your obliging Favour of July 28. I duely received. Am glad to hear that your third Freshmanship is a busy one. I think you commence a { 466 } fourth, at Philadelphia, very Soon. I have presumed to lay before the General Court a Proposal, to choose Nine Delegates. That their Duty may be discharged here in Rotation. The Service here is too hard, for any one, to be continued So long; at least for me.
Who will be thought of, I know not. I wish they may be Characters respectable in every Point of View. Mr. Bowdoin Dr. Winthrop, Major Hawley, Gen. Warren, Dana, Lowell, Sewall, Sullivan, Serjeant, present themselves with many others and cannot leave the Court at a Loss.
You inform me, that the House, have taken up the Subject of Government, and appointed a Committee to prepare a Form. And altho they have not joined the Board, in this important Business, yet I hope they will prepare a Plan which the Board will approve. I fear I was mistaken, when in my last to you, I foretold, that every Colony would have more than one Branch to its Legislature. The Convention of Pensilvania has voted for a single Assembly, such is the Force of Habit, and what Surprizes me not a little is, that the American Philosopher,1 should have So far accommodated himself to the Customs of his Countrymen as to be a zealous Advocate for it. No Country, ever will be long happy, or ever entirely Safe and free, which is thus governed. The Curse of a Jus vagum,2 will be their Portion.
I wish with you that the Genius of this Country may expand itself, now the Shackles are knocked off, which have heretofore confined it: But there is not a little danger of its becoming Still more contracted. If a Sufficient Scope is not allowed for the human Mind to exert itself, if Genius and Learning are not Sufficiently encouraged, instead of improving by this Resolution, We shall become more despicably narrow, timid, selfish, base and barbarous.
The little Pamphlet you mention was printed, by Coll. Lee, who insisted upon it So much that it could not be decently refused. Instead of wondering that it was not enlarged, the Wonder ought to be that it was ever written. It is a poor Scrap. The Negative given in it to the first Magistrate will be adopted no Where but in S. Carolina. Virginia, has done very well. I hope the next Sister, will do equally. I hope the Massachusetts will call their Government a Commonwealth. Let Us take the Name, manfully, and Let the first Executive Magistrate be the Head of the Council board, and no more. Our People will never Submit to more, and I am not clear that it is best they should.
The Thoughts on Government were callculated for Southern Latitudes, not northern. But if the House should establish a single Assembly as a Legislature, I confess it would grieve me to the very Soul. { 467 } And however others may be, I shall certainly never be happy under such a Government. However, the Right of the People to establish such a Government, as they please, will ever be defended by me, whether they choose wisely or foolishly.
M. Wrixon has found hard Luck in America, as well as in Europe. I have never Seen nor heard of any Reason to doubt the Sincerity of his Professions of regard to our Country. But he is about returning. I am Sorry that he has just Cause to return. The Baron3 is dead. Has not left a very good Character.
There is one Particular, my Friend, in which, our Province uses her Delegates here very unkindly, and by the same Means injures herself, and All the united States. I mean in not sending Us your Journals. To this Moment I dont know one Step that has been taken to raise the Troops for N. York and Ticonderoga—nor the Name of one Officer— nor When they marched. The Interest and Reputation of our Province Suffers, beyond Measure by such a confused Way of doing Business. We ought to be minutely informed of the Characters, and Connections of all the Officers you send into the service as well as of their Names. You ought to Rank and Number the Massachusetts Regiments and publish a List of all the Officers Names.
Mr. Ellery is very well. He Says he dont intend to write you again till you answer his Letter. I made him very happy, by letting him know that Mrs. Dana and her little son, were in a good Way.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Benjamin Franklin.
2. Fickle or aimless law.
3. Baron de Woedtke.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0214

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-16

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I sit down to write in great Haste as the post is just going. I reached P. Ferry1 on tuesday Six Clock P M and passed over the next morning. Found the General and his family in Health and spirits. Indeed every Officer and Soldier appears to be determin'd. I have not had Opportunity to view the Works here, but I am told they are strong and will be well defended whenever an Attack is made which is expected daily. I see now more than I ever did the Importance of Congress attending immediately to Inlisiments for the next Campaign. It would be a pity to lose your old Soldiers. I am of Opinion that a more generous { 468 } Bounty should be given.2 20 Dollars and 100 Acres of Land for three years at least—but enough of this. The State of our Northern Army mends apace. The Number of invalids decreases. Harmony prevails. They carry on all kinds of Business within themselves. Smiths Armourers Carpenters Turners Carriage Makers Rope Makers &c. &c. they are well provided with. There were at Tyconderoga August 12 2,668 Rank and file fit for Duty at Crownpoint and Skeansborough 750, in Hospital 1,110. Lt Whittemore returnd from his Discoveries.3 He left St. Johns July 30 saw 2000 or 2500 at that place and Chamblee. Stores coming on from Montreal. Counted 30 Batteaus. No Vessell built or building. This Account may I think be depended upon. In my opinion we are happy to have General Gates there. The Man who has the Superintendency of Indian Affairs—the nominal Command of the Army,4—is the real Contractor and Quarter Master General &c. and has too many Employments to attend to the reform of such an Army. Besides the Army can confide in the Valor and military Skill and Accomplishments of Gates—Sat. Verbum Sapienti.5 Pray write me and let me know how the Confederation yet goes on. Major Meigs6 a brave Officer and a Prisoner taken at Quebeck is at this time, as I suppose, at Philadelphia. He wishes to be exchanged. Such an Officer would be very usefull here. I wish you would give him your Assistance. I prepare to sett of[f] tomorrow for the Eastward. Adieu
Cap Palmes7 is in this City waiting for inlisting orders. I wish the Rank of the Navy Officers was settled and the Commissions made out. Capt. Dearborne of N. Hampshire8 is in the same Predicament with Major Meigs. Coll. Whipple9 who now sends his Regards to you, is very desirous that he may also be exchanged. His Character is remarkeably good as Maj. Meigs can inform you.
1. Probably Powle's Hook Ferry (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:111).
2. The congress had voted to offer $10 for a three-year enlistment (JCC, 5:483).
3. The journal of Lt. Benjamin Whitcomb is in Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:828–829. Adams' secondhand report is garbled, but the thirty batteaus, the estimate of men at St. John's, and the stores moving from Montreal all match. Gen. Gates sent Whitcomb's journal and a report from Capt. Anthony Mesnard to Washington in a letter dated 7 Aug. (same, p. 827–828).
4. Gen. Schuyler. The congress had given Gates command over the troops that were in Canada, but intended that when the army left that country Schuyler should remain in command of the Northern Army. Some bad feeling developed and the congress was forced to clarify command responsibilities. New Englanders supported the pretensions of Gates (JCC, 5:526; Joseph Trumbull to Gen. Gates, 5 July, Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:20; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:257, note 14; for another view, see George Athan Billias, “Horatio Gates: Professional Soldier,” George Washington's Generals, ed. Billias, N.Y., 1964, p. 86–87).
{ 469 }
5. A word to the wise is sufficient.
6. Return Jonathan Meigs was exchanged 10 Jan. 1777 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 388).
7. Capt. Richard Palmes of the Continental marines (JCC, 5:604).
8. Henry Dearborn was exchanged 10 March 1777 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 190).
9. See Samuel Adams to JA, 13 Aug., note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0215

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Date: 1776-08-17

To Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of the 13. came by Yesterdays Post. You have not acknowledged in it, the Receipt of a Letter I wrote you, 21. of July.
I dont like your Elections at all. County Elections, are never worth much. Divide your Counties into Towns and give a Representative to every Town. The Ballot is of great Importance, and ought not to be given up, if you have lost it for once. You was in the Right, not to set up. It is so ridiculous a Farce, that it brings Elections themselves into Contempt, and it is a never failing Source of Corruption. I hope nevertheless, that your County will have the Wisdom the Cunning and the Selfishness to choose you.
Your Convention have done worthily in ordering out so many of the Militia.
You ask the Reason of the New England mens Backwardness, this Campaign. If there was a Backwardness it might easily be accounted for, Several Ways. The Small Pox is more terrible to them than any other Enemy. There has been another severe Drought this year, which obliges them to double their dilligence to get Bread.1 Besides there has been enough of successfull Pains taken to disgust them, particularly in the affair of Officers. But notwithstanding all this, I deny the Fact. The Massachusetts, has more than Ten Thousand private Men, at N. Y. and Ticonderoga. Besides all that are employed in defending their extensive Sea Coast, and in garrisoning the Fortifications in Boston Harbour, or on Board the armed Vessells. N. Hampshire and Connecticutt have Numbers in Proportion. R. Island has not been called upon. The Brigade of Militia ordered from the Massachusetts, has arrived at N. York under General Fellows. It is composed of Holmans, Smiths, and Carys Regiments.2 Your Negro Battallion will never do. S. Carolina would run out of their Wits at the least Hint of such a Measure. I am
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. This sentence is interlined.
2. For information on these officers, see William Tudor to JA, 19 Aug. and note there (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0216

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-08-17

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I had a Letter from you, by the Post Yesterday.1 Congratulate you, and your other Self, on your happy Passage, through the Small Pox.
I must intreat you to embrace the earliest opportunity, after the General Court Shall assemble, to elect Some new Members to attend here, at least one, instead of me. As to others they will follow, their own Inclinations. If it had not been for the critical State of Things, I Should have been at Boston, e'er now. But a Battle, being expected at New York, as it is every day, and has been for Some Time, I thought it would not be well to leave my Station here. Indeed if the Decision Should be unfortunate, it will be absolutely necessary, for a Congress to be Sitting and perhaps, I may be as well calculated to Sustain Such a Shock, as Some others. It will be necessary to have Some Persons here, who will not be Seized with an Ague fit, upon the Occasion. So much for froth: now for Something of Importance. Our Province has neglected Some particular Measures, apparently of Small Moment, which are really important. One in particular let me mention at present. You Should have numbered your Regiments; and arranged all your Officers, according to their Rank, and transmitted them to congress, at least to your Delegates here. I assure you, I have Suffered much for Want of this Information. Besides this has a great Effect upon the Public. The five and Twentyeth Regiment from the Republic of Massachusetts Bay, would make a Sound. New York, New Jersey, Pensilvania, Virginia, &c. are very Sensible of this. They have taken this political Precaution, and have found its Advantage. It has a good Effect too upon Officers. It makes them think themselves Men of Consequence, it excites their Ambition, and makes them Stand upon their Honour.
Another Subject of great Importance, We ought to have been informed of, I mean your Navy. We ought to have known the Number, of your armed Vessells, their Tonnage, Number of Guns, Weight of Metal, Number of Men, Officers Names, Ranks Characters—in short you should have given Us your compleat Army and Navy Lists. Besides this one would have thought We should have been informed, by Some Means or other, of the Privateers fitted out in your State—their Size, Tonnage, Guns, Men, Officers, Names and Characters. But in all these Respects I declare myself as ignorant, as the Duke De Choiseul,2 and I Suspect much more so.
Our People have a curious Way of telling a Story. “The Continental { 471 } Cruizers Hancock and Franklin, took a noble Prize.” Ay! But who knows any Thing, about the Said Cruisers. How large are they? How many Guns? 6. 9. 12. 18 or 24 Pounders? How many Men? Who was the Commander! These Questions are asked me So often, that I am ashamed to repeat my Answer. I dont know. I cant tell. I have not heard. Our Province have never informed me. The Reputation of the Province, the Character of your Officers, and the real Interests of both, Suffer inexpressibly, by this Inaccuracy and Negligence. Look into Coll. Campbells Letter.3 With what Precision he States every particular of his own Force, of the Force of his Adversary, and how exact is his Narration of Facts and Circumstances, Step by Step? When shall We acquire equal Wisdom. We must take more Pains to get Men of thorough Education, and Accomplishments into every Department, civil, military and naval. I am as usual
My Horse, upon which I depended is ruined. How and where to get another to carry me home I know not. I wrote to my Partner to Speak to some Members of the General Court, to see if they could furnish me with a Couple of good Saddle Horses. If not She will be put to some Trouble I fear.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “J. A. Letter Augt. 17. 1776.”
1. Warren's letter of 7 Aug. (above).
2. JA's reference to Etienne-François, Due de Choiseul, former French Minister of F