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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4

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.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.