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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4

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  
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.
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  
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 Foreign Affairs, can be explained by the circulation of rumors that he was coming back into power. Two Virginians, recently arrived on the New York packet, had brought a letter stating that the ministry in France had changed “and those who are for war, with the Duke de Choiseul at their head, are taken in” (Thomas Jefferson to Francis Eppes, 9 Aug., Jefferson, Papers, 1:487–488). Silas Deane wrote from France in a similar vein on 15 Aug., although, of course, his intelligence would still be unknown to members of the congress: “All eyes are turned on the Duc de Choiseul. I am convinced the moment he comes into office an active, open, and [friendly part] will be taken. I think he will be minister very soon” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:123).
3. The captured Highlander Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell to Gen. Howe, 19 June 1776. Washington forwarded this letter to the congress, where it was read 2 July. It was then printed in the newspapers (JCC, 5:506; New-England Chronicle, 18 July). The text is also available in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:981–982.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0217

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1776-08-18

To Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the Pleasure of a line from you, at Princetown, and Yesterdays Post brought me another from New York.1 I thank you for this Attention, and for the encouraging Account you give of the State of our Affairs at New York and Ti. The last is agreable to the Official { 472 } Letters We have from General Gates who has at last Sent Us a general Return of the Army and Navy upon a more distinct, accurate and intelligible Plan, than any which I have seen before, among other Particulars which are new, is a Return of the State of the Hospital, in one Column the Number Admitted in July, in another the Number discharged, the Ballance remains by which it appears that between 4 and 500 got well in that Month, and has distinguished the Regiments to which they belong, by which it appears that the Pensilvania, N. Jersey and N. York Battallions, are as Sickly in Proportion to their Numbers, as the N. England ones.
Confederation has not been mentioned Since you left Us. We have Spent the Time upon the two old Bones of Contention. The Old General and the Commodore.2 The first We voted blameless. The last We voted censurable, because the Reasons given for not complying litterally with his Instructions, were by no Means, satisfactory. My two Colleagues differed in Opinion from me, upon these Questions concerning the Admiral. 6 Colonies Ay. 3. No. 3 divided. I am afraid this will hurt the Fleet, but Time must determine. We have ordered the old Hero to his Command.
Before the Receipt of your Letter, what you Advise concerning Meigs and Dearborne was done.3 The Board of War recommended it and it was done, but not without opposition from 5 or 6 Colonies, who thought, that there ought to be no Distinctions made, but a general Exchange of the Prisoners of Arnolds Party, or none.
Let me intreat you, Sir upon your Return to Watertown, to promote an Inquiry concerning the Massachusetts Forces. Let a List be collected and published of all the Regiments raised in that State. The Names of all the Officers. Let the Regiments be numbered and the Officers ranked. Let us know for what Periods they were inlisted.
Let me suggest one Thing more. I am in doubt, whether our Province have had returned to them all the Powder, they furnished the Continent from the Town Stocks, as well as the Provincial Magazines. Pray inquire and if they have not, let it be demanded. There is by a Return from General Ward 3 or 400 Barrells of Powder, there belonging to the Continent, and if this opportunity is not embraced, another So fair, may not present itself.
I wish to know the Armed Vessells in the Service of the Province, thier Number, Size, Guns, Weight of Metal, Number of Men &c.
As soon as the General Court shall assemble I hope you will promote an Election of Some fresh Delegates, at least of one, to take my Place. Mr. Hawley, I hope will be perswaded to come. It will be a fine Season { 473 } to have the Small Pox here, and Rush will insure him through, almost without a sigh or Groan. Warren is the next, Dana the third and Lowell the fourth. If the Province should approve the Plan of choosing Nine. These four will make up the Number. But if there are objections to these there are enough others.
Some of Us here, are tremblingly alive, at the Prospect of a Battle, but whether it will be fought this Year, or not, I cant Say. The Two gratefull Brothers4 may loose Reputation with thier fellow Tyrants, if they dont attack, but I hope they will loose more, if they do. My most respectfull Compliments to your good Lady. I am, your Friend and servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (NN:George Bancroft Coll.); docketed: “from J Adams 18 Augt. 1776.”
1. Those of 13 and 16 Aug. (above).
2. Brig. Gen. Wooster and Como. Esek Hopkins. The former had been charged with failure to keep Gen. Schuyler, his superior, adequately informed; the latter had been charged with failure to obey properly the orders given to him (JCC, 5:664–665, 658–659, 661–662).
3. On 17 Aug. the congress considered the report of the Board of War (same, p. 665).
4. For the background of this sarcastic reference to the Howes, see JA to Joseph Palmer, 20 June 1775, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0218

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-18

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

It was with no small Degree of Pleasure, on my Return here,1 I observed the Cheerfulness which brightened the Countenance of every Soldier I met. The whole Army are in most excellent Spirits and shew an Impatience for Action. And the Spade and Pick Ax have been so well employ'd, that there is scarce a Spot upon the whole Island, where a Redoubt or Breast Work could be of service, but what has either one or other. From the Advantage we now possess I think General Howe must be repulsed whenever he attacks, but should he be able to carry the Island, it must be with so prodigious a Loss that Victory will be Ruin. He must get Winter Quarters for his Troops somewhere, and I am afraid if he can't get them in York, he will once more attempt it in Boston. Their Command of the Sea gives them vast Advantages.
On Friday Night an armed Schooner a Tender of the Phenix2 was burnt by one of the fire Ships, another fire Vessel grappeled the Phenix, but being small and being on the Leeward Side of the Ship, they disengaged themselves and received but little Damage. This Morning the two Ships with two Tenders taking Advantage of a Strong Ebb Tide and brisk Northerly Wind came down the River and not• { 474 } { 475 } withstanding a heavy Fire from our Batteries, passed them all and joined the Fleet at Staten Island. It is thought the Tenders might have been taken going down, had the Galleys and a Privateer which lay in the East River done their Duty.
Col. Sargent's Regiment is stationed at Horn's Hook or Hell Gate. About one half of it is here, the Remainder were left sick with the small Pox at Boston. The Colonel did not come, and it is thought will be censured on his Arrival, which will produce a Resignation.
The Major3 tells me it is a Matter of much Indifference to him whether He has a Regiment or not. A Privateer of which he was a principal Owner having taken two very rich Prizes,4 the Colonel, it is thought prefers enjoying Ease and Wealth, to hard Knocks and Glory. If he should quit the Regiment, I think there is a fair Chance for Austin's Promotion. From Inquiry I learn that he behaved well at the Castle,5 nor do I hear of any thing degrading in his Behaviour since he has been in the Service. He has certainly a good Deal of Merit in disciplining his Regiment. He will certainly be much neglected if he is not advanced. Nor will you Sir think it much against him that he declines supplicating a Recommendation from Head Quarters. Give me leave to mention one or two other N. E. Officers. There is Lieut. Col. Johnnot of Glover's Regiment, has Fire, Sense and Courage, nor is Major Lee of the same Regiment deficient in either.6 There is also Jos. Lee a Captain in the same Regiment. This young Fellow is son to the late Col. Jer. Lee of Marblehead.7 He has a young Wife at Home, and his Fortune sets him above any mercenary Inducement. He is here purely from the best of Motives, the Love of Freedom and his Country. There are also several other Young Fellows in that Regiment of Spirit and Parts, who will never basely cringe to beg the General to inform Congress they wish for Preferment. I will take another Opportunity to prosecute this Subject.
The Adjutant General8 thinks it would be best when the Press is set to strike off 4 or 5000 Copies of the Articles of War; 2000 at least will be immediately wanted here. The Rest may be kept in the War Office and delivered out as occasion may require. Col. Reed desired me to mention this to you and press for having the New Articles as soon as possible. They are much wanted.9 I wish there may be 50 or 60 sets sewed in blue or marble Paper that I may furnish each General Officer with one. I am, with great Esteem, & Sir, Yr. most obedt. Servt.
[signed] Wm. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esq Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE”; docketed: “Tudor Aut. 18. 1776.”
{ 476 }
1. Tudor had been in Philadelphia and returned to New York in the company of Samuel Adams and William Whipple (JA to AA, 2d letter of 12 Aug., Adams Family Correspondence, 2:89).
2. The Phoenix, a 44-gun ship, in company with the Rose, 20 guns, was attacked by American fireships on 16 Aug. The journals of the two ships, describing the encounter, agree with Tudor's account except that it was the Rose's tender that was burnt (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 6:167, 206).
3. Jonathan Williams Austin of the 16th Continental Infantry (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 22).
4. The sloop Yankee took the Creighton and the Zechariah Baily on 3 July. P. D. Sargent & Co. owned the sloop (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 328; see also Joseph Ward to JA, 8 July, note 3, above).
5. See JA to William Tudor, 24 June (above).
6. Gabriel Johonnot and William R. Lee were in John Glover's 14th Continental Infantry (Heitman, p. 22).
7. Col. Jeremiah Lee (1721–1775) was a wealthy and prominent merchant of Marblehead, whose mansion there can still be seen. He was a firm supporter of the American cause, active on committees, and a member of the Provincial Congress (Priscilla Sawyer Lord and Virginia Clegg Gamage, Marblehead: The Spirit of '76 Lives Here, Phila., 1972, p. 101, 106, 234–236).
8. Joseph Reed.
9. The congress began consideration of a committee report on revision of the Articles of War on 7 Aug., but final agreement was not reached until 20 Sept. JA was on the committee that made the initial suggestions (JCC, 5:417, 442, 636, 788–807).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0219

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Date: 1776-08-19

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

To Samuel Holden Parsons

Philadelphia, 19 August 1776. Printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:447–449.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0220

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-19

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

I set down to give you Part of the Information you ask. The Brigade you mention are new Levies wholly from the Massachusetts Bay. They are posted at Greenwich on the North River about 2 Miles out of Town. What the Men are or how they look I can't tell not having seen them. The Brigadier Mr. Fellows, was a Colonel in the Continental Service last Campaign, his Regiment was at Roxbury. He lives in Sheffield in the County of Berkshire. He was in several Campaigns last War to the Westward, but never rose above a Captain. 'Tis said he has Courage, but is without any other Requisite to intitle him to the Rank of a General Officer. Colonel Holman comes from Sutton in the County of Worcester and is above 50 Years old; Col. Carey comes from Bridgewater in the County of Plymouth and is very old; Col. Smith belongs to Lanesborough, an obscure Town in Berkshire and is not so old: Neither of these Officers possess either civil or military Abilities sufficient to have brought them into Notice at any other Time than the present, Which, however critical it may seem to the rest of the Continent, our Colony improve to little other Purpose than to thrust in• { 477 } to Notice Men, whom Nature design'd for Obscurity. As to the rest of the Field Officers, I can find nobody who knows them. Doctor Bricket of Haverhill who was a Lieutenant Colonel last Campaign and could not be return'd qualified for a Field Officer this, is sent by the Massachusetts in the Capacity of Brigadier General of the New Levies ordered to Ticonderoga.1 I can account for the strange military Appointments in our Colony, on no other Principle, than that they mean to guard against the Danger of an Army by making it contemptible. But they ought to know that without Officers we never shall have Soldiers. And to consider, that by this Management, they are exposing themselves to an eminent present Danger, to guard against a distant, possible Evil; and at the same Time are sinking the Province in the Eyes of the whole Continent.
Your late Promotions were tolerably well liked in general. Knox indeed thought himself neglected, because as Colonel of Artillery, he conceives he has a Rank before any commanding Officer of a Battalion. Varnum was chagrined, and Prescott felt a little Angry—but we had nothing like a Convulsion. Some Officers resented Major Knowlton being promoted to a Lieutt. Col. in Durkee's Regiment, he was only a Captain last Campaign, and will never be a Gentleman. He fought well at Bunker's Hill.
Is not Congress taking some effectual Steps to raise another Army? It is surely Time to guard against the Distress we were thrown into last Winter by the disbanding of the Army. It will be greater this if Care is not taken; Because as Most of the Men are at a greater Distance, and will be longer from home than last Year was the Case, they will be more eager to get away. A large Bounty must be given to induce the Men to engage for as long a Time as they may be wanted. And I hope there will never be another Soldier inlisted but on these Terms. Twenty Dollars would be better than ten and a hundred Acres of Land. While we continue to take Men from the Plough and the Anvil and engage them for 6 or 9 months only we never shall have an Army that will be formidable. Another Thing, You will not another Year get Men of Sense and Spirit to engage in your Service, without an Augmentation of their Pay. At the End of a Campaign, we find Butchers, Bakers, Suttlers, with a large Tribe of Contractors, with Fortunes made at the Public Expence, whilst a young Officer of Merit on 26 Dollars a month is a Beggar. A Man of Honour and Spirit cannot herd with Company unworthy him, Yet there is no one beneath a field Officer, whose Pay gives him a Right to Company above a Shoe Black.
The great Number of Southern Officers now in York, who are but { 478 } little used to the Equality which prevails in N.E. are continually resenting the Littleness of their Pay, and thereby encourage Sentiments throughout the Army, (among Officers) which will be no small Impediment to your getting a future well officer'd Army. I am with great Respect Dr Sir, very sincerely Yours.
1. The officers mentioned are John Fellows, Jonathan Holman, Simeon Carey, Jonathan Smith, and James Brickett, who all had commands in the Massachusetts militia before being sent out of the state (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 224, 297, 143, 120; Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, 14:470; 2:482–483). The rise of Brickett was most noteworthy. A surgeon at Ticonderoga in the French and Indian War, he became a lieutenant colonel at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Named a colonel on 5 July 1776, he was promoted to brigadier general on the 11th (Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog.; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1 a, Reel No. 12, Unit No. 2, p. 428, 453).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1776-08-20

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Your Favours of 28th. July and 8. August are before me. I have a Favour to ask of you, that is to Send me, an exact Account of the Number of Continental Cruizers fitted out, in the Massachusetts, the Tonnage of the Vessells the Number of Guns belonging to each, the Weight of Metal, the Number of Men, the Names of the Vessells and the Names of all the Officers, that is to say, the Captains and Lieutenants, the Sailing Masters and Mates, and the Officers of Marines.
You complain that there has not been a Sufficient Number of Promotions among the Massachusetts Officers. Perhaps with Justice. But what is the Cause of the Disinclination in Massachusetts Gentlemen to the service. Ward, Fry, and Whitcomb have resigned. If We go out of the Line of Succession among the Collonells, to make a Brigadier General, We give Discontent. And can you lay your Hand upon your Heart and recommend the ablest Collonells for Generals as they Stand upon the Line. We have now made Nixon, a General. I know neither him nor his Qualifications. Prescott would have been a General long ago. Nay there is no Advancement to which he would not have been pushed, for his Conduct and Intrepidity on Charlestown Heights. But you know there is a fatal objection.1
You ask if it was not in Contemplation to send two southern Generals to command you, in Defence of yourselves? I answer it was, and that, at the earnest Solicitation of the principal Gentlemen, in the Province, who in their Letters pressed for it. They had two Reasons for this, one was that a Stranger would be likely to have more Au• { 479 } thority among the People there than a Native. Another was that a southern Gentleman, would be likely to give more Satisfaction to the middle and Southern Colonies. I will tell you a plain, frank Truth Mr. Ward, the People of our own Province, have not much Confidence in their own Generals. I am extremely Sorry for it—nothing has made me more unhappy, but so the fact is, and I cannot alter it.
You Speak of a General Mifflin who was young in Experience, and in the Service. I wish our Massachusetts Collonels, old as they are, had as much Activity, and as extensive Capacities and Accomplishments as that young General. However he is not so very young. He is old in Merit in the American Cause. He has the utmost Spirit and Activity, and the best Education and Abilities. He is of one of the best Families and has an handsome Future in his Country. He has been long a Member of the Legislature here, and of Congress. He was long the most indefatigable and successfull Supporter of the American Cause in this Province, where it has laboured more than any where else. He was the prime Conductor, and the Center of Motion to that association, which has compleated the Reduction of this Province to the American Union, and has infused a martial Spirit into a People who never felt any Thing like it before. You can Scarcely name a Man, any where who has more Signal Merit.
There is a Number of young Gentlemen, of our Province, whom I wish promoted. But to advance them over the Heads of a long Line of Colonells, would ruin the service. And I wish you would tell me, which of our Collonells you think most fit for Generals. I wish you Promotion with all my Heart, because I think, your military and literary Qualifications would do Honour to your Country. But you know, that to shoot you up into high Command, over the Heads of a hundred Officers, would destroy the Army.
Since the foregoing was written Congress has requested General Ward to continue in Command.2 I hope he will. The Fortifications in Boston Harbour must be compleated, otherwise the two gratefull Brothers may seek Winter Quarters there.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. See the judgment given by Gen. Parsons to JA, 15 Aug. (above).
2. See Joseph Ward to JA, 23 March, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Date: 1776-08-21

To Jonathan Mason Jr.

[salute] Dear sir

I had by Yesterdays Post, the Pleasure of your Letter of the 12. instant. The Account you give me of the Books you have read and { 480 } Studied is very agreable to me. Let me request you, to pursue my Lord Coke. The first Institute You Say you have diligently Studied. Let me Advise you to study the second, third and fourth Institutes with equal Diligence. My Lord Coke is justly Styled the oracle of the Law, and whoever is Master of his Writings is Master of the Laws of England. I should not have forgotten his Reports or his Entries. These, equally with his Institutes demand and deserve the Attention of the student.
It is a Matter of Curiosity rather than Use, of Speculation rather than Practice, to contemplate what Mr. Selden calls the Antiqua Legis Facies. Yet I know a young Mind as active and inquisitive as yours, will not be easy without it. Horne, Bracton, Briton, Fleta, Thornton, Glanville, and Fortesque,1 will exhibit to you this ancient Face, and there you may contemplate all its Beauties.
The Year Books, are also a great Curiosity. You must make yourself sufficiently acquainted with Law French, and with the abbreviated Law Hand, to read and understand the Cases reported in these Books when you have occasion to search a Point.2
The French Language will not only be necessary for you as a Lawyer, but if I mistake not, it will become every day more and more a necessary Accomplishment of a Gentleman in America.
There is another Science, my dear sir, that I must recommend to your most attentive Consideration, and that is the civil Law. You will find it so interspersed with History, Oratory, Law, Politicks, and War, and Commerce, that you will find Advantages in it, every day. Wood, Domat, Ayliff, Taylor ought to be read but these should not suffice.3 You should go to the Fountain Head, and drink deep of the Pierian Spring. Justinians Institutes and all the Commentators upon them, that you can find you ought to read.
The civil Law will come as fast into Fashion in America as the french Language, and from the same Causes.
I think myself much obliged to Mr. Morton for his Politeness to you, and should Advise you to accept of his kind Offer, provided you dont find the Practice of his office interferes too much with your studies, which I dont think it will.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent. Aug. 24.”
1. For identification of Horne, Bracton, Britton, Fleta, and Fortesque and JA's use of these authorities, see JA, Papers, 1:261–262, 267, note 1, 277–286, notes 3, 8, 9. Ranulf de Glanville, Tractatus de legibus et consuetudinibus regni Anglie tempore Regis Henrici secundi compositus . . . , [London,] 1604. Thornton has not been identified.
2. “Year Books” was the familiar term for the books of reports published yearly at crown expense and written by court scribes. The series runs from Edward I through Henry VIII (Black, Law Dictionary). Law French was the Norman French used in these reports, and Law { 481 } Hand probably refers to the abbreviations that the scribes commonly used.
3. Thomas Wood, A New Institute of the Imperial or Civil Law . . . , London, 1704; Jean Domat, Civil Law in Its Natural Order . . . , transl. W. Strahan, 2 vols., London, 1722; John Ayliff, New Pandect of the Roman Civil Law, London, 1734; John Taylor, The Elements of Civil Law, Cambridge, 1755. The Catalogue of JA's Library lists Domat in a French edition of 1777.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Temple, Harriet
Date: 1776-08-21

To Harriet Temple

[salute] Madam

I had the Honour of receiving your very polite Letter of the Tenth instant by Yesterdays Post. I Sympathize with you, most Sincerely in your peculiar Situation, and nothing would give me greater Pleasure than to be able to contribute any Thing, towards procuring you Relief and Redress. I have the Pleasure to congratulate you on Mr. Temples Arrival, in the Fleet. General Washington, has given Leave for him to come to New York and return to New England, which the Congress have approved, so that I hope, he is now on his Way home, and that you will have the Happiness to see him before you receive this Letter.
Upon the Receipt of your Favour, I went immediately to Mr. Hancock and inquired of him concerning your former Application to him. He Says he received your Letter in May, at a Time when the General was here to whom he showed your Letter. The General expressed, the utmost Concern for Mrs. Temple and her Family, and wished her Relief, but there were so many other Persons in the Same unhappy Predicament, that he did not see, how one could be relieved without establishing a Precedent for all. The Multiplicity of Avocations which constantly engage Mr. Hancock, have no doubt been the Cause, that he has not answered your Letter.
I have shown your Letter to me, Madam, and the Copy of that to Mr. Hancock to Mr. Hooper of N. Carolina, and several other Gentlemen and intend to show it to more, and to move that it may be considered in Congress. But whether any Relief will be granted you, I cannot Say. I wish it may with all my Heart, and it shall not be my fault if it is not.
I thank you, Madam, for your kind Visit to my dear Mrs. Adams in her Distress, and for the agreable Account you give me, of her Recovery. Be pleased to make my most respectfull Compliments to Mr. Temple, and believe me to be, with great Respect, Madam, his and your, most obedient, humble Servant
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent by Post Aug. 23d.” JA copied this letter into his second Letterbook along with copies of letters to AA and other family members.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-08-21

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of August 11 reached me Yesterday. Mrs. Temple shall have all the Assistance which I can give her, but I fear it will be without success. It will be a Precedent for So many others, that there is no seeing the End of it. I shall answer her Letter by the next Post, and if I cannot promise her any Relief, I can assure her of Mr. Temples Arrival, and of his having Leave to go home, which I presume will be more welcome News.
The Success of your Privateers is incouraging. I lament with you the Langour and Inattention to the Fleet. I wish I could explain to you my Sentiments upon this Subject, but I will not. I am determined you Shall come here and See and hear, and feel for yourself, and that Major Hawley and Some others shall do the Same. I must not write Strictures upon Characters. I set all Mankind a Swearing, if I do. I must not point out to you not even to you, the Cause of the Losses, Disgraces and Misfortunes that befall you. I make the Faces of my best Friends a mile long, if I do. What then shall I do? Just what I have long Since determined; go home, and let two or three of you come here and fret yourselves, as long as I have done, untill you shall acknowledge that I had Reason.
There is a Marine Committee, who have the Care of every Thing relating to the Navy. Hopkins and his Captains, Saltonstall and Whipple have been Summoned here, and here they have lingered, and their Ships laid idle.1 I cannot, I will not explain this Business to you, because if I should, it would get into a News Paper, I suppose. You must come and see.
We suffer inexpressibly for Want of Men of Business. Men acquainted with War by sea and Land. Men who have no Pleasure but in Business. You have them, send them along.
Have you got Boston Harbour, Sufficiently fortified? If not take no Rest untill it is done. Howe, must have Winter Quarters, Somewhere. If he cant obtain them at New York, he must attempt them at the southward or Northward. It will be your Fault, if you are not prepared for him, in the North. I took a Hint from your Letter, and this day obtained a Resolution, authorizing and desiring General Ward to continue in the Command in the Eastern Department, untill further orders. I hope he will comply.2 He has some good Officers about him, and he does very well. We give him the Credit in the War Office of making the best Returns, that We receive from any Department. { 483 } The Scene brightens at Ticonderoga—and We have a very numerous Army at N. York. By the last Return We have more than Eight and Twenty thousand Men including Officers, at New York, exclusive of all in the Jerseys. Since which Men have been pouring in from Connecticutt. Massachusetts I think is rather lazy this Campaign.3 Remember me with all possible Respect to your good Lady and believe me to be as usual
Since the foregoing was written I have procured Mrs. Temples Letter to be committed. I must depend upon the General Court to send me, a couple of good Saddle Horses.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J Adams Lettr Augt. 76.”
1. Dudley Saltonstall and Abraham Whipple had been summoned to Philadelphia, along with Como. Esek Hopkins, to face charges; but on 11 July the Marine Committee, after hearing the complaints of inferior officers, reported that the charges against the two captains were not well founded, and they were allowed to return to their ships. Whipple was cautioned to improve his relations with his officers (JCC, 5:439, 542–543).
2. For details about Ward's resignation and the action of the congress, see Joseph Ward to JA, 23 March, note 1 (above).
3. Contrast JA's opinion here with his defense of Massachusetts to a citizen of New Jersey (JA to Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, 17 Aug., above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0225

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-21

From Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

I received your favor by the post for which please to accept my thanks.1 I hope the Copper you mentioned will be purchas'd as speedily as possible, as it appears to me to be matter of the utmost consequence. I have purchas'd about two tons but this is nothing equal to what I wish was collected. We ought at least to have enough to cast an hundred Mortars, Howitzers, and feild peices. A numerous and well serv'd field Artillery in action very often confers victory. As Copper Can be purchas'd at a little advanc'd price we may be possessd of a fine field train, but if for fear of trouble or expence we omit getting them and any bad Consequences happen our Enemies will laugh at us and posterity curse us. Let us for a moment suppose a misfortune happen to the field Artillery we have in this army, Where shall we get immediately supplied—not in America. With you I very much lament the want of General officers for the State of Massachusetts Bay. In confidence I am sorry to observe that few men of Genius Spirit and solid judgement are high up in the list of Colonels from that State. The requisitions necessary for a General officer are so many that I tremble to think of some certain situations where true greatness of { 484 } soul alone could extricate an army out of its difficulties. The remedy is, local. We have a number of our young men of sense and abilities in the army, but not the greatest proportion—these ought to be drawn into it. It is from men of solid abilities united with Spirit that a Country is to expect great actions. A man being a good marksman cannot in the nature of things alone be a sufficient Recommendation to make him either a Colonel or General officer. There is Col Glover of the 14 Regiment from Marblehead who appears to be the most suitable man I know in our list of Colonels for promotion. He is brave and is said to be a man of reflection.
Pray my dear Sir when is the army to be Re-Inlisted? How much bounty is intended to be given? It is said you intend to attempt raising an army, for three years with ten dollars Bounty. In my opinion you could Create an army with equal ease. When the soldiers of this army who are the Yeomanry and the Yeomanrys Sons first engag'd in the service, their County was the immediate Seat of war—and had there have been no pay they would have been oblig'd by the Laws of self preservation to have Continued for some time embodied. The first emotions subsided and people thought it reasonable that those who did not fight should pay. As the pay of the soldiers was high in their opinions they rais'd every necessary the soldier wanted to enable them to pay their proportions—which Spirit has diffus'd it self to every place to which the army has Removd. So that in fact that which appear'd to be at first great pay will not now afford them decent <subsistence> cloathing—nothing to remit to their families except they go as ragged as beggars. From the observations and Inquiries I have been able to make it appears to me that nothing short of 25 or 30 Dollars Bounty and 100 or 150 Acres Land at the expiration of their Service will produce an army from the New England Colonies. Any attempt at a less expence will be fruitless. The pay of the officers must likewise be rais'd or you will [have] very few of the present officers to continue longer in the service. They are not vastly riveted to the honor of starving their families for the sake of being in the army. I wish you to consult Marshall Saxe on the Chapter of paying the troops.2 I am not speaking for myself. But I am speaking in the behalf of a great number of worthy men who wish to do their Country every Service in their power at a less price than the ruin of themselves and families. I write thus freely to you as I am certain you wish to be inform'd of naked facts.
The enemy appear to hesitate where to attack us. Their protraction is of service to us as we are daily Receiving large Reinforcements. If { 485 } they make their push on Long Island I think we shall beat them. If they make their attack on the Island of New York they will stake an empire on the cast of a Die on the success of one action. They will act unlike Good Generals for if they are beaten they must be ruined past redemption. [For] these Reasons I think their first attempts will be on Long Isle. They have got sick of the North River. In a day or two we shall have the east River stoppd sufficiently. I am Dear sir with the greatest Respect and affection your most obet. & most hble Sert.
[signed] Henry Knox
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honorable John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE N*York, Aug:21”; docketed: “Hitchcock Knox Aug 21. 1776 ans. Aug. 25.”; docketed in another hand: “Knox Aug 21–1776.”
1. JA's letter of 13 Aug. (MHi: Knox Papers, not printed here; LbC, Adams Papers)
2. See JA to William Tudor, 12 Oct. 1775, note 5 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0226

Author: Hitchcock, Daniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-22

From Daniel Hitchcock

[salute] Worthy Sir

Your Favour of the third instant yesterday came safe to Hand, for which I thank You; am glad to hear that the Burden lying on Colonels of Contracting for Cloathing Arms &c. is removed by the Establishment of a Pay Master, tho I think if he is to purchase Cloathing it ought to be assertained what or whether he is to put on any, Profit on the Cloathing, and that to be under the Inspection of the Colonels or otherwise there will be great Impositions; I think if its properly regulated One Person may do the Business, Some Profit, I think will be necessary to allow him. I know tis extremely difficult, fully to satisfy your Constituents and the Army too; unhappy for both that the good Yeomanry think that all Money is centred in the Army; and the Army know that their Wages, on the Account of the Rise of every thing around them do not support them; we must look to your Councils to stear Us betwixt Cylla and Carybdis; it never will do to starve the Army, tho should think it not adviseable to raise Soldiers Wages, because if anything favourable should happen; you cant lower them again; a very large Bounty, say twenty Dollars, wou'd be much the most probable Way to raise an Army, and in fine certainly much the Cheapest; none have so great Reason to find fault as the Field Officers, whose Pay is not certainly adaquate to their Trouble. Am satisfied with Regard to the Advancement of Officers to the Southward, tis certainly right, that southern Brigades should have southern Generals; the hardest Pill is when one Colonel is put over anothers Head, of the same State, for Instance suppose Colo. Varnum should be promoted { 486 } over Me, which I know he is constantly dogging the General to do; I should instantly resign, because I know my Character wou'd inevitably suffer in the State from whence we came. I think a Method might be hit upon, which wou'd satisfy the Colonels in Point of Honor, and the Field Officers with Regard to their Wages; and that is this; tis a well known Truth in the Army that the Lt. Colonels are in General, but the very Drones of the Army, they say that no Author has particularly pointed out their Duty, but that the whole Business of the Regiment is to be done by the Colonel and Major, and that the Lt. Colonel has nothing to do till the Colonel is killed or Absent. Now what I wou'd propose is this, that a new Rank be created of Brigadier Colonels, that these Brigadiers should have the Command of two or three Battalions only; that each Battalion shou'd have only two Field Officers, a Colonel Commandant, and a Lt. Colonel, who should act and perform the Duty of a Major; these two Officers wou'd do full as well as three; that the Pay of a Brigadier Colonel shou'd be Twenty five Pounds L[awful] Money of N. England, with Nine Rations; a Colonel Commandant fifteen Pounds, and a Lt. Colonel Twelve Pounds like Money, the Rations of those as now established; if a Brigadier commanded two Battalions, the Wages of the Field Officers of the two Battalions, including the Brigadiers, woud amount to only five Pounds per Month more than what the Wages of the Field Officers of two Regiments do now; if he commanded three Battalions, the Wages would be five Pounds less; I think it might be done and every Colonel and Field Officer satisfied.
I believe your late Promotions have not given much Disgust, tho abler Colonels than some of them might, I fancy, have been picked out of the Army, since your Resolutions have told Us, that Promotions shall not be by Succession.
Am willing my Letter shou'd be exposed so far as it respects the new Modelling the Army. I indeed think its worth attending to, or at least something of the like kind, tho I wou'd not mean to dictate, but as you desired my Sentiments, I've freely given them; I believe twou'd take in the best Colonels in the Army.
I am told that Letters by the Post to Members of Congress are franked, if not, wish you wou'd notify Me; for I dont think my Scrawls are worth Paying much for. With the greatest Respect, Am your most obedt. Hble Servt.
[signed] Dan Hitchcock
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble John Adams Esqr Member of the Honble Continental Congress Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE N*York, Aug:21”; docketed: “Hitchcock Aut 22. 1776.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0227

Author: Clark, Abraham
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-23

From Abraham Clark

[salute] Dear Sir

Colo. Dayton,1 who with his battalion is Stationed at Fort Stanwix, informs me no Regimental Paymaster hath been appointed to his battalion, and Genl Schuyler does not conceive himself Authorized to appoint one. Jonathan Dayton, a son of the Colo, is Recommended as a proper person for that Station, his father offers to become Security for his faithful discharge of the Office.2 Mr. Caldwell the Chaplain of that battalion3 is come down and informs me Genl. Schuyler would have Appointed Dayton had he been Authorized, and Offers to Recommend him to Congress if Necessary. The young mans Qualification can be known from Dr. Witherspoon. If no just objection appears Against him, I wish a Commission may be sent to me for him.
I remain in a Weak infirm State. We are daily Alarmed with News of an Attack on this Town but have hitherto escaped it. We hear the British Troops are busily employed hanging the Refractory among them: may their business increse. I am Dear Sir, Your Sincere Friend & Humle. Servt.
[signed] Abra. Clark4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honourable John Adams Esqr. in Congress. Philadelpa.”; docketed: “Mr Clark Aut 23. 1776.”
1. Elias Dayton, colonel of the 3d New Jersey Regiment (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 190).
2. Young Dayton was named regimental paymaster on 26 Aug. (JCC, 5:701).
3. James Caldwell (Heitman, p. 139).
4. Clark was a delegate to the congress from New Jersey (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:liv).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0228

Author: Edwards, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-23

From Thomas Edwards

[salute] Sir

In the general Calamity of the times, I find there is little or no Business to be had unless help'd and push'd forward by some able and powerful Friend; Necessity at length obliges me to seek one, and I apply to you, Sir, in preference to another on Account of the Notice you have heretofore taken of me; I have delay'd this Application thus long, lest I should give you trouble, not that the trouble is less now, but my Necessity greater.
Cannot the Continental Agent here be directed to apply to me to file Libels against what Prizes may be brought in here by the Continental Cruizers and to do what Business may be needful in our Way here, or is there not wanted a Deputy Judge Advocate, that Business I'm acquainted with as I acted as an Assistant to Mr. Tudor 5 or 6 { 488 } Months last Year at Cambridge, but his removing to N. York deprived me of that, or in short is there not any Place which you think will be agreable to me. If you can effect anything of this kind it will be conferring a great Obligation on one who will ever hold you in grateful Remembrance. If you think proper you may communicate this to S. Adams Esqr. who knew my Father (who is now no more) and perhaps for his Sake if not my own he will assist his Son. Impute the Liberty I have taken to my Necessity and presumption on your kind Assistance. If you will be so kind as to write an Answer to this and acquaint me if there is any probability of my succeeding in my Requests I shall esteem it a great favour done to Sir Your humble Servt.
[signed] Thos: Edwards1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr Tho. Edwards Aut 23. 1776.”
1. JA replied on 1 Oct., regretting that he could do little to help Edwards (LbC, Adams Papers). In spite of suspicions about his loyalty which led to his brief detention in Feb. 1777, Thomas Edwards (1753–1806), a Harvard graduate and former Braintree schoolmaster who changed to law, was named deputy judge advocate in April 1780 and judge advocate for the Continental Army in Oct. 1782, holding the latter position until his retirement in Aug. 1783 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:507–510; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 212).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0229

Author: Gates, Horatio
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-23

From Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear Sir

I have the Satisfaction to acquaint You that immediately after my Arrival here I appointed Mr. Rice a Major of Brigade. He is a most deserving young Man and will do Honour to the profession. The Inclosed from Lieutt. Col. Baldwin1 I have the pleasure to send You, and entreat you will endeavour to procure him the Rank he Requests. I can assure You Sir he is a most Excellent Officer, and the Only one I can depend upon here in the Engineering Branch. I must refer you to Chase for all that is worth knowing from hence. If you can hold the Enemy Fast upon Saten Island, I think there is but little likelyhood that those in Canada will be able to pass here. May Him who gives the Race to the Slow, and The Battle to the Weak, prosper Our Arms. My very Affectionate Compliments to Messrs. Adams, Gerry, Paine, &c. &c. with the most Cordial Affection, I am Dear Sir Your much Obliged & most obedt: Humble Servent
[signed] Horatio Gates
1. This enclosure has not been found, but it, together with Gates' recommendation { 489 } and Jeduthun Baldwin's most recent letter to JA (22 July, above), may have brought about on 3 Sept. the appointment of Baldwin as engineer with the rank of colonel (JCC, 5:732).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0230

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hitchcock, Daniel
Date: 1776-08-24

To Daniel Hitchcock

[salute] Sir

Yours of the Twenty Second is before me. You mention, the Delicacy of appointing, an Officer of the Same State over another. And you put the Case of Coll Varnum and yourself. I have been a long Time puzzled to account, for Varnums Standing on the List of Colonells before you, whom I know to be many Years older than that Gentleman, has been represented to me to be. I have heard, this young Gentleman Spoken of in Raptures as a Genius, and from all I have heard I believe his Abilities and Accomplishments to be very good. But his Years are tender in Comparason of yours, and his Education is but equal at best, how happened it then that in Arranging of Collonells, you was placed after him. I am Sure this has made a Puzzle in Some Minds here which will continue. It may possibly prevent either of you from rising so soon, as one of you would have done, if this Obstruction had not been in the Way.
The Massachusetts Bay, your Native Country, continues to act, the most odd Surprizing and unaccountable Part, respecting Officers. They have a most wonderfull Faculty of finding out Persons for Generals and Colonells of whom no Body ever heard before. Let me beg of you, in Confidence to give me your candid and explicit opinion, of the Massachusetts General and Field Officers, and point out such as have any Education, Erudition, Sentiment, Reflection Address or other Qualification or Accomplishment excepting Honour and Valour for Officers in high Rank. Who and What is General Fellows? Who and What is General <Frickett, I think his name is> Brickett? Who is Coll. Holman, Cary, Smith?1 There is a brave Veteran gone as a Coll. to Ticonderoga, who should have my Vote for a General, sooner than an hundred of them. I mean Aaron Willard.2
If there are any officers, young or old, among the Massachusetts Forces who have Genius, <Honour,> Spirit, Reflection, Science, Literature, and Breeding, do for the Lands sake, and the Armys sake, and the Province sake let me know their Names, Places of Abodes and Characters.
Your Plan for New modelling the Army may be a good one, for what I know. But I will give you more for a Plan for new modelling Massachusetts officers. I am &c.
{ 490 }
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. JA had not yet received William Tudor's account of these officers (to JA, 19 Aug., above).
2. Aaron Willard, despite JA's enthusiasm, remains an obscure figure, unmentioned in the Diary and Autobiography or Adams Family Correspondence for this period. Willard was named to command a regiment going to Canada and probably received his commission on 19 July (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, 17:380).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0231

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1776-08-24

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favours of 18 and 19 of August are before me. I am much obliged to you for them, and am determined to pursue this Correspondence, untill I can obtain a perfect Knowledge of the Characters of our Field Officers.
If the Colonell quits the Regiment Austin will certainly be promoted, unless Some Stain can be fixed upon his Character, Since he has been in the Army. His Genius is equal to any one of his Age. His Education is not inferiour. So far I can Say of my own Knowledge. If his Morals, his Honour, and his Discretion, are equal there is not a Superiour Character of his Age in the Army. If I could Speak with as much Confidence of these as of those, I should not hesitate one Moment to propose him for the Command of a Regiment.
You mention a Major Lee in Glovers Regiment. I wish you had given me more of his Biography and Character. Captn. Jos. Lee the Son of Coll. Jer. Lee, has so much Merit, that I think he ought to be promoted. I never heard of these two Gentlemen before. I mean of their being in the Army. Are they Men of Reflection? That is the Question. Honour, Spirit, and Reflection, are Sufficient to make very respectable Officers, without extensive Genius, or deep Science, or great Literature. Yet all these are necessary to form the great Commander. You Say there are Several other young Officers of Parts and Spirit in that Regiment, I wish you had mentioned their Names and Characters. You Say they will never “basely cringe.” I hope not: but I also hope, that they will distinguish between Adulation and Politeness: between Servility and Complaisance: between Idolatry and Obedience: A manly, firm attachment to the General, as far as his Character and Conduct are good, is a Characteristic of a good Officer, and absolutely necessary to establish Discipline in an Army.
I have a great Character of Lt. Coll. Shepherd and Major Brooks. I wish you would write me a History of their Lives. I know nothing of them. If Brooks is my old Friend Ned of Mistick,1 as Mr. Hancock this Evening gave me some Reasons to suspect, and if he deserves the { 491 } Character I have received of him, as I doubt not he does, if he is not promoted before long, it shall be because I have no Brains nor Resolution. I never, untill this Evening Suspected that he was in the Army. Pray tell me what Regiment he is in.
The Articles of War, are all passed but one—that remains to be considered. But I fear, they will not be made to take Place, yet. Gentlemen are afraid, the Militia, now in such Numbers in the Army, will be disquieted and terrified with them. The General must quicken this Business, or I am afraid it will be very slow. Every Body seems convinced of the Necessity of them, yet many are afraid to venture the Experiment. I must intreat you to write me, by every Post.
Let me intreat you, Mr. Tudor, to exert yourself, among the young Gentlemen of your Acquaintance in the Army, to excite in them, an Ambition to excell: to inspire them, with that Sense of Honour, and Elevation of sentiment without which they must, and ought to remain undistinguished. Draw their Attention to those Sciences, and those Branches of Literature, which are more immediately Subservient to the Art of War. Cant you excite in them a Thirst for military Knowledge? Make them inquisitive after the best Writers, curious to know, and ambitious to imitate the Lives and Actions of great Captains, ancient and modern. An Officer, high in Rank, should be possessed of very extensive Knowledge of Science, and Literature, Men and Things. A Citizen of a free Government, he Should be Master of the Laws and Constitution, least he injure fundamentally those Rights which he professes to defend. He Should have a keen Penetration and a deep Discernment of the Tempers, Natures, and Characters of Men. He Should have an Activity, and Diligence, Superiour to all Fatigue. He should have a Patience and Self Government, Superiour to all Flights and Transports of Passion. He Should have a Candour and Moderation, above all Prejudices, and Partialities. His Views should be large enough to comprehend the whole System of the Government and the Army, that he may accommodate his Plans and Measures to the best good, and the essential Movements of those great Machines. His Benevolence and Humanity, his Decency, Politeness and Civility, Should ever predominate in his Breast. He should be possessed of a certain masterly, order, Method, and Decision, Superiour to all Perplexity, and Confusion in Business. There is in Such a Character, whenever and wherever it appears, a decisive Energy, which hurries away before it, all Difficulties, and leaves to the World of Mankind no Leisure, or opportunity to do any Thing towards it, but Admire, it.
There is nothing perhaps upon which the Character of a General So { 492 } much depends, as the Talent of Writing Letters. The Duty of a constant Correspondence with the Sovereign, whether King or Congress, is inseparable from a Commander in any Department, and the Faculty of placing every Thing, in the happiest Point of Light is as usefull as any, he can possess. I fear this is too much neglected by our young Gentlemen. I know it is by you, who can write but will not.
Geography is of great Importance to a General. Our Officers should be perfect Masters of American Geography. Nothing is less understood. Sensible of this, Since I have belonged to the Board of War I have endeavoured to perswade my Colleagues of its Importance and We are making a Collection of all the Maps, extant, whether of all America or any Part of it, to be hung up in the office, So that Gentlemen may know of one Place in America where they may Satisfy their Curiosity, or resolve any doubt. I should be obliged to you, if you would inquire at every Print sellers shop in New York, and of every Gentleman, curious in this Way concerning American Maps, in the Whole or Part and send me an Account of them. Mr. Hazard2 is as likely to know as any Man, in New York. I should never find an End of Scribbling to you, if I had nothing else to do.3 I am, yours &c.,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Tudor Papers); docketed: “Phila. Augt 24th. 1776”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Tudor referred to Maj. John Brooks. JA's friend was Rev. Edward Brooks (1734–1781), Harvard graduate, ardent whig, and, following his joining the U.S.S. Hancock in 1777, the first American navy chaplain (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:146–149). Brooks became the paternal grandfather of Abigail Brown Brooks, future wife of Charles Francis Adams (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:6, note 1).
2. Ebenezer Hazard (1744–1817), bookseller and postmaster of New York city, later surveyor general and postmaster general of the Continental post office (DAB). For a more particular account of the maps, see JA to AA, 13 Aug. (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:90–92).
3. This final sentence has more substance than is apparent from the RC. The LbC reveals that JA had meant to end the letter after discussing the Articles of War, where he made the notation: “Coll Tudor.” Two paragraphs later JA again tried to stop, writing, “I should never, find an End of Scribbling . . . I am,” and adding the notation: “Coll Tudor.” Then he added the paragraph on geography and maps and the final notation: “Sent. Aug. 24.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0232

Author: Lincoln, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-24

From Benjamin Lincoln

[salute] My dear Sir

Mrs. Adams mentioned to me last evening that you wanted to know the state of our forts, the number of men we have to support the lines and the number of cannon in the town and vicinity of Boston. She desired I would write upon those matters.1
{ 493 }
We have on Fort Hill in Boston a square fort about an hundred feet Curtin with four Bastions, a good ditch with pickets therein; a small fort at Charlestown point, near where the regular troops landed on that ever memorable day—June 17th. 1775; an oblong fort at Noddles Island with four bastions, the internal square 125 by 100 feet, fraised at the foot of the parapet; a small Hexagon on Governor's Island, with a block-house in the center of it, thrown up rather with design to keep possession of this height, than from any expectation we have of annoying the enemy therefrom; not finished; a square fort at Dorchester Point about 125 feet Curtin with a Redan in the center of each Curtin, fraised as that on Noddles Island; two small works are raising on Dorchester Heights, it is thought necessary to keep possession of these posts, which are considered as a key to the town of Boston.
Much time hath been spent in removing the ruins at Castle William, we are throwing up a line to encircle the whole height of the Island, within which a Citadel may be built. We have laid out, and are now erecting a fort on the east head of Long Island 180 by 90 feet, one bastion, in the center of the curtin fronting Ship Channel, two demi-bastions to clear the short curtins and a redan in the center of the curtin fronting Nantasket-Road. We have on the height of Hull, N.E. of the town, a pentagon with five bastions, sufficient to contain 1000 men. The parapets are nearly finished, the people are now employed in the ditch and glacis; also an out work at the north point of the town, next to the channel, open in the rear to the fort on the hill and will be commanded by it. In addition to these it will be necessary for us to raise a small redoubt on Point Alderton [Allerton], in order to keep possession of that height; should the Enemy possess themselves of it, they might greatly annoy us in our fort at Hull, and cut of[f] our communication by land with the main. It may be necessary also that a work of the same kind be thrown up on Pettix Island.
We suffer greatly for want of tents and are under the necessity of building barracks enough at the several posts to cover all the men necessary to be employed in the works, who are more than sufficient to garrison them when finished, or to transport them by water daily, which is at the expence of most of their time, for we have to conform to the winds, tide &c., &c.,
All the continental troops are ordered from this State, most of them have left it. We have two regiments in the pay of this State, one commanded by Col: Whitney, the other by Col: Marshall of Boston, there are about six hundred men in each of these, they want about one hundred men each to make up their complement. We have seven { 494 } companies of Artillery, fifty men in each, commanded by Col: Crafts, and we have four companies, called independents, they are from Braintree, Weymouth and Hingham and make about two hundred men in the whole.
Upon an application from Congress for the last 1500 men for the Nothern service, the Court ordered that every 25th. man in this State as well those born on the alarm list as those of the train-band should be drawn out and two regiments formed for the service aforesaid, beginning at the western line of this State and extending eastward so far as to complete the two regiments; the remainder were ordered to the lines at Boston.
On the removal of the continental troops the Council ordered, the General Court not then setting, another draught of every 25th. man born on both the lists as aforsaid to be made, formed into companies, and marched to Dorchester Heights, there to be formed into regiments; these are to serve on the continental establishment, and untill the first day of December next, six or eight hundred of those are in, the remainder are soon expected; there has been great delay. I imagine it hath not arisen from a backwardness in the people to man the lines, but from there being so many men already absent that they have been constrained to gather in their harvest. When the whole, which are ordered are collected, with the three regiments and four companies aforesaid, they will make about 4000 men round the harbor of Boston. Is not this a number far insufficient to make any tolerable stand, should we be attacked, considering the extent and number of our works, how difficult it will be to reinforce the garrisons on the Islands, or remove men from one of them to another, how greatly our Militia have been thinned, how many of them disarmed last winter when they left the continental service, and that the men in this town are most of them without arms? Sometime past by order of the Council an account of ordnance was taken, 321 pieces of cannon were found, good and bad, in and near Boston; since the return, the Court have ordered to the different parts of this State and on board the Vessels about 100. 85 have been claimed as private property and carried off including those that have failed in proving. We have now about 136 pieces in this town and at the several forts, 58 of them from 18 to 42 pounders; most of the remainder are quite small, the greatest part of whole are without trunnions, many of them have been stocked, and others that are worth doing will be finished in a short time. This mode of repairing them will undoubtedly answer our purpose.
Mr. Cushing wants 24 9 and 12 pounders for Capt. M'Niels Ship2 { 495 } 14 of them I suppose will be spared him. I am Sir with great regard & esteem your Honor's most obedt. humble Servt:
[signed] Benja: Lincoln
PS Cant we be supplied with some large Cannon from the Southward soon.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “General Lincoln Aut 24. 1776.”
1. See AA to JA, 25 Aug. and JA to AA, 4 Sept. (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:106–108, 117–118).
2. Capt. Hector McNeill was named on 15 June commander of the Continental frigate Boston (JCC, 5:444; see also Gardner Weld Allen, “Captain Hector McNeill, Continental Navy,” MHS, Procs., 55 [1921–1922]: 46–54, and accompanying documents, including McNeill's autobiography, p. 54–152).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hawley, Joseph
Date: 1776-08-25

To Joseph Hawley

[salute] Dear Sir

It is So long Since I had the Pleasure of Writing to you, or the Honour of receiving a Letter from You, that I have forgotten, on which side the Ballance of the Account lies, at least which wrote the last letter.1 But Ceremonies of this Kind ought not to interrupt a free Communication of sentiments, in Times So critical and important as these.
We have been apt to flatter ourselves, with gay Prospects of Happiness to the People Prosperity to the State, and Glory to our Arms, from those free Kinds of Governments, which are to be erected in America.
And it is very true that no People ever had a finer opportunity to settle Things upon the best Foundations. But yet I fear that human Nature will be found to be the Same in America as it has been in Europe, and that the true Principles of Liberty will not be Sufficiently attended to.
Knowledge is among the most essential Foundations of Liberty. But is there not a Jealousy or an Envy taking Place among the Multitude of Men of Learning, and, a Wish to exclude them from the public Councils and from military Command? I could mention many Phenomena, in various Parts of these States, which indicate such a growing Disposition. To what Cause Shall I attribute the Surprizing Conduct of the Massachusetts Bay? How has it happened that such an illiterate Group of General and Field Officers, have been thrust into public View, by that Commonwealth which as it has an indisputable Superiority of Power to every other, in America as well as of Experience and Skill in War, ought to have set an Example to her sisters, by sending into the Field her best Men. Men of the most Genius Learn• { 496 } ing, Reflection, and Address. Instead of this, every Man you send into the Army as a General or a Collonell exhibits a Character, which nobody ever heard of before, or an aukward, illiterate, ill bred Man. Who is General Fellows? and who is General Brickett? Who is Coll. Holman, Cary, Smith?
This Conduct is Sinking the Character of the Province, into the lowest Contempt, and is injuring the service beyond description. Able Officers are the Soul of an Army. Good Officers will make good Soldiers, if you give them human Nature as a Material to work upon. But ignorant, unambitious, unfeeling unprincipled Officers, will make bad soldiers of the best Men in the World.
I am ashamed and grieved to my inmost Soul, for the disgrace brought upon the Massachusetts, in not having half its Proportion of General Officers. But there is not a Single Man among all our Collonells that I dare to recommend for a General Officer, except Knox and Porter, and these are So low down in the List, that it is dangerous promoting them over the Heads of so many. If this is the Effect of popular Elections it is but a poor Pangyrick, upon such Elections. I fear We shall find that popular Elections are not oftener determined, upon pure Principles of Merit, Virtue, and public Spirit, than the Nominations of a Court, if We dont take Care. I fear there is an infinity of Corruption in our Elections already crept in. All Kinds of Favour, Intrigue and Partiality in Elections are as real, Corruption in my Mind, as Treats and Bribes. A popular Government is the worse Curse, to which human Nature can be devoted when it is thoroughly corrupted. Despotism is better. A Sober, conscientious Habit, of electing for the public good alone must be introduced, and every Appearance of Interest, Favour, and Partiality, reprobated, or you will very soon make wise and honest Men wish for Monarchy again, nay you will make them introduce it into America.
There is another Particular, in which it is manifest that the Principles of Liberty have not sufficient Weight in Mens Minds, or are not well understood.
Equality of Representation in the Legislature, is a first Principle of Liberty, and the Moment, the least departure from such Equality takes Place, that Moment an Inroad is made upon Liberty. Yet this essential Principle is disregarded, in many Places, in several of these Republicks.2 Every County is to have an equal Voice altho some Counties are six times more numerous, and twelve times more wealthy. The Same Iniquity will be established in Congress. R.I. will have an equal Weight with the Mass. The Delaware Government with Pensil• { 497 } vania and Georgia with Virginia. Thus We are sowing the Seeds of Ignorance Corruption, and Injustice, in the fairest Field of Liberty, that ever appeared upon Earth, even in the first Attempts to cultivate it. You and I have very little to hope or expect for ourselves. But it is a poor Consolation, under the Cares of a whole Life Spent in the Vindication of the Principles of Liberty, to See them violated, in the first formation of Governments, erected by the People themselves on their own Authority, without the poisonous Interposition of Kings or Priests. I am with great Affection your Friend & Sert.
1. JA had last written Hawley on 25 Nov. 1775, and Hawley had replied on 18 Dec. (both above).
2. At the time JA wrote, New Jersey and Virginia had completed constitutions that gave equal representation to counties. Maryland had begun its deliberations, but JA could not have known that it too would provide for such equal representation (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 5:2595; 7:3815–3816; 3:1691).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0234

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Knox, Henry
Date: 1776-08-25

To Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favour of the 21. is before me. I agree that We ought to have an hundred more of Mortars, Howitzers, and Field Pieces, And if I knew where to procure the Brass, I should be glad to promote the Manufacture of that Number. You Say that Copper can be purchased at a little advanced Price. I wish I knew, where, and at what Price. We have contracted with a Gentleman in Maryland, for a large Quantity of Iron Cannon.1
Able Officers, are the Soul of an Army. Gentlemen of Sense, and Knowledge, as well as valour, must be advanced. I wish you would give me in Confidence a List of the best Officers from the Massachusetts, with their Characters. This may be delicate, but it will be safe. Pray write me the Characters of Coll. Shepherd, Coll. Henshaw, and Major Brooks. Does Austin merit Promotion, or not? I am much distressed for Want of a List of all the Massachusetts Officers, in their Ranks, as they now Stand. I have Sought it, a long time but never could obtain it. Will you favour me with one. I am determined to find out the Characters of our Officers, by Some means or other. If a Second Battallion of Artillery, is formed, who are the Officers, of it? Would not Austin make a good Lt. Coll. of Artillery? Pray give me, your Sentiments frankly, and candidly, We have been delicate too long. Our Country, is too much interested, in this Subject. Men of Genius and Spirit, must be promoted, wherever they are. If you have { 498 } no Lt. Coll., who shall We put in that Place? I wish Austin was in the Artillery, because I know him to have a Capacity equal to any Thing,2 and I conjecture he would turn his Thoughts to those Sciences, which an Officer of Artillery ought to be Master of.
I am a constant Advocate for a regular Army, and the most masterly Discipline, because, I know, that without these We cannot reasonably hope to be a powerfull, a prosperous, or a free People, and therefore, I have been constantly labouring to obtain an handsome Encouragement for inlisting a permanent Body of Troops. But have not as yet prevailed, and indeed, I despair of ever Succeeding, unless the General, and the Officers from the Southward, Should convince Gentlemen here; or unless two or three horrid Defeats, Should bring a more melancholly Conviction, which I expect and believe will one day, or other be the Case.3 I am, your humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Knox Papers); LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Probably a reference to a contract made with Daniel and Samuel Hughes of Frederick, Md., on or about 19 July 1776 (JCC, 4:55–56, note 2; 5:593, 599).
2. LbC originally had “Genius capable of any Thing,” the phrase in the RC being interlined.
3. Knox replied to JA on 25 Sept. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0235

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Palmer, Joseph
Date: 1776-08-27

To Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of July 1. ought not to have lain by me, so long unanswered. But the old Apology of Multiplicity of Avocations is Threadbare.
You Say you have been obliged to attend much upon the Fortifications. I am glad of it. I wish I could obtain Information what Fortifications have been erected, on the Islands in the Harbour, and on the Eminencies round it, of what Kind those Fortifications are, what Number of Cannon are mounted on them, what Number of Men are appointed to garrison them, and who are their Officers. I am afraid that Boston Harbour is not yet impregnable. If it is not, it ought to be made so. Boston has not grown into favour with King George, Lord North or General Howe. It is no peculiar Spight against N. York, which has induced the Fleet and Army to invade it. It is no peculiar Friendship, Favour, or Partiality to Boston, which has induced them to leave it. Be upon your Guard. Hesitate at no Expence, no Toil, to fortify that Harbour against all its Enemies. You ought to suppose the whole British Empire to be your Enemy, and prepare your plans against its Malice and Revenge. How's Army must have Winter Quarters Some• { 499 } where, and will at all Hazards. They may try at Boston—there they lost their Honour. There they would fain regain it, if they could.
They have a hard Bone to pick, at N. York, according to present appearances. They are creeping on. Moments are now of Importance. They are landed on Long Island.1 If they attack our Forts in Columns they may carry them, but, if We do our Duty, they will loose the Worth of them in Blood. A few days will disclose more of their Designs.
The Bearer, Mr. Hare, is a Brother of the celebrated Porter Brewer of this City.2 He wants to see the World. He means and will do no Harm. If you can show him, any Part of the Curiosities of our Countries, you will oblige him, and me, your worn out Friend and Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (NNPM); docketed: “J Adams Esqr. [ . . . ] 1776.”
1. On 22 Aug. 15,000 British troops landed at Gravesend (Johnston, Campaign around New York and Brooklyn, p. 138–141).
2. Robert Hare (1752–1812) became a prominent Philadelphia merchant, but the name of his brother has not been ascertained (PMHB, 4:177; 24:387; JA to Samuel Cooper, 4 Sept., Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0236

Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-28

From Benjamin Franklin

[salute] Sir

The Bearer Mr. Measam was a Merchant of good Reputation at Montreal; but having engag'd warmly in the American Cause, has been oblig'd to abandon that Country, to the great Detriment of his Affairs. He was appointed by Gen. Wooster a Commissary of Stores there; and apprehending Such an Officer to be at this time necessary in our Northern Army, he has apply'd to Congress for a Continuance in that Office. I understand that his Memorial is referred to the Board of War. As I have had occasion to know Mr. Measam as a good Accomptant, a Man of Method, and very correct in Business, I cannot but think that if such an Officer is wanting, he is extremely well qualify'd for the Employ; and as such beg leave to recommend him to the Favour of the Board.1 With great Respect, I have the Honour to be Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] B. Franklin
RC (PCC, No. 42, V, f. 23, 26); addressed: “Honourable John Adams, Esqr”; docketed: “Dr Franklins Letter concerning Mr Measam.”
1. The effect of this letter, which appears in the PCC between George Measam's nearly identical petitions dated 2 and 25 Aug. (f. 19–22, 27–30), is unknown. The Board of War, to which the petitions were referred, recommended on 27 Aug., however, that the question of compensation be sent to the Treasury Board and on 29 Aug. that Measam “be continued in the office of superinten• { 500 } dent, commissary of stores, except artillery stores, for the northern army” (JCC, 5:636, 700, 706, 717). On 16 Oct. Measam was elected commissary of clothing for the Northern Army (same, 6:880).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0237

Author: Smith, Jonathan Bayard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-28

From Jonathan Bayard Smith

[salute] Respectd Sir

As I1 find that Mr. Christopher Ludwig2 is about setting off for Philadelphia in the morning, I think it a duty I owe to trouble you with a line or two by him. The troops have complaind much of their provisions, the bread in particular; tho' they may have exaggerated matters in some instances, yet they have not been without good grounds in others. And I am glad that, by ingaging Mr. Ludwig to deliver this to you with his own hands, I have an opportunity of procuring you the fullest information concerning an article of the utmost consequence in our camps. That he is disinterested, except for the public good I am fully confident. If he has any ambition I believe it is to be found, and known to be, in serving the public. That he is very able his neighbors in the City have long known, and I believe this Camp will fully testify. Indeed the alterations here in the article of bread is truely great. It is not surprizing that every circumstance does not meet the particular attention which it possibly may deserve as the different objects are so many and so novel, but I dare say you'd think this of bread to be very essential. An instance was yesterday afforded of its importance; for it was intirely accidental, as the Commissary told me himself, that the troops, ordered to proceed, were provided from Trenton.
The accounts from Long Island you'd receive more authentic, and more early than we have it in our power to give you. I have the pleasure to be with the greatest esteem & regard, very gratefully Dr Sir Yr. m. ob. h. st
[signed] Jona. B Smith
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble Mr. Adams Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr Jona. B. Smith Aut 28. 1776.”
1. Smith (1742–1812), Princeton graduate, officer in the Associators, and later member of the Continental Congress, had been named mustermaster general of the Flying Camp on 9 July (DAB; JCC, 5:529).
2. Christopher Ludwick (1720–1801), a native of Hesse-Darmstadt, came as a baker to Philadelphia in 1754. In the summer of 1776 he volunteered, refusing either pay or rations, for service with the Flying Camp and while there went into the Hessian camp in disguise in an effort to encourage Hessian troops to desert, an endeavor that met with some success. In 1777 he was made superintendent of bakers, a position that brought him the honorary title of “Baker General” (DAB; JCC, 7:323).
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.