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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0004

John Adams' Service in the Continental Congress

Additional Committee Assignments
29 August – 12 October 1776

JA increasingly felt the weight of committee work during the six weeks that remained before he could take a much-needed rest. He un• { 10 } burdened himself about his need for relief in almost petulant tones to James Warren in more than one letter; yet for this period there is no significant documentary evidence of JA's contribution to committee reports. The editors are reduced simply to listing committee assignments and their consequences not previously mentioned. The form follows that of earlier lists in Volumes 3 and 4 which summarize JA's participation in committees.
  • Eliphalet Dyer, Thomas Lynch, John Jay, JA, Francis Lewis, Thomas Heyward Jr., Lyman Hall, Benjamin Rush (JCC, 2:250; 5:463, 636).A standing committee to devise ways for supplying the Continental Army with medicines. See vol. 3:156.To consider a petition from Peter Dicthery (JCC, 5:723).Other duties assigned: 16 Sept.—to consider a letter from Dr. William Rickman; 20 Sept.—to forward 300 pounds of Peruvian Bark to the southern department; 23 Sept.—to consider a letter from Dr. William Shippen; 24 Sept.—to obtain medicines from the Pennsylvania Council of Safety (same, 5:761, 788, 809, 813).
  • James Duane, George Wythe, JA, Roger Sherman, Joseph Hewes, Thomas Johnson, William Whipple, Thomas Jefferson (JCC, 4:293–294; 5:608).To ascertain the value of gold and silver coins in relation to Spanish milled dollars. See vol. 4:17–18.Reported and report tabled: Dft in the hand of Thomas Jefferson (JCC, 5:724–728; Jefferson, Papers, 1:515–518).
  • Robert Morris, Richard Henry Lee, George Wythe, JA (JCC, 5:827).To draft letters of credence for the commissioners to France and to suggest means for their subsistence.Reported and resolutions adopted: 28 Sept.; Dft not found (same, 5:833–834).
  • George Wythe, Francis Hopkinson, Edward Rutledge, JA, Thomas Stone (JCC, 5:830).To consider two letters from George Washington of 24 and 25 Sept. with enclosures.Reported and resolutions adopted: 30 Sept.; Dft not found (same, 5:836–837).Further resolutions adopted: 7 Oct.; Dft not found (same, 5:853).
  • Richard Henry Lee, Roger Sherman, JA, Elbridge Gerry (JCC, 5:838).To consult with Thomas Mifflin on his resumption of the post of quartermaster general. { 11 } Reported and resolutions adopted: 2 Oct.; Dft not found (same, 5:839–840).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0005

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1776-09-04

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear sir

Mr. Hare, a Brother of Mr Robert Hare,1 the Porter Brewer in this City is bound to Boston. He has boarded, Sometime in the Same House with me, and is very desirous of seeing the Town of Boston. He is travelling to Boston merely from the Curiosity of a Traveller, and meddles not with Politicks. He has an Inclination to see the public Buildings, your Church and the Chappell particularly. I Should be much obliged to you, if you would procure him the Sight of as many of the public Buildings in Town as you can conveniently.
Our Generals, I fear have made a Mistake in Retreating from Long Island. I fear they will retreat from the City of New York next. These are disagreable Events. I dont like these Measures. I wish there was more firmness. But let not these Things discourage. If they get Possession of New York, Long Island, and Staten Island—these are more Territory than their whole Army can defend—this Year. They must keep their Force together. The instant they divide it they are ruined. They cannot march into the Country, for before they get Ten Miles into the Country they are surrounded or their Retreat cutt off. They cannot go up the North River2 to any purpose—because, a few Months, will make Ice in it in which their Vessells cannot live. They must keep the most of their Ships in the Harbour of New York to defend their Army. I sometimes think, that Providence, against our own opinions and Inclinations has provided better for Us in this Instance than our own Wisdom would have done. Had the Enemies Fleet and Army been kept from Long Island, they must and would have made an Effort elsewhere for Winter Quarters. At Staten Island they could not have wintered. They must therefore have wintered at Boston, Rhode Island, or have gone to the Southward to Virginia, one of the Carolinas or Georgia, and either of these Cases would, perhaps have been worse, for Us. The Panick, which is Spread upon this occasion is weak and unmanly. It excites my shame, and Indignation. But it is wearing off. If our whole Army had been cutt to Pieces it would have been Shamefull to have been So intimidated, as some are or pretend to be. { 12 } Congress I hope will Stand firm. I am, my dear Sir, in all Conditions of Affairs public and private, your Friend
[signed] John Adams
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent by Mr Hare.”
1. For Robert Hare, see vol. 4:499, note 2.
2. That is, the Hudson.
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.