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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-04-29

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

I have but a few Moments to write, and these it is my Duty to improve, and faithfully to tell you, that unless you exert yourselves and send forward your Troops, it is my firm Opinion that Howe will recruit his Army as fast as Washington and that from Americans. The People of New York and New Jersey, have been so scandalously neglected this Winter, that they are flying over to How in considerable Numbers. Nay our Army, under Washington is so dispirited by conscious Weakness, that the Spirit of Desertion prevails among them, and there are more go over to How, from our Army than come from his to ours, two to one.
Every Man of the Massachusetts Quota ought to have been ready last December. And not one Man has yet arrived in the Field—and not three hundred Men at Ticonderoga. It is our Weakness, and Want of Power to protect the People that makes Tories and Deserters. I have been abominably deceived about the Troops. If Ticonderoga is not lost it will be because it is not attacked. And if It should be New England, will bear all the shame and all the Blame of it. In plain English I beg to be supported or recalled. The Torment of hearing eternally Reflections upon my Constituents, that they are all dead, all turned Tories that they are small Beer, which froths and foams for a few Moments while it is new, and then flattens down, to worse than Water, without being able to contradict or answer them is what I will not endure.
By a Letter from A. Lee 20 Feb. Burgoigne is coming with Ten Thousand Germans and three thousand British to Boston. They will go first to Rhode Island I suppose. From thence they will join How or go to Boston according to Circumstances. If you make up a decent Force under Washington in the Jersies, How must order them all to him, or he will be demolished, for he has but a small Force at present. If you leave Washington weak, They will march to Boston. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J. A. Lettr Ap. 1777.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-05-02

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Dr. Brownson,1 a Delegate from Georgia, in Congress, and a worthy, Spirited, sensible Man A Native of Connecticutt will deliver you this. He will be able to tell you much News, because he intends a circuitous Journey by Albany, and the New Hampshire Grants who have lately made themselves a state2 to Boston.
The British Daemons have received a little Chastizement in Connecticutt.3
[signed] J. Adams
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A. Lettr May 2. 1777.”
1. Nathan Brownson was given a leave of absence by the congress on 1 May (JCC, 7:321).
2. A convention assembled at Westminster formally declared on 16 Jan. that the New Hampshire Grants were “a new and separate state.” On the following day a declaration of independence asserted that the new state, called at first New Connecticut, should have all the privileges and immunities that the other American states enjoyed (Matt Bushnell Jones, Vermont in the Making, 1750–1777, Cambridge, 1939, p. 375–377).
3. On 25 April, Gen. William Tryon under Gen. Howe's orders led about two thousand troops from New York to a landing in Connecticut near Fairfield. Without opposition, they marched to Danbury and destroyed the provisions, tents, and other supplies stored there and guarded by only one hundred and fifty Continental troops, who put up no resistance. As the British troops marched back toward their ships on 27 April they were met by a force of considerable size commanded by Gens. Wooster and Arnold. Wooster was mortally wounded, but the British suffered probably two hundred casualties, the Americans sixty. The stores destroyed were a serious loss, but the gallantry of the two American generals and their men was some compensation (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:492–495, with map). In a letter to JA of 6–9 May, AA enclosed a list of the losses at Danbury (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:231–233).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0102

Author: Bowdoin, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-02

From James Bowdoin

[salute] Dear Sir

The interesting intelligence of your Letter1 occasioned my sending it to Council as soon as I received it. In Consequence of it, and of other corroborating information, the General Court by a resolve of the 30th. Ultimo have ordered a draft to be made the 15th. Instant to complete the raising a number of able bodied men, equal to a seventh part of the male Inhabitants within the State from 16 years old and upward: which it is Supposed will more than compleat our quota of the Continental Battalions; and they have ordered four Regiments to be raised for the Special defence of Boston, besides the re-inlisting the Regiment of Artillery, whose time is nearly expired. It is Supposed that about two thirds of the said quota are already raised by inlistment, and { 171 } Genl. Heath informed me some days ago, that 3500 had marched, part of them to Ticonderoga, and part to join Genl. Washington. The want of Arms and Blankets has been a great detriment to the Service: but the Supplies lately received here, as well as at the Southward, I hope will enable the Continental Troops to be at the places of destination Soon enough to prevent any essential impression by the Enemy. We are just Setting out for Middleboro, where, on your return, it will give us great pleasure to See you and Mrs. Adams. With great Esteem I am Dr. sir yr most obt. hble servt.
[signed] James Bowdoin
The Affair of Rd Isld. is in contemplation.2
1. That of 16 April (above).
2. See same, notes 2 and 3.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0103

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-02

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favor of April 22d. came to hand a few days since.1 General Lincoln is deservedly acquited from any blame.2 It is as you observe impossible to guard against the intrigues of the Tories and the Negligence of the Militia. However I hope with you that few such surprises will take place.
I most sincerely lament the great inattention and indifference that appears among the People in general about the recruiting the Army. I live in hopes that a better Spirit will prevail soon—if not I hope the drafting from the Militia and exempting all those from the Militia service that procures a recruit will go near to fill the Army. If not we must supply the defect by more vigilance Activity and Spirit.
The Monuments you are erecting to the Memory of the great Heroes Mongomery, Warren and Mercer, will be a pleaseing circumstance to the Army in general and at the same time a piece of Justice due to the bravery of the unfortunate Generals.3 These things are attended with but little expence and have great influence. I would beg leave to propose another Species of honnors to Animate the living to great and worthy Actions. Patriotism is a glorious Principle—but never refuse her the necessary Aids. Let a number of Medals be Struck of different figures emblematical of great Actions with A motto expressive of the same. These { 172 } Medals to be presented by the Congress to such of the Officers as shall perform some great and Noble act. Specified by some previous Resolution of Congress for that purpose. The Officer that claims it to wear it as a mark of distinction due to his merit.4 These will be a species of honnors attended with no expence and at the same time have great influence. They will also serve to fix the honnors of the Army dependant upon the dignity of Congress, and I conceive it an object of great importance to Unite the wishes of the Army with the views of Congress.
Doctor Lennard5 of Conecticut who was Chaplain to the Artillery last Campaign Offers his service again in the Artillery department. There will be several Regiments this Year. They are commonly detacht to different Brigades and divisions of the Army. The Doctor thinks he can serve the whole. But he cannot think of engageing in the service unless there is a more Ample provision made than at present. If the Doctor would answer for the Three Regiments he would Merit some extraordinary allowance. He thinks his services will deserve the pay of a Lieutenant Colonel of the Train. If any Man deserves it the Doctor does. He engagd early in the Army and has been indefattigable in the duties of his Station. In a word he has done every thing in his power both in and out of his line of duty to promote the good of the service. The Clergy are most certainly useful and necessary in the Army and ought to be decently provided for. It is General Knoxes Opinion and wish that the Doctor may be appointed to the Office of Chaplain for the whole Artillery of this division of the Army. You will please to consider of the propriety of the measure.
I concur with you in Sentiment as to the propriety and necessity of taxation. Had this measure been adopted in NE instead of attempting to regulate the prices of things it would have had a much better effect. You may rely upon the Army in general and me in particular doing every in our power to aid and assist the Congress in carrying into execution every Necessary resolve—as far as our influence extends.
The Enemy have destroyed Our Stores at Danbury in Conecticut. For once give them credit for a bold Maneuvre. I think they have paid dear for the attempt. It is supposd their loss in kill'd wounded and Prisoners cannot be less than 600.
I observe by Doctor Lees letter to his brother that Burgoyne is to attack Boston.6 The Troops remaining so long at Newport { 173 } seems to favor the Opinion. Time only can unfold their further intentions. I observe by some late Resolves of Congress they are in fear for Ticonderoga. If Carlton comes over the Lakes with a view of penetrating into the Country General How must be bound up the North River notwithstanding all his threats and preparations for Philadelphia. Pray have a little patience with us here. I know you are tird of enquireing after News from this Army. I hope soon to be in a condition to make some movement.

[salute] Yours sincerely

[signed] N Green
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “G. Green”; in another hand: “May 2d–'77.”
1. Not found.
2. See Greene to JA, 13 April (above).
3. On 25 Jan. 1776, the congress ordered that a monument, properly inscribed, be secured from France to honor Richard Montgomery, Franklin being requested to carry out the resolution. On 8 April 1777, the congress resolved that monuments be erected in Boston and Fredericksburg to honor Joseph Warren and Hugh Mercer, respectively. The inscriptions were included in the resolution (JCC, 4:89–90; 7:242–243).
4. The congress took no action on Greene's suggestion. The first military medal designed to be worn generally for meritorious service was that authorized by Washington in 1782 for soldiers, not officers. Known as the Order of Military Merit or Decoration of the Purple Heart, it honored not only “unusual gallantry” but also “extraordinary fidelity and essential service.” During the Revolution a number of officers were singled out by the congress for their role in important victories, but the medals awarded were not general in nature and were not meant for wearing. The first of these was the medal ordered by the congress, on JA's suggestion, for Washington after the British evacuation of Boston. Gen. Gates received a gold medal for the victory at Saratoga, and five other leaders were honored for their exploits (Harrold E. Gillingham, “Indian and Military Medals from Colonial Times to Date,” PMHB, 51:110–112 [April 1927]).
5. Abiel Leonard of Woodstock. Apparently he was influential in obtaining a congressional resolution that there be a chaplain for each brigade, although Leonard was the only brigade chaplain named at the time because of Washington's opposition to this new office (Jedediah Huntington to Jabez Huntington, 28 July, Conn. Hist. Soc., Colls., 20 [1923]: 356–357; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:450–456).
6. See JA to James Bowdoin, 29 April, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-05-03

To James Warren

[salute] My dear sir

Yours of April 3d I received. I must confess, that I am at a Loss to determine, whether it is good Policy in Us to wish for a War between France and Britain, unless We could be sure that no other Powers would engage in it. But if France engages,2 Spain will and then all Europe will arrange themselves on one side and the other, and what Consequences to Us might be involved in it, I dont know. If We could have a free Trade with Europe, I should rather run the Risque of fighting it out with George and { 174 } his present Allies, provided he should get no other. I dont love to be intangled in the Quarrels of Europe, I dont wish to be under Obligations to any of them, and I am very unwilling they should rob Us of the Glory of vindicating our own Liberties.
It is a Cowardly Spirit in our Countrymen, which makes them pant with so much longing Expectation, after a French War. I have very often been ashamed to hear, so many Whiggs groaning and Sighing with Despondency, and whining out their Fears that We must be Subdued unless France should step in. Are We to be beholden to France for our Liberties?
France has done So much already, that the Honour and Dignity and Reputation of Great Britain is concerned to resent it, and if she does not, France will trifle with her, forever hereafter. She has received our Ambassadors, protected our Merchant Men, Privateers Men of War and Prizes—admitted Us freely to trade—lent Us Money and Supplied Us, with Arms, Ammunition, and Warlike stores of every Kind. This is notorious all over Europe. And she will do more, presently, if our dastardly Despondency, in the midst of the finest Prospects imaginable does not discourage her. The surest and the only Way to secure her Arms in this Cause is for Us to exert our own. For Gods Sake then dont fail of a single Man of your Quota. Get them at any Rate, and by any Means, rather than not have them.
I am more concerned about our Revenue than the Aid of France. Pray let the Loan offices, do their Part—that We may not be compelled to make Paper Money, as plenty and of Course as cheap as Oak Leaves. There is so much Injustice in carrying on a War with <Paper> a depreciating Currency that We can hardly pray, with Confidence for success.
The Confederation, has been delayed because, the states were not fully represented. Congress is now full—and We are in the Midst of it. It will soon be passed.
God prosper your new Constitution.3 But I am afraid you will meet the Disapprobation of your Constituents. It is a Pity you should be obliged to lay it before them. It will divide and distract them. However their Will be done. If they suit themselves they will please me, your Friend.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J A. Lettr Ap. 3. 1777.”
1. Writing April for May at the beginning of a month is a plausible inadvertence, but CFA in editing assigned a date of 27 April perhaps because a letter of that date to Warren is unaccounted for (JA, Works, 9:462). Warren acknowledged { 175 } receipt of a letter from JA dated 3 May (Warren to JA, 5 June, below).
2. Comma supplied.
3. See Warren to JA, 3 April, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0105

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-03

From Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

It is a long time since I have had the pleasure of a Line from you. I was in hopes to have seen you when I went to Boston but you had previously set out for Congress and I miss'd you on the road. Since my return from thence the duties of my department have taken up the whole of my time, which together with the fear of trespassing on your more important engagements has prevented my writing to you.
We are now my dear sir engag'd in a War pregnant with the happiness or misery of America, and to ensure the former much will depend upon the mode of carrying it on—experience is a good master and I hope we have not purchas'd it at too dear a rate. Many things may be mended and as You are one of the Board of War I may with propriety address myself to You on the subject of the Ordnance Department. It will be necesary to have it regulated with the utmost precision. The success of the great movements of the Army depend upon it.
Arsenals, Magazines, Founderies and Laboratories have been order'd by Congress to be erected at Springfield and Carlile. Those at the former were left to the superintendence of the Council of Massachusetts Bay. A previous resolution of Congress had determin'd the Works should be at Brookfield,1 but Springfield being for many reasons greatly preferable, I took the Liberty of giving my opinion to His Excellency General Washington and the Congress who have determin'd upon Springfield, whether the Council of Massachusetts have received this last resolution of Congress I cannot say but am inclin'd to beleive they have not. I wish sir You would be pleas'd to inquire into this matter and favor me with a line on the subject. The season is advancing fast. The Foundery for Cannon ought to have been finish'd ere this but for the reasons mention'd before is not begun. I have collected at Springfield 8 or 10 tons of Copper which is the principal ingredient in Casting Cannon and a proportionable quantity of black tin.2 Considerable quantities of powder and other stores are collected there all of which is depos• { 176 } | view ited in places not very proper. Its true the Workmen are at Work in the different branches of the ordnance department, but I submit it to you whether the buildings ought not to be immediately erected as first order'd by Congress.
I wish to be inform'd what steps have been taken to get supplied with Iron Cannon and Whether any can be had at Philadelphia for the nothern department. Some time ago General Schuyler applied to me for 40 peices of Cannon Vizt
10   ––   9 pounders  
15.     6 do  
15     4 do  
Immediately upon the receipt of his Letter I wrote to Boston as being the only probable place at which they could be had, but have been able to procure six of the smallest size only which are now on the Way to Ticonderoga. If there is not a board of Ordnance already appointed particularly for the Ordnance department it would facilitate matters exceedingly to have it done as soon as possible—who shall in conjunction with the commanding officer of Artillery regulate every thing throughout the department.3 If this measure should be adopted I shall be happy in contributing every thing in my power to make all parts of the Machine harmonize. It appears from the best Accounts received that the Danbury Affair was the very Copy of Lexington.4 I am Dear sir with Respect Your most Obt Hble
[signed] Henry Knox
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “G. Knox”; in another hand: “May 3 1777.”
1. See Nathanael Greene to JA, 5 April, note 1 (above).
2. Tin ore (OED).
3. On 8 April the Committee on Departments brought in a report recommending the establishment of a Board of War and Ordnance composed of men who were not members of the congress. On the 12th the report was recommitted, and the congress did not approve such a board until 17 Oct., the naming of its members taking another three weeks (JCC, 7:241–242, 259; 9:818–819, 874).
4. A reference to the local farmers' shooting from behind trees and walls as the British marched back to their ships after their engagement with Gens. Arnold and Wooster at Ridgefield, Conn.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0106

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-05

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

We have no late Arrivals no foreign Intelligance. The Affair of Danbury has wholly Engrossed the Conversation here for a week past, and we were never able to determine whether what we heard was true or false, or even that there had been an Expedition there till Yesterday, when we were beyond a doubt Ascer• { 177 } tained of the loss of the Stores there, and the Indelible Stigma fixed on the N. England Militia by the Cowardly Conduct of the Connecticut men.1 Had these men never the Lexington and Bunker Hill Spirit, or have they been Laughed out of it by our Continental regulars, and made to beleive they can't fight. If they won't fight what have we to depend on here but Miracles, for we have Nothing else and here it is said is to be the Campaign. My Superiour Officer in the Militia you retain at the head of the Supreem Legislative the next to me you have Advanced to A more Important Station.2 I am therefore left alone, and find the misfortune of being ranked with Important Folks. The Militia is so despized, and I suppose is designed with all its Officers to be directed by Continental Generals, that I intend to Embrace the first Opportunity to quit it, that shall Offer without any Imputation, the late Intelligence alone has prevented. We have lately ordered 15,000 Militia from the County of Hampshire to Ticonderoga one half of the County of Berkshire are gone to Albany at the desire of General Gates. 2,000 Men are Ordered and most of them Marched to reinforce the state of Rhode Island. We have voted the same Bounty to the Regiments of Lee Henley and Jackson before given to the 15 Battalions.3 We have ventured on A draft on such of our Towns as have not already Inlisted A Number equal to 1/7th part of all their Male Inhabitants from 16 and upwards, to be made on the 15th. of this Month, and now must raise some Regiments for the defence of this Harbour or leave it defenceless. If we do all this, if our Board of War deals out the Stores they Collect as fast as they come in to the Army if we strip our Beds of Blankets, and our Backs of Cloaths for them, if we suffer all our provisions to be purchased for them, in short if for the good of the whole we are Content to be Naked, Cold, hungry, and defenceless, will the Southern Gentry give us Credit, and call us good Fellows, or will they say we are selfish and provideing for a Seperate Interest, which I have it hinted to me is the Case. Some People Employed here have done more hurt than good.
I suppose the Court will rise tomorrow. You will next hear from me at Plymouth, where I long to be to set out a few Trees &c. to flourish in the Age of peace and happiness. Since my last I am to thank you for Yours of the 16th. April. I have a great Curiosity to know what Operation the Turn of our Affairs last winter will have in Europe. I Yesterday wrote to the General, and Gave { 178 } him A detail of the Situation of things here, and the motives we have Acted from. If he has any Confidence in me, he will Entertain no prejudices against us. If N England is to be the Sceen of Action are no Troops to be sent here?
I am Called and must Conclude. Please to give my regards to my Friends, and Inform M. Adams that his Account is past, and A Grant for his services up to August last. Perhaps he should send an order to receive it, if his Lady has not one. I am as Usual Your Sincere Friend &c.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren. May 5. 1777.”
1. Tryon's troops marched unopposed from the coast to Danbury.
2. John Hancock was named first major general of the militia on 8 Feb. 1776; Warren did not become second major general until June 1776 (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 225, 261; vol. 4:380). Benjamin Lincoln was made a Continental major general on 19 Feb. 1777 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 9).
3. The bounty was £20 in addition to that offered by the congress. Cols. William R. Lee, David Henley, and Henry Jackson were commanders of three of the so-called sixteen additional regiments authorized by the congress on 27 Dec. 1776 (Warren to JA, 22 Feb., note 2, above; Heitman, p. 24, 25).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0107

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Freeman, Samuel
Date: 1777-05-06

To Samuel Freeman

[salute] Dear Sir

I had the Favour of your Letter of 23d Ultimo by this days Post.
As to the Petitions you mention, the Congress have made good no Losses, to any Soldiers—nor any Accounts for Sickness, more than Pay, Rations, and Mileage.
I am much obliged to you, for your Account of the Several Acts passed by the Assembly. It is very necessary that We should know here, the Proceedings of our Assembly. We often suffer, much Anxiety, and indeed the public Cause often suffers, from our Ignorance.
I am rejoiced above all Things that you have detached 2000 Men to Rhode Island. It is the opprobrium of New England, that So small a Nest of Vermin has been so long unmolested at Newport.
We have no News here, but what you have had before. I hope you will hear of something done before long. We have been insulted long enough. We have borne even to long Suffering. If something is not done Soon I shall think Americans have very small souls.
{ 179 }
I hope you will not fail, a single Man of your Quota. Dont harbour the Thought of falling short. Send the Men along. For Gods sake send them along, that We may suffer no more Surprizes, and Disgraces, for Want of Men.
The Muster Master in this City, has mustered two hundred Men a day for Ten days Past. We shall have an Army, if the Lassitude of the Massachusetts dont discourage it. I am, with much Respect sir, your servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MeHi).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Palmer, Joseph
Date: 1777-05-06

To Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear sir

I had a few days ago the Pleasure of receiving your Favour of the 16. Ultimo.
The Subject of Finances, is the most important, of any that can come under our Consideration. If We can Support those We can, carry on the War with Vigour and probably with success. But if We go on, as We have We must suffer, extream Distress. The science of a Financier is to be learned only from Books or from Travel. I have Scarce a Moment to look into a Book and I never travelled. Some of our Bostonian Genius's who understand the Nature of Commerce and of Money must turn their Thoughts to these Subjects.
I think with you that We ought to negotiate with some foreign Power Loans of Cash; But this is attended with great Difficulty. We might possibly borrow, but there is a vast Risque in transporting, the Money across the sea.
I know not what to say of the Lottery, You say is in Contemplation. I dread the Effects of the Gambling Spirit that is abroad. Salt, Lead, sulphur, Allum and Copperas, are Articles of great Importance, but whether you cannot import them cheaper, than you can make them, (under all the Risques) I know not.
I wish you had informed me, how many Men of our Quota, are raised and how many marched. We are Suffering much for Want of Men. The surprizes at Bound Brook, Peeks kill and Danbury were all owing to this Cause. I hope and pray that our State will not fall a Man short of its Quota, and that every Man will be sent to Ti. and Morristown.
I Sincerely condole with you under Mrs. Palmers Indisposi• { 180 } tion. Be pleased to make my Compliments to her and all the Family. I hope she will recover, beyond your apprehensions. I am &c.
RC (PHC:Charles Roberts Autograph Coll.).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-05-06

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

About Ten Days ago, I had the Boldness to make a Motion that a Navy Board Should be established at Boston1—certain Gentlemen looked, Struck and Surprized—however it passed. I have moved, I believe fifteen Times, that a Nomination should take Place. Certain Gentlemen looked cold.
Two or three Days ago, the Nomination came on. Langdon, Vernon, Deshon, Dalton, Orne, Henley,2 Smith, Cushing, and Warren were nominated.3
This Day the Choice came on. At last Vernon, Warren and Deshon were chosen. The Board are to appoint their own Clerk who is to have 500 Dollars a Year.
I hope you will engage in this Business and conduct it with Spirit. You cannot be Speaker, and do this Duty too, I believe.
I think the Town of Boston, will be offended.4 But I could not help it. I would this you will not mention. The Salary for the Commissioners is 1500 Dollars a Year. You will have the Building and fitting of all ships the appointment of Officers, the Establishment of Arsenals and Magazines &c.—which will take up your whole Time. But it will be honourable to be so capitally concerned in laying a Foundation of a great Navy. The Profit to you will be nothing. But the Honour and the Virtue, the greater.
I almost envy you this Employment. I am weary of my own, and almost with my Life. But I ought not to be weary in endeavouring to do well.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J. A Lettr May 6 1777.”
1. Made on 19 April, the motion is in JCC, 7:281.
2. Comma supplied.
3. Readily identifiable are John Langdon (N.H.), William Vernon (R.I.), John Deshon (Conn.), Tristram Dalton (Mass.), Azor Orne (Mass.), and Thomas Cushing (Mass.). Dalton, Orne, and Cushing were members of the General Court. According to Samuel Adams, members of the congress from Rhode Island and Connecticut were determined to have representation on this board serving New England. William Whipple, however, did not think the job was attractive enough to push for his fellow New Hampshireman (JCC, 7:331; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:340, 359). The identification of Henley and { 181 } Smith remains conjectural. Burnett indexes Henley as David, but he had been appointed some weeks before as colonel of an additional Continental regiment. Since he was only 28, his father, Samuel, a well known Charlestown distiller and town treasurer, would seem a more likely choice (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 25; Thomas Bellows Wyman, The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown . . . 1629–1818, 2 vols., Boston, 1879, p. 493–494). Smith may have been Isaac Smith Sr., AA's uncle.
4. Because only one of the successful nominees, James Warren, was from Massachusetts and not a Boston man at that.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-05-07

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 27th of April1 I am to acknowledge. I cannot concur with you in Sentiment because the Enimy did not go to Philadelphia last December that they had no intention then or since of going there. I am of opinion if the Enemy could have got over the Delaware immediately after our Army crosd it, it would have been agreeable to their wishes. Had they effected it before the Junction of our forces under General Lee and General Gates—the consequences might have been disagreeable. The attempt was dangerous the chain of communication from Brunswick being very extensive for the Number of their Troops to maintain—and yet I cannot thenk at that time they had much to fear either from Pensylvenia or New Jersey.
General How has lost the most favorable opportunity this Spring of distressing us, perhaps that he ever will have. Had he march'd for Philadelphia as soon as the season opend, he might have performd it with less than one half the force necessary to accomplish it now. Such a stroke before the formation of our Army might have given us a deadly wound by retarding our perparations for some Months increasing the Tory faction and depriving us of many valueable Stores.
You say your Opinion is of no consequence to the Continent and you are happy that it is not. You add had you conceivd the conduct of our Army or the defence against the opperations of the Enemy depended in any degree upon you, you should not have contented your self with such vague conjectures. I am at a loss to conceive your meaning. Are not the Military opperations entirely under the direction of Congress? Have you not all the information that we have respecting the Enemies force and ours? Are you not acquainted with the Enemies motions and of ours also as early as possible? Are you not as deeply interested in the consequences of this dispute as any one man in America? { 182 } Have not your Constituents a right to expect youl give your council in every instance where it may be useful? Would you perswade me you are insensible of the weight and influence your Opinion hath in all Publick measures? Under all these considerations how am I to conceive your opinion is of no consequence and that you are happy it is not.
I readily agree with you in Sentiment that there is no one man either in the Civil or Military line that is of such mighty consequence that the liberties of America are dependant upon his will or existence. Yet there are several in both departments, that America might sensibly feel the loss off at this time. If I could perswade myself that Ambition was the leading Principle either in the Cabinet or Field and not the common good of Mankind, I would have no farther connexion with the dispute; for I feel the principle of humanity too forcibly to think myself Justifiable to sacrafice the happiness of thousands only for the purpose of rearing up a few important Characters.
I note your Observations upon a certain General2 that he might be of more importance to the Continent if he thought himself of less. Your opinion in this instance is very different (if I remember right) from what it was last Summer upon a similar ocasion.3 Then you said it was necessary to think more of ourselves and things less impracticable. This was the way to surmount difficulties. Altho I wish the Congress to support their dignity in every instance—Yet I hope they will carefully avoid sporting with the finer feelings of the Gentleman of the Army unless it is necessary for the good of the publick or to preserve their own dignity.
You observe that Prejudice Caprice and Vanity are the common ofspring of all Revolutions and that I have less to fear from them than I immagin. Those evils will rather in than decrease with the confusion of the times and they will rage in propotion as the dispute grows more or less doubtful. If you wish to establish your own Authority—If you wish to give a proper tone to every State—If you wish to silence all the little factions that wrestless Spirits may produce—If you wish to be feard abroad and lovd and respected at Home—establish your Army in its full force. Nothing can give you so much Authority weight and dignity, as an Army at your command superior to all your foreign and domestick Enemies. The prospect of safety will be a pleasing circumstance to the People—and conciliate and reconcile { 183 } them fully to your administration. An Army thus organnizd—Government fully established in the respective States—the Authority of Congress fully acknowledged by each cannot fail of makeing America both easy and contented and happy—at home and lovd and feard abroad. Nothing can be more mortifying and distressing to the feelings of humanity than a long continuance of the present calamities and more especially when we consider that by a proper exertion we may exterminate those hostile invadears of human happiness and the rights of mankind. Remember the long War with the United States, and the blood and treasure spent in that dispute for want of a proper exertion at first.4
I have no wish to see such a large propotion of important Offices in the Military department in the hands of foreigners. I cannot help considering them as so many Spies in our Camp ready to take their measure as their Interest may direct. If foreigners are introduced their command should not be very extensive then the injury cannot be great—but even in this case it is an injury to America, for the multiplying foreign Officers gives us no internal strength. A good Nursery of Officers taught by experience firmly attacht to the interest of the Country is a great security against foreign invaders. The only tye that we have upon foreigners is the Sentiment of honnor too slender for the happiness of a Country to depend upon. While Officers created from among the People are bound not only by the tyes of honnor but by that of Interest and family connexion. We in many instances see the force of British Gold. Let us not neglect to guard against its influence. I have no narrow prejudices upon this subject. Neither have I any private difference with any of those Gentlemen. My opinion is founded upon the general conduct of mankind.
By a Spy out of Brunswick this day I am informd the Enemy are makeing preparations to leave that place. The disaffected Inhabitants are indeavoring to get Houses in N York. The Spy sais our friends in Brunswick have receivd letters from their friends at N York giveing an account of the Danbury affair. They write the Enemy lost Nine hundred kild wounded and missing. This account if true may console us in some degree for the loss of our Stores. The Enemy gives General Arnold the character of a devilish fighting fellow. Yours sincerely
[signed] N Greene
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “G. Green”; in another hand: “May 7th 1777.”
{ 184 }
1. Not found.
2. What general JA referred to is only conjectural, but it may have been Washington. A letter to Greene of 13 April (above), which JA did not send, offered a pretty choleric attack on the “execrable defensive Plan” of the American army. JA wanted action and was willing to risk an engagement even if the two sides were simply equal in numbers. He would not have been interested in keeping Washington's reputation secure.
3. In a letter to Greene of 22 June 1776, JA had written, “There are as many Evils, and more, which arise in human Life, from an Excess of Diffidence, as from an Excess of Confidence” (vol. 4:325). If this is the passage Greene was thinking of, JA is not guilty of changing his mind. Rejecting too much caution then, he is not now condemning self-confidence, but self-importance. See JA to Greene, 10 May (below).
4. That is, the United Provinces of the Netherlands and their long struggle for independence from Spain.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0111

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-08

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I wrote to you a Letter1 which will Accompany this with A design it should have gone by last Monday's post, but he gave me the Slip. Nothing very Material has occured since. We had Yesterday very Agreable Accounts of A late Action in the Jersies.2 If it proves true, it is a good begining. Our Fleet is still in the harbour. We have had Easterly winds and thick weather almost constantly for A fortnight past. They were to sail this day if possible but there is no Alteration in the weather. Three Cruisers Chased A Vessel between the Capes Yesterday. The Intelligence from Hallifax is that 8 sail of their Ships, and some small Vessels are between that place and this, that the Topic of Conversation Among the Officers is the Attack on Boston, and the manner how &c. The Court is still setting but will rise to Night or tomorrow. We have voted the Bounty &c. to two Battalions of Lee, and Jackson the same as the Other 15. This makes the Bounty to be given to 18 Battalions. We have Established or voted A Regiment of the Train, and two Others for the defence of Boston the first for 3 years 20 dollar Bounty the Others for one Year with 10 dollars. I wont tell you the present State of Boston till my next. The long Experience of the people here, the Intelligence they have from the Southward3 of the Enmity and Conspiracies of the Tories, and the Expectation of An Attack here have wrought them up to such A pitch that A Seperation seems necessary. We have passed A Bill for that purpose. Each Town are to Meet and in public meeting form A List of such as are Inimical, and supposed dangerous to Choose 13 A Committee to Try them, and if that is the Judgment send them to the Board of War who are to provide { 185 } Vessels and Transport them Immediately. If they return they are to be hanged.4 This Bill is before the Council. If it passes there and the Business is not done, it will not be the fault of the Court. The people must blame themselves. My regards to All Friends. I am Yours Assuredly
The Post in last Evening and no Letters from my Friends.
1. That of 5 May (above).
2. Probably a reference to a rumor of a battle near Brunswick in which allegedly the British suffered great losses. The Independent Chronicle reported the rumor on 8 May with the caution that “no authentic Account” had been forwarded. On 12 May the Boston Gazette, citing an express from Morristown, said that no such action had been heard of. The paper went on to suggest that perhaps the authorities ought to take into custody bearers of such news until confirmation could be received and suggested further that carriers of false news should receive 39 lashes.
3. That is, New York city.
4. Mass., Province Laws, 5:648–650, passed 10 May. As enacted, the law provided for regular trials of loyalists with judge and jury. Conviction meant exile to the West Indies or Europe.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-05-09

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 2d Instant, came duly to hand. The Indifference of the People about recruiting the Army, is a Circumstance, which ought to make Us, consider what are the Causes of it. It is not, merely the Melancholly, arising from the unfortunate Events of the last Campaign, but the Small Pox, and above all the unhappy State of our Finances, which occasion this Evil. There are other Circumstances, which are little attended to, which contribute, much more than is imagined, to this unfavourable Temper in the People. The Prevalence of Dissipation, Debauchery, Gaming, Prophaneness and Blasphemy, terrifies the best People upon the Continent, from trusting their Sons and other Relations among so many dangerous snares and Temptations. Multitudes of People, who would with chearfull Resignation Submit their Families to the Dangers of the sword, shudder at the Thought of exposing them, to what appears to them, the more destructive Effects of Vice and Impiety. These Ideas would be received by many with Scorn. But there is not the less Solidity in them for that. It is Discipline alone that can Stem the Torrent. Chaplains are of great Use, I believe, and I wish Mr. Leonard might be in the Army, upon such Terms as would be agreable to him, for there is no Man of whom I have a better { 186 } opinion. But there is So much difficulty in accomplishing any Thing of the Kind, that I wish G. Washington would either appoint him, or recommend him to Congress.
The Utility of Medals, has ever been impressed Strongly upon my Mind. Pride, Ambition, and indeed what a Philosopher would call Vanity, is the Strongest Passion in human Nature, and next to Religion, the most operative Motive to great Actions. Religion, or if the fine Gentlemen please, Superstition and Enthusiasm, is the greatest Incentive, and wherever it has prevailed, has never failed to produce Heroism. If our N. Englandmen were alone, and could have their own Way, a great deal of this would appear. But in their present Situation, I fear We have little to expect from this Principle, more than the Perseverance of the People in the Cause. We ought to avail ourselves then of even the Vanity of Men. For my own Part I wish We could make a Beginning, by Striking a Medal, with a Platoon firing at General Arnold, on Horseback, His Horse falling dead under him, and He deliberately disentangling his Feet from the Stirrups and taking his Pistolls out of his Holsters, before his Retreat. On the Reverse, He should be mounted on a Fresh Horse, receiving another Discharge of Musquetry, with a Wound in the Neck of his Horse.1 This Picture alone, which as I am informed is true History, if Arnold did not unfortunately belong to Connecticutt, would be sufficient to make his Fortune for Life. I believe there have been few such Scenes in the World.
We have not Artists at present, for such Works, and many other Difficulties would attend an Attempt to introduce Medals.
Taxation is begun in N.E. The Mass. raises 100,000 this Year. The Regulation of Prices and the Embargo, are Measures, of which I could never see the Justice or Policy.
The Intimation in your Letter, that the Enemy lost in kill'd, wounded and Prisoners 600 Men, Surprizes me, much; because it exceeds, by at least two Thirds, the largest Account that has come from any other Authority.2 I wish our N. England Men would practice a little honest Policy for their own Interest and Honour, by transmitting to Congress and publishing in the Newspapers, true states of the Actions in which they are concerned. The Truth alone would be sufficient for them, and surely they may be allowed, to avail themselves of this shield of Defence, when So many Arts of dishonest Policy, are practiced against them.
{ 187 }
Congress were too anxious for Ti. I wish our Army was encamped upon some Hill, twenty Miles from the Waters of the Lake, or at least Ten.
We are alarmed here with frequent Accounts of numerous Desertions from our Army. Is there no Remedy for this Evil. Howe is trying his Hand at Bribery. He is sending his Emmissaries, all about, and scattering ministerial Gold. They despair of the Effects of Force, and are now attempting Bribery and Insinuation which are more provoking than all their Cruelties. What Effect would these have in N. England!
Strechy3 the Secretary, is an old Partisan at Electioneering, long hackneyd in the Ways of Corruption, long a ministerial Agent, in that dirty Work and the greatest Master of it, in the Nation, selected for that very Purpose to be sent here. Pray dont You Generals sometimes, practice Methods of holding up Such Characters among your Enemies, to the Contempt and Hatred of the Soldiery?
I find I have written a long Story. Excuse me, and believe me to be, with great Truth and Regard, your most obedient servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. In relating this account of Arnold's bravery at Danbury, JA omits the demand made by a tory that the unhorsed general surrender. Arnold reputedly shot the man with his pistol. For his bravery, Arnold was promoted to major general (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:494, 495).
2. Freeman, Washington, 4:410, gives the British casualties from authentic sources as “about 154 killed and wounded.”
3. Henry Strachey, secretary to the Howe peace commission, whom JA had met as a member of the committee from the congress to meet with Lord Howe in the fall of 1776. As a member of Parliament, Strachey was listed among the King's Friends (Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1972, p. 86, 118; The Correspondence of King George III, ed. Sir John Fortescue, 6 vols., London, 1927–1928, 3:74).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0113

Author: Mcdonold, Donold
Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-09

From Donold McDonold [i.e. Joseph Ward]

[salute] Sir

I suppose you have heard we have not taken Brunswick. If any one says we have he belies us. We are however defending ourselves, first against hunger; secondly against thirst; (which often attacks us severely by reason of our heating our coppers,1 and hard swearing which dries the lungs excessively) thirdly against impertinent fellows who prye into our business, and ask saucy questions, such as, “Why don't you drive off the Enemy,?” fourthly against the Foe who may not be so peaceably inclined as { 188 } ourselves. I am sure you are too wise to wish to share in such complicated duty, and too generous to have any hard thoughts of us mortals who endure it with a firmness which shews we are afraid of nothing but mortality. O could virtue, valour, or patriotism, defend us from the fate of the vulgar—but as they won't, for the sake of our Country we ought to preserve ourselves, for,

If we were dead

Who'd eat your bread?

Old Put—2 says, “Fact now is the time, I am for attacking the dogs without delay, drive them off that we me go home about our business”—thus he. But he's no philosopher nor mathematician, we are for an easier safer surer way, Time will do that for us which even our victorious swords can't do, and who but a mad man will hurry nature and time in their own work? Where are the shouting armies that have triumphed from age to age, pull'd down kingdoms and built up empires.
Time has kick'd them all off the human stage, and can this mighty Conqueror meet with any difficulty in knocking up Howe's heels? Having done with the doctrine, I proceed to the application. As time will do the work we have only to keep the great virtue of patience in vigorous exercise; and it is a truth never yet denied even by infidels, that while we are patient and content we feel no pain, and if no pain is felt no injury is done to corporeal or incorporeal existence. Hence it appears that we are in a good way, and have hit on the infallible road to infallibility.
The only point, the only unguarded point, that now remains is our honor, every thing else is secured beyond the reach of envy time or chance. If we can place this high point on a respectable footing, we may sleep secure till creation cracks and drums and fifes are no more. And what's the difficulty? It is ever honorable to follow the lights of wisdom, and she teaches to multiply and propogate, and to leave it to old time to kill and destroy; therefore our honor is bright with wise men, and honor teaches to despise those that despise us. As wealthy merchants (by way of simile, which often proves what naked reason won't) upon the tide of prosperity retire and secure their riches in landed estates, not trusting to faithless seas and fickle fortune, so We, if patriotism did not prevail over Self love and parental passion, might retire from these scenes of peril, live on the mere interest of our fame, and leave the solid principal to our heirs—(happy heirs!) { 189 } and no longer hazard such a treasure to the chance of war. But great souls leap the bounds of kindred blood, of private circles, of personal felicity, and grasp the godlike purpose of making millions happy! (You cannot be at a loss who wear these great souls.) To conclude, it is more honorable to make one man than to kill ten, this truth is echo'd from nature, reason, and the world, I might have said both worlds male and female, and had truth still on my side; to propogate is at once duty and delight, but to kill folks is shocking, and in our conquering situation, base and cowardly; but for human omnipotence to spare guilty blood from the pure motives of benevolence, is honor of the highest brilliancy—thus we. I forgot to observe in its proper place, (but no place can be improper for a thought of such magnitude as that which now strikes me,) If we were lost, I mean should we by excessive heroism lose ourselves, where would America find seed for the next crop of Heroes?
There are frequent desertions from the Enemy, the deserters inform that the Highlanders and foreign troops are sickly. What the designs of the Enemy are we cannot learn. We have no important news from any point of the compass. I am Yours &c. until I reach Scotland
[signed] Donold McDonold3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Dugall McFingall Esqr.”
1. That is, copper mugs for holding liquor (OED).
2. Gen. Israel Putnam, well known for his bold leadership.
3. In this satirical exercise Ward writes as a lukewarm patriot, glad that the army is not more active against the British than it is and defensive against the oft-repeated charge that the American army is content to leave the offense to Howe. Presumably Ward chose a Scottish name because he addressed JA as McFingall, a name taken from John Trumbull's epic poem McFingal, named for its tory squire bested by the patriot Honorius in town meeting.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-05-10

To Nathanael Greene

Yours of the 7th. was brought me this Morning. My Meaning was that if the Conduct of our Army, had depended on me, I should have taken more Pains to have obtained exact Information of the Enemies Numbers, and our own, and should have considered every Indication of the Enemies Intentions of coming to Philadelphia more particularly. Altho, there is no doubt that Congress have Authority to direct the military operations, yet I think they would be unwise to attempt it. This must be left to the General officers.
{ 190 }
We have not the Information that you have respecting our own Force. There is not a Man in Congress who knows what Force you now have in N. Jersy. We have had no Returns a long time and the opinions of Gentlemen who come from Camp are very various. My Constituents have a Right to expect that I give my Council whenever it may be usefull: and my Constituents shall not be disappointed. If you knew how many dozens of my opinions are rejected where one is adopted, you would not think they had much Weight. But enough of this.
My opinion last Summer, was very consistent I believe, with that in my last Letter. A Man may be humble before the Enemy, and proud before a Friend. Some who think too little of their Powers and Forces against the Enemy, think too highly of their own Importance, among their Friends, and treat the latter with less Delicacy than they would the former. For my own Part I care not how haughty Men are, to the Enemies of their Country, provided they have Regard to Truth and Justice, nor how humble they are among its Friends.
If by the finer Feelings of the Gentlemen of the Army, are meant their Moral Feelings, no Man detests more than myself, the Idea of hurting them. But if Vanity, and Pleasure is meant, I think, no Harm would be done by mortifying it. I am much mistaken and much misinformed, if the nice Feelings the Pride, the Vanity, the Foppery, the Knavery and Gambling among too many of the Officers, do not end in direct Endeavours to set up, a Tyrant sooner or later, unless early Endeavours are used to controul them. I dont mean by this, any General Reflection upon the officers, most of whom I believe to be good Citizens at present, but by the Representations We hear there are so many, of an opposite Character, that there is danger that the Contagion will Spread.
The Necessity of establishing an Army, Superiour to all our Enemies, is obvious, and, for my own Part, I dont See, any Thing in the Power of Congress to do, to accomplish this great Purpose, but what has been done. If you think of any Thing more that is proper to be done, I should thank you for the Hint. I have Reason to believe upon very good Authority, that foreign Troops might be hired, both Germans, Swiss and French. What think you of the Policy of hiring them. The Waste of the Natives of the Country, in the Army, is a melancholly, and an alarming Consideration. We want People, for Agriculture, Manufactures, Commerce and War, both by Sea and Land.
{ 191 }
RC (Adams Papers). The presence of this letter among the Adams Papers is strong evidence that it was never sent.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0115

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-10

From Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

I am obliged to you for your two favors, one of the 25 Ultimo and the other of the 6 instant both of which I have received.1
I know not in what condition the Furnace at Salisbury2 is, but, from the reports which I have had of the Ore, I should suppose they must be bungling workmen indeed if they do not succeed. Shall I enquire into the management of it, and, if practicable, endeavor to get some Cannon cast there of different sizes?
There are a number of Furnaces in this State where I believe we may get some Cannon made: if it be agreeable to the Board of Ordnance, or the Congress, I will set some of them at work, and should, at the same time I am informed of it, be glad to know the price to be given.
Some time last winter the Congress sent Colo. Stewart, an Aid de Camp of Genl. Gates's, to New-England for Cannon, &c. to be sent to Ticonderoga. He engaged with Mr. Brown of Providence at the modest sum of £100 LM per ton; the 18-18 pounders to be delivered the 10th March. Mr. Brown cast 10 by the first of March, and would have had the whole complete by the time fixed, but the Committee of Congress disapproved of the price agreed upon—and Ticonderoga remains without the Cannon. I believe the French Gentleman in Massachusetts3 has not succeeded very well, owing to the badness of the ore.
I sincerely wish that the spirit of enterprize may animate our Army; but you well know, my dear sir, during the winter past and the most part of the Spring we have had no Army to be animated. The time may shortly arrive when I hope we shall receive your approbation in this way.
As the establishment of our currency is a matter of the utmost importance, and every thing proper ought to be adopted to support it, pray, would it not be practicable for all armed vessels, both public and private, to give bonds at the time of receiving their commissions to pay into the Treasury of the Continent all Gold and Silver taken in prizes, whether in specie or otherwise, to be funded, in the manner of the Bank in England, for the redemption of Continental Money. Any sum so funded would give { 192 } full credit and currency to three times the amount in paper. I am, dear sir, Your most obedt. huml. servt.
[signed] Henry Knox
1. Neither letter found.
2. Salisbury, Conn., later a notable producer of munitions during the Revolution.
3. Not identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0116

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-12

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

This day General Arnold came into Camp, I have had a long conversation with him upon the affairs of the Army, and Navy; his mind is set towards the Seas, and he inclines to pursue his fortune in that line. He thinks he cannot (consistently) act in the Army unless he has his rank, to receive orders from those to whom he once gave orders, appears to him degrading, and contrary to all military rule in every Country; and that he should be considered in an unfavourable light if he were to continue in the Army in the present predicament.1 This is also the opinion of many, (I believe the general opinion) in the Army. I should be sorry to have him leave the service of the States; for men of his cast are much wanted. I do not imagine he is blessed with the best judgement, (and by some former observations I thot he was in some things very injudicious, I mean observations which I heard him make upon particular matters relating to the conduct of Officers, and his own proceedings) but he appears to have grown more solid and judicious by time and experience. I am inclined from every day's experience and observation to set a high value upon activity and fortitude; and in fact, they will do better in war without great wisdom, then great wisdom will without them. Who ever supposed Genl. Put— had an enlightened understanding, and yet who has done better? As our Navy is in such an inactive vapid and dead state, would not General Arnold, if placed at the head of it, give life and spirit to our operations in that line? If there should be any difficulty in fixing his rank in the Army, perhaps all difficulties might be removed and great advantages accrue by putting him in the marine Department.
Several skirmishes have happened with the outposts within a few days, we have attacked and drove in the Enemy's picket Guards; we have lost a few men and killed a number of the Enemy.
{ 193 }
1. On 19 Feb. the congress, passing over Arnold, promoted four brigadier generals: William Alexander, Thomas Mifflin, Arthur St. Clair, and Adam Stephen. Benjamin Lincoln, a major general in the Massachusetts militia, was also made a major general by the same resolution. Arnold outranked them all at the time of these promotions. Although the Journal of the congress gives no reason for Arnold's being bypassed, Elbridge Gerry explained in a letter to Joseph Trumbull that the states expected generals to be appointed in proportion to the number of troops each state contributed to the Continental cause. Only after Arnold's dramatic show of bravery following the Danbury raid did the congress promote him (JCC, 7:133, 323; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:311, 355; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 9–10).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0117

Author: Hastings, Jonathan Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-14

From Jonathan Hastings Jr.

[salute] Sir

Your Favor per Capt. Thompson of April 25 I this Day received1 and have duly forwarded your other Letters which he was the Bearer of. I am to thank you for the Additional Sum granted me, I must beg your further Influence that the full Allowance of 200 Dollars exclusive of the Commision on Letters may look back from the time I accepted the Office under Doct. Franklin,2 otherwise my Property will be greatly lessened, having never entered into or concerned myself with any Bussiness which might have been done to Advantage, had it not have interfered with a faithfull Attendance at my Office.
The People, in General, are dissatisfied with having regular Intelligence but once a Week from Head Quarters and Philadelphia. The Saturday Night's Post, you may remember, was esteemed the best of the two, but is now so triffling, seldom or ever bringing more than half a dozen Letters and those not from beyond New London, that very little Regard is had to it. There must be some Deficiency in forwarding Letters on the lower Road, otherwise as many Letters would come on Saturdays Evenings as on Wednesdays, which has been usual. But untill private Riders are restricted by Congress or some other Authority from carrying Letters as they do to their great Advantage, the Commision received on Letters at any Post Office this way won't purchase Incidents for the Use of the Office.
Had the other Towns and States in New England shewn the same laudable Example in getting their Quota of Troops that this Town has, General Washington long before this time would have obliged the Enemy to have quitted their Posts: But the En• { 194 } thusiastick Spirit for Liberty which our Yeomanry were once famous for, has lately too much degenerated into a Love of Gain and Barter. However they begin to see the Necessity of having the Continental compleated which together with the Fears of a Domestick Invasion have had very good Effects on the Minds of the People of this State.
I have duly forwarded all your Lady's Letters and remain at all times yours to serve.
[signed] Jonathan Hastings junr.
NB. Several rich prizes have lately been taken, one of which has safely arrived at Portsmouth burthen about 200 Tons loaded with dry Goods bound to Quebec.3
[signed] JH
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Hastings.”
1. Not found.
2. Hastings was appointed on 5 Oct. 1776 and allowed a commission of 20 percent (PCC, No. 41, IV, f. 13).
3. On 2 May the Independent Chronicle reported that a privateer, its name left blank, commanded by Capt. Robert Parker returned to Portsmouth, having captured three prizes, all of which were brought into different ports. Security considerations kept the newspaper from identifying ports and ships. Parker's vessel was probably the Portsmouth (PCC, No. 196, XII).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0118

Author: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-16

From Thomas Jefferson

[salute] Dear Sir

Matters in our part of the continent are too much in quiet to send you news from hence. Our battalions for the Continental service were some time ago so far filled as rendered the recommendation of a draught from the militia hardly requisite, and the more so as in this country it ever was the most unpopular and impracticable thing that could be attempted.1 Our people even under the monarchical government had learnt to consider it as the last of all oppressions. I learn from our delegates that the Confederation is again on the carpet. A great and a necessary work, but I fear almost desperate. The point of representation is what most alarms me, as I fear the great and small colonies are bitterly determined not to cede.2 Will you be so good as to recollect the proposition I formerly made you in private and try if you can work it into some good to save our union? It was that any proposition might be negatived by the representatives of a majority of the people of America, or of a majority of the colonies of America. The former secures the larger the latter the smaller colonies. I have mentioned it to many here. The good whigs I think will so far cede their opinions for the sake of the Union, { 195 } and others we care little for. The journals of congress not being printed earlier gives more uneasiness than I would ever wish to see produced by any act of that body, from whom alone I know our salvation can proceed.3 In our assembly even the best affected think it an indignity to freemen to be voted away life and fortune in the dark. Our house have lately written for a M.S. copy of your journals, not meaning to desire a communication of any thing ordered to be kept secret. I wish the regulation of the post office adopted by Congress last September could be put in practice.4 It was for the riders to travel night and day, and to go their several stages three times a week. The speedy and frequent communication of intelligence is really of great consequence. So many falshoods have been propagated that nothing now is beleived unless coming from Congress or camp. Our people merely for want of intelligence which they may rely on are become lethargick and insensible of the state they are in. Had you ever a leisure moment I should ask a letter from you sometimes directed to the care of Mr. Dick, Fredericksburgh: but having nothing to give in return it would be a tax on your charity as well as your time.5 The esteem I have for you privately, as well as for your public importance will always render assurances of your health and happiness agreeable. I am Dear Sir Your friend & servt.
[signed] Th: Jefferson
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams esq. of the Massachusets delegation in Philadelphia. Free”; docketed: “Mr. Jefferson. ans. May 26. 1777.”
1. Although the congress on 14 April urged the drafting of militiamen, this was no new idea in Massachusetts, where the General Court resorted to a draft in the summer of 1776 (JCC, 7:262–263; vol. 4:419). A draft mentioned by James Warren was probably a response to the congressional recommendation (Warren to JA, 5 May, above). JA was skeptical about the effectiveness of this means of filling out the ranks and expressed a preference for a permanent army over temporary drafts (JA to Elbridge Gerry, 31 Dec. 1776, above), but see his reply to Jefferson, 26 May (below).
2. JA's own views on equality of representation, by which he meant that the population and the wealth of represented units must be taken into account, were vigorously expressed to Joseph Hawley: “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” (vol. 4:496–497). And to James Warren JA gave an example of the injustice of a divided vote in the congress which ranged five states with a much greater population against five smaller states (12 Feb., above). JA's reply to Jefferson on this point, however, breathes the spirit of possible compromise. Despite the ardor of his conviction, JA kept in mind the realities of politics.
That the author of the Declaration of Independence should three times use the term “colonies” for “states” is perhaps surprising. JA and his correspondents, with but two exceptions for the latter, consistently used the term “state” in the { 196 } fall of 1776 and the winter and spring of 1777. Lovell, however, used “colonies” in a letter to JA of 8 Dec. (below).
3. On 2 June the congress ordered the distribution to the states of the Journals for 1776 (JCC, 8:412).
4. The congress established rules for the post office on 30 Aug. 1776 (same, 5:719–720). For JA's explanation of the difficulties in keeping to them, see his reply to Jefferson. A committee report on the post office, apparently given on 25 Feb., was accepted only in part by the congress (JCC, 7:153–154, 258).
5. JA's prompt answer began a correspondence between the two men that continued on and off for most of the rest of their lives. The letters are remarkable for vigor and breadth of interest, lightened occasionally with flashes of humor. The exchange affords an unparalleled insight into the minds of two of America's foremost statesmen.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0119

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-19

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have lately had convincing proof of what I have long expected, that is, men employed as Contractors being allowed two or three percent for all they purchase, will give any price in order to increase their own profits. It has been suspected that these States have been cheated by some Officers in the Army by false abstracts and payrolls, (no doubt with too much reason) but I apprehend the public has suffered more by villains in other Departments. The Contractors in the Commissary's and Quartermaster's Departments have a prodigious opportunity to cheat their employers, particularly at this time when the prices of goods and provisions are so fluctuating. I think there is reason to suspect that a vast sum of the public money has been wasted by men who have studied only to promote their private interest, and have in the most villainous manner sacrificed the public interest to their own. When money is thus wasted by giving an extravagant price, it is much worse than barely cheating, because it raises the price of every thing and depreciates the money to an amazing degree. Query, Would not an Oath of Office and Fidelity, administered to every man employed in the Service of these States, be advantageous? I am sensible that oaths will not always bind villains, but they often will, and are always a check because if perjury is added to fraud it enhances the punishment. If Congress should publish the form of an Oath of Office and Fidelity to these United States (full and comprehensive) requiring all men in every Department in the Service of the States to subscribe it, (if they had not before) it might, in my humble opinion, do great service in preventing frauds, and other injury to the States. Such an oath has never yet I believe been required of any of the Contractors and Deputies in the Commissary's and Quar• { 197 } termaster's Departments, where it is perhaps most necessary.
Another very important and growing Department, [It ought to grow if it does not]1 is the Navy, and in which there is the greatest danger of fraud to the public, and to individuals, and therefore it ought to be guarded with every precaution in its beginning, before evil customs get countenance by Precedents and custom, which are often a law to fools and a plague to wise men.
So far as I can learn we have a sleepy Navy (as well as —— but you must not call names)2 and I fear that my predictions with respect to the naval operations this Summer, will prove too true; but be this as it may, the Expence is sure as rates, and whether the Ships act or not the precautions for preventing fraud are nevertheless requisite. All these things are humbly submitted.
No news in Camp, nor from any Quarter, things remain very still at present. The designs of the Enemy no one, I believe, can fully investigate at this time; but to me it seems probable they will not attempt any capital stroke until their reinforcement arrives, (which we ought to expect soon) and in the mean time they may plunder and ravage near the sea coast. If you ask, Why we don't collect our forces and attack them before any reinforcement can come to their assistance? I cannot undertake to answer that question. Too much of a lethargic spirit appears in every Department at this all important crisis, when Heaven and Earth call for decision and dispatch. If it be consistent, pray let me have a taste of the good news (or bad news if no other) which you receive from abroard, or from any quarter; for I am tired with this dull unvaried scene.
I have an accusation against the Printers in your favorite City; when last there, to employ some vacant minutes I wrote a modest and dutiful address to the two noted Brothers, and also wrote upon another subject, both which were sent to Mr. Towne.3 Likewise sent a Conversation between satan and his Servants, George, North, Mansfield, Hutchinson, &c. to Dunlap the printer,4 neither of which have ever appeared that I have seen. They might object that the composition was too mean for the delicate taste of his readers, which I believe is true, but they contained some plain truths which were written with the warmth of honest indignation against complicated villainy and hardned Scoundrels.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress Philadelphia Favord by Col. Trumbull”; docketed: “Ward. May. 19.”
{ 198 }
1. Brackets in original.
2. Possibly Ward means the army, or he may be referring to the navy's commodore, Esek Hopkins.
3. Benjamin Towne, publisher of the Pennsylvania Evening Post (Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 2 vols., Worcester, Mass., 1947, 2:931–932).
4. John Dunlap, publisher of the Pennsylvania Packet (same, 2:942).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0120

Author: Adams, John
Author: Hancock, John
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: House of Representatives, Speaker of
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-05-21

Massachusetts Delegates to the Speaker of the House of Representatives

[salute] Sir

Mr. Gorham and Mr. Russel, Agents of the Town of Charlestown, have presented to Congress a Petition from the unfortunate Inhabitants of that Place, praying for a Compensation for their Losses.1 The Petition was drawn in very decent and handsome Terms, containing a lively Description of the Distresses to which the unhappy Petitioners are reduced, from a State of Ease and Affluence; and the Gentlemen who presented the Petition have urged every Motive which could either show the Justice and Policy of granting the Request, or which could move the Humanity and Charity of those who heard it.
These Endeavors of theirs have been seconded by your Delegates in Congress, but to no other Effect than to obtain a Committee to consider the Petition; whose Report, altho' it expresses much Sympathy with that virtuous People in Affliction, contains a Denyal of their Request, on Account of the present Condition of the Finances of the United States: As, the granting of Compensation, even in Part, at this Time, would set a Precedent for so many and so great Demands, of a similar Nature that the public Treasury would not be able to spare so much from the necessary Calls of the War.2
There was a great Deal of Delicacy shown thro the whole Debate upon this Subject, every one wished it was in the Power of Congress to grant the desired Relief; most acknowledged the Justice of the Demand; but, all agreed that, at present, it would be impolitic to grant it—except the Delegates from the Massachusetts Bay.
Upon a Motion that a small Part of the Losses should be made up, such was the Reluctance to giving a Negative that the previous Question was moved and put; so that a present Determination might not prejudice the Petitioners in any future Application.
{ 199 }
It may be doubtfull whether such Petitions to Congress, from particular Corporations, or Individuals in any State, are proper. Perhaps it would be better that each State should ascertain the Amount of its own Losses, in this Kind, and represent it to Congress; that so, in the End, some Adjustment may be made, between the several States.
That such an Adjustment will, sooner or later, be made is not doubted by Us; because, neither Equity nor sound Policy will admit that different States, contending in the same common Cause, having in View the same common Benefit, should be unequally loaded with Expence, or suffer disproportionate Losses. But, as it is impossible to foresee what Course the War will take, or what State will be the greatest Sufferer, it is probable this Question will be postponed untill the End of the War.
In the mean Time, our Brethren and Neighbours, virtuously struggling together with us for every Thing that is valuable, and reduced from Prosperity to Adversity, by the casual Stroke of War, must not be left to suffer unnoticed. This would be plainly repugnant to the Dictates of Humanity, to the Precepts of Christian Charity, to the Rules of common Justice and the soundest Policy;3 a Chain of Motives which doubtless produced the Grants already made by the General Assembly of our State, for the immediate Subsistence of these Sufferers. But, as the unfortunate Petitioners were deprived of their necessary Tools and Materials for Business, it was remarked, by Gentlemen who pleaded for them in Congress, that an Advance sufficient to replace those Things would be a most essential Relief, and by far the most economical in the end. And it was suggested that such Estates of disaffected Persons as may be sequestered or confiscated, throughout the Limits of our Union, might be a Fund, to insure the Loan of Monies, for compensating patriotic Sufferers. This, however was not formally recommended. Each State is competent to the Business, if judged proper.
Having represented this Affair as it has been conducted in Congress, we wish it to be communicated by you to the Honorable House, for any Improvement which their Wisdom may direct. We have the Honor to be with much Respect sir your most humble Servants.
[signed] John Hancock
[signed] Samuel Adams
[signed] John Adams
[signed] Elbridge Gerry
[signed] James Lovell
{ 200 }
RC (M-Ar:vol. 197:71–74); docketed: “Letter from the Delegates of this State at Congress relative to the suffering of the Inhabts of Charlestown &c May 21. 1777 Mr Pitts Maj Cross Mr Niles July. 1.”; discarded fair copy (MHi:H. H. Edes Papers).
1. The petition was presented on 14 May and referred to a committee composed of Charles Carroll, Thomas Heyward, and Jonathan Bayard Smith (JCC, 7:354). The petition is in PCC, No. 42, II, f. 23.
2. The committee's report further recommended that the congress suggest action by state legislatures to provide relief for those suffering the ravages of the enemy, but this part of the report was rejected (JCC, 7:365–366).
3. From this point on, the discarded fair copy is quite different, apparently because the delegates had heard meanwhile that the state had done something to help relieve the distress of Charlestown residents. Each of the signatures on the discarded fair copy is lined through. Its concluding paragraph is as follows:
“And, though we have had the pleasure of hearing the Delegates from the other States express an honorable full Confidence, built upon the Character of the Massachusetts, that the Petitioners would not be unaided in their Calamity by their own State; yet, we think it not improper for us to make a formal Sollicitation, thro your Honor, to the Court, in Behalf of the worthy the distressed Inhabitants of Charlestown and all others in similar Circumstances within its Jurisdiction, and to request that their Case may be taken into Consideration, and some Assistance and Relief granted. There is scarcely another Instance of a Desolation so compleat as that which these Petitioners have suffered; their Implements and Accommodations for Business as well as their Habitations Furniture and other Property being destroyed. Such Assistance therefore as would enable them to provide necessary Tools and Materials for Business would render them again useful Members of Society: and Sums for this Purpose might be more profitably employed for the Commonwealth than if they were in the public Treasury, or more unequally diffused among the people of the State.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0121

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-05-24

To Nathanael Greene

During the civil Wars in Rome, in the Time of Sylla,1 and young Marius, after the Death of the Elder Marius, Sylla commanded one Army against Mithridates King of Pontus, and Fimbria another. Both were in Arms against the Same foreign Enemy: but Sylla and Fimbria were equally Enemies to each other, commanding different Armies in the Service of different Parties at Rome, which were disputing which had the legal Authority. Sylla patched up a Peace with Mithridates and marched against Fimbria. The two Generals fortified their Camps. The Soldiers, of both Armies, of the Same Nation, the Same City, the Same Language, Religion, Manners, Tastes and Habits instead of Skirmishing, with each other, when they met upon Parties for Forage, Saluted one another, with great Cordiality. Some from Fimbria's Camp, came Secretly into that of Sylla, to see their Friends. In these clandestine Visits, Syllas soldiers, instructed by their General, and furnished with Money, won over those of { 201 } Fimbria, by Secret Bribes. These returning, corrupted others: many came off, in the Night. The Desertion became General. Shame and Punishment lost their Influence, and at last whole Companies, carried off their Colours to Sylla.
Fimbria finding himself, betrayed, Solicited an Interview with Sylla but being denyed it, returned to Pergamus, entered the Temple of Esculapius, and ran himself through with his sword.2
After this Sylla, began his March, from Asia towards Italy. The two Consulls, Cinna and Carbo, hearing of his design ordered young Marius, and other Leaders of their Party, to raise Forces, and recruit the Legions, required the Assistance of the Sammites, and formed different Armies to oppose him. At the next Election Scipio and Norbanus, were chosen Consulls in the Room of Cinna and Carbo.
Sylla landed at Brundusium, and began his March, and was joined by Metellus pius, a Proconsul, as Sylla was, and by Pompey. Sylla, who had brought back, with him from Asia, not more than Thirty Thousand Men, was much pleased with these Allies; because his Enemies had 450 Ensigns of Foot, in Several Bodies, besides their Cavalry, the whole commanded by 15 General Officers, at the Head of whom were Scipio and Norbanus, who as Consulls had the chief Command.
Sylla, as great a Master of Intrigue, as of the military Art, Surrounded by So many different Enemies, joined Craft to his Valour. Scipio, was encamped near him. To him, Sylla Sends Deputies, to make overtures, who artfully represented, that he was grieved at the Calamities, to which the Commonwealth must be exposed, by a civil War, whoever Should prevail, and that he only desired to lay down his Arms with Honour.
Scipio, Sincerely desiring Peace, and misled by Such plausible Proposals, desired Time to communicate them to Norbanus, and agreed to a Truce between the two Camps in the mean Time. Syllas Soldiers, by favour of this Truce, insinuated themselves into Scipios Camp, under Pretence of visiting their Friends, and having before in Fimbrias Affair learned the Artifice, brought over many to their Party with Bribes. Carbo Said upon this, Said, that in Sylla, he had to encounter both a Fox and a Lion; but that the Lion gave him, much less Trouble than the Fox.
Sylla, Sure of a great Number of Scipios Soldiers, presented himself before his Camp. The soldiers upon Guard, instead of charging him, Saluted him as their General, and let him into { 202 } their Camp. He made himself master of the whole, so suddenly, that Scipio knew nothing of it, untill he and his son were arrested in his own Tent.
The next Year Carbo, and young Marius, 26 years old, were chosen Consulls. The Armies took the Field, as early as the Season would permit, in the Spring. Marius at the Head of 85 Cohorts, offered Battle to Sylla, who having a secret Intelligence in his Enemys Camp, accepted the Challenge. Both Armies fought with great Bravery, the Soldiers of each Side resolving to vanquish or to die. Fortune had not yet declared for either, when Some Squadrons of Marius's Army, and five Cohorts of his left Wing, that had been bribed with Silla's Money, caused a Confusion by their unseasonable Flight, as they had agreed with Sylla to do. Their Example drew many others after them: a general Terror Struck the rest of the Army, and it was at last more a Rout than a Battle.
Howe is no Sylla, but he is manifestly aping two of Syllas Tricks, holding out Proposals of Truces and bribing Soldiers to desert. But you See, he is endeavouring to make a Fimbria of somebody. Many of the Troops from Pensilvania Maryland and Virginia, are Natives of England, Scotland and Ireland who have adventured over here and been sold for their Passages, or transported as Convicts and have lived and served here as Coachmen, Hostlers, and other servants.
They have no Tie to this Country. They have no Principles, They love Howe as well as Washington, and his Army better than ours. These Things give Howe great Opportunities to corrupt and seduce them.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. The long account of Sulla's craftiness is paraphrased with occasional verbatim phrases from Abbé René Aubert de Vertot, The History of the Revolutions that Happened in the Government of the Roman Republic, transl. Ozell, 2 vols., 4th edn., London, 1732, 2:167–173, 175.
2. In the MS, JA at this point drew the lesson by pointing to Howe's behavior; then he went on to tell of Sulla's deceiving Scipio, indicating by a mark that this later material should precede the reference to Howe. Obviously JA wanted to reinforce his point.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0122

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Jefferson, Thomas
Date: 1777-05-26

To Thomas Jefferson

[salute] My dear Sir

I had this Morning, the Pleasure of your Favour of the Sixteenth instant, by the Post; and rejoice to learn that your Battal• { 203 } lions, were So far fill'd, as to render a Draught from the Militia, unnecessary. It is a dangerous Measure, and only to be adopted in great Extremities, even by popular Governments. Perhaps, in Such Governments Draughts will never be made, but in Cases, when the People themselves see the Necessity of them. Such Draughts are widely different from those made by Monarchs, to carry on Wars, in which the People can see, no Interest of their own nor any other Object in View, than the Gratification of the Avarice, Ambition, Caprice, Envy, Revenge, or Vanity of a Single Tyrant. Draughts in the Massachusetts, as they have been there managed, have not been very unpopular, for the Persons draughted are commonly the wealthiest, who become obliged to give large Premiums, to their poorer Neighbours, to take their Places.1
The great Work of Confederation, draggs heavily on. But I dont despair of it. The great and Small States2 must be brought as near together as possible: and I am not without Hopes, that this may be done, to the tolerable Satisfaction of both. Your Suggestion, sir, that any Proposition may be negatived, by the Representatives of a Majority of the People, or of a Majority of States, Shall be attended to, and I will endeavour to get it introduced, if We cannot Succeed in our Wishes for a Representation and a Rule of voting, perfectly equitable, which has no equal, in my Mind.
Nothing gives me, more constant Anxiety, than the Delays, in publishing the Journals. Yet I hope, Gentlemen will have a little Patience with Us.3 We have had a Committee constantly attending to this very Thing, for a long Time.4 But We have too many Irons in the Fire, you know for Twenty Hands, which is nearly the whole Number We have had upon an Average Since, last fall. The Committee are now busy, every day in correcting Proof Sheets, So that I hope We Shall Soon do better.
A Committee on the Post Office, too, have found, a thousand Difficulties. The Post is now very regular, from the North and South, altho it comes but once a Week. It is not easy to get faithfull Riders, to go oftener. The Expence is very high, and the Profits, (so dear is every Thing, and so little Correspondence is carried on, except in franked Letters), will not Support the office. Mr. Hazard is now gone Southward, in the Character of surveyor of the Post office, and I hope will have as good success, as he lately had eastward, where he has put the office into good order.
{ 204 }
We have no News from Camp, but that the General and Army are in good Spirits, and begin to feel themselves powerfull. We are anxiously waiting for News from abroad, and for my own Part I am apprehensive of Some insidious Maneuvre from Great Britain, to deceive Us into Disunion and then to destroy.
We want your Industry and Abilities here extreamly. Financiers, We want more than Soldiers. The worst Enemy, We have now is Poverty, real Poverty in the Shape of exuberant Wealth. Pray come and help Us, to raise the Value of our Money, and lower the Prices of Things. Without this, We cannot carry on the War. With it, We can make it a Diversion.
No poor Mortals were ever more perplexed than We have been, with three Misfortunes at once, any one of which would have been, alone, sufficient to have distressed Us. A Redundancy of the Medium of Exchange. A Diminution of the Quantity, at Markett of the Luxuries, the Conveniences and even the Necessaries of Life, and an Increase of the Demand for all these, occasioned by two large Armies in the Country.
I Shall, ever esteem it a Happiness to hear of your Welfare, my dear sir, and a much greater still to see you, once more in Congress. Your Country is not yet, quite Secure enough, to excuse your Retreat to the Delights of domestic Life. Yet, for the soul of me, when I attend to my own Feelings, I cannot blame you. I am, sir your Friend and most obedient Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC); LbC (Adams Papers), with minor differences in wording except as noted below.
1. The recent drafts in Massachusetts, which had called for taking every twenty-fifth man from the training bands and alarm list and for taking men from those towns which had not contributed one-seventh of their eligible males, hardly seem to have been designed to take only the wealthiest, even though the alarm list included many of the educated and the minor officeholders who had traditionally been exempted from the training bands (vol. 4:419; James Warren to JA, 5 May, above; Mass., Province Laws, 5:445, 451).
2. The Letterbook has “colonies,” an inadvertence that JA did not repeat a few lines later nor in the copy sent to Jefferson.
3. The Letterbook has crossed out “for God's Sake” and “Mercy on Us” for “I hope, Gentlemen will” and “Patience with Us.”
4. A committee of three had been appointed 21 March 1776 to superintend the printing of the Journals and ordered to seek another printer if the work could not be done expeditiously. On 26 Sept. 1776 the congress switched the printing job from William and Thomas Bradford and Cist & Co. to Robert Aitkin (JCC, 4:224; 5:829). Jefferson was absent from the congress at these times (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:lxv; 2:lxx).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0123

Author: Henshaw, Andrew
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-27

From Andrew Henshaw

[salute] Sir

Although I cannot boast a right to address you from an Acquaintance which would warrant it, yet a Gentleman of your Character and Station will not be surpriz'd, at such a freedom, when you are acquainted with my Situation; which may present an Opportunity for the Exercise of that Benevolence of which you are possessed, by drawing me forth from my present Obscurity, thereby rescuing me from one of the worst of Evils, (a State of Idleness,) rejoicing a whole Family, and rendering a most singular Obligation to my Father,1 who in old Age esteems it his pleasure to call you his Friend, and who would at this time have wrote you, were it not that by reason of repeated strokes of a Paralytic Disorder he is confin'd to his Chamber, in addition to which he is unhappily depriv'd of his Eyesight: therefore from a principle of Duty to myself and in compliance with his Desire I beg leave to represent that from the time I left Boston which was May 4th: 1775, I have not been employ'd one Hour and being constantly upon Expences have made way with the little gained previous to the Commencement of Hostilities, and am now dependent upon my Father, who in these times has been a great Sufferer in various Instances, particularly the wanton Damage of his real Estate in Boston, the Destruction of the House, Barn, outhouses &c. upon his Island, and Stock carried away. The Recital of which to a Mind of Sensibility awakens painful Reflections and I reluctantly mentioned it, but judging it unlikely that you was acquainted therewith, thought it might serve as an Apology for this Intrusion upon your other Business. I therefore beg leave to request your Patronage and Friendship, that you would please in your Character as a Member of the supreme Council of the States or otherwise, to gain some suitable Appointment for me, which will lay the Family and myself under the most lasting Obligations and bring me forth into public View in some measure answerable to former Expectations and Intentions of my Education.
The Hon. Mr. Hancock and Mr. Adams have assured both the Family and myself of their Desires and Intentions to serve me and Mr. Lovell (my much respected Instructor) has very politely by Letter to me expressed his earnest Wishes for my Ease, Prosperity and Appointment, in which he has offered me his Services.
{ 206 }
My Father begs his sincere Regards may be presented you, also the Compliments of the Family.
Again, Sir, I beg your Excuse for the Liberty taken and wishing you uninterrupted Health and Happiness, I am with great Respect your very Humble & obedt. Servant
[signed] Andrew Henshaw2
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr. And. Henshaw. ans. June 19.”; in a later hand: “1777.”
1. Joshua Henshaw, Boston selectman, 1750–1760, 1764–1770, and active whig (Thwing Catalogue, MHi; NEHGR, 22:105–115 [April 1868]).
2. Andrew Henshaw became a clerk of the superior court in 1778 and later clerk of the Massachusetts House and clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:34–36).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-28

Resolution on Pardoning Power

Resolved That the General, or Commander in Chief for the Time being Shall have full Power of pardoning, or mitigating any of the Punishments ordered to be inflicted, for any of the Offences mentioned in the Rules and Articles for the better Government of the Troops, raised, or to be raised and kept in Pay, by and at the expence of the united States of America, the fourth Article resolved in Congress the 14th. day of April last notwithstanding.1
MS in JA's hand and written at the bottom of a letter of 17 May 1777 from John Laurence (PCC, No. 78, XIV, f. 161).
1. Judge Advocate Gen. John Laurence, who took William Tudor's place on 10 April, inquired whether a change in the Articles of War was meant to deprive the commander in chief of the pardoning power in capital cases or merely deprive other Continental generals of that power. On 14 April the congress, among other changes, had repealed Art. 2 of Sect. XVIII of the revised Articles of War, which had given full pardoning power to the commander in chief. The substitute article, numbered 4, gave to Continental generals the pardoning power except in capital cases, which, if a general chose to suspend punishment, he had to refer to the congress. Laurence's inquiry was referred to the Board of War on 23 May, and on the 27th the congress adopted the Board's resolution as drafted by JA (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 342; JCC, 8:381; 5:806; 7:265–266; 8:390).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0125

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-28

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

I receiv'd a letter from you some days since. I have it not with me, and therefore cannot be very particular in the Answer. I re• { 207 } member you lament the general corruption of manners, and the increase of vicious habits that prevail in the Army;1 It is a serious truth, and much to be lamented; I know of nothing that a people can receive in exchange, for the loss of their Morals that is an equivelent; I am sensible of the force and Justness of your remarks, that the vices of the Army prevents many from engageing in the service, more than the hardships and dangers attending it.
I am not one of those fine Gentlemen who dispises all Moral rectitude and Religious duties. Altho I am no enthusiast, I nevertheless most devoutly believe, in the observance of Religious duties.
I have had it hinted to me that General Schuyler was about to be created President of the Congress,2 and to hold his Milatary command in the Army. I take this early opportunaty of expressing my abhorrence of such a measure; No free people ought to admit a junction of the Civil, and Military; and no men of good Principles, with virtuous intentions would ask it, or ever accept of an appointment, which may be improv'd by corruption, to the prejudice and injury of the Rights of a free people; The best way to guard against evil is to avoid temptation. If General Schuyler is a mind to be in Congress, let him resign his Commission, and not hold two offices, so incompatible one with the other. I have no objections to General Schuyler as a General, neither have I to his being President of the Congress, if he is thought to be the most suitable person for that important trust; But he must cease to be a General, before he commences a member of Congress. I will not hold a Commission under that State who blends those two Characters togather; I think them incompatable with the Safety of a free people, and I can assure you, I am not fighting for a change of Masters, but to have none but the Law.
I must again repeat the impropriety of creating so many foreign Officers; A very considerable part of our force will get into their hands: What method can Great Britain take to defeat us more effectually than to introduce a great number of Foraigners into the Army, and bind them to their interest, by some very interesting considerations; That this is practacable, nobody will doubt? That we ought to guard against it, every body must allow. British Gold may reason forcibly with those whose hopes and future expectations, are not connected with the people they betray.
{ 208 }
I am told by Capt. Moduit,3 a French Gentleman lately created a Captain in the Train of Artillery, that one De Cudre4 is engaged by Mr. Dean as Major General of the Train. The impropriety of putting a foraigner at the head of such a Department, must be obvious to every body; besides the Impropriety, you will deprive the Army of a most valuable Officer,5 universally acknowledged as such; The exchange will be much against you, besides the injustice you will do to a man who has serv'd you with Fidelity and Reputation. I beg you will take it under consideration seasonably. I know not the powers of Mr. Dean, but I think such powers are Dangerous, and unfit to trust with any man. If this Gentleman is to be appointed a Major General, I wish it may be of the foot instead of the Artillery.
Our Army is now Encamped, and I hope will be very soon compleatly organnized, fit for some important purposes. Believe me to be Affectionately yr. Friend and Hble. Servt.
[signed] N Greene
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble John Adams Esqr. Member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. Favr. by H. Merchant Esqr.”; docketed: “Gen. Greene May 28th, 1777.”
1. That of 9 May (above).
2. Schuyler attended as a member of the congress from 7 April to 22 May (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:lx). Hancock did not resign the presidency until 31 Oct. (Edmund C. Burnett, The Continental Congress, N.Y., 1941, p. 251). No evidence has been found that Schuyler was considered for president.
3. Thomas Antoine Chevalier de Mauduit du Plessis, who was later to gain Washington's recommendation for a promotion to lieutenant colonel (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 10:303–304).
4. Philippe Charles Jean Baptiste Tronson du Coudray, whom the French had given the responsibility of drawing upon their arsenals for artillery and ordnance for shipment to America through Beaumarchais. Silas Deane had agreed that Du Coudray should accompany the munitions to America, where he would receive a commission as a major general in the Continental forces. The retroactive date of his proposed commission would have ranked him ahead of Greene and Sullivan, and he arrived at a time when many were beginning to question the equity and wisdom of placing foreigners in high positions. A primary reason for Deane's recall was his readiness to commission foreign officers. When the congress delayed acting on Du Coudray's commission, he wrote several entreaties that his agreement with Deane be honored. His petitions and a copy of the agreement with Deane are among the papers of the congress (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 1:421–422; JA to Greene, 7 July and notes, below; PCC, No. 156, f. 488–533). The embarrassing situation in which the congress had been placed was fully resolved only by Du Coudray's accidental death as he was about to join Washington's army, not as a major general but as inspector general of ordnance with a major general's rank without retroactive dating. His title effectively protected Brig. Gen. Henry Knox, who feared being superseded by this French expert on artillery (JCC, 8:630; Freeman, Washington, 4:538–539).
5. Henry Knox.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0126

Author: Sullivan, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-28

From John Sullivan

[salute] My Dear Friend

I Recollect That I Stand Indebted to you one Letter for your favor of the 22d. Feby and have nothing to plead in Excuse for nonpayment but want of Ability. I had Just before I was honoured with your Letter received a Fall from my Horse which Disabled me from writing. I Soon after went to the Eastward1 and did not return till the 15th Instant. Since which I have been much Engaged in getting matters in order at this post. I wish with you that our Army could do more than it has done but in Truth we had at the Time of your Letter and through the whole of the winter but a Miserable Army. I know not how many men we have on paper in our Different posts. When we attacked Trenton we had not 4000 men present—when Genl. Cadwallader Joined us with the Militia and the Enemy Marched to attack us we had not 6000 and the Enemy ten (they Say fifteen) 1200 of ours were old Troops.2 When the Militia were Dismissed and the old Troops went Home we had not 1200 fit for Duty for Some time; with this truly Despicable Army we kept the Enemy at Bay all winter and I think we did as much as could be Expected. I think with you that More might have been done at Providence;3 and by General Heath at Fort Independence4 but there are misteries in our warfare that I cannot unriddle. He that Sacrifices an Army a post or anything Else is Sure of preferment if he can get a person to write a Sensible Letter in his favor or if he has Capacity or Modesty to do it himself. If a man is Intoxicated Every afternoon and Employs himself well in Cursing, and kicking officers much better than himself yet if he writes a Good Letter Dances a Minuet To a Miracle is a good Jolly Companion and can Neglect his Duty with a good grace by Dancing attendance to persons of Influence he is Sure to be promoted and Esteemed. Believe me Dear Sir that an Honest Clytus5 was of more Service to Alexander in time of Danger than all Pompeys pretty Dancers were to him at the Battle of Pharsalia.6 One Instance of Congress Despising and Neglecting a Clytus I can give you in the Case of Colo. Stark.7 He was Ever known to be an Exceeding good officer. He was as Brave as Cesar,8 was the first person who raised an American Regiment did more with his Regiment than any one Else at Bunker Hill and all the officers that were in Canada will acknowledge that the Continent are not { 210 } more Indebted to any one officer for Securing that Retreat than to him. Added to this he has Seen More Actions than any officer in our Army without Exception. Yet when he Stood the 4th Colo the 11th was put over his head. The Consequence was the Resignation of one of the best officers that Ever graced an Army. His own State regretted the Loss and did all in their power which was for the assembly to return him their thanks and Express their Concern at his being Superseded. I am Exceeding Sorry that being a fighting officer is not So good a recommendation for promotion in America as writing and Dancing. I am Sure never to get promotion in that way as I can neither write or Dance.
You Complain that Little is Done by our Army; I fear my old Friend That much Less will be done if The Same Criterions for the appointment and promotion of officers remains. I dont mean by this that General Poor is a bad officer. He is an Exceeding good one but, there ought to be an Exceeding good reason for putting a younger officer over an older officers head—and the reasons ought not to be Collected from a Letter Let the Scribe write Ever So good a hand—Now my Dear friend permit me to Say Something concerning myself which you have Seldom been Troubled with—
You will please to recollect that I was one taken prisoner that I Lost all I had about me. That I was a prisoner when Long Island was abandoned. General Washington So Constantly Employed my Aid De Conges9 that Every thing in my Quarter was Lost. When New York was abandoned my Quarters there Suffered in the Same Manner. My remaining things were down from Canada by the time I was Exchanged and I was ordered when marching to Join General Washington Last Winter to Leave them at Peaks Kill. When the Descent was made on that place I Lost Eight Suits of Cloathes and all my Camp Equipage that remained. I am now ordered to this place where I am oblidged to keep a Seperate post from Genl Washington. There are no Taverns in Town. Therefore all Gentlemen of Course come to head Quarters to Eat and Drink. You will please to Recollect That all my Wages and Rations Amount with the Rations of my Aid De Conges to about Seven Dollars pr Day. That will purchase me 3½ Bottles of wine pr Day at the present price of 2 Dollars pr Bottle. I am oblidged to Expend Seven or Eight and Maintain my family in other Articles at my own Expence. At this Rate I am Sure to be Ruined as well in Estate as in Constitution. This will { 211 } be a miserable reward for my Services in the Common cause. I must beg you to favor me with your opinions to a few Questions viz Whether there is a probability of my having any allowance for my Baggage.
Whether Congress Looks upon this as a Seperate Post. Whether it would not be as Reasonable for Congress to Raise the Wages of General officers as that of all others in the Army. And Whether there can be a Shadow of Reason in my being reduced to the Necessity of Spending my Estate and Constitution in the Service while Some others are making their Fortunes; my Dear Sir with the highest Affection and Esteem I am your most Sincere friend and Humble Servant
[signed] Jno Sullivan
1. On 20 March the Independent Chronicle reported that on 17 March, Sullivan had passed through Boston on his way to New Hampshire.
2. Terminal punctuation supplied. Since Sullivan crossed out “which only” and substituted “ours,” ending the sentence here seems plausible.
3. That is, to dislodge the British at Newport, R.I.
4. See William Tudor to JA, 7 March, note 2 (above).
5. Plutarch tells how Cleitus, who was one of Alexander the Great's Companions, and who had saved Alexander's life on one occasion, spoke out boldly in reminding the proud Alexander that he was not the son of Jupiter Ammon, but a human being, son of Philip. Cleitus went on to defend Macedonians against ridicule for their defeat by barbarians and taunted Alexander for trying to stifle free expression at his table. Both men and others present had been drinking freely; but to the horror of all, Alexander ran Cleitus through for his frankness (Plutarch's Lives, transl. Bernadotte Perrin, Loeb Classical Library in 11 vols., Cambridge, 1914–1926, 7:371, 373).
6. Plutarch describes Pompey's tactic at Pharsalia as massing cavalry on his left wing to oppose Caesar's best legion. Caesar countered by bringing up reserves and instructing them not to throw their javelins but to use them to put out the eyes of the cavalrymen, who would flee to protect their handsome faces (same, 5:295, 297).
7. John Stark of New Hampshire, who had been named a colonel by his state about a month before his countryman Enoch Poor. Poor, however, was promoted to Continental brigadier general in February and Stark not until October, after the Battle of Bennington (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 446, 515).
8. Comma supplied.
9. Aide in charge while Sullivan was on leave?

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0127

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-29

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

I wish, with you, that N. England may not fail to furnish their Quota of the Continental Army even to a single man;1 but am afraid we shall not be able to accomplish it soon. Some Towns have already rais'd and sent forward their full Proportion. This has done much more, besides Manning the State Vessels and Privateers: but others are yet greatly deficient; and yet all Circum• { 212 } stances consider'd, I rather wonder that so much, than no more has been done, by the whole. Manly has been gone more than a Week accompanied with McNeal, and two private Ships of War, besides others of smaller Force, making a Fleet of 10 or 12. I took much Pains for this Accommodation and Junction. The General Court encourag'd it by their Votes of Indemnification &c. to the Owners: and we ev'ry Moment expect some good News. I hope you have done great Service by the Navy Board. The Nomination for this State pleases me. We hear our Army in the Jerseys is now strong en'o to advance nearer the Enemy.2 I hope the Campain on our Part will be more than defensive. Assailants have commonly more Spirit and more Success than Defendants. The burning the Stores of St. Johns, and the late Action at Long Island conducted by Meigs bode well.3
Yesterday was our Election of Councillors: a large Number of the Representatives, perhaps 20 or 30 from Hampshire Berkshire &c. would not vote, being for a single Assembly. I hope this Sentiment will not prevail. They could chuse no more than thirteen by nine o'Clock; and then adjourn'd to this Morning. Cushing is not in, but may perhaps be chosen.4
I enclose you a Letter from Salem on Behalf I suppose of unhappy Tory condemn'd to be shot by a Court martial. He is Grandson of Col. Pickman.5 His Family and Their Friends are much distress'd. I am told the Case is referr'd to Congress, and that Genl. Heath has most impartially stated it. You will be able to judge from that whether Mercy may be shown to this Criminal and his anxious Friends without Injury to the Publick: It is said by some He is insane. But I am not particularly acquainted with Facts and Circumstances. One Thing I throughly know, that I am with the warmest Attachment Your Obedt. humbl. Servt.
1. Cooper's language parallels that in JA's letter of 6 May to Joseph Palmer (above), which Cooper may have seen.
2. Probably a reference to Gen. Adam Stephen's skirmish on 10 May at Piscataway, in which he claimed great success only to have Washington upbraid him for his exaggerations (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:47, 53). A glowing account of the American “success” appeared in the Independent Chronicle for 29 May.
3. The Boston Gazette for 19 May, under a Hartford dateline of 12 May, quoted a letter from Fishkill: “Seven Stores of the enemy are consumed by fire at St. John's, in which were the rigging for their vessels.” The action at Sag Harbor under command of Lt. Col. Return Jonathan Meigs on 24 May brought the destruction of twelve British ships and the capture of ninety prisoners. The Independent Chronicle for 29 May quoted a letter to Gov. { 213 } Trumbull from Gen. Parsons, who had ordered the expedition, describing the destruction of the ships and supplies. Meigs was later given a sword by the congress for his exploit (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:139–140, 143; JCC, 8:579–580).
4. Thomas Cushing was elected at large (Independent Chronicle, 5 June).
5. On 5 May, Peter Pickman Frye of Capt. Samuel King's company in Col. Thomas Marshall's 10th militia regiment was found guilty of desertion with intent to join the enemy. An appeal of relatives and friends apparently secured a stay of execution until the congress could consider the case. A letter, presumably enclosed with Cooper's, from the Salem Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety, signed by Richard Derby Jr., chairman, stated that Frye was “a Person, whom they think, from their knowledge of him, is not possessed of a common share of understanding: and that he is really incapable of committing a Crime, maliciously and with design, deserving so severe a Punishment.” The Board of War, reporting on the case on 20 June, authorized Gen. Heath to grant a pardon if he found that Frye was truly incompetent and only for that reason, “and by no means on account of friends or connexions, who should never be considered when public justice demands vicious men to suffer.” Frye's grandfather was Col. Benjamin Pickman, prominent Salem merchant (Boston Gazette, 12 May; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 333, 381; PCC, No. 42, III, f. 25; JCC, 8:483–484; James Duncan Phillips, Salem in the Eighteenth Century, Boston, 1937, p. 244–245). Frye was pardoned in early September (Independent Chronicle, 18 Sept.).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0128

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-06-02

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of 28 Ultimo is before me. It is certain that Religion and Morality, have no less obligation upon Armies, than upon Cities and contribute no less to the Happiness of Soldiers than of Citizens. There is one Principle of Religion, which has contributed vastly to the Excellence of Armies, who had very little else of Religion or Morality, the Principle I mean is the Sacred obligation of Oaths, which among both Romans and Britons, who seem to have placed the whole of Religion and Morality in the punctual observance of them, have done Wonders. It is this alone which prevents Desertions from your Enemies. I think our Chaplains ought to make the Solemn Nature and the Sacred obligation of Oaths the favourite Subject of their Sermons to the Soldiery. Odd as it may seem I cannot help considering a Serious sense of the Solemnity of an Oath as the Corner Stone of Discipline, and that it might be made to contribute more, to the order of the Army, than any or all of the Instruments of Punishment.1
The Information you received, that General Schuyler, was about to be created President, and to hold his Command in the Army, was a Mistake. No Gentleman, would have been willing for that, as I know. I am pretty sure at least that a vast Majority, would have detested the Thought. G. Schuyler is reserved for another Fate. What that will be Time must discover.2
{ 214 }
It is, in my humble opinion, utterly improper, that, this Gentleman should hold a Seat in Congress, and a Command in the Army, and I took the first opportunity to express my Opinion of the Inconsistency and Danger of it. I think his Constituents much to blame for the late Choice of him. I shall think him much to blame if he does not immediately resign his seat. If he does not, I <will certainly> hope Some Gentleman bring in a Motion, to destroy the Precedent, by obliging him to quit his Seat or his Command. What the success of such a Motion will be, I know not—but I <will certainly discharge my Duty to myself and my Constituents and Posterity.> believe Such a Motion will be made.
I agree entirely in your sentiments concerning the Danger of entrusting So many important Commands, to foreigners. Mr. Deane I fear has exceeded his Powers. Mr. DuCoudray, shall never have my Consent, to be at the Head of the Artillery, and I believe he will have few Advocates, for placing him, there. I hope, none.
Pray what is your opinion of General Conway. He acquired a good Reputation here.
It gives me great Joy, Sir, to find by your Letter, that you begin to feel your Army to be respectable. We are anxious to hear from Peeks Kill what Numbers are collected there.
LbC (Adams Papers); the usual notation “Sent” is lacking. The editors' study of over one hundred Letterbook copies, beginning with the first, that of 26 May 1776, and continuing through May 1777, has shown that about 90 percent are marked “Sent,” or in two instances marked “not sent,” and that only eleven have no indication at all. Even letters to JA's wife and young children are marked “Sent.” Of the eleven unmarked letters, we know that three were in fact posted, either because they were acknowledged or a recipient's copy was known to CFA. For the rest, there was no acknowledgment, even though some of the correspondents were careful about mentioning letters received, or the letters were incomplete or failed to name recipients. Several of these unmarked letters which are not known to have been received, like the one under consideration here, contained derogatory comments about prominent persons or were indiscreet in other ways. The editors believe that in such cases the probability is strong that they were not sent. The frank remarks about Gen. Schuyler in the letter above may have given JA second thoughts about the wisdom of sending it. Since so far as the editors know, Greene did not again draft a letter to JA until 28 Jan. 1782, there is no evidence that the letter of 2 June was received.
1. See Joseph Ward's suggestion about oaths in his letter to JA of 19 May (above).
2. In accordance with a Board of War recommendation, the congress on 22 May ordered Gen. Schuyler to take command of the Northern Department (JCC, 7:364; 8:375).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sullivan, John
Date: 1777-06-03

To John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

I regret with you the Loss of Coll Stark, of whose Experience and Bravery, I have often heard the best Accounts. I know not the Man: but Some Gentlemen represented him, as unequal in Abilities to the high Command of a General Officer.
I am extreamly sorry to learn that you have been so great a Sufferer in the Loss of your Baggage &c. upon several Occasions: But in answer to your first Question I can only say, that Congress have hitherto refused to grant any Compensation to Sufferers of any Kind. Falmouth and Charlestown have both Petitioned and been civilly refused.1 Several Officers Widows, in deplorable Circumstances, have petitioned and been refused. Several other Officers, have applied and been refused, particularly Lord Sterling. So that I can give you, but cold comfort, respecting your Losses. As to your Second Question, I can give no positive Answer, how Congress consider your Post. The Resolve of Congress in Words, extends only to a Major General commanding in a Seperate Department:2 But I believe General Gates was allowed for his Table under it, and I see no Reason, why you Should not.
What shall I say, about raising the Pay of General Officers? Our Revenue! sir, our Revenue! What will become of it, and of Us? With the Greatest Objects in View that any Society ever beheld: the greatest Evil to be avoided, and the greatest good to be obtained: with the fairest Prospects of success that a fond, Sanguine Imagination could wish, We are in the Utmost Danger of Ruin, by a Failure, in our Finances.
This Moment I had yours of this days date3 put into my Hand. I am ashamed, that I had not answered your other Letter before: But my Apology for it, is ill Health, which has obliged me to devote my Mornings and Evenings to Exercise and Relaxation.
The Information you give me, that Desertions from the Enemy are plentifull, gives me Pleasure: but the Resolution of the Militia to turn out and assist you, gives me much more. Nothing however contributes So much to my Happiness, as the Accounts I hear, that Discipline, order, Subordination, Cleanliness, Health and Spirits are so rapidly increasing in our Army. All depends upon this. This will surely conduct Us to Honour, Glory, and { 216 } Tryumph: as the Reverse would certainly end in our Disgrace and Ruin.
There are two other Things upon which our Prosperity depends. The one is the Reputation of our Loan Offices, and the other is the Resolution of the Assemblies to proceed to tax the People, as deep as they can bare. If Men who have Money can be perswaded to lend it to the Public: and if the Assemblies can be convinced of the Necessity of proceeding to tax their Constituents: and if the People can be convinced of this Sacred Truth, that it is their Interest to pay high Taxes: We shall be able to avoid emitting more Money, and to Sustain the Credit of that already out. But, if not, our Money, will be a Bubble, and We shall be involved in terrible Distress. We shall not lose the Cause—for We will carry on the War, by Barter: We will call in all the Plate: We will march out all at once, and crush the Snakes in their Nests: We will do any Thing, rather than fail: But We shall be put to a great deal of Confusion and Perplexity. We have no News. Shall always be happy to learn News from you, especially if it be good. I am your Friend & most obedient servant.
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC); docketed: “John Adams: June the 3d. 1777.”
1. Reporting on Falmouth's petition for relief, a congressional committee on 1 March 1776 observed that a public subscription unfairly taxed the generous and was too slow, but that money from the congress would set a dangerous precedent. It recommended a kind of relief that would be “attended with the least Inconvenience” (JCC, 4:179). For Charlestown, see Mass. Delegates to the Speaker, 21 May (above).
2. The resolution of 21 Oct. 1776 is probably meant, that which authorized the commander in chief of each department to employ such persons as he felt the service required (JCC, 6:891).
3. Below.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0130

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-05

From William Gordon

[salute] My Dear Sir

Your favour of April the 8th tho' frankt was not received till the 22d of May. Tis mortifying to think that such a horrid corruption hath spread itself so rapidly thro' the American States;1 and that in the first year of our existence we should have adopted so many of the Old England vices. People had a better opinion of themselves than was meet: but the time of temptation hath laid open their nakedness, and God hath left them that they might see what was in their hearts. The evil I doubt not will { 217 } however work out a remedy that will cure or at least correct it. What has contributed greatly to it has been the plenty of money: and can we contrive to make that scarcer, we shall mend. Hope to see by and by none but continental money, and to hear that the several states have called in all their own currency upon loan. The paying interest for it, by raising the value of the money, will be a saving to the individuals of the community, notwithstanding it may occasion a heavy tax.
The frigates have been sailed about a fortnight.2 Maritime affairs have been most horridly managed. We have beaten G B in dilatoriness and blunders. Where the fault hath lain, I know not: but the credit of the Continent and Congress requires amendment. A twenty gun privateer had only her keel laid, and many of her timbers growing when the frigates came round, but she was launched made a cruizing voyage took four prizes, cleared herself, came in and went out the second time with the frigates when they first pushed off. Publish it not in Britain; tell it not in the streets of Westminster. I learn you are about establishing a marine board at Boston, I shall not say for the Lords, but for the Continents sake and the honour of Independency, do not let private interest influence that so individuals m[ay be?] provided for; let the marine board consist of persons that understand maritime affairs. [Preserve the?] dignity of the Massachusetts as far as possible, by being more than narrow patriots, by promoting the universal good of mankind.
I am happy in finding that I had planned beginning the history as early as you proposed, and that I shall have your countenance, tho' you discourage me as to any considerable assistance.
My correspondent3 meant not to flatter, tho' he has a strong way of expressing his affection and judgment.
Till I read your letter did not know that any Committee had been sent to the Jerseys, and am not yet certain of it. There has been a strange torpor among us—an unaccountable want of spirit somewhere, and I have suspected that we have some in the General Court who instead of throwing off all thought of renouncing our independency have been acting upon the proviso, possibly we may be obliged to do it. When we shall begin to confiscate I know not; but I am out of humour when I recollect that Loring4 has used our prisoners in the manner he has done, and that his estate is not confiscated.
Provisions are dear with us, and grow dearer: but what tends { 218 } to make them dear at present in some measure, will reduce the price by and by. The farmers are raising large quantities of calves and lambs, so that I make myself very easy, and tho' obliged to live upon a stated salary, doubt not but that by contriving prudently, I shall live honestly without running in debt. I can dispose of my library, if the worst comes to the worst; and if we secure our riches upon a good broad bottom that will support the superstructure till the foundations of the earth are destroyed I shall not grudge the sacrifice. Pray my respects to friends. When you have leisure and can unbend, you will oblige me much by writing to me. Adieu. Your sincere friend & humble servant
[signed] William Gordon
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honle John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; docketed in JA's late hand: “Mr. Gordon June 5 1777.” MS mutilated where seal was removed.
1. A reference not to the slowness of the mail but to JA's comments on the subject of corruption.
2. The Boston and the Hancock.
3. That is, Gordon's correspondent who wrote in praise of JA.
4. Joshua Loring, named commissary of prisoners in 1777 by Gen. Howe, gained a reputation for the cruelty with which he treated American prisoners (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0131

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-05

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

You will perhaps wonder that you have not heard from me for so long a time. I have had so little time at home of late, and found so much to do there, that I did not Attend Election, and returned to this town not before Yesterday. On my way I had the pleasure to find Mrs. Adams and family well. I left Mrs. Warren to spend this week with her friends at Braintree. I dare say every hour of it will be Improved, and Enjoyed.1 While at Home I had the pleasure of your several favours of April 29. May 2. 3. and 6d. I have now the pleasure of Informing you that the draft on the several towns to Compleat our quota has succeeded beyond my Expectations, and I hope soon to have our whole Number in Camp. Some of them however will not be for three Years. When I came to Town it was with a full determination not to Act as Speaker, but I was forced to Accept for A few days so that I have not had time to make such Enquiry into the state of this matter as I could wish. I will Inform you more perticularly in my next. In the mean time I hope the result of our Exertions will rescue you from the pain of Endureing more reflections on your Constitu• { 219 } ents. We always meant well, and if our policy had been equal to the goodness of our Intentions we should have done better than we have, but as it is have we not done better than those who Abuse us for not doing more. I should be glad to know the state of the Quota in the southern states. If I have A right Notion of them, and don't flatter myself too much with the present state of our own, you may revenge yourself at pleasure. I am told now that Genl. Washingtons Army is in A good state. I think there cant be less than 7,000 of our Men gone and most of them in Camp. We had however Yesterday an Extract of A Letter from Poor at Ti. forwarded by Govr. Trumbull leting us know that the Enemy were Approaching and the Garrison weak, which is to me Unaccountable. However the Hampshire Militia was in soon After, and with Other Troops I hope will be An Effectual relief. The Letter is Committed and perhaps something more will be done. I Intended to have Enlarged a Little but have been Interrupted. I can now only Express my Obligations for the late Instance of your Friendship.2 I have had yet no other Notice of the Appointment you Mention but from Common report. It Appears to me to be A Business of some Magnitude, and I have taken such a Lurch lately for a more private way of Life that I am Undetermined what I shall do. I am told here that An Actual residence in Boston is required.3 If so I must of Course Excuse myself as I should be loath to move from, and loose my Interest in my Native Town and County. I am however very glad there is A Board Established. Never such A thing was wanted more. It gives Universal satisfaction. Every Body Applauds the measure. If I Undertake it I shall Exert myself to do as much honour to your Nomination as I am Able. We have A House of one half new Members: the upper Counties are largely represented more than 60 Already returned from the County of Worcester. They come high charged and Yesterday moved for A repeal of the Act for A more equal representation.4 They did not however Carry it. Some of them had patience to wait till a Constitution was formed. Adeu
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren. ans. June 19. 1777.”
1. Period supplied.
2. Warren's appointment to the Navy Board.
3. Period supplied.
4. Mass., House Jour., 1777–1778, 1st sess., p. 14.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0132

Author: Sullivan, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-08

From John Sullivan

[salute] My Dear Friend

You cant oblidge me more than by giving me a Line to Inform whether you are, or are not alive; I begin to grow Suspicions and am therefore uneasy.1 I Should be Exceeding unhappy if you were to Steal a march upon me During the present Contest. I am Determined to See it out.
I wrote a Line beging your opinion upon Some Points but (Like Saul in Distress) I can get no answer.2 I fear Therefore Those points are all against me and you Think best to keep your opinions to yourself—but believe me my Dear friend I have received So many Shocks that I can Stand any thing.
The Enemy Desert to us in great plenty. About forty of their vessels have fallen down to the Hook but what they have on board or what is their Design I cant Say. They have 20 more Pontons brought up and Loaded at Brunswick. I find the Militia here have Taken the Resolution to oppose them and Act in Conjunction with my forces; I am grieved for the Honest Quakers. I fear they will have no opportunity of presenting their address to General Howe unless they come on this Side the Delaware to meet him.3 Dear Sir I have the honor to be with Every Sentiment of Friendship & Esteem your most obedt. Servt.
[signed] Jno Sullivan
1. The last letter that Sullivan received from JA was that of 22 Feb. Sullivan had yet had no response to his letter of 28 May, although JA's reply of 3 June was in preparation (all above).
2. Period supplied.
3. For ardent whigs the pacifism of the Quakers was synonymous with loyalism.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-06-11

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

The honourable Samuel1 Hewes Esqr, a Delegate in Congress from North Carolina from 1774 to 1777, being bound on a Journey, to Boston for the Recovery of his Health, I do myself the Honour to introduce him to you.
He has a large share in the Conduct of our naval and commercial Affairs, having been a member of the naval and marine Committees, and of the Secret Committee2 from the first.
I wish you would be kind enough to introduce him to some of our best Company, and give him a Line to Dr. Winthrop, that he { 221 } may have an opportunity of seeing, the Curiosities of Harvard Colledge. I have not Time to write the Dr.
What Mr. Howes present Plan is, no Conjurer can discover. He is moving and maneuvring, with his Fleet and Army, as if he had some Design, or other, but what it may be no Astrologer can divine.
It is disputed among the Writers, upon military Science, whether a Faculty of penetrating the Intentions of an Enemy, or that of acquiring the Love of his soldiers is the first Quality of a General—but whether, this Penetration holds the first or second Place, it cannot discover Designs that are not, and schemes that were never laid. Howes Behaviour Strongly indicates a Want of system.
Some conjecture, he is bound to the West Indies, others to Europe one Party to Hallifax, another to Rhode Island. This set sends him up the North River, that down the East River and the other up the Delaware. I am weary of Conjectures—Time will solve them.
One Thing is certain, that in the Jersies his whole Army was seized with Terror and Amazement. The Jersey Militia, have done themselves, the highest Honour, by turning out in such great Numbers, and with such Determined Resolution.3 This was altogether unexpected to the British and Hessian Gentry. They were perswaded that the People, would be on their side, or at least unactive but when they found Hundreds, who had taken their Protections and their Oaths of Allegiance, in Arms against them, and with terrible Imprecations, vowing Vengeance, their Hearts sunk within them and they Sneaked away in a Panic. The Militia, was dismissed too soon, and they took Advantage of it, to come out, again with their whole Army upon a predatory Expedition, but soon returned, and evacuated New Jersy altogether.
I am most apprehensive they will go to Rhode Island. If not, I think, unless they have prepared Reinforcements, with such secrecy that no Intimations of them, have reached Us, they will give Us but a languishing and inactive Campaign.
I hope you proceed, in the Formation of a Constitution without any hurtfull Divisions, or Altercations. Whatever the Majority determine, I hope the Minority will chearfully concur in. The fatal Experience of Pensilvania,4 has made me dread nothing So much as Disunion, upon this Point. God grant you may lay the Foundations, of a great, wise, free and honourable People.
{ 222 }
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “The Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Plymouth Mass: Bay favoured by the Hon. <Samuel> Jos. Hewes Esq.”; docketed: “J. A Lettr June 1777.” “Jos.” is substituted for “Samuel” in a different hand.
1. A mistake for Joseph.
2. Actually, Hewes did not join the Secret Committee, which dealt with contracts and commercial affairs, until 16 Jan. 1776. The committee was established 19 Sept. 1775 (JCC, 2:255; 4:59).
3. Probably a reference to the exploits of Col. Jacob Ford Jr. See Samuel Adams to JA, 9 Jan., note 4 (above).
4. A reference to the divisions that had arisen in Pennsylvania over its new constitution, deemed by many defective and oppressive because of its oath requirements. See JA to James Warren, 3 Feb., second letter, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0134

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-11

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

It is A long time since I have had the pleasure of A line from you. I looked for one last post, and was disappointed. I wrote to you by the Thursday post1 since which Nothing of Consequence has taken place here. A Number of Men of War are Cruiseing on our Coast and 3 or 4 of them in our Bay. I suppose their design is get our frigates, and to Intercept the prizes taken by the Privateers lately sailed. I fear they will Succeed too well in the last, if not in the first. Where Manly and McNeil are we don't hear but I am in some pain for them. I am sorry to hear there is any difficulty in Gates haveing the Command of the Northern Army. Will not this produce A resignation and some Confusion in our Affairs. Besides I have no Notion of A General who is not on the Spot, and to fight if there be Occasion. Our Expedition some time ago recommended by Congress has fallen through in A strange manner.2 I can give you no Account of this Event, but from A want of Spirit and Activity. When I left Boston I supposed it was to be Executed in A Short time, but now I hear Nothing of it. The whole matter was left with our Council and they were vested with powers Accordingly. They perhaps can give a reason. The Enemy at this time have but A small force, and I think might with the greatest ease be driven off in the Course of 10 days from this Moment. But there is no General sent as mentioned and Nothing can be done without A Continental General. Their holding this Post at A Time when they so much want3 reinforcements to their main Army is the only Circumstance that looks like An Invasion of N England. What their Movements will be seems to us very Uncertain here. It is gen• { 223 } erally believed their Reinforcements will fall much short of their Expectations, but we want some fresh Intelligence from Europe. Every thing we do hear looks like A French War. I never wish to be beholden to any Other Power but that of Heaven, and to our own virtue and valour for our Liberties, but it seems to me A War between France and England will make A diversion very favourable to us. At least it will Gratifie my resentment and Curiosity. I wish to see Britain distressed and reduced to Circumstances that shall make her Appear ridiculous and Contemptible to herself, and I have A Curiosity to see the Operation and the Event. Your Loan Office in this State I am Informed succeeds well. I hope our Money has got to its lowest Ebb. I think our regulateing Act has among Other Evils Injured our Currency by Introduceing Barter &c. But our House have After A long debate, and A Torrent of Eloquence and wisdom (for we have Eloquent and wise folks among us, who Affect Great sublimity in both without decision.) determined against A repeal 122. to 31.4 We seem generally Agreed on A large Tax, not less than 150. perhaps 200,000 £.5 If the Other N.E. states would Tax in the same proportion, our Money would soon be on A better footing. Pray let me hear from you. I want to have Intelligence from Europe, to hear how your Confederation &c. go on, and how your health is. I wish you happines and am Yours &c.
Mrs. Warren desires Compliments and Best Wishes to Mr. Adams. My regards to Mr. Adams. I will write him soon tho he has almost dropped the Correspondence.
1. Warren's letter of 5 June (above).
2. The expedition against the British in Rhode Island. See JA to James Bowdoin, 16 April, notes 2 and 3 (above).
3. That is, lack.
4. On the act regulating prices, see William Tudor to JA, 16 March, note 4 (above). The House considered the repeal on 10 June (Mass., House Jour., 1777–1778, 1st sess., p. 19, 20).
5. Period supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0135

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-12

Motion on Gunning Bedford

Resolved that the Freedom of Speech and Debate in Congress ought not to be impeached or questioned in any Court or Place, out of Congress.1
Resolved, that the Said Letters from Gunning Bedford Esq2 to { 224 } Mr. Sergeant a Member of this Congress from the State of New Jersey, is a most daring Contempt of the Authority of this House and Violation of the Priviledge of the Said Member.3
Resolved the Said Member, in laying the said Letters before Congress, did what his Duty to this House and the State he represents required of him.
Resolved that it is the Right and the Duty of this Congress, to vindicate its own Authority from Contempts, And the Priviledges of all its Members.
Resolved that the said Gunning Bedford Esq. be taken into Custody of the Door keeper of this Congress, and committed to the Prison in this City, for his Contempt and Brea[ch] of Priviledge aforesaid, untill the further order of Congress.4
MS in JA's hand (PCC, No. 36, IV, f. 189).
1. Paraphrased from the Bill of Rights of 1689 and incorporated in the Articles of Confederation as adopted (Parliamentary Hist., 5:110; JCC, 9:910).
2. Gunning Bedford (1747–1812), often confused with his cousin of the same name (1742–1797), trained for the law in Philadelphia—hence the reference to him as “Esquire.” His cousin had a military career before going into politics and would thus have been referred to by his military title. The younger man sometimes designated himself as Gunning Bedford Jr. (DAB for both).
3. Bedford took exception to remarks made about him by Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant and challenged him to a duel with pistols. In his reply Sergeant said he did not recall mentioning Bedford's “Character or Name on any Occasion unless in Congress, in the Course of Business.” Continuing to demand satisfaction, Bedford declared that the remarks' having been made in the congress only heightened the insult: “I have been much abused and illtreated by the arbitrary and ungenerous conduct of that house, and have long wished to lay my hands on some one particular member, whome I could prove had traduced my character; I am at length so happy as to have fixed on one, and could only wish he was an object more worthy of resentment.” The letters exchanged between the two men are in PCC, No. 78, II, f. 193–202.
4. Opposite this last resolve in the margin is written “neg.” Neither this set of resolutions nor another in the hand of William Duer, both offered when Sergeant presented the letters before the congress, was passed. Instead, the congress approved a briefer and more temperate resolve on 13 June and ordered Bedford to appear before it on the 14th, when it resolved that Bedford had been “guilty of a high breach of [its] privileges.” Bedford was dismissed after he asked the pardon of both the congress and Sergeant (JCC, 8:458–461, 466–467). By 1785 Bedford was himself a member of the congress and later, of the Federal Convention.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0136

Author: Morris, Apollos
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-14

From Apollos Morris

[salute] Sir

Centinels are again Posted at my Lodgings.1 This I suppose a mistake L: Col: Parke2 having inform'd me as from you, that there was a second resolution of Congress respecting me3 that I was to apply for it and go in Consequence to give my Parole.
{ 225 }
I did by Mr. Wade yesterday even: apply for it but could find no other but the first. I went to your Lodgings, your Servant told me you were abroad.
I was prevented from repeating my visit to you this morn: Col: Parke offer'd to go to speak to you or some other member of the Congress; so long ago that he seems to have neglected it. I beg to be heard when and where you please and am Sir with all respect Your most humble & obedt. servt.
[signed] Apollos Morris
1. Maj. Apollos Morris, who had served in the 27th Infantry of foot in Ireland, had been considered for Washington's adjutant general when Gates was reluctant to return to that position. But Morris' ambiguous feelings about the American cause ruled him out (A List of the General and Field-Officers . . . on the British and Irish Establishments . . . the Whole Complete for 1774, London, [1775?], p. 81; Freeman, Washington, 4:392). Morris had come to the United States, according to his memorial to the congress, to “share in the distresses and to take up arms for Its Peace, Liberty and Safety.” By the last, Morris meant restoring the country to the state it had enjoyed before 1763. Believing himself a friend to both countries, he had arrived to find independence declared and himself in the awkward position of having recently said in print that independence was not in the best interest of the colonies. In the spring of 1777, he made inquiry about the latest proclamation of the Howes to learn whether it offered any more than submission and pardon. According to Washington, Morris had said that he would take an active part in the struggle if the ministry had nothing more to offer. According to Morris' memorial, he decided to keep his opinions to himself, but he felt that he could not act as an officer. Feeling that Morris was dangerous because he knew too much about American military secrets, Washington suggested to the congress that he be returned to the West Indies or Europe. The general wrote an unsealed letter to Morris in which he expressed his surprise that Morris then felt that without independence an adjustment might have been reached by the two countries. When Washington's letter and the unsealed one to Morris arrived in the congress, it ordered Benedict Arnold immediately to arrest him (PCC, No. 41, VI, f. 15–18; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:191–193; JCC, 8:428).
2. Lt. Col. John Parke of the additional Continental regiment commanded by Col. John Patton (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 26, 424).
3. On 10 June the congress heard a resolution to permit Morris to leave under parole restrictions for Europe, by way of France or the French West Indies, but the resolution was tabled. On the 14th, Morris, under house arrest, wrote to the president of the congress enclosing the memorial referred to above, which he had written before he knew that he was being sent to Virginia, as he said. Nothing in the printed Journals mentions this disposition of his case. His letter and the memorial were turned over to a committee for consideration. The final action came on 20 June, when the substance of the tabled resolution was adopted with the further proviso that Morris remain in Philadelphia until he could take passage (JCC, 8:450, 468, 489; PCC, No. 78, XV, f. 221–224).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-06-19

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of the 5th. instant is before me. It may be very true, that your Regiments are as full, as those of any other State, but none { 226 } of yours were So early in the Field—and We must, not flatter ourselves with the Reflections that ours are as full as others. When many Daughters do virtuously We must excell them all. We are the most powerfull State. We are so situated as to obtain the best Intelligence:—We were first in this Warfare: and therefore We must take the Lead, and set the Example. The others will follow.
The Armies at Ti and in the Jersies begin to be very respectable: but not one half so numerous as they ought to be. We must not remit our Exertions.
You must not decline your Appointment to the Navy Board. If you should, I know not who will succeed. Congress have passed no order for a constant Residence at Boston. No doubt the most of your Time will be taken up at Boston, but you need not renounce your Native Town and County. It is a Board of very great Importance. I hope your Commissions and Instructions will be soon forwarded. The Cause of their Delay, so long is the Same, I Suppose, that has retarded all other marine Affairs. Causes, which it would be thought [invidious?] to explain.
I am very sorry to see in the Papers, the appearance of Disunion between the General Court and the Town of Boston, and to learn from private Letters, that there are Divisions between the Eastern and Western Part of our Commonwealth.1 I wish to know, the Run of the Instructions from the Towns, on the subject of a Constitution, and whether you are in a Way to frame one. Surely the longer this Measure is delayed, the more difficult it will be to accomplish. The Rage of Speculation, Improvement and Refinement is unbounded, and the longer it is suffered to indulge itself the wilder it will grow.
I am much mortified that our State have neglected so long, to Number their Regiments, and to send Us a List of them and of all their officers. We loose one half the Reputation, that is due to Us, for Want of a little Method and Regularity, in Business.
We are much embarrassed here, with foreign Officers. We have three capital Characters here. Monsr. De Coudray, General Conway, and Monser De la Balme.2 These are great and learned Men. Coudray is the most promising Officer in France. Coudray is an Officer of Artillery, Balme of Cavalry, and Conway of Infantry. Coudray has cost Us dear. His Terms are very high, but he has done Us such essential service in France, and his Interest is so great and so near the Throne, that it would be impolitick, not to avail ourselves of him.3
{ 227 }
I live here at an Expence, that will astonish my Constituents, and expose me, I fear to Reflections. I Spend nothing myself. I keep no Company. And I live as Simply, as any Member of your House, without Exception. But my Horses are eating their Heads off. And my own and servants Board are beyond any Thing you can conceive. I would have sold my Horses and sent home my servant, but We have been every Moment in Expectation of the Enemy to this Town, which would oblige me to move and in that Case such Confusion would take Place and Such a Demand for Horses to remove Families and Effects into the Country that I should not be able to obtain one to ride fifty Miles for Love nor Money.
I have not made, and I cant make an exact Computation but I dont believe, my bare Expences, here, if I should stay with my servant and Horses the whole Year will amount to less than two Thousand Dollars. If my Constituents are Startled at this, I cannot help it, they must recall me.
We are in hourly Expection of momentous Intelligence, from every Quarter. Heaven grant it may be prosperous and pleasing.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. Adams Lettr June 1777.”
1. Meeting on 26 May, the Town of Boston unanimously instructed its elected representatives on “no terms to consent” to the General Court's drafting a constitution for the state. In due course persons specially chosen for the purpose, and that purpose alone, should perform the task. The town wanted a Council wholly independent of the House, an end to plural officeholding, and a prohibition against members of the General Court holding any other office while in the legislature (Independent Chronicle, 29 May). In the west, Hampshire and Berkshire cos. were keeping the courts closed in protest because of the lack of a proper constitution.
2. Augustin Mottin de La Balme had been appointed lieutenant colonel in the Continental Cavalry (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 84). For a sketch of Mottin de La Balme, see Adams Family Correspondence, 2:268, note 1.
3. Compare the tone of JA's remarks about Du Coudray here with that in his letter to Nathanael Greene, 2 June (above), which may not have been sent.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0138

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-20

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterday the Enemy retreated back to Brunswick; they were followed and fired on by a small party that happened to be near them. Since they came from Brunswick, the fourteenth Instant we have killed about twenty and taken three Officers, three Light Horse, and three or four privates. All is quiet at present.1 Our Army is reinforced fast, by the New England Troops from Peekskill; and by the militia of this State, who have shewn a { 228 } great deal of spirit on this occasion, and I wish to have it known that they took several of the prisoners above mentioned, viz a Captain and Lieutenant of the British Grenadiers, and some Light Horse; to their honour be it remembered, the militia were eager for action. But the time is not yet come for Howe's destruction;—however I trust it does not slumber. I did expect something very serious would have taken place before this hour when Howe came to Somerset, as I apprehended from the extent of his lines, and the detached State of his Troops, we might attack and carry one part before it could be supported by another, and without any hazard of a general defeat on our side; but I conceive the Generals thought it most prudent to collect a larger force before anything great was attempted. I was afraid we should lose the game, as such opportunities have commonly swift wings; but if “Whatever is, is right,” this must be right also. It was easy to see Howe's design in this movement, as he had not a force sufficient to attempt going to Philadelphia, he must therefore try to draw us into a field most advantageous for him and if possible destroy our Army by one decisive battle; and to lure us he encamped in several Divisions at some distance from each other, thinking I suppose that he could bring all his troops to action in case we attacked any one Division; but in this I conceive we might have out generalled him, and cut off one before he could have brought the others up. Caution is good, at all times, and essential in Generalship, but like some other good things it may be over acted, and he that will run no hazard of being defeated will (I believe) never defeat his Enemy.
Howe's excursion was about six or seven miles from Brunswick, and as usual he marked his way with destruction, robbing plundering and abusing the miserable Inhabitants, and on his retreat he burnt a number of houses; thus ended his expedition. What he or we may do next is hard to say, but time will tell the matter.
The fluctuating unsettled state of the Troops perplexes the business of my Department exceedingly, they have so much duty to do that it is difficult to make them attend sufficiently to this new additional duty, and the other being often of more immediate importance this must be deferred until the safety of the Army is secured; a great number of Officers are absent, in some Companies there is not one Officer, but in these there is but a small number of men; the men come into Camp in small detachments of Companies, and of Regiments, and join their Corps in { 229 } so many different times that a muster Roll taken this day would not be the state of the same [ . . . ] or Company tomorrow; by reason of these and [ . . . ] other things that might be mentioned, the Army cannot be completely mustered for months to come. However I hope soon to make as perfect a Return of the muster Rolls for the month of May as circumstances would allow to be taken; every future muster will be I trust more easy to obtain, and more correct, as the Corps will be more formed and the Officers be acquainted with their duty. I have not yet received any Returns from the Muster Masters in the other Departments; they write me and complain of the same difficulties that attend the Troops here. It may perhaps answer a good purpose at present, although the Muster Rolls cannot be perfect, by checking those Officers who are apt to make out their pay Rolls for too many men. In many Company Rolls are inserted an amazing number of Deserters, so great as hath almost inclined me to suspect there was dishonesty, but the Officers affirmed the Rolls were sacredly true,—and “Officers are men of honor.” Experience confirms me in the opinion which I ever entertained of my Department, that it will neither bring me fortune nor fame; however, we ought to act from higher motives, and if it procures me any satisfaction worthy of a patriotic mind, I ought to be content.
I am perfectly happy in one respect, I do not want promotion, and with respect to this there is a perfect calm in my soul. I wish I felt as easy with regard to the promotion of our Country. I have no doubt but time will bring all our national plans to maturity, and give us peace with Independence; but many of the wheels in the great public Machine move extremely slow.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr Member of Congress Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Ward.” MS mutilated where seal was removed.
1. Howe's march from New Brunswick to Somerset Court House, where his advanced guard was stationed, was puzzling to Americans, for they thought that Howe was mounting a major attack. But the English general went no farther, and Washington's preparations to meet his expected blow were in vain. Since Howe retained New Brunswick, Washington did not feel that he could attack so well-protected a position (Freeman, Washington, 4:428–430).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0139

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-22

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

If any Conjecture may be formed from the Intelligence or rather reports prevailing here you may leave Philadelphia before this Letter will get there. It is said the Britons are determined at { 230 } all Events to Attempt that City, and I presume the discretion and <Prudence> Wisdom of your Body will Induce you to decamp and retire, before the Seige Commences. If our Army is in the situation we are told it is, I wish one Side or the Other would open the Campaign. I long to hear of Enterprizes, of Battles fought and Victories gained on our side, but our Intelligence about the Army, and every thing else to the Southward is of late miserably deficient and Uncertain. Do you recollect that you on whom I principally depend (because you used to write me often and give me much Intelligence) have missed four or five posts and that in that time I have wrote you several Letters. I Intended Home Tomorrow or next day but beleive I shall wait till Thursday1 in hopes of Letters from you and my Other Friends. If I fail I shall be disappointed. All things remain here pretty much in the same situation as when I last wrote you. The regulateing Act has been the subject of frequent and tedious debates, and it yet remains Undetermined by the House whether to repeal, Inforce, or suspend it for A time, while the people Abroad pay very little or no regard to it. The only Notice taken of it is the Continual disputes, and Execrations that meet us in every Company. The prevailing Sentiment in the Opposition seems to be for A suspension and let it die in some sort by the Authority of Goverment A lingering death. We have now A Committee for reporting A Constitution.2 They have met several times, and are well Agreed as to the main points in the Connecticut Form.3 I Conceive the matter of Representation will be our greatest difficulty. They have Agreed on the qualification of Electors, that they should be Freemen of 21 years of Age, residents for A certain time in each Town, and such as have paid publick Taxes. I could wish that A certain degree of property had been Another, but as it is to have the Sanction of the people at large I question whether that would not render the whole Abortive, and from that principle have Conceded to it as it is. What Number of Electors is to Intitle A Town to one Representative or more is the Next question not yet settled, tho we have the Advantage of A Member of Congress on this Committee. I am never with them but I wish you was one of us. We want you much. This is A Subject of such A Magnitude, and Extent that I feel myself very Unequal to, and in want of the Judgment and wisdom of those who I have the greatest Confidence in, and Opinion of, instead of the narrow Sentiments, trite, trifling, and sometimes ludicrous Ob• { 231 } servations of those whose Abilities and Judgments I despise. I Guess at your Curiosity with regard to A Certain Member4 and wish to Gratify it but letters have been Intercepted and may be Again you will therefore Excuse me. I hope your Next will Contain some Observations on a form of Goverment for this State. They would be seasonable at this time. We have had a Bill before us for freeing the Negroes, which is ordered to lie least if passed into An Act it should have A Bad Effect on the Union of the Colonies. A Letter to Congress on that subject was proposed and reported, but I Endeavoured to divert that, supposeing it would Embarrass, and perhaps be Attended with worse Consequences than passing the Act.5 All our Other Business I can now mention is of smaller Consequence and in the Common Course.
As to News we have very little of late. There are A Number of Cruisers on our Coast who have taken divers vessels, and two days ago drove Ashore on the Back of the Cape a Brigantine belonging to this State from the West Indies with 80 bbs. powder 500 Arms, some duck and Salt &c. which they took possession of, when the Inhabitants mustered and Marched down to the Shore with A peice of Cannon, upon which they left her and Cargo which was all Except A few trifles saved. We hear Nothing lately from Manly and McNeil. It is said 8 frigates are in quest of them. I Expect they will have A Brush before they return. The Alfred6 remains in port, not quite Manned,7 Otherways ready to go to Sea. Our fleet at Providence still shut up. It is said Hopkins is determined to Attempt to get out, and it is generally beleived he will fail if he does. Some prizes are sent in. A Vessel Arrived here Yesterday in 18 days from St. Eustatia and brings An Account that the Oliver Cromwell Privateer of Philadelphia of 24 Guns was lately taken by A Sloop of War of 14. This is An Indignity that Oliver never suffered.
I suppose you have reconsidered your Resolve for A Navy Board here. We hear Nothing of it lately. I am with great Sincerity Your Friend &c.
My best Friend gives her regards to you. Please to Inform M. Gerry that the Ship Expected from Bilboa is not yet arrived.8
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren ansd July 7. 1777.”
1. That is, 26 June.
2. On 17 June the House and the Council met jointly as a constitutional convention, at which one member from each county and five members chosen at large by the convention were named as a drafting committee. Among the members were Warren and Robert Treat Paine, who was { 232 } on leave from the congress (Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth, p. 48; Boston Gazette, 23 June).
3. Operating under its charter of 1662, Connecticut had a two-house legislature and a governor with no veto power and little part in the enactment of laws. Each town was entitled to send two representatives to the lower house, but the Council, or upper house, in contrast to the practice in Massachusetts, was elected at large by the freemen (Robert J. Taylor, Colonial Connecticut, A History, Millwood, N.Y., 1979, ch. 2, passim).
4. The reference here remains obscure. None of JA's extant letters to Warren or others mentions any particular member. Robert Treat Paine is a likely candidate, for he was elected attorney general despite his still being a member of the congress (Mass., House Jour., 1777–1778, 1st sess., p. 23).
5. On 13 June the House heard a second reading of a bill “for preventing the Practice of holding Persons in Slavery,” but it was tabled with the provision that application would be made to the congress on the matter. The three-man committee appointed to write the letter included Warren (Mass., House Jour., p. 25).
6. Formerly under the command of John Paul Jones, the Alfred was in port for repairs, which Como. Hopkins had estimated would take no more than two months when he wrote to Robert Morris of the Marine Committee on 28 Feb. The ship was put under the command of Elisha Hinman (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:1318). In the first ranking of naval captains, the congress had returned Jones to the command of the Providence and had ranked him 18th, a decision that never ceased to rankle in Jones' mind. Hopkins' assertion that the Alfred could be readied soon for sea and his further allegation that it would be difficult to recruit men under Jones, whom the Marine Committee now wanted to command this and other ships in an expedition to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, provide the background for the dispute that erupted between the two naval officers (Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones, A Sailor's Biography, Boston, 1959, p. 89, 94–95).
7. Comma supplied.
8. See vol. 4:40, note 4.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0140

Author: Sargeant, Nathaniel Peaslee
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-23

From Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant

[salute] Dear Sr.

My Brother, Mr. Christopher Sargeant, the bearer has occasion to travel to South Carolina, he is a Stranger in almost all places he has to travel 'thrô. He has, a few months past, finished his Studies under our Brother Lowell. I think I can recommend him as an honest trusty person, and one that is a sincere friend to his country. He probably may stand in need of your favour and Patronage. Every kind Office you may do him, which from your general Philanthropy, I know will give you pleasure, will be esteemed a new obligation laid on myself. Am, Sr., with the sincerest respect, your Humble Servt.
[signed] Nathel. Peaslee Sargeant
P.S. Your late Letter to the council of Resignation1 gives me real pain, 'thô such a chance for rising might give others pleasure, Yet I sincerely wish it might be recalled.
1. From the chief justiceship of the superior court, of which Sargeant was a member. See JA to John Avery, with enclosure, 10 Feb. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0141

Author: Crafts, Thomas Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-25

From Thomas Crafts

[salute] Dear Sir

My last to you was, in answer to yours of the 20th March,1 concerning the manufacture of wrought-iron Cannon, of which I highly approve, and the method in which they were made. I mentioned that in the one made here the barrs were welded lengthways,2 which I allways suppos'd would fail; but as you must have received it before this reaches you, shall say no more on that subject. I have not yet receiv'd orders to try the experiment here. The subject on which I now write perhaps may be of importance in its consequences. Matters may run higher than would be agreeable to you or me.
By a resolve of Congress all continental Officers of the same Rank and Commission are to take place of the Militia who may be call'd to serve in the Continental Army.3 Colls. Lee and Jackson, who are raising regiments in this State, by virtue of said resolve, suppose that they and their officers have a right to rank above me and my officers, which I can, by no means consent to as they are new regiments, and new officers. We having serve'd one year which was, as long as the Continental Army was engaged for. I can by no means look on my Regiment in the same predicament as the Militia, who are only Call'd out to do duty on an emergency. We are engaged for the same term of time as the Continental troops, (as you will see by the attested establishment of the regiment and inlisting orders which I have inclos'd)4 Tho' we were rais'd to do duty in this State, we engage to serve in any of the United states, and should think ourselves happy in having an oppertunity to exert our small abilities in any part of the Continent. Two companies Voluntarily turned out to go to Providence the last Year, thô they engaged to serve in this state alone. Sure I am we cannot, with any degree of justice, be look'd on as militia. It would be a very mortifying circumstance to me to be view'd in that light. I never look on myself as having any great military abilities; but in the department I now act do not think myself inferior to many in the Continental Army. I am perfectly willing to appeal to General Lincoln for my military character under whom I have served. For the honor of this state who have exerted themselves as far as I have known equal to any. For my own honour I earnestly desire you would use your influence in Congress that as we do as much duty—are engaged for the same term of time, and have the same pay, and are { 234 } willing to serve wherever order'd, That we may have the same honour and Rank, as thô we were paid by the Continent, and that we may rank according to the date of our commissions. We have supply'd Genl. Spencer and the State of R Island with many things for the Continent. We have supplyd several articles for Ticonderoga. We have supplyd large quantities of ordnance stores from the Laboratory for all the Continental Ships, (which could not have gone to Sea without). In short, my dear sir, half our preparations have gone for the Continental service, and must we be considered only as militia and have neither rank, nor honor, It would be with regret that I should leave the service and not be able to exert my small abilities in a cause, which to your knowledge I have been many years engaged in—but shall be obligd to, or be despised as not having one spark of honour after submitting to such indignity. I refuse'd taking a Regiment to serve in this state only. We are in the service of the United States. The only distinction is—We are paid by Massachusets State. I am dear Sir with the greatest respect your Sincere Friend & Huml. Servt.
[signed] Thos. Crafts
P.S. I have directed to you, but desire you would present this Letter with my most respectfull regards to my honor'd Friends Hancock, Adams and Lovel as tis meant to be address'd to them as well as to you.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hon'ble John Adams Esqr. at Congress”; docketed in a hand other than JA's: “Col Crafts June 25th 1777.”
1. Neither letter found.
2. See JA to James Warren, 26 March (above).
3. Art. 2 of Sect. XVII of the Articles of War gave to those holding Continental commissions precedence over those of like rank with commissions from the states regardless of the dates of the commissions (JCC, 5:805–806).
4. Not found. For Crafts' Massachusetts command, see vol. 4:176.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0142

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-28

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I wish it was in my power to give you a satisfactory and particular state of facts relative to the late movements in the military way, but all the facts I cannot learn, and if I could they might not perhaps be satisfactory in every sense of the word. The 22 Instant the Enemy retreated from Brunswick to Amboy, a party, of several hundreds, under the command of Col Morgan attacked their rear, in the edge of a wood, and killed a considerable number, with the loss of two men and three or four wounded.1
{ 235 }
The 24th. the main body of our Army moved below the Mountains to Quibbletown and near Bonumtown, the 26th. the most advanced part of our troops under the command of Ld. Stirling were attacked [by] the main body of the Enemy and our men, being so much inferior in number to the Enemy, were obliged to retreat, after some sharp fire on both sides. Our loss is uncertain, but not great, perhaps twenty or thirty; that of the Enemy is supposed to be greater. We had the misfortune to lose 3 fieldpieces in a manner unaccountable to me, but by information it appears not to have happened by any neglect of duty in the Artillery men. Our Army is now encamped near the mountains again. The Enemy are at Scotchplains Shorthills and no God knows where.2 I write from home with a borrowed pen and can't be farther at this time.
1. Washington had planned a more ambitious move against the British while they were withdrawing from New Brunswick to Amboy, but communications delays prevented the Americans from positioning themselves in time. Col. Daniel Morgan's riflemen were the only ones able to inflict casualties (Freeman, Washington, 4:431–432; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:281–283).
2. On 26 June the British attacked from Amboy as far as Westfield and the next day drew back to Spanktown (Rahway). By the evening of the 29th they were back in Amboy (Freeman, 4:433–434; Washington, Writings, 8:309).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0143

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-04

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Dear Sir

The Army marched from Middle Brook yesterday and arrived here last Evening and encamped. I presume we shall not remain in this place long. If Howe moves up the North River, or towards New England, I suppose we shall immediately push after him; but at present I apprehend the designs of the Enemy are not known, and therefore we must remain some time longer in a suspense.
The unsettled state of the Army is very unfavourable to my Department. Since the 14th June when the Enemy advanced to Somerset, our Army has been constantly in such a moving posture that the Muster Masters have not been able to muster one Regiment. Prior to which they had mustered all but three. All other duty the Regiments must first perform, because the immediate safety of the Army and the Country is depending; this causes unavoidable delays, and when a leisure day happens and the Regiment is turned out to be mustered before it can be com• { 236 } pleted an alarm or some other pressing call takes place. Another day is appointed, and that often shares the same fate, and after the men are mustered, much is to be done to correct the Rolls—find a General Officer at leisure to take the Depositions and certify the same on all the Rolls. In short, while the Army continues in such an unsettled moving state it will be impossible to have it regularly mustered. It might have been all mustered before this time had their been a Deputy Muster Master appointed in each Grand Division, (agreeable to the Order of Congress)1 but a sufficient number could not be obtained, for men whose abilities are equal to the duties of the Office, can generally get better employ. There has been but half the number appointed that are necessary, and one of them hath resigned for a better employment. I expect others will do likewise, as there are many vacant Offices that are better.
I wish that Congress would allow each Deputy Muster Master an Horse, as the detached state of the Division often makes it absolutely necessary that he should have one, and his pay will not afford it. Such an allowance would be an inducement to qualified persons to engage in the service, and enable them to perform the duties of it.
As it is difficult to get Deputy Muster Masters, and as the Troops are often so much detached and scattered as to render it impracticable for them to muster their respective Divisions in proper time, why might not the business be more regularly done by the Paymaster of each Regiment? I have thought much upon this matter, and humbly conceive it to be the best, for as the Paymaster resides with his Regiment he might even in a moving state of the Army find opportunity to get the muster Rolls of one Regiment completed regularly every month, when it would be utterly impossible for a Deputy Muster Master, on the present establishment, to complete all the Muster Rolls of ten or twelve Regiments. I conceive the Paymaster has not so much other business in his office, but that he might well perform this also; and I suppose a Paymaster to be as uncorruptible as a Deputy Muster Master, therefore the public interest would be in no more danger in the hands of the one than the other. These thoughts are humbly submitted to your consideration. I would not have troubled you with any thing on this subject, had I not found by experience, (what I at first apprehended) that the moving state of the Army would render it impracticable to carry the intentions of Congress fully into execution, in the present mode.
{ 237 }
If any alterations take place with respect to mustering the Army, I hope the Congress will lessen the number of Rolls, which are now required, as I conceive that two would answer as well as five;2 one to be affixed to the Pay Roll, and one to be transmitted to the Deputy Muster Master General, by which he may make out his Regimental Abstract, and then he may transmit the same Roll to the Board of Treasury. These two would answer every purpose that is now answered by the five; for the Roll that is sent to the Paymaster General of the Department, answers no purpose, as he sees the Roll which accompanies the pay Roll; and the Captain may take a copy of his Muster Roll, which will answer for him as well as one authenticated in the present form. Reducing the five Rolls to two, would not only save a vast deal of useless labour, but would save great expence in paper, which in the course of a year will be great, and this would reduce it more than half. This alteration becomes more absolutely necessary, as upon a late application by a Deputy Muster Master to the Quarter Master General's Office for paper he was refused. I then applied to General Mifflin, he said he would supply paper as long as he could get it, but he would not engage to furnish all that might be wanted, as he did not think it would be in his power.
It requires more paper than at first tho't one is apt to imagine. Suppose there are 100 Regiments, each Regiment has 8 Companies and each Company makes 60 Rolls in a year, (which are now required). The quantity for one year will be 48000 Sheets; beside what the Muster Masters require for making their Returns. This, in addition to the present consumption of paper in the various Offices, will be so great that I am apprehensive it cannot be supplied at all times. I think it my duty to mention these things in time, and if they deserve attention, you will properly notice them. In the mean time nothing in my power shall be wanting to answer your just expectations.
If the Paymasters were to muster their respective Regiments, no Deputy Muster Masters would be necessary; as they might make returns to the Deputy Muster Master General in each Department. I am Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Ward
I congratulate You Sir, on the birth day of the united states. May you live to see an hundred of them.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Ward.”
{ 238 }
1. On 4 April a committee appointed to address the problem of regularly mustering the army presented the congress with an elaborate scheme calling for the creation of the rank of commissary general of musters and the assignment of a deputy mustermaster to each of the four departments of the army. The deputy mustermaster was to complete a muster of all the troops in the department every month and review their equipment and pay; the deputy mustermaster general of each department was to superintend at muster once every three months and return abstracts of the monthly musters to both the commissary general of musters and the deputy adjutant general of that department. The commissary general of musters sent these and other abstracts to the adjutant general, who was required to furnish the Board of War with copies, some of which were forwarded to the Board of Treasury (JCC, 7:221–223).
2. The resolution of 4 April also required that the commanding officer of each company write out, swear to, sign, and have countersigned five copies of the monthly muster roll. The Board of Treasury, the paymaster general of the department, and the paymaster of the regiment were each to receive a copy; the deputy mustermaster general received two: one for working out the departmental abstracts, the other to certify and return to the officer who had written the rolls (JCC, 7:222).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-07-07

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] My dear Sir

I never before took hold of a Pen, to write to my Friend General Green, without Pleasure, but I think myself obliged to do it now upon a Subject that gives me a great deal of Pain.
The Three Letters from, the Generals Sullivan, Green and Knox, have interrupted the Deliberations of Congress, and given many of the Members of it much Uneasiness.1 They thought themselves bound, in Honour and Justice, to the great Body of People whom they represent, to pass the Resolution2 which, before this Letter reaches you, will be communicated to you by General Washington.
The Contract between Mr. Deane and Monsr. Du Coudray, is not yet decided upon. It is in itself one of the most delicate, and perplexing Transactions that has ever fallen in our Way: but those three Letters instead of relieving Us has only encreased our Mortification.
Many great Questions arise upon that Contract. Such as these, whether Mr. Deane had Authority to make it? If he had not, how far it is consistent with Sound Policy to confirm it. What Merit Monsr. Du Coudray has in procuring, Cannon, Arms, Ammunition and other Things for our Use. What Interest the French Court may take in our Complyance with the Contract? What Monser. Du Coudrays, Abilities to Serve Us really are? How far we may comply, consistently with Justice to our own Officers? { 239 } and how far Such a Trust may be confided to a foreign officer, with Safety to the public Interest? &c. &c. &c.
In the midst of these Deliberations, the Three Letters are received, threatening that if We fullfill the Contract, Three Officers, on whom We have depended, will resign in the Midst of the Campaign when the Attention of every officer ought to be wholly taken up in penetrating the Designs of the Enemy, and in Efforts to defeat them.
If We dissagree to that Contract, what will our Constituents say? What will foreign Nations say. Our Journals upon which the Three Letters must appear, will be read by both.
Will not foreign Nations Say, that the Ambition and Turbulence of three of our best officers, necessitated Us to violate our public Faith?
What Confidence will any Nations have in our Promisses, if they think that our Authority is so feeble, among our own People, and even among our own officers, that We cannot perform our Covenants for fear of disobliging them?
What will our Constituents Say? You have lost the Friendship of foreign Powers, you have broken a Covenant with one of the best Officers in Europe, and why? because your own officers, would not permit you to preserve your own Honour.
It is impossible now for Congress, even to determine that Deane had no Authority to make the Bargain, without exposing themselves to the Reflections that their own Officers intimidated them into it.
I must be excused my Friend in Saying, that if you, or the other Generals Sullivan and Knox, had seriously considered, the Nature of a free Constitution, and the Necessity of preserving the Authority of the Civil Powers above the military, you never could have written such Letters.
The Right of an Officer to resign, I shall not dispute, and he must judge for himself, what Causes will justify him: but surely you ought to have waited, till Monser. Du Coudray, had appeard in Camp and assumed the command, before you resigned, or at least untill you had Seen an attested Copy of our Journal, in which he was appointed to supercede you.
I must needs surely Say, that there is more of Rashness, Passion, and even Wantonness in this Proceeding than I ever expected to see in my Friends Green and Knox in whose Judgment and Discretion I had the Utmost Confidence. If the Letters had { 240 } been written to individual Members of Congress, in private Confidence, desiring to be informed what Congress had done, and conveying the Same Sentiments, it would have been attended with no evil Consequences, but Letters addressed to Congress, which must be recorded in the Journals and published for the Inspection of all the World,3 are exposed to the Reflections of all the World, and one Instance of the Kind passing with Impunity establishes a Precedent for all future Officers, and one Stride after another will be taken, one Breach of the Priviledge of Congress after another will be made, and one Contempt of its Authority after another will be offered, untill the Officers of the Army, will do as most others have done, wrist all Authority out of civil Hands, and set up a Tyrant of their own.
I hope these Letters will have no Influence, upon Congress in determining Du Coudrays Pretensions, but of this I am sure, they will not induce them to grant him less Rank and Emoluments, than they would otherwise have attended him. Nothing in this Affair gives me more Pain, than the Necessity, you have laid Us under of passing a Resolution, which will lessen your Characters, and diminish the Confidence which the good People of America have in your Judgment, and Attachment to the Principles of Liberty. But there was not one Member of Congress who dared to justify the Letters, very few who could say a word in Mitigation or Excuse. It was universally considered, as betraying the Liberties of the People, to pass them by uncensured—some were even for dismissing all three of you instantly from the service—others for ordering you to Philadelphia, under Arrest to answer for this offence.
The Resolution expresses an Expectation that some Acknowledgment or Apology will be made. I sincerely hope it will, for I think that in a cool Reconsideration of those Letters, the Impropriety and Danger of them must be manifest.
I would be far from dictating to you, or giving Advice unasked, but I really think, that a Declaration that you had no Intention to influence Congress, to contemn its Authority or infringe the Liberties of the People or the Priviledges of Congress, a Declaration that you have the fullest Confidence in the Justice of Congress and their Deliberations for the public Good, is the least that you can do.4 Provided you can do this with Truth and sincerity, if not I think you ought to leave the service. <with such a Declaration as this,>
{ 241 }
LbC (Adams Papers); the usual notation “Sent” is lacking. This letter may very well have never been sent; see JA to Greene, 2 June, descriptive note (above). The present letter is the last in Lb/JA/3; the remaining blank pages comprise most of the bound volume. JA did not enter a letter in his Letterbooks again until 6 Dec., and then he returned to Lb/JA/1.
1. These letters, written from camp at Middle Brook, each dated 1 July, were similar enough to provoke suspicions of collusion. Each sought confirmation of a report (or information) that the congress had granted Du Coudray a commission as major general effective 1 Aug. 1776, a date that would have given him precedence over the three. Each asserted that if the report was true, he would have to request that a permit to resign be sent to him (PCC, No. 160, f. 43; No. 155, f. 35; No. 78, XIII, f. 439). The anger aroused at this ill-concealed attempt to put pressure on the congress was widespread among the members. It seemed obvious that the generals knew that they were acting before the congress had reached a decision, although they pretended otherwise. James Lovell spotted the flaw in their pretense: “If they chose to take it for a thing done why did they not ask leave to retire without any ifs” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:403).
2. The letter from Sullivan, which arrived at the congress on 3 July, brought an immediate and coldly hostile response: a resolution was presented stating that the congress would not be controlled by its officers in carrying out the trust placed in it by the United States and offering to accept the general's resignation. But this first outburst was lined out of the record, and a very firm but more measured response was adopted on the 7th in reply to all three men. Ordering copies of the three letters to be sent to Washington, the congress underscored the peril in such a threat to the people's liberties. Further, it made known its expectation that the generals would “make proper acknowledgments for an interference of so dangerous a tendency.” If the generals continued unwilling to serve their country under congressional authority, they were free to resign (JCC, 8:528, 537).
3. By no means did the Journals give the contents of all letters received and publish them to the world.
4. On 19 July, in a lengthy reply to the congress, Greene expressed his surprise that members sensed collusion among the three officers. He asserted that “on a dispassionate view of the matter” the congress would see that it had “embraced ideas by no means deducible from any thing we have done, and [would] in justice recall a censure equally severe, unmerited, and injurious.” Expressing his devotion to the country and his respect for its representatives, Greene yet insisted upon his dignity and honor as an officer (PCC, No. 155, f. 39–43). Neither Sullivan nor Knox sent a response, perhaps because Greene seemed to speak for all of them.
Although each of the generals was a correspondent of JA, Knox not so active as Sullivan and Greene, none commented to JA on this action of the congress. Knox did not write again until 4 Sept. 1779, when he warmly welcomed JA on his return from Europe. Sullivan wrote on 28 Sept. and on 10, 13 Nov. 1777, the last acknowledging JA's letter of 28 Oct. (not found). Since, as pointed out above, JA did not resume his Letterbook entries until Dec. 1777, he may have written letters we know nothing about. The first extant letter to Greene after this period is that of 18 March 1780, and we know of none from Greene until a draft of 28 Jan. 1782, a much delayed answer to JA's. The question arises whether the anger expressed in the letter to Greene of 7 July 1777, for which there is no evidence of its having been sent, impelled JA to break off his correspondence with Greene. Since he did not break off with Sullivan, such conduct seems unlikely. The last letter JA certainly sent to Greene before that of 7 July was that of 24 May (above), which as far as is known Greene did not answer. Greene's letter of 28 May was an answer to JA's of 9 May (both above). Neither man received a reply to his last letter to the other. If there was any deliberate break in the correspondence, it would seem that the blame cannot now be assigned, although Greene in 1782 felt that it was JA who had ended their exchanges.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-07-07

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Yours of June 22d. received only today. We have no Thoughts of leaving Philadelphia. I believe Howe has no Thoughts of attempting it—but if he has We are determined to keep it. Our Army, with the assistance of the Militia, will be Sufficient to defend it.
Why our Army fills up no faster I cant conceive. The Massachusetts Regiments at Ti are not one Third full, and We cannot learn from Peeks Kill, that Putnam ever had above six Thousand Men, in all, from Mass. Rhode Island Connecticutt and New York. You must have been deceived in the Numbers inlisted.
There is a loud Complaint here, about Arms. Eighteen Thousand Arms have arrived at Portsmouth, and We know not what becomes of them.1 Other Arms have arrived in Mass.—but we know not where they are, and it is Said the Game Cock2 carried Six Thousand into Dartmouth—Where are they?
I wish you Joy of your Employment in making a Constitution. Hope you will make a good one. I hope to Sit quietly under it, altho I shall have no hand in forming it. Do you intend to make every Man of 21 a Voter for the Council? I have nothing to Say, but I fear you will find a Fountain of Corruption, in making So many Voters.
The Bill for freeing the Negroes, I hope will sleep for a Time. We have Causes enough of Jealousy Discord and Division, and this Bill will certainly add to the Number.
I am weary enough of Complaints, concerning Navy Matters. I do all I can in public and private to stimulate but all in vain. The Commissions were never sent untill 4 or 5 days ago by Mr. Sherman.3 The Instructions are not Sent yet. Who is in Fault, I dont Say. <But I believe it to be the Fault of one whose [ . . . ], Hauteur and [ . . . ]>4 It is enough for me to answer for my own Faults.
Is a certain elevated Citizen to put his Hand upon the Pummell of one Chair, and leap into another, at 370 Miles Distance?5
For my own Part I wish to see Gravity, Wisdom, Constancy and Fortitude in every Chair upon the Continent. My Hopes were placed upon Mr. B. but his Retirement, has damped if not extinguished them.6 My next Expectations were from the Philosopher. But I doubt whether the popular Breath, will blow that Way. My Wishes, and Judgment are entirely for another, But I know not the Chance.
{ 243 }
I Should be more anxious about, the Chair, if I were to be near it. But I pant, and Sigh for private Life and rural Felicity. Here all my Wishes terminate. And the sooner I reach it, with an eternal Renunciation of all Concerns with the public, the better for me. An Idol in the Chair that I cannot and will not worship, will only facilitate my Progress, to that Condition in human Life, where alone I can be happy or even comfortable.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “J. A Lettr July 1777.”
1. Probably a reference to the cargo of the Amphitrite (Warren to JA, 23 April, above).
2. A privateer sloop from Providence commanded by Timothy Peirce (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:181).
3. Roger Sherman became a member of the Marine Committee on 5 June, but was given a leave of absence on the 30th (JCC, 8:420, 508).
4. Remaining three or four words were heavily crossed out.
5. JA is speculating on the possibility of John Hancock's seeking the governorship of Massachusetts.
6. For months JA had urged the candidacy of James Bowdoin for governor whenever the state should have made provision for one in a constitution, although Bowdoin's persistent ill health made his availability doubtful. Bowdoin resigned from the Council right after his reelection to that body. JA's second choice was Prof. John Winthrop, referred to here as the “Philosopher,” and his third, James Warren (vol. 4:182–183; Boston Gazette, 16 June).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0146

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-10

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

I have lately wrote you more than one Letter which I hope you have receiv'd.1 Howe has confess'd his Inferiority in the Field by retreating from the Jerseys, but I am sorry He has escap'd so whole. I have been in Hopes that our Army would have been strong enough to have taken some Station between Brunswick and Amboy, and to have cripled Him in his Retreat if not totally cut it off. I long for the Time when we shall be able to put the Enemy on the Defensive. Till then, the States will be kept in Alarms in almost ev'ry Quarter, at a vast Expence over and above that of the standing Army.
France and Spain have been blind to their own Interest, if their great Men have not been corrupted by British Gold, or they would have taken a more decisive Part in Support of the <Colonies> States before now. Had they declar'd War against Britain her whole Navy would not have been at leisure to cover and distress these Coasts, shutting up the greatest Part of our Ports, and rendering the Navigation in others so greatly hazardous. Those Powers seem not aware of the Risque they run of the Advantages they might draw from the early and secure Establishment of the { 244 } Independance of America. I have seen a late Letter from Mr. Deane in France. He recommends that we equip as soon as may be a Fleet sufficient to command these Seas.2 Could he imagine that these States alone were able to effect this, when Britain has so many Vessels of War now on our Coasts, and when all the Powers in Europe leave her to augment this naval Force at her Pleasure? I should be extremely glad to know, as far as you think prudent to communicate the Footing upon which our Negotiations abroad stand, and what is likely to be the Result.
As soon as I knew Reinforcements were coming from Britain to America this year, I concluded Administration had Assurances of the pacific Disposition of France and Spain: Such a Step would not, otherwise have been hazarded. The greater our Difficulties are, the more Firmness and Perseverance must we exhibit. Great Things are not easily done. Heaven itself has begun the important Work, and will, I trust, compleat it. Your's with ev'ry Sentiment of Esteem & Friendship,
L. Sterling's ill Success in the Jerseys we have just heard of.
1. Cooper's letter of 29 May had gone unanswered.
2. What letter from Silas Deane was seen by Cooper is undetermined. No excerpt from any such appears in the Boston newspapers of this period. Deane, however, did express himself on the desirability of a fleet to more than one correspondent (Deane Papers, 2:58, 62).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0147

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-10

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I Returned to this Town on Tuesday and found the Court had Just Adjourned to Sepr:. Last Evening I had the pleasure of yours of the 19th. June. Am much Obliged to you for it. It is A rarity being the only one for A Month.1 I hope the laudable Ambition you so frequently discover for your Countrys Excelling her Exertions for Carrying on this war will be gratified. I beleive we have 8000 already Marched, and some more to go. If the Other States had done as well, we should certainly have had A more numerous Army in the Field. We shall not remit our Exertions till our Quota is Compleat.
In my last I Informed you that we were proceeding on A Constitution of Government and what kind of a one we were likely to have. Very little has been since done as I am told. You must { 245 } know that the Council (of whom several are on the Committee)2 are Almost to A Man against A New Constitution, and are forced to come to it with the greatest reluctance. Some of us are lukewarm and Others Consider it as A Business by the bye. So the Committee is Instead of Improveing this Interval, and going on that Business Immediately Adjourned to the week before the Court meets, so that I have A prospect of A little leisure. I shall go home tomorrow, and hope to get more than one ramble among the Herds at Ealriver.3 The Season here is uncommonly fine. There is A profusion of Grass round this Town. The finest Crops of Hay I have ever seen.
You need give yourself no Concern about any Appearance there was of disunion between the Town and the Court. It was A Sudden Movement of the Town, from the sudden Caprice of A few Individuals, and seemed to be done without any fixed principles against Assumeing A Constitution, and like most Other sudden and violent things, very quickly subsided, without leaving so much as An Appearance of Opposition.4 Nor do I Apprehend any danger from the Other division you mention. Some Gentlemen came down with a few prejudices against the Tradeing Interest Others with very self Important Notions, and when the first had Examined A little, and the Others had vented themselves, the Cloud dispersed without much Lightning, and no bad Effects.
I will again try to have our Regiments Numbered, and to furnish you with a List of them and their Officers. I can easily Conceive it is somewhat Embarrassing to have so many foreign Officers on your Lists. It must Increase the Number of your General Officers faster than perhaps you Inclined.
Give your self no Trouble about the Expences of your Liveing. Your Constituents must be reconciled to it, without recaling you. For my own part I wish you to Live genteely and in Character Cost what it will. I am sure I would if I was in your place. Keep your Servant and your Horses. I am sure we should not begrutch you any thing you Incline to Eat, drink or spend. If it should be necessary to make you Another Grant of Money, let me know it, and I will Endeavour to have it done as soon as we meet. We are not Unacquainted with Extravagancies. Here, we give 5 dollars for Board &c. which gives us feelings we were not used to. Since my last Nothing material has turned up in the General Court, nor have we any News but from the Jersies and { 246 } Ti, which you know more about than I do. I hope Ti will be saved.5 Schuyler must certainly Exert himself now. He will strain every Nerve. Many here are very Anxious for the fate of that place, but I am not much Concerned if the Army there do their duty. Where will Howe next Bend his Course. After his late Curious Expedition and retreat, I think New England as probable An Object as any. If he Comes I hope we shant Mortifie the pride you have for the reputation of your Country. A few prizes drop in and we have another valuable Arrival of Arms powder &c. I suppose Mrs: Adams will herself Inform you She is well.6 My regards, to Mr. Adams and Gerry, and to Other Friends. I shall write them as soon as I have Opportunity. With my best wishes I am yr. Friend &c.
Let M. Gerry know the Ship Lidia is not yet Arrived. She left Bilboa and was chaced into Another port by A small English privateer. Two of our were gone After her. I hope she will be taken and the Ship releived.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren”; in another hand: “July 10th 1777.”
1. JA had also written on the 11th (above).
2. Council members on the committee were Jeremiah Powell, Thomas Cushing, Daniel Davis, and John Taylor (Boston Gazette, 23 June; Mass., Province Laws, 20:3).
3. Eel River was a section of Plymouth (Records of the Town of Plymouth, 3 vols., Plymouth, 1889–1902, 3:273).
4. See JA to Warren, 19 June, note 1 (above).
5. Newspaper reports based on private letters dated 28 and 30 June revealed that the enemy had arrived at Crown Point and had sent out detachments to cut Ticonderoga off from Fort George and Skenesborough. Many armed boats and sloops, some of them only a mile and a half from American batteries, had appeared on the lake. Large numbers of Indians had been seen in the woods and had killed a number of troops. The only promising news was that five hundred men were coming in from the New Hampshire Grants (Vermont) (Boston Gazette, 7 July; Independent Chronicle, 10 July).
6. At this very time AA feared losing the baby she was carrying, and on 16 July she sadly wrote JA she had lost the daughter whom she had hoped so much to have (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:277, 279, 282).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0148

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-11

From James Warren

[salute] Dr. Sir

We have this Moment an Account of the Evacuation of Ticonderoga in Consequence of A Council of General Officers who determined it to be Absolutely necessary to save the small Army there. This Intelligence is by A Letter from St. Clair to the president of the Convention at Vermont. This Letter was dated the 7th.1 He was then on his way to Bennigton, and he Intended to { 247 } throw himself on the North River, which as it Appears to me will lay open our Country to the Enemy who were in possession of Skeensbury. The Letter does not Inform us of the Number of either Army nor of the Loss we sustained, only that he was not Able to make his retreat with the Stores so perfectly as he could have wished, and that there had been A severe Action in the rear the Event of which he did not Exactly know.2 I am Yr. Friend,
[signed] JW
1. Gen. St. Clair evacuated Ticonderoga on the night of 6 July. His letter of the 7th is printed in Vt. Hist. Soc., Colls., 1 [1870]:174–175. Accounts of the evacuation of Ticonderoga did not appear in Boston newspapers until well after 11 July.
2. Col. Seth Warner, leading one thousand men, was attacked on the morning of the 7th while on his way to Castleton (same).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0149-0001

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-17

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I came to this Place upon some business respecting my Department. I left General Washington encamped 18 miles south of the North River. I shall return to Head Quarters this day.
There are now several Ships of war coming up the North River, their design is at present unknown, but 'tis probable their intention is to alarm us this way while they make a descent on some other quarter.
We have a confused unintelligible account from Tyconderoga, but cannot learn any thing for certain; however, I much fear there has been rascally conduct that way. I have long apprehended danger in that Quarter, not so much from the strength of the Enemy, as from other causes; but I wished that my fears might prove groundless.
I hope in future, whenever any post, (or any thing else of any consequence) is lost, that a strict enquiry may be made into the conduct of those who command, and ample rewards given to merit, and severe justice to Demerit. Such a Rule of proceeding has been sanctified by the wisdom of all wise States, and dear experience hath taught us the necessity of adopting it. I conceive (with submission to superior generalship) that we are upon a wrong scent, watching the movements of Howe, and ready to follow wherever he may lead—this puts it in his power to harrass our Army to death in marches from one end of the Continent to { 248 } the other—but should we make a sudden and spirited attack on their Lines on this side New York, it would draw their Army to a point, and we might make them spend the Campaign on their own ground—save our Country from their ravages—and at winter they would find themselves at New York. A mere defensive war, is the most difficult of any in the world to conduct with honour or safety, and I long since hoped that my Countrymen were convinced of this truth, but we still want the true spirit of Enterprize. If it is in our power to keep the Enemy at home, is it not infinitely better than to let them ravage town after town? and is it not in our power (with the common smiles of Heaven) to fix their attention at home, by judicious and Spirited movements? I have been conversing with General Putnam on this subject, he is entirely of this opinion, and has wrote by me to the Commander in Chief on the subject. May all gracious Heaven direct our steps. Whether Tyconderoga is lost, or not, we have a good prospect, and nothing but our own inexcuseable folly, or the frowns of Providence, can ruin us; and I still hope and trust this Campaign will end gloriously for these United States.
Haste prevents my mentioning more particulars, and as I write for you only, your candor will make allowance for what is amiss.
I have inclosed a letter I received from Col Varick, for your information in several particulars.
I intended to have given you an account of the generalship at Westfield, the loss of the field pieces &c. &c.1 that you might have seen the wisdom of it; but I was obliged to double my attention to my own Department, (by reason that there were not half the Deputies which were to have been appointed.) but perhaps you have full satisfaction upon the subject.
RC with enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Ward.”
1. That is, Lord Stirling's defeat at Westfield, N.J. See Ward to JA, 28 June (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0149-0002

Author: Varick, Richard
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1777-07-05

Enclosure: Richard Varick to Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure of Acknowledging the Receipt of your Favor of the 8th Ultimo Which was deliver'd me On my Return from Tyonderoga to this Place.
I was fortunate Enough to finish my Musters1 the Day before the Enemy's Shipping made their Appearance at Tyonderoga and should have sent You the Abstracts by this Conveyance had not one of my Deputies been too much Indisposed to Attend to { 249 } Buisiness. However You may depend on having them per the Very next Conveyance which will be in two or three Days.
When thise are done, I shall repair to Fort Stanwix without Delay, and finish the Troops to the Westward If our neighbours the Merciless Savages permit me to be proprietor of my Own Scalp. This However I must Venture upon, without Looking forward for Imaginary Dangers. Many poor Fellows have within 14 Days suffered this Cruel Fate from their Barbarous Hands.
I am happy to find that You approve of the Alterations I made in the Muster Rolls. I shall make the Alterations in the future Abstracts, to be made by Me, those Of the Army to the northward were already drawn by myself before the Receipt of Yours and only a few of them remain now to be Copied. I have taken the Liberty to make an Addition to Your Abstract from which may be Asscertained the Strength of the Garrisons. If this be Useless, It cannot Vitiate Yours, as It is at Bottom.
One of my Deputies has already determind on his Resignation the Moment these Abstracts are compleated. The Other has promissed to Attend me to Fort Stanwix and he will Also resign as soon as he returns from that Post. The Pay Allowed by Congress to Deputies2 is so small a Compensation for their Unwearied and Constant Attention to a very Laborious Office, That no Gentlemen whose Virtue and Integrity may be depended on and who are men of Buisiness, can be procured to execute the Office. I give this as a Hint, Least You may be disappointed in not receiving the Abstracts after this Muster. For I do assure You upon my Honor, That I know of none in this Army, fit for the Office, who would not prefer an Ensigncy to It. This Matter, with a few Causes, which materially affect me, will Oblige me, in Justice to myself, to quit the Office Very Soon.
You will doubtless hear from his Excellency the State of our Army in the S. Our Garrisons at Tyonderoga and Mount Independance Amount to About 4,000 men Officers and sick in Camp included At least 3,600 men fit for Duty. I had prepared a General State of the Army for Your Use, but Genl. Schuyler has requested It from me, to inclose to his Excellency. However the Addition I have made to Your Abstract with a little Calculation will settle It.
The Enemy are supposed to be between 5 and 6000 Strong with a Good Fleet. However Genl. St. Clair will be reinforced in few Days, So as to give them a Very Severe Brush Out of his { 250 } Lines, which is not prudent at present. His Men are Very spirited and determined to conquer or Yield by Inches only.
I shall write You before I leave this Place. I am Very Respectfully in Haste Your Most Obed. sert.,
[signed] Richd. Varick
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Colonel Joseph Ward Commissary General of Musters at the Adjutant Genrls. Office New Jersey On public service”; docketed in an unknown hand: “R Varick”; in JA's later hand: “July 5th 1777.”
1. The congress appointed Varick deputy mustermaster general on 10 April (JCC, 7:252).
2. The pay was 35 dollars a month and two rations a day (same, 7:223).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0150

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-24

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

No Event since the Commencement of the War has excited such Indignation and Astonishment as the Evacuation of Tyconderoga in so disgraceful a Manner! General Washington's Idea of the State of that Garrison answers to all the Accounts we have receiv'd here. There were 4000 Troops in the Place1 well arm'd, and well supplied with ev'ry Thing. Two of the fullest Regiments of this State were at Albany, and might soon have been added to the Garrison; a large Body of as good Militia as any in America were near at hand; some had arriv'd, others were on the Wing. What could lead a Council of General Officers, as a Letter publish'd in our Papers from St. Cr., declares, to be unanimous for abandoning so important a Post? to abandon it in such a Manner? no Steps taken to save the Stores, which were of immense Value considering the Difficultys under our Circumstances of replacing them: no Dispositions for a regular Retreat; ev'ry Man left to shift for himself. Poor Hale2 who fell in the Rear, I am well inform'd, said at Midnight, when the Orders were known for evacuating, He had rather die in the Place. I have it from a Gentleman of Capacity and Integrity, who was there, that he was with about one hundred Men of our Army in the Front of the Retreat; they assur'd him that none were before them: Immediately after this small Van, He saw four General Officers together, St. Clair, Furmoy, Poor, and Patterson.3 He convers'd with them as they were hastning away—not a General Officer in the Centre or Rear. He saw several Men perish on the Way for { 251 } Want of Subsistence, so little Care was taken for Provision—no Orders that He could find, where the Men were to meet, or how to march so as to support and assist one another. I cannot enlarge on Circumstances—they must have reach'd you before now, and many more perhaps than we know. The Eyes of all are upon Congress and General Washington. The universal Cry is, a public and solemn Inquiry:4 and if better Reasons are not found than we at present know of, for this Capital Dishonor to the American Arms, exemplary Punishment to the Delinquents. When you read the Letter publish'd to excuse this Flight, what Idea must you form of the Man? It was, I am told from St. Cr. to Mr. Bowdoin. He esteems himself happy in making a Retreat from under their Nose, when they had not open'd a Battery, or fir'd a Gun against so strong a Fortress. How unhappy that the able experienc'd Gates left that Command!5 But I know the Embarrassments. Some I hope will be now convinc'd that the American Cause is rather too important to be sacrific'd to military Punctilioes. Genl. Schuyler has sent here for Supplies. He wants ev'ry Thing for an Army but Provision. We are doing what we can—but Tyconderoga had greatly exhausted us: After all our Deficiencies, we have done much. We have given up all that has been imported here to Continental Agents, at the lowest Prices: What they do not take some Merchants from N.Y. and further Southward buy up. We had a vast Quantity of Jesuits' Bark6 bro't in a Prize, for which I am told they have bid an higher Price, than it has hitherto been retail'd for here at the Shops. Whether it will go to the Use of our own Army Time will discover. It might have been as well perhaps for the public, if Supplies drawn from this State for the Army, had been purchas'd by Men of Capacity and Honor among ourselves. I write in Confidence, and Hast, And ever with the warmest Esteem and Affection.
You will be cautious respecting your Correspondent and his loose Hints. Remember me to the President and your Brethren. Indignation raises, Fear does not depress us. Burgoyne has divided his Army. Some spirited Officers to lead our Men at the Northward may yet wast and ruin the Enemy. I hope ev'ry Nerve will be exerted. Heaven pours Contempt upon almost ev'ry Thing we have greatly depended on, and saves us in it's own Way. Howe's Army we hear is extremely weakned by Sickness—and still remains greatly distress'd by it. Adieu.
{ 252 }
{ 253 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr. Cooper. July 24. 1777.”
1. According to a modern historian, St. Clair actually had about 2,500 effectives under his command; the general himself claimed only 2,089. At his court martial, the judge advocate estimated a total force of 4,739 between 20 June and 4 July. The discrepancy may arise partly from counting the militia which was called in but which intended to serve only two or three days. The figure 4,000 comes from a newspaper critique of the general's letter justifying his withdrawal (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:407; unsigned letter from St. Clair, 9 July, and critique in Boston Gazette, 21 July; “Trial of St. Clair,” NYHS, Colls., 13 [1880]: 9; St. Clair to Hancock, 14 July, Independent Chronicle, 7 Aug.). See also the report of Deputy Mustermaster General Varick (Joseph Ward to JA, 17 July, enclosure, above).
2. Col. Nathan Hale of the 2d New Hampshire Regiment, who was taken prisoner on the 7th (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 267).
3. Matthias Alexis Roche de Fermoy, Enoch Poor, and John Paterson (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:408).
4. On 29 July the congress took the initial steps toward an inquiry that finally occupied the members off and on for months; JA was active in the early stages, but it went on after he left Philadelphia (JCC, 8:585, 596, 688; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:469, note 2, which summarizes action in the congress). Charged with treachery, cowardice, and shameful abandonment of Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, St. Clair pleaded not guilty before a general court martial, which convened 25 Aug. – 14 Sept. 1778. The court unanimously found him not guilty (“Trial of St. Clair,” NYHS, Colls., 13 [1880]: 5–172, with accompanying map).
5. After the congress gave Gen. Schuyler command of the Northern Department, Gates refused to continue at Ticonderoga and named St. Clair to take command (Willard M. Wallace, Appeal to Arms, N.Y., 1951, p. 147–148).
6. Bark of the cinchona tree in Peru, from which quinine is derived (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0151

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-26

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I received your Favour of the twentieth Instant,1 while on my way from North River to this place. The Army is now on its march towards Philadelphia.
You inform me that Congress is impatient for my Returns; I have long been exceedingly unhappy because it hath not been in my power to carry the System for mustering the Army fully into execution. I made an Abstract of all the Muster Rolls that I could obtain, (previous to the tenth Instant) and delivered it to the Adjutant General (agreeable to the Order of Congress) and requested him to forward it as soon as possible. I am at a loss to account for its not having been received. I did not receive Col. Varick's Returns from Ticonderoga until some time after making out the Abstract which I returned to the Adjutant General, they must be put into my next general Abstract.
I am at last informed by a Letter from the Deputy Muster Master at Peekskill,2 that he hath compleated the mustering the { 254 } Troops in General Putnams Division, and will forward the Returns by the first conveyance.
I have wrote repeatedly to Mr. Yates, Deputy Muster Master General for the Southern Department, but have never received any answer, nor heard from him since his appointment.
I beg leave, Sir, to mention the reasons why it has not been in my power to carry the Orders of Congress respecting my Department fully into execution. I could not obtain Deputy Muster Masters for the several Divisions, by reason that such persons could not be found as the General judged were proper for the Office; five were wanted for the five grand Divisions in this Army, and but two could be obtained until the Army was nearly mustered; one of those, having connexions favourable for the purpose, was employed by the General to procure intelligence, which took up much of his time, and before he had completed the mustering one Division, he resigned the Office. The other was interrupted for a considerable time, by a complaint against his political character, but continues and is a good Officer. Col. Bradford, Deputy Muster Master General, was obliged to do the duty of several Muster Masters, (as far as he was able, but was part of the time indisposed and unable to attend any duty.) Consequently I was obliged to do the duties of his Office, in superintending at the musters &c., in addition to my own. In fact, we have done three times the labour that was assigned us by the Orders of Congress, for want of Deputy Muster Masters, notwithstanding the business of the Department has been so much delayed. In Addition to those difficulties, the Army has been so much in motion that the Officers could find but little time to make out their Muster Rolls, and to attend to mustering their Regiments; and the duty being new and burdensome it was with difficulty performed, by many of the Officers.
The difficulties above mentioned I have from time to time acquainted the General with, such of them as he could remedy he has, but you are sensible, Sir, that many of them did not admit of a remedy. I did not trouble Congress with the disagreeable detail, as I knew their time was precious, and I hoped by constant exertions and more favourable circumstances to accomplish their wishes. I have not yet succeeded, but am nearer in some respects, as there are now Deputies to the respective Divisions, and I trust my next Return will be much larger than the last.
Although my Office is of no value to me, (as I sacrifice my pri• { 255 } vate interest every day I continue in it) yet the approbation of Congress I esteem inestimable, and my utmost exertions I trust will ever testify that I am to merit that approbation by serving my Country. However, as it is probable some other person might serve the public to more advantage, and as I can have no views but the public interest, (in this Office) I should, if agreeable to Congress, be glad to resign it. Some of the most material difficulties attending my Department I mentioned a few days since to the Committee of Congress, who were at Head Quarters, which I supposed would render it unnecessary to make a further representation. If any further is requisite please to inform me. I have taken the liberty to mention those matters pretty fully (however uncorrectly) and if you, Sir, judge it proper, please to mention them to such as have a right to know them.
I could wish that the number of Muster Rolls was much lessened; but this I mentioned in a former Letter, and also to the Committee; likewise increasing the pay of the Deputy Muster Masters.
I beg leave to observe, that a general Return of Musters, can never all bear one date and be made regular as the common Returns of an Army, because great part of the month is spent in mustering the different Regiments and Companies, consequently the Rolls will have different dates; and when, the whole are mustered, they must be transmitted to the Deputy Muster Master General, he makes the Regimental Abstracts and transmits them to the Muster Master General, which by the great distance of the several Departments and Posts requires much time; therefore of necessity the General Abstract will ever be delayed long after the troops are mustered.
I must make an apology for tiring your Eyes to read so much for so little Sentiment, but as Pope once observed, “If I had not been in a hurry I should have been shorter.” I am Sir most truly and Respectfully Your most Obedient and very Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. Although general Abstracts could not be regularly made, I trust the most material intention of Congress is answered, which was that the Men should not be paid until they were mustered, to prevent fraud to the public and to individuals—and I believe none have drawn pay until they were mustered. The Paymaster General3 makes it a rule not to receive a pay Roll unless it is accompanied with a muster Roll.
{ 256 }
Unfortunate indeed must his situation be whose utmost efforts in the way of duty cannot gain approbation—but such has been the lot of many. Circumstances sometimes render this inevitable. However, Time will commonly do everyone justice. Conscience bids me say, that I have applyed to the duties assigned me with a laborious attention. I trust the facts I have related will justify me, if not, I will submit to censure with a respectful silence.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Ward.”
1. Not found.
2. Not identified.
3. William Palfrey succeeded James Warren as paymaster general in 1776 (vol. 4:14).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0152

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-27

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I did myself the Honor to address a Letter to you; in answer to yours of the twentieth instant. This morning I saw the Adjutant General, and enquired whether he had transmitted the general Abstract of Musters, which I delivered him, to the Board of War? He replied that he had not, by reason of the hurried unsettled situation of things, but he would do it as soon as possible. Thus matters are delayed, by the fluctuating state of the Army, and as my Department is connected with every part of it wherever detached or scattered, it is possible to carry the System for mustering into execution in all its parts, as it stands on paper? It would require creating power—so long as the Army continues in the state it has been in the most of the time this Campaign, marching and countermarching, and attended with all the difficulties which have been before mentioned. I have spared neither labour nor expence to effect what has been already done, although so far short of what was intended. I drew up particular and pointed directions to the Officers (after I had observed their deficiencies) with respect to making their muster Rolls punctually agreeable to the Orders of Congress, and had them inserted in General Orders; have wrote repeatedly and pressingly to all the Muster Masters that are not under my immediate inspection, to make all possible dispatch in their respective Divisions. I made a journey to Peekskill to expedite mustering the Troops there. General McDugall, to whom Genl. Washington referred the appointment of a Deputy Muster Master for that Division, { 257 } informed me that the appointment was long delayed by reason that he could not find a proper person for the Office. All these delays affect me, and what encreases the misfortune, no efforts on my part can supply those deficiencies, nor will doubling my diligence do the duty of others. Yet whatever wheel is obstructed in the machine the System must be affected thereby. This misfortune attends my Department.
I always hated the tone of complaint, and did not necessity oblige me I should not now trouble you with it; for I had rather labour a month than write a line of complaint or apology on a subject of this kind.
Please to communicate (if you think it proper) to Congress the state of matters respecting my Department, contained in this letter and that of yesterday.
Were I to make a representation of them to the General, and request him to make a representation to Congress, it would be giving him trouble, and he has not a moment to spare. I have often mentioned the principal matters to the General, but I wish to avoid giving him any unnecessary trouble, and especially at this time when he is pressed with so many important concerns. Beside, if I should, in his hurried situation, it might be a long time before it reached Congress.
I have given directions to all the Muster Masters, to have inserted in all future Muster Rolls, the term of time for which the men enlisted; as it may hereafter be a necessary information to Congress, and to the General.
Please to favour me with such information from time to time as may respect my duty, for I am determined, so long as I am a Servant to the public, to omit no part of it, knowingly.
I am sorry to hear of your ill health. May it soon be restored to its primitive vigour, and bloom for a long age to come. I am Sir With great Respect, Your Obedient most Humble Servant,
[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. As I am determined never to hold any Office in which I cannot give satisfaction, I must again request that you would be pleased to give me the earliest information upon this head, and if my conduct does not meet with the approbation of Congress I will immediately resign; for I cannot bear a thought of disapprobation—and especially from a Power which I have revered next to that which is Divine.
The duty assigned to the Muster Master General would be { 258 } very easy, if every part of the System was complete in practice as in theory, but you see it has been quite otherwise; and shall he suffer for faults not his own, and for difficulties which no human wisdom nor industry (if he were possessed of the greatest) could surmount?
Every delinquent Officer ought to be broke or hanged,” is a judgement I subscribe, it has ever been the language of my heart and tongue. No one ought to expect favour, and he that does is unworthy of it. It has ever been my wish, that the eye of impartial judgement might mark every ones conduct, intrusted with public concerns, and severe justice follow his steps.
“When will there be an end of our losses and disgraces?” is a hard question, but I can tell when we shall conquer our Enemies. As soon as the people in general have spirit to fight; for it is in our power to conquer them and nothing is wanting but resolution. Can a doubt remain, of the power of this Continent to scourge out of the land twenty thousand Ruffians? Debasing humiliating thought, that one murderer yet remains unhanged or that the tyrant George has a standard in any part of this free Country!
Let Howe land his troops where he will, if the people would turn out with a Roman spirit and reinforce our Army, the Enemy might be demolished and the war ended; but so long as we want spirit we shall want peace.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Ward July 1777.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0153

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-28

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear Sir

Upon the Public Affairs of the Country we all have a Right to speak freely and censure where we think there's Misconduct; to ramble into the Field of Conjecture when we are disposed for it; in Short to turn Politicians if we please. You know from early Life I never Spard Men nor Measures and made Use of my Right to Censure very freely therefore you won't be Surprized if I tell you I am out of all Patience with Congress and at Variance with all the World.
A jealous Mind is not always a certain Indication of a good or bad Man, but as Other Circumstances give occasion may be One or the other. To begin then with a List of your Crimes: the fluctuating unstable State of your Councils are enough to disgust the { 259 } whole World, and ruine the most flourishing Empire. Genl. Gates is appointed to command an important Post, an Officer of approved Courage and Skill, before he can arrive at his Post, he is Superceeded in that Command by an Officer, perhaps as good, for I dont know him;1 Eighteen or Twenty Regiments are orderd for the Defence of that important Pass: before one can March they are reduced to half the Number: and as though all this would not give an Alarm Sufficient there Seems to have been an Attempt to coalesce the most heterogeneous Parts of Matter by Way of Experiment I suppose, against the established Laws of Nature; else Why could any Man think of a Pensylvanian to command the New England Troops?2 Fire and Water will as soon Unite (a few Exceptions only). Another Instance perhaps of less Importance—in the general Establishment of the Army you order a Chaplain to every Regiment; as soon as they are appointed you resolve there shall be One only in a Brigade, by the Time these are ingaged you begin again to put on your Considering Caps, and halt between two Opinions, establishing neither One nor the other,3 that all our pious Designs are Come to a full Stand and we can have no ghostly Advice. Again (for I mean to go thrô with you if your Sins are not too Numerous to be recond Up) In Lieu of Chaplains to bring Us to a Sense of Duty by exhortation and Example; you are determined to accustom us to frequent fasting and so oblige Us to most fervent Prayers which usually accompanies this Institution in New England; to convince of our daily dependance on Providence you are forming a Plan for Us to live by Faith alone, expressly against the Experience of all old Saints and Apostles, in Expectation the Days of Miracles are returning upon Us and like the Children of Israel we are to be fed by the immediate Agency of the Deity. Your System for Supplies is contrary to all Experience and will infalibly Starve Us. But the List grows so fast upon me I cant reckon them all at this Time—But to Sober Reason upon the Subjects:
There is at least a Jealousy in the Country, I hope without Foundation, that a Settled Plan is formed by Some in Congress and some out to ruine the Cause of the Country and again to Subjugate us to Britain; the Leeks and Onions of Egypt are Still sweet to them and fresh in Remembrance: or a System of Corruption is pursued which will end in the Destruction of the Liberties of the People. When we see every Day Measures Pursuing to serve private Interests Particular Families or States { 260 } without Regard to the general Interest of the whole Confederacy the true Friends of the Liberties of Mankind are very justly alarmed: when we see good Men displaced without any Reason assigned and others Substituted who, to say no more, do not possess the Confidence of the Country our Fears are awakned and our Jealousy is roused. In this Day of Difficulty and Distress great Attention ought to be paid to secure the Confidence of the Country in their civil and military Leaders; I fully beleive Mr. Howe can as probably Subjugate the Country by sowing a Spirit of Jealousy and distrust among the People as by Arms. Whither the Opinions of the People are well or ill founded it makes very little Difference, I think there can Scarcely be a Case in which an Officer ought to take Command of a Seperate Post who does not possess the Confidence of his Country and expecially of the Soldiery he is to command. As to New England or Pensylvania for my own part I wish every Idea of Distinction was forever banished but when long endured Insult from the Officers of that State has fixed an Enmity which is almost irreconcilable it does not appear to me the most proper Measure to have chosen an Officer to command our Troops from that State, unless He had been a Miflin or from among the very few Exceptions our People make from the general Charge.
As to the Case of Chaplains it appears peculiarly hard on those Gentlemen who have under your Appointment left their own Affairs for the Service of their Country to be dismissed from their Appointments without any Provision or being guilty of any Crime, but that of good Behavior, and tis equally so on those who are Called to Brigades in Consequence of your last Vote: both these Instances happen in my Brigade.
As to the Case of the Commissary's Department I can hardly think of it with any Degree of Patience; at a Time when it requires the greatest Exertions to Supply the Army with regularity, you are taking Measures to displace the only Man who can do it.4 I am sure no Man can at this Time furnish Supplies who is not perfectly acquainted with the Channels thrô which it must be had; which cannot be known to One new in the Department: and I am fully persuaded your Army must disband before Winter if any other Person is Appointed to that Office.
As for News we have None the Enemy have Saild; where is the Question: I have a Right to my Opinion thô I am Singular in it yet a Conjecture cost Nothing and therefore remember I am of { 261 } Opinion the Enemy are designed neither Eastward nor Westward; but their Attack will be on the Posts at the North River: I am Surprized at the Sudden Change of Opinion in almost every Body when One Principal Event on which they grounded their Ideas of the Enemy's coming this Way has taken Place in the Loss of our Nothern Posts.
I wish withdrawing our Troops from this Post may not be the Cause of another Peice of bad Inteligence very soon. I beleive I have heartily tird you but I must before I close beg your Interest with Congress to have Mr. Timo. Dwight5 appointed a Chaplain to Two Regiments in my Brigade, now vacant, (if the Idea of Brigade Chaplains is laid aside) with Such Pay as is adequate to the Services of One of the first Genius's of the Age. As to the retrograde Motion of patriotism in Congress I so fully agree with many in their Opinions that was the Enemy in Winter Quarters, when I could with Honor, I would quit the Service, I know I cannot now do it when the Enemy is at the Door. I wish if you have Leisure I might hear from you something which will put me in better Humor. I am Dr Sir yr. Friend & hl. Servt.,
[signed] S. H. Parsons
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Parsons. ans. Aug. 11.”; by CFA: “S. H. Parsons July 28th 1777.”
1. Gen. Schuyler.
2. Gen. St. Clair.
3. On 27 May the congress resolved to reduce the number of chaplains, but apparently it did not act upon its resolve by appointing brigade chaplains to replace the regimental ones it had provided earlier (JCC, 5:522; 8:390, 609; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:438).
4. Joseph Trumbull, son of the governor of Connecticut, had been commissary general since 1775, and although he had been the center of controversy on more than one occasion, he had furnished the army with the supplies it needed. On 10 June the congress adopted a long set of regulations providing for the strictest accounting procedures and dividing the commissary's office into two—one of purchases and one of issues. The congress, too, decided to take upon itself the naming of deputies to these offices. On 18 June, Joseph Trumbull was named commissary general of purchases under the new regulations, but he soon resigned, convinced that the new system was unworkable. The congress asked him to continue in office until his successor could be found (JCC, 8:433–448, 477, 620; DAB).
5. Timothy Dwight, later one of the Connecticut Wits, a noted educator, and president of Yale, was at this time a tutor at the college. The congress appointed him chaplain for Parsons' brigade on 6 Oct. (DAB;JCC, 9:777).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0154

Author: Continental Congress, New England delegates
Author: Adams, John
Author: Folsom, Nathaniel
Author: Adams, Samuel
Author: Marchant, Henry L.
Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Author: Dyer, Eliphalet
Author: Williams, William
Recipient: Washington, George
Date: 1777-08-02

New England Delegates to George Washington

[salute] Sir

As Congress have authorized your Excellency to send a proper Officer to take the Command in the northern Department;1 We { 262 } take the Liberty to signifie to your Excellency that in our Opinion, no Man will be more likely; to restore, Harmony, Order and Discipline, and retrieve our Affairs in that Quarter, than Majr. Genll. Gates. He has on Experience acquired the Confidence, and stands high in the Esteem of the eastern States and Troops. With Confidence in Your Wisdom We chearfully submit it, to Your Excellency's Consideration.
Have taken this method to communicate our Sentiments, judging it would give You less Trouble, than a Personal Application.
We are with great Esteem Your Excellencys, most obedient & most humble Servants,

[salute] Delegates, for Massachusetts
N. Hampshire
R. Island

[signed] John Adams
[signed] Nathel. Folsom
[signed] Samel. Adams
[signed] H L:Marchant
[signed] Elbridge Gerry
[signed] Elipht. Dyer
[signed] Wm. Williams
RC (DLC); individually signed by the delegates; docketed: “John Adams &c. Letter to send Gen Gates to the Northward Aug 2d: 1777.”
1. On 1 Aug. the congress ordered Schuyler to return to headquarters and directed Washington to name a general to relieve Schuyler of his northern command. Washington, however, felt that the Northern Department had been all along virtually separate, more under the direction of the congress than under his own, and that the delicacy and critical nature of its situation was a further reason to excuse him from naming a commander. The congress then proceeded to name Gates (JCC, 8:596, 603–604; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:8–9). The fiasco of Ticonderoga had strengthened the hand of the anti-Schuyler forces, even though he was not directly responsible for St. Clair's evacuation of that post.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0155

Author: Lowell, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-04

From John Lowell

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Babcock of Newhaven informs me that he wrote you respecting our maritime Laws, and the Application of them to the Case of the Countess of Eglington,1 which John Brown of Providence is endeavouring to bring before Congress; but fearing he had been mistaken in his Recollection of these Laws, and so may have misrepresented them, he has desired me to set the Matter in its true Light, lest the Congress should conceive this Case and some others which may come before them from this State to stand only upon the Footing they are put by the Resolves of Congress, and sustain them when perhaps the Parties con• { 263 } cerned may dispute their Determination, or disregard their Orders, which in any Case under present Circumstances, might be of public Detriment: This State passed the first Act for fixing out armed Vessells, before any of the Resolves of Congress, instituted a maritime Court where Causes were to be tried by a Jury, and made the Decree of this Court final;2 some Time after this the Congress passed Resolves about these Matters, and therein say, that Appeals shall be allowed to themselves and in all Cases whatever;3 after this our Court passed a second Act, and having before them these Resolves, determined, whether wisely or not I will not say, that Appeals from the maritime Courts in this State, should be to the Superiour Court, except where Prizes are taken by armed Vessells in the Service of the Continent, in which Case out of Complaisance to the Resolves, they allow an Appeal to Congress;4 By these Rules we proceed and after a Judgment of the superiour Court, Distribution takes Place, and the Prize is commonly shared among Hundreds, most of whom soon become unable to refund; by our first Act where two or more armed commissioned Vessells jointly make a Capture, the Prize is to be divided in Proportion to the Men on Board each Vessell, our Courts suppose the Jury under this Law, are to say what is a joint taking; By our second Act, the Libel and all the Claims filed whether by Owners or Captors are to be given to the Jury, who are to determine what Share or Proportion, if any, of the Prize, each Claimant shall have; our Courts have uniformly determined that, by this Act in Conjunction with the other, the Jury are to determine who are joint Captors, and to give each such Share as under all Circumstances of the Case they merit, having regard to the Aid and Influence of each in the Capture. In the Case of the Countess of Eglington, the Jury determined that the Owners &c. of Brown's Privateer, should receive one seventh Part of the Prize, and Babcock's the Residue; Distribution has been made accordingly; It is true an Appeal was claimed to Congress, from the Judgment of the Superiour Court but it was refused, and it is to be noted that Brown had availed himself of our Law, and appealed from the maritime Court to the Superiour Court and there had a Trial. He has since taken the Part adjudged him, whereas if he meant to set aside this Judgment, I conceive he cannot avail himself of it in Part; I need not suggest to you the Inconvenience of bringing into Dispute and Contrast the Authority of our Legislature and Congress. Our Superiour { 264 } Court have determined that notwithstanding the Resolves of Congress, our Act must operate in this State, and that no Appeal lies but where the Act gives it, the Congress have given Countenance of this Opinion, by frequently recommending to our Legislature to regulate these maritime Affairs; If anything must be done, and I am apprehensive if nothing is done Difficulties may arise, will it not be best to recommend to our Legislature, to make their Acts conform to the Resolves of Congress, or, will it not be still better for Congress to consider whether the carrying appeals from all Parts of the Continent to Philadelphia, will not be unreasonably expensive, burthensome and grievous, and also whether they will probably be determined by any steady Rule, while detached and varying Committees, without fixed Principles to refer to, try these Appeals, and at a Time when all your Hours are, or perhaps ought to be employed on Objects infinitely more important, and will it not be best to appoint some Courts of Appeal with defined Authority, or to give the Superiour Courts in the several States, Jurisdiction in such Cases, till a better Plan can be digested and perfected; I believe Determinations will be generally as expeditious, as just, and as satisfactory, in this as in any other Way. I hope you will excuse this long Letter, and upon Business comparatively so petit, but my Friend Babcock was uneasy lest he had mistated this Matter, and that you might be misled. In this important Day, dear Sir, you will permit me to wish you the full Enjoyment of your Health, and the free and vigorous Exercise of your Powers. My Sphere is small, I am of no Weight in the political Scale, but I am willing to devote all I have, and all I am to the Service of my Country; which I am sensible needs the Exertions of all her Sons, as well to preserve or restore her Virtue as to defend her Liberties. I am with Esteem and Respect your Friend and hble. Servt.,
[signed] J Lowell
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “August 4th 1777.”
1. In Nov. 1776 the brigantine Countess of Eglington on its way from Glasgow to Antigua was chased by the sloop America, Capt. William Dennis, and by the sloop Retaliation, Capt. Isaac Jones. Capt. Dennis overtook the quarry and forced its surrender before Capt. Jones came up. Although the two captains had apparently agreed beforehand to work together and share all prize money equally, Adam Babcock, agent and part owner of the America, doubtful of the meaning of the agreement, saw no reason to question the award made first by a court at Plymouth in Jan. 1777 and then by the Superior Court on the appeal of John Brown, part owner of the Retaliation. As is apparent from what follows, Brown then took the case on appeal to the congress (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:639, 888–891, 943, 1024, 1135–1136). The decision of the Superior Court, before which Capt. Jones acted for Brown, is { 265 } given in same, 8:1002–1003.
2. The act was passed on 1 Nov. 1775, establishing maritime courts in Plymouth, Ipswich, and North Yarmouth (Maine). The relevant sections of the act are 4 and 6–8. The law did not in so many words make the court's decree final, but no mention is made of the right of appeal (Mass., Province Laws, 5:436–441).
3. Passed on 25 Nov. 1775 (JCC, 3:373–375). For an informative statement about the evolution of the congressional appeals procedure into a special court, which may be thought of as a predecessor to the United States Supreme Court, see JA, Legal Papers, 2:352–355, Editorial Note. Adams was made a member of the Standing Committee on Appeals, which grew into a court (JCC, 7:172).
4. The act of 13 April 1776 divided maritime jurisdiction into three districts and named a number of towns in which the judges might hold court, including Boston (Mass., Province Laws, 5:474–477).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0156

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-07

From William Gordon

[salute] My dear Sir

This day 7-night I transmitted under cover to Mr. Hancock a number of anniversary sermons, printed at the request of the General Court,1 some of which were directed to those members of the Congress whose names I was acquainted with, others I requested might be directed, my design being to present one to each; yours I hope will be duely received.
The particular occasion of my writing is not the above, nor the loss of Ty, which I am continually regretting, though providence may cause it to issue in the destruction of Burgoynes army, nor the fear lest the continent should lose the service of my friend Gen. Gates; but the depreciation of the currency and the excessive dearness of goods. This week things sold at vendue almost beyond belief, what originally in former times cost only three shillings sterling for five pound lawful, an inferior kind of broad cloth ten pound ten per yd., middling stockings six dollars &c. But how shall we remedy these evils? That's a question I suppose the Congress has been hammering upon some time. Suffer me to give you a few thoughts that have lately occurred upon the subject. The Congress to raise the value of their currency are desirous we will say of sinking four millions lawful. Let them employ a person to negotiate with the merchants in Holland the loan of a million at four or five per cent interest, to be sent in teas, spices, checks, ordinary dutch cloths &c. The Dutch to deliver the goods safe in our ports, for the risque of which they must have an advanced premium. Let us now see how this will operate. The Dutch East India company thereby feel the sweets of the American trade, and have their hopes of securing the whole by underselling others raised, which touching the main { 266 } spring that actuates their dull souls, makes them our stanch friends upon interest. The rest of the Dutch traders have their advantage also in supplying other commodities. The Dutch being to deliver the goods in our ports, should the vessels be taken, no additional expense is thereby thrown upon the continent. But if the opportunity is improved should the scheme be adopted, the probability of their getting safe into some of our harbours will be great, for they will be upon the coast towards the close of the year when the enemys vessels will have quitted it in general, because of the weather. The Dutch should have some Americans with them who understand the coast and know how to come in in the winter season, they should be furnished with such sailors or masters till they have learnt for themselves. The quantity of tea consumed upon the continent, before [the in]terruption by the war, amounted to more than six hundred thousand pound sterling. Let us reckon upon getting [ . . . ] the amount of three hundred thousand. Prime cost, expences in negotiating, bringing it to market and selling it, [ . . . ] amount to a dollar per lb. It sells at present by the chest out of the vessel at seven dollars, there is not a chance of its selling lower at Christmas or in Jany. 1778; but we will fix it at six, the gain to the continent will be a million and a half sterling, which may be sunk in the destruction of continental bills. The same as to other articles; on which the continent will be likely to receive on an average six hundred for one. Upon this plan the people may get supplied: their paper money with which they are overstocked will insensibly vanish, and the prices of provision be necessarily reduced; the hard money which the merchants are sending out be retained; and the continent have to pay a smaller interest to the Dutch for one million, than they have to pay to the inhabitants of the different states upon several millions. In a word, I think the Congress must for the present turn merchants upon the credit of the Continent, and by selling their own goods to the country recover from the people those enormous sums which they have been necessitated to issue. They can do it to much better advantage than private adventurers, who will put the gains into their own pocket instead of appropriating them to the service of the public. Should this or a similar scheme be adopted, care must be taken to keep it from being made a job of for individuals, some honest sensible man or men must be entrusted with the sale of the goods, and instead of commission let him { 267 } have a salary, or let his commission be very small when the value of the goods is large. Oblige him to sell for ready pay and not upon trust, that so the continent may not be cheated, for many persons who pass for good sort of men make no conscience of cheating the continent. Should these thoughts be approved of, I would further propose that when the cargo of a vessel came to be disposed of, part of it should be sold at vendue, and to catch the cormorants who might design setting an exorbitant profit upon what they might there buy another part of it should be sold to traders at a small advance, or without any according to the quantity they were supplied with, to be by them retailed out upon fair and moderate profits to themselves, upon penalty of never being supplied more did they not do it.
If you can make any advantage of the above for the public good I shall rejoice; if they are not improvable nor practicable they serve at least to show my zeal for the common cause. Should any measure be adopted in consequence, the profoundest secrecy ought to be observed; and it should not be known what has been doing till the merchandize has been disposed of, I have therefore avoided and shall continue to avoid talking of any such scheme, or trusting any but one or other of the Congress with my thoughts. Shall be glad to hear from you. Your sincere friend & with much esteem your very humble servant,
[signed] William Gordon
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honle John Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr Gordon. Aug 7th ans. Aug. 31. 1777.” MS torn where seal was removed.
1. A reference to the sermon preached by Gordon on 4 July: The Separation of the Jewish Tribes . . . Applied to the Present Day (Evans, No. 15317).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0157

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-08

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear sir

In Observing the different operation of Whig principles upon different people, I have been led to divide the Whigs of America into the five following classes 1st the Whig from a love of power. 2 The Whig from resentment. 3 The Whig from interest, 4 The Whig from a love of the military life, and lastly the Whig from the love of liberty. I have my eye upon men who belong to each of these classes, and I cannot help attributing most of the misfortunes of the united States to our entrusting our counsels or Arms { 268 } to any but to the last class of Whigs. The love of liberty is the only principle of Action that will make a man uniform in his conduct, and support him under the heaviest calamities that can befall his country. It is characteristic of this class of Whigs to possess no lust for dominion, but to wish only to be governed well. They are not roused into Action by hearing of the ravages of the enemy. They were prepared for them in the beginning of the controversy, and always viewed them as the lawful Ofspring of arbitrary power. They feel no pleasure in the effusion of human blood, and relish the Sweets of liberty much more than the joys of victory, and so far from consulting their interest, they esteem it their highest honor to sacrifice it to the Safety of their country. I wish this class of Whigs prevailed more among us. The time is now at an end when danger is to be apprehended from the tories. If we are undone at all, it must be by the aristocratic—the mercenary—the persecuting—and the Arbitrary Spirit of our own people—I mean those people who are called Whigs.
I expect to see more gloomy days than we have yet seen because I am persuaded we are not ripe for being delivered. Liberty without Virtue would be no blessing to us. The conduct of the court of France does not Surprize me. I am pleased with it. I have long tho't that we were in great danger of being ruined by a too Speedy rupture between France and England. It will require one or two more campaigns to purge away the monarchical impurity we contracted by laying so long upon the lap of Great Britain. A peace at this time would be the greatest curse that could befall us. I hope the war will last till it introduces among us the same temperance in pleasures—the same modesty in dress—the same justice in business, and the same veneration for the name of the deity which distinguished our Ancestors. I see a gloomy cloud hanging over our States—but I am sure it will descend only in fertilizing rains upon them, for they have not forfeited their birthright by their Vices. I rejoice to find Genl. Gates appointed to take the command in the northern department—he belongs to the 5th class of Whigs.
I have the pleasure of informing you that great order—cleanliness, and the most perfect contentment prevail in our hospitals. Dr. Bond the A: Director1 cannot be too much commended for his humanity and zeal in doing his duty.

[salute] Adieu my dear friend. May you long live to enjoy the fruits of your disinterested love to mankind! Yours,

[signed] B: Rush2
{ 269 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Dr. Rush Aug. 8 1777.”
1. Thomas Bond Jr., assistant director of the general hospital in Philadelphia (advt., Pennsylvania Evening Post, 26 April).
2. Formerly a member of the congress, Rush was elected in April surgeon general of the hospital in the Middle Department; on 1 July he was elected physician general of the hospital (JCC, 7:254; 8:518). For the blossoming of the friendship between Rush and JA, see Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:153–154.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0158

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-10

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I Received your favours by Mr. Hewes and by the post1 since writeing which, you must have heard of the Important Event of the Evacuation of Ti. What will be the Consequences of it Time will discover. What will be the reflections upon it in the South you are Able before now to say. I suppose many Aspertions on these States. That Languor, supineness, and want of public virtue, and spirit prevail here is too true, but do they not prevail in the Southern States. It is true we have not furnished our quota of the Army, have they furnished theirs. If they have where are they. The General Court here have done all in their power, and more than the Southern States Approved of. It is rather their Misfortune than fault that our Men are not all in the Feild, but will Congress Impute the Loss of Ti. to the Negligence of these States. I see St. Clairs Letter2 published by their Order. You will hear that the General Court are now met on A special Call of the Council.3 I presume we are Able, and I hope before we rise we shall demonstrate that near 3500 of our Continental Troops must at that time have been at the places of their destination in that department, and N: Hampshire say more than 2000 of theirs, and at least 4000 of them perhaps more, Equipt with the New Arms out of the French Ship at Portsmouth.4 As good as any on the Continent, and more Militia than they had would have been furnished if requested. If you ask how this is to be reconciled to St. Clairs Letter,5 I Answer that is for him and the Other Officers to do, upon A severe Scrutiny which I hope will be made into this matter. The Indignation and distrust that prevails here are Extreem, and the want of Confidence in your Commanders that way such, that if it be not removed by Lincolns being sent there to Command the Militia will very much Impede our Reinforcements. We have Ordered A sixth part of the Mili• { 270 } tia of Suffolk Essex, Middlesex Worcester York Hampshire and Berkshire. A small part of two of them Excepted to be drafted, and marched directly.6 These I think must make at least 4000 Men. What Connecticut, or Hampshire7 have done I know not. We have also come to some severe resolutions for Compleating our quota of the Army.8 We have Just received an Account that our Army have retreated from Saratoga to Still water, and that the British Fleet and Army had returned to the Hook, and Genl. Washington to Morris Town. We have Expected them here, which Occasioned some Confusion in this Town for A day or two. We now generally suppose they are going up the North River. Had they come I believe our Militia would have turned out with A Spirit equal to any of their Neighbours. Upon the Alarm from Rhode Island, they marched from the Regiments that had Orders with Uncommon readiness and Alacrity Considering the Business of the Season. 3 or 4 days would have Carried 10,000 of them there. No Body on that Occasion was more Embarrassed than I was. I don't feel afraid to fight, and I believe you are sensible No Body has more Zeal for the Cause than I have, but I have too much pride to submit to Circumstances humiliateing and degradeing. Our Council Ordered me to repair there, and take the Command of them, and receive from General Spencer or such other Officer as should be Appointed to Command there from time to time such directions as they should give me. The last part of the order was very Extraordinary, and tho' the first may be Conformable to a resolve of Congress you will suffer me to tell you I think that so. I know of Nothing to determine An Officers rank but his Commission and the date of it.9 If we have no right to Appoint Major Generals we should not have done it. If we have they ought to have their rank, with whatever Troops they are called to serve, or at least the depreciation should have been settled prior to their Appointment, and they should have known what proportion of One they were to be, when they came within the splendid orb of A Continental Officer. As you have Generals in every State sometimes without A Man even An Orderly Sargeant to Attend them I suppose to Command the Militia, I foresee the Militia are to be Considered in the same light of Inferiority with regard to the Continental Troops, that I have been used with Indignation to see them with regard to the British. This by depressing that Spirit of Military pride which Alone can make them Important to themselves and Others will { 271 } soon render them of little Consequence, and make A standing Army necessary. As I am somewhat Advanced in life, and have by the partiality of my Countrymen been honoured with many Civil and military distinctions, and Acted A Considerable part in the present great Controversy, I have determined no longer to submit to such Circumstances, and have therefore Embraced this Interval of security to resign my Commission. You are now to Excuse being detained so long with A matter of so little Consequence I mean so far as relates to me.
Mr. Cushing and Mr. Paine have been to Springfeild to Meet the Committees from the Other N England States, and New York. They returned last Evening. Coll. Orne in his humorous way says he could not go without Paine and therefore did not go. I Am told they have Unanimously Agreed to report A repeal of all regulateing Acts, and Land Embargos, and to Call in all the money of those States by the first of December next—and to have no Currency but Continental.10 How long we shall set I cant say. Nothing will detain us more than two days longer but that matter unless we Issue A Tax this Session which should have been done before. Our Naval Affairs have had a sad reverse. Instead of the Triumph of A Man of War Prize, we have lost the Hancock a fine frigate.11 The Commission of the Navy Board or rather the Instructions of the marine Board Arrived about A week ago. By them it Appears we should be all three present in Order to Transact Business. Mr. Deshon (tho' we have Expected him 10 days) is not yet Arrived. I see the Business is very large and Extensive, must Engross our whole time, and we are Allowed but one Clerk, which I think quite Insufficient. While I remain at this Board I shall do everything I can to Answer the design of our Appointment, and the Expectation of my Friends, but with you I sigh for private Life and domestic Felicity, and Incline to resign. I only delay it from Respect to your Sollicitations. Tomson, Hinman, and Jones are at Portsmouth have not yet been to Sea. McNeil at Casco Bay.12 A number of Cruisers on our Coast, who have taken and destroyed many Vessels and Among them several Privateers. Had we the Ships now shut up in Providence with those mentioned Above, I think we should soon have A Clear Coast. The Committee on A Constitution have done Nothing lately. I hope when we meet again, we shall get Along with it, and form A tolerable one but I tremble with diffidence every step I take. Better heads than mine should be { 272 } Employed in this Business. I Lament the Absence of some one or two. When this is Compleated I beleive in Spite of my Sentiments or Yours the Citizen you mention will make the Leap. I am in great Sincerity yours &c.,
You Enquire what is become of Arms. Four Thousand have been received from Mr. Langdon by this State and all but about 100 delivered to Continental Regiments. The remainder must be Accounted for by your Agents. There is A Mystery about all these Matters. I hope time will perfect such Arrangements as will prevent all Uncertainty in future.
I have several Letters from Mr. Adams and Gerry lately not A word about this Navy Board. Do unravel that Mystery. Dont they like the thing or the Men.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren Aug. 10. 1777.”
1. Those of 11 June and 7 July (both above).
2. St. Clair's letter to President Hancock of 14 July, published by order of the congress, appeared in the Independent Chronicle on 7 Aug. along with the minutes of St. Clair's council of war held on 5 July (JCC, 8:569).
3. The Council called the General Court back into session starting 5 Aug. because of the threat of danger from the evacuation of Ticonderoga and the need to reinforce the Continental Army (Mass., House Jour., 1777–1778, 2d sess., p. 56).
4. See Warren to JA, 23 April (above).
5. See Samuel Cooper to JA, 24 July, note 1 (above).
6. The General Court resolve was passed on 9 Aug. Exempted from the draft were the Boston and Fourth regiments in Suffolk co. and the Sixth regiment in Essex co. (Mass., Province Laws, 20:88–90).
7. That is, New Hampshire.
8. The House passed on 9 Aug. a resolution on completing the quota, but final passage was delayed by differences between the House and the Council. The resolution, which obtained approval of both houses on 15 Aug. (Mass., House Jour., p. 60, 63, 65, 67), went so far as to require those unable to serve when drafted to pay for a substitute even if their personal property had to be sold to obtain the money. The officers were to “draft over again and again” till the quota was completed. But the draft did provide for exemptions, among them, Quakers. Further, to end the delinquencies of some towns, fines were stipulated for those selectmen who had failed to report the number of men in their towns aged sixteen and above (Mass., Province Laws, 20:102–105).
9. The revised Articles of War specifically provided that Continental officers were to take precedence over militia officers of like rank (Sect. XVII, Art. 2, JCC, 5:805–806).
10. On 27 June the General Court appointed Thomas Cushing, Robert Treat Paine, and Azor Orne to go to the conference in Springfield, Mass., which was held 30 July – 6 Aug. (Mass., Province Laws, 20:49–50; The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, Hartford, 1894– , 1:599–606). This was the successor to the original conference that had met in Dec. 1776. See William Tudor to JA, 16 March, note 4 (above). The journal of this conference was forwarded to the congress by its president, Stephen Hopkins (PCC, No. 78, XI, f. 207–222).
11. The Independent Chronicle of 7 Aug. carried an “imperfect, bare-faced, scandalous, lying” account, taken from a Halifax newspaper, of the capture of the Hancock, with Capt. John Manley and more than 230 men aboard. Sir George Collier, commander of the British ship Rainbow, made the capture on 8 July after a 39-hour chase. The prize was the Fox, captured earlier by Manley and McNeill, then re• { 273 } captured with the Hancock (see Warren to JA, 7 Sept., note 2, below).
12. Elisha Hinman of the Alfred, Thomas Thompson of the Raleigh, John Paul Jones of the Ranger, and Hector McNeill of the Boston (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 89, 100–102).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-08-12

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

I see by the Papers, our Assembly is called, and conclude it is now Sitting.
The Letters we receive from G. Schuyler, are enough to frighten any Body who does not know him.1
G[eneral] W[ashington] Says that all the Regiments from N.H. and M.B. are at the Northward and yet, Schuyler tells Us he has not above 4000 Men. I hope this Matter will be investigated. I believe Gates will find greater Numbers. If not I hope they will be sent him.
Burgoigne is treading dangerous Ground, and proper Exertions will ruin him. These I hope will not be wanting.
I rejoice to see such a Spirit arise upon the Loss of Ti. and such determined Calls for Inquiry. The Facts must be Stated from the Returns and other Evidence, and the innocent will be I hope acquitted—the guilty meet their Deserts. I see no Medium, I confess, between an honourable Acquittal and capital Punishment.
What is become of Howe? The Jersies are very happy, relieved from an heavy Burthen. What Fears were propagated in Boston last January, that the Jersies were lost. Not a single Village, has revolted.
We have Still Accounts of part of Howes Fleet, coasting between the Capes of Delaware and those of Cheasapeak. What this Mans design is, cannot be conjectured. It is very deep or very Shallow.
Washington has been here with a noble Army, very obedient, and orderly.2
Our News from France, is agreable.3 Trade, Friendship Assistance underhand, and Loans of Money, for the present—other Things by and by. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A. Lettr Augt 77.”
1. Two letters from Schuyler, one to Washington dated 1 Aug. and one to Hancock of 4 Aug., were read in the congress on 7 and 11 Aug., respectively. The pessimism of both is marked. The general described an “unaccountable panic” among troops on the march whenever a few Indians shot at them from the woods. He ex• { 274 } pected Burgoyne readily to reach Albany unless reinforcements in considerable numbers were furnished and doubted that they would be. He complained that the Massachusetts militia in departing had depleted Col. Seth Warner's forces, and he expected others to leave in a few days. Of his 4,000 Continental men, one-third were Negroes, boys, and old men, and many of the officers were a disgrace to even such contemptible troops (JCC, 8:621, 628; PCC, No. 152, IV, f. 447–448; No. 153, III, f. 230–232).
2. Washington's army began arriving in Philadelphia in the night of 31 July, ready to defend the city against invasion. The British fleet had arrived in Delaware Bay (JA to AA, 1 Aug., Adams Family Correspondence, 2:297).
3. In letters and accompanying documents from the Commissioners, 12 March to 26 May (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:283–327; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:436).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0160

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1777-08-15

Board of War Resolutions

Resolved that a Copy of that Part of Coll Richardson's Letter1 which relates to Thomas Cockayne and George Walton and Thos Lightfoot2 of Sussex County in the State of Delaware be transmitted to <Governor> President McInlay,3 and that <the Governor><Presidt> he be desired forthwith to take order for the Apprehension and Confinement of the said Cockayne and Walton, and Lightfoot and that Coll Richardson be ordered to afford every assistance in his Power to <Governor> President McInlay and the officers whom he shall employ in this necessary Service.4
Resolved that Peter and Burton Robinson be remanded to the Delaware State, whenever <Governor> Presidt McInlay shall order or request it.5
MS in JA's hand (PCC, No. 147, I, f. 345).
1. Col. William Richardson of the 5th Maryland Regiment had been ordered from his state into Delaware as a result of the congress' receiving information about disaffection in Delaware's Sussex co. In a letter of 9 Aug. to the Board of War, Richardson reported that one of his officers had seized a sloop from New York with papers on board revealing correspondence between men unfriendly to the United States setting forth an apparent intention to distribute 199 allegedly counterfeit Continental bills of the $30 denomination. Among the seized papers were letters from a Thomas Robinson to his brother Burton, mentioning another brother Peter, and to George Walton, Thomas' sentiments being plainly anti-American. There was also a letter from Walter Franklin of New York to his agent Thomas Cockayne, both men Quakers, instructing the agent to purchase lands from one George Adams. Cockayne was seized with the counterfeit bills in his possession. Although nothing in Franklin's letter suggests that the bills were fraudulent, the fact that they were all of one denomination may have aroused suspicion. According to Richardson, Thomas Lightfoot received and furnished the bills to Cockayne. Richardson, believing that Peter and Burton Robinson could get no proper trial in tory-infected Sussex co., packed the two men off to the congress for its disposition of them (JCC, 8:528–531; PCC, No. 78, XIX, f. 143–160).
{ 275 }
2. “And Thomas Lightfoot” was inserted above the line in a hand unknown to the editors. The same hand substituted in both resolutions the term “president” for “governor.”
3. President John McKinly had been chosen by the General Assembly in Feb. 1777 (John A. Munroe, Federalist Delaware, 1775–1815, New Brunswick, N.J., 1954, p. 91).
4. Preceding this resolution in the Journals is one that called for sending Richardson's letter to the Executive Council of Pennsylvania and suggesting that the council have Lightfoot arrested. In response, the council pointed out that Lightfoot was not a resident of Pennsylvania (JCC, 8:643; Penna. Colonial Records, 11:269). It is likely that Lightfoot's name was written into JA's draft when the response of the council became known; it acted on the day the congress passed its resolutions—15 Aug.
5. Preceding this resolution in the Journals is one drafted by Samuel Chase which would have remanded the Robinsons to Delaware at once. When it failed to pass, JA's resolution was offered as a substitute. Another resolution noting the prevalence of tories in Sussex co. and permitting the trial of such persons in any other county failed to pass (PCC, No. 147, I, f. 346; JCC, 8:643–644).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0161

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-08-18

To James Warren

[salute] My dear sir

The inclosed Copies, you will see must not be made public.1 You will communicate them in Confidence to such Friends as have Discretion. When you have made such prudent Use of them as you shall judge proper, be pleased to send them to the Foot of Pens Hill, because I have no other Copies and should be glad to preserve them.
It is in vain for me to write any Thing of the Northern Department, because you have all the Intelligence from thence, sooner than We have. The G[eneral] W[ashington] has ordered Morgans Riflemen and two or three more Regiments there. There has been a smart Action near Fort Schuyler, in which, our People were successfull, but with a severe Loss.2
I hope, the Mass. will exert itself now, for the support of Gates and the Humiliation of the blustering Burgoine. It is of vast Importance to our Cause that the Mass. should be exemplary upon this Occasion.
Howes Fleet and Army, are still incognito. When or where We shall hear of them, know not.
We are in deep Contemplation upon the state of our Currency. We shall promise Payment in the Loan offices of the Interest in Bills of Exchange on our Ministers in France.3 But Taxation My dear sir, Taxation, and Oeconomy, are our only effectual Resources. The People this Way are convinced of it and are setting about it with spirit.
{ 276 }
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J Adams. Lettr Augt 77.”
1. See Intelligence from London, 31 Jan., descriptive note (above).
2. The Battle of Oriskany of 6 Aug., in which New York militiamen under Gen. Nicholas Herkimer were ambushed by tories and Indians as they were marching to the support of the garrison at Fort Schuyler (Stanwix), on the present site of Rome, N.Y. The Indians gave up after hard fighting, but in proportion to the numbers engaged, American losses made this one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolution. Herkimer died a few days after the fighting (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:484–488, 491). JA gained his information about the battle from letters read in the congress, two from Schuyler of 8 and 10 Aug. and one from Gov. Clinton of 13 Aug., which Washington had copied and forwarded (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:75; JCC, 8:647, 649–650; PCC, No. 153, III, f. 234–235, 242–243; No. 152, IV, f. 497–498).
3. A letter of 12 March – 9 April from the commissioners in France first made mention of paying interest on loans through bills drawn on them. The loan of two million livres made such payment possible (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:284, 286). On 9 Sept. JA was part of a small minority that opposed such payment of interest on loan certificates yet to be issued; the next day he favored using bills of exchange to pay interest on loan certificates already authorized (JCC, 8:725, 730).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0162

Author: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-21

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."

From Thomas Jefferson

Albemarle, Va., 21 August 1777. RC (Adams Papers); printed: Jefferson, Papers, 2:27–29. Jefferson suggested applying for a loan from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who reportedly had a considerable hoard of crowns in his treasury. Philip Mazzei was recommended as a suitable agent to negotiate the loan. Jefferson also speculated upon the mystifying maneuvers of Howe, then threatening the shores of Virginia.
RC (Adams Papers); printed: Jefferson, Papers, 2:27–29.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0163

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gordon, William
Date: 1777-08-31

To William Gordon

The loss of Ty is in a train of serious enquiry.1 Altho this disaster for the present is grievous, yet I think it has put Burgoyne into our power, and I hope he will not be suffered to slip out of it. Mr Howe has planned his operations in such a manner, as to give us a vast advantage, both of him and Burgoyne. He is at the head of Elke2 about 55 miles from this city. Genl Washington is at Wilmington, about 15 miles on this side of him, with a noble army of continental troops, and a large body of militia, which is constantly and rapidly increasing. Whether the General will be compelled to depart from his Fabian System or not time will discover. A general action, successful to us is destructive to them—and even if they should be successful and keep the field, they will loose so many men, as to be crippled after it whereas I think { 277 } we should be able speedily to reinforce our army, notwithstanding the panic and consternation which would follow a defeat.
Extract (in William Gordon to? [Sept. 1777], B. F. Stevens, ed., Facsimilies of Manuscripts in European Archives Relating to America, 1773–1783, 25 vols., London, 1889–1895, 5:No. 480.) JA wrote in reply to Gordon's letter of 7 Aug. (above); unfortunately Gordon does not reveal JA's reaction to Gordon's scheme for controlling depreciation of the currency.
1. See Samuel Cooper to JA, 24 July, note 4 (above).
2. In Maryland, on the Elk River at the head of Chesapeake Bay, now Elkton.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0164

Author: Henshaw, Andrew
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-01

From Andrew Henshaw

[salute] Sir

I had the honor to recieve your favor of 19th. June1 and should have wrote you if it were only to return my Thanks, had not Circumstances in the family prevented.
My Father between whom and you there was a mutual Friendship is no more, and he with his public and private Virtues are hid from the World, but they will ever remain fresh in the Minds of his Friends and Relations: I did myself the pleasure immediately upon the receipt of yours to read it to him, with which he was much affected and pleased, and told me he did not doubt, but I should find a friend in you.
I wrote you, Sir, not expecting any Appointment immediately, but am obliged by your Wishes to serve me, and Tenders of friendship if I could mention wherein, from which I take the freedom to observe, that I am told the Hon. Mr. Warren is appointed by Congress as President of a navy or Admiralty Board, and that in all probability they will want a Secretary, and knowing there is a particular friendship between you and him, I beg leave to request the favor that in your Letters to him, you would make mention of me in such Terms as you judge proper.
The Destruction of my Father's Property is trivial in comparison to the great Cause in which we are engaged; I mentioned it only, as we were large Sufferers, that you could speak of it at such time (if any should happen) when I might be a Candidate for an Appointment, however, Sir, I do assure you I never repented notwithstanding all the Losses, considering the Prize we have in view.
I beg you not to trouble yourself to write me in Return, knowing your Business to be important and Correspondents nu• { 278 } merous. I am, Sir, with the greatest Respect & Esteem your very Obliged and very Obedt. Servant,
[signed] Andrew Henshaw
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0165

Author: Henshaw, Andrew
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-03

From Andrew Henshaw

[salute] Sir

I this day had the pleasure to converse with the Hon. Mr. Warren who appears desirous to serve me. He informs me the present Establishment for the Navy Board is only one Clerk. I would not presume to dictate, but beg leave to suggest that the Business must be very extensive and whether there will not be ample Employ for both a Secretary and Clerk. Several Gentlemen of Character have spoke to Mr. Warren in my behalf, and your additional Influence will be of essential Service. I really beg pardon for so freely addressing you but I hope the Reasons heretofore given may serve as an Apology. I am, Sir, your most Humble Servant,
[signed] And Henshaw

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0166

Author: Nourse, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-03

From Joseph Nourse

[salute] Sir

The Resolves of Congress, directing every board to deliver into the secretary's Office, all original Letters referr'd to them address'd to Congress,1 I have with the advice and direction of Mr. Peters deliver'd in all Papers up to the 1st. Instant. Mr. Houston2 is arranging them, and preparing to have copies made out for the Committee, and desires me to inform you, he will be happy to see you, and receive the Order, which as yet has been only indirectly conveyed, and besides, he wants to mention a few particulars that may be necessary, previous to the beginning of the business. I am going on with the Returns and other papers that come properly from this Office, and shall compleat them as expeditiously as possible. With all due Respect, I am sir, Your hum. servt.
[signed] Joseph Nourse. DS
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams. Chairman of the Committee appointed by Congress to collect Intelligence relative to the Northern Department”; from “War Office”; docketed: “Mr. Nourse 3d Sept 1777.” { 279 } That Nourse, who was deputy secretary of the Board of War under Richard Peters, should have so addressed a letter to Adams, who was president of the Board of War, remains inexplicable to the editors. Although Adams was a member of three committees that dealt with the Northern Department, he was chairman of none (JCC, 8:596, 648, 688). It may be that Nourse was confused. Adams was appointed chairman of a committee to consider intelligence received from Gen. Sullivan regarding possible treasonable activities of Quakers in New Jersey (same, 8:688–689; Sullivan, Papers, 1:443–444).
1. The resolution of 22 March formally organizing the office of the secretary of the congress included a stipulation that the papers of the congress committed to boards or committees be returned to the secretary (JCC, 7:194).
2. William Churchill Houston was deputy secretary of the congress (same, 7:202).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0167

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-04

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterday a severe skirmish happened between a party of seven hundred of our Troops and two or three thousand Barbarians, it is said we lost forty or fifty and the Enemy more, but the superiority of their numbers obliged our men to retreat;1 the Enemy advanced and are now encamped three or four miles below Christiana Bridge,2 with the greatest part of their Troops. These accounts I receive from others, being so much engaged to complete if possible the muster of the Army for this month before action comes on, that I have not had time to reconnoitre any since the Enemy landed. It gives me pain that so much of the Country between the Enemy and us is exposed to their ravages, but I confide in the wisdom of the General and conclude there is no ground near where they landed proper for us to make a stand; the ground where our Army is now posted is very good, and I hope we shall defend it with a spirit becoming our Cause. I am apprehensive the Enemy will bring some of their large Ships up the River to fecilitate their approach to this place, as they may annoy the Town from their Ships and not be exposed to our fire but very little, we having no heavy Cannon nor Mortars. The spirit of the Army and Militia appears well at present, and I conceive we have an animating prospect of success, but the events of war are always uncertain, and the confident hopes of men have so often been blasted that we ought to provide for a defeat, while at the same time we are determined “through God to do valiantly.
I am sorry that there should be any occasion to enquire into { 280 } the conduct of Genl. Sullivan, but hope and believe his conduct will bear examination.3 I conjecture there will be no time for Courts Martial to try Generals until this Campaign is over.
I am waiting for the Returns from the Northward to complete my General Abstract of Musters taken to the first of August. I am Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Ward
Yesterday the main Body of the Army moved to Newport4 and encamped between that Town and White Clay Creek; the Enemy have remained very still for several days, but we expect they will attack us very soon, perhaps tomorrow.
If we should be routed in the first engagement, unless the Country should [word omitted] their spirits, they might rally and joined with the remainder of our Army, might infallibly destroy the Enemy before they could reach Philadelphia; we cannot fail if the people in general do their duty, for if we behave with any spirit we must destroy so many of the Enemy that the remainder may easily be checked, even by the militia. I hope Congress will not remove until it shall be certain (which I trust will never be the case) the Enemy will get to the City, as their remove would intimidate the timid and produce bad effects. If we should have a bloody Battle and lose thousands, with some of our best Generals and other Officers, it would require some animating spirits to rekindle the spirit of the people, and who so proper as those who compose the Supreme Council of the States? But this is only the humble opinion of your very humble Servant.
God grant, that in my next I may give you an account of a complete Victory obtained over Howe. Amen.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr Philadelphia.”
1. Washington's account of this skirmish near Iron Hill, Del., is in Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:173, 187.
2. Six or seven miles southwest of Wilmington.
3. On 21 Aug., Gen. Sullivan ordered a reprisal attack on Staten Island in response to a British raid on Woodbridge, N.J. His long account of it to Washington lists 9 officers, 1 surgeon, 127 privates captured by the enemy and an approximately equal number of the British captured by his forces. The losses without visible gains caused the congress to order an investigation. In October, Sullivan was exonerated by a court of inquiry, which declared he merited “the approbation of his Country and not its censure” (Sullivan, Papers, 1:437–442, 482–532; Hancock to Washington, 3 Sept., PCC, No. 12A, f. 264).
4. Three or four miles west southwest of Wilmington.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0168

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-04

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I thank you for yours of the 12th. and 18th August which came safe to hand. I am much Gratified by seeing some Account of your plans, and Operations Abroad. Your good Lady Obliged me with A Sight of A Letter of A similar kind She received from you some time since.1 I think on the whole they are as well as we could Expect, and perhaps in A better way than our Enemies ever had An Idea of. I shall soon forward the Inclosed to the Foot of the Hill [as] directed. Schuyler's Letters at the same time they discover Marks of Timidity unworthy A General, Exhibit A Spirit of rancour, partiality and Malevolence to this state Unworthy A Commissary or quarter Master, which Station he is said to be qualified for. His Representations are Extreemly Injurious, and I hope we are not to suffer for his Negligence &c. The Change in that department has given great Satisfaction here and with the Enquiry Ordered to be made, has again Engaged the Confidence of the People. I hope every one will have his deserts. It is at least time to Check the Insolence of any Officer that shall dare to make any State the Object of his Malice, and Indecent reflections.
Burgoin is indeed treading dangerous Ground. I Expect to hear of his makeing A Sudden retreat to save him and his Army. We have Exerted ourselves and sent A fine reinforcement who I hope are all up before this time. A very pretty Body of Militia had as I am Informed marched to Connecticut River in their way to the Army and were turned back by some Generals Aid de Camp because they would not Engage to stay 3 months. These were voluntiers and consisted of about 1200, but I will know more of the history of this matter.
I Congratulate you on the Success of our Arms at the Northward and Westward, very pretty Affairs indeed, and to be done by the poor despised Militia too will give singular pleasure to some people.2 We have just heard of Sullivans bringing of a number of prisoners from Staten Island, tho' not without some Loss.
We also hear that you have found Howe. I Congratulate you also in being freed from Conjecture on that head. I hope our Army will give A good Account of him. He seems to have a great Fancy for a Trip to Philadelphia. Is it to shew his respects to Congress, or does Administration suppose that the possession of { 282 } that City will be the Conquest of America. It is certainly a favourite plan. Our Committee sets on A Constitution of Goverment this day. The Court Meets next Week. Our Navy Board is met. How shall I Attend these several departments. We have no News. Some valuable prizes have Arrived, perticularly A Ship with 1600 hoghds. salt &c. from Liverpool.3 It Appears by all her Letters that they Expect the British Troops were in possession of Philadelphia at that time (June). This shews to me Howes destination, if we had no other Evidence. I shall trouble you again soon. In the mean time Bid you Adeiu and am Yours Sincerely.
The State of our Currency is in A wretched Situation and requires the most Capital Attention. Taxation grows more popular here, and I beleive the Assembly will risque a Tax of 3 if not 400,000£. I shall write you hereafter on the subject of Oeconomy, and how difficult it is to practice it.
The disposition of the vacant Lands, I have no doubt may be made to furnish Ample resources, but I have some Apprehensions of the distant Consequences if Foreigners gain large and Extensive Grants and make settlements. However I dare say you will Consider this matter and its Consequences.
1. See Intelligence from London, 31 Jan. and 3 Feb. (both above). For the letters sent by AA see those of 11 and 14 Feb. from Arthur Lee to the Secret Committee of Correspondence (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:266, 270) that JA copied on one large sheet and sent to AA, who then sent them on to Mercy Otis Warren in a letter of 14–16 Aug. (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:314). The letter to AA in which JA enclosed the Lee letters has not been identified, but it apparently carried an injunction to show them only to people who could be trusted.
2. New Hampshire Gen. John Stark on 16 Aug. led 2,000 men, mostly militia, against a mixed British force of about 800 in the Battle of Bennington. Burgoyne had detached this force under the command of Lt. Col. Frederick Baum to secure supplies; and when Baum called for reinforcements, Burgoyne sent about 650 more men under Lt. Col. Breyman. The British lost over 200 killed and about 700 captured, besides losing weapons, ammunition, and the like. Total casualties for the Americans were about 70 killed and wounded (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:421–431).
3. This letter-of-marque ship was captured by the state-owned brig Massachusetts. A letter of 3 June on board stated that Howe's objective was Philadelphia (Independent Chronicle, 4 Sept.).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0169

Author: Laurens, Henry
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Trumbull, Joseph
Date: 1777-09-05

Henry Laurens, Richard Henry Lee, and John Adams to Joseph Trumbull

[salute] Sir

The Resolve of Congress which you will receive under this Cover will shew you that we are appointed a Committee and for what purposes.1
We request you to transmit to us by the earliest good opportunity the fullest intelligence in your late department of Commissary General and you will further oblige us by adding any further information properly authenticated relative to the enquiries which we are ordered to make.2 We are with great regard sir, Your most obedient servant
[signed] Henry Laurens
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
[signed] John Adams
RC (Ct: Joseph Trumbull Coll.).
1. The resolve of 27 Aug. called for the collecting of evidence by correspondence with appropriate persons and bodies relative to the evacuation of Ticonderoga. The three-man committee was elected the next day (JCC, 8:684–686, 688).
2. Similar letters went out to others, including Richard Varick (offered for sale, The Collector, July–Aug. 1954, p. 75) and George Clinton, who laid the committee's letter and the congressional resolve of 27 Aug. before the New York legislature (Clinton to Laurens, Lee, and JA, 23 Sept., Public Papers of George Clinton, 10 vols., Albany, 1899–1914, 2:342–343).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0170

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-07

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I wrote you by the last post. I wonder whether all the Letters I write you get to hand, and if they do whether you are not tired with the Number and length of them, to say Nothing of the Composition &c. which from the Confidence I have in your Candour I pay no regard to. I am now Applying myself with all diligence to the Business of the Navy Board in Order to Answer as far as I am Able Your Expectations, and those of the publick. I am greatly Embarrassed with the forming A Constitution, the General Courts setting this week, and the Naval Affairs even if everything in the last was as I could wish, but I think it peculiarly Unhappy that we Enter on this Business when the Circumstances of the Fleet are far from being such as promises any Hopes that we can gratify the Expectations of the people by our utmost Exertions, especially as they are well pleased with the Appointment of such A Board and Consequently their Expecta• { 284 } tions run high. The Raleigh and Alfred are gone to Sea from Portsmouth the Ranger Just ready to sail, will go in A few days under the Immediate orders of the Marine Committee.1 Three Ships shut up in Providence in A Manner without Men, one in Connecticut River, never to be got out without the greatest difficulty and risque even if there was no Enemy to prevent it, and A Ship Constantly watching her. The Boston in this Harbour the only remaining Ship in our department, and She in A Condition far from being Agreable. A great Misunderstanding between the Captain and his Officers, who it is said will not again go to Sea with him, and who say he never will again Man his Ship. Capt. McNeil's reputation on his first Appointment was Extreemly good. It seems to be now reversed. The last Cruize was at first very Successful, but did not End so. There was certainly great Blame somewhere. I wont pretend to say where. He lays it on Manley, as you may see by his Letters to the Marine Committee,2 while his Officers dont scruple to say that if he had followed Manley's Orders we might have had not only the Fox but the Flora, and Rainbow. We are not Invested with powers to Appoint or even suspend Officers but this matter should be Enquired into.3 We have Ordered him to Equip his Ship for the Sea, and Man her Immediately, and if it can be done shall send her to Sea. We shall next Enquire into the state of the Providence Ships and the practicability of geting them out.
We have wrote to the Marine Committee for Money and the resolves and regulations of Congress relative to the Navy, both of which we are destitute of, and can do very little without. Large Sums of Money are now wanted. Do Exert yourself to Accelerate their Motions in forwarding them to us. We have very Agreable Intelligence from the Westward this afternoon, that Arnold had cut of[f] the whole Army on their retreat from fort Stanwix,4 I wish it may be true. I hope you will soon give me A pleasing Account of the Operations in the South. Nothing of late from the Northwest. Two valuable prizes lately Arrived at Newberry port. One of them maned with Frenchmen and pretends to be French property, tho' the Captors say it is only A Cover and they can prove the property English. All the papers were hove Overboard. We have by the other late papers, and A passenger in 9 weeks from London. I dont hear they are yet in Town, but I am told the papers mention that Howe was to go up to Maryland and from thence to Philadelphia. This passenger was sent for by { 285 } Hutchinson and very perticularly Enquired of about the depreciation of our paper Currency, with A Malignity of Heart that shewed he had great reliance on it. This is perfectly in Character, and very probable. The rest of refugees5 or rather the most of them discovered an Inclination to get back. Do write me a few of your Sentiments on Goverment. That is A great Object with me. I wish you happiness. Adeu.
All Ideas of Oeconomy seem to be lost, or at least in some measure rendered impracticable by the Extravagance of the Times. I thought the Allowance you made for a Clerk was handsome. We have tryed more than A week to get One even with the Addition of £50..LM more but can't yet Effect it. If we give this Additional Sum, it will be from necessity. We must have A Clerk and can't get one without. If Congress don't Allow it we must pay it ourselves. Had you not had Ample Experience to the Southward I would Attempt A description of it. Whoever begun it here at first the Town or Country is A dispute not settled, but I think the Countryman Exceeds the Merchant now. 3/. for Butter 1/6 for mutton &c. they have the Effrontery to Ask at a time when Providence has given them the finest Season and Crops you ever see, fruit in the same or still greater Excess. 3d. for A Single peach. If our Board are not to have A power of dismissing or at least of suspending Officers, I foresee our Authority will be Contemptible. I will stand in no Contemptible Station long. The good News from the westward I fear wants Confirmation.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren Sept. 7. 1777.”
1. John Paul Jones had orders to take the Ranger, a newly commissioned sloop of war, to France, where it was hoped he could assume command of one of the larger ships being provided by the Commissioners (Morison, John Paul Jones, p. 101–102).
2. A sketch of Hector McNeill, with accompanying autobiography, letters, and the log of his last cruise in the Boston, is printed in MHS, Procs., 55 [1921–1922]: 46–152. Letters to the Marine Committee are at p. 100–103, 110–111, and 114–116. The latter describe the action between John Manley's Hancock, McNeill's Boston, and the prize ship Fox, taken earlier by the two captains, on the one side, and the British vessels Flora, Rainbow, and Victor, on the other. In the course of the engagement the Hancock was captured and the Fox, recaptured. McNeill blamed Manley for failing to heed his advice to proceed with the Fox to southern waters to prey upon shipping in the West Indies, rather than remaining in northern waters, where the British had blocked up most of the ports. McNeill called his superior, Manley, “totally unequal to the Command . . . ignorant, Obstinate, Overbearing and Tyranical beyound discription.” Some critics, however, accused McNeill of having deserted Manley, making his capture more likely (p. 52).
3. In a subsequent court of inquiry, Manley, who had been freed through a prisoner exchange, was acquitted; although the precise outcome is not certain, McNeill's court of inquiry either dis• { 286 } missed or suspended him (p. 52–53).
4. Gen. Arnold volunteered to lead a relief force to Fort Schuyler (Stanwix), which was under siege by Lt. Col. Barry St. Leger, who commanded a force of British, tories, and Indians. Arnold, by spreading a rumor that his force was much greater than it was and by the strength of his own formidable reputation, managed to frighten off most of St. Leger's Indian allies. St. Leger retreated without engaging the American force (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:488–491).
5. That is, exiled loyalists in England.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0171

Author: Davis, Caleb
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-10

From Caleb Davis

[salute] Honabl. Sir

I ask pardon for giveing you this Trouble, Amidst your More Important Concerns, but being requested to forward the Inclosed,1 I beg Leave to Recomend the Person from whoom it Comes as Suitable, for a 1t. or 2d. Leiut. on Board one of the Continental Frigates, and Should you procure Such an appointment for him I doubt, Not, he will do Honour to himself, and his Country. I Presume you have a Personal Knowledge of Mr. Cunningham, and therefore Need Say Nothing of his good Sense Spirit and Attachment, to the Cause of Amirica, and as a Seaman I belive him Inferiour to Very few on the Continent. Had thare bin any Vacansies, in the Little Navy of this State, Better than that of a Master,2 Mr. Cunningham Doubtless would have had it. But Rather than, be Idle he hes Accepted that Berth for a Short Cruize, which I think Much Below his Merit. I have the Honour to be with the gratest Respect your Honours Most Obedt. Humbl. Servant
[signed] Caleb Davis3
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Caleb Davis Sept 13th, 1777.”
1. A letter from Peter Cunningham, son of Elizabeth Cunningham, sister of JA's mother. He sought JA's influence in getting him a position. His letter is in Adams Family Correspondence, 2:341–342.
2. A ship's officer next in rank below a lieutenant who was responsible for navigation (OED).
3. One of Boston's representatives to the General Court (Mass., Province Laws, 20:4).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Recipient: Officer in Charge of Hessian Prisoners
Date: 1777-09-16

The Board of War to the Officer in Charge of Hessian Prisoners

[salute] sir

I am directed by the Board of War to desire you, to deliver to Coll. Bird1 forty of the Hessian Prisoners2 in your Custody, to work with him as Artifficers and Labourers, if they consent. I am your humble sevt.,
[signed] John Adams Chairman
{ 287 }
RC in JA's hand (DLC); docketed: “Order from Warr Office 16th Septr. 1777 to deliver 40 Hessians to Col. Bird.”
1. Col. Mark Bird, who ran a cannon foundry in Berks co. (JCC, 8:495–496; Morton L. Montgomery, “Early Furnaces and Forges of Berks County, Pennsylvania,” PMHB, 8:60 [March 1884]).
2. Hundreds of German mercenaries had been captured at the Battle of Trenton and had been sent to Lancaster, Penna., where they were guarded by militia but permitted to be hired out to work on the farms for pay. Late in August, because of the approach of the British, the prisoners were scattered about in such towns as Reading, Carlisle, and Lebanon (Lucy Leigh Bowie, “German Prisoners in the American Revolution,” Md. Hist. Mag., 40:187–188 [Sept. 1945]).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0173

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-17

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Yours with the Inclosed came safe to hand last week, and have given me great pleasure.1 I wish I could in return give you any thing that would equally Amuse, Entertain, or gratify your Curiosity, but there is not so much as A single peice of News here to hand you. We are all Agreed that Burgoine is “treading dangerous Ground.”2 You are doubtless better Informed of the Motions, and Intended Movements on both Sides than I am. Gates with our Main Army Advancing in Front, and Lincoln and Arnold in the Rear of his Army, seems to me a Situation not very Eligible for a fine Gentleman or A Soldier.3 We Expected to have heard of A General Action in that quarter before this, as we were Informed that the two Armys were Advanceing to each Other, but we last Evening heard that Burgoin had retreated to Fort Edward, and Gates Advanced to Still water. I hope they will fight before they part. We have various rumours about Skirmishes between the Southern Armies, which prevail, and as they are generally favourable to us, please for A while and then dye, I hope to have this Evening from you the true situation of them. If you Ask what we are about at Court, I Answer, we are provideing for our Soldiers, Calling in our Money, laying Taxes, forming A Constitution, neither of which is yet done. We have been provideing for the defence of Machias, and those parts. They are gallant fellows, A late Instance of which you will see in our papers.4 They form A fronteir, are Connected with the Indians and the Enemy have marked them for Vengeance. We have also been forming An Expedition which I can only say will be Agreable to you.5 Are you tired of hearing of the forming A Constitution, so am I. It is A long time in hand, and I fear will not be { 288 } marked with the wisdom of Ages. I hope you will see it before this Session Ends. The Spirit of Enterprize in Manufactures flourishes here. Great quantitys of Salt are made here. In and about Sandwich there is or will very soon be made 200 bushels A day. The whole Coast is lined with Saltworks, but it is Altogether performed by Boiling, A few small works Excepted. Molasses from Corn stalks is also made in large quantities and very good. It was begun too late or would have furnished A full supply, and some for distillation. I hard of one little Town, the Town of Manchester that had made 90 barrels. An Acre of Tops Cut at the common Season will make from <40> 30 to <60> 40 galls. and perhaps planted or sowed on purpose, and Cut earlier might Afford much larger quantities. The process is simple 3 Cilinders turned as Cider Cogs, at once Grind and Express the Juice.6
Extravagance, Oppression, Avarice &c. are in their Zenith I hope, and will never rise higher. What will be the Consequence of them, or what will stop their progress I am Unable to say. This Town was in A Tumult all day Yesterday Carting out Rascals and Villains, small ones. This seems to be irregular and Affords A subject for Moderate Folks, and Tories to descant largely, and wisely against Mobs but the patience of the people has been wonderful, and if they had taken more of them, and some of more Importance their vengeance or rather resentment would have been well directed. It therefore seemed wrong to wish to stop them.7 My regards to all Friends. I am Yours &c.,
I am Informed by the Clothier General he shall next appoint such An Agent here as the delegates of this State shall recommend. If you will think proper to recommend Mr. Saml. Allyne Otis you will Oblige me, and I beleive he will Execute the Business Extreemly well.8 Please to mention this to Mr. Gerry.
1. The letter with its enclosure has not been found. Warren had already acknowledged JA's letter of 18 Aug. (above), which enclosed letters from abroad.
2. A quotation from JA's letter of 12 Aug. (above).
3. Gen. Arnold was a popular hero for his valor at Danbury and driving St. Leger from Fort Schuyler. Actually, Arnold commanded the left wing as Gates took his position before Burgoyne's army, and Lincoln remained in Vermont to threaten Burgoyne's rear and flank. Lincoln detached three units against Ticonderoga and British positions around it in mid-September before he moved south to join Gates between 22 and 29 Sept. (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:506, 523–524).
4. On 28 Aug. three British frigates and a brig arrived off Machias and landed a party to raid the town. The local militia fought them off, claiming to have killed { 289 } sixty or more (Independent Chronicle, 11 Sept.).
5. The long-delayed expedition against British-held Newport, R.I. See JA to James Bowdoin, 16 April, note 3 (above), and Mass., Province Laws, 20:114–115.
6. Corn molasses became a sugar substitute when access to the West Indies was cut off. The juice from the stalks was boiled down to obtain a product about the consistency of molasses that had a “tartish taste” and was best used for puddings. It was also distilled for making rum (Joseph B. Felt, History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton, Cambridge, 1834, p. 100).
7. Five men were seized and carried over the Neck, where they were transferred to a collier's cart from Roxbury. They were to be shifted from town to town until they were “pushed into the Hands of the Enemy at Rhode-Island.” They were so punished for “having renounced their several Occupations of Carpenter, Cooper, Butcher, Shoemaker, Sand-Driver, &c. and audaciously commencing Monopolizers and Extortioners” (Independent Chronicle, 18 Sept.).
8. See Warren to JA, 27 April, note 8 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0174

Author: McKean, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-19

From Thomas McKean

[salute] Sir

I am informed, that some of the Members of Congress are dissatisfied with my allowing, as Chief-Justice of this State, writs of habeas corpus for twenty persons confined in the Free-masons Lodge in Philadelphia.1 Next to the approbation of a good conscience I esteem the good opinion of good men; and of my friends in particular. This occasions you, Sir, the trouble of reading the following brief account of that transaction, and the reasons for it, which, I flatter myself, will convince you of the propriety of my conduct, and, by your candid explanation, all others, who may not have had the same opportunities with you and me of studying and understanding the laws.
The writs were applied for in form, agreeable to the directions of the statute of the 31 Car. 2 ch. 2;2 and the only authority for the confinement, that I saw, was the copy of a letter from the Vice–President to Colo: Lewis Nicola.3 My situation was such, that I had not received a letter, nor seen a news-paper from Philadelphia for a fortnight; nor could I learn any particulars respecting this affair from any one whom I met, excepting the two persons who brought the writs to me:4 they offered me a pamphlet5 written by the prisoners stating their case, which I refused to accept or read, saying, I shou'd determine upon the returns that should be made to the writs and nothing else.
The habeas corpus Act forms a part of the Code of the Pennsylvania laws, and has been always justly esteemed the palladium of liberty. Before that statute the habeas corpus was considered to be a prerogative writ, and also a writ of right for the { 290 } subject; and if the King and his whole Council committed any subject, yet by the opinion of all the judges (in times when the rights of the people were not well ascertained nor sufficiently regarded) a habeas corpus ought to be allowed and obeyed; and the distinction taken was, that in such a case upon the return the prisoner was to be remanded, but if the commitment was by part of the Lords of the Council, he was to be bailed, if not for a legal cause he was to be discharged. I need not mention to you the many cases on this head in our books, had I any now to recur to. By the statute all discretionary power is taken away, and a penalty of £500 sterling imposed for a refusal of any judge in the vacation to allow the writ: so that if I had forgot the oath I had taken but a few days before,6 common prudence would have prevailed upon me not to have incurred the forfeiture of ten thousand pounds sterling, and also as a judge to have subjected myself to the just censure of the judicious and dispassionate; and the more especially when no injury could arise by returning the writs and bringing the parties before me, save a little delay, the expence being borne wholly by the prisoners, agreeable to the statute. If upon the return of the process I had shewn any partiality to the prisoners, or sought occasion to favor men inimical to a cause I have espoused with as much sincerity, and supported and will support with as much zeal, as any man in the Thirteen United States, then indeed I might have been deservedly blamed and stigmatized; but censure previous to this was, to say no more, premature and injudiciously bestowed. No Gentleman thought it amiss in the judge, who allowed the habeas corpus for Ethan Allen and his fellow-prisoners upon the application of Mr. Wilks &c.7 Even the Ministry despotic as they were, did not complain of it, but evaded them by sending the prisoners out of reach. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum,8 pleases me as a sentiment and faithful judges ought not be be subjected to unnecessary difficulties.
I acquainted the Vice-President with every particular of what had happened by an Express sent for the purpose; enquired of him, if the habeas corpus act had been suspended, or was about being suspended, for a limited time; and requested, if an act had passed for that purpose, to favor me with an exemplified copy. I told him, that, in almost every war since the making the statute, the like had been done in England, and that it was now in fact done there. You know however the struggles in Parliament from { 291 } time to time, whenever this has been moved by the Ministry. I could no more. On Tuesday last a law was enacted for the purpose,9 a copy of which was made out under the proper seal, and delivered to my express the same day, which has relieved me from any farther difficulties. I am anxious notwithstanding that the virtuous should think me so, and must therefore beg leave to re-iterate my request, that you will be so kind on proper occasions to explain this matter. I know how apt many are to disapprove of proceedings that are disagreeable, without duly reflecting upon their propriety and necessity.
This seems to be the day of trial. The Die is cast. I trust “we shall throw sixes.” May the Almighty give the Congress and our Generals wisdom, fortitude and perseverance, and teach the fingers of our army to fight. Our cause is good, our army in health and high spirits, and more numerous than that of the enemy. May the divine Disposer of all events crown our virtuous endeavors with success and save our country; of this we may be confident, “for he delights in virtue, and that which he delights in must be happy.”10 I shall now subscribe myself, what with great truth and sincerity I am, Sir, Your friend and most obedient humble servant
[signed] Tho M:Kean
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Chief Justice McKean Sept 19-1777.” One small piece cut from the bottom of the third page.
1. The background for the detention of these men, Quakers and members of the Church of England, began with a letter from Gen. Sullivan of 25 Aug. enclosing to the president of the congress papers seized in Sullivan's raid on Staten Island. In Sullivan's mind it was beyond doubt that a paper presumably from the yearly meeting at Spanktown (Rahway), N.J., proved that the Quakers were providing the enemy with intelligence (Sullivan, Papers, 1:443–444). On its face, however, the Spanktown report on the positions of Howe, Washington, and Sullivan as of 19 Aug. is an obvious forgery. Its naming of the month instead of referring to it as the 8th month suggests at once it was not a truly Quaker document. Moreover, a broadside issued by the yearly meeting at Philadelphia, held from 29 Sept. to 4 Oct., denied that Spanktown was ever the site of yearly meetings (PCC, No. 53, f. 97, 101).
The congress upon receipt of Sullivan's letter appointed a three-man committee, headed by JA, to make recommendations, which were reported on 28 Aug. In the language of its report, published Quaker testimonies “and the uniform tenor of the conduct, and conversation of a number of persons of considerable wealth” among the Quakers “render it certain and notorious that those persons are, with much rancour and bitterness, disaffected to the American cause.” The report resolved that the Pennsylvania Council arrest fourteen men who were named, and it went on to suggest that all the states apprehend those who “evidenced a disposition inimical to the cause of America.” Finally, the report recommended that the papers of the Meetings of Sufferings in the several states be examined, the political parts of them to be transmitted to the congress, and that Henry Drinker and Abel James and their papers be immediately seized. After debate on the several parts of this report, it was accepted with three names { 292 } dropped and the special reference to Drinker and James eliminated (JCC, 8:688–689, 694–695). JA's views on the Quakers at this juncture are in Adams Family Correspondence, 2:337–339.
On the strength of this congressional recommendation, the Pennsylvania Council in a Sunday meeting on 31 Aug. ordered the questioning for possible detention of not only the eleven men named by the congress but also an additional thirty. Most of the names were marked with an “X,” signifying that if these agreed in writing to stay in their homes and refrain from hostile speech and acts, they would not be further confined. The Council records contain a name-by-name account of the findings which the twenty-five agents for the Council reported (Penna. Colonial Records, 11:283–284, 286, 287–289).
The twenty men who obtained writs of habeas corpus from McKean were those who signed a remonstrance to the Council on 4 Sept. See note 5 (below).
2. Passed in 1679 (Statutes at Large of England and Great Britain, London, 1811, 5:458–465).
3. The letter of George Bryan to the “Town Major” of the City Guards, Col. Nicola, has not been found.
4. Probably Dr. James Hutchinson and Samuel Rhoades Jr., son-in-law of Israel Pemberton, who was a leader among those imprisoned (PMHB, 14:421, note). Hutchinson and Rhoades prepared a third remonstrance for the prisoners and acted as go-betweens for them to the Council.
5. A 52-page pamphlet entitled An Address to the Inhabitants of Philadelphia, by Those Freemen, of the City of Philadelphia, Who Are Now Confined in the Mason's Lodge . . ., Robert Bell, Phila., 1777, Evans, No. 15496. This publication contains not only an address but also a quotation from Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws, serving as a motto, a copy of the general warrant for their arrest, five remonstrances made by the prisoners, four to the Council and one to the congress, as well as replies from the Council. The prisoners made eloquent pleas in behalf of the basic rights of all men in a free society—the right of the accused to know specific charges against them, the right to a hearing, the right to the sanctity of their homes and papers—all to no avail. Alleging lack of time in the crisis confronting the state, the Council rejected congressional advice to give the prisoners a hearing (JCC, 8:718–719; Penna. Colonial Records, 11:293). They were to be exiled to Staunton, Va. The Council's offer to free them if they would take the oath or affirmation required in Pennsylvania of all who would enjoy the full rights of freemen or take a special oath or affirmation of allegiance to the state drew a firm refusal, which cited the words of Lord Halifax: “As there is no real security to any state by oaths, so no private person, much less statesman would ever order his affairs as relying on it; for no man would ever sleep with open doors, or unlock'd-up treasure, or plate, should all the town be sworn not to rob.” The Quakers insisted that their urging coreligionists not to side with either America or Britain was in accord with their most deeply held principles; the Anglicans assured the Council that they had never given intelligence to the British. A shortened version, lacking some of the documents quoted but retaining all of the eloquent passages, was printed in New York, London, and Dublin (Evans, No. 15497).
6. McKean was sworn in on 1 Sept. (Penna. Archives, 1st ser., 5:621).
7. Allen's own A Narrative of Col. Ethan Allen's Captivity, Phila., 1779, does not mention this effort of John Wilkes on his behalf, nor have the editors been able to find other mention of it.
8. Let justice be done though the heavens should fall.
9. On 16 Sept. (Penna. Colonial Records, 11:308–309).
10. Addison, Cato, Act V, scene i.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Recipient: Continental Army, officers
Date: 1777-09-22

Order to Continental Officers

Having here observed a diligent attention to the sick and wounded, and a benevolent desire to make the necessary provi• { 293 } { 294 } sion for the relief of the distressed as far as the power of the Brethren enable them,
We desire that all Continental officers may refrain from disturbing the persons or property of the Moravians in Bethlehem; and, particularly, that they do not disturb or molest the houses where the women are assembled.
Given under our hands at the place and time above mentioned.
[signed] John Hancock,
[signed] Samuel Adams,
[signed] James Duane,
[signed] Nathan Brownson,
[signed] Nathaniel Folsom,
[signed] Richard Law
[signed] Eliphalet Dyer,
[signed] Henry Marchant,
[signed] William Duer,
[signed] Cornelius Harnett,
[signed] Richard Henry Lee,
[signed] Henry Laurens,
[signed] Benjamin Harrison,
[signed] Joseph Jones,
[signed] John Adams,
[signed] William Williams,
[signed] Delegates to Congress.
printed: (PMHB), 13:71–72 (April 1889), from extracts from diaries in the Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Penna.
1. Members of the congress had hastily left Philadelphia in the early morning of 19 Sept., when they were warned of Gen. Howe's approach. To ensure the safety of the papers of the congress, some of them took a circuitous route by way of Bristol, Trenton, Easton, Bethlehem, and Reading to Lancaster, to which place the congress was adjourned; within two or three days the members moved to York (JA to AA, 30 Sept., Adams Family Correspondence, 2:349–350; JCC, 8:754–756).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0176

Author: Freeman, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-25

From Samuel Freeman

[salute] Sir

Knowing how much you have at Heart the Establishing the Currency of this State and the United States—I take this opportunity to inform you that last Week the House, in a Committee of the whole, took under consideration the Report of the Committees lately met at Springfield—and voted to report, that
1. All the Money not on Interest (small Change less than a Dollar excepted) be called in and exchanged for Treasurers Notes on Interest, no note to be less than £10
2. That a Tax of £300,000 be levied on the Inhabitants to be paid by the first of January next
3. That in future Taxes be assess'd quarterly
4. That no more Money be emitted
and yesterday the House (64 out of 108) accepted the first paragraph.1 The other four are to be taken up to day.
We have emitted during the War as follows viz
{ 295 } | view
Notes—On Interest   £636,400.      
Bills of and above a Dollar   439,079.   7.   4  
Bills less than a Dollar   30,962.   12.   8  
In all   £1100,442.2      
This includes about £15000 that was burnt, being misprinted. I am, with respect Your Honors most obedt. &c very humbl servt
[signed] Sam Freeman
P.S. If it is not too much Trouble and theres no impropriety in it shou'd be oblijed to you for the Emissions of Congress.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Hon. John Adams Esq Philadelphia Free”; postal marks: “Boston 25 SE”; docketed: “Freeman Sept 25, '77.”
1. The bill was not passed, however, until 13 Oct., when a tax of £400,000 was also authorized, the first £250,000 due on 31 Jan. 1781 and the remainder on 31 Jan. 1782 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:734–737).
2. The correct total is £1,106,442.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0177

Author: Sullivan, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-28

From John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

Far from addressing you in The Language of friendship and Desiring your assistance as a Friend I call upon you as a friend to Justice and mankind begging you to Acquaint yourself and make Congress acquainted with the Evidence I have Inclosed The President Relative to my Conduct. They ought to take time to view Examine and Consider it. They have Censured and Condemned me without Evidence will they not Acquit me upon the Clearest Testimony.2 The greatest and the only favor I Request from you is That if by the Evidence There appears the Least Fault in my Conduct you will Join with the Rest against me to Compleat that Ruin which Some members of Congress have Long been Striving to bring about: but if on the Contrary you find That it is the person who has Silently born the Burthen of the war has Endured the Hottest and almost Every fire and braved Every Danger for his Countrys Good That Congress has been Censuring and Resolving against Then Sir Call upon Congress to do me Justice and Restore me that Reputation which they have in Some Degree Deprived me of. Should I fail in this I am Determined to Quit the Service and Employ My Tongue my pen and in3 Every other Engine that may be found necessary to Secure my reputation. I am now fortifying myself for the pur• { 296 } pose. I am well known in America and Exceeding well in the Army. The officers who have Served with me are worthy as they are numerous. They will they must Join with me to Exclaim against unjust and ungenerous Returns for faithful and Laborious Services. Let them proceed from what Quarter they will no walls can be So Secured as to Skreen from publick Censure The person who from private views would Ruin the Reputation of the faithful patriot and the Brave Soldier. It is the Dignity of America and not the Dignity of Congress we are fighting to Support. Treat us Justly reward us for our Services and Dont Let our Characters Suffer from Every Idle Report. Pray Examine the Evidence I have Sent to the President and then Determine with your usual Candor whether the Resolutions against me were not premature whether I have not a Right to Complain and whether Congress ought not in Justice to Restore me that Reputation which they have Deprived me of. Why Am I Singled out as the only person for a Court of Inquiry and by a Resolve (afterward Rescinded) to be Suspended from the Service. A Fleet was Lost on Champlain Lake. The Army in Canada Ruined. Fort Washington and Fort Lee Sacrificed. No Courts of Inquiry were thought Necessary. General Parsons made an Attempt on Long Island the Same Day I went to Staten Island. He had only one Regiment to Contend with no Reinforcement could possibly come against him yet he was Repulsed with Loss. I had many Regiments to Contend with Routed all I came across Did them much mischief yet no Court of Inquiry is ordered upon him. I am the Bull against which all the Darts are Levelled. How does this Read how will it Sound when Ringing in the publick Ear but forgive me for this warmth. I know that as a friend you will make the proper allowances for my feeling. I Rely upon your Exertions to bring Congress to do Justice to your much Injured friend & Humble Servant.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr Lancaster”; docketed: “G. Sullivan”; in another hand: “Sept 28th 1777.”
1. Perkiomen Creek flows into the Schuylkill River.
2. See Joseph Ward to JA, 4 Sept., note 3 (above).
3. In his agitated state, Sullivan made several word changes, neglecting to cross out “in.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0178

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-29

From William MacCreery

[salute] Sir

I did myself the pleasure to write you from Burdeaux the begining of this Month,1 giving you what little information I had got, during the two Days that I had been there. Amongst other matters, I mentiond the Enimy's having all their large Ships to the Amount of thirty and upwards Cruizing in the Channel and Bay of Biscay, but I have since learn'd, that their reason for sending them, was, that they had none of smaller construction. In the Month of June last, there was not a Frigate in England to send after one of our Privateers which was then in the North Sea.
This, I believe, is still the case, and I understand they are building few Vessels of any sort, save some Sixteen Gun Sloops of War.
I have heard from exceeding Good Authority, that there was, Two Months ago, Thirty five Capital Ships fitted for Sea, in the different Ports of this Kingdom; and in Spain upwards of Forty. I expect to have it in my Power to send you a list of them by the return of the Vessel I came in, which will be in about three Weeks.
Cap: Young arrived here a few Days ago from Cinepuxent,2 and brought in a Prize loaded with Provisions which is allready disposed of. Cap: Halmes just arrived at L'orient from Morrises River was Chaced several times on the passage. In the Bay of Biscay he unluckily fell in with a Man of War who brought him too, upon which he threw dispatches over board, which he had received for the Commissioners at Paris but whilst the Man of War was engaged in getting out the Barge he made Sail and Gain'd on her; however She gave Chace for three Day and obliged him to throw his Guns overboard, by which he got clear.
There has been lately brought into this Port by Two Privateers from the Eastward—two large Ships, loaded with Rum and Sugars, for which two Vessels and Cargoes £16,000 Sterl. was immediately offerd, but not accepted by the Captors. The Vessels lay some time. The Captain who took them brag'd of what they had done, and made a deal of fuss (as I have been told).3 The consequence, was—when the News went to England, application was made to the Ministry, from the Ministry to Lord Stormont,4 from him to the Court of Versaills, and I can as• { 298 } sure you that there is little doubt of their being given up to the first owners. Mr. Jonathan Williams who is settled here,5 has been at Paris three Weeks, and has left no Stone unturn'd for the securing of them to the Captors—but that Court, are so situated at present with regard to their outstanding Fishermen, wherein there are 15,000 Seamen, that they can not break with England before they arrive.6 Indeed the English threaten stopping them.
A Mr. Hodge7 from Philadelphia, had fitted out some Privateers at Dunkirk, which was some how or other made known to the English and Complaint made by Lord Stormont. Mr. Hodge was in Paris about the time, and was clap'd into the Bastile.
They used him exceedingly well, and allow'd him extraordinary Privileges—in short, there has been many Princes in it, who had much less attention paid them than Mr. Hodge had. He was dismiss'd the 24th. Instant. I had the pleasure of seeing him, and he is very well.
I shall end this letter by mentioning some of Mr. T. Morris's behavior,8 of which I hope the Congress are made acquainted before now. I shoud have mentiond to you in my last what I heard of him at Bordeaux, but waited to be well inform'd, least I shou'd have injured him.
The packet of Letters which I received for him and others in this place I forwarded by Post from Bordeaux before I went for Paris. Soon after my arrival there, Mr. Morris came also, and gave out that he had Letters for the Commissioners—especially for Mr. Dean. When some time had elapsed and finding he took no Notice of them, Mr. Dean sent a Person to enquire whither he had any, and if he had, to send them to him. The answer was, that he was gone to the Country for Three Days.
He is Drunk at least Twenty two Hours of every Twenty four and never without One or two Whores in Company, except when he goes to the Coffee House, where he never fails to treat Mr. D's Character freely, and has said as much as that he has Letters of recall for him. He neglects all business because he has rendered himself incapable of any. In short, I never saw a man in a more deplorable situation. He has ruind every thing that he has lately put his hand to, and hurt our Credit very much.
I hope he is displaced before this time—tho' I believe few were willing to write home about him, for fear of giving offence, for my part I shou'd think my self deficient in my Duty to my Country were I to pass over such an affair in Silence. His ap• { 299 } pointment is a most important one to the States, and ought to be fill'd by first Rate Merchants. I am, with the greatest Respect Sir Your most Obt. Servt.,
[signed] W Mc9
P.S. There are large supplys of Cloathing ready to be Ship'd, and will go soon.
Enclosed are two E. Papers. I have given orders about the Parliamenty Registers and other Necessary Publications.
I forgot to mention a Change which took place in the War department a few days before I left Paris. The Count of St. Germaine is Superceded in that Office by the Prince De Meaubari.10 This change is thought to be favourable.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in CFA's hand: “Wm McC(reery)? Nantes Septr 29 1777.” Enclosures not found.
1. Not found.
2. Sinepuxent was the port of delivery for Snow Hill, Worcester co., Md.
3. Possibly the two large ships captured were West Indiamen taken by the privateers Boston and Hancock, commanded by Capts. Babson and Hendricks. See Foreign Affairs Committee to the Commissioners, 14 May 1778, note 5 (below).
4. David Murray, seventh Viscount Stormont, British ambassador to the French court (DNB).
5. Williams was commercial agent at Nantes.
6. That is, from the fishing grounds off Newfoundland.
7. In Oct. 1776 the congress sent William Hodge to France with dispatches for Silas Deane and instructions to procure cutters for the continental service. In Dunkirk he acquired and fitted out the lugger Surprize and later the cutter Revenge (Committee of Secret Correspondence to William Hodge Jr., 30 May, 3 Oct. [two letters] and to Silas Deane, 2 Oct. 1776, PCC, No. 37; Silas Deane to Robert Morris, 23 Aug. 1777, Deane Papers, 2:106–111).
8. Thomas Morris, half-brother of Robert, had been named superintending agent for the Secret Committee (later Commerce Committee) in the fall of 1776. His shortcomings while abroad were well known to the congress and his brother well before this report from MacCreery (Deane Papers, 1:331; 2:77–80).
9. William MacCreery, a Baltimore merchant who had migrated from Ireland as a young man, exchanged with JA a number of letters on commercial matters. In 1778 AA requested that JA use MacCreery to obtain for her some of the things that she wanted from Europe (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:294; Adams Family Correspondence, 3:23–24).
10. Alexandre Marie Léonor de Saint Mauris, Prince de Montbarey (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0179

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-01

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear Sir

It would have given me great pleasure to have Spent an hour with you in this place After my return from Genl. Howe's camp.1 I could have told you but little of the loss of the enemy on the heights of Bradywine for I confined my Questions to Subjects more interesting to my country, and which were solved { 300 } without difficulty or restraint. Let us leave to common Soldiers the joy that arises from hearing of fields being covered with dead bodies. The Statesman and the General should esteem even victory a loss unless Glory, or decisive good consequences have arisen from it.
I was struck upon approaching Genl. Howe's lines with the vigilance of his Sentries and picket. They spoke, they stood, they looked like the Safe-guard of the whole army. After being examined by 9 or 10 inferior Officers I was not permitted to enter their camp 'till an officer of distinction was sent for, who After asking a few questions ordered a guard to conduct me to Head Quarters.
I was next struck with their Attention to Secrecy in all their operations. I was confined upon parole to the district where our wounded lay, and when the whole army marched by my lodgings I was confined by an Officer to a back room. They lock up the houses of every family that is suspected of being in the least unfriendly to them in their marches thro' the country, and if they are discovered by a countryman whom they suspect, they force him to accompany their Army 'till their rout or disposition are so far changed that no mischief can arise from the intelligence he is able to convey.
They pay a supreme regard to the Cleanliness and health of their men. After the battle on the 11th: of last month the Soldiers were Strictly forbidden to touch any of the blankets belonging to the dead or wounded of our Army least they Should contract the “rebel distempers.” One of their Officers a Subaltern Observed to me that his Soldiers were infants that required constant Attendance, and said as a proof of it that Altho' they all had blankets tied to their backs, yet such was their lazyness that they would sleep in the dew and cold without them rather than have the trouble of untying and opening them. He said his business every night before he Slept was to see that no Soldier in his company laid down without a blanket.
Great pains were taken to procure Vegetables for the army, and I observed every where a great Quantity of them About the Soldiers tents. The deputy Quarter masters and deputy commissaries in Howe's army are composed chiefly of old and reputable Officers, and not of the vagrants, and bankrupts of the country.
There is the utmost order and contentment in their hospitals. The wounded whom we brought off from the field were not half { 301 } so well treated, as those whom we left in Genl. Howe's hands. Our Officers and Soldiers spoke with gratitude and affection of their Surgeons. An Orderly man was Allotted to every ten of our wounded, and British Officers called every morning upon our Officers to know whether their Surgeons did their duty. You must not attribute this to their humanity. They hate us in every Shape we appear to them. Their care of our wounded was entirely the effect of the perfection of their medical establishment which mechanically forced happiness and satisfaction upon our countrymen perhaps without a single wish in the Officers of the hospital to make their Situation comfortable.
It would take a Volume to tell you of the many things I saw and heard which tend to shew the extreme regard that our enemies pay to discipline—Order—OEconomy and cleanliness among their Soldiers.
In my way to this place I passed thro' Genl Washington's Army.2 To my great mortification I arrived at the Head quarters of a General on an Out post without being challenged by a single Sentry. I saw Soldiers Stragling from our lines in every Quarter without an officer, exposed every moment to be picked up by the enemy's light horse. I heard of 2,000 Who Sneaked off with the baggage of the Army to Bethlehem. I was told by a Captain in our army that they would not be missed in the returns, for as these were made out only by Seargeants they would be returned on parade, and that from the proper Officers neglecting to make out, or examine returns Genl Washington never knew within 3,000 men what his real numbers were. I saw nothing but confidence about Head Quarters, and languor in all the branches and extremities of the Army. Our hospital opened a continuation of the confused Scenes I had beheld in the army. The Waste—the peculation—the unnecessary Officers &c. (all the effects of our medical establishment) are eno' to sink our country without the weights which oppress it from Other Quarters. It is now universally said that the System was formed for the Director general and not for the benefit of the sick and wounded.3 Such unlimited powers and no checks would have suited an Angel. The Sick Suffer—but no redress can be had for them. Upwards of 100 of them were drunk last night. We have no guards to prevent this evil. In Howe's army a Captain's guards mount over every 200 sick. Besides keeping their men from contracting and prolonging distempers by rambling—drinking—and whoring, guards keep up { 302 } at all times in the minds of the sick a Sense of military Subordination. A Soldier Should never forget for a single hour that he has a master. One month in our hospitals would undo all the discipline of a year provided our soldiers brought it with them from the army.
I know it is common to blame our Subaltern for All these vices. But we must investigate their Source in the higher departments of the army. A general Should see everything with his own eyes, and hear everything with his own ears. He Should understand and even practise at times all the duties of the Soldier—the Officer—the quarter master—the commissary—and the Adjutant general. He Should be modest sober and temperate—free from prejudice—he Should despise ease, and like Charles xii should always sleep in his boots, that is—he should always be ready for a flight or a pursuit.
The present management of our army would depopulate America if men grew among us as speedily and spontaneously as blades of grass. The “wealth of worlds” could not support the expence of the medical department alone Above two or three years.
We are waiting impatiently to hear that our Army has defeated General Howe's.4 Would not Such an event be a misfortune to us in the end? and would it not stamp a Value upon ignorance and negligence which would greatly retard military knowledge and exertions among us? God I hope will save us only thro' the instrumentality of human wisdom and human Virtue. If these are wanting the sooner we are enslaved the better.
My dear friend—we are on the brink of ruin. I am distressed to see the minions of a tyrant more devoted to his will, than we are to a cause in which the whole world is interested New measures, and new men alone can save us. The American mind cannot long support the present complexion of Affairs. Let our Army be reformed. Let our general Officers be chosen annually. The breaking of 40 regiments, and the dismission of one field Officer from every regiment and of one Subaltern from every company will save many millions to the Continent. Your army by these means may be made respectable, and useful. But you must not expect to fill it with Soldiers for 3 years, or during the war. The Genius of America rebels Against the Scheme.5 Good General Officers would make an Army of Six months men an Army of heroes. Wolfe's army that conquered Canada was only 3 { 303 } months old. Stark's militia who have cast a Shade on every thing that has been done by regulars since the beginning of the war shew us what wonderful Qualities are to be called forth from our countrymen by an active, and enterprizing commander. The militia began, and I sincerely hope the militia will end the present war. I should despair of our cause if our country contained 60,000 men abandoned eno' to enlist for 3 years or during the war.
Adieu, my dear friend. May you never Sleep sound 'till you project and execute Something to extricate and save your country. My love to Mr Saml. Adams, Mr: Geary, Mr Lovell, Dr Brownson and my Br:6 if at Lancaster. Yours &c.,
[signed] B: Rush
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by CFA: “Rush. B. October 1st. 1777.”
1. On 12 Sept., the day after the Battle of Brandywine, Gen. Howe wrote to Washington offering to permit American physicians to take wounded Americans under their care. Washington designated Rush and four others, with attendants, for this duty (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:217).
2. One cannot now know precisely where Washington's army was encamped when Rush returned through it. The General had recrossed the Schuylkill River at Parker's Ford on 19 Sept. and was in the general area of Potts Grove (Pottstown) and Pennybacker's Mill (Schwenksville) between the 22d and the 28th. The next day the army began to move toward the road between Reading and Philadelphia (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:358, 359, 362).
3. Rush became a vigorous critic of the administrative competence of the Director General of Hospitals, Dr. William Shippen. See Rush to JA, 21 Oct. (below).
4. As early as the 28th there was talk of mounting an attack on Howe's army, but the distance of Washington's force from the enemy delayed it until the Americans could get closer. On 4 Oct. Washington lost again—in the Battle of Germantown. But it was a near victory, only a combination of mischances and miscalculations by his generals costing him the day (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:362, 365, 370–371).
5. JA had supported the views of general officers that long enlistments were a key to victories (vol. 4:426, 429, 430).
6. On Jacob Rush, deputy secretary of the congress, see Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:44.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0180

Author: McNeill, Hector
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-09

From Hector McNeill

[salute] Sir

This will be handed you by Doctor John L Linn1 the Surgeon of our Ship, he goes to Congress with design to represent the hardships himself and others in that Capacity suffer at present from the inadequate appointments of Surgeons on board the Navy.
I think that instead of crouding our Ships with Marine Officers, who are only a burthen, and of no Service in life on board a Ship—'twoud be well to give the Surgeons more encouragement, and reduce their number to one Subaltern on board the frigates; then let the Surgeon Share with the Lieutenants and { 304 } Master, in place of the Capt: of Marines who is as useless a peice of furniture on board a Ship as a broken pair of Bellows at a Fire Side.
How long shall we Languish here for want of Support. Here am Struggling with difficultys inumerable, and want of Cash has ever been our Lot since I have been in the Service.
I was at one time last Spring four thousand pounds in advance for the Ship. I am now more than three thousand Dollars in advance and all this without fee or reward.
I must confess that I am weary of such work. May I ask the favour of you—to think of me a Little now and then, if matters of greater importance will permit your thoughts to range so far from your daily Toils.
May God Strengthen your hearts in this day of Trial, and save our Country by his almighty power. Your most Obedient Servant,
[signed] Hector McNeill
RC (Adams Papers). Some mutilation where the seal was removed.
1. Linn was briefly a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society when it was organized in 1781, but he went to Philadelphia within a few years and died there in an epidemic (Walter L. Burrage, A History of the Massachusetts Medical Society, privately printed, 1923, p. 31–32).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0181

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-09

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

As you have had the history of the late action from the General,1 I shall not trouble you with many particulars which happened on that memorable day. The attack was formed with the true spirit of enterprize, and executed, by the Troops that were principally engaged, with heroic valour. With victory in their hands and laurels on their brows (hear me patiently, for I am determined to give Merit its due wherever my roving tongue or pen travels, and if possible animate others to do likewise,) shouting triumph along their gallant lines, ready to reap the complete harvest of the brave, and bid Liberty rest in peace forever! The piercing Eye of Heaven look'd down and saw we were not ripe for consummate glory—“the set time” was not come—stayed our conquering arms—and gave the guilty foe some future days to live. Submissive to the will of Heaven, we would not dispute the wisdom of Divine decrees; but grateful for the past, we trust for the completion of future success; and that we shall in due time { 305 } hail the glorious day (prayed for in vain from the execrable Tyrant of Britain) fraught with “Liberty Peace and Safety.”
An attack upon the Enemy, I had long most ardently wished for, from a firm perswasion it was the way to conquest; and although we did not, (owing principally to the accident of a fog, which prevented our seeing the advantages we had gained) complete our design, yet it reflects honor upon the General and the Army, and I am confident that great advantages will arise to our Country. The spirit of the Army is higher (notwithstanding the loss of some Officers and men) and firmer than before; our Troops find that the boasted discipline skill and courage of the Enemy, will all give way, when charged home with that spirit and valour which Americans can exert.
As nothing is so animating to an Army as an honorable testimony of their merit, from the supreme Aurthority in the land, perhaps Congress may think proper to do something on this occasion which may tend to stimulate the Troops.2 I am happy that General Sullivan, and General Wayne, (whose reputation had by some unfortunate accidents suffered an eclipse) were, among others, gloriously distinguished; their Troops drove all that opposed them and gained great reputation, sustaining the hottest fire of the Enemy with undaunted resolution. Some of them fired forty rounds a Man. It was reported in Camp some time before this action, that Congress had suspended General Sullivan, but I hope and believe the report was not true. I shall ever lament the misfortune of a brave Man; and think bravery is such a Jewel in a Soldier's character, that, like charity, it covers the multitude of imperfections, and intitles him to candour from the generous and the wise. You, Sir, who know human kind, are sensible we must not expect too much perfection; and what makes a man great in one view often makes him weak in another; that Zeal and fire which commonly constitutes an enterprizing genius and prompts to great and brilliant actions, is not always accompanied with the clearest head and most penetrating judgment, it is however generally successful, and has formed the great Commanders and immortal Heroes which the world admires.
I apprehend (if wrong correct me) every Country has a million times more to fear from a spirit of doubtful timidity, than from the accidents which may attend the enterprizes of the Brave. I would notwithstanding allow caution its merit, and prudence its value, for they are necessary to make the Soldier complete.
{ 306 }
I wish, with the sincerity of a Quaker, for the calm abodes of tranquility and peace; war at best is like living in the subarbs of Tophet, and the day of Battle seems like the very gate; groans and cries, prayers and execrations, fire and blood, shouts and lamentations, smoke and thunder, mingle in one scene,—life and death walk together, and mortals croud the verge of eternity! In such an hour, who would not implore His favour whose Kingdom ruleth over all,—that our Arms might prevail? May He in infinite mercy soon cause us to triumph in His Salvation.
We wait in solicitude to hear the event of our Northern operations; but hope by the favor of Providence it will be successful and happy. The great object with America is to defeat Howe; until this is done we must not think of repose; Battles and reinforcements, must be repeated, and continued, until he is defeated and driven off. And as the season is far advanced no time must be lost, as the long cold nights heavy dews and rains will too much expose the health of our Troops, badly clothed and worse covered from the weather. I doubt not Congress will do whatever human wisdom can devise, and I hope the Army will not fail in its exertions, to effect the great purposes of the Campaign. May God crown our efforts with His Blessing. It is in vain to look back and wish for past opportunities to return, or I should multiply wishes that we had fought Howe at or near White Clay Creek, or the first proper ground we found him on; it was ever my wish, I am no more perswaded of the propriety of such an attack now than I was then, but I believe others are, and the late action has confirmed many in my notions with respect to the great advantages the assailants have against those they attack. Notwithstanding the perfection of British generalship, discipline, precaution, and bravery, (of which we have heard so much) it is certain they were greatly surprized and thrown into disorder; and had we given them such a specimen of enterprize and spirit before they crossed Brandywine, I conceive they would not have crossed it to the end of time. But the time is past, we must make the best of the future; and as the reputation of the Army had suffered by our being so long in the descending Scale, I apprehend it is good policy to represent our late Action to as much advantage as possible, to raise the spirit of the Country and the Army, that they may put confidence in each other; for this purpose I have painted the action on the fourth Instant, in my letters to New England, in as bright colours as it would bear.
{ 307 }
Altho' we may have let golden opportunities pass unimproved, and Howe might perhaps have been routed in a fortnight after his landing, yet we must hold fast the good doctrine, That Providence overules all things for the best end. I very much apprehend that the toryfied City of Philadelphia, and this lathargic State, wants more scourging to open their eyes to see and their hearts to feel the Curse of British power and to realize the worth of Freedom. For this reason perhaps He who judgeth among the Gods, may have determined our Councils not to take those measures which might too soon have delivered this unbelieving race of modern Jews.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress York Town”; docketed: “Ward Oct-9th 1777.”
1. Washington reported to the president of the congress on 5 Oct. the outcome of the Battle of Germantown (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:308–311).
2. On 8 Oct. the congress unanimously passed a resolution thanking Washington “for his wise and well concerted attack” at Germantown, and it thanked also his officers and men, recognizing “that the best designs and boldest efforts may sometimes fail” (JCC, 9:785).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0182

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-09

Committee Report on George McIntosh

The Committee, to whom were referred the Papers, received from the President of the State of Georgia, respecting George McIntosh, taken into Custody in Consequence of Information transmitted, and a request made by Congress to the Government of the state of Georgia and the Memorial of the said George McIntosh praying Congress to take his Case into Consideration,1 report That they have examined into the said Papers and Memorial and, are of Opinion that there is not sufficient Cause before Congress for the Detention of the said George McIntosh, and therefore that he be discharged.2
MS in JA's hand (PCC, No. 19, IV, f. 23–24); docketed in an unknown hand: “1779. No. 11. Report of the Committee respecting Brigr. McIntosh”; both the year and the person are wrong (JCC, 9:789).
1. An intercepted letter from Gov. Patrick Tonyn of East Florida to Lord George Germain with the date of 19 July 1776 was brought to the attention of the congress on 1 Jan. 1777, which resolved that the government of Georgia be sent a copy and recommended to it the apprehension of George McIntosh (JCC, 7:8–9). By his own account, McIntosh was a “proprietor of an independent fortune” in Georgia. He had been a zealous patriot, serving on the Council of Safety and deeming himself no longer a subject of the King after the Declaration of Independence. The only surviving document apparently is McIntosh's memorial, from which one can distill the { 308 } following sequence of events. Gov. Bulloch, who received the letter from the congress, took no action, presumably because he trusted McIntosh. On Bulloch's death some weeks later, Button Gwinnett, his successor, also did nothing until McIntosh, at the end of a Council meeting, refused to sign the commission of the new governor, defending his refusal by saying that Gwinnett was not fit to be governor and that he would not have voted for him had he been present at the election. A few days later McIntosh was thrown into jail. The intercepted letter presumably included the information from William Panton that McIntosh would supply provisions to the British. A ship in question, McIntosh contended, was intended only for Surinam, and he had furnished a £1,000 bond to secure that intention. Claiming to be deceived by Panton, McIntosh pleaded ignorance of any plan to supply the British garrison at St. Augustine. While McIntosh was in jail, Gov. Gwinnett ordered his estate and papers seized, but in the governor's absence, the Council granted him bail. On 5 June the Assembly voted that he be sent to the congress rather than be tried in Georgia. Despite his willingness to go freely, he was taken under guard to Philadelphia. Smallpox and the evacuation of the city delayed his being heard until October, when the congress was sitting in York (PCC, No. 41, VI, f. 33–40; Sabine, Loyalists, 2:146–147).
2. At the end of the resolution in a different hand is the notation “agreed.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0183

Author: MacCreery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-10

From William MacCreery

[salute] Sir

I did myself the Honour to write to you from Nantez the 29th ultimo and at the Same time forwarded Two News papers for you; I mentiond the Scarcity of Frigates in England but that they were fitting out Sixteen Gun Sloops, most of which I have Since Heard are Sheathing with Copper, so that you may Expect them on the coast of America this winter. They have lately fitted out Sloops which mount Ten 4 pounders and 60 or 70 Men—one of which has made a prize of the Lexington Captn Johnson, after a Hot Engagement of about Four hours.2 He had Seven killed and Eleven wounded. Amongst the former were two or three of his officers. He had but forty Eight men, and they were Such a Motly Crew, that people are astonishd at his Having made so Gallant a resistance.
A Twenty four Gun Ship belonging to Coll Langden of N.E. sent in a prize loaded with Fish a few days ago, but as She hoisted the E. Colours with the union down to Shew that She was a prize, she was Stoped below by a French Frigate Stationd there to prevent these things to Search our Vessels for their Seamen which they dont allow us to have now. Had they Hoisted either American or French Colours, there would not have been the least hindrance. The vessel is sent [to] Bilboa by Messr. Delaps3 to whom She was consigned.
The Carolinians have been peculiarly unlucky of late in the { 309 } vessels which they Sent to Europe. Four out of 5 which got into the Bay4 were taken, and I Saw a Letter from Cadiz yesterday which mentions two vessels from Carolina having gone in there and that the Masters immediately waited on the E. Consul and took the oath of allegiance to the King of England: they were the Hawk Capt. Follow and the Diana Capt. Ingersall. It also mentions a report of two privateers being taken and carried into Gibralter. I much fear we shall loose most of our Men by these cursed little privateers. Whatever prisoners we take in Europe are put ashore and returned immediatly to England, but ours when taken are carryed there and put into close prison where they are by all accounts used most cruelly.
An Insurance office has been lately established here, and I am told it is a very good one. The premium to and from America is thirty Per Ct.
I think the Congress would be much better servd from this port in many things, than at Nantes. For instance in Soldiers cloathing for as Montauban5 and where the Cloathing comes cheepest is much nearer to this port than Nantes, and the Carriage is nearly all by water, whereas what goes by Nantes is first Sent several Hundred Miles by land to Paris from thence part by Land and part by water to Nantes. There must certainly be a very great difference in the expence. Your agent here (if you had one) could have them immediately from the Manufactures and get them made up at the Same place on very good terms. Shirts Stockings and Shoes come on as good terms to this port as any other. Hatts come better from Nantes.
I believe you will agree with me that an agent for Congress ought to be in the first place, a punctual Man with a good Capital of his own, be in good Credit, have the best connections abroad and at home and have an inclination to do every Service in his power to America. Such a Man there is in Bordeaux. I mean Mr. Delap who continues agreable to His Fathers will the Firm of S and J H Delap. From the Same cause he remains Single in Trade and has been obliged to refuse very lately Several offers of partnership, in particular one with an agent here of yours now at Nantez which I believe has occasiond a miff.
Should Congress see cause to Employ an agent here you may depend, there is no House so fit for the purpose,6 and as I have in all the Letters which I have had the Honour to write you, given my own Sentiments and opinion very freely I will now just men• { 310 } tion what I think Congress may very well do. In the first place let Faithfull active Men be imploy'd in Virginia and Maryland, (for Tobaco at present is the best article you can send to Europe) to purchase and load vessels, and when ready to Sail forward by Several different conveyances Bills of Lading to your agents here with orders to insure the whole. At the Same time let directions be given about the returns which may be got ready immediately. If the vessel arrives safe Mr. Delap will advance as near the amount of what the Cargo is likely to bring and not detain the vessel for the Sale of it. Should Several thousand Hogheads arrive at the Same time, his Credit is so extensive that he could immediately Ship for the whole. If the vessels are lost he recovers the insurance agreable to orders.
I believe our publick credit has sufferd much in Europe for want of punctuality. I have had very unfavourable accounts of the French Gentlemen in Nantes who were concernd with Mr. T. Morris. As to the Latter I have been an Eye witness of his incapability of serving the publick his Friends or himself. Mr. Ross I am informd is a first Rate Merchant and bears here an Excellent Character.7 He is by every account very capable and very worthy.
Capt. Ashburne in a Brigg from Cinepunct is arrived here this morning with a 100rd Hhds. of Tob'o. She is own'd in Philadelphia.
I would be exceedingly obliged to you to inform me How your publick magazines are furnished and what articles are most wanted as I should encourage Specculation as much as posible and give most encouragement to Ship what you stand most in need of. I should be glad to have your opinion of what concequence our Trade to France may be when a peace is concluded. If I thought it would be considerable hereafter I would Settle in Bordeaux if otherways in Nantes. Yet there [are] so many Americans Setling at Nantes that I am advised to Settle in this place. I must determine Soon, and Shall take the liberty to advise you of it, and beg your interest with your Mercantile Friends to the Northward. I am with the greatest Respect Sir your most obeident Servant,
[signed] W. M. Creery

[salute] Dear Sir

Since writing the above which I found no opportunity of forwarding the prize with fish has got into Bilboa and the vessel { 311 } which took her has got into this place. She is the Portsmouth from Portsmouth commanded by Capt. Hart8 and mounts 24 Guns. She was Stop'd below by the Frigate, but Mr. Delap procured permision for her to Stay 3 Days that She might refit. When the time expired she was orderd out in 24 hours and the Carpenters not being able to finish in that time, Mr. Delap was obliged to apply to the Admiralty once more and with great difficulty obtaind 3 days more permision. Hence you may perceive the difficulty there is with Such vessels at this port, and that it all proceeds from the fear that this Court has of England.
Let me assure you of one thing, that if a war Should chance to break out in Europe it will not happen through affection to America. All that is aimed at here, is to keep the flames of war from dieing. I mention this only to yourself. It is not necessary to let it be publickly known in America. However I have the happiness to assure you of what I little expected—the people of Holland begin in reality to think justly of America and of England also. The former they are begining to trust. The credit of England begins to Shake and a little good News from America would Effect what the weakness timidity or Jealousy of princes refuses. It would gain us credit with individuals. The Merchants of Holland are petitioning the States for Convoys to protect their Trade. 9 of the provinces have voted Six Ships of War to go to St. Eustatia and it is Supposed the others will acceed. Letters from Germany mention that it is very difficult to obtain Recruits for the English Service in America.
I beg you will be So good as to Let me hear from you. I have not been able to procure the Books I wanted for you. All I can now Send you is an Irish Magazine for july. I am Dr Sir yours,
[signed] W. Creery
I have determined to Settle in this place.
MS copy in AA's hand (Adams Papers); docketed in JA's late hand: “McCreery”; in CFA's hand: “October 10th & 25th 1777.”
1. This copy of MacCreery's letter with its addition of 25 Oct. was probably retained by AA after enclosing the RC to James Lovell in a missing letter to him, which he acknowledged on 21 March 1778 (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:403–404). The original letter was forwarded to JA by Samuel and Robert Purviance of Baltimore (S. and R. Purviance to JA, 9 Jan. 1778, below). Lovell claimed that he read the MacCreery letter in the congress because he thought it important for the Commerce Committee, but the Journals make no mention of the reading.
2. Capt. Henry Johnson of the Continental Navy brigantine Lexington was forced to surrender to the British cutter Alert on 19 Sept. (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships).
3. The firm of S. and John Hans Delap, which later occasionally acted as commer• { 312 } cial agents in Bordeaux for the Americans.
4. The Bay of Biscay.
5. Montauban in southwestern France at the confluence of the Tarn and Tescou rivers.
6. John Bondfield became the American commercial agent in Bordeaux.
7. John Ross, an American commercial agent in Nantes.
8. Capt. John Hart (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:589).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0184

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-10

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

You will recollect that A long time has elapsed since I had a Line from you. Our hopes and fears with regard to the Operations of War in your quarter have alternately risen and fallen perticularly with regard to the fate of Philadelphia. Till Yesterday the Post Informs us that Howe is in peaceable and quiet possession of it, without A Battle. Has Genl. Washington after all not Men enough to meet him or does the high Opinion of regulars yet remain among his Troops so that he dare not Oppose them to him. This Acquisition will have no Effect that I know of here, but it will be Improved, and operate much against our Interest in Europe. I hope it will not Affect your New Funds.1 Nothing decisive has yet taken place in the North. They all seem to Agree, that Burgoyne must retire, fight or starve. I should be Content with either of the two last, but shall be mortified if the first takes place, and he gets off with his Army. No want of Men in fine Spirits, or of Arms, provisions, or any thing else. I suppose you know as much about them As I can tell you. No descent is yet made on Rhode Island. The plan was to have gone on as soon as the Men got together. They have all but the Connecticut troops who were to have been there as soon as the rest. Been on the spot 10 days, in which Time the Enemy have been fortifying. I hope however this want of vigour will be supplied by sound Judgment in the Execution, and that I shall be Able to give you some Agreable Accounts from that quarter. We shall have near 10,000 men there. We have no other Intelligence but the Success of the Randolph2 of which I have wrote the Marine Board. Many prizes and valuable Ones are frequently arriveing. If Howe is in Philadelphia I presume you are not. Where is your place of refuge. I bid you Adeu and am sincerely Yours &c.
1. Loan office certificates, for which the congress in February had raised the interest to 6 percent and in September had made the interest payable in bills of ex• { 313 } change drawn upon the American Commissioners in France (JCC, 7:158; 8:724–725).
2. On 4 Sept. the Randolph, a Continental Navy frigate, took four prizes off Charleston, S.C. (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0185

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-12

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I want Extreamly to hear from you to know what situation you are in, and what is the true situation of our public affairs. It is Impossible to describe the Confused, Uncertain Accounts we have here of the military Operations to the southward. We are at A loss who possesses Philadelphia. We hear that Congress have left it, but we know not what place they have retired to, and Consequently I cant tell how to direct this but to the old place. We have A fine Army in high Spirits and well supplyed in the Northern department but no decisive Action has yet taken place there. I beleive they will prevent Burgoynes Advanceing, but I think that will be the Ultimatum. He will for any thing I can see retire when he pleases. Our Troops have not yet Landed on Rhode Island. There Appears in that quarter A want of vigour, and I think of Judgment. Things were not provided for the descent as soon as the Militia arrived and their spirit and Genius you know does not Admit of delays. When the Expedition was formed General Spencer Informed us every thing was prepared. He had Occasion for Nothing but two Howitzs which he desired us to supply. A very moderate demand. You cant suppose we did not Comply. From the very Circumstance of this delay my sanguine Expectations are much Abated. My next will tell you more of this matter which is Important to us, and I dare say Occasions Anxiety to you. We have men enough there. I beleive not less than 10,000.
We have no News. This will be handed you by Capt. Palmes who was Capt. of Marines on Board the Boston.1 I am not Acquainted with his perticular Business. I suppose he Intends some Application to Congress relative to that Ship. Her Affairs are indeed in A curious situation. The quarrels between the Captain and his Officers have Already occasioned great delays, and when we shall be Able to get her to sea or if ever under her present Circumstances I am Unable to say. You will be Able to learn something of the Matter from him. I dont wish to be vested { 314 } with more powers, if the good of the service dont require it, but I plainly foresee that we never can Answer your Expectations unless we have at least A power of suspending, if we are not to be Intrusted with a power of Appointing. As the matter now stands we are little more than A Board of Agency or factorage and tho' we are Ordered to do many Expensive things are not supplyed with A Shilling to do it with. This is as bad as makeing Bricks without straw.2 We have wrote repeatedly to the Marine Committee and have tryed to borrow of the Loan office. He dont like to supply, without Orders. We lose many Advantages and Indeed the Business in all its parts Laggs in such A manner as mortifies me, and will Affect Our Reputation. The Marine Committee have given Capt. McNeil their own Orders for his next Cruize. Dont you Intend there shall be An Enquiry into the Conduct of the last. There is indeed A Contrast between bringing in the Fox, and Flora if not the Rainbow, and the looseing the Hancock and the Fox.3 I don't pretend to say who was to Blame but I think Congress should know, if they intend Officers should do their Duty in future. I Love to see officers regard discipline and keep a proper Command but Overbearing haughtiness and unlimited Conceit, especially if Joined with Unbounded Expence, will never promote the Good of your service at Sea or Ashore. It is our Business to Correct the last in the Navy of this department as much as possible, and I think we should be Impowered to Controul the first. I wish You every happiness and Am Yours &c.
We have Just received the Agreable News of A victory in the Northern department.4 I am not able to give you the perticulars but the Action was general, and the defeat Compleat. Our Army was still in the pursuit when the Account came away. Arnold, and Lincoln are wounded, on our side, and Frazier killed on theirs.5 Our Joy however is A little damaged by hearing that fort Montgommery is taken.6
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren Oct. 12 1777.”
1. For Capt. McNeill's opinion of the captain of marines and of marines in general, see Hector McNeill to JA, 9 Oct. (above).
2. On 23 Oct. the congress granted the suspending power and voted $100,000 for the Board's use (JCC, 9:833, 836–837).
3. See Warren to JA, 7 Sept., notes 2 and 3 (above).
4. The Battle of Bemis Heights on 7 Oct., in which the Americans devastated Burgoyne's center, inspired by the bravado of Gen. Arnold (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:521–531).
5. Gen. Simon Fraser, commanding Burgoyne's left. Lincoln was wounded in a { 315 } skirmish the next day (same, 2:532).
6. Sir Henry Clinton led a force of about 4,000 forty miles up the Hudson River to capture two undermanned American forts—Clinton and Montgomery, located near the confluence of Popolopen Kill and the Hudson. Just beyond this point the Americans had constructed a barrier in the river to prevent British passage above it. On 6 Oct. both forts fell to vigorous British attacks, and several American vessels behind the barrier in the Hudson were burned. Clinton had meant the expedition to be an encouragement to Burgoyne; he had no intention to try to fight his way through to aid him. American casualties were about 250, with lesser losses for the British (same, 2:513–520).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0186

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-13

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear Sir

I have little to add to the long letter I wrote to you a few days ago, but that the event of the battle at Germantown on the 4th instant was full of proofs of the truths I formerly communicated to you. We lost a city—a Victory—a campaign by that want of discipline and System which pervades every part of the army. General Conway wept for joy when he saw the Ardor with which our troops pushed the enemy from hill to hill, and pronounced our country free from that auspicious Sight. But when he saw an Officer low in command give counter orders to the commander in chief, and the commander in chief passive under that circumstance, his distress and resentment exceeded all bounds. For Gods sake do not suffer him to resign. He seems to possess Lee's knowledge and experience without any of his Oddities or vices. He is moreover the idol of the whole Army. Make him a Major General if Nothing else will detain him in your Service. He is entitled to <all> most of the glory our Arms acquired in the late battle.1 But his bravery and Skill in war are not his only military Qualifications. He is exact in his discipline, and understands every part of the detail of an Army. Besides this, he is an Enthusiast in our cause. Some people blame him for calling some of our Generals fools—cowards—and drunkards in public company. But these things are proofs of his integrity, and should raise him in the opinion of every friend to America. Be not deceived my dear friend. Our army is no better than it was two years ago. The Spirit of our men is good. Our Officers are equal nay superior to Howes. A few able major generals would make them a terror to the whole power of Britain. Adieu. Yours sincerely,
[signed] B:Rush
{ 316 }
P.S. I am afraid we Shall soon loose a most gallant Officer in Col. Stone.2 Congress must take notice of him living or dead.
An Anecdote
An Officer in Howe's army told me they had executed only two men in the last year. Their discipline prevents crimes. Our want of it creates them. We have had 20 executions in the last year, and our Army is not a bit the better for them. If Howe Should lie still, desertions, sickness, accidental deaths, and executions would waste our whole army in one year.
1. Rush's extravagant assessment of Conway's contribution to the Battle of Germantown on 4 Oct. reflected his own critical attitude toward Washington. Later, Conway's criticism of Washington in a letter to Gates roused Washington's anger and led to the supposition of a conspiracy against the commander in chief, the so-called Conway Cabal, for which modern historians have found no basis in fact. Modern accounts of Germantown stress the hard-driving attacks of units under Sullivan, of which Conway's was only one, and under Greene, particularly Peter Muhlenberg's brigade. The failure at Germantown at the moment of apparent victory was owing to confusion in a heavy ground fog and perhaps to a too ambitious military plan requiring more precise timing than the Americans could achieve (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:362–371).
2. Col. John Hawkins Stone, of the 1st Maryland Regiment. Stone did not die of his wounds (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 523).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0187

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-21

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] My dear friend

I fear you will class me with the weeping philosophers of antiquity, but I cannot help it. He who can be happy while his country is wasting her blood, and treasure to no purpose must be more or less than a man. General Gates' unparalled success gave me great pleasure, but it has not obliterated the remembrance of the disorders I have seen in the army in this department. On the contrary I am more convinced than ever of the necessity of discipline and System in the management of our Affairs. I have heard several Officers who have served under General Gates compare his Army to a well regulated family. The same Gentlemen have compared Genl. Washington's imitation of an Army to an unformed mob. Look at the Characters of both! The one on the pinnacle of military glory—exulting in the Success of Schemes planned with wisdom, and executed with vigor and bravery—and above all see a country saved by their exertions.1 See the Other outgenerald and twice beated—obliged to witness the { 317 } march of a body of men only half their number thro' 140 miles of a thick setled country—forced to give up a city the capital of a state and After all outwitted by the same Army in a retreat. If our Congress can witness these things with composure, and suffer them to pass without an enquiry I shall think we have not Shook off monarchical prejudices, and that like the Israelites of old we worship the work of our hands.
In the British army Pickets are releived once or twice every day, and guards every two hours. In Genl. Washington's Army it is no uncommon thing for pickets to remain five days and guards 24 hours without a relief and destitute at the same time of provisions except such as they plunder or buy with their own money. This negligence is a fruitful Source of diseases in our Army.
In the British Army hospitals are never without Guards. In G W's Army Guards which might save the lives of hundreds are used to parade before the doors of our major Generals. One of them had no less than a Sergant and 18 men to guard himself, and his baggage thr'o this town.
There are nearly as many Officers as men in our Army. Every Regiment has a Surgeon with one or two mates. Each of these (Officers—Surgeons and mates) has a Servant drawn from the ranks to attend them who is always exempted on this Account from camp and field duty. I have been told the General has forbidden it a hundred times in General Orders—But the evil continues—and no wonder for Officers ride up to his Quarters with Soldiers behind them in the capacity of Servants. Some of the martinets in my department have trod in their footsteps. But I believe I have at the expence of the friendship of many of them put a stop to the evil. Who ever heard of an Army being disciplined by Orderly books? You might as well think of conquering an enemy by writing letters at him.
Dont tell me that our Army has driven Howe out of Philadelphia. Gates has saved Pensylvania in the State of New York just as much of [as] Pitt conquered America in Germany. I have no Objection to our country's being delivered by a miracle provided we could secure a perpetuity of them. I have never heard of but one city whose walls fell down at the blowing of a ram's horn. Military Skill—industry and bravery are the ordinary weapons made use off for that purpose. God alone I know must save us at last, but I wish for the future honor and, safety of our country he may do it thr'o the instrumentality of human Wisdom and human { 318 } Virtue. A peace just now would leave us without Generals—Officers or Soldiers in the middle and Southern states, and if our deliverance is now acomplished, it has been effected thr'o the instrumentality of ignorance, idleness, and blunders.
“A great and good God (says Genl. Conway in a letter to a friend) has decreed that America shall be free, or ——2 and weak counsellors would have ruined her long ago.”
Our hospital Affairs grow worse and worse. There are several hundred wounded Soldiers in this place who would [have] perished had they not been supported by the voluntary and benevolent Contributions of some pious Whigs. The fault is both in the establishment and in the Director General. He is both ignorant and negligent of his duty. There is but one right System for a military hospital, and that is the one made use off by the British Army. It was once introduced by Dr. Church at Cambridge, and Dr. McKnight3 informs me that he never has seen order—Oconomy—or happiness in a hospital since it was banished by Dr. Morgan and his Successor. My heart is almost broken at seeing the distresses of my countrymen without a power to remedy them. Dr. S[hippen] never sets his foot in a hospital. Tell me, are there any hopes of our plan being mended. Dr. Brown4 and every medical Officer in the hospital execrate it. If it cannot be altered, and that soon I shall trouble you with my resignation and my reasons shall Afterwards be given to the public for it.5 The British System would save half a million a year to the Continent, and what is more, would produce perfect Satisfaction and happiness.
A Surgeon General is wanted in the Northern Department. Give me leave to recommend Dr McKnight a Senior Surgeon in the flying hospital for that Office. He has Skill—industry and humanity, and has served with unequalled reputation since the beginning of the war.
My love to Messr. Lovell—Dr. Brownson and my Br. Add Col. Walton to the number if he is still in Congress.6 I should have written Often to him—but had reason to think he was gone to Georgia. You may Shew him such parts of this letter as you think proper.
Adieu! The good Christians and true Whigs expect a recommendation from Congress for a day of public thanksgiving for our Victories in the North. Let it be the same day for the whole continent.
What do you think of sending home Johnny Burgoyne upon his { 319 } parole? Poor boy! he has no consolation left him but that he turns a period better than Major General Gates.
Should not General Washington immediately demand the enlargement of Gen. Lee's person upon parole within Howe's lines?
What honors, or marks of gratitude will you confer on Gates—Lincoln &c. Suppose you introduce a constellation to be worn on the breast containing 13 stars as a reward for military exploits?7 But nothing but heaven can ever repay them for the Services they have rendered their country. God bless you! Yours sincerely,
[signed] B Rush
PS: Direct for me at Princetown—New Jersey when You have leisure to drop me a line.
Genl Mifflin must not be suffered to resign his command in the Army.8 If he is—you will soon receive a hundred Others.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in JA's late hand: “Dr. Rush. Oct. 21. 1777.”
1. Extravagant but understandable praise for the commander at Freeman's Farm, Bemis Heights, and Saratoga was widespread, not only among Gates' partisans, but also among the public at large; yet in the view of some modern students, he deserved little of the real credit for the victory over Burgoyne. If any one person were to be singled out, they feel it should be Arnold. George Billias, however, credits Gates with the overall planning designed to wear Burgoyne out that made victory in the field possible (George Athan Billias, ed., George Washington's Generals, N.Y., 1964, p. 96).
2. Washington, writing in anger to Conway, gives the phrase as “a weak General and bad Councellors” (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 10:29). See Rush to JA, 13 Oct., note 1 (above).
3. Charles McKnight, who became surgeon general of the hospital, Middle Department, in early 1778 (JCC, 10:186).
4. William Brown, who on 2 July had been elected as Rush's replacement as surgeon general of the hospital, Middle Department. Rush had become physician general (JCC, 8:518, 525).
5. Rush resigned as physician general on 30 Jan. 1778 (same, 10:101).
6. Both Brownson and Walton were absent from the congress at this time (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:xliii–xlv).
7. See Nathanael Greene to JA, 2 May, note 4 (above).
8. On 7 Nov. Mifflin was permitted to resign because he claimed ill health, but the congress continued his rank and commission without pay. The congress then proceeded to name him to the new Board of War along with two others (JCC, 9:818, 874). Criticism of his performance as quartermaster general and his declining influence with Washington were more important than his health in his decision to resign from the military (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0188

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-22

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

I write to you in Hast and Confidence—and beg you to conceal me when I speak with Freedom of Men and Things. After many Reports that Burgoyne and his Army were Prisoners of War, we { 320 } have this Day receiv'd the Articles agreed on between him and our General.1 Perhaps I may be mistaken, but my Joy is damp'd by the Concessions G[ates] has made, considering how totally Burgoyne was in our Power. He and his Army are restor'd to Gt. Britain: They have a free Passage granted there upon Condition of not serving in America during the present War. They may then by this unaccountable Treaty, take the Place of Regiments in Britain, who may come to America, as early for Action as the surrender'd Troops could have been, had they winter'd in Canada. I have seen only this first Article.2 I wish the others may be better. This alone chagrines me. You will have the Whole, and can judge better than I.3 In my present Opinion, Infatuation or something worse, dictated the Concession made to an Army, not a third of ours in Number;4 and in ev'ry Circumstance of Desperation. I will write more soon. With the greatest Esteem and Affection Your's &c.
1. Gates sent a letter and a copy of the articles by express to the Council in Massachusetts, where it arrived the evening of 22 Oct. He needed to warn them that Burgoyne's defeated army would soon be on its way to Boston. The articles were printed in the Independent Chronicle the next day. Dated 16 Oct. and called Articles of Convention rather than “capitulation” on Burgoyne's insistence, they numbered twelve. The first made it clear that Burgoyne's troops were not prisoners, for they were to march out “with the honors of war” before laying down their arms under the command of their own officers. The second article granted free passage to Boston and thence to Britain for the entire army, transports for the sea crossing to be furnished by Gen. Howe (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:536–537).
2. Actually Cooper had seen at least two.
3. Gates sent a copy of the convention to President Hancock in a letter dated 16 Oct., but the letter and the articles were not read to the congress until 31 Oct. (PCC, No. 154, I, f. 282–285; JCC, 9:851). The delay was owing to the slow progress made by their courier, Lt. Col. James Wilkinson (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:357, note 2). The first notice that the congress received of Burgoyne's defeat was in letters from Washington and Gen. Israel Putnam, each enclosing a copy of one from Gov. Clinton to Putnam of the 15th. Clinton in turn had copied a letter from the Committee of the City of Albany to the Council of Safety, also dated the 15th, which called Burgoyne's troops “prisoners of war” but mentioned “honors of war” and the grounding of arms outside their camp (JCC, 9:824–825; Penna. Archives, 1st ser., 5:676; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:526–527, note 3). These letters and their enclosures arrived in York on the 19th but were not read until the 21st (JA to AA, 24 Oct., Adams Family Correspondence, 2:357). The generous terms of the full convention did not sit well with the members when they learned them.
4. Before the battle of Freeman's Farm, Burgoyne's army numbered about 6,000; the Americans had perhaps 1,000 more. Before the second great engagement between the two armies, Bemis Heights, Gates' army had increased to 11,000 through the arrival of Gen. Lincoln's men and the flocking in of militia; Burgoyne's troops had shrunk to less than 5,000 (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:505, 506, 524).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0189

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-23

Proposed Amendment to the Articles of Confederation

To <agree upon and fix> ascertain the necessary Sums of Money to be raised for the service of the united States, and to appropriate and apply the Same <to public Uses> for defraying the public Expences.
MS in JA's hand (PCC, No. 47, reverse of f. 109½); in the margin: “Content 1111 111111.”
1. Because JA's suggested wording was written on the back of wording proposed by Elbridge Gerry dealing with that paragraph in Art. 6 of the Articles of Confederation which forbade state duties that interfered with proposed treaties with France and Spain, the supposition is that JA drafted his proposal about the time this paragraph was being debated along with other articles, on 23 Oct. JA's proposal, however, related not to Art. 6 but to Art. 8 in the final version of the Articles, which provided for defraying the expenses of the United States. When compared with the provision enacted, JA's wording seemingly gave the congress greater latitude in determining the sums of money needed. As enacted, Art. 8 provided for defraying “all charges of war and all other expenses, that shall be incurred for the common defence or general welfare.” Ascertaining sums “to be raised” and appropriating and applying them would have put the congress under less restraint than defraying expenses incurred. Nothing in the printed record suggests that JA actually offered this language, although given the tally mentioned in the descriptive note (above), he may have sounded out his colleagues privately. Art. 8 passed unanimously as earlier amended, the only change in its language from John Dickinson's draft being the decision to apportion taxes among the states according to the value of the land in each rather than population, a decision which JA opposed (JCC, 9:801–802, 827, 833–834; Merrill Jensen, The Articles of Confederation, Madison, Wis., 1940, p. 256, 266).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0190

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-24

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

Two days agoe I wrote you an hasty Script. Perhaps I express'd myself too suddenly and strongly upon an important Subject. The Terms which Gates has given Burgoyne might be as well for the States as Circumstances would allow; tho I own, from what Glover, and ev'ry Officer on the Spot had written, I concluded the Enemy must have been totally in our Power. But if we have not all we could wish, it is a most important and glorious Event, upon which I congratulate you and all our Friends. How must Administration and all Britain be struck with it! What Eclat will it make in Europe? What a fine Subject for Parliamentary Eloquence? Do you not wish to hear Burke and Barrè, Camden Chatham &c. open upon the Point?1 We have a running Vessel2 that sails to Morrow for France with the glori• { 322 } ous Tale. The Honor it will do our Arms must be of substantial Service to our Cause. And tho by the Terms, the captivated Army may serve in Britain in the Room of such as may be sent to America in the Spring, I am not without Hopes that this Stroke, especially if follow'd with Success in another Quarter, will discourage Britain from such an Attempt. We have now a Committee of both Houses consulting where to place, and how to guard this Body of Men, consistently with the Treaty, which we mean sacredly to observe, and the Public Safety: I hope the Transports will soon arrive and carry them off. But what Security have we that they will not divert from their Course to some Part of America? You remember the Convention of Cloyster Severn in Germany;3 and how the British Troops pleaded the Treaty was broken; resum'd their Arms, and drove their Conquerors. I hope we shall watch even after we think we have subdued. We long to hear of something done to Purpose in your Quarter; and are ready to look upon the Success here as an Omen of something great and glorious soon to spring up there. While we have given such large and favourable Terms to Burgoyne, which his Situation by no means gave him any Right to expect; Genl. Vaughan has ravag'd N. River.4 Our Forts there have gone like all the Rest, easily and at once. I wish we may never construct another: Gates I hope will soon stop their Progress there, and be ready in Case of Need to reinforce Washington. If the Enemy have not Troops and Address enough to employ our Force here, the Aids that may go to him from the Northward, may soon turn the Scale in his Favor. Mr. Palms, who carries this, will tell you about Marine Affairs, what he knows, and that I believe is too much. I am Sir with the warmest Friendship Your's &c.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr Cooper Oct 24th '77.”
1. Members of the Parliamentary opposition who had been strong supporters of the American cause.
2. A ship sailing in time of war without a convoy (OED). In this instance, the Perch, carrying Jonathan Loring Austin with the news (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 16:303–304).
3. The Convention of Klosterzeven of 1757, in which defeated Hanoverian forces acceded to disbandment in negotiations with the French. The British government, however, delayed ratification of the convention and finally refused it as Prussia began to make gains (Cambridge Modern History, 6:263, 266, 272).
4. On 19 Oct. Gates wrote to Maj. Gen. John Vaughan protesting his “unexampled cruelty” in reducing to ashes the village of Kingston and continuing to ravage the settlements along the Hudson. The congress ordered publication of Gates' letter (PCC, No. 154, I, f. 286). In his letter to the Massachusetts Council which forwarded the Articles of Convention, Gates explained that he was pushing ahead to stop Vaughan's cruel devastation (Independent Chronicle, 23 Oct.).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0191

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-31

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear Sir

The disorders of our Army do not proceed from any natural faults in our men. On the contrary I believe the people of America (especially the Natives) are the most tractable Creatures in the world. I Can say with great certainty that I have never yet been disobeyed in a single instance by a Virginian or a New England man in any connection with them in the hospital. I speak therefore from Observation as well as reason when I say that our country Affords the finest materials for making good Soldiers of any upon the face of the globe. The same may be said of our Officers. They are greatly Superior in education and principle to the Officers in the British Army most of whom are whipped from Schools, or rusticated from colleges. The fashion of blaming our Soldiers and officers for all the disorders of our army was introduced in order to Shelter the ignorance the cowardice—the idleness and the drunkenness of our major generals. The Spirit of our men is good. They possess a firmness of mind peculiar to themselves, or they must have sunk long ago under the numberless retreats—defeats, and camp distresses to which they have been exposed. Half the number of either of them would have broken up Howe's army long ago, and reduced him to a single life guard. The courage of our men is great, insomuch that there is scarcely a single instance of their giving way where they have not first been deserted by their General Officer.
There is but one way of producing such a change in your Army as will rectify all the disorders which prevail in it. It is by electing your General Officers Annually. In no Other way will you ever purge the army. There are a hundred things true which cannot be proved. A General may play the coward both in the cabinet and the field or he may raise the price of Whisky by getting drunk every day of his life, and yet it may be impossible to prove either of these things against him in a Court of Enquiry. The Romans never trusted the command of their Armies to any man but to the “Felicissimus Dux.”1 An unsuccessful practitioner of physic is always ignorant or negligent of his business. In like manner I believe the always unfortunate general is always a culpable One. You have Brigadiers in your Army who would do honor to the rank of major general in any Service in Europe. Conway and Woodford2 are at the head of them. You { 324 } have likewise Colonels and Other field Officers who would shine at the head of Brigades. Stone—Hendricks—and Brown have not their superiors for activity—industry and military capacity in the army. I have the pleasure of informing you that the first of them Col Stone is in a fair way of recovering from the wound he received at the battle of Germentown.
But if a change in your general Officers cannot be made—If the blood, and treasure of America must be spent to no purpose—If the war must be protracted thr'o their means for two or three generations and If the morals and principles of our young men must be ruined thr'o their example, Pray acquit yourself in the eyes of your country and of posterity by recording the two following resolutions upon your Journals.
1 Resolved that If any major or Brigadier General shall drink more than One quart of Whisky, or get drunk more than Once in 24 hours he shall be publickly reprimanded at the head of his division or brigade.
2 Resolved that in all battles and Skirmishes the major and Brigadier generals shall not be more than 500 yards in the rear of their respective divisions or brigades upon pain of being tryed and punished at the discretion of a court martial.
From military subjects I proceed to medical and here was I disposed to complain I could fill a volume. We shall never do well 'till you adopt the System made use off in the British hospitals. The industry and humanity of the physicians and Surgeons are lost from the want of it. While I am writing these few lines there are several brave fellows expiring within 50 yards of me from being confined in a hospital whose Air has been rendered putrid by the sick and wounded being crouded together. The business of the Physicians, and of the Directors or Purveyors ought to be wholly independant of each Other, and in no case should the latter dictate to the former—we see—we feel the distresses of the sick—and therefore are better capable of directing everything necessary for their convenience than men who never go into a hospital, but who govern them by proxy as Genl. Schuyler commanded Ticonderoga at Albany. The following resolutions would remedy many Abuses, and prove the means of saving the lives of hundreds before the campaign is over.
1 Resolved that the Director and ass: Directors furnish the Physicians and Surgeons Generals and Senior Surgeons with such medicines—stores and accommodations as they shall re• { 325 } quire. The requisition to be made in writing, and to be used afterwards as a Voucher for the expenditures of the D general.
2 That all the Accounts of the D general for medicines—wine—Stores—&c. be certified by the Physician or Surgeons General before they are passed.
This resolution is of the utmost importance, and I have good reason to say will save thousands to the continent.
3 That all returns of sick—wounded—and of Officers of the hospital be delivered to the Medical Committee by the Physician or Surgeon General. The reason of this is plain. They can have no interest in making out false returns, and the returns from them will always be a check upon the expenditures of the Director General.
Adieu—my dear friend. Best compliments to Br. Geary—Mr. Sam Adams—Mr. Lovell—and all such of our old friends as prefer poverty with republican liberty to wealth with monarchical infamy and Slavery.
Should you think it worth while to read any parts of this letter to any of them it will perhaps give some weight to them if you conceal the name of your friend and humble Servt:
[signed] B: Rush
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in JA's late hand: “Octr. 31. 1777.”
1. Most successful leader.
2. William Woodford of Virginia, who was wounded at Brandywine (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 604).
3. Col. James Hendricks of the 1st Virginia Regiment and Col. John Brown, who distinguished himself in leading the effort to recapture Ticonderoga in September (same, p. 285; Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:523).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0192

Author: Sullivan, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-10

From John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

Nothing has given me more uneasiness than to find General Conway is about Leaving our Army on Account of Some French Gentlemen who were inferiour in Rank to him while they Remained in their own Country being promoted over him. This he Says was the only Thing he guarded against in his agreement with Mr. Dean and with Congress, but is now So unhappy as to find not only persons who held Inferiour Rank to him in France promoted over his head but Some who had no Rank at all in the French Army.1
I have been in Two Actions with General Conway and am Confident no man could behave better in Action. His Regula• { 326 } tions in his brigade are much better than any in the Army and his knowledge of Military matters in General far Exceeds any officer we have and I must beg Leave to observe that it is worth the Consideration of Congress to Retain him in the Army. Dr. Sir I am with Real friendship and Esteem your most obedt. Servt.,
[signed] Jno. Sullivan
P.S. If the office of Inspector General with the Rank of Major General were given him2 I think our Army would Soon cut a Different figure from what they now do. Yrs. &c.
[signed] J:S
1. Du Coudray was given the rank of major general on 11 Aug. Lafayette, who had a brief career as a captain in a French regiment, was named a major general without a command on 31 July (JCC, 8:630, 592–593; Nathanael Greene to JA, 28 May, note 4, above; DAB).
2. Conway achieved this status on 13 Dec. (JCC, 9:1026).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0193

Author: Sullivan, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-13

From John Sullivan

[salute] My Dear Friend

I this morning was favoured with yours of the 28 ultimo,1 which gave the more pleasure as I before had began to Conceive that Some part of my Conduct of which I was ignorant had Lost me your friendship and Esteem. This Sir was founded on my not Receiving a Single Line from you to Notify me of the Repeated Storms that were Raised against me in Congress.2 I Ever have and yet do most Sincerely wish to be honored with that Friendship which has Long Subsisted between us, and which I wish may never End while virtue and the Love of our Country continue to be the Cement: When any part of my Conduct Deviates from those Lines I wish That from the Sincere Friend you may Change to the Inflexible Judge and Deal with me as with one who has Sought your Friendship to answer private views. Your Esteemed favor has convinced me that you are yet my friend and will Continue So while you find me Act up to the principles I have Laid Down and I believe in the Case referred to in your Letter you Never Saw greater Room for Exertions in favour of a person whose Situation had become So Critical without the Least Colour or Even Shadow of a Fault. As you have Examined the papers I need Say no more.
Those virtues you wish to Introduce into the Army or make universal in it I almost Despair of while vice is So prevalent in { 327 } the Country. Forgive me Sir when I Say there is Scarcely an Individual out of the Army and out of the immediate Service of the Country whose motions are not Regulated by Avarice and whose views are not Confined to himself. This it is that makes your Army poor Indeed.3 The Industrious officer and the faithful Soldier find the Exceeding high wages given them totally inadequate to furnish them with the necessaries of Life while their poor Families are Left to perish and All this owing to the Sordid Avarice of The Indolent and inactive part of the Americans whose private Interest prevents them from viewing any other object. If poverty is the foundation of virtue I believe your Army is already the most virtuous in the world. Believe me Sir without greater Exertions of power you will never have a well Regulated army. I had Like to have Said you will Soon have none at all. I tremble when I Look forward and view Consequences which must arise from a General State of Corruptions. Pray what prevents Congress from affixing the price of Necessaries and ordering the Army to take them in Case the owners refuse to Sell. Why Should the Soldier be oblidge to pay for Cloathing more than his wages can Amount to. In Short the wages in the Army are So Disproportionate to Every thing Else that your officers are now resigning by Dozens.
I dont wish to have the wages Raised but I wish to Strike at the Root of the Evil and that immediately or I fear we are undone. Your own Judgment will point out the proper methods to adopt to prevent the growing Evils.
One thing more is Absolutely necessary. That is for Congress to order all the Regiments to be filled up by Draughts from the Militia by a particular Day to be prefixed. We are Eternally Hovering Round The Enemy with Inferiour numbers. If we Attack we are Sure to be Defeated. If we do not Attack we are Sure to be Blamed. We must be Rendered Superiour to the Enemy in the field before we can put an End to the war. Militia answers no good pur[pose] and I wish Congress to Destroy their Expectations of Bounties by [ . . . ] them to Serve after the above Resolutions takes place if it Sho[uld] be thought worth notice.
The Sublime and beautiful Discipline you wish for is as Earnestly Desired by me—but we want Such a Wolf as Instructed the Britons or Such a De La Lippe as Instructed the Portugeze to Teach our Americans.4 The man who pays attention to it in our Army is rather Despized than Applauded. If we had a good In• { 328 } spector General and a good Adjutant General I think we Should Soon mend and be Reduced to order. Pray Labor that Neither Friendship or Connections may not be the means of Introducing those officers but Real knowledge and Industry. I have two persons who I know would mend your Army and when I mention them Suffer me to Say upon Honor that it is neither friendship or Connections that Influence me. Nor do I know that Either of them will Accept. I mean General Conway for the first and Colo Scammell5 for the Second of those offices. Perhaps Congress may know others that are Equal but I know none in America So well Qualified. I am however Content with any that will answer the End Designed.
I can give you nothing new from our Camp Save that the Forts yet hold out and I believe they will.6 I beleve our Army will Soon move to a place that must bring on a General Action. Heaven grant it may be Successful. Dear Sir with the highest Sentiments of Esteem and Respect I am Your most obedt. Servt.
[signed] Jno Sullivan
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. In Congress York Town Free”; docketed: “Gen. Sullivan.” MS torn where seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. For his unsuccessful raid on Staten Island and his performance at Brandywine (Joseph Ward to JA, 4 Sept., note 3, above; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:227–228 and note there).
3. Sullivan frequently failed to supply periods. The editors' decision to end the sentence here is arbitrary; the period might be placed after “poor” instead.
4. Perhaps a reference to James Wolfe's Instructions to Young Officers, London, 1768, or to Manoeuvres for a Battalion of Infantry upon First Principles . . . Including the Late General Wolfe's, London, 1766. Frederick-William Ernst, count de Lippe-Schaumburg (1724–1777), who in 1761 commanded the English troops sent to the relief of Portugal and successfully warded off a Spanish invasion. He founded a school of artillery and drafted plans for a fort under the patronage of Joseph I of Portugal (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
5. Alexander Scammell, law student and former military aide of Sullivan's, was colonel of the 3d New Hampshire Regiment. Early in 1778 he became adjutant general on Washington's staff and served in that capacity for three years (DAB).
6. Forts Mifflin and Mercer, part of American defenses in the Delaware River below Philadelphia. They had to be abandoned a few days later (Freeman, Washington, 4:526–527, 551–552). JA, as a member of a congressional committee, had visited these forts in June (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:259–260).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0194

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-14

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear sir

Tho I must refer you as well as Mr. Hancock to what I have written to Mr. S. Adams relative to the Business in Congress,1 { 329 } and also omit at present general chit chat of Men Women and Things, yet one little Peice of History which is peculiarly adapted to your improving Fancy I must put down. Mr. Hancock's Waggoner who went with Mrs. Hancock to Boston, after his Return to Germantown his Home fancied to visit his Parents in Philadelphia where he was pointed out by one Corey a Breeches maker and put under Guard but by the Intercession of one of the Allen's who had been schoolmate with him, and who mentioned that the mans Circumstances obliged him to work for Mr. Hancock as well as any other who might incline to employ him.2 Mr. Laurens asked the Waggoner if he was in Philadelphia when the Defeat of Count Dunop was reported there first;3 he answered yes, and, that the Hessians were exceedingly cast down. He turned his Eye to a Table and asked the President whether the large book upon it was a Bible; on being answered yes, he turned to the 2d. Part of the 44th. Psalm4 and read the Poetry which he declared the Hessians sang on meeting their surviving Chief. The President bid him remember that it was a Bible in his Hand; and also asked him if he would take his Oath. The man replied that he would not swear he heard them sing, but he would swear that one or two Officers read those verses in the Guard Room as the verses which the Hessians had been solemnly singing.
They must be deeply touched indeed to make a religious Ceremony and openly therein avow their disgrace.
It is said they are mighty Biblemen each being Possessor of one.
My Head snaps with writing and the two Fouquets5 are chattering French at my Elbow in the Board of War Room. Therefore I conclude yr. affectionate obliged
[signed] James Lovell
P.S. I should not have kept my regards for your Lady to be presented in a postscript, if I was not bent upon following them with Something adequate to a downright Execration of the Enemies of my Country and the Liberties of mankind. May no one such ever feel a fiftieth Part of your delicate domestic Enjoyments.
[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell Novber. 14th 1777.”
1. John Hancock resigned from the presidency of the congress on 29 Oct. and soon thereafter left for home on a leave of absence. JA and Samuel Adams, having received permission from the congress, set out for home on 11 Nov. for a much-needed rest (JCC, 9:846, 880; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:267).
{ 330 }
2. Lovell does not finish his thought. Allen's intercession persuaded the British to let the wagoner leave Philadelphia.
3. Karl Emil Kurt von Donop, commander of Hessian troops ordered in October to attack Fort Mercer, stormed the position unsuccessfully with heavy casualties and loss of his own life (Troyer S. Anderson, The Command of the Howe Brothers during the American Revolution, N.Y., 1936, p. 289–290; Hans Huth, “Letters from a Hessian Mercenary,” PMHB, 62:488–501 [Oct. 1938]; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:422).
4. That is, lines 9 and following, which lament God's turning away from his armies to leave them at the mercy of their enemies.
5. The Fouquets, father and son, were among the officers who had traveled to the United States with Du Coudray, and who, disappointed in their hopes, wished to return to France. On 7 Nov. the congress authorized payments to 27 officers and 12 artillerymen for pay and travel expenses (JCC, 9:765, 876–877).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0195

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-18

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

It appears by Returns this day received from Genl. Gates that Burgoine must have destroyed his Standards and almost every other military Trophy during the Capitulation. Not one Musket fit for use was delivered, not one Scabbard to a Bayonett or Cutlass. We are told that instead of piling the Arms the Enemy chose to ground them, that the Waggons might more certainly crush them. Gates does not notice this as a Breach of Convention, tho his Returns show the Facts; yet he says that if Howe obstinately refuses an honourable Cartel it is proper to delay fulfilling the Convention. I wish you had not left York till now, as I join in the Opinion of many here, Today, that a Committee ought to know the Facts first exactly from Gates, and be empowered to proceed from Albany to Boston, if found necessary. You know I was critical about not violating the Treaty: But the Returns have proved very unfair Dealing on the part of Burgoyne.1
You would scold me yourself if you knew how sick I am and what Hour of the Night it is. You must see Mr. S. Adams for I scrawl one Thing to him and another to you out of pure Oconomy.
Gates tells me on the 10th. “General Lincoln recovers apace.” With affectionte. Esteem yr. humb. Servt.,
[signed] James Lovell
A certain Lady2 has cried bitterly Today about Philadelphia and says “she had rather dye in its Goal than live in any other Place curse those who began the Trouble curse W[].” This savours a little of Toryism. I really believe the two dear Men3 were within the Wind of the Curse. But you will call this, Jeal• { 331 } ousy, Envy, and a Desire to rob you of your Portion of Honey; therefore I desist, and crawl to Bed in a starlight Morning.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell”; in CFA's hand: “Novr 18th 1777.”
1. On 19 Nov. the congress appointed a committee of three to consider Gates' return on enemy weapons and other materials surrendered. The committee's report on the 22d stressed the small quantities reported of expected materials. The congress plainly suspected false dealings. Meanwhile, Burgoyne charged a breach of faith in that accommodations for his army in Boston were not as promised (JCC, 9:939, 948–951; 10:32).
2. Probably a reference to Mrs. Clymer, sister of Daniel Roberdeau (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:353). See JA to James Lovell, 6 Dec. (below).
3. John and Samuel Adams, on leave from the congress and formerly guests in Roberdeau's home.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0196

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1777-11-19

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Sir

The inclosed Letter,1 I this Moment received and can think of no other Way, to answer the Expectations of Mr. Smith, than to request you to take the Trouble of doing what, by the inclosed Letter I am requested to do.
I am Sorry to take off your Attention from things of more Importance or Amusements of greater Pleasure. But having often experienced your obliging Disposition, I presume upon it once more.
We have nothing New, excepting that a whole Pickett Guard came off together from Kings bridge two days ago—which they say is the second Instance of late. The new Levies are very discontented, and earnestly wishing to escape and throw themselves upon Mercy. G. Gates's Army, are passing fast to Head Quarters.
I have had vast Pleasure in this Journey in remarking the difference between the State of the Country and the Temper of Mens Minds, now, and last Winter.
Our Friend Lovell must remember the general Complaints of Danger from the Tories and of the Discredit of Continental Money, as well as the great Anxiety upon the Minds of the People concerning the Issue of the Cause. All this is now done Away. The Tories are universally discouraged and there Appears not in the Minds of the People the least Doubt of the final success of our great and holy Cause.
Remember me with every sentiment of Respect and Affection to the General and Brothers Lovell and Dana,2 to the Ladies and { 332 } the Children of the Family, and believe me to be your sincere Friend
[signed] John Adams
1. Not found.
2. Although elected to the congress in Dec. 1776, Dana was just beginning his service. In fact, JA met him and his father-in-law, William Ellery, on 15 Nov., a few miles beyond Reading (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:267).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0197

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-22

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

We have this Evening a Letter from Mr. Bingham of Octr. 13th. in which he tells us that the french General had received a Packet by a Boat which left Rochelle Sepr. 4th. advising him of the destination of 5,000 Troops for Martinique the Transports being actually ready at Havre Nantes and Bourdeaux to take them on Board. An Embargo was to be immediately laid upon european bound Vessels to prevent their falling into the hands of the English as it was then thought at Martinique that war must have been declared at the date of the Letter. The French were working night and day at Brest and Rochfort and Toulon to get their marine in a respectable Force. Carmichael1 writes from Paris the 6th. of Sepr. that war appeared inevitable.
The british Ministry are publishing the m[ost] irritating peices against the French in hop[es] of drawing the people into a disposition for a war with France that such an Event may give a pretence for relinquishing the american contest of which he has at length a desperate view.2 Carmichael mentions that he had received a Letter from Mr. Lee who was “on his return from Berlin having finished his business successfully.”3 No foreigners had subscribed for the english Loan tho' the advantages were the greatest ever offered except once: and all army and navy contracts were for 5 years which Mr. Carmichael says is a Proof of war.
I feared I should not have opportunity to copy large Extracts from the well-wrote letters received before the post goes thro' this place Tomorrow therefore give you these hints and a good Night.
[signed] James Lovell
You will consider that the within Intelligence has not been read in Congress—tis confidential to you.
{ 333 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; franked: “York Town Jas. Lovell”; docketed: “Mr Lovell”; in an unidentified hand: “November 22nd 1777.” MS slightly mutilated.
1. William Carmichael, who had performed various tasks for the American Commissioners, had become disillusioned with them and was determined to return to the United States. On 28 Nov. the congress appointed him secretary to the Commissioners, but he never accepted the position. After his return to America, he entered the congress as a representative from his home state, Maryland (Lloyd B. Streeter, “The Diplomatic Career of William Carmichael,” Md. Hist. Mag., 8:119–125, 128 [June 1913]).
2. Rumors flew around in Europe that an accommodation with the United States would take place. On 22 Nov. the congress, taking note of these disturbing developments, emphatically denied that anything but recognition of independence and of treaties made under the authority of the United States could end the contest with Britain. A copy of the resolves of the congress was sent to JA (JCC, 9:951–952; James Lovell to JA, 1 Dec., below).
3. Lee went to Berlin in early June to discuss trade possibilities with the Prussian government. While there, according to his report, he was assured that the German states were not likely to furnish additional mercenaries and that Russia would send none at all. Lee also broached the subject of Prussia's admitting American prizes to their ports and received a promise that Prussia would look into the practice of France and Spain (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:335–336, 369–372). Lee failed in his main object, however—being received as the accredited representative of an independent United States.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0198

Author: Continental Congress
Author: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Franklin, Benjamin
Recipient: Lee, Arthur
Date: 1777-11-27

Commission for Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and John Adams

The delegates of the United States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to all who shall see these presents send greeting.
Whereas a trade upon equal terms between the subjects of his most Christian majesty the king of France and the people of these states will be beneficial to both nations, Know ye therefore that we confiding in the prudence and integrity of Benjamin Franklin one of the delegates in Congress from the state of Pensylvania, Arthur Lee esquire of Virginia and John Adams one of the delegates in congress from the state of Massachusetts Bay, have appointed and deputed, and by these presents do appoint and depute them the said Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee and John Adams our commissioners giving and granting to them the said Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee and John Adams or to any two of them and in case of the death absence or disability of any two, to any one of them full power to communicate, treat, agree { 334 } and conclude with his most Christian majesty the king of France or with such person or persons as shall by him be for that purpose authorised, of and upon a true and sincere friendship and a firm inviolable and universal peace for the defence protection and safety of the navigation and mutual commerce of the subjects of his most Christian majesty and the people of the United States and also to enter into and agree upon a treaty with his most Christian majesty or such person or persons as shall be by him authorised for such purpose, for assistance in carrying on the present war between Great Britain and these United States, and to do all other things which may conduce to those desireable ends and promising in good faith to ratify whatsoever our said commissioners shall transact in the premises.
Done in Congress at Yorktown this twenty seventh day of November1 in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven. In testimony whereof the president by order of the said Congress hath hereunto subscribed his name and affixed his seal.2
[signed] Henry Laurens
[signed] Attest: Cha Thomson secy
RC (Adams Papers); red seal, with a device and the letters “H L,” affixed next to signature of Henry Laurens; docketed: “Commissio[n] To Franklin Lee and A[dams] as Plenipotentiaries to the King of France. Louis 16th. Dated the 27th of November 1777 and presented to the Office of the Secretary of foreign Affairs on the 13th of April 1778. at Versailles.” A small piece cut from the MS has mutilated the docketing.
1. The Journals record Adams' election as a commissioner in place of Deane on 28 Nov. (JCC, 9:975). On that day Laurens notified JA and sent him a copy of the minutes (Adams Papers).
2. This commission was forwarded to JA on 3 Dec. by the president of the congress, and a duplicate was sent by the Committee for Foreign Affairs as an enclosure in a letter written also on the third (both below). Enclosed in the latter, too, were copies of congressional resolves originally sent to JA in James Lovell's letter of 1 Dec. (below). The circumstances of JA's nomination as commissioner were described by Elbridge Gerry in a letter to JA of 29 Sept. 1779. Gerry placed JA's name before the congress in the belief that he would accept, although he had not told Gerry that he would; indeed, JA recalled in his Autobiography that he protested against any such move because he felt unqualified. The other person nominated for the post was Robert R. Livingston. In a note CFA gives the names of those who voted for JA according to markings Gerry made in JA's copy of the Journals and lists those who presumably voted for Livingston (JA, Works, 9:492 and note; Diary and Autobiography, 4:3).
{ 335 } | view { 336 }

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0199

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-27

Resolution on Property Confiscation

Resolved That it be Earnestly recommended to the several States, as soon as may be, to Confiscate and make sale of all the Real and Personal Estate therein, of such of their Inhabitants and other Persons who have forfeited the same, and the right to the Protection of their respective States; and to invest the money arising from the Sales in Continental Loan office Certificates, to be appropriated in Such manner as the respective States shall hereafter direct.
Query How the Persons thus forfeiting shall be described, 2. In what manner the Confiscation shall be Conducted. 3. And whether any Law can be framed to oblige a Person who is suspected to be indebted to any of those Estates and no obligation to be found, or even known to be indebted yet Cannot Ascertain the particular Sum &c.?1
Tr in an unknown hand with queries added (Adams Papers); docketed in an unknown hand: “Resolve of Congress.”
1. In August, Stephen Hopkins wrote to the congress enclosing a journal produced by a committee, of which he was president, of the New England states and New York. The concern of these states was the need to support the value of paper currency. The letter and journal were referred to a three-man committee, later increased to eight members. Its report, including a long preamble and seven resolutions, was extensively debated on 22 and 26 Nov. The eighth resolution, here printed, was adopted on the 27th (JCC, 8:650, 731; 9:953–958, 968–970, 971). How the copy of the resolution and queries were acquired by JA is unknown to the editors. The handwriting is of neither James Lovell nor Elbridge Gerry, who was one of those added to the congressional committee.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0200

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-28

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I shall not in my great hurry repeat to you any of the matters which I have written to Mr. S. Adams as you can have them, on sight of him.
I expected Brother Geary would have written to you but he has just requested me to inclose two Letters1 which he opened in consequence of your orders; and to give his Compliments to you begging your excuse of his further silence as he is preparing to go on a Committee to Camp in the morning with Robt. Morris and Mr. Jones to have a confidential Conference with the General, which I hope will put an end to the Idea of retiring into winter quarters, an Idea too much entertained by our military Officers. { 338 } The Conference is to be with the General only.2 I hope every exertion will be made in New England to lessen complaints about Cloathing. A rascally improvement is made of the charming appearance which some of our lately-arrived troops make in comparison of others. It is said that now it may be seen where the cloathing is that came in the Amphitrite.3 I mention this en passant to you. I shall write about it to camp as the malice of it deserves.
I am charged by all those who are truly anxious here for the best prosperity of our affairs in France to press your acceptance of the Commission which has this day been voted you. The great sacrifices which you have made of private happiness has encouraged them to hope you will undertake this new business. As one I hope that you will not allow the consideration of your partial defect in the Language to weigh any thing, when you surmount others of a different nature. Doctor Franklin's Age allarms us. We want one man of inflexible Integrity on that Embassy. We have made Carmichael Secretary who is master of the Language and well acquainted with the politics of several Courts. Mercantile matters will be quite in regular channels and so not a burthen to the Commissioners. Alderman Lee Morris and Williams4 will have got our commerce into good order by the time of your arrival. If you make the Language any Argument to deter you, consider that you may perfectly master the Grammer on your voyage and gain much of the Speech too by having a genteel french man for a fellow Passenger. You see I am ripe in hope about your acceptance, however your dear amiable Partner may be tempted to condemn my Persuasions of you to distance yourself from her farther than Baltimore or York Town.
Great as Brother Geary's hurry is he threatens to take his Pen in hand because I am not enough urgent with you; he feels all the Callosity of a Bachelor. I am but too ready to pardon his hard heartedness on this occasion where the eminent Interest of my Country is pleaded an excuse for him.
Tyconderoga and Independence evacuated5 give room for a revengeful exertion against our Enemies in this Quarter with fresh force from the northward. But this and every other favourable circumstances encreases our necessity of having a strict politician in France, as the probability of Treaties grows with our good Luck and lessens with our bad.
{ 339 }

[salute] I will add no more than my Love and Respects to you & yours sincerely,

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honourable John Adams Esqr. Boston or Braintree” by “Express”; franked: “York Town Jas Lovell”; docketed twice: “Mr Lovell”; in an unidentified hand: “James Lovell November 1777.”
1. Probably AA to JA, 16 Nov. and Cotton Tufts to JA, 21 Nov., both being addressed to him as still attending the congress (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:367–369).
2. Lovell used a brace in the margin to mark this passage describing the mission of the congressional committee and wrote beside the brace: “for yourself, and your discretion.” The committee was appointed on the 28th (JCC, 9:972).
3. The French ship Amphitrite had arrived at Portsmouth, N.H., in April with arms and other supplies. JA later complained that none in the congress knew where the cargo had disappeared to (James Warren to JA, 23 April, note 8, and JA to Warren, 7 July, note 1, both above).
4. William Lee, who had been an alderman in London, Thomas Morris, and Jonathan Williams. Williams superseded Morris as commercial agent at Nantes. Lee, originally meant to act with Morris in Nantes, was named by the congress in May commissioner to the Berlin and Viennese courts (DAB).
5. These forts were abandoned by the British after Burgoyne's surrender (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:539).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0201

Author: Roberdeau, Daniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-28

From Daniel Roberdeau

[salute] My dear Friend

I would not take pen in hand until I could reasonably suppose you safe arrived to your long wished for home, on which I now presume to congratulate you and sincerely hope you have met with Mrs. Adams and your Children well and every domestick concern to your entire satisfaction for all which I feel myself much interested from the sincere regard contracted for you in our short intimacy, which I shall be ever ready to cultivate whenever Opportunity offers.
I congratulate you or rather my Country in the choice of you this day as a Commissioner to France for the united States, in lieu of Mr. Dean who is recalled.1 Your domestick views of happiness was not consulted on this occasion, but the necessity of your Country for your Talents, which being devoted to her service, I expect a chearful acquiescence with a call so honorable, which I doubt not will prove a lasting honor to you and your Connections as well as a blessing to these States. I should be sorry for the least hisitation. I will not admit the thought of your refusal of the Office which would occasion a publick chagrine. I wish you had improved the opportunity when here of studying the French language, which our friend Mr. Garry is now doing. I { 340 } would advise your taking french books with you and a french Companion, and if an Opportunity does not immediately present from Boston a trip to the West Indies and a passage in a french vessel to Paris would be of considerable advantage. Our deligent friend Mr. Lovel makes every thing unnecessary in the way of news, besides I am on an appointment to Lancaster which forbids lengthning out this Epistle further than to present my respects to Mrs. Adams and to assure you that I am with sincere regard Dr. Sir Yr. very obt. friend and Servt.,
[signed] Daniel Roberdeau
P.S. My Sisters and my Children desire to be remembered to you and yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esqr. Boston”; franked: “York Town Daniel Roberdeau”; docketed: “Gen. Roberdeau”; in CFA's hand: “Novr 28th. 1777.”
1. Silas Deane was recalled from France by vote of the congress on 21 Nov. (JCC, 9:946). For an account of the reasons and the recall's impact, see Deane to JA, 8 April 1778, note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0202

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-01

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

As I was at the Secretaries yesterday I took off a few Resolutions from the Journals for your view, supposing as to the above,1 that you might have forgotten them, and as to the following, wishing to have your Sentiments. I doubt not you will think it may or may not be proper to take from the minds of foreign Courts the Idea that we are absolutely determind about our conduct towards Great Britain in regard to Treaties; therefore the Guard which you see in the Resolves about the time of communicating the different Resolves, which the Commissioners only ought to determine.
Being one of the Committee with F L Lee and Duer to conduct the Resolve of Novr. 29th respecting Canada2 I wish your Sentiments, promising to you that I am altogether averse from strong sollicitations to that People to become immediately active. They will fall to us of Course. I wish to have them acquainted with the nature of our union. But I would not wish to be bound to carry an Expedition into their Country till their Friendship was certain and quite General: But, I stand ready for conviction upon hearing Arguments for it founded in evident Policy.
{ 341 }
It could not be brought about that a Commission [ . . . ] be sent you by this Post, which perhaps you may be led to expect by Letters delivered to the Express two days ago: But a second messenger will be sent with it and all the proper papers.
Genl. Howe will not exchange prisoners till those murthered at New York are paid for with fresh and good Soldiers.3 He is ready to exchange Officers to be on parole. He wants Burgoyn's Embarkation to be from Rhode Island: but Genl. Washington thinks a whole Season would be gained to the Enemy by that; and wishes a refusal. It will be hard for Massachusetts to have so many additional mouths to feed; but there are good Arguments for denying Howe's Proposition.4
Resolved that a Committee of 3 be appointed to procure a translation to be made of the articles of Confederation into the french Languge; and to report an address to the Inhabitants of Canada inviting them to accede to the union of these States; that the said Committee be further directed to report a plan for facilitating the distribution of the said Articles and Address, and for conciliating the Affections of the Canadians towards these United States.5

[salute] Dear Sir

We have nothing of much Importance this morning. Fayettee being with Genl. Greene in the Jersies fell upon a Pickett of the Enemy killed 20 took 20 and wounded many without loss. He is delighted with the Militia; and Genl. Greene says the Marquis seems determined to court Danger. I wish more were so determined.6 Some of the Enemy's Ships have passed up to the City.
We yet hear Nothing from Spencer; but we resolved on the 28th. That Enquiry should be made into the Causes of the Evacuation of Fort Mercer7 and the Conduct of the principal Officers commanding there—also an immediate Enquiry into the Causes of the Failure at Rhode Island8 and the Conduct of the principal Officers commanding there—also into the loss of Forts Montgomery and Clinton and Fort Mifflin on the Delaware9—and into all losses in future of Forts posts and Shipping.
These Resolves will be printed at large. I give you only the Skeleton, for any use within your discretion. I am dear Sir your most humb Servt.
[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovells Letter to me Dec. 1. 1777 Sundry Resns. respecting the Comrs. of Septr. 28. 1776 and Novr. 29. 1777”; in CFA's hand: “Mr. Lovell. Decr. 1st. 1777.” A small hole in the MS has obliterated parts of several words.
{ 342 }
1. Lovell began his letter on the same sheet and below the transcription of the congressional resolution of 28 Sept. 1776, which provided for the payment of salaries and expenses for the Commissioners so that they could live in a style suitable to their dignity (JCC, 5:833–834).
2. See note 5 (below).
3. The allusion here remains obscure. This may be a reference to the killing of German soldiers at the Battle of Bennington because their wish to surrender was not understood; but none of the letters exchanged between Washington and Howe on the subject of prisoner exchange makes reference to murdered men (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:430).
4. Here follow four resolutions regarding reconciliation with Britain, which were passed on 22 Nov. See James Lovell to JA, 22 Nov., note 2 (above).
5. JCC, 9:981.
6. Lovell's account of Lafayette's energetic assault on the British pickets is taken from Washington's letter to the congress of 27 Nov., which quoted Gen. Greene's assessment of the Marquis (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 10:109–110). For additional details see Henry Laurens to JA, 3 Dec. (below).
7. Fort Mercer was abandoned on the night of 20–21 Nov. (Freeman, Washington, 4:551–552).
8. As early as the spring of 1777 the congress had suggested an expedition against the British at Newport and urged Massachusetts and Connecticut to contribute troops. Yet it was October before Gen. Spencer had assembled nine or ten thousand troops and the necessary boats to ferry them from the mainland to the island on which Newport is located. Then bad winds so delayed embarkation that the expedition was called off. Many of the militiamen blamed Spencer for indecisive leadership (JA to James Bowdoin, 16 April and notes there, above; Benjamin Cowell, The Spirit of '76 in Rhode Island . . ., Boston, 1850, p. 144–146; Samuel Greene Arnold, History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, 2 vols., N.Y., 1858 and 1860, 2:406–408).
9. On the capture of Forts Montgomery and Clinton, see James Warren to JA, 12 Oct., note 6 (above). Fort Mifflin was evacuated during the night of 15–16 Nov. (Freeman, Washington, 4:551).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0203

Author: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-03

From the Foreign Affairs Committee

[salute] Dear Sir

With great pleasure to ourselves we discharge our duty by inclosing to you your Commission for representing these United States at the Court of France. We are by no means willing to indulge a thought of your declining this important service, and therefore we send duplicates of the Commission and the late Resolves, in order that you may take one sett with you, and send the other, by another Vessel. These are important papers, and therefore we wish thay may be put into the hands of a particular and careful person with direction to deliver them himself into the hands of the Commissioners. Mr. Hancock, before he left this place, said that he intended to send a Gentleman to France on some particular business. Cannot we prevail to get this Gentleman to undertake the delivery of our packet to the commissioners, they paying his expence of travel to Paris and back again to his place of business. It is unnecessary to mention the propriety of directing these dispatches to be bagged with weight proper for { 343 } sinking them on immediate prospect of their falling, otherwise, into the enemies hands. We sincerely wish you a quick, and pleasant voyage, being truly your affectionate friends,
[signed] Richard Henry Lee
[signed] James Lovell
In Committee for foreign Affairs
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honourable John Adams Esqr. Boston”; docketed: “Letter Decr. 3. 1777 from R. H. Lee & J. Lovell Comtee. for. Affairs inclosing a Letter to the Navy Board & a Letter from Mr Lovell.” Also enclosed was the commission for Franklin, Lee, and JA. The letter to the Navy Board has not been identified, but the letter from Lovell, according to JA, is that of 8 Dec. (below). See JA to Committee for Foreign Affairs, 24 Dec. (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0204

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-03

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

I received your Favour of the 19th Novr on my Way to this Place; and the Business which your Friend Mr. Smith requested You to negotiate, shall be carefully attended to and performed.1 I thank You, for the Intelligence conveyed, and would endeavour to recollect in Return, what has transpired at Congress, had not our Friend Mr. Lovell, who as a faithful and accurate Intelligencer as well as on every other Account, has more Merit than his Collegue can boast or attempt to acquire, rendered it unnecessary. But I see You solicitously enquiring for the State of the Army; which I will endeavour to give in a few Words. It is, from the best Information which I have been able to collect with out yet seeing the Returns, stronger than it has been this Campaign. Cloathing is much wanted, and the States are impressed with the Necessity of exerting themselves to send immediate Supplies; from whence I humbly conceive there is a prospect of speedy Relief. In some of the Officers, there seems to be an irresistible Desire of going into Winter Quarters but others are averse to it, as are Congress unanimously; and Mr. Morris, and Mr. Jones, who are of the Committee as far as I can collect their Sentiments, are not disposed to come to Camp for the purpose of promoting this plan, to which I think it needless to inform You, I am altogether averse. The Committee have large Powers, and should a Winters Campaign be determined on, will not be reserve in exercising them so far as shall appear necessary to accomplish something decisive. If calling in a powerful Reinforce• { 344 } ment of the Militia, or remaining with the Army untill they shall by one vigorous Effort nobly endeavour to subdue the Enemy, will have a good Effect on the Minds of our Friends in the Army, I think the Committee will most heartily propose the Measures, but will promise nothing from their Inclinations, untill the Issue of a Consultation which is to be held with the General can be known.
You will be informed e'er this can reach You, of your Appointment to represent the States at the Court of France; I hope to have the Concurrence of your Lady when I urge the Necessity of your accepting hereof; it is the earnest Wish of Congress and every Friend to America that You determine in the Affirmative, and of Consequence, Chagrin and Disapointment will result from a Refusal. Genteel provision will be made for the Support of these important Officers, but pecuniary Considerations I know will have no Weight in your valuable Mind, and only mention it as my Opinion of the generous Disposition of Congress towards these important Officers. I remain sir in great Haste yours most sincerely,
[signed] E Gerry
My best Respects to your Lady, General Warren Mr. Adams &c.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams Esq. at Boston or Braintree Massachusetts Bay”; franked: “On public Business Free E Gerry.”
1. Since the editors have not found the letter from Smith which was forwarded to Gerry, the negotiations referred to remain unexplained.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0205

Author: Laurens, Henry
Author: President of Congress
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-03

From the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

The 28th. Ultimo1 I had the honour of writing to you by the Messenger Frederick Weare and of transmitting a Vote of Congress by which you are appointed a Commissioner at the Court of France. Inclosed under this Cover you will find a Commission executed agreeable to the Order of Congress.
You have no doubt heard or will hear before this can reach you of the little affair which happened last Week in Jersey, the attack by the Marquis de Lafayette at the head of about 400 Militia and a detachment from Morgan's Rifles on a Picket of 300 Hessians twice reinforced by British—in which our Troops were successful, killed about 20—wounded more took 14 Prisoners { 345 } and chased the Enemy about half a Mile. We learned that General Greene under whom the Marquis had acted had been recalled from Jersey but tis probable from an account received this Morning in a private Letter from Major Clarke2 something more must have been done before he recrossed Delaware.
The Major writes that from different and corroborating accounts Lord Cornwallis was killed or wounded, that in an attack made at Gloster3 the Enemy were beat left 30 dead on the field and crossed the Water after having set fire to that pretty little Town by which the whole was consumed—that the English Officers greatly enraged against the French Nation openly declare they would gladly forgive America for the exchange of drubbing the French—that Gen Howe had billeted his Soldiers on the Inhabitants of Philadelphia two in each House and taken many of their Blankets for the use of his light Horse which had occasioned universal discontent and murmuring among the Citizens—that a Ship and Brig richly laden attempting to come up the River had been lost among the Cheveaux de frize.
I beg Sir you will do me the favour to present my respectful Compliments to Mr. S. Adams and to accept the repeated good wishes of Sir Your most obedt. and Most hum. Servt.,
[signed] Henry Laurens
President of Congress
1. Adams Papers, not printed here.
2. John Clark served in the war from its beginning. While the army was in Pennsylvania, he was aide de camp to Gen. Greene and an important source of information about the enemy for Gen. Washington. He concocted spurious letters for interception by the British and employed spies to gather intelligence. For an autobiographical sketch, see PMHB, 20:77–86 (April 1896); and for Washington's opinion of him, see Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 10:8–9, 250.
3. Gloucester, N.J., on 25 Nov. (Howard H. Peckham, ed., The Toll of Independence, Chicago, 1974, p. 45).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0206

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1777-12-06

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Sir

You must expect for the Future, to find in me, Situated as I am by a blissfull Fireside, surrounded by a Wife and a Parcell of chattering Boys and Girls, only a Dealer in Small Politicks.
I find the Same Perplexities here, that We felt at York Town— a general Inclination among the People to barter, and as general an Aversion to dealing in Paper Money of any Denomination. { 346 } Guineas half Jo's1 and milled Dollars, in as high Estimation as in Pensylvania.
The Monied Men, I am informed, generally decline receiving Paper for their Debts—many refuse—and it is said, all will, very soon. There is a Whispering about among the richer sort, that an Act is necessary for allowing a Depreciation, or an Appreciation, as the Case may be, upon Specialties. And the poorer Sort, look cunning, and give Hints, that the rich are aiming at a Depreciation.
I mention these Facts and leave you to draw your own Inferences. I know and feel the Delicacy of the subject, and am restrained from certain prudential Considerations, from writing my own sentiments freely. Two Things I will venture to Say,— one is that I am sick of Attempts to work Impossibilities, and to alter the Course of Nature. Another is Fiat Justitia ruat Coelum.2 The rapid Translation of Property from Hand to Hand, the robbing of Peter to pay Paul distresses me, beyond Measure. The Man who lent another an 100 £ in gold four years ago, and is paid now in Paper, cannot purchase with it, a Quarter Part, in Pork, Beef, or Land, of what he could when he lent the Gold. This is Fact and Facts are Stubborn Things, in opposition to Speculation. You have the nimblest Spirit for climbing over Difficulties, and for dispersing Mists and seeing fair Weather, when it is foggy, of any Man I know. But this will be a serious Perplexity even to you before it is over.
I am not out of my Wits about it—it will not ruin our Cause great as the Evil is, or if it was much greater. But it torments me to see Injustice, both to the public and to Individuals so frequent.
Every Mans Liberty and Life, is equally dear to him. Every Man therefore ought to be taxed equally for the Defence of his Life and Liberty. That is the Poll tax should be equal.
Every Mans Property is equally dear both to himself, and to the Public. Every Mans Property therefore ought to be taxed for the Defence of the Public, in Proportion to the Quantity of it. These are fundamental Maxims of sound Policy. But instead of this, every Man, who had Money due to him at the Commencement of this War has been already taxed three fourth Parts of that Money, besides his Tax on his Poll and Estate in Proportion to other People. And every Man who owed Money, at the beginning of the War, has put ¾ of it in his Pockett as clear gain. The { 347 } War therefore is immoderately gainfull to some, and ruinous to others. This will never do. I, am, with great Truth, your Friend,
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Hoar Autograph Coll.); addressed: “Hon Elbridge Gerry Esqr Member of Congress York Town”; docketed: “ans Feby 9 1778.”
1. Short for “Johannes,” a name for the Portuguese gold coin Dobra de 4 escudos, worth in sterling £1.80 (John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600–1775: A Handbook, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 12).
2. See Thomas McKean to JA, 19 Sept., note 8 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0207

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1777-12-06

To James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Your kind Favours of 14 and 18 Novr. I received together, this Evening. I thank you, for your obliging Remembrance of me, and for your entertaining Anecdotes. Is there not Ground of Suspicion, that the Standards, Trophys, and other things, are concealed among, the Officers Baggage? But by the Convention Burgoignes Honour is to be relyed on, that nothing improper Shall be So concealed. A broken Reed I fear, this Same Honour. However, We shall be even with them I suspect, one Way, or other, for many of their Men both British and Foreigners, are wandering about the Country.
A Ship has arrived from France at Portsmouth with Arms, Ammunition, Cannon &c. and I presume has dispatches for Congress.1 If She has I Shall be greatly obliged to you, for the Substance of the Intelligence. Dont however write late at Night nor too early in the Morning, for I had much rather, be ignorant of the News, than obtain it, at the Risque of your Health.
On the 4th. I am told, the two Houses reelected, the Seven former Delegates.2
I join most heartily in your Wish that no Enemy of our Country, may ever enjoy, a Thousandth Part of that exquisite Felicity, which now falls to my Share, untill Repentance and thorough Reformation Shall have changed his Heart. I am So well pleased with my present Condition that I have Scarcely Stirred from my Fire Side, Since I arrived at it, which was on the 27. Novr. I am therefore ignorant of what is passing in this Part of the World and unable to write you any News. My best Respects, to our worthy Colleagues, to the General to the Ladies and Family, and to all others to whom you think they are due.
Tell Mrs. Clymer, that as sure as I am a Prophet, So sure She { 348 } will live to see the day when she will confess, her Short Exile from Philadelphia, to be among the most fortunate Events of her Life. I am &c.
In Exchange for your Hessian Psalm, I must give you Mr. Howards Text, the Sunday after the News arrived of the Convention of Sarratoga. It was in 2 Kings. 6. 21. 22. 23. and to save you the Trouble of looking I will transcribe the Words. “And the King of Israel said unto Elisha when he Saw them, My Father, shall I smite them? shall I Smite them? and he answered thou shalt not Smite them: wouldst thou Smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy Sword, and with thy Bow? Sett Bread and Water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their Master. And he prepared great Provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away and they went to their Master: So the Bands of Siria came no more into the Land of Israel.”
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. The ship arrived on 1 Dec. from Marseilles, carrying cannons, mortars, bombs, cannonballs, gunpowder, and other munitions (Boston Gazette, 8 Dec.).
2. The credentials of the seven elected on 4 Dec. are in Misc. Papers of the Continental Congress, Reel No. 8.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0208

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1777-12-08

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Brother

I wish you Joy of your new, Scaene and Stage:1 You will act your Part well I doubt not, and I hope you will have much Pleasure and Reputation in it.
I should be much obliged to you for a Letter, now and then. Let me know if you please, the Principal Things done in Congress, and in Camp: but especially, I should be very anxious to know, every Intimation you may have in your Intelligence from abroad of the Designs of the British Court for the next Campaign. What Reinforcements they design to Send and from what Country they expect to obtain them, and to what Part of this Continent they will be destined—whether any will go to Canada? or to Boston?
I, have a Secret Whisperer, in my Head, that they will, think of Boston once more: for this Reason: if they can keep Philadelphia and N. York they may aim at Boston too, for the Sake of the Reputation of having the three great Emporiums, and for the { 349 } sake of distressing us by Sea. Charlestown S. C. may be aimed at for Similar Reasons.
There are so many commanding Heights about Boston, and We are now so well provided with Artillery, and Ammunition that it would cost them a large Army to keep the Town: but it is possible they may be deceived and think a smaller force might do.
I should be happy too, to know, every Probability that may come to your Knowledge of a War in Europe. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Dana was one of the seven men reelected to the congress.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0209

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-08

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

Since my last1 the Situation of the Camp has prevented the Committee of Congress from transacting the Business of their Appointment.2 The Enemy, the Evening after the Date of my letter, marched out with their whole Force, which is said to consist of twelve thousand five hundred Effectives. We received Information of their preparations, a Day or two before, by persons who left the City; and the Camp was alarmed on Fryday Morning about two oClock. At five the Enemy were about two Miles from the right Wing of our Army, in Sight of our quarters, where they continued untill Saturday Night, during which Time an Engagement was hourly expected. About four oClock on Sunday Morning, the General sent one of his Aids to inform Us that the Enemy, had marched to the left, where were the Generals quarters, and had drawn up 2000 Men about two Miles from his place, advancing with another part of their Army, up the York Road. This Morning We are informed, that the Enemy are returning to the Right, from whence I think there is a probability of their intending to puzzle our Officers by their Manoeuvres, and send their whole Force against some Point. I sincerely wish that our Officers would prevent it, by beginning the Attack, and until such an enterprizing Spirit prevails, think that the Enemy will manoeuvre to Advantage. There have been several skirmishes, and many Deserters and prisoners have passed through the Camp; but these are Affairs of no great Consequence. The American Army are in a better Situation for an Engagement, in Point of Numbers, than they have been this Campaign; may God { 350 } grant them Fortitude, and crown their Endeavours with Success. You will probably e'er long, hear of some important Event; and in the Interim give me Leave to assure you, that I remain with much Esteem yours sincerly,
[signed] E Gerry
The Bill on Mr. Mease is accepted and inclosed to Mr. Richard Taylor.3
Last Evening the Enemy retired to Philadelphia.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams Esqr. at Braintree Massachusetts Bay”; franked: “Free E Gerry.”; docketed: “Mr Gerry December 8th 1777.”
1. That of 3 Dec. (above).
2. See James Lovell to JA, [28 Nov.] (above).
3. This sentence and the one dated 9 Dec. that follows are on a separate slip of paper. Apparently the transaction grew out of the letter enclosed to Gerry in JA's letter of 19 Nov. (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0210

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-08

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Since my signing a letter to you with Colo. Lee1 an excellent opportunity of sending to France presented; and the Colonel in his way home has carried a Packet to Baltimore, which will go to the Commissioners in a swift sailing armed Vessel.
No: 1 contained
Triplicates of Letters dated Octr. 31st. Novr. 1st. and Novr 8th2
No. 2
A Letter of Decr. 1st. and Resolves respecting Frenchmen3
Sept. 8. 13. 14. 14
Oct 4. 10. 13. 21
Novr. 7. 7 14. 15. 7
No. 3
Letter of Decr. 2d. with a Commission for F. L. A. with a Scheme of Genl. Conway's approved by the marine Committee.4
Resolve to recall S. D:5 Appointment of J. A.—Do. Carmichael 3 Resolves and Instructions Novr. 22. One of Novr. 10 for Importation of Sundries. One of Decr. 3 Loan 2,000,000
Triplicate of Sepr. 10 Interest on Loan Certificates
Triplicate of Octr. 18. respecting Georgia giving commission to raise men in France.
Triplicate of Octr. 21 Power over commercial Agents6
{ 351 }
Duplicate Letter to S. D. conveying Resolve of Recall.
Letter of Decr. 8th. to S. D. directing his Return to America.
I now send you copies of No. 3 except Conways scheme and the triplicate Resolves, which you will carry yourself or seal and forward agreable to the request mentioned by Colo. Lee Decr. 3d.
It is not possible for me to send Copies of No. 2 by this opportunity. I will send them by way of Sth. Carolina or Boston shortly.
You will make use of the letter to the marine Board herewith sent,7 when you think proper; and you will, in a joint consultation with the Gentlemen of that Board, make every thing convenient and agreable to yourself.
Having opposed several attempts of Jemmy8 to do away the resolve of Recall, I found a necessity to offer something this day myself, as no limited time had been fixed to Dean's Powers. I send a letter for you to seal.9 I think I have spread as small a Plaister as possible for a great Sore.
Mr. Dana is a most thorough and active member; has been put into the Board of War, marine Committee, and afterward put at the head of the Treasury by the sollicitation of the members of that Board at Duanes Departure; upon which Mr. Dana was excused from the Board of War. Mr. Geary is yet at Head Quarters. We hope there was a general Engagement last friday.10
Mr. Read11 has refused to go a Commissioner to the western Frontiers. He is greatly chagrined at not being put upon the new Board of war, after his name had been mentioned to Genl. Washington.
If you should refuse to go over the water, which I pray you may not, He or Livingston would be chosen.
Excuse me to Mr. S. Adams. I am obliged to sit steadily in Congress to make up 9 Colonies,12 and I have a deal of drudgerey to go through from a deficiency of Clerks.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honourable John Adams Esqr Boston”; docketed: “Letter Mr Lovell to me. contg. a List of the Papers he had sent me”; in another hand: “Dec 8 1777”; additional and much later docketing.
1. That of 3 Dec. (above).
2. Letters from the Committee for Foreign Affairs of 31 Oct. and 8 Nov. are in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:421–423. The letter dated 1 Nov. has not been found, but it was apparently a letter of introduction for Col. Ewen [Ewing?] (Lovell to JA, 21 Dec., second letter, below).
3. The letter dated 1 Dec. is in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:437–438. All the resolutions respecting French officers { 352 } are in the Journals on the dates listed, except that none was found for 21 Oct. The repetition of dates signifies that more than one resolve was adopted on that day (JCC, 8:721–722, 740, 743–744; 9:765, 792, 799, 875–878, 902–905, 930–931). The resolutions provided for pay to various French officers for serving in the Continental Army and, for those returning to France, travel expenses to and from the United States.
4. Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:438–441. “F. L. A.” means Franklin, Lee, and Adams. In the letter of 2 Dec. it was suggested that American frigates use Mauritius as a base from which to cruise off the Coromandel coast to prey upon India's internal trade and British ships headed for China. Prizes would be sold in Mauritius. In the letter Conway's name is not associated with this scheme, but it is the only proposal that would have involved the approval of the Marine Committee.
5. The recall of Silas Deane was voted on 21 Nov. (JCC, 9:946–947).
6. All the resolves mentioned are in the Journals (same, 9:952, 883, 989–990; 8:730–731; 9:821, 825).
7. Henry Laurens to the president of the Navy Board in Boston (JA to Committee for Foreign Affairs, 24 Dec., below).
8. James Duane of New York, one of Deane's supporters (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:582, note 2).
9. Not identified.
10. See Elbridge Gerry to JA, 8 Dec. (above).
11. Joseph Reed was appointed on 20 Nov. one of three commissioners to go to Fort Pitt; his refusal to accept caused George Clymer to be chosen as a replacement (JCC, 9:944–945, 1001, 1018). Reed had been elected to the congress in Sept. but did not take his seat until 1778 (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:lxiv; 3:lix).
12. Since Massachusetts had authorized any two of its delegates to cast a vote for the state (Amended Credentials, 4 Feb., above), and Gerry was temporarily absent, Lovell's presence for voting purposes was essential. The reference to “nine” probably means that with absences and tie votes in other delegations, effective votes by nine states were about all that could be expected, and nine votes were required for important legislation. In late 1777 Delaware had no representation, and for a few weeks between mid-November and mid-December, New Jersey had none either. In this period the Virginia delegation alone tied on three occasions (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:xl–xlii, liv–lvi; JCC, 9:970, 980, 1010). On the use of the term “colonies” instead of “states,” see Jefferson to JA, 16 May, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0211

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1777-12-09

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

Some day next Week Mr. John Thaxter, will Sett off, on his Journey for York Town. You may remember, the Want of Secretaries and Clerks, which We suffered before I came away, and that I agreed to send you one or more. Mr. Thaxter is of a good Family, was educated at H. Colledge, and has Spent three Years in the study of the Law in my office, and was last Summer Admitted to the Bar. You may depend upon his Sobriety, Modesty Industry and Fidelity. He has an Inclination to Spend a Year, in some Place near Congress, which may afford him a decent Support, and where he may have an opportunity of Seeing the World, and learning the Nature of Men and Things. If the President has no secretary, Mr. Thaxter would make a very good one. { 353 } I shall be much obliged to you, for your Patronage and Friendship to him, and am very confident he will deserve it.1 I am,
Have the Trumpetts yet Sounded at York Town. 300 Cord of Wood to the Poor of the Town of Boston2 and the magnificent Provision making for the poor at Thanksgiving? Did Brutus, in the Infancy of the Commonwealth and before the Army of Tarquin was Subdued, acquire Fame and Popularity by Largesses? No! these Arts were reserved for Caesar in the Dotage, and the last expiring Moments of the Republic.3
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Thaxter became a secretary to Charles Thomson (JCC, 10:223).
2. At a Boston town meeting of 8 Dec. moderated by John Hancock, the town voted its thanks to Hancock for his donation of 150 cords of wood to the poor at a time when public subscriptions were being sought to help the poor through the winter. Hancock's gift was reported in the press (Boston Record Commissioners, 18th Report, p. 294; Boston Gazette, 15 Dec.). JA believed that Hancock had ambitions to be governor after adoption of the state's constitution (JA to James Warren, 7 July, above). This whole postscript is marked “sent” and is crowded in at the foot of the main body of the letter.
3. In support of Thaxter, JA wrote also on this same day to Francis Dana, Henry Laurens, and James Lovell (all LbC's, Adams Papers). See also his letter to Daniel Roberdeau of this date (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0212

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Roberdeau, Daniel
Date: 1777-12-09

To Daniel Roberdeau

[salute] My dear Sir

I have never found an Opportunity, of presenting my Respects to you, Since I left York Town, till now. We had as prosperous, and pleasant a Journey, as bad Weather and worse Roads would admit: But I had great Pleasure in observing the growing Confidence of the People all along the Journey, in the Justice, Stability and Success of our great and glorious Cause.
In this Part of the Continent We are very inquisitive after News, from the two grand Armies, and interest ourselves much in the Fate of Philadelphia: but otherwise we enjoy as much Tranquility, as if all the World were Quakers in Practice as well as Principle.
Finances, Revenues, Taxes, employ all the Thoughts of the People here: indeed every Thing else, is considered here as easy, and safe: But they find the Subject of American Finances, an unfathomable Gulph.
I found the Same Complaints here as in York Town, nothing to be bought for Money, all Business done by Barter. What shall be done in this Case?
{ 354 }
Our only Remedies, are Taxation and Aeconomy. Taxes as large as the People of America can possibly bare, even if they were better disposed than they are would not answer the public demands, without an Aeconomy more severe than the Army, the People or their Representatives in the several Assemblies or even in Congress seem at present to have any Idea of.
Profusion, has been So long and So universally practiced, that it seems a Work of great Difficulty, to put it out of Fashion, and to introduce Frugality in its Place: But it must be done, or We cannot maintain an Army.
But I must change my Subject.
The Complaint of the Want of Secretaries and Clerks, before I left you, occasions my proposing to the Bearer of this Letter, Mr. John Thaxter, to take a Ride to York Town. His Character and Qualifications are very good. And I should be greatly obliged to you for your kind Patronage of him, as far as may be consistent with the public Good. I have written to my Colleagues concerning him. Stranger as he is, he may be puzzled to get Lodgings. If you can give him any Advice or Assistance, in procuring them I shall esteem it an Additional Favour.

[salute] Mrs. Adams, joins with me, in most respectfull Compliments to you Mrs. Clymer, Miss Betsy,1 and the whole Family. I am

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. Like Mrs. Clymer, a sister of Daniel Roberdeau (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:353).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0213

Author: Rice, Nathan
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-10

From Nathan Rice

[salute] My dear Sir

Permit me to congratulate you on your return to your family and frends, of which I am advertised by the weekly Gazette.1
It must afford not less satisfaction to the state in general to have your presence and council at this critical period, on the transactions of which depend its future happiness and tranquility—than it does to your family and private connections, to imbrace after a tedious absence, the tender companion kind parent, and generous Friend.
When I hold up to view the welfare, and prosperity of the continent in general, to those of a single state or family—I'm at a loss whether most to rejoice at your return to Massachusetts or regret your absence from Congress.
{ 355 }
It will ever remain a singular mark of honor to you, and a convincing proof of your Patriotism and attachment to the liberty and happiness of Mankind that no sinister views or private concerns, could call your attention from Congress untill you had not only effected the union of the Colonies, but formed a plan2 which will both confirm that union and render it indissoluble—that being now sent forth for the acceptance of the states. God grant it may meet their speedy and hearty approbation.
The public (of whose gratitude however I do not entertain the most exalted idea) must ever acknowledge the great services you have rendered them; and however you may not think convenient to contribute further to their happiness in that exalted station you have ever held since the commencment of the dispute, yet the same virtuous principle and generous sentiments, which have heitherto stimulated you to further the cause of mankind in general will still induce you to serve that state with which you are particularly connected, and which now in an important manner calls for the exertion of your abilities.
A Constitution is now forming3—a supreme Majistrate is to be appointed—a post of the greatest honor and importance to be confered on an individual. The popular manner in which this is to be done is perhaps the best which at this crisis could have been adopted: Caprices and trifleing accidents too often actuate and govern the populace. Alarmed at this truth, I felt the most sencible pleasure on the news of your arrival in Boston persuaded that your prudence and advice would prevent the many dangerous extravagancies of so popular a measure. Happy must it be for the good people of Massachusetts should they make chose of []4the gentleman to whom they are so greatly indebted, and who without pomp or pageantry, superiour to the wiles of a courtier or the applause of individuals would study to promote the happiniss and gain the approbation of his countrymen by a steady adhearance to the principles of vir[tue and] justice.
I hope it may not be [long] before I shall have the pleasure personally to pay you my respects, as the wound in my General's leg is in such a state as to promise his return home in the latter end of January when I shall attend him.5 He desires his particular regards to you. To his permit me to add my own to Mrs. Adams and the family with my warmest wishes for their prosperity and happiness. I am Sir with the utmost regard and esteem your most obt. Servt.
[signed] N:Rice
{ 356 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr. at his seat in Braintree”; docketed: “Mr Rice”; in JA's late hand: “Rice 10 Decr. 1777.” MS has two small holes.
1. On 1 Dec. the Boston Gazette noted the arrival from the congress of Samuel Adams and JA.
2. The final version of the Articles of Confederation was not adopted until 15 Nov., several days after JA left the congress, but JA did make a contribution to the extended debates shaping the Articles (JCC, 9:907; Introduction, above).
3. The General Court, acting as a constitutional convention, had named a committee to write a draft of a constitution, which submitted its report on 11 Dec. Accepted by the convention in early 1778, this constitution was rejected by the people voting in their towns (Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth, p. 48–49).
4. Left blank in the MS.
5. Rice, former law clerk to JA, was aide de camp to Benjamin Lincoln, who was wounded in the preliminary skirmishes before Saratoga (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 465; Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:532).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0214

Author: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-17

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."

From Thomas Jefferson

Williamsburg, Va., 17 December 1777. RC (Adams Papers); printed: Jefferson, Papers, 2:120–121. Noting that Virginia had ratified the Articles of Confederation, Jefferson described the concern among some in the state over Art. 9, which gave power to the congress to enter into treaties of commerce. Opponents felt that the clause was drawn too broadly, and Jefferson favored a declaration from the congress that implied powers over trade were not intended. Not knowing that JA had left congress, he requested him, if he agreed, to use his influence in behalf of such a declaration.
RC (Adams Papers); printed: Jefferson, Papers, 2:120–121.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0215

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-17

From James Lovell

Decr. 2d.
Resolved that a Commission be made out for Mr. J. Adams similar to that heretofore granted to the Commissioners at the Court of France.1
The date of the Commissions upon the 27th. was an error of the Secretary. But He as well as the president and others think it of no consequence.
In Congress Decr. 17th. 1777
Resolved that Genl. Washington be directed to inform Genl. Burgoyne the Congress will not receive nor consider any Proposition, for Indulgence or altering the terms of the convention of Saratoga, unless immediately directed to their own Body.
I cannot find the letter of the 14th. of Novr. from Genl. W— { 357 } | view which contained the Copy of Genl. B—'s to him requesting permission for himself if not his troops to embark at R Island.2 You must be so kind as to acknowledge from Paris to Mr. Dumas the Receipt of the following3
Copie of a Dispatch of the   14th: of June   J  
Do.   24th of June   K  
Do.   7th. of July   L  
Do.   2d of Augst.   N  
And you must mention to your Colleagues the impossibility of our making the interests of America coincide with Mr. De la Rocatelles4 just pretensions to rank compared with those of some foreigners now in our service with whose conduct we are satisfied.
It is not possible to get the absolute order mentioned by Dr. Franklin5 while so much stress is laid by some upon a genteel Figure polite address or to take up all a fine fellow. To say nothing of the honest Predilection of RHL and Mr. President for Foreigners.
This Gentleman wants an advance to bring over himself his wife 3 daughters and a Son—and to be sure Servants in proportion. Be obstinate, my good Friend.6
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter Mr Lovell to me”; in JA's later hand: “December 1777.”
1. JCC, 9:988.
2. Burgoyne's letter to Washington of 15 Dec. (not November, an inadvertence) provoked the congressional resolve of 17 Dec. (same, 9:1032).
3. The four letters from Dumas are in PCC, No. 93, I, f. 76–95.
4. Not identified.
5. In a letter to Lovell of 7 Oct., Franklin remarked, “I wish we had an absolute order to give no Letter of Recommendation or even Introduction of the future to any foreign officer whatever” (Frankin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 7:66).
6. This final paragraph was written in the margin and was meant to apply to “De la Rocatelles.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0216-0001

Author: Campbell, Archibald
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-18

From Archibald Campbell

[salute] Sir

Mr. Heman Allen of Salisbury has transmitted to me the inclosed Copy of a letter from Mr. Bowdinot Commissary General of Prisoners for the American Army; wherein he is pleased to signify that he is willing to accede to my being immediately exchanged for Colol. Ethen Allen, incase the matter could be accomplished by my writing to Newyork.
The experience I have already had of the inefficacy of episto• { 358 } lary endeavours, convinces me, that obstructions from Governor Trion1 on that subject, require the exertions of personal industry to combat them. For the purpose of negotiating that business, as well as matters of interesting concern to my family in Europe, which have suffered exceedingly by the length of my Captivity; I made application to the Honorable Council at Boston for leave to go to Newyork upon my Parole of honor; from whence I should immediately return; incase the best exertions in my power to accomplish this Exchange, should contrary to my expectations prove ineffectual. But as the Honorable Council at Boston are pleased to say—“Considering the resolutions of Congress respecting Colol. Campbell,2 they do not think it proper at this time to grant his request.” I have taken the liberty of addressing you, from the hope, that you may do me the honor to remove an objection which seems to have arisen from a just delicacy to the Orders of the Honorable The Continental Congress.
I am perswaded Sir, it was never justly pretended, that an improper Conduct on my part as a prisoner of War, gave birth to the resolution of Congress for my being taken into close custody; and that necessity alone from not having an officer of General Lee's destinction in their possession, occasioned a retaliation of circumstances on the persons of Six Officers of the British Army inferior to him in point of Rank.
Since that period, the Captor [capture] of General Prescott has fully removed that Act of necessity; and there is reason to presume, that the justice and Candour of Congress, meant their resolution of my being held in close custody, should not only cease; but that an extintion of my former Parole as a prisoner of War, should be duely granted to me on terms as honorable as I had ever enjoyed it.3 If such is the case, I have reason to apprehend, the Honorable Council at Boston are not fully informed of the circumstance; and from that cause, have been pleased to decline their compliance to a request, in which the interest of Colol. Allen is equally concerned. The repeated instances of similar Obligations being granted to the field Officers of the American Army, who have obtained permission to retire on Parole of honor from Newyork, seem on the principles of common reason and Equity, to Justify my claim to such an indulgence.
On this presumtion Sir, I have used the freedom of offering the subject of my request to your notice. Should your Ideas suggest that the resolution of the Honorable Congress respecting my { 359 } confinement, ought not to operate to my disadvantage after the captor of Genl. Prescott; so long at least, as my conduct as a prisoner of War, stand irreproachable; your interposition with the Honorable Council to that effect, and any act of kindness which may enable me to prosecute an exchange for Colol. Allen,4 will at all times be Acknowledged as a very singular favour confered upon Sir Your Most Obedient and Most humble servant,
[signed] Archd: Campbell
Lieut. Colol: 71st: Regiment
1. William Tryon, former royal governor of New York, whom Gen. Howe in 1777 made major general in command of New York provincial forces (E. B. O'Callaghan, ed., Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, 15 vols., Albany, 1856–1887, 8:708). What Tryon's obstructions were has not been determined.
2. On 20 Feb. the congress ordered the holding of Campbell and five Hessian officers in “safe and close custody” in retaliation for British treatment of the captured Gen. Lee. On 2 June, having learned that Lee was then being treated well, the congress notified Massachusetts to treat the six prisoners “with kindness, generosity, and tenderness, consistent with the confinement and safe custody” of them (JCC, 7:135; 8:411–412). Close custody continued because the Americans held no prisoners for whom the British would exchange Lee.
3. On 19 Aug. the congress ordered that the six prisoners were to be admitted to parole (same, 8:653).
4. As president of the Board of War, JA had been quite familiar with Campbell's case; moreover, more than one of JA's Massachusetts correspondents had written favorably about the lieutenant colonel (vol. 4:309, 320). Campbell was exchanged for Allen in May 1778 (Ethan Allen, A Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen's Captivity, repr. N.Y., 1930, p. 121–122).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0216-0002

Author: Allen, Heman
Author: Bowdinot, Elias
Recipient: Campbell, Archibald
Recipient: Allen, Heman
Date: 1777-09-30
Date: 1777-10-31

Enclosure: Elias Bowdinot to Heman Allen; Heman Allen to Archibald Campbell


[salute] Sir

By perusing the inclosed copy you will be able to judge what further measures will be necessary, for you to take to expedite the liberation of yourself by accomplishing the wish'd for exchange, which I hope will now soon take place.
As I am fearful of missing the present opportunity of forwarding this I cannot add more than that I am with great respect Sir your humble Servant,
[signed] (Signed) Heman Allen

[addrLine] Colol: Archd: Campbell

[salute] Sir

Your letter to the Commander in Chief with the Copies inclosed has been delivered to me by His Excellency, as belonging to my department. All I can say in answer, in the present hurry is that it will give me pleasure, by any means in my power, to expedite the liberation of your Brother from Captivity, after his long suffering, having from his publick services deserved a much better fate. If Colol. Campbell can accomplish this exchange by writing to Newyork; you have my promise to accede to it on the first notice.
The Paragraph in Colol: Campbell's letter relative to his being improperly treated gives me some uneasiness, as I can assure both you and him that if so, it has been without my knowledge, and I must beg the favour of you to let that Gentleman know that if his treatment is not that of a Gentleman being a prisoner of War, on a line from him, I will see matters rectified. Am Sir your very humble Servant,
[signed] Elias Bowdinot
Com: Genl: of Prisoners
{ 360 }
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0217

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-21

From James Lovell

That you may excuse my vile manner of doing business, know that I [am] freezing in my little room this morning so that I can scarcely hold my pen, but, I am, here, in quiet.
The sealed packet sent before contained Triplicates of Octr. 31st Novr. 1 and 8 which last were only an Introduction of the Bearer Col: Ewen, and an Annunciation of Mr. Laurens's Election as President so that his Draughts might be honoured.
I hope you will have copies made of what you have received in case several opportunities of sending offer. The distance from Boston and Portsmouth makes us lose many chances of sending from York.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr. Braintree.” Filmed under date of 21 Nov. (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 348).
1. At the time this letter was written, JA had obviously already been chosen a commissioner to France as a replacement for Silas Deane. The date, then, must be some time after 28 Nov. (JCC, 9:975). The reference below to a “sealed packet sent before” suggests December, for on 8 Dec., Lovell made mention to JA of such a packet's being carried to Baltimore by Richard Henry Lee (Lovell to JA, 8 Dec., above). Moreover, the present letter was written in the morning; that which follows was dated by Lovell in the afternoon, the month of December being supplied by JA's docketing.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0218-0001

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-21

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

After the Resolve for stopping Burgoyne had passed,1 some were of opinion that a State of Facts found by the Committee2 should have preceeded the reasoning. Perhaps you will judge that it is already too laboured a report.
I inclose for your own use the State of Facts alluded to which did not enter into the business of Congress; but was only talked of.
We have intelligence now that 2 Hoits [Howitzers] were thrown into a river; and it is declared that Carleton has scourged some of the returned Canadians to make them take up arms.
Tho' the Paper containing the affidavits of a prisoner is in Form with its oath yet I cannot myself believe the Savages eat our Flesh.3 Adieu,
[signed] J L
I could not get any Resolves passed so as to answer Mr. Izard's letter4 but will be diligent to do it soon.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Letter from Mr. Lovell to me. 21 Decr. 1777.” Enclosure docketed: “A State of Facts.”
1. Which of two possible resolves is meant is not clear. On 1 Dec. the congress, insisting that the convention be adhered to, forbade embarkation of Burgoyne's army from Rhode Island rather than Boston. On 17 Dec. the congress ordered that any request for alteration in the convention be addressed to it, not to American generals (JCC, 9:982, 1032).
2. That is, the committee of R. H. Lee, William Duer, and Francis Dana, appointed on 19 Nov. to examine the accounting of ordnance and other military supplies surrendered by Burgoyne (JCC, 9:939).
3. Marked No. 13 in the margin by Lovell, this affidavit has not been found.
4. Ralph Izard, who in May had been elected Commissioner to Tuscany, wrote on 6 Oct. to the Committee for Foreign Affairs about Italian hostility toward Britain, optimistically predicting that subsidies and loans would be forthcoming and asking for instructions from the congress (JCC, 7:334; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:403).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0218-0002

Author: Continental Congress
Author: Lee, Richard Henry
Author: Duer, William
Author: Dana, Francis
Date: 1777-12

Enclosure: Congressional Resolution: A State of Facts

A State of Facts
That by the return of ordinance and stores taken from the enemy in the Northern department from the 19 Sept. to 17 Oct. inclusive it appears, there were only 4647 muskets, which are returned “unfit for service,” 3477 bayonets without scabbards, 638 cartouch boxes, 1458 cutlasses without scabbards, 6000 dozen musket cartridges, 1135 ready or fixed shot for 32 peices of cannon, and only 15 barrels grained 2 barrels mealed powder.
That on the 16 Octr. after the preliminary articles were agreed, and the treaty drawn up in due form, and approved by General Burgoyne, and his approbation and ready concurrence in every article signified by Capt. James Henry Craig to Col. Wilkinson, Genl. Burgoyne manifested a disposition to break off and commence hostilities.
That by the 2d. preliminary article of Major Gen. Gates which was agreed to by Lieut. Genl. Burgoyne, the officers and soldiers were permitted to keep the baggage belonging to them: and by the 4th. preliminary article of Lieut. General Burgoyne, agreed to by Major Gen. Gates, “no baggage was to be molested or searched, the lieut. genl. giving his honor, that there are no public stores secreted therein.”
{ 362 }
That notwithstanding this cartouch boxes were carried away.
That at the capitulation of St. Johns on 2d. Nov. 1775, whereby the officers and men were to retain their baggage and effects, and to deliver up their arms, the cartouch boxes and other military accoutrements were delivered up.
That these things being known, Congress issued an order1 to take descriptive lists of the non commissioned officers and privates comprehended in the convention of Saratoga, as a security, that what yet remained of the convention to be fulfilled by them might be complied with. That on the 20th. Novr. Gen. Burgoyne refused those lists, and on the 23d. of the same month justified his refusal; and asserts that Sir Guy Carlton and himself released from Canada many hundred prisoners troops upon their bare parole if not serving against the King 'till exchanged; and that they have since, had no other dependance than that of public faith, that those men have not been indiscriminately employed in arms.
That notwithstanding this assertion, it appears from the original list of the prisoners released from Canada, now lodged with Congress, that the provinces, counties, and towns, to which the prisoners released belonged, were annexed to their respective names; which for the greater security of the conquering party, were in the hand writing of the respective prisoners.
That the fifth preliminary article of Lieut. Genl. Burgoyne viz “upon the march the officers are not to be separated from their men, and in quarters the officers are to be lodged according to rank, and are not to be hindered from roll-callings and other necessary purposes of regularity” was “agreed to” by Major Genl. Gates “as far as circumstances will admit.”
That in his letter of the 14th. Novr. to Major Gen. Gates, Lieut. Genl. Burgoyne complains that “the officers are crouded into barracks, six and seven in a room of about ten feet square, and without distinction of rank” and that “he and Genl. Phillips after being amused with promises of quarters for 8 days together, are still in a dirty small miserable tavern” &c. and concludes with this paragraph and charge “while I state to You Sir this very unexpected treatment, I intirely acquit M. Gen. Heath, and every gentleman of the military department, of any inattention to the public faith engaged in the convention. They do what they can; but while the supreme powers of the State, are unable or unwilling to enforce their authority, and the inhabitants want { 363 } the hospitality or indeed the common civilisation to assist Us without it, the public faith is broke, and we are the immediate sufferers.”2
That application has been made by Lieut. Genl. Burgoyne to Gen. Washington for leave to embark with the troops at Rhode-Island, or some port in the Sound.
That Genl. Howe has sent transports to Rhode-Island to take them in there.
That Genl. Pigot3 in a letter of the 5 Decr., informs Gen. Burgoyne, that the Reasonable man of war with 26 transports from the Delaware, were arrived off the harbour's mouth.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Letter from Mr. Lovell to me. 21 Decr. 1777.” Enclosure docketed: “A State of Facts.”
1. On 8 Nov. (JCC, 9:881).
2. A copy of Burgoyne's letter to Gates of 14 Nov. is in PCC, No. 57, f. 31.
3. Sir Robert Pigot wrote from Newport, R.I., in the full expectation that Burgoyne would be allowed to embark his army from there (same, f. 79, a copy).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0219

Author: Marchant, Henry L.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-22

From Henry Marchant

[salute] Dear Sir

Tho' we are withdrawn from the Grand Congress and are about Eighty miles Assunder, yet I would hope to hold a little litterary Congress this Winter. I am retired upon my Farm in the Wood. The Publick Cause however now and then draws me out—but I have not that Chance of knowing how the Ship sails as you have, and I would beg now and then You would give me an Extract from the logbook.
I was somewhat mortified in being left behind You, it seemed an additional one [mortification?], as Mr. Ellery arrived at Congress a few Days after you set out, so that I was just deprived of { 364 } your Company—and had none other but my Servant the whole Journey. I arrived safe however in fourteen Days, The Weather and riding having been generally very good.
We have but a poor Account of the Attempt upon Long Island,1 I fear it will prove more so than we yet hear of. The Addition of the New England Troops to the main Army has not yet proved of that Benefit we could have wished. I expect nothing further will be done this Winter.
Winter Quarters are to be looked for. This will give the Enemy an Opportunity of making Excursions, and gaining Supplies. I could wish New England would Undertake the Work and send 20,000 millitia upon Delaware by March. So that a Home stroke may be early given. This may be done. And by New England it must be done, if at all.
The Sooner the better. It will not do to drag on this War. Pray think. Pray set all into Action.
In the mean Time we hope in this Quarter we shall not be left to be sacrificed by our Brethren. The Time of your Troops on this Station is nearly expired. No Provision is made to replace them. We have wrote your Councill upon the Subject, but nothing is done. 3500 Regular Troops are now upon Rhode Island, about 20 Ships of War in the Harbour. They have doubtless many marines on Board. I must beg your Assistance upon that Subject.
Our Assembly have appointed a Committee to meet at New-Haven the 15th of January agreable to Recommendation of Congress.2 They have also passed the following Resolution.
In the lower House
Decr. 20th. 1777
Resolved that Henry Ward, Henry Marchant, Rows[e] J. Helme, and Wm. Channing Esqrs. be appointed to draft a Bill for confiscating and making Sale of all the Real and personal Estate of such of the Inhabitants of this State and other Persons who have forfeited the same and the Right to the Protection of this State, and to invest the Monies arising from the Sales in Continental Loan office Certificates to be appropriated as shall be hereafter directed by the Legislative Authority of this State agreable to the Recommendation of Congress of the 22d. of Novr. last3 and to make Reports to the next Session of this Assembly.
voted and passed
per Ordr. J. Lyndon Clerk
{ 365 }
In the Upper House
Decr. 21st. 1777
Read and concurred
Copy By order. R.J. Helme D. Secy.4
This my Friend is an Important, as well as a Delicate and to me difficult Subject. I must beg your Assistance in it and that you would make such a Draft and inclose to me, with some Thoughts and Observations upon the Subject.
To work out How the Subject is to be activated, by what Process. The Causes of Confiscation. How far it shall affect Life. How far taint the Blood. How affect entailed Estates. How affect the Heirs &c. of such as have acted an Inimical Part but have died before the passing this Act. Whether such as early left the State and sought Protection with our Enemies shall be liable &c. &c.
I must again urge your kind Assistance, and that as soon your Leisure can possibly permit you.
I have not now Time to add but that I am in Hopes of frequent Lines from you. Let the Sons keep up the sacred Flame.
Youl please to direct to me
near Little Rest
State of Rhode Island &c.
I take it we are still priviledged in the Article of Postage. I am dear Sir, Your sincere Friend,
[signed] H. L. Marchant
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Marchant”; in another hand: “December 22nd 1777.”
1. An attempted raid made on 10 Dec. in which two American colonels were captured, one a commander of a continental regiment, the other of a Connecticut militia unit, as well as most of their men when their ship ran aground as it was being chased (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 10:212, note; Howard H. Peckham, ed., The Toll of Independence, Chicago, 1974, p. 45).
2. The congress recommended to each state an amount of money to be raised by a levy on its citizens for the benefit of the United States. Additional recommendations included the ending of emissions of paper and even scaling down the amount in circulation, keeping courts open for the recovery of debts, opening subscription lists for the sale of loan certificates, and meeting in regional conventions for the purpose of controlling wages and prices (JCC, 9:953–958).
3. The provision for the sale of confiscated loyalist property was not added to the resolution begun on 22 Nov. until the 27th (Resolution on Property Confiscation, 27 Nov., note 1, above).
4. See John Russell Bartlett, ed., Records of the Colony of Rhode Island . . ., 10 vols., Providence, 1856–1865, 8:341, where the date of passage is given as 19 Dec.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0220

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1777-12-23

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Sir

On my Return from Portsmouth, to which Place I made an Excursion upon a certain maritime Cause,1 I Yesterday met your kind Letter of Decr. 3. from the Camp at White Marsh. I thank you Sir for the assurances you give me of your Attention to Mr. Smiths Concern, with which I acquainted him, upon my first Reading of your Letter.
Am much pleased with your Account of the Strength of the Army, and I hope that Cloathing will not be wanting. Large Quantities are purchasing here for its use and a fine Collection was yesterday, conveyed into the Continental store in Kings Street.
You wish for the Concurrence of a certain Lady, in a certain Appointment. This Concurrence, may be had upon one Condition, which is that her Ladyship become a Party in the Voyage, to which She has a great Inclination. She would run the Risque of the Seas and of Enemies, for the Sake of accompanying her humble servant. But I believe it will not be expedient.
The Committee have reported a Constitution, and the Confederation is arrived. So that I suppose our Lawgivers will have Work enough for the Winter.
I have one little Favour to ask of you: it is to take the first opportunity of conveying, by some public or private Waggon, my Chest to Boston, to the Care of Mr. Isaac Smith. Mrs. Clymer has the Key.
I have another Chest in N. Jersey, in the Care of Mr. Sprout. If this can be sent to Boston too I should be glad. I owe Mr. Sprout £4 Pennsylvania Currency for a Weeks Board.2 If you will be so good as to pay this, and send Word of it by a Line to my Partner she will remit you the Money.
One other Favour of more Importance: it is that, wherever I may be, I may enjoy the Benefit of your constant Correspondence, which will now become more necessary and more acceptable, than ever, both upon public and private Considerations to &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. When JA returned to Braintree, he found that a number of persons wished to employ him at once as attorney. What turned out to be his last case was argued before the New Hampshire Maritime Court, Penhallow and Treadwell v. Brig Lusanna and Cargo. JA was involved in only the preliminary stages of this cele• { 367 } brated legal contest, which grew out of the seizure of the Lusanna by a privateer on the grounds that the ship's owner, Elisha Doane, JA's client, was trafficking with the enemy. For a brief discussion of the case, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:2–3, and for a full analysis with accompanying documents, see JA, Legal Papers, 2:352–395.
2. Apparently the British occupation of Philadelphia forced the Sproat family to flee to New Jersey. JA was to hear no further about his chest until long afterward (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:118; James Lovell to JA, 8 Feb. 1778, below; James Lovell to JA, 13 June 1779, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1777-12-23

To the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

Having been Absent, on a Journey, I had not the Honour of receiving your Letters, until Yesterday when one of the Twenty Eighth of November1 inclosing a Resolution of Congress of the Same Day, and another of the third of December inclosing a Commission for Dr Franklin Dr Lee and Myself to represent the United States at the Court of France, were delivered to me in Boston.
As I am deeply penetrated with a Sense of the high Honour which has been done me, in this Appointment; I cannot but wish I were better qualified for the important Trust: But as Congress are perfectly acquainted with2 all my Deficiences, I conclude it is their Determination to make the necessary Allowances; in the humble hope of which, I shall submit my own Judgment to theirs, and devote all the Faculties I have and all that I can acquire to their service.
You will be pleased to Accept of my sincere Thanks for the polite Manner, in which you have communicated to me, the Commands of Congress and believe me to be with the most perfect Esteem and Respect, sir your most obedient and most humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I); docketed: “Letter from John Adams Braintree 23 Decr. 1777 read 19 Jany 1778 informing his acceptance of Comm. to France.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Adams Papers, but not printed here.
2. The Letterbook copy, much more scratched out than usual, originally read from this point on: “the Meanness of my Qualifications for this service, I shall submit to their Judgment, and devote all that I have and all that I can acquire to the service of these united states.” At this point, JA intended to make his complimentary close, but he then finished the paragraph as printed here, starting with “I conclude,” and added the paragraph which comes before the close. The latter also caused him some difficulty before he felt it was right. Whether to express his respect for the congress or the president caused him concern.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Continental Congress, Foreign Affairs Committee
Date: 1777-12-24

To the Foreign Affairs Committee

[salute] Gentlemen

Having been absent from this State, I had not the Honour of your Favour of December 3d. untill the 22d. when it was delivered to me with its Inclosures vizt. a Letter from the President to the Navy Board at Boston, and a private Letter of Decr. 8. from Mr. Lovell.
At the Same Time I received a Packett, directed to Benjamin Franklin Arthur Lee and John Adams Esqrs. Commissioners of the United States of America in France under Seal.
At the Same Time, I received another Packett, unsealed containing
1. Copy of a Letter 2d. Decr. from the Committee foreign Affairs to the Commissioners.
2. A Duplicate of a Commission of 27. Novr. to the Commissioners.
3. A Duplicate of Resolve of Decr. 3. Duplicates of Resolves of Novr. 21 and 28. Duplicate of Resolve of Novr. 10. and 22.
4. Two Letters unsealed to the Honourable Silas Deane Esqr. Paris.
5. Two printed Hand Bills one containing Messages &c. between, the Generals Burgoigne and Gates,1 the other Copy of a Letter &c. from Mr. Kirkland.2
The Packett under Seal, I shall do myself the Honour to forward by the first Conveyance, and the other, shall be conveyed God willing with my own Hand. I have the Honour to be, with the greatest Esteem and Respect, Gentlemen, your most obedient and most humble servant,
[signed] John Adams
RC (PCC, No. 84, I); addressed: “To The Committee of foreign Affairs”; docketed: “Letter from the Honble John Adams dated Decr. 24th. 1777, recd. Jany. 19. 1778.”
1. This handbill was not identified nor mentioned in previous letters to JA from the Committee for Foreign Affairs or James Lovell.
2. Copy of a Letter from the Rev. Mr. Samuel Kirkland . . . Together with a Message from the Six Nation Chiefs, to Major General Gates . . . October 31, 1777, Evans, No. 15642. Kirkland, an interpreter, informed the Indians of the American victory, and they expressed their satisfaction that Burgoyne's advance had been crushed. Besides this exchange, the handbill contains an extract from Gates' letter to the congress of 16 Nov., in which he reported that the British had burned and abandoned Ticonderoga and Mt. Independence and had retreated back down the Hudson River, giving up the forts they had captured. Finally, an excerpt from Washington's letter to the congress of 26 Nov., which described Lafayette's success against British pickets, is given.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1777-12-24

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend

I cannot omit this opportunity of acknowledging the Receipt of your kind Favours of 27 or 28 Novr. I Say one or the other of those days, because although the Letter has no date yet it Says it was written on the Day when a certain Commission was voted me, and both the Commissions are dated the 27, altho the Copy of the Resolution of Congress by which I was appointed is dated the 28.1
I should have wanted no Motives nor Arguments to induce me to accept of this momentous Trust, if I could be sure that the Public would be benifited by it. But when I see, my Brothers at the Bar, here, so easily making Fortunes for themselves and their Families, and when I recollect that for four years I have abandoned myself and mine, and when I see my own Children growing up, in something very like real Want, because I have taken no Care of them, it requires as much Philosophy as I am Master of, to determine to persevere in public Life, and to engage in a new scaene, for which I fear I am, very ill qualified.
However, by the Innuendoes in your Letter, if I cannot do much Good in this new Department, I may possibly do less Harm, than some others.
The Want of a Language for Conversation and Business, is however all the Objection that lies with much Weight upon my Mind: altho I have been not ignorant of the Grammar and Construction of the French Tongue from my Youth, yet I have never aimed at maintaining or even understanding Conversation in it: and this Talent I suppose I am too old to acquire, in any Degree of Perfection. However, I will try and do my best. I will take Books and my whole Time shall be devoted to it. Let me intreat the Benefit of your constant Correspondence, and believe me to be with much Affection your Friend.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. For Lovell's explanation of the mistake on the date of the commissions (original and duplicate), see Lovell to JA, [post 17 Dec.] (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Roberdeau, Daniel
Date: 1777-12-24

To Daniel Roberdeau

[salute] My dear Friend

Your most friendly and obliging Favour of 28. Novr was never delivered to me, untill the 22d instant, when I returned home { 370 } from a short Excursion upon private Business, almost the only Sample that has fallen to my share for four Years.
Indeed, Sir, I have neglected and abandoned, my own Affairs and the Concerns of my Family So long, to the inexpressible Loss and Injury of both, that I must confess I began to feel a great deal of Joy in the Prospect of returning to my former Course of Life. Your Letter however and the other Dispatches, which accompanied it: have cast a Damp upon me again: They have opened new Prospects before me and have agitated me with new Hopes and Fears.
If I were perfect in the French Language, and could converse in it, with Ease and Propriety, I think I should be happy: But my great Deficiency in this Particular, and the total Impossibility, as I conceive it that a Man after 40 should ever be, a critical Master, of the Pronunciation of any Language, give me great Anxiety.
I shall try the Experiment, however, and if I find any great Inconvenience by which the Public may be likely to suffer I shall ask Leave to return.
I shall devote my Time henceforward, to the Acquisition of a Language, to which I am not a total stranger having, had some Knowledge of the Grammer and Construction of it, early in life, and having practised Reading something in all along, but which however, I never before aimed at learning to Speak.
Be pleased, to make my most friendly Respects to Mrs. Clymer, and Miss Betsy, and to Mr Isaac, Miss Nancy, Polly, and Selina.1 May every Blessing and Prosperity attend you and them, and wherever I may be, let me intreat the Favour of your Correspondence by every opportunity. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Isaac, Nancy, Polly, and Selina were Roberdeau children (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:373; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0225

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Campbell, Archibald
Date: 1777-12-25

To Archibald Campbell

[salute] Sir

Three Days ago, I had the Honour of receiving your Letter of the 18th. of December, inclosing Copy of a Letter from Mr. Heman Allen and another from Mr. Boudinot.
I was not present in Congress, when the Resolution passed, for { 371 } your being taken into close Custody1 But I believe You may assure Yourself, sir, that no suggestion of improper Conduct on your Part as a Prisoner of War, gave Birth to that Resolution. But Necessity alone from not having an Officer of General Lees Distinction in Possession of the United States occasioned a Retaliation of Circumstances on the Persons of Six Officers of the British Army inferiour to him in Point of Rank.
The Captivity of General Prescott, has, in my opinion, removed that Necessity, and therefore, sir, I Should very chearfully give my Voice, for your going to New York, upon your Parol of Honour to return immediately, in Case your Exertions for negotiating an Exchange for Coll Allen should prove ineffectual.
But, Sir, I have not the Honour to be a Member of the Council of the Massachusetts Bay, and consequently have no Right to interfere in their Deliberations: <nor if I had should I be clear that they would be justifiable in granting your Request, without the consent of Congress.>
If I were to advise you sir, it would be, to apply to Congress, who I <make no Doubt> am much inclined to think would readily, grant your Request.
I am fully of opinion, however that the Resolution of Congress respecting your Confinement ought not to operate to your Disadvantage after the Capture of Gen. Prescott, and if the Honourable Council should see fit to grant your Request, I dont think they would incur any Censure from Congress: and if I should see any Member of that Body I shall take the Liberty to express the same Sentiments to him, being desirous of doing whatever I consistently can for the Accomodation of a Gentleman of your Character, in such Circumstances, as well as of accomplishing the Exchange of Coll Allen. I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. The resolution for close custody was passed on 20 Feb.; JA was in attendance by the 4th of that month. He may mean that he was not in the chamber on that day, although that seems unlikely (see Campbell to JA, 18 Dec., note 2, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0226-0001

Author: Kalb, Johann
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-27

From Johann Kalb

[salute] Sir

As you are going to France in a publick Character from the United States, will you give me leave to present you a Letter of introduction for M Le Comte de Broglie, one for M Moreau the { 372 } first Secretary to Count de Vergennes Minister of State for foreign affairs and two for my Lady, who Shall be glad to see you, and to get news from me by your means.
I wish you a good passage a Safe arrival, Health and Success in all your enterprises, no one being with more regard and Esteem, then Sir Your most obedient & very humble servant,
[signed] Baron de Kalb1
The inclosed for Moulin2 is only to be put to the post office either in Paris or in any Sea port Town.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter Barron De Kalb to me”; in another hand: “Baron de Kalb Decr 27th 1777.” Original two enclosures not found, but copies in both French and English in JA's hand.
1. Johann Kalb (his title was assumed) came to America on the same ship with a number of other French officers, including Valfort, mentioned in the enclosure, and Lafayette, who had been Kalb's protégé—all engaged by Silas Deane. When the congress rejected the contracts Deane had made with them and then named Lafayette a major general, Kalb threatened legal action. Ultimately the congress created a new place for him as a major general. Kalb was mortally wounded at the Battle of Camden, where he showed himself to be an intrepid and skillful commander (DAB; JCC, 8:743). Kalb wrote again to JA on 2 Jan. 1778, enclosing two additional letters for Comte de Broglie (DSI:Hull Coll.).
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0226-0002

Author: Kalb, Johann
Recipient: Broglie, Charles François, Comte de
Date: 1777-12-27

Enclosure: Johann Kalb to the Comte de Broglie

[salute] Mr Count

You take So great an Interest, in the Success of the American Cause, that I have made so bold, as to recommend to you, Mr John Adams, one of the Members of Congress who goes to France, to treat with the Court upon political Affairs, as Mr Deane will be charged, with the Affairs of Commerce. Mr Adams is a Man of Merit, generally esteemed in this Country, and to whom Mr de Valfort and myself, have Some Obligations relative to our Baggage. Your Credit, will be of great Use to him, if you will condescend to afford it to him.
I had the Honour to write you a long Letter, two days ago, which I hope will arrive Safe to you. The Poste for Boston presses me, without which, I should also have inclosed a Copy. I am with the most respectfull Devotion, Mr Count, your most humble and most obedient Servant,
[signed] The Baron de Kalb
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter Barron De Kalb to me”; in another hand: “Baron de Kalb Decr 27th 1777.” Original two enclosures not found, but copies in both French and English in JA's hand.
1. Preceding the date line is the following: “To Monsieur, Monsieur, the Count de Broglio, Knight of the Orders of the King, Lieutenant General of his Army, and Commandant in the Country of Messin, at his House in the Street of St. Dominick, fauxbourg St. Germains, at Paris.” Broglie was Kalb's patron (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0226-0003

Author: Kalb, Johann
Recipient: Moreau, M.
Date: 1777-12-27

Enclosure: Johann Kalb to M. Moreau

The Friendship, with which you have always honoured me, sir, has made me take the Liberty to recommend to you, Mr John Adams, one of the Members of Congress, who is charged with a Commission for France. As he will certainly have Demands to make of Mr the Count of Vergennes, and Affairs to treat within your Department I request you, to afford him your good offices, perswaded that whatever Favours the King shall grant to these United States of America, cannot but tend to the Good and Advantage of his Kingdom.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on page 373 in the printed volume has been moved to the end of either one of the last two preceding documents
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter Barron De Kalb to me”; in another hand: “Baron de Kalb Decr 27th 1777.” Original two enclosures not found, but copies in both French and English in JA's hand.
{ 373 }
1. Preceding the dateline is the following: “To Mr Moreau, principal Secretary to Mr the Count de Vergennes Minister of State, of the Department of foreign Affairs, at the Court of France.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0227

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-12-30

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Geary otherways engaged has given me the pleasure of forwarding this Intelligence from your friend Jefferson respecting the ready concurrence of the Dominion with the Articles sent lately to the States in a hope of cementing them together in a firm League.
I am particularly rejoyced at this dispatch at this critical time when things appear almost desperate in this neighbourhood. As a secret I tell you that there is the greatest risque that the army will be disbanded in a short season, for the Commissary's and Quarter Master's departments are ruined. I hope Robt. Morris will take up the first himself immediately or as a Director; Buchannan1 is as incapable as a child and knows not how he can feed the army 3 Weeks from any parts, or how to feed them from day to day with what he has on hand. Mutiny is at present suppressed. The Clothier2 is little better and the Director General of Hospitals3 is at his wits end. Trumbull would be deified if he was on the spot, send him from Boston if there.
The Board of War with military drivers are Quarter masters owing to the Imbicility of the Government of this State which must be changed after the present glaring conviction of its Impotence. If at any day it musters courage to legislate it finds itself without executive.4 Yr. frozen fingered Servt.
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers); written on a blank page of Jefferson's letter to JA of 17 Dec. (calendared above) and filmed under that date.
{ 374 }
1. William Buchanan had been raised from deputy commissary general of purchases to commissary general when Joseph Trumbull resigned (JCC, 8:477, 607; S. H. Parsons to JA, 28 July, note 4, above).
2. Washington appointed James Mease clothier general in January (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:58, 69).
3. On Dr. William Shippen, see Benjamin Rush to JA, 21 Oct. (above).
4. Lovell reflected the widespread criticism of the Pennsylvania constitution, which provided only for an executive council, with its presiding officer lacking any real power. Control centered in the unicameral legislature.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0228

Author: Chipman, Ward
Recipient: Browne, Montfort
Date: 1777-12

Ward Chipman to Montfort Browne

[salute] Much Respected Sir1

Owing to the very partial opinion and recommendation of my Friend, you have been pleased to apply to me for such observations as have occurred to my mind upon a subject, very interesting in its nature, and of the utmost importance to that cause in support of which every loyal and good subject would wish to use his utmost efforts and exert all the Abilities with which Nature, Industry or Fortune have endowed him; altho' I find myself totally inadequate to a proper and just representation of the matter, and feel the highest diffidence, when I reflect that my observations are to be submitted to the consideration of one of your Excellency's abilities, who from your situation must be a perfect master of the Subject, and whom want of Leisure only could induce to honor me with your commands on this occasion; yet gratitude as well as duty, and an anxious desire to contribute my mite to the public service, overcome all these scruples, and require me to solicit your most candid attention to the few considerations which I would beg leave humbly to suggest.
The present Rebellion tho' originally the effect of a complication of causes, has been fauster'd, and raised to it's present alarming height, by an universal jealousy and distrust of all the measures of Government artfully and wickedly instilled by the Leaders into the minds of the people; to increase this no means have been left untried, nor the most false and specious Glosses omitted on any occasion to cover their villainous designs. And I believe we may venture to affirm, that till a confidence in the good intentions and Designs of government, which is now almost universally lost, can be again in some measure restored, and the apprehensions of the people quieted, we shall never see an honorable Period to the Rebellion.
If we are right thus far, the enquiry is naturally suggested, what circumstances have been principally improved, to create { 375 } these fears, this Jealousy and distrust; and what mode of conduct will upon the grounds of human probability tend to dispel and remove them; the answer to the first part of the enquiry is obvious to every attentive observer; For upon what Measure of Administration have they rung so many changes or what one have they more artfully improved for their purpose, than the Employment of the foreign Troops; the People have been taught to believe, that this was adopted in order to effect the most compleat and barbarous conquest of the Country; These Troops, they are told, are sent purposely because they know not the Language and will of course make no distinctions in their cruelties and depredations—because they are Strangers to <an English> a free constitution, and will therefore without reluctance assist in enslaving them, because they can have no interest in saving the country from devastation, but rather an advantage from the Plunder, and unhappily for us there have occur'd too many instances of the latter kind to justify their fears. The employment therefor of these (what they fondly term) foreign mercenaries, has been among other things greatly improved to disaffect many inhabitants of the country to the cause of government and confirmd them in making the most desperate opposition. Most certainly then the taking into the service, such Troops as are not only without these objections to their character, but possess qualities directly opposite, must greatly conduce to a restoration of that confidence in Government, so essentially necessary to put an end to the Rebellion.2
And what Troops can so effectually answer this character, as the Provincial Forces. They can never be supposed by the People to have an interest in or an inclination for any thing that can tend to the ruin or destruction of the Country, or establish a tyrannical Government on the contrary they are bound by every tie which can affect the human heart, to extenuate the Ravages of war, and to contend for an American constitution as free as can subsist, compatible with their dependance on the mother Country and subjection to the supreme authority of the Realm as America is the Country that they and their Posterity are to inhabit and enjoy.
And I believe it may be safely affirmed that had the same Number of American Troops been raised, as there now is of foreign Troops in British pay in America the Rebellion would not at this day have existed—And we may be equally confident that { 376 } the same sums which have been expended in transporting foreign Troops to America, would have produc'd an equal Number of Provincials on the same Ground. Of the first of these positions we can have no Reason to doubt, when we reflect that one Soldier raised in America, is equal to having two brought from any other Country, as it not only adds one to the Royal Interest, but detaches one from the American Cause; <I mean of independance>. Add to this, that so great a Number of Inhabitants of the Country, must from their numerous connections have a very extensive influence, and by this means greatly assist and promote the cause of government. It is natural for Mankind to think favorably of and become reconciled to such measures as their Relations and Friends are engaged in supporting and gradually to divest themselves of such Prejudices as they may have previously entertained against them—in addition to all this we must observe the singular manner in which the Provincial Troops have distinguished themselves on every occasion.3 Of the truth of this the numerous and very pointed Encomiums of the Commanders under whom they have acted, particularly of the Commander in Chief bear the fullest and most ample testimony. It may not perhaps be impertinent further to suggest that the Alarm which must necessarily be created by the disaffection of so great a Number, would tend greatly to dispirit the Rebels even the most violent and to ruin their cause; but this must all depend upon the truth of what was further advanced, that the same Sums which will transport, 10,000 Hessians, will procure an equal Number of Provincials.
Let us attend to the situation of the inhabitants of the Country; their wants of many of the necessaries and more of the Conveniences of life are notorious, in fact it has been the Policy of the Leaders to collect all of these in their public Stores and to distribute them only to such as are connected with their Army, by this means forcing thousands against their inclinations to become Soldiers. Besides this great numbers by the Rebellion are thrown out of all business and employ and consider the Army as their only resource. Further to induce them to join they give the most extravagant Bounty, in some instances 2 and 3,00 Dollars, which tho' a paper Currency, and greatly depreciated, is far superior in value to the bounty in Specie, given by the Crown. I mean therefore to suggest, if a bounty in specie, was given by the Crown equivalent to the expence of transporting a single foreign { 377 } Soldier, that those men who from the Causes above mentioned have join'd the Rebel Army (of whom there is a very great proportion) would have inlisted in the Kings service, and perhaps would now desert to it.
The Expence of transporting foreign Troops must be very great—many of those who are now here, were actually on shipboard 6 Months, we may allow upon an Average, the Transports to be in pay 5 Months from the time of their being taken up, to their Arrival in America, now to each Man is allowed Tons [] at [] pr. Month, which for 5 Months amounts to, £[]—his Provision is rated at[]pr. diem which for the same time amounts to £[].4 These Sums even deducting the expence of Arms and Cloathing, would be an object truly worth the attention of every Soldier in the Rebel Army, or Militia Man in the Country. The expence of carrying the foreign troops back is likewise to be considered and that the whole expence of transporting Officers would be saved by raising Provincials in their stead not to dwell upon the disorders incident to men so long at sea, which must render many unfit for service.
But if in Addition to this, the Provincial Corps should be established, and the men upon being rendered unfit for service, might have a Provision similar to that of Chelsea Hospital and other foundations at home, the expence of which perhaps might be nearly defrayed by the Sums paid for foreign Troops disabled and kill'd, it would be such an additional encouragement as would probably effectually answer the purpose. An Objection might possibly arise, that An Establishment of them would create great Discontent and Envy in the British Army, to see American Officers, who receive their Commissions gratis, entitled to the same half pay and other Advantages, with themselves who at great Expence, and by long services had intitled themselves to them. But such distinctions might be made as would obviate this objection, as, let there be no liberty for Officers upon the Provincial Establishment to sell out—let them not be intitled to half pay, 'till they shall have served a certain Number of Years &ca. Many discriminations of this sort might be adopted, which would prevent the uneasiness which it is hinted, might possibly arise taking care however that the men be intitled during their establishment to the same emoluments and Advantages with the British troops.
Most certain it is that, whenever and however the Rebellion is { 378 } subdued, Troops must be kept up in the Country, and it must be obvious to every one, how much firmer a support to Government Troops raised in the Country would be, than any others, as by their extensive connections, as above mentioned they would secure a great Proportion of the Inhabitants in it's interest. And the Commissions might be in the gift of the Crown as a compensation to those Friends to Government who may have suffered by the Rebellion. Great Britain by this means would not be drained of such a Number of men as it otherwise must be to keep up an Army in America. The principal objection which arises is the difficulty it would create in the Provincial Corps already raised, to see the bounty increased to others, without having it made up to them. Let then the same bounty be still continued, and an engagement by Government made that upon 10,000, or any given Number of Provincials being raised, the additional bounty shall be paid to the whole, this would serve the sooner to compleat the Number and to prevent the desertion of any already raised.5 By this means unless the Expectations of Government with Respect to Numbers shall be answered, no greater Expence will be incurred, and if they are answered; upon the principles before advanced the Rebellion will be quell'd; and so desirable an Event will easily admit of the additional Bounty.
Whenever, then, such a Number of Provincial Troops by this or any other means shoud be raised as would admit a dismission of the foreign ones—should his Majesty by Proclamation declare; his most gracious intention of dismissing the foreign Troops from his service, because by their being ignorant of the English Language, and being dissimilar in their Manners and Customs, &ca. &ca. they were liable to create greater distress, and to alarm the fears and apprehensions of his deluded Subjects with respect to the intentions of Government—and further declare the Establishment of the Provincial Troops, as being more proper to be employed, because, they could never be apprehended to support any measures which should tend to the disadvantage, or Ruin of the Country, being themselves interested in it's welfare—Such a Measure as this, it may be supposed upon rational Grounds of probability, would so soften and reconcile the Minds of the People, as to <produce and> restore that faith and confidence in Government which alone can ever extinguish the flame of Rebellion, and restore the British Dominions to Happiness Harmony and peace.
{ 379 }
I fear I have exceeded all the Rules of propriety in going thus far and that I have not in any measure answered your design or Expectation; I have penn'd perhaps with too great freedom my Sentiments on the subject, the inaccuracies I am sensible are many. On your candor only I must rely for an excuse, but should what I have suggested prove in any degree satisfactory, it will afford me the highest Pleasure, to have had it in my power to render even this small service to your Excellency.
Wishing on all occasions to receive your Commands when it is in my power to be serviceable, I remain with the greatest Respect, your Excellencys most obedient & most humble Servt.
[signed] WC6
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed: “Copy of my Letter to B. G. Browne. Decr. 1777.” The numerous cancellations and interlineations suggest a draft rather than a copy. How it came to be in the Adams Papers is unknown to the editors. It is printed here for its intrinsic interest as a loyalist solution to the fear and hatred aroused in Americans by British employment of German mercenaries.
1. Brig. Gen. Montfort Browne commanded the Prince of Wales American Regiment. Appointed a brigadier in May 1777, he had formerly been governor of New Providence in the Bahamas, where he was captured in a raid led by Esek Hopkins. Imprisoned in Connecticut, he was released in Oct. 1776 in exchange for Lord Stirling (“The Loyalist Regiments: British Provincial Troops Raised in America, 1775–1783,” The Bulletin of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum, 2:172, 173 [Jan. 1932]; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 4:735; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 6:97, 183).
2. Period supplied.
3. Period supplied.
4. Period supplied. Blanks for amounts are in the original.
5. Period supplied.
6. Identified from the handwriting in letters known to have been written by Ward Chipman (MHi: Thomas W. Ward Papers). Chipman was deputy muster-master general of British forces in North America (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:370).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0229

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-01

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

The year is rendered quite pleasing to me, in its beginning, by the arrival of your favour of the 6th of december, which assures me you were then in health with your lovely family. May part of that happiness long continue! I say part, for I wish you may e'er long be in France, or, at York Town. Your aid has been greatly wanted upon a most important transaction. We have had a call for your stores of Grotius Puffendorf Vattel &c. &c. &c. to support reason and commonsense or to destroy both, just as your Honour and Da– and Du– and Dy–1 should interpret the text. I shall expect a long, long letter when the business which the { 380 } bearer of this carries to General Heath2 shall have been communicated to you.
There are certain words which may be so used as to cause a vast expenditure of ink. For instance, Men may dispute a year about “just Grounds,” and each remain of the opinion he first sat out with. Calm posterity alone perhaps can make a faithful decision upon the weighty matters now in dispute between Great Britain and these States, as to the verum decens et honestum with which they are conducted.
I do not mean by that remark to deprive myself in any measure of the advantage of having your speedy and free opinion of the business before hinted at.
The next weighty affair is to settle the army after such a conference and consultation abroad as may make firm ground for determinations here within doors. Much work is to be done in a short period. One month of winter is gone. Howe will have no embarkation of troops to make in the spring to impede his early operations; and more of our soldiers perhaps will be destroyed by the galenic than by martial [ . . . ] at this season. All possible [ . . . ] therefore should be exerted to [ . . . ] up the quotas by every state. Virginia will draught, and I hope the substitution acts will be repealed every where.
With the compliments of the day to your Lady and yourself be assured you receive not the product of meer custom from your affectionate humb Servt.
[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; docketed: “Mr. Lovell acknowledged Feby 6”; by CFA: “Jany 1st. 1778.” MS mutilated along one edge.
1. Francis Dana, William Duer, and Eliphalet Dyer. The first two were members of the committee which reported at length on the Gates-Burgoyne exchange of letters, in which the latter claimed that the Americans had broken faith by violating the terms of the Saratoga Convention. Dyer may have been in Lovell's mind because the day before Dyer had been named with Dana and Duer to a committee to consider a motion for sending a congressional committee to camp to investigate the justification for reforming the army by reducing the number of officers (JCC, 9:1034, 1074).
2. Very likely the bearer of Lovell's letter to JA was also carrying President Laurens' letter to Gen. Heath of 27 Dec. Enclosed in it was another letter to Heath dated simply Jan. 1778, Heath being instructed to fill in the proper day after he had taken steps over a period of days to assure that any transports furnished by Gen. Howe were in fact capable of carrying the Burgoyne army to Britain. Actually the congress wanted Heath to delay so that it would have time to prepare resolutions preventing the embarkation of Burgoyne's troops; the congress had to find ostensibly good grounds for not proceeding under the Saratoga Convention, for the prompt departure of the men would afford the British time to use them as substitutes for troops stationed in Eng• { 381 } land, which could then be sent to America. When Heath could delay no longer, he was to date the letter, which forbade embarkation until orders arrived from the congress. The congress acted finally on 8 Jan., denying embarkation until Britain explicitly ratified the Convention. Lovell's reference to JA's knowledge of authorities on the law of nations suggests the dilemma confronting some members of the congress who wanted to nullify the Convention yet wanted to do so on justifiable grounds. Burgoyne's failure fully to account for cartouche boxes and other accouterments, his refusal to identify by name officers and soldiers covered by the Convention, and his charge that Americans had breached the Convention by not providing adequately for his officers in Boston, all led the congress to its action (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:598–600; JCC, 10:29–35).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0230

Author: Laurens, Henry
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1778-01-05

From Henry Laurens, with Appended Note of John Adams to Richard Cranch

[salute] Dear sir

I had the honour of Addressing you on the 28th. November1 and 3d. Ultimo in Official Letters from Congress. My present business is to intreat your protection to the inclosed Packet from Baron Kalb which he intimates to me is intended to be of particular service to these States. You will be pleased either to take it under your immediate care if you intend within a few Weeks to embark for France or, if you do not, to commit it to the charge of some person in whom you can confide, with direction in case of Capture to use his utmost endeavour to conceal and save it and attempt a conveyance from England if he should be carried into that Kingdom. The Baron will be much obliged to you for information how you intend to dispose of this Letter.
We have advice from Gen. Smallwood stationed at Wilmington, of a Capture made by him of Brigantine which had got aground about 5 Miles above that place—a British Captain and 67. Soldiers—the Master and Mate and 12 or 15 Seamen and 40 Women some of them Officers Wives made Prisoners. The Brigantine was armed 6. 4 Pounders and some Swivels. The British Captain was sulky and refused to disclose the particular Contents of the Cargo. The Master of the Vessel said she was laden with Bales and Boxes the Contents not known to him but he understood there were Clothing for four Regiments with Camp Equipage 1000 or 1500 stand of Arms some ammunition—5 Hogsds. Rum, Butter and other Provision some Sugar Tea &c proper.2 The Clothing and Arms were intended for new Levies expected to be raised, Gen. Smallwood intimates that he had 300 Men at work unloading the Vessel and hoped soon to give a more { 382 } special Account. A Sloop laden with flour and Pork is also taken the Cargo would be secured and the Vessel burned.
'Tis reported also that the Jersey Militia had taken a Scots Vessel aground supposed to be fully Loaden with Merchandize and the Masters name Speers, is mentioned—but this wants confirmation.
I beg you will do me the favor to present my Compliments to Mr. S. Adams and believe me to be with great Respect and Esteem Sir Your Obedient & most humble servant
[signed] Henry Laurens

[salute] Dr Br Cranch3

On my Arrival at my beloved Fire side, I was regailed with this Letter, which I send for your Comfort—return it by Bearer—at same Time I received a Letter from Mr. Jefferson4 of Virginia acquainting me that the Assembly and Senate of that State have ratified the Confederation.
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honorable John Adams Esquire Boston”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “president Laurence”; by CFA: “Jany 5th 1778.”
1. Not printed. See Commission for Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Lee, and JA, [27 Nov. 1777], note 1 (above).
2. Period supplied.
3. Richard Cranch, good friend of JA and husband of Mary, AA's sister.
4. That of 17 Dec. 1777 (calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0231

Author: Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-09

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."

From Lafayette

Headquarters, 9 January 1778. RC (Adams Papers); printed: Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977– , 1:226–227. Lafayette enclosed letters to his wife and her cousin the Prince de Poix, whom he asked to introduce JA to friends.
RC (Adams Papers); printed: Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977– , 1:226–227.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0232

Author: Purviance, Samuel
Author: Purviance, Robert
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-09

From Samuel and Robert Purviance

[salute] Dear Sir

A Schooner belonging to Us by which our friend Mr. McCreery went to France, being returnd a few days ago, We inclosed you a Letter received by her from Mr. McCreery.1 And by this Opportunity of our Neighbour Mr. Dugan We have sent you a small Bundle received from Captn. Martin.2 We presume Mr. McCreery has furnished you with the same Political Advices as he has written us, which therefore may be unnecessary to repeat.
{ 383 }
Our Bay still continues blocked up by the Enemy who have generally had from 5 to 7 Frigates about our Capes since Fall. This renders it allmost impossible to get out any Vessels of Burthen: But in Spite of all their Vigilance We are able to get in some Supplies thro the Inlets on the Sea Board. Our People are running so fast on Salt Making, that there can be no doubt they will against next Summer be able to supply the whole Wants of that essential Article of Life. This day a Sloop with 2500 Bushels arrived here from Curassoa, and is a most Seasonable Relief, the Price being Current at £15 per Bushel. We are with great Respect Sir, Your mo: hbl. Servts
[signed] Saml & Robt Purviance
1. See MacCreery to JA, 10 Oct. 1777, note 1 (above).
2. Not found; possibly the Irish magazine mentioned by MacCreery.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0233

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-13

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

First and foremost, become a reconciling advocate for me with your dear lovely Portia, who, from the most rational tender attachment to you, is as angry with me as her judiciously patriotic Spirit will allow, upon a foundation which I hope you have been acquainted with, long e'er this day.
This hint must pass for an acknowledgement of the receipt of her letter of Decr. 19th.1 and for all the answer which I have courage to make.
Mr. Thaxter must supply for my only mentioning that your favour of the 9th. Ultimo is in my pocket.2
By consulting my Scrawls to Mr. Hancock and to Mr. S. Adams, you will see why I seem so stingy of ink just now, who have appeared a prodigal in your eye not long since; when you have seen me spoiling whole quires of virgin paper with that black and mischievous Liquour.
As a Supplement to what I have sketched to Mr. S. A.—I give you a Specimen of the agitating Genius of the Men of Leisure on the Banks of Schuylkill. They have offered 13 quarto pages of hints and observations to Genl. W— for his concurrence and conveyance to Congress.3 The spirit of those pages is contained in the following Analisis made by Secretary Thompson who has kept very near the Letter. You will percieve a roguish sneer in the Preface and Conclusion, but it is what no whig Farmer could avoid.
{ 384 }
For an honest Clue take the word recommend instead of make Lt. Generals &c. &c.
A short and easy method of promoting the interest of America, of increasing her internal strength and her reputation with foreign powers.
1. Let all colonial distinctions be done away.
2. Let each state send to head quarters a proportional number of men to compose an army of 60,000 foot, 6,000 Artillery and 8,000 horse, besides artifficers &c.
3. Let the Commander in chief and 6 Officers whom he shall be pleased to make Lt. Generals model and officer this army as they please; and, that those whom they dislike may not be much disgusted by being turned out of service, let them have lands assigned, by Congress; and, if the Chief and his 6 Lieutt Genls: think proper to give them a letter of recommendation, let them have a pension for life equal to one half of their present pay.
4. To attach officers to the service let them hold their commissions for life, with liberty to sell out, when the commander in chief pleases, and let them have half pay, if the army is reduced.
5. To establish a due subordination let none be promoted out of turn but such as the Chief and his 6 Lt. Generals please.
6. Let all above the rank of Coll: be dignified with and after the war have pensions suitable to their rank.
This done, Order and Regularity and Discipline will immediately take place. Every soldier will be clean and neatly dressed, his head combed and powdered; Sloth Desertion and Disease will be banished the Camp of the American army; nay, what is more, they will be well fed and their meat will be boiled instead of fried or broiled.
I have a private letter from Docr. Franklin of Octr. 7th by which I find he and I are fully together in sentiment as to Applications of foreign Officers for employ here; so that my labours will be diminished in future.
Our Commissions and Instructions to W–L– and R–I– got to hand the beginning of Octr.4 You will know the rest from Mr. Hancock as I have not time to tell the roguish Story to all my Colleagues. The public papers were stolen either in France or in America—or sold by the bearer.5
Genl. W — informs me that the Journals are found, upon my Directions, near the Gulph and shall be forwarded directly; The 3d. Vol: will immediately be set on foot after finishing the 2d. by printing the Month of Decr. 1776.6
{ 385 }

[salute] I shall only say on this half Sheet that I am Your most affectionate humble Servant,

[signed] Js Lovell
I mistake I must go further or break a much more important promise. I must apologize to you and to the other Gentlemen thro' you for our Brother Geary's seeming Negligence of Friendship, by telling you that it is not in his power to write without neglecting to answer public Letters received as a Committee Chairman.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr. Braintree or Boston”; docketed: “Mr Lovell”; in CFA's hand: “Jany 13th 1778.”
1. For AA's protest to Lovell for having a part in sending JA off on another long absence, see her draft letter dated [ca. 15 Dec. 1777] (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:370–372).
2. JA's letter recommending John Thaxter for employment is not printed here (LbC, Adams Papers).
3. The army had gone into winter quarters at Valley Forge on the banks of the Schuylkill, thus the satiric reference to the men of leisure. Lovell was one of those who thought that a winter campaign ought to be attempted. The particular men of leisure in this instance were eight field officers who had presented their ideas to Washington, only to have them dismissed with some incisive comments. The signers were Cols. Theodorick Bland, Mordecai Gist, Josias Carvell Hall, Thomas Hartley, and Robert Lawson; Lt. Col. James Innis; and Majs. John Taylor and Henry Miller (Lovell to JA, 28 Nov. 1777, above; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 10:125 and note).
4. The commissions and instructions to William Lee, Commissioner to the courts of Vienna and Berlin, and to Ralph Izard, Commissioner to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, were approved by the congress on 1 July 1777 and printed in full in JCC, 8:518–521. Izard and Lee acknowledged their receipt in early October (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:403, 406).
5. Capt. John Folger, a passenger on the sloop Benjamin, Capt. Ricot, was employed by the American Commissioners to deliver dispatches to the congress. He landed in Wilmington, N.C., in late Dec. 1777, ostensibly bearing the first news from the Commissioners to get through to America since the preceding May. When the packet was opened, however, it contained, apart from some private letters, nothing but blank papers. This discovery prompted a lengthy investigation by the congress and the imprisonment for some months of Folger, who was suspected of complicity despite his vehement denials, but who eventually was released for lack of evidence. The Committee for Foreign Affairs warned the Commissioners to be more careful in their choice of couriers, for Folger had been at the least very indiscreet, as depositions from North Carolina, where he first landed, made plain (same, 2:468–469; PCC, No. 59, I, f. 81–110). The means by which blank paper was substituted for the dispatches is recounted in Lewis Einstein, Divided Loyalties, Boston, 1933, ch. 2.
6. Washington had dispatched a person to locate the Journals, which with Howe's advance had been sent out of Philadelphia. On their being found, the general ordered them sent to York under military escort. The location of presses and type, which had also been moved to a secure place on congressional order, was not known, however, to the person caring for the Journals (Washington to Lovell, 9 Jan., Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 10:288; JCC, 8:754).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0234-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Massachusetts House of Representatives, Speaker of
Recipient: Pickering, John Jr.
Date: 1778-01-15

To the Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives

[salute] Sir

I had this Moment the Honour of receiving the Order of the Honourable the House of Representatives of the 14th. instant directing the Gentlemen who the last Year represented this State in Congress, and are now in this State, to lay before the Honourable House an Account of their Expences, while in that service.
In Obedience to this order, sir, I herewith transmit, all the Account, which it is in my Power to exhibit.1
I Sincerely wish it were in my Power to exhibit an account of all the Particulars, accompanied with the Vouchers. But altho from my Setting out, on my Journey to Baltimore, untill my Departure from Philadelphia, I kept as particular an Account as the confused state of things in that Country during the last Year would Admit, and was carefull to take Vouchers for every Particular: Yet, the Departure of Congress from Philadelphia, was so unexpected and so sudden, and my own in Particular, so much more sudden and unprepared than the rest, having never heard of the Danger, untill many Hours after the News of it arrived in the City and almost all the other Gentlemen were gone that I was obliged to leave, a small Trunk of my Baggage together with my Account Books and all my Receipts, behind me in the Care of a Reverend Gentleman in the City.2
The Account herewith exhibited, however contains an exact Account of the Money I have received as well as of that which I expended, to the Truth of which I am ready to affirm in any Manner the Honourable House shall think proper.
I am Sorry the Account amounts to so large a sum But I can truly say, I lived in the greatest possible Frugality through the whole Time, and I am well assured that no Gentleman whatever, lived at a smaller Expence. But the extravagant Prices of every Thing, which took their Rise at the southward, a long Time sooner than they did here were the Cause of it. I have the Honour to be with the most perfect Esteem and Respect, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (NN:Emmet Coll.); docketed: “Jno. Adams Esqr. Petition & Accots.”
1. For a fuller itemization but still incomplete account, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:252–257 and notes there.
2. For JA's moving into the home of Rev. James Sproat, see same, 2:262.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0234-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Massachusetts General Court
DateRange: 1777-01-09 - 1778-01-15

Enclosure: Account of Adams's Expenses: State of Massachusetts Bay to John Adams

State of Massachusetts Bay to John Adams
    £   s   d  
1777   To Cash Spent from my leaving Home the 9. Jany. 1777 to my Return 27. Novr 1777 exclusive of every Article of Cloathing and exclusive of a Bll flour sent to my family from Baltimore.   312:   14:   0  
  To Cash paid my servant for Wages and Expences, by Mrs. Adams   7:   16:   8  
  To Cash due to Mr. Sprout for Board one Week at £4 Pen. currency   3:   4:   0  
  To Cash due to Mr. Smith for his Account   1:   12:   0  
  To Cash due to Mr. Fox for shoeing my Horse   1:   4:   0  
  These accounts were left unpaid, by our sudden Departure from Philadelphia, but I have given orders for the Payment of them.        
  To the Hire of two Horses, for the Year   80——      
  To my own Time 322 days a 24/   386:   8——    
    792:   18:   8  
1777   Jany. By a Grant, of Money, by the Honourable the General Court, received by me of the Treasurer   150:   0:   0  
  By Cash received of Mr. Gibson Auditor General of the Continental Treasury, in Part of a Note of Hand to the Honourable Mr. Hancock.   300:   0:   0  
  450:   0:   0  
  Ballance due   342:   18:   81  
    792:   18:   8  
The content of all or some notes that appeared on page 388 in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document
RC (NN:Emmet Coll.); docketed: “Jno. Adams Esqr. Petition & Accots.”
{ 388 }
1. This amount was accepted by the General Court and payment to JA ordered (Mass., Province Laws, 20:261).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0235

Author: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-15

From Henry Laurens

[salute] Sir

I was honoured on the 7th. Instant by the Receipt of your favour of the 9th. Ultimo by the hands of Mr. Thaxter.1
I desired that Young Gentleman to call on me the Morning after he arrived intending to have conversed with him and to have aimed at some plan for procuring a suitable employment for him, but I found that by the Interest of other friends he had been introduced into the Secretary's Office. You may depend upon it Sir, if it shall hereafter be in my power, I will not fail to join those friends in order to give him a lift in proportion to his merit. For my own part long experience has convinced me that inaccuracy and confusion attend supernumerary Clerks in any Office. The Duties of mine demand the Eye and hand of the principal and afford sufficient, oftentimes heavy, employment for every moment between adjournments and Meetings of Congress, borrowing deeply of the Night and stirring very early every Morning but there is not half work enough for a Clerk who would have the whole day for the easy business of Copying which is all he ought to be entrusted with, I have a Young Man who serves me tolerably well in that branch and at intervals he finds other necessary work to do.
You will learn Sir, that by the present conveyance I have dispatched an Act of Congress of the 8th. Instant to Your Council and two Copies to Gen. Heath, for suspending the embarkation of Gen. Burgoyne,2 it would have given me great pleasure if a Copy could have been obtained for you in time for the present conveyance but to this hour I have not been able to procure one for any State southward of this. This is one of the benefits arising from superabundant assistance, I could have Copied the whole with my own hand in twice 24 hours.
I feel myself exceedingly anxious lest Great Britain should get the start of us in publishing in her own terms and Glossings an account of this great event at the seviral Courts in Europe, I believe the Committee of foreign Correspondence have yet only { 389 } one Copy which I delivered no sooner than yesterday to Mr. Lovel and if I understood him he did not intend to transmit that by the present conveyance, I beg leave therefore to submit to your consideration the propriety of procuring immediately accurate Copies from the originals above mentioned and dispatch one by every Vessel that shall Sail for any part of France within a Month or Six Weeks from Boston, directed to our Commissioners at Paris, I would wish in order to guard against accidents to send at least six repeated Copies, the expence of Copying compared with the benefits which may arise from such early intelligence is not equal to a drop compared with the Ocean. Certified Copies under your hand will enable the Commissioners to represent our conduct in a true light at all the foreign Courts and to defeat wicked attempts to calumniate Congress which will be made by British Agents. I think our Act stands upon a firm bottom. It will appear when truly Reported to be as justifiable as it was necessary. Let us if possible for once take the lead of those who trust in lies and misrepresentation for success.
Mr. Lovel will no doubt inform you of the trick played upon us by palming a bundle of blank Papers for a Packet of Letters and dispatches from our said Commissioners and according to the account which the bearer of the above-mentioned Counterfeit gives, this is the third Instance within a few Months past of Interception on the other side of the Water; in the present Case there is too much the appearance of unpardonable remissness in those friends of ours, who ought to be incessantly watchful.
It appears to me, our circumstances there are deplorable and require immediate aid to keep us in any tolerable Credit with our self Interested friends and from being despised and hissed by our Enemies.
Concerning the Captivity of Mr. Howe I wish for it as anxiously as you do, but I will not Insure it this Winter, Providence has favoured us in the discovery of his designs with the Troops of the Northern Hero3 and I trust enabled us to frustrate them, otherwise strings of Captivity might have appeared even about York Town.
I flatter myself with hopes of your determination to accept the Commission which I lately transmitted you and of your proceeding very soon to attend the duties of it. I pray God to give you a speedy and pleasant passage and to protect you against the hands of our Enemies.
{ 390 }
My Compliments to Mr. S. Adams whom I long to see in Congress again and believe me to be with great Esteem and regard Dear sir Your most humble servant
[signed] Henry Laurens
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “President Lawrence recd and answed. Feby. 4. 1778”; in CFA's hand: “Jany 15th 1778.”
1. LbC (Adams Papers), not printed here.
2. See James Lovell to JA, 1 Jan., note 2 (above).
3. Probably Howe's suspected design of returning Burgoyne's army quickly to England to take the place of garrison troops that could then be sent against the Americans.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0236

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-20

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

The receipt of your letters of Decr. 24th variously directed gave equal and uniform satisfaction here yesterday.1
There was an error in the date of the Commission but it is judged to be of no importance.
I send all the dispatches to you open as before that you may be acquainted with the contents, in case you should forward them before you sail yourself.
I will endeavour to send your Chest by one of the Waggons which brought Cloaths forward from Boston.
It is of high Importance that the papers respecting Burgoyne should go speedily forward, for reasons which Mr. Laurens has before wrote.
You may depend upon my writing to you frequently. I will not wait till I hear of opportunities, but put down every thing which I may think it behoves you to know and keep all publications which may fall into my hands containing useful matters, till accident shall furnish me a passport for them to you.
The Moment the Journals which are found shall reach York I will inclose one to you unstiched and forward sheets afterwards as they come from under the press.
I fear it will be long before I shall get possession of your Box now under the care of Mr. Sprout, who has recovered his health, and preaches in a pretty good Parish at.2
I have heard only Today from our Secretary Paine. When he arrives he shall copy all the Letters written from this and forward them to France unless I hear of the arrival of any before he comes. We have sent from York Town
Oct. 6th two, with a Postscript of the 9th;
{ 391 }
Oct. 18 one—31st one—
Nov. 1st. one—8th one—
Decr. 1st one—2d. one—3
With Duplicates and some Triplicates.
I send you Dr. Franklin's letter to me not having time to copy it.4 We had no sort of Intelligence of a public nature, but, by the tone of private letters, things went pretty well. You will return the Doctor's letter.
I expect you will tell me in the most free confidential manner how I may do my duty to you or to your family; and, be well assured, Sir, I will put things into that Train which shall make your mind as much at ease as possible under your disagreable seperation from a large portion of your earthly felicity.
I have a referrence to the support of yourself and family. You know as well as I how losely things stand with the other Gentlemen. I shall expect to hear from you on this subject when you have convened with them, if not before; that is—if any services of mine are necessary; not otherwise.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter Mr Lovell to me. relative to”; in another hand: “Jany. 20. 1778.”
1. Those of JA to Lovell, the Committee for Foreign Affairs, and Daniel Roberdeau (all above).
2. Left blank in MS.
3. All are in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:396–401, 412–413, 421–423, 437–441, except that of 1 Nov. 1777, which is in PCC, 79, I, f. 121.
4. Franklin's letter of 7 Oct. 1777 (Lovell to JA, [post 17 Dec. 1777], note 6, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0237

Author: Roberdeau, Daniel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-21

From Daniel Roberdeau

[salute] Dear Sir

I acknowledge your favors of the 19th.1 and 24th. Ultimo, and with great pleasure find you obey the call of your Country. May it prove her advantage and your honor, of which I have not the least doubt, notwithstanding the deficiency you mention. I shall highly esteem a constant correspondence with you, which I shall endeavour to encourage and improve a friendship I so greatly value.
A lex talionis has this day unanimously passed Congress.2 So matured by the repeated barbarities of our Enemies that a very long report from the board of war on the subject had an uncommon quick passage through the House, a fate you know unusual even on trivial occasions, but it would exceed the bounds of Letter to transcribe it and unnecessary as your State and most { 392 } probably yourself will be furnished with a Copy by this Opportunity. The treatment of Canadian Prisoners on parole on their return home, being constrained by cruel usage and whippings to enlist with the British Troops coroborates the reasons for suspending the Convention at Saratoga. But I forbear a work of supererogation for our communicative friend Lovel is writing at the same table. May the Lord bless and preserve you I am with real regard Dear Sir, Yr. very affectionate friend & huml. Servt.
[signed] Daniel Roberdeau
P.S. A Committee is this day appointed3 to prepare a Manifesto which will exhibit species of Cruelty in our Enemies, unheared of among Nations called civilized, except from the same Tyrenical hand in the East Indies. “Vengeance is mine I will repay saith the Lord.”
1. An inadvertence for the 9th.
2. Hearing a comprehensive report on the inhumane treatment that American prisoners were receiving at the hands of the British, the congress resolved to treat British prisoners in a like manner (JCC, 10:74–81).
3. Chosen were John Witherspoon, Jonathan Bayard Smith, James Lovell, and Gouverneur Morris (same, 10:81–82).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0238

Author: Ellery, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-22

From William Ellery

[salute] Sir

I received a few days since a Letter from my good friend William Vernon Esqr., One of the members of the Navy Board in the Eastern department; in which he informed me that he was about to send his son, William, to France; with the View of placing him in a good, reputable, mercantile house; either in Nantz, Bourdeaux or Rochelle, and desired that I would obtain Letters recommendatory of him to the honorable Commissioners at the Court of France.
It would give me great pleasure to oblige both the father and the son, and I know no way in which I could do it so effectually, if I should be so happy, as by introducing him to your favorable notice and attention.
I remember Horace's caution;1—but I think I run no other hazard in recommending young Mr. Vernon to your notice, but that of being refused a favour, which I acknowledge I have but small pretensions to ask: A hazard which I hope you will think me excuseable in running for the sake of serving a friend.
{ 393 }
He was educated at Jersey College, and at the last commencement proceded Batchelor of Arts. I have inquired into his Character of President Witherspoon and Professor Houston, who was late Dep: Secry of Congress. They both speak well of his morals and behaviour while he was at College. I have some Acquaintance with him, and think that he is an amiable Youth. If he should have the honour of going a passenger in the Ship that carries you,2 you will have an opportunity of knowing him thoroughly before you reach your destined port. Heartily wishing you a safe and pleasant passage, and that health happiness and success may attend you I am most respectfully Yrs
[signed] Wm Ellery
1. Probably a reference to Horace's letter of recommendation to Tiberius in behalf of Septimius, about 20 B.C. It was a letter Horace was not happy to write but which he felt he could not avoid. Refusal might mean that Horace was hiding the true extent of his influence, although he modestly protested that Septimius knew more of his influence than Horace himself did. The letter is well known as a model of tact (Epistle 1.9, ed. and transl. H. R. Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, 1926, p. 309–311).
2. Not only William Vernon Jr. but also Jesse Deane, son of Silas, traveled on the Boston to France with JA and JQA (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:269).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0239

Author: President of Congress
Author: Laurens, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-22

From the President of the Congress

[salute] Sir

On the 19th. Instant I had the honour of receiving and presenting to Congress, your favor of the 23d. Ultimo—the Contents of which afforded great satisfaction to the House. It is now the wish of every friend to American Independence to learn speedily of your safe arrival at the Court of Versailles, where your sagacity, vigilance, integrity and knowledge of American affairs are extremely wanted for promoting the Interest of these Infant States. You are so well acquainted with our present Representation in that part of Europe and with the delays and misfortunes under which we have suffered as renders it unnecessary to attempt particular intimations.
Inclosed you will find an Act of the 8th Instant for suspending the embarkation of Gen. Burgoyne and his Troops. Mr. Lovel has very fully advised you on that subject by the present opportunity, permit me to add that I have it exceedingly at heart, from a persuasion of the rectitude and justifiableness of the measures, { 394 } to be in the Van of the British Ministry and their Emissaries at every Court in Europe.
Baron Holzendorff1 presents his best Compliments and requests your care of the Inclosed Letter directed to his Lady. If I can possibly redeem time enough for writing to my family and friends in England I will take the Liberty by the next Messenger to trouble you with a small Packet. Hither[to] all private considerations have been overruled by a constant attention to business of more importance, I mean since the first of November.2 I have the honour to be with great Regard & Esteem Sir Your most obedient & most humble servant
[signed] Henry Laurens, President of Congress
1. Lt. Col. Louis Casimer, baron de Holtzendorff, whom the congress permitted to resign on 31 Jan. (JCC, 10:105).
2. When Laurens was elected president (same, 9:854). JA acknowledged receipt of this letter on 6 Feb., promising to honor Laurens' various requests (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0240

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-22

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."

From Benjamin Rush

Yorktown, 22 January 1778. RC (Adams Papers); printed: Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:190–192. Whatever might be said about the graces needed at the French court, Rush praised the choice of the “perfectly honest” Adams as commissioner.
Critical of American generalship, Rush yet dreaded the entry of France into the war that most Americans longed for because in his view such help would prevent the maturing of the nation, which could come about only by its remaining truly independent. Rush explained that he went to Yorktown to resign his commission and to complain formally about Dr. William Shippen's administration of the hospital service.
RC (Adams Papers); printed: Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:190–192.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0241

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-25

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear sir

I have attended to your Sentiments on the Subject of Money and am equally unhappy with You “to see Injustice, both to the publick and Individuals so frequent”;1 but how to remedy it, “hic Labor, hoc Opus est.” The Mode proposed by an Act allowing Depreciation or Appreciation on Specialties may releive a few, but I fear, that it would not have a general good Effect.
The comparative Value of Money appears to me to depend on { 395 } three principles; the Quality, the Quantity, and the plenty or Scarcity of the Articles which are generally considered as Necessaries of Life.
With Respect to the Quality, it matters not much whether it is paper or Species, if a Confidence is placed in the Government, and the Quantity does not exceed the Sum required for a circulating Medium. To prove this, have We not frequently seen paper in these States, preferable to Gold or Silver of the same nominal Value, as it was more portable, and equally good for any other purpose within the State? True it is, that if the Government is in Danger of an Overthrow, or is supposed unable to redeem the Money, It's Value will be proportionably diminished: but I beleive that our Currency suffers no present Injury from either of these Causes.
But when the Quantity is increased beyond it's due Bounds, whether Species or paper, the Currency must necessarily depreciate. This is one great Cause of the Evils We now feel, and therefore We know that by lessening the Quantity, we shall find releif. Taxation is an effectual Remedy as far as it goes, but whilst the War continues, It must be assisted by others that are more extensive. Loans from the Inhabitants of the States, are safe and ought to be promoted by all the Means in our Power. Whilst the Interest is to be paid in Bills of Exchange, I was in Hopes that the Citizens of America would have fully supplyed the Loan Offices, but find it otherwise. Surely it is not from the Want of Money, for an Assertion of this Kind would be contrary to Experience: It must arise then from the present Want of Zeal, or an Apprehension of Individuals that they shall be Sufferers by the Measure. If the former, ought they not to be addressed by Congress and the respective States, and excited by every Argument to supply the necessary Means for supporting the War? If the latter their Fear is groundless, for it can easily be demonstrated, that the Value of the Bills of Exchange which they are to receive for their Interest, will increase in an inverse Ratio to the Depreciation of the Currency. Confiscated Estates, if the Recommendations of Congress are carried into Effect, will produce large Sums for this purpose. An Estate in Connecticut of a Refugee with the Enemy, I am credibly informed amounted before the War, to £50,000 Currency. Is not the Value greatly enhanced since, and ought not the States without Delay to realize such Interest? We have directed the Commissioners at the Court of { 396 } France and Spain to apply for a Loan of two Million sterling,2 which is to serve as a Fund on which Bills of Exchange are proposed to be drawn for sinking Part of the continental Currency. This I hope, with the Establishment of an Office to answer the Bills that shall be drawn for Payment of the Interest on Loan Office Certificates will claim the immediate Attention of the Commissioners. Let Us determine to go on and multiply Measures for reducing the Quantity until it is accomplished, and I doubt not We shall answer the purpose.
But one Thing further appears necessary, which has not hitherto met with your Concurrence, I mean, a general Regulation of prices thro the Continent; from the Want of Which the plan in N. England has once miscarried. Many of the Articles imported from abroad, or captured by privateers, are necessaries of Life, and in such Demand from the Scarcity as to enable the Importer and Retailer to exact from the publick exorbitant Profits. The Evil does not end here, the farmer finding that foreign Goods are high increases the prices of produce in proportion to the highest prices of such Imports and thus the Money is depreciated excessively. Would not this be the Case if the Currency was in Specie, and there was not a greater Sum in Circulation than was necessary? Perhaps by attending to the Matter We shall find that it would, for Avarice is not to be satisfied by Gold and Silver, any more than by paper Bills. The Importer and Retailer unrestrained by Laws, would in the one Case as well as the other, have the Inhabitants in their Power, and by their exorbitant Demands would oblige the Farmer and Manufacturers to rise in the same Proportion, in order to support themselves and Families, and thus accomplish a Depreciation. A very good Reason may be assigned for the present Difference of prices, when Articles are paid for in Gold and Silver. These have a more extensive Circulation, and the present high prices of produce render it necessary to obtain Species for Exportation; but by reducing the Quantity of paper, and curbing Extortion, the prices of produce will naturally fall and Gold and Silver will not be often wanted to send abroad, and never by Traders at Home, unless, as I said before the State is in Danger. Has not every Legislature frequently interposed and provided restraining Acts, when by some unhappy Catastrophe or other Accident, many of the necessary Articles of Life have become scarce? And if this had not been done is it not evident, that during such Scarcity, some of their Inhabitants must have been a prey to others? I am sensible, { 397 } after so lengthy an Epistle that the Subject is copious, and much may be said on both Sides, but it is evident from three Years Experience of most of the States, that Trade will not so regulate itself as to reduce the excessive prices of Articles therein, but that unrestrained in every Respect, it has been attended with a great Depreciation: And We have not had any Experience to determine the Effect of a general Regulation of prices, because the partial Attempt of a few States to restrain their Inhabitants, whilst those of the other States were permitted to make enormous Fortunes, must necessarily have produced the greatest Uneasiness, and created an Opposition that was not to be withstood.
Mr. Thaxter is in the Secretary's Office and is much liked, he might have had the other place which You proposed,3 but was fearful of residing with a Gentleman troubled with a Disorder which often discomposes the calmest Minds. His Merit will probably soon entitle him to promotion.
The Cloathing of the Army is a Matter of great Concern, and I sincerely hope that the Commissioners will consider it as meriting their immediate Attention. When Cloth arrives, It is almost impossible in many States to find Tradesmen to make it up, and when this is accomplished, the Work is so slighted that the Cloaths are not durable. You may remember, that when the Cloathing was ordered twelve Months past, some oeconomical Gentlemen urged that part of it should be sent in Cloth, and to gratify them We have probably lost a thousand or two of our bravest Men. I hope that proper persons will be appointed in France to superintend the Business of making up Cloaths for the Army, and that Cloth will not in future be sent in the peice.
I have this Day inclosed in a Letter to Mr. Sprout the £4 which You owe him, and shall consult him on the best Method of sending your Chest to the North River. He is at a great Distance from hence, being as I am informed at a place 30 Miles below Philadelphia on the Jersey Shore. The other Chest shall be sent by an early Oppertunity.
Have You seen his Majesty's Speech at the opening of the present Session?4 He appears to be in great Tribulation, and I hope to see him in greater, before the End of the next Campaign. By the Smiles of divine Providence and one noble Exertion, I think We may give the Coup de Grace to his project for enslaving America.
Mr. Lovell has shewn me a Letter from a Lady of your Ac• { 398 } quaintance,5 who appears to be much displeased with Batchelors; I cannot think she is in earnest, because they are generally devoted to the Service of a Sex, that are not to be exceeded in kindness. But I suspect a particular Friend of her's of originating the Opinion that “Batchelors are Stoics,” and conclude, that it is the practice of Husbands to hide their Failings by imputing them to others. Certain it is, that a stoical Batchelor is an Inconsistency in Terms; and if our Friend supposes that her Opinion is founded in Experience, the Inference is, that she was never acquainted with a Batchelor. Pray give my best Respects to her, and beleive me to be with the sincerest esteem sir, your Friend & hum servt
[signed] E Gerry
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Gerry”; in an unknown hand: “Mr Gerry 25th January 1778.”
1. JA to Gerry, 6 Dec. 1777 (above), from which this quotation is taken.
2. The congress passed the resolve on 3 Dec. 1777 (JCC, 9:989).
3. That is, secretary to the president of the congress (JA to Gerry, 9 Dec. 1777). Laurens suffered from gout (DAB).
4. Despite expressing confidence that Britain would be successful, the King said that he counted upon Parliamentary support if he had to increase his land forces and announced that he was strengthening his naval power regardless of assurances from France and Spain that they would remain at peace. He delivered his address on 18 Nov. 1777 (Parliamentary Hist., 19:354–355).
5. See AA to James Lovell, [ca. 15 December 1777], Adams Family Correspondence, 2:370–371.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0242

Author: Hancock, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-02-02

From John Hancock

Mr. Hancock's Compliments to Mr. Adams. The Inclos'd Letter from the Baron De Kalb he Received under Cover.1 Mr. Hancock would have been exceedingly Glad to have Seen Mr. Adams at his house at any time when he has been in Town, and had Mr. Hancock have known when he was in Town he should have Sent to him; if Mr. Adams should Come to Town on Wednesday next, and it would be agreeable to him to Dine with Mr. Hancock in Company with a few Friends it would Give Mr. H pleasure; if it should not suit Mr. Adams, and he will appoint any other Day (except Thursday) Mr. Hancock will be exceedingly Glad to wait on him.2