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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5

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
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “Mr Hancock”; by CFA: “Feby. 2d 1778.”
1. Hancock was forwarding Kalb's letter of 2 Jan., omitted here (DSI:Hull Coll.), which was accompanied by letters to Count de Broglie and to Kalb's wife. On 3 { 399 } Feb. JA wrote (LbC, Adams Papers) to acknowledge receipt of both this letter and Kalb's letter of 27 Dec. 1777 (above). Kalb wrote again on 1 Feb., enclosing additional packets for delivery in France (Adams Papers).
2. Hancock was unaware of or chose to ignore JA's contempt for what he deemed Hancock's unseemly seeking of high office, such as the presidency of the congress and the governorship of the state.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0243

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de
Date: 1778-02-03

To Lafayette

[salute] Sir

I had Yesterday the Honour of receiving, from the Hand of my worthy Friend General Knox, your kind Letter to me,1 together with five others, which, with Submission to the Fortune of War, shall be conveyed and deliverd as you desire. I am happy in this opportunity to convey Intelligence from you to your Friends, and think myself greatly honoured and obliged by your Politeness and Attention to me. A Favour which makes me Regret the more my Misfortune in not having had the Honour heretofore of a more particular Acquaintance, with a Nobleman, who has endeared his Name and Character to every honest American, and every Sensible Friend of Mankind by his Efforts in favour of the Rights of both, as unexampled as they were generous. I thank you, sir for the kind Advice, communicated by General Knox, to which I shall carefully and constantly attend. Shall at all Times be happy to hear of your Welfare, and to have an opportunity of rendering you any Service in my Power. I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect and Esteem, sir your most obedient and most obliged humble sert.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. That of 9 Jan. (calendared above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0244

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Laurens, Henry
Date: 1778-02-04

To Henry Laurens

[salute] Sir

I had this Moment the Honour of yours of the 15. Ultimo and I thank you for your Kindness to Mr. Thaxter of whom I had not before heard, Since he left this Place.
The Act of Congress inclosed in your Letter,1 I will take with me to Europe, for which Country I hope to embark in five Days in the Boston Frigate, not without Regret at having been delayed So long.
I shall make out Six Copies of the Resolution, and give Direc• { 400 } tions for Sending one, by every Vessell, that shall sail from hence, untill they are all gone.
I was disappointed in not finding, any Mention of the State of Burgoines Arms, which it Seems were damnified and unfit for Service; and Bayonettes and Swords which were without Scabbards; Circumstances which seem to be material; because those Injuries must have been done after the Convention, and in Violation of it, for no doubt the Intention of the Contracting Parties was, that all those Things Should be Surrendered without Injury.
Your Account of the Trick, played upon Dispatches to Congress, is indeed alarming, and naturally excites Jealousies. If Mr. Lovell has received from me an Extract of a Letter, I received from Nantes,2 he may possibly have a similar Suspicion to mine, which does not ascribe this Trick to Ld. Stormont or his Emissaries.
Certainly too much Vigilance and Caution cannot be used, in communicating Intelligence, between Congress and their Agents abroad. I am sir, in great Haste having many Things to think of and to do, in Preparation for my Voyage, with the sincerest Respect and Esteem your most obedient, and most huml sert
[signed] John Adams
P.S. Mr. Burgoine, is much agitated with the order to suspend his Embarkation. He has requested, an Interview with Mr. Hancock and Mr. S. Adams. The latter was ill and unable—the former by Advice of the House of Representatives, I hear is to meet him.3
RC (ScHi); addressed: “Honourable Henry Laurens Esqr President of Congress York Town”; franked: “on public service”; docketed: “John Adams 4 Febry 1778 Recd 8 March.”
1. According to Laurens, he had not been able to obtain a copy for JA of the congressional resolution of 8 Jan. that forbade the embarkation of Burgoyne and his troops. JA did receive from Gen. Heath, however, one of the copies sent to him (Heath to JA, 4 Feb., Adams Papers).
2. The only known letter from Nantes in this period is that of 29 Sept. 1777 from William MacCreery (above). See James Lovell to JA, 8 Feb., note 2 (below). JA may be implying that Thomas Morris was somehow involved in the trick played on Capt. Folger.
3. Hancock was named with two others as a committee to join with appointees of the Council to consider what should be done about the congressional order of 8 Jan., but the Journals of the House make no mention of a meeting between Hancock and Burgoyne (Mass., House Jour., 1777–1778, 5th sess., p. 173).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0245

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ellery, William
Date: 1778-02-06

To William Ellery

[salute] Dear sir

I had, Yesterday the Pleasure of receiving your Letter of the 22d of January, and beg Leave to assure you, I shall pay all proper Attention to its Contents, by rendering to the Gentleman whom you recommend, every service in my Power. I had before been introduced, to that young Gentleman by his Father, for whom I have conceived a great deal of Esteem, and from what I saw of the son and from what I have heard of him I think him ingenious and promising. But as I shall have an ample opportunity to become more acquainted with him, I shall be the better able hereafter to Speak of him from my own Knowledge, and you may depend upon it that nothing shall be wanting on my Part, towards recommending him in Proportion to his Merits. I am &c.
Report Says, that when the order for suspending Mr. Burgoines Embarkation was given him, he thrashed his Hand upon his Thigh, and declared that he believed Congress, were determined to kill him. Will an imperious Court ever ratify that Convention? Or will the Army be Prisoners during the War? I think Burgoines Army is Snugg enough, but they ought to be sent farther from Boston. My best respects to Brother Dana. Beg him to write me—and to excuse my not writing him.1
1. This final paragraph was an afterthought, squeezed in between the original ending of the letter and the next letter in the Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0246

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-02-06

To James Lovell

[salute] My dear Friend L.

I have received, this Morning, by several Hands and at other Times during the last Week, Several of your Favours. I will endeavour to acknowledge each if I can but if I should mistake in my Hurry and omit, one or two I hope you will excuse it. One of Jany 1. one of Jany. 17. one of Jany 21. one of Jany. 20. with their Enclosures.1
I will, do all I can to ensure a Passage for the Resolution of Congress respecting G. Burgoines Army, by sending Copies by half a Dozen different Vessells. But I fancy the surest Way of getting any Thing, published in Europe is to publish it in all the { 402 } American News Papers, for then it goes by every Vessell nay it is conveyed even by the Enemy.
I beg you would, favour me with Journals Newspapers, and every Thing else but especially with the elegant and entertaining Traits of your own Pen. I have received several Instances of Politeness, from the Marquis De La Fayette and from the Baron De Kalb, containing several large Packetts, as well as several Letters of Introduction to their Friends for which I feel a great deal of Gratitude.
Resolved that the Navy Board of Boston be directed to transmit, to the Commissioners of these united States at Paris, all the Boston Newspapers from Time to Time, as they shall be published, and as opportunities present, and to send Duplicates and Triplicates by different Conveyances.
I wish you would get Some such Resolution passed, because the Utility of it is obvious. These need not be thrown overboard in Case of Capture for they will do good even in the Hands of our Enemies. &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. Those of 17 and 21 Jan. have not been found.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0247

Author: Adams, John
Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1778-02-08

To Benjamin Rush, with Postscript by Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Two Days ago, I was favoured with your polite and elegant Letter of January 22. I have received so many of your Letters, within a few Months, containing such important Matter, in So masterly a style, that I am ashamed to confess I have answered but one of them, and that only with a few Lines.1 I beg you would not impute this omission to Inattention, Negligence, or Want of Regard, but to its true Cause a Confusion of Business. I beg Leave to assure you that I hold your Correspondence, inestimable, and will do every Thing in my Power to cultivate it.
Whether I shall be able to render, any valuable Service to our Country in my new Capacity, or not, is to me very uncertain: all I can Say with Confidence is, that whether in that, or any other, I will never knowingly do it any Injury.
In Spight of all the Reflections that are cast upon human Nature, and of all the Satyrs on Mankind, and especially on Courts, I have ever found or thought that I found Honesty to be the best { 403 } Policy, and it is as true now as it was 3000 years ago, that the honest Man is seldom forsaken.
Your Sentiment that we are but half taught in the great national Arts of Government and War, are I fear too just. And I fear that the Subject which is at present most essentially connected with our Government and Warefare, I mean Money is least understood of any. I fear the Regulation of Prices will produce ruin sooner than Safty. It will Starve the Army and the Country, if enforced, or I am ignorant of every Principle of, Commerce, Coin and Society. Barter will be the only Trade.
You are daily looking out for Some great military Character: Have you found none? Let me intreat you my Friend to look back on the Course of this War, and especially through the last Campaign, and then tell me, whether many Countries of the World, have ever furnished more, and greater Examples of Fortitude, Valour, and skill, than our little states have produced. We dont attend enough to our Heroes, and are too indulgent to those of opposite Characters. Barton, Meigs, Green, Smith, Willett, Gansevort, Harkemer, Starks, Arnold, Gates, and many, many others, have exhibited to our View, a series of Actions, which all the Exertions and Skill of our Enemies, have never equalled in the present Contest.2 I dont mean by this to derogate from the main Army, or its Commander. Brandywine and Germantown, can witness both Bravery and skill tho unfortunate. The great Fault of our officers, is Want of Dilligence and Patience. They dont want Bravery or Knowledge. Let them learn to attend to their Men, to their Cloaths, Diet, Air, Exercise, Medicines, Arms, Accoutrements &c. In short let our Officers learn to keep their [Men]3 in Health, and to keep them together at their Duty, not let 2500 Men run away to guard Baggage Waggons through a Country, where there could be no Enemy, and I would answer for the Bravery of our Armies, for their Discipline and good Dispositions. If one may venture to prophecy, I think you will see in another Campaign, Still greater Exertions of Heroism and Magnanimity.
The Idea that any one Man alone can save Us, is too silly for any Body, but such weak Men as Duche,4 to harbour for a Moment.
I am very glad you have not laid down your Commission and I conjure you, by all the Tyes of Friendship to your Country, not to do it.5 Men who are sensible of the Evils in the hospital De• { 404 } partment are the most likely to point them out to others, and to suggest Remedies—Patience! Patience! Patience. The first the last and the middle Virtue of a Politician.
The Lady you mention will not go abroad, a Thousand Reasons are against it. It would be too much Happiness for him, who is your sincere Friend and most humble sert
[signed] John Adams
P.S. Mrs. Adams presents her Complements to Dr. Rush and thanks him for his kind notice of her, and assures him that she shall stand in need of his prescriptions of Condolance, and should Esteem it an honour to have them Administerd by his Hand, as she is certain from his Skill and judgment in humane virture they would serve as restoratives to the pained Heart, and anxious mind of his Humble Servant
[signed] Abigail Adams
Be so good Sir as to present my regards to your Lady.
RC (MB); docketed: “John Adams & wife February 8th: 1778”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Not found.
2. In a daring raid Col. William Barton of Rhode Island in the summer of 1777 captured Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott and his aide, for which feat the congress had awarded Barton “an elegant sword.” The congress also gave formal recognition to Lt. Col. Marinus Willett, Col. Peter Gansevoort, and Brig. Gen. Nicholas Herkimer for their bravery in repelling St. Leger's forces (JCC, 8:580, 709; 9:771–772). Smith remains unidentified.
3. Word supplied from Letterbook.
4. Rev. Jacob Duché, whose prayers had inspired early sessions of the congress, became a loyalist in 1777 (DAB).
5. Rush resigned on 30 Jan. (JCC, 10:101).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0248

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-02-08

From James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of Janry. 9th is before me.1 Deane had inclosed to Congress a long minute corresponding history of what you sent me.2 He doubted whether Mr. R M had communicated to us what had been sent of the kind formerly therefore he wrote to him lately with flying seals under cover to the President. Mr. R M had been indiscreet in remarking to T.M. upon the Conduct of the Commissioners as not acting candidly in their Representations; for which he has made through Congress very lengthy Apologies, and totally discarded his infamous brother. I am not able to write minutely to you but I endeavour to send Papers which speak for themselves. The long and short of Affairs is that if we can [obtain?] assistance to meliorate our currency we may laugh at Britain.
{ 405 }
Poor Weeks is gone to the Bottom of the Sea with a very valuable Cargo3 and every Soul but one who was preserved by a floating Ladder 3 Days before he was taken up.
Burgoynes Affair was known in France and the english ministry concealed the proceedings about Philadelphia. It does not appear by the Kings Speech that Auxiliaries are coming. The Detention of Burgoyne will disconcert the Ministry most horribly. An Incursion into Canada is making by Fayette Conway and Stark.4 I think the prospect is good. You will take Minutes of any intelligence worth notice written to Mr. S A or other Friends. I fear to keep Packets open as Posts and Expresses are altogether uncertain, depending upon information obtained about the River.
I have directed Mr. Dunlap at Lancaster to put up Sheets of the 2d. Vol of Journals and forward to you under Cover to the Navy Board. I hope they will be delivered by the Bearer of this. Your Chest shall go by the first Carriage of Money—unless Bat Horses5 are made use of. I suppose you cannot want the Contents except for your Children though I have not been the less industrious to send them upon that Supposition. But I should risk a total Loss if I sent them to any Stage short of the east side of Hudson's River. If I can get the Chest on to Hugh Hughes,6 I am sure he will push it to Boston.
I have written to Mr. Dana to contrive at Camp to get your other things forwarded from Mr. Sprouts home wherever it may be. The Baron Steuben has been most cordially received by Congress.7 If he should be so received at Camp it may tend to introduce many advantages into the Quarter Masters Department at least. We had determined upon the following arrangements before his arrival. 1 the military duties as laid down in Books 2 Forrage Master 3 Waggon Master to purchase and direct Horses Carriages &c. 4 Agent for the purchase of Tents Tools &c.8 We have also taken the purchasing business from the Director General of Hospitals and made the Deputy Directors act as Purveyors; The Director General with the Physician and Surgeon General to order the Invoices and the two latter to publish in the Hospitals forms of Receipts which are to be the vouchers for all Expenditures, acquainting the Treasury with the forms by immediate duplicates.9 We hope to save thousands and ten thousands of Dollars by having appointed Auditors for the Camp accounts, but how we shall secure what is due from Paymasters { 406 } and other Officers who have quitted the Service I cannot tell. Exchequor Courts would allarm the People.
1. Not found.
2. MacCreery's letter to JA of 29 Sept. 1777 (above), telling of the drunkenness and debauchery of Thomas Morris, brother of Robert and superintending agent for the Secret Committee of the congress. According to Lovell, JA had furnished him with a copy of the letter (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:403). Transcripts of Deane's letters to Laurens and to Robert Morris are in PCC, No. 103, f. 88–103.
3. Lambert Wickes of the Reprisal went down in a storm off the Grand Banks on 1 Oct. 1777. The American commissioners had hoped to load his ship with saltpeter, anchors, and cordage, but the captain had insisted that he could not take a cargo if his ship was not to be too low in the water for swift sailing to avoid British vessels (William Bell Clark, Lambert Wickes, New Haven, 1932, p. 359, 332, 340, 342).
4. The plan for a quick raid to be led by Gen. Stark was expanded to a full-scale invasion under Lafayette, who insisted that his command be considered not as an independent one but as subordinate to that of Washington's. Lafayette was also determined to have McDougall or Kalb as one of his generals to reduce the importance of Conway, whom he detested (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:129; JCC, 10:87, 107; Lafayette in the Age of the American Revolution: Selected Letters and Papers, 1776–1790, ed. Stanley J. Idzerda and others, Ithaca, N.Y., 1977–, 1:267–270). Lafayette's instructions emphasized finally the purpose of the expedition as one of destruction and seizure of supplies; he was not to aim at holding the country or bringing Canadians to the American side “but with the greatest Prudence and with a Prospect of durable Success” (Lafayette Papers, 1776–1790, 1:263–267). On the evolution of these instructions, see Louis Gottschalk, Lafayette Joins the American Army, Chicago, 1937, Appendix V. But see Patrick Henry to JA, 5 March, note 2 (below).
5. Horses that carry baggage of officers in a campaign (OED).
6. On Hugh Hughes, see vol. 3:207, note 1.
7. On 14 Jan. the congress accepted Baron von Steuben's services as a volunteer and asked him to go at once to Washington's camp (JCC, 10:50).
8. The Board of War reported these proposed changes to the congress, which accepted them on 5 Feb. (JCC, 10:102–103, 126).
9. Resolutions affecting the administration of hospitals were passed on 6 Feb. (same, 10:128–133).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0249

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-02-08

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

Lancaster, 8 February 1778. RC (Adams Papers); printed: Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:199–200. Detailing some of his charges against Dr. Shippen, Rush complained that his alleged personal resentment was the congress' excuse for not removing the director general of hospitals; therefore, “to restore harmony,” Rush felt compelled to resign.
RC (Adams Papers); printed: Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:199–200.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0250

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-02-09

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 William Vernon Sr.

9 February 1778. printed: JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:272–273. Vernon asked that his son be placed with a mercantile house in Bordeaux or Nantes and proposed a gratuity of £100, which would also cover board.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0251

Author: Deane, Barnabas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-02-10

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 Barnabas Deane

Boston. 10 February 1778. printed (virtually verbatim): JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:272. Deane recommended his nephew Jesse, the only son of Silas Deane, to JA's care for the trip abroad. He cautioned against allowing the boy to associate “with the Common hands on board” lest he form bad habits.
printed (virtually verbatim): (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:272).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0252

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-02-10

From James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

The week after Mr. C—— was appointed secretary,1 I saw the P.S. of a letter to Mr. S.A. in which he is said to be a very unworthy person, but he has so good a Character in the estimation of Congress and from Maryland Gentlemen, that I did not think proper to move for a power of Suspension to be given to the Commissioners, as I find it is the opinion of some here that the secretary should be independent.
I hope you will either give me your opinion before you go or write very early upon having conversed with Dr. Fr. and Mr. Lee.
I did not know whether the Commercial Committee had forwarded to you the Resolve of yesterday, therefore I send it on the other page.2 We are most horridly spunged3 by Mr. Le Balme and others who resigning their Commissions apply in forma pauperis or on pretences of a variety of kinds.4 I do not think it will do to make the Resolve hinted at by Dr. F. to me “that the Commissioners should be directed not to give even a letter of civil Introduction to any Foreigner,”5 but such letters are pleaded as a sort of implied Convention. Avoid them. Affectionately Yours
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esqr.”; docketed by CFA: “Lovell J. Feby 10th 1778.”
1. On William Carmichael, see Lovell to JA, 22 Nov. 1777, note 1 (above).
2. A resolve empowering and directing the American commissioners to appoint commercial agents in France and elsewhere in Europe.
3. Robbed (OED).
4. On 13 Feb. the congress voted to pay La Balme $910 to settle all his claims and to inform him that his services were no longer required (JCC, 10:157).
5. See Lovell to JA, [post 17 Dec. 1777], note 6 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0253

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-02

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 James Lovell

York, February 1778. RC (Adams Papers). Believing that JA could receive yet another letter in addition to those of 8 and 10 Feb. (above), Lovell wrote to wish him a happy voyage and to give him “an idea of our intended Progress into Canada” by quoting resolutions passed by the congress on 22, 23, 24, and 28 Jan. and 2 Feb. To provide JA with an understanding of the kind of representation present in the congress, Lovell also included the results of a successful vote to postpone choice of a quartermaster general until new arrangements were made for that branch of the army.
The postponement passed 4 to 3, two states being tied, and four, including Massachusetts, not having enough members present to have their vote counted. Lovell's nay vote was the sole vote from his state. The voting is recorded in JCC, 10:104. Since Thomas Mifflin had resigned in early Nov. 1777 and Nathanael Greene was not appointed until 2 March, Lovell probably regarded a vote for postponement as irresponsible (JCC, 9:874; 10:210).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0254

Author: Henry, Patrick
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-03-05

From Patrick Henry

[salute] My dear Friend

Capt. Le Maire the Bearer tells me he saw you in Paris.1 In Hopes this may find you there, I write, not so much to tell you any thing of public Importance (for we have not much News) as to revive that Correspondence which Time, Distance of Situation and important Avocations have almost worn out. The Marquiss Fayette, Genl. Conway and many other french officers are gone to Canada Report says, where the Dispositions of the People are strongly for us. St. Johns is said to be seized by them and all the Royal Stores there abouts.2 This they've been encouraged to do by Burgoyne's Defeat. Our party sent thither consists of 300 men, expecting to be joined by great Numbers tired of English Tyranny. General Washingtons Army I hope will be reinforced in the Spring, but the Want of many Articles of Clothe's Tents &c. will retard our Recruits. 'Tis in our Power to crush the Enemy, but we have our Difficultys. Pennsylvania contains many Torys who are more fatal Enemys to us than the British. The other States are firm, but find many Difficultys in marching Troops great Distances. However I hope Genl. Howe will find warm Work next Campaign.
Is it possible that Britain can overawe Europe so as to prevent the Commerce which America offers from being accepted. Do { 409 } not the French see that the american War only prevents Revenge falling on them for the supposed Succours sent us? Will you tell me whether there is to be War in Europe? It has been long expected, and will be fortunate for us.
By this Conveyance I write to your venerable Colleague to assist Wm. Lee Esqr. Agent for our State in procuring Credit for Cannon Musquets &c. &c. as per Invoice sent by Capt. Le Maire.3 Will you plan to lend your Aid? Monsieur Loyauté our Inspector general of Military Stores &c.4 has written to his Father who I understand bears the same office in France, to assist in having them sent. Formally the British Ships at present so closely block up our Trade, that our Tobaco (great Quantitys of which are ready to go to Sea) is almost useless. The State has a large Quantity which with the first opportunity will go to Nantz to pay what may be advanced for us. Ocracock Inlet in No. Carolina affords pretty safe Trade for small Vessells. Thro' that place I wish Capt. Le Maire to come with the military Stores. He carrys a good Pilot with him. May I hope for a Letter now and then from you? Twill be a great Favor. I have a State Agent at Cape Francoise,5 who will safely convey your Letters to me.
No doubt you have heard that Genl. Burgoyne and his Army are detain'd 'til the British court ratify the Convention of Saratoga. The Measure is just and right, and Congress were led to it from a Certainty that Burgoyne intended to break his Engagement, upon frivolous pretences, of which he foolishly gave previous Notice. I pray God to keep you and the great and good man your Coadjutor. May your Labors prove fortunate and happy for our common Country which already owes you so many Obligations. Farewell my dear Sir yrs.
[signed] P. Henry
The English Newspapers will be very acceptable with some good political Tracts. They are of Importance to our People.
[signed] P.H
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr. at Paris favd. by Capt. Le Maire”; docketed: “Govr. Henry recd May 2. 1778”; in another hand: Govt. Henry Virginia 5 March 78.”
1. JA did not arrive in Paris until 8 April (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:296).
2. The invasion of Canada never took place. Lafayette had insufficient men, and those who did arrive at Albany were not at all properly equipped for a campaign. By mid-March the congress had called the expedition off and authorized Washington to recall Lafayette to the main army (Ward, War of the Revolution, 2:561–562; JCC, 10:253–254).
3. In this period Jacques Le Maire had little success in Europe, for when Arthur Lee took over from William the task of se• { 410 } curing munitions, businessmen were reluctant to grant credit (Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 7:238–240; Jefferson, Papers, 3:124).
4. Anne-Philippe-Dieudonné de Loyauté had received his appointment from Virginia in January (Jefferson, Papers, 2:178, note).
5. Cap Français, now Cap-Haïtien (Early Amer. Atlas).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0255

Author: Vernon, William Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-03-09

From William Vernon

[salute] Dear sir

I hope in God this will find you safe arrived at your desired Port, and that you are happy in your appointment, at least as much so, as any Gentleman, who hath left connections as dear to him, as Life can possibly be. Nothing hath occured since you left us, in the Public way, but what you will find in the Papers, which are all transmitted to you by this conveyance, only that the Ship Warren left Providence the 16th. ultimo and got out safe thro' the Fire of the Enemys Ships. The Providence and Columbus are prepareing to leave that Place of confinement, doubt not of their success.1
Inclosed is a Letter for my Son Billy which I beg the delivery of, I hope sir his deportment has been such, as not to forfeit your favors, and that with your kind assistance he is placed in such a situation, as he may by close application and assiduity acquire what I sent him abroad to attain viz. a competant knowledge of business in the Mercantile way, the Language and Customs of France &c. you are sensible sir he is arrived at that critical time of Life when Youth are most apt to run into extravagancy and dissipation, therefor its necessary, their minds shou'd be impressed with sentiments of honor and Virtue; I am perswaded you will at all Times give him your advice, and that he will strictly adhere to the injunctions I have laid him under, of invariably following your councils.2

[salute] I wish you health and all possible felicity and am most sincerely, Dear sir your Obedient Humble servt

Tripl (Adams Papers). No RC or Dupl of this letter has been found. The Tripl was included in a letter from Vernon written on 26 May (below, see descriptive note). Appearing on p. 1 of that letter, it was followed by a Dupl of a letter dated 20 May (below) and by the letter of the 26th.
1. The information on naval matters in this and later letters, particularly that of 20 May (below) containing an account of the efforts of the Warren, Columbus, and Providence to escape the British blockade, parallels that contained in letters sent and received by Vernon as a member of the Navy Board for the Eastern Department (“Vernon Naval Papers”, p. 197–277).
2. For a report on the activities of William Vernon Jr., see JA's reply of 27 July (below).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.