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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5

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.