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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5


Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0028

Author: Trumbull, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-11-21

From John Trumbull

[salute] Sir

Since I had the pleasure of seeing You last,2 I have conversed with my Father on the plan you proposed to me of going into the Service; and tho' we were both very sensible of the kindness of your Offer, and should have preferred the Office You engaged to { 54 } procure me to any other Post, I could have expected to obtain, yet he seemed averse to my joining the Army on any Conditions at present.3 He talked of the fatigues of the Service, the dangers of war and sickness, the weakness of my constitution and fifty other such things, which did not affect me very much, and were not in my Opinion the true reason of his aversion to the proposed Plan—for I know he would have talked in a different strain a Year ago, on such an occasion. The true Reason I believe is that he is grown much more doubtful of our Success, and in the idea that we shall finally be overcome, imagines any place of consequence in the Army, only a higher step on the ladder, which will lead us all in due time to the gallows. You may probably recollect that I hinted to you another plan which I meant to propose to him—and as it is said that Marriage and Hanging go by Destiny, I conclude he supposed that my destinies were now trying that very case with regard to me. It cannot therefore be wondered at that he should use his influence to turn the scales in favor of Matrimony, and be desirous that whatever Abilities the weakness of my Constitution which he talked so much of allowed me, should be exerted rather for the increase than the diminution of the number of Mankind. For my own part, as I am not yet so far intimidated with our public prospects, I should have chose to engage in the service, if I could have procured the Place you proposed; but the Dislike, which my Father, as well as certain other People, who thought themselves entitled to a Voice in the Affair, showed to it, together with the other motives I mentioned to You in conversation, have determined me on the whole to decline the proposal—not without expressing my highest Sense of the Obligations I am under to You, as well for this token of your Regard, as for every other Instance of your Kindness and Patronage.

[salute] I desire You to present my best respects to Mrs. Adams and believe me to be with the highest Esteem and Gratitude Your most Obedient Servant

[signed] John Trumbull
1. Internal evidence of Trumbull's impending marriage and his sending “best respects” to AA, suggest that this letter was written to JA in Braintree, before Trumbull's wedding date (DAB).
2. Probably when JA was journeying from the congress to Braintree in Oct. 1776.
3. Trumbull was practicing law in New Haven (DAB). The editors have no clue to the military position that JA was suggesting for him.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0029

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Massachusetts House of Representatives, Speaker of
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-11-28

To the Speaker of the Massachusetts House

[salute] Sir1

I had this Moment, between two and Three o'Clock, the Honour of your Letter of this Days Date,2 requiring my Attendance, on the Hon. House of Representatives. Some particular Circumstances, render it inconvenient for me to Sett off this Afternoon, but tomorrow Morning I will do myself the Honour of waiting on the Honourable House. Mean Time I am, your humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (NN:Emmet Coll.).
1. James Warren was the Speaker.
2. Not found. On 28 Nov. the House voted to request JA to appear before it, but the records give no explanation for the request. Probably the legislature wanted firsthand information from a recently returned delegate, for it was in process of drafting a letter to the delegation (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 2d sess., p. 176, 169, 175). The Journal does not record what JA said when he appeared.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0030

Author: Massachusetts Council
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-12-10

Credentials of the Massachusetts Delegates

Whereas, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry, Francis Dana, and James Lovell Esqrs. have been chosen by joint Ballot of the two Houses of Assembly to represent the State of the Massachusetts Bay in New England in the American Congress until the first day of January Anno Domini 1778.
Resolved, That they, or any three1 or more of them are hereby fully impowerd with the Delegates from the Other American States to concert, direct and Order such other further Measures as shall to them appear best calculated for the Establishment of right, and Liberty to the American States upon a Basis permanent and secure against the Power and Art of the British Administration for prosecuting the present War, concluding Peace, contracting Alliance, Establishing Commerce, and guarding against any future Encroachments and Machinations of their Enemies with power to adjourn to such times and places as shall appear most conducive to the public safety and advantage.
And the Secretary is hereby directed as soon as may be to signify to each of those Gentlemen their appointment with an attested Copy of this Resolve.
sent down for Concurrence
[signed] John Avery Dy Secy
{ 56 }
Read and Concurred
[signed] Saml. Freeman Spr. P. T.
Consented to by the Major Part of the Council
[signed] a true Copy attest Jno. Avery Dpy Scy
MS (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 8), signed attested copy; docketed (only the date is in JA's hand): “Credentials of the Delegates of Massachusetts Bay, Per Decr: 10: 1776”; “Read 9 Jany. 1777.”
1. See Amended Credentials of Massachusetts Delegates, 4 Feb. 1777 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0031

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1776-12-31

To Elbridge Gerry

[salute] My dear Sir

Mr. Lovell goes tomorrow. In him We shall find a Man of Spirit Fortitude, and Patience, three Virtues the most Usefull of any in these Times. But besides these he has Taste Sense and Learning.
I hope every Gentleman, is now convinced that Discipline in the Army is necessary, and that a permanent Army must be had at all Events, and that temporary Draughts from the Militia will answer NO End but to undo Us. I am doing what I can to convince People here, that their system has been wrong in some Respects and must be altered. The Experience of so many Ages and Countries, have shown the Necessity of Discipline in an Army, that I think We should betray an obstinacy and a Blindness if We should dispute it. Our own Experience I am sure coincides with that of all other Nations.
I should be happy to hear from you, a Pleasure I have not had Since I came home. My Compliments to Mr. Hancock and Mr S. Adams.
Photostat of RC (DLC:Gerry Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0032

Author: Wolcott, Oliver
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-01-01

From Oliver Wolcott

[salute] sir

Your Favour of the 30 Nov came to hand last Evening for which I most sincerely thank you. I wrote to you the 15: Nov. which I hope you have received.2 Your Observations of the Necessity of establishing a respectable Army are in my Judgment { 57 } Very Proper. Congress have impowered Genl. Washington to raise 16 Battalions in Addition to those Already granted and 3,000 Cavalry. Also have given the General a Power for six Months to Conduct at his Discretion the Operations of the War, establish Magazines, call upon the Militia when Necessary, regulate every Department in the Army, Displace and Appoint any Officer below the Rank of Brigadier General &c. In a Word the Whole of the Military Department is put into his Hand for six Months.3 Upon this that the Preservation of the Civil Liberties of the People, at the present Time, depends upon the full Exertion of the Military Power. An Embargo for six Months is laid upon fatted Provisions.4 For other Matters of publick Intelligence referr you to the enclosed. I hope We may Obtain further advantages against the Enemy in the Jersys.5 The Express is this Moment going off. I have only to say, that We must have an Army, to carry on a War without one is a New Peice of Business. That they ought to be provided for in the best Manner, and that without Discipline they will not be serviceable. And that I think if We can once bring one into the Feild, that they will be much better provided for disciplined and governed than they have hitherto been, in a Word I beleive if We can get an Army it will be a good one—more happy themselves and more Beneficial to the Publick than any We have yet had.
Great Complaints are made that the Assemblys have Appointed great Numbers of Very insufficient Officers and have neglected the most Apparent Merit.
Your kindness for me particularly exacts my Gratitude, I wish I was less sensible of the Injury I have received.6 Any but those who have exercised Power to Answer sinister Purposes to my Injury I can easily forgive, but those Men I hope may deserve not only my Forgiveness but that of their Maker. I am at no Loss as to what they deserve. But God forbid that this Villany shall ever induce Me to relax my Endeavours to serve my Country as far as I am able. I saw the Baseness of those Men's Design and the Effect of my own Undertaking in a good Degree contrary to my own Opinion. I undertook and therefore ought to suffer. I am generally tho't to be pritty inflexible in my own Opinion. I certainly will study to be more so.

[salute] My Compliments to Mrs. Adams, and with Candor Accept this hasty Sketch from Sir your Most Obedient humble Servant

[signed] Oliver Wolcott
{ 58 }
RC (N); docketed in an unknown hand: “Col: Wolcotts Letter”; in another hand: “1 Jany 1777 S.” Enclosure not found.
1. On 12 Dec. the congress resolved to move to Baltimore because of the threatening military situation. The first meeting was held there on 20 Dec. (JCC, 6:1027–1028).
2. Neither letter has been found.
3. These powers were voted on 27 Dec. (same, 6:1045–1046).
4. Anticipating shortages for the army of “bacon, salted beef, pork, soap, tallow and candles,” the congress on 30 Dec. 1776 prohibited the export of these articles from 6 Jan. until 1 Nov. 1777 (same, 6:1054).
5. On Christmas Day, Washington's forces captured 918 prisoners at Trenton (Freeman, Washington, 4:325).
6. As an Indian commissioner for the Northern Department, Wolcott had participated with Gen. Schuyler, Col. Turbutt Francis, and others in a conference in August 1775. At the end, and wholly unexpectedly, a sachem brought up the contested land claims between Pennsylvania and Connecticut along the Susquehanna River, declaring that the land had been sold to Gov. John Penn. When commissioners Schuyler, Wolcott, and two others, but not Francis, held an inquiry into this surprising departure from the purpose of the Indian conference, they found evidence that Francis, a Pennsylvania land claimant, had offered a bribe to have the speech made. It was decided that the matter should be reported to the congress; but although a letter was drafted and signed, it apparently was never presented. Out of delicacy as a Connecticut man and thus an interested party, Wolcott did not sign this letter. Francis did not find out about the investigation until months later, when Wolcott told him about it as a matter of honor. A misunderstanding followed, with Francis blaming his fellow commissioners for going into matters not of their concern and keeping their investigation secret. Acting the injured party, Francis demanded an investigation by the congress, which was never completed because Indian witnesses would not testify. Schuyler apparently resented Wolcott's having revealed the findings, but Wolcott felt that he had acted uprightly in every respect. Just why these animosities should have been festering in the fall of 1776 when Francis' effort at a congressional inquiry had failed as long ago as June is not clear. But Wolcott wrote in detail to Timothy Edwards about the whole affair on 29 Nov., and it seems that JA wrote in support of Wolcott on the 30th (Julian P. Boyd and Robert J. Taylor, eds., The Susquehannah Company Papers, 11 vols., Ithaca, 1962–1971, 6:348–349, 416–420; 7:11–12, 24–28).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0033

John Adams' Service in the Continental Congress

Committee Assignments 2 January – 6 November 1777

In his final months of service in the congress, JA served on 26 committees, acting as chairman for 8 of them, and for most of the period he continued to act as president of the Board of War and as a member of the Committee on Appeals. From all this committee work, only two reports in JA's hand have been found; they are printed below in their appropriate chronological order. Here, as with lists given before, the intention is to demonstrate the variety of tasks to which JA was assigned and to indicate with whom he worked.
{ 59 }
  • Samuel Chase, James Wilson, JA, who had not yet returned to the congress (JCC, 7:9).To consider the form of a commission to Benjamin Franklin (the Committee of Secret Correspondence had brought in a draft; it was read, debated, and recommitted to this committee).Reported and resolution adopted: 2 Jan.; report not found (same, 7:10).
  • JA, Roger Sherman, Samuel Chase (JCC, 7:89).To consider a petition from Edward Southouse (n.d., no text).Report not found.
  • Richard Henry Lee, James Wilson, Samuel Chase, JA, Roger Sherman (JCC, 7:93–94).To consider proceedings of the committees of the four New England states (on price control), which were under consideration and reported by the Committee of the Whole.Reported and report tabled: 6 Feb. (same, 7:97).Reported and report discussed (with report of the Committee of the Whole): 12, 13 Feb. (same, 7:111–112, 118).Report recommitted: 14 Feb. (same, 7:121).Reported and resolutions adopted: 15 Feb.; report not found (same, 7:124–125).
  • JA, Richard Henry Lee, Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, Roger Sherman, Thomas Heyward (JCC, 7:95).To consider a motion made by Abraham Clark on Washington's Proclamation of 25 January (text of motion in Journal).Reported and report tabled: 27 Feb.; report in JA's hand (same, 7:165–166; PCC, No. 36, I, f. 5, printed below).
  • Thomas Heyward, JA, John Witherspoon, Richard Henry Lee, Samuel Adams (JCC, 7:127).To consider revising the regulations of the post office, and report a plan so as “to render the conveyance of intelligence more expeditious and certain.”Reported and report tabled: 25 Feb.; report in Thomas Heyward's hand (same, 7:153–154; PCC, No. 61, f. 445).Reported and resolutions adopted: 12 April; report not found (JCC, 7:258).Reported and resolutions adopted: 12 May; report in R. H. Lee's hand (same, 7:346, 347; PCC, No. 61, f. 449).Reported and resolutions adopted: 17 Oct.; report in R. H. Lee's hand (JCC, 9:816–817; PCC, No. 61, f. 443).
  • JA, George Read, Thomas Burke (JCC, 7:172).To be added to the standing committee for hearing appeals (see same, 7:75 for original committee appointed 30 Jan.).
  • James Wilson, JA, Roger Sherman (JCC, 7:203).To consider a letter of 20 March (on riotous behavior of some American { 60 } soldiers) with enclosures from the committee of Lancaster to the Pennsylvania delegates.Reported and resolution adopted: 29 March; report in James Wilson's hand (same, 7:208; PCC, No. 20, II, f. 7).
  • Elbridge Gerry, Thomas Burke, JA (JCC, 7:219).To revise Dr. Shippen's plan for the regulating of the hospital.Reported and report debated: 4, 5 April (same, 7:225, 227).Resolutions passed: 7 April; report in Thomas Burke's hand (same, 7:231–237; PCC, No. 22, f. 19).Further resolutions passed: 8 April; two paragraphs of report in James Wilson's hand (JCC, 7:244–245; PCC, No. 22, f. 26½).
  • James Wilson, George Clymer, Richard Henry Lee, Abraham Clark, JA (JCC, 7:246–247).To confer with officials on the subject of possible enemy attack in Pennsylvania.Reported and resolutions passed: 10 April (same, 7:250–251).Other duty assigned 10 April: to write a draft letter to Washington, outlining the reasons that induced the congress to pass the above resolutions (same, 7:251; Dft in R. H. Lee's hand [PPAmP]). A letter, dated 10 April, signed by these committee members was offered for sale by Dodd, Mead & Co., 1899.
  • JA, Daniel Roberdeau, James Wilson (JCC, 7:266).To consider the proper reward to offer for destroying or capturing the enemy's ships.Report not found.
  • William Duer, JA, Benjamin Rumsey (JCC, 7:314).To confer with the executive power of Pennsylvania on general affairs of state.Report not found.
  • James Wilson, JA, Richard Henry Lee (JCC, 7:318).To inquire into the laws and customs regarding the neutrality of nations and report on whether the conduct of Portugal is a breach of neutrality and justifies acts of hostilities against its subjects.Report not found.
  • William Duer, JA, Arthur Middleton (JCC, 8:414).To confer with the Pennsylvania Board of War and evaluate the prospects for the defenses at Billingsport.Reported and report tabled: 10 June; report not found (same, 8:451).Resolutions adopted: 11 June (same, 8:451–452).
  • Daniel Roberdeau, JA, Jonathan Bayard Smith (JCC, 8:536).To consider a petition from the Rev. Francis Allison, John Ewing, and William Marshall on printing an edition of the Bible.Reported and resolution passed: 11 Sept.; report in Daniel Roberdeau's hand (same, 8:733–735; PCC, No. 28, f. 203).
  • Thomas Heyward, JA, James Lovell (JCC, 8:553, 554).To communicate the congress' resolution to Philippe Tronson du Coudray on his agreement with Silas Deane and his rank.Reported verbally: 17 July (same, 8:558).Other duties assigned 17 July: to consider the situation of Du Coudray (same).Robert Morris, James Wilson added to the committee: 17 July (same).Reported and report tabled: 21 July; report in Thomas Heyward's hand (JCC, 8:569; PCC, No. 19, II, f. 137).
  • Henry Laurens, JA, Eliphalet Dyer, Daniel Roberdeau, Nathaniel Folsom (JCC, 8:596).To report on the mode of conducting the inquiry into the evacuation of Ticonderoga and Fort Independence and on the conduct of the officers there.Reported and report tabled: 19 Aug. (same, 8:653).Report recommitted: 20 Aug. (same, 8:659).Report debated and resolutions passed: 23, 25, 27 Aug.; report in Henry Laurens' hand (same, 8:668–669, 674–675, 681–686; PCC, No. 29, f. 261).Resolutions ordered published: 28 Aug. (JCC, 8:688; see Pennsylvania Gazette, 3 Sept.).
  • Henry Laurens, James Wilson, JA, James Duane, Richard Law (JCC, 8:599).To consider the state of the Northern Department; confer with Gen. Washington; and consider a letter of 28 July from Gov. Jonathan Trumbull.Reported and resolutions passed: 3 Aug.; report not found (same, 8:600–601).Other duties assigned 4 Aug.: to consider part of a letter of 3 Aug. from Gen. Washington asking to be excused from naming a general to replace Schuyler (same, 8:603–604).Reported and resolutions passed: 5 Aug.; report in James Duane's hand (same, 8:614; PCC, No. 21, f. 115).
  • William Duer, Richard Henry Lee, James Wilson, JA, Samuel Chase (JCC, 8:648).To consider the state of the western frontiers and the Northern Department.Reported partially and resolution passed: 16 Aug.; report not found (same, 8:649).Other duties assigned 18 Aug.: to consider those parts of the public letters that relate to the Northern Department (same, 8:649–650).Reported and resolutions passed: 20 Aug.; report not found (same, 8:659).
  • Henry Laurens, Richard Henry Lee, JA (JCC, 8:688).To collect evidence and facts on the evacuation of Ticonderoga and { 62 } Fort Independence. (See Laurens and others, to Joseph Trumbull, 5 Sept. [below].)Letter from Lt. Col. Hale referred: 2 Oct. (same, 8:758).Portion of a letter from Gen. Schuyler referred: 9 Oct. (same, 9:786–787).Francis Dana, John Witherspoon, William Ellery added to the committee: 26 Dec. (same, 9:1053).James Lovell (in place of Dana) added to the committee: 20 Jan. 1778 (same, 10:66).James Smith added to the committee: 27 Jan. (same, 10:93).Reported and resolutions passed: 5 Feb. 1778; report in Henry Laurens' hand (same, 10:125; PCC, No. 29, f. 26).
  • JA, William Duer, Richard Henry Lee (JCC, 8:688–689).To consider two letters from Gen. Sullivan with enclosures of various Quaker letters and documents.Reported and resolutions passed: 28 Aug.; report in William Duer's hand (same, 8:695; PCC, No. 19, V, f. 439½).Other duties assigned 3 Sept.: to consider letters and papers found in the possession of some Quakers taken into custody (JCC, 8:708).Reported and consideration postponed: 5 Sept.; report not found (same, 8:713, 714).Orders issued: 6 Sept. (same, 8:718). See Thomas McKean to JA, 19 Sept. 1777 (below).
  • JA, Richard Henry Lee, William Duer, Elbridge Gerry, James Wilson (JCC, 8:719, 720).To consider a letter of 1 September from Gov. Trumbull complaining about slowness in getting the Journals printed (Adams Papers).No report found.
  • JA, Samuel Chase, Joseph Jones (JCC, 8:732–733).To consider a motion on regulations for officers receiving rations in messes.Report not found.
  • Richard Henry Lee, JA, Samuel Chase (JCC, 9:783).To consider a resolution to prevent intercourse between towns held by the enemy and inhabitants of the country.Reported and resolutions passed: 8 Oct.; report not found (same, 9:784–785).
  • JA, James Duane, William Williams (JCC, 9:788).To consider a memorial from and papers on George McIntosh of Georgia.Reported and resolution passed: 10 Oct.; report in JA's hand (same, 9:789–790; PCC, No. 19, IV, f. 23–24; printed below).
  • Richard Henry Lee, JA, Elbridge Gerry (JCC, 9:859).To consider a motion for directing the future operations of Gen. Gates. { 63 } Reported and report recommitted: 4 Nov. (a canceled resolution is printed, same, 9:863).William Duer added to the committee: 4 Nov. (same).Reported and resolutions passed: 5 Nov.; report not found (same, 9:864–868).
  • JA, James Duane, Joseph Jones, Richard Henry Lee (JCC, 9:871).To consider a motion respecting the convention of Saratoga and a letter from Gen. Heath of 25 October.Reported and resolutions passed: 8 Nov.; report not found (same, 9:880–882).Ordered to sit again: 8 Nov. (same, 9:882).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0034

Author: Massachusetts General Court
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Paine, Robert Treat
Date: 1777-01-03

General Court to John Adams and Robert Treat Paine

The Committee of both Houses appointed to consider a Letter from General Washington to the President of the Council dated Decr: 18th:2 beg leave to report that we think it expedient that the honorable John Adams, and Robt. Treat Paine Esqrs: two of the Delegates to the Continental Congress now in this State be desired to attend this Court, that from them we may learn the general State of Continental Affairs, and that some Person be dispatched immediately to desire Mr. Paine to attend this Court for the purpose abovemention'd as soon as may be.

[salute] The said Committee beg leave to sit again

[signed] John Winthrop per order
Read, and Accepted.
Sent down for Concurrence
[signed] John Avery Dpy. Secy.
Read, and Concurred
[signed] J Warren Speaker
A true Copy3
[signed] Attest Jno: Avery Dpy. Secy.
MS (MHi:Robert Treat Paine Papers), signed attested copy; addressed: “To Honble: Robt: Treat Paine Esq Taunton”; docketed: “John Avery Dpty Secry Jany. 1777.”
{ 64 }
1. According to the MS record, the Council did not hear a report from the joint committee until 3 Jan., and a blank space is left where the report would normally appear. But marginal notes indicate that Paine and JA were to be consulted. The House Journal, however, shows that concurrence in the joint committee report was voted on 2 Jan. The next day the House voted concurrence to a report that the joint committee confer with the two men rather than have the two attend the General Court. On 4 Jan. the joint committee reported that it had conferred with JA; Paine had not yet arrived in Boston. In its report the committee urged the General Court to order the towns to fill their proportion of the fifteen battalions which Massachusetts was expected to furnish (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 13, Unit 1, p. 415, 418; Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 2d sess., p. 210–211).
2. Washington painted a gloomy picture of the army's situation: men from the Flying Camp (a reserve unit intended to have mobility) had returned home on the expiration of their enlistment, field strength had been reduced to a “mere handful,” assistance from the militia was not forthcoming despite his pleas, and Gen. Lee had been captured by the British (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 6:394–396).
3. No copy has been found in the Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0035

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-01-08

From Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear sir

Since You left Philadelphia many important Events have taken place in the Council as well as the Field; those that are publick You are undoubtedly informed of, the other I shall <briefly> hint as they occur to my Mind.
Congress have ordered Arms and Equipage for 3000 Horse and 150 brass Field peices to be imported without Delay. The General to expedite Business is invested with Great Powers, which are to continue six Months unless sooner revoked by Congress, and are confined to the person of G. Washington. Amongst other Things he is to raise, establish, and appoint the Officers for, 3000 light Horse, and as many of the Train; to officer and raise sixteen new Batalions, which in Addition to 94 before ordered make 110 of Infantry; Wherever he is, to take whatever he wants for the Use of the Army, from those who shall refuse to supply him for continental Currency, and profer the same, to the amount of the apprized Value of the Goods taken; to displace any officers under the rank of Brigadier and to fill up their places, as well as of Officers in other Departments. Three Magazines of military Stores are to be provided, in Virginia, Lancaster in Pennsylvania, and Brookfield in Massachusetts.1 A Committee is appointed to prepare a Report for regulating the Business of the Boards of War, Commerce, Admiralty, Treasury, Ordnance and Indian Affairs, and for conducting them by Gentlemen not Members of Congress.2 I wish to have your Sentiments fully on { 65 } each of these six Departments with an Arrangement of the several Officers and their respective Powers. Further, the Treaty is revised and applications are made to —— for the Loan of two Millions sterling in Specie; and a supply of 100,000 stands of Arms;3 Commissioners are to be sent to the Courts of Madrid Prussia Vienna, and Tuscany; Doctor ——4 to the first. The Commissioners are instructed to inform their respective Courts, that Congress are informed of the insidious and artful Designs of the Court of G Britain to represent them, and the Inhabitants of these States as having an Inclination to return again to the Domination of his brittanic Majesty, and that It is the Determination of both the Government and the People at every Event to maintain their Independance. The Commissioners at the Courts of —— and ——5 are to use every Mean in their power to procure a Declaration of War against G B. and as an Inducement to propose to the first, that all the Trade between these States and the W I Islands shall be carryed on in —— and American Vessels. To offer provisions to the Amount of 2000000 of Dollars and six Frigates of not less than 24 Guns each, at the Expence of the Und. States, for carrying on Expeditions for reducing to the Govt. of —— the british West India Islands. (and all other Assistance in our power as good and faithful Allies;) to propose by the united Arms of —— and the States, to deprive G Britain of any Share in the Cod fishery by reducing Novascotia Newfounland and Cape Breton, and when the same shall be accomplished it is further proposed that the Fishery shall be enjoyed by [ . . . ] and the united States to the Exclusion of all other Nations whatever—Newfoundland to be divided between —— and the States, and the —— annexed to the States. The Commissioner at the Court of M —— as an Inducement for declaring War are to propose to his C. M.6 the Assistance of the States to reduce the Town and Harbour of Pensacola, and annex the same to his Territory and Government; and if the King of Portugal has caused any of our Vessels to be confiscated, to engage in behalf of the States that War shall be declared against the said King if the Measure is approved and will be supported by both the Courts before hinted. All the Commissioners are to sollicit the Interpositions of the several Courts for preventing further Embarkations of Foreign Troops to America and recalling such as are now here. General Washington is to offer six of the Hessian field Officers in Exchange for General Lee, and if Genl Howe refuses this to inform { 66 } him, that these with a favorite british Officer in our Custody shall share the same Fate as the General;7 of whose Sincerity by the by I think there is now no Reason to doubt: this Resolution will at all Events be carryed into Execution, if I can form any Judgment of the Firmness of Congress, for the General not being in the actual Service of G Britain, can not be considered as they are desirous of representing him, a Deserter from their Army, he had doubtless a Right to give up a pension allowed him for Services heretofore performed, and having done this evidently ceases to be a Servant of or connected with the Crown and could not as an Officer be called to Duty; he had therefore as good a Right to engage in the Service as any Inhabitant of these States and will be so considered by Congress. Upon this Head I shall be also glad to have your Opinion, since the Consequence may be a War without Quarters, and the greatest Care should be taken to proceed on Justifiable principles which I think We are in this Case evidently pursuing.
The Reduction of Fort Cumberland and Destruction of the Dock Yard and Magazines at Halifax are objects of great Importance; and if Matters are well conducted, they appear to me to be feasible. The Gentleman which You sent to Mr. Adams has been before Congress,8 and they have come to a Resolution That the Council of Massachusetts B. be impowered to attend to the Situation of the Enemy in that Quarter and when they are of Opinion that an advantageous Attack can be made, to raise subsist officer and pay a Body of Men not exceeding 3000 for carrying on the Expedition in the Course of the Winter or early in the Spring, to prepare and convey to any parts of the eastern Counties of Massa. sufficient Magazines of military and other Stores, and to draw on Congress for Money for these purposes.9 General Gates is here and is well acquainted with Mr. Allen's Father as well as himself the former by Mr. Allen's Account is a half pay Officer, he himself was a Member of the Assembly and says he left the province to avoid taking the Oath of Allegiance, his Wife Family and Effects are now in Nova Scotia, and therefore it may be necessary to be on our Guard, and take other Measures to gain Intelligence least We be decoyed into a military Trap, which an Enemy experienced in the Arts of War will be continually attempting. You will undoubtedly see some Members of the Council and push the Matter as far as may be prudent; It is supposed that the Militia of the eastern Counties which cannot be brot into the Field will readily engage for 3 or 4 Months to accomplish { 67 } this plan, that if the Information of Mr. Allen “that the Enemy there are not above 800 strong” should be confirmed, the Matter can be conducted with such Secrecy as to take the Enemy by Surprize, that if they have Intelligence of our Intentions after Orders arrive in the eastern Country to embody the Men, Time will not admit of their receiving Reinforcements before the Expedition is carryed thro, and that Stores can be conveyed without any Suspicion of this kind previous to the Order for raising the Levies, by pretexts which Massachusetts Inhabitants are dexterous to fabricate and that Genl. Washington who has a Copy of the Resolve will furnish a General if wanted.
Congress since their Removal from Philadelphia are exceedingly spirited and united; I was against leaving it but hope they will never return to that Sepulchre of Genius and Enterprize. The Nabob S and N Carolina continue to be Antipodes to the rest,10 and to sharpen Steel, Whetstones are necessary. I think the Intention of the Enemy next Campaign is to press N England in every quarter, and that by proper Exertions they will be foiled with their intended Reinforcements. The Support of the Credit of our Money is the only Difficulty that rests on my Mind, and I doubt not it will be soon removed. Pray communicate to the Speaker Major Hawley and Coll. Orne with my best Respects such parts of the Letter (if Oppertunity offers) as You shall think proper and believe me to be sir your assured Friend and hum sert.
[signed] E Gerry
P.S. We are in Expectation of important Intelligence from the Jersies, should our Arms be successful We shall push on this Side for driving the Enemy from N York; pray follow the Blow from N England and press them by the Way of Kings Bridge With your new Levies. I doubt not they will be stirred at Newport. Doctor Morgan and Stringer are dismissed from the Service in Consequence of the Clamours of the people, and their Misconduct.11
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Gerry 8 Jan 1777.”
1. On 27 Dec. the congress resolved to establish magazines of military stores at Carlisle, Penna., and Brookfield. Virginia was not mentioned. Virginia, however, was requested to arrange for the delivery of 10,000 barrels of flour to the James, York, Rappahannock, and Potomac rivers (JCC, 6:1041, 1044).
2. The five-man committee named by the congress on 26 Dec. for this purpose did not report until March (same, 6:1041–1042; 7:193–195).
3. The request for a loan and for arms from France was authorized by the congress on 23 and 27 Dec. (same, 6:1036–1037, 1044).
4. Franklin, who never acted under this commission. Arthur Lee became commissioner to Spain. The resolutions on foreign affairs of 30 Dec. that follow originated in { 68 } the committee of the whole. The dashes, used for security, can be filled in with “France” or “French” except where otherwise noted (same, 7:8, 10; 8:521–523 note; 6:1054–1058).
5. France and Spain.
6. The commissioner to the court of Madrid was to propose to his Catholic Majesty, that is, the King of Spain.
7. On the morning of 13 Dec., Lee was captured at a tavern in Basking Ridge, where he had spent the night, about three miles from his army, which was a short distance south of Morristown (Alden, General Charles Lee, p. 155–158).
8. Probably John Allen of Nova Scotia, although a letter from the Massachusetts Council to President Hancock was carried by Josiah Throop, also of Nova Scotia (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 3:800–806, 1501–1503).
9. On 8 Jan. 1777 the congress empowered the Council of Massachusetts to determine the feasibility of an attack on Nova Scotia and to proceed in behalf of the United States if the decision was favorable (JCC, 7:20).
10. Probably a reference to Edward Rutledge and William Hooper, the former for some time an opponent of any scheme of confederation that would reduce state power and a defender of Gen. Schuyler, anathema to New Englanders; the latter an opponent of the higher bounty for soldiers sought by New England and a satirical critic of the overtures to foreign countries the congress was making (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:517; 2:144, 155, 195).
11. On Dr. John Morgan, director of hospitals east of the Hudson River, see vol. 4:36, note 8. Dr. Samuel Stringer, hospital director of the Northern Department, had entered the Continental service in 1775, about a month before Morgan. Apparently the medical competence of neither man was in question (Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog.). Correspondents of Adams had complained of the inadequate care of the wounded and the downgrading of regimental hospitals. Jealousies and conditions beyond anyone's immediate remedy triggered complaints (S. H. Parsons to JA, [Sept. 1776], above). The vote for dismissal was on 9 Jan.; Gerry thus kept his letter another day (JCC, 7:24).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0036

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-01-09

From Samuel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I have every Day for a Month past been anxiously expecting the Pleasure of seeing you here, but now begin to suspect you do not intend to give us your Assistance in Person. I shall therefore do all that lies in my Power to engage your epistolary Aid. You will by every Opportunity receive my Letters, and, I dare say, you will be so civil to me as to answer at least some of them.
I have given our Friend Warren, in one of my Letters to him, the best Reason I could, for the sudden Removal of Congress to this Place. Possibly he may have communicated it to you. I confess, it was not agreable to my Mind; but I have since alterd my Opinion, because we have done more important Business in three Weeks than we had done, and, I believe, should have done at Philadelphia in six Months. As you are a Member of Congress, you have a Right to know all that has been done; but I dare not commit it to Paper, at a Time when the safe Carriage of Letters is become so precarious. One thing I am very sollicitous to in• { 69 } form you, because I know it will give you great Satisfaction. If you recollect our Conversation at New Haven, I fancy you will understand me, when I tell you, that to one Place we have added four, and increasd the Number of Persons from three to six.1 I hate this dark mysterious Manner of writing but Necessity requires it.
You have heard of the Captivity of General Lee? Congress have directed Genl. Washington to offer six Hessian Field Officers in Exchange for him. It is suspected that the Enemy chuse to consider him as a Deserter, bring him to Tryal in a Court Martial and take his Life. Assurances are orderd to be given to General Howe, that five of those Officers together with Lt. Coll. Campbel will be detaind and all of them receive the same Measure that shall be meted to him. This Resolution will most certainly be executed.
We have this Day passd a Recommendation to the Council of Massachusetts Bay of a very important Nature.2 It will be sent by this Express to the Council, to whom I refer you for a Perusal of it.
Our Affairs in France and Spain wear a promising Aspect, and we have taken Measures to put them on a respectable Footing in other Parts of Europe; and I flatter myself too much if we do not succeed.
The Progress of the Enemy thro' the Jerseys has chagrind me beyond Measure, but I think we shall reap the Advantage in the End. We have already beat a Part of their Army at Trenton, and the inclosd Paper3 will give you a further Account which we credit, though not yet authenticated. The late Behavior of the People of Jersey, was owing to some of their leading Men, who instead of directing and animating most shamefully deserted them. When they found a Leader in the brave Coll. Ford they followd him with Alacrity.4 They have been treated with savage Barbarity by the Hessians, but, I believe, more so by Britains. After they have been most inhumanly usd in their Persons without Regard to Sex or Age, and plunderd of all they had without the least Compensation, Lord Howe and his Brother (now Sir William Knt of the Bath)5 have condescended to offer them Protections for the free Enjoyment of their Effects.
You have seen the Power with which General Washington is vested for a limitted Time. Congress is very attentive to the Northern Army, and Care is taking effectually to supply it with { 70 } every thing necessary this Winter for the next Campaign. General Gates is here. How shall we make him the Head of that Army.6
We are about establishing Boards of War, Ordnances Navy and Treasury, with a Chamber of Commerce, each of them to consist of Gentlemen who are not Members of Congress. By these Means I hope our Business will be done more systematically, speedily and effectually.
Great and heavy Complaints have been made of Abuse in the Director Generals Department in both our Armies. Some, I suppose, without Grounds, others with too much Reason. I have no Doubt but as soon as a Committee reports, which is expected this Day, both Morgan and Stringer will be removd, as I think they ought.
To the Eighty Eight Battalions orderd to be raisd; Sixteen are to be added, which with Six to be raisd out the Continent at large will make one hundred and ten, besides three thousand horse, three Regiments of Artillery and a Company of Engineers. We may expect fifty or sixty thousand of the Enemy in June next. Their Design will still be to subdue the obstinate States of New England. It was the Intention that Carleton should winter in Albany, Howe in New York and Clinton at Rhode Island, that with Reinforcement in the Spring, they might be ready to attack New England on all sides. I hope every possible Method will be used to quicken the new Levies, and that the Fortifications in the Harbour of Boston will be in complete Readiness. Much will depend upon our Diligence this Winter.
The Attention of Congress is also turnd to the Southward. Forts Pitt and Randolph7 are to be garrisond, and Provision laid up for 2000 Men [for] Six Months. By the last Accounts from South Carolina we are informd, that late Arrivals have supplyd them with every thing necessary for their Defence.
I have written in great Haste, and have Time only to add that I am with sincere Regards to your Lady and Family, very cordially Your Friend
[signed] Samuel Adams
PS Dr. Morgan and Dr. Stringer are dismissd without any Reason assignd which Congress could of Right do, as they held their Places during Pleasure. The true Reason, as I take it, was the general Disgust and the Danger of the Loss of an Army arising therefrom.
{ 71 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honbe John Adams Esq Boston.”
1. That is, to France, the congress added Austria, Spain, Prussia, and Tuscany as places to which commissioners would be sent. The three commissioners then in France would be augmented, however, by only three, not four, since Franklin was to go from Passy to Madrid (JCC, 6:1054; 7:8). But on Franklin's new commission, see Gerry to JA, 8 Jan., note 4 (above).
2. See Elbridge Gerry to JA, 8 Jan. (above).
3. Not found. The British had established a series of posts in New Jersey running from the Hackensack River to Burlington on the Delaware (Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1972, p. 148). The good news was probably Washington's victory at Princeton on 3 Jan., when his forces, having quietly withdrawn from outside Trenton in the night, went by a back road to Princeton and engaged troops that were leaving there to join Cornwallis at Trenton for an expected battle with Washington (Johnston, Campaign around New York and Brooklyn, p. 292–296).
4. When the Americans began their retreat from New York through New Jersey, many people, seeing a defeated and straggling army, reconsidered their position. On 30 Nov. 1776 Lord Howe issued a new proclamation offering a pardon to those who within sixty days would take an oath of allegiance before a British official and remain peaceful, and he promised further to return forfeited property to former rebels (Gruber, Howe Brothers, p. 146–147). At about this time enlistments in the Flying Camp were to expire, and Washington wanted Gov. William Livingston to raise the militia, but few responded to his call (Greene, Papers, 1:364, note 3). Worse, some prominent men, including Samuel Tucker, former president of the Provincial Congress and member of the Supreme Court, and Richard Stockton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, yielded to Howe's blandishments. There may be some question about Stockton, for he recanted under pressure, but there was none about some others (Leonard Ludlin, Cockpit of the Revolution: The War for Independence in New Jersey, Princeton, 1940, p. 159–161 and note 57). In this bleak scene the steadfastness of Col. Jacob Ford Jr., leader of militia, was a boost to morale. Several contemporaries testified to his importance in the Morristown area and his vigorous harassment of the enemy (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 3:1120, 1297, 1419).
5. William Howe's knighthood was awarded for his victory on Long Island (Gruber, Howe Brothers, p. 148).
6. On the New England preference for Gates over Schuyler, see vol. 4:468, note 4.
7. Fort Randolph was at the site of the present Point Pleasant, W. Va. (Early Amer. Atlas).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0037

Author: Cushing, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-01-14

From William Cushing

[salute] Dear Sir

I return the two volumes of Hume (by my brother) which you were so good as to lend me, and should be glad of two volumes of Mrs. McCawley, if Mrs. Adams has got them home from her Asylum at Scadden;1 which my brother will call for on his return from Boston. Three first volumes I have read in quarto which go to 1642; the two next I want. If those are not at home I should be glad of the 2d. and 3d. Volumes of Hume. We got home pretty comfortably the Sunday we came from your house; the snow drifts were not great.
At the same time that I Lament with you poor Lee's fate, as much for himself as for us, I congratulate you on Washington's { 72 } Successful manoevre,2 a happy prelude to 1777. I wish you a good Journey when you go to Congress.3 But beware of the light horse. One Congress Man, I Suppose, will be equal to Two Generals. Mrs. Cushing joins in Complements to you and Mrs. Adams. I am Sir, your most humble Servt
[signed] Wm Cushing
1. Scadding (now Randolph), home of the widow of Elihu Adams, JA's deceased younger brother (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 56; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:277).
2. The victory at Trenton.
3. JA left Braintree on 9 Jan. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:256).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0038

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-01-31

Intelligence from London

[salute] Dr Sir

I flatter myself with the Pleasure of hearing from you Soon, and in the mean Time, I wish to convey to you a Piece of important Secret Intelligence, relative to the Situation of this Court with Spain and which I procured in Such a Way, as I gave my Honour I would not repeat it to any one, on this Side of the Water. During the latter Part of the Administration of Lord Dartmouth1 a Scheme was formed, for establishing a Colony on the Lands of the Musquito Indians, and Seven or Eight of that Tribe came hither, and gave Assurance that they would Sell a Part of their Territory to the English.2 Dr. Ervin and Captn. Blair, were the Persons, who undertook to carry the Project into Execution, and accordingly loaded a Vessell and Sailed with a Cargo of Goods, Implements of Husbandry, servants &c. to the Musquito shore. A legislative Council, and Justices of Peace were appointed from hence, for the Government of the Colony. The Spaniards were alarmed at the Settlement, and in Consequence Seized the Vessell and Cargo:3 and about Ten Weeks ago Captn. Blair came home to Seek Redress. Lord Weymouth,4 immediately Sent orders to the British Ambassadors at Madrid to demand the Restoration of the Vessell and Cargo. That Court peremptorily refused it, unless it was declared that Captn. Blair did not Act by Authority of the British Court. Lord Weymouth refuses to say so, and has told the Cabinet, he dare not do it (which will Account for his threatned Resignation, as was mentioned in one of my former Letters)5 altho it was a Plan adopted and carried into Execution before he came into Office, and therefore he alledges he is bound to protect and Support the Colony, { 73 } and more especially as the Musquito Indians disclaim all Subordination to the Court of Spain, and on the contrary upon the Arrival of each new Governor at Jamaica their King or Sachem, has for many Years made it an invariable Custom to go to that Island and pay a Sort of Homage to its Governor, as the Representative of the Crown of England. The Substance of the last answer from Spain was, that if the British Court made it a Serious Matter, the Court of Madrid was determined to do the Same. I shall not trouble you with any Observations upon this Intelligence. You will make your own Use of it. Lord Weymouth, I am assured will not flinch from it, as he considers himself in a very delicate situation.
The Indians in the above Letter returned in the Ship with Dr. Ervin and Capt. Blair to the Musquito shore. One of them was a Prince.
If I had two or three Aid de Camps and a secretary, as the great Men of the Age have, I would present you with a fairer Copy. But We small Folks are obliged to do our own Drudgery, and We have so much of it to do, that We must do it in Haste.6
MS copy in JA's hand (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Letts from Londo Jany. & Feby. 77.” JA enclosed this and another piece of unsigned intelligence dated 3 Feb. (below) in his letter to James Warren of 18 Aug. (below).
1. Dartmouth resigned as Secretary of State for the American Colonies in Nov. 1775 (DNB).
2. English settlement along the eastern coast of Central America had begun in the early 17th century without government support. Seeking to exploit logwood and grow sugar cane, immigrants flowed there from Jamaica for some time without the knowledge of Spanish authorities and managed to ally themselves with the Sambo-Miskito Indians. One of the Indians who went to England was Prince George, later George II, king of the Sambo Indians. One of his reasons for going was to complain that Robert Hodgson, from 1763 superintendent of the coast, allowed Indians to be enslaved (Troy S. Floyd, The Anglo-Spanish Struggle for Mosquitia, [Albuquerque, N. Mex.], 1967, p. 17–19, 55–57, 125).
3. The Indians returned late in 1775 or early 1776 to Black River (in Honduras) on board the Morning Star with Dr. Charles Irving. He was to have responsibility for settling 700 English families in the Black River area, but first he had to obtain permission from the king of the Sambos and open the way for land grants. The Mosquito Shore or Coast was technically the eastern coast of Nicaragua, but the English used the term to cover part of the coast extending into Honduras. Spaniards received advance notice of the settlement scheme from Spain's ambassador to Britain and alerted Spanish outposts to be on their guard and to prevent the scheme if possible. The Morning Star was captured on 30 April 1776, just before it arrived at Black River. Discovering no colonists on board, Juan Antonio Gastehu, commanding the Spanish force, put Irving and the English crew on shore and took Prince George (later king) and his party to New Grenada, where they were offered gifts to wean them from the English. Then King George was allowed to return to his seat at Cabo Gracias a Dios at the mouth of the Wanks River (same, p. 125–126). Capt. Blair has not been identified.
4. Thomas Thynne (1734–1796), third viscount Weymouth and first marquis of { 74 } Bath, was Secretary of State for the Southern Department (DNB).
5. Not found.
6. The final paragraph, written at the top of a third page of four, may be JA's own addition.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0039

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-02-03

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

After a very tedious Journey, through the severist Weather, and over very bad Mountains, in one Part of it, and perfect Mortar, in the other Part,1 I am arrived in good Health, and Spirits at Baltimore.
Congress is Sitting, and by the best Information I can obtain from our Friends, are very well united and much more Spirited than ever.
The Recruiting Service goes on, as every Body tells me, from Boston to Baltimore, very well, and it is here said, in Virginia. I cannot Sufficiently express the Sense I have of the indispensible Importance that our State Should be the earliest and most exemplary in compleating our Quota.2
It may be depended upon, that our State is the Barometer At which every other Looks. If the <Spirit> Mercury rises, there, it will rise in every other Part of the Continent, if it falls there, it will fall every where.
By all that I can gather, the British Ministry, have Sollicited for Cossacks. The Success is doubtfull. But it is the opinion of a Man in England, whose Intelligence has heretofore proved extreamly exact, that the Ministry will be able to obtain near Twenty thousand Recruits in England Scotland and Ireland and Germany. If this Conjecture is right there is great Reason to Suppose that they will not Venture upon So dangerous a Step as that of procuring Siberians. Their late great Successes will in their opinion render them unnecessary.
But in all Events, it is our Wisdom, our Prudence our Policy our Cunning, our Duty, our every Thing to destroy, those who are now in America. They are compleatly in our Power and if We do not embrace the opportunity, We shall not only in dust and Ashes repent of our sloth, but it will be but Justice that We should Suffer the wretched Consequences of it. I am Sure, our brave New Englandmen can break the Force at Newport. And even the main Body at Brunswick May be imprisoned. But an Army is wanting. Dont let it be wanting long.
{ 75 }
Congress will do and have done what they can but if the States will not execute the Plans and Resolutions of Congress, what is to be expected?
New England, I find is now in higher Estimation than it has been. Our Troops, have behaved nobly, and turned the Fortune of the War.3 Pray let us keep up our Credit, as I am sure We can. Adieu, my dear Friend.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “For The Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Boston”; docketed: “Mr J A. Lettr Feby. 3. 1777.”
1. A list of the towns JA and his traveling companions passed through, giving the armies in the field a wide berth, is furnished in Adams Family Correspondence, 2:144–145, note 1.
2. In addition to the fifteen battalions expected from Massachusetts for the new army for 1777, the congress on 24 Dec. 1776 requested 2500 troops from Massachusetts, as well as troops from Connecticut and New Hampshire to reinforce Fort Ticonderoga (JCC, 5:762; 6:1038).
3. New England units participated effectively in the Battles of Trenton and Princeton (Johnston, Campaign around New York and Brooklyn, p. 289, 295).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0040

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-02-03

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

It may not be a Mispence of Time to make a few Observations upon the Situation of Some of the States at this Time.
That Part of New York which is yet in our Possession is pretty well united, and pretty firm. The Jerseys have recovered from their Surprize, and are lending as much Assistance as can well be expected from them. Their Assembly is now Sitting, and are Said to be well disposed to do what they can. The Assembly of Pensilvania, is also Sitting. They have abolished the oath1 which gave so much Discontent to the People, and are gradually acquiring the Confidence of the People, and opposition has Subsided. The Delaware Government, have formed their Constitution,2 and the Assembly is now Sitting. Maryland has formed its Constitution—and their Assembly now sitting in Consequence of it, are filling it up. There is a Difficulty in two of the Counties,3 but this will last but a little while. In Virginia Governor Henry, has recovered his Health has returned to Williamsbourg, and is proceeding in his Government with great Industry. N. Carolina have compleated their Government, and Mr. Caswell is Governor. In Virginia and North Carolina, they have made an Effort, for the Destruction of Bigotry which is very remarkable. They have abolished their Establishments of Episcopacy so far as to { 76 } give compleat Liberty of Conscience to Dissenters,4 an Acquisition in favour of the Rights of Mankind, which is worth all the Blood and Treasure, which has been and will be Spent in this War. S. Carolina and Georgia, compleated their Governments, a long time ago. Thus I think there are but three States remaining which have not erected their Governments, Massachusetts, N. York and New Hampshire.5
These are good Steps towards Government in the States which must be introduced and established before We can expect Discipline in our Armies, the Unum necessarium to our Salvation.
I will be instant and incessant, in season and out of Season, in inculcating these important Truths, that nothing can Save Us but Government in the State and Discipline in the Army. There are So many Persons among my worthy Constituents who love Liberty, better than they understand it that I expect to become unpopular by my Preaching. But Woe is me if I preach it not. Woe will be to them, if they do not hear.
I am terrified with the Prospect of Expence, to our State, which I find no Possibility of avoiding. I cannot get an Horse kept in this Town under a Guinea a Week. One hundred and four Guineas a Year for the Keeping of two Horses, is intolerable, but cannot be avoided. Simple Board is fifty shilling a Week here, and Seven Dollars generally. I cannot get boarded, under forty shillings, i.e. five dollars and a third a Week for myself and fifteen for my servant—besides finding for myself all my Wood Candles, Liquors and Washing. I would send home my servant and Horses, but Congress is now a moveable Body, and it is impossible to travell and carry great Loads of Baggage without a servant and Horses, besides the Meanness of it, in the Eyes of the World.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To The Hon. James Warren Esq. Speaker of the House Boston”; docketed: “Mr. J A Lettr Feby. 5. 1777”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Pennsylvania, in the control of the Radicals or Constitutionalists, who drafted the state constitution, required voters and officeholders to take an oath to uphold the constitution, a requirement that was interpreted by many to mean accepting it in toto. Since many deemed the document too extreme in its departure from commonly accepted principles, the oath became a major source of political friction. It was not abolished at this time, but it was ignored successfully in some instances. In Philadelphia, for example, the first elections were held without oath-taking (Robert L. Brunhouse, The Counter Revolution in Pennsylvania, 1776–1790, Harrisburg, 1942, p. 16–17, 20).
2. Delaware established its constitution { 77 } on 21 Sept. 1776, without resorting to ratification by the people (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 1:562, note a).
3. Maryland completed its constitution on 11 Nov. 1776 and put it into operation without popular ratification (same, 3:1686, note a). Strong opposition to this conservative constitution, which upper-class leaders had drafted and which provided high property qualifications for officeholding, and opposition to independence itself, caused turmoil in more than two counties; in his Letterbook, JA mentions only Worcester and leaves a blank for the other. Those on the eastern shore particularly suffered from loyalist rioters, which disgruntled militiamen were too disorganized to put down effectively (Ronald Hoffman, A Spirit of Dissention: Economics, Politics, and the Revolution in Maryland, Baltimore, 1973, p. 186, 193–195).
4. North Carolina completed its constitution on 18 Dec. 1776, and it became operative without popular ratification (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 5:2787, note a). Disestablishment was provided for in Art. 34, but Art. 32 technically made Roman Catholics ineligible for public office, although this provision was not enforced (Elisha P. Douglass, Rebels and Democrats, Chapel Hill, 1955, p. 131, note 46). The sixteenth section of Virginia's Bill of Rights, which preceded its constitution of June 1776, provided for the “free exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience,” but JA probably had more specific reference to the legislative act that in Dec. 1776 suspended payments to Anglican clergymen. Formal disestablishment did not come until 1786, with passage of Jefferson's famous bill introduced by Madison (Thorpe, 7:3814; Douglass, p. 309).
5. Connecticut and Rhode Island continued under their virtually self-governing charters until the 19th century.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0041

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-02-03

Intelligence from London

Extract
There is no kind of Relaxation here in warlike Preparations, and yet the Ministry have so contrived that few People believe there is any danger of War; this indeed is necessary to them for the present and untill the subscription to the ensuing Loan of Six Millions be compleated, as the Money would otherwise be necessarily borrowed at 10 or 12 greater loss. Transports are getting ready to carry out the additional British and German Troops to America and it is intended they shall all Sail by the Beginning of March.
Administration intend the Campaign shall be opened unusually early in the Spring in America, and the Operations directed wholly and on all sides against N. England; and they expect by early and vigorous Exertions, to crush the Northern Colonies before they can be assisted from the southward, and before any foreign Relief can be given, and thus end the War. It is of importance that this Plan of operations should be known as early as possible in America that N. England may in due Season procure necessary Supplies of Flour, Troops &c. from the other Colonies.
I am much puzzled about the real Intentions of the present Ministry in Respect of their great and hasty Armaments. They { 78 } certainly are too expensive to be mere Scarecrows, and, improbable as it may seem on one Account, there is Reason to think they intend, when their present Loan is compleated, either to attack France, or, at least to hold a very high Language to her. Certain it is, that Lord Weymouth has of late Seriously and warmly urged an immediate Declaration of War against France, and tho such Declaration has not been made, it is perhaps only suspended.
At any Rate France Seems to have done enough to incur the Utmost Resentment of our K. and Ministry. And if she should do no more, she will have Reason to think, she has done too much, as Some of the Friends of Administration already insinuate that as soon as an Accommodation with America can be effected the whole of the British Force now there will be turned against St Domingo1 &c.
It is Said that the better to hasten an Accommodation, offers of a more Specific Nature will be sent out to America than former ones, perhaps in the dress of an Act of Parliament, as it is Supposed that the sword will soon have produced a Disposition in the Colonies to listen to them. Wedderburn2 I understand has been sometime essaying something of this Nature.3
MS copy in JA's hand (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.). See descriptive note for Intelligence from London, 31 Jan. (above).
1. St. Domingue, now Haiti.
2. Alexander Wedderburn, solicitor general and member of Parliament, who had turned from the whigs to become a supporter of Lord North (DNB).
3. JA's extracts from Lee's letters of 11 and 14 Feb., also sent to Warren along with Intelligence from London of 3 Feb., covered British strategic plans for the coming campaign, the raising of additional thousands of German troops, Britain's intention better to protect its commerce in the West Indies, and a proposal to send American prisoners to work the settlements of the East India Company (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:266–271).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0042

Author: Massachusetts Council
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-04

Amended Credentials of the Massachusetts Delegates

State of Massachusetts Bay
Whereas the Commission given the Delegates in Congress Representing this State, by a Resolve of the Tenth of December last, Confines the exercise of their Representation and Powers to any three or more of them from which many Inconveniences may arise, and their Vote in Congress may be lost, on any Question when only two are present, one may Controul two when three are present and the same Effect take place. It is therefore { 79 } Resolved, that any two or more of said Delegates Representing this State in Congress being the major part present, be and hereby are vested with all the powers with which any three or more of said Delegates were vested by the said Resolve of the Tenth of December last, and the Secretary is hereby Directed as soon as may be to furnish each of the Delegates from this State with an Attested Copy of this Resolve.1

[salute] Sent Up for Concurrence

[signed] J Warren Spkr
Read and Concurred
[signed] J Avery Dpy Secy
A True Copy
[signed] Attest. John Avery Dpy Secy
MS (PCC, Misc. Papers, Reel No. 8), signed attested copy; docketed: “Resolve of Massachusetts Bay respecting thr. Delegates. 4th Feby. 1777 Read March 12 1777.”
1. JA's copy was forwarded to him by John Avery on 17 Feb. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0043-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Avery, John
Date: 1777-02-10

To John Avery

[salute] Sir

I have to request of you to communicate the inclosed Resignation to the Honourable Board, as soon as may be; as it is of great Importance to the public, that the Superiour Court Should be filled up, and proceed to the Business of the State and as it has been already kept, too long unfill'd.
We are now at Such a Distance from the Army, that it is not in my Power to communicate, any Intelligence, from thence which you have not heard.
I have the Pleasure to assure you that We have the most agreable Intelligence from Virginia of the Spirit and Success, with which the Levies for the new Army, go on. Our Accounts are also agreable from the other States. Part of Several Regiments are arrived here, on their March from Virginia to New Jersy. We wish and hope Soon to hear that the New England States have compleated their Quotas. I am with Respect, your most obedient humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent by Mr. Hall. the day of the date.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0043-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Massachusetts Council
Date: 1777-02-10

Enclosure: Letter of Resignation from Superior Court

To the Honourable the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay.
May it please your Honours
I find myself under a Necessity of resigning my Appointment to a Seat in the Superior Court;1 and I do accordingly hereby resign it, and request that Some other Gentleman may be forthwith appointed to that most honourable and important Station. I am your Honours most obliged and obedient humble Servant
[signed] John Adams
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent by Mr. Hall. the day of the date.”
1. JA had considered resigning earlier but had delayed his decision (vol. 4:152, 183). Perhaps the continuing opposition of the two western counties to a reopening of the courts convinced JA that the superior court needed the strength that an absent chief justice could not supply, but see his letter of 21 March to John Avery (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0044

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-02-12
Date: 1777-03-15

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

The Certificates and Cheque Books for the Loan Office,1 I hope and presume, are arrived in Boston, before this Time, and notwithstanding the discouraging Accounts, which were given me, when I was there, I still hope that a considerable sum of Money, will be obtained by their Means.
It is my private opinion, however, that the Interest of four per Cent, is not an equitable Allowance. I mean, that four per Cent, is not so much, as the Use of the Money is honestly worth, in the ordinary Course of Business, upon an Average, for a Year. And I have accordingly, exerted all the little faculties I had, in endeavouring on Monday last, to raise the Interest to six per Cent.2 But after two days debate, the Question was lost by an equal Division of the States present, five against five. New Hampshire Massachusetts Bay, New Jersey, Pensilvania and Virginia on one side, and Rhode Island Connecticutt, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, on the other. Here was an Example of the Inconvenience and Injustice of voting by States. Nine Gentlemen, representing about Eight hundred thousand People, against Eighteen Gentlemen representing, a Million and an Half nearly, determined this Point. Yet We must not be Startled at this.
{ 81 }
I think it my duty to mention this to you, because it must be astonishing to most People in our State, that the Interest is so low. I know they are at a Loss to account for it upon any Principles of Equity, or Policy, and consequently may be disposed to blame their Delegates, but you may depend upon it, they are not in fault.
I tremble for the Consequences of this Determination:—if the Loan Offices should not procure Us Money, We must emit more, which will depreciate all which is already abroad; and So raise the Prices of Provisions and all the Necessaries of Life, that the additional Expence to the Continent, for Supplying their Army and Navy, will be vastly more than the two per Cent in dispute: besides all the Injustice, Chicanery, Extortion Oppression, and Discontent, which is allways, occasioned every where, by a depreciating Medium of Trade. I am much afraid of another Mischief. I fear that for Want of Wisdom to raise the Interest in Season, We shall be necessitated within a few Months to give Eight or Ten Per Cent, and not obtain the Money We want after all.
I have been So often a Witness of the Miseries of this after Wisdom, that I am wearied to death of it.
Had a Bounty of Twenty dollars a Man been offered Soldiers last Time, it would have procured more than the enormous Bounties that are now offered will procure.3 Had Government been assumed in the States, Twelve Months Sooner than it was it might have been assumed with, Spirit, Vigour and Decision, and would have obtained an habitual Authority, before the critical Time came on when the Strongest Nerves of Government, are necessary. Whereas, now, every new Government, is as weak as Water and as brittle as Glass.
Had We agreed upon a Non Exportation, to commence when the Non importation commenced, what an immense Sum Should We have Saved? Nay very probably We Should have occasioned a very different House of Commons to be chosen the Ministry to have been changed and this War avoided. Thus it is. You who will make no ill Use of these Observations may read them. But the Times are too delicate and critical to indulge freely, in such Speculations. It is best I believe that no mention Should be made, that the Rate of Interest has been again debated, lest Some Saving Men Should withold their Money, in hopes of compelling the Public to raise the Interest. If the Interest Should never be raised, those who lend in our State, will fare as well as others: if { 82 } it Should, the Interest of all will be raised, that which is borrowed now, as well as that which Shall be borrowed hereafter. I Sincerely wish that our People would lend their Money, freely. They will repent of it, if they do not. We shall be compelled to emit Such Quantities, that every Man except a few Villains will loose more by Depreciation, than the two Per Cent. Not to mention again the Scene of Anarchy and Horror, that a Continuation of Emissions will infallibly bring upon Us.
The Design of Loan Offices, was to prevent the further Depreciation of the Bills, by avoiding further Emissions. We might have emitted more Bills promising an Interest but if those had been made a legal Tender, like the other Bills, and consequently mixed in the Circulations with them, they would instantly have depreciated all the other Bills four Per Cent, if the Interest was four, and more than that too, by increasing the Quantity of circulating Cash. In order to prevent these Certificates from Circulation and consequently from depreciating the Bills, We Should give them such Attributes as will induce Men of Fortune and others, who usually lend Money, to hoard them up. The Persons who usually lend Money are 1. Men of Fortune, who live upon their Income, and these generally chose to have a Surplusage to lay up every Year, to increase their Capitals 2. opulent, Merchants, who have more Money than they choose to risque, or can conveniently employ in Trade. 3. Widows, whose Dower is often converted into Money, and placed out at Interest, that they may receive an annual Income to live upon, without the Care and Skill, which is necessary to employ Money, advantageously in Business. 4. orphans, whose Guardians seldom incline to hazard the Property of their Wards, in Business. 5. a few Divines, Phisicians, and Lawyers, who are able to lay by, a little of their annual Earnings. 6. here and there a Farmer and a Tradesman, who is forehanded and frugal enough to make more Money, than he has occasion to spend. Add to these 7. Schools Colledges, Towns, Parishes and other Societies, which sometimes let Money. All these Persons are much attached to their Interest and so anxious to make the most of it that they compute and calculate it, even to farthings and single days.
These Persons can get Six Per Cent, generally, of private Borrowers, on good security of Mortgages or sureties.
Now, is it reasonable in the State to expect, that monied Men, will lend to the Public, at a less Interest, than they can get from { 83 } private Persons? I answer Yes, when the Safety of the State is not in doubt: and when the Medium of Exchange has a stable Value. Because larger Sums may be put together, and there is less trouble in collecting and receiving the Interest and the Security is better. But the Case is otherwise, when Men are doubtfull of the Existence of the State, and it is worse still, when they see a Prospect of Depreciation in the Medium of Trade. All Governments in Distress are obliged to give an higher Interest for Money, than when they are prosperous.
The Interest of Money, always bears Some Proportion to the Profits of Trade. When the Commerce of a Country is small, in few Hands, and very profitable, the Interest of Money is very high. Charles the fifth was necessitated to give twenty four Per Cent. Afterwards it fell in Europe to Twelve, and since to six, Five, Four, and Three.
I think I never Shall consent to go higher than Six Per Cent, as much as I am an Advocate for raising it to that, and in this I have been constant for full Nine Months. The Burthen of Six per Cent, upon the Community, will very Soon be heavy enough. We must fall upon Some other Methods of ascertaining the Capitals We borrow. A depreciating Currency, We must not have. It will ruin Us. The Medium of Trade ought to be as unchangeable as Truth; as immutable as Morality. The least Variation in its Value, does Injustice to Multitudes, and in Proportion it injures the Morals of the People, a Point of the last Importance in a Republican Government.
Thus far I had written a long time ago, Since which, after many days Deliberation and Debate, a Vote passed for raising the Interest to six Per Cent.4 If this Measure should not procure Us Money, I know not what Resources We shall explore.
To read this will be Punishment enough for your omission to write to me all this While. I have received nothing from you since I left Boston. Yours,
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. A Lettr Feby. 1777.”
1. The congress on 14 Jan. authorized the borrowing of an additional two million dollars through the loan offices (JCC, 7:36). These, set up in the several states, performed a variety of services for the congress besides selling certificates. They became agents for disbursing and receiving public moneys and sold bills of exchange drawn on congressional commissioners abroad (E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 35).
2. What JA said on 10 Feb. was recorded in Benjamin Rush's Diary, quoted in Bur• { 84 } nett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:245. The debate on raising the interest rate began on 8 Feb. (JCC, 7:102–104).
3. By “last time” JA presumably meant the conditions for enlistment for those serving in 1776. A bounty of twenty dollars was offered for those enlisting for the duration starting in 1777; this was supplemented by land grants for officers and men. In addition, in Dec. 1776 Washington was authorized to offer bounties to those whose enlistments were expiring at the end of that month “to stay with the army so long after that period, as its situation shall render their stay necessary” (JCC, 5:762–763; 6:1043). States, including Massachusetts, also gave bounties to those enlisting in the Continental Army.
4. The congress voted the raise on 26 Feb. (same, 7:158).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0045

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-12

From William Tudor

[salute] My dear Sir

We had a Court Martial set at Chatham last Week for the Trial of a Colo. Buckner of the 6th. Virginia Battalion in the Continental Service, accused of Misbehaviour and Cowardice.1 The Court after a hearing of two Days found him guilty “of misbehaving before the Enemy, and of deserting his Post and Party in Time of Action.” And sentenced him to be cashiered, and rendered incapable of ever holding any military Office in the American Service. In Obedience to the Articles of War and the Sentence of the Court I have transmitted a Copy of the Charge, and the Judgement of the Court to a Printer in Virginia to be published. This must effectually damn his Character in that State. The shamefull Cowardice of this Man has been a most mortifying Stroke to the whole Corps of Virginia Officers, as he has shewn the World that a Man may be a Coward and yet come from Virginia.
Yesterday all the New England Troops who agreed to tarry for 6 Weeks from 1st. Jany. were discharged, the Time being expired, and we have now only southern Regiments on this Side Hudson's River. By far the greatest Part of the Men who tarry'd are from the Massachusetts State. It is a Pity that these poor Fellows whose Services and Hardships have been great, should now go home without being paid what was promised them, but the Pay Master has no Money, and they accuse the General Officers of deceiving them. This is not the first Complaint of the States badly paying their Troops. They say that though Congress may not be able to cloathe them, they ought, because they can,2 regularly pay them.
Two Hessian Deserters came in to Day. They confirm, what we had before learnt from Prisoners and Deserters that their Army are growing very sickly. That they are badly fed, and { 85 } worse paid. That they are much in Want of Forage, and that the Severity of their Duty has produced a Spirit of Discontent throughout their Army.
If Reinforcements speedily come in, Mr. Howe will not be able to make very distant Excursions from Brunswick. If we can but get 20,000 Men together by 1st. of Apl. the British Army will hardly cross the Deleware next Summer. From the Accounts in the Eastern Papers,3 Appearances in Europe are exceedingly favourable. Should France make a Diversion in our Favour in the Spring, next Campaign I believe will fix America forever independent of the Smiles or Frowns of <Great> haughty Britain. I am with every Sentiment of Esteem & Respect Your Friend & hble Servt.
[signed] Wm Tudor
1. On 23 Jan. an advance party of Col. Mordecai Buckner's battalion engaged a British force protecting a wagon train moving from Brunswick to Amboy. The Americans fought well, inflicting heavy casualties, but Buckner failed to bring up the main force in support. Washington thought his punishment was mild (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:66, 152).
2. Comma supplied.
3. For example, the Independent Chronicle on 16 Jan. quoted a commander at Halifax as saying that war with France was inevitable. On 23 Jan. the paper quoted foreign reports of an alliance with Spain and the sending of a Spanish fleet to America. The following week reports from St. Eustatius told of a large French fleet gathering in the area of Guadeloupe and Martinique, “so that there is now a very fair appearance of our being speedily succoured by the French nation.” And a report from London was carried that said in part, “It is now no longer an idle rumor that we are on the eve of a War with France . . . in all probability a Declaration of Hostilities will take place in a few days.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0046

Author: Sullivan, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-14

From John Sullivan

[salute] D Sir

I hope you will pardon me for not writing to you oftner of the state off affairs in the army of our Victories and Defeats Advances and Retreats but I have many things to Alledge in Excuse. I don't Recollect that I am a Letter in Debt to you as I think I have punctually answered yours.1 I have ever been so full of Business that I could find no time to write but still I have a more weighty Reason which is that I cannot give an Account of a Victory or Defeat where I was an Actor without saying something for or against myself and I have a great Aversion to writing against myself and to write in Favor, would be evidence of a very <surperiour?> suspicious Kind. Indeed I always had an Aversion to fighting upon Paper for I have never yet found a man well { 86 } vers'd in that kind of fighting That would pratice any other; perhaps you may want to know how your Men (the yankees) Fight. I tell you Exceeding well when they have proper Officers; I have been much pleased to see a Day approaching to try the Difference between yankee Cowardice and Southern valour. The Day has or Rather the Days have Arrived and all the Generall Officers Allowed and do Allow that the yankees Cowardice assume the Shape of True valor in the field and tho Southern Valor appears to be a Composition of boasting and Conceit; Genll. Washington made no Scruple to say publickly that the Remains of the Eastern Regiments were the Strength of his Army though their Numbers were Comparitively speaking but small. He calls them in Front when the Enemy are there; he sends them to the Rear when the Enemy Threaten that way; all the Generall Officers allow them to be the best of Troops. The Southern Officers and Soldiers allow it in time of Danger but not at all other times.
Believe me Sir the yankees took Trenton before the other Troops knew anything of the matter more than that there was an Engagement and what will still Surprise you more the Line that Attack'd the Town Consisted but of Eight Hundred yankees and there was Sixteen Hundred Hessians to Oppose them. At Prince Town when the 17th. Regiment had thrown 3500 Southern militia into the utmost Confusion a Regiment of yankees Restor'd the Day (this Genll. Mifflin Confessed to me) though the Philadelphia paper tell us a Different story, it seems to have been Quite forgot that while the 17th. Regiment was Ingaging those Troops that 600 yankees had the Town to take against the 40th. and 55th. Regiments, which they did without Loss owing to the Manner of Attack but enough of this. I don't wish to Reflect but beg leave to assure you that News papers and Even Letters dont always speak the truth. You may venture to Assure your Friends that no men fight better or write worse than the yankees of which this Letter will be good Evidence. Dear Sir I am with much Esteem your most obedient Servt.
[signed] Jno Sullivan
PS When I wrote the Letter of which the foregoing is a Copy I thought it too bad for you to read. I Desired my Aid DeConge to copy it but unluckely he writes worse than myself. I hope you can read it if not there will be a Saving of time on your part. Especially if you Burn at first view. I am yours as above
[signed] J Sullivan
{ 87 }
RC (Adams Papers). Terminal punctuation supplied where Sullivan neglects to provide it.
1. The most recent extant letter known to the editors from Sullivan to JA was that of 4 May 1776 and of JA to Sullivan, that of 23 June 1776. Both are printed in vol. 4.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0047

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-02-17

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I have the melancholly Prospect before me, of a Congress continually changing, untill very few Faces remain, that I saw in the first Congress. Not one from South Carolina—not one from North Carolina only one from Virginia. Only two from Maryland, not one from Pensylvania. Not one from New Jersey. Not one from New York—only one from Connecticutt not one from Rhode Island—not one from New Hampshire. Only one, at present from the Massachusetts. Mr. S. Adams, Mr. Sherman, and Coll Richard Henry Lee Mr. Chase and Mr. Paca are all that remain. The rest are dead, resigned, deserted, or cutt up into Governors &c. at home.
I have the Pleasure however to See every day, that the Governments of the States are acquiring fresh Vigour, and that every Department is working itself clear of Toryism, Timidity, Duplicity and Moderation. New Jersey was never so well represented as it is now.1 Pensilvania, whose Assembly, will maintain its Ground have the last Week appointed a New Delegation, every Man of whom is as firm as a Rock.2 Maryland, also, the last Week, compleated their new Government chose Mr. Johnson Governor, chose a new privy Council to the Governor, every Man of whom is an honest Whigg and also chose a new Delegation in Congress, every Man of whom is equally Stanch,3 leaving out all who have been Suspected of Trimming, or of hankering after the Leeks of Egypt.4
This Evening too, We have an ex[press][ . . . ] with an Account of the new Deleg[ation][ . . . ] who are Said to be Sound.
Thus We see that our new Govern[ment][ . . . ] root, and Spreading their Branches [ . . . ]ing Changes have We Seen? [ . . . ] dare?
I write you no News from the Army [ . . . ] as to hear from it, oftener than [ . . . ] however that gains Credit of [ . . . ] Sennight, the Enemy leaving 327 dead on the Field.
Congress, have this day voted to return to Philadelphia, to• { 88 } morrow Week. The new Army, my dear sir, the new Army. I feel as much Pain at loosing the fine Opportunity We now have of destroying the Brunswickers, as I should if a surgeon was Sawing off my Limbs.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To The Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Boston”; docketed: “Mr J. A Lettr Feby. 1777” (twice). MS mutilated.
1. Four New Jersey members recently elected and in attendance in early 1777 were Abraham Clark, Jonathan Elmer, Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, and John Witherspoon (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:liv–lvii).
2. These members from Pennsylvania were Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin, William Moore, Daniel Roberdeau, and Jonathan Bayard Smith. When Moore declined, the Assembly voted on 22 Feb. to add two more—James Wilson and George Clymer (same, 2:lxiii).
3. Charles Carroll (barrister), Samuel Chase, William Paca, and Benjamin Rumsey, who all attended in early 1777, were elected on 10 Nov. 1776 and the last three re-elected on 15 Feb. 1777. Additional delegates, Charles Carroll of Carrollton and William Smith, were elected on 15 Feb. but perhaps not soon enough to figure in JA's estimate (same, 2:xlv–li).
4. Numbers, 11:5.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0048

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Palmer, Joseph
Date: 1777-02-20

To Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dr sir

Yesterday, I had the Pleasure of yours of Jany. 28.1 I am rejoiced to hear of the Measures taken by our state to raise their Battalions and to tax an hundred Thousand Pounds. Congress have been upon the subject of regulating the Prices of Labour and Provisions. I shall inclose you, what they have done.2
Are not these mere temporary Expedients and palliative Remedies. We must aim at a radical Cure.
The success of our Cause appears to me to depend entirely, (under God,) on our Supporting the Credit of our Currency. This must be done at all Events but cannot be done long by regulating Prices. We must cease emitting. We must borrow. And We must import if possible a Fund of Gold and Silver to redeem the Bills as they become payable. Pray write me your Thoughts upon this subject. I wish I had Time to enlarge.
RC (NN:Myers Coll.); addressed: “The Hon. Joseph Palmer Esqr Braintree, Massa. Bay.”
1. Adams Papers; not printed above.
2. Enclosure not found. On 15 Feb., in response to a report from the committee appointed to consider the action of the four New England states on regulation of prices and wages, the congress urged similar conventions for the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, { 89 } Maryland, and Virginia and for the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. It proposed that the first group meet on 17 March at York, Penna., the second at Charleston on 5 May (JCC, 7:124–125).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0049

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sullivan, John
Date: 1777-02-22

To John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

I had this Evening the Pleasure of your Favour of the fourteenth instant, and a great Pleasure it was, as it was an Evidence that my old Friends were beginning to recollect me. I have been So long absent that I Seemed to have lost all my Correspondents in the Army.
It would be, at all Times an obligation upon me, to hear of the Motions of the Armies, and of our prosperous or adverse Situation, of our good or ill Success.
The Account you give of the good Behaviour of our Countrymen, is very pleasing to me: but it is equally So, to hear of the good Behaviour of the Troops of any other State in the Union. It is good Behaviour, that I wish to hear of, and it is quite immaterial to me where the Officer or Man was born or where he lives, provided he behaves ill. The sordid Prejudices, which are carefully fomented, and the malicious Slanders, which are industriously propagated, I both despize and detest, if Contempt and Hatred can exist together.
In Truth, my old Friend, I wish to hear, more than I do, of the Vigilance Activity, Enterprize, and Valour of Some of our New England Generals, as well as others. What is the Army at Providence about?1 What is become of the Army at Peeks Kill, or on the White Plains?2 What Numbers have they? Are We to go on forever in this Way? Maintaining vast Armies in Idleness? And loosing the fairest Opportunity, that ever offered, of destroying an Enemy compleatly in our Power? We have no Returns of any Army. We know not, what Force is on Foot, any where. Yet We have Reason to believe that our Constituents are paying for a very great Force.
Posterity will never blame the Men. They will lay all their Censures upon the General Officers. All History has done so, and future Historians will do the Same. The General Officers, if they understand themselves, and have a Suitable Code of military Laws, will make a good Army, if you give them human Na• { 90 } ture only, to work upon. It behoves you all then to look out. I dont mean this as a Censure, but as a Stimulus. I hope to hear from you, often, and wishing you, as many Laurells as you please I remain your Friend
1. The occupation of Newport by the British aroused fears that they might move north to Providence on their way to attack Boston. Gov. Nicholas Cooke of Rhode Island was raising state troops at the same time as he was trying to fill his state's quota of Continental troops. He apparently wanted Washington to allow these latter to remain in the state for its protection (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:42–44, 349–351).
2. When Washington fled New York, retreating through New Jersey, he left Gen. Heath with about three thousand men at Peekskill, where military stores were accumulated. In subsequent weeks detachments from this force reduced it to relatively few men, who were unable to hold off the British when they attacked and burned the magazines in March 1777. After irritating delays Gen. Charles Lee, on orders from Washington, finally had marched his forces from White Plains into New Jersey (Ward, War of the Revolution, 1:323; Freeman, Washington, 4:263–267, 274–275, 282).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0050

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-22

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I had the pleasure Yesterday of receiving your favours of the 3d. and 5th.1 Instant the first that have come to hand since your departure. I am Extreamly glad to hear of your safe Arrival in health, and good Spirits at Baltimore. I have had some Uneasiness about you, the weather has been very severe, and I supposed you must pursue a disagreable if not a dangerous route. But the climbing mountains, and wading in difficulties of every kind has become so familiar to the politicians of this Age, that I hoped one of the first of them would be Able to go through it without any bad Effect on his health and Spirits. Every Letter I receive from Baltimore gives me the most pleasing Accounts of the Union and Spirit of Congress. I hope soon to see the Effects of them, but I Observe that while you mention the probability that England is Applying for Cossacks, &c. and that she will be able to raise a large Number of Men in her own dominions, and Germany, you say Nothing of any Expectations we are to Entertain from foreign Aid. I long to see A fleet of French and Spanish Men of War on our Coast, and our harbours full of their Merchantmen. I am very sensible of the prudence, policy duty &c. of destroying the Army our Enemies have already here before the Arrival of any reinforcement, and have no doubt it might be Effected. I am Anxiously Concerned that the honour and reputa• { 91 } tion of this state should be supported by the wisest and most Exemplary Exertions. The Mercury rises as high in our political Barometer as I could wish, but the Misfortune is there are no steady fixed Laws or principles to regulate its motions. The Laws of Gravity and Uniformity have given place to Levity versatility, and Impatience. The Zeal in some to give every thing to the Soldier, the Impatience in others in takeing new measures before they could see the Effects of what was already done, is such that no reason, Argument or Influence I am Master of could carry through a resolve fixing upon something certain as An Ultimatum beyond which in the way of Encouragement we would not go, or prevent the sending out a resolve holding up to the Soldiers a design of makeing A Levy on the Towns which is in Effect Offering them A Bounty of 50, or 60 dollars more,2 and has as I Expected and prophesyed stoped the Inlistment of Thousands, who now wait for the Opportunity of filching as much money from their Neighbours as they can. From hence has Arisen all our difficulties in raising our Quota. I hope however we shall get through them, but it will be at an Amazeing Expence, three quarters of which will be absolutely hove away. General Schuyler Just before the Court rose wrote us A Letter full of Apprehensions of an Attack on Ticonderoga. Four of the Battalions raising here, with what they have already got have been under marching Orders for that place sometime. Some of them are gone. The whole may Amount to 1000, or 1200 Men, and I left the Court Considering what other measures should be taken. I cant tell you what if anything has been done.3 The Court rose the day I left it, A fortnight ago by Adjournment to the 5th March.
I hope the British Troops now at Newport will not be Able long to keep that place. What remains of them after 2000 gone to York, are a Considerable part Invalides. I believe there will soon be An Attempt made in that quarter. I hope the service will not be Injured, by any dissentions, or want of subordination there or elsewhere. Congress have been very rapid in their promotions, and possibly in some Instances have not had the necessary Information but I could wish to see the Officers Appointed to any service so disposed that the Spirit and Authority of the chief should be Able to Check and Controul all the Subordinates of every rank however Impatient of submission. I am glad to hear that the Inlistments to the Southward go on well. I hope by this means { 92 } the service will be supported till the New England Quotas are Compleat. I thank you for the Account you give of the perticular situation of the Other Colonies. When we shall form our Constitution, or in what manner we shall do it I am Unable to say. Our own delays have Embarrassed us, and I am persuaded the longer we delay this Business the greater will be the difficulty in Executeing it. I am therefore constantly urgeing the necessity of going about it. Various are the Opinions both as to the manner of doing it, and as to the thing itself. Many are for haveing it done by a Convention, and many are for one Branch only. I hope both will be Avoided. I don't see A better way as things are than by sending to the several Towns desireing them at their next Elections to have it in view and vest their members with special powers for this purpose.4
I am Extreemly pleased with the Conduct of Virginia and Carolina with regard to religious Establishments. The dissenters there you say by this means have Compleat Liberty of Conscience. Do you mean that all distinctions in point of privileges and Advantages are Abolished, this is An Evidence that Episcopacy, and Liberty will not flourish in the same Soil. I have Intended to write to you before this but have been prevented by the Multiplicity of Business on my hands. The House have set generaly to near Nine and sometimes to ten O Clock in the Evening, and my station you know requires constant Attendance.
If you Enquire what we are about, I must tell you many things which in my Opinion we have Nothing to do with, and which ought to be done by your G——l here5 if you mean he should do any thing for his pay and perquesites, and many others which would be done with more ease and dispatch if the powers of such a “rara Avis in Terra” were once defined and known, and whether the publick stores here might be applied to publick uses and how.
As to News we have none. A few prizes some of them valuable have been sent in. Your Navy here still remains in port. When any of them go to Sea I can't say. The Conduct of this part of your Operations will be a Subject of curious Enquiry. I hear we are going to have Another frigate, and a 74 Gun Ship built here.6 Will the Conduct of this matter be put into hands of persons who scarcely know the difference between A Ship and A wheelbarrow, and who seem to have no Ideas of the Importance of dispatch, or know not how to make it. I want to give you a few Anec• { 93 } dotes, and to say many things which I dare not commit to writeing. Adueu My Friend
When will there be an End of Requisitions to us. The Continent seem to Consider us as the Repository of Manufactures and warlike stores. We shall not be able to supply their demands, and provide for our own defence.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren. Feby 22d 1777 ans. March 18.”
1. Warren misread JA's figure, which could be read as a “5,” but JA's Letterbook (Adams Papers) clearly dates both letters the 3d.
2. The General Court twice indicated its intention to pay men enlisting in the Continental Army a bounty of £20 above that offered by the congress (Mass., Province Laws, 19:675–676, 741).
3. The House of Representatives denied Gen. Schuyler's request of 31 Jan. for additional men, insisting that the state could do no more than had already been done (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 2d sess., p. 252, 254).
4. In response to the offer of the House, made in Sept. 1776, to draft a constitution for the state, a majority of the towns voted favorably, but a number urged the calling of a special convention for the purpose. In the spring of 1777 the General Court, rejecting the idea of a special convention, agreed to ask the towns to instruct their representatives at the next election to draft a constitution and refer it to the people for their ratification (Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth, p. 41, 45, 47, 48).
5. Artemas Ward, who had been persuaded by the congress to stay on despite his resignation because of ill health. Ward was not relieved by Gen. Heath until March 1777 (Charles Martyn, The Life of Artemas Ward, N.Y., 1921, p. 231, 240).
6. On recommendation of the Marine Committee, the congress on 20 Nov. 1776 resolved that a ship of 74 guns and one of 36 be built in Massachusetts (JCC, 6:970).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0051

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1777-02-25

To William Tudor

[salute] dear sir

I had last Evening yours of the 12 Instant. Am much obliged to you for it. Why did not the Court martial find Buckner guilty of Cowardice? Why did they only cashier him? When shall We have any Discipline? When shall We be decisive? When shall We punish, the worst Crimes, with the last Punishment?
I shall very soon become as clamorous an Advocate for Order, Subordination, Government, and Discipline, as ever Philanthrop1 was, indeed I am already.
I am extreamly mortified that those worthy Men, who Staid for Six Weeks, from the 1. of Jany, were obliged to go home unpaid. If I could explain to those honest Men the true Causes of this, they would acquiesce but I cannot. But they will be paid.
Am glad to hear, that the Army in Brunswick, are in a good Way. I hope We shall demolish them. We must. We will. Twenty thousand Men, are not necessary for this. But I hope neverthe• { 94 } less, you will have that number and more by the Time you mention.
I wish I could learn what Forces you have, at Morristown Chatham, Elizabeth Town, Princeton &c. &c. &c.
What has Heath done? How many Men has he? What has Spencer done?
I hope there will be Enquiries, Sometime or other, into the Conduct of our Armies from Long Island to this Moment.
I hope We shall e'er long renounce some of our Monarchichal Corruptions, and become Republicans in Principle in Sentiment, in feeling and in Practice, and among other Republican Institutions I hope We shall annually elect all our General officers. This would purge the Stream of Some Impurities. At least I hope so.
In Republican Governments the Majesty is all in the Laws. They only are to be adored. They must be obeyed.
But at present We are not sensible of this. Citizens must be made to feel, the force of civil Laws, and soldiers those of military ones.
Have you many Symptoms of Austere Republicanism in your Army? Is Virtue, or Rank? is Glory or Pay, your object.
Pray write me often, and let me know every Thing.
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “Coll Tudor Judge Advocate General in the Army Morristown Free J. Adams”; docketed: “25th. Feby. 1777.”
1. Pseudonym of Jonathan Sewall; see vol. 1:174–211.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-27

Committee Report on Abraham Clark's Motion

Resolved That General Washington's Proclamation of the Day of []1 does not interfere with the Laws or civil Government of any State: but considering the Situation of the Army was prudent and necessary.
MS in JA's hand (PCC, No. 36, I, f. 5); docketed: “brot. in 27 Feby. 1777 ordered to lie.”
1. The spaces for the day and the month are left blank. Dated 25 Jan., the proclamation, in an effort to separate friend from foe, ordered those who had accepted pardons from the Howes to repair to headquarters or to any general officer so that arrangements might be made for them to withdraw within enemy lines. The proclamation was printed in both Philadelphia and Baltimore (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:61–62). Feeling that Washington by this order contravened state laws for punishing traitors, Abraham Clark of New Jersey moved on 6 Feb. that { 95 } the proclamation should in no way affect such laws or interfere with the legislative powers of the states. JA was made chairman of a five-man committee to consider Clark's motion (JCC, 7:95). Writing some days after the committee reported in favor of the proclamation, Clark asserted that the committee, realizing that its report would meet opposition, favored having it tabled as a way of killing the issue. He added that it would never be taken from the table unless he made the effort (Clark to Elias Dayton, 7 March, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:292). The congress did nothing further on the issue.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0053

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-03

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

It is a long time since I wrote to you, or you to me,1 who stands in debt upon the schore of Letters I cannot tell therefore I shall begin anew if you have time and inclination you will give it an answer if not—I shall consider it as the Ladies do their Visits after Marriage, if theres no return the acquaintance drops.
I believe you are pretty well convinced of the truth of the observation I made to you last summer, which was that you were playing a desperate game. I fancy your Ideas and mine differd very widely at that time respecting the state of things. You consulted your own feelings rather than the History of mankind in general. I am sensible you have not the most exalted oppinion of your Generals. Who is in fault. Every one would wish to be an Epimanandos—Sertorius2 or Turene if they could, but if Nature has refusd to crown the Sons of America with such choice Gifts—who is to blame either She or we. We cannot be blameable only as we stand in the way of better men. I can speak for myself—altho I have no wish to leave the service, Yet I value the freedom and happiness of America so much higher than I do my own personal glory—that I am ready at all times to give place to a better man.
I am sensible from a review of the last Campaign there appears some considerable defects in the councils and conduct of its opperations. But give me leave to tell you Sir that our difficulties were inconceiveable to those who were not Eye witnesses to them. To expect that bravery firmness and good conduct from undeciplind Troops that is only to be found among Veteran Soldiers—General How had the last Campaign a large and well appointed Army. This Army strongly supported in all its opperations with a very formidable Naval force. Our forces were hastily drawn together no time to dicipline or form them—Very few that had ever been in Action. We had the Enimies intentions { 96 } to collect—a large extent of Country on the Bays and Rivers to guard. It is true we have met with some misfortunes and great ones too—but not more so than might have been expected considering their strength and our situation. Perhaps the Generals may be thought blameable for not fighting more. I must confess I advisd to the bringing on an Action at the White Plains and then thought it right, as our Army was dayly wasting away and the grounds being very strong on which the Army lay. But the dicipline of the British Troops and the superiority of their Artillery might have given us a general defeat. In that case the consequences would have been terrible. The Alternative was desagreeable if we did not defeat the Enemy, the dissolution of our Army was soon to take place, and they left at liberty to range at large. General How has invareably pursued the Maxims of an invader this Campaign, by indeavoring to bring us to a General Action, and avoid skirmishing. General Washington as every defender ought has followed directly the contrary conduct, by indeavoring to Skirmish with the Enemy at all times, and avoid a general engagement. The Short term of enlistments and the still shorter aid of the Militia has lost us almost all the benefit of those Skirmishes. America abounds with Materials to form as good an Army as the World can produce—but it requires time, for nothing but habit makes the Soldier and Pride the Officer. I am in hopes if the New Army fills agreeable to the Resolutions of Congress that America will display in some future Campaign as much heroism and bravery as Europe can boast off. With these advantagies if the reputation of the American Arms is not supported—Let censure fall on the Heads of the guilty. I know that success marks the man of Wisdom while the unfortunate are execrated without any allowance as for Providential Accidents or misfortunes. Let us bury our past errors in the Cabinet and Field and join Heart and hand in concerting and executeing the most effectual measures to free America from her cruel Oppression.
I beg leave to make some enquiry into the Policy of some late resolutions of Congress that respects General Lee.3 Why is he denied his request of haveing some Persons appointed to confer with him. Can any injury arise. Will it reflect any dishonor upon your body to gratify the request of one of your Generals. Suppose any misfortune should attend him immediately, will not all his friends say, he was made a sacrifice off. That you had it in your power to save him, but refusd your Aid. He sais in his Letter he { 97 } has something of the last importance to propose with respect to himself and adds perhaps not less so as to the Publick. You cannot suppose the General would hold out a Proposition to bring us into disgrace or servitude.4 If he would it is certainly our interest to know it seasonably, that we may not make a sacrafice for a man that is undeserving of it. If he would not tis certainly a piece of Justice due to his merit to give him a hearing. To hear what he has to propose cannot injure us, for we shall be at liberty to improve or reject his proposition. But let us consider it in another point of view will not our Enemies the disaffected improve this report to our prejudice. They will naturally say that General How had a mind to offer some terms of Peace and that you refusd to lend an ear or give him a hearing and that you were obstinately bent in pursueing the War altho evidently to the ruin of the People. Had you not consented to hear General and Lord How last Spring the Publick never would have been satisfied but that there might have been an accomodation upon safe and honorable conditions. For my own part I could wish you to give General Lee a hearing—but whether you give him a hearing or not—I cannot help thinking the sacrafice you are makeing for General Lee is impolitick as it respects the Hessians, and unjust as it respects our Prisoners with General How.
The Cartel that was settled between General Washington and General How was an exchange of Officers for Officers of equal Rank—Soldier for Soldier and Citizen for Citizen. General How has never refusd this mode of exchange and is now pressing of us to comply with it. Had we a General Officer of equal Rank with General Lee we might demand him with some propriety or had we an equal or superior number of Officers Prisoners with us the doctrine of retalliation would be reasonable and Just. But to retalliate for the injury offerd to one is bringing distress on many for no valuable purpose. General How has upwards of three hundred of our Officers in his hands and we only about fifty of his. If we put six field Officers in confinement because General Lee is kept confind5—General How will immediately order an equal number of ours under the same confinement. The Officers themselves will have cause of complaint and all their friends will clamour loudly. If General How should not retalliate upon our Officers—but call them together—show them they are in his power, by us devoted to destruction, and then enlarge them, it will totally detach them and their connexions from our cause. If { 98 } we make a sacrafice of the Enemy we dont hear the groans and see the tears of their mourning friends but if any of our Officers falls a sacrafice—these multiplied distresses are amongst us—continually—sounding in our Ears. But the worst consequences and the most to be dreaded is the effect it will have upon the Hessians. The mild and gentle treatment the Hessian Prisoners have receivd since they have been in our possession has produced a great alteration in their disposition. Desertion prevails among them. One whole Brigade refusd to fight or do duty—and were sent Prisoners—to New York. Rancour and hatred prevails between them and the British Soldiery. It Should be our policy to increase this hatred, not take a measure that may heal the difference. General How has been spreading papers among the Hessians with accounts of our haveing Sold the Hessian Prisoners for Slaves. This severity to their Officers will but too strongly confirm them in the Account. If we can allienate the foriegn Troops from the British service we inevitably ruin Great Britain for her own Natural Strenth is totally insufficient to conquer and hold in subjection these States. If the foreign Troops that are here can be debaucht Great Britain must be discouragd from employing any more—as so little reliance is to be placed upon them. For these and many other reasons that will readily occur to you I could wish the resolution respecting Retalliation might be suspended for a time at least especially as General Lees confinement is not strickt. The situation of our Army forbids our doing any thing that may alarm the fears of the People anew. We have but the Shadow of force, and are more indebted to the weather for security than to our own strength. I fear your late Promotions will give great disgust to many6—but whatever promotions you intend to make—pray let them be compleated as soon as possible that those difficulties of reconcileing discontented Persons may not be at a time when Harmony and concord is necessary. Youl excuse the freedom I have taken and Pardon whats amiss. Yours sincerely
[signed] N Green
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “G. Green. ans. March 9.”; in another hand: “March 3d. 1777.”
1. As far as the editors know, Greene's last letter to JA was that of 14 July 1776, and that of JA to Greene, 4 Aug. 1776, both printed in vol. 4.
2. Epaminondas, Theban general famous for the military tactics that defeated Sparta in the 4th century b.c. (H. D. F. Kitto, The Greeks, Baltimore, 1958, p. 154). Sertorius, disaffected Roman commander who ruled Spain and successfully defied armies that Rome sent against him in the 70s b.c. (Joseph Ward Swain, The Ancient World, 2 vols., N.Y., 1950, 2:302–303).
3. On 21 Feb. the congress decided that { 99 } it was “altogether improper to send any of their body to communicate with [Lee]” (JCC, 7:140–141). Presumably the members suspected that he was being used as Gen. Sullivan had been used by the Howes earlier (see JA to Greene, 9 March, below).
4. Period supplied.
5. On 6 Jan. the congress, learning that Lee was kept in custody instead of “being enlarged upon his parole,” threatened if his situation did not improve to confine five Hessian field officers and Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell (JCC, 7:16).
6. During the week of 17 Feb. the congress debated at length the rules that should govern the promotion of general officers, with some arguing for following strict succession, some favoring promotion on merit, and some wanting quotas for the states according to the number of troops raised by each. At length all three principles presumably were taken into account (same, 7:132, note). During the week, five men were raised to the rank of major general: William Alexander (Lord Stirling), Thomas Mifflin, Arthur St. Clair, Adam Stephen, and Benjamin Lincoln. Nine men were made brigadier generals: Enoch Poor, John Glover, John Paterson, Anthony Wayne, James M. Varnum, John P. De Haas, William Woodford, Peter Muhlenberg, and George Weedon. All the new major generals were promoted ahead of men who had earlier commissions as brigadiers. Lincoln had not had any Continental commission before, although he was the top-ranked general in the Massachusetts militia. Benedict Arnold particularly felt the sting of being bypassed; see Joseph Ward to JA, 12 May (below). Of the new brigadiers, five were colonels in the militia of Pennsylvania or Virginia; the other four had held the rank of colonel in the Continental Army since 1 Jan. 1776. Ebenezer Learned of Massachusetts, who also had a Continental colonel's commission from 1 Jan., was not promoted until April 1777. Three other New England colonels with the same date of commission—Edward Hand, Jedediah Huntington, and John Stark—also had to wait for promotion, although in their cases they returned to commands in their state militia before rising to brigadier in the Continental service (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 9–10 and passim). Greene had expressed himself earlier to JA on the dangers of promoting officers on merit and without regard to seniority in rank (vol. 4:229). Undoubtedly the promotion of men from the Pennsylvania and Virginia militia was meant to satisfy states that were contributing substantial numbers of men to the common effort. JA had long recognized the political necessity of such decisions.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0054

Author: Vernejoux, Jean Louis de
Recipient: Continental Congress, Board of War
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-04

Vernejoux to the President of the Board of War

[salute] Much Respected sir

I beg Leave to write your Excellencys this Letter to have the honour to present you my Respect.
I pray you to you Remember wath you promised my one autre Commission if my Superiors Officers was satisfied of my Services. I have send to this Excellencys John Hancock one Letter of Recomendetion of the honorable major General Sullivan. I have stay with him some time. I believe what is it satisfied of my Services. I pray your Excellencys to See this Letter.
I am Capt. of dragoons in Colonel Cheldon1 Regiment. This Gentelmen promised to one Gentelmen of distingtion frist Compaynie for my in his Regiment, In this moment this Colonel one autre Gentelmen I pray you to Give one answer positive. You have See my Certificat Com from franc. I have 6 Year of Service { 100 } in the Cavalerie 19–Month in the foot with Commission of Captain, I have the honour to be of your Excellencys. With Great Respec your most humble Much obedient Servent
[signed] the Knigt of vernejoux Capt of dragoons
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honourable John Adams Esqr. President of the Board of War Philadelphia”; docketed: “Vernejou March 4th. 1777 [ . . . ] the Warr Office.”
1. Col. Elisha Sheldon, 2d Continental Dragoons (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 28, 493).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0055

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-03-06

To James Warren

[salute] My dear sir

Dr. Jackson,1 by whom this will go, is a Manager of the State Lottery, and is bound to the New England states, to forward the Sale of the Ticketts. He wishes to be recommended to proper Persons for the Purpose. If you can assist him with your Advise you will do a public service.
I can give you no News—but the Skirmish at Spanktown.2
This State of Pensilvania, have at last compleated their Government. Wharton is Governor and Bryan Lt Governor. Their Council too is at last filled. Johnson is Governor of Maryland.3 Govr. Livingstons Speech4—you will see.
I hope now, the Loan Offices will Supply us with Money, and preclude the Necessity of any further Emissions. If they dont, what shall We do? But they will.
I am at last got to think more about my own Expences than any Thing else. Twenty dollars a Cord for Wood. Three Pounds a Week for Board, meaning Breakfast, Dinner, and bed. Without one drop of Liquor, or one Spark of light or fire—I am lost in an Ocean of Expence. Horse feed in Proportion—five hundred sterling will not pay my Expences for this year—at this Rate.
Pray make every Body who has Money lend it, that Things may not grow worse.
The loan office in this Town is now successfull.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “The Hon. James Warren Esqr Plymouth or Boston favd. by Dr Jackson”; docketed: “Mr J A. Lettr March 6. 1777.”
1. David Jackson (JCC, 6:981–982). The congress approved a lottery on 18 Nov. 1776, with the first drawing to be in March if the tickets were sold soon enough. Tickets sold at $10, $20, $30, and $40 (same, 6:959–961).
2. On 23 Feb. a British foraging party, estimated at two to four thousand men, { 101 } engaged an American force under Gen. William Maxwell at Spanktown (now Rahway, N.J.). The British suffered much heavier casualties than the Americans. Accounts of the skirmish were carried in the Pennsylvania Packet, 4 March, and in the Pennsylvania Journal on the 5th (N.J. Archives, 2d ser., 1:297, 307–308; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 385).
3. Technically, Thomas Wharton Jr., elected the first chief executive officer of Pennsylvania under its new constitution, was President of the Supreme Executive Council and, as the name suggests, was little more than a presiding officer. George Bryan was chosen vice president. Thomas Johnson Jr. was uncle to Louisa Catherine Johnson, future wife of JQA (Penna. Colonial Records, 11:173–174; Adams Family Correspondence, 2:169, note 3).
4. This speech, dated 25 Feb. and printed in the Pennsylvania Packet of 4 March, was a vigorous attack upon the rapacity of the British, a condemnation of their hapless American supporters, and a stirring appeal for support of the American cause (N.J. Archives, 2d ser., 1:301–305).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0056

Author: Avery, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-07

From John Avery

[salute] Sir

Your kind favor of the 10th. Feby. Ultimo have received and agreeable to your Request have communicated the Resignation of your Office as Judge of the superiour Court; but whether the Hon'ble Board will accept of it 'till they shall have the Pleasure of seeing you, is to me very uncertain; Tho its my Opinion that it will take some Time to fill up the Vacancy with a Gentleman of your Merrit and Abilities should you be determined in your Resignation.
It gives me great Pleasure to find the New Levies go on with so much Spirit at the Southward; if our Levies should not be so quick, I hope that the Gentlemen at the Southward will not attribute it to the want of that Spirit which nobly actuates them but that the People in the four New England States having been so greatly harrassed for these twelve Months Past by sending so often and so many of their Militia: however I flatter myself that from the Returns already made and that are a coming in daily that this State will be able to compleat their Quota of Men required of us by your Hon'ble Body in a few Weeks and I hope from the united Exertions of this whole Continent that we shall yet be able (under the Smiles of a kind and indulgent Providence) to drive those Enemies to our Peace and Quiet from this Land. I always expected that we should have a hard Struggle with the Tyrant of Brittain and have many Difficulties to encounter with but if Unanimity is preserved and the People of these States act upon Virtuous Principles we shall rise superiour to the Hellish Malice of our Enemies.
{ 102 }

[salute] Please to present my best Regards to Mr. Adams,1 Mr. Lovell and Mr. Gerry and accept the same from Your Honors Most Obedient Humble Servt.

[signed] John Avery Ju
1. Avery began to write Lovell's name first instead of Adams'.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0057

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-07

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Letter from Baltimore of 25th. Feby. I got to Day and was not a little pleased with its Receipt, as it convinc'd me You was not averse to renewing a Correspondence which is the most pleasing and honorary I can boast of.
There was not sufficient Evidence to satisfy the Court Martial that Buckner ought to suffer capittally. With me there was not the least Doubt. I am sure the Man is a Coward in Grain. But there is a strange Backwardness among our Officers to punish Cowardice and Peculation in the Exemplary Manner those infamous and heinous Offences require.
The British Army in Brunswick are not easily [to] be demolished. They have there, and at Amboy near 10,000 Men; our army does not consist of so many, and more than one half of it is Militia. While they attack in Detachments they will always get worsted, as they have been in every Instance this Winter. But if they should march with their whole Army, I think it not impossible for them to get to Philadelphia. They might avoid being harrassed in their Rear, by landing at South Amboy and marching through the Pines to Philadelphia.
You surely cannot be at a Loss to know what Forces are at Morris Town, Chatham, Elizabeth Town, Princeton &c. &c. &c. if Returns, (as they certainly ought to be), are made to Congress. I can only inform You that we have not a single eastern Battalion in the Continental Establishment to the southward of Hudson's River. What is the Number of our whole Army I cannot tell. I wish it was better disciplined than it is. I hope the next Summer will be differently employ'd from the last. And that our Troops instead of being continually with a Pick Ax and Spade in their Hands, will learn to use the Musquet and Bayonet, and instead of digging Ditches and making Redoubts, will be taught to meet the Enemy in the field in firm Battalion. The Loss of Fort Wash• { 103 } { 104 } ington and 2600 Men cooped up in it, must give the World no very great Opinion of American Generalship.1
You ask what Heath has done. I answer Nothing but exposed himself, (by a ridiculous Summons to Fort Independence to surrender, which he never attempted to inforce) to the Contempt of the Enemy.2 This Man has given repeated Instances of his being a Coward. The Officers of the Masstts. Militia who were with him, represent him as exceeding faulty. I am sorry that Genl. Lincoln was with him, because he will not escape Censure, though without deserving of it.
Spencer is at Providence building flat bottom Boats and fire Ships, which I suppose will be employed to as little Purpose as those on the same Plan were last Summer at N. York. S—— might make a good Deacon or Selectman, but never can serve his Country as a Major General.
Should the Inquiries be set on foot which You mention some of our Genl. Officers would be found wretchedly deficient. Knox is the only one who would stand the Test of an Examination, from the Masstts. Government.
I am sorry to hear that Congress have removed back to Philadelphia. From the Movements of the Enemy, I think it will not be long eer Mr. Howe will be in the Neighbourhood.
We have 8 Regiments of Mass. Militia here under Genl. Lincoln. Their Inlistment expires next Week and they will certainly go home, if it is only to avoid catching the small Pox.
1. Fort Washington, on the east side of Hudson River and designed with its counterpart, Fort Lee on the west side, to keep British ships from moving up the river, was forced to surrender on 16 Nov. 1776. The actual number of prisoners was over 2,800 with more than 150 killed and wounded. This was one of the heaviest losses of Americans in the entire war (Johnston, Campaign around New York and Brooklyn, p. 276–286).
2. On 5 Jan., Washington had ordered Gen. Heath to make a feint toward New York city in the hope that the British would draw some of their forces from New Jersey to defend the city and thus afford Washington an opportunity to attack around Morristown. Depending upon New England militia, Heath directed the movement of a three-pronged force which converged in the vicinity of Fort Independence, which was on high ground near Kingsbridge. On 17 Jan., Heath called upon the British and Hessians in the fort to surrender. The language of his call was far grander than the character of the expedition, and when the truth about the skirmish became known, disappointment was “double,” as Heath tactfully put it. Washington's premature letter to the congress credited Heath with taking Fort Independence, along with four hundred prisoners, and investing nearby Fort Washington (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 6:472–473; 7:31, note 57, 48–49, 99–100; Memoirs of Major-General William Heath, ed. William Abbatt, N.Y., 1901, p. 98–101).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0058

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-03-09

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

I had, last Evening the Pleasure of yours of March 3. by your Brother, to whom in his Business to this Place I shall give all the Assistance in my Power.1 In whose favour the Ballance of Letters lies, I cant Say: but if I am in debt, in Point of Numbers it must be because Some of my Remittances have miscarried.
I am not yet entirely convinced, that We are playing a desperate Game, tho I must confess that my feelings are somewhat less Sanguine than they were last June. This diminution of Confidence is owing to Disappointment. I then expected that the Enemy would have Seen two or three Bunker Hills, between the Point of Long Island and the Banks of the Delaware River. Two or three Such Actions would have answered my Purpose, perhaps one alone.
I have derived Consolation however, from these Disappointments; because the People have discovered a Patience under them, greater than might have been expected. It was not very surprising to me that our Troops Should fly in certain situations, and abandon Lines of such extent, at the sudden Appearance of a formidable Enemy in unexpected Places, because I had learn'd from Marshall Saxe, and from others that Such Behaviour was not only common but almost constant among the best regular Troops. But there was Reason to apprehend, that the People would be Seized with Such a Panick, upon Such a Series of ill success, that in the fright and Confusion whole States would have revolted, instead of a few paltry Individuals. Whereas every State has stood firm, and even the most confused and wavering of them, have gained Strength and improved in order, under all this Adversity. I therefore do not yet despair.
You Say you “are sensible I have not the most exalted Opinion of our Generals.” From this Expression I Suspect, that Some busy Body has been endeavouring to do Mischief, by Misrepresentation. Be this as it may, I am generally So well Satisfied in my own Opinions, as to avow them.
I dont expect to see Characters, either among the Statesmen or the Soldiers of a young and tender State like ours equal to Some, who were bred to the Contemplation of great Objects from their Childhood in older, and more powerfull Nations. Our Education, our Travel, our Experience has not been equal to the Pro• { 106 } duction of such Characters, whatever our Genius may be which I have no Reason to Suspect to be less than that of any Nation under the sun.
I dont expect to see an Epaminondas, to be sure, because in the opinion of Dr. Swift all the Ages of the World have produced but Six such Characters, which makes the Chances much against our seeing any such. When such shall appear I shall certainly have an exalted opinion.—<untill then, I believe my Opinion of our Generals will continue not very exalted>
Notwithstanding this I have a sincere Esteem of our General Officers taken together as a Body, and believe them upon the whole the best Men for the Purpose that America affords. I think them Gentlemen of as good Sense, Education, Morals, Taste and Spirit as any we can find, and if this Opinion of them is not exalted enough I am Sorry for it but cannot help it. I hope however that my Opinion as well as that of the World in general, will be Somewhat more sublimated, before next Winter. I do assure you that two or three Bunker Hill Battles, altho they might be as unsuccessfull as that was would do it. I lament the Inexperience of all of them and I am Sure they have all Reason to lament mine. But not to disguise my sentiments at all, there are Some of them, particularly from New England that I begin to think quite unequal to the high Command they hold.
It is very true that Success generally marks the Man of Wisdom, and in Some Instances Injustice is done to unsuccessfull Merit: But Still it is generally true that Success is a Mark of Wisdom, and that Misfortunes are owing to Misconduct. The sense of Mankind has uniformly Supported this Opinion and therefore I cannot but think it just. The Same Sense, has uniformly attributed the ill Success of Armies to the Incapacity or other Imperfections of the General Officers, a Truth which I have Sometimes presumed to Hint to some of our General Officers, with whom I could make So free. There Seems to be Justice in this because the Glory of Successfull Wars is as uniformly attributed to them.
I shall join with you, very chearfully, in burying past Errors, and in wishing to concert and execute the most effectual Measures to free America, from her cruel oppressors.
You ask why G. Lee is denyed his Requests? You ask, can any Injury arise? Will it reflect any Dishonour upon Congress. I dont know that it would reflect any dishonour, nor was it refused upon that Principle. But Congress was of Opinion that great In• { 107 } juries would arise. It would take up too much Time to recapitulate all the Arguments which were used upon occassion of his Letter. But Congress was never more unanimous, than upon that Question. Nobody I believe would have objected against a Conference, concerning his private Affairs or his particular Case. But it was inconceivable that a Conference should be necessary upon Such Subjects. Any Thing relative to those might have been conveyed by Letter. But it appears to be an Artfull Stratagem of the two gratefull Brothers to hold up to the public View the Phantom of a Negotiation, in order to give Spirit and Courage to the Tories, to distract and divide the Whiggs, at a critical Moment, when the Utmost Exertions are necessary to draw together an Army.
The Words of the Count La Tour,2 upon a similar Occasion, ought to be adopted by Us. “Remember that now there is room neither for Repentance, nor for Pardon. We must no longer reason, nor deliberate. We only want Concord and Steadiness.—The Lot is cast. If We prove victorious, We shall be a just free and Sovereign People; if We are conquered, We shall be Traitors, perjured Persons, and Rebels.”
But further. We see what use G. and the two Houses make of the former Conference with Lord How. What a Storm in England they are endeavouring to raise against Us from that Circumstance.
But another Thing. We have undoubted Intelligence from Europe, that the Embassadors and other Instruments of the B. Ministry at foreign Courts made the worst Use of the former Conference. That Conference did Us a great and essential Injury at the french Court you may depend Upon it. Ld How knows it—and wishes to repeat it.
“The Princes of the Union were not diligent enough in preparing for War: they Sufferd themselves to be amused with Proposals of Accommodation, they gave the League time to bring together great Forces, and after that, they could no longer brave it. They committed the fault which is very common in civil Wars viz that People endeavour to Save Appearances. If a Party would Save Appearances, they must lie quiet, but if they will not lie quiet, they must push Things to an Extremity, without keeping any Measures. It rarely happens, but that otherwise they are at once both criminal and unfortunate.” Bailes Life of Gustavus Adolphus.3
They meant farther to amuse Opposition in England, and to { 108 } amuse foreign Nations by this Maneuvre, as well as the Whiggs in America, and I confess it is not without Indignation, that I See Such a Man as Lee Suffer himself to be duped by their Policy So far as to become the Instrument of it, as Sullivan was upon a former occasion.4 Congress is under no concern about any Use that the disaffected can make of this Refusal. They would have made the worst Use of a Conference. As to any Terms of Peace—look into the Speech to both Houses—the Answers of both Houses—look into the Proclamations.5—it is useless to enumerate Particulars which prove that the Howes have no Power but to murder or disgrace Us.6
The Retaliation that is to be practiced, on Lees Account, was determined on, when I was absent, So that I can give no Account of the Reasons for that Measure. Yet I have no doubt of the Right. And as to the disagreable Consequences you mention these I hope and presume will not take Place—if they do, they will be wholly chargeable on the Enemy. The End of Retaliation is to prevent a Repetition of the Injury. A Threat of Retaliation is to prevent an Injury, and it seldom fails of its design. In Lees Case, I am confident, it will Secure him good Treatment. If Lees Confinement is not Strict, that of Campbell and the Hessians ought not to be. The Intention was that they should be treated exactly as Lee is.
Our late Promotions may possibly give Disgust: But that cannot be avoided. This delicate Point of Honour, which is really one of the most putrid Corruptions of absolute Monarchy, I mean the Honour of maintaining a Rank Superiour to abler Men, I mean the Honour of preferring a single Step of Promotion to the Service of the Public, must be bridled. It is incompatible with republican Principles. I hope for my own Part that Congress will elect annually all the general officers—if in Consequence of this Some great Men should be obliged at the Years End to go home, and serve their Country in some other Capacity, not less necessary and better adapted to their Genius I dont think the public would be ruined. Perhaps it would be no Harm.
The Officers of the Army, ought to consider that the Rank, the Dignity, and the Rights of whole States, are of more Importance, than this Point of Honour, more indeed than the Solid Glory of any particular officer. The States insist with great Justice and Sound Policy, on having a Share of the General Officers, in Some Proportion to the Quotas of Troops they are to raise. This Princi• { 109 } ple has occasioned many of our late Promotions, and it ought to Satisfy Gentlemen. But if it does not, they as well as the Public must abide the Consequences of their Discontent. I shall at all Times think myself happy to hear from you, my dear sir, and to give the Utmost Attention to whatever you may suggest. I hope I shall not often trouble you to Read So Long a Lurry7 of small Talk.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Rhode Island sent Jacob Greene and David Hoel to present an account of the state's expenditures in behalf of the United States (JCC, 7:171, note 3).
2. Count La Tour led an insurrection in Bohemia against Ferdinand, who, under Spanish influence, ended toleration of Protestants in Bohemia while the Emperor Matthias was still alive. The count's words are quoted by Bayle (Pierre Bayle, The Dictionary Historical and Critical of Mr. Peter Bayle, 2d edn., transl. Des Maizeaux, 5 vols., London, 1734–1738, 5:673, 675).
3. “An Historical Discourse on the Life of Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden” in Bayle, Dictionary Historical, 5:651–682, the quotation being at p. 676.
4. See JA to William Tudor, 29 Aug. 1776, note 11, and JA to James Warren, 4 Sept. 1776 (both above).
5. A reference to the King's proclamation of 23 Aug. 1775, which declared the colonists rebels, and to his speech to Parliament on 26 Oct. 1775, which accused the colonial leaders of seeking merely to mislead with “vague expressions of attachment” while “preparing for a general revolt” (vol. 3:266; Parliamentary Hist., 18:695). The King's subsequent speech of 31 Oct. 1776 continued to view Americans as traitors and rebels and their rejection of conciliation as an insult (Parliamentary Hist., 18:1366–1367). The answers of the Parliament to these speeches produced a few American supporters, but the weight of Parliamentary opinion continued to lie on the King's side, with little appreciation for or understanding of the American position.
6. A reference to the terms of the peace offer authorized in the commission given to Richard and William Howe. See vol. 4:46, note 2, and Samuel Adams to JA, 9 Jan., note 4 (above).
7. A set speech or patter (OED).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1777-03-11

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 7th. instant, I just received. Am glad to find the Post begins to do its Duty, and that Intelligence, is like to be more regular.
I doubt, whether the Enemy have at Amboy and Brunswick So many as near 10,000 Men. But are they not posted in Smaller Numbers at other Places? Cannot these Places be attacked or Surprised? We must continually harrass them. As to their marching to Philadelphia, this is in an high degree improbable. If they leave Garrisons in Amboy and Brunswick, they will not have Numbers. If they evacuate those Places, Troops are coming from all Quarters. They will not attempt Philadelphia, without { 110 } a large Army by Land, and a formidable Fleet in the River. They must wait for Reinforcements for this.
I assure you, We have never had a Return,1 Since I have been last in Congress. It grieves me to hear you Still complain of the Want of Discipline. It is surely high Time to learn Wisdom. Are the Officers dead to all Sense of Duty, and common Prudence? Every Officer ought to be hanged, who does not discipline his Men every day.
A great General, will order Officers the best Skilled in military Discipline, to make his Troops perform their Exercises regularly, to make them encamp and decamp and in general to keep them inured to all the military Functions. He will frequently be present at all these Exercises, and will establish good order every where to which his Presence, will contribute as much as his Capacity.
I have learned from Marshall Saxe, and universal History, as well as the fatal Experience of the last Campaign a great deal of Contempt for Forts, and much more for long Lines. Heaven grant We may not again depend upon such Reeds. Is it not criminal to hint at any fault at Fort Washington? I am as little pleased with the commanding Officer at that Fort, as I am with the Generalship that lost it, with 2600 Men in it.2 Why was not a General Officer in it? Why was it not defended like Bunker Hill? Do Officers think that these Things are to be forgotten? Or that Vengeance will always sleep?
As to the two Officers you mention, I wish they were converted into Select Men: yet there is no very conspicuous Difference between them, and many others that my Opticks can discern.
You promised me to keep a Journal, and send it to me. It would give me great Pleasure, and much Information which I want. We have made Lincoln a Major General. I wish to know how it is liked and how he behaves. I wish We had better Materials than We have, but We must use the best We can get.
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); docketed: “Phila. March 11th 1777.”
1. That is, returns showing the strength of army units.
2. The commanding officer was Col. Robert Magaw. Whose generalship was at fault is debatable, for Washington had ordered Greene to have the fort evacuated. Greene, however, was given some discretion in issuing the actual orders for abandonment and chose to delay. When Washington did not repeat his orders as he arrived at Fort Lee, where Greene's headquarters were, the responsibility for the decision returned to the shoulders of Washington. Knowing how Greene and { 111 } other officers felt and taking into consideration the probable reaction of the congress to such a loss without a fight, Washington delayed his decision on evacuation until it was too late (Johnston, Campaign around New York and Brooklyn, p. 278, 281–284; Freeman, Washington, 4:245–253).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0060

Author: Bingham, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-15

Extract of a Letter from William Bingham

Officers of the first Distinction have embarked at Havre De Grace for America, and a large supply of Field Pieces, military stores &c were sent by the Same Vessells.
I1 have seen a confidential Letter, wrote by a Gentleman at Paris to a Person of Distinction here, wherein he mentions, that there is the greatest Appearance of a Treaty, being concluded betwixt France and America, by which our Title to Independency will be recognized in the most ample Form. It further Adds, that the Prospects of Advantage from espousing the Cause of America, are so great, that the french Ministry and the whole Nation, are hurried into our Interest, with an irresistable Force, and that there is no doubt of our meeting with the fullest Protection.
Several Privateers have been fitted out here, and except the Captain and first Lieutenant have been manned altogether with French men; they have made many Captures among the Islands. The English Governors complain loudly of this, as a direct Violation of the Peace subsisting between the two Crowns. The General has replied, that he is not answerable for the Conduct of the American Privateers—that they might have seduced Some of the subjects of France into their service, but that they fought under their own standard and in their own Quarrells.
The Fleets of France and Spain, lying in their Ports, ready to take their Departure, at a Moments Warning, is a much more effectual Diversion. G. Britain cannot with any Degree of Prudence or Policy, send out new succours and Reinforcements to America, whilst her own Coasts and Dominions will lie exposed to the naval Armaments of France and Spain, who certainly would not allow so favourable an Opportunity of attacking them to go unimproved. This is a Mode of making War, highly Advantageous to Us, tho not so effectual, and not attended perhaps with such decisive Consequences, as We could wish.
MS extract in JA's hand (NNS); docketed in an unknown hand: “John Adams. installed 1797—died 4 July 1826 aged 91.” A signature of JA was cut { 112 } from some other document and attached to the end of this one. It is not known to whom this letter was addressed, but possibly it was sent to the Committee of Secret Correspondence. JA copied at least two other letters from that source. See Intelligence from London, 31 Jan., descriptive note (above).
1. Bingham was a Continental agent in Martinique (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0061

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-16

From William Tudor

[salute] Dr. Sir

Since the Return of one half their Troops from Rhode Island I think the Enemy must be full 10,000 Men. They have only two out Posts Bonam Town and Piscatuqua which are too near their main Body to be surpriz'd, were the Detachments at those Posts less vigilant than they are. The Enemy never sleep with their Cloaths off, and are always prepared for an Attack. They have been continually harrassed since the beginning of January and their Duty has been severe in extreme. But we have no Men to make a single Offensive Step with any Probability of Success. The Time of almost the whole Militia is out, and I very much Doubt whether we shall have by the middle of this Week 3000 Men between Hudson's River and the Deleware.
When I spoke of Fort W—— I did not refer to the poor Defence made by Col. Magaw, but to the Generalship of leaving such a Number of Men to be penn'd up by the Enemy's whole Force, without leaving any Avenue to afford them the least Assistance.1
Your Appointment of General Lincoln is approv'd of here. He was considered at Head Quarters last Fall as an industrious vigilant and brave Man. The making V——2 a Brigadier is regretted.
I am sensible that the Enemy have great Difficulties to encounter, and Perplexities to embarrass their Movements. If they push for Philadelphia they must evacuate the Jersies intirely, because Brunswick and Amboy are Posts too distant to be occupied by small Detachments, and they can't leave more than a thousand Men in each, who seperately attack'd would be easily defeated. But there is no Object in the Back of this Colony to draw their Attention. The getting Possession of Philadelphia the largest Town in America would reanimate their Troops, give fresh Spirits to the British Administration, and make a greater Eclat in Europe than such an Acquisition would deserve. Howe knows that a ¼ of Pennsilvania are Quakers and that 99 in a 100 { 113 } of them are his Friends. Genl. Howe must make some great Movement for his own Reputation, and there are certainly more Reasons for his directing his Course that Way than any other.
Yesterday Week a Party of Militia had a Skirmish with the Enemy, they kill'd several of them, took 4 Prisoners and a Waggon with some Trifles of Provision. We had two wounded. Within 8 Days we have had upwards of 30 Deserters from the Enemy. They say the British Troops are healthy, but that the Hessians are dying fast with a Yellow or black Fever.
Have you no Complaints against Admiral Hopkins? We have here very heavy ones.3
You say Troops are coming in from all Quarters. I wish we could see some arrive. It is true that they are going away from all Quarters. (Militia I mean, that wretched Substitute of a regular Army.)
I am exceeding sorry that the Masstts. State have made a restraining Act confining the Use of all foreign Articles, except those for the Use of the Army, to themselves.4 This has occasioned more Resentment than any Thing since the British restraining Act. It is not only called sordid, selfish Policy, but complain'd as ungenerous and ungratefull. For at the Time when Boston was without Trade the other Colonies large[ly] contributed to their Support. The Bay Government, say many, has more Trade, at least gets more Money than all the rest of the Continent together, and are determined that no Body shall receive any Benefit from it but themselves. Pray what does Congress think of it? I wish the Act may be soon repealed, otherwise the Consequences may be exceeding prejudicial to the Union on which alone our Safety depends.
Two other Acts pass'd the Same Session, stating the Prices of Merchandize and Provisions,5 they will find as impossible to execute as they would to inforce sumptuary Laws. Trade must be free, or People will not trade at all.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Tudor. ans. March 22. 1777.”
1. Gen. Greene had actually increased the number of defenders, arguing that if necessary, they could escape across the Hudson River under the guns of Fort Lee (Freeman, Washington, 4:247, 248).
2. On James Mitchell Varnum, see Daniel Hitchcock to JA, 9 Sept. 1776, note 3 (above).
3. On 19 Feb. ten officers of the Warren directed a petition to the Marine Committee, which was carried to the congress by one of them, Capt. John Gannis of the Marines. The petition alleged that Como. Hopkins was guilty of crimes that rendered him unfit for his command. Gannis was examined by the Committee on { 114 } charges that Hopkins was disrespectful of the congress and was a hindrance to the manning of the fleet. Further, it was stated that he had failed to attack a British vessel aground in the waters below Providence, R.I. Gannis said that he and others thought Hopkins' orders were imprudent and his conduct wild and unsteady. As a result of the Marine Committee's report on 25 March, the congress suspended the commodore the next day, pending a formal inquiry into the charges. The congress dismissed him from the navy on 2 Jan. 1778 (PCC, No. 58, f. 225, 235–238; JCC, 7:202, 204, 352; 10:13).
4. On 7 Feb. the General Court forbade exportation from the state of a long list of products, to take effect in Suffolk and Middlesex cos. on 8 Feb., in Essex, Plymouth, and Bristol cos. on 9 Feb., and in all other counties on the 11th. The list enumerated rum, sugar, molasses, and “provision of all and every sort”; wool, flax, and linen, woolen, and cotton goods of all kinds; and leather of all sorts (Mass., Province Laws, 19:808–810; Boston Gazette, 10 Feb.).
5. On 25 Jan. the General Court passed an act to “Prevent Monopoly and Oppression,” which grew out of the four-state conference held at Providence in Dec. 1776 to make recommendations on prices. Affected were foods, cloth, leather, firewood, iron, and other products. This act was supplemented on 31 Jan. by a resolve to have inquiry made into alleged extravagant prices for pork and other provisions. Local bodies were enjoined to confiscate such products and report the names of violators of the law to the Massachusetts Board of War (Mass., Province Laws, 5:583–589, 669–673; 19:789).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0062

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-03-18

To James Warren

[salute] My dear sir

I had this Morning the Pleasure of your Favour of Feb. 22. by the Post. This is the first Letter from you Since I left you.
You are anxious to know, what Expectations are to be entertained of foreign Aid. I wish, Sir, it was in my Power to communicate to you, the little that I know of this Matter. But I am under Such Injunctions and Engagements to communicate nothing relative to foreign Affairs that I ought not to do it: and if I was at Liberty, Such is the Risque of Letters by the Post, or any other Conveyance, that it would be imprudent. Thus much I may Say, that We have Letters from Dr Franklin and Mr. Deane; both agree that every Thing is as they could wish, but the Dr had but just arrived, had not been to Paris, and therefore could know nothing of the Cabinet. The noted Dr Williamson1 is arrived full of encouraging Matter, but what Confidence is to be put in him, or what Dependence to be had on his Intelligence I know not. Franklin Deane and Williamson all agree in Opinion that a War will2 take Place. The Reception that is given to our Privateers and Merchantmen, in every Part of the French Dominions, is decisively encouraging. Weaks3 who carried the Dr, took two Prizes. Persons enough offered to purchase them, without Condemnation or Tryal, and to run the Risque of the Illegality of it. { 115 } Perhaps they may be ransomed. Thus much you may depend on, that you may have any Thing, that France affords, in the Way of Manufactures, Merchandize or Warlike Stores, for Sending for it. I can go no further as yet. Congress has done as much as they ought to do and more than I thought they ought to have done, before they did it.
I will hazard a prophecy for once, and it is this that there will as certainly, be a general War in Europe, as there will be a Kingdom of France or Spain. How Soon it will be, I wont precisely determine but I have no more doubt that it will be within a Year to come than I have that it will be at all.
Enclosed you have a Newspaper,4 which when you have read I wish you would send to the foot of Penn's Hill. I am my Friend yours &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A: Lettr March 18. 1777”; LbC ( (Adams Papers)).
1. Silas Deane was certain that Dr. Hugh Williamson of Pennsylvania (1735–1819) was a spy for the British, who left France to report regularly to Lord North. Several of Deane's letters to the Committee of Secret Correspondence warned Americans that Williamson would betray the American cause. Deane's charges had no foundation. Actually Williamson had been a loyal supporter of the cause from the beginning. He had studied medicine abroad and was in England and France soliciting funds for an academy in Delaware. The day after JA wrote, the congress named a committee to examine Williamson's loyalty in the light of the latest letter from Deane. Williamson had returned to the United States at the end of 1776 and soon entered into trade in North Carolina. Later he was a member of the congress and of the Federal Convention from that state (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:153, 198, 214; JCC, 7:186; DAB).
2. The word “certainly” is crossed out here in JA's Letterbook.
3. Capt. Lambert Wickes of the Reprisal (William Bell Clark, Lambert Wickes: Sea Raider and Diplomat, New Haven, 1932, p. 89).
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0063

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-03-18

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

There is a Part of your Letter of 22 of Feb. which I did not remark upon in a Letter I wrote this Afternoon and Sent to the Post Office. It relates to our Navy, a Subject which has ever lain near my Heart. It is of the last and highest Importance to Us.
If there has been any Negligence, in the marine Department, I am Sorry for it: I have heard continual Complaints for a great while: But whether the Delays in this Business are owing to Neglect, any where, or to unavoidable Obstructions I dont know.
There is a Committee of Congress intituled “The Marine { 116 } Committee.” It consists of one Member from each State. Mr Hancock is President of it. The other Gentlemen are Whipple, Ellery, Wolcott, Lewis, Sergeant, Morris, Chase, R. H. Lee, Bourke, Middleton, Brownson.1 Three Persons, have been lately appointed out of Congress, with ample Salaries, I believe fifteen hundred dollars a Year each, who are to bend their whole Attention to it, and Spend their whole Time in it. These are Hopkinson, lately a Member of Congress from New Jersy, Nixon, a Merchant of this City, and Wharton an emminent Shipwright.2 If such a Committee with such Assistance cannot conduct, the small Affairs of our Navy it is a Pitty. If the Affairs of the War Office did not take up every Moment of my Time, when I am out of Congress, and sometimes when I ought to be in it, I would make it my Business to search, this marine Affair to the Bottom.
Who is appointed, to build the new Frygate and Seventy four Gun ship I know not. If it is Mr Cushing I am Sorry for it, because I dont think his Capacity, his Connections, or his Credit in Business Suitable for that Appointment. Besides that his avocations as Judge of Probate, first Justice of the Superiour Court and Councillor, render it impossible for him to attend it as he ought, if he was in all other Respects qualified. I write this freely and I dont care a farthing if it gets into a New York Newspaper, because it is an Opinion I avow and will abide by.
There must be a free Communication of Sentiment upon public Affairs or they will Suffer. I wish you had written the Anecdotes. We have no Returns from the Navy. We know not whether they are manned or what they wait for. Can they be manned?
LbC (Adams Papers). This letter may not have been sent, for it lacks the usual notation “Sent.” The criticism of William Cushing might be a reason for not posting it.
1. On 19 March, Abraham Clark replaced Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant as the Marine Committee member from New Jersey (JCC, 7:186). Delaware seems not to have had a place on the committee at this time.
2. John Nixon and John Wharton were appointed 13 Nov. 1776 and Francis Hopkinson on the 18th (same, 6:946, 958).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0064

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Avery, John
Date: 1777-03-21

To John Avery

[salute] Sir

I had this Morning the <Honour> Pleasure of your Favour of the 7th. Instant, and am glad to learn that my Letter to you of the Tenth of February, was conveyed Safely to your Hand, and am { 117 } obliged to you for communicating the Resignation enclosed in it to the Honourable Board.
It would give me a great deal of Uneasiness if the Honourable Board should not proceed forthwith to fill up the Vacancy, if I thought as you seem to suggest that they would postpone it, untill they should see me, because the Public must suffer in the mean Time, and the Vacancy must be filled up after all with some other Gentleman. The Resignation you saw was the Result of long and anxious Deliberation, was founded in Reasons that will not alter, and therefore there will be no Change in my Determination. The Difficulty you insinuate of finding a proper Person, is merely imaginary. There is not a more suitable Person in the State nor belonging to it, than the very Worthy Gentleman who now presides in that Court,1 and other Gentlemen, enough, may be found to fill the Place which will be left open, by the Removal of him and his Honble Brothers, much more suitable to sit in that seat than I am.
The Hopes you give me, that our Quota will be ready in a few Weeks rejoices me much. We want nothing but an Army, now in the Field to answer our Purpose. I had this Morning the Pleasure of a Conversation with Major General Mifflin who assures me that he has Tents of the very best Quality, compleatly ready for an Army of 20,000 Men to take the Field, and that in three Weeks he shall have enough compleated for 10,000 more, that he has entrenching Tools enough compleated for the whole Army the whole Campaign. That he has Camp Kettles and Canteens enough—and that he has Horses, Waggons and Magazines of Forage ready, So that this Department, which was last Year in So much Disorder, which occassioned Us such Losses, of Men, Baggage and Stores is now in a good Arrangement, and promises, more Comfort to the Army. We are making every Regulation in our Power in the Medical Department, and a fine Cargo of Druggs has arrived in Addition to a large Quantity before purchased by Dr Shippen.2 So that We comfort ourselves with Hopes that the Health of the Men will be better provided for than last Year. In the Commissaries Department, I am informed that large Quantities of Meat have been Salted down, that the Men may not be obliged to live altogether upon fresh Beef as they did the last Summer, in the extreamest Heat of the Weather, which was thought to be prejudicial to their Health.
We are doing every Thing in our Power, for the Discipline, { 118 } and the Comfort of the Army. Nothing in this Contest has ever given me So much Pain as the Sufferings of the Soldiers in sickness, and for Want of Discipline, to which indeed that sickness was in a great Measure owing. You had good Reasons for your Expectations that We should have an hard Struggle with Great Britain.
Whoever has attended to the Policy of the British Court, and Studied the Characters which composed it, from the Year 1761,3 must have Seen abundant Evidence of a fixed Design to subjugate America to the compleat Domination of Parliament; must have observed, how Systematically, they have proceeded, with all their Art and all their Force, to accomplish this detestable Purpose.
Whoever was acquainted with the national History, must have been convinced how compleatly their Government was corrupted, and the Persons concerned in it, lost to all the Tyes of Honour, Virtue and Religion: Tyes which once restrained that Nation: Tyes which alone can restrain any People from robbing and plundering all whom they think in their Power.
Whoever was acquainted with America knew how unprepared she was. How unexperienced as Statesmen and Warriours. How unprovided with Warlike stores. How defenceless in fortified Places. And what is infinitely worse than all the rest, how much infected with that Selfishness, Corruption and Venality (so unfriendly to the new Governments she must assume) which have been the Bane of G. Britain. Every such Person, therefore must have expected, an hard Struggle. Hard as it is, however, it will succeed:
May <divine Providence> Heaven direct Us, and conduct Us safely in due Time to Liberty to Virtue and of Course to Glory. I am dear sir, yours
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. William Cushing.
2. In Nov. 1776 the congress had put Dr. William Shippen Jr., a distinguished Philadelphia physician, in charge of hospitals situated on the west side of Hudson River. In April 1777 he was named director general of all hospitals, a position formerly held by Dr. John Morgan (JCC, 6:989; 7:253; DAB).
3. The year in which the new king, George III, advanced his favorite, the hated Earl of Bute, first to be a secretary of state and then prime minister, and the year also in which William Pitt, later a champion of America, resigned from the cabinet because of his disgust with the peace overtures of the administration toward France (Stanley Ayling, George the Third, N.Y., 1972, p. 76–77, 89, 92).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0065

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-03-21

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

It is not easy to penetrate the Designs of the Enemy. What Object they have in View, cannot certainly be determined. Philadelphia, most probably and Albany. They have near Ten thousand Men in the Jersies, at Brunswick, Amboy, Bonamtown, and Piscataqua: the two last Posts, are very near their main Body.
I think, but may be mistaken, that they will not hazard, an Attempt upon this City, or Albany, before they receive a Reinforcement. If they do, they must evacuate New Jersy, entirely, because they have not Men enough to leave sufficient Garrisons in Brunswick and Amboy, and march to Philadelphia, or to Albany with the Remainder.
It is the opinion of our General Officers, however, that they will march, within a very few days from South Amboy, through the Pines towards the Delaware. They are building Boats in N. York which may serve either for the Delaware, or Hudsons River, or indeed they may serve to draw their Army off, from Brunswick, by Rarriton River, Brunswick being about twelve Miles from the Sound between N. Jersey and Staten Island.
What Reinforcements, they will be able to obtain is uncertain. Is it not more probable that they will bring their Army round by Water, from Canada, and join General Howe, than that they will come over the Lakes? From England and Ireland, they can derive no great Reinforcement. It is not known how many, they can obtain from Germany. The Russian Auxiliaries are uncertain, but if they come they will certainly bring a French War with them. But in all Events I think We need not fear any considerable Reinforcement from Europe before Mid summer. The British Troops here, are not more sickly than usual: But the Hessians are sickly with Pleurisies and other Fevers.
It is certain, that if they should march to Philadelphia, and gain Possession of it, they have not Men enough to maintain a Line of Posts, by which a Communication can be kept open by Land, with New York. They must therefore evacuate New Jersy, which would leave their miserable Friends in that State in absolute Despair, and the Whiggs already exasperated to a great degree, would assume new Vigour. Troops in the mean Time will be coming into N. Jersey from the Eastern states and into Pensilvania from the southern: and the Militia of Philadelphia and { 120 } Pensilvania will not be idle. So that they must expect to be cooped up in the City and there perhaps destroyed, before a Reinforcement Shall arrive. Besides this, they will be at such a Distance, from New York and Long Island, that they may be under Apprehensions for those Places. Another Thing. I think they will not choose to divide their Fleet So much. They will not attempt Philadelphia, without a Force by Water, as well as by Land. They must keep a large Number of their Ships at New York, to protect that and the neighbouring Islands, and many are at Newport: So that they cannot Spare so many ships as will be necessary to come up the River Delaware.
These Reasons perswade me to differ from the opinion of our General officers, and to believe that1 no Attempt will be made upon Philadelphia, before a Reinforcement comes. I wish I may not be deceived as this City, by her central situation, Wealth, Artificers and several other Qualities, is of much Importance to Us. But if they get it, they will not find so much Advantage from it, as they expect. It will cost them most or all of their Force to keep it, which will make it a Severity to other Plans. I am, my Friend Yours. &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. Ad. Lettr March 77”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. The words between “perswade me” and “that” are interlined in JA's Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1777-03-22

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of the 16th. I got Yesterday. If Howe imagines that one fourth of Pensilvania are Quakers, he is mistaken one half: for upon the most exact Inquiry, I find there is not more than one in Eight of that Denomination. If he imagines that 99 in 100 of these are his Friends, he is mistaken again. For I believe in my Conscience that a Majority of them are Friends to Nobody but themselves—And Howe will find them full as great an Incumbrance And Embarrassment to him, as We have found them to Us.
The Acquisition of Philadelphia, would give Howe a temporary Ecclát, it is true, in Europe and America, but it would in the End prove his Destruction.
Beware of those, who make So free with the Epithets of “sordid” “Selfish,” “ungenerous” and “ungratefull.” Let them look at Howe.
{ 121 }
The other Colonies, it is true, contributed, to Support the Poor of Boston. But for whose Good, did Boston resign her whole Trade?1 For the good of all the others, as well as her own. And did not all the others go on with their Trade to their vast Profit, while Boston lost its all? If Boston had not, with a Generosity and Magnanimity, hitherto without Example or Parrellel in America, resigned its Trade, and nobly Stood the shock, Boston would have been the undisputed Mistress among the Slaves of America, and have drawn the Wealth of America to herself, and So she would now, if the States Should Submit, because there is no other Place that the Crown Officers of all Denominations will resort to in Such Numbers. There would be the most numerous Army, there the most powerfull Fleet, and there the whole Board of Excise, Customs, and Duties.2
For whose Interest did Boston, continue without Trade, and without Government, and Submit to a trifling Force within herself? I remember a Petition to Congress from Boston, for Leave to cutt Gage and his Troops to Pieces, which was absolutely refused.3 To whom was it owing that all the rest of the Continent, besides Boston, continued, their Exports Nine Months after their Imports were stopped?4 Whereby Millions were lost to this Continent—whereto in all human Probability this whole War is owing?
I am not by this, however, justifying the Policy, of Massachusetts in regulating the Prices of Goods, which laid them under the Necessity of prohibiting Exportations. But other States ought not to complain of this; because the Continent is procuring Supplies from N. England, at one third of the Price, which they give for the Same Articles, in other States. But they found they could not regulate the Prices of Things without regulating Exportations. Because Persons belonging to other States, were about purchasing every Thing at the Stated Prices, and then exporting them at an immense Profit.5
As to the Mass. getting Money, it is all a Joke. They have lost their Staple by this Quarrell, which no other State has done—the Fishery I mean, which has destroyed their Trade. The Privateers fitted out, in that State, which have made such an Ecclat, belong to Congress, and to Citizens of other states, I suppose one half of them, and Besides, the Continent could not have carried on the War without them. Their Seamen have supplied the Army, with most Things. Where then is the Ingratitude?
Dont be anxious about the Union. I have been a Witness to { 122 } such Peevishnesses a long time. They Spring from Envy at Bottom. They see the superiority of the Mass. to every one of them, in every Point of View, and they cant bear the sight—But the ill humour will frett away. The Indigo, Rice, Tobacco, Wheat, Iron, the Staples of other States, are not affected by this War like the Fishery, the Mast and Lumber Trade which made almost the whole Trade of the Mass.6
For whose good has the Mass. sacrificed their Trade, and Privateers too by their Embargo? A Restraint that other States have not chosen to Subject themselves to, altho it is more wanted, both for manning the Army and Navy in them, than it was in her.
I hate disputes of this sort, and I never begin them. But when Mass is attacked, I never have and never will fail to defend her, as far as Truth and Justice will warrant me and no further.7
There is a narrow Spirit, in many People, which Seems to consider this Contest as the Affair of Boston and the Mass, not the Affair of the Continent. All that they have to do, is to wear genteel Uniforms and Armour, to get the Character of Heroes by their Bravery, and to be thought to lay Boston and the Mass. under vast Obligations. For my own Part I think the Obligations mutual, but if there is a Ballance it is clearly in favour of Mass. I ever disclaimed, in the most decisive Terms, all Obligations to any State or Person, and ever shall. I will never Solicit Charity or Favour, as a Politician, much less acknowledge obligations to others, who are under the strongest of all.
Are there not Persons who insinuate themselves into your Army, with a Design to foment Prejudices, excite Jealousies, and raise Clamours?
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “Coll Tudor Judge Advocate Generall Morristown N. Jersey”; docketed: “March 22d. 1777”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Actually Boston did not accept the Solemn League and Covenant, proposed by its committee of correspondence, to cut off all trade with Great Britain. A nonconsumption agreement, accepted by Boston and many Massachusetts towns, condemned the buying of British goods that Massachusetts people could supply themselves, an agreement interpreted by many to mean the eschewing of British luxury goods (vol. 2:95; Richard D. Brown, Revolutionary Politics in Massachusetts, Cambridge, 1970, p. 200). If JA means the closing of Boston's port, the town had no choice about that.
2. This sentence is interlined in JA's Letterbook.
3. No such petition is known to the editors. Boston did write to the First Continental Congress requesting advice on whether inhabitants should quit the town to avoid becoming hostages and adding, “if it is judged that by maintaining their ground they can better serve the public { 123 } cause, they will not shrink from hardship and danger” (JCC, 1:56). The congress urged careful consideration before wholesale removal was agreed upon. With the lapse of time, JA may have magnified somewhat the town's courage.
4. A provision of the Continental Association designed in the interest of tobacco and rice exporters. This question and the one that follows are interlined in the Letterbook.
5. The last two sentences in this paragraph are interlined in the Letterbook.
6. In the Letterbook this sentence was marked to follow “the Fishery I mean, which has destroyed their Trade” in the preceding paragraph—a more logical position. In making his copy for posting, JA overlooked his indicator and let his mistake stand.
7. This paragraph is interlined in the Letterbook.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0067

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-23

From William Tudor

[salute] Dr Sir

I yesterday ask'd Permission to resign my Post of J.A.G. and to retire from the Army, but met with a Refusal, which, though softened by a Compliment from the General, gave me some Chagrine. A Person at my Time of Life ought to be, if possible in the Road to Wealth or Fame, or both, my Office will never intitle me to either. For the Pay annexed to it, from the Depreciation of the Currency and the real and artificial Scarcity of every Thing has sunk 50 Dollars to the intrinsic Value of 20 only. And as to Fame, a Man might continue a Judge Advocate to Eternity without ever acquiring a single Particle of it.
How it happened that all of the Staff, when the rest of the Officers Pay was rais'd, continued upon the old Establishment I cannot conjecture. I am the only General Staff Officer whose Pay is equal but to a Captain's of Artillery.
As the General appears desirous of my continuance in the Office, I would remain provided Congress would make the Pay adequate to the Department. But as I suppose You will not raise any of the Staff, I am determined to quit the Place which at present barely supports me. This I presume You will not blame me for. He must want Spirit indeed who would hold a troublesome Office, exposed to the Inconveniences of perpetual Movements, a Camp Life and long Absences from home, for a bare Livelihood. My Duty is much augmented this Year from the last, by my being ordered to swear in the New Recruits. Hence I am every Day employed, when no Court Martial is sitting, in writing Certificates and administering Oaths, for which not the least Allowance is made. I will wait Sir your Advice, before I renew my Request to resign.
Brigadr. Knox has urged me to take a Lieutenant Colonency in { 124 } the Artillery under Colo. Crane. If I was to accept this Birth, I should throw up all Thoughts of ever returning to the Bar which I am loth to do. I have been so often benefited by your Advice, that I wish to take it upon the present Ocasion, and shall be exceedingly obliged to hear from You on this Subject by the first Opportunity.
The Enemy have made no Movements yet, and if we believe Prisoners and Deserters, they are not preparing to make any. The Roads and the Weather will soon be inviting and we have little more than the Advantage of the Ground to prevent Genl. Howe from marching to any Part of the Jerseys. Among the many Deserters which have come in within this Fortnight, are many high Dutchmen. These Fellows are some of 500 German Recruits which came out from Europe this Winter to fill up as they say the Deficiences of the German Corps, but when they got to America, they were draughted into the British Regiments. Which they resent highly. Two of the 28th. Regiment came in this Morning and assure Us that they would all, who are in this Predicament desert, provided they could well get away.
Sr. Wm. Howe the 15th. Instant issued another Proclamation lengthening the Day of Grace to all the rebellious Americans without Exception, till 1st. of May.1 This Proclamation is chiefly designed to encourage Desertion in our Army. If Proclamations were not very ridiculous Things, the General might Publish one on our Side promising a 100 or more Acres of Land to any British or German Soldier who would come into the Country and cultivate them.
1. Pardons and with them assurances of the safety of property were offered to those willing to desert from the American forces or to anyone who would go behind the British lines and remain. The practical meaning of the offer was that those pardoned were expected to serve in either a provincial or British unit or leave for England. The earlier pardon offer of Nov. 1776 had required nothing but the swearing of allegiance (Ira D. Gruber, The Howe Brothers and the American Revolution, N.Y., 1972, p. 197–198).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0068

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-23

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I wrote you last from Plymouth about three weeks ago1 after which I was detained at Home longer than I Expected and did not get here till last Tuesday. I Understand that Letter and one { 125 } wrote at the same time to Mr. Adams went by the Post. As I wrote with some freedom I should be glad to hear of the receipt of it. Since I have been here I have had the pleasure of yours of the 17th. Feby. and am glad to find the New Govts. in the Southern States so well Established and things going so Agreably to your mind.
Your reflections on the Changes in Congress are very Natural. I have the same feelings. I love to see the same faces, and Lament the Loss of my old Acquaintance and Connections, but Changes and Vicissitudes we must Expect in the state we are now in and perhaps it is in many Instances best, if not all,2 it should be so, and in political Bodies more especially.
The New Army has been raised very slowly, and it is probable many Advantages must be lost by it, but I hope we shall Compleat it at last. If our Assembly could be kept from any New Measures I believe we should soon get ours, but they have an Unaccountable Itch to be meddleing every day, and by that means keep the Minds of the people always afloat, make them mercenary,3 and uncertain when to Engage if Inclined. We have however under all the disadvantages ariseing from the Instability of our own Conduct got as near as I can collect about 7000 Non Commissioned Officers and privates, and they are now Inlisting fast. The Idea of a Levy on the several Towns which we have I think Injudiciously and without any necessity held up has Occasioned An Immense Expence to Individuals in Addition to the publick Bounty. We have lately voted the same Bounty to A Battalion of the Train as we gave before, and are now sollicited to do the same for three new Battalions. I suppose we must Comply and Comfort ourselves with the hopes that it is but for once.
We have had no News for some time till the Arrival of A French Ship at Portsmouth4 with A valuable Cargo, and Agreable Intelligence which you will have more perfectly than I can give you, gratified for a Moment our Curiosity, raised our Spirits and gave us a subject of Conversation. I shall therefore only Congratulate you on this Occasion, and Inform you that we have three or four vessels out, to furnish the other Ships Expected here with Pilots, and orders are given to receive them with Ceremony, Salutes &c. No Attempt has yet been made upon Rhode Island which was Expected and preperations made for it long ago, and now we are not in A Condition for it, for tho the British Troops are many of them gone, not more than 2500 remaining { 126 } ours are reduced in A greater proportion. In short there are but About 500 Men from this state in Addition to the Troops of their own State. Applications are made to us for A reinforcement, and A Committee are now Considering in what way it shall be done. Our Sea Coasts and perticularly this harbour is also in A defenceless state and must be provided for. All these things are difficulties that Interfere with Compleating our quota, and Embarrass us much. New Hampshire have got their part of the Army some time ago, but Connecticut are more behind hand than we are.
Genl. Ward resigned his Command last Thursday to Heath. What he is designed to Command I know not. I neither see or hear of any men. About three hundred men only are here besides Crafts Regiment and their time Expires in about 10 days.
But no One thing gives me more Uneasiness than the Conduct of your Fleet. The Hancock, Boston, Alfred and Cabot5 are all yet in port. It is said the Hancock is ready to sail and was to have gone yesterday but remains here yet. I fear the Consequences of their going out single, but McNeil and Manly it is said like the Jews and Samaritans will have no Connections or Intercourse. They will not sail together. I beleive McNeil is near ready for the sea. I am told that he and the Agent Mr. Cushing have had A Breeze,6 but I am not Acquainted with the perticulars or how it terminated. I have still a worse Account of the situation of your frigates at Providence.7 I dont know the Officers but Understand to say no more of them that they are not Agreable to the people and never can Man their Ships. You must fall on some New plan for Conducting your Naval Affairs at a distance from you, or be Content never to Shine in that way. Perhaps to Establish A Board in each district upon An honourable footing, and with Extensive powers or something (I know not what) else. If you should have occasion for A New Commander for one of your Ships I would venture to recommend one I think equal to the Business, and perhaps to Any you have. Capt. Simeon Samson who was lately taken in the service of this State I have A very good Opinion of as A Seaman, A Man of Judgment, prudence, Activity and Courage.8 He behaved like a Hero in the Action, but the force against him was so superiour to his that he had no Chance. He is yet in Captivity but his redemption is Expected very soon as proper measures are taken for it. Our Measures in General Court are so Complicated and various that it would take A volume to give you An Account of them.
{ 127 }
The regulateing Act9 has been Observed in some places, and disregarded in Others, and perticularly here where it is Constantly violated in Open day light, and has yet produced no Other Consequences but Bitterness and wrath between the Town and Country, the last of which is Endeavouring to starve the Town in return for what they Consider Ill usage from them and have succeeded so well, that the Market here is little superiour to what it was in the seige.
I ever thought this Act Impracticable in its Nature, and prophecied that it would End in bringing the Authority of Goverment into Contempt. My prophecies are likely to be Compleated. Now I mention Goverment I will tell you that one day this week is Assigned to determine in what way A New one shall be formed. I fear the determination will be in favour of A Convention.
This is designed to go by Major Ward, who was Aid de Camp to the General of that Name, by whom also I shall forward A packet received this day from your good Lady. This Gentleman I suppose is known to you, if not I beg leave to recommend him to your Notice.10 He has had the Misfortune to fall into A very Inactive department, and now to be wholly Excluded from any Appointment in the Army. I take him however to be A Sensible, worthy Man, and one very Capable of doing publick service in some way or other. I believe it is time to Conclude this long scroll. I am therefore with wishes for your happiness Your Friend &c.
My regards to Mr. Adams and Gerry. I shall write to one or both of them by this Opportunity if I can.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren March 23d 1777 ans. Ap. 6.”
1. His letter of 22 Feb. (above).
2. Commas supplied around “if not all.”
3. That is, by raising bounties.
4. The ship's arrival was not reported in the Boston newspapers, except perhaps indirectly. On 24 March the Boston Gazette reported the arrival of two high-ranking French officers, both named, and right afterward listed the cargo of a vessel that had arrived safely in one of the ports of the United States. The list included such items as 11,987 stands of arms and 1,000 barrels of gunpowder. Apparently security forbade mention of the ship's name or port of entry.
5. The frigates Boston and Hancock and the brig Cabot, commanded, respectively, by Hector McNeill, John Manley, and Joseph Olney, had not yet been to sea. The ship Alfred, John Paul Jones captain, had returned to Boston on 17 Dec. 1776 from a successful cruise to Cape Breton (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:12, note 4; Hopkins to Burroughs, p. 1152, note 2; p. 330, note 3; p. 1109).
6. A quarrel or row (OED).
7. The Providence and the Warren, commanded, respectively, by Abraham Whipple and John B. Hopkins (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:188, note 2, and Index).
8. Capt. Simeon Sampson of the Massachusetts brig Independence, which was captured on 25 Nov. 1776 (same, 7:271). The brig was recaptured and entered a { 128 } safe port on 21 March (Independent Chronicle, 27 March).
9. That is, the act to regulate prices. See William Tudor to JA, 16 March, note 5 (above).
10. It is perhaps surprising that Warren was unaware of how frequently Joseph Ward and JA had corresponded.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0069

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-03-24

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

This Morning, a Vessell1 has arrived in this City with 6800 stand of excellent Arms and 1500 Gun Locks, belonging to Congress and 1500 more private Property. These last We have ordered to be bought.
This News you may depend on, the Letters were brought into Congress, in the Midst of a Debate concerning a Resolution to impower the General to procure Arms wherever he could find them.2
Thus, it is—on how many Occasions, when We have been unable to see any Way to help ourselves has Providence, Sent Us an unexpected Relief! Thus it has been, and thus it will be. I am, &c.
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. Adams Lettr March 77.”
1. The vessel was the brig Sally, Capt. Stocker, from Nantes (Pennsylvania Gazette, 26 March).
2. The Journal makes no mention of this particular debate (JCC, 7:197).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0070

Author: Freeman, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-25

From Samuel Freeman

[salute] Sir

Being informed that you are of a Committee of Congress, appointed to consider what further Regulations are necessary to be made in the Post Establishment1—I beg leave to recommend to your attention the present plan of riding between this Town and Falmouth2 Casco Bay (of which Place I have the Honor of being Post Master) and to propose an alteration therein.
The Post Rider from Falmouth sets out on Wednesdays and arrives at Portsmouth on Thursdays, where the Mail rests until the Tuesday following, when Noble3 takes it and brings it to this Town Wednesday Evenings so that a Letter is 8 Days coming about 120 Miles. The return is in 4 Days, thus.
Noble sets out from hence on Thursday, and gets to Portsmouth on Fridays, where Bernard,4 the Eastern Rider, takes the Mail and carries it into Falmouth Sabbath Day. Now it appears { 129 } to me that it is a very easy matter for the Riders to conduct so as that the Mail may be but three Days coming and three returning. Bernard may leave Falmouth on Monday Morning, and get to Portsmouth by Tuesday Noon. There will then be full Time for Noble (if he is not detain'd by private Business which I imagine prevents his doing it now) full time I say for Noble to reach Newbury Port Tuesday Night—and then to Boston Wednesday night. The return might be in like manner viz, Noble may go from this to Portsmouth in 1½ Day, and Bernard from thence to Falmouth in the same Time.
By this Method, a Gentleman may write a Letter in this Town to another in Falmouth—and have an Answer in 7 Days—wheras according to the present Plan it takes 14. The Correspondence with Gentlemen at Falmouth 'tis true is not at present very great—but it doubtless increase soon.
And I think for the Dignity of the Establishment this regulation ought to take place.
I mention'd it to Mr. Hazard5 when he was here (after he had agreed with the Riders) and he referrd the matter to Mr. Libby Post Master at Portsmouth,6 but Mr. Libby for answer writes me that he thinks the Plan is impracticable as the Roads now are, because he thinks Bernard cannot take Nobles Mail (from Boston) and carry it to Falmouth and be back again to Portsmouth before Noble sets out from thence. But certainly if Noble is not tardy he can very easily come to Boston in 1½ Days, and go from hence to Portsmouth in the same time—and then Bernard can easily perform his Duty.
I shou'd be obliged to you to talk with Mr. Hazard, as also with the other Gentlemen your Brethren of this State on the Subject, and though it is not a matter of a very Public Nature, should be glad it might meet with your attention—and if you judge it reasonable that you wou'd see that the necessary Orders are given for the alteration.
I am told that Mr. Hastings the Post Master of this Town has presented a Memorial to Congress praying for an Allowance for his extra Services.7 He is a worthy faithful Gentleman, and I think the peculiar situation of his Office intitules him to a Grant in additional to his present Income. I beg leave therefore to recommend his Memorial to your Patronage.
Next Thursday is assign'd by the House to take under consideration the expediency of entring on measures for forming a New Constitution of Government.
{ 130 }
I wish we cou'd have the Forms of other States to assist in case we should go upon that important Business. I have the Honour to be with respect Your Honors most obed & very huml servt
[signed] Saml Freeman8
P.S. We want much the Journals of Congress.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “S. Freeman Esq. ans. Ap. 27.”
1. The committee was appointed on 17 Feb. (JA's Additional Committee Assignments, 2 Jan. – 6 Nov., above).
2. Now Portland, Maine.
3. Probably John Noble (Laws of New Hampshire, 10 vols., 1904–1922, 4:610).
4. Joseph Barnard (William Willis, The History of Portland, 2d edn., Portland, Maine, 1865, facsim. edn., 1972, p. 585).
5. Ebenezer Hazard (1744–1817), appointed in late 1776 as a surveyor general of the Continental post office, later became postmaster general (DAB).
6. Probably Jeremiah Libbey (New Hampshire State Papers Series, ed. Nathaniel Bouton and others, 40 vols., Concord, N.H., 1867–1943, 13:286, 294, 295, 297, 301).
7. Jonathan Hastings Jr.'s memorial was read on 19 March (JCC, 7:184).
8. Freeman was one of Falmouth's members in the House of Representatives (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 5).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0071

Author: Hastings, Jonathan Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-25

From Jonathan Hastings Jr.

[salute] Sr

Your Favor per Dr. Jackson of the 7 Instant1 came to hand this day. It gives me pleasure that you are upon the Committee to consider of further Regulations of the Post Office. Previous to the Regulations in the Office which took place the 5th. of October 1776, the Posts from the Southward and elsewhere arrived as punctually on the Days fixed as they were ever known to do. What Instructions the late Surveyor gave the Riders I am unable to say: But the Reason why the Mails were so long in coming from Philadelphia &c. &c. was, that the Eastern Riders returned to their respective Stages without waiting the Arrivals of the Western Mails.
Mr. Hazard the present Surveyor who will soon be at Philadelphia can make Congress fully acquainted with the Causes of Delay heretofore; and who has now regulated the Affairs of the Office so effectually as will prevent I trust any Complaints in future concerning the Delay of Intelligence.
My Allowance is so very inadequate to my necessary Trouble and Charges in keeping the Office, that I have presented a Memorial to Congress praying for a further Consideration, in which I solicit your good Offices which will be gratefully remembered and acknowledged.
{ 131 }
I have the Pleasure to inform you that your Lady and Family were well last Lords Day. I have the Honor to be your most Obedient & very humble Servant
[signed] Jonathan Hastings junr
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0072

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-03-26

To James Warren

There are two ingenious Artificers, here, who have made a beautifull Field Piece of Bar Iron. The Barrs were not bound together with Hoops, like that which was made in Boston: But weldered together, and afterwards bored out. It is very light. It is a Three Pounder and weighs, no more than two hundred and twenty four Pounds. It has been tried every Way, and has stood the fullest Proof. It has been discharged Twenty times, and upon discharging it three Times successively, as fast as it could be loaded and fired, with several ounces of Powder more than the Usual Quantity, it was observed not to be heated so much as other Guns of the same Calliber commonly are when of Brass or cast Iron.
It is so light, that it may be transported about with the Utmost Ease, by a few soldiers alone without Horses, and is therefore admirably adapted for a Regimental Field Piece. The Generals Gates, Green and Mifflin, have examined it, and admire it. We are about contracting for a Number of them. They are cheaper than Brass. They carry a Ball as far and as direct. The only Objection is that they rebound too much. But this Inconvenience is easily remedied, by strengthening the Carriage. The Names of the Smiths who made it, are Wheeler and Wiley.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. Adams March 77.”

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1777-03-27

To William Tudor

[salute] My dear Sir

I had yours by Coll Palfry last night.1 General Green is just taking his Departure so that I can, only write you a Line.
I blame you not for determining either to rise at the Bar or in the Army. I wish you to rise in both.
It is a critical, and delicate Thing to give Advice to our best { 132 } Friends, and therefore I hope you will pay no more Attention to any that I may give you, than just to weigh it and then follow your own Inclinations.
As a Lt Coll of Artillery, you will be in the Road to Promotion, and will have an Opportunity of becoming great in the Art of War. You will not be obliged to give up your Rank or Pretensions at the Bar. This War will not last seven Years—and if it should as long as that, you may shine at the Bar afterwards, as bright as if you had never been in the Army, and brighter too. A Military Character formed early in Life, and united to the Character of a Lawyer a statesman and Civilian, will not fail in the future Circumstances of America to make a great Man.
Crane is a brave Man, and in my Opinion it will do you honour to get the better of certain Delicacies so far as to Serve under him.
As an Officer of Artillery, you will naturally get acquainted with those sciences, which are most Usefull in War—and I doubt not you will soon distinguish yourself, so as to merit Promotions.
The Branch of ordnance is most wanted in America and therefore affords the fairest opportunity of doing good and acquiring Fame.
It is not unlikely that the Pay of the Advocate may be raised but I can promise nothing, nor can I prophesy.2
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “Coll Tudor Judge Advocate General Morristown favd by Major General Green”; docketed: “March 27th. 1777.”
1. That of 23 March (above).
2. On 11 April the congress raised the pay of the judge advocate to sixty dollars per month (JCC, 7:256).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0074

Author: Gordon, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-27

From William Gordon

[salute] My Dear Sir

I expected some how or other to have had the happiness of falling into your company when you was last in this State, but was disappointed. I have had the pleasure of hearing that you and your fellow traveller1 had joined the Congress, and further of the Congress's having got back to Philadelphia, where I hope they will be suffered to remain in peace and quietness. All things considered, and I judge the situation of our public affairs { 133 } better than about this time twelve month. The crisis I apprehend is past; I am so in the opinion of our getting safe into Port, that I am collecting materials for an history of the rise progress and successful issue of the American revolution.2 His Excellency Genl. Washington has promised me his assistance. Others have done the same. Have wrote to Dr. Price and Mrs. Macaulay for theirs. Flatter myself that you and the other gentlemen of the Congress will be alike gracious, and that thro' their countenance and help I shall obtain that certain intelligence that may not be easily gained in any other way.
Great minds are not so easily elated with commendations as little ones, or I should be afraid to write you what a correspondent says—“I never shall think we shall finally fail of success while heaven continues to the congress the life and abilities of Mr. John Adams. He is equal to the controversy in all its stages. He stood upon the shoulders of the whole congress when reconciliation was the wish of All America. He was equally conspicuous in cutting the knot which tied the colonies to Great Britain. In a word I deliver to you the opinion of every man in the house when I add, that he possesses the clearest head and firmest heart of any man in the congress.”3 It is enough to make you tremble to think from hence what must be the expectations of all from you, and in what manner you must exert yourself that you may answer them, the Lord help you to do it!
The necessity of our college affairs has obliged the board of Overseers to advise the corporation to chuse a treasurer that shall constantly reside in the State. I believe they all without exception thought that the Honle. Mr. Hancock expressed himself in some of his letters to the corporation with too great asperity; and that they should have been treated rather with more decency had not Mr. Hancock been warmed by mistaking the propriety of their proceedings: however they professed the highest regards for him and took care so to word their vote as that he should not be reflected upon.4 You will make a prudent use of this early information, so as to guard Mr. H. against shewing any intemperate heat to the hurt of his character.
Mr. Hastings our post master desired me when I wrote to you, to mention that the d[uties?] of the office require constant attendance, and that he or his servant are obliged to be [ . . . ] continually present. This indeed you must be sensible of; but he is a worthy you[ng?] gentlemen and I could not omit obliging him.
{ 134 }
My respects to all my friends in g[ . . . ] whether in or out of Congress, but to the Bay delegates in particular. Your sincere friend
[signed] William Gordon
Pray don't be too long in answering, nor so long as before.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honle John Adams Philadelphia”; franked: “Free”; docketed: “Mr Gordon. ans. April 8. 1777”; in CFA's hand: “March 27th.” Mutilated where the seal was torn off.
1. James Lovell, recently appointed a delegate from Massachusetts.
2. Gordon's work appeared as The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States of America, 4 vols., London, 1788. JA's copy, now at the Boston Public Library, contains in Volume 1 in the margin of the preface a long, unfavorable note by JA (Catalogue of JA's Library). Gordon's work came out as well in three American editions: 1789, 1794, 1801.
3. Gordon showed this comment on JA to Samuel Cooper, who described its author as “a Gentleman of Learning and great good Sense in one of the middle States” (Cooper to JA, 24 March, Adams Papers).
4. Years later Gordon, a Harvard overseer, wrote to JA at some length about the continuing struggle to have Hancock, treasurer 1773–1777, render an accounting of moneys received and of the endowment funds he had held (Gordon to JA, 28 June 1783, Adams Papers; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:429, 437–439).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0075

Author: Johnson, Thomas Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-27

From Thomas Johnson Jr.

[salute] Dear Sir

I have pleasure in calling your Attention back to a Subject which was mentioned at Bush Town. Doctor Howard,1 in Compliance with his promise to Genl Green has reduced his Sentiments, on the Medical Department, to writing which you will be pleased to inclose to the General after you have considered them. My Occupations in Life have not enabled me to form a correct Judgment in this Matter nor have I full Time to consider it through off Hand I think the Doct. seems at least plausible.
I find this State at a great Loss for Friends in Europe. Most of our Goods have been purchased in the West Indies of Merchants who have in their pleasure speculated, and I find som purchases at whole Sale are at a higher price farr than the same Articles used to be sold here at Retail. I do not see any probability that we shall lessen the price or be able to import the Articles essentially necessary by our Expectations. I think therefore the public Interest would be much promoted by allowing privateers etc. to ransom such Captures as are bound to Europe or the W: Indies with such Exceptions as may be thought proper; it has often happened that privateers have been obliged to discharge prizes because they cou'd not man them and I have no Doubt but the { 135 } Ransom Money, of ½ or ⅔ds. the Value of the prize, in Europe would produce more Musquets Blankets or coarse Cloath in America than the whole prize in America. And we may be sure that the whole Ransom Money if paid in Europe will be laid out in Adventures for America. I may possibly be too speculative but I wish you to consider this Matter well before you reject my Scheme.
I mentioned to Genl. Gates before I left Philadelphia that I thought we might, if we could open a proper Intercourse get supplied or in good part supplied with the Arms the English have taken from us. I wish you would advise with Mr. Morris on the Subject. Our Enemies are strongly acted on by Money. What can they do with the foreign Arms (or indeed any Arms) they have taken from us. They cost in Europe perhaps 10, 12 or 15/. a Stand. No Body in Europe but Soldiers use them. The Soldiers are supplied through regular Channels. If they could be carried to England the Soldiers there would not use them and I much question whether they would sell any where for 5/ apiece. We have stripped our people already and are not able to arm our Quota. Pray advise me don't omit it, whether you have Arms for our Men and consider well whether you may not by good Management get 5 or 6000 Stand from our Enemies.
You promised to get some Body appointed to settle and pay off the Recruits of the Militia who went to the Jerseys with me.2 I wish it was done as according as those people are dealt with we may or may not expect further Service from them and I assure you the weight of that part of the Country is, in our State, much to be attended to. I mentioned to you Mr. Richard Dallam who was paymaster to the Flying Camp and is yet probably in Philadelphia. If he cannot act and you have no Body in your Eye that would fully Answer your wishes, Mr. Thomas Richardson of Geo. Town Montgomery Coty or Mr. John Hanson Junr. of Frederick Town would do this Business I believe with great Honor and Integrity.
I Yesterday received a Letter from Mr. Robertdeau of the Committee appointed to confer with Genl. Green.3 A good many Men are recruited in this State but we are very bare of Arms. Have been much disappointed in our Adventures for Cloathing and a pretty large proportion are under Innoculation. Genl. Smallwood returned last Night from the Eastern Shore. Every possible Means will be exerted but our powers are very short of { 136 } our Wishes. Pray inform yourself and advise me what Arms and Cloathing may be relied on and how you are provided with Medicines. Our former Losses from a want of these Articles greatly discourage our people.

[salute] I am dr. sr. your mo. obed. hble serv.

[signed] Th Johnson Junr
I have been very tedious already but I borrowed fifteen hundred pounds of Mr. Morris of his private Money on my personal Credit to enable the Militia to come Home again because no public Money could be had. I wish this Money was repaid him by the Continental Treasury and the Brigade charged with it. I really have not the Money of my own to pay him and I am uneasy that he should be out of it the more so as I believe he will not hastily ask me for it. Do contrive to have it done and oblige in this Yr.
[signed] TJ.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Govr. Johnson's Letter. ansd.”; in CFA's hand: “March 27. 1777.” No answer to this letter has been found.
1. Thomas Henry Howard, surgeon (Henry J. Berkley, “Maryland Physicians at the Period of the Revolutionary War,” Md. Hist. Mag., 24:8–9 [March 1929]).
2. Before becoming governor, Johnson was a brigadier general in the Maryland militia (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 321).
3. Washington sent Nathanael Greene to Philadelphia to enlighten the congress on the army's situation. Daniel Roberdeau was a member of the committee named on 13 March to confer with Gen. Gates, which on the 20th, enlarged by three, was designated to talk with Greene (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:299–301; JCC, 7:175, 189).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0076

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-03-31

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

We have this day received Letters from Europe,1 of an interesting Nature. We are under Injunctions of Silence, concerning one very important Point:2 and indeed I dont know how far I am at Liberty, concerning Some others: but thus much I may venture to communicate: That We have an Offer of three Millions of Livres in Specie, without Interest, and to be paid when We Shall be Settled in Peace and Independence,3 that all Europe wish Us well, excepting only Portugal and Russia.4 That all the Ports of France and Spain, and Italy, and all the Ports in the Mediterranean, excepting Portugal, are open to our Privateers and Merchant Ships. That there is no danger of our wanting Arms, or Ammunition for the future. Between Six and seven hundred Barrells of Powder having arrived in Maryland, and indeed We had plenty of Powder before.
{ 137 }
In Short, my Friend, altho We have many grievous Things to bear, and Shall have more; yet there is nothing wanting but Patience. Patience and Perseverance, will carry Us through this mighty Enterprize. An Enterprize, that is, and will be an Astonishment to vulgar Minds, all over the World, in this and in future Generations. An Enterprize however, which, Faithfullness to our Ancestors, who have sett Us Examples of Resistance to Tyranny, Faithfullness to the present and future Generations, whose Freedom depend upon it laid us under every moral and religious Obligation to undertake.
Our Accounts from Europe are, that great Preparations are making for War, and that every Thing tends to that Object: but when or where, or how Hostilities will commence is yet unknown. France and Spain, will act in concert and with perfect Amity. Neither will take any step without the other.
The American Ministers abroad, advise Us to exert ourselves in every Respect, as if We were to receive no Assistance from abroad. This is certainly good Advice, and if We have Wisdom enough to follow it, a Diversion by a War in Europe, will be a more effectual Relief to us. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. Ad. Lettr March 77”; LbC (Adams Papers), with minor differences in phrasing.
1. The only certainly identifiable letter received on this day was one to the Committee of Secret Correspondence signed by Franklin, Deane, and Arthur Lee and dated 17 Jan. JA made a copy of it and sent it to Warren on 1 April, when he had a reliable carrier (below). It is printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:248–251. At its start it revealed that Vergennes had received the American Commissioners, whose status was unofficial still in France; the foreign minister's gesture was a sign of tentative support, however.
2. In copying the letter from the Commissioners, JA omitted the section describing an agreement reached with the Farmers-General that the congress would purchase twenty thousand hogsheads of tobacco to be shipped to France in vessels provided by the Farmers-General. War materials could be carried at American risk in the ships at reasonable rates on their westward journey. The Farmers-General would reimburse the congress for the tobacco in two payments, one-half at once, the rest when they were informed that the tobacco had been shipped. This business connection with the Farmers-General, “the most efficient part of government,” meant an immediate supply of badly needed money for the upcoming campaign and began a business connection that it was hoped would prove advantageous in the future (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:249–250).
3. Both JA's copy of the Commissioners' letter and the printed version agree that the offer was for two, not three, millions. Presumably made by pro-American wealthy Frenchmen but actually by the King, the loan was to be repaid, not paid, as JA ambiguously states, with the return of peace (same, 2:250, 284).
4. Although Portugal and Russia were not mentioned in the Commissioners' letter, the hostility of Portugal had been known for months; as a long-standing ally of England, it understandably favored its ally's cause. A specific reference to the “malice” of Russia is found in the Commissioners' letter of 6 Feb., which may have been one of those received on 31 March (same, 2:146, 148, 161, 263).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-04-01

To James Warren

Having an opportunity by So carefull an Hand as Captain Wentworth1 of Portsmouth, I have ventured to inclose you a copy of a Letter which appears to me to be of Consequence.2 You will make use of it with Caution, among such Friends only as can be trusted to make a discreete Use of it.
Inclosed is also a state of the Stocks in Amsterdam, on the seventh and twelfth of November3 by which you will see that the British Funds were falling, very fast, notwithstanding the News from New York and the precipitate Effects in England to equip a Fleet of Observation.
The Dutch dont appear so inimical to Us, or so indifferent to our Fate as We apprehended they would be. Letters from that Quarter, are fully of Opinion that, the Opportunity for the House of Bourbon is too fair and inviting to be let slip.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. A. Letters Ap 77.”
1. Capt. George Wentworth (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:passim).
2. See JA to Warren, 31 March and notes there (above).
3. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0078

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-03

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

I scratch a Line in utmost Hast—Your kind Letter I receiv'd by Mr Jackson the Day after sending one to you.1 Your Tickets sell rapidly. Your Loan Office will fill apace. I wrote to you, or Mr Adams on the American Navy. Manly's Character rises here. He has sail'd to Cape Ann for some Men there and has press'd thro great Difficulties to get out—something must be done to expedit Matters in that Department. Manly and McNeal do not agree.2 It is not I believe, the Fault of the first. They ought to sail together with all the Force they can obtain here to join them—a large Privateer would have readily done it. McNeal is inclin'd, and has obtain'd Liberty from Congress it is said, to sail alone. All may be lost in this Way. Jointly they might take single Frigates of the Enemy, or oblige them to sail in Fleets, which would greatly open the Ports for the Supplies from France and evry Quarter. Pray let some Orders be taken in this Matter as early as may be. Dr. Williamson I find is arriv'd. I have had for a long { 139 } Time some Knowledg of him. He has been a good While in England. He ought to be well tried before he is confided much in. The Post waits I must subscribe ever your's.
Manly and McNeal are now, like Matthews and Lestac.3 If they are not better united, infinite Damage may acrue. The latter hardly brooks the Superiority of the former—tho no Man has merited more, in the marine than Manly, or promises better.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr. Cooper. ans. Ap. 26.”; in another hand, probably CFA's: “April 3d 1777.”
1. JA's letter to Cooper has not been found; the last extant letter known to the editors is that of 4 Sept. 1776 (above). Cooper's most recent letter to JA was that of 24 March (Adams Papers).
2. John Manley outranked Hector McNeill, who doubted Manley's competence and resented his failure to take McNeill's advice on occasion. In any case, McNeill was not an easy man to get along with (MHS, Procs., 55 [1921–1922]:51).
3. Vice Admiral Thomas Mathews and Rear Admiral Richard Lestock, the former made commander in chief in the Mediterranean in the 1740s during the war with Spain, a command that Lestock, already in the Mediterranean, had hoped for himself. The two men had not been on good terms before Mathews' appointment; in fact, Mathews had wanted Lestock recalled. Thus, when Mathews closed with a Spanish fleet, Lestock, claiming his superior's orders were confused, hung back, and the Spanish fleet, supported by the French, managed to escape without decisive losses. On Parliament's demand, a series of courts martial followed in 1745 and 1746, Lestock being exonerated despite public feeling that he was censurable. Mathews was tried on a series of charges brought by Lestock and was dismissed from the service (both men in DNB).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0079

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-03

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I had the pleasure Yesterday of receiving your favours of the 15th. and 18th. of March.1 There are few things I wish for more than A War between Britain, and France &c. I am therefore greatly pleased with the Accounts you have of the probability of it. Such has been the situation, of matters for some time that I could not see how it could be Avoided, and yet my Impatience makes me Uneasy at the delay, least something might Intervene to prevent it. I have A right to pray for it as an Event that may serve my Country, and the Chastisement of Britain for their own good, or their destruction for the good of Mankind perhaps are not Improper subjects of prayer.
I am glad you have raised your Interest to six per Cent and am told that it has had a favourable Influence here. Your Loan Office is successful. How much has been received I cant Inform you.2 Your Tickets that were sent here were all nearly sold in A { 140 } few days, and perhaps double the Number would have sold. Whether patriotism or the hopes of Gain has Occasioned this rapid Sale of 12. or 15,000. Tickets in so short A time is A question that deserves the Attention of the politician, but either of them will Answer the present purpose.
I hope the late Inconvenience you have seen in voting by States will stimulate you to form your Constitution. That seems to be A matter as long in Agitation with you as with us, and if something dont Accelerate your motions we shall get the start of you. We have Agreed I mean the House3 upon A recommendation to the people at their next Election to Choose their Representatives for that among Other purposes. The form they shall Agree on however to be subject to the Approbation of their Constituents.
We have No News. Are straining our Nerves to forward our Men, but our Motions are slow. The Enemy Continue at Rhode Island, and have lately been reinforced from whence we know not. They now Consist of about 4000. We have not been so Attentive of late to the defence of that state as I think we ought to be, but we have now A Committee, and I hope if the Enemy make no Attempt on Providence &c. in A few days they will be in A posture of defence. The Enemy are fortifying the Island which looks as if they Intended to Continue there. There seems to be A prospect of small Breeze between the present College Treasuror and some of his friends. As I am Informed he refuses to resign, and has wrote some Letters threatening vengeance if left out. The Overseers have however recommended to the Corporation to Choose A New one, and I suppose they Intend it. I wrote Mr. Adams yesterday about Mr. Temple's Affairs.4 I wish you would attend to it if anything can be done. I am much hurried this Morning, and must Conclude and Am as usual Your Sincere Friend.
[signed] JW
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “G. Warren. ans. Ap. 27.”; in CFA's hand: “April 3d 1777.”
1. No letter of 15 March has been found. He wrote his first and second letterstwice to Warren on the 18th (above), although the second letter may not have been sent.
2. The certificates were in denominations of $200 each.
3. The House resolution was passed on 4 April (Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth, p. 50–51).
4. The continuing effort of Robert Temple to get compensation for the wood cut from his Ten Hills farm to supply the Continental Army. See Adams Family Correspondence, 2:87–88.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0080

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-05

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear sir

I have neither seen nor heard of any Resolution of Congress approving or disproving of the Laboratory being fixed at Springfield.1 If the Congress approves thereof it will be necessary for them to say so there being now an Order for it's being fixed at Brookfield and the Council of the Massachusets State commissioned to provide the materials for the erection of the necessary Buildings at that place. Please to enquire into the matter and write General Knox upon the Subject, it will forward the business if the Council has the same powers with respect to providing materials only at Springfield instead of Brookfield.
Since my return to Camp, I am more at a loss to guess the Enemies intentions than ever. They are fortifying Brunswic—two Spies who left that place a few Days since say the greater part of the Troops are gone to Staten Island—drafts have been made from the several Corps. There is a General Order of General Howes commanding all the Officers that are absent from Posts to join the 10th. of this Instant. It is generally suggested some expedition is on foot, if 'tis up the North River General Howe is the greatest blunderer of the Age to put us on our Guard by such an ill tim'd Expedition as they made the other Day.2 If his Expedition is to the Southward his delay has lost him the happy moment. A Fortnights delay longer will put it out of his power to do any great things. If the States furnish their Men and we have a good Train of Artillery provided seasonably and General Howe dont shut himself up in some inaccessible Post ten to one that ruin awaits him before Fall. But if every State is at liberty to furnish only a part of their Men and those at their pleasure we shall have another crippled Campaign indicisive and perhaps disgraceful.
General Schuyler is going to Congress armed with the imperial Cohorts of N. York to support the Assertion that the Northern Operations depend entirely upon his being continued in the command.3 A dispassionate inquiry perhaps may convince you of his usefulness if not it will afford you an Opportunity to convince the State of N. York that the Salvation of America don't Depend on the political sentiments of Albany County. General Schuyler thinks with me that it will be exceeding difficult if not to say impossible for the Enemy to penetrate the Country by the { 142 } way of Ticonderoga. He also thinks if the Enemy push up the North River it will afford us the fairest opportunity to ruin them we can wish notwithstanding it may prove distressing to that State.
I am more and more alarmed every day of my life at the local preperations making in the several States for their own defence in such a situation as we are in surrounded with immaginary and real grievances claims made by one State and refused by another.4 Men at the head of affairs full of caprice and humours poisoned with little prejudices and conceited of their own importance can easily throw the whole Empire into a convulsion unless there is some seasonable check provided to silence those little differences in their infancy. Human nature is capable of those ebullitions of folly and prudence dictates the necessity of proceiding against them. It is my opinion there ought not to be any standing Troops but what are on the Continental establishment.5 Believe me to be with sentiments of regard Your most obedt: And very hble Servt:
[signed] N Greene
RC in a clerk's hand (Adams Papers). Terminal punctuation has been supplied at several points.
1. The Board of War recommended on 20 Feb. that the congress approve the establishment of a laboratory and foundry at Springfield, Mass., but congressional approval for moving the proposed establishment from Brookfield, Mass. (the place agreed upon on 27 Dec. 1776) to Springfield did not come until 14 April (JCC, 7:139, 266).
2. A reference to the British raid at Peekskill on 23 March (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:328, note 87).
3. The congress, probably stirred up by the faction in it supporting the advancement of Gen. Gates, had taken umbrage at the tone of two letters Schuyler had sent to Philadelphia in early 1777. One demanded vindication of his character from the charge made by Commissary Gen. Joseph Trumbull that Schuyler was withholding a commission of adjutant general from his brother John. The other letter protested the congress' dismissal of Dr. Samuel Stringer without advising Schuyler of its reasons. On 15 March the congress passed several resolutions reprimanding Schuyler for writing letters “derogatory to the honor of Congress” and offensive to its dignity. Needing to proceed to Philadelphia for vindication, Schuyler met with the New York Convention, which chose him as one of its delegates to the congress and ordered the others, William Duer, Philip Livingston, and James Duane, to go to Philadelphia with him (Benson J. Lossing, The Life and Times of Philip Schuyler, 2 vols., N.Y., 1873, 2:158, 165–166, 168). On opposition to Schuyler in the congress, see Elbridge Gerry to Samuel Adams and JA, 21 July 1776, note 9, and Samuel Adams to JA, 16 Aug. 1776, note 4, vol. 4:403, 468.
4. Among the alarming instances of state behavior that Greene may have had in mind was the Massachusetts embargo on exports to other states, which was imposed in the interest of the state's own defense and which created bad feeling everywhere. Connecticut was claiming land in Pennsylvania, and both states were looking to the congress for a resolution of the dispute. There was jealousy among the states that some were contributing more to the common effort than others; thus Massachusetts refused to honor Schuyler's request for more troops, { 143 } feeling that it had done all that it could (William Tudor to JA, 16 March; James Warren to JA, 22 Feb., note 3, both above).
5. Greene, like other commanders, was undoubtedly disgusted with the habit of a state militia's returning home when its enlistment expired, regardless of the dangers of the military situation.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0081

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1777-04-06

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear sir

This Evening I was favoured with yours of 24 March,1 by Major Ward. I thank you, sir for your kind Attention to me, and for affording me an opportunity, of renewing a Correspondence which has been interrupted on my Part, by an incessant Application to Business, and by some little Diffidence in the Post, depend upon it, by no Diminution of Friendship or affection.
Our Country sir, is in an high Fever, but it has a Strong Constitution, and good Physicians I hope. The Symptoms are not desperate. The Worst that I see is, a Thinness of the Lifeblood, I mean the Revenue. But Air, and Regimen, and Exercise, and a little Medicine will restore it—especially as it has Youth of its Side. We have better Prospects of Trade, a Vessell arrived Yesterday from Sweeden with Powder, Flynts, Lead, sulphur &c. &c. &c. and I think shall be able to negotiate Loans. Britain cannot procure any great Reinforcements without involving herself in a French and Spanish War. And her Credit in Holland is very low.2
The News from France you will learn from Coll Warren to whom I wrote it in Confidence, but he will show it to you.3 The Army fills up gradually but rather Slowly. There are Troops upon their March from N. Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, towards Head Quarters. The Troops from N. England I hope will soon follow. But my Opinion is that the Enemy is more afraid of Us, than We are of them, even now. Their Ruin is inevitable, if our States exert themselves. If they stay at Brunswick they are undone—if they take the Field and march to Philadelphia, there they will meet their Fate. Besides that by taking the Field so early, they will lay a Foundation for a sickly Army, thro the whole Campaign. If our General Court had laid their Levies on the Towns last December as I most earnestly instructed them to do, in my Opinion, Howes destruction would have been effected before now.
I am surprized to hear you call for Lottery Ticketts. Dr. Jack• { 144 } son, one of the Managers, went from this Place, a long Time ago,4 with a Load of them to Boston.
We have been engaged many Days in preparing a Plan for the sick, and I think the best possible Provision will be made. No Expence will be Spared, and the best Physicians and surgeons will be employed.
We have now Arms and military stores in Abundance. We have Quarter Master and Commissarys stores in Plenty. Blanketts and Cloaths are most wanted, but We have a considerable Quantity of them, and expect more. We have Tents of the best Quality for thirty thousand Men.5 With submission to Providence We shall make it do. And So farewell tyrannical Grandam.6 I am sir &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Adams Papers, not printed here.
2. The final three sentences of this paragraph were quoted and paraphrased under a Boston dateline as “our last Advices from Philadelphia, and from the best Authority” (Independent Chronicle, 24 April).
3. See JA to James Warren, 1 April (above). The succeeding five sentences were quoted, paraphrased, or embellished in the Independent Chronicle. See note 2.
4. See JA to James Warren, 6 March, note 1 (above).
5. Up to this point, this paragraph was quoted and paraphrased in the Independent Chronicle. See note 2.
6. JA's epithet remains unexplained. On 24 April, Cooper wrote a hasty acknowledgment of JA's letter and complained that the Continental frigates had not put to sea, “a Matter which requires publick Attention” (Adams Papers, not printed here). Cooper sent his letter by Thomas Russell, who went to Philadelphia to present a petition from Charlestown asking for compensation for its losses (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:216, note 1).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0082

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-04-06

To James Warren

[salute] My Friend

The Business of the naval and marine Department, will I hope be soon put in a better Train than it has been. A Board of Assistants has been appointed here, consisting of three Gentlemen, not Members of Congress, whose whole Time is devoted to the service. Mr. Hopkinson, Coll Nixon, and Mr. John Wharton are the Men. The first is a Gentleman of Letters, the second an able Merchant, the third an eminent shipwright.1
There is a Talk of appointing a similar Board at Boston, and a Commissioner at every considerable Port in N. England. Who would be proper Persons for these Places? They should be well acquainted with Navigation. They should be, well informed in Trade. They should be Men of Character and Credit.
The Marine Committee, have lately received Letters from { 145 } Captns. Thompson,2 McNeal, and several others, pointing out Defects, Abuses and Mismanagements, and proposing Plans of Improvement, Redress and Reformation. These will do good. This is the Way to have things go right; for officers to correspond constantly with Congress, and communicate their sentiments freely.
McNeal, I Suppose, by his Letter, before this, has Sailed, and I hope your Embargo is off, before now, that the Privateers may have fair Play.3 Indeed I am sorry it was ever laid. I am against all shackles upon Trade. Let the Spirit of the People have its own Way, and it will do something. I doubt much whether you have got an hundred soldiers the more for your Embargo and perhaps you have missed Opportunities of taking many Prizes and several Hundreds of seamen.
South Carolina Seems to display, a Spirit of Enterprize in Trade, Superiour to any other State. They have Salt at half a Dollar a Bushell, and dry Goods in great Plenty tho dear. Many french Vessells have arrived there. Some Bermudians and some of their own. They have exported their Crop of Indigo and a great deal of Rice. They have some Privateers, and have made several Prizes.
Tobacco too, begins to be exported in large Quantities, from Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Vessells sell at very high Prices in all these states. In short in one more Year, I fancy Trade will be brisk, in every Part of the Continent, except with Us, the Destruction of whose Fishery, has deprived Us, of our staple, and left Us nothing to export. We must build ships and cutt Masts, and take Fish with our Privateers &c. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. A Lettr Ap 77.”
1. JA is repeating here information that he furnished in the second letter to Warren of 18 March (above), which he probably did not send. Warren had complained about mismanagement of the Continental Navy in his letter to JA of 22 Feb. (above). See JA to Warren, 6 April (below).
2. Capt. Thomas Thompson, commander of the Continental frigate Raleigh (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:135, note 2).
3. On 8 Dec. 1776, in order to conserve manpower for the army, the General Court established an embargo on all vessels except those fitted out by the United States, the several states, or the Massachusetts Board of War. Ships could leave port only to proceed to another port within the state. Exceptions were made on occasion, and an important modification on 7 April permitted privateering from towns that had raised their quotas of men for the army. By resolution of 19 April such privateers were not permitted to enlist men from the other New England states. The embargo was not completely lifted until 20 May (Mass., Province Laws, 19:713–714, 721, 771, 773, 824, 864, 898–899, 928).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-04-06

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of 23d March, was handed to me, this Evening by Major Ward. Your Letter from Plymouth by the Post,1 I duely received—and immediately wrote an answer to it, but upon reviewing it, afterwards, I found so many bold Truths in it that I concluded not to send it,2 lest Peradventure it should get into Hugh Gaines Gazette;3 and I thought it a Pitty that so many Sacred Truths, should appear in Company with so many infamous Lyes, as that Paper, ushers into the World, whenever it appears.
I am much obliged to you for your Sentiments, concerning the Navy. A Board I believe will be established at Boston—and a Commissioner, in each considerable Port in New England. Complaints, are frequently brought here, from Boston and from Providence, concerning the Continental Agents and other Officers. I am sorry for this, but cannot help it.4 At Providence, I fear, by what I have lately heard, there has been a System of selfishness, and at Boston of Incapacity. I had the Honour of belonging to the first Naval Committee, which set all our maritime Affairs agoing: and they did it with a Vigour, Assiduity and Dispatch, which precluded all Censure and Complaint: But I went home last December was twelve Month,5 and Advantage was taken of that opportunity one or two other Members being absent at the same Time, Coll Lee went home and Gadsden, and Langdon, and Deane was left out, to choose a new Committee, Since which there has been nothing but Languor, Censure and Complaint. Upon my Return they did me the Honour to put me upon the Board of War, which takes up my whole Time, every Morning and Evening, and renders it totally impossible for me, to look into the marine Department, which if I had Leisure to do, ignorant as I am of every Rope in the ship, I would perish if I did not put that Department in a respectable order. There is nothing wanting but some one Person, whose Vigour, Punctuality, and Constancy, should draw the Committee together every Morning and Evening, direct their Attention to the Object, and keep it fixed there. There are Gentlemen enough of the Committee who understand the Business, and the Board of Assistants are pretty well qualified and every Man upon the Continent, who knows any Thing of the subject might easily be induced, to contribute the Assistance of His Knowledge at least by Letter.
{ 147 }
The Fracas, between []6 and McNeal had reached this Place before your Letter. Hope it will do good. Am glad to hear that our Quota is likely to be raised at any Rate. Send them along and let Us beat the Scoundrels, to Attoms, as I am Sure We can and shall. I am &c.
This Letter so full of myself, and so abusive to others, is intended barely to exculpate myself. I cannot bear any share of the Blame of the failures in the marine Department.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. A. Lettr Ap. 77”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. That of 22 Feb. (above).
2. Undoubtedly JA's second letter of 18 March (above), extant only in his Letterbook and containing some frank remarks about William Cushing.
3. Hugh Gaine, printer of the New York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury. Gaine left New York city just before the British occupation but returned from New Jersey as a loyalist late in 1776 to continue printing his newspaper, which did not cease publication until Nov. 1783 (Clarence S. Brigham, History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820, 2 vols., Worcester, Mass., 1947, 1:639–640; DAB).
4. In the Letterbook “but cannot help it” has been substituted for “But Vengeance will not always sleep.”
5. A year ago; that is, Dec. 1775.
6. Left blank in MS. Capt. John Manley was meant.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0084

Author: Foster, Isaac
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-07

From Isaac Foster

[salute] Dear Sir

As nothing worthy your Attention has occurred since I had the pleasure of seeing you at Philadelphia except what you must have had from better Authority, I need rather appologize for troubling you with this, than for not having sooner improved your kind invitation of writing to you; when I left Philadelphia I hoped for an Oppurtunity of visiting Boston, but the Enemy begining to move I have given up that hope for the present. The letters you committed to my Care I sent by Doctor Samuel Whitwell1 who promissed to deliver them.
All the Bedding, Medicines and hospital Stores belonging to the eastern Department, (except a few at Fish-Kills) are collected at this place; the Nurses are employed in cleaning and mending the Bedding, and the Mates in assorting and preparing Medicines against the Campaign opens, wether I or any other shall enjoy the benifit of it is not of much importance to the publick, if that is served I shall not think it labour lost; but I much wish some plan was settled and known for the military medical Department, it would promote the enlistment of Soldiers, and { 148 } might prevent some inconveniences perhaps not at present thought of by the honourable Congress.
When Complaints began to grow loud last fall that the Sick were not properly attended to, the State of Connecticut sent Doctor Phillip Turner2 a Gentleman emminent in his profession to see that the sick of that State were taken care of, soon after his arrival in the Camp at New York he was by Doctor Morgan then Director General appointed a Surgeon in the general Hospital, with a recommendation from the Director General to the State of Connecticut for an additional pay from that State, which was complied with and two Dollars per Day added to his continental pay; a recommendation of the same kind to the Massachusetts Assembly was proposed to me but I declined it; Doctor Turner was from that Time consider'd by many as Director for the State of Connecticut 'tho one of the youngest Surgeons in the Hospital; these Circumstances are not mentioned with the least Design to reflect on any Gentleman, but to shew the expediency of the Continental Congress settling some general plan for the military medical Department, and the Danger of delay least the respective States should make distinct establisments for their own Troops; a Step which if taken will be attended with many inconveniences some of which are very obvious; the expence (which must I suppose be finally borne by the united States) being unknown may be immense, Gentlemen who entered the service with disinterested views may be supersceded by others who in the begining did not chuse to risque any thing, and perhaps would never enter the service if they could make as much in any other way; he must be more or less than man who can bear this and continue in the service—the Regiments of each State must be kept together during the time of their enlistment, or else detatched Regiments must for want of a general provision suffer more than they have ever yet done. And even supposing all the American forces were to be collected and continue in one place, the different provision made by the several States as they might be more frugally or liberally inclined would necessarily beg[et] such Jealousy and Heart-burning, as no f[riend?] to America can ever wish to see take place. I am with the sincerest respect and Esteem Your obedient and most humble Servant
[signed] Isaac Foster3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esq member of Continental Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Dr Isaac Foster 1777 ans. Ap { 149 } 21.”; in CFA's hand: “April 7th.” The MS is mutilated where the seal was removed.
1. Surgeon for the 3d Massachusetts Regiment (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 590).
2. Turner had served at Bunker Hill and thereafter as surgeon to the 8th Connecticut Regiment and to Connecticut troops generally (same, p. 552).
3. Foster, a Charlestown physician, was Deputy Director of the Eastern Medical Department (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:262–268). Foster outlined his early medical career in the army in a letter to JA of 14 June 1776 (vol. 4:314).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gordon, William
Date: 1777-04-08

To William Gordon

[salute] Dear Sir

I had your Favour of 27 March by this Days Post. That this Country will go Safely through this Revolution, I am well convinced, but We have severe Conflicts to endure yet, and I hope shall be prepared for them. Indeed there is one Enemy, which to me is more formidable, than Famine, Pestilence and the sword, I mean the Corruption which is prevalent in so many American Hearts, a Depravity that is more inconsistent with our Republican Governments, than Light is with Darkness. If We can once give Energy enough to our Governments, and Discipline enough to our Armies to overcome this base Principle1 of Selfishness, to make <the People feel themselves> Citizens and soldiers, feel themselves the Children of the Commonwealth, and love and revere their Mother so much, as to make their Happiness consist in her service I shall think We have a Prospect of Tryumph indeed.
Your Design, sir of collecting Materials for an History of the Rise, Progress and Issue of the American Revolution, is liberal and generous, and as you will find it a laborious Undertaking, you ought to be encouraged and assisted in it. I should be very willing to contribute any Thing in my Power, towards So usefull a Work. But I must frankly tell you there is very little in my Power. So far from making Collections myself I have very often destroyed, the Papers in my Power, and my own Minutes of Events and their Causes. We are hurried away in such a Kind of Delirium arising from the Multiplicity of Affairs, and the Disorder in which they rise in Review before Us that I confess myself unable even to recollect the Circumstances of any Transaction with sufficient Precision to assist an Historian.2 There are Materials however in Possession of the Secretary of State, and others in the War Office, which will be preserved. The Mass Bay { 150 } however was the first Theatre and your History should begin at least from the Year 1761.3
Your Correspondent, whoever he is, has a Talent at Panegyrick enough to turn an Head that has much less Vanity in it, than mine. Sometimes however the Extravagance of Flattery is an Antidote to its Poison. I shall not however be made to tremble to think of the Expectations that will be formed from me, by such wild Praises. No such Attributes belong to me: and I am under no concern about answering to what may be justly expected of me. Alass! Who is equal to these Things?
The Affair of the Treasury of H.C. is a delicate Business,4 and as I have no particular Connection with it, I believe it will be most prudent for me to mind my own Business, and give myself no Trouble about that.
Mr. Hastings's Petition will be attended to, I believe, and hope, and his allowance made more adequate to his Merit and services.
I hear a Committee is come to the Jersies, to know how many Troops are to be posted in our State. I hope, our State will not think of detaining any of them. For the Lands sake let Us have an Army this Year to oppose an Army, that the Campaign may be neither so disastrous, or so disgracefull as the last.
I should be glad to hear from you as often as your Leisure will Admit, and I am with Respect yours &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. The rest of this paragraph was interlined. The sentence was to have ended with the final ten words of the paragraph, which were crossed out and then repeated after the addition was made.
2. For Gordon's use of JA's papers, see Adams Family Correspondence, 1:229–230 and JA, Papers, 3:313, 332–333, 403.
3. The final two sentences of this paragraph were interlined.
4. Treasurer John Hancock's delays in giving an accounting of the funds of Harvard College, for which he was responsible, was becoming a scandal. See vol. 4:111, note 4.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1777-04-13

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] My dear sir

In considering a Letter from the General, sometime ago, in the Board of War, it was agreed to report to Congress a Resolution, approving of the Laboratory at Sprin[g]field, and such a Report was made, but upon some Opposition to it, it was ordered to lye on the Table, where it has lain ever since. I will, move to have it taken up and determined. Some Gentlemen will oppose it, par• { 151 } ticularly the President, I believe, thinking Brookfield the best Place. I am not very clear myself, that it is the best, but from a greater Confidence in the Opinion of General Washington and General Knox, than in my own, I voted for it, and shall continue to do so.
I will hazard a Conjecture, concerning the Motions of the Enemy, in which very few here agree with me. I think they are neither to move up Delaware, nor Hudsons River untill they have a Strong Reinforcement. They are turning their Men out upon Staten Island to graze—to breath a fresh keen Air, and to take a Course of Exercise for the Recovery of their Health. Depend upon it, sir, their Army, at this season of the Year, is too Sickly relaxed and enfeebled, to take the Field, and it is too early if they were healthy. It would lay a foundation for a sickly disastrous Campaign.
It is not to be expected that every State will furnish, their full Quota of Men, nor shall We have occasion for such a Number, unless the Enemy, have a Reinforcement greater than We have any Idea of at present. I can have no Conception of the Necessity of Sixty or Seventy thousand Men to oppose an Army of Ten or Eleven thousand, in one Place and another of seven or Eight only in another. Our Men are as good as theirs, and I am not afraid to treat them Man for Man. If our Officers will not lead their Men I am for Shooting all who will not and getting a new set. It is high Time for Us to abandon this execrable defensive Plan. It will be our Ruin if We do not. Long Lines, and defensive Systems have very near, undone Us. Our Men New England men especially universally detest and despise, defensive operations, and are dispirited by them, in such a manner as to be good for nothing. But they will follow a Spirited enterprizing Officer any where. We dont understand Sufficiently the Doctrine of Diversions. One Thousand Men upon Long Island would find Employment for three or four Thousand of theirs. So might a few others upon Staten Island. But our Army has ever been such an hugh enormous Mass of Deadness and Torpor, that I dont wonder their Inactivity has bred the Plague among them.
We must have a fighting enterprizing Spirit conjured up in our Army. The Army that Attacks has an infinite Advantage, and ever has had from the Plains of Pharsalia1 to the Plains of Abraham, the Plains of Trenton and Princeton. I will perish if our Troops behave ill if you lead them on to an Attack.2
{ 152 }
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Intended for G. Green but not Sent, being too unpolite.”
1. The fertile plain outside the city of Pharsalus in Thessaly, where Caesar decisively defeated Pompey.
2. JA was answering several comments in Greene's letter of 5 April (above). The oblique attack on Washington's generalship was reason enough not to send the letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0087

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-13

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

The Enemy made an attempt to surprise General Lincoln.1 This morning they advanced by three divisions. One crossed the Rarotan about a mile above Head Quarters—the second division came up in front of the Town—the third to the left of the Town and crossed the River cald Boundbrook. Besides these three divisions there was a Corps of de reservs commanded by General Mathews.2
The Padroles and Guards posted by General Lincoln were negligent or else the Tories—who are perfectly acquainted with the ground brought the Columns in between the Padroles and Guards. Which of the two was the cause of the surprise or whether they both concurd to produce it, I cant tell. The General had but Just time to draw off the Troops from between the heads of their two flank Columns—which kept up a warm fire as our people past between them. Our Artillery consisting of three, three pounders and the Ammunition belonging to them fell into the Enemies hands and most of the men were made Prisoners belonging to the Artillery and two of the Officers.3 There was about 20 Artillery men made Prisoners and about forty Battallion men kild wounded and missing. General Lincoln had one Aid de Camp made Prisoner and lost almost all his Papers. This is a great misfortune as it will inform the Enemy of many disagreeable circumstances. The Enemy were supposd to be between four and five thousand strong at least. General Lincoln had about five hundred Continental and militia Troops. The Action began about five oClock, the Enemies loss must be considerable. Col Butler4 with about three hundred excellent Marksmen had a good fire upon one of the Heads of their Columns for a considerable time. I am posted at Baskinridge about 12 miles from this place. The Enemy had Evacuated the Town before I got here. They held it about an hour.

[salute] I have not time to add any thing further only that I am with great respect your obedient Servant

[signed] N Green
{ 153 }
NB this opportunity presented to write and as its uncertain where the Generals express will reach the City as soon this Gentleman I thought proper to write you.
1. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln was commander at Bound Brook on the Raritan, seven miles above Brunswick, where the British marched from (Freeman, Washington, 4:408–409; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:411).
2. Brig. Gen. Edward Mathew (Freeman, 4:250, note 119).
3. Lts. William Ferguson and Charles Turnbull, of the 4th Continental Artillery (Washington, Writings, 7:411).
4. Lt. Col. Richard Butler of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 51).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bowdoin, James
Date: 1777-04-16

To James Bowdoin

[salute] Sir1

It is difficult to ascertain with Precision the Designs of the Enemy: But by the best Intelligence We can obtain their Malice and Revenge against New England, is implacable.
Their Intentions, most probably, are, to come over the Lakes and enter N. England by that Way, to attack it by the Way of Rhode Island, and also by the Way of the North or the East River. An Armament, may possibly be destined to Cheasapeak Bay by Way of Diversion.
The Surest Way to defend New England is, to send along all your continental Troops to their Destinations at Fish kill and Ti.
Congress have this day passed a Resolution in the Offensive Stile.2 The Character of New England, is concerned in the Execution of it. I hope in God, that little Banditti of the Halt and blind in Rhode Island will be destroyed in all Events. If it costs us Thousands of Lives it ought to be done. But I believe by an Expedition prudently conducted, they may be driven off or made Prisoners without any considerable Loss.3 I am sir with great Respect your most obt. Svt
[signed] John Adams
RC (M-Ar:vol. 196:421).
1. Bowdoin was a member of the Council. This same day Samuel Adams and James Lovell drafted a message, possibly to the speaker of the House, which was to be sent in the name of the Massachusetts delegation and enclose the congressional resolution mentioned below (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:326–327).
2. The congress recommended that Rhode Island with such forces as it had, aided by Massachusetts and Connecticut militiamen from towns near Rhode Island's borders, attack the British on the island of Rhode Island. Further, Washington was directed to appoint a general officer to lead the attack (JCC, 7:272–273). Much against his wishes, Gen. Clinton had been ordered in Nov. 1776 to take several thousand troops to Newport to secure that area as a safe anchorage for the British fleet. Soon after their arrival, Clinton sailed back to England, leaving Hugh { 154 } Percy, his second in command, in charge. Control of the Newport area bottled up in Narragansett Bay the American fleet under Como. Esek Hopkins (William B. Willcox, Portrait of a General: Sir Henry Clinton in the War of Independence, N.Y., 1964, p. 119, 122).
3. The proposed expedition did not take place at this time. In Aug. 1777 a surprise attack was planned. Land forces led by Gen. Joseph Spencer were to be supported by fire ships and Continental naval forces from Providence. The actual operation, mounted in October, was a dismal failure (JCC, 8:661–662).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1777-04-16

To James Warren

An unfortunate Vessell has arrived from France. The brave Fellow who commanded her, is blown to Pieces in her. A French Nobleman who came in her, got on Shore and brought the Letters.1
We have Letters from our Commissioners of the Sixth of Feby.2 —much in the Same Strain with the former of Jany. 17. tho not quite so encouraging. They say there is an universal Apprehension that We shall submit. They had not heard of the Turn of Affairs at Trenton. A Letter from London says, “So many Bankruptcies were never known. Two W.I. Houses have failed for one Million two hundred Thousand Pounds.3 Stand firm, say our Friends in England, and nothing can hurt you.” The British Ministry are very angry with France for the Assistance she gives Us and threatens to declare War. A Quarrell between the Ministry and the Court of Spain, about the Mussketo Shore.4—a fresh Quarrell bet. Turks and Russians.5
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “April 16 1777.”
1. For some details of this episode see JA to AA, 13 April (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:209–210).
2. The Commissioners wrote three letters of this date, two to the Committee of Secret Correspondence and one to the president. One discouraging item was the suspension of the tobacco agreement reached by the Farmers-General with the Commissioners earlier (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:261–265; JA to James Warren, 31 March, note 2, above).
3. The Commissioners' letter says eight hundred thousand not two hundred thousand pounds.
4. See Intelligence from London, 31 Jan. (above).
5. Mentioned by the Commissioners, this quarrel, they felt, made it unlikely that Britain would be able to obtain Russian mercenaries.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0090

Author: Palmer, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-16

From Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear Sir

I have too many kinds of public business, to admit my looking into the matter of Finances, and examining the Same with that { 155 } precision which the Subject demands;1 but some methods must be taken, as Speedily as possible, to sink the Bills of Credit. Taxes will draw in large Quantities, and Lotteries will operate in aid to Taxes: And I think that you ought to borrow hard Money; ¼ the Sum emitted in Bills, will, in hard Cash, form a Sum Sufficient to establish the Credit of the other ¾. We have in contemplation, a Lottery for seting up and carrying on the Manufactures of Salt, Lead, Sulphur, Allum and Copperas. And we are forming a Sinking Fund for Annuities upon Lives. If we had some Men of leisure, who wou'd attend to the Subject of Finances, I doubt not but other means of increasing the public revenue, might be pointed out. We have also in contemplation, to lay a duty of per Cent upon the Prizes brought into this State. And we are now revising the regulating Bill.2
My most respectful Compliments attend your Brother Members; I have wrote a few lines to Mr. Hancock, and inclosed a Copy of a Report of a Committee respecting Boston Harbor, and accompanied with some Plans, which you will See.
Your Family and Friends are all well, so far as I know. Mrs. Howard, late Mrs. Mayhew, was buried yesterday. My Mrs. Palmer fails very fast; I feel very apprehensive about her.3

[salute] Adieu my dear Sir, and pray let me hear from you as often as is convenient. I remain your truly affect. Friend & Servt:

[signed] J: Palmer
1. Palmer was answering JA's request for advice of 20 Feb. (above).
2. Which measure Palmer meant by the “regulating Bill” is not certain. For the regulatory law governing vessels leaving the state, see JA to James Warren, 6 April, note 3 (above). Two other regulatory laws were undergoing reconsideration in this period: the ban on the export of certain commodities and the setting of prices on a long list of products. The first of these was being considered for repeal, the second for revisions and better enforcement (William Tudor to JA, 16 March, notes 3 and 4, above; Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 5th sess., p. 279, 287).
3. Mrs. Palmer did not die until 1790.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0091

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-19

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterday I came to this place; all things remain much as they were; a few Companies have come in from Connecticut, and many more on their march, 'tis said that two thousand are on their march from that State, and many from Massachussetts. The constant complaint here is, that there are but few troops and the { 156 } reinforcements come in extremely slow,—which is too true. On my way to this place I spent a night with General Lincoln, he gave me a particular account of the late surprise,1 by all the informations respecting that affair I conceive that General Lincoln's generalship was good, that he took every precaution which wisdom and vigilance would dictate in his situation, that the misfortune happened by the want of vigilance in some of the Guards, and that when the General had information of the Enemy he had a choice of difficulties, and but few moments to determine and to act in, of which he made the best improvement.
With respect to my Department,2 the troops are scattered over the face of the Earth in such a manner, in small divisions, and scraps of companies, that a proper Return of the Musters cannot soon be made, but I mean to push this matter as far as may be possible. I have applied to the General to have those appointments made which he is authorised to make, (with respect to Deputy Muster Masters in the several grand Divisions of the Army,) but he is so extremely hurried with business that he cannot attend to it immediately, and must have time to think of proper persons, &c. I am making out a proper form for a Muster Roll, a Copy of which I intend to furnish each Deputy Muster Master with, that all the Rolls may be as correct and uniform as possible; and hope soon to have matters which respect my Department in such a line that I may leave it to a Successor, and lend a hand to quicken the motions of our Naval Department at Boston.3
The opinion here is that the Enemy will make some movement soon, perhaps it might be advantageous, it might serve to rouse the people of the United States from a lethargic state, into which some of them have fallen, to activity and zeal.
May Heaven ever be propitious to the Members of Congress and make them wise as Angels of God to conduct the vast Concerns of America, is the devout and most ardent wish of Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant
[signed] Joseph Ward
1. For the British skirmish with Lincoln's forces, see Nathanael Greene to JA, 13 April (above).
2. With the replacement of Gen. Artemas Ward by Gen. Heath, Joseph Ward, secretary to Gen. Ward, was freed for another position. On 10 April he was named Commissary General of Musters with the rank of colonel (JCC, 7:252).
3. Presumably Ward is referring to the Massachusetts Board of War, to which the General Court had given supervision over { 157 } naval as well as military affairs. Although Ward may have known that a Continental naval board was being considered for Boston and the New England area, it was not created until 19 April (Charles Oscar Paullin, The Navy of the American Revolution, Chicago, 1906, p. 329–330; JCC, 7:281).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0092

Author: Freeman, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-23

From Samuel Freeman

[salute] Sir

The General Assembly of this State frequently receives Petitions from Soldiers who have met with losses while in the Army, some who were inlisted Soldiers and some who serv'd as Militia Men—praying that they may be made good to them. Others who were taken sick on the Road and have been at an Expence pray that their Accounts may be allowed. I mention this to you that if you think proper you may propose to Congress to give some general Order in this respect. I think if this State pays such Accounts they should be repaid by Congress, unless each State should pay their own Soldiers—and if so, it should be known.
I beg leave to inform you that We have given liberty to Privateers [&c.?] own'd in and mann'd from Towns that have rais'd their Quota of the Army to sail.
We have orderd 2000 Militia to be detached to Rh. Island.1
We have expell'd Coll Bowers from the House.2
We have impowerd Coll Craft to reinlist his Regiment for 3 Years.
The House has sent to the Board for concurrence a Resolve recommending the Town to instruct their next Years Delegates or Rep. to prepare a new Constitution of Government.
The Board have propos'd to us by Message that this matter might not be taken up now.3 The House have answered that this is the best time—and desir'd the Board to concur their Resolve.
We have granted Mons. Faneuil4 who lately applied to Congress for lieve to raise a French Regiment £700 to bear his and his Officers Expences that they may return home.
The House is determind to carry into Execution the Bill against Monopoly and Oppression5—and are about passing an Additional Act.
The Board have concurrd our Resolve relative to Government with an amendment—viz That in forming the Constitution the Board shall have a Right of negativing.
The House have not acted upon the amendment yet.6
I mean to oblige your Honour by communicating these matters. { 158 } If I miss my Aim Your Candour I depend upon to excuse me. I am Your Honors most obedient & very hum serv in hast
[signed] Saml Freeman
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Freeman ans. May 6. 1777.”
1. On 12 April the General Court called upon the militia regiments of seven eastern counties plus Worcester co. to furnish the men to march at once to Rhode Island for reinforcing Gen. Spencer. They were to serve two months (Mass., Province Laws, 19:877–878).
2. For his refusal to accept Continental currency in payment for debts owed to him and for saying he had always opposed independence, Jerathmeel Bowers of Swansea was deemed on 7 April unworthy to hold any commissions under the Massachusetts government (same, 19:865–866).
3. The Council message stressed that the times were too dangerous and unsettled for constitution-making: Rhode Island was asking for military help; the British could descend on Boston; and secret enemies would seize upon any opportunity for trouble-making. The system of government approved by the congress and in use for nearly two years might better be continued until conditions were right. Pennsylvania, where some officeholders had resigned in disgust, was a good example of the consequences of hasty action (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 13, Unit 2, p. 248–253).
4. Faneuil was one of a growing swarm of French officers who sought employment in the Continental Army. Washington, who had received from Faneuil more than one scheme for recruiting men, warned the congress of the uselessness of many of these foreign officers, who, he believed, were merely adventurers (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:169–171). On 13 March the congress responded by resolving to discourage them from coming to America. Their lack of knowledge of English and their desire for field-grade commissions put major obstacles in their path. Yet on 24 March the congress did give Faneuil a brevet commission of colonel, but without pay or rations (JCC, 7:174, 196).
5. That is, the act regulating prices.
6. The resolution that passed on 5 May included the Council with the House in one body for the purpose of making a constitution (Mass., Province Laws, 19:932–933).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0093

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-23

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

I have been very Unwell and Absent for A fortnight. I returned here Yesterday. While I was at home I had the great pleasure of receiving several of your favours, perticularly those of March 31. April 1st. and 3d. with the Inclosures, and since my return yours by Capt. Arnold of the 6th. Instant. I think myself greatly Obliged to you for the Entertainment as well as Intelligence and Information derived from them. As these have all come safe I regret the loss of that that you say contained the bold truths.1
I am pleased to see our Affairs in so good A way. I think A war in Europe must soon take place. It is Impossible that under all Circumstances, it should even by the Meaness of Britain be prevented, and if our Army is Obtained with the powder and Arms { 159 } sent us by the kindness of Providence I beleive we shall be ready and Able to fight Britain with or without A war in Europe, especially if their funds begin to fall. Almost every thing is done to fill up the Army, and since the Arrival of the Arms here they are all on the March. On Sunday last arrived here A french Ship loaded with Goods, on Account of private Adventurers.2 Her Cargo is very valuable and Consists of some Articles much wanted. Arms she has a few, and has 5000 Blankets. She is Armed with Guns, has A Commission to make reprisals if disturbed, and the super Cargo is ready to take Continental Bills. I begin to be very easy about their Credit, and to Conceive they will be as valuable as silver.
We had last Sunday A prize brought into Plymouth. She was bound to Antigua with A load of Beef and butter, and last Evening I heard of the Arrival of Another at Cape Ann, with 2000 bbs Beef and pork.3 I suppose she was bound to York. The Amazeing damage we should have done them as well as the Advantages derived to ourselves make me Execrate the policy of stoping our privateers. I always Opposed it. We have now got A resolve passed to let them loose on Conditions they will Cruize with Manly under his Command 25 days,4 perhaps we shall make A fleet of 10 or 12 sail of them soon and some of them 20 Gun Ships. We hope by this to sweep one of their fleets, and to do great Execution. We have for Encouragement Engaged An Indemnification for losses which prizes are not sufficient for. I can easily Conceive we might have had A fine fleet of our own by this time. Our frigates in Concert might have taken several of theirs, that have for the most part Cruized single. Your Ships are however in harbour here, but is said have Consented to sail together. Last Evening the Board of War received An Express from Cape Ann, that the Milford5 and A tender were yesterday nigh there and took A Schooner. They are Endeavouring to get out Manly and McNeal to take her.
We are sending A reinforcement of 2000 Men to Rhode Island. A draft from the Militia for 2 Months. What the state of the Enemy is there I am not Able to say. I believe their land force is Inconsiderable. I was told Yesterday not more than 1400.6 I wish your Ships at Providence were out. There is no difficulty in Effecting it, and I wish the troops on the Island whether 1400 or 4000 were driven of[f]. I think there is no difficulty in Effecting that. The Honour of New England is Concerned in this Matter { 160 } and Men enough for such An Enterprize might be had at once. They must however be Militia and the Estimation of them runs very low with our Military Gentry who have forgot from whence they came, and of what Materials they are now some of them half formed. This is to go by Capt. Ayres7 who Informed me Yesterday of his design to set out this Morning. I dont know his Business but I suppose to Apply for some Appointment in the Navy. I have not much Acquaintance with him. He seems to be An Active Smart Man, has been long at Sea, and as he has Commanded one of your Schooners with reputation, I could wish he might Succeed. I Am Yours &c.
I have this Moment an Account of an Arrival at Portsmouth of great Consequence.8 The perticulars of the Cargo as they come to us are as below. There came in her A Colonel and A Number of Officers of the Train to the Number of 24.
58 Brass Cannon and Carriages
Tents for 10,000 Men
Cloathing for 12,000 Men
Stands of Arms 5,700
Powder about 10 Tons
Great Numbers Blankets
Lead and Ball. uncertain how much
3 Months passage Arrived last Sunday.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren. April 23d. 1777.”
1. See JA to Warren, 6 April, note 2 (above).
2. The ship was from Bordeaux (Independent Chronicle, 24 April).
3. Probably the prize captured by Capt. Robert Parker, commander of the New Hampshire privateer Portsmouth (same; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:1226).
4. The General Court resolution was passed on 22 April (Mass., Province Laws, 19:902–903).
5. British naval vessel under the command of Capt. Andrew Barkley (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:1264).
6. The original British force at Newport was considerably reduced by Gen. Howe's drawing off men in making ready for his forthcoming campaign. In February, Howe wrote Lord George Germain that he had removed from Rhode Island one British brigade, as well as companies of grenadiers and light infantry. Percy was left with one troop of the 17th light dragoons (thirty-seven men plus officers) and one British and two Hessian brigades. Two regiments to a brigade would mean a total per brigade of a little over one thousand officers and men if the regiments were at full strength (Howe to Germain, 12 Feb., Gentleman's Magazine, 47:141; Edward E. Curtis, The Organization of the British Army in the American Revolution, New Haven, 1926, repr. Wakefield, Engl., 1972, p. 4–6).
7. Capt. John Ayres had commanded a vessel in Washington's fleet and ships taking part in prisoner exchanges (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 7:passim).
8. The ship Amphitrite from France (Independent Chronicle, 24 April; JCC, 7:335). This was one of the vessels under charter to Roderique Hortalez and Co. (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 8:397, note). For the colonel mentioned, see Warren to JA, 27 April, note 4 (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0094

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Freeman, Samuel
Date: 1777-04-27

To Samuel Freeman

[salute] sir

Your Favour of 25 March I duely received. The Plan of riding you mention, between Boston and Falmouth, appears to me, reasonable enough, but the Committee will not incline to take upon themselves, Regulations of that kind of which they cannot be so good Judges, at this Distance as the Post Masters who are nearer. My Advice would be for Mr. Hastings, Mr. Libby and yourself, to confer upon this subject with each other, in Person or by Letter and, any Representation of this Matter to the Post Master General, Mr. Bache, in which you three can agree will no doubt be readily adopted.
Mr. Hastings's Memorial has been considered, and the Post Master General has been impowered to make an Addition to his Allowance, not exceeding two hundred Dollars a year which I hope will do him Justice.
I wish it was in my Power to send you, the Constitutions of the several States, but it is not. They are not to be had here. I wish you Success, equal to your Desires, in establishing an happy Form of Government. But the Rage of Speculation and the Flames of Passion have Spread so far, in our State, that I am not without my Fears that you will be too much divided in sentiment to erect a very vigorous Government. Our State abounds with ambitious Men, in such Numbers, and with avaritious ones, who are still worse, and with others in whom both Passions unite, in a great degree, who are the most dangerous of all, that I fear our Government, will be turbulent, our Laws unstable, and consequently our Exertions too languid.
Time however, may correct Extravagances, and make our Posterity happy, but I much fear that our Happiness of the present Age must consist chiefly, in the Contemplation of theirs.
You and I however, I hope shall have the Consolation of reflecting that We have done our Utmost, upon the purest Principles of Philanthropy, to promote the Happiness of the present as well as future ages.
I find it difficult to get an opportunity of sending the Journals of Congress, such of them as are printed. But will embrace the first I can see.
I hope that our State, will compleat its Complement of Men, to a single soldier. This Campaign, will be the most interesting, and I have Strong Hopes, will be the last that will be attended { 162 } with much Hazard or Difficulty. At least the stronger We are this Year, the more likely it will be to put a Period to the War. I am, sir, with much Respect, your most obedient sert
[signed] John Adams
RC (MeHi).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1777-04-27

To William Tudor

Aha!—exchanging the Pride, Pomp and Circumstance of Glorious War, for the soft Charms of Wedlock and domestic Felicity,1 I suppose—abandoning Gun, Drum, Trumpet, Blunderbuss and Thunder, for the less terrible Sounds of the Wranglers at the Bar.
Well! Young Folk must have their Way. But I suppose by that Time you have laid the Foundations of a Young Tudor or two, you will be on Fire again with military Ardour, and get into the Army.
You wont find the Pleasures of Books, and the City active and violent enough for your Nerves so long Stretched with the Grand and sublime Events of War.
I believe it lies with the Agent to employ whom he will in filing Libells. But I have been so long out of the sceene that I know nothing about it. There will be soon a Navy Board in Boston, and then it will lie with them. Who the Men will be I know not. Men of Business and Integrity I hope. It would give me Pleasure to give you Business, if in my Power, but I dont know how.2 I am &c.
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); docketed: “Apl 27th. 1777.”
1. Tudor married Delia Jarvis in March 1778 (MHS, Colls., 2d ser., 8 [2d edn., 1826]:285). It seems to have been an assumption of JA that Tudor's leaving the army would lead to marriage, for Tudor's most recent letter to JA known to the editors, that of 10 April and not printed here, makes no mention of marriage.
2. Tudor's letter of 10 April had sought JA's help in getting business in the admiralty courts.

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0096

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: UNKNOWN
Date: 1777-04-27

To Unknown

I think it is Montesqueiu, who, Somewhere observes, that the English of Charles's days were perpetually bewildered in their Pursuit of a Republic, for being themselves extreamly corrupt, { 163 } they Sought, in vain for that pure and disinterested Principle upon which, alone, a Commonwealth can Stand.
The Principle of Republican Government, is as little understood in America, as its Spirit is felt. Ambition in a Republic, is a great Virtue, for it is nothing more than a Desire, to Serve the Public, to promote the Happiness of the People, to increase the Wealth, the Grandeur, and Prosperity of the Community. This, Ambition is but another Name for public Virtue, and public Spirit. But the Ambition which has Power for its object, which desires to increase the Wealth, the Grandeur, and the Glory of an Individual, at the Expence of the Community, is a very heinous Vice.
What Shall We Say of Oliver Cromwell? What Shall We Say of others, his Coadjutors? Can We Say, that they were actuated by a Love of the Public? Were they not governed by Selfish Motives? I make no Scruple to confess that I think Oliver, totally destitute of the Republican Principle of public Virtue. He thought himself honest, and Sincere. So did Balaam, when he asked Leave to curse Israel. There never was a greater self deceiver than Oliver Cromwell. The Man after Gods own Heart, to whom Nathan Said Thou art the Man, deceived himself, in the Same manner.2 How sincere was he, when he felt such honest Indignation against the Man, who had taken his poor Neighbours Lambs.
We, in America, are So contaminated, with the Selfish Principles of Monarchy, and with that bastard, corrupted Honour, that Monarchy inspires, that We have no Idea, no Conception, no Imagination, no Dream, of the Passions and Principles, which Support Republics. What will become of Us? God knows.
The Commissary General,3 this Evening related me an Anecdote, which gave me great Spirits as it seemed an Evidence that Integrity was not lost out of the World.
He Said that in comparing his Accounts he missed Seventy Pounds, and puzzled himself a long Time, to no Purpose to discover, where it could be gone. For several Months he had given it up, as lost and unaccountable. At last Coll Cary4 of Bridgwater, <of whose military Abilities, I have no Opinion,> came to him and told him, that after he went home from Cambridge where he had commanded a Regiment of Militia, he paid off, every Bill, and had Seventy Pounds left. He recollected that he had received no Money but from the Commissary General, and therefore that he { 164 } must have received too much. This accounted for the Commissarys Loss. Here was Integrity. If all Americans, were Carys, We should be fit for a Republic. But, how many Carys have We? I am afraid to Say how few I think We have.
LbC (Adams Papers). Since this letter lacks the usual notation “Sent,” as well as a salutation and the name of the recipient, it may not have gone out.
1. Preceding this letter in the Letter-book are two entries. One, dated 16 April, begins an answer to a letter dated on the 5th. Its first sentence is left incomplete. Very likely it was intended for Nathanael Greene, since it ends with “I yesterday obtained the approbation of C[ongress]” (see Nathanael Greene to JA, 5 April, note 1, above). Next there follows this notation: “April 27. wrote ten Letters. G. Greene. G. Knox. S. Freeman Esq. Dr. Cooper. J. Hastings. Dr. Foster, Mr. Tudor. G. Warren and two to Portia. These will go by Capt. Thompson or by next Wednesdays Post. They are as well worth copying as any others, but I am weary of the Employment.” The date given was the day on which JA recorded this information; the ten letters were actually written over a period of several days. Thus, letters were written to AA on 26 and 27 April (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:223–226). Greene mentions receiving a letter dated the 27th, but Knox and Hastings acknowledged receipt of letters dated the 25th, the latter mentioning “Your Favor per Capt. Thompson of April 25” (all below). We have located letters to Tudor and Freeman dated the 27th (both above), but letters of this period to Greene, Knox, Cooper, Hastings, Warren, and Foster have not been found. The letter to Warren dated 27 April (JA, Works, 9:462–463) should be dated 3 April [May?] 1777 (see below).
JA wrote to more than one correspondent about his fears for the survival of republican government in America, most recently to William Gordon (8 April, above), but for whom the present letter was intended remains undetermined. That JA began it without a salutation suggests it was intended for someone well known, for only occasionally to close friends did he omit a salutation in this period. None of these had recently raised the problem of republicanism.
2. 2 Samuel, 12:7.
3. Joseph Trumbull.
4. Col. Simeon Carey of the Massachusetts militia (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 143).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0097

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-27

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Since I wrote you by the post on last Thursday,1 Nothing very material has taken place here. Two Frigates have for some time been Infecting our Coasts. A species of Insult that has ever Gauled me, and more especially since we had Ships sufficient either to take or drive them off, lying in our harbours for months sufficient to build and Equip A large fleet. The Ships now on the Coast have taken several Vessels mostly small ones. One of them they gave their prisoners and sent them on Shore with A Message and Challenge to Manly, and McNeil and all the Armed Vessels in this harbour, this has roused the Indignation of the Officers and Tarrs, United their wishes with Ours, and given us { 165 } An Opportunity which many of us thought should not be Neglected. We accordingly Appointed A Committee to Confer with your Captain and Agents, and to treat and Contract with the owners and Commanders of private Vessels, to go to Sea and meet the Challengers.2 We have by lending Money to Manly and Mcneil satisfied them. We have contracted for 2 or 3, 20 Gun Ships and 6 or 7 smaller ones to be ready to sail on the first day of May and to Continue with, and be under the Command of Manly for 25 days, we Insureing the Owners against loss and damages, giveing the Men A Months pay, and puting them on your Establishment in Case they loose Life or Limbs. With these a Number of Others will go, and Agree to Continue under the Commodores Command for the same time for the sake of geting out.3 If we don't meet the Ships we shall get the Continental Ships, and the privateers to Sea, instead of detaining them here by an Embargo against all good policy. It will be therefore A great point gained. I hope Congress will Approve the measure, and refund the Expences.
I have been several times, in Company with the Colonel4 who came into Portsmouth in the Ship lately Arrived there, and am much pleased with him. He is sensible and polite, has A fine Appearance, and every Air and manner of A Soldier. He is An Irishman brought up in France from his Youth, and Talks pretty good English. He is Modest but if I have any Skill in Physiognomy will fight. He says he is determine to deserve any thing you give him, will not serve under the Baron de Bore5 who Arrived in the first Ship, had rather be A Drummer under An American Officer.
I hope the Court will rise this week and give me A little respite, and time to Study Tull6 but after all our Study, I don't know but Mrs. Adams Native Genius will Excel us all in Husbandry. She was much Engaged when I came along, and the Farm at Braintree Appeared to be Under Excellent Management. I tryed to persuade her to make A Visit to her Friend Mrs. Warren but she can't leave Home this Busy Season.
I could wish the Agents you may send here to purchase Cloathing or other necessaries for the Army may be Instructed not to violate our Laws, Assume too great A Superiority, or Interfere with our Board of War, who are really Agents for you without Commissions or pay, and do Business for you in the best manner. This wish is suggested to me by An Altercation now { 166 } subsisting between some of them and the Board, who shall purchase the Cargo of the Frenchman lately Arrived here. Tho the Board of War had Engaged what they chose to take and have Offered the Agents every Article they may want, such things may give the French an Ill Opinion of us. My regards to all Friends, I am as Usual Yours &c.
I thank you for your two letters of the 6th. of April which came safe to hand. I am glad to hear you have it in Contemplation to put your Naval Affairs on A better footing. I have not the least difficulty in supposeing that they would have made A very different figure in Other hands. The selfishness and Incapacity you mention are well placed, and have Injured them much.
Livingston and Turnbul7 two Young Gentlemen are Employed here by your secret Committee to purchase Cloathing &c. They Inform me they are going to return soon, and Expect there will be a new Appointment in their room. Would it not be better to Appoint some person here. Mr. Otis8 on the Committee of Cloathing, last fall procured and sent forward great quantities of Cloathing for the Army. If Agreable to you I could wish you would mention him to that Committee. He has by his Conduct on that Committee and the services he did the Army deserved the Appointment.
I Intended this for A short Letter but I always fill the paper when I write to you. I want to see some Resentment shewn to the Portuguees. It wont perhaps do to declare War against them or to make Captures of their Ships for they do only what they cant help, but An Interdiction of Commerce with them made in the stile of the high and Mighty states of America might as Carmichal9 hints have An happy Effect.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren April 27. 1777.”
1. Warren's letter was dated 23 April, a Wednesday.
2. The committee, appointed 25 April, included Warren, Tristram Dalton, William Cooper, and Capt. Jonathan Gardner from the House, and Thomas Cushing, Moses Gill, and Benjamin Austin from the Council (Mass., Province Laws, 19:908).
3. See resolves passed 26 April (same, 19:912–914).
4. Thomas Conway, a thirty-year veteran in the forces of France, was appointed a brigadier general by the congress on 13 May. He had been recommended by Silas Deane (JCC, 7:349; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:202). Conway is associated with the misnamed Conway Cabal of a later period.
5. Chevalier de Prudhomme de Borré, who arrived in the Mercury and whom the congress appointed a brigadier general on 11 April, his rank to be effective from 1 Dec. 1776. Like many others, he was recommended by Silas Deane (Pennsylvania Gazette, 9 April; JCC, 7:256).
6. Jethro Tull, English agricultural reformer and author of The New Horse-Houghing Husbandry: or an Essay on the { 167 } Principles of Tillage and Vegetation, London, 1731 (DNB).
7. Abraham Livingston and William Turnbull were appointed at the end of 1776 (JCC, 7:220).
8. Samuel Allyne Otis, brother of James and of Mercy Otis Warren, was a member of the House of Representatives. He was named Massachusetts agent of the clothier general, James Mease, in Sept. 1777 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:471–480).
9. William Carmichael, secretary to Silas Deane, wrote on his own from Amsterdam to the Committee of Secret Correspondence on 2 Nov. 1776 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:184–190). How Warren learned of Carmichael's remarks about Portugal or whether he had access to the entire letter is not known to the editors. JA's letter to AA which quoted and paraphrased some of Carmichael's letter without mentioning his name did not include the passage on Portugal (to AA, 3 April, Adams Family Correspondence, 2:197–199).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: UNKNOWN
Date: 1777-04-28

To Unknown

[salute] Dear Sir

We are now very near the Month of May, and the Enemy, are in the Midst of Us. They have an Army, in Canada, another in Rhode Island another in New York and the Jersies, which will enable them to take the Field, much earlier, than they did last Year.
Where is our Army, to oppose them? General Washington, has but a Small one, with him. At Ticonderoga, by Letters received this day from General Waine who commands there, We have not a Thousand Men.1
We have been continually flattered, with Assurances that many Men were inlisted, and marched and marching to Ti. and to Morristown. But none of them, or next to none arrive. What Purpose can it answer to deceive Us? If the Massachusetts is exhausted, if it is discouraged, if it neither can nor will afford its Quota of Troops, in the Name of Truth and Candor let Us know it.
The Lassitude of that State, has a most pernicious Effect, upon all others. Our Weakness in every Quarter, encourages the Tories every where, induces Numbers to fly to How and inlist with him. It has a dismal gloomy Effect upon the Whiggs. It is transmitted to England, and encourages the Ministerial People, and disheartens opposition. It is transmitted all over Europe, by our Enemies, and cannot be contradicted by our Friends, and has a pernicious Influence upon our Affairs abroad.
We are gaping at France and Spain for Support, and are behaving in Such a manner, as to discourage them from attempting our Relief. Depend upon it they will never Aid Us, While they think We are despairing of our own Affairs.
{ 168 }
Not a Single Company from our state at Head Quarters. What are We to think?
LbC (Adams Papers). Lack of the usual designation “sent” probably means that JA did not post this letter. Very likely it was meant for someone holding an influential position, perhaps James Warren in his capacity as speaker. JA may have decided that its tone was too sharp for mailing.
1. Named commander at Ticonderoga by Gen. Schuyler after Gens. Gates and St. Clair left to join Washington, Wayne had written to the congress on 2 April, assessing his situation. JA's letter may have been provoked by Wayne's saying that he had written directly to the Massachusetts Council urging it to forward the state's quota of troops (Glenn Tucker, Mad Anthony Wayne and the New Nation, Harrisburg, Penna., 1973, p. 44, 47; PCC, No. 161, f. 205).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0099

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

To James Bowdoin

[salute] Sir

There is a Letter from Dr. Lee, dated Bourdeaux Feb. 20th.1 which Says that he has a Letter from a confidential Friend2 which assures him that Ten Thousand Men, were obtained in Germany, and Vessell sent for them. That these with three Thousand British were to come out under Burgoigne. That Boston would certainly be attacked. That Howe would probably move towards Philadelphia. That Ministry depended much on beginning the Campaign early, and much upon the Divisions in Pensilvania.
The Reverse of affairs may have altered their Plan. But I thought it my Duty to transmit the Intelligence, whatever may be the Amount of it.
The surest Method of averting the Blow from Boston will be to quicken the March of your whole force to Peekskill. Depend upon it, if you do that, Howe must order all the Force to join him, or he will be extirpated. I am sir with great Respect, your most obedient humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Winthrop Papers); docketed: “Mr. Jno. Adam's Letter Phila. Apr. 29. 1777.”
1. A letter from Lee to the Committee of Secret Correspondence printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:272–273, gives the information here related, but its date is 18 Feb. Lee did write to his brother on the 20th, and JA very likely saw that letter and confused it with the earlier one. Lee's second letter from Bordeaux mentions twelve thousand Germans and Britons who will be sent against New England in the spring (MH-H:Lee Papers).
2. Very likely John Thornton, Arthur Lee's secretary, who was in the pay of Lord North and furnished the Americans with false information in return for information helpful to the British (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 1:539).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0100

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

To James Warren

[salute] Dr sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0101

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

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0102

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

From James Bowdoin

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0103

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

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

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

[salute] Yours sincerely

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0104

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

To James Warren

[salute] My dear sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0105

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

From Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0106

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0107

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

To Samuel Freeman

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0108

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

To Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0109

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

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0110

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

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0111

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0112

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

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0113

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

From Donold McDonold [i.e. Joseph Ward]

[salute] Sir

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

If we were dead

Who'd eat your bread?

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0114

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

To Nathanael Greene

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0115

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

From Henry Knox

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0116

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0117

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

From Jonathan Hastings Jr.

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0118

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

From Thomas Jefferson

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0119

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0120

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

Massachusetts Delegates to the Speaker of the House of Representatives

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0121

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

To Nathanael Greene

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0122

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

To Thomas Jefferson

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0123

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

From Andrew Henshaw

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0124

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

Resolution on Pardoning Power

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0125

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

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0126

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

From John Sullivan

[salute] My Dear Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0127

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

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0128

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

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0129

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

To John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0130

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

From William Gordon

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0131

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0132

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

From John Sullivan

[salute] My Dear Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0133

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

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0134

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0135

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

Motion on Gunning Bedford

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0136

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

From Apollos Morris

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0137

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

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0138

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0139

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0140

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

From Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant

[salute] Dear Sr.

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0141

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

From Thomas Crafts

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0142

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0143

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0144

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

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0145

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

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0146

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

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0147

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0148

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

From James Warren

[salute] Dr. Sir

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

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

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

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

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

Enclosure: Richard Varick to Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0150

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

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0151

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0152

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0153

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

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0154

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

New England Delegates to George Washington

[salute] Sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0155

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

From John Lowell

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0156

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

From William Gordon

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0157

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

From Benjamin Rush

[salute] Dear sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0158

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0159

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

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0160

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

Board of War Resolutions

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0161

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

To James Warren

[salute] My dear sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0162

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

From Thomas Jefferson

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0163

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

To William Gordon

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0164

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

From Andrew Henshaw

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0165

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

From Andrew Henshaw

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0166

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

From Joseph Nourse

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0167

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

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0168

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0169

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

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

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0170

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

From James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

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