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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0018

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-24

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

You Will doubtless hear from several quarters of the arrival of admiral Greavess squadron who anchored of point Judith 4 days since.1 You have heard from better hands of the present situation of this Country, the Military Manuvers, the political opperations, the Disinterestedness of the Inhabitants and the purity of the Manners.
You have been told that the New Constitution has been accepted, that there is a Canvasing for Elections, and a sighing for the Post of Honour, which however Corrupt the times is not Yet Considered a private station. And perhaps you may hear one of the first acts under the New Establishment is a prohibition of the Trade Newly opened with Britain for the Benefit of a set of Inactive, unoffending, Innocent Men, who to be out of Harms way, have not till Lately shewn themselves in the Capital.2
But these are Matters which Lie so much out of the sphere of Female Life that I (of Late) seldom advert to them any further than is Necessary to Discharge the Duties of the Wife, the Mother, and the Friend, which occupy Every sentiment of my soul. Yet as the first I listen to the Transactions of state, or I should be unworthy of the union with your patriotic friend, and this Leads to Every attention the second Character Can Bestow on the Education and Conduct of { 29 } his sons, a Deficiency in Either would Cut me off from the Claim which Friendship makes on a small portion of your time.
But as I would not Encroach too far on Those Moments Every one of which I must suppose more usefully Employed, Brevity is the first injuction I lay on myself when I take up the pen to address Mr. Adams: who will always permit me to write from the Native Dictates of a feeling Friendly Heart unadorned with the Flatering Epithets of the Courtier or the Complimentary Style of the polished Lady Eqally pleased with the Embassadour and with Herself.
But as Man Notwithstanding his acknowledged superiority of Ability, Breaks through the Barriers of the Wisest Legislation, no Wonder a feble Woman Should Counteract her own Maxims. This must be my apology if I fill up this sheet and this I shall plead as part of my Excuse for writing a second time to a Gentleman before I have been Honoured with a Return.3
Yet perhaps a Letter wrote by a son whose welfare lies too near my Heart may not have reached you. If any Misfortune to him has prevented he will not need an introduction to you. Your affection to his Father insures him your Friendship, your Benevolence the tender offices of Civility and kindness and I hope his Modesty, Rectitude and Honour will Engage your Esteem.
But a youth of twenty-one seldom knows Either Himself, or the World sufficiently to parry the Thousand arrows which the Blushless Race, both from the toylette and the Gaming Table, Daily level at his Virtue. Yet when the Moral principles are untainted, the more he Discovers the Intriguing spirit of Man and the Duplicity of Human action, the more will he Revere that Probity which shines Conspicuous in a few and the stronger will be his Contempt for the Worthless part of his species.
Mrs. Adams writes fully by this opportunity4 which precludes the Necessity of saying more of your family on this side the Atlantic. To those on the other you will make the affectionate Regards of their and their Fathers Friend & Humble Servant
[signed] Marcia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr Paris”; endorsed: “Mrs. Warren ansd. 9. Decr. 1780”; by John Thaxter: “Mrs. Warren 24th. July 1780.”
1. Adm. Thomas Graves' fleet sailed from England on 17 May in pursuit of the French fleet under Ternay and as a reinforcement for the fleet under Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot at New York. Graves reached New York on 13 July, one day after the French had reached Newport. The combined fleet of Arbuthnot and Graves arrived off Rhode Island on 22 July, not the 20th as indicated by this letter. By then the French had fortified their posi• { 30 } tion and forestalled any British attack. Even so, the British fleet's presence curtailed any major offensive actions by the French navy (Mackesy, War for America, p. 328–329, 347–349; Stinchcombe, Amer. Rev. and the French Alliance, p. 135–137, 347–349).
2. For the “Trade Newly opened,” see James Warren's letter of 19 July, and note 2 (above).
3. Mercy Warren's previous letter was that of 8 May (above), requesting JA's assistance for her son Winslow Warren, to whom she refers in the next paragraph. For the fate of both that letter and Winslow Warren, see note 2 to the letter of 8 May.
4. Several letters by AA probably went by “this opportunity,” including those to John Thaxter of 21 July, CA and JQA of 22 July, and JA of 16 and 24 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:375–382).

Docno: ADMS-06-10-02-0019

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

I have but a Moment to write by the Mars, a Vessel belonging to this State, the Voyage having been kept secret upon political Accounts.
I congratulate you on the Arrival of the Fleet from Brest at Newport, commanded by the Chevalier de Ternay, after a Passage of about 10 Weeks: not a single Vessel of the whole Fleet missing.
You will hear before this reaches you of the Loss of Charlestown, in which Genl. Lincoln and his whole Army were made Prisoners of War, and four Continental Frigates taken. The Place it is said was well-defended: but the Enemy having Command of the Sea Coasts, and received repeated Reinforcements from N. York, and the Difficulty we found in sending Aid, occasioned it's Surrender on the 12th of May. I cannot, however, forbear to regret that more was not done, and earlier, for the Preservation of so important a Place.
This Loss, the late Irruption from New York on the Jerseys, and the Arrival of the Marquis Fayette who apprized us of the Armament coming from Brest, have awakened us. We have done not a little to reinforce the Army. This State has voted 5000 men for 6 Months, and 5000 Militia for 3 Months.1 Great Part of this Force has already join'd or is near the Army. Tho the Term is so short in which they are to serve it is at a vast Expence the Men are raised. The People, however bear their Burdens, from an Attachment to our great Cause. I am sorry that after all our Experience we still raise Men for such short Periods—But Sic se Res habent.2
The Descent upon the Jerseys was accompanied with the usual, or even greater Examples of Barbarity and Rage. Springfield was laid in Ashes: many Women abused, and the Wife of a Clergyman who had distinguished himself in the Cause of his Country, cruelly murdered. The Enemy were well opposed, and obliged at last to retire precipi• { 31 } tately by Genl. Green with an handful of Troops and the neighboring Militia. Their Loss in killed and wounded amounts we are told to 900.3
In the Midst of our Joy at the Arrival of the Fleet from France, and of our Exertions for the Campaign we received two days ago an Account that a British Fleet is off Newport, supposed to be Graves join'd with Arbuthnot. They are said to be 16 Sail or upwards; 8 of which are of the Line: The French have but 7 of the Line and few Frigates. We expect a second Division from Brest, and ardently wish for their safe Arrival; For if we have not a naval Superiority on these Coasts, I expect little from this Campaign, and that Britain will hold New York, Charlestown, and other important Ports in Spite of all the Efforts we can make.
This will be delivered to you by my Nephew Mr. Richard Cooper, in the Naval Service of his Country, and a young officer in Capt. Sampson's Ship. I long to hear from you and my dear Boys, and how they improve. Col. Johonnot was in Hopes to have embarqued for France before now, but could not arrange his Affairs for that Purpose early enough. He hopes however soon to find an opportunity of seeing you and his Son. We are both under the greatest obligations to you for your kind Care of our Boy, who I hope behaves well. His Father sent a Remittance to you, he tells me, by the last Opportunity. The Alliance is not yet arrived—nor the Letters and Accounts you mentioned to me; nor have I, or Col. Johonnot received a single Line by the Fleet.4 A few days ago a Pacquet from you was left at my House, directed to Mrs. Adams. I was not in Town, but Mrs. Cooper without the Loss of a Moment, went with it to Braintree, and delivered it to your Lady, who is well, and endures your Absence in the most important Service of your Country, with a noble Fortitude.5
Pray remember me to the Honb. Mr. Dana and all Friends. My most affectionate Regards attend the young Gentlemen your Sons.
With every Sentiment of Respect and Affection, I am Your's in every Sense
[signed] Samuel Cooper
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr. Cooper. July 25. ansd Decr. 9. 1780”; by John Thaxter: “Dr. Cooper 25th. July 1780 Recd. 19th. Septr.”
1. For resolves adopted on 5, 22, and 23 June, raising troops for three and six months service, see Mass., Province Laws, 21:519–524, 568–572, 575–577.
2. But such is our destiny.
3. For the British raids on Connecticut Farms (now Union) and Springfield, N.J., on 7 and 23 June respectively, see William Churchill Houston's letter of 11 July, and note 2 (above). Hannah Ogden Caldwell was killed during the attack on Connecticut Farms. She was the wife of Rev. James Caldwell, a noted Presbyterian minister, army chaplain, and patriot (DAB).
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4. In a letter of 28 Feb., JA had informed Cooper that he had written to both him and Johonnot concerning Samuel Cooper Johonnot's expenses since his arrival. Those letters, both dated 23 Feb., were to go on the Alliance (vol. 8:374–375, 355–356). See also Gabriel Johonnot's letter of 8 Sept. (below).
5. The packet delivered by Judith Bulfinch Cooper may have included JA's letters of 28 March and 3 May, which AA mentioned in her letter of 16 July (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:375).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2017.