Papers of John Adams, volume 2

To Joseph Palmer

To William Tudor

From William Tudor, 26 September 1774 Tudor, William JA From William Tudor, 26 September 1774 Tudor, William Adams, John
From William Tudor
Dear Sir Boston Sepr. 26th. 1774

Mr. Revere arriv'd late on friday Evening and brought Us your Letters. Each one communicated the animating Intelligence convey'd in them to his particular Circle, and by 11 o'Clock the next Morng. the Contents of your Letters had circulated through the Town.1 The Assurance you give us of the Unanimity that prevails in the Congress2 has banish'd the only Fear we had remaining—a Disunion of Sentiments. You would be surpriz'd to see the happy Effect this Assurance has had. The important News flew like Lightning, and as it flew, brightened and invigorated. A convincing Proof of the great Dependence we place in your Counsels and from whence you may form some Idea how anxiously we wait for the Result of your Deliberations. The Luxury and Corruption that has debauch'd and deprav'd all Ranks in great Britain has led them to treat public Virtue as a public Jest, and to consider the Love of one's Country as the most idle Reverie. But I hope this Country will soon demonstrate to that mistaken Nation, that Patriotism is not a Chimaera, and that Americans in full 175Vigour retain that heroic Virtue which once directed the Conduct of their Ancestors as well as ours.

It is now almost four Months since the unrighteous, cruel Port Act took Place, and though it has been carried into Execution with an unparalell'd Severity, the People are resolv'd to keep the Harbour blockaded to Eternity, rather than basely submit to the tyrannic Edicts of a British Parliament, in which every Principle of sound Policy has been made to yield to the Dictates of ministerial Revenge, back'd by royal Obstinacy.

The Bostonians have learn'd to suffer and their Sufferings have operated in making them more determined. Take one Instance, Sir, among a hundred others. The other Day being at the North End I fell into Conversation with an honest Ship Carpenter. Very dull Times Mr. R.—“Yes Sir very dull. The last Vessel which was upon the Stocks in this Part of the Town was launch'd this Week, and there is not like to be another set up, for the admiral will not let them sail, after they are launched.” This is very discouraging, pray don't you think it almost Time for Us to submit, pay for the Tea and get the Harbour opened. “Submit! (reply'd the indignant Mechanic) NO—it never can be Time to become Slaves. I have yet got some Pork and Meal, and when they are gone I will eat Clams. And after we have dug up all the Clam Banks, if the Congress will not let Us fight, I will retreat to the Woods. I am always sure of Acorns.”

What a Roman! By Heavens I glory in being this Man's fellow Citizen. When I meet with such Sentiments from such a Person, I easily anticipate the Period when Bostonian shall equal Spartan Virtue; and the American Colonies rival in Patriotism and Heroism the most celebrated of the Grecian Republics. Your hum. Servt.

Will Tudor

Pray, Sir continue to write me. Your Letters are the best Presents I can receive.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esqr A Member of the American Senate convened at Philadelphia”; docketed: “Tudor Wm September 26th 1774.”


JA's diary entry for 18 Sept. concludes; “Wrote many Letters to go by Mr. Paul Revere” ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:135). We know that he wrote two on this date, [1] and [2], to AA, as well as one to Richard Cranch ( Adams Family Correspondence , 1:157–160), but he wrote also this same day to Josiah Quincy Jr. and to James Warren, although this last has not been found (see James Warren to JA, 16 Oct. 1774, below). The Boston Gazette printed about half the letter to Cranch, without identifying writer or recipient; just above this extract is another, also from Philadelphia, dated 18 Sept. (Boston Gazette, 26 Sept.). This extract, which could be from the letter to James War-176ren, reads: “The Contempt and Abhorrence in which Addressors, Protestors, and sworn Councellors are held here, are ineffable.” JA, by his own account, had opposed sending any address from the Suffolk bar to departing Gov. Thomas Hutchinson, and Warren had Written to Adams about Plymouth “protestors” ( Works , 10:38–40; Warren to JA, 3 Jan. 1774, above).


This assurance, besides being in one of JA's letters to AA, may have been contained in several other letters unknown to the editors, perhaps in one to William Tudor. But the published portion of the Cranch letter may have served to call forth the “happy Effect” that Tudor mentions: “The Congress will support BOSTON and the Massachusetts, or Perish with them.”