Papers of John Adams, volume 3

To James Warren

To James Warren

To James Warren, 25 October 1775 JA Warren, James To James Warren, 25 October 1775 Adams, John Warren, James
To James Warren
Octr. 25th. 1775 Dear sir

Governor Ward of Rhode Island has a son about five and twenty years old who has been so far carried away in the Absence of his Father, with a Zeal for his Country as to inlist into the Artillery as a private.1 He never Said a Word to the Governor about, or he would have had a Commission. A younger Brother, who solicited of his father Permission to enter the service, was made a Captain.2 Now it is a Pity, that this young Gentlemans Patriotism, should not be encouraged and rewarded, and it is a greater Pity that an Elder Brother should be a private soldier in an Army where his younger Brother is an officer and a Captain—and a greater Pity still that a Governor of a Province and a worthy Member of the Continental Congress, and the Constant Chairman of our Committee of the whole House, Should have a deserving son in the Army in the Ranks, when Multitudes of others in Commissions have no such Pretensions.

I wish you would mention this Matter at Head Quarters and see if any Thing can be done for him. The Governor had no Expectations I believe that I should interest myself in this Matter, but the Fact 244coming accidentally to my Knowledge, I determined to write about it immediately, and I knew not how to set the Thing in Motion.

I write every Thing to you, who know how to take me. You dont Expect Correctness nor Ceremony from me. When I have any Thing to write and one Moment to write it in I scratch it off to you, who dont expect that I should dissect these Things, or reduce them to correct Writing. You must know I have not Time for that.

RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon. James Warren Esq. Speaker of the House Watertown”; docketed: “Mr. J A Lettr Octr. 1775 X.”


Charles Ward (b. 1747). JA's concern that the son of a governor and member of the congress did not have a commission suggests a view of the fitness of things characteristic of the period and not unknown in our own day. Compare James Warren's response on 14 Nov. (below). On 1 Jan. 1776, Charles Ward was appointed an ensign in the 25th Continental Infantry, an appointment that pleased Samuel Ward (to Catherine Greene, 10 Feb. 1776, Samuel Ward, Correspondence of Governor Samuel Ward, May 1775 – March 1776 [ed. Bernhard Knollenberg] and Genealogy of the Ward Family, comp. Clifford P. Monahon, Providence, 1952, p. 187, 214; Heitman, Register Continental Army , p. 568).


Samuel Ward Jr. (1756–1832) was a captain in the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, and at this time was probably on his way to Quebec, where he was captured in December during the siege ( DAB ).