Papers of John Adams, volume 3

From William Tudor, 30 September 1775 Tudor, William JA


From William Tudor, 30 September 1775 Tudor, William Adams, John
From William Tudor
Cambridge 30th. Sepr. 1775 Dear Sir

The manoeuvers of the Camp have afforded Nothing important for a month past. The Works at Plough'd Hill are finish'd, but are useless, because we have not Powder to annoy the Enemy and if we had, it would be an idle Expence of it to expend it in Cannonading at such a Distance. The Enemy have fir'd from their different Works 2000 Cannon Balls and 300 Bombs, without killing ten men of ours.

When Orders were given for 1100 men under Col. Arnold to 174march for Quebec, the men offer'd so readily, that 5 Times the Number might have been draughted for this laborious and hazardous march, had they been wanted. We were in anxious Suspense, during their Passage from Newbury to Kennebeck; We have Accounts since of their safe Arrival in Kennebeck River, and are now only solicitous to hear of the successful Movements of General Scuyler.

The Lovers of Turtle in the Camp are like to be indulg'd with a feast of it, by the Marbleheadmen this Week taking a Schooner belonging to Lewis Gray, bound from New Providence to Boston, loaded with Turtle and Fruit.1 This is no very great Acquisition for Us, but will be a severe Disappointment to our ministerial besieg'd Enemy. The next Day some Boats from Cape Ann took a more valuable Prize, in the Capture of a Brig sent by Genl. Carleton to Boston from Quebec, with 45 horned Cattle and 60 Sheep on board, and the Hold full of Wheat.2 This is but a small Retaliation for the dayly Piratical Acts of Graves's Squadron. There is scarce a Vessel that escapes the Clutches of the Cutters and Men of War that infest the Coast. The Week before last they carried eleven Sail of Vessels into Boston, where after the Formality of a Trial in an admiralty Court, they are confiscated, to the Use of Graves and his Harpies. Notwithstanding these continual Depredations, our Assembly will not be prevail'd on to fit out Privateers.3 The Delicacy is absurd surely.

Two of the Enemy's Sentries left their Post on the Neck last Night and came over to our Camp. They are Privates of the 49th. Regiment. They say, Genl. Gage's Army, consists, sick and well, at Charlestown and at Boston of 6000 Men. That the Troops have the Scurvy very badly and generally, and that it is very sickly among them still.

The Carphenters are all at Work here, building 20 flat bottom Boats, which are to carry 50 men, and which with 250 Whale Boats, which it is said are ordered here, can carry 3000 Men. There are 3 floating Batteries which carry 1 Nine Pounder and 2 six Pounders each, besides, Swivells and small Arms. They are man'd with 30 Hands a peice. From these and some other Preparations it is conjectur'd, Some great Attempt will be made before the Winter sets in. A large Number of Hands are at Work on the Barracks, and it is expected by the End of October, the whole Army Will get into good Quarters.

To our great Astonishment the Surgeon General was this forenoon put under an Arrest for Corresponding with the Army in Boston.4 An intercepted Letter wrote in Characters, and some other Circumstances, have made the Suspicions very strong against him. His House has been search'd and all his Papers seiz'd, by the General's Orders. I am not 175now acquainted with any farther Particulars. You will doubtless have the fullest Information sent the Congress from Head Quarters. Good God! Doctor C——h prove a Traitor! What a Triumph to the Tories? But I quit the shocking Subject.

We have had no Letters from any of You, since the Meeting. I must beg Sir, you would continue your friendly Letters, and oblige me with some further Communications. I am Sir your most oblig'd and very hble Servt.,

Wm. Tudor

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble John Adams Esq.”; docketed: “Wm. Tudor Sep. 30. 1775.”


The schooner Industry, commanded by Francis Butler, was captured on 27 Sept. (Mass., House Jour. , 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 129–130).


The brigantine Dolphin, commanded by William Wallace, was captured on 28 Sept. by men from Gloucester (same, p. 131, 137; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 197).


Two days before Tudor wrote, the House of Representatives had appointed a committee to consider the “Expediency of fitting out a Number of Armed Vessels,” which brought in a favorable report on 9 Oct. On 1 Nov. “An Act for Encouraging the Fixing Out of Armed Vessels to Defend the Sea-Coast of America, and for Erecting a Court to Try and Condemn All Vessels that shall be Found infesting the Same” was adopted (Mass., House Jour. , 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 125, 151–152, 217; Mass., Province Laws , 5:436–441).


At the time of his arrest, Benjamin Church was not only director of hospitals for the Continental Army, but represented Boston in the House of Representatives and was a member of the Committee of Safety. On 3 Oct. a Council of War consisting of Washington and his generals ordered Church confined and then referred his case to the Continental Congress and the General Court. On 2 Nov. the House expelled him from that body. On 7 Nov. the congress resolved to have him jailed in Connecticut (Mass., House Jour. , 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 171, 186, 198, 200–206, 226; ( JCC ), 3:294, 297, 334). No final determination of his case was made until Jan. 1778, when he was allowed to take passage on the sloop Welcome, which apparently went down with all hands in a New England coastal storm (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 13:380–398).

To William Tudor, 1 October 1775 JA Tudor, William


To William Tudor, 1 October 1775 Adams, John Tudor, William
To William Tudor
Philadelphia Octr. 1. 1775 Dr Sir

I have at last the Pleasure to mention to you what I Suppose Mr. H.1 has informed you of, before, vizt that the Pay of the Judge Advocate is raised to fifty dollars per Month for himself and his Clerk, and this is to be allowed from the day he entered upon the service.

There was an Expression in your Representation to the General which alarmed me much, and put me to some Pain lest it should excite a Disgust.2 It was this “The Congress as I have been informed were wholly unacquainted with the Duties of a Judge Advocate, especially in the continental Army.” If this had been true, yet it was indecent to tell them of it, because they ought to be presumed to know 176all the Duties of this officer, but most especially in their own Army. The Construction that I put upon it, was that the Congress had never been made Acquainted with the orders of the General to the Judge to attend every general Court Martial, which made the Duty in the American Army, essentially greater than in any other. By this Interpretation, satisfaction seemed to be given and by the favourable Representation of the General, together with the friendly Notice of General Gates and some Members who had been at the Camp, this Matter was at last well understood, and Justice was done.

I am, very Sorry to learn, that you have been sick, but rejoice to hear you are better. I have this Morning received from my dear Mrs. Adams, two letters which have put all my Philosophy to the Proof.3 Never Since I had a Family was it in such Distress, altho it has often seen melancholly Scenes. I tremble for fear my Wifes Health should receive an irreparable Injury from the Anxieties, and Fatigues, which I know she will expose herself to, for the relief of her Family in their present Sick Condition. I fear too the Contagion of such an Hospital of an House. Whether to return I know not. We expect every Hour, momentous Intelligence from England, and from Schuyler and from Washington. And altho, my Presence here is not of any great Consequence, yet some of my Constituents may possibly think it of more than it is, and be uneasy, if I should be absent. At least, if I am here, and any thing goes differently from my Wishes, I shall have the Satisfaction to reflect that I have done all I could, however little it might be. Yet if I Stay here, I shall not be happy, till I know more from Braintree. Perhaps I may receive another Letter in a day or two. My Respects to your Father and Mother, and all Friends. Pray write me if you are well enough. I am, sir, your Friend,

John Adams

RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “To William Tudor Esqr. Judge Advocate in the American Army Cambridge favd by Major Bayard”; docketed: “Octr. 1st. 1775.”


Benjamin Harrison.


Tudor's memorial of 23 Aug. was enclosure No. 1 in Washington's letter to the President of the Continental Congress, and can be found in PCC, No. 152, I, f. 99–101. JA's quotation is not exact, but the meaning is unchanged.


Those of 8–10 and 17 Sept. describing the family's illness and the deaths of several others ( Adams Family Correspondence , 1:276–280).