Papers of John Adams, volume 4

From Joseph Ward

Editorial Note

From Jonathan Trumbull, 25 March 1776 Trumbull, Jonathan JA Wythe, George From Jonathan Trumbull, 25 March 1776 Trumbull, Jonathan Adams, John Wythe, George
From Jonathan Trumbull
Gentlemen Lebanon 25th March 1776

Two accounts of loss by hostilities committed by the Ministerial Navy, which came to hand since my last, are enclosed.1

I do most sincerely congratulate you on General Washington's success—And on the shameful retreat of our Enemies from Boston—Which demand our humble admiration and praise of the supream Director of all Events, for His marvellous interposition for our help.

Tyranny and oppression have a natural tendency to move the Colonists, to a seporation from Great Britain. Nothing else could induce them to an Event so distant from their thoughts or designs. Burning and destroying our Towns, robbing our property, trampling on and profaning places dedicated to divine Worship and Service, and cruel treatment of the persons so unhappy as to fall into their hands, are injuries of the first magnitude. The prisoners in our custody meet generous entertainment. Is it not time the law of retalliation should take place? Every subtile art, as well as Arms are used against us. May God prevent their Operations, and turn their counsels to foolishness—preserve and increase the union of His American people, grant them Wisdom, and guide their public Councils.

I am, with great Esteem and Regard Gentlemen Your most obedient humble Servant. Jonth; Trumbull

RC (PCC, No. 66, f. 91); subscribed: “The Honble. Jno. Adams and Geo. Wythe Esquires”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Letter from Gov. Trumbull 25 March 1776 with two accots. of loss sustained by the hostilities committed by the ministerial navy.”


Trumbull wrote to JA and Wythe in their capacity as members of the congressional committee to receive reports on British depredations. There follow accounts and supporting affidavits, dated in March and Jan. 1776, respecting losses sustained through British seizure of the schooners James and Hannah.