Papers of John Adams, volume 5

From James Lovell

To Elbridge Gerry

From James Lovell, 18 November 1777 Lovell, James JA From James Lovell, 18 November 1777 Lovell, James Adams, John
From James Lovell
Dear Sir 18th. Novr. 1777

It appears by Returns this day received from Genl. Gates that Burgoine must have destroyed his Standards and almost every other military Trophy during the Capitulation. Not one Musket fit for use was delivered, not one Scabbard to a Bayonett or Cutlass. We are told that instead of piling the Arms the Enemy chose to ground them, that the Waggons might more certainly crush them. Gates does not notice this as a Breach of Convention, tho his Returns show the Facts; yet he says that if Howe obstinately refuses an honourable Cartel it is proper to delay fulfilling the Convention. I wish you had not left York till now, as I join in the Opinion of many here, Today, that a Committee ought to know the Facts first exactly from Gates, and be empowered to proceed from Albany to Boston, if found necessary. You know I was critical about not violating the Treaty: But the Returns have proved very unfair Dealing on the part of Burgoyne.1

You would scold me yourself if you knew how sick I am and what Hour of the Night it is. You must see Mr. S. Adams for I scrawl one Thing to him and another to you out of pure Oconomy.

Gates tells me on the 10th. “General Lincoln recovers apace.” With affectionte. Esteem yr. humb. Servt.,

James Lovell

A certain Lady2 has cried bitterly Today about Philadelphia and says “she had rather dye in its Goal than live in any other Place curse those who began the Trouble curse W .” This savours a little of Toryism. I really believe the two dear Men 3 were within the Wind of the Curse. But you will call this, Jeal-331ousy, Envy, and a Desire to rob you of your Portion of Honey; therefore I desist, and crawl to Bed in a starlight Morning.

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Lovell”; in CFA's hand: “Novr 18th 1777.”


On 19 Nov. the congress appointed a committee of three to consider Gates' return on enemy weapons and other materials surrendered. The committee's report on the 22d stressed the small quantities reported of expected materials. The congress plainly suspected false dealings. Meanwhile, Burgoyne charged a breach of faith in that accommodations for his army in Boston were not as promised ( JCC , 9:939, 948–951; 10:32).


Probably a reference to Mrs. Clymer, sister of Daniel Roberdeau ( Adams Family Correspondence , 2:353). See JA to James Lovell, 6 Dec. (below).


John and Samuel Adams, on leave from the congress and formerly guests in Roberdeau's home.