Papers of John Adams, volume 3

To Charles Lee

From The Intelligencer

To James Warren, 13 October 1775 JA Warren, James To James Warren, 13 October 1775 Adams, John Warren, James
To James Warren
Octr. 13. 1775

Yours of october 1. and 2d I received this Morning with the Letters inclosed. These were from my afflicted Wife,1 giving me Such a continued History of her Distresses, as has affected me too much to write you a long Letter.

The Misfortune, or what shall I call it of the Surgion General had been represented here in several Letters in very glaring Colours untill one arrived from the secretary to the general, couched in Terms of more Temper and Candour.2 By your Account, and indeed by the Letter itself it appears an unaccountable Affair—Balaam praying for Leave to curse Israel, is the Emblem. A manifest Reluctance at hurting his Country, yet desirous of making a Merit, with the other Side—what shall We think! Is there reason to believe that other Letters have gone the same Way? I was so little acquainted with the World that I never heard a Suspicion to the Disadvantage of his Moral Character, untill I was lately with you at the Adjournment. I should scarcely have joined in a certain Recommendation, if I had heard before what I heard then3—for Honour and Fidelity violated in Such gross Instances in private Life, are slender securities in public. Be not concerned about your Friends at the Congress—their Recommendations 205will not be discredited by this Event. Gentlemen here have behaved universally with the Utmost Politeness, upon this occasion. They say they pitty us, for the Suspicions that there is danger may arise among us of one another, and the Hurt to that Confidence in one another which ought to be. But any Man ought to be kick'd for a Brute that shall reproach Us in Thought, Word or Deed on this account.

Our Accounts from Schuyler's Army are as agreable as yours from Arnold. We are in hourly Expectation.

Rejoice to hear of your Successes by Sea.4 Let Cargill and Obrien5 be put into continental service immediately I pray. We begin to feel a little of a Seafaring Inclination here. The Powder at Quebec, will place us all upon the Top of the House.

Your Letters are very usefull to me—and I cannot have too many, or too long.

I believe We shall take some of the twenty Gun ships before long. We must excite by Policy that Kind of exalted Courage, which is ever victorious by sea and land—which is irresistable—the Saracens, had it—the Knights of Malta—the Assassins—Cromwells soldiers and sailors—Nay N. England men have ever had it hitherto—they never yet fail'd in an Attempt of any Kind.

RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.);addressed: “The Hon. James Warren Esq Speaker of the House Watertown By favour of Mr. Tracy”; docketed: “Mr J: A Lettr Octr. 13. 1775.”


See James Warren to JA, 1 Oct., note 14 (above).


Washington to the President of Congress, 5 Oct. ( Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:9–13).


JA had a hand in getting Church his appointment as director of hospitals on 27 July ( JCC , 2:211).


That is, the capture of the schooner Industry and the brigantine Dolphin, mentioned in Warren's letter of 1 Oct.


Why JA mentioned James Cargill and Capt. Jeremiah O'Brien at this point is not clear. Warren does not name them, nor does the Journal of the House, in connection with the seizure of the two ships. Warren did mention Cargill on 9 Aug. (above), however. O'Brien had shown spirit in leading a group of men on board a sloop belonging to Ichabod Jones to pursue a royal tender, which had escorted Jones to Machias. This incident occurred in June and may have been reported to JA (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours. , p. 395–396).