Papers of John Adams, volume 5

Board of War Resolutions

From Thomas Jefferson

To James Warren, 18 August 1777 JA Warren, James


To James Warren, 18 August 1777 Adams, John Warren, James
To James Warren
My dear sir Aug. 18. 1777

The inclosed Copies, you will see must not be made public.1 You will communicate them in Confidence to such Friends as have Discretion. When you have made such prudent Use of them as you shall judge proper, be pleased to send them to the Foot of Pens Hill, because I have no other Copies and should be glad to preserve them.

It is in vain for me to write any Thing of the Northern Department, because you have all the Intelligence from thence, sooner than We have. The General Washington has ordered Morgans Riflemen and two or three more Regiments there. There has been a smart Action near Fort Schuyler, in which, our People were successfull, but with a severe Loss.2

I hope, the Mass. will exert itself now, for the support of Gates and the Humiliation of the blustering Burgoine. It is of vast Importance to our Cause that the Mass. should be exemplary upon this Occasion.

Howes Fleet and Army, are still incognito. When or where We shall hear of them, know not.

We are in deep Contemplation upon the state of our Currency. We shall promise Payment in the Loan offices of the Interest in Bills of Exchange on our Ministers in France.3 But Taxation My dear sir, Taxation, and Oeconomy, are our only effectual Resources. The People this Way are convinced of it and are setting about it with spirit.


RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J Adams. Lettr Augt 77.”


See Intelligence from London, 31 Jan., descriptive note (above).


The Battle of Oriskany of 6 Aug., in which New York militiamen under Gen. Nicholas Herkimer were ambushed by tories and Indians as they were marching to the support of the garrison at Fort Schuyler (Stanwix), on the present site of Rome, N.Y. The Indians gave up after hard fighting, but in proportion to the numbers engaged, American losses made this one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolution. Herkimer died a few days after the fighting (Ward, War of the Revolution , 2:484–488, 491). JA gained his information about the battle from letters read in the congress, two from Schuyler of 8 and 10 Aug. and one from Gov. Clinton of 13 Aug., which Washington had copied and forwarded (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:75; JCC , 8:647, 649–650; PCC, No. 153, III, f. 234–235, 242–243; No. 152, IV, f. 497–498).


A letter of 12 March – 9 April from the commissioners in France first made mention of paying interest on loans through bills drawn on them. The loan of two million livres made such payment possible (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:284, 286). On 9 Sept. JA was part of a small minority that opposed such payment of interest on loan certificates yet to be issued; the next day he favored using bills of exchange to pay interest on loan certificates already authorized ( JCC , 8:725, 730).