Papers of John Adams, volume 6

From Edward Rutledge

The Commissioners to Vergennes

296 To Edmé Jacques Genet, 17 July 1778 JA Genet, Edmé Jacques To Edmé Jacques Genet, 17 July 1778 Adams, John Genet, Edmé Jacques
To Edmé Jacques Genet
Passy, 17 July 1778 1

In your forty Eighth Number of Affairs de L'Angleterre et de L'Amerique I find, in Page sixth, marked number I. Resolutions des sauvages contre l'armee Angloise, and in Page 7 marked No. III. Adresse des Principaux Habitans de cette Ville a Robert Rogers, Major General (nomme par le Congres) et Commandant en chef des savages.

Both these Papers, you may rely upon it, are Forgeries, and that no such Resolution or Address ever existed.

It ought to be contradicted for many Reasons, but especially because if uncontradicted these Papers will be considered by Historians as Proof, that the Americans, first engaged the savages to take an active Part in the War, and will give a Colour to the Argument of the British Administration, that the Indians must be engaged on their side to prevent them from engaging on the other, whereas nothing is further from the Truth.

All the Treaties with the Savages made by Congress, or by Commissioners under their Authority, were that they should be neutral. So far from soliciting their Alliance, the Congress, more than once refused the services of Indians. The Honour of employing Indians is wholly British.

This Robert Rogers,2 instead of being addressed by the principal Inhabitants of Philadelphia, was made Prisoner by the Council of safety, the first day of his Landing in that City, and enlarged upon his Parol, in Violation of which he afterwards made his Escape to New York, and had there a Commission given him by General Howe.

from that Body, he never had any a Single Voice in his favour.3

Nor had he ever any Conferrence, or Concert with Indians, since this War began, as is asserted in Page 8 Number 4.

The whole of this is an Imposition on the World, and you may assert it to be so boldly, for there are Witnesses enough, who can prove it to be so, among whom one, is your humble sert,

John Adams

RC (Justin G. Turner, Los Angeles, 1958). Fire damage has resulted in the loss of several words.


The date is supplied from the letter as it appeared in Affaires de l'Angleterre et de l'Ame'rique, “Lettres,” vol. II, cahier 49, p. cxxiv–cxxv. The body of the letter deals with documents numbered I, III, and IV that appeared in Affaires, “Journals,” 297 image 298vol. 11. The cahier and page numbers supplied by JA are correct.


JA's account of Maj. Robert Rogers is substantially correct, for in 1776, as president of the Board of War, JA had dealt with the question of what to do with him. Rogers' arrest apparently occurred because of Washington's suspicions, probably the result of Rogers' previous employment by the British on the frontier and recent return from England. Following his escape to New York, Rogers formed the Queen's American Rangers ( DAB ; see also vol. 4:255).


It is impossible to supply the missing words from the MS, but the corresponding paragraph in Affaires is as follows: “Jamais le Congrès ne lui a donné de commission; encore moins le grade de Major-General, quoiqu'il l'eût sollicité. Mais il n'y a pas eu dans le Congrés une seul voix en sa faveur” (Congress has never given him a commission, much less the rank of major general, although he had solicited it. Moreover, there was not in the congress a single voice in his favor).