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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0016-0164

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-09

[Fryday August 9th. 1776.]

Fryday August 9th. 1776. The Board of War, brought in a report. Ordered to lie on the Table.
Resolved that the Secret Committee be directed to deliver to the order of the Board of War such Articles in their possession, belonging to the Continent, as, in the Opinion of the said Board of War, are Necessary for the Deleware Battalion.
William Heath, Joseph Spencer, John Sullivan, Nathaniel Green Esqrs. chosen Major Generals.
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James Read, John Nixon, Arthur St. Clair, Alexander McDougal, Samuel Holden Parsons and James Clinton Esqrs., Brigadiers.
Resolved that the hearing of Commodore Hopkins be postponed to Monday next at Eleven O Clock, and that Captain Jones be directed to attend at the same time.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0016-0165

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-10

[Saturday August 10th. 1776.]

Saturday August 10th. 1776.
The Board of War brought in a Report, which was taken into Consideration: Whereupon
Resolved, That Commissions be made out, and sent to General Washington to be delivered to the several Officers recommended in the List exhibited by the said Board, to fill the Vacancies mentioned in the said List, excepting those Persons recommended to fill the Vacancies occasioned by Officers being in Captivity; which ought not to be filled, but to be left open, untill those Officers shall be redeemed, and excepting the Case of Lieutenant Colonel Tyler, who is to have a Commission for Colonel of the Regiment lately commanded by Colonel Parsons, promoted: and that Lieutenant Colonel Durkee have a Commission of Colonel of the 20th. Regiment and that Major Prentice be made Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment in which he is now Major; and Major Knolton Lieutenant Colonel of the 20th. Regiment.
Resolved that William Tudor, Judge Advocate General, have the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army of the United States; and that he be ordered immediately to repair to the discharge of his duty at New York.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0016-0166

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-12

[Monday August 12. 1776.]

Monday August 12. 1776. A Letter from General Washington of the 8th. with sundry Papers enclosed, and one from General Mercer, with one inclosed to him from Colonel Dickinson, were read:
Resolved that the Letter from General Washington, with the Papers inclosed, be referred to the Board of War.
Commodore Hopkins had his hearing, as in the Journal. On this Occasion I had a very laborious task, against all the Prejudices of the Gentlemen from the southern and middle States, and of many from New England....1 I thought, however that Hopkins had done great Service and made an important beginning of Naval Operations.
The Record in the Journal stands as follows.
Agreable to the order of the day, Commodore Hopkins attended and was admitted, when the examination taken before the marine Committee, and the report of the said Committee in consequence thereof, were read to him; and the Commodore being heard in his { 406 } own defence, and having delivered in some farther answers to the questions asked him by the marine Committee and two Witnesses being at his request introduced and examined, he withdrew.
Congress then took into Consideration, the Instructions given to Commodore Hopkins, his examination and Answers to the Marine Committee and the report of the marine Committee thereupon; also the farther defence by him made, and the Testimony of the Witnesses; and after some debate the farther Consideration thereof was postponed.
It appeared to me, that the Commodore was pursued and persecuted by that Anti New England Spirit, which haunted Congress in many other of their proceedings, as well as in this Case and that of General Wooster. I saw nothing in the Conduct of Hopkins, which indicated Corruption or Want of Integrity. Experience and Skill might have been deficient, in several Particulars: But where could We find greater Experience or Skill? I knew of none to be found. The other Captains had not so much, and it was afterwards found, they had not more Success.
I therefore entered into a full and candid Investigation of the whole Subject, considered all the Charges and all the Evidence: as well as his Answers and proofs: and exerted all the Talents and Eloquence I had, in justifying him where he was justifiable, and excusing him where he was excusable.2 When the Tryal was over Mr. Ellery of Newport, came to me and said you have made the old Man your Friend for Life. He will hear of your Defence of him, and he never forgets a Kindness. More than twenty Years afterwards, the Old Gentleman hobbled on his Crutches to the Inn in Providence, at four score Years of Age, one half of him dead in consequence of a paralytic Stroke, with his Eyes overflowing with tears to express his Gratitude to me. He said He knew not for what End he was continued in Life, unless it were to punish his Friends or to teach his Children and Grand Children to respect me. The President of Rhode Island Colledge who had married his Daughter, and all his Family shewed me the same affectionate Attachment.3
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. Hopkins was, nevertheless, formally censured by Congress; see entries of 15, 16 Aug., below, and JA to Samuel Adams, 18 Aug. (NN; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:53–54).
3. Jonathan Maxcy, acting president of Rhode Island College (Brown University), from 1792, and president, 1797–1802, had married Susan, daughter of Esek Hopkins, in 1791 (DAB).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/