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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Palmer, Joseph
Author: Orne, Azor
Author: Brown, John
Author: Otis, Joseph
Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Warren, James
Date: 1776-01-11

II. Report of a Committee on Fitting Out Armed Vessels

The Committee of both Houses appointed to consider a Plan for fiting out one or more Armed Vessels for the defence of American Liberty,1 have attended that service, and Report in the following Resolves, vizt.
[signed] John Adams Per order
Resolved that two Ships be built, as soon as may be, at the expence of this Colony; One Suitable to carry Thirty-Six Guns, vizt., Twenty <Four> Guns carrying twelve Pound Shot, and Sixteen Guns for Six { 381 } Pound Shot; and the other Ship suitable to carry Thirty-two Guns, vizt., Twenty Guns for nine Pound Shott, and Twelve for Six Pound shot; and that these Ships be built in a manner best calculated for swift sailing, and of Timber and other Materials suitable for Ships of War of such a number of Guns and weight of Metal, and furnished with a Suitable number of Officers, Seamen and Mariners and that all kinds of necessary Arms, Ammunition and Provisions be furnished for such Ships.
Resolved, That [] with such as the Honble. <House> shall join, be a Committee to carry the foregoing Resolution into execution as soon as possible; and that a Sum of Money, for that purpose, not exceeding [] be put into their Hands, they to be accountable to this Court for the expenditure of the Same.
In Council Jany. 11th. 1776 Read and sent down,
[signed] Perez Morton Dpy Secry
In the House of Representatives Jan. 12th. 1776
Read and ordered to be recommitted, and the Committee are directed to report an Estimate of the Expence of building and Furnishing the Vessels above proposed to be provided.
Sent up for Concurrence,
[signed] J Warren Spkr
In Council Jany. 12th 1776 Read and concurred,
[signed] Perez Morton Depy Secry
Resolved that Thos. Cushing Esqr. be of the aforesaid Committee on the part of the Board in the room of Jno. Adams Esqr. who is absent. Sent down for Concurrence,
[signed] Perez Morton Dpy Secry
Read and concurred. Sent up.
[signed] J Warren Spkr
FC (M–Ar: 137, p. 58); docketed, probably by Perez Morton, on a separate slip of paper bound in the volume: “Report to fix out 2 armed Vessels in Defence of American Liberty Jany 11th: Recd. Page 487”; also on the same slip but partially lost: “in Jany. 24 1776 [ . . . ].”
1. Formed on 29 Dec. 1775, this committee included JA and Joseph Palmer from the Council and Col. Azor Orne, John Brown of Boston, and Col. Joseph Otis from the House (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 94; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 405). JA's membership on the committee and his apparent authorship of the report probably arose from his involvement in naval affairs at the congress, his correspondence with people in Massachusetts on naval matters, and his request to the General Court that he be supplied with information on the naval resources of the province (JA to Elbridge Gerry, 5 Nov. 1775, above). The report was the first formal step in the creation of the Massachusetts Navy as distinct from the force of privateers authorized on 1 Nov. It was not, however, the instrument by which the ships for the navy were actually built. That { 382 } resolve, probably drawn up by the committee of 29 Dec., to which Thomas Cushing had been added in the place of JA, was passed on 6, 7 Feb. 1776 with an appropriation of £10,000 to build ten sloops of war. By the following July the first ships, led by the Tyrannicide, the Rising Empire, and the Independence, were ready for sea (Mass., House Jour., p. 192, 253–254, 256–257; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 539; Paullin, Navy of Amer. Rev., p. 324–325).

Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Foster, Jedediah
Author: Stone, Josiah
Author: Jewett, Dummer
Author: Brooks, Eleazer
Author: Warren, James
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Date: 1776-01-13

III. Report of a Committee on a Letter From George Washington

The Committee1 appointed to take into consideration the Letter from his excellency General Washington of the Tenth Instant,2 have attended that service and beg leave to report. That a Committee of both Houses be appointed to wait on the General and to assure him that this Court are zealously disposed to do everything in their power, to promote the Recruiting of the American Army and to acquaint him that they cannot be of opinion that the public Service will be promoted by offering a bounty at the separate expence of this Colony, or any other encouragement beyond that which has been ordered by the Congress, that they are still further from an opinion that the same service can be promoted by any coercive measures, or any other expedient than voluntary enlistment. But that this Court is willing if his excellency shall approve of this measure, to recommend any further temporary draughts from the Militia, that may be necessary to supply the present deficiencies, to be Continued untill the first of April next, and also to exert the Influence of this Court by recommending to the Selectmen and committees of correspondence and others to exert themselves and employ their influence among the People to promote and encourage by all reasonable methods the Recruiting service in the several Towns.
[signed] John Adams per Order
In Council Read and Accepted and Ordered that John Adams Esqr. with such as the Hone. House shall join, be a Committee to wait on his Excellency General Washington for the purposes expressed in the above Report.
In the House of Representatives Read and concurred and Mr. Speaker and Major Hawley are joined.3
Tr (M-Ar:Legislative Council Records, 34:490).
1. Formed on 11 Jan., this committee consisted of JA and Jedediah Foster from the Council and Capt. Josiah Stone, Dummer Jewett, and Maj. Eleazer Brooks from the House (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 140; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 450).
2. Washington expressed anxiety over { 383 } the strength of the army as shown in the returns of the previous day; moreover, he faced the prospect of the imminent departure of the New Hampshire militia after one month's service. He was also concerned about the number of men joining the provincial rather than the Continental Army in the belief that they would have easier duty and be closer to home. He complained further that officers displaced by the reorganization of the army were recruiting companies in the vain hope that they would be recommissioned. Their activities were interfering with authorized recruiters. Washington had become convinced that voluntary enlistments could not supply the needed number of men and wanted the General Court to devise a new system (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:227–229). The response of the General Court could not have been consoling, for it offered sympathy and little else.
3. JA, Speaker James Warren, and Joseph Hawley conferred with Washington not only on the General's letter of 10 Jan. but on that of 13 Jan. as well, which dealt with a shortage of firearms. The legislative report on this second letter was prepared by a specially appointed committee, but it was thought that the committee conferring on the first of these letters with the General could also confer on the second. Washington took the occasion to invite this three-man committee to attend a council of general officers (House Jour., p. 148; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 452, 458; Washington to JA, 15 [Jan.] 1776, below).
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.