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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0071

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-04

From William Tudor

[salute] Dr Sir

I was much oblig'd by the little Essay you sent me and more so by the Letter which accompanied it.1 The Plan proposed is an exceeding good System for the Government of the young and as yet uncorrupted States of America, and approaches so near the Form of the N. England late Constitutions, stript of their Inconveniences and monarchical Appendages, that I think it must be approved and soon adopted there at least. I hope a Number of these Books are sent to the Northward. I wish a hundred thousand of them were dispersed throughout the Continent. The Chair of Government is abdicated in almost every Colony upon the Continent; long Experience of British Politicks has convinc'd Us that a Reconciliation with Britain would be ruinous if not impracticable; a Degree of Confusion has prevail'd in every Province for Want of a Regular and an establish'd Government, and our Exertions against the powerful Enemy who has attack'd Us have consequently been less ardent than otherwise they would; Toryism in some Places, dares yet shew it's Head for Want of establish'd, settled Government to define the Criminality of it and punish it's Professors and Abettors as Traitors against the State. Ten thousand other Reasons might be adduced to show the Necessity and the Wisdom of immediately establishing a new Institution of Government. There are very few Whiggs who do not admit the Cogency of the Arguments for Independency, but the Timidity of the Men of large Property stops the Declaration of it. I hope Massachusetts will no longer procrastinate what sound Policy dictates to be done immediately; and that the May Election will not stop till three Branches of the Legislature are chosen and a Government completely formed. Pray Sir be at Boston this Month, You are greatly wanted there.
{ 170 }
It is certainly a Matter of much Importance at first to have the Chief Magistrate, or in Other Words the Governor a Man of great Respectability in Point of Fortune as well as Abilities and Virtue; in a Year or two the former may be dispensed with. I know of no Man who would be so universally approved for this high Office as Mr. Bowdoin. Though had he a little more Health and a little more Courage, he would do better.
The next Hour after I received your Book I lent it to a Gentleman of the Committee of []2 I have not had it yet returned. I must therefore take another opportunity of offering you my Sentiments on it. The Friends of Liberty in this City are Friends indeed. I never met with warmer advocates for the Freedom and Independency of America than I have found some here.
Major Austin is with his Regiment in Boston. Mr. Rice is gone with his Regiment to Quebec. I shook Hands with him at embarking, and he express'd much Satisfaction at being ordered to a Place, where he could best serve his Country. Rice is much belov'd by the Regiment in General; and is indeed a very clever Fellow.
The Regiments left at Boston are the 6th. Col. Whitcomb, the 14th. Col. Glover, the 16th. Col. Sargent, the 18th. Col. Phinney and the 27th. Col. Hutchinson—with one Company of Artillery under Capt. Burbeck. Lt. Col. Burbeck also remains.3 Your most obt. Servt,
[signed] Wm. Tudor
The Regiments gone to Quebec under B. Genl. Thompson are Col. Poor's, Patterson's, Greaton's and Bond's.4
Those under B.G. Sullivan are Stark's and Reed's5 with 4 Southern Battalions.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq Philadelphia”; docketed: “Tudor May 4. 1776.”
1. Thoughts on Government was apparently sent along with JA's letter to Tudor of 24 April (above), although JA did not mention that he was sending it.
2. Blank in the MS.
3. Cols. Asa Whitcomb, John Glover, Paul Dudley Sargent, Edmund Phinney, and Israel Hutchinson, Capt. Edward Burbeck, and Lt. Col. William Burbeck (Heitman, Register Continental Army, passim). For opinion on several of these officers and those mentioned below, see Samuel Holden Parsons to JA, 15 Aug. (below).
4. William Thompson; Enoch Poor, commander of the 8th Continental Infantry; John Paterson, 15th Continental Infantry; John Greaton, 24th Continental Infantry; William Bond, 25th Continental Infantry (same).
5. John Stark, 5th Continental Infantry; James Reed, 2d Continental Infantry; Anthony Wavne, 4th Pennsylvania Battalion; William Irvine, 6th Pennsylvania Battalion; William Winds, 1st New Jersey Regiment; Elias Dayton, 3d New Jersey Regiment (same; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:2).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0072

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-05

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have the honour of your Favour of the sixteenth of April.1 You observe, Sir, very justly, that every motive of self preservation, of honor, profit, and glory, call upon us to fortify this Harbour so as to be impregnable; and I hope we shall hear and obey. There has been a great clamour among many people against the Troops here because they did not go on faster with the Works, but you may be assured it has been without reason. The duty for Officers and Men has been made as severe as ever was known in our Army, and in many respects much more so; every Man off duty has been ordered upon fatigue in the several Works; Officers were directed to turn out their waiters, Cooks for the Companies, and all others who were not under necessity to tarry in the Barracks; and since we received intelligence of a British fleet being on their passage for Boston (which you will be informed of before this reaches you) the General directed all the Officers to turn out with their men upon fatigue, which they have chearfully complyed with, in order to have the fortifications compleated as soon as possible. The Army marched from this Colony for New York in such haste, that what Stores and implemants for War which were not carried away were left in great confusion, and in many respects we found things in as chaotic a state as when we first began an Encampment at Cambridge. Beside, our first time was employed in demolishing the Enemy's lines, and building a Fort on Charlestown Point, which appeared to me but lefthanded generalship; however it was directed by Southern Geniuses, whom I highly esteem; the wisest Men sometimes mistake.2 This short account of difficulties which we have had to encounter I mention that you and your honourable Colleagues may have a just idea of things in your own Colony; but shall say no more upon the score of difficulties, as this does not become a Soldier, and besides I hate the tone of Complaint.
Now for the bright side. We have almost compleated a strong well built Fort upon Fort Hill, and have a good number of heavy Cannon in it well furnished for immediate action; a Fort on Charlestown Point nearly finished, with Cannon; and a very good Fort on Castle Point with some heavy Cannon to rake the Pirates if they attempt to come by the Castle into the Harbour; a detachment of the Army is at work in repairing the Batteries at the Castle; and another detachment is at work on Noddles Island building a Fort on Camp Hill. Every wheel is set in motion that we can move to advantage, that if the Enemy pay { 172 } us a visit we may be able to give them a proper reception; and notwithstanding the dismal accounts you may hear from timid Souls, I trust that (let Hessians, Hanoverians, or whoever may come against us) “throughGodwe shall do valiantly and tread down our Enemies.3 It becomes us to prepare for the worst that can happen, as far as is in our power, but all fear ought to be a stranger to our breasts, except the noble fear of God ourKing.
You, Sir, are pleased to ask what will satisfy me with regard to the Government of America. I trust I shall ever have reason to be satisfied with what the Wisdom of the Congress may determine; the resolves for privateering and opening the Ports, are noble advances, but I humbly apprehend that nothing but a compleat American Government, as independent of all other Nations, as any Nation in Europe, will insure us “Liberty Peace and Safety;” and that the surest way to protract the war is to delay our declaration of total independence upon Britain. Can free born Americans think of a dependence upon any Nation, much less that Nation whose Rulers are Sons of Belial, and are pursuing us with an infernal rage. I receive great pleasure from believing it is the Will of Heaven that we shall never hereafter be dependent upon the corrupt and wicked powers of Britain, and that our Country will be a Land of Freedom where the oppressed may flee to and be happy; where learning and Science may flourish and true religion and virtue shine with all their native glory!
I would not forget to make my grateful acknowledgments to you, for your generous disposition to serve me. General Ward has leave from Congress to resign, which he intends to do immediately upon the appointment of a General Officer to take the command here, and he expects one will arrive very soon.

[salute] General Ward desires his Compliments may be made to you and his best wishes for your usefulness and happiness. I am Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant,

[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. As I often write in haste and with freedom if ever you suffer my Letters to be seen by others, you will erase what is not fit for their inspection.

[salute] P.S. Sir

As I expect General Ward will leave the Army in a very few days, unless some unexpected appointment should take place, I must leave it also. As I have served in the Army from the first day of the war to this hour without the intermission of a day, if my services have not recommended me to my country it would be vain to represent them { 173 } upon paper. It is extremely difficult for a person to say any thing with a good grace in favour of himself, or to mention an Office with propriety (if it is above his present station) which he would like to serve in, and nothing but your generosity and candor in desiring to have a hint of what I might have an inclination for could justify my mentioning any Office. I have never risen a step higher in the military Scale from the Battle at Lexington to the present time, (only had the office and duty of Secretary added to my other Office, without pay) but I was perfectly satisfied, thinking that in such a station, I could do more service to my Country than in almost any other; for by standing near the centre of motion I saw every movement and could touch many springs of action. By reason of some Providential circumstances which took place on the memorable ninteenth of April, it was proposed to me at first forming the Army to take a particular command, but for the reasons before mentioned I apprehended that duty required me to continue in the sphere where I first began to act, that I could there promote the general interest much more than if I had the command of and was confined to a single Regiment, and that no station, under the command of a Brigade, would give me an opportunity of doing equal service to the common Cause; therefore I always did prefer my station to any military command under what I have mentioned. If such Offices should always be filled with superior Men (which I trust will be the case) I shall have the noble satisfaction, with the Spartan, to “rejoice that my Country produces so many better Men than myself.”
Should any thing offer either in the civil or military, wherein I could have an opportunity of doing eminent service to my Country (however inferior the title of Office in the common estimation) I would chearfully engage, sensible that

"Honour and Shame from no condition rise,

"Act well your part, there all the honor lies.4

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honourable John Adams Esqr. Member of the Continental Congress Philadelphia Free”; stamped: “FREE N: YORK MAY*13”; docketed: “Major Ward May 5. 1776.”
1. Not found.
2. Ward's reference to “Southern Geniuses” remains somewhat obscure. On 23 March, Gen. Washington ordered Col. Henry Knox to build a battery at Charlestown Point, the execution of the work to be under the immediate direction of Lt. Col. David Mason. Both were Massachusetts men. Overall direction of fortifications in Boston was entrusted to Col. Richard Gridley, also from Massachusetts (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:421, 468; Heitman, Register Continental Army, passim). It may be that Ward knew something about those advising Wash• { 174 } ington, although the General made it clear that the legislature's wishes were to be followed also.
3. Psalms, 60:12.
4. Pope, Essay on Man, Epistle IV, line 193.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Winthrop, John
Date: 1776-05-06

To John Winthrop

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Letter by your son I have not received,1 but I hope to have that Pleasure soon together with that of waiting upon him here.
Your Brothers Right to the Office you mention cannot be questioned, but whether the Court will appoint two, and who they will be I can form no Conjecture, having never had any Conversation with any Gentleman upon that Subject. An Application was indeed made to me, in Favour of Mr. Henshaw2 when I was at Watertown, but I could give no opinion concerning it. Whether I shall have any Voice in the Appointment3 I know not, I rather think I shall not, because it must soon be made I suppose, and I shall not be soon in the Colony. But if I Should your son, sir, will be more likely than any one I know of at present to have it. But in such Cases every Candidate has A Right to have his Pretentions examined and impartially weighed, and therefore it would be improper for me to make any Promisses.
It gives me Pleasure to learn that our People are at last in Earnest to fortify the Harbour. Believe me, my dear sir, it is of the last Importance. I am very far, from being certain that the Armament, at Hallifax, with a large Reinforcement will not return to Boston. Nothing will prevent it, but the vigorous Exertion of our Government to render the Town inaccessible. There is not in the World, an Harbour, better fitted by Nature to be rendered impregnable by Fortifications than that is. I wish I was with you that I might be able to satisfy myself. Is there no such thing as getting upon Lovells Island, or Georges Island, and driving away the Men of War, which lie in Nantaskett Road. Can nothing be done at Hull or Point Allerton? I am afraid you are as destitute of active and capable Engineers as in Spirited Commanding Officers.
As to the Cannon taken by Hopkins, I fear that none of them can be Spared you. The Continent have so many demands for Cannon, for their Ships, and a Variety of service by sea and Land that I am afraid We shall not be able to obtain any of them. Congress have given our Colony all that belonged to it, and the King.
Am extreamly disappointed in the Experiments at Providence. I hope it is not certain and settled that We have not ore, in the Northern Colonies, which is fit for the Manufacture of Cannon.
{ 175 }
You rejoice me, very much by acquainting me, that there is Plenty of Materials for making Sulphur, in the Country. Wish to be informed in greater Detail, what these Materials are, where and when they were found, and whether the Art of sublimating it, is understood, among our People. There is a sulphur ore, in New Jersey, and We hear of it, in other Places. We have a Committee for salt Petre, sulphur, Powder, Cannon, Musquetts &c. but I dont hear So much from it as I wish.
Our People, you Say are impatiently waiting for the Congress to declare off from Great Britain. What my own Sentiments, are upon this Question, is not material. But others ask to what Purpose should We declare off? Our Privateers are at Liberty, our Trade is open, the Colonies are Sliding into New Governments, a Confederation may be formed but why should We declare We never will be reconciled to Great Britain, again, upon any Terms whatsoever.
You ask how it would be relished by the Congress, if our Colony Should declare off. I am happy to hear that our Colony is disusing a certain Name in all Commissions, Acts, and Law Proscesses and I should like very well, if they would choose a Governor, or at least ask leave of Congress to do it. But I cannot advise them to make any public Declarations, Seperate from our Sister Colonies. The Union, is our Defence, and that must be most tenderly cherished. If our Colony has an Inclination to instruct their Delegates in Congress, no reasonable objection can be made to this. They may if they think proper, instruct their servants, never to vote for any Subjection to Parliament in any Case whatsoever never to vote for submitting to any Crown officer, Whether Governor, Mandamus Councillor, secretary, Judge of Admiralty, Commissioner or Custom House officer &c. &c. if this is their sentiment—or never to vote for acknowledging any Allegiance, or subjection to the Crown of Great Britain, or King of Great Britain. But if they do all this I hope you will allow us to make Peace as an independent State.
It is my opinion, sir, that We shall have but little Difference of Sentiment among the Colonies upon these great Questions in a few Weeks. I am with great Respect, &c.
RC (MHi:JA—John Winthrop Corr.).
1. Winthrop to JA, 5 April (above).
2. Joseph Henshaw (1727–1794) of Leicester and later Shrewsbury, a colonel in the Massachusetts militia (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:268–271).
3. Samuel Winthrop was appointed clerk (James Sullivan to JA, 17 May, Adams Papers, not printed).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0074

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-05-08 - 1776-05-09

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

Since my last1 we have the formidable Accounts of the Exertion of the powers and Malice of Britain which I suppose have reached you by this time or will tomorrow. It is reported here that the Fleet and Army are arrived at Hallifax and are determined to Attack this Colony again. This is Confirmed by some deserters from the Ship below who say that they have heard the Officers talk of their Expectations of the Fleet here. All serves only to Confirm me in the Sentiment I have ever had that they would return here. Could it ever be supposed that any good policy would ever Operate so strongly as revenge and the National pride or rather the pride of the Ministry, Army &c. Would the loss of 10,000 Men be of any Consequence Compared with a Chance of repairing the disgrace suffered here. If I am right and they come again we are Certainly in A miserable situation to receive them, our Men and army gone to the Southward, and our Militia yet in A broken state. We should certainly have more of the Continental Forces here and an Officer of Spirit to Command them, or they will signify nothing. We are going on pretty well with the Fortifications of Boston. The works at the Castle, Dorchester, Noddles Island &c. are in good forwardness and will soon be able to make A defence. We have ordered Hulks to be sunk, Fire Ships to be prepared, and two row Gallies to be built. We do all we can with little or no assistance from the Continent. Is not Boston and this Colony of as much Consequence as New York. Upon my word I think they are and at least as much Exposed. You must not be Surprized if after all our warning and Care you should hear some of the most Considerable Towns are destroyed, and the Country ravaged before we shall be able to stop them. The Continental Army have got our Tents, our arms, our Men our Ammunition, and Cannon. We are in A worse Situation than 12 Months ago, but I will say no more on this subject, only that we have ordered Another Regiment to be raised of which Marshal2 has the Command, and a regiment Consisting of 7 Companies of Artillery to be Commanded by T: Crafts, as Lt. Colonel and Trott as Major. I wish things had been more Agreable to you with regard to certain appointments in a Certain Court but they are going from bad to worse. So barren is our poor Country that they have been Obliged to appoint the most unsuitable Man in the world.3 He had no suspicion of it before hand. He reasonably supposed that many Blockheads might be hit on before it came to his turn. He had therefore no opportunity to prevent it. He { 177 } is therefore Embarrassed beyond measure. He fears your displeasure. He is puzzled with the Solicitations of Friends or those who would get clear of this matter, but his Conscience tells him he will by Accepting Injure his Country, and Expose himself. He must therefore decline and you must excuse his Conduct upon these principles.
Nothing is yet done about the Tenure of Commissions &c. You must therefore be at the Mercy of [] &c. But the Major4 says things shall soon be set right. I thank you for the Pamphlet. I like it very well in general. I am not certain I should agree with the Author in three Branches of Legislature. I am at present Inclined to think two properly formed may do as well.
I last saturday Evening received from the President your resolve Accepting my resignation. This may be ranked among the Minutiae, but it seems to me a little hurried and huddled no determination what is to be done with the money in my hands. I have 40,000 dollars here which are wanted but I have no Authority to act till somebody supplies this place. Surely it must be supplied. I am glad to see the Spirit in the Southern Governments. I am afraid they will all get the start of Congress in declarations of Independence. We are certainly Unanimously ripe here for the grand Revolution. I have tryed to get Instructions for you, but have been so sick for 3 weeks past as not to be fit for Executeing any thing, and the Major thinks we had better have the Instructions of our Towns for that, and the purpose of Assumeing Government. We rise to day or Tomorrow, and are to have a full Representation. As the Law stood 30 Freeholders and Inhabitants were to send one, and 120 2 Members. Being threatned to be overun from the Frontiers the County of Essex stirred themselves and sent A Petition well supported for A more equal representation. This produced a new Act by which every 220 may send 3, 320–4, and so on so we are to have A House full.5
I have Just received yours of the 22d. The weather is so Bad that I keep House this Afternoon. I sent it to the Major to read. I hope something yet will be done. I Improve your Letters to do A great deal of good. I have spoke for a Copy of the report you mention and Engaged A plan of the harbour of Boston.6 If I am not disappointed you will find them Inclosed.7
Your Letters hold up to view many Important matters, and never fail to please me. I am Intirely of your Sentiments with regard to the Advantages of some measures, and disadvantages of Others, but Time will only permit me to Inform you that the only News we have is that Capt. Tucker in the Schooner Manly used to Command yesterday { 178 } took two Brigantines one from Ireland with Provisions and goods, and the Other from Fial [Fayal] with wine, and got them safe into Lyn. One of them he took close by the Light House while the Man of War fired at him. While I am writeing there is a fireing of Cannon below. What that is I know not. Perhaps I may give you more news in the morning. I am with regard to all Friends perticularly Mr. Adams and Mr. Gerry, Yours sincerely,
Nothing new this morning. Mrs. W8 desires her Compliments and Thanks for the excellent Letter she received sometime ago.9
[I am] not fond of English or French Tyranny, tho' [ . . . ] if I must have one, I should prefer the last. I dont want a French Army here, but I want to have one Employed against Britain, and I doubt whether that will ever be done till you make A more Explicit declaration of Independence than is in your privateering Resolves, or those for Opening the Ports. You will never be thought in Earnest, and fully determined yourselves, and to be depended on by others till you go further.
Mr. Bowdoin has carried away some days ago the Resolve and plan and has disappointed you by not returning it.
1. That of 30 April (above).
2. Col. Thomas Marshall (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 4th sess., p. 221).
3. On 25 April, Warren was appointed to the Superior Court as a substitute for one of those who had declined (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1, Reel No. 9, Unit 2, p. 122; William Cushing to JA, 20 May, below).
4. Joseph Hawley.
5. Mass., Province Laws, 5:502–503.
6. See JA to James Warren, 16 April (above).
7. See postscript.
8. Warren crossed out heavily all but the initial of his name.
9. That of 16 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0075

Author: Sullivan, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-09

From James Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

To intrude on one who in the greatest Political Tempest is Tyed to the helm of the Mighty Vessel of Empire, wrecked and tossed by the Whirling blasts of Despotism, must give disagreeable Sensations to one (if there is such) of less Sensibility than myself—but as the greatest Events are Swiftly impelling each other upon us, and each moment in the present being worth an age in any other Time I dare not oppose the voilent propensity which urges me to address you.
Taking it for granted that Such is the celerity of the American World to independence, and so obvious are the decrees of Heaven for that Grand Event, that the Sluggish motions of the irresolute, and { 179 } the weak and Scandalous Effort of the Tyrant are alike unable to prevent it—the important question is, what shall be done by this Colony? shall we urge you to an acceleration of the Wheels of Fate and Force you to Transalate us into an independant State immediately? or shall we only assure you, that we are ripe for the Measure and are in danger of being rotten before the proprietary Governments are ripe. There are many among us who dread the changes as good men do their Natural dissolution—perfectly pleased with the Idea of an hereafter “but stand Trembling on the brink and fear to launch away”—but none are there who do not heartily engage to Support the measure if the Congress Should persue it.
A bill is passed by this Court for a more equal Representation, I sent it to Mr. Gerry who will Shew it to you. This unweildy Assembly will undoubtedly settle a Constitution and provide a less Numerous Assembly than themselves.
We are daily altering our old unmeaning form of Government, as you may learn by the Stile Bill1 an history of which I sent Mr. Gerry—and I hope we shall attend to it when the defence of our Country calls not our attention another way untill it is made a Base of Liberty—and not a Path to Vassalage and Lawless Domination. Some are for writing to the Congress for leave to assume a new form of Government, but my Mind is otherwise. I have not the least Idea of disolving the old and Making an intire new Form of Government. I think it would be attended with the greatest Anarchy as it would leave the people for a Time without any Government—and to be free on the Subject I have many doubts whether the Congress has or ought to have power to regulate the internal Police of any Government—their business being in my opinion only to regulate matters between Government and Government which particular Assemblys are incompetent to. I am therefore for attending to this matter ourselves and for altering our Constitution peice by peice in a manner the least alarming to our Sister Colonies, untill we shall reduce it to true Republican principles.
But dear Sir I am obliged to tell you, that public Virtue is almost Swallowed up in a desire of possessing paper Currency—and parsimony in the Modest and Charming dress of Frugality together with Covetiousness in the shining Robes of private Justice, does us much injury. The Solemnity of a Senate has left us—and such a Levelling Spirit prevails even in men called the first among the Mighty, that I fear we shall finally be obliged to call in a military force to do that which Civil Government was orginally designed for.
The Idea that the Representatives are the Servants of the People, { 180 } that they Create the Council, who are the Creators of all Civil Executive officers, never ought to be lost,2 but the Idea that he who is Set up by the whole people is greater than any individual is equally important and I am sorry to say that the Latter is lean pinched and Scarcely allowed an Existence among us.
Here are the quicksands which I dread and wish that you would in your Letters to those who have the honour and happiness of your Correspondence deal largely on this Subject and endeavour to Pilot us over these Shoals. I am Sir with great Respect and Sincerity yr. Friend and Hble. Servt,
[signed] Ja Sullivan
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Hon. John Adams A member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia”; docketed: “Hon. James Sullivan May 9 & 17. 1776 ansd. May 26. 1776.”
1. See JA to William Tudor, 12 April, note 4 (above).
2. In Berkshire co. some of the towns objected to the naming of justices of the peace by the Council (Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 81–83).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0076

Author: Massachusetts General Court
Author: Otis, James Jr.
Author: Warren, James
Author: Morton, Perez
Author: Lowell, John
Recipient: Continental Congress, Massachusetts delegates
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Hancock, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Paine, Robert Treat
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
DateRange: 1776-05-09 - 1776-05-10

The General Court to the Massachusetts Delegates

[salute] Gentlemen

Inclosed you have an Account of Powder1 supplyed the Army lately before Boston, by this Colony. We have not been able to procure the proper Vouchers for the delivery of the whole of it to the Army, but as it was delivered on the day of the Battle at Bunker Hill and at other times of Alarm and Confusion, we trust that neglect will be excused. The Account is not supposed to contain the whole of the Powder which has been delivered to the Army, as it came thro' various Channels. The greatest part herewith exhibited was borrowed from our Towns who are anxious to have it replaced, but we are constrained to say (tho with regret) that it is not in our Power to replace it, we not having at present in our Colonial Magazine so much as a single Barrel: 'tis true Salt petre is manufacturing in most of our Towns with good Success but we have only one of our Powder Mills yet at work the others we hope will be ready soon. In the mean time You Gentlemen are desired to sollicit the Honble. Congress in our behalf that the whole of the Powder exhibited in this Account may be refunded to us as soon as is practicable, or so much at the least as the Safety of the Continent will permit, which we most chearfully submit with our other public concerns, to the decision of that Honorable Assembly.
{ 181 }
Agreeable to the recommendation of Congress2 we have collected the Sum of £2016:9 in hard money £400 of which with the Bills amounting to the Sum of 12000 Dollars sent by Congress for the use of the Regiment going on the Canadian Service, were delivered to Colo. Elisha Porter Colo. of said Regiment the remaining £1616:9 is in the hands of our Treasurer and more is coming in. You Gentlemen will send us the directions of Congress with regard to the disposition of what hard money we have got and may be able to collect, and apply for Bills to be sent us to be exchanged there for.
We are sensible that the sum Collected is very small in proportion to the expence of the Canadian Expedition but hard money is so very scarce among us that we have not as yet been able to collect anymore. I am Gentlem your very Humble Servnt.
[signed] James Otis3
Read and ordered that the same be taken into a new Draught and signed by the President of the Council in the name of this Court and that he forward the same to the said Delegates.
Sent up for Concurrence.
[signed] J. Warren Spkr.
Read and concurred.
[signed] Perez Morton Dpy. Secy.4
A true Copy

[salute] Attest

[signed] John Lowell Dpy. Secy. PT
RC (PCC, No. 65); addressed: “To The Honble. John Hancock Esqr. & others the Delegates from the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, at the American Congress Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “No. 11 Letter from Assembly of Masstts. Bay May 9. 1776” and “Assembly of Mass. Bay May 9: 1776”; notation: “the Carriages <Fire Arms Genl> Powder Ticonderoga Cannon.”
1. The account has not been found.
2. On 20 Jan. the congress had recommended that local governments collect all the specie they could for support of the expedition to Canada and report to the congress the amount collected (JCC, 4:73).
3. The complimentary close and signature are in the hand of James Otis; all the rest is in a clerk's hand.
4. Omitted here are the names of sixteen Council members listed by the clerk.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-05-12

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Friend

Yours of Ap. 30. was handed me yesterday. My Writing So seldom to you, proceeds from Necessity not Choice, I assure you. I can Sympathize with you in your ill Health, because I am always unwell my• { 182 } self. Frail as I am, at best, I am feebler in this Climate than at home. The Air here has no Spring—And My Mind is overborne with Burdens. Many Things are to be done here and many more to think upon by day and by night. Cares come from Boston, from Canada, from, twelve other Colonies, from innumerable Indian Tribes, from all Parts of Europe and the West Indies. Cares arise in this City, and in the most illustrious Assembly and Cares Spring from Colleagues. Cares enough! Dont you pity me. It would be some Comfort to be pitied—But I will scatter them all. Avaunt ye Daemons!
An Address to the Convention of Virginia,1 has been published here as an Antidote to the popular Poison, in “Thoughts on Government.” Read it, and see the Difference of sentiment. In New England, the “Thoughts on Government” will be disdained, because they are not popular enough. In the Southern Colonies, they will be despised and dissected, because too popular.
But my Friend, between you and me, there is one Point, that I cannot give up. You must establish your Judges Salaries—as well as Commissions—otherwise Justice will be a Proteus. Your Liberties, Lives and Fortunes will be the Sport of Winds.
I dont expect, nor indeed desire that it should be attempted to give the Governor a Negative, in our Colony. Make him President, with a casting Voice. Let the Militia Act remain as it is. But I hope you will make a Governor, or President in May. Congress have passed a Vote, with remarkable Unanimity for assuming Government in all the Colonies, which remains only for a Preamble.2 You will see it in a few days. It is the Fate of Men and things which do great good that they always do, great Evil too. Common sense by his crude, ignorant Notions of a Government by one Assembly, will do more Mischief, in dividing the Friends of Liberty, than all the Tory Writings together. He is a keen Writer, but very ignorant of the Science of Government. I see a Writer in one of your Papers, who proposes to make an Hotch Potch of the Council and House.3 If this is attempted, farewell.
Who will be your Governor, or President, Bowdoin or Winthrop, or Warren. Dont divide. Let the Choice be unanimous, I beg. If you divide you will Split the Province into Factions. For Gods Sake Caucass it, before Hand, and agree unanimously to push for the Same Man. Bowdoins splendid fortune, would be a great Advantage, at the Beginning. How are his Nerves and his Heart? If they will do, his Head and Fortune ought to decide in his favour.
The office of Governor of the Massachusetts Bay, Surrounded as it will be with Difficulties, Perplexities, and Dangers, of every Kind, { 183 } and on every side will require the clearest and coolest Head, and the firmest Steadyest Heart, the most immoveable Temper and the profoundest Judgment, which you can find any where in the Province. He ought to have a Fortune too, and extensive Connections. I hope that Mr. Bowdoins Health is such, that he will do—if not you must dispense with Fortune, and fix upon Winthrop I think. I know not where to go, for a better—unless the Major General for the old Colony,4 can be agreed on with equal Unanimity whom I should prefer to both of the other, provided an equal Number would agree to it—for I confess, my Rule should be to vote for the Man upon whom the Majority run that the Choice might be as unanimous and respectable as possible. I dread the Consequences of Electing Governors, and would avoid every Appearance of and Tendency towards Party and Division, as the greatest Evil.
I have sent down a Resignation of my Seat at the Board, because this is not a Time, if ever there was or can be one for Sinecures. Fill up every Place. They ought to be full. I believe I must resign the Office, which the Board have assigned me for the same Reason. But I shall think a little more about that and take Advice.5
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A Lettr May 1776 X.”
1. By Carter Braxton. See Thoughts on Government, ante 27 March–April, Editorial Note (above).
2. See JA's Service in the Congress, 9 Feb. – 27 Aug., No. V, note 1 (above).
3. He called for a single-house legislature: “To act separately is aping the two houses of parliament in the British constitution.” Moreover, he wanted no governor as such but one or more wise men chosen by the legislature for executive responsibilities. Borrowing, somewhat surprisingly, the pseudonym of a loyalist writer, he signed himself Massachusettensis (New-England Chronicle, 2 May).
4. James Warren, who was elected by the House second major general of the militia on 8 May but declined (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 4th sess., p. 260). JA probably knew in advance that Warren was a likely choice.
5. On 17 May, James Sullivan wrote to urge JA, chief justice, to attend the Superior Court session in Essex co., ordered by the Council for the third Tuesday in June (Sullivan to JA, 17 May, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0078

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Winthrop, John
Date: 1776-05-12

To John Winthrop

[salute] Dear sir

I am favoured with yours by your son,1 who has arrived here in good Health. I wish he may be provided for in one of the Ways you mention, because I esteem him deserving of it.
The Question of Independence is so vast a Field that I have not Time to enter it, and go any Way in it. Many previous steps are necessary. The Colonies should all assume the Powers of Government in { 184 } all its Branches first. They should confederate with each other, and define the Powers of Congress next. They should then, endeavour to form an Alliance with some foreign State. When this is done, a public Declaration might be made.2 Such a Declaration may be necessary, in order to obtain a foreign Alliance—and it should be made for that End. But Some are fearfull of making it public, if they should agree to make it.
A Recommendation has pass'd to all the Colonies to institute Governments, which will be published in a few days. A Confederation will soon be thought of—Instructions against Independence and Confederation are all repealed, excepting Pensylvania and theirs will be soon. The Colonies, are about assuming Governments, and most Gentlemen are now sensible of the Necessity of Confederation.
It is a great Satisfaction to my own Mind that it was not my fault, that all these Things were not done Eleven Months ago.3 If My Country had not suffered so severely by the Neglect, I should enjoy a Tryumph, when I see Gentlemen every day converted to those sentiments and Measures which I supported ten Months ago with all my poor Endeavours and they opposed with all their great Abilities. But so it is. Mr. Dickinson himself is now an Advocate for Colony Governments, and Continental Confederation.
I was pleased to learn by your Letter that our Colony abounded with Materials for making Sulphur. Should be happy to know where and what they are and how it is manufactured. Our Province must bring this and every Thing else to perfection.
I want to know the Reason that our Courts of Justice, have not proceeded. I fear there is a disagreable Spirit among the People, but cannot learn any particulars. I heard it hinted that the Justices had been interrupted by Force in Taunton, Hampshire and Berkshire.4 Hope it is not true. If it is should be glad to know the Complaints.
RC (MHi:JA—John Winthrop Corr.); docketed: “Mr Adams.”
1. John Winthrop to JA, 5 April (above).
2. JA's suggested order of events is of some interest. His desire for a confederation and an alliance before a formal declaration does not fit the pattern of the “radicals” program as described by Merrill Jensen. He held that when independence was inevitable, radicals “became less and less interested” in confederation, that it was conservatives who wanted confederation and an alliance before a declaration of independence (The Articles of Confederation, Madison, 1940, repr. Madison, 1963, p. 111–114). But compare JA to AA, 17 May, Adams Family Correspondence, 1:410, and JA to Patrick Henry, 3 June (below).
3. If JA is taken at his word, the Battle of Lexington and Concord altered his views on independence as expressed in the Novanglus letters. If we rely on extant correspondence in the summer and fall of 1775, he did not make such clear-cut choices as are here implied.
{ 185 } { 186 }
4. The county courts were prevented from sitting in Berkshire in February and in Hampshire in March (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 5:1275–1276; James Russell Trumbull, History of Northampton, Massachusetts, from Its Settlement in 1654, 2 vols., Northampton, 1898–1902, 2:389–390). On the court closing in Taunton, see John Winthrop to JA, 1 June (below). In Hampshire the commissions of the judges, which had not yet eliminated the king's name, were objected to; the chief complaint in Berkshire was the naming of judges and justices by the Council instead of having them elected by the people (Robert J. Taylor, ed., Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 17–19, 23).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0079

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-05-15

To James Warren

This Day the Congress has passed the most important Resolution, that ever was taken in America.1 It is, as nearly as I can repeat it, from Memory, in these Words.2
“Whereas his Britannic Majesty, in Conjunction with the Lords and Commons of Great Britain, has, by a late Act of Parliament, excluded the Inhabitants of these united Colonies from the Protection of his Crown and Whereas No Answer whatever has been given or is likely to be given to the humble Petitions of the Colonies for Redress of their Grievances and Reconciliation with Great Britain: but on the Contrary, the whole Force of the Kingdom, aided by foreign Mercenaries, is to be exerted for our Destruction
“And Whereas it is irreconcileable to Reason and good Conscience, for the People of these Colonies to take the oaths and affirmations, necessary for the Support of any Government under the Crown of Great Britain and it is necessary that the Exercise of every Kind of Authority under the Said Crown should be totally Suppressed, and all the Powers of Government under the Authority of the People of the Colonies, exerted for the Preservation of internal Peace, Virtue and good order, as well as to defend our Lives, Liberties, and Properties, from the hostile Invasions, and cruel Depredations of our Enemies.
Resolved that it be recommended to the several Assemblies and Conventions, to institute such Forms of Government as to them Shall appear necessary, to promote the Happiness of the People.”
This Preamble and Resolution, are ordered to be printed, and you will see them immediately in all the News Papers upon the Continent.
I Shall make no Comments, upon this important and decisive Resolution.
{ 187 }
There remains however a great deal of Work to be done besides the Defence of the Country. A Confederation, must be now pursued with all the Address, Assiduity, Prudence, Caution, and yet Fortitude and Perseverance, which those who think it necessary are possessed of. It is the most intricate, the most important, the most dangerous, and delicate Business of all. It will require Time. We must be patient.
Two or three days, We have Spent in Considering the state of the Massachusetts Bay. Congress have at last voted, that the Five Battallions now in that Province be recruited to their full Complements and that three Battallions more be forthwith raised.3 The Province has raised one, lately as I am informed. You will have nothing to do, but return the Names of the Field Officers to Congress and have continental Commissions for them. The other two Battallions may be raised in Mass. Bay Connecticutt and New Hampshire, in what Proportions is not determined. Congress have voted that a Major General and a Brigadier General be sent to Boston. Who they will be I know not. Gates and Mifflin I hope but cant promise.4
This Letter you may communicate if you think it necessary. I am, sir your affectionate Friend.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr. J A. Lettr May 1776.”
1. JA and like-minded members had been pressing for months for the congress to authorize independent governments for the colonies. Such authorization would foreclose reconciliation and make independence from Great Britain a virtual certainty.
2. Aside from minor differences in word order and the omission of two or three words, JA gives the preamble verbatim—further evidence that he was its author (JCC, 4:357–358; see also JA's Service in the Congress, 9 Feb. – 27 Aug., No. V, above).
3. This resolution was passed on 14 May (JCC, 4:355).
4. On 17 May the Massachusetts delegation recommended to Gen. Washington the sending of these two generals to Boston. The letter is in JA's hand (PHi:Gratz Coll., erroneously dated 16 May).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0080

Author: Devens, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-05-16 - 1776-05-20

From Richard Devens

[salute] Very Dr sir

Yesterday I was honoured with yours of April 29.1 It gives me much pleasure that any inteliganc I was capable of giving respecting Salt Petre was in any degree sattisfactory.
My last to you Was April 10.2 At that time we had taken into the Colony Store 7670 lb saltpetre. The next period for receiving it was the 23d. when we took in 4500 lb. The next time was the day before yesterday when we received 12310 which with 328 at different times Amounts in the whole to 24808 lb. The Gen Court have appointed a person to receive and pay for it at adover [Andover] Mill.3 I am not { 188 } able to Inform you what quantity has been Delivered there, but will as Soone as I can,4 as to the quality of it, it is in the General pure to the last degree. It is at least 10, or 12 p Cent purer than that Sent from Phila. to Watertown.
If I had it in my power I would Send a specimen of it, for a pressent to Great Britain.
The powder Mill at Andover is at work. I drew an order last week on Mr. Phillips there for 10 halfe Barrils in favour of Marblehead and I hear since they have received it.
I wish I could give you as agreeable an account of the Manufacture of salt Sulphure and lead, but the genious of the people of America is daily drawing out, and I trust nothing will be left unattempted till we are in every respect Independant of a State who appear to [be?] determined to destroy us.
As to Cannon, the man I Employed at Abbington in that business has by various accidents been unsuccessfull, and has cast but one 3 pounder. I have no doubt but he will Succeed.
Our Enimies left at Boston and Castle Island 250 pieces of Cannon great and small. I have taken the account of them, have view'd them over and over again, and am employing a Number of men in repairing and mounting some of them, and from the best Judgement I am capable of forming, more than halfe the Number will soone be fitt for service, and as it was the heaviest of them that are the least Injured, those that will be fit for service will Amount to 3/4 or 4/5s of the weight of the whole.
Our fortifycation work now goes on with great Vigour on Camp Hill, and at the Castle, we have a good Committee for fortifycation also an exelent Councill of War.
You will excuse me from being More particular. I am exceedingly Crowded with business in my department. Am most respectfully Yr. Humble sevt
[signed] Richd. Devens5
PS. please to inform the Honorable J. Hancock Esqr. that we have 77000 flints arrived at Dartmouth.
Pray the Honorable Mr. Gerry to forward the Tent Cloth he mentions in his letter. I have not been able to make one Tent for this Colony.
Since writing the Above 3 of our small Cruizers brought into the gut at point Shirley a Ship 34 days from Ireland.7 I had an oppertunity to cast my eye on the Inventory and she has on board 1500 Barrils of { 189 } powder and 1000 Stand of Arms. The rest of the Cargo Consists of intrenching Tools &c. in Such Abundance as tho they intended to Cut Cannals thro' America, and Station their Navy up in the Wilderness. As the prize Could not get up to Town this Tide all the Boats in Boston, Charlestown and Dorchester, were sent on board her to bring up the powder and arms, and part of the powder is Already in the Magazine in Boston.
The Men of War in Nantaskett could not get out to her Assistance the wind being Easterly.
The hand of Providence is Conspicuous.
I must now mention something that will in Some measure Allay the Joy of taking the Above Ship yesterday. In the afternoone Captain Mugford the Captain of the privatiter who tooke her;8 went down with his Vessell to point Shirley in Company with the privateer Lady Washington; and there Anchor'd; About 10'O Clock in the evening they Were Attacked by 13 Boats from the men of war in Nantaskett. They made a Gallant defence. Sunk 3 Boats and killed Number's, bothe the privateers are safe but here fell the brave Mugford. This account we have by the Leiutent who is come up by land.
1. Not found.
2. Not found.
3. Zebediah Abbot of Andover was one of a committee to receive and pay for saltpeter and took up his station near the powder mill of Samuel Phillips Jr. (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 4th sess., p. 264, 276; Boston Gazette, 20 May).
4. On 6 June, Devens reported to JA that Andover had taken in more than 8,000 pounds. He also reported figures for Watertown, Stoughton, Newburyport, and the eastern ports of the province, for a grand total of 102,635 pounds, which included the earlier figures (Adams Papers, not printed).
5. Member of the House of Representatives and commissary-general for Massachusetts forces (Wroth and others, eds., Province in Rebellion, p. 2847–2848).
6. The seizure was made on Friday, 17 May (Boston Gazette, 20 May), but Devens wrote two days later, as is apparent from his postcript dated the 20th.
7. The Hope, captained by Alexander Lumsdale (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:133).
8. James Mugford, commander of the schooner Franklin (same).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0081

Author: Knox, Henry
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-16

From Henry Knox

[salute] Sir

I did myself the honor to address you sometime ago and soon after it I sat out upon a Journey to New York Ticonderoga &c: whilst I was upon my Journey your kind Letter1 came to Cambridge but by some mischance it was not till lately I had the pleasure to receive it. I blush { 190 } at what you must have thought of my negligence. I am much oblig'd to you for the favorable opinion you are pleas'd to conceive of me and wish my conduct may be such as may cherish it. The information you wish to receive I shall endevor to communicate according to my poor abilities.
The officers of the army are very difficient in Books upon the military art which does not arise from their disinclination to read but the impossibility of procuring the Books in America; something has been done to remedy this at Philadelphia and I hope they will not stop short. There are a variety of Books translated into English which would be of great Service but none more so than the great Marechal Saxe2 “who stalks a God in war.” Tis he who has done more towards reducing war to fix'd principles than perhaps any other man of the age. Indeed his Reflections on the propagation of the human Species are odd and whimsical, as they without hesitation put to death all the fine feelings of the human heart.
Mullers Artillery and Hollidays principles of Gunnery Monsr. Clariac [Clairac] Mullers and Pleydells field fortification are Books so necessary for a people struggling for Liberty and Empire, that they well merit the attention of even your respectable assembly of patriots.3 They are too expensive for a private undertaking. There are other Books some translated and others in French which tho' they are more Scientific will be in some future period essentially necessary. Vauban Coehorn, Blondell, Count Pagan, and Belidor treating on fortification and military mathematics in all their Branches.4 Mr. Muller an Englishman has compil'd principally from the above, two Books, which if printed would be of vast service, his Elements of Fortification and his Practical Fortification. The Cause in which we are engag'd is of such infinite moment to America that no cost or pains can be too great to make the Conclusion happy.
Such opportunities as the present do not often turn up in the course of human events. The future happiness or misery of a great proportion of the human race is at Stake—and if we make a wrong choice ourselves and our posterity must be wretched. Wrong choice! There can be but one Choice consistent with the Character of a people possessing the least degree of reason. And that is to Seperate—to seperate from that people who from a total dissolution of virtue among them must be our enemies—An Event which I de[v]outly pray may soon take place; and let it be as soon as it may. I hope we shall like the romans when Hannibal was thundring at the Gates of Rome carry the War into the enemies Count[ry]. I know many people would laugh at the { 191 } proposition but whoever Considers of the total blindness of the present ministry; and the unprepar'd situation In which they will be if the intended armament comes here—their veterans in America—their regular militia Coxcombs—their peasantry unarm'd. In this Situation of affairs, admiral Hopkins with three or four frigates might I think plunder and burn Liverpool a place where they seldom or ever have Ships of war—a retalion for Charlestown Falmouth and Norfolk. A successful expedition of this Kind would give strength and energy to any ambassadors of America which might be at foreign Courts—perhaps this might be chimerical. I know Monsieur Thurót with 2 or 3 frigates landed At Carorickfergus in Ireland in War time,5 when the whole British fleet almost was cruizing for him and the whole coast alarm'd and it was a mere accident he was met by Cap. Eliot. If so when prepar'd something might be done now by an enemy they affect to despise and they unprepar'd.
We are going on rapidly in fortifying this place and in a few days I think we shall be able to give any troops a proper reception. I wish Boston was as well fortified not that it appears probable the enemy will attempt it again—but it would give a greater confidence knowing it to be secure. I am afraid sir you will repent the Invitation you gave me to correspond with you and under the influence of that fear I shall wait for one short line to dispel it. In the Interim I am Dear Sir with the greatest Respect and affection Your very Hble. Servant,
[signed] Knox
Be pleas'd Sir to present my most respectful Compliments to your worthy and patriotic Colleagues.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Honorable Jno Adams Esqr Philadelphia”; docketed: “Knox May 16, 1776.” A small piece cut from MS.
1. That of 11 Nov. 1775, in answer to Knox to JA of 26 Oct. 1775 (both above).
2. See JA to William Tudor, 12 Oct. 1775, note 5 (above).
3. Francis Holliday, An Easy Introduction to Practical Gunnery or the Art of Engineering, London, 1756, 1774. For Muller's works and his translation of Clairac and Pleydell's work, see reference in note 2.see JA to William Tudor, 12 Oct. 1775, note 5 (above).
4. Vauban was considered the foremost authority on fortifications. Knox may have had in mind Le Directeur Général des fortifications, La Haye, 1685, 1689, or The New Method of Fortification, as Practised by . . . Vauban, transl. A. Swall, London, 1693. Menno, Baron Van Coehoorn, called the Dutch Vauban (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale), wrote in Dutch on fortification. Knox may have known two translations: The New Method of Fortification, transl. Thomas Savery, London, 1705; Nouvelle fortification, tant pour un terrain bas et humide, que sec et élevé, representée en trois manières, La Haye, 1706, 1711, 1741. François Blondel, Nouvelle manière de fortifier les places, La Haye, 1684, 1711. Blaise François, Count Pagan, Les Fortifications du Comte de Pagan, Paris, 1645, 1669. For Belidor, see reference in note 2.see JA to William Tudor, 12 Oct. 1775, note 5 (above).
5. Capt. François Thurot captured Carrickfergus on 20 Feb. 1760 (Gipson, Empire before the Revolution, 8:26).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0082

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-05-18

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Yours of 8 May received this Morning, and am as I ever have been much of your Opinion that The Enemy would return to the Massachusetts if possible. They will probably land at Hingham or Braintree, or somewhere to the Northward of Boston, not make a direct Attempt upon Boston itself, the next Time. I hope no Pains, no Labour or expence will be neglected to fortify the Harbour of Boston however. Your Militia you say is in a broken State, but dont explain what you mean. I was in hopes that the late Militia Law had put them in a good Condition.1 You must depend upon them chiefly. We have been labouring here to procure you Some assistance, and have obtained a Vote, that the 5 Battallions now with you be filled up, and three Additional ones raised, two in Mass, one in Connecticutt.2 A Major General and Brigadier, are to go to Boston. You must not hesitate at any Thing for your own Defence. New York and Canada, will take an infinite Expence. We did our best, but could procure no more at present. If an Impression should be made on you, the Continent will interpose, but they never will believe it untill it takes Place.
This Day has brought us the Dismals from Canada. Defeated most ignominiously. Where shall We lay the blame?3 America duped and bubbled with the Phantom of Commissioners, has been fast asleep and left that important Post undefended, unsupported. The Ministry have caught the Colonies, as I have often caught a Horse, by holding out an empty Hat, as if it was full of Corn, or as many a Sportsman has shot Woodcocks, by making an old Horse Stalk before him, and hide him from the Sight of the Bird. Nothing has ever put my Patience to the Tryal so much as to see Knaves imposing upon Fools, by Such Artifices. I wash my Hands of this Guilt, I have reasoned, I have ridiculed, I have fretted, and declaimed, against this fatal Delusion, from the Beginning. But a Torrent is not to be impeded by Reasoning nor a Storm allayed by Ridicule. In my situation, altho I have not and will not be restrained from a Freedom of Speech yet a Decorum must be observed, and ever has been by me. But I have often wished that all America knew, as much as I do of the Springs of Action and the Motions of the Machine. I do not think it prudent nor Safe to write freely upon these Subjects even to my most faithfull Friends.
Providence has hitherto preserved Us, and I firmly believe will continue to do so. But it gives me inexpressible Grief that by our own Folly, and Wickedness, We should deserve it so very ill as We do.
{ 193 }
What shall We Say of this Scandalous Flight from Quebec? It seems to be fated that New England Officers, should not Support a Character. Wooster is the object now of Contempt, and Detestation,4 of those who ought to be the Contempt and Detestation of all America for their indefatigable Obstruction to every Measure which has been meditated, for the Support of our Power in Canada. Our Province must find Some Way of Making better Officers, and of engaging abler Men, in her Councils as well as her Arms or I know not what will be the Consequence, instead of which she Seems to me to be contriving Means to drive every Man of real Abilities out of her service.
I hope you will not decline the Appointment you mention however. Nothing would make me so happy as your Acceptance of that Place. I am extreamly unhappy to hear of your ill Health, hope that will mend. There is certainly no Man in the Province who would be so agreable to me. I cant bear the Thought of your refusing.
Rejoice to hear that my Friends Crafts and Trott are in the service. Will it do to promote my Pupil Austin? His Genius is equal to any Thing. Would not promotion, mend him of his Faults. Can nothing be done for Ward, Aid de Camp and Secretary to General Ward? He is an honest, faithfull daring Man, I think, and Sensible enough. He really deserves Promotion.
Is it possible to get in Boston silver and Gold for the service in Canada? Our Affairs have been ruin'd there for Want of it, and can never be retrieved without it. Pray let me know if any sum can be had in our Province.5
I shall inclose you a News Paper, which when you have read send along to Braintree.
I am and have been these twelve Months, fully of your Opinion that We have nothing to depend upon for our Preservation from Destruction, but the kind Assistance of Heaven to our own Union and vigorous Exertions. I was ripe therefore for as explicit Declarations as Language could express Twelve Months ago. But the Colonies separately have neglected their Duty, as much as the Congress, and We cannot march faster than our Constituents will follow us. We dont always go quick enough to keep out of their Way.
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A Letters May 1776.”
1. Passed 22 Jan. (Mass., Province Laws, 5:445–454).
2. The resolution for additional battalions was passed on 16 May (JCC, 4:360).
3. See JA to Samuel Cooper?, 9 June (below).
4. The congress voted to recall Gen. Wooster to headquarters on 6 June (JCC, 5:421). Commissioners Samuel { 194 } Chase and Charles Carroll had advised his recall, calling him “unfit, totally unfit, to command your Army, and conduct the war” (to the President of Congress, 27 May, Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:589–591).
5. See the General Court to the Massachusetts Delegates, 9 May (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0083

Author: Lee, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-18

From Richard Lee

[salute] Sr.

Inclosed you have a printed Resolve1 which passed our Convention to the infinite joy of our people. The Resolve for Independency has not that peremtory and decided Air I could wish. Perhaps the proviso which reserves to this Colony the power of forming its own Government may be questionable as to its fitness. Would not a Uniform plan of Government prepared for America by the Congress and approved by the Colonies be a surer foundation of Unceasing Harmony to the whole.2 However such as they are the exultation here was extreme. The british flag on the Capitol was immediately Struck and the Continental3 hoisted in its room. The troops were drawn out and we had a discharge of Artillery and small arms.4
If Hopkins Fleet were in Chesepeke Bay Dunmores Fleet might be taken.

[salute] My Compliments to Mr. S. Adams and Mr. Payne. I am Sr. yr. Respectful Hble. servt.

[signed] Richard Lee5
1. Virginia's resolve of 15 May instructed its delegates to propose that the congress “declare the United Colonies free and independent states,” and the convention further resolved that a committee be named to set forth a declaration of rights and draft a plan of government for the colony (Jefferson, Papers, 1:290–291).
2. Period and following capital letter supplied.
3. The Continental or Grand Union flag carried for its canton the union of the two crosses of St. George and St. Andrew which the British had adopted and across the red field were sewn white strips to make thirteen red and white stripes. This flag was first flown with Washington's permission on 1 Jan. 1776 in Cambridge and at Prospect Hill, now in Somerville, outside Boston (Frank Earle Schermerhorn, American and French Flags of the Revolution, 1775–1783, Phila., 1948, p. 16–17, illustrated in plate 1).
4. The phrasing of this first paragraph is almost identical to that in a letter from Thomas Ludwell Lee to Richard Henry Lee of the same date (John H. Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence, Its History, N.Y., 1906, p. 401–402).
5. Richard Lee (1726–1795), squire of Lee Hall, was a cousin of Richard Henry Lee (Cazenove Gardner Lee Jr., Lee Chronicle, N.Y., 1957, p. 349).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0084

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-05-20

To James Warren

[salute] My dear Sir

Every Post and every Day rolls in upon Us Independance like a Torrent. The Delegates from Georgia, made their Appearance, this Day in Congress, with unlimited Powers,1 and these Gentlemen themselves are very firm. South Carolina, has erected her Government and given her Delegates ample Powers,2 and they are firm enough. North Carolina, have given theirs full Powers after repealing an Instruction given last August against Confederation and Independence.3 This Days Post, has brought a Multitude of Letters from Virginia, all of which breath the same Spirit. They agree they shall institute a Government. All are agreed in this they say.
Here are four Colonies to the Southward who are perfectly agreed now with the four to the Northward. Five in the Middle are not yet quite So ripe. But they are very near it. I expect that New York, will come to a fresh Election of Delegates in the Course of this Week, give them full Powers, and determine to institute a Government.4
The Convention of New Jersey, is about Meeting, and will assume a Government.
Pensylvania, Assembly meets this Day, and it is said will repeal their Instruction to their Delegates5 which has made them So excedingly obnoxious to America in General, and their own Constituents in particular.
We have had an entertaining Maneuvre, this Morning in the State House Yard. The Committee of the City, Summoned a Meeting at Nine O Clock in the State House Yard, to consider of the Resolve of Congress of the fifteenth instant. The Weather was very rainy, and the Meeting was in the Open Air, like the Comitia of the Romans. A Stage was erected, extempore for the Moderator, and the few orators to ascend. Coll. Roberdeau was the Moderator. Coll. McKean, Coll. Cadwallader and Coll. Matlack the principal orators.6 It was The very first Town Meeting, I ever saw in Philadelphia and it was conducted with great order, Decency and Propriety.
The first Step taken was this: the Moderator produced the Resolve of Congress of the 15th instant, and read it with a loud Stentorean Voice that might be heard a Quarter of a Mile “Whereas his Britannic Majesty &c.” As soon as this was read, the Multitude, Several Thousands, some say, tho So wett rended the Welkin with three Cheers, Hatts flying as usual &c.
Then a Number of Resolutions were produced and moved and de• { 196 } termined, with great Unanimity. Those Resolutions I will send you, as Soon as published.7 The Drift of the whole was that the Assembly was not a Body properly constituted, authorized and qualified to carry the Resolve for instituting a new Government into Execution and therefore that a Convention should be call'd—and at last they voted to support and defend the Measure of a Convention, at the Utmost Hazard, and at all Events &c.
The Delaware Government, generally is of the Same Opinion with the best Americans, very orthodox in their Faith and very exemplary in their Practice. Maryland remains to be mentioned. That is so excentric a Colony—some times so hot—sometimes so cold—now so high then so low—that I know not what to say about it or to expect from it.8 I have often wished it could exchange Places with Hallifax. When they get agoing I expect some wild extravagant Flight or other from it. To be sure they must go beyond every body else, when they begin to go.
Thus I have rambled through the Continent, and you will perceive by this state of it, that We cant be very remote from the most decisive Measures and the most critical Events.
What do you think must be my sensations, when I see the Congress now daily passing Resolutions, which I most earnestly pressed for against Wind and Tide, Twelve Months ago?—and which I have not omitted to labour for, a Month together from that Time to this? What do you think must be my Reflections when I see, the Farmer himself, now confessing the Falsehood of all his Prophecies, and the Truth of mine, and confessing himself, now for instituting Governments, forming a Continental Constitution, making Alliances, with foreigners, opening Ports and all that and confessing that the Defence of the Colonies—and Preparations for defence have been neglected, in Consequence of fond delusive hopes and deceitfull Expectations?
I assure you this is no Gratification of my Vanity. The gloomy Prospect of Carnage and Devastation that now presents itself in every Part of the Continent and which has been in the most express and decisive nay dogmatical Terms foretold by me a thousand Times is too affecting to give me Pleasure. It moves my keenest Indignation—yet I dare not hint at these Things for I hate to give Pain to Gentlemen whom I believe sufficiently punished by their own Reflections.
RC (MHi: Warren–Adams Coll.); docketed: “May 1776.”
1. The printed records of Georgia do not contain a copy of the instructions given to its delegates to the congress, but a contemporary account is more explicit than JA: “the Convention of Georgia have authorized their Delegates in Congress to concur in any scheme which may be proposed for the benefit { 197 } of the United Colonies, even to a total separation from Great Britain” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:903).
2. On South Carolina, see JA to James Warren, 20 April, note 2 (above).
3. On North Carolina, see John Penn to JA, 17 April, note 1 (above).
4. New York did not elect new delegates in 1776 (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1 and 2: passim).
5. The instructions of Pennsylvania had ordered its delegates to oppose any measure that contemplated separation from Great Britain. Meeting on 20 May, but ignoring the popular protest that it was incompetent to create a new government for the province, the Assembly continued to function, but did not act upon the instructions until 14 June. Then the Assembly merely repealed its former directive; it did not instruct the delegates to vote for independence (John H. Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence, Its History, N.Y., 1906, p. 64–67, 187–190; the instructions are in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:755).
6. Daniel Roberdeau (1727–1795), merchant and patriot, was a member of the Committee of Safety and instrumental in allying the radicals of the city with voters in the back country who were angry with conservative eastern leadership. Thomas McKean (1734–1817), long active in Delaware politics, became a leader in the movement for independence and a state government for Pennsylvania, although he came to oppose its very democratic constitution. John Cadwalader (1742–1786) was a member of the Committee of Safety and a colonel of a Philadelphia battalion. Timothy Matlack (d. 1829), an assistant to the secretary of the congress, Charles Thomson, and colonel of a battalion of Associators, helped to draft the Pennsylvania constitution of 1776 (all in DAB).
7. [Proceedings of a Public Meeting in Favor of Independence], 20 May 1776, Broadside, Phila., 1776 (Evans, No. 15015).
8. JA may have had in mind the instructions issued by the Maryland Convention on 11 Jan. to its congressional delegation. The Convention wanted grievances redressed and reconciliation, but it intended to continue military action in cooperation with other colonies. It insisted that its delegates not be bound by a majority vote for independence, confederation, or foreign alliances. Maryland's delegates had to refer such matters to the Convention for its consideration. Only if a majority of Maryland's delegates believed that separation was “absolutely necessary for the preservation” of American liberties could they vote for independence without reference to the Convention. The last instruction urged that a resolution be adopted by the congress that no one sitting in that body could hold a military command in the regular forces or an office of profit in any government “assumed since the present controversy with Great Britain began, or which shall hereafter be assumed” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:653–654). It should be noted that “assumed” modifies “government” not “office of profit.” This instruction to Maryland's delegates introduced a wholly new concept, which JA regarded as aimed at him and any others who sought independence and who held office under new governments. The contention of a Maryland spokesman was that such officeholders were interested parties and would favor independence. See JA's account in Diary and Autobiography, 3:360–363; JA to James Otis Sr., 29 April, note 2 (above); and JA to Samuel Chase, 14 June (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0085

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-20

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

By the last Post I received your's of May 6th.1 and am not troubled at your Acceptance of the Resignation of G. W.2 He is, indeed, a cool prudent Man, and accepted the Post of Danger for his Country at a { 198 } critical Time, when others seem'd to decline it. He is a through New England Man in his Principles and Inclinations, but not made for an high Command in the Field. I cannot wholly excuse any whose Stations requir'd them to be alert as possible in so important a Time as the Evacuation of Boston. W. had one of the 4 Regiments station'd at Marblehead and Beverly which could not be call'd off. The small Pox, Torie Effects, and other necessary Occasions requir'd many Guards. General Washington left Orders for the Works of the British Troops to be demolish'd at Charlestown and other Places—Charlestown Point and Noddles Island to be immediately fortify'd—tho many wish'd we had begun lower down the Harbor. The General Court occupied in many Affairs were too dilatory in this. The Town of Boston was unguided—the most of the Selectmen out of Town—It's Inhabitants of chief Spirit not return'd. Those that remain'd during the Siege wore the Marks of Men that had been under the Yoke, and requir'd Time to recover Spirit and Vigor. I mention these Things as some Excuse. Had there been any one leading Person, to have immediately discern'd, and stated to the Court what was necessary, they were ready to grant Supplies. The Pause was dangerous and dishonorable. I felt it, and wrote to my Friends. Our Colony, will however, I believe support it's Character—Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus.3
I have the Pleasure now to inform you that besides what is done at Charlestown Point, we have a good Fortress and Cannon mounted at Fort Hill: another almost compleated on Noddles' Island—another at Dorchester Point finely executed. These Works are allow'd by the best Judges, to be superior to any Thing of the Kind done by the British Engineers here. The General Court have voted two Marching Regiments, and one of Artillery, which are filling up as fast as can be expected considering the busy Season of the Year, and how many Men we have already furnish'd for the general Service. They have also made Provision for Row Gallies, Fire Ships and Rafts. Their Committee for fortifying has large Powers, Lincoln is Chairman. I have the same Idea of Col. Quincy's Knowledg [of] the Harbour that you express, and of the best Method to secure it. I have press'd that he might be consulted. He has been; and Lincoln assur'd me he had his Opinion in Writing which would be attended to. We want however, very greatly a Military Commander of Capacity and Spirit. Cannot you spare us Green, Sullivan, or one like them?
I congratulate you upon the Capture of one of the most Important Prizes taken this War4—a Storeship with 1500 hundred Barrels of Powder, 1000 Carbines—Carriages, entrenching Tools &c. The Ship { 199 } was 270 Tons: and taken by our Countryman Muckford, in a Continental Cruizer of 4 Guns, 50 Tons, and 20 Men. The Ship had four guns and 17 Men. A bold and noble Action. Poor Muckford has not liv'd to enjoy his Prize. Going out last Evening thro Pulling Point Gut, and coming to Anchor there, in Company with a little Vessell of 30 Tons, and 3 Carriage Guns, they were attack'd about 9 O'Clock by twenty Boats from the Men of War in Nantasket. The Boats were beat off by our brave men who killed and wounded a Number of the Enemy, but Muckford exerting himself heroically, fell; and was the only Person we lost. I am afraid the Post will set off before this can be given him, must therefore conclude. Your's most affectionately,
[signed] S.SSC5
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr Cooper May 20. 1776.”
1. Not found.
2. Gen. Artemas Ward.
3. Even good Homer sometimes nods.
4. For another account see Richard Devens to JA, 16 May (above).
5. Apparently scrawled in an attempt to conceal his identity.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0086

Author: Cushing, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-20

From William Cushing

[salute] Dear Sir

Amidst the trouble of our times, I have pleasure in the thought of your being on the bench and appointed to the head of it, a place I have heretofore had a Secret imagination you were destined to, which proves in event, not an enthusiastical Chimera. Reed, Paine and Sargeant it seems, have declined: and Foster, Sullivan and Warren are appointed in their room. Col. Warren has not yet accepted, but I suppose, intends it.1 The Council incline we should go upon Action, though I should been glad, did the necessity of public affairs permit, to have had you with us, to exercise your office. We have appointed good Mr. Winthrop Clerk and purpose beginning on the Eastern Circuit, if the Alarms of war do not forbid. I can tell the G—— Jury the nullity of acts of Parliament, but must leave you to prove it effectually, by the more powerful arguments of the Jus gladii divinum;2 a power not peculiar to K——s and M——s. If we should establish the System and rules of the Common Law in the Courts, and inculcate the doctrine of Submission to the higher Powers, the powers that be, you will hereafter, be precluded from finding fault, by your absence. Although on account of the weighty and important affairs to this Continent to be agitated in Congress which require your attendance, I must, however reluctantly, acquiesce in your detention.
A rumor has been spread here, a day or two past, of a british rein• { 200 } forcement arriving at Quebec and obliging our army to raise the Siege; which I am loth to believe at present. It seems to my poor understanding in politics, that our army ought to have had a large reinforcement, while the Lakes were passable on the Ice; and that we have depended too much on the impracticability of navigation up the river in the Spring. Where is our grand Fleet? Why is Lord Dunmore permitted to Set foot on american ground?3 But I must beg pardon, believing every thing has been done, as far and maturely as practicable, and leave these mighty matters to you, wiser heads; trusting in the Supreme Ruler, for prosperity to your councils and Success to American freedom. I have some Conception of the difficulty of defending every part of so extended a Continent. Next Monday we are to have a Town meeting here, to know our minds on the grand Subject of Independance, and I believe, we shall be pretty unanimous; as Common Sense has been somewhat prevalent among us, of late. I have long wanted an interview with you. Be so kind as to favor me with a Line—a ray or two of illumination from head quarters. Your Friend and most humble Servt.
[signed] Wm Cushing
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Judge Cushing May 28. 1776 ansd. June 9.” Despite the erroneous docketing, JA, in answering on 9 June, acknowledged Cooper'sCushing's letter of 20 May (see below).
1. In a letter to the Council dated 3 June, Warren declined his appointment largely because he lacked the legal training that he believed the position required. The Council accepted his refusal on 14 June (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. E.1, 1775–1777, Reel No. 9, Unit 3, p. 25). Warren's refusal may have also been encouraged by his wife (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:405; 2:16).
2. The divine law of the sword, a term used literally here, but in lawyer's parlance it meant supreme jurisdiction, the power of punishing for crime.
3. From a base in Norfolk, Lord Dunmore had made a number of attacks along the Elizabeth River, but after the middle of Dec. 1775, he had to abandon his base and rely solely on his fleet, which sent raiding parties ashore from time to time in 1776 (Benjamin Quarles, “Lord Dunmore as Liberator,” WMQ, 3d ser., 15:497–498, 503–504 [Oct. 1958]).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0087

Author: Henry, Patrick
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-20

From Patrick Henry

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Favor1 with the pamphlet came safe to hand. I am Exceedingly obliged to you for it, and I'm not without Hopes it may produce Good here, where there is among most of our opulent Familys, a strong Byass to Aristocrasy. I tell my Friends you are the Author. Upon that Supposition I have two Reasons for liking the Book. The Sentiments are precisely the same I have long since taken up, and they come { 201 } recomended by you. Go on my dear Friend to assail the strong Holds of Tyranny. And in whatever Form Oppression may be found, may those Talents and that Firmness which have atcheived so much for America, be pointed against it.
Before this reaches you the Resolution for finally separating from Britain will be handed to Congress by Coll. Nelson. I put up with it in the present Form, for the Sake of Unanimity. 'Tis not quite so pointed as I could wish. Excuse me for telling you of what I think of immense Importance. 'Tis to anticipate the Enemy at the French Court. The half of our Continent offered to France, may induce her to aid our Destruction, which she certainly has the Power to accomplish. I know the free Trade with all the States would be more beneficial to her, than any territorial possessions she might acquire. But pressed, allured, as she will be, but above all, ignorant of the great Things we mean to offer, may we not loose her? The Consequence is dreadfull. Excuse me again. The Confederacy. That must precede an open Declaration of Independency and foreign Alliances. Would it not be sufficient to confine it for the present to the Objects of Offensive and Defensive Nature, and a Guaranty of the respective Colonial Rights? If a minute Arrangement of Things is attempted, such as equal Representation &c. &c., you may split and divide, certainly will delay the French Alliance which with me is everything. The great Force in San. Domingo Martinique &c. is under the Guidance of some person in high office. Will not the Mississippi lead your Ambassadors thither mo[st] safely?
Our Convention is now employed in the great Work of forming a Constitution. My most esteem'd republican Form has many and powerfull Enemys. A silly Thing published in Philadelphia by a native of Virginia has just made its appearance here, strongly recommended 'tis said by one of our delegates now with you, B[raxton]. His Reasonings upon and Distinction between private and public Virtue are weak shallow evasive, and the whole performance an Affront and Disgrace to this Country and by one Expression I suspect his Whiggism.2 Our Session will be very long. During which I cannot count upon one Coadjutor of Talents equal to the Task. Would to God you and your Sam Adams were here. It shall be my incessant study to so form our portrait of Government that a Kindred with New England may be discern'd in it. And if all your Excellencys cannot be preserved, yet I hope to retain so much of the Likeness, that posterity shall pronounce us descended from the same stock. I shall think perfection is obtain'd if we have your Approbation. I'm forced to conclude But first let me { 202 } beg to be presented to my ever esteem'd S. Adams my Dear sir may God preserve you and give you every good Thing.
[signed] P. Henry Jr.
Will you and S.A. now and then write me.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr. of the Congress at Philadelphia”; docketed: “Coll Henry. May 20. 1776 ansd. June 3.” MS slightly mutilated where the seal was removed.
1. JA's letter to Henry has not been found.
2. On Carter Braxton, see Thoughts on Government, ante 27 March–April, Editorial Note (above).
3. Written on the address page.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0088

Author: Hichborn, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-20

From Benjamin Hichborn

[salute] Dear Sir

I have felt a degree of Criminality in my long Silence,1 which has given me many uneasy Reflections; and yet I should have suffered more from writing.
I don't know whether my Conduct will admit of an apology; and if it should not, I should even in that Case be less unhappy than I must have been if had given no occasion to make one.
Believe me Sir, it is not from a want of Friendship, affection or esteem, that I have not wrote you quires of paper—to be Suspected of a Crime, is sufficient to destroy my happiness—but I had rather submit to all the disagreeable Circumstances of such a Situation, than to run the risque of being thought meanly to cover my want of public Virtue, under the finesse of a Courtier.
I must confess, the Candour and Generosity I have met with, both from yourself and Mrs. Adams, might render these Observations and the feelings that gave rise to them, unnecessary: did you act merely in a private Capacity they would have that Effect; but shou'd your tenderness or partiality for me, expose you to the Smallest Censure or prove the Means of breaking a single thread of your Influence, I shou'd never forgive myself.
I don't know when I shou'd have been able to muster Resolution enough to write you, were it not for a Stimulus in favour of my Friend Josiah Russell.
He has shared largely in the Misfortunes of the times, and tho' few men are less able, no one has been more active and servicable in fortifying the Towns and it certainly looks as if favours were distributed with an unequal Hand, when we see the High Sheriff of the County2 monopolizing all the public Sales, while he is cheerfully ex• { 203 } pending the last shilling of his fortune in the public Service without knowing how to provide for his Family tomorrow. I write this at the Instance of a Number of Gentlemen, and altogether unbeknown to Mr. Russell: and I dare say, that a Majority of the town wou'd be as much gratified in any Provision for him, as any individual in it. He wou'd accept of any department that wou'd afford him a living, but that of a Factor or Auctioner, he seems more peculiarly adapted for. It is imagined, Marshals will be appointed to all the Courts of Admiralty. I am not able to form a Judgment of the Advantages of such a Department, but presume they must be but trifling. I cou'd, with justice, dwell long upon Mr. Russell's merit, (which I believe is better known Since you left the town than before) but shall only say, if you can serve him in the way I have hinted at or any other, I will pawn my honor for his, that he will discharge his trust with fidelity, and thro' him, you will peculiarly oblige me, among many others of your Friends.
Our public Affairs wear a much better appearance at present than they have done, since our return to the town. The Harbour is now well fortified, and will soon be impregnable. The ancient Spirit seems to be reviving here, and I hope we shall Soon convince the World, that Boston is not asleep. Much may be said in Apology for our apparent Supiness—the Small pox has not as yet, altogether left us, it is exceeding dear living and not a stroke of Business to be done, and many Persons who wou'd return to the town, under all these disadvantages have not a Chair left them to sit in—but partiality itself will not suffer one to pass uncensured, that Indolence (to say the least of it) which has permitted a few and some times not more than one paultry Ship to maintain the uninterrupted possession of the Enterence into our harbour. I have made it my business to stir in this Matter and if there had been above one traveling Carriage in the Colony, we should have routed them before this. However something will be done soon I hope to purpose, but this is certain they in whose department it is to controul such movements will never be able to atone to this Country for the advantages we have lost by their inactivity. They tell us of regular advances! I am by all means for that when the Circumstances will admit it, but I pray Heaven, that the nervous enterprising Spirit of Americans, may never be clog'd or counteracted by the too often, fatal parade of regular movements. The Gentlemen of the Town are about forming themselves into an independant Corps, and as the Inhabitants encrease, I dare say we shall put ourselves under the best military Regulations. All orders of Men appear [to] be much dissatis• { 204 } fied with Genl: Ward and not much better with Heath, who is said to be appointed in his room.3
The principal political topic of Conversation is Independance, and I think the People almost una voce, are wishing for it's immediate Declaration. We are often checked by real or fictitious accounts from the Southward, of a contrary disposition in a large Majority of the People there. Some opinions say the Continental Congress will, others that they will not make such a Declaration, without consulting their Constituents. Can't we be relieved from this uncertainty? I suppose you have heard of the late Act of our General Court, for a more equal Representation. We are to send members in proportion to our Numbers. This will give us an enormous Body at the next Session, and produce some refinements in the System. I hope we shall not be without your advice at this important Crisis, and for my Country's Sake I must beg you woud make it as diffusive as possible. We have many Salutary hints handed to us as from you, and you cannot easily conceive their Influence. Pray give some of your Friends (and I hope I shall be so happy as to hold rank among the Number) your thoughts upon the political System you wish to see adopted. We seem to be baren of genious, Learning and Enterprise. If you have not Cicero's athletic Constitution, I am sure you possess his Zeal for the honor and safety of the state, and like him I dare say you will continue to afford us all the assistance of your Council while employed in the public Service abroad. I am much concerned for your health and am sorry we are under the necessity of making so many demands upon your assiduous attention to our public Concerns. Heaven, and a grateful Country, be your Reward! This is Monday morning and Post just sett off. I must however mention that Capt. Muckford who last Friday took the Ship load with Miletary Stores was attacked by 7 armed boats. They were all beat off with great loss on the Enemy's Side and of Capt. Muckford on our's. You will hear from me again soon. Yr sincer Friend
[signed] B Hichborn
1. Hichborn last began a letter to JA on 25 Nov. 1775 (above), which he concluded on 10 Dec. He was then still apologizing for his role in allowing JA's letter to James Warren of 24 July 1775 to be intercepted by the British.
2. William Greenleaf (1725–1803), Sheriff of Suffolk co. from 1775 to 1780 (James Edward Greenleaf, Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896, p. 90–91).
3. A false rumor. Gen. Ward was to continue in command at Boston for many months despite his repeatedly expressed desire to be relieved. On 21 Aug. 1776 the congress finally requested that Ward continue if his health permitted. He was relieved on 20 March 1777 by Gen. Heath (Charles Martyn, The Life of Artemas Ward, N.Y., 1921, p. 231, 240).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0089

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-20

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Sir

Our former Acquaintance contracted in early Life, and under Circumstances which Experience Shews is hardly to be effaced by Length of Time or local Distance is Sufficient Apology for calling your Attention a Moment from the Important Considerations now before you, on which the Fate of this our rising Empire depends, to the inccorect Suggestions of a Friend, on Matters he conceives of Some weight in well ordering the Army on whose Exertions the Happiness and Security of our Country may in a Measure depend.
I hear and approve the Order of Congress, that Rank Shall not be considerd to intitle any Person to Advancment:1 but that it shall have no Place in the Deliberations on this Subject will certainly take from every Man of Spirit the greatest Possible Motive for his utmost Exertions. A Man of equal Spirit and Ability as a Partisan, or Equal to any Command may be kept in the Duties of the Camp and never furnished with any posible Way to distinguish himself So as to be Noticed; Another no Way his Superior is orderd to Active Duty in which he shews himself a brave and prudent Man: if in this Case the latter is Advanced when lower in Rank the Former will undoubtedly think himself injurd especially if his Character has been that of a good Soldier and brave Officer. An Instance of this kind may happen in my own Regiment: my Lt. Colonel is the first in Rank in the Continental Army and my Major the first of his Rank;2 they have both served last War as Officers and obtaind the Character of good Officers both in the Camp and in the Field of Battle: Lt. Col. Tyler was in the whole of the Battle in 1755, in the Battle in 1758 at Ticonderoga at the Taking of Cataroque, Montreal &c. and in 1764 was at the Reduction of Detroit &c. and never faild to return with an Excellent Character of a brave Officer and a wise, prudent Man. Since we have been in the Continental Service he has never been orderd on any Command by which he could so distinguish himself as to become noticed by the World in general, or in other Words, has never had a Chance to get his Name in a Newspaper, but those with whom he has served know him to be an Officer excelled by few if any and who will do Honor to a higher Station: this also is the Case of my Major. As there are Vacancies where, if the Rule of Seigniority takes place, they are certainly intitled to preferment, this I know in these Instances will give Satisfaction to those who are to be commanded better than any other Rule. Another Instance in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay { 206 } (perhaps the Gentleman is known to you) Lt. Col. Shephard3 as brave and good a Man as can command a Regiment and in as high Estimation, he is next in Rank, I think, to Col. Tyler, his Colonel (viz Learned)4 has resigned. To supercede him by any other Rule will loose from the Service [one] of the best of Men and bravest of Soldiers. Another Thing I will mention; The Term we are engaged for is long enough to put a Man of Business out of all his Business, and a young Man is spending the prime of his Life in a noble Cause, and at an unseasonable Time of Life is to prepare for Business. We cannot make War a Profession but must look back and some Time, with anxious Sollicitude to our Numerous Families, who soon must be in most unhappy Circumstances; ought there not to be some Provision for Continuing the Pay of Officers in whole or in Part when Peace is established; we Should then reduce our Living to some System consistant with our Pay, we Now have not Time. Another Tho't and I have done for the present; will it not be of great Importance to raise a new Army Very soon engaged for a longer Time or during the War. Shall some good Encouragement be given to animate the Soldier with Prospects of present Advantage. I have no doubt it may be filled soon, but to delay till toward the fall when they begin to look toward Home will involve Us in greater Expence and more Trouble than was found the last Winter which by this Time every One is Satisfied was more than a Bounty of 10 Dollars a Man. I am Sr. with Respect and Esteem yr. hl. Servt.
[signed] Sam. H. Parsons5
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Coll Parsons May 20. 1776 ansd. May 26.”
1. On 10 May the congress resolved to “retain the power of promoting the officers in the continental service according to their merit; and that no promotion or succession shall take place upon any vacancy without the authority of a continental Commission” (JCC, 4:342)
2. John Tyler and Samuel Prentiss, 10th Continental Infantry (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 21).
3. William Shepard, 3d Continental Infantry (same, p. 20).
4. Ebenezer Learned (same). Learned resigned his colonel's commission in May, but returned to the army as a brigadier general in April 1777 (DAB).
5. JA had written to Parsons on 5 Dec. 1760, urging a regular correspondence since they were both young lawyers and might share information about significant cases tried in the Massachusetts and Connecticut courts. Judging by Parsons' opening words, the correspondence was kept up for a time, although no record of it has been found. At the time of this writing, Parsons was colonel of the 10th Continental Infantry (JA, Papers, 1:46–47; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 428).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0090

Author: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-20

From Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear Sir

I wrote You soon after I arrived here a Letter1 which I hope You received; but which you have not yet acknowledged.
The many studied Embarrassments thrown in the Way of the Canada-Expedition have at last in a great Measure answered the Purpose for which I fear they were all along intended.
Ever since I have seen the Inside of the Congress I have trembled. Nothing short of a radical Change in the Councils of our Middle Colonies can, I am persuaded, by any Means save us. I preach this Doctrine continually; but I cannot make so many Proselytes as Parson Whitefield. With us the old Demagogues I fear are against us. Next Week is our Election. I wish I may obtain a seat in the Convention; but am not over sanguine in my Hopes: tho I believe I could easily accomplish it by going out of my present County into the one I came from.2 However am in Hopes they will chuse good Men there.
After the Election I expect to pay You a Visit for a short Time; but am determined that I will not continue to attend along with my present Colleagues any longer than I cannot avoid. At present several little Circumstances will form an Excuse for my being absent.
This Campaign I suppose will be a most awful one. I could yet abide the prospect of it if we were possessed of more Unanimity and Vigour. I wish People knew their Men better and the Steps they are taking; but alas! I fear they are betrayed with out knowing it.
I should be highly pleased and think myself greatly honoured by a Line from You on the present posture of Affairs. If they do not mend I will try to get a Commission in the Army that I may get knocked on the Head betimes. This I think would be more eligible than to live to be a Spectator of our Country reduced to Submission.
I intended when I begun only to ask the Favour of a Line from You; but when I am writing to a Person I can speak openly to I can hardly forebear the Reflections I have made. Have only to add that Doctor Witherspoon will be the Bearer of this and You may send an Answer safely by him. I am Your sincere Friend and humble Servant
[signed] Jona D Sergeant
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The honble John Adams Esqr. Congress Philadelphia per Favour of Dr. Witherspoon”; docketed: “Mr Sergeant May 20 ansd. 22d 1776.”
1. Actually Sergeant wrote twice (6 and 11 April, above), but he probably refers to his later letter, in which he requested a copy of Thoughts on Government, which he had seen only in MS form.
{ 208 }
2. He was elected from Middlesex co., which embraced Princeton, where his home was. Sergeant was born in Newark (Minutes of the Provincial Congress and the Council of Safety of the State of New Jersey, Trenton, 1879, p. 445; Leonard Lundin, Cockpit of the Revolution: The War for Independence in New Jersey, Princeton, 1940, map facing p. 6; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0091

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sullivan, James
Date: 1776-05-26

To James Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favours of May 9th. and 17th.1 are now before me; and I consider them as the Commencement of a Correspondence, which will not only give me Pleasure, but may be of Service to the public, as, in my present Station I Stand in need of the best Intelligence, and the Advice of every Gentleman of Abilities and public Principles, in the Colony which has seen fit to place me here.
Our worthy Friend, Mr. Gerry has put into my Hand, a Letter from you, of the Sixth of May, in which you consider the Principles of Representation and Legislation, and give us Hints of Some Alterations, which you Seem to think necessary, in the Qualification of Voters.2
I wish, Sir, I could possibly find Time, to accompany you, in your Investigation of the Principles upon which a Representative assembly Stands and ought to Stand, and in your Examination whether the Practice of our Colony, has been conformable to those Principles. But alass! Sir, my Time is So incessantly engrossed by the Business before me that I cannot Spare enough, to go through So large a Field: and as to Books, it is not easy to obtain them here, nor could I find a Moment to look into them, if I had them.
It is certain in Theory, that the only moral Foundation of Government is the Consent of the People. But to what an Extent Shall We carry this Principle? Shall We Say, that every Individual of the Community, old and young, male and female, as well as rich and poor, must consent, expressly to every Act of Legislation? No, you will Say. This is impossible. How then does the Right arise in the Majority to govern the Minority, against their Will? Whence arises the Right of the Men to govern Women, without their Consent? Whence the Right of the old to bind the Young, without theirs.
But let us first Suppose, that the whole Community of every Age, Rank, Sex, and Condition, has a Right to vote. This Community, is assembled—a Motion is made and carried by a Majority of one Voice. The Minority will not agree to this. Whence arises the Right of the Majority to govern, and the Obligation of the Minority to obey? from { 209 } | view { 210 } Necessity, you will Say, because there can be no other Rule. But why exclude Women?3 You will Say, because their Delicacy renders them unfit for Practice and Experience, in the great Business of Life, and the hardy Enterprizes of War, as well as the arduous Cares of State. Besides, their attention is So much engaged with the necessary Nurture of their Children, that Nature has made them fittest for domestic Cares. And Children have not Judgment or Will of their own. True. But will not these Reasons apply to others? Is it not equally true, that Men in general in every Society, who are wholly destitute of Property, are also too little acquainted with public Affairs to form a Right Judgment, and too dependent upon other Men to have a Will of their own? If this is a Fact, if you give to every Man, who has no Property, a Vote, will you not make a fine encouraging Provision for Corruption by your fundamental Law? Such is the Frailty of the human Heart, that very few Men, who have no Property, have any Judgment of their own. They talk and vote as they are directed by Some Man of Property, who has attached their Minds to his Interest.
Upon my Word, sir, I have long thought an Army, a Piece of Clock Work and to be governed only by Principles and Maxims, as fixed as any in Mechanicks, and by all that I have read in the History of Mankind, and in Authors, who have Speculated upon Society and Government, I am much inclined to think, a Government must manage a Society in the Same manner; and that this is Machinery too.
Harrington has Shewn that Power always follows Property. This I believe to be as infallible a Maxim, in Politicks, as, that Action and Re-action are equal, is in Mechanicks. Nay I believe We may advance one Step farther and affirm that the Ballance of Power in a Society, accompanies the Ballance of Property in Land. The only possible Way then of preserving the Ballance of Power on the side of equal Liberty and public Virtue, is to make the Acquisition of Land easy to every Member of Society: to make a Division of the Land into Small Quantities, So that the Multitude may be possessed of landed Estates. If the Multitude is possessed of the Ballance of real Estate, the Multitude will have the Ballance of Power, and in that Case the Multitude will take Care of the Liberty, Virtue, and Interest of the Multitude in all Acts of Government.
I believe these Principles have been felt, if not understood in the Massachusetts Bay, from the Beginning: And therefore I Should think that Wisdom and Policy would dictate in these Times, to be very cautious of making Alterations. Our people have never been very rigid in Scrutinizing into the Qualifications of Voters, and I presume they { 211 } will not now begin to be so. But I would not advise them to make any alteration in the Laws, at present, respecting the Qualifications of Voters.
Your Idea, that those Laws, which affect the Lives and personal Liberty of all, or which inflict corporal Punishment, affect those, who are not qualified to vote, as well as those who are, is just. But, So they do Women, as well as Men, Children as well as Adults. What Reason Should there be, for excluding a Man of Twenty years, Eleven Months and twenty-seven days old, from a Vote when you admit one, who is twenty one? The Reason is, you must fix upon Some Period in Life, when the Understanding and Will of Men in general is fit to be trusted by the Public. Will not the Same Reason justify the State in fixing upon Some certain Quantity of Property, as a Qualification.
The Same Reasoning, which will induce you to admit all Men, who have no Property, to vote, with those who have, for those Laws, which affect the Person will prove that you ought to admit Women and Children: for generally Speaking, Women and Children, have as good Judgment, and as independent Minds as those Men who are wholly destitute of Property: these last being to all Intents and Purposes as much dependent upon others, who will please to feed, cloath, and employ them, as Women are upon their Husbands, or Children on their Parents.
As to your Idea, of proportioning the Votes of Men in Money Matters, to the Property they hold, it is utterly impracticable. There is no possible Way of Ascertaining, at any one Time, how much every Man in a Community, is worth; and if there was, So fluctuating is Trade and Property, that this State of it, would change in half an Hour. The Property of the whole Community, is Shifting every Hour, and no Record can be kept of the Changes.
Society can be governed only by general Rules. Government cannot accommodate itself to every particular Case, as it happens, nor to the Circumstances of particular Persons. It must establish general, comprehensive Regulations for Cases and Persons. The only Question is, which general Rule, will accommodate most Cases and most Persons.
Depend upon it, sir, it is dangerous to open So fruitfull a Source of Controversy and Altercation, as would be opened by attempting to alter the Qualifications of Voters. There will be no End of it. New Claims will arise. Women will demand a Vote. Lads from 12 to 21 will think their Rights not enough attended to, and every Man, who has not a Farthing, will demand an equal Voice with any other in all Acts of { 212 } State. It tends to confound and destroy all Distinctions, and prostrate all Ranks, to one common Levell. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent by Post June 1. 1776.” This is the first entry in JA's Letterbooks (Lb/JA/1, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 89). For information about the Adams Letterbooks and JA's motives for beginning them, see Adams Family Correspondence, 1:xxviii–xxix; 2:3. Several letters suggest that, in this first Letterbook at least, JA wrote out his letter initially in the Letterbook and then copied it out for sending; thus, LbC's are sometimes Dft's rather than true copies. For example, see JA to Benjamin Hichborn, 29 May, to Samuel Cooper, 30 May, and to John Winthrop, 23 June (all below).
1. Sullivan's letter of the 17th is in the Adams Papers, but is not being printed in these volumes.
2. The pertinent part of Sullivan's letter to Gerry follows:
“Since I wrote last my Mind has been exercised much on the Subject of Civil Government; a new assembly is at hand in which there will be the most full and equal representation that this Colony ever saw. This Assembly will undoubtedly suppose it to be their duty to provide for a future less unweildly and more equal representation than themselves. And how this can be done is the question. In order to do it must we not lay aside our old patched and unmeaning form of Government? The Scars and blotches of the feudal Sistem, the Foot steps of Vassalage, and the paths to lawless Domination compose so great a part of it, that no friend to his Country can wish to See it ever put in exercise again.
“Laws and Government are founded on the Consent of the people, and that consent should by each member of Society be given in proportion to his Right. Every member of Society has a Right to give his Consent to the Laws of the Community or he owes no Obedience to them. This proposition will never be denied by him who has the least acquaintance with true republican principles. And yet a very great number of the people of this Colony have at all times been bound by Laws to which they never were in a Capacity to Consent not having estate worth 40/ per annum &c. But yet by Fiction of Law every Man is supposed to consent. Why a man is supposed to consent to the acts of a Society of which in this respect he is absolutely an Excommunicate, none but a Lawyer well dabled in the feudal Sistem can tell. These fictions and Legal Suppositions (founded in utter illegalty) are only other Names for blinders, and Shackles. The Language of them is, that men are unable to account for the principles of their own Actions, and therefore give them a name which alters not their Nature but induces the people to let their inquiries cease.
“Government is founded on the Authority of the people, and by them only is Supported and is as the writer of Common Sense observes, not founded so much in human Nature, as in the depravity of it. Men in a State of innocence would want Society for their mutual assistance, but the depravity of mens Minds demand Government for their defence.
“Government has two Ends in veiw—first to Enact Laws compelling men to do their duty to each other, and Secondly to Support Judicatories to see these Laws Executed. The Laws when made, affect the Subject in two ways. First personally—and Secondly pecuniarily. In either way each Subject is alike Interested. For where there is a personal or Corporal punishment provided, all Subjects are equally concerned—the persons of the Beggar, and the Prince being equally dear to themselves respectively—saving the distinction necessary to be made for some Stupid Souls, void of those delicacies and compunctions so ornamental to human Nature. And let me add that in Times like the present, such minds are as often found on the throne as on the Dunghill. Those Laws which Govern and controul the Liberty, will, and Affections of the Subject, are alike Interesting to all. And So are those Laws which provide Mulcts and pe• { 213 } cuniary punishments—for in all cases where a fine is exacted, Magna Charta which is generally founded on Natural Law ought to be attended to. And that directs that each man shall be amerced with a Salvo Sibi contenemento [saving to himself that which is necessary for his support]—they are to be punished according to their circumstances—the money not being taken to enrich the public Coffers, but that the pain of parting with property might deter them and others from Like Offenses in future. Again as the Laws of the State if well chosen and wholesome have the greatest tendency to correct the morals of the people and habituate their minds to Virtue each one however indigent he may be is materially interested in them.
“Thus Sir the poor and rich are alike interested in that important part of Government called Legislation, but in the Supporting the Executive parts of Civil Government by Grants and Supplies of money, men are interested in proportion to their Estates. And it is absurd for a man who has but 40/ per annum Estate to have as much weight and importance as he who has forty pounds while he who has 39/ only has no Share in the matter.
“Some how or other there must be a plan laid for those Grants to be made by an adequate Representation of property, while the Legislation is done by the Authority of every person out of wardship that is bound thereby”. (MHi: Gerry photostats)
3. Although Sullivan did not mention women, JA perhaps felt called upon to say something about their position since AA had more than once brought the subject up in letters to her husband. As the time for independence grew closer, she thought men ought to relinquish their power over women. For her plea to “Remember the Ladies” she received a witty reply from JA that refused to take her convictions seriously (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:370, 382, 402).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0092

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-26

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Sir

The peculiar situation of American affairs renders it necessary to adopt every measure that will engage people in the service. The danger and hardships that those are subject to who engage in the service, more than those who do not, is obvious to every body which has the least Acquaintance with service, tis that which makes it so difficult to recruit. The large force that is coming against America will make it necessary to Augment our forces. If I am to form a Judgment of the success of Recruiting from what is past, the time is too short to raise the Troops and be in readiness to meet the Enemy and as every Argument has been made use off upon the present plan of recruiting to engage people in the service there must be some new motives added to quicken the motions of the recruiting parties.
From the Approaching danger recruiting will grow more and more difficult. If the Congress was to fix a certain support upon every Officer and Soldier that got maim'd in the service or upon the families of those that were kild it would have as happy an influence towards engageing people in the service and inspire those engagd with as much courage as any measure that can be fixt upon. I think it is { 214 } nothing more than common Justice neither. It puts those in and out of Army upon a more equal footing than at present. I have not time to add any thing more. Major Frazier now waiting—for this. The desperate game you have got to play and the uncertainty of War may render every measure that will increase the Force and strength of the American Army worthy consideration. When I have more leisure I will presume so much upon your good nature as to write you upon some other matters. Believe me to be with great respect yours
[signed] Nathanael Greene
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esquire Member of the Continental Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Gen. Greene May 26. 1776 answd. May 26.”
1. In his letter to JA of 2 June (below), Greene refers to his own letter of the 24th and to JA's answer of the 26th. Since JA's letter has not been found, the editors cannot determine whether Greene erred or whether there was a Greene letter of the 24th as well.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0093

Author: Kent, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-26

From Benjamin Kent

[salute] Dr: Sr:

I have written upon Politics, to your Names Sake, upon the grand affair of a Declaration of Independence, and I suppose he will show it to our Continentall Representatives I mean our Representatives of Massachusetts bay If desir'd, for tho I thro the kindness of Providence Sustain no Sort of publick Caracter; yet I concern my self very much in Affairs which Concern the publick. I remember I promised you I would write you when the Continental Arms Should work a Change to give me something to write upon, But the Lord has sent a pannick upon Our Enemies, and by that means, and not the force of our Arms, I am now a resident in Boston. But what I this day hear of the Doings of the Continental Congress induceth me earnestly to ask you if you have releasd that double damnable fellow Ben: Church Junr:, which I am very unwilling to believe, and if so how it came to pass.1 Pope says whatever is is right but there is you know such a thing as right wrong. Hang well and pay well, is a fundamental principle in all good Government, but the releasing him, seems quite Contrary. But if it is so, I wish he would come to Boston. I would affront him in hopes he would offer me Such treatment that I might beat his brains out or cut his Throat and I might escape the Gallows. I assure you I write under great discomposure of Mind on that Account, because I have been so Credibly inform'd you have releas'd him, that I believe it. Pray give me some relief, or you will never receive from me { 215 } a better Letter, and this is of no other Importance than to ease my own Stomach, and to let you know you are beloved by yr. Bror.
[signed] Benj. Kent
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honble: John Adams Esq; of the Continental Congress Philadelphia By Mr. Bant"; docketed: “Mr Kent. May 26. 1776.”
1. In response to a petition from Church and members of his family, the congress on 14 May remanded him to Massachusetts for a trial and requested that until the trial the Council allow him to be free on parole on condition that he not leave the province or correspond with the enemy (JCC, 4:352). See also William Tudor to JA, 28 Oct. 1775, note 7 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0094

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-27

From Samuel Cooper

I find by your Letter of 16th. Instant1 that you had no Expectation of the disagreable News from Canada. Our Accounts from thence are not very perfect. According to these, A Reinforcement for Quebec came up the River before the City on 6th. of this Month. Our Army suddenly retir'd, leaving good Part at least, of Cannon Baggage, and their sick. They had determin'd it is said, in a Council of War, before they saw the Reinforcement, (sent most probably by Howe) to raise the Seige, having many sick, but a few hundred effective Men, and but few days Provision. Our Succors to that Army it seems have proceeded slowly: The Season and the Climate must have occasion'd great Difficulties. Arnold's Firmness and Perseverance in what He had to encounter are astonishing. No one here blames the Retreat; it is suppos'd absolutely unavoidable. I hope our Army there will soon collect together, and make an effectual Stand: Ev'ry Thing must be done to keep the Enemy from Possession of that Country. It seems likely to become the chief Seat of War; and what now appears against us, may in the End turn out in our Favor.
I wrote Mr. S. A. about a Fortnight past, What our House had done respecting Independence. They afterwards reconsider'd their Vote and threw it into the Form you have no doubt seen.2 I knew not of this Alteration when I wrote.
The Repulse given by our two little Vessells of War to the Men of War's Boats here, grows more important the more Circumstances are known. It was a most gallant Action, and a great Proportion of the Assailants must have been wounded, drown'd, and slain.
I imagin'd the Account of Saltpetre made here would appear almost incredible to you. You may rely, I think, that there is no Fraud— { 216 } good Part is superior in Quality to much that is imported. I made particular Inquiry some Days ago, and 14 Tons had then been taken into the Province Store, and the Bounty paid. Has any Colony exceeded this?
You have, doubtless, been made acquainted with the Steps leading to the Enlargement of our House of Representatives. Boston sends 12, Salem 6, N[ewbury] Port 5, &c. A Gentleman gave me this Moment a List I enclose you.3
The Resolve of Congress you sent me is highly important and greatly acceptable here.4 It is impossible long to defer Confederation. And the Difficulties may be less, and sooner surmounted than is imagin'd. May Heaven still conduct your Councils. With much Esteem and Affection. Your obedt. hum. Servt.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in CFA's hand: "from Dr. Cooper."
1. Not found.
2. On 9 May the House passed the following resolution: “That it be, and hereby is recommended to each Town in this Colony, who shall send a Member or Members to the next General Assembly, fully to possess him or them with their Sentiments relative to a Declaration of Independency of the United Colonies on Great-Britain, to be made by Congress, and to instruct them what Conduct they would have them observe with Regard to the next General Assembly's instructing the Delegates of this Colony on that Subject.” When the Council nonconcurred on the following day, the House passed a substitute: “Resolved, As the Opinion of this House that the Inhabitants of each Town in this Colony, ought in full Meeting warned for that Purpose, to advise the Person or Persons who shall be chosen to Represent them in the next General Court, whether that if the honorable Congress should, for the Safety of the said Colonies, declare them Independent of the Kingdom of Great-Britain, they the said Inhabitants will solemnly engage with their Lives and Fortunes to Support the Congress in the Measure” (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 4th sess., p. 269, 274, 276). The revised resolution appeared in the Boston Gazette on 13 May. Obviously the second resolve left the initiative wholly to the congress.
Despite publication of the House resolution, some members arrived at the next General Court without their towns' having expressed their sentiments on independence. When this failure became known to the new House, it ordered that copies of the resolution be distributed in handbills and that those towns which had not complied with it call special meetings to ascertain the sentiments of their inhabitants (same, 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 21).
3. Enclosure not found, but the list was printed in the Boston Gazette on 3 June.
4. Almost certainly the resolution of 15 May calling upon the colonies to form independent governments.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hichborn, Benjamin
Date: 1776-05-29

To Benjamin Hichborn

[salute] Dear sir

Your agreable Favour of 20th. May, was handed me Yesterday and it gave me much Pleasure on various Accounts—one particularly as it gave me Evidence of your Existence, which for some Time past you { 217 } have Suffered to remain problematical. I have long expected Letters from you, but yet, I cannot find fault, because I believe I am much in your Debt. However, if you had considered the situation I am in, Surrounded with Demands for all and more than all my Time, you would not have waited for regular Payments from me.
Am Sorry to see you complain of suspicions—I hoped they were forgotten.1 Indeed I think, that upon your Return they ought to have vanished. I have none, nor am I, in the least degree afraid of censure on your Account nor of loosing a thread of Influence. Fortified in Innocence a Man should set groundless Censures at Defyance: and as to Influence the more a Man has of it, at least of such as mine, if I have any, the more unfortunate he is. If by Influence is understood the Power of doing Good to the public, or of serving Men of Merit this Influence is devoutly to be wished by every benevolent Mind: but very little of this kind of Influence has ever fallen to my share.
I wish I had enough of it, to serve the Interest of your Friend Russell whom I have ever esteemed as a Man of Honour, and Spirit a Man of Business as well as an agreable Companion: But I fear it is not in my Power to give him any Assistance. (The Agents, who have the Sales you mention, were appointed, by the marine Committee which was chosen in my absence, when I was at Watertown.2 Mr. Hancock was appointed, for our Colony, and I suppose the Agents have been recommended by him. But as it lay in a Department which I had no Right nor Duty to interfere in, I have never inquired, or known any thing of it. The Marshalls to the Court of Admiralty, will be recommended probably by the Judges. I know nothing of those Matters and indeed I dont see that I can with Propriety intermeddle in those Matters. I have however Shewn your Letter to Some of my Colleagues, and will shew it to others, Mr. Hancock particularly.) If any opportunity should present of serving Mr. Russell, I shall gladly embrace it.
I am much pleased with your Spirited Project of driving away the Wretches from the Harbour, and never shall be happy till I hear it is done, and the very Entrance fortifyed impregnably. I cant bear that an unfriendly Flagg or Mast Should be in Sight of Bacon Hill.
You are checked by Accounts from the southward of a Disposition in a great Majority, to counteract Independence. Read the Proceedings of Georgia South and North Carolina, and Virginia, and then judge. The Middle Colonies have never tasted the bitter Cup. They have never Smarted—and are therefore a little cooler—but you will see that the Colonies are united indissolubly. Maryland have passed a few ex• { 218 } centric Resolves but these are only Flashes, which will soon expire. The Proprietary Governments, are not only incumbered with a large Body of Quakers, but are embarrassed by a proprietary Interest. Both together clogg their operations a little: but these cloggs are falling off, as you will Soon see.
I dread the Spirit of Innovation which I fear will appear in our new and numerous Representative Body. It is much to be desired that their attention may at present be more fixed upon the defence of the Province and military operations, than upon opening Sources of endless Altercation. Unanimity in this Time of Calamity and Danger, is of great Importance. You ask my sentiments of the political System to be adopted. My opinion I am very certain will not be followed. We have able Men in the Colony, but I am much afraid they will not be heard. I hope a Governor, and Lieutenant Governor will be chosen: and that they will be respectable for their Fortune, as well as Abilities and Integrity if such can be found. The Judges I hope will be made independent both for the Duration and Emoluments of Office. There is nothing of more importance than this: but yet there is nothing less likely to be done.
How the Representatives will be Settled I cannot guess. But I really hope they will not attempt any material Alteration in the Qualification of Voters. This will open a Door for endless disputes, and I am much afraid for numberless Corruptions.
I wish, I could be at Home, at this important Period. But you will remember that all the other Colonies have Constitutions to frame—and what is of infinitely great Delicacy, Intricacy, and Importance, the Continent has a Constitution to form. If I could be of some little Use at home, I may be of more here at present.
You kindly and politely express a Concern for my Health, and if you have any Regard for me it is not without Reason. I have been here four Months, during which Time I have never once been on Horse back, and have found but little Time to walk. Such uninterrupted Attention to Cares and Perplexities of various Kinds, is enough to destroy a more Robust Body than mine. But I cannot excuse myself from these Duties, and I must march forward untill it comes to my Turn to fall. Indeed if a few Things were more fully accomplished, I should think it my duty to ask Leave of my Constituents to return home to my Garden.
The Moment I can see every Colony in Possession and actual Exercise of all the Powers of Government, and a Confederation well settled for all the Colonies under a Congress with Powers clearly de• { 219 } fined and limited; and Sufficient Preparation and Provision made for Defence against the Force which is coming against Us; that Moment I shall return to my family; from which I have been too long divorced. But whether my Constitution will hold out so long, must be left to him that made it, to whose Wisdom and Goodness I chearfully Submit.
N.B. The Petition from the independent Corps, in Boston gave me, great Pleasure and is much to their Honour. I did my Endeavour to get the Prayer granted, but it is at last left to the General.3
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. Because Hichborn had been thought by some insufficiently devoted to the American cause, he had asked JA, as a sign of faith, to permit him to carry the letters that were subsequently intercepted by the British.
2. Opposite this sentence in the margin JA wrote, “a Mistake not copied.” He probably omitted from the letter actually sent the mistake he referred to.
3. The men of the independent corps had petitioned for arms seized by the Franklin. Gen. Washington, citing the general shortage of weapons, recommended that the request not be granted (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:96; Richard Devens to JA, 16 May, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0096

Author: Hughes, Hugh
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-29

From Hugh Hughes

[salute] Sir

I have the Pleasure to acquaint you that our Citizens had a Meeting on Monday Evening last, when it was agreed, without a dissenting Voice, to instruct our Convention on that most important of all sublunary Affairs, in order that Application may be made to your Honble. House.1 What will our Traitors, with you, say to this virtuous Stand? One of them, I know, will endeavour to turn it to ridicule, as he does every Thing he cant confute.2 The other I suppose, will say his Constituents, the Tories, did not choose him for any such Purpose, which, is not far from the Truth; as they chose him solely for the Purpose of embarrassing the Congress and betraying it's most essential Interests.3 Mr. J4 is here and will be of great Service at this Time. I have had a very agreeable Conference with him I assure you. I hope we shall conquer Monarchy and Aristocracy here, and that my Countrymen, with you, will do the same there. The Prejudices of Mankind are really astonishing to a Freethinker.
I am in the Service, such as it is, but dont yet know whether it will keep Soul and Body together.

[salute] I am, with the greatest Regard Sir your very Huble. Servt.

[signed] H Hughes
N.B. This will be communicated to your worthy Colleague and Relation I expect, for whom I have the same Regard as yourself Sir.
{ 220 }
1. The meeting held on 27 May apparently resulted in the appeal of the mechanics to the New York Provincial Congress on 29 May that delegates to the Continental Congress be instructed to work for independence. In rejecting this request on 4 June, the Provincial Congress noted that the committee of mechanics had no standing, that authority was vested in the Provincial Congress and committees. The “enlarged view” of the Continental Congress made it best suited to decide measures affecting the general welfare. Instruction of New York's delegates should await a request from the national body for action by New York (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:614–615; Roger Champagne, “New York Politics and Independence,” New-York Historical Society Quarterly, 46:297–298 [July 1962]).
2. Probably Philip Livingston. See JA to William Heath, 15 April (above).
3. Possibly James Duane, who was “close in sentiment to Tories” (Roger Champagne, “New York's Radicals and the Coming of Independence,” JAH, 51:28 [June 1964]).
4. John Jay.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0097

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1776-05-30

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear sir

Yours of the 20th. was handed me by the last Post. I congratulate you upon the first modern Election, on the last Wednesday in May of Councellors as at the first. I could not avoid indulging myself Yesterday, in Imagination with my Friends in Boston, upon an Occasion So joyfull. I presume you must have had a very solemn and ceremonious Election, and wish that no Interruption may ever hereafter take Place, like that of the last year.
You have given me great Pleasure by your Account of the Spirit and Activity of our People, their Skill and success in fortifying the Town and Harbour: But there are several Things Still wanting, in my Judgment. I never shall be happy, untill every unfriendly Flagg is driven out of sight, and the Light House Island Georges and Lovells Islands, and the East End of Long Island are secured. Fire Ships and Rafts, will be of no service without Something to cover and protect them from the Boats of the Men of War. Gallies are the best Engines in the World for this Purpose. Coll. Quincy, has the best Idea of these Gallies, of any Man I know. I believe he has a perfect Idea of the Turkish, and Venetian Gallies. Some of these are large as British Men of War, but some are Small. (I sincerely wish, that at this Time he was a Member of one or the other House, because his Knowledge and Zeal, would be usefull.1 This however is none of my Concern. But his Knowledge in naval, and marine Affairs is not exceeded by any Man I know.) Gallies might be built, and armed with { 221 } heavy Cannon 36 or 42 Pounders, which would drive away, a Ship of almost any Size, Number of Guns or Weight of Metal. The dexterity of our People in Sea Matters must produce great Things, if it had any Person to guide it, and stimulate it. A Kind of dodging Indian Fight might be maintained, among the Islands in our Harbour, between such Gallies and the Men of War.
Whether you have any Person, Sufficiently acquainted with the Composition of those Combustibles, which are usually put into Fire Ships and Rafts I dont know. If you have not, it would be worth while to send some one here to inquire and learn. At least let me know it, and altho I have a demand upon me for an Hour, when I have a Minute to Spare, yet I will be at the Pains, tho I neglect other Things of informing myself as well as I can here, and send you what I learn.
We are making the best Provision We can, for the Defence of America. I believe We shall make Provision for 70,000 Men in the three Departments the Northern, including Canada—the middle—and the Southern. The Die is cast. We must all be Soldiers, and fight pro Aris et Focis.2 I hope there is not a Gentleman in the Massachusetts Bay, not even in the Town of Boston, who thinks himself too good to take his Firelock and his Spade. Such imminent Dangers level all Distinctions. You must before now, have seen Some important Resolutions of this Congress, as well as of Separate Colonies—before many Weeks you will see more.

[salute] Remember me with every sentiment of Friendship and Respect to all who deserve well of their Country. These are all my Friends, and I have, and will have no other. I am &c.

P.S. Gallies to be used merely in Boston Harbour, the less they are the better,3 provided they are large and Strong enough to sustain the Weight of the Gun and the Shock of the Explosion. The Gallies first built in Delaware River, were too large to be handy and too small, to live and work in a Sea. We are building two of a different Construction. They are to carry two large Guns in the Stern and two in front and five or six 3 Pounders on each side, besides swivells. They are built to put to sea, live and fight in a swell or Storm. They are narrow but almost 100 feet long.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. In the margin opposite this sentence and the next, JA wrote “not sent.” The passage in parentheses was probably omitted in the RC.
2. For God and country.
3. Comma supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0098

Author: Winthrop, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-01

From John Winthrop

[salute] Dear Sir

I wrote you last week1 acknowledging the receit of your favor of May 6. Since that, have had the pleasure of another, of May 12, by my Son—am greatly obliged to you for the favorable opinion you are pleased to express of him. I cannot but regret, however, that so large a proportion of the paper was left blank.
I have often wondered, that so much difficulty should be raised about declaring independence, when we have actually got the thing itself. Who or what are we afraid of? Are we afraid of provoking G.B. which is now actually carrying on open war against us, and bending her whole force to subjugate or exterminate us? But I have had such an implicit Faith in the wisdom of Congress, that I could not doubt but they had sufficient reasons for their conduct. I now perceive you were in these sentiments long ago. But they are very opposite to the inveterate prejudices and long established systems of many others. It must be a work of time to eradicate these prejudices. And perhaps it may be best to accomplish this great affair by slow and almost imperceptible steps, and not per saltum,2 by one violent exertion. The late Resolve of May 15. comes very near it.
For what relates to sulphur &c. I have nothing to add to what I wrote in my last—only that saltpetre has been made here in very large quantities. Yesterday, being the last day in which the bounty of 7/ per lb. was allowed, I was surprised to see what a number of horses, loaded with that precious commodity, was crouding round the Commissary's Store in Watertown; and on the road from Watertown to Concord, I met a great many others, and one or two waggons. The whole quantity I have not yet learned. The bounty is now reduced to 5/, till the 1st of October.
I wonder you have not heard more about our Courts of Justice. I have purposely omitted many things in my Letters, from a persuasion that you had full information of them, either from private Letters, or the public News papers which I suppose you constantly receive. There have been no Courts held in Hampshire or Berkshire—no Justices of the pleas yet appointed for Hampshire. In Taunton, the Justices were opposed by force, and hindered from going into the Court house, by 30 or 40 men with large sticks in their hands, and some blows were given. The Justices then assembled in the tavern. Three or four of the Ringleaders, it is said, were soon after elected by the people as military officers (one of the blessed fruits of our new militia { 223 } { 224 } system).3 The principal grounds of complaint, so far as I can learn, are these. 1. That the fees and Court charges are extravagantly high. 2. That the Commissions run in the name of the K. 3. That some persons have been put in Commission who are obnoxious to the people. To remove the 1st complaint, a new Fee-bill has past, which has reduced most fees considerably.4 What is called a confession bill has also past, similar to the Connecticut practice.5 For the 2d, the Style of Commissions, Law-processes &c. is altered by an Act, and instead of G.III. it is to be, The Government and people of the Massachusetts Bay.6 A like Act has passed in Rhode Island. As to the 3d, no officers have as yet been displaced—so, that grievance remains. Whether the alterations made will allay these heats, time must discover. Some suspect, these are only ostensible reasons, and that the true ground of the opposition, at least with many, is an unwillingness to submit to law, and pay their debts.7 But such has been the spirit raised among the people; that it was tho't advisable to adjourn, by Resolves, the Courts in most of the Counties. The Courts of Sessions have sat in Essex and Middlesex, but in no other County that I know of. I suppose they will set in Suffolk next Term. The Superior Court will meet, for the first time, at Ipswich on the 3d Tuesday of June, and so procede on the eastern circuit. I should hope, their presence in the several Counties, especially if the weight and influence of the Chief Justice could be added, would have a very happy effect. But important as his presence here would be, it is of so much greater importance at Philadelphia, that it ought not to be wished for at this time.
When these commotions will subside, it is impossible to say. There is such a spirit of inno[va]tion gone forth, as I am afraid will throw us into confusion. It seems as if every thing was to be altered. Scarce a News paper but teems with new projects. This week produced three. 1. for County Assemblies. 2. For a Registry of Deeds in each town. 3. For the Probate of Wills &c. to be made in each town by a Committee to be annually chosen for that purpose at the March meetings. The Representative of one Town in Suffolk (I do not know which) has received instructions to this purpose. I humbly conceive, this is not a proper time to make so many alterations, when our All is at Stake. Tis like repairing a house that is on fire. First put out the fire, and then repair the house. Tis likely, however, these points will be agitated, and perhaps carried this Session.
The Election was held at Watertown. A list of the new Council is inclosed.8 With great esteem and respect I am &c.
{ 225 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr. Winthrop. June 1. 1776 ansd. June 23d.”
1. 23 May, Adams Papers, not printed.
2. By a leap.
3. Under the charter the royal governor appointed militia officers, but the new militia law called for officers at the company level to be elected by the troops (Mass., Province Laws, 5:447).
4. See James Warren to JA, 30 March, note 10 (above).
5. See James Warren to JA, 30 April, note 2 (above).
6. See JA to William Tudor, 12 April, note 4 (above).
7. Winthrop overlooked the complaint of the Berkshire Constitutionalists, who were supported for a time by people in Hampshire co., that the state lacked a proper constitution.
8. Not found. The results of the election were printed in the Boston Gazette, 3 June.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Knox, Henry
Date: 1776-06-02

To Henry Knox

[salute] Dear sir

Your esteemed Favour of the 16 of May, came to my Hand a few Days ago.
You have laid me under obligations, by your ingenious Observations upon those Books, upon military Science, which are necessary, to be procured, in the present Circumstances of this Country. I have been a long Time convinced of the Utility of publishing american Editions of those Writers, and that it is an object of sufficient Importance, to induce the public to be at the Expence of it. But greater objects press in such Numbers, upon those who think for the public, as Lord Drummond1 expressed it that this has been hitherto neglected. I could wish that the Public would be at the Expence not only of new Editions of these Authors, but of establishing Academies, for the Education of young Gentlemen in every Branch of the military Art: because I am fully of your sentiment, that We ought to lay Foundations, and begin Institutions, in the present Circumstances of this Country, for promoting every Art, Manufacture and Science which is necessary for the Support of an independent State. We must for the future Stand upon our own Leggs or fall. The Alienation of Affection, between the two Countries, is at length, so great, that if the Morals of the British Nation and their political Principles were made purer than they are, it would be scarcely possible to accomplish a cordial ReUnion with them.
The Votes of the Congress and the Proceedings of the Colonies seperately must before this Time have convinced you, that this is the sense of America, with infinitely greater Unanimity, than could have been credited by many People a few Months ago. Those few Persons { 226 } indeed, who have attended closely to the Proceedings of the several Colonies, for a Number of Years past, and reflected deeply upon the Causes of this mighty Contest, have foreseen, that Such an Unanimity would take Place, as soon as a Seperation should become necessary. These are not at all surprised while many others really are and some affect to be astonished at the Phenominon.
The Policy of Rome, in carrying their Arms to Carthage, while Hannibal was at the Gates of their Capital, was wise and justified by the Event, and would deserve Imitation if We could march into the Country of our Enemies. But possessed as they are of the Dominion of the Sea, it is not easy for Us to reach them. Yet it is possible that a bold attempt might succeed. But We have not yet sufficient Confidence in our own Power or skill, to encourage Enterprizes of the daring, hardy Kind. Such often prosper and are always glorious. But shall I give offence if I Say, that our Arms, have kept an even Pace with our Councils? that both have been rather slow and irresolute? Have either our officers or Men, by sea or Land, as yet discovered that exalted Courage, and mature Judgment, both of which are necessary for great and Splendid Actions? Our Forces have done very well, considering their poor Appointments and our Infancy. But I may Say to you that I wish I could see less Attention to Trifles, and more to the great Essentials of the service, both in the civil and military Departments.
I am no Prophet, if We are not compelled by Necessity, before the War is over, to become more Men of Business and less Men of Pleasure. I have formed great Expectations from a Number of Gentlemen of Genius, Sentiment, and Education, of the younger sort, whom I know to be in the Army, and wish that Additions might be made to the Number. We have had Some Examples of Magnanimity and Bravery, it is true, which would have done Honour to any Age or Country. But those have been accompanied with a Want of Skill and Experience, which intitles the Hero to Compassion, at the Same Time that he has our Admiration. For my own Part I never think of Warren or Montgomery, without lamenting at the same Time that I admire, lamenting that Inexperience to which, perhaps they both owed their Glory.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. James “Lord” Drummond had sought to bring about reconciliation between Great Britain and the colonies, but it was not clear, nor is it now, to what extent he had official backing in Britain. He became well known first for his letter of 5 Feb. 1776 to the British general James Robertson, in which occurs { 227 } the phrase “those gentlemen whose province it now is to think for the publick.” A good summary of Drummond's activities is in William B. Willcox, Portrait of a General, N.Y., 1964, p. 71–76. Drummond's letter is in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:943–944.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0100

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-02

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Sir

I have just receivd your favor of the 26th of May in answer to mine of the 24th.1 You must not expect me to be a very exact correspondent, my circumstances will not always admit of it. When I have opportunity I will write you with freedom if any information I can give you should be of service I shall be amply paid. I know your time is too precious to be spent in Answering Letters; but a line from you at all times will be very acceptable, with such intelligence as you are at Liberty to give.
By your Letter I have the happiness to find you agree with me in sentiment for the establishing a support for those that gets disabled in the Army or militia; but I am sorry to find at the same time, that you are very doubtful of it takeing affect: I could wish the Congress to think seriously of the matter, both with respect to the Justice and utillity of the measure. Is it not inhuman to suffer those that have fought nobly in the cause to be reduced to the necessity of geting a support by common Charity. Does this not millitate2 with the free and independant principles which we are indeavoring to support? Is it not equitable that the State who receives the benefit should be at the expence? The Community collectively considerd pays nothing more for the establishing a support, than if they do not, for those that get disabled must be supported by the Continent in general or the Provinces in particular. If the Continent establishes no support; by the fee of War some Colonies might be grieviously burthened. I cannot see upon what principle any Colony can encourage the Inhabitants to engage in the Army when the state that employs them refuses a support to the unfortunate. I think it would be right, and just for every Government to furnish their equal proportion of the Troops or contribute to the support of those that are sent by other Colonies.
Can there be any thing more humiliateing than this consideration to those that are in the Army, or to those that have a mind to come in it than this? If I meet with a misfortune I shall be reduced to the necessity of beging my Bread. Is not this degradeing and distressing a part of the human species that deserves a better fate. On the { 228 } other hand if there was a support establish't what confidence would it give to those engag'd, what encouragement to those that are not. Good Policy points out the measure, Humanity calls for it, and Justice claims it at your Hands.
I apprehend the dispute to be but in its infancy; nothing should be neglected to encourage People to engage, who render those easy contented and happy that are engag'd. Good covering is an Object of the first consideration. I know of nothing that is more discourageing than the want of it, it renders the Troops very uncomfortable and generally unhealthy. A few Troops well accomodated, healthy and spirited will do more service to the state that employs them than a much larger number that are sickly dispirited and discontented. This is the unhappy state of the Army at this time ariseing from the badness of the Tents. His Excellency has order'd every thing to be done to remedy the Evil that is in his power; but before the remedy can take place, the health of the Troops will receive a severe wound.
From the nature of the dispute and the manner of furnishing the state with Troops too much care cannot be taken of those that engage, other wise some particular Goverments more publick spirited than others may be depopulated.
Good Officers is the very Soul of an Army, the Activity and Zeal of the Troops entirely depends upon the degree of Animation given them by their Officers. I think it was Sir William Pitts maxim, to pay well and hang well to have a good Army. The Field Officers in general and the Colonels of Regiments in particular think themselves grieviously burthened upon the present establishment; few if any of that Rank that are worth retaining in service will continue, if any dependance is to be made upon the discontent that appears. They say and I believe with too much truth, that their pay and provision will not defray their expences. Another great grievance they complain on is they are oblige to act as factors for the Regiment. Subject to many loses, without any extraordinary allowance for their trouble, drawing from the Continental Store by wholesale and delivering out to the Troops by Retail. This business has been attended with much perplexity and accompanyed with very great losses where the Colonels have not been good Accomptants. This is no part of the duty of a Colonel of a Regiment; and the mode in which the business has been conducted, too much of their time has been engrossed in that employment for the good of the service. There should be an Agent for Each Regiment to provide the Troops with cloathing on the easiest terms allowed to draw money for that purpose Ocasionally, to be stopt { 229 } out of the pay Abstract. Those Agents could provide seasonably,3 fetch their goods from a distance and prevent those local impositions that arises upon every remove of the Army.
The dispute begins to be reduced to a National principle, and the longer it continues the more that Idea will prevail. People engagd in the service in the early part of the dispute without any consideration of pay reward, few if any thought of its continuance; but its duration will reduce all that have not independant Fortunes to attend to their family concerns—and if the present pay of those in the service is insufficent for the support of them and their families they must consequently quit it. The Novelty of the Army may engage others but you cannot immagin the injury the Army sustains by the loss of every good Officer. A young Officer without any experience in the Military Art or knowledge of mankind, unless he has a very uncommon Genius must be totally unfit to command a Regiment.
I observe in the Resolves of Congress they have reservd to themselves the right of rewarding by promotion according to merit; the reserve may be right but the exercise will be dangerous, often injurious and sometimes very unjust. Two Persons of very unequal merit the inferior may get promoted over the superior if a Single instance of bravery is a sufficient Reason for such promotion. There is no doubt but that its right and just to reward singular merit, but the publick applause accompanying every brave Action is a noble reward.
Where one Officer is promoted over the head of another if he has Spirit enough to be fit for service it lays him under the necessity of quiting it. It is a publick intimation that he is unfit for promotion and consequently undeserving his present Appointment. For my own part, I would never give any Legislative body an opportunity to humiliate me but once. I should think the Generals Recommendation is necessary to warrant a promotion out of the Regular channel. For Rank is of such importance in the Army and so delicate are4 the sentiments respecting it that very strong reasons ought to be given for going out of the proper channel, or else it will not be satisfactory to the army in general or to the party in particular.
The Emision of such large sums of money increases the price of things in proportion to the sums emited—the money has but a nominal value. The evil does not arise from a depreciation altogether but from there being larger sums Emited than is necessary for a circulating medium. If the Evil increases it will starve the Army, for the pay of the Troops at the pr[i]ces things are sold at will scarcely keep the Troops decently cloathed. Notwithstanding what I write I will engage { 230 } to keep the Troops under my command as easy and contented as any in the Army.
I observe you dont think the game you are playing is so desperate as I immagin. You doubtless are much better acquainted with the resources that are to be had in case of any misfortune than I am; but I flatter my self I know the History—Strength and state of the Army almost as well as any in it both with respect to the goodness of the Troops or the Abillities of the Officers. Dont be too confident the fate of War is very uncertain, little incidents has given rise to great events. Suppose this Army should be defeated, two or three of the leading Generals5 killed, our stores and magazines all lost, I would not be answerable for the consequences that such a stroke might produce in American politicks. You think the present army assisted by the militia is sufficient to oppose the force of Great Britain, formidable as it appears on paper. I can assure you its necessary to make great allowances in the calculation of our strength from the Establishment or else you'l be greatly deceived. I am confidant the force of America if properly exerted will prove superior to all her Enemies, but I would risque nothing to chance—it is easy to disband when it is impossible to raise Troops.
I approve your plan of encourageing our own Troops rather than seducing theirs, let us fight and beat them fairly; and free our Country from oppression with out departing from the principles of honnor Truth or Justice. The conditions you propose are very honnorable, but I fear whether they are altogether equal to the Emergency of the times, for mankind being much more influenced by present profit than remote advantagies, People will consider what benefit they are immediately to receive and take their Resolutions accordingly.
If the Force of Great Britain should prove near equal to what it has been represented, a large Augmentation will be necessary; if the present Offers should not be sufficient to induce People to engage in the Army—You will be oblige to Augment the bounty; and perhaps at a time, when that Order of People will have it in their power to make their own conditions or distress the state.
As I have wrote a great deal and the Doctor waiting I shall add no more only my hearty wishes for your health and happiness. Believe me to be with great esteem your most Obedient humble servant,
[signed] N Greene
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Gen. Green. June 2. 1776 an. June 22.” Some mutilation with one quarter-page missing.
{ 231 }
1. JA's letter not found. Greene's letter of the “24th” was dated by him the 26th (above; see note there).
2. Be inconsistent with, Obs. (OED).
3. Comma supplied.
4. The rest of this and the following sentence are supplied from The Papers of General Nathanael Greene, ed. Richard K. Showman and others, Chapel Hill, 1976 (1:225–226), the editors of which obtained the missing words from the G. W. Greene Transcripts at the Huntington Library.
5. From this point up to “its necessary to make” the missing words have been supplied from the source given in note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0101

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-02

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I Received yours of the 20th. of May with the pamphlets Inclosed.1 I am much Obliged to you for them. I am quite satisfied that you have wrote to me as Often as your Situation would Admit of, that your Cares are great, and press on you from many quarters. I never suspected your Friendship. I pity you as much as you can wish a Friend to do, and Admire your Spirit and resolute perseverance in the publick Cause. I have read and see the difference of Sentiment in the two Pamphlets. The Thoughts on Government are far from being disdained in New England. They are Admired here. Very few Exceptions are made by any Body. The only one of any Consequence that I have heard is that the Author seems rather Inclined to A Negative in the third Branch, which is hardly popular enough for our Climate poor and sterile as it is. I believe the Author never Expected it would Comport with the Monarchick and Aristocratic Spirit of the South. Whether it is best there should be a perfect simularity in the form, and Spirit of the several Governments in the Colonies, provided they are all Independant of Britain, is a question I am not determined in. For some reasons it may be best for us there should be A difference. I therefore Consider the Address to the Convention of Virginia with the more Indifference as it may (if successful) neither Injure the publick or us.
I Regreted my not being Able to write by Mr. Winthrop who left this place two days ago. You will have by him a List of our new House, and I suppose a List of the Council Chosen as he promised me not to go without it. Coll. Orne and Danielson refused. We Chose Eldad Taylor and Coll. Thayer in their room.2 You will find in the House more Abilities, tho perhaps not more Zeal for the present System of politicks than in the last, and you will see in the List of Councellors some that I did not vote for. We have had yet Nothing before us to determine what we are to Expect from the Conduct of this New House. The Election took us two Intire days, and Controverted Elec• { 232 } tions filled up the rest of the last week. We Yesterday sent Home the Salem Members for the Irregularity of the proceedings of the Town in their Choice.3 Coll. Palmer is again in the House. I dare say you are Informed how.4
I presume as we are now at Liberty to Establish a Form of Government we shall soon take up that matter. I shall do every thing in my power to promote Unanimity in the Choice of A Governor or President, let the General voice be as it may. I thank you for your partiality. I could pitch on a much more suitable person than either of the Three you mention by going as far as Philadelphia tho' what we should do without him there I cant tell. Tis our Misfortune that the same men cant be in two places at the same time. I shall write you as soon as any thing on this Subject takes place. The peice you mention published in our papers is in total Oblivion, so desire you not to take your leave of us.
I shall do every thing in my power to have the Salaries and Commissions of the Judges Established. I have long been Convinced of the necessity of it, and I am sure we can do nothing more Advantageous to our Internal police. The Nerves of one of the Gentlemen you mention are weak oweing perhaps to his state of Health. His Heart I believe is good, tho' not so decisively zealous as I would wish, perhaps oweing to his Splendid fortune. His Head is undoubtedly good.
We have no News. Frequent rumours of Battles and victories in Canada since our late Misfortune there but nothing to be depended on. I am Mortified by the little Zeal and readiness shewn by our Countrymen to Enter into the service. Neither Marshals, Whitneys,5 or Crafts regiments are yet half full. What hopes can we Entertain that the five old Battalions left here will be filld up, or the two new ones raised. Can you Advise us to give them A Bounty by way of Encouragement, or should you disapprove of it. It certainly would be very Advantageous to us to have them, and our delegates deserve our Thanks for their Exertions on this Occasion, but how to get them is the question. I suppose it would not do to have the two Regiments we are now raising Converted into Continental Regiments. I cant account for the difficulties we have in raising men. Great Numbers are Indeed gone from us, and the southern Governments have Agents here Inlisting Seamen for their perticular services with full wages and large Bounties.6 I fear therefore you will find it difficult to man your ships. You should Attend to it without delay.
We have A promiseing Season, fine Showers the Crops look flourishing tho the weather has been cooler than usual. Mr. Winthrop has { 233 } with him my Accounts.7 I Expect there will be some small deficiency oweing to the Multiplicity of Business in that office, and the hurry and Croud we have been obliged to do it in. I have directed him to Charge for a Clerk, as it was Impossible to Execute it without one, and to Charge the Expenses of going to Philadelphia to settle Account as I am out of pay. I hope all these will be Allowed me. The Army here are in distress for want of money. I have run the venture at the Solicitations of Genl. Ward to pay several Sums since I had notice that my resignation was Accepted. I hope the publick Advantage, and the Generals Solicitations will Justifie my Conduct. I have desired Mr. Winthrop to call on you for any Assistance he may have Occasion for. I know you will give it to him, and I thot I need make no Apology for the Freedom. I have no Letters from Mrs. Adams to Inclose. She was well last Tuesday. Some of the little Boys had the Mumps. My regards to Mr. Adams and Gerry. I pray daily for your and their Health and Happiness and am your Friend, &c.
I never yet Congratulated you on the almost miraculous Interposition of Providence in sending us the prize Ship Carried into Boston. I do it now. The Gallant defence made by our small Vessels against the men of War Boats is perhaps as Noble A one as any this War. I cant give you An Exact Account of the loss on their side but I believe in Killd and wounded little short of A hundred. I am not certain that I have Acknowledged the receipt of some other of your favours. The Contents of them are Important and are Attended to. Want of Health for some time past and the Multiplicity of Business must be my Apology. You must not think of A Resignation. We shall be ruined if you do.
RC (Adams Papers); possible docketing: “Spr” [Speaker?].
1. See JA to Warren, 20 May, note 7. The pamphlets that Warren refers to later, however, were sent in JA's letter of 12 May. Warren is answering both letters, as well as JA's of 15 May (all above).
2. Azor Orne, Timothy Danielson, Ebenezer Thayer (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 8).
3. The House held the election in Salem invalid because voters had signified their choice by using “kernels of corn and pease” (same, p. 10).
4. According to AA, in a close election in Braintree, Joseph Palmer promised to remain in the House (that is, he would refuse election to the Council) if he were chosen over his opponent, JA's brother, Peter Boylston Adams (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:416; 2:8).
5. Col. Josiah Whitney (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 590).
6. On 19 Jan. the congress had authorized South Carolina's agent to proceed to Cambridge to recruit seamen “in such parts of the country as will be the least prejudicial to the continental service,” and it recommended total bounties of no more than $14 per man (JCC, 4:67–68). In February the General Court, upon receipt of a letter from South Carolina's Council of Safety, voted to permit the recruitment of three hundred men in Massachusetts. By April, Massa• { 234 } chusetts had decided to give a month's wages in advance to encourage enlistment of seamen in the provincial navy, but it was paying only £2 per month, equivalent to less than $7. Other southern states like Virginia suffered a lack of experienced seamen, but the editors have found no record that their agents recruited men in Massachusetts (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 303; C. O. Paullin, The Navy of the American Revolution, Cleveland, 1906, p. 421–422, 326–327, 403).
7. William Winthrop acted as Warren's agent when the army left Massachusetts for New York (Warren to JA, 30 March, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0102

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Henry, Patrick
Date: 1776-06-03

To Patrick Henry

[salute] My dear Sir

I had this Morning the Pleasure of yours of 20 May. The little Pamphlet you mention is nullius Filius,1 and if I should be obliged to maintain it, the World will not expect that I should own it. My Motive for inclosing it to you, was not the Value of the Present, but as a Token of Friendship—and more for the Sake of inviting your Attention to the Subject, than because there was any Thing in it worthy your Perusal. The Subject is of infinite Moment, and perhaps more than Adequate to the Abilities of any Men, in America. I know of none So competent, to the Task as the Author of the first Virginia Resolutions against the Stamp Act, who will have the Glory with Posterity, of beginning and concluding this great Revolution. Happy Virginia, whose Constitution is to be framed by So masterly a Builder. Whether the Plan of the Pamphlet, is not too popular, whether the Elections are not too frequent, for your Colony I know not. The Usages and Genius and Manners of the People, must be consulted. And if Annual Elections of the Representatives of the People, are Sacredly preserved, those Elections by Ballott, and none permitted to be chosen but Inhabitants, Residents, as well as qualified Freeholders of the City, County, Parish, Town, or Burrough for which they are to serve,2 three essential Prerequisites of a free Government; the Council or middle Branch of the Legislature may be triennial, or even Septennial, without much Inconvenience.
I, esteam it an Honour and an Happiness, that my opinion So often co-incides with yours. It has ever appeared to me, that the natural Course and order of Things, was this—for every Colony to institute a Government—for all the Colonies to confederate, and define the Limits of the Continental Constitution—then to declare the Colonies a sovereign State, or a Number of confederated Sovereign States—and last of all to form Treaties with foreign Powers.3 But I fear We cannot proceed systematically, and that We Shall be obliged to declare { 235 } ourselves independant States before We confederate, and indeed before all the Colonies have established their Governments.
It is now pretty clear, that all these Measures will follow one another in a rapid Succession, and it may not perhaps be of much Importance, which is done first.
The Importance of an immediate Application to the French Court is clear, and I am very much obliged to you for your Hint of the Rout by the Mississippi.
Your Intimation that the session of your Representative Body would be long gave me great Pleasure, because We all look up to Virginia for Examples and in the present Perplexities, Dangers and Distresses of our Country it is necessary that the Supream Councils of the Colonies should be almost constantly Sitting. Some Colonies are not sensible of this and they will certainly Suffer for their Indiscretion. Events of such Magnitude as those which present themselves now in such quick Succession, require constant Attention and mature Deliberation.
The little Pamphlet, you mention which was published here as an Antidote to the Thoughts on Government, and which is whispered to have been the joint Production of one Native of Virginia and two Natives of New York, I know not how truly, will make no Fortune in the World. It is too absurd to be considered twice. It is contrived to involve a Colony in eternal War.
The Dons, the Bashaws, the Grandees, the Patricians, the Sachems, the Nabobs, call them by what Name you please, Sigh, and groan, and frett, and Sometimes Stamp, and foam, and curse—but all in vain. The Decree is gone forth, and it cannot be recalled, that a more equal Liberty, than has prevail'd in other Parts of the Earth, must be established in America. That Exuberance of Pride, which has produced an insolent Domination, in a few, a very few oppulent, monopolizing Families, will be brought down nearer to the Confines of Reason and Moderation, than they have been used. This is all the Evil, which they themselves will endure. It will do them good in this World and every other. For Pride was not made for Man only as a Tormentor.
I shall ever be happy in receiving your Advice, by Letter, untill I can be more compleatly so in seeing you here in Person, which I hope will be soon. I am with Sincere Affection and Esteem, dear sir, your Friend and very humble servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. An unacknowledged child.
2. Comma supplied.
3. Compare the order of events prescribed in JA to John Winthrop, 12 May (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0103

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-03

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Sir

Your favor of the 26th. Ultimo1 I duly received. I am fully of I Opinion with you that the Rank of Officers ought to be regarded, but not made the invariable Rule of Promotion in the Army, uncommon Merit in any Officer ought to be rewarded. The Danger lies in the Application of the Rule; Merit is comparative. It is difficult to compare where Two Officers are put to perform different Services and both acquit themselves well in their respective Departments; Uncommon Merit has generally the Voice of the Army to Support the Officer who thus distinguishes himself and Preferments of this Kind give very little Uneasiness; Instances in Col. Miflin preferd to the Rank of a Brigadier, Majr. Tupper to a Lt. Col. and Several other Preferments receive the general Approbation of all Ranks and their Merit allowed tho' they were not intitled to Succeed by their Rank; the Danger lies in advancing Friends under Color of Merit where there is no uncommon Merit, I know the Rule of Succession will occasion frequent Removals from one Regiment to another, but I cannot conceive that is a Difficulty to be avoided, especially in the Present Circumstances of the Country; when Corps of Men were raised by the different Provinces there could be no Pretence of succeeding from One to Another Regiment where Places fell Vacant in Regiments raised by another Colony; for the Troops of the different Colonies were considerd merely As Allies to each Other and not of the same United Body. Tis now otherwise, the whole are raised by the Continent without Regard to particular Colonies, and so the Appointments of Officers are made from several Colonies, in the same Regiment; this is peculiarly Advantageous to Us in destroying the local Prejudices of Colonies, which has always been discoverd in the Troops raised under the Authority of any Particular Colony, and in many Instances has produced very unhappy Effects. A Succession from One Regiment to another will naturally efface those Unreasonable Attachments and the whole will be United as one intire Body, whether the Massachusetts Bay, Virginia or Connectt. gave Birth to the Officer or Soldier. Three distinct Lists, have been observed in the Rank as well as Preferment of Officers: The Field Officers have respect to all the whole Army, Captains and Subalterns to their respective Regiments Only. The Staff have no Rank in Respect to the Commissioned Officers of the Army and can claim no Succession from the Station they sustain. This I take to be the Case in foreign Armies as well as in the English Nation; indeed a Staff { 237 } Officer is frequently gratified with a Commission giving him Rank of a Colonel Captain or Subaltern by which only he has Rank with the other Officers. If the Succession should among Field Officers be considerd as Regimental only such very frequent Changes would be made as would raise even a Subaltern Officer of not greater Merit, to the Command of a Regiment before a Lt. Colonel or Major of Another Regiment which would give great Uneasiness.
I am more sollicitous, however, about establishing a New Army I than ascertaining the Rank of the old or the Mode of Succession. I know a Delay will have the most Unhappy Effects, Men will not be persuaded to ingage in any new Service untill their former Engagements are at an End. If the Application is delayed till toward the End of their Term, they then see themselves soon at Liberty. Their Views are changed. Different Objects Are strongly painted on the Mind and the Pleasure of their expected new Circumstances makes the strongest Impression and every hard Circumstance of their present Condition receives double Weight. The last Campaign has fully convinced me of this and I dread having it repeated. Indeed the heavy Expence incurd last Year by calling in the Militia from Time to Time I think would convince every One that A Prudent Economy would cooperate with every other Consideration to induce our Legislators to take such Measures as will raise a Sufficient Body of Men in Season without being compelled to Similar Resorts again. As to Incouragement to the Soldier; you are very sensible there never was, nor ever rill be an Army of Patriots. Sacred and prophane History join to prove this Assertion; Patriots will rouse the martial Fire of the Soldier and urge on the Fight, but few very few, compard with the whole Body of Soldiers, will Stand forth with the Sword to defend their Country's Rights, especially in the Character of private Sentinels: some more operative Argument must therefore be Used to engage the common Soldier. What Estate, says he, have I to defend? Tis little Concern to le who is my Master: I would propose Sir that a Bounty be given, that there be a small Addition to their Wages and that a Coat be given Annually whilst in Service, and at the Expiration of the War a Grant of Land be made to Officers and Soldiers. This will be considerd as some provision for themselves and Families on which they may depend for the future Subsistance of their Families; besides if wild Lands are granted 'twill Operate as a Sale, for the rapid Settlement of a new Country by a disbanded Army will raise the Value of the Adjacent Country so that as much or more Money may be raised from the Remainder than could have been raised from the whole. The { 238 } increased Price of every Article of Apparel is a Reason why Wages of Soldiers should be raised. Indeed tis almost impossible with 40/ per Month to appear with Decency. As to Officers I have little to say on the Head of Wages. I believe we are all willing to take more and should be Content with Lands.

[salute] I wish a Speedy and happy Independance of the Colonies and that Glory and Honor and every kind of Prosperity may Attend you. I am Sr. yr. Friend and huml. Servt.

[signed] Saml. H. Parsons
P.S. Col. Waterbury2 who was proposed to command Genl. Arnold's Regiment is provided for in Connect. Lt. Col. Tyler of my Regiment has now Surely the best Pretentions. His Character may be fully known from Mr. Saml. Adams and Mr. Sherman.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Hon. John Adams Esqr. A Member of Congress in Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE New York June 3”; docketed: “June 3. 1776”; and in an unknown hand, “G. Parsons.”
1. Not found.
2. David Waterbury was made brigadier general of Connecticut troops on 3 June (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 574).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Hughes, Hugh
Date: 1776-06-04

To Hugh Hughes

[salute] Sir

Yours of May 29. came safe to Hand, and am much pleased to find that your Citizens have behaved with so much Wisdom, Unanimity, and Spirit. Yet I was disappointed that you did not inclose their Votes.
Am very glad Mr. J. is with you, and hope he will be of great Service there but will he not be for making your Governor and Councillors for Life or during good Behaviour? I should dread Such a Constitution, in these perilous Times, because however wise and brave, and virtuous these Rulers may be at their first appointment, their Tempers, and Designs will be very apt to change, and then they may have it in their Power to betray the People, who will have no Means of Redress. The People ought to have frequently the opportunity, especially in these dangerous Times, of considering the Conduct of their Leaders, and of approving or disapproving. You will have no safety without it.
The Province of Pensilvania, is in a good Way, and will soon become an important Branch of the Confederation. The large Body of the People will be possessed of more Power and Importance, and a proud Junto of less: and yet Justice will I hope be done to all.
{ 239 }

[salute] I wish you Happiness, Promotion, and Reputation in the service, and am, with much Respect, your servant.

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lee, Richard
Date: 1776-06-04

To Richard Lee

[salute] Sir

Your Favour of 18 May, inclosing the momentous Resolution of your wise and patriotic Convention, together with the American Crisis1 came duely to Hand, and yesterday, I had the Pleasure of receiving the Proceedings of the House of Burgesses. I thank you, sir for both these esteemed Favours.
Is it not a little remarkable that this Congress and your Convention should come to Resolutions so nearly Similar, on the Same day, and that even the Convention of Maryland should, in that critical Moment, have proceeded so far as to abolish the Oaths of Allegiance, notwithstanding that Some of their other Resolves are a little excentric?2
Your Resolution is consistent and decisive, it is grounded on true Principles which are fairly and clearly Stated, and in my humble opinion the Proviso which reserves to your selves the Institution of your own Government is fit and right, this being a Matter of which the Colonies are the best Judges, and a Priviledge which each Colony ought to reserve to it self. Yet after all I believe there will be much more Uniformity, in the Governments which all of them will adopt than could have been expected a few Months ago.
The Joy and exultation which was expressed upon that great Occasion did Honour to their good sense and public Virtue. It was an important Event at a critical Time, in which the Interest and Happiness, of themselves and their Posterity, was much concerned.
Hopkins's Fleet, has been very unfortunate: a dreadful sickness has raged among his Men, and disabled him from putting more than two of his Vessells to sea.3 To what Place they are gone I know not. Perhaps to cruise for Transports. I am, sir, with great respect, your most humble servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Probably a reference to the preamble to the resolutions, for it set forth the extent of the American crisis in vivid detail.
2. Since some men had refused appointment to office because they did not want to take oaths of allegiance while the dispute with Great Britain continued, the Maryland Convention on 15 May decreed that a simple oath of office would suffice (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 5:1584–1585). On Maryland's { 240 } eccentricity, see JA to James Warren, 20 May, note 8 (above).
3. See Esek Hopkins to Stephen Hopkins, 8 June (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:425).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0106

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-05

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

The Inclosed Letter was sealed to go by the last Post, but I Unluckily missed it.1 I have now An Opportunity to Inclose one from Braintree.2 Doctr. Church is Arrived here. Is not your resolve relative to him somewhat Extraordinary. I fear the People will kill him if at large. The Night before last he went to Lodge at Waltham was saved by the Interposition of the selectmen but by Jumping out of A Chamber Window and flying. His Life is of no great Consequence but such A Step has a tendency to lessen the Confidence of the People in the doings of Congress.
A large Sugar Ship from Jamaica with 300 hhds. sugar 80 Puncheons rum some Madeira wine &c. &c. is taken and got into the Vineyard in her way to Bedford. It is said that 4 or 5 others are taken by two Privateers who took this. What Privateers they are I cant learn.3
Must not something be done to prevent British Property being Covered by the West Indians. We shall loose our Labour, and discourage our Seamen. Why should not all English property going to Britain be liable to Capture.4 This matter must be Considered. We should fight them on equal Terms.
We have A Number of Seamen here supported at your Expence.5 If your Generosity and Civilized sentiments prevent, wont good policy dictate recourse to the Lex talionis. They are wanted. You will fine the want of them when you man your Ships.
1. A reference to Warren's letter of 2 June (above).
3. The Reynolds, one of three sugar ships seized by the privateers Congress and Chance, which were from Pennsylvania (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:380).
4. On 3 April the congress had made liable to seizure ships belonging to inhabitants of Great Britain with two exceptions: ships bringing settlers to the United Colonies and those bringing war materials for the use of Americans. Not until 24 July did the congress broaden its resolution to include subjects of the British Crown with the exception of inhabitants of Bermuda and the Bahama Islands (JCC, 4:253; 5:606).
5. By this cryptic reference Warren may have meant captured British sea men, whom Warren wanted to see forced to serve in American vessels. The congress had voted on 21 May that prisoners were not to be enlisted in Continental forces, although on 5 Aug. the congress changed its mind (JCC, 4:372; 5:630). Two Continental frigates were being built at Newburyport, the Boston and the Hancock, the former being launched on 3 June (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:159, 448, 449).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0107

Author: Massachusetts General Court
Recipient: Continental Congress, Massachusetts delegates
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Hancock, John
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Paine, Robert Treat
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1776-06-06

The General Court to the Massachusetts Delegates

Moses Gill Esqr. brought down the following Letter prepard by a Committee of both Houses to be sent to the Delegates of this Colony at the Continental Congress vizt.

[salute] Gentlemen

Moses Gill Esqr. brought down the following Letter prepard by a Committee of both Houses to be sent to the Delegates of this Colony at the Continental Congress vizt.
At the same time that we think Ourselves obliged to acknowledge the vigilance and care of our Delegates to the defence of our Colony, and the attention of the Congress to an impartial defence of every part of the united Colonies, in the late provision made for the Massachusetts Bay, their Resolve for adding three more Battalions to those left for the defence of it; we conceive it necessary to inform You that we think it will be very difficult if not impossible to raise the two Battalions propos'd to be rais'd here1 without some additional Encouragement. We are sensible of the importance and necessity of raising them, we are willing to give every encouragement in our power to effect it, we know of no encouragement but by a bounty, but yet dare not venture on such a Measure without some assurances that such a step would be agreable to Congress.2 You will therefore please to give us the sense of Congress on this subject, or such assurances of approbation of Congress if we should adopt the measure as we may rely on. We request this to be done as soon as possible, that the necessary steps for raising the Battalion may be taken and executed with the dispatch that the situation of this Colony requires. We can't conclude without expressing our approbation of the promotion of Generals Gates and Mifflin, and our wishes that they may be appointed to the command of the Troops here. We will return agreable to the Resolve of Congress a list of Field Officers as soon as it can be prepar'd, we should be glad to be inform'd of the extent of the encouragement Congress would be willing to give, and if they would be willing to give, and if they would disapprove of any additions this Colony may think necessary to make.
In the Council June 6th. 1776.
Read and sent down.
Read and orderd to be sent immediately to the Delegates of this Colony at the Honble. Continental Congress.
Sent up for Concurrence.
{ 242 }
FC (M–Ar:House of Representatives Records, 57:269–270)
1. Of the three battalions (in addition to the five already in the province), two were to be raised in Massachusetts and one in Connecticut (JA to James Warren, 18 May, note 2, above). The House of Representatives considered this request, but on 17 June decided to wait further word from the congress (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 32).
2. The General Court's diffidence here is understandable. Some months earlier the congress had made it plain that it would not grant bounties despite the pleas of the New England colonies (JA to Joseph Hawley, 25 Nov. 1775, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1776-06-09

To Samuel Cooper?

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of 27. May, received yesterday.1 I did not expect that our Army would have raised the Siege of Quebec, So soon, much less So unskillfully and So timorously. I cannot forbear, these Epithets. But raising a siege in open day, and in the Face of an Enemy, was a Step, that nothing could justify, that I can think of.
The Small Pox is a terrible Enemy, but why could not this have been kept out of the Camp before Quebec, as well as out of the Camps at Cambridge and Roxbury? Provisions enough for the whole Army twice told, have been sent into Canada and taken there from the Enemy. But all has been total Confusion there and still is so. We have no regular Returns nor any certain Information. Our People dont fight. The officers have had no Command. The Men no order. However, I hope, Things will be better. We are doing the best We can. When I Say We I mean, the Delegates from N.E. and Some few others. In Truth the Syren Voice of Reconciliation, which deluded the Town of Boston to its Ruin, the Winter before last, has deluded the Congress and the Colonies whom they represent, during the last Winter, and this has petrified Us, and Stupified Us.
The Causes of our Misfortunes and Miscarriages in Canada, are So numerous are of So long Standing, and have been So incessantly increasing, that it would take a long Letter to develop them.
1. The primary Cause has been the Diversity of Sentiments in Congress, concerning that Expedition, and the Indecision, or rather Fluctuation of our Councils in the Support and Prosecution of it. In the original Conception of the Design of Sending our Arms into that Province, nearly one half the Number of the Colonies were against it. Some thought it too great an Undertaking. Some thought it too ex• { 243 } pensive. Others thought it, or pretended to think it unnecessary. From this variety of Opinions, or some other unknown Cause, an opposition has taken Place to every Motion, and Projection, for promoting and expediting the service, there.
2. Since the Death of Montgomery, We have had no General in Command there who Seems to have had a full and comprehensive View of the State of that Province, to have watched the Motions in every Part, or concerted his Measures with any System.
3. We have never had any regular Returns of Men, Arms, Cannon, Ammunition, Cloathing, Provisions, Money, or any Thing else.
4. We have never had a Commissary, Muster Master, Quarter Master, Principal, Deputy, or Assistant, who has faithfully done his Duty.
5. We have never had Intelligence of the Truth of Facts, nor true Information concerning the Characters of Officers or Men; every new Person from Canada, having generally contradicted the whole Story in every particular, of him who came before, both with respect to Men and Things, Characters, and Facts.
6. The Want of Physicians, Surgeons, Apothecaries, Medicines, amputating and trepanning Instruments, has been a great Misfortune to the sick and wounded and Discouragement to the Army.
7. Our Inability to procure hard Money for the Service in that Country, has impaired our Credit with the Canadians, and prevented our Officers and Men from procuring Such Articles of Cloathing, Provisions and other necessaries as were wanted.
8. The Small Pox, an unexpected Enemy, and more terrible than British Troops, Indians, or even Tories, invaded our Armies and defeated them more than once.
I believe you will think, Sir, that I have enumerated Causes enough to account without Recourse to any Thing more extraordinary, for all the Disasters in that Province.2
1. Although JA did not indicate to whom this letter was addressed, he is obviously answering specific questions in Cooper's letter of 27 May (above). JA did not follow his usual practice, however, of indicating whether the letter was sent. The frankness of his analysis of the defeat in Canada may have caused him to think twice about sending it. Compare his candor here with his reticence in the letter to William Cushing that follows. Cooper's subsequent letters to JA do not specifically acknowledge receipt of this letter of 9 June.
2. A comparison of this list of causes with that furnished to AA by JA on 3 July is instructive. There JA puts most emphasis, apart from the ravages of smallpox, on the desire for reconciliation (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:29–30).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cushing, William
Date: 1776-06-09

To William Cushing

[salute] Dear Sir

I had, yesterday, the Honour of your Letter of the 20th. of May, and I read it, with all that Pleasure, which We feel on the Revival of an old Friendship when We meet a Friend, whom, for a long Time We have not Seen.
You do me great Honour, sir, in expressing a Pleasure at my Appointment to the Bench; but be assured that no Circumstance relating to that Appointment has given me So much concern, as my being placed at the Head of it, in Preference to another, who in my opinion was so much better qualified for it, and intituled to it.1 I did all in my Power to have it otherwise but was told that our Sovereign Lords the People must have it so.
When, or Where, or how, the Secret Imagination Seized you, as you Say it did, heretofore, that I was destined to that Place, I cant conjecture: nothing, I am Sure, was further from my Thoughts, or Wishes.
I am not a little chagrined that Sargeant has declined, having entertained great Hopes, from his Solid Judgment and extensive Knowledge. Paine has acted in his own Character, tho scarcely consistent wit the public Character, which he has been made to wear. At this, however, I am not much mortified, for the Bench will not be the less respectable, for having a little less Wit, Humour, Drollery, or Fun upon it—very different Qualities being requisite in that Department.
Warren has an excellent Head and Heart, and since the Province cannot be favoured and honoured with the Judgment of regularly educated Lawyers I know not where a better Man could have been found. I hope he will not decline. If he should, I hope that Lowell2 or Dana will be thought of.
Your appointment of Mr. Winthrop, whose Experience will be usefull in that Station and whose Conduct and Principles have deserved I it, was undoubtedly very right and cannot fail to give universal satisfaction.
You shall have my hearty Concurrence in telling the Jury, the Nullity of Acts of Parliament, whether We can prove it by the Jus Gladii or not. I am determined to live and die of that Opinion, let the Jus Gladii, Say what it will. The System and Rules of the Common Law, must be adopted, I Suppose, untill the Legislature Shall make Alterations in Either, and how much Soever, I may, heretofore have found fault with the Powers that were, I suppose, I shall now be { 245 } well pleased to hear Submission inculcated to the Powers that be—because they are ordained for good.
It would give me great Pleasure to ride this Eastern Circuit with you, and prate before you at the Bar, as I used to do. But I am destined to another Fate, to Drudgery of the most wasting, exhausting, consuming Kind, that I ever went through in my whole Life. Objects of the most Stupendous Magnitude, Measures in which the Lives and Liberties of Millions, born and unborn are most essentially interested, are now before Us. We are in the very midst of a Revolution, the most compleat, unexpected, and remarkable of any in the History of Nations. A few Matters must be dispatched before I can return. Every Colony must be induced to institute a perfect Government. All the Colonies must confederate together, in some solemn Compact. The Colonies must be declared free and independent states, and Embassadors, must be Sent abroad to foreign Courts, to solicit their Acknowledgment of Us, as Sovereign States, and to form with them, at least with some of them commercial Treaties of Friendship and Alliance.3 When these Things shall be once well finished, or in a Way of being so, I shall think that I have answered the End of my Creation, and sing with Pleasure my Nunc Dimittes, or if it should be the Will of Heaven that I should live a little longer, return to my Farm and Family, ride Circuits, plead Law, or judge Causes, just as you please.
The Rumours you heard of a Reinforcement in Canada, and those you must have heard before now of many Disasters there, are but too true. Canada has been neglected too much, to my infinite Grief and Regret, and against all the Remonstrances and Entreaties, which could be made. This has been owing to Causes, which it would tire you to read, if I was at Liberty to explain them.4 However nothing on the Part of your Delegates will be wanting, to secure with the Blessing of Heaven, a Reverse of Fortune, there. Dunmore is fled to an Island, having left behind him in their Graves most of his Negroes, and abandoned his Entrenchments on the Main. Our little fleet has had a shocking sickness, which had disabled So many Men, that the Commodore has sent out, on a Cruise two of his ships only. The Difficulty of defending So extended a sea Coast is prodigious, but the Spirit of the People is very willing, and they exert themselves nobly in most Places. The British Men of War are distressed for Provisions and even for Water, almost every where. They have no Comfort in any Part of America.
My good Genius whispers me very often that I shall enjoy many agreeable Hours with you, but Fortune often disappoints the Hopes { 246 } which this Genius inspires. Be this as it may, while at a distance I shall ever be happy to receive a Line from you. Should be much obliged to you, for some Account of Occurences in your Eastern Circuit. Remember me, with every sentiment of Respect to the Bench, the Bar, and all other Friends. I have the Honour to be with very great Respect, your Affectionate Friend, and very humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Cushing Papers); docketed: “Ch. Just. Adams Letter, June, 9th. 1776.”
1. JA probably is referring to Cushing, who had been a superior court judge under the royal government, and whose father and grandfather had preceded him in that position (JA, Legal Papers, 1:xcix).
2. John Lowell (1743–1802), Newburyport lawyer, who moved to Boston in 1777. For a time he sat in the Continental Congress, became a federal judge, and played a leading role in cultural affairs in Massachusetts. He was the grandfather of James Russell Lowell (DAB).
3. JA's use of the word “alliance” must be understood in terms of 18th- rather than 20th-century usage. Today “alliance” connotes a political or military connection in which the parties agree to be allies in the event of war. In the 18th century, however, the term was used to describe all types of treaty connections; and, particularly in the American mind, a sharp distinction was made between a commercial alliance, which was not entangling, and a treaty promising direct aid in time of war, that is, a political or military alliance, which was entangling. For a more detailed treatment of JA's views on the proper sort of treaties for the United States, see the Plan of Treaties, 12 June–17 Sept. (below).
4. See JA to Samuel Cooper?, 9 June, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-06-09

To James Warren

I shall address this to you as Speaker, but you may be Councillor, or Governor, or Judge, or any other Thing, or nothing but a good Man, for what I know. Such is the Mutability of this World.
Upon my Word I think you Use the World very ill, to publish and send abroad a Newspaper, since the 29 May without telling Us one Word about the Election,1 where it was held, who preached the sermon, or &c. &c.
I write this in haste only to inclose to you a little Treatise upon Fire ships2—it may be sending Coals to New Castle. But it appears to me of such Importance that I thought myself bound to procure and send it least this Art should not be understood among you. This Art carries Terror and Dismay along with it, and the very Rumour of Preparations in this Kind may do you more service than many Battallions.
I am not easy about Boston, and have taken all the Pains in my { 247 } Power with G. Washington, to engage him to send G. and M.3 there, but he is so sanguine and confident that no Attempt will be made there that I am afraid his security will occasion one.
The News Papers inclosed, when you have read them, please to send them to the Foot of Penns Hill.4
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. A Lettr June 1776.”
1. The first newspaper to appear after the election was the New-England Chronicle of 30 May, too soon to carry the results; obviously JA was being facetious. The Boston Gazette printed the list of representatives and councilors on 3 June. The election was held in Watertown, and Rev. Samuel West preached the sermon. On West, see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:501–510.
2. Enclosure not found, but the “treatise” is copied in JA's Letterbook. Apparently JA secured the information from experts, as he had promised he would do. No record of a published work has been found. JA's treatise is printed in Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:437–441, but JA's table of quantities of materials needed has been inaccurately copied. The columns headed “Tar” and “Oil” with their amounts have been inadvertently omitted, and the final figure is given as “2 Ct. 1.13” instead of “28 Ct. 1.13.”
3. Gens. Gates and Mifflin.
4. That is, to JA's home and AA.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Angier, Oakes
Date: 1776-06-12

To Oakes Angier

[salute] Dear Sir1

It was with great Pleasure, and perhaps some little Mixture of Pride, that I read your Name among the Representatives of Bridgwater, in the Boston Gazette. I rejoiced to find that your Townsmen, had So much Confidence in your Abilities and Patriotism, and that you had so much Confidence in the Justice of our Cause, and the Abilities of America to support it, as to embark your Fortune in it.
Your Country never stood so much in need of Men of clear Heads and Steady Hearts, to conduct her Affairs. Our civil Governments as well as military Preparations want much Improvement, and to this End a most vigilant Attention, as well as great Patience, Caution, Prudence and Firmness are necessary.
You will excuse the Freedom of a Friend, when I tell you, that I have never entertained any doubt that your political Principles and public Affections, corresponded with those of your Country. But you know that Jealousies and suspicions have been entertained and propagated concerning you. These Jealousies arose, I am well perswaded from an unreserved Freedom of Conversation, and a social Disposition, a little addicted to Disputation, which was sometimes perhaps incautiously indulged. Your present Situation, which is conspicuous and not { 248 } only exposed to observation but to Misconstruction and Misrepresentation, will make it necessary for you to be upon your Guard.
Let me recommend to you, an observation, that one of my Collegue[s] is very fond of, “The first Virtue of a Politician is Patience; the second is Patience; and the third is Patience.” As Demosthenes observed that Action was the first, second, and third Qualities of an orator.
You will experience in public Life such violent, sudden, and unexpected Provocations, and Disappointments, that if you are not now possessed of all the Patience of Job, I would advise you to acquire it, as soon as possible.
News, I can tell you none. I have written to Coll. Warren, Mr. Sewall,2 and Mr. Lowell, a few broken Hints, upon subjects which I wish you would turn your Thoughts to. Be so good as to write me, any Remarkables in the Legislature, or the Courts of Justice. I am your Friend.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Oakes Angier (1745–1786), Bridgewater lawyer and a former student of JA's, had earlier exhibited anti-whig tendencies, which AA remarked upon to her husband (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:140–141, 153; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 16:5–7).
2. See JA to David Sewall, 12 June (below), for identification.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1776-06-12

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

In the Lists of the House and Board, I was as much pleased to find your Name among the latter as I was chagrined to find it omitted in the former. This is one among numberless Advantages of a Middle Branch of the Legislature, that a Place may be found in it, for such distinguished Friends of their Country, as are omitted by the People in the Choice of their Representatives. This is an Advantage which Pensylvania never enjoyed, and some ignorant Pretenders to the Art of building civil Governments seem to wish should prevail in other Colonies. But so far from succeeding every Colony on the Continent in their new Constitutions, even Pensilvania itself, will have a middle Branch.1 I hope you will now go on and compleat your Government by choosing a Governor and Lt. Governor.
I think the Province never had So fair a Representation, or so respectable an House, or Board, you have a great Number of ingenious, able Men in each. I sincerely congratulate the Province upon it, and think it forebodes much good.
{ 249 }
I am anxious to be informed of the State of the Province, and of the Progress you make, step by step. Should be much obliged to you for a Letter now and then.
We are drudging on, as usual. Sometimes it is seven O Clock before We rise. We have greater Things, in Contemplation, than ever. The greatest of all, which We ever shall have. Be silent and patient and time will bring forth, after the usual Groans, throws and Pains upon such occasions a fine Child—a fine, vigorous, healthy Boy, I presume. God bless him, and make him a great, wise, virtuous, pious, rich and powerfull Man.
Prepare yourself for Vexation enough, for my Tour of Duty is almost out, and when it is, you, or Lowell or both must come here, and toil a little, while We take a little Breath. I am, &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Pennsylvania's constitution of 1776, adopted in September, provided for a council which had executive and advisory powers but no legislative role, so, properly speaking, it was not a middle branch of the legislature (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 5:3084–3085).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0113

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lowell, John
Date: 1776-06-12

To John Lowell

[salute] Dear Sir

Yesterdays Post brought me a Newspaper of the 3d. Instant, containing a List of your House, and Board, and upon my Word I read it with more Pleasure than I ever read any other List of the two Houses. I dont believe the Records of the Province can show, a more respectable set of Representatives or Councillors. Sergeant, Lowell, Pickering,1 Angier are great Acquisitions in the House: So are Dana, and Sewall at the Board, not to mention many other very respectable Characters among the new Members of each.
From this Collection of wise and prudent Men, I hope great Things. I hope that the most vigorous Exertions will be made to put the Province in the best State of Defence. Every Seaport in it, ought to be fortified in Such a Manner that you may sett the Enemy at Defyance. To this End, large Additions must be made to the Cannon of the Colony. I wish to know, whether, they are cast, at any Furnace in the Province, if not no Expence I think should be Spared to procure them. They are casting them Successfully in Maryland, Pensylvania, and Rhode Island. Another Article essentially necessary, is that of MUsquetts. I wish that every Man in the Province who can work about any Part of a Gun or Bayonnett was set to work. No Price, should be thought extravagant.
{ 250 }
Salt Petre it seems you are in a Way to procure in sufficient Quantities. But Sulphur and Lead I have not yet learnt to be made among you. I hope you will take effectual Measures to make Salt. You must do it. The other Colonies are too lazy and shiftless to do any Thing untill you set them the example.
The Defence of the Colony is the first object. The second is the Formation of a Constitution. In this Business, I presume you will proceed Slowly and deliberately. It is a difficult Work to atchieve and the Spirit of Levelling, as well as that of Innovation, is afloat. Before I saw, the List of the new Election I was under fearfull Apprehensions I confess. But my Mind is now at Ease, in this Respect. There are So many able Men in each House that I think, they will have Influence enough to prevent any dangerous Innovations, and yet to carry any necessary and usefull Improvements.
Some of you must prepare your stomachs to come to Philadelphia. I am weary, and must ask Leave to return to my Family, after a little Time, and one of my Colleagues at least, must do the same, Or I greatly fear, do worse. You and I know very well the Fatigues of Practice at the Bar: But I assure you, this incessant Round of thinking and Speaking upon the greatest Subjects that ever employed the Mind of Man, and the most perplexing Difficulties that ever puzzled it, is beyond all Comparison more exhausting and consuming.
Our affairs in Canada are in a confused and disastrous situation. But I hope they will not be worse. We have made large Requisitions upon you. How you can possibly comply with them I know not: but hope you will do as much as you can.
We have no Resource left my Friend, but our own Fortitude, and the Favour of Heaven. If We have the first I have no doubt We shall obtain the last. And these will be Sufficient. All Ideas of Reconciliation, or Accomodation Seem to be gone with the Years before the Flood.
I have nothing new to communicate, but what is in every Newspaper, and I began this Letter only to make my Compliments to you, and ask the Favour of your Correspondence; but have wandered, I know not whither. It is Time to subscribe myself your Friend and servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Both John and Timothy Pickering were representatives from Salem.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sewall, David
Date: 1776-06-12

To David Sewall

[salute] Dear Sir1

In the Boston Gazette of the 3d. Instant, I have the Pleasure to see your Name among the Councillors, where I have wished to see it, for some Time. That refined Ingenuity and pertenacious Industry, which distinguished my Classmate at Colledge, and my Brother at the Bar, I am sure will be of great service to the Province, at the Councill Board, especially at this Time, when the public Stands so much in Need of the services of her best Men. Your Mathematical and Philosophical Genius, will be agreably entertained with Speculations for the Defence of Places, and the Fortification of the Harbours and seaport Towns.
Let me Suggest to your Consideration two Objects of Inquiry; the one is Row Gallies and the other is Fire ships. Row Gallies and Floating Batteries, are Engines very formidable to Men of War, because they are So low and small that it is almost impossible for a Man of War to bring her Guns to bear upon them So as to do Execution, and the great Weight of Mettal, which is carried by the heavy Cannon, on board such Gallies and Batteries, tear the Ships to Pieces, and the shot is very sure.
Fire ships and Rafts, are the King of Terrors to Men of War, when so protected by Row Gallies and floating Batteries, that they cannot grapple them and anchor them by Means of their Boats, and Barges. I have inclosed to your excellent Speaker, a little Treatise2 upon the Art of making the Compositions and constructing the Vessells. There seems to be Something infernal in this Art. But our quondam Friend Jonathan used to quote from Mat. Prior,3 “When it is to combat Evil, Tis lawfull to employ the Devil.” There is no greater Evil on Earth or under it than the War that is made upon Us. And We have a Right, and it is our Duty to defend our selves, by such Means as We have.
There are Such Preparations of Vesseaux de Frizes, Fire ships, Fire Rafts, floating Batteries and Row Gallies in Delaware River, that they would Spread Destruction through any British Fleet, that should attempt to come up here. I wish that Similar Preparations were made in every Seaport in the Mass. Bay.
After you have done every Thing that is necessary for the Defence of the Colony, and her Sisters, I presume you will turn your Thoughts to the Establishment of a permanent Constitution of civil Government. The Board is so unwieldy a Body to conduct the Executive Part of Government, productive of So much Delay, and unnecessary Trouble, { 252 } that you will no doubt, choose a Governor. Will you give him a Negative upon your Laws, or only make him Primus inter Pares, at the Board? I suppose the high, free Spirit of our People will demand the latter. But, I must conclude, my Letter, by requesting the Favour of your Correspondence, and assuring you that I am with great Esteem, your Friend and humble Servant
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. David Sewall (1735–1825) of York, Maine, had a reputation at Harvard for skill in astronomy that JA recalled in his old age. Sewall went on to become a prosperous lawyer and later a state and federal judge (JA to Sewall, 4 Nov. 1821, LbC, Adams Papers; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:638–645).
2. See JA to James Warren, 9 June, note 2 (above).
3. Jonathan Sewall's quotation from the poet Matthew Prior has not been located.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0001

Editorial Note

On 12 June 1776, almost five months after a committee had been named to consider the establishment of a war office, the Continental Congress resolved to create “a Board of War and Ordnance” and on the following day appointed John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Harrison, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge as its first members (JCC, 4:85; 5:434, 438). The new body, without which Washington believed “Affairs can never properly be conducted,” was an effort finally to bring organization into a chaotic situation. The Board was created to deal with the day-to-day administration of the army, including appointments, promotions, provisions, and prisoners (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:128).
Adams played a major role on the Board and thus in the war effort, for he served as the body's president from its creation until he left Congress in November 1777. It was a responsibility, as he explained to his wife, “to which I never aspired, a Trust to which I feel my self vastly unequal.” It must have taken up much of his available time, for he reported that it was meeting “every Morning and every Evening” (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:24). The burden for Adams was the heavier since he was also on committees to draft the Declaration of Independence and a treaty plan and was almost certainly active in the daily debates of the congress.
Although the Board was very busy during its first two and one-half months, neither Adams nor anyone else said very much about its activities. Between 12 June and 27 August the Board sent thirty-eight reports to con• { 253 } gress on subjects ranging from the appointment of chaplains to the issuance of an invitation to an Indian chief to visit congress. Only two of these reports, those of 13 August (printed below) and 22 August (calendared), are extant and only the first, because it is partially in Adams' hand, gives any evidence of his role in its formulation. For the remaining reports there is no way to determine the part played by Adams in the debates of the Board concerning them. Neither is there any indication of the extent to which actions taken by the Continental Congress on military matters but not touched upon in reports of the Board resulted from informal action by that body or of its members as individuals. The reader, therefore, to gain what little additional information exists on the actions of the Board for this period, must turn to the Board's correspondence and to references, often oblique, in John Adams' private letters.
In the Journals of the Continental Congress the reports of the Board of War take the form of resolutions passed by the congress. Comparison of later MS reports with the printed resolutions warrants the assumption that the latter typically follow closely the texts of Board reports. The congressional resolutions here calendared may then be viewed as reports of the Board of War. For the Board's expectations regarding its relations with General Washington, see its letter to him of 21 June (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-17

17 June.

17 June. The congress resolved, in response to a letter of 10 June from Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, that two battalions raised in Connecticut for service at Boston and New York, respectively, be sent to Canada; that blank commissions be sent to Trumbull for the officers of the battalion intended for New York; and that another battalion of militia be sent to Boston, Connecticut to receive $10,500 to defray the cost (JCC, 5:447–448; Note: Two additional resolutions immediately following and concerning the commissioning of officers by the Connecticut Assembly and the sale of gunpowder by the Secret Committee to New Jersey may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-19

19 June.

19 June. The congress resolved in regard to several letters, particularly one of 16 June from George Washington, that commissions given by Brigadier General Sullivan to officers in Canada be confirmed and that $300,000 be sent to the paymaster general in New York (JCC, 5:465).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-21

21 June.

21 June. The congress, considering the status of several officers who had served in Canada during the last winter, resolved that New York raise a new regiment and in doing so commission the veterans of the Canadian service; that the commissions be granted on the condition of their companies being raised to full strength; that Maj. Lewis Dubois in particular be provided for; and that Maj. John Vischer be commissioned as lieutenant colonel (JCC, 5:471–472).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-24

24 June.

24 June. The congress tabled a petition from Carpenter Wharton (see resolution of 6 July, below) and desired that General Washington inform it as to the cost of a ration as provided by the commissary general (JCC, 5:477).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-25

25 June.

25 June. In response to letters from Schuyler, Sullivan, and Arnold transmitted in a letter of 23 June from George Washington, the congress resolved that the number of men for the Northern Department be increased to 4,000; that Major Dubois be made a colonel and ordered to raise a regiment; that the force to be sent to the Northern Department be augmented by one regiment from New Hampshire, two regiments from Massachusetts, and one regiment from Connecticut, the regiments to be supplied by their respective colonies with reimbursement to come from the congress; that a regimental paymaster, not an officer of the army, be appointed by each of the colonies for the battalions (JCC, 5:477, 478–480; Note: A resolution immediately following that a committee be sent to confer with George Washington on further measures may have proceeded from the same report but was expunged from the record the following day).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-26

26 June.

26 June. The congress resolved that M. Felix Weibert be permitted to serve in the capacity of an engineer under General Washington (JCC, 5:480–482; Note: Three additional resolutions immediately following concerning the appointment of officers for the regiment to be raised by Col. Lewis Dubois, a letter to the New York Convention explaining the need for Dubois' regiment, and the empowering of the Marine Committee to purchase the Catharine may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-27

27 June.

27 June. In response to a letter from George Washington, the congress resolved that six companies of riflemen in addition to the three in New York be raised and placed in a regiment with Hugh Stephenson as commander; that four companies of riflemen be raised in Virginia and two in Maryland to serve in the above regiment; and that General Washington send to Congress a list of all vacancies in the Army (JCC, 5:486).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-06-28

28 June.

28 June. The congress resolved that M. Le Chevalier de Kirmovan be employed by Pennsylvania in planning and laying out the fortifications at Billingsport on the Delaware River (JCC, 5:490–491).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-05

5 July.

5 July. The congress resolved that a regiment be raised out of the officers who had served in Canada on the same basis as that of Colonel Dubois and designated the officers for this regiment (JCC, 5:518–519; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and concerning the dispatch of ship carpenters to General Schuyler at Albany to build boats for the defense of the lakes may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-05

5 July.

5 July. The congress resolved that John Coburne, assistant conductor of military stores in Canada, be allowed lieutenant's pay from 1 March – { 255 } 1 June 1776; that a chaplain be appointed to each regiment in the Continental Army; that immediate steps be taken to procure lead; and that an express be established between New York and Philadelphia to permit General Washington to send daily dispatches to the congress (JCC, 5:522).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-05

5 July.

5 July. The congress resolved that five tons of powder be sent to Gen. Andrew Lewis at Williamsburg for use in the Southern Department and that part of it be sent to South Carolina; that British prisoners in New Jersey be sent to York, Pennsylvania; and that four companies of militia be retained in Philadelphia to guard continental stores (JCC, 5:522–523).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-06

6 July.

6 July. The congress resolved that Carpenter Wharton be appointed commissary to the militia being sent from Pennsylvania to New Jersey; that William Sherman Jr. be named paymaster for Col. Seth Warner's regiment; and that Maj. Robert Rogers be sent to New Hampshire “to be disposed of” as that government thinks best (JCC, 5:523). Rogers, who was living in New Hampshire, was a half-pay officer in the King's forces and had gone to Philadelphia presumably to secure an American commission. Washington did not trust him (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1108–1109).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-08

8 July.

8 July. The congress resolved that George Washington have the power to call to New York the continental regiments in Massachusetts not bound for Ticonderoga; that Washington have permission to employ as many Indians as necessary from the St. Johns, Nova Scotia, and Penobscot tribes; and that the commissary general have full power to supply the armies on the lakes and at New York respectively and to appoint and remove subordinates (JCC, 5:527).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-09

9 July.

9 July. The congress named officers for the Virginia Rifle Company and resolved that money be sent to Virginia and Maryland for the rifle companies (JCC, 5:529; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and concerning the appointment of William Palfrey to the rank of lieutenant colonel may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-10

10 July.

10 July. The congress resolved that the Committee of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, be empowered to mount a guard over the prisoners there and construct a stockade and that privates held as prisoners at Reading be sent to Lancaster (JCC, 5:531).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-11

11 July.

11 July. In response to a letter from the New Jersey Convention the congress resolved that New Jersey be informed of the measures being taken by the congress for the defense of the Province (JCC, 5:541).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-16

16 July.

16 July. The congress resolved that the new positions of sergeant major, quartermaster sergeant, drum major, fife major, and paymaster be created at the regimental level; that payment be made to each member of the Con• { 256 } necticut light horse for the maintenance of his mount; that General Schuyler be directed to work to free the army of smallpox; that the Pennsylvania Provincial Convention take proper measures to secure lead for the Flying Camp; that commissioners be appointed to audit the accounts of the army in New York and that in the north; and that General Washington be informed of the application of its recently passed bounty system (JCC, 5:563–566; Note: Additional resolutions immediately following and concerning appointments to and reinforcements from the Flying Camp and the need of the army at New York for reinforcements from Connecticut may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-17

17 July.

17 July. The congress resolved that Washington had acted with dignity in refusing to receive an improperly addressed letter from Lord Howe and resolved further that no American commander should receive a letter from the enemy that failed to use his official rank in the address (JCC, 5:567).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-19

19 July.

19 July. The congress resolved that General Schuyler should police the pricing of goods sold to soldiers, observe the rule of the congress that officers hold no more than one office each, and promote harmony among the units of the different states (JCC, 5:591: Note: Two additional resolutions immediately following and calling on Pennsylvania and Maryland to expedite the movement of their troops into New Jersey and New York may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-20

20 July.

20 July. The congress resolved that Jacques Antoine de Franchessin be commissioned a lieutenant colonel and assigned to the Flying Camp (JCC, 5:595; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and recommending Dr. Isaac Senter to Dr. John Morgan may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-23

23 July.

23 July. The congress resolved, despite allegations, to allow Col. Lewis Dubois to proceed in recruiting his regiment as originally planned; to inform Washington of the confidence the congress had in his military judgment in disposing troops and of its approval of the loan to the New York Convention; and to appoint M. St. Martin lieutenant colonel as an engineer (JCC, 5:602–603; Note: An additional resolution immediately following concerning the appointment of Dr. David Griffith as chaplain and surgeon in the Third Regiment of Virginia may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-24

24 July.

24 July. The congress resolved to take into continental service the South Carolina rangers and prescribed their table of organization and rates of pay and further resolved to take on the same conditions rangers to be raised in Georgia (JCC, 5:606–607; Note: Additional resolutions immediately following and permitting Col. Henry Knox to raise another battalion of artillery; the exchange of Phillip Skene for James Lovell; and the { 257 } entry into the continental service of a troop of light horse under Capt. John Leary Jr. may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-29

29 July.

29 July. The congress resolved that General Washington could use the newly formed Connecticut regiment at his discretion; that M. Jean Artur Vermonet be appointed brevet captain and another French volunteer, M. Marie Fidel Dorrè, be used as seemed proper; that M. Christopher Pellisier be appointed an engineer with the rank of lieutenant colonel and sent to New York; that General Washington issue commissions to such officers of Colonel Elmore's regiment as bring men to join him and, in the same regiment, that John Brown be commissioned lieutenant colonel and Robert Cochran be appointed major in place of the deceased Maj. Israel Curtis (JCC, 5:614–615; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and calling for the appointment of a lieutenant colonel for the Second Pennsylvania Battalion may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0024

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-30

30 July.

30 July. The congress resolved that the recruitment bounties paid to officers be extended to those enlisting men in the new army for three years; that General Mercer's plan to build boats be approved and materials supplied for that purpose; that General Schuyler be permitted to publish portions of the treaty with the Six Nations; and that an Indian chief, Cayashuta of Niagara, be invited to visit the congress (JCC, 5:620–621).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0025

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-07-31

31 July.

31 July. The congress resolved that five tons of powder be sent to General Washington at New York and that those militia forces thought necessary by the Massachusetts General Court be supplied and paid by the Continent (JCC, 5:623).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0026

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-01

1 August.

1 August. The congress ordered transcribed and sent a draft letter to George Washington stating that the power given to General Gates in Canada to appoint officers resulted from no lack of confidence in him and would establish no precedent (JCC, 5:625; see John Hancock to George Washington, 2 Aug., Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:725).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0027

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-01

1 August.

1 August. The congress resolved that Col. John Brown be permitted the rank and pay of lieutenant colonel from 20 November 1775 and that Col. James Easton be allowed the rank and pay of colonel from 1 July 1775 until his discharge pending the decision of a court of inquiry or court martial which, if favorable, would recommend him for further employment (JCC, 5:626; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and appropriating money to feed the militia passing through Philadelphia to the Flying Camp may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0028

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-02

2 August.

2 August. The congress resolved that Jonathan Trumbull, deputy paymaster general of the Northern Department, be sent $200,000 and additionally that he send a return of all monies intrusted to him since his appointment; that General Washington be permitted to employ as many { 258 } Stockbridge Indians as necessary; that one hundred old arms held by the congress be sent to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety for repair and issuing to soldiers going to the Flying Camp; that the paymaster general and deputies, commissary general and deputies, and quartermaster general and deputies be required to submit weekly returns of monies supplied them; that the commissary general and deputies and quartermaster general and deputies make monthly returns of supplies in their care; and that the commanders of each department make monthly returns of drafts made on them by the paymaster (JCC, 5:627–628).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0029

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Date: 1776-08-05

5 August.

5 August. The congress resolved that commanders of American naval vessels or privateers be allowed to enlist sailors taken from the enemy and that those who refuse enlistment be held and exchanged for American sailors; that Rufus Putnam be appointed an engineer with the rank of colonel and pay of $60 per month (JCC, 5:630).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0030

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-07

7 August.

7 August. The congress ordered payment of $222 to three Canadians, Messrs. Giasson, Hertel, and de la Magdelaine, for their expenses from 15 Nov. to 31 July as prisoners at Bristol (JCC, 5:636).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0031

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-09

9 August.

9 August. The congress resolved that the Secret Committee supply the Delaware battalion with those articles in the Committee's possession thought necessary by the Board of War and that it also send 30,000 flints to General Washington (JCC, 5:640; Note: The report for this date was tabled, but it is likely that the resolutions immediately following it proceeded from that report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0032

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-10

10 August.

10 August. The congress resolved that the officers recommended by the Board be issued commissions, excepting only those named to fill positions held by captured officers, which were to remain open until an exchange was effected; that in the 10th and 20th regiments, respectively, Lieutenant Colonels John Tyler and John Durkee be commissioned colonels and Majors Samuel Prentiss and Thomas Knowlton, lieutenant colonels (JCC, 5:644). On 19 Aug., to fill the vacancies caused by the promotion of Prentiss and Knowlton, the congress accepted a recommendation of the Board and resolved that Captains James Chapman and Thomas Dyer be commissioned as majors (JCC, 5:667–668).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0033

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-13

13 August.

13 August. The congress resolved that General Washington supply it with a copy of Massachusetts Bay's treaty with the St. Johns and Micmac Indians; that Colonel Wilson's battalion of militia be supplied with 22 muskets, 22 lbs. of powder, and 88 lbs. of lead; and that William Caldwell and William Lawrence be appointed paymasters of Col. Loammi Baldwin's and Col. John Shee's regiments, respectively (JCC, 5:651).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0034

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-13

14 August.

14 August. See the Board of War report for 13 August printed below.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0035

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-15

15 August.

15 August. The congress resolved that James Livingston be commissioned as colonel and ordered to raise as many companies of Canadians as would serve and that the commander in chief of the Northern Department recommend officers to serve under him (JCC, 5:657).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0036

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-17

17 August.

17 August. The congress resolved that Gustavus Risberg be appointed an assistant to Clement Biddle, deputy quartermaster general to the Flying Camp (JCC, 5:665–666; Note: Several other resolutions immediately following concerning the exchange of prisoners, troops raised in Maryland, and supplies requested by General Mercer may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0037

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-21

21 August.

21 August. The congress resolved that the cannon committee let a contract for casting in brass or iron six 6-pounders, six 12-pounders, four 8-inch howitzers, and 6 Cohorn mortars for use by General Gates, and further that this committee take possession of the copper belonging to the United States at New London; that, until further orders, Maj. Gen. Artemas Ward remain in command of the Eastern Department (JCC, 5:693–694; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and appropriating money for the use of Col. Henry Knox in procuring copper may have proceeded from the same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0038

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-22

22 August.

22 August. On this date the Board presented a report that was tabled, with no indication given of its content (JCC, 5:696). This was probably the report on the petition of Preudhome La Jeunesse that had been referred to the Board of War on 21 Aug. (same, p. 692). This report, dated by the Board 21 Aug. but not recorded under that date in the JCC, is extant and in the hand of Richard Peters. Bearing the notation “Agreed to report to Congress” and docketed “Order'd to Lie,” the report recommended that La Jeunesse be given a commission as captain and attached to Col. James Livingston's regiment at Ticonderoga (PCC, No. 147, I).
(PCC, No. 147, I).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0115-0002-0039

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-27

27 August.

27 August. The congress resolved that the expense of clothing the soldiers for the Continental Army raised in Virginia be assumed by the Continent and deducted from the soldiers' pay and that Mr. Measam's petition for compensation be referred to the Treasury Board (JCC, 5:706; Note: An additional resolution immediately following and directing the Secret Committee to deliver arms to the Maryland troops may have proceeded from this same report).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0001

Editorial Note

The Plan of Treaties of 1776 had its origin in a resolution of the Continental Congress on 11 June. Coming on the day following the resolution to appoint a committee to prepare a declaration of independence, it stated that a committee should be named “to prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers.” The next day John Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Benjamin Harrison, and Robert Morris were appointed to undertake the task. On 18 July the plan was reported to Congress, and two months later, on 17 September, the treaty plan was adopted and incorporated into instructions for the American representatives in Europe (JCC, 5:431, 428–429, 433, 575, 768, 813).
The Plan of Treaties was the work of John Adams, and of all the documents composed by him during his career in the congress, it was perhaps the most important and certainly had the most lasting effect. It was the first major state paper dealing with the conduct of the United States toward other sovereign states. It would guide the makers of American foreign policy far beyond the exigencies of the Revolution. Indeed, its tone and the principles on which it was based lie at the core of almost all major pronouncements on foreign policy by American statesmen from that time until at least the beginning of World War II.
In his Autobiography, Adams states that in the committee's deliberations over the Plan of Treaties, he “contended for the same Principles, which I had before avowed and defended in Congress.” His claim is supported by an entry in his Diary for March–April 1776, a period during which overtures to France were recurrently debated in Congress. There Adams set down the principle that he believed should guide any attempt to form a Franco-American treaty: that is, that there should be only a commercial connection, with no political or military ties (Diary and Autobiography, 3:337; 2:236; see also JA to John M. Jackson, 30 Dec. 1817, JA, Works, 10:269–270). It was Adams' strong advocacy of a treaty that probably brought him the task of drafting the plan, for he had come to see an intimate connection between independence and an “alliance.” As he { 261 } championed the first, he strove mightily for the second. It is perhaps not too strong to say that by June, as he was in the midst of drafting the Plan of Treaties, Adams had come to believe that independence was necessary if a treaty was to be negotiated, but that a treaty was necessary if independence was to be maintained (see JA to Charles Lee, 13 Oct. 1775; JA to John Winthrop, 12 May; JA to Patrick Henry, 3 June, all above; JA to John Winthrop, 23 June, below).
Two principles guided Adams as he drafted the Plan of Treaties: that it would be with France and that it would be a commercial agreement. That France was the obvious choice for a treaty was clear to all, since it was the only European power with the resources to provide the needed aid. Further, France was still unreconciled to defeat in the Seven Years' War and suffering the humiliation of a subordinate role to Great Britain in the European political arena. Although a treaty with France would go in the face of ingrained American prejudices against Roman Catholicism, deepened in France's case by the long history of Anglo-French conflict in North America, the advantages would outweigh the disadvantages. In Articles 8 and 9 of the draft Adams took care to insure that France would be prohibited from establishing itself once again on the American continent and thereby posing a threat to American independence.
Yet the Plan of Treaties was first and foremost a commercial agreement. Adams strongly believed that the right to trade with the United States was sufficient compensation for any aid given to it, even if the act of providing aid involved the other nation in a war with Great Britain. Such treaties were in the interest of the United States because they avoided a political or military alliance that “might embarrass Us in after times and involve Us in future European Wars,” thus compromising the true policy of the new country, perfect neutrality (Diary and Autobiography, 2:236; 3:337–338; see JA to James Warren, 16 April, above; JA to John Winthrop, 23 June, below).
The commercial provisions of the treaty plan had several facets. First, although free trade may have been an ultimate goal, the plan provided not so much for that as for an equality of trade. Americans were to pay no higher duties on imports into France than natives of that country and vice versa. Equally important, the same principle applied to France's colonial possessions. Second, the treaty provided for a limited list of wartime contraband and the principle that free ships make free goods. Thus a strong basis for future American neutrality was laid down, since a neutral nation, by definition, would want contraband limited as much as possible and non-contraband goods, regardless of their ownership, free from seizure when carried by its ships.
These provisions, certainly in the interest of the United States, were also seen as offering advantages to France that would induce it to sign the treaty and provide aid without demanding a military or political alliance. In any future war with Great Britain it was likely that the French Navy would be rendered relatively impotent, as had been the case in the past, { 262 } with the result that French colonial trade would be cut off. A neutral America, supporting the provisions contained in the treaty plan, would be of immense benefit to France by taking over its carrying trade and mitigating for it the consequences of British naval superiority. In addition, though not necessarily considered by Adams as he drafted his plan, if this treaty opened French colonial trade to the United States in time of peace, it could avoid in wartime collision with the British Rule of 1756. In its simplest form, this rule declared that opening in time of war trade that was forbidden during peace (a common French practice in regard to its colonial trade) was illegal. Neutral ships violating the rule were subject to seizure.
Adams states in his Autobiography that “the Committee after as much deliberation upon the Subject as they chose to employ, appointed me, to draw up a Plan and Report” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). With that mandate and his own clear conception of what the treaty should include, he set to work, producing a draft made up of two distinct parts.
The first section, Articles 1 through 13, was apparently written almost entirely by Adams with occasional references to the third volume of A Collection of State Tracts Publish'd . . . during the Reign of King William III. To which is Prefix'd The History of the Dutch War in 1672, 3 vols., London, 1705–1707, and to [Alexander Justice], A General Treatise of the Dominion of the Sea: And a Compleat Body of the Sea-Laws . . . To which is subjoin'd, An Appendix concerning the present State and Regulations of the Admiralty and Navy, London, 1709?, both of which works are cited in marginal notes opposite the preamble and Article 5 of the draft (see No. I, notes 1 and 6, below). The pages referred to in these notes contain treaty articles that seem appropriate to Adams' purpose, and he incorporated some of their language into the articles he drafted for the treaty plan. In regard to the first thirteen articles, however, the two volumes seem to have been used by Adams as guides to the proper forms for composing treaty provisions rather than as sources for complete articles, taken verbatim from existing treaties and changed only to fit American needs.
For the remaining seventeen articles, together with the passport and certificates appended at the end of the treaty plan, we know that Adams copied appropriate articles from treaties contained in a particular collection: Henry Edmunds and William Harris, comps., A Compleat Collection of All the Articles and Clauses which Relate to the Marine, in the Several Treaties Now Subsisting Between Great Britain, and Other Kingdoms and States, To which is Prefixed a Preface or Introductory Discourse, London, 1760 (see No. I, notes 11, 17, and 18, below). The copy that Adams used was lent to him: “Franklin had made some marks with a Pencil against some Articles in a printed Volume of Treaties, which he put into my hand” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). The Houghton Library of Harvard University now owns Franklin's copy of A Compleat Collection, and in it various treaty articles have an “X” beside them. Moreover, the { 263 } page numbers cited opposite Articles 24 and 25 of the draft are those for the corresponding articles copied by Adams from this book.
This volume, which almost certainly came to Adams in the midst of his labors, was a godsend, enabling him to speed the drafting process. That he had not possessed it earlier is suggested by his using State Tracts and Sea Laws for the first thirteen articles. A Compleat Collection was more appropriate to his needs, for two of the treaties consulted in State Tracts and Sea Laws were also included in A Compleat Collection. It is reasonable to suppose that if Adams had possessed the latter sooner he would have followed for the earlier articles the same practice that he used for the remaining ones, that is, verbatim copying. Even though the substance of the first thirteen articles, which deal largely with the interests of the United States, did not in every case lend itself to coverage by articles simply copied from other treaties, the alterations required would have taken less time than drafting each article individually.
The process by which Adams drafted Articles 14 through 30, with the accompanying passport and certificates, is significant for revealing his intentions. From Article 14 on, the provisions of the treaty plan were copied from three existing agreements between Great Britain and France, especially the commercial treaty concluded at Utrecht in 1713. Franklin had marked three treaties between Great Britain and Spain, but Adams' object was probably to choose articles to which France was already a party, thereby making it easier for her to accept the Plan of Treaties as it was rather than insist on different articles that might compromise American interests. Whether Adams had it in mind or not, his draft was essentially a transformation of existing Anglo-French agreements into Franco-American treaties and for France amounted merely to a reratification of them in favor of the United States.
Adams' draft of the Plan of Treaties served as the basis for the report made to Congress on 18 July (see No. I, descriptive note, below). The differences between the draft and the report as ordered printed on 20 July (JCC, 5:594; No. II, below) indicate that the committee in debating the draft made additions and deletions. The Plan of Treaties as adopted by the congress (No. III, below) emerged from debates on 22 and 27 August, when it was referred back to the original committee enlarged by the addition of Richard Henry Lee and James Wilson (JCC, 5:696, 709–710). The expanded committee put the plan into its final form; yet when adopted on 17 September, the treaty plan differed little in its essentials from Adams' original draft.
The adoption of the Plan of Treaties did not, however, end Adams' worries. Much depended on the instructions that were to guide the American negotiators in Europe, for if these differed markedly from the principles set down in the plan, Adams would have labored in vain. It is not known to what extent Adams participated in the expanded committee's deliberations, but the instructions which were adopted on 24 September and which dealt specifically with Articles 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 25, and 26 { 264 } { 265 } did not, with three important exceptions, conflict with the plan as drafted (JCC, 5:813–817). The exceptions are discussed in No. III, notes 2, 6, and 8 (below).
The editors have included the adopted version of the treaty plan, even though its inclusion adds to the repetition of text, because it has never been printed exactly as written (compare the version in JCC, 5:768–779, with No. III, below) and because notes that relate the instructions to its provisions can be provided without the clutter of notes on textual changes. The version printed in Journals of the Continental Congress, 5:576–589, seems to be a conflation of Adams' draft and the printed committee report.
Although the Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded between the United States and France on 6 February 1778 differed from the Plan of Treaties in some ways, it clearly reflected the principles set down by John Adams. The accompanying Treaty of Alliance, however, did not (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:3–29, 35–41). A political and military alliance had been no part of Adams' plan, and its conclusion undoubtedly colored his later attitude toward both France and Benjamin Franklin. Indeed, Franklin's part in the negotiation of 1778 probably accounts for Adams' assessment of him in the Autobiography: “Franklin although he was commonly as silent on committees as in Congress, upon this Occasion, ventured so far as to intimate his concurrence with me in these Sentiments [that there should be only a commercial connection with France], though as will be seen hereafter he shifted them as easily as the Wind ever shifted: and assumed a dogmatical Tone, in favour of an Opposite System” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338).
In 1776, however, Adams could look upon the adoption of the treaty plan as a victory. He had drafted it and defended it in the congress, and in the end, “the Treaty passed without one Particle of Alliance, exclusive Priviledge, or Warranty” (same, 3:338). It was his plan that would guide the American negotiators when for the first time the United States exercised the most fundamental right of sovereignty, the conclusion of a treaty with another sovereign state.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0002

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-06-18

I. A Plan of Treaties

There Shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal Peace, and a true and Sincere Friendship between the most Serene and mighty Prince, Lewis the Sixteenth, the most Christian King his Heirs and Successors, and the united States of America; and the Subjects of the most Christian King, and of the Said States; and between the Countries, Islands, Cities, and Towns Situate under the Jurisdiction of the most Christian King and of the Said united States, <and every of them> and the People and Inhabitants thereof of every degree; without Exception of Persons or Places; and the Terms hereinafter mentioned Shall be per• { 266 } petual between the most Christian King, his Heirs and successors, and the Said united States.1
Art. 1. The Subjects of the most Christian King Shall pay no other Duties or Imposts in the Ports, Havens, Roads, Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns of the Said united States, or any of them, than the Natives thereof, or any Commercial Companies established by them or any of them, Shall pay, but Shall enjoy all other the Rights, Liberties, Priviledges, Immunities, and Exemptions in Trade, Navigation and Commerce in passing from one Part thereof to another, and in going to and from the Same, from and to any Part of the World, which the Said Natives, or Companies enjoy.2
Art. 2 The Subjects, People and Inhabitants of the Said united States and every of them Shall pay no other Duties, or Imposts in the Ports, Havens, Roads, Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns of the most Christian King, than the Natives of Such Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns of France, or any commercial Companies established by the most Christian King Shall pay, but shall enjoy all other the Rights, Liberties, Priviledges, Immunities and Exemptions in Trade, Navigation and Commerce, in passing from one Part thereof to another, and in going to and from the Same, from and to any Part of the World, which the Said Natives, or Companies enjoy.3
Art. 3. The most Christian King Shall endeavour, by all the Means in his Power to protect and defend all Vessells, and the Effects belonging to the Subjects People, or Inhabitants of the Said united States, or any of them, being in his Ports, Havens, or Roads, or on the Seas, <and> near to his Countries, Islands, Cities, or Towns, and to recover and restore, to the right owners, their Agents or Attornies, all Such Vessells, and Effects, which Shall be taken, within his Jurisdiction; and his Ships of War, or any Convoys Sailing under his Authority, Shall upon all occasions, take under their Protection all Vessells belonging to the Subjects, People or Inhabitants of the Said united States, or any of them, and holding the Same Course, or going the Same Way, and shall defend Such Vessells as long as they hold the Same Course, or go the same Way, against all Attacks, Force, and Violence, in the Same manner, as they ought to protect and defend Vessells belonging to the Subjects of the most Christian King.4
Art. 4. In like manner the Said united States, and their Ships of War and Convoys Sailing under their Authority Shall protect and defend all Vessells and Effects belonging to the Subjects of the most Christian King, and endeavour to recover and restore them, if taken within the Jurisdiction of the Said united States, or any of them.5
{ 267 }
Art. 5. The most Christian King and the Said united States Shall not receive, nor Suffer to be received into any of their Ports, Havens, Roads, Countries, Islands, Cities or Towns, any Pirates, or Sea Robbers, or afford, or suffer any Entertainment, Assistance, or Provision to be afforded to them, but shall endeavour by all Means, that all Pyrates, and Sea Robbers, and their Partners, Sharers, and Abettors be found out, apprehended, and Suffer condign Punishment; and all the Vessells and Effects piratically taken, and brought into the Ports or Havens of the most Christian King, or the Said united States, which can be found, altho they be Sold, Shall be restored, or Satisfaction given therefor to the right owners, their Agents or Attornies demanding the Same, and making the right of Property to appear by due Proof.6
Art. 6. The most Christian King Shall protect, defend and Secure, as far as in his Power, the Subjects, People and Inhabitants of the Said united States and every of them, and their Vessells and Effects of every Kind, against all Attacks, Assaults, Violences, Injuries. Depredations or Plunderings by or from the King or Emperor of Morocco, or Fez, and the States of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, and any of them, and every other Prince, State, and Power, on the Coast of Barbary in Africa and the Subjects of the Said King<s> Emperor<s or> States and Powers, and of every of them, in the Same manner, and as effectually and fully, and as much to the Benefit Advantage Ease and Safety of the Said united States and every of them, and of the Subjects, People, and Inhabitants thereof, to all Intents and Purposes, as the King and Kingdom of Great Britain, before the Commencement of the present War, protected, defended, and Secured the People and Inhabitants of the Said united States, then called the British Colonies, in North America, their Vessells and Effects, against all Such Attacks, Assaults, Violences, Injuries, Depredations and Plunderings.
<Art. 7. If the most Christian King Shall in consequence of this Treaty, engage in a War with the King of Great Britain, the Said united States, Shall not assist the latter.>7
Art. 7. If, in Consequence of this Treaty the King of Great Britain, should declare War, against the most Christian King, the Said united States shall not assist Great Britain, in Such War, with Men, Money, ships, or any of the Articles in this treaty denominated Contraband Goods <or in any other way>. And if France to favour the said united States Shall join with them in their present War against Great Britain they shall not make a separate Peace.
Art. 8. In Case of any War between the most Christian King and the King of Great Britain, the most Christian King Shall never invade, { 268 } nor attempt to invade, or get Possession, for himself of Labradore, New Britain, Nova Scotia, Accadia, Canada, Florida, nor any of the Countries, Cities, or Towns, on the Continent of North America, nor of the Islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, St. Johns, Anticoste, nor of any other Islands lying near to the Said Continent, in the Seas, or in any Gulph, Bay, or River, it being the true intent and meaning of this Treaty, that the Said united States Shall have the Sole, exclusive undivided and perpetual Possession of all the Countries, Cities, and Towns, on the Said Continent, and of all Islands near to it, which now are, or lately were under the Jurisdiction of or subject to the King or Crown of Great Britain, whenever the Same can be invaded, and conquered by the Said united States, or shall in any manner submit to or be confederated with them.
Art. 9. Nor Shall the most Christian King, at any Time, make any Claim, or demand's to the Said Countries, Islands, Cities, and Towns mentioned in the next preceding Article, or any of them, or to any Part thereof, for, or on Account of any Assistance afforded to the Said united States, in attacking or conquering the Same, or in obtaining Such a Submission, or Confederation as has been mentioned in the Said Preceding Articles, nor on any other Account what ever.8
Art. 10. If in any War, the most Christian King, Shall conquer, or get Possession of the Islands in the West Indies, now under the Jurisdiction of the King or Crown of Great Britain, or any of them, or any Dominions of the Said King or Crown in <Europe>[any other parts of the world], the Subjects <and> People and Inhabitants of the Said united States, and every of them Shall enjoy the Same Rights, Liberties, Priviledges, Immunities and Exemptions in Trade, Commerce and Navigation to and from the Said Islands, and Dominions, that are mentioned in the Second Article of this Treaty.
Art. 11. It is the true Intent and Meaning of this Treaty, that no higher or other Duties Shall be imposed on the Exportation of any Thing of the Growth, Production, or Manufacture of the Islands in the West Indies now belonging, or which may hereafter belong to the most Christian King, <or which>9 to the Said united States, or any of them, than the lowest that are or shall be imposed on the Exportation thereof to France or to any other Part of the World.
Art. 12. It is agreed, by and between the Said Parties that no Duties whatever more than []<Per Gallon>10 shall ever hereafter be imposed on the Exportation of Molasses, from any of the Islands and Dominions of the most Christian King in the West Indies to any of these united States.
{ 269 }
Art. 13. The Subjects, People, and Inhabitants of the Said united States, or any of them, being Merchants and residing in France, and their Property, and Effects of every Kind, shall be exempt from the Droit de Aubeine.11
Art. 14 The Merchant Ship of either of the Parties, which shall be making into a Port belonging to the Enemy of the other Ally,12 and concerning whose Voyage, and the Species of Goods on board her, there Shall be just Grounds of Suspicion, Shall be obliged to exhibit, as well upon the high Seas as in the Ports and Havens, not only her Passports, but like wise Certificates, expressly Shewing that her Goods are not of the Number of those which have been prohibited, as Contraband.
Art. 15 <That> If by the exhibiting of the abovesaid Certificates, the other Party discover there are any of those Sorts of Goods, which are prohibited and declared Contraband, and consigned for a Port under the Obedience of his Enemies, it Shall not be lawfull to break up the Hatches of such ship, or to open any Chests, Coffers, Packs, Casks, or any other Vessells found therein or to remove the Smallest Parcells of her Goods, whether such Ship belong to the Subjects of France, or the Inhabitants of the said united States, unless the lading be brought on Shore in the Presence of the Officers of the Court of Admiralty, and an Inventory thereof made; but there Shall be no Allowance to sell, exchange, or alienate the same in any manner, untill after that due and lawfull Proscess shall have been had against such prohibited Goods, and the Court of Admiralty shall, by a Sentence pronounced, have confiscated the same, Saving always as well the Ship itself, as any other Goods found therein, which by this Treaty are to be esteemed free; neither may they be detained on Pretence of their being as it were infected by the prohibited Goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawfull Prize: But if not the whole Cargo, but only Part thereof Shall consist of prohibited or contraband Goods, and the Commander of the ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to the Captor who has discovered them, in such Case the Captor having received those Goods, shall forthwith discharge the ship, and not hinder her by any Means freely to prosecute the Voyage on which she was bound.
Art. 16 On the Contrary, it is agreed, that whatever Shall be found to be laden by the Subjects and Inhabitants of either Party, on any ship belonging to the Enemy of the other or to his Subjects, the whole, although it be not of the sort of prohibited Goods, may be confiscated in the Same Manner as if it belonged to the Enemy himself, except { 270 } Such Goods and Merchandise as were put on board Such Ship before the Declaration of War, or even after Such Declaration, if So be it were done without Knowledge of such Declaration. So that the Goods of the Subjects and People of either Party, whether they be of the Nature of Such as are prohibited, or otherwise which, as, is aforesaid, were put on board any Ship belonging to an Enemy before the War, or after the Declaration of the Same, <within the Time and>13 without Knowledge of it, Shall noways be liable to Confiscation, but Shall well and truly be restored without delay to the Proprietors demanding the Same; but so as that if the Said Merchandizes be contraband, it Shall not be any Ways lawfull to carry them afterwards to any Ports belonging to the Enemy.
Art. 17. And that more effectual Care may be taken, for the Security of the Subjects, and Inhabitants of both Parties, that they Suffer no Injury by the Men of War or Privateers of the other Party, all the Commanders of the Ships of the most Christian King, and <all their Subjects, Shall be forbid,>14 of the said united States, and all their subjects and Inhabitants, Shall be forbid, doing any Injury, or Damage to the other Side; and if they act to the contrary, they Shall be punished, and Shall moreover be bound to make Satisfaction for all matter of Damage, and the Interest thereof, by Reparation, under the Pain and Obligation of their Person and Goods.
Art. 18 All Ships, and Merchandizes, of what Nature So ever, which Shall be rescued out of the Hands of any Pirates, or Robbers on the high Seas, Shall be brought into Some Port of either State, and Shall be delivered to the Custody of the Officers of that Port, in order to be restored entire to the true Proprietor, as Soon, as due and Sufficient Proof Shall be made, concerning the Property, thereof.
Art. 19 It Shall be lawfull for the Ships of War of either Party and Privateers, freely to carry whithersoever they please, the Ships and Goods, taken from their Enemies, without being obliged to pay any Duty to the Officers of the Admiralty or any other Judges; nor Shall Such Prizes be arrested, or Seized, when they come to, and enter the Ports of either Party; nor Shall the Searchers, or other Officers of those Places Search the Same, or make Examination concerning the Lawfullness of Such Prizes, but they may hoist Sail, at any Time and depart and carry their Prizes to the Place expressed in their Commissions, which the Commanders of Such Ships of War Shall be obliged to shew: on the Contrary, no shelter, or Refuge Shall be given in their Ports to Such as Shall have made Prize of the Subjects, People, or Property, of either of the Parties; but if Such Should come in, being { 271 } forced by Stress of Weather, or the Danger of the Sea, all proper Means Shall be vigorously used, that they go out, and retire from thence as Soon as possible <, so far as>.15
Art. 20. If any Ships belonging to either of the Parties, their People, or subjects Shall, within the Coasts, or Dominions of the other, Stick upon the Sands or be wrecked, or Suffer any other Damage, all friendly Assistance and Relief Shall be given to the Persons Ship wrecked, or such as Shall be in danger thereof; and Letters of Safe Conduct Shall likewise be given to them for their free and quiet Passage from thence, and the Return of every one to his own Country.
Art. 21. That in Case the Subjects and Inhabitants of Either Party, with their Shipping, whether public, and of War, or private and of Merchants be forced through Stress of Weather, Pursuit of Pirates or Enemies or any other urgent Necessity, for Seeking of shelter and Harbour to retreat, and enter into any of the Rivers, Creeks, Bays, Havens, Roads, Ports, or shores, belonging to the other Party, they shall be received and treated with all Humanity and Kindness, and enjoy all friendly Protection and Help; and they Shall be permitted to refresh and provide themselves, at reasonable Rates, with Victuals and all Things needfull for the sustenance of their Persons, or Reparation of their Ships, and Conveniency of their Voyage, and they shall no Ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the Said Ports or Roads, but may remove and depart when and whither they please, without any Lett or Hindrance;
Art. 22 The Subjects, Inhabitants, Merchants, Commanders of Ships, Masters and Mariners of the States, Provinces, and Dominions of each Party respectively, shall abstain and forbear to <trade and>16 fish in all Places possessed, or which shall be possessed by <one or> the other Party <in>. The most Christian Kings Subjects Shall not fish in the Havens, Bays, Creeks, Roads, Coasts, or Places, which the said united States hold or shall hereafter hold: and in like manner, the subjects, People, and Inhabitants of the said united states, shall not fish in the Havens, Bays, Creeks, Roads, Coasts, or Places, which the <said> most Christian King possesses, or shall hereafter possess; and if any ship or Vessell shall be found <trading> fishing, contrary to the Tenor of this Treaty, the Said ship or Vessell, with its Lading, Proof being made thereof, shall be confiscated.
Art. 23 For the better promoting of Commerce on both Sides, it is agreed, that if a War should break out between the Said two Nations, Six Months, after the Proclamation of War, Shall be allowed to the Merchants, in the Cities and Towns where they live, for settling { 272 } and transporting their Goods and Merchandizes; and if any Thing be taken from them, or any Injury be done them within that Term by either Party, or the People or subjects of either, full Satisfaction shall be made for the Same.
Art. 24 No Subjects of the <said> most Christian King, shall apply for, or take any Commission or Letters of Marque for arming any Ship or Ships to act as Privateers, against the Said united States or any of them, or against the Subjects, People, or Inhabitants of the Said united States or any of them, or against the Property of any of the Inhabitants of any of them, from any Prince, or State with which the Said united States Shall be at War:17
Nor shall any Citizen, Subject, or Inhabitant, of the said united States or any of them, apply for, or take any Commission or Letters of Marque for arming any ship or Ships to act as Privateers, against the Subjects of the <said> most Christian King or any of them, or the Property of any of them, from any Prince or State, with which the Said King Shall be at War: And if any Person of either Nation Shall take Such Commissions or Letters of Marque, he shall be punished as a Pirate.
Art. 25. It Shall not be lawfull for any foreign Privateers, not be<ing>[longing][to the]18 Subjects of the <said> most Christian King, nor Citizens of the Said united States, who have Commissions from any other Prince or State, in Enmity with either Nation, to fit their Ships in the Ports of either the one or the other of the aforesaid Parties, to Sell what they have taken, or in any other manner whatsoever to exchange either Ships, Merchandizes, or any other Lading: neither Shall they be allowed even to purchase Victuals, except Such as Shall be necessary for their going to the next Port of that Prince or State from which they have Commissions.
Art. 26 It Shall be lawfull for all and Singular the Subjects of the <said> most Christian King, and the Citizens, People, and Inhabitants of the Said united States, to Sail with their Ships, with all manner of Liberty and Security; no distinction being made, who are the Proprietors of the Merchandizes laden thereon from any Port, to the Places of those who now are, or hereafter shall be at Enmity with the most Christian King, or the united States. It shall likewise be lawfull for the Subjects and Inhabitants aforesaid, to Sail with the Ships and Merchandizes aforementioned; and to trade with the Same Liberty and Security, from the Places, Ports, and Havens of those who are Enemies of both or either Party, without any opposition or Disturbance whatsoever, not only directly from the Places of the Enemy aforemen• { 273 } tioned to neutral Places; but also from one Place belonging to an Enemy, to another Place belonging to an Enemy, whether they be under the Jurisdiction of the Same Prince or under Several: And it is hereby Stipulated that free Ships Shall also give a Freedom to Goods, and that every Thing Shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which Shall be found on board the Ships, belonging to the Subjects of either of the Confederates; although the whole Lading or any Part thereof, should appertain to the Enemies of Either, Contraband Goods being always excepted. It is also agreed in like manner, that the Same Liberty, be extended to Persons, who are on board a free ship with this Effect, that although they be Enemies to both or either Party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they are Soldiers, and in actual Service of the Enemies.
Art. 27 This Liberty of Navigation and Commerce Shall extend to all Kinds of Merchandizes, excepting those only which are distinguished by the Name of Contraband: and under this Name of Contraband, or prohibited Goods, Shall be comprehended Arms, Great Guns, Bombs with their Fuzees, and other Things belonging to them; Fire-balls, Gunpowder, Match, Cannon Ball, Pikes, Swords, Lances, Spears, Halberds, Mortars, Petards, Granadoes, Saltpetre, Musketts, Muskett Ball, Helmets, Head Pieces, Breast Plates, Coats of Mail, and the like Kinds of Arms proper for arming Soldiers, Muskett-rests, Belts, Horses with their Furniture, and all other warlike Instruments whatever. These Merchandizes which follow, Shall not be reckoned among Contraband or prohibited Goods: that is to Say, all Sorts of Cloths, and all other Manufactures woven of any Wool, Flax, Silk, Cotton, or any other Materials whatever; all Kinds of Wearing Apparell, together with the Species whereof they are used to be made; Gold and Silver, as well coined as uncoined, Tin, Iron, Lead, Copper, Brass, Coals; as also Wheat and Barley, and any other Kind of Corn and Pulse; Tobacco, and likewise all manner of Spices; Salted and Smoaked Flesh, Salted Fish, Cheese and Butter, Beer, Oils, Wines, Sugars, and all Sorts of Salt; and in general, all Provisions which Serve for the Nourishment of Man kind, and the Sustenance of Life: Furthermore, all Kinds of Cotton, Hemp, Flax, Tar, Pitch, Ropes, Cables, Sails, Sail Cloths, Anchors, and any Parts of Anchors; also ships Masts, Planks, Boards, and Beams, of what Trees soever; and all other Things proper either for building or repairing Ships, and all other Goods whatever which have not been worked into the Form of any Instrument or Thing prepared for War, by Land or by Sea, shall not be reputed Contraband, much less Such as have been already wrought and made { 274 } up for any other Use; all which shall wholly be reckoned among free Goods; as likewise all other Merchandizes and Things which are not comprehended, and particularly mentioned in the foregoing Enumeration of Contraband Goods; So that they may be transported and carried in the freeest Manner by the subjects of both Confederates, even to Places belonging to an Enemy, such Towns or Places being only excepted as are at that time besieged, blocked up, or invested.
Art. 28 To the End that all manner of Dissentions and Quarrells may be avoided and prevented on one Side and the other, it is agreed, that in Case either of the Parties hereto, Should be engaged in War, the Ships and Vessells belonging to the Subjects or People of the other Ally, must be furnished with Sea Letters or Passports expressing the Name, Property and Bulk of the Ship, as also the Name and Place of Habitation of the Master or Commander of the Said Ship, that it may appear thereby, that the Ship really and truly belongs to the Subject of one of the Parties; which Passport Shall be made out and granted according to the Form annexed to this Treaty; they Shall likewise be recalled every Year that is, if the Ship happens to return home within the Space of a Year. It is likewise agreed, that Such Ships being laden, are to be provided, not only with Passports as above mentioned, but also with Certificates containing the Several Particulars of the Cargo, the Place whence the Ship Sailed, and whither she is bound; that So it may be known whether any forbidden or Contraband Goods, be on board the Same; which Certificates Shall be made out by the Officers of the Place whence the Ship Set Sail, in the accustomed Form. And if any one Shall think it fit or adviseable to express in the said Certificates the Person to whom the Goods on board belong, he may freely do So.
Art. 29 The Ships of the Subjects and Inhabitants of either of <their Most Serene>19 the Parties, coming upon any Coast belonging to either of the Said Allies, but not willing to enter into Port, or being entered into Port, and not willing to unload their Cargoes, or break Bulk, Shall not be obliged to give an Account of their Lading, unless they Should be Suspected upon Some manifest Tokens, of carrying to the Enemy of the other Ally, any prohibited Goods called Contraband. And in Cases of Such manifest suspicion, the Said Subjects and Inhabitants, of either of the Parties, shall be obliged to exhibit in the Ports, their Passports and Certificates, in the manner before Specified.
Art 30. That if the Ships of the Said Subjects, People or Inhabitants of either of the Parties, Shall be met with, either Sailing along the Coast, or on the high Seas, by any Ship of War of the other, or by any { 275 } Privateers, the Said Ships of War or Privateers, for the avoiding of any disorder, Shall remain out of Cannon Shot, and may Send their Boats, aboard the Merchant Ship, which they Shall So meet with, and may enter her to the Number of two or three Men only, to whom the Master or Commander of such Ship or Vessell Shall exhibit his Passport, concerning the Property of the Ship, made out according to the Form inserted in this present Treaty; and the Ship when she Shall have Shewed Such Passport, Shall be free and at Liberty to pursue her Voyage, So as it shall not be lawfull to molest or Search her in any Manner, or to give her Chase, or force her to quit her intended Course.20
Form of the Passports and Letters, which are to be given, to the Ships and Barks, which shall go according to the twenty-seventh21 Article of this Treaty.
To all who shall see these Presents Greeting: It is hereby made known, that Leave and Permission has been given to [] Master and Commander of the ship called [] of the Town of [] Burthen [] Tons or thereabouts, lying at present in the Port and Haven of [] and bound for [] and laden with [] After that his ship has been visited, and before Sailing, he shall make oath before the officers who have the Jurisdiction of maritime Affairs, that the Said Ship belongs to one or more of the subjects of [] the Act whereof shall be put at the End of these Presents; as likewise that he will keep and cause to be kept by his Crew, on board, the Marine ordinances and Regulations, and enter in the proper Office a List signed and witnessed containing the Names and sirnames, the Places of Birth and Abode of the Crew of his ship, and of all who shall embark on board her, whom he shall not take on board without the Knowledge and Permission of the Officers of the Marine; and in every Port or Haven where he shall enter with his ship, he shall Shew this present Leave to the Officers and Judges of the Marine, and shall give a faithfull Account to them of what passed and was done during his Voyage, and he shall carry the Colours, Arms, and Ensigns of the King, (or of the united states) during his Voyage. In Witness whereof, We have Signed these Presents, and put the seal of our Arms thereunto, and caused the same to be countersigned by [] at [] the [] day of [] 17 []
Form of the Act containing the oath
We [] of the Admiralty of [] do certify that [] Master of the ship named in the above Passport, hath { 276 } taken the oath mentioned therein. Done at[] the [] Day of [] 17[].
Form of the Certificates to be required of and to be given by the Magistrates or Officers of the Customs of the Town and Port in their respective Towns and Ports, to the Ships and Vessells, which Sail from thence, according to the Directions of the [] Article of this present Treaty.
We A.B. Magistrate, (or) Officers of the Customs of the Town and Port of C. do certify and attest, that on the [] Day of the Month of [] in the Year of our Lord 17[] D. E. of F. personally appeared before Us, and declared by a Solemn Oath, that the Ship or Vessell called G. of about [] Tons whereof H. I. of K. his usual Place of Habitation, is Master or Commander, does rightfully and properly belong to him and others subjects of [] and to them alone: That she is now bound from the Port of L. to the Port of M. laden with the Goods and Merchandizes hereunder particularly described and enumerated, that is to say, as follows.
In Witness whereof We have Signed this Certificate, and seal it with the Seal of our Office. Given the [] day of the Month of [] in the year of our Lord 17[] .
Dft (PCC, No. 47, f. 129–149 with a gap in the numbering); docketed in Charles Thomson's hand: “Report of the comee. on the plan of treaties read 18 July 1776 Ordered to lie on the table.”
The docketing may be somewhat misleading. The committee's report was read to the congress on 18 July and tabled, but two days later was ordered to be printed for the use of the members during debate over its final form. The substantial difference between the printed version (No. II, below) and the Dft makes it unlikely that it was this Dft that was read on 18 July. No evidence has been found that changes in phrasing were made between the reading of the report and the order for printing. Two additional considerations seem to support this supposition: when the Dft was discussed in committee, changes were made which subsequently appeared in the printed version but not on the Dft; it is unlikely that a report containing so many cancellations and additions would have been presented to the congress without being recopied. It may be that the report of the committee was not returned by the printer, a not unusual circumstance, leaving JA's Dft as the only “original” approximating the final report and as such placed among the papers of the congress.
In printing JA's Dft, the editors have sought to reproduce as closely as possible the text of the MS before it was submitted to the committee. But in some instances changes made by JA while composing the Dft have been difficult to distinguish from his recording of changes made by the committee and the congress. The first step in the editorial process was the comparison of the Dft with the committee's printed report, on which Charles Thomson recorded all changes made during the debate. This comparison made possible the removal of the majority of the additions and deletions jotted down by JA. The next step was to determine the changes made by JA before he presented his Dft. { 277 } These were relatively easy to identify when his strikeouts were made necessary by overzealous copying from his sources, as in Articles 16, 17, 19, and 29. All such changes have been annotated. The remaining alterations, and there are not many, could have been made by either JA or the committee. The lack of any other copy of the Dft or committee report known to us makes determination impossible. When they involve several words or are significant, these changes have been annotated. In any case, all recorded changes that were not the result of congressional debate have been included in JA's Dft as here printed, deletions appearing, as usual, in italics within angled brackets and additions within double parentheses. All marginal notes, which are in JA's hand and in the left margin unless otherwise stipulated, have been indicated, regardless of when they were inserted. All references below to articles in the treaty plan are by Arabic numerals to differentiate them from articles in other treaties mentioned, for which Roman numerals are used.
1. In the margin opposite the opening lines appears this notation: “Coll. of State Tracts 109. Coll of Sea Laws 541.” These references are to A Collection of State Tracts and to Justice, A General Treatise of the Dominion of the Sea (both fully cited in the Editorial Note, above). State Tracts, p. 109, contains the first four articles and part of the fifth of the Treaty of Reswick, concluded between Great Britain and France on 20 Sept. 1697. Art. I contains much of the phrasing used in the preamble to the treaty plan, and it is probable that JA referred to it to obtain the proper form to use in referring to Louis XVI. Compare the phrase “the most Serene and Mighty Prince Lewis the Fourteenth the most Christian King” and that used in the treaty plan. On p. 541 of Sea Laws is Art. I of the Treaty of Peace and Union concluded between Oliver Cromwell and the United Provinces of the Low Countries in 1654, which was probably similarly used by JA as a guide for the preamble to the draft.
2. In the margin is the notation “ag.” Since this and other such notations appear also in Thomson's marked-up copy of the printed report, JA's notation very likely refers to congressional rather than committee action.
3. In the margin appear two notations: “2. Should there not be an Exception of Asia, and perhaps of Africa” and “ag.” Who proposed the exception remains undetermined.
4. In the margin is the notation “ag.”
5. In the margin is the notation “ag.”
6. In the margin appear two notations: “ag.” and “See all the Articles in Sea Laws from pa. 544 to 549. Art. 19 and 24 in pa. 542. Art. 10 in pa. 520— Art. 5 in pa. 519. if proper.” Pages 544 to 549 contain part of Art. XX and Arts. XXI through XXXVIII of the Treaty of Breda, signed by Charles II and the States General on 31 July 1667. JA may have intended that all of Art. XX, which begins on p. 543, be included, for it deals with pirates. Arts. XIX and XXIV on p. 542 are from the treaty between Cromwell and the United Provinces, mentioned in note 1 (above). Arts. V and X from p. 519 and 520 are from a treaty concluded between France and Denmark in 1645. Each of the articles noted was relevant to JA's desire that there be only a commercial agreement.
7. The replacement of this article with another with the same number indicates that JA, not the committee, decided that his first effort was insufficient.
8. In the margin, probably in Thomson's hand, is the notation “rejected”; that is, it was rejected by the congress, not the committee.
9. This deletion was almost certainly made by JA while drafting the treaty plan.
10. "Per Gallon" was canceled by either JA or the committee, probably the latter, for it is omitted in the printed version (see No. II, note 11, below).
11. Droit d'Aubaine was the ancient right of French kings to claim the property of foreigners who died within the country without being naturalized. A waiver of this right, which was not formally renounced until 14 July 1819, { 278 } was a provision common to most treaties concluded with France (OED).
This article ends in the middle of a page, Art. 14 beginning at the top of a new page. The break is significant. JA copied Arts. 14 through 30, together with the “Passport and Letters” appended to the treaty plan, from Edmunds and Harris, A Compleat Collection (cited fully in the Editorial Note, above), lent to him by Franklin. The latter had put X's opposite Arts. XV, XVII, XIX, XX, XXXVI, and XXXVII of the Treaty of Navigation and Commerce signed at Utrecht on 11 April 1713 by Great Britain and France; Art. VIII of the Marine Treaty concluded by Britain and France on 24 Feb. 1677; Arts. XXI, XXII, and XXIV of the Treaty of 1667 between Britain and Spain; Art. IX of the Treaty of Peace and Alliance signed by Britain and Spain on 15 Nov. 1630; and Art. XX of the Treaty of Peace and Alliance of 1604 between Britain and Spain. Franklin also entered page numbers referring to treaties on three pages of the introduction to A Compleat Collection, but these were not useful to JA.
As he says in his Autobiography, JA made his own selection, retaining some of Franklin's choices and rejecting others (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). But in the end, he limited himself to three treaties between Great Britain and France. The treaties used by JA, the articles taken from them (Roman numerals), and the corresponding articles in the draft (Arabic numerals) are as follows: Treaty of Navigation and Commerce, Utrecht, 11 April 1713: Arts. XXV—14; XXVI—15; XXVII—16; XXVIII—17; XXXV—18; XXXVI—19; XV—25; XVII—26; XVIII, XIX, XX—27; XXI—28; XXII, XXIII—29; XXIV—30; and “Passport and Letters” following Art. XXXIX and 30, respectively. American Treaty of Peace, Good Correspondence, and Neutrality, London, 16 Nov. 1686: Arts. VII—20; VI—21; V—22; XV—24. Treaty of Peace, Westminster, 3 Nov. 1655: Art. XXVI—23.
12. As used in the 18th-century sense, an ally was a party to a treaty. See JA to William Cushing, 9 June, note 3 (above).
13. JA's deletion, made necessary because in copying Art. XXVII of the Treaty of Utrecht, he had gone too far. JA chose not to include in Art. 16 references to periods of time for news of war declarations to get abroad. He started to write “within the Time and Limits abovesaid,” but obviously that was not appropriate.
14. Obviously JA's deletion, made necessary by his copying from Art. XXVIII of the Treaty of Utrecht, which refers to the Queen of Great Britain and the French King.
15. JA recognized that his copying from Art. XXXVI of the Treaty of Utrecht had gone too far. The remainder of the passage reads: “so far as this shall not be contrary to former Treaties.”
16. The copying of “trade” and “trading” is another instance of JA's hand moving faster than his mind. Forbidding trade was inconsistent with earlier articles in the treaty plan.
17. In the margin is the notation: “comp. Coll. Treaties pa. 20.” On p. 20 of Edmunds and Harris, A Compleat Collection, is Art. XV of the American Treaty of Peace of 1686, which forms the basis of Art. 24 of the draft. JA's only change was to divide the article into two parts, one for France, the other for the United States.
18. Apparently the committee made a nice distinction, and JA, making the change on the draft, forgot to enter “to the.” In the margin is the notation “pa. 4,” another reference to A Compleat Collection. On that page is Art. XV of the Treaty of Utrecht, from which Art. 25 is copied verbatim.
19. Another instance of JA's copying too furiously. Art. XXII of the Treaty of Utrecht reads: “their most Serene Royal Majesties.”
20. Following this article is a paragraph on a separate page headed: “To succeed the 30th Article.” In the hand of Edward Rutledge, this addition was composed during the debates in the congress, for it was also written on the printed copy of the committee report. See No. II, note 16 (below). It was integrated into Art. 30 in the treaty plan as adopted on 17 Sept. (No. III, below).
21. The words “twenty-seventh” are not in JA's hand. The reference, of course, should be to the 28th article.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0003

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-08-27

II. Committee Report on A Plan of Treaties

There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and a true and sincere friendship between A. and B.1 and the subjects of A. and of B. and between the countries, islands, cities, and towns situate under the jurisdiction of A. and of B. and the people and inhabitants thereof of every degree, without exception of persons or places; and the Terms herein after mentioned shall be perpetual between A. and B.
I. The subjects of A. shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of B. than the natives thereof or any commercial Companies established therein shall pay, but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce, in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same, from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or Companies enjoy.2
II. The subjects of B. shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of A. than the natives thereof or any commercial Companies established therein; but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or Companies enjoy.3
[That A <be permitted to> shall retain the same rights of fishery on the banks of Newfoundland and all other rights relating to any the said islands which he is intitled to by virtue of the treaty of Paris.]
III. A. shall endeavour by all the means in his power to protect and defend all vessels and the effects belonging to the subjects and people of B. being in his ports, havens or roads, or on the seas <, or>4 and near to his countries, islands, cities or towns, and to recover and restore to the right owners, their agents or attornies, all such vessels and effects which shall be taken within his jurisdiction; and his ships of war or any convoys sailing under his authority shall upon all occasions take under their protection all vessels belonging to the subjects or people of B. and holding the same course or going the same way, and shall defend such vessels so long as they hold the same course or go the same { 280 } way, against all attacks, force and violence, in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend vessels belonging to the subjects or people of A.5
IV. In like manner B. and his ships of war, and convoys, sailing under his authority, shall protect and defend all vessels and effects belonging to the subjects or people of A. and endeavour to recover and restore them, if taken in his jurisdiction.
V. A. and B. shall not receive nor suffer to be received into any of their ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns, any pirates or sea robbers, or afford or suffer any entertainment, assistance or provision to be afforded to them, but shall endeavour by all means that all pirates and sea robbers and their partners, sharers and abettors be found out, apprehended and suffer condign punishment; and all the vessels and effects piratically taken and brought into the ports and havens of A. or B. which can be found, altho' they be sold, shall be restored or satisfaction given therefor to the right owners, their agents or attornies demanding the same and making the right of property to appear by due proof.
VI. A. shall protect, defend and secure, as far as in his power the subjects or people of B. and their vessels and effects of every kind, against all attacks, assaults, violences, injuries, depredations or plunderings by or from the King or Emperor of Morocco or Fez, and the States of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, and any of them, and every other prince, state and power on the coast of Barbary in Africa, and the subjects of the said Kings, Emperors, &c. in as full a manner, &c.6
VII. If, in consequence of this Treaty, the——of——should declare war against A. the said B. shall not assist——with men, money, ships, or any of the articles in this treaty denominated contraband goods,7<or in any other way. And if A. to favour the said B. shall join in the present war against——, A. shall not make a separate peace.>8
VIII.<In case of any war between A. and——,> A. shall never invade, nor <attempt to invade, or get possession for himself>[under any pretence attempt to possess himself] of——, nor any of the countries, cities or towns, on the Continent of——, nor of the Islands of——nor any other island lying near to the said Continent, in the seas, or in any gulph, bay, or river thereof, it being the true intent and meaning of this Treaty, that the said B. shall have the sole, exclusive, undivided and perpetual possession of all the countries, cities and towns on the said Continent, and of all islands near to it, whenever the same9<can be invaded and conquered by B. or shall in any { 281 } manner submit to or>[they] be confederated <with B>[or united with B].
IX. <Nor shall A. at any time make any claim or demands to the said countries, islands, cities and towns mentioned in the next preceding article, or any of them, or to any part thereof, for or on account of any assistance afforded to B. in attacking or conquering the same, or in obtaining such submission or confederation as has been mentioned in the preceding articles, nor on any other account whatever.>10
X. If in any war A. shall conquer or get possession of——, now under the jurisdiction of——or any of them, or any dominions of——in——, the subjects or people of B. shall enjoy the same rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, commerce and navigation to and from the said——that are mentioned in the second article in this treaty.
XI. It is the true intent and meaning of this Treaty that no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the exportation to B. of any thing of the growth, production, or manufacture of——, now belonging or which may hereafter belong to A. than the lowest that are or shall be imposed on the exportation thereof to——or to any other part of the world.
XII. It is agreed by and between the said parties, that no duties whatever <more than []>11 shall ever hereafter be imposed on the exportation of——from any of the islands and dominions of A. to B.
XIII. The subjects or people of B. being merchants and residing in—— and their property and effects, shall be exempt from——.12
XIV. The merchant ship of either of the parties, which shall be making into a port belonging to the enemy of the other ally, and concerning whose voyage and the species of goods on board her there shall be just grounds of suspicion, shall be obliged to exhibit as well upon the high seas as in the ports and havens, not only her passports, but likewise certificates expressly shewing that her goods are not of the number of those which have been prohibited as contraband.
XV. If by the exhibiting of the abovesaid certificates the other party discover there are any of those sorts of goods, which are prohibited and declared contraband, and consigned for a port under the obedience of his enemies, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches of such ship, or to open any chest, coffers, packs, casks or any other vessels found therein, or to remove the smallest parcels of her goods, whether such belong to the subjects or people of A. or B. unless the lading be brought on shore in the presence of the Officers of the { 282 } Court of Admiralty and an inventory thereof made; but there shall be no allowance made to sell, exchange, or alienate the same in any manner until after that due and lawful process shall have been had against such prohibited goods, and the Court of Admiralty shall, by a sentence pronounced, have confiscated the same, saving always as well the ship itself as any other goods found therein, which by this Treaty are to be esteemed free; neither may they be detained on pretence of their being as it were infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawful prize; but if not the whole cargo, but only part thereof, shall consist of prohibited or contraband goods, and the Commander of the ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to the captor, who has discovered them, in such case the captor, having received those goods, shall forthwith discharge the ship and not hinder her by any means freely to prosecute the voyage on which she was bound.
XVI. On the contrary it is agreed, that whatever shall be found to be <taken>13 laden by the subjects or people of either party on any ship belonging to the enemy of the other or to his subjects, although it be not of the sort of prohibited goods, may be confiscated in the same manner as if it belonged to the enemy himself; except such goods and merchandizes as were put on board such ship before the declaration of war, or even after such declaration, if so be it were done without the knowledge of such declaration. So that the goods of the subjects and people of either party, whether they be of the nature of such as are prohibited or otherwise which, as is aforesaid, were put on board any ship belonging to an enemy before the war, or after the declaration of it without knowledge of it, shall nowise be liable to confiscation, but shall well and truly be restored without delay to the proprietors demanding the same; but so as that if the said merchandizes be contraband, it shall not be any ways lawful to carry them afterwards to any ports belonging to the enemy.
XVII. And that more effectual care may be taken for the security of the subjects and people of both parties, that they suffer no injury by the men of war or privateers of the other party, all the Commanders of the ships of A. and of B. and all their subjects and people shall be forbid doing any injury or damage to the other side; and if they act to the contrary, they shall be punished, and moreover shall be bound to make satisfaction for all matter of damage and the interest thereof, by reparation, under the pain and obligation of their person and goods.
XVIII. All ships and merchandizes, of what nature soever, which shall be rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers on the high { 283 } seas, shall be brought into some port of either state, and shall be delivered to the custody of the Officers of that port, in order to be restored entire to the true proprietor as soon as due and sufficient proof shall be made concerning the property thereof.
XIX. It shall be lawful for the ships of war of either party, and privateers, freely to carry whither soever they please the ships and goods taken from their enemies, without being obliged to pay any duty to the Officers of the Admiralty or any other judges; nor shall such prizes be arrested or seized where they come to, and enter the ports of either party; nor shall the Searchers or other Officers of those places search the same, or make examination concerning the lawfulness of such prizes; but they may hoist sail at any time and depart and carry their prizes to the place expressed in their commissions, which the commanders of such ships of war shall be obliged to shew: On the contrary, no shelter or refuge shall be given in their ports to such as shall have made prizes of the subjects, people or property of either of the parties; but if such should come in, being forced by stress of weather or the danger of the sea, all proper means shall be vigorously used, that they go out and retire from thence as soon as possible.
XX. If any ships belonging to either of the parties, their subjects or people, shall within the coasts or dominions of the other stick upon the sands or be wrecked, or suffer any other damage, all friendly assistance and relief shall be given to the persons shipwrecked or such as shall be in danger thereof; and letters of safe conduct shall likewise be given to them for their free and quiet passage from thence, and the return of every one to his own country.
XXI. In case the subjects and people of either party with their shipping, whether publick and of war or private and of merchants, be forced through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies, or any other urgent necessity, for seeking shelter and harbour to retreat and enter into any of the rivers, creeks, bays, havens, roads, ports or shores belonging to the other party, they shall be received and treated with all humanity and kindness, and enjoy all friendly protection and help; and they shall be permitted to refresh and provide themselves at reasonable rates with victuals and all things needful for the sustenance of their persons or reparation of their ships and conveniency of their voyage; and they shall no ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the said ports or roads, but may remove and depart when and whither they please, without any lett or hindrance.
XXII. The subjects, inhabitants, merchants, commanders of ships, master and mariners of the states, provinces and dominions of each { 284 } party respectively, shall abstain and forbear to fish in all places possessed, or which shall be possessed, by <one or> the other party. A.'s subjects shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which B. holds or shall hereafter hold; and in the like manner the subjects and people of B. shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which A. possesses or shall hereafter possess; and if any ship or vessel shall be found fishing, contrary to the tenor of this Treaty, the said ship or vessel, with its lading, proof being made thereof, shall be confiscated.14
XXIII. For the better promoting of commerce on both sides it is agreed, that if a war shall break out between the said two nations, six months after the proclamation of war shall be allowed to the merchants in the cities and towns where they live, for settling and transporting their goods and merchandizes; and if any thing be taken from them or any injury be done them within that term by either party or the people or subjects of either, full satisfaction shall be made for the same.
XXIV. No subjects of A. shall apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against B. or the subjects or people of B. or any of them, or the property of any of them, from any prince or state with which B. shall be at war: Nor shall any citizen or subject of B. apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the subjects or people of A. or any of them, or the property of any of them, from any prince or state with which A. shall be at war: And if any person of either nation shall take such commission or letters of marque, he shall be punished as a pirate.
XXV. It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers not belonging to the subjects or people of A. or of B. who have commissions from any other prince or state in enmity with either nation, to fit their ships in the ports of either the one or the other of the aforesaid parties, to sell what they have taken, or in any other manner whatsoever to exchange either ships, merchandizes or any other lading; neither shall they be allowed even to purchase victuals, except such as shall be necessary for their going to the next port of that prince or state from which they have commissions.
XXVI. It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects and people of A. and B. to sail with their ships with all manner of liberty and security, no distinction being made who are the proprietors of the merchandizes, laden thereon from any port to the places of those who now are or hereafter shall be at enmity with A. or B. It shall likewise be lawful for the subjects and people aforesaid to sail with the ships { 285 } and merchandizes aforementioned, and to trade with the same liberty and security from the places, ports and havens of those who are enemies of both or either party, without any opposition or disturbance whatsoever, not only directly from the places of the enemy aforementioned to neutral places, but also from one place belonging to an enemy to another place belonging to an enemy, whether they be under the jurisdiction of the same prince or under several: And it is hereby stipulated that free ships shall also give a freedom to goods, and that every thing shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which shall be found on board the ships belonging to the subjects of either of the Confederates; although the whole lading or any part thereof should appertain to the enemies of either, contraband goods being always excepted. It is also agreed in like manner that the same liberty be extended to persons who are on board a free ship with this effect, that although they be enemies to both or either party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they are soldiers and in actual service of the enemies.
XXVII. This liberty of navigation and commerce shall extend to all kinds of merchandizes, excepting those only which are distinguished by the name of contraband; and under the name of contraband or prohibited goods shall be comprehended arms, great guns, bombs, with their fuzes and other things belonging to them, fire-balls, gunpowder, match, cannon balls, pikes, swords, lances, spears, halberts, mortars, petards, granadoes, salt-petre, muskets, musket balls, helmets, head-pieces, breast-plates, coats of mail, and like kinds of arms proper for arming soldiers, musket-rests, belts, horses with their furniture, and all other warlike instruments whatever. These merchandizes which follow shall not be reckoned among contraband or prohibited goods, that is to say, all sorts of cloths, and all other manufactures woven of any wool, flax, silk, cotton or any other materials whatever <indigo and all other materials for dying>15; all kinds of wearing apparel, together with the species whereof they are used to be made; gold and silver as well coined as uncoined, tin, iron, lead, copper, brass, coals; as also wheat and barley, and any other kind of corn and pulse; tobacco and likewise all manner of spices; salted and smoked flesh, salted fish, cheese and butter, beer, oils, wines, sugars, and all sorts of salt; and in general all provisions, which serve for the nourishment of mankind and the sustenance of life; furthermore all kinds of cotton, hemp, flax, tar, pitch, ropes, cables, sails, sail-cloth, anchors and any parts of anchors; also ship-masts, planks, boards, and beams of what trees soever, and all other things proper either { 286 } for building or repairing ships, and all other goods whatever which have not been worked into the form of any instrument or thing prepared for war by land or by sea shall not be reputed countraband, much less such as have been already wrought and made up [f]or any other use; all which shall wholly be reckoned among free goods; as likewise all other merchandizes and things, which are not comprehended and particularly mentioned in the foregoing enumeration of contraband goods, so that they may be transported and carried in the freest manner by the subjects of both Confederates even to places belonging to an enemy, such towns or places being only excepted, as are at that time besieged, blocked up or invested.
XXVIII. To the end that all manner of dissensions and quarrels may be avoided and prevented on one side and the other, it is agreed, that in case either of the parties hereto shall be engaged in war, the ships and vessels belonging to the subjects and people of the other ally must be furnished with sea letters or passports expressing the name, property, and bulk of the ship, as also the name and place of habitation of the master or commander of the said ship, that it may appear thereby, that the ship really and truly belongs to the subjects of one of the parties; which passport shall be made out and granted according to the form annexed to this Treaty; they shall likewise be recalled every year, that is, if the ship happens to return home within the space of a year. It is likewise agreed, that such ships being laden are to be provided not only with passports as above mentioned, but also with certificates containing the several particulars of the cargo, the place whence the ship sailed and whither she is bound; that so it may be known whether any forbidden or contraband goods be on board the same; which certificates shall be made out by the officers of the place whence the ship set sail in the accustomed form; and if any one shall think it fit or adviseable to express in the said certificates the person to whom the goods on board belong, he may freely do so.
XXIX. The ships of the subjects or people of either of the parties coming upon any coast belonging to either of the said allies, but not willing to enter into port, or being entered into port and not willing to unload their cargoes or break bulk, shall not be obliged to give an account of their lading, unless they should be suspected upon some manifest tokens of carrying to the enemy of the other ally any prohibited goods called contraband; and in case of such manifest suspicion, the said subjects or people of either of the parties shall be obliged to exhibit in the ports, their passports and certificates in the manner before specified.
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XXX. If the ships of the said subjects or people of either of the parties shall be met with either sailing along the coasts or on the high seas by any ship of war of the other, or by any privateers, the said ships of war or privateers, for the avoiding of any disorder, shall remain out of cannon shot, and may send their boats aboard the merchant ship which they shall so meet with, and may enter her to the number of two or three men only, to whom the master or commander of such ship or vessel shall exhibit his passport concerning the property of the ship, made out according to the form inserted in this present Treaty; and the ship, when she shall have shewed such passport, shall be free and at liberty to pursue her voyage, so as it shall not be lawful to molest or search her in any manner, or to give her chase, or force her to quit her intended course.
[It is also agreed that all goods when once put on board the ships or vessels of either parties shall be subject to no farther visitation; <or search> but all visitation or search shall be made before hand and all prohibited goods shall be stopped on the spot before the same be put on board the ships or vessels of the respective state: nor shall either the persons or goods of the subjects of his most Christian Majesty, or the united States be put under any arrest or molested by any other Kind of Embargo for that cause; and only the subject of that State to whom the said goods have been or shall be prohibited and shall presume to sell or alienate such sort of goods shall be duly punished for the offence.]16
Form of the Passports and Letters which are to be given to the ships and barks which shall go according to the [] Article of this Treaty:
TO ALL who shall see these presents, Greeting: It is hereby made known, that leave and permission has been given to——master and commander of the ship called——of the town of——burthen——tons or thereabouts, lying at present in the port and haven——and bound for——and laden with——after that his ship has been visited and before sailing he shall make oath before the Officers who have the jurisdiction of maritime affairs, that the said ship belongs to one or more of the subjects of——the act whereof shall be put at the end of these presents; as likewise, that he will keep and cause to be kept by his crew on board, the Marine Ordinances and Regulations, and enter in the proper office a list signed and witnessed of the crew of his ship and of all who shall embark on board her, whom he shall not take on board without the knowledge and permission of the Officers of the Marine; and in every port or haven where he shall enter with his ship { 288 } he shall shew this present leave to the Officers and Judges of the Marine, and shall give a faithful account to them of what passed and was done during his voyage, and he shall carry the colors, arms and ensigns of——during his voyage. In Witness whereof we have signed these presents and put the seal of our arms thereunto, and caused the same to be countersigned, by——at——the—day of—, A.D.—.
Form of the Act containing the Oath
WE——, of the Admiralty of——, do certify, that——master of the ship named in the above passport hath taken the oath mentioned therein. Done at——, the——, day of——, A.D.
Form of the Certificate to be required of and to be given by the Magistrates or Officers of the Customs of the town and port in their respective towns and ports to the ships and vessels which sail from thence, according to the directions of the——Article of this present Treaty.
WE——, Magistrates (or Officers of the Customs) of the town and port of——, do certify and attest, that on the——day of the month of——, in the year of our Lord——, personally appeared before us——of——, and declared by a solemn oath that the ship or vessel called——of about——tons, whereof——of——his usual place of habitation, is master or commander, does rightfully and properly belong to him and other subjects of——and to them alone, that she is now bound from the port of ——to the port of——, laden with the goods and merchandizes here—under particularly described and enumerated, that is to say as follows——
In witness whereof we have signed this certificate, and sealed it with the seal of our office. Given the——day of the month of——in the year of our Lord——.
MS not found. Reprinted from copy in (PCC, No. 47;) docketed in the hand of Charles Thomson: “Plan of treaties gone through in comee. of the whole Aug. 27. 1776 & recommended, that instructions may be drawn conformable thereto. Aug. 29 1776 The Comee. farther impowered to prepare such instructions as to them shall seem proper & make report thereof to Congress.”
This copy of the treaty plan was printed for the use of the members of the congress exclusively and was not circulated outside that body. The document here printed was that used by Thomson to record changes made in the plan during debate. The additions made are inserted at the points indicated by Thomson and are set off with double parentheses. On another copy, also in PCC, No. 47, James Wilson made notes relating to the instructions that his committee would be writing.
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1. An immediately perceived difference between the printed report and JA's draft is the absence of the names of the parties to the proposed treaty: “A” for France and “B” for the United States were substituted. The change was ordered on 20 July, when the congress resolved that the committee's report should be printed “under the restrictions and regulations prescribed for printing the plan of confederation.” That is, only eighty copies were to be printed, one going to each member; the printer was to be under oath to deliver all the printed copies, together with the copy sheets, to the secretary of the congress; and no member was to furnish any person with his copy or make any effort to have it reprinted (JCC, 5:594, 555—556). Despite these stringent precautions, the copy from which the printer worked is not among the papers of the congress, as mentioned earlier. These regulations reflected the continuing desire of the congress for secrecy and probably also the conviction that although France was the obvious choice for such a treaty, the premature and unofficial disclosure of plans for such an agreement would cause problems among the American people and place obstacles in the way of future negotiations. The lengths to which the congress went to preserve secrecy and avoid problems are apparent in Arts. 6, 12, and 13. See notes 6, 11, and 12 (below). The decision not to have printed the treaty plan as finally adopted thus becomes understandable.
2. In the margin is the notation “Agreed.” For the remaining articles, with the exception of 7, 8, and 9, Thomson indicated adoption by writing “pass'd” beside Arts. 2 through 6 and “agreed” beside Arts. 10 through 30.
3. In the margin beside Art. 2 is the notation: “The additional Resolution to follow this article.” The addition, which follows in parentheses, was at the bottom of the page. In the treaty plan as adopted it became Art. 3. It refers to Arts. V and VI of the Definitive Treaty of Peace signed by Great Britain, France, and Spain at Paris on 10 Feb. 1763 that ended the Seven Years' War. These articles confirmed French fishing rights on Newfoundland and ceded to France the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon as places of refuge for its fishermen. The passage as written by Thomson has “be permitted to” underlined; it was apparently meant to be canceled, for it does not appear in Art. 3 of No. III (below).
4. This change from “or” to “and” does not appear in the corresponding Art. 4 of No. III (below). This may be because the “and,” inserted by Thomson in the form of a very faint “&,” was not noticed when the plan was put into its final form.
5. In the margin is a notation that has been canceled: “A Resolution of [ . . . ] subjoined to this Article.” What the resolution was remains undetermined.
6. In the margin is the notation: “Pass'd with an additional R.” It refers to the omission of the remainder of this article as it appears in both JA's draft and the treaty plan as adopted (Art. 6 in No. I, above, and Art. 7 in No. III, below). Calling on “A” to protect American shipping from the Barbary pirates as satisfactorily as Britain had done in the past hardly accorded with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. Such a demand was certain to provoke controversy if it came to the attention of the public. Keeping it out of print but retaining it for negotiations that would be in the American interest must have seemed prudent.
7. In the margin is the canceled notation: “P[ost] P[oned] for consideration.”
8. Although this canceled provision would seem necessary if France was to give aid and possibly enter the war, it may have seemed inappropriate for a commercial treaty. Such a provision did become part of the Franco-American Treaty of Alliance of 1778.
9. Failure to cancel “the same” was an inadvertence.
10. This article was probably canceled because Art. 22 made it redundant and it would be an unnecessary irritant to France in any negotiations.
11. In JA's draft this phrase appeared as “more than [] Per Gallon.” Because “more than” is canceled on the draft and is omitted from the plan as adopted, its appearance here and subsequent deletion indicates that it was done during the congressional debates rather than { 290 } earlier by JA or the committee and that his cancellation on the draft was a result of this later action. See No. I, note 10 (above). The decision “that no duties whatever” were to be imposed on molasses was probably a concession to New England as well as other sections where molasses was important for the rum distilleries.
The removal of the word “molasses,” which had appeared in JA's draft, from this article is also significant. Since molasses was a valuable import from the French islands, leaving out the word may have been intended as an effort to conceal the name of the intended party to the treaty in keeping with other such efforts in the printed version.
12. The omission here of Droit d'Aubaine is meant to conceal the participation of France in the treaty.
13. A printing error.
14. In the margin is the notation: “to be transposed and placed so as immediately follow the 8th.” In the treaty plan as adopted this provision became Art. 10 rather than 9 because of the addition of a new Art. 3.
15. This phrase was written in the margin for inclusion at this point, perhaps to appeal to indigo growers. It may have been canceled because on such an important subject as contraband and noncontraband, the congress decided not to depart from the text of the Treaty of Utrecht.
16. This, the longest addition to the treaty plan, was written in the margin for inclusion here. See No. I, note 20 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0116-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-09-17

III. Plan of Treaties as Adopted (with Instructions)

There shall be a firm inviolable and universal peace and a true and sincere friendship between the most serene and mighty prince Lewis the Sixteenth, the most Christian King, his heirs and successors and the United States of America; and the subjects of the most Christian King and of the said states; and between the countries, islands, cities and towns situate under the jurisdiction of the most Christian King, and of the said United States and the people and inhabitants thereof of every degree, without exception of persons or places; and the terms herein mentioned shall be perpetual between the most Christian King, his heirs and successors and the said United States.
Art. I. The Subjects of the most Christian King shall pay no other duties or imposts in the ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of the said United States or any of them than the natives thereof, or any commercial companies established by them or any of them shall pay; but shall enjoy all other the rights liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce, in passing from one part thereof to another, and in going to and from the same from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or companies enjoy.
Art. II. The Subjects, people and inhabitants of the Said United States and every of them shall pay no other duties or imposts in the { 291 } ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns of the most Christian [King] than the natives of such countries, islands, cities, or towns of France or any commercial companies established by the most Christian King shall pay but shall enjoy all other the rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, navigation and commerce in passing from one port thereof to another and in going to and from the same from and to any part of the world, which the said natives or companies enjoy.1
Art. III. His most Christian Majesty shall retain the same rights of Fishery on the banks of Newfoundland and all other rights relating to any of the said islands, which he is entitled to by virtue of the treaty of Paris.
Art. IV. The most Christian King shall endeavour by all the means in his power to protect and defend all vessels and the effects belonging to the subjects people or inhabitants of the said United States or any of them, being in his ports, havens, or roads or on the seas near to his countries, islands cities or towns, and to recover and to restore to the right owners, their agents or attornies all such vessels and effects, which shall be taken within his jurisdiction; and his ships of war or any convoys sailing under his authority shall upon all occasions take under their protection all vessels belonging to the subjects people or inhabitants of the said United States or any of them and holding the same course or going the same way and shall defend such vessels as long as they hold the same course or go the same way against all attacks, force and violence in the same manner as they ought to protect and defend vessels belonging to the subjects of the most Christian King.2
Art. V. In like manner the said United States and their ships of war and convoys sailing under their authority shall protect and defend all vessels and effects belonging to the subjects of the most Christian King and endeavour to recover and restore them if taken within the jurisdiction of the said United States or any of them.
Art. VI. The most Christian King and the said United States shall not receive nor suffer to be received into any of their ports, havens, roads, countries, islands, cities or towns any pirates or sea robbers or afford or suffer any entertainment, assistance or provision to be afforded to them, but shall endeavour by all means that all pirates and sea robbers and their partners, sharers and abettors be found out, apprehended and suffer condign punishment: and all the vessels and effects piratically taken and brought into the ports and havens of the most Christian [King] or the said United States, which can be found, although they be sold shall be restored or satisfaction given therefor, { 292 } the right owners, their agents or attornies demanding the same and making the right of property to appear by due proof.
Art. VII. The most Christian King shall protect defend and secure, as far as in his power, the subjects, people and inhabitants of the said United States and every of them and their vessels and effects of every Kind, against all attacks, assaults, violences, injuries, depredations or plunderings by or from the king or emperor of Morocco, or Fez and the States of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli and any of them and every other prince state and power on the coast of Barbary in Africa and the subjects of the said kings, emperors, states and powers and of every of them in the same manner and as effectually and fully, and as much to the benefit advantage, ease and safety of the Said United States and every of them and of the subjects, people and inhabitants thereof, to all intents and purposes as the King and Kingdom of Great Britain before the commencement of the present war protected, defended and secured the people and inhabitants of the said United States then called British colonies in North America, their vessels and effects against all such attacks, assaults, violences, injuries, depredations and plunderings.3
Art. VIII. If in consequence of this treaty the King of Great Britain should declare war against the most Christian King, the said United States shall not assist Great Britain in such war with men, money, ships or any of the articles in this treaty denominated contraband goods.4
Art. IX. The most Christian King shall never invade, nor under any pretence attempt to possess himself of Labradore, New Britain, Nova Scotia, Acadia, Canada, Florida nor any of the countries, cities or towns on the Continent of North America nor of the islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, St. Johns, Anticosti nor of any other island lying near to the said continent in the seas or in any gulph, bay or river, it being the true intent and meaning of this treaty, that the said United States shall have the sole exclusive, undivided and perpetual possession of all the countries, cities and towns on the said continent and of all islands near to it, which now are or lately were under the jurisdiction of or subject to the king or crown of Great Britain, whenever they shall be united or confederated with the said United States.
Art. X. The subjects, inhabitants, merchants, commanders of ships, masters and mariners of the states provinces and dominions of each party respectively shall abstain and forbear to fish in all places possessed or which shall be possessed by the other party. The most { 293 } Christian King's subjects shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which the said United States hold or shall hereafter hold. And in like manner the subjects, people and inhabitants of the said United States shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads, coasts or places which the most Christian king possesses or shall hereafter possess. And if any ship or vessel shall be found fishing contrary to the tenor of this treaty, the said ship or vessel with its lading, proof being made thereof, shall be confiscated.
Art. XI. If in any war the most Christian king shall conquer or get possession of the islands in the West Indies now under the jurisdiction of the king or crown of Great Britain or any of them, or any dominions of the said king or crown in any other parts of the world, the subjects, people and inhabitants of the said united states and every of them shall enjoy the same rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and exemptions in trade, commerce and navigation to and from the said islands and dominions that are mentioned in the second article of this treaty.
Art. XII. It is the true intent and meaning of this treaty that no higher or other duties shall be imposed on the exportation of any thing of the growth, production or manufacture of the islands in the West Indies now belonging or which may hereafter belong to the most Christian King to the said United States or any of them than the lowest that are or shall be imposed on the exportation thereof to France or to any other part of the world.
Art. XIII. It is agreed by and between the said parties that no duties whatever shall ever hereafter be imposed on the exportation of Molasses from any of the islands and dominions of the most Christian king in the West Indies, to any of these United States.5
Art. XIV. The subjects, people and inhabitants of the said United States or any of them being merchants and residing in France and their property and effects of every kind shall be exempt from the Droit d'Aubeine.6
Art. XV. The merchant ship of either of the parties which shall be making into a port belonging to the enemy of the other ally and concerning whose voyage and the species of goods on board her there shall be just grounds of suspicion, shall be obliged to exhibit as well upon the high seas as in the ports and havens not only her passports but likewise certificates expressly shewing that her goods are not of the number of those which have been prohibited as contraband.
Art. XVI. If by the exhibiting of the above certificates the other party discover there are any of those sorts of goods which are prohibited { 294 } and declared contraband and consigned for a port under the obedience of his enemies, it shall not be lawful to break up the hatches of such ship or to open any chest, coffers, packs, casks or any other vessels found therein or to remove the smallest parcels of her goods, whether such ship belong to the subjects of France or the inhabitants of the said United States unless the lading be brought on shore in the presence of the Officers of the court of admiralty and an inventory thereof made; but there shall be no allowance to sell, exchange or alienate the same in any manner, untill after that due and lawful process shall have been had against such prohibited goods and the courts of admiralty shall by a sentence pronounced have confiscated the same saving always as well the ship itself as any other goods found therein, which by this treaty are to be esteemed free; neither may they be detained on pretence of their being as it were infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawfull prize; but if not the whole cargo, but only part thereof shall consist of prohibited or contraband goods and the commander of the ship shall be ready and willing to deliver them to the captor who has discovered them, in such case the captor having received those goods shall forthwith discharge the ship and not hinder her by any means freely to prosecute the voyage on which she was bound.7
Art. XVII. On the contrary it is agreed that whatever shall be found to be laden by the subjects and inhabitants of either party on any ship belonging to the enemy of the other or to his subjects although it be not of the sort of prohibited goods may be confiscated in the same manner as if it belonged to the enemy himself; except such goods and merchandize as were put on board such ship before the declaration of war or even after such declaration, if so be it were done without the knowledge of such declaration. So that the goods of the subjects and people of either party whether they be of the nature of such as are prohibited or otherwise, which as is afore said, were put on board any ship belonging to an enemy before the war or after the declaration of it without the Knowledge of it, shall no wise be liable to confiscation but shall well and truly be restored without delay to the proprietors demanding the same; but so as that if the said merchandizes be contraband it shall not be any ways lawful to carry them afterwards to any ports belonging to the enemy.
Art. XVIII. And that more effectual care may be taken for the security of the subjects and inhabitants of both parties, that they suffer no injury by the men of war or privateers of the other party, all the commanders of the ships of the Most Christian King and of the said { 295 } United States and all their subjects and inhabitants shall be forbid doing any injury, or damage to the other side, and if they act to the contrary they shall be punished and shall moreover be bound to make satisfaction for all matter of damage and the interest thereof by reparation under the penalty and obligation of their persons and goods.
Art. XIX. All ships and merchandizes of what nature soever, which shall be rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers on the high seas shall be brought into some port of either state and shall be delivered to the custody of the Officers of that port, in order to be restored entire to the true proprietor as soon as due and sufficient proof shall be made concerning the property thereof.
Art. XX. It shall be lawful for the ships of war of either party and privateers freely to carry whithersoever they please the ships and goods taken from their enemies without being obliged to pay any duty to the Officers of the admiralty or any other judges, nor shall such prizes be arrested or seized when they come to enter the ports of either Party; nor shall the searchers or other Officers of those places search the same or make examination concerning the lawfulness of such prizes, but they may hoist sail at any time and depart and carry their prizes to the place expressed in their commissions, which the commanders of such ships of war shall be obliged to shew: On the contrary no shelter or refuge shall be given in their ports to such as shall have made prize of the subjects, people or property of either of the parties, but if such should come in, being forced by stress of weather or the danger of the sea, all proper means shall be vigorously used that they go out and retire from thence as soon as possible.
Art. XXI. If any ships belonging to either of the parties, their subjects or people shall within the coasts or dominions of the other stick upon the sands or be wrecked or suffer any other damage all friendly assistance and relief shall be given to the persons shipwrecked or such as shall be in danger thereof, and letters of safe conduct shall likewise be given to them for their free and quiet passage from thence and the return of every one to his own country.
Art. XXII. In case the subjects and people of either party with their shipping, whether public and of war or private and of merchants be forced through stress of weather, pursuit of pirates or enemies or any other urgent necessity for seeking of shelter and harbor to retreat and enter into any of the rivers, creeks, bays, havens, roads, ports or shores belonging to the other party, they shall be received and treated with all humanity and kindness and enjoy all friendly protection and help; and they shall be permitted to refresh and provide them• { 296 } selves at reasonable rates with victuals and all things needful for the sustenance of their persons or reparation of their ships and conveniency of their voyage; and they shall no ways be detained or hindered from returning out of the said ports or roads, but may remove and depart when and whither they please without any let or hindrance.
Art. XXIII. For the better promoting of commerce on both sides, it is agreed that if a war shall break out between the said two nations, six months after the proclamation of war shall be allowed to the merchants in the cities and towns where they live for settling and transporting their goods and merchandizes; and if any thing be taken from them, or any injury be done them within that term by either party or the people or subjects of either, full satisfaction shall be made for the same.
Art. XXIV. No subjects of the most Christian king shall apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the said United States or any of them or against the subjects, people or inhabitants of the said United States or any of them or against the property of any of the inhabitants of any of them from any prince or state with which the said United States shall be at war. Nor shall any citizen, subject or inhabitant of the said United States or any of them apply for or take any commission or letters of marque for arming any ship or ships to act as privateers against the subjects of the most Christian king or any of them or the property of any of them from any prince or state, with which the said King shall be at War; and if any person of either Nation shall take such commissions or letters of marque he shall be punished as a pirate.
Art. XXV. It shall not be lawful for any foreign privateers not belonging to subjects of the most Christian King nor citizens of the said United States, who have commissions from any other prince or state in enmity with either nation to fit their ships in the ports of either the one or the other of the aforesaid parties to sell what they have taken or in any other manner whatsoever to exchange either ships, merchandizes or any other lading; neither shall they be allowed even to purchase victuals except such as shall be necessary for their going to the next port of that prince or state from which they have commissions.8
Art. XXVI. It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects of the most Christian King and the citizens people and inhabitants of the said states to sail with their ships with all manner of liberty and security, no distinction being made, who are the proprietors of the merchandizes laden thereon from any port to the places of those who { 297 } now are or hereafter shall be at enmity with the most Christian King or the United States. It shall likewise be lawful for the subjects and inhabitants aforesaid to sail with the ships and merchandizes aforementioned, and to trade with the same liberty and security from the places ports and havens of those who are enemies of both or either party without any opposition or disturbance whatsoever not only directly from the places of the enemy aforementioned to neutral places, but also from one place belonging to an enemy to another place belonging to an enemy, whether they be under the jurisdiction of the same prince or under several. And it is hereby stipulated that free ships shall also give a freedom to goods and that every thing shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which shall be found on board the ships belonging to the subjects of either of the Confederates, although the whole lading or any part thereof should appertain to the enemies of either, Contraband goods being always excepted. It is also agreed in like manner that the same liberty, be extended to persons who are on board a free ship with this effect that although they be enemies to both or either party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they are Soldiers, and in actual service of the enemies.
Art. XXVII. This liberty of navigation and commerce shall extend to all Kinds of Merchandizes excepting those only which are distinguished by the name of contraband: And under this name of Contraband or prohibited goods shall be comprehended Arms, great guns, bombs with their fuzes and other things belonging to them, fire balls, gunpowder, match, cannon ball, pikes, swords, lances, spears, halbards, mortars, petards, granadoes, saltpetre, musquets, musket balls, helmets, head-pieces, breastplates, coats of mail, and the like kind of arms proper for arming Soldiers, musket rests, belts, horses with their furniture and all other warlike instruments whatever. These merchandizes which follow shall not be reckoned among contraband or prohibited goods, that is to say, all sorts of cloths and all other manufactures woven of any wool, flax, silk, cotton or any other materials whatever, all kinds of wearing apparel together with the species whereof they are used to be made, gold and silver as well coined as uncoined, tin, iron, lead copper, brass, coals, as also wheat and barley and any other kind of corn and pulse, tobacco and likewise all manner of spices, salted and smoked flesh, salted fish, cheese and butter, beer, oils, wines, sugars and all sorts of salt, and in general all provisions which serve for the nourishment of mankind and the sustenance of life. Furthermore all kinds of cotton, hemp, flax, tar, pitch, ropes, cables, sails, sail-cloth, anchors and any parts of anchors, also ships { 298 } masts, planks, boards, and beams of what trees soever, and all other things proper either for building or repairing ships and all other goods whatever, which have not been worked into the form of any instrument or thing prepared for war by land or by sea shall not be reputed contraband, much less such as have been already wrought and made up for any other use, all which shall be wholly reckoned among free goods; as likewise all other merchandizes and things which are not comprehended and particularly mentioned in the foregoing enumeration of contraband goods; so that they may be transported and carried in the freest manner by the subjects of both confederates even to places belonging to an enemy, such towns and places being only excepted as are at that time besieged blocked up or invested.
Art. XXVIII. To the end that all manner of dissentions and quarrels may be avoided and prevented on one side and the other, it is agreed that in case either of the parties hereto should be engaged in a war, the ships and vessels belonging to the subjects or people of the other ally must be furnished with sea letters or passports expressing the name, property and bulk of the ship as also the name and place of habitation of the master or commander of the said ship, that it may appear thereby that the ship really and truely belongs to the subjects of one of the parties, which passports shall be made out and granted according to the form annexed to this treaty. They shall likewise be recalled every year, that is, if the ship happens to return home within the space of a year. It is likewise agreed that such ships being laden are to be provided not only with passports as abovementioned, but also with certificates containing the several particulars of the cargo, the place whence the ship sailed and whither she is bound, that so it may be known, whether any forbidden or contraband goods be on board the same, which certificates shall be made out by the officers of the place, whence the ship set sail, in the accustomed form; and if any one shall think it fit or adviseable to express in the said certificates the persons to whom the goods on board belong, he may freely do it.
Art. XXIX. The ships of the subjects and inhabitants of either of the parties coming upon any coast belonging to either of the said allies, but not willing to enter into port, or being entered into port and not willing to unload their cargoes or break bulk shall not be obliged to give an account of their lading, unless they should be suspected, upon some manifest tokens, of carrying to the enemy of the other ally any prohibited goods called Contraband. And in case of such manifest suspicion the parties shall be obliged to exhibit in the ports their passports and certificates in the manner before specified.
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Art. XXX. If the ships of the said subjects, people or inhabitants of either of the parties shall be met with either sailing along the coast or on the high seas by any ship of war of the other or by any privateers, the said ships of war or privateers for the avoiding of any disorder shall remain out of cannon shot and may send their boats on board the merchant ship which they shall so meet with and may enter her to the number of two or three men only to whom the master or commander of such ship or vessel shall exhibit his passport concerning the property of the ship, made out according to the form inserted in this present treaty and the ship when she shall have shewed such passport shall be free and at liberty to pursue her voyage so as it shall not be lawful to molest or search her in any manner or to give her chase or force her to quit her intended course. It is also agreed that all goods when once put on board the ships or vessels of either parties shall be subject to no farther visitation, but all visitation or search shall be made before hand and all prohibited goods shall be stopped on the spot, before the same be put on board the ships or vessels of the respective State. Nor shall either the persons or goods of the subjects of his most Christian Majesty or the United States be put under any arrest or molested by any other kind of embargo for that cause, and only the subject of that state to whom the said goods have been or shall be prohibited and shall presume to sell or alienate such sort of goods shall be duely punished for the Offence.
The form of the Sea letters and passports to be given to ships and vessels according to the 28 Article
To all who shall see these presents Greeting. It is hereby made known that leave and permission has been given to——master and commander of the ship called——of the town of——burthen——tons or thereabouts lying at present in the port and haven of——and bound for——and laden with——after that his ship has been visited and before sailing he shall make oath before the Officers who have the jurisdiction of maritime affairs that the said ship belongs to one or more of the subjects of——the act whereof shall be put at the end of these presents; as likewise that he will keep and cause to be kept by his crew on board the marine Ordinances and regulations and enter in the proper office a list signed and witnessed of the crew of his ship and of all who shall embark on board her, whom he shall not take on board without the knowledge and permission of the Officers of the marine and in every port and Haven where he shall enter with his ship he shall shew this present leave to the Officers and judges of the marine and shall give a faithful account to them of what passed and { 300 } was done during his voyage and he shall carry the colours, arms and ensign of——during his voyage. In witness whereof we have signed these presents and put the seal of our arms thereunto and caused the same to be countersigned by——at——the——Day of——A.D.——.
The form of the act containing the Oath
We——of the admiralty of——do certify that——master of the ship named in the above passport hath taken the oath mentioned therein. Done at——the——Day of——A.D.——.
The form of the certificate to be required of and to be given by the Magistrates or Officers of the customs of the town and port in their respective towns and ports to the ships and vessels which sail from thence, according to the directions of the 28 Article of this present treaty
We——Magistrates (or officers of the customs) of the town and port of——do certify and attest that on the——day of the month of——in the year of our Lord——personally appeared before us——of——and declared by a solemn oath that the ship or vessel called——of about——tons, whereof——of——his usual place of habitation is master or commander does rightfully and properly belong to him and other subjects of——and to them alone, that she is now bound from the port of——to the port of——laden with the goods and merchandizes hereunder particularly described and enumerated that is to say——.
In witness whereof we have signed this certificate and sealed it with the seal of our office. Given the——day of the month of——in the year of our Lord——.
MS (PCC, No. 5, f. 5—26). Taken from the Secret Foreign Journal, this presumably is the most accurate text of the treaty plan as adopted by congress on 17 Sept. There was no contemporary printing of it.
As the final view of the congress on the form that a commercial treaty with France should take, the Plan of Treaties as adopted became the basis for the commercial treaty signed with that nation in 1778. To come to life, this treaty plan had to be implemented by negotiators who were guided by instructions embodying the sense of the congress. On 24 Sept. these instructions were adopted and on 20 Oct. sent by the Committee of Secret Correspondence with the Plan of Treaties to Silas Deane, then in France (JCC, 5:813–817; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:162–163).
The instructions defined how far negotiators might depart from specific articles in trying to conclude a treaty and even suggested alternatives. To some degree the instructions were more realistic than the plan, which was designed to serve American without much regard to French interests. The fears of some members of the congress, as noted by JA in his Autobiography, “that the present Plan reported by the Committee held out no sufficient temptation to France” were genuine and had to be taken into account if the United States was to secure the aid it desperately needed (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338).
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Formulation of instructions was entrusted to the committee responsible for the treaty plan; but because it has proved impossible to determine the role played by JA in their composition, they have not been printed here in full. Only those have been quoted which bear on articles in the Plan of Treaties. Quotations are taken from the Secret Foreign Journal (PCC, No. 5, f. 27–30) and cancellations from PCC, No. 47, f. 157, 158, 169.
“If his most Christian Majesty shall not consent that the inhabitants of the United States shall have the privileges proposed in the second article, then the United States ought not to give the subjects of his most Christian Majesty the privileges proposed in the first article; but that the United States shall give to his most Christian Majesty the same privileges, liberties and immunities at least and the like favour in all things which any foreign nation the most favoured shall have, provided his Most Christian Majesty shall give to the United States the same benefits, privileges and immunities which the most favoured nation now has, uses or enjoys. And in case neither of these propositions of equal advantages are agreed to, then the whole of the said articles are to be rejected <without absolutely barring> rather than obstruct the farther progress of the treaty.”
This proposed alteration of the trade provisions of the treaty plan was well taken, for it was unrealistic to believe that France, whose trade was enmeshed in a restrictive mercantile system, would agree to place Americans on an equal basis with Frenchmen in trade, particularly with the French colonies.
2. “The fourth article must be insisted on.”
“The seventh article ought to be obtained if possible, but should be waved rather than that the treaty should be interrupted by insisting upon it. His most Christian Majesty agreeing nevertheless to use his interest and influence to procure passes from the states mentioned in this article for the vessels of the United States upon the Mediterranean.”
This language would be a considerable softening of the original demand that the King of France furnish the protection afforded by Britain in the past.
4. Suggested alterations of Art. 8 appeared at two points in the instructions. The first, included as the fourth stated instruction, was altered during the debates by the cancellation of most of its original text and its replacement by an amendment (in double parentheses, below) in the hand of George Wythe. The second passage having a bearing on Art. 8 was an amendment, in the hand of Richard Henry Lee, which was not accepted and is printed here immediately after the Wythe amendment.
“The eighth article will probably be attended with some difficulty. If you find his Most Christian Majesty determined not to agree to it, you are empowered to add to it, <any of the following Proposals Offers or two of them, or all of them if one or two of them should be discovered to be unsatisfactory.>
<1. If A should undertake an Expedition to recover what she lost in the West Indies during the last War with G. Britain the United States will, in that Expedition, supply France with Provisions if required, and will not supply G. Britain with any.>
<Postpon'd 2. The United States will agree to an exclusive Contract in Favour of A. during the Term of [] Years, for Masts and naval Stores, as far as they can spare them.>
<Agreed 3. The United States will not, upon a Peace with Great Britain grant to her Terms of Commerce more advantageous than those they will grant to A> as follows [That the United States will never be subject or acknowledge allegiance or obedience to the king or crown or parliament of Great Britain, nor grant to that nation any exclusive trade or any advantages or privileges in trade more than to His Most Christian Majesty; neither shall any treaty for terminating the present war between the King of Great Britain and the United States, or any war which may be declared by the King of Great Britain against his most Christian Majesty in consequence of this treaty, take effect until the expiration of <eight> six calendar months after the negotiation for { 302 } that purpose shall have been duely notified in the former instance by the United States to his most Christian Majesty, and in the other instance by his Most Christian Majesty to the United States, to the end that both these parties may be included in the peace, if they think proper.]
<If the Court of France cannot be prevailed on to engage in the War with Great Britain for any considerations already proposed in this Treaty, you are hereby authorized to agree as a further inducement, that these united States will <wage the war in union with France> not make peace with Great Britain until <the latter> France shall gain the possession of those Islands in the West Indies formerly called Nieutral, and which by the Treaty of Paris were ceded to G. Britain; provided France shall make the conquest of these Islands an early object of the War and prosecute the same with sufficient force.>
As adopted, the instructions for Art. 8 represented a return to JA's original intention as expressed in his draft but which had been altered during the congressional debates. See Art. 7 in Nos. I and II (above). The portions finally deleted from the instructions were put forward by those who felt that the proposed treaty, which might result in an Anglo-French war, did not offer France enough inducement. The canceled material proposed “Articles of entangling Alliance, of exclusive Privileges, and of Warrantees of Possessions” that JA writes of in his Autobiography and that he kept out of the plan (Diary and Autobiography, 3:338). Although the introduction of such provisions into the instructions was successfully opposed, their substance was eventually embodied in the Treaty of Alliance of 1778.
5. “The twelfth and thirteenth articles are to be waived if you find that the treaty will be interrupted by insisting on them.” France was not likely to accept the equality in colonial trade proposed in Art. 12, and there were uncertainties about Art. 13, as is apparent from earlier revisions of this article, formerly Art. 12. See No. II, note 11 (above).
6. “You will press the fourteenth article, but let not the fate of the treaty depend upon obtaining it.”
7. “If his most Christian Majesty should be unwilling to agree to the sixteenth and twenty sixth articles, you are directed to consent that the goods and effects of enemies on board the ships and vessels of either party shall be liable to seizure and confiscation.”
The abandonment by the United States of the doctrine that free ships make free goods would have been inconsistent with its desire to expand trade and, at least in JA's mind, to be neutral in future European wars so that it could take over the carrying trade. The doctrine was becoming a standard feature in commercial treaties of the northern European trading countries. Even Great Britain, which stood to suffer the most if it became an established principle of the law of nations, had agreed to it in the Treaty of Utrecht, which formed the basis for the treaty plan.
8. “The twenty-fifth article is not to be insisted on.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0117

Author: Quincy, Josiah
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-06-13 - 1776-06-25

From Josiah Quincy

[salute] Dear Sir

Your worthy Lady has been so good as to lend me a Pamphlet printed at Philadelphia intituled “Thoughts upon Government”: I have perused it with Pleasure, because, in general they are agreable to my own. It is difficult to contract, within the Limits of a Sheet of Paper, ones Thoughts upon such a copious Subject: however, I have selected the { 303 } following for your Amusement; and when you are not better employed, please to let me know how you like them.
It would be impious to suppose, when the Deity gave Existence to the human Species, that, his Wisdom did not provide them the Means of as much Happiness, as his Goodness inclined him to bestow, upon Creatures of their Rank in the Scale of Beings: But, it is no Impeachment of his Wisdom or Goodness to say, that the Degree of their Happiness, should be in Proportion to their Care and Diligence, in the Improvement of the Means of it.
The selfish as well as social Passions were, doubtless, designed as Means of our Happiness: But, from the opposite Attraction of their respective Objects would, probably, have proved ineffectual, had not our universal Parent, in every Age, endued, certain Individuals, with a superior Understanding above the Rest, and disposed them to restrain the Vices, correct the Errors, and improve the Minds and Morals of the Multitude, who would, otherwise, have remained in Ignorance and Barbarism; as is still the Case, to the Disgrace of human Nature, in some Countrys: Hence the Necessity of Government and Laws: But here an important Question arises: By what Criterion are, these rare Geniusses to be distinguished? Since, melancholly Experience has taught Mankind, that Integrity and Wisdom are, not inseperably connected with a refined Understanding: On the contrary, History is replete with Instances, of Men of the greatest Abilities, who have perverted them to the worst Purposes: To make their fellow Creatures miserable insted of making them happy: To make them Slaves, insted of preserving and securing their Freedom: Inestimable, therefore, would be the Worth of that Man, his Memory blessed, and his Name immortal, whose Genius and Address enabled him to contrive, and render acceptable, a Constitution of Government, upon such Principles, as in the Administration of it should be effectual, for the Suppression of Vice, and Encouragments of Virtue; because, publick Happiness depends upon publick Virtue.
Whoever duely attends, to the Process of animal and vegitable Life, in the first Stages of it will find, the Fermentation of the Juices, in both, exceeding slow; but, astonishingly rapid, before it produces those Effects which discover, the inexhaustible Goodness of unerring Wisdom. In the Refinement of head Matter, by the Art of Man, if the refining Materials are not gently applied, and in small Quantities at first, the Process will be greatly obstructed; but, the Heat must be intense, and the Fermentation violent, before that brilliant Luminary can be produced, which gives such a Lustre to all around it: By a very { 304 } simple Analogy, therefore, may it not be justly inferred, that, in the Process of political Refinement, in the first Stage of it, the Fermentation ought to be as gentle as possible, but, gradually increased, from Stage to Stage, 'till the Rays of Wisdom, like the Rays of the Sun, in the Focus of a burning Glass are collected, in the Supreme Legislative, and from thence expanded, like the vital Flame in the natural Body to animate, and invigorate every Part of the Body politick? Permit me to explain my Meaning. The Inhabitants in each of these Colonies are scattered, over such an Extent of Territory, as renders their assembling in Person, for the Purpose of forming a Constitution of Government impracticable; But, if this Difficulty could be removed, such a numerous Assembly would be only a many headed Monster; incapable of Action, or acting, at best, to no valuable Purpose: It follows, therefore, upon the Principles above mentioned, that the scattered Sparks of Wisdom should be collected from the Multitude, by a slow and equal Fermentation; or, in other Words, by an equal Representation. An unequal Representation, would in Time, be productive of fatal Consequences.
Had Britons been equally represented they would not have patiently suffered, the Ferocity of a royal Despot, to plunder the Property, destroy the Towns, and wantonly shedd the Blood of their innocent Brethren in America: But, the Consequences of their being unequally represented are, that, their Sovereign is absolute, their Chains are rivetted and they are no longer a free People! How cautious, therefore, ought Mankind to be, in originating the Powers of Government! How carefull, to reserve to themselves, a due share in framing the Laws which are to be the Rule of their Conduct, and a constitutional Controll over those to whom, the Administration of Government, and the Distribution of Justice are intrusted! To keep it always in their Power, with a firm Resolution, to reward, and punish with a liberal, but impartial Hand; and to guard with a watchfull Eye every Avenue of Bribery and Corruption.
Bribery and Corruption have, already stab'd the Vitals of English Liberty; and unless timely suppressed will, sooner or later, prove the Ruin of this Country: For, how can the Wisdom of the Community be collected, in that legislative Body, where, any of the Members of it are suffered to hold a Seat, whose Virtue, though it might rest upon the Point of a Needle, yet, have Cunning enough to perswade, many of their thoughtless Electors to guzzle a Theif down their Throats, and steal away their Senses: And having cheated them of their Suffrages, and made the most of an infamous Bargain, are paid for their Perfidy { 305 } by the Towns they represent. This is a Crime of the deepest Dye! and the guilty ought to answer for it at their utmost Peril.
Innovations in Governments long established, are, doubtless, attended with Hazard; and ought not to be admitted without an apparent Probability of great Advantage to the State: But the present Governments of these Colonies are, upheld only by Courtesy and Consent; and it is become absolutely necessary, that new ones should be formed, upon Principles most conducive to the Happiness and Security of the People who are to be subject to them: I ask therefore, upon the foregoing Scheme of political Refinement, in the first Stage of the Process, whether it would not be the best Mode of collecting, the scattered Sparks of Wisdom from the People at large, were they to be represented, in the most equal Manner that can be devised, in a Country Convention; with a Rotation of the Members by Lot, the two first Years, the third year involving a perpetual Series? and whether, it would not be in some Measure a Bar, tho not an effectual One, to the enormous Vice abovementioned?
The scattered Sparks of Wisdom being thus collected from the People, will not their Representatives in Convention, be better qualified, by all the Difference between an ignorant Multitude, and a few wise Men selected from them, to proceed to the second Stage of the foregoing Process and chuse, with Discretion and Judgment, out of their own Body, or from their Constituents, such a Number of Persons, and under such Qualifications as shall be by Law established, to represent the County in the General Assembly? The Election of Representatives for the County being finished: The Time of the Convention's sitting limitted, and the Pay of the Members settled by Law: Why may not those Matters, of little or no Importance, which used to waste the Time, and disgrace the Dignity of former General Assemblies, be considered, and determined upon in the County Convention, as the proper Objects of their Deliberation, with a Right of Appeal to those, who shall apprehend themselves aggrieved by their Decisions? Would not the capital Objection, of an Assembly too numerous and expensive, by this Mode of Representation, be removed? Would the People have any Body to blame, but themselves in the Choice of their Representatives in Convention, if They did not chuse the best Men in the County, to represent Them and their Constituents in the general Assembly? Would not the House of Commons in each Colony, by such a Constitution consist, of the most suitable Number of Persons, and the best qualified for the Purposes of Colony Legislation?
{ 306 }
The Wisdom of the Representatives of the People, in their respective County Conventions, being thus collected, and one Branch of the colony Legislative formed: Let the Commons proceed to the third Stage in the Process of political Refinement, and form, by an unbiassed Choice, a colony Council, or second legislative Department in the State; consisting of such a Number, and of such Qualifications, as are suitable to the Dignity, and Importance of the Trust to be reposed in them.
The Wisdom of the Community being thus sublimated, and composing two distinct Branches of the legislative Body, and the Powers of each respectively settled, and determined by Law: Let them proceed to the fourth Stage in the Process abovementioned, and chuse by joint Ballot, unconfined to any other Limits, than the Colony, A President, vice President, Treasurer, and such other executive Officers, as shall be found necessary, for the well ordering, and governing the People within the Limits of their Jurisdiction.
A colonial Government being, thus model'd and established: The Relation and Connection formed, and to be formed, with the other Governments upon the Continent, and the best Mode of forming, a supreme Legislative over the WHOLE, will, doubtless, be some of the first Objects of each Colony's Attention; as they are certainly some of the most interesting and important, that ever did, or can come under the Deliberation of human Wisdom: For this Purpose, therefore, and as the fifth Stage in the Process of political Refinement, let each Colony exercise, their best discretion and Judgment, in the Choice of such Persons as they shall think, most suitably qualified to represent them in the Assembly of the States General, or continental Assembly.
The Wisdom of each Colony being, by this or some similar Mode collected, in a continental Assembly, They will be necessarily led to the sixth and last Stage in the foregoing Process: vizt:, forming a supreme Legislative; which, to consider minutely exceeds, not only the Limits of a Letter, but, the Capacity of your Friend: However, Lord Chatham in his Speech before the House of Lords, the 20th: Jany. 1775 said: “For genuine Sagacity: For singular Moderation: For solid Wisdom, manly Spirit, sublime Sentiments, and simplicity of Language: For every thing respectable and honorable, the Congress of Philadelphia shine unrivaled.”1 May we not, therefore, rest assured, that, such an Assembly of Sages, will confirm his Lordship's Judgment; and demonstrate to the World, that it is within the Reach of human Wisdom, duely sublimated, to “fix the true Point of Happiness and Freedom” by framing, and establishing a Constitution of Govern• { 307 } ment upon such Principles, as shall to endless Ages be productive of, “the greatest Sum of individual Happiness, with the least national Expence.”2
I cannot say, that one of the foregoing Thoughts are new, or worthy of your Notice; but this I can say, they certainly would be both, if it was in my Power to make them so: Often, have I thrown away my Pen, resolving to write no more, upon a Subject so much better understood, by the Friend I was writing to, than I could pretend to; however, my Inclination to converse with you upon Paper would have prompted me to write oftener, could I have found Subject Matter worthy of your Attention.
It is now almost three Months since, by the Smiles of Providence upon our Arms, that General Howe, with the rest of our unnatural and perfidious Enemies, were forced, with Ignominy to abandon the Capital of this Colony; on which memorable Event I sincerely congratulate you: But, to my Astonishment, Anger, and just Resentment, a single fifty-gun Ship has ever since kept Possession of Nantasket Road; and by her Tenders taken more Prizes, than at a moderate Computation, would have fortified and rendered impregnable every Island in the Harbor: Besides, had the remaining naval Force been excluded, after the Army sail'd, a Trap would have been formed, in which Prizes would probably been taken to the amount in Value to us of near or quite half a Million Sterling. For when a Ship with a leading Gale of Wind at East is off the Lighthouse, with a flood Tide and Night coming on, she must enter the Harbor, or be beat to Pieces upon the Rocks on one Side or the other. Sentiments similar to these, were published almost two months ago, but to no Purpose.3 To increase our Hazard, and add to our Mortification, the 10th: Instant, 7 Transports filled with highland Troops arrived in Nantasket Road: This Event has “waked the Watchmen of the publick Weal”4 for, whilst I am writing I hear, there are Parties with Cannon, Mortars, and Entrenching Tools going this Night, to fortifie the Moon, great Hill at Hough's Neck, Petticks Island, Long Island, and Nantasket: The Commodore,5 about 11 O'Clock, brought his Broad Side to bear upon Nantasket and fired about 20 of his lower Tier Guns at which Place I suppose they are now at work. I shall keep a Journal of Occurrences as follows vizt:
About 5 O'Clock this Morning the revd: Mr: G——n6 who lodged with us last Night in Expectation that something of Importance was going forward, rode with me to Squantum, where were about 300 { 308 } Voluntiers collected from Boston, Dorchester, Milton, and Stoughton; but, to the Shame of our Rulers without a Director or Directions! However, with our Glass we could see, a large Number of Men collected upon the east Head of Long Island,7 and about 6 O'Clock, an 18 pounder was discharged upon the Ships in the Road, when the Transports and Tenders immediately came to sail: After about half a Dozen Shot were discharged, from the first Cannon, a second, of the same Bore was got ready, and a warm cannonading of the Commodore ensued, when he clap'd a Spring upon his Cable, brought his broadside to bear and return'd the Fire with seeming Resolution: But, very soon discovering a Shell from an 18 Inch Mortar, burst in the Air about 2/3ds: of the Way to his Ship, he slip'd, or cut both his Cables and came to sail.
It being almost calm, it was more than an hour before he got out of the Reach of our Guns; and its said, was hull'd more than once, as were several of the Transports and Cruisers. This confirmed the Truth of Govr. Johnstone's Observation, that “a single Gun in a retired Situation, or on an Eminence, or a single howitzer, will dislodge a first rate Man of War, and burn her to add to the Disgrace.”8
The preceeding Night was so calm, that the Vessels carrying Cannon to Petticks Island, and Nantasket, could not get to either of those Places till it was too late to do Execution: However, the Commodore was saluted with a few Shot from Nantasket, to let him know we should be better prepared for him if he should chuse to return.
After we got home, between 11 and 12 O'Clock, we perceived the light House was on fire, and after burning about an Hour, the Tower was blown up, and reduced to a Heap of Rubbish: By this Time, the Weather being Hazey, our Enemies were got out of Sight, and soon afterwards, 6 Sail of our Privatiers triumphantly entered the Harbor, and went up to Town.
Had Wisdom been at Helm, and some heavy Cannon placed upon Petticks Island, and Nantasket, before the Entrenchments were opened upon the east Head of Long Island, the Enemy would have remained undisturbed 'till this Morning, when a fresh easterly Wind and a flood Tide would not suffer them to go out; consequently, without running the least Hazard on our Side, they must have took their Choice of a watery Grave, or becoming Prisoners at Discretion; for they had no means of escape, nor Power of defending themselves with any Chance of Success.
{ 309 }
About 2 O'Clock afternoon a Ship and Brigantine hove in Sight with three small Privateers hovering round them; but durst not venture near the Ship which complimented them with her Guns: They turned into the lighthouse Channel about Dusk, when 4 Schooners, and a Brigantine of 14 Guns from Connecticut, with the Assistance of two Shot from our Works at Nantasket, attacked, and made Prizes of them, and Prisoners of about 240 Sailors and Highland Soldiers; the Major of the Regiment was kill'd; and about 20 Privates killed and wounded: none killed, and only one said to be mortally wounded on our Side.
Went to Boston, and had the Pleasure of conversing a few minutes with Lieut. Colo: Campbel of the Highlanders,9 at General Wards: He appeared to be well bred, spoke extreme good English, rendered disagreable by those haughty Airs which are characteristick of his Country.
Another Transport with 112 highland Troops were taken by our Privatiers without any Resistance, and in sight of our House. There are now near or quite 500 of them our Prisoners, mostly Farmers and Manufacturs, decoyed (as its said) into the Service by being assured, that, Boston and 40 Miles round it was in possession of Genl. Gage's Troops, and all that would be required of them was, only to take up the forfieted Lands at a moderate Quitrent: Notwithstanding their national Attachment, its probable many of them will in time become our worthy fellow Citizens: They give an Account of 30 Sail more that came out with them, shall therefore keep this Letter open a few Days, in Expectation of giving you further Intelligence.
Yesterday, an Express arrived from Cape Ann with Advice, that eleven large Ships were seen off steering for Boston; and to Day, about [ . . . ] I discovered them with my Glass: but, they have the Wind a head which will prevent their reaching the Harbor before Night.
No appearance of any Ships this Morning but in the afternoon heard they were seen off in the Bay.
{ 310 }
About noon a Man of War and 8 Transports came in Sight and turned with the Wind ahead almost up to the Mouth of the Harbor but finding no Pilot come off. Seeing no Light House, and every thing wearing a disagreable Aspect they stood out to Sea again. An Express arrived this Day from Falmouth with Advice, that 25 Sail of Ships were seen off Casco Bay last Sunday: if so, we shall soon have another Visit.
If my worthy and honored Friend Docter Franklin is returned to Philadelphia10 pray present my most respectfull Compliments of Congratulation to him, with Thanks for his obliging Letter of the 15 of last April, which came safe to hand: Please to acquaint him with the Contents of this long Letter, so far as you think them worthy of his Notice.
Be so good as to redeem Time enough to let me know from under your Hand, that you have not forgot an old Friend, who is, unalterably, Your affectionate and faithfull humble Servant
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For The Honble. John Adams Esquire Philadelphia”; docketed: “Quincy June 13. 1776.”
1. Although William Pitt's celebrated speech calling for the removal of troops from Boston was made available in pamphlets (T. R. Adams, American Independence, Nos. 190a–e), the wording here comes from the journal of Josiah Quincy, 1744–1775 (Josiah Quincy, Memoir of the Life of Josiah Quincy, Junior, 2d edn., Boston, 1874, p. 268).
2. These two quotations are from Giacinto, Marquis de Dragonetti, A Treatise on Virtues and Rewards, as quoted by Thomas Paine in Common Sense (Thomas Paine: Common Sense and Other Political Writings, ed. Nelson F. Adkins, N.Y., 1953, p. 32, 176).
3. A reference to an unsigned piece dated 16 April that appeared in the Boston Gazette, 29 April. Quincy's complete familiarity with it suggests that he wrote it. See notes 4 and 8 (below).
4. The piece in the Boston Gazette began, “Fearful, I take my pen, 'with honest zeal / To rouse the watchmen of the public weal.'’
5. That is, Francis Banks, commander of the British ship Renown. See Samuel Cooper to JA, 22 April, note 1 (above).
6. Very likely William Gordon.
7. For the number and distribution of troops, see Adams Family Correspondence, 2:11.
8. This quotation from George Johnstone, M.P., was taken from a longer one in the Boston Gazette piece. Johnstone's speech of Oct. 1775 supported Rockingham's amendment to the Address of Thanks, the amendment castigating the ministry for its American policies (Parliamentary Hist., 18:708–709, 740–757, the excerpt being on p. 753). Neither Evans nor T. R. Adams, American Independence, lists any pamphlet publication that includes Johnstone's very pro-American speech. How Quincy obtained it remains undetermined. Johnstone was made governor of West Florida in 1763, but returned to England in 1767 (DNB).
9. On 7 June two ships from Scotland were captured, which had on board over two hundred Highlanders, who were temporarily imprisoned in Boston. The officers were later sent to Concord (Boston Gazette, 10, 17, and 24 June). Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell was in the Second Battalion of the regiment raised by Simon Fraser. Ultimately he was exchanged for Ethan Allen (DNB; Worthington C. Ford, British Officers { 311 } Serving in the American Revolution, 1774–1783, Brooklyn, 1897, p. 9, 40; Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:576, note 2).
10. Franklin returned from Canada to Philadelphia on 31 May (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:lix).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0118

Author: Webster, Pelatiah
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-13

From Pelatiah Webster

[salute] Sir

I Take this opportunity Just to advise You that if Your Congress will Appoint Capt. Job Prince (the Father)1 to the Command of one of the Continental frigates, he will Accept. His Great Abilities as A Seaman and Long Experience both in Mercantile and War Vessels Make no sort of Recomendation Necessary to You Who have Long known him as a foremost Man in the Character of an Able Seaman &c. His Great Influence and Authority Among the sailors will Make his Services peculiarly necessary At this Time, and he is Much Approved by Every Gentleman with Whom I have Conversed.
Last Night Dawson in Blewers Brig was Chased into this harbor by our Privateers.2
11 Enemies Vessels are at Nantasket Mostly Transports Lately Arrived.
The Bostonians will Occupy the heights of Alderton Point, Long Island and Petticks Island this Night and design to Clear the harbor soon of Enemy Ships.3 Forts at Dochester Point Noddles Island (Camp Hill) and Point Shirly, the Castle and Charleston Point are in Great Forwardness. I am Sir Yr. Mo. Huml. Servt.
[signed] Pelatiah Webster4
1. Job Prince (1723–1790), a wealthy shipmaster of Boston. No evidence has been found that he was given a commission (George Prince, Elder John Prince of Hull, Mass. A Memorial, Biographical and Genealogical, n.p., n.d., p. 25).
2. Lt. George Dawson, commander of the brig Hope, formerly the Sea Nymph, taken from the Americans in Philadelphia by the British in Oct. 1775. Capt. Joseph Blewer was part owner of the brig (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:507; 3:1104– 1105).
3. Unfavorable winds and “unforeseen obstructions” prevented the militia and Continental troops from reaching their destinations in the lower part of the harbor until the early morning of the 14th. After a brief encounter, the British fleet fled. The Hope stopped only long enough on its way out to sea to blow up the Boston lighthouse (Clark, Washington's Navy, p. 159–160). For contemporary accounts of the action see Josiah Quincy to JA, 13 June (above), and Boston Gazette, 17 June.
4. Pelatiah Webster (1726–1795), prosperous Philadelphia merchant, political economist, active whig, and Revolutionary pamphleteer (DAB; Dexter, Yale Graduates, 2:97–98).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0119

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-14

From Samuel Chase

Mr. Chase will excuse the late Neglects and Inattention of Mr. John Adams to him, upon the express Condition, that in future he constantly communicate to Mr. Chase every Matter relative to persons or Things. Mr. Chase flatters himself with seeing Mr. Adams on Monday or Tuesday fortnight with the voice of Maryland in favor of Independance and a foreign Alliance, which are, in Mr. Chases opinion, the only and best Measures to preserve the Liberties of America. Direct to Annapolis.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esqr.”; docketed: “Chace.”
1. See JA to Chase, 14 June (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0120

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-06-14

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Bedford2 put into my Hand this Moment a Card from you, containing a Reprehension for the past, and a Requisition for the Time to come.3 For the past I kiss the Rod: but from complying with the Requision at least one Part of it, I must be excused. I have no Objection to writing you Facts, but I would not meddle with Characters, for the World. A burn'd Child dreads the Fire. I have Smarted to severely, for a few crude Expressions, written in a Pet, to a bosom Friend,4 to venture on such Boldnesses again. Besides if I were to tell you all that I think of all Characters, I should appear so illnatured and censorious, that I should detest myself. By my Soul, I think very heinously, I cant think of a better Word, of some People. They think as badly of me, I Suppose, and neither of us care a farthing for that. So the Account is ballanced and perhaps after all both sides may be deceived, both may be very honest Men.
But of all the Animals on Earth, that ever fell in my Way, your Trimmers your double tongued and double minded Men, your disguised Folk, I detest most. The Devil I think has a better Title, to those, by half, than he has to those who err openly, and are bare faced Villains.
Mr. Adams ever was and ever will be glad to see Mr. Chase, but Mr. Chase never was nor will be more welcome than, if he should come next Monday or Tuesday fortnight, with the Voice of Maryland in Favour of Independence, and a foreign Alliance. I have never had the Honour of knowing many People from Maryland, but by what I { 313 } have learnt of them and seen of their Delegates they are an open, sincere <and consistent> and united People—a little obstinate to be sure, but that is very pardonable when accompanied with frankness.5 From all which I conclude, that when they shall be convinced of the Necessity of those Measures, they will all be convinced at once, and afterwards be as active and forward as any, perhaps more so than most.
I have one Bone to pick with your Colony. I Suspect they levelled one of their Instructions at my Head.—This is a distinction of which you may Suppose I am not very ambitious.—One of your Colleagues moved A Resolution that No Member of Congress should hold any Office under any of the new Governments6 and produced an Instruction to make him feel strong. I Seconded the Motion with a trifling Amendment that the Resolution should be that no Member of Congress should hold any office civil or military, in the Army or in the Militia under any Government old or new.—This Struck through the Assembly like an Electric shock, for every Member, was a Governor, or General, or Judge, or some mighty Thing or other in the militia or under the old Government or some new one. This was so important a Matter that it required Consideration, and I have never heard another Word about it.
The Truth as far as it respects myself is this. The Government of the Massachusetts without my solicitation and much against my Inclination, were pleased sometime last Summer to nominate me to an Office. It was at a Time, when Offices under new Governments were not in much demand, being considered rather precarious.—I did not refuse this Office, altho by accepting it, I must resign another Office7 which I held under the old Government, three Times So profitable because, I was well informed that if I had refused it no other Man would have accepted it, and this would have greatly weakened perhaps ruined the new Constitution.—This is the Truth of Fact.—So that one of the most disinterested and intrepid Actions of my whole Life, has been represented to the People of Maryland to my Disadvantage.—I told the Gentleman that I should be much obliged if they would find me a Man who would accept of my office, or by passing the Resolution, furnish me with a Justification for refusing it. In either Case, I would Subscribe my Renunciation of that Office before I left that Room. Nay I would go further, I would vote with them, that every Member of this Congress should take an oath, that he never would accept of any office, during Life, or procure any office for his father, his Son, his Brother, or his Cousin. So much for egotism.
McKean has returned from the Lower Counties with full Powers. { 314 } Their Instructions are in the Same Words with the new ones to the Delegates of Pensilvania. New Jersey, have dethroned Franklyn, and in a Letter which is just come to my Hand from indisputable Authority, I am told that the Delegates from that Colony, will “vote plump.” Maryland, now Stands alone. I presume She will Soon join Company—if not she must be left alone.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. This date may be questionable, for JA mentions two events at the close of the letter of which he could not have been aware before 15 June. The first is the order on that date for the arrest of William Franklin (1731–1813), son of Benjamin Franklin and the last royal governor of New Jersey. The Provincial Congress declared him “an enemy to the liberties of this country” (Archives of the State of New Jersey, 1st ser., 10:720; DAB). The second is the receipt of a letter dated 15 June (below) from an “indisputable Authority,” Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant. On 28 June, Chase acknowledged JA's letter of “the 17th . . . Instant.” JA's letter may have been started on the 14th, but in all probability it was not completed until the 17th.
2. Gunning Bedford Sr. (1742–1797), deputy quartermaster-general, lieutenant colonel of a Delaware regiment, politician, and friend of Samuel Chase (DAB; J. C. Wylie, comp., “Letters of Some Members of the Old Congress,” PMHB, 29:191 [April 1905]).
3. Samuel Chase to JA[ante 14 June] (above).
4. JA to James Warren, 24 July 1775 (above), the intercepted letter.
5. As a result of vigorous campaigning on the part of Chase and other delegates, the Maryland convention on 28 June empowered its delegates to vote for independence (Samuel Chase to JA, 28 June, below; Ronald Hoffman, A Spirit of Dissension, Baltimore, 1973, p. 167–168; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1491). On 21 May, however, the Maryland convention had renewed its instructions of 11 Jan. to its delegates (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 5:1589).
6. See JA to James Otis Sr., 29 April, note 2; and JA to James Warren, 20 May, note 8 (both above).
7. The office of barrister (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:362).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0121

Author: Foster, Isaac
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-14

From Isaac Foster Jr.

[salute] Respected Sir

When I left the Camp at Cambridge I promised myself the pleasure of waiting on you in person at Philadelphia before this time, but the necessary Duty of my Station in the service of our Country has hetherto prevented, and the same service requiring the attendance of the director General1 at Philadelphia, I am obliged at least for the present to deny myself that happiness, which will I flatter myself excuse my addressing you by Letter and I hope with what I have further to offer will engage your Interest in my favour.
It is not improbable the attempts of the abandoned british administration to Subjugate the United American Colonies may require such a part of the Continental Army for defence of the New England Colonies, as to render the Establishment of a Military Hospital highly { 315 } expedient, if not absolutely necessary there. If that should be the case, I beg leave to offer myself a Candidate for, and solicite your interest towards my obtaining the Directorship, with such an appointment, and under such regulations as may best promote the good of the Service in general and be most agreeable to the Honourable Continental Congress.2 I have so high an esteem for that Venerable Body and do from my heart so much approve their resolve that promotions in the Army should not take place by Succession only3 that I wave all Claim founded on the Title which my being Senior Surgeon of the principal Hospital, or the length of time I have been in the Service might otherwise give me, and hope I may without the imputation of boasting mention some facts that upon the principle of encouraging a diligent attention to Duty, in every Department, and begetting a laudable spirit of emulation amongst officers of all Ranks induce me to hope for your Interest on this Occasion. At the Commencement of hostilities, I the Day after the Battle of Lexington at the request of General Ward quitted my family and private Business to attend such of our own people and the Regular prisoners as were wounded in that Action without Stipulating, or at that time expecting any other reward than the Consciousness of having served my Country. On the 17th. of June by order of General Ward, I attended at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and exerted myself in dressing and takeing Care of the Wounded, while my native place and most of My property were in flames before my face. By order of the Committee of Safety I opened,4 attended, and Supplied the first Military Hospital established since the beginning of this War, in the directions of which I continued untill it became Continental. Upon Doctor Church's Arrest I was honoured by his Excelency General Washington with the pro-tempore Director Generalship.5 While the present Director General was Necessarly detained at Boston, adjusting Accounts and procuring Medicines for the Army,6 I was intrusted by him with the Care of opening the general Hospital at head Quarters here.7 I beg leave to refer you to the Director General who honours me by Conveying this Letter, for Information how I have discharged these trusts. Permit me to add that should a younger Man than I am, or one who has never been in the service be sent to New England as Director of the Hospital there, it would not only greatly lessen my reputation among my Countrymen there, to most of whom I am personally known, but make me very unhappy in my own mind by begetting an apprehension that the place I now hold was to the Exclusion of some person better qualified to discharge the Duties of it. Your friendly Interposition at this time will { 316 } be ever greatfully Acknowledged, by much esteemed Sir Your most Obedient and most humble Servt.,
[signed] Isaac Foster Junr
1. John Morgan, director general of Hospitals.
2. Foster was appointed deputy director-general of the hospital in the Eastern Department, 11 April 1777 (JCC, 7: 254).
3. See Samuel H. Parsons to JA, 20 May, note 1 (above).
4. On 29 April 1775 (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 527).
5. Terminal punctuation supplied.
6. Terminal punctuation replaced by comma.
7. The hospital was opened 11 June (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:264).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0122

Author: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-15

From Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear Sir

Jacta est Alea.1 We are passing the Rubicon and our Delegates in Congress on the first of July will vote plump.2 The Bearer is a staunch Whigg and will answer any Questions You may need to ask. Have been very busy here and have stole a Minute from Business to write this. In haste Yours,
[signed] Jona D Sergeant
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “J.D. Sergeant. June 15. 1776.”
1. The die is cast.
2. On 22 June the Third Provincial Congress of New Jersey instructed its delegates to the Continental Congress to support, if necessary, any move toward independence (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1628–1629).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0123

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-06-16

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favours of June 2d and 5th. are now before me. The Address to the Convention of Virginia, makes but a Small Fortune in the World. Coll. Henry, in a Letter to me,1 expresses an infinite Contempt of it, and assures me, that the Constitution of Virginia, will be more like the Thoughts on Government. I believe, however, they will make the Election of their Council, Septennial. Those of Representatives and Governor annual. But I am amazed to find an Inclination So prevalent throughout all the southern and middle Colonies to adopt Plans, So nearly resembling, that in the Thoughts on Government. I assure you, untill the Experiment was made, I had no adequate Conception of it. But the Pride of the haughty, must, I see come down, a little in the South.2
You Suppose “it would not do, to have the two Regiments you are now raising converted into continental Battallions.” But why? Would the Officers, or Men have any Objection? If they would not, Congress { 317 } would have none. Indeed this was what I expected, and intended when the Measure was in Agitation. Indeed I thought, that as our Battallions with their Arms, were carried to N. York and Canada in the Service of the united Colonies, the Town of Boston, and the Province ought to be guarded against Danger by the united Colonies.
You have been, Since call'd upon for Six Thousand Militia for Canada and New York.3 How you will get the Men, I know not. The Small Pox, I Suppose will be a great Discouragement,4 But We must maintain our Ground in Canada. The Regulars, if they get full Possession of that Province, and the Navigation of St. Lawrence River above Dechambeault, at least above the Mouth of the Sorrell,5 will have nothing to interrupt their Communication, with Niagara, Detroit, Michilimachinac, they will have the Navigation of the five great Lakes quite as far as the Mississipi River, they will have a free Communication with all the numerous Tribes of Indians, extending along the Frontiers of all the Colonies, and by their Trinketts and Bribes will induce them to take up the Hatchett, and Spread Blood and Fire among the Inhabitants by which Means, all the Frontier Inhabitants will be driven in upon the middle settlements, at a Time when the Inhabitants of the Seaportts and Coasts, will be driven back by the British Navy. Is this Picture too high colored? Perhaps it is. But surely We must maintain our Power, in Canada.
You may depend upon my rendering Mr. Winthrop, all the service in my Power.
I believe it will not be long, before all Property, belonging to British Subjects, Whether in Europe, the W. Indies, or elsewhere will be made liable to Capture.6 A few Weeks may possibly produce great Things. I am &c.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A. Letter June 16. 1776.”
1. Patrick Henry to JA, 20 May (above).
2. JA had thought his pamphlet might be too popular for colonies south of New England.
3. This figure is incorrect. On 1 June the congress resolved to request Massachusetts to supply 3,000 of its militia and on 3 June another 2,000 as reinforcements for the armies in Canada and New York, respectively (JCC, 4:410, 412).
4. American forces in Canada numbered 7,000 in mid-May, but within two weeks 1,800 were disabled by smallpox (Gustave Lanctot, Canada and the American Revolution, 1774-1783, Cambridge, 1967, p. 143).
5. Deschambault is located 45 miles southwest of Quebec. The Sorel River, now the Richelieu, flows into the St. Lawrence River approximately 120 miles southwest of Quebec. On 25 May the congress resolved that Deschambault and the mouth of the Sorel be fortified, “to prevent the enemy's passing to the upper country” (JCC, 4:395–396).
6. See James Warren to JA, 5 June, note 4 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0124

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-06-16 - 1776-06-17

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure to inform you that we have driven the Pirates out of this Harbour. The thirteenth instant at evening a detachment of five hundred men, with several pieces of battering Cannon and a thirteen inch Mortar, under the command of Col Whitcomb was ordered to take post on Long Island and throw up works, the next morning they began a fire upon the Enemy's Ships from the Cannon and Mortar, which soon drove them all out of the Harbour. They were thirteen in number, one Ship of 50 Guns and several smaller Ships of War, the rest were Transports with Soldiers and Stores on board; it was judged they had about 800 Troops on board the Transports. The Enemy blew up the Light House and put to Sea with their whole fleet; but I apprehend they will leave some Frigates to cruize in the Bay. The Colony troops the same night were to take post on Petticks Island (which was very near to the Ships) and on Nantasket Head, but by some unforeseen obstruction they did not get up their Cannon in time, however they gave the Pirates a number of 18 pound shot from Nantasket as the Ships passed through the Channel. Our Shot cut away some of their yards and rigging, and several went into the Ships sides, but the Shells from the Mortar appeared to terrify them most; they returned a few shot from the Renown the Commodore's Ship, without any effect, and got under sail with all expedition. We intend to place a decoy Ship in the place where the Men of war lay with a broad pendant flying, in order to draw in the Enemy's Ships which may come this way.1 The success of our Privateers you will have an account of in the Newspapers. I am very solicitous to have the Continental Frigates fitted out with all possible expedition, they might be of vast service in clearing the Coast of the Enemy's armed Schooners, which not only take our Vessels, but protect their Transports and merchant Ships which might otherways fall into our hands.
We hear disagreeable accounts from Canada, but hope for better things. We must be prepared for “sudden changes and evil tidings, our hearts being fixed trusting in the Lord,” this year we must expect trying scenes and great events, and may it be our prayer to the God of Armies for Wisdom and Fortitude equal to our Day. To whose protection I commit you and your illustrious Brethren of Congress And am with great Respect Your most Obedient Humble Servant,
[signed] Joseph Ward
P.S. As a number of Seamen and Soldiers are in our service, who { 319 } deserted from the Enemy, will it not be necessary for Congress to pass some Resolve respecting them, for their security in case they should fall into the hands of their former masters? Otherwise they will be exposed to be hanged or shot, which will be a great discouragement to future desertions, which I think ought to be encouraged by all means in our power. If there was some public encouragement given by Congress to stimulate men to leave the infamous and diabolical service of George Tyrant of Britain and join the free United Colonies (and independant States of America) I apprehend we might considerably weaken our Enemies in this way, and certainly no wheel should now be left untouched which we can move to advantage.
I have just received the agreeable news of our Privateers having brought into Nantasket a Ship and Brig from Glasgow with two hundred and ten Highlander troops on board, with their baggage; the Ship mounted six carriage guns and fought some time before she struck. We had four men wounded, the Enemy had three privates killed and a Major, and eight or ten wounded. The prisoners are coming up to Town, among them is a Colonel.2 If we should learn anything interesting from them you will receive the first conveyance. I have just [been] informed that the Providence Privateers have taken two Store Ships from the Enemy.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble: John Adams Esqr Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Major Ward June 16. 1776 ansd. July. 5.”
1. Up to this point this letter was copied, almost word for word, from a letter of the same date sent by Artemas Ward to Washington (Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:562, note 2). In all probability, the general's secretary, Joseph Ward, wrote the original letter and simply copied it into JA's letter.
2. See Josiah Quincy to JA, 13 June, note 9 (above).
3. The reference is too vague to identify from newspaper accounts of seizures.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gates, Horatio
Date: 1776-06-18

To Horatio Gates

[salute] My dear General

We have ordered you to the Post of Honour, and made you Dictator in Canada for Six Months, or at least untill the first of October.1— We dont choose to trust you Generals, with too much Power, for too long Time.
I took my Pen, at this Time, to mention to you the Name of a young Gentleman, and recommend him to your Notice and Favour. His Name is Rice. This Gentleman is the Son of a worthy Clergyman. He was educated at Harvard Colledge, where he was an Officer of the { 320 } Military Company, and distinguished himself as a soldier in the manual Exercises and Manoeuvres. After he came out of Colledge he put himself under my Care as a Student of the Law. While he was in my Office he was very usefull in the Neighbourhood in training the Companies of Militia there. He is a modest, sensible, and well read young Man, and a very virtuous and worthy one. In my Absence from home, after the Battle of Lexington, he applied for a Commission in the Army, and obtained a Place, in my opinion vastly below his real Merit; I mean that of Adjutant in General Heaths now Coll. Greatons Regiment. In this Capacity, he has continued, from his first Engagement which was immediately after the Battle of Lexington, untill this Time, and is now in Canada with his Regiment—and I have been informed by a Variety of Officers, that he has behaved remarkably well. As you are going to Canada, with full Powers, I must beg the Favour of you to think of this young Gentleman, inquire into his Character and Conduct, and if you can, consistently with the Public Service, advance him to some Place more Adequate to his Abilities and Merits, and services, I should take it as a Favour.

[salute] I pray God to prosper you in Canada, and grant you a plentifull Crop of Laurells, and am your Affectionate humble Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC (NHi: Gates Papers); docketed: “Mr. John Adams's Letter June 18th 1776.”
1. The congress appointed Gates on 17 June. His power to suspend officers and fill vacancies was to expire on 1 Oct. (JCC, 5:448).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0126

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-20

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

I have the pleasure to inform you that another Scotch Transport with a Company of Highland Grenadiers on board was brought into this Port by the Privateers on the eighteenth Instant. Each Transport brings a quantity of provisions and camp equipage for the Troops. We have now about four hundred and fifty Highlanders prisoners; they are going into the Country Towns agreeable to the Order of Congress.
The Lieut. Colonel, I mentioned in my last,1 is commander of one of the Battalions in Genl Frazers Regiment. His name is Campbell, he is a member of Parliament, a man of family, and fortune, and what is much more than either, appears to be a Soldier and a Gentleman.
General Ward has been so very much indisposed for some time past as to be confined to his chamber, and there is no prospect of his { 321 } being better until he has relaxation from business. His illness makes my duty extremely difficult and fatiguing, much more so than can easily be conceived, as I am obliged to perform the duty without the authority belonging to the Department, and thereby go over the ground twice, and under great disadvantages in many cases. The business of this Department increases by reason of the Continental Shipping, and the many Fortresses building &c. The General has wrote pressingly to General Washington to be relieved, but has received nothing from him of late upon the Subject.2
Being in great haste I can add no more particulars, the post is just setting off. Yours &c.
Col. Campbell is confident that Commissioners are coming to America to compromise matters, and says that was the opinion when he left Britain; but for myself, I believe [ . . . ] thrown out by the Tyrants in order to amuse us while they may gain some advantage. I trust the Congress is too wise to be caught with any of their baits; however, such idle reports are improved by timid toryfied geniuses and have a bad tendency, if they are not contradicted by some good authority.
I have been waiting with earnest expectation to see the grand Declaration of Independence of the United Colonies. May I not expect it soon?
RC (Adams Papers). Small piece missing where seal was cut out.
1. That of 16 June (above).
2. Ward initially offered his resignation on 22 March, and the congress accepted it on 23 April, but he was not relieved until many months later. As recently as 16 June, Washington had offered to relieve him with Gen. John Whitcomb when his appointment had been certified (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:427, note 63; 5:145; JCC, 4:300; see also Benjamin Hichborn to JA, 20 May, note 3, above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0127

Author: Adams, John
Author: Sherman, Roger
Author: Harrison, Benjamin
Author: Wilson, James
Author: Rutledge, Edward
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Recipient: Washington, George
Date: 1776-06-21

The Board of War to George Washington

[salute] Sir

The Congress having thought proper to appoint us to the Board of War and Ordinance, we do ourselves the Honour to transmit you the foregoing Extracts from their Proceedings establishing a War Office1 for the more speedy and effectual Dispatch of military Business. You will percieve, on Perusal of the Extracts, that it will be necessary for you forthwith to furnish the Board with an exact State of the Army under your Command and everything relative thereto. You will therefore be pleased, as speedily as possible, to give the necessary Directions for true and accurate Returns to be made to you, so as to en• { 322 } able you to give the Board the proper Information. As much depends on reducing into Method the Business recommended to our Notice, we beg you will forward all Measures conducive to this desirable Purpose by every Means in your Power. It is expected that in future monthly Returns be regularly transmitted to the War Office that Congress may frequently have a full and general Knowledge of the true Situation of their military Affairs without which it will be impossible to conduct them with Propriety and Success. We must farther request that you will keep up a constant and regular Correspondence with us that we may cooperate with you in such Measures as may tend to advance the Interest of America in general and the particular Department committed to your Care. You will be pleased in the Returns of the several Regiments to mention the Colonies in which they were raised, the Times when and the Periods for which the Men were enlisted as it will be necessary for us to have sufficient Notice of these Matters that Congress may keep up the Army to its full Compliment. We are your Excellency's most obedient and most hble. Servants,
[signed] John Adams
[signed] Roger Sherman
[signed] Benj Harrison
[signed] James Wilson
[signed] Edward Rutledge
RC (DLC:Washington Papers); addressed: “Genl. Washington Commander in Chief of the Continental Army New York”; docketed: “Board of War & Ordnance 21st June 1776”; “Extracts from Journals of Congress War Office.”
1. The extracts would be the resolution on the Board of War in JCC, 5:434–435, which was passed on 12 June.
2. This letter was obviously sent as well to generals like Ward, Gates, Schuyler, and Lee. The New York Public Library has a copy among its Presidential Papers under JA.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0128

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-21

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

To remind our friends of their Inattention and Neglect must give Pain. I am almost angry with You.1 If You are inclined to oblige or please Me write constantly.
I found my Lady very ill, but have the pleasure to say she is better, tho' still very low and weak.
An Express from Canada and not one Line to acquaint Me of the { 323 } Contents. General Sullivan writes Me, that he has the most pleasing Prospect, and refers Me to his Letter to Genl. Washington for the Account.2 I am almost resolved not to inform You, that a general Dissatisfaction prevails here with our Convention. Read the paper, and be assured Frederick speaks the Sense of many Counties.3 I have not been idle. I have appealed in Writing to the People.4 County after County is instructing.

[salute] Remember Me to Mrs. Adams and all independent Souls. Shall I send You my Circular Letter. Adieu. Your Friend,

[signed] S Chase
1. Chase had not yet received JA's letter of 14 June (above), which was probably completed on the 17th.
2. Sullivan to Washington of 5–6 June, which was enthusiastic in its account of the prospects for the American army (Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army, ed. Otis G. Hammond, 3 vols., Concord, N.H., 1930–1939 [N.H. Hist. Soc., Colls., vols. 13–15], 1:217–221; JA to Chase, 24 June, below).
3. The resolutions of Frederick co., dated 17 June, were printed in the Maryland Gazette and declared in part: “every resolution of Convention tending to separate this Province from a majority of the Colonies, without the consent of the people, is destructive to our internal safety, and big with publick ruin” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:933).
4. Chase's appeal to the people has not been identified. Since he did not return from Canada to Philadelphia until 11 June, it would have had to appear between that date and the date of his letter to JA (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:xlv).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Greene, Nathanael
Date: 1776-06-22

To Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of the second Instant has lain by me, I suppose these Eighteen days, but I fear I shall often have occasion to make Apologies for Such omissions, which will never happen from Want of Respect, but I fear very often for Want of Time.
Your Reasoning, to prove the Equity, and the Policy of making Provision for the Unfortunate Officer, or soldier, is extreamly just, and cannot be answered, and I hope that when We get a little over the Confusions arising from the Revolutions which are now taking Place in the Colonies, and get an American Constitution formed, Something will be done. I should be much obliged to you for your Thoughts upon the subject. What Pensions should be allowed or what other Provision made? Whether it would be expedient to establish an Hospital &c. It is a Matter of Importance, and the Plan should be well digested.
I think with you that every Colony should furnish its Proportion of Men, and I hope it will come to this. But at present, Some Colonies have such Bodies of Quakers, and Menonists, and Moravians, who { 324 } are principled against War, and others have such Bodies of Tories, or Cowards, or unprincipled People who will not wage War, that it is, as yet impossible.
The Dispute, is, as you justly observe, in all human Probability, but in its Infancy; We ought therefore to Study, to bring every Thing, in the military Department into the best order—Fighting, is not the greatest Branch of the Science of War. Men must be furnished with good and wholesome Provisions in Sufficient Plenty. They must be well paid—they must be well cloathed and well covered, with Barracks and Tents—they must be kept Warm with Suitable Fuel. In these Respects, We have not been able to do So well as We wished. But, Why the Regiments have not been furnished with proper Agents, I dont know.1 Congress, is ever ready to hearken to the Advice of the General, and if he had recommended such Officers, they would have been appointed. Collonells should neither be Agents, nor suttlers. Congress have lately voted that there shall be regimental Paymasters, who shall keep the Accounts of the Regiments. If any other Agent is necessary let me know it. Good Officers, are no doubt the Soul of an Army, but our Difficulty is to get Men. Officers, present themselves, in Supernumerary Abundance.
As to Pay there is no End to the Desire and Demand of it. Is there not too much Extravagance, and too little OEconomy, among the officers?
I am much at a Loss, whether it would not be the best Policy, to leave every Colony to raise their own Troops, to cloath them, to Pay them, to furnish them with Tents, and indeed every Thing but Provisions, fuel and Forage. The Project of abolishing Provincial Distinctions, was introduced, with a good Intention, I believe, at first but I think it will do no good upon the whole. However, if Congress, is to manage the whole, I am in hopes they will get into a better Train. They have established a War Office, and a Board of War and ordinance, by means of which I hope they will get their affairs into better order. They will be better informed of the State of the Army and of all its Wants.
That the Promotion of extraordinary Merit, may give disgust to those officers is true, over whom the Advancement is made—but I think it ought not. That this Power may be abused, or misapplied, is also true. That Interest, Favour, private Friendship, Prejudice, may operate more or less in the purest Assembly, is true. But where will you lodge this Power? To place it in the General would be more dangerous to the public Liberty, and not less liable to abuse from sinister and un• { 325 } worthy Motives. Will it do, is it consistent with common Prudence to lay it down, as an invariable Rule, that all Officers, in all Cases shall rise in succession?
I am obliged to you for your Caution not to be too confident. The Fate of War is uncertain—So are all Sublunary Things. But, We must form our Conjectures of Effects from the Knowledge We have of Causes, and in Circumstances like ours must not attempt to penetrate too far into Futurity. There are as many Evils, and more, which arise in human Life, from an Excess of Diffidence, as from an Excess of Confidence. Proud as Mankind is, their is more superiority in this World yielded than assumed. I learned, long ago, from one of the greatest Statesmen, this World ever produced, Sully, neither to adventure upon rash Attempts from too much Confidence, nor to despair of success in a great Design from the appearance of Difficulties. “Without attempting to judge of the future which depends upon too many Accidents, much less to subject it to our Precipitation in bold and difficult Enterprises, We should endeavour to subdue one Obstacle at a Time, nor Suffer ourselves to be depress'd by their Greatness, and their Number. We ought never to despair of what has been once accomplish'd. How many Things have the Idea of impossible been annexed to, that have become easy to those who knew how to take Advantage of Time, Opportunity, lucky Moments, the Faults of others, different Dispositions, and an infinite Number of other Circumstances.”2
I will inclose to you, a Copy of the Resolution establishing, a Board of War and Ordinance; and as you may well imagine, We are all, inexperienced in this Business. I Should be extreamly obliged to you for, any Hints for the Improvement of the Plan, which may occur to you, and for any Assistance or Advice you may give me, as a private Correspondent in the Execution of it. It is a great Mortification to me I confess, and I fear it will too often be a Misfortune to our Country, that I am called to the Discharge of Trusts to which I feel myself So unequal, and in the Execution of which I can derive no Assistance from my Education, or former Course of Life. But my Country must command me, and wherever she shall order me, there I will go, without Dismay. I am, dear Sir, with the greatest Esteem, your humble Servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. See Samuel Holden Parsons to JA, 7 July, note 2 (below).
2. Closing quotation marks supplied. Except for minor differences in punctuation, the capitalization of some words, and the italicizing of “We ought never to despair of,” the entire passage was copied from a letter to JA from { 326 } AA ([27 May], Adams Family Correspondence, 1:416). AA introduced the passage as follows: “The dissagreable News we have from Quebeck is a great damper to our Spirits, but shall we receive good and not Evil? Upon this occasion you will recollect the Sentiments of your favorite Sully.” Neither the extent of the quotation from the French statesman Sully nor its source has been determined.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0130

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Kent, Benjamin
Date: 1776-06-22

To Benjamin Kent

[salute] Sir

Your Letters of April 24. and May 26 are before me, both dated at Boston, a Circumstance which alone would have given Pleasure to a Man who has such an Attachment to that Town, and who has suffered So much Anxiety for his Friends, in their Exile from it.
We have not many of the fearfull, and Still less of the Unbelieving among Us, how Slowly soever, you may think We proceed. Is it not a Want of Faith, or a Predominance of Fear, which makes some of you So impatient for Declarations in Words of What is every day manifested in Deeds of the most determined Nature, and unequivocal signification?
That We are divorced, a Vinculo1 as well as from Bed and Board, is to me, very clear. The only Question is, concerning the proper Time for making an explicit Declaration in Words. Some People must have Time to look around them, before, behind, on the right hand, and on the left, then to think, and after all this to resolve. Others see, at one intuitive Glance into the past and the future, and judge with Precision at once. But remember you cant make thirteen Clocks, Strike precisely alike, at the Same Second.
I am for the most liberal Toleration of all Denominations of Religionists but I hope that Congress will never meddle with Religion, further than to Say their own Prayers, and to fast and give Thanks, once a Year. Let every Colony, have its own Religion, without Molestation.
The Congress, ordered Church to the Massachusetts Council to be let out upon Bail. It was represented to them that his Health was in a dangerous Way and it was thought, he would not now have it in his Power to do any Mischief. No Body knows what to do with him. There is no Law to try him upon, and no Court to try him. I am afraid he deserves more Punishment, than he will ever meet. I am, your humble sert.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. A legal term for complete divorce.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Date: 1776-06-22

To Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Dear sir

Your obliging Favour of the third of June, has been too long unanswered. I acknowledge the Difficulty of ascertaining, the comparative Merit of Officers, and the danger of advancing Friends, where there is no uncommon Merit. This danger cannot be avoided, by any other Means, than making it an invariable Rule, to promote officers in succession. For if you make a King the Judge of uncommon Merit, he will advance favorites, without Merit, under Colour or Pretence of Merit. If you make a Minister of State the Judge, he will naturally promote his Relations, Connections and Friends. If you place the Power of judging of extraordinary Merit, in an Assembly, you dont mend the Matter much. For by all the Experience I have had, I find that Assemblies, have Favourites as well as Kings and Ministers. The Favorites of Assemblies, or the leading Members, are not always the most worthy. I dont know whether they ever are. These leading Members have Sons, Brothers and Cousins, Acquaintances, Friends, and Connections of one sort or other, near or remote: and I have ever found, these Leading Members of Assemblies, as much under the Influence of Nature, and her Passions and Prejudices, as Kings, and Ministers. The principal Advantage and Difference lies in this, that in an Assembly, there are more Guards and Checks, upon the Infirmities of leading Members, than there are upon Kings and Ministers.
What then shall We Say? Shall We leave it to the General and the Army? Is there not as much Favoritism, as much of Nature, Passion, Prejudice, and Partiality, in the Army, as in an Assembly? As much in a General as a King or Minister?
Upon the whole I believe it wisest to depart from the Line of Succession, as seldom as possible. But I cannot but think that the Power of departing from it at all, tho liable to Abuses every where, yet safest in the Hands of an Assembly.
But, in our American Army, as that is circumstanced, it is as difficult to Settle a Rule of Succession, as a Criterion of Merit. We have Troops in every Province, from Georgia to New Hampshire. A Colonel is kill'd in New Hampshire. The next Colonel in the American Army, to him, is in Georgia. Must We send, the Colonel from Georgia, to command the Regiment in New Hampshire. Upon his Journey, he is seized with a Fever and dies. The next Colonel is in Canada. We must then send to Canada, for a Colonel to go to Ports• { 328 } mouth, and as the next Colonel to him is in South Carolina We must send a Colonel from S. Carolina to Canada, to command that Regiment. These Marches, and Countermarches, must run through all the Corps of Officers, and will occasion such inextricable Perplexities, delays, and Uncertainties, that We need not hesitate to pronounce it, impracticable and ruinous. Shall We Say then that Succession shall take Place, among the Officers of every distinct Army, or in every distinct Department?
My own private Opinion is, that We shall never be quite right, untill every Colony is permitted to raise their own Troops, and the Rule of succession is established among the Officers of the Colony. This, where there are Troops of Several Colonies, Serving in the Same Camp, may be liable to some Inconveniences. But these will be fewer, than upon any other Plan you can adopt.
It is right I believe, to make the Rule of Promotion among Captains and Subalterns, regimental only. And that among Field Officers, more general. But the Question is how general, it shall be? Shall it extend to the whole American Army? or only to the whole District, or Department? or Only to the Army, serving at a particular Place?
That it is necessary to inlist an Army to serve during the War, or at least for a longer Period than one Year, and to offer some handsome Encouragement for that End, I have been convinced, a long Time. I would make this Temptation to consist partly in Money, and partly in Land, and considerable in both. It has been too long delayed But I think it will now be soon done.
What is the Reason that New York must continue to embarrass the Continent? Must it be so forever? What is the Cause of it? Have they no Politicians, capable of instructing and forming the sentiments of their People? or are their People incapable of seeing and feeling like other Men. One would think that their Proximity to New England, would assimilate their Opinions, and Principles. One would think too that the Army would have some Enfluence upon them. But it Seems to have none. N. York is likely to have the Honour of being the very last of all in imbibing the genuine Principles and the true system of American Policy. Perhaps she will never, entertain them at all. I am, with much Respect, your Friend and servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Gordon, William
Date: 1776-06-23

To William Gordon

[salute] Dear Sir

Your agreable Favour of May the first has lain by me neglected, not for Want of Inclination to answer it, but for Want of Time.
You have deserved highly of this Country, sir, by Setting So amiable and laudable an Example of public Spirit in Signing the subscription for Fortifications. With great Pleasure I have learn'd that, the Harbour is pretty well secured. I hope, in a Post or two, to be informed that every hostile Ship, is either burnt Sunk or driven out of the Harbour.
I am obliged to you, sir, for your Solicitude for the Credit of the American Currency. It is a subject of great Importance. That milled Dollars are esteemed better, is Proof of an Apprehension, that the Paper will, depreciate, rather than a certain Evidence that it has depreciated. The Rise of Goods, in Consequence of the Scarcity and the Demand, makes an Appearance of Depreciation in the Currency greater than it is. However, I candidly acknowledge, that neither the increasing Scarcity of Goods, nor the increasing Demand for Goods for the Use of Armies, are Sufficient to account in my Mind for the Rise of Labour, the Produce of Lands, Manufactures and every Necessary of Life, as it is in the Eastern Colonies, without Supposing that the Currency has Somewhat depreciated.
But you must not Say, that a milled Dollar is better than a Paper Dollar. It is an offence against the Public, which ought to be punished, and the Criminality of it must be ascertained, and punished, to give or take a farthing more for Silver than Paper.
That it is Time to put a Stop to Emissions of American Paper Dollars, I have been convinced, Some time. We must attempt other Ways and Means of Supply. I know of but one Method, and that is to borrow American Bills, and to give in Exchange for Them Notes of the Treasury upon Interest. There will be two Difficulties, attending this. One will be the Rate of Interest. In my Opinion We Shall not be able to borrow at an Interest, lower than Six per Cent. But Some Gentlemen will be obstinately set against an Interest so high as that. Another Difficulty will be to establish proper Funds for the prompt Payment of the Interest, without which the Continental Credit will not be Supported. However all Difficulties give Way, before the Spirit of Americans, whose Vigour Fortitude and Perseverance, will be increased, by those Revolutions in Government which are now taking Place in all the Colonies.
{ 330 }
Unlocated Lands and Quit Rents, may be Some Resource, but not very Soon. We may lay our Account for Taxes, heavy Taxes for many Years.
We expected before this Time to have had the Sense of our Province upon Declarations of Independency, Confederation, and foreign Alliances.1 But I begin to Suspect, that your Delegates must have the Honour of declaring your sense without your positive orders. This will be no Hardship to me, who have been at no loss about the Sense of my Constituents, for a long time, upon these great subjects. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. See Samuel Cooper to JA, 27 May, note 2 (above), for the action on independence. The province had taken no action on a confederation and foreign alliances.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sullivan, John
Date: 1776-06-23

To John Sullivan

[salute] Dear Sir

Your agreable Favour of May the fourth has lain by me unanswered, till now. The Relation of your Negotiations at New York, in order to convince the People of the Utility and necessity of instituting a new Government, is very entertaining, and if you had remained there a few Weeks longer, I conjecture you would have effected a Change in the Politicks of that Region. Is it Deceit, or Simple Dulness in the People of that Colony, which occasions, their excentric and retrograde Politicks?
Your late Letter from Sorell gave Us here many Agreable Feelings.1 We had read Nothing, but the dolefull, the dismall, and the horrible from Canada for a long Time.
The Surrender of the Cedars,2 appears to have been a most infamous Piece of Cowardice. The Officer, if he has nothing to Say for himself more than I can think of, deserves the most infamous Death. It is the first Stain upon American Arms. May immortal Disgrace attend his Name and Character.—I wish however, that he alone had been worthy of Blame.
We have thrown away Canada, in a most Scandalous Manner.
Pray did not opening the Trade to the upper Country, and letting loose the Tories bring upon Us, So many Disasters? For Gods Sake explain to me, the Causes of our Miscarriages in the Province. Let Us know the Truth, which has too long been hidden from Us.
All the military Affairs in that Province, have been in great Confusion, and We have never had any proper Returns, or regular Information, from thence. There is now a Corps of Officers, who will { 331 } certainly Act with more System and more Precision and more Spirit. Pray make Us acquainted with every Thing that is wanted, whether Men, Money, Arms, Ammunition, Cloathing, Tents, Barracks, Forage, Medicines or whatever else. Keep Us constantly informed. Give Us Line upon Line. I fear their is a Chain of Toryism, extending from Canada, through N. York and N. Jersey into Pensilvania, which conducts, Misrepresentation and false Information, and makes Impression here upon credulous, unsuspecting ignorant Whiggs. I wish it may not have for its object, Treasons and Conspiracies of a deeper Die.
There is a young Gentleman bred at Colledge and the Bar, an excellent soldier a good scholar, and a virtuous Man, in your Brigade, who deserves a Station far above that in which he Stands, that of Adjutant to Colonel Greatons Regiment.3 Any Notice you may take of him will be gratefully acknowledged by me as well as him.4
Pray let me know the State of the Small Pox, an Enemy, which We have more Cause to fear than any other. Is it among our Troops? Is it among the Canadians, I mean the Inhabitants of the Country? Can no effectual Means, be used to annihilate the Infection? Cannot it be kept out of the Army? The New England Militia will be of no Use, if they come in ever So great Numbers, if that distemper is to Seize them, as Soon as they arrive.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.” See note 4.
1. See Samuel Chase to JA, 21 June, note 2 (above).
2. The fort at the Cedars, which was about 45 miles southwest of Montreal, was surrendered with apparently little resistance by Maj. Isaac Butterfield on 19 May. Reinforcements under Maj. Henry Sherburne had set out on 16 May to strengthen the fort; unaware that Butterfield had already surrendered, they were ambushed by Canadians and Indians on the 20th (New-England Chronicle, 27 June; Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 138, 494).
3. Nathan Rice. See JA to Horatio Gates, 18 June (above).
4. JA's notation that he sent this letter to Sullivan appears at this point, which is at the bottom of the Letterbook page, as well as at the end of the letter. The next paragraph may have been an addition.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Winthrop, John
Date: 1776-06-23

To John Winthrop

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of June the first is now before me. It is now universally acknowledged that we are, and must be independant states. But Still Objections are made to a Declaration of it. It is said, that such a Declaration, will arouse and unite Great Britain. But are they not already aroused and united, as much as they will be? Will not such a Declaration, arouse and unite the Friends of Liberty, the few who are left, in opposition to the present system? It is also Said that such a Declara• { 332 } tion will put us in the Power of foreign States. That France will take Advantage of Us, when they see We cant recede, and demand severe Terms of Us. That she and Spain too, will rejoice to see Britain and America, wasting each other. But this Reasoning, has no Weight with me, because I am not for soliciting any political Connection, or military Assistance, or indeed naval, from France. I wish for nothing but Commerce, a mere Marine Treaty with them. And this they will never grant, untill We make the Declaration, and this I think they cannot refuse, after We have made it.
The Advantages, which will result from Such a Declaration, are in my opinion very numerous, and very great. After that Event, the Colonies will hesitate no longer to compleat their Governments. They will establish Tests and ascertain the Criminality of Toryism. The Presses will produce no more, Seditious, or traitorous Speculations. Slanders, upon public Men and Measures, will be lessened. The Legislatures of the Colonies will exert themselves, to manufacture, Salt Petre, Sulphur, Powder, Arms, Cannon, Mortars, Cloathing, and every Thing, necessary for the Support of Life. Our civil Governments will feel a Vigour, hitherto unknown. Our military Operations by Sea and Land, will be conducted with greater Spirit. Privateers will Swarm in great Numbers. Foreigners will then exert themselves to Supply Us with what we want. Foreign Courts will not disdain to treat with Us, upon equal Terms. Nay further in my opinion, such a Declaration, instead of uniting the People of Great Britain against Us, will raise Such a Storm against the Measures of Administration as will obstruct the War, and throw the Kingdom into Confusion.
A Committee is appointed to prepare a Confederation of the Colonies, ascertaining the Terms and Ends of the Compact, and the Limits of the Continental Constitution, and another Committee is appointed1 for Purposes as important. These Committees will report in a Week or two, and then the last finishing Stroke will be given to the Politicks of this Revolution. Nothing after that will remain, but War. I think I may then, petition my Constituents for Leave to return to my Family, and leave the War to be conducted by others, who understand it better. I am weary, thoroughly weary, and ought to have a little Rest.2
I am grieved to hear, as I do from various Quarters of that Rage for Innovation, which appears, in So many wild Shapes, in our Province. Are not these ridiculous Projects, prompted, excited, and encouraged by disaffected Persons, in order to divide, dissipate, and distract, the Attention of the People, at a Time, when every Thought { 333 } Should be employed, and every Sinew exerted, for the Defence of the Country? Many of the Projects that I have heard of, are not repairing, but pulling down, the Building, when it is on Fire, instead of labouring to extinguish the Flames. The Projects of County Assemblies, Town Registers, and Town Probates of Wills, are founded in narrow, Notions, Sordid Stingyness and profound Ignorance, and tend directly to Barbarism. I am not Solicitous who takes Offence at this Language. I blush to see such Stuff in our public Papers, which used to breath a Spirit much more liberal.
I rejoice to see, in the Lists of both Houses, So many Names, respectable for Parts and Learning. I hope their Fortitude and Zeal will be in Proportion: and then, I am Sure their Country will have great Cause to bless them. I am, sir, with every sentiment of Friendship and Veneration, your affectionate and humble servant
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:JA-Winthrop Corr.); docketed: “John Adams June 23. 1776”; LbC (Adams Papers).
1. LbC after “appointed” reads: “to draw up a Declaration that these Colonies are free and independent States ——and other Committees are appointed for other Purposes, as important.”
2. In LbC the following clauses are set off here in parentheses with a marginal note reading “not sent”: “unless the General Court will send my Wife and Children to me, and in that Case, I should be as happy here as any where.”

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0135

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-06-24

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear sir

I received your obliging Favour of the 21st. this Morning, and I thank you for it. Dont be angry with me. I hope I shall attone for past Sins of omission soon.
The Express which you mention brought Us Such contradictory accounts, that I did not think it worth while to write to you upon it. In general, Sullivan writes2 that he was intrenching at the Sorell, that the Canadians expressed a great deal of Joy at his Appearance, that they assisted him with Teams and with Wheat, that he had ordered General Thompson with 2000 Men to attack the Enemy, consisting of about 300 according to his Intelligence at the Three Rivers where they were fortifying, and from the Character of Thompson and the goodness of his Troops he had much Confidence of his Sucess—that he hoped to drive away the Enemies ships which had passed the Rapids of Richlieu. This Narration of Sullivans was annimating. But a Letter from Arnold of the Same date, or the next day rather, was wholly in the Dismalls.3
{ 334 }
Gates is gone to Canada and We have done every Thing that you recommended and more to support him.—But for my own Part I confess my Mind is impressed with other Objects the Weight of which appears to me to have been the Source of all our Misfortunes in Canada, and every where else. Make the Tree good and the Fruit will be good. A Declaration of Independency, Confederation, and foreign Alliances, in Season would have put a Stop to that embarrassing opposition in Congress, which has occassioned Us to do the Work of the Lord deceitfully in Canada and elsewhere.
A Resolution of your Convention was read in Congress this Morning, and the Question was put whether your Delegates should have leave to go home, and whether those great Questions should be postponed, beyond the first of July.4 The Determination was in the Negative. We should have been happy to have obliged your Convention and your Delegates, But it is now become public, in the Colonies that those Questions are to be brought in the first of July. The lower Counties have instructed their Members, as the Assembly of Pensilvania have. Jersey has chosen five new Members all independent Souls, and instructed them to vote on the first of July for Independence.5
There is a Conference of Committees from every County of Pensilvania, now Sitting in this City, who yesterday voted that the Delegates for this Colony ought on the first of July to vote for Independence.6 This Vote was not only unanimous, but I am told by one of them, that all the Members declared Seriatim that this was their opinion, and the opinion of the several Counties and Towns they represented, and many of them produced Instructions from their Constituents to vote for that Measure. You see therefore that there is such a universal Expectation that the great Question will be decided the first of July, and it has been already So often postponed, that to postpone it again would hazard Convulsions, and dangerous Conspiracies. It must then come on and be decided. I hope that before Monday Morning next, We shall receive from Maryland, Instructions to do right.

[salute] Pray Send me your Circular Letter and believe me your Friend and sert.

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Begun on the 24th, this letter must have been concluded on the 25th without JA's altering the date. See note 6 and Chase to JA, 28 June (below), where Chase acknowledges receiving JA's letter of the 24th.
2. See Samuel Chase to JA, 21 June, note 2 (above).
3. Probably Gen. Arnold's letter to Gen. Schuyler of 6 June, which was referred to the Board of War on the 18th (JCC, 5:459). In it Arnold says that he expects that Sullivan will have to abandon his post and that he himself will have to give up Montreal if the enemy proceeds along the northern side { 335 } of the river. He goes on to underscore the effects of smallpox and the lack of supplies, adding that “it will be a miracle if we keep the country” (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:925–926).
4. Passed on 21 June, the resolution of the Maryland Convention urged the attendance of their congressional delegates at the Convention in Annapolis on condition that the congress could be persuaded to postpone consideration of independence, a foreign alliance, and confederation until the Maryland delegates returned to the congress (same, p. 1485). Because the congress rejected Maryland's resolution, the JCC make no mention of it.
5. On Delaware and Pennsylvania see JA to Samuel Chase, 14 June, and JA to James Warren, 20 May, note 5 (both above). On New Jersey see Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant to JA, 15 June, note 2 (above).
6. A conference of Pennsylvania county committees, which had been called by the Committee of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, met 18–25 June. The occasion was the need to act on the recommendation of the congress to establish independent state governments. Popular leaders no longer trusted the General Assembly of the province to act. Out of the conference came a call for a convention to draft a constitution, but conference members found that they had to take other actions as well, such as declaring their willingness to support independence and raising 4,500 men for defense. The resolution for independence, which JA says was passed “yesterday,” was adopted on 24, not 23, June. The proceedings of the conference are in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:951–966. They were printed by W. and T. Bradford, Phila., 1776 (Evans, No. 14974).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0136

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1776-06-24

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of May 4th. has lain by me, till this Time unanswered, and I have heard nothing from you Since. I have entertained Hopes of seeing you here before now, as I heard you intended Such an Excursion. I was much obliged to you, for your particular Account of Major Austin, and Mr. Rice. The first I find has the Command of Castle William. The last is gone to Canada, where if he lives through the Dangers of Famine, Pestilence and the sword, I hope General Gates will promote him. I have written to the General concerning him,1 recommending him to the Generals Notice and Favour, in as strong and warm Terms, as I ever used in recommending any one. Rice has got Possession of my Heart, by his prudent, and faithfull Attention to the service.
What is the Reason, that New York is still asleep or dead, in Politicks and War? Must it be always So? Cannot the whole Congregation of Patriots and Heroes, belonging to the Army, now in that Province, inspire it, with one generous Sentiment? Have they no sense, no Feeling? No sentiment? No Passions? While every other Colony is rapidly advancing, their Motions seem to be rather retrograde.
The timid and trimming Politicks of some Men of large Property here, have almost done their Business for them. They have lost their Influence and grown obnoxious. The Quakers and Proprietarians to• { 336 } gether, have little Weight. New Jerseys shews a noble Ardor. Is there any Thing in the Air, or Soil of New York, unfriendly to the Spirit of Liberty? Are the People destitute of Reason, or of Virtue? or what is the Cause?
I agree with you, in your Hopes, that the Massachusetts, will proceed to compleat her Government. You wish me to be there, but I cannot. Mr. Bowdoin or Dr. Winthrop, I hope, will be chosen Governor. When a few mighty matters are accomplished here, I retreat like Cincinnatus, to the Plough and like Sir William Temple to his Garden;2 and farewell Politicks. I am weary. Some of you, younger Folk, must take your Trick and let me go to Sleep. My Children will Scarcely thank me for neglecting their Education and Interest so long. They will be worse off than ordinary Beggars, because I shall teach them as a first Principle not to beg. Pride and Want, though they may be accompanied with Liberty, or at least may live under a free Constitution, are not a very pleasant Mixture, not a very desirable Legacy, yet this is all that I shall leave them. Pray write as often as you can to your
[signed] John Adams
It is reported here that Coll. Read, is intended for the Governor of New Jersey.3 I wish with all my Heart, he may. That Province, is a Spirited, a brave and patriotic People. They want nothing, but a Man of sense, and Principle at their Head. Such an one is Read. His only fault is that he has not quite Fire enough. But this may be an Advantage to him as Governor. His Coolness, and Candour, and goodness of Heart, with his Abilities will make that People very happy.
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); docketed: “June 24th. 1776.”
1. JA to Horatio Gates, 18 June (above).
2. Sir William Temple (1628–1699), English statesman, who forged the triple alliance to combat French ambitions, but whose pro-Dutch policies were undermined by Charles II, causing Temple to return to his carefully tended garden of wall-fruit at Sheen. When peace returned, he served again as ambassador, only to resume his gardening when he fell out of favor once more. He refused a high post under William and Mary (DNB).
3. The first governor of New Jersey was William Livingston. Col. Joseph Reed, a native of New Jersey, had moved his law practice from Trenton to Philadelphia and had held political positions in Pennsylvania before joining Gen. Washington's staff in 1775. After resigning as Washington's secretary, he returned to Pennsylvania, but when he became adjutant general with the rank of colonel in place of Gates, his family returned to New Jersey (DAB; William B. Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, 2 vols., Phila., 1847, 1:189–190).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0137

Author: Gates, Horatio
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-24

From Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear Sir

By the Letters you will by this Post receive in Congress from the Brigadiers Sullivan, and Arnold, it appears to me, that Our Army in Canada are in the Utmost Peril of being lost. An unadvised Step taken in the Sending Genl. Thompson with a Large Detachment to Attack the Enemys post at the Three Rivers, has ended in Defeat, and Disgrace, with The Loss of Thompson, Col. Irwine,1 and 3 Principal Officers taken Prisoners. Arnold for the best Reasons, has retired to St. Johns, where he writes there are near Three Thousand Sick. Now, if Sullivan is Obstinate to retain the Post at Sorrell, and the Enemy push directly A Cross from Montreal to St. Johns, where Arnold is in no Condition to make a Stand, all General Sullivans Command will be cut off. I sett out this Evening, or tomorrow morning for Albany, by Water, as that is the most Expeditious way at this Season of the Year. Where, or in what Condition I shall find the Army, I have no conception! The Prospect is too much Clouded to distinguish Clearly. I have not yet received The Instructions, and Resolves, which Mr. Braxton tells me were preparing for me in Congress, when he left Philadelphia.2 Pray be expeditious in forwarding all Your Orders, and Directions: and you may depend upon an Exact, and regular Communication of Intelligence from me. My Mind is too much employ'd in seeking for resources in the present Critical Emergency, to say more at present. Heaven Guard the Libertys of America, and Inspire Her Officers and Soldiers with that Wisdom and Courage which can alone save Her from Tyranny and Destruction. Yours most truly and Affectionately,
[signed] Horatio Gates
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Member of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia”; stamped: “N. York*June*24 FREE”; docketed: “Gates June 24. 1776.”
1. Col. William Irvine of the 6th Pennsylvania Battalion.
2. The resolutions of the congress affecting Gates' command were adopted on 17 June (JCC, 5:488–451, 453). Gen. Washington sent instructions to Gates on 24 June (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1052–1053).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0138-0001

Author: Walker, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-24

From Thomas Walker

[salute] Honble. Sir

I take the Liberty to enclose you a Letter,1 that you may see the use that is made of the Indulgence, shewn to your prisoners. Another written by Major Dunbar, has been stopped by this Committee,2 and is { 338 } upon their file; giving an Account of the great Confusion in our Provinces and the Attack that is expected to be made by the King's forces. The enclosed Letter is addressed to the Church of England Minister at Montreal, who is King's Chaplain, Chaplain of the Garrison, and has a Salary from the Society depro:3 a violent royalist. It is writ' by a merchant who is married to a Lorimier,4 one of the Noblesse, who has two Brothers, active Indian partizans, who were at the Cedars, and are referr'd to in the postscript. I am with much respect Honble. Sir yr. most obedt and very hum. Servt.
[signed] Thomas Walker5
PS Monsr. Duchenay Seigneur of Beauport, who has been here, a long while said in Confidence to a french man, who reported it to me yesterday that, he staid here, in order to send the News, to the prisoners at Bristol, and Burlington.6
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “(on Continental service) To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE New-York, July 3”; docketed by JA: “Walker June 24. 1776”; in another hand: “T Walker June 24th 1776.” MS torn where the seal was removed. For the enclosure see note 1 (below).
1. The enclosed letter in French from P. Gamelin was addressed: “au Révérénd Docteur Chabrand Delisle, Montréal.”
2. The Albany Committee of Safety, Protection and Correspondence (James Sullivan, ed., Minutes of the Albany Committee of Correspondence, 1775— 1778, 2 vols., Albany, 1923–1925, 1:iii).
3. Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, headquartered in London, which gave support to Anglican missionaries in America.
4. M. de Lormier had urged the attack on the American post at the Cedars. His exploits as a commander of Indians are recounted in “Mes services pendant la guerre américaine de 1775” in H. A. Verreau, Invasion du Canada, collection de mémoires recueillis et annotés par M. l'abbé Verrau, prêtre, Montréal, 1873 (Gustave Lanctot, Canada and the American Revolution, 1774–1783, Cambridge, 1967, p. 141, 287).
5. Walker was a prominent Montreal merchant who supported the American cause and by this time was well known to the members of the congress (JA to John Thomas, 7 March, note 3, above).
6. Bristol, Penna., and Burlington, N.J. (JCC, 6:915; 5:673).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0138-0002-0001

Author: Gamelin, P.
Recipient: Delisle, Chabrand
Date: 1776-06-08

Enclosure: P. Gamelin to Chabrand Delisle

[salute] Monsieur

Quoi que privé de vos belles lettres, mon Epouse ma donné de Vos nouvelles et m'a appris la convalessence de Madame, dont la Maladie vous avois si justement trés occuppé; je Vous prie Monsieur de lui presenter mes respects: j'embrasse vos jolies Enfans, ha? que je resentiré de joie de Vous rejoindre tous, Et qu il m'est flateur de penser que je pourré réprendre l'agréable habitude de Votre bonne Et trés honnête Société.
Un certain Mr. Mersier, m a dit en Son tems, avoir laisé Quebec le 6–may Et Montreal le 10—Etant arrivé a New York le 17. II y a apporté le premier la nouvelle de leur Echec. II m a dit encor ingenument, que l'occasion leur Etoient echapé de reunir le Canada a leurs provs.; je l ai crû Sur Sa parole Sen Exiger de lui le Sermant, les papiers publique ne nous Sonts point déffandû, j'ai souscrit pour avoir les meilleurs que j espere Vous porter chés-vous: je prie l'Eternel, d'ordonner que sa soit bientot, Employé je vous en Suplie Monsieur, toute votre meilleur credit auprés de notre bien fésant Général, pour mon rapel auprés de Ma chere famille, pour vu que Sela puise S'accorder avec L'honneur Et les Sentiments delicat que vous m avés toujours connû. Je crois que tout les individus, qui ont fait retentir les airs, du mot liberté, Se Sonts tous trés eloigné de Se precieux trésor, qu ils ont En fouis, pours des Siecles qui Séronts avec peinne découvert par leur arriere Neveûx. Je Sai que la liberté, Est le premier des biéns; mais se ne sera jamais l'entousiasme qui me la fera recouvrer: je m estime heureux dans ma prison de Pinsilvanie, parce que je me flatte que le calme qui va Succeder a l'horible tempête qui ma frapé me procurera beaucoup de douceur, m'a liberté: m'a precieuse liberté amen.
{ 339 }
Dr. Franklin, et Son confrere loyaliste, mon bien vouluent assurer a leur retour de notre province, qu ils n'avoient connu aucun des miens en Canada, ce qui m'a fait un vrai plaisir. Ser Wam. J——a Eté delivré de La captivité de prisonnier par les Six Nations Sauvages, et ont le dit être avec eux, à la tête de 900 Blanc. Les 24 Sauvages qui Sont actuellement a philadelphia, ni sont à se que l'on M'a assuré de trés bonne part que pour queus ailler des presents et non pour faire aliance avec les membres (infirmus) Congrés.
A Dieu Monsieur, je vais cesser de vous ennuyer, ces abuser de votre Complaisance: mais Veuillé donc encor avoir la bonté de me permettre de me dire avec le plus profond respect. Monsieur, votre trés humble & trés obeysant Serviteur
[signed] P Gamelin
NB. Je vous prie de proteger mes freres, je suppose que Si Dieu, les à conservé qu ils auronts Eté En bon occasion de Sa quiter de leur precieux dévoir. Ils Sont Braves. Sela Suffit, pour qu ils ayont den Ennemi parmi. Nos cheres, et parfait jaloux, compatriotes. L'on parle bien fort de nous s'envoyer à nos cheres familles, Se que je Souhaite.
[signed] GN

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0138-0002-0002

Author: Gamelin, P.
Recipient: Delisle, Chabrand
Date: 1776-06-08

P. Gamelin to Chabrand Delisle: A Translation

[salute] Dear Sir

Although I have been deprived of your fine letters, my wife has given me news of you and has informed me of the convalescence of Madame, whose illness had kept you understandably very busy; please forward my respects to her: I embrace your lovely Children. Ha! what joy it would be for me to be with you again, and how flattering is the thought that I might resume the pleasant habit of Your good and very honorable Company.
A Mr. Mersier has told me in due course of having left Quebec on the 6th of May and Montreal on the 10th—arriving in New York on the 17th. He was the first one to bring there the news of their Failure. He also added frankly, that they had lost their chance of uniting Canada to their provinces; I took his word for it without requesting the Oath. The newspapers are not forbidden us; I took a subscription to get the best which I hope I shall be able to bring home to you: I pray God the Eternal that He order it soon. I beg you Sir to use all your influence with our beneficient General, for my recall close to my dear family, so far as it accords with the honor and noble feelings you have always found in me. I think that those who have made the air resound with the word Liberty, have strayed far from that precious treasure, burying it for centuries and that it will be unearthed only with difficulty by their grandnephews. I know Liberty to be the foremost good; but enthusiasm for it will never recover it for me: I deem myself happy in my Pennsylvania jail, for I like to think that the calm which will follow the horrible storm that has beset me will bring me much solace, my freedom: my precious freedom, amen.
{ 340 }
Dr. Franklin, and His loyalist1 colleague, have been good enough to assure me, upon returning from our province, that they had met no one from my family in Canada, which really pleased me. Sir William J——2 was released from imprisonment by the Six Nations and he is said to be with them, at the head of 900 white men. The 24 Savages now in Philadelphia are there, according to what I have been told by very good sources, only to bring gifts and not to form an alliance with the members of a (weak) Congress.
Farewell, dear Sir, I shall not trouble you further for it would be an abuse of your Patience: but do allow me the liberty of expressing my deepest respect for you, while remaining, Sir, your very humble and very obedient Servant.
[signed] P. Gamelin
NB. I ask you to protect my brothers. I suppose that if God has kept them alive they were able to accomplish their precious duty. They are Brave. That is reason enough to have enemies amongst our dear and perfectly envious fellow countrymen. There has been strong talk of sending us back to our dear families, my deepest Wish,
[signed] GN
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the enclosing document.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “(on Continental service) To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE New-York, July 3”; docketed by JA: “Walker June 24. 1776”; in another hand: “T Walker June 24th 1776.” MS torn where the seal was removed. For the enclosure see note 1(below)for JA to Thomas Walker, above.
1. Possibly Father John Carroll, who had accompanied the three commissioners, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll, on their mission to Canada in the spring of 1776. The priest came to the conclusion that the Canadians had less reason to fight than the Americans and that, therefore, in good conscience he could not try to persuade them to abandon their neutrality (Lanctot, Canada and the American Revolution, p. 135).
2. A mistake for Sir John Johnson, who succeeded to Sir William's title. In January, Gen. Schuyler had marched toward Johnstown, parleyed with alarmed Mohawk sachems, and forced Sir John to surrender most of his arms and accept a condition of parole. By the following May, Schuyler, now convinced that Sir John was actively hostile to the American cause, sent a force to put him under close arrest. He escaped, and it was thought that Indians had helped him to get away (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 4:818–829; 6:447, 480, 511). Sir John was made colonel of the Royal Greens Regiment, { 341 } which later took part in St. Leger's expedition in the Mohawk Valley in 1777 (Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, ed. John Richard Alden, 2 vols., N.Y., 1952, 2:478, 481–482).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0139-0001

Editorial Note

No member of the congress played a greater role in 1775 and 1776 in bringing about a separation of the American colonies from Great Britain than John Adams, even if we make allowances for his tendency in old age to push back into time the moment when he became unequivocally committed to independence. His influence was exerted right up through the adoption of the formal resolution itself, but his contribution to the language of the Declaration of Independence was slight. He readily admitted that, and by 1805 he was uncertain whether he had made any contribution at all (Diary and Autobiography, 3:336–337).
The admission did not bother him, for, as he saw it, the fact of declaring independence was the critical matter. In 1776 he never imagined, nor did most delegates, that the words which declared the colonies free and independent would play the role in American history that they have. This accounts for his writing to Abigail that 2 July would be “the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:30). The ideas of the Declaration were common enough among Americans and had been for years. “Hackneyed,” John Adams later called them. Moreover, in mid-summer of 1776 there was need for haste (JA to Samuel Chase, 1 July, below; JA to Timothy Pickering, 6 Aug. 1822, Works, 2:514). In the view of a majority in the congress, formal separation had already been too long delayed; the people in most of the colonies had plainly indicated that they were ready for the step. In the face of such urgency, what matter the words? The draft was written by an acknowledged master penman. Why waste time quibbling? But the members of the congress took considerable pains with Jefferson's handiwork, and even the greatest admirers of Jefferson today believe that the rephrasing and excisions of the congress gave the document more force, here and there, and made it politically more feasible.
A formal declaration of independence became an unavoidable issue on 7 June, when Richard Henry Lee introduced his three-part motion resolving that “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and { 342 } independent States,” that measures should be taken to form alliances with foreign powers, and that a scheme of confederation should be drafted and sent to the several colonies for their approval (John H. Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence: Its History, N.Y., 1906, photograph of Lee's resolution in his handwriting, facing p. 108). Adams seconded Lee's motion. No record of this fact has been found other than a statement in Adams' Autobiography, but there is no reason to doubt his word, for it is unlikely that he would have become confused about so simple a matter. There is no need, however, to accept his further statement that the records omit mention of his and Lee's names because Secretary Thomson, as a member of the group opposed to Adams and others who were pushing for extreme measures, deliberately excluded them. The secretary never included the names of makers of motions nor their seconders.
Lee was speaking in behalf of the Virginia delegation, for that colony on 15 May had resolved that its delegates should propose to the congress a declaration of independence. The Virginia resolution had been laid before the congress on 27 May, but Lee did not offer his motion until eleven days later. Obviously among those desiring independence soon there was some consultation about the appropriate time to make a motion. Samuel Adams knew at least one day in advance when Lee would rise for the purpose (JCC, 4:397; 5:425; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:475). According to Jefferson's notes of the proceedings, taken at the time, the pressure of other business caused discussion of Lee's motion to be put off until the 8th, when the congress in committee of the whole spent virtually the entire day on it, with the debate continuing on the following Monday, 10 June.
Those who argued against the motion—John Dickinson, James Wilson, Edward Rutledge, and others—believed that it was premature. For one thing, the Middle Colonies had not yet modified their instructions to their delegates on the question of independence. For another, it was best to wait for the American agent's report on the attitude of France. Adams was one of several who spoke in favor of Lee's motion. Unfortunately, although Jefferson summarized in some detail what was said on each side, he did not attach names to particular arguments. Several, however, seem characteristic of Adams: a declaration would merely acknowledge an already existing fact; regulation of American trade by Parliament was owing, not to any right but to the colonies' acquiescence; allegiance to the King had been dissolved by his declaring the colonies out of his protection and making war on them. No doubt there are others as well (JCC, 5:427; Jefferson, Papers, 1:309–313).
Those opposed to a declaration sought delay. Edward Rutledge confessed to John Jay that he would move to postpone a vote “for 3 Weeks or Months.” As it was, the vote on Lee's motion was put over until 1 July; but, so that no time would be lost, the congress agreed to appoint a committee to draft a formal declaration to be ready if the delegates should vote for independence (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:476–477; { 343 } JCC, 5:428–429). The congress chose Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston for the committee. Adams and Jefferson later gave somewhat different accounts of how it happened that Jefferson made the draft for the committee's consideration. In essence, Adams claimed that the two men were members of a subcommittee, and that he pressed the chore upon his younger colleague for a variety of political and personal reasons; Jefferson simply said that he was chosen by the committee of five (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:336; Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, Princeton, 1945, p. 10–11). Scholars now generally agree that Jefferson showed his draft first to Adams and then to Franklin before he presented it to the entire committee (but see Julian Boyd's penetrating discussion of the evidence, Jefferson, Papers, 1:404–406, note).
At an early stage of the revisions that Jefferson's draft underwent, Adams copied off the entire document. By the calculations of Julian Boyd, who has made in books and articles a masterly analysis of the texts of the Declaration of Independence, “only sixteen of an ultimate total of eighty-six alterations had been made when Adams transcribed it, and these were chiefly of a minor character” (Declaration of Independence, p. 18). The Adams copy is extremely important for demonstrating the evolution of the text from Jefferson's “original Rough draught,” as he called it, which exists now only as a much marked-up document, to the Declaration so familiar today. The copy is also important for another reason. Adams' laboriously transcribing it when he did suggests that he was satisfied with Jefferson's work before it had undergone much alteration, so much so that on 3 July he sent the copy to his wife. In her reply to her husband of 14 July, Abigail remarked, “I cannot but feel sorry that some of the most Manly Sentiments in the Declaration are Expunged from the printed coppy. Perhaps wise reasons induced it.” Because the copy was in his handwriting, she may have concluded that he had written the Declaration and was quick to defend his work. She also had strong feelings about the evil of slavery, which Jefferson's draft condemned (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:46–49 and notes).
In his old age Adams expressed some reservations about the language of the Declaration that he claimed to have had at the time of its composition. Although he was “delighted” with Jefferson's attack on the slave trade, he knew that the southern members would not accept that part of the Declaration; and Adams objected to Jefferson's calling George III a tyrant: “I thought the expression too passionate, and too much like scolding, for so grave and solemn a document” (JA to Timothy Pickering, 6 Aug. 1822, Works, 2:514). The two identifiable contributions that Adams made to the wording and noteworthy changes that Jefferson made before Adams took his copy are indicated in the annotation to the copy (below).
The report of the committee of five was delivered to the congress and read on 28 June, but discussion of it had to wait until the members had { 344 } acted on Lee's resolution calling for independence (JCC, 5:491). As agreed, debate in the committee of the whole began on 1 July. That a majority in favor of independence would prevail was a foregone conclusion, but for obvious reasons the members wanted unanimity if it could be secured. The prospects were excellent. All but two of the doubtful colonies had apparently fallen into line. On 14 June, Pennsylvania had repealed its instructions to its delegates which had forbidden them to support independence; on the 22d New Jersey had empowered its delegates to vote for independence, as had Maryland on the 28th. Delaware also gave its delegates “full Powers” (JA to James Warren, 20 May, note 5, above; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1628–1629; JA to Samuel Chase, 14 June and note 5, above). Meanwhile, the New York delegates wrote home, urgently asking for instructions if the vote should go in favor of independence. In its answer the New York Convention declared it “imprudent” to raise the question of independence with its constituents when they were being asked to consider a new government. Feeling that it lacked any clear mandate from the people on independence, the Convention refused to instruct the delegates on that subject, leaving them unable to act (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:477; Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:814).
The debate ran on for most of the day, and, when the vote was taken in the committee of the whole, Pennsylvania and South Carolina stood opposed; Delaware, with only two of its three delegates present, was divided and therefore not counted; and New York, despite the private sentiments of its delegates, perforce abstained. When the committee of the whole rose and reported, Edward Rutledge, who had opposed a declaration, sought to defer the official vote until the next day, when he thought members of his delegation might vote in favor of the resolution for the sake of unanimity. On 2 July, Rutledge's anticipations were fulfilled; Caesar Rodney, summoned by Thomas McKean, rode posthaste and arrived in time to break the tie in the Delaware delegation; and enough Pennsylvania delegates took advantage of the freedom recently granted them by the Assembly, which was now a discredited body anyway, to carry that province into the favorable column. Only New York remained on the fence; its delegates were unable to join the other twelve United Colonies until the New York Convention gave them authorization on 9 July (Jefferson, Papers, 1:314; McKean to Caesar A. Rodney, 22 [Sept.?] 1813, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:534).
According to John Adams, the extended debate on 1 July produced no new arguments on either side; but in his Autobiography, he recalled that Dickinson “in a Speech of great Length, and all his Eloquence” combined and summarized all that had been said before on independence. When no one rose to reply, Adams reluctantly got to his feet to show the weaknesses in the carefully prepared oration that he had just heard. Later Adams remembered that Dickinson had spoken with “Politeness and Candour: and was answered in the Same Spirit” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:396; JA to Samuel Chase, 1 July, below). Dickinson's speech has been carefully { 345 } reconstructed from his notes, but Adams spoke extemporaneously and in later years could recall no details of what he had said except his expressed wish that he could have had the speaking powers of the great orators of Greece and Rome on that historic occasion. That he was correct in saying that he replied to Dickinson rather than the other way around is borne out by a thoughtful analysis of Dickinson's speech (Diary and Autobiography, 3:396–397; J. H. Powell, “Speech of John Dickinson Opposing the Declaration of Independence, 1 July, 1776,” PMHB, 65:458–481 [Oct. 1941]). In his Autobiography, Adams describes himself as speaking a second time, repeating most of what had been said, for the benefit of newly elected and late-arriving delegates from New Jersey, although two years later, in a letter to Mercy Otis Warren, he mentions speaking only once (JA to Mrs. Warren, 17 Aug. 1807, MHS, Colls., 5th ser., 4 [1878]: 465–469).
Whether Adams spoke once or twice, contemporaries left warm tributes to the importance of his efforts on that day. George Walton in a letter to Adams in 1789 wrote of his able and faithful development of the great question. Richard Stockton's son recalled that his father, a New Jersey delegate, called Adams “the Atlas of American Independence.” And in 1813 Jefferson described Adams as “the pillar of [the resolution's] support on the floor of Congress, it's ablest advocate and defender against the multifarious assaults it encountered” and reportedly referred in 1824 to Adams as “our Colossus on the floor,” adding, “He was not graceful or elegant, nor remarkably fluent, but he came out occasionally with a power of thought and expression, that moved us from our seats” (all quoted by Hazelton, Declaration of Independence, p. 161–162).
Once Lee's resolution on independence had passed, the congress turned immediately to the Declaration itself, and for parts of three days the committee of the whole worked over its language. Adams' Autobiography makes no mention of the work of revision or whether he said anything in defense of Jefferson's composition. The omission only confirms the belief that for Adams, even as late as 1805, the significant thing was not the cadences of Jefferson's prose or the enshrinement of noble ideals by which Americans could measure their performance, but the fact of independence, for which he had labored for so many months.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0139-0002

Author: Continental Congress
Date: 1776-06-28

A Declaration by1 the Representatives of the United States of America in general Congress assembled

When in the Course of human Events it becomes necessary for a People to advance from that Subordination, in which they have hitherto remained and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the equal and independent Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Natures God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Man• { 346 } | view { 347 } kind requires that they Should declare the Causes, which impell them to the Change.
We hold these Truths to be self evident;3 that all Men are created equal and independent; that from that equal Creation they derive Rights inherent and unalienable; among which are the Preservation of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; that to Secure these Ends, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the governed; that whenever, any form of Government, Shall become destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter, or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in Such Form, as to them Shall Seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence indeed will dictate that Governments long established Should not be changed for light and transient Causes: and accordingly all Experience hath Shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to Suffer, while Evils are Sufferable, than to right themselves, by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, begun at a distinguish'd Period, and pursuing invariably, the Same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute4 Power, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off Such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and Such is now the Necessity, which constrains them to expunge their former Systems of Government. The History of his present Majesty,5 is a History, of unremitting Injuries and Usurpations, among which no one Fact Stands Single or Solitary to contradict the Uniform Tenor of the rest, all of which have in direct Object, the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be Submitted to a candid World, for the Truth of which We pledge a Faith, as yet unsullied by Falshood. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation, till his Assent Should be obtained; and when So suspended he has neglected utterly to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the Accommodation of large Districts of People, unless those People would relinquish the Right of Representation in the Legislature,6 a Right inestimable to them, and formidable to Tyrants only.7
He has dissolved Representative Houses, repeatedly, and continually, { 348 } for opposing with manly Firmness his Invasions, on the Rights of the People.
He has refused,8 for a long Space of Time after Such Dissolutions,9 to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their Exercise, the State remaining in the mean Time, exposed to all the Dangers of Invasion, from without, and Convulsions within—
He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their Migrations hither; and raising the Conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has Suffered the Administration of Justice totally to cease in some of these Colonies, refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing judiciary Powers.
He has made our Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and amount of their Salaries:
He has created a Multitude of new Offices by a Self-assumed Power, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our People and eat out their Substance.
He has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies and Ships of War.
He has affected to render the military, independent of, and Superiour to, the Civil Power:
He has combined10 with others to subject Us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their pretended Act of Legislation; for quartering large Bodies of armed Troops among Us; for protecting them by a Mock Tryal from Punishment for any Murders they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States; for cutting off our Trade with all Parts of the World; for imposing Taxes on us without our Consent; for depriving us of the Benefits of Trial by Jury; for transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended Offences: for taking away our Charters, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments; for suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for US in all Cases Whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, withdrawing his Governors, and declaring us, out of his Allegiance and Protection.
He has plundered our Seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our Towns, and destroyed the Lives of our People.
He is at this Time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries { 349 } to compleat the Works of death, Desolation, and Tyranny, already begun with Circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
He has endeavoured to bring on the Inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare is an undistinguished Destruction of all Ages, Sexes, and Conditions of Existence.
He has incited treasonable Insurrections of our Fellow Citizens,11 with the Allurement of Forfeiture and Confiscation of our Property.
He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most Sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere, or to incur miserable Death, in their Transportation thither. This piratical Warfare, the opprobrium of infidel Powers, is the Warfare of the Christian King of Great Britain, <determined to>12
He has prostituted his Negative for Suppressing every legislative Attempt to prohibit or to restrain an execrable Commerce, determined to keep open a Markett where Men Should be bought and Sold, and that this Assemblage of Horrors might Want no Fact of distinguished Die
He is now exciting those very People to rise in Arms among US, and to purchase that Liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the People upon whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off, former Crimes committed against the Liberties of one People, with Crimes which he urges them to commit against the Lives of another.
In every Stage of these Oppressions we have petitioned for redress, in the most humble Terms; our repeated Petitions have been answered by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every Act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a People who mean to be free. Future Ages will Scarce believe, that the Hardiness of one Man, adventured, within the Short Compass of twelve years only, on So many Acts of Tyranny, without a Mask, over a People, fostered and fixed in the Principles of Liberty.
Nor have we been wanting in Attentions to our British Brethren. We have warned them from Time to Time of attempts of their Legislature, to extend a Jurisdiction over these our States. We have reminded them of the Circumstances of our Emigration and Settlement here, no one of which could warrant So Strange a Pretension. That these were effected at the Expence of our own Blood and Treasure, { 350 } unassisted by the Wealth or the Strength of Great Britain: that in constituting indeed, our Several Forms of Government, We had adopted one common King, thereby laying a Foundation for perpetual League and Amity with them: but that Submission to their Parliament, was no Part of our Constitution, nor ever in Idea, if History may be credited: and We appealed to their Native Justice and Magnanimity, as well as to the Ties of our common Kindred to disavow these Usurpations, which were likely to interrupt our Correspondence and Connection. They too have been deaf to the Voice of Justice and of Consanguinity, and when Occasions have been given them by the regular Course of their Laws of removing from their Councils, the Disturbers of our Harmony, they have by their free Election, reestablished them in Power. A[t] this very Time too, they are permitting their Chief Magistrate to send over not only Soldiers of our common Blood, but Scotch and foreign Mercenaries, to invade and deluge Us in Blood. These Facts have given the last Stab to agonizing Affection, and manly Spirit bids us to renounce forever these unfeeling Brethren. We must endeavour to forget our former Love for them, and to hold them, as we hold the rest of Mankind Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. We might have been a free and a great People together; but a Communication of Grandeur and of Freedom it seems is below their Dignity. Be it So, Since they will have it: The Road to Happiness and to Glory13 is open to Us too; We will climb it, apart from them,14 and acquiesce in the Necessity which denounces our eternal Seperation!15
We therefore the Representatives of the united States of America in General Congress assembled, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these States, reject and renounce all Allegiance and subjection to the Kings of Great Britain, and all others, who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; We utterly dissolve and break off all political Connection which may have heretofore Subsisted between Us and the People or [Parliament] of Great Britain, and finally We do assert and declare these Colonies to be free and independent States, and that as free and independent States they shall hereafter have Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which independent States may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honour.
MS in JA's hand (Adams Papers); written on four folio pages made from a large folded sheet of paper like that used by Jefferson for his draft; several small tears partially obscuring a word or two.
{ 351 }
1. Jefferson substituted “by” for “of.” Identification of this and other changes that were made before JA made his transcript is based on Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, p. 22–25. This work includes photographs of Jefferson's draft, JA's copy, and other pertinent documents. It should be noted that JA followed his own preference in capitalizing letters and words.
2. JA made his copy before the committee of five made changes and thus before the committee reported to the congress.
3. Boyd has argued persuasively that the substitution of “self-evident” for “sacred and undeniable” was Jefferson's work.
4. Jefferson substituted “reduce” for “subject” and “under absolute” for “to arbitrary.”
5. After he had made his copy, JA suggested substituting “the present King of Great Britain” for “his present majesty.” In a marginal note to his draft, Jefferson indicated that JA wrote in this alteration.
6. In his draft Jefferson inserted “in the legislature” above the line.
7. Jefferson substituted “only” for “alone,” which was erased.
8. Jefferson substituted “he has refused” for “he has dissolved.”
9. “After such Dissolutions” is inserted above the line in Jefferson's draft. A marginal note attributes the change to JA.
10. The first three letters of this word are hardly legible because of a blot in JA's copy.
11. Jefferson substituted “citizens” for “subjects,” which was erased.
12. JA started to continue on here as does Jefferson's draft, not observing at first that “determined to keep open . . . bought & sold” was bracketed for omission. The phrase was interlined below after “execrable commerce,” but “determined” was changed to “determining,” an alteration that JA overlooked.
13. Jefferson substituted “to happiness & to glory” for “to glory & happiness.”
14. Jefferson substituted “apart from them” for “separately,” which he had substituted for “in a separate state.”
15. Jefferson substituted “denounces” for “pronounces” and “eternal separation” for “everlasting Adieu.” In summary, before JA made his copy he made only a single alteration in Jefferson's draft (see note 9, above). All the other changes here noted were made by Jefferson in the course of writing and before JA did his copying. Additional changes were made in the committee of five, but apart from the one mentioned in note 5 (above), it is impossible to tell what changes, if any, were suggested by JA. Boyd describes committee-made changes at p. 28–31.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0140

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-28

From Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

I thank You for your two Letters of the 17th. and 24th Instant. They were handed to Me in Convention. I shall offer no other Apology for Concluding, than that I am this Moment from the House to procure an Express to follow the Post with an Unanimous Vote of our Convention for Independence etc. etc. See the glorious Effects of County Instructions. Our people have fire if not smothered. Poor Genl. Thompson!
I charge You to write to Me!
Now for a government.

[salute] Jubeo Te bene valere.1 Adieu. Your Friend,

[signed] S Chase
1. Freely, stay well.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Bulloch, Archibald
Date: 1776-07-01

To Archibald Bulloch

[salute] Dear Sir

Two Days ago I received, your Favour of May 1st. I was greatly disappointed, Sir, in the Information you gave me, that you Should be prevented from revisiting Philadelphia. I had flattered myself with Hopes of your joining Us soon, and not only affording Us the additional Strength of your Abilities and Fortitude, but enjoying the Satisfaction of Seeing a Temper and Conduct here, Somewhat more agreable to your Wishes, than those which prevailed when you was here before. But I have Since been informed, that your Countrymen, have done themselves the Justice to place you at the Head of their Affairs, a Station in which you may perhaps render more essential Service, to them and to America, than you could here.
There Seems to have been a great Change in the sentiments of the Colonies, Since you left Us, and I hope that a few Months will bring Us all to the Same Way of thinking.
This Morning is assigned for the greatest Debate of all. A Declaration that these Colonies are free and independent States, has been reported by a Committee appointed Some Weeks ago for that Purpose, and this day or Tomorrow is to determine its Fate. May Heaven prosper, the new born Republic,—and make it more glorious than any former Republic has been.
The Small Pox has ruined the American Army in Canada, and of Consequence the American Cause. A series of Disasters, has happened there; partly owing I fear to the Indecision at Philadelphia, and partly to the Mistakes or Misconduct of our Officers, in that Department. But the small Pox, which infected every Man We sent there compleated our Ruin, and have compell'd us to evacuate that important Province. We must however regain it, sometime or other.
My Countrymen have been more successful at sea, in driving all the Men of War, compleatly out of Boston Harbour, and in making Prizes of a great Number of Transports and other Vessells.
We are in daily Expectation of an Armament before New York, where, if it comes the Conflict must be bloody. The Object is great which We have in View, and We must expect a great Expence of Blood to obtain it. But We should always remember, that a free Constitution of civil Government cannot be purchased at too dear a Rate; as there is nothing on this Side of the new Jerusalem, of equal Importance to Mankind.
It is a cruel Reflection that a little more Wisdom, a little more { 353 } Activity, or a little more Integrity would have preserved Us Canada, and enabled Us to Support this trying Conflict at less Expence of Men and Money. But irretrievable Miscarriages ought to be lamented, no further, than to enoble and Stimulate Us to do better in future.
Your Colleagues Hall and Gwinn[ett], are here in good Health, and Spirits, and as firm as you yourself could wish them.1 Present my Compliments to Mr. Houstoun. Tell him the Colonies will have Republics, for their Government, let us Lawyers and your Divine Say what We will.2 I have the Honour to be, with great Esteem and Respect, Sir, your, sincere friend, and most humble Servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Lyman Hall and Button Gwinett, delegates from Georgia. Hall had been serving since March 1775, representing St. John's Parish before the colony itself chose to be represented. Gwinett was a new member (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, i:xliv).
2. John Houstoun, a former member from Georgia, was a lawyer and an early advocate of the whig cause. The “Divine” was John J. Zubly, Presbyterian minister, who as one of the Georgia members in 1775 favored reconciliation and declared, according to JA, that “A Republican Government is little better than a Government of Devils. I have been acquainted with it from 6 Years old” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:204). The implication of JA's remark is that the people, not lawyers, were pushing for independent republican government. Zubly later became a loyalist (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-01

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favour by the Post this Morning gave me much Pleasure, but the generous and unanimous Vote of your Convention, gave me much more. It was brought into Congress this Morning, just as We were entering on the great Debate.1
That Debate took up the most of the day, but it was an idle Mispence of Time for nothing was Said, but what had been repeated and hackneyed in that Room before an hundred Times for Six Months past.
In the Committee of the whole, the Question was carried in the Affirmative and reported to the House. A Colony desired it to be postponed untill tomorrow.2 Then it will pass by a great Majority, perhaps with almost Unanimity: yet I cannot promise this. Because, one or two Gentlemen, may possibly be found, who will vote point blank against the known and declared Sense of their Constituents, Maryland, however, I have the Pleasure to inform you, behaved well: Paca,3 generously and nobly.
{ 354 }
Alass Canada! We have found Misfortune and disgrace in that Quarter. Evacuated at last. Transports arrived at Sandy Hook, from whence We may expect an Attack in a Short Time, upon New York or New Jersey, and our Army not So Strong as we could wish. The Militia of New Jersey and New England, not So ready, as they ought to be.
The Romans made it a fixed Rule never to send or receive Embassadors, to treat of Peace with their Enemies, while their Affairs, were in an Adverse or disastrous Situation. There was a Generosity and Magnanimity in this, becoming Freemen. It flowed from that Temper and those Principles, which alone can preserve the Freedom of a People. It is a Pleasure, to find our Americans, of the Same Temper. It is a good Symptom forboding a good End.
If you imagine that I expect this Declaration, will ward off, Calamities from this Country, you are much mistaken. A bloody Conflict We are destined to endure. This has been my opinion, from the Beginning. You will certainly remember, my decided opinion was, at the first Congress, when We found, that We could not agree upon an immediate Non Exportation, that the Contest, would not be Settled without Bloodshed, and that, if Hostilities Should once commence, they would terminate in an incurable Animosity, between the two Countries.4 Every political Event, Since the Nineteenth of April 1775 has confirmed me in this opinion. If you imagine that I flatter myself, with Happiness and Halcyon days, after a Seperation from Great Britain, you are mistaken again. I dont expect that our new Governments will be So quiet, as I could wish, nor that happy Harmony, Confidence and Affection between the Colonies, that every good American ought to study, labor, and pray for, a long time.
But Freedom is a Counterballance for Poverty, Discord, and War, and more. It is your hard Lott and mine to be called into Life, at such a Time.—Yet even these Times have their Pleasures. I am your Friend and servant.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.” Tr (Adams Papers) in an unknown hand differs in punctuation and capitalization and includes a signature, which looks too carefully formed to be genuine; moreover, for security reasons JA did not usually sign letters in this period. At the top is the notation “No. II.”
1. Chase's letter of 28 June (above) reported Maryland's vote empowering its delegates to vote for independence. See JA's Copy of the Declaration of Independence [ante 28 June], Editorial Note (above).
2. South Carolina.
3. William Paca, delegate from Maryland.
4. JA had written in this vein to James Burgh in Dec. 1774 (JA, Papers, 2:206).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0143

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-01

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

We are full of anxious Expectation here. Howe has sail'd from Hallifax, it is suppos'd for N. York, and is probably there before this Time, for he left the former place on 10th June as we have been inform'd by several Masters of Vessels arriv'd here. Just after receiving this Advice we were alarm'd with an Account of the Plot at N. York.1 The Discovery seems very fortunate, and the whole may turn out to the Advantage of the common Cause. We ought to guard ev'ry where in the strictest Manner against such Treachery, and to make striking Examples of the guilty. We are in ev'ry Sense too unguarded here for Want of an active Commander. W. tho out of Health, and seldom seen by any Body, and tho his Resignation has been accepted long ago, is still consider'd as having the Command. I have wrote to Mr. S.A. upon this Point. All Canada is, I am afraid, lost for this Year. We have just receiv'd Advice from Schuyler that our Forces have retir'd to Isle Noix.2 Whence comes this strange Reverse before any large Reinforcements could have come to act against us? Resolution and Activity may yet repair all. Providence seems not to intend that Canada should incorporate with us and make Part of the American States.
In your last to me you express'd the kindest Concern for the Safety of our Harbor in what you Suggested about Gallies, Fire Rafts &c. At present we seem not to be in immediate Want of this Kind of Defence, and to be as safe, had we a military Genius at our Head, as any Port on the Continent. The Driving away the Enemies Ships demonstrates what might have been done long ago.
I know you must be greatly press'd with the Multiplicity and Weight of public Affairs; yet I cannot forbear saying a Word or two on our Paper Currency. It must as Things now go on greatly depretiate. To prevent this, Would it be expedient, That no Currency should be allowed in any of the Colonies but Continental—that ev'ry Colony should call in its own outstanding Notes, exchanging them for continental, borrowed for its own internal Use? Would not this prevent indiscreet Emissions in the smaller ones, and a thousand Altercations respecting their Credit? Would not the pledg'd Faith of an whole Continent better support the Value of all the Notes now extant, than it can be supported in their present various Forms? Would not this cement us more together, and be attended with other advantages? And might not the Congress, should it find its Notes abroad in too great a Quantity, borrow them of the Possessors at an Interest, which would lessen { 356 } their Quantity and enhance their Value. I only give these imperfect Hints upon a Subject that appears to me, and to your Friend Col. Quincy greatly important, who earnestly desir'd me to mention it to you. I am Sir, with great Regard, Your's
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in CFA's hand: “from Dr. Cooper.”
1. How Cooper acquired his information about a plot in New York is not known, but on 4 July the New-England Chronicle carried an extract of a letter from New York dated 23 June that told of a plot of about a hundred people to join the forces of Howe upon his arrival. Some were to undertake the killing of Gen. Washington and other generals, and others were to blow up the American magazines. All of the relevant documents are printed in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1152–1183. A detailed narrative account is in Freeman, Washington, 4:114–121. See also William Tudor to JA, 7 July (below).
2. About fifteen miles below St. John's (New-England Chronicle, 4 July).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0144

Author: Palmer, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-01

From Joseph Palmer

[salute] Dear Sir

Yesterday I had the honor of dining with your Lady, all well. Having an opportunity by my Friend Dr. Craigie, I Steal a few moments from the public, just to thank you, Mr. Paine, and other my good Friends for their many Friendly Letters respecting public matters. They have had good effects; and this assurance will, I hope, encourage you all in persevereance. I am not able to write, unless by breaking in upon the public; but I hope Soon to write much more fully; my hands have really been very full; in addition to other public matters, I have been called upon Several times in my Military capacity,1 and have been obliged to attend much upon the Fortifications. Since we drove the Enemy out of the Harbour, we have been visited by a part of the Scotch Fleet; the 2 first we Secured; but then appeared 10 more, whose Comodore appeared very cautious, and wou'd not come within the Light House, and after about a Week being in the Bay, they disappeared : We waited upon them in hope of their coming in, having at Nantasket about 7 or 800 of Colonial Troops, and a part of my Brigade; we hid ourselves, and covered our Works, but it wou'd not do, the enemy wou'd not venture in.

[salute] I am call'd upon—so bid you adieu, wishing you and all our Friends all that wisdom which is necessary to direct the arduous affairs you are ingaged in.2

[signed] J. Palmer
I know not any thing of the Drs. business, but as I think him a worthy Man, ask your favour if any occasion.
Since the above, received another favour from my Friend Paine. { 357 } May every blessing attend the Adams's, Paine, Gerry, Hancock, and all the Congress.
[signed] JP
1. Palmer had been recently named brigadier general for Suffolk co. as a replacement for Benjamin Lincoln (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors).
2. This last paragraph is written along the edge of the first page.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-02

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

Your obliging Favour of 17 June is now before me.1 It contains an elegant and masterly Narration of the late Expedition against the British Men of War, in Nantaskett Road, and its happy and glorious Event. I am a little mortified however that my good Friends and Neighbours the Militia of Braintree, Weymouth and Hingham, did not execute their Part with So much Activity, as they ought. But the very Post which brought us, this agreable Intelligence from Boston, brought Us from Canada, the melancholly Tidings that our Army, had evacuated Canada, with such a Complication of Circumstances, of Famine, Pestilence, Distress, Defeat, and Disgrace, as are sufficient to humble a prouder Heart than mine.
The Small Pox is an Enemy more terrible in my Imagination, than all others. This Distemper will be the ruin, of every Army from New England if great Care is not taken. I am really Sorry that the Town of Boston attempted to clear itself of the Infection.2 I cannot but wish, that an innoculating Hospital, was set up in every Town in New England. But if this is not done, I am Sure that Some Hospitals, ought to be erected in Some convenient Places.
Between you and me, I begin to think it Time for our Colony to think a little more highly of itself.—The military operations have been at least as well conducted, under our own Officers, when left to themselves, as any others. You and several others of my best Friends have been pressing for a Stranger to command in Boston, and from two political Motives, I have been pressing for it too. The one was this, the People, and the Soldiery, at Boston, would not be so likely to respect, a General from among themselves, as a Stranger, the other was that the People of the Southern and middle Colonies, would have more Confidence in one of their own Officers, than in one from New England. And in Case of any Thing Unlucky I had rather hear them groan for one of their own, than scold or curse at a New England man.
The Reverse of Fortune in Canada, and the Arrival of the Hallifax { 358 } Fleet, at Sandy Hook have now, removed all Expectation of having such an Officer Sent to Boston as We wished and therefore I wish that some Massachusetts Man, could command at Boston.
Since the above was written, I have received a Letter from Braintree containing a very circumstantial Relation of the Expedition against the Men of War, by which I find that my Neighbours were not in fault.3 They were becalmed, and by that unforeseen and unavoidable Accident, retarded and belated. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent”
1. In Adams Papers but not printed here.
2. That is, that the town refused to permit inoculations, which actually gave patients a mild case and made them infectious for a time.
3. JA probably meant a detailed letter from Mary Palmer of 15–17 June, which described the clearing of Boston Harbor of British warships on 14 June, but does not specifically say that the men from Braintree and other towns did not arrive because of lack of wind. Her letter, as well as that from Cotton Tufts, which also describes the action, does mention the calm that hampered operations (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:9–11, 17–19).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0146

Author: Reed, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-04

From Joseph Reed

[salute] Dear Sir

I do not know whether I take the proper Channel of Recommendations, but I cannot help mentioning to you a Gentleman of your own Province whose Rank and Services seem to me intitle him to farther Notice than he has yet had. His Name is Henshaw of Worcester County.1 He came a Colonel of Militia in the Service afterward stayed as Assistant to Genl. Gates in his Department 5 Months for which he secured no Pay. He has come down here a Lieutt. Colonel and has had the Mortification to see himself repeatedly commanded by Junior Officers whom Accident has brought rapidly forward to the Command of Regiments. He is certainly a worthy Man and a useful Officer but is so dispirited with his Situation that unless he can be promoted I suppose will retire as soon as the present Alarm is over. I am sure you will do a publick Service and benefit a good Character to take him under your Patronage and recommend him to that of your Colleagues.
I cannot close my Letter without calling your Attention particularly to our present Situation which however it may appear to the absent and distant in my Opinion is more alarming to this Country than any Thing which has occur'd during the present Contest. I suppose it will be agreed that the Interests and Fate of America most eminently depend upon that of this Army here and the few old Regiments the Stores of Artillery, Arms Ammunition &c. which if lost or destroyed { 359 } may be deemed an irreparable Loss. Here are some of your best Officers and this is a Post of the greatest Consequence—to be defended against 8000, disciplined Troops already arrived a larger Number hourly expected and a mighty Fleet; we cannot reckon the whole of the Land Forces at less than 18, or 20,000—Marines Sailors &c who may be used on Shore occasionally 2000 at least. Besides this we are incircled with secret Enemies whose Schemes and Contrivances are daily coming to Light. With an Enemy of Force before and a secret one behind we stand on a Point of Land with about 6000 old Troops, (if a Years Service of about half can intitle them to the Name) and about 1500 new raised Levies of this Province many disaffected and more doubtful. We have called in the Militia not such a one as yours,2 tho that was very unequal to the Contest with old Troops; but Farmers and Labourers some of whom scarcely knew how to load a Gun and from whom we can expect nothing in Case of a severe and desperate Attack unless to dispirit those few brave Men who would boldly meet it. In this Situation we are, every Man in the Army from the General to the private (acquainted with our true Situation) is exceedingly discouraged. Had I knew the true Posture of Affairs no Consideration would have tempted me to have taken an active Part in this Scene and this Sentiment is universal. For Gods' Sake therefore my dear Sir let it be a Matter of serious Consideration and wherever Reinforcements can be had let them be procured. The Enemy accord[ing] to our best Accounts are waiting for the Arrival of a European Fleet. This is a golden Opportunity to pour in Troops which if neglected can never be recalled. There are 5 Regiments at Boston of Continental Troops better armed than any of ours. All Accounts agree that no Attack is meditated there except what the Militia might and in the Province have repelled viz plundering the Coast. Major Hawly whose Attachment to his Province as well as Zeal in the Cause is undisputed is clearly of Opinion they may be all spared and presses it as a Measure of Propriety; other Gentlemen concur in the same Opinion. The General's Delicacy and Fear of urging what may be disagreeable to you and Colleagues does not allow him to press it so strongly on Congress as he otherwise would. But I am authorized to tell you that he views it as a Measure of the last Necessity and hopes for your Acquiescence in it. There are other Troops. Col. Miles's3 Battalions tho not quite under the same Circumstances (being properly provincial Troops) that from their Character might be much more usefully employed than at Philad. Barracks. I do not know whether it will do to touch that String but all is at Stake and Punctilio { 360 } must be laid aside. The new Levies come in very slowly and we have no Expectation of their being completed to above half their Complement from either Jersey or Connecticut. If the Destruction of this Army would save our Country I make no Doubt many would chearfully yield to it, but when the Safety of the one must depend upon the Success of the other there can be no Consolation in falling to Sacrifice accompanied with the loss of every Thing.
Excuse this long Epistle it arises from my Judgment of what must be the Event if speedy Measures are not taken for our Relief and contains not only my own but the Sentiments of many to whom I am sure you would pay much Respect. I am with Compliments to your Circle at Mrs. Yards D Sir Your most obed and very Hbbl. Sert.
[signed] Jos. Reed4
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Coll Reed. July 4th. 1776 ans. July 7.”
1. William Henshaw was a lieutenant colonel of the 12th Continental Infantry (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 286).
2. Punctuation supplied for meaning.
3. Col. Samuel Miles, commander of a Pennsylvania rifle regiment (same, p. 391).
4. See JA to William Tudor, 24 June, note 3 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-05

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yours of the 16 June, and that of the 20th. of the Same Month, are before me. I congratulate you on those happy Events which are the Subjects of them.
It is very true that We have disagreable Accounts from Canada. Our Army has retreated from that Country. Where they will make a Stand I know not. Weakened and dispirited as they are, both with the Small Pox, and with several Defeats, I fear they will retreat not only from St. Johns and Isle au Noix but from Crown Point, at least as far as Ticonderoga.
Many Gentlemen here, who are good Americans, Say, that this is good Fortune—because the Distance to Canada is so great, and the Expences of Supporting an Army there so enormous, that We are better out of it than in it. I am not of this opinion myself, but We must acquiese in the Dispensation, let it be good or evil.
The Small Pox has been our most fatal Enemy. Our People must reconcile themselves, to inocculating Hospitals.
I am Sorry to hear of General Wards ill Health, and hope for his Speedy Recovery. I should be Sorry to hear of his leaving the Army.
{ 361 }
You are Still impatient for a Declaration of Independency. I hope your Appetite will now be Satisfyed. Such a Declaration passed Congress Yesterday and this Morning will be printed.1
LbC (Adams Papers). JA's omission of the word “sent,” which he customarily used, from this and another letter to Ward of 17 July (below) probably means that the two letters were not sent. None of Ward's later letters to JA of 28 July, 8 Aug. (both below), or 6 Sept. (Adams Papers) acknowledge receipt of either letter, although those of 8 Aug. and 6 Sept. mention the receipt of JA's of 10 July and 20 Aug. (both below), respectively.
1. John Dunlap printed the first copies of the Declaration of Independence. In Massachusetts the Declaration was printed in the Massachusetts Spy on 17 July, in the New-England Chronicle on the 18th, and in the Boston Gazette on the 22d.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0148

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-05

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir

Your Letter of the 1st. conveys both pleasure and Grief. I hope eer this Time the decisive blow is struck. Oppression, Inhumanity and Perfidy have compelled Us to it. Blessed be Men who effect the Work, I envy You! How shall I transmit to posterity that I gave my assent? Cursed be the Man that ever endeavors to unite Us. I would make Peace with Britain but I would not trust her with the least particle of Power over Us, she is lost to every Virtue and corrupted with every Vice.
I am distressed for our Army, I suppose at Crown Point, dont neglect to build Vessells to keep the Command of the Lakes, if You do, the British Army in Canada will not injure Us this Summer, and in the Winter You may regain that Country.
I am miserable when I reflect on the Consequences of a Defeat at N. York. Act on the defensive, entrench, fortify and defend Passes. Make it a War of Posts. Scramble thro this Summer and for the next, it will be our own fault if We have not a probability for Success.
If We should be endangered this Summer from the Addition of foreigners to the National Strength of Gt. B., what blame is justly imputable to those who have neglected to provide for Assistance in Time. You know in November last I was for Sending Ambassadors to France with conditional Instructions. I gave the Motion to Mr. Lynch, I am told he strowed1 the Matter.
I have sent You an Paper and Some Resolves of our Convention. Do they not do Us Honor.
Mr. Paca will show You the News from Virginia, desire him to { 362 } send Me Dr. Prices observations on Civil Liberty2 and the proceedings of the Committees of Penna.3

[salute] I cannot conclude without requesting my most respectful Compliments to Mr. Adams Coll. Hancock &c. &c. and all independent Americans. Your affectionate & obedt Servant

[signed] Saml. Chase
1. This reading is conjectural. “Strowed,” an old past tense form of “strew,” has an obsolete meaning of “laid low” (OED).
2. Richard Price (1723—1791), a dissenting English minister, published in 1776 his pamphlet entitled Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty, the Principles of Government, and the Justice and Policy of the War with America, which went through many editions, including Dutch and French ones, and made its author widely known and honored in both Great Britain and America, although Price had several prominent critics, among them John Wesley and Edmund Burke. From the start Price opposed war with the colonies (T. R. Adams, American Independence, Nos. 224a–z; DNB).
3. See JA to Samuel Chase, 24 June, note 6 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Reed, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-07

To Joseph Reed

[salute] Dear sir

Yesterday your Favour of the 4th. Instant was handed me by the Post. Am much obliged to you for it, and will give all the Attention I can to its Contents. Am not certain that I know the Gentleman whom you recommend by the Name of Henshaw—but I believe I do. There are several very worthy Men of that Name: which of them this is, I am not clear. The Difficulty is that We dont know what Vacancies there are, to which Congress may with Propriety promote Such Officers. If the General should recommend him to any Advancement, he would readily have it. But if any Individual Member here should move for his Promotion without a Recommendation from Head Quarters, a suspicion would arise that he did not Stand well there. Does he come to New York as Lt. Coll. of a Regiment of Militia, or in what Capacity. Should be obliged to you for his Christian Name, and for a Hint of any Vacant Place to which he may be promoted. Nothing in my power shall be wanting to serve a worthy Man and a usefull Officer.
Your Description, of the Force of the Enemy and your own Weakness, is Indeed allarming. The Importance of the Post you hold is very great; and it must be maintained and defended at all Events.
Congress have already ordered three of the Battallions at Boston, to N. York, and tomorrow will order the other two. The two Pensilvania Battallions are ordered to N. York, and Measures have been taken to send all the Militia of Pensilvania, who can be armed to N. { 363 } York and N. Jersey. Maryland is requested to send along their Proportion of the flying Camp.1 I hoped that the Militia from New England would have been with you before this Time, at least a considerable Part of them. You will Soon see Some of them I think. I have the Pleasure to agree perfectly with you, that now is the golden opportunity, for Sending into New York, Troops from every Quarter. The General may rely upon it, that no Tenderness for my own Province, nor any other Consideration shall induce me, to throw the least Impediment in the Way of any Measure that shall be proposed for that Purpose. I have even promoted the order for calling away the five Battallions from Boston, altho I know not how the numerous Fortifications there are to be garrisoned, or even the Continental Stores to be defended.
There really is a Strong, an earnest, and sincere desire, here, to do every Thing to forward the Militia from every Quarter. I wish their was as laudable a Spirit to give Bounties in Money, and Land to Men, who would inlist during the War. But there is not. Congress offers Ten dollars Bounty to inlist for three years, when New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Mass. Bay and New Hampshire are voting Six, Eight, or Ten Pounds a Man to serve for Six Months. This Aeconomy at the Spigot, and Profusion at the Bung will ruin Us. Do for Gods sake Coll. Reed, convince our Southern Brethren that the Common People and even Common Soldiers are rational Creatures, and that they can see, hear, and feel.
My Heart bleeds in every Veign of it, for New York, and the Army in it: But there is another Scene more affecting Still. The Army under Schuyler and Gates, is an object miserable enough to affect, less feeling Hearts than Yours or mine. An Army, disgraced and dispirited, with repeated defeats; devoured with Vermin; without a Second Shirt, or Pair of Hose, without Beds, or Blanketts. Diseased with the Small Pox, and nothing to eat, but salt Pork and flour. Incapable of Succour, by fresh Recruits, because such as have had the Small Pox are not to be found, and such as have not, would only bring fresh Wretchedness among them! What shall We do? Is it possible to cleanse that Army from Infection? Without this, I fear, our Hopes in that Quarter, are but Delusions.
After all I am not disconcerted by all these Confusions, because I have expected them these twelve Months and because I have known our Affairs in a situation much worse than they are even now. A fatal Delusion, from fond Hopes of Reconciliation, entertained, fostered and cherished, against the clearest Evidence, which is ever to be ex• { 364 } pected in such Cases, has held Us back, from making Such Preparations, for our better security as were in our Power. These Hopes are now extinguished, and I think that more Vigour will take Place, and another winter will greatly befriend Us. The golden Opportunity however, is irrecoverably lost. Canada is our Enemy, and We are now compleatly between two Fires. I expect an horrid Carnage upon our Frontiers, and a great Deal of Desolation upon the Sea Coast, but I hope still that We shall come out of the Furnace of affliction, double refined. I am with great Respect,
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent”
1. A flying camp was a special force maintained in the field and designed to move rapidly to wherever needed. On 3 June the congress had authorized such a force for the protection of the middle colonies. It was to consist of 10,000 men drawn from the militia of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware and stationed at Perth Amboy, N. J. But the response of the three provinces was insufficient, and such militia as did arrive at the camp did not stay very long. The Flying Camp did not last beyond 1776 (OED; JCC, 4:412–413; Christopher Ward, The War of the Revolution, 2 vols., N.Y., 1952, 1:204).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Author: Continental Congress, Board of War
Recipient: Warren, James
Recipient: Massachusetts House of Representatives, Speaker of
Date: 1776-07-07

To James Warren

[salute] Dear Sir

Congress has been pleased to establish a War Office, and have done me the Honour to make me a Member of that Board, which lays me under obligation to write you upon the subject of Flints.
Congress has impowered and directed the Board to employ a Number of Persons, wherever they can find them, to manufacture Flints, and also to enquire in the Several Colonies, for the proper Flint Stone.
It would be unpardonable Negligence in Us, in our Circumstances, to depend upon Supplies from abroad, of any Articles necessary to carry on the War; Materials for the Manufacture of which, are afforded, by our own Country in Sufficient Plenty. This is the Case of Flint Stone. It is affirmed by Gentlemen of undoubted Credit, that large Quantities of the genuine Flint Stone are found in Orange County, in the Government of New York. And it is reported that other Quantities are found in various other Parts of the united American States. Congress is determined to leave no proper Measures unessayed, to discover the Truth, and to obtain Information, in what Parts of America this Kind of stone is to be found and in what Quantities.
To this End the Board of War and ordinance, is directed to invite the assistance of the Several Legislatures of all the States in Union, in promoting an Inquiry.
I am directed by the Board to request you to lay this Letter, before { 365 } the Legislature of the Massachusetts Bay, and to ask their Attention to this Subject and that they would be pleased to appoint a Committee of their Body, or take any other Measures which they may think proper and effectual, for inquiring whether there is any Quantity of this necessary Stone, in their Country, in what Counties or Towns of it, it lies, and whether there are any Persons who have ever practiced the Art of making the Flint into suitable Sizes and shapes for military Service. And it is further requested, that after a proper Enquiry shall have been made, the Result of it, be reported to the Board of War and ordinance, at the War Office, in Markett Street near the Corner of Fourth Street Philadelphia.1 I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. The formality of this letter to his old friend was dictated by JA's request that it be laid before the legislature; a personal word would have been inappropriate. He wrote to Warren as speaker of the House.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0151

Author: Parsons, Samuel Holden
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-07

From Samuel Holden Parsons

[salute] Sir

Want of particular confidential Acquaintance with the Delegates from the State of Connecticutt, occasions you more Trouble than I should think myself at Liberty to give you; As I am Sure what I at any Time say to you will be taken in good Part and as well intended however in any Points we may differ in Opinion; therefore I disclose my Sentiments without Reserve, if they are of any Service I am fully Satisfied, if not I am sure not to be disgraced. Tis our Business to make known our Greivances, yours to Redress them. I am yet much concernd that no greater Incouragment is given to inlisting a new Army. There never yet has been a new Country Settled but a grant of Land has been made to Settlers to incourage the Population, this always inhanced the Price of the Adjacent Country so that it operated as a Sale of the Land granted, that even on principles of Economy and Frugality it appears to me very proper to make a grant of Land to the Soldiery, who ingage in a further Service; in New England you are Sensible there are few independant Estates, perhaps tis best there never should be.1 A Farmer with half a Dozen Sons thinks them well provided for if he can give Each 100 Acres of wild Land a Yoke of Oxen and a Small Quantity of other Stock with One Years Provision. This enables him with Industry by the next Year to take Care of himself; on the Same Principles our considerate young Men, will more readily engage in a Service which at the End of a few Years provides { 366 } them Farms to spend the remainder of the Days on, than a small pecuniary Premium which is soon expended. I wish an ill tim'd Parsimony may not prove of fatal Consequence by totally preventing Such Persons entering into Service on whom some Dependance may be placed. Another Thing I think ought to be done viz, to appoint regimental Paymasters.2 This Duty now lies on the Colonels without a farthing compensation, indeed I think it much better to be continued with them than to appoint any Man who is not of the Regiment for there are necessarily many Accounts in the Regiment to be Settled, as Monies advanced by the Officers to their Soldiers which cannot be so well adjusted by another as by the Officers of the Regiment, but Some Allowance ought to be made for this Trouble and Risk: the Colony from whence I came always made Each Captain Paymaster to his Company and gave 1½ per Cent for Monies paid Out. I think this a good Mode, but perhaps the Paymaster General may think it too much Trouble to Settle the Abstracts of the Pay of Each Company, being Eight Times his present Trouble.
I wish Some Method may be found to Satisfy those Officers who suppose themselves injurd by being neglected in the Preferments already made, or Suppose themselves intitled to the Vacant Offices. I know there are Difficulties in any Method which may be adopted, but cannot beleive there would [be] so much Uneasiness if any fixed Mode was established and adher'd to. I have at present no Interest of my own to serve unless it be in the Question as it may hereafter affect me, at present I am very happy in my Station and Rank which as Settled is the 6th. Colonel and the 4th. present in this Camp: I have no Expectation of Vacancies Falling so as to give Room for me to be advanced. If Advancments should be made, I know I should have the Same Tho'ts my Brethren have who have been superceded, if I was disgraced by placing over me One of lower Rank; therefore When I wish them Satisfied I am on sure Grounds of doing as I would be done by. I would not have you think me Urging a Point to serve myself, for I assure you I dont entertain a Tho't I shall be neglected when it comes my Turn, on these Principles, to claim Preferment. I am Dr Sr. your Friend & hl. Servt.
[signed] Saml H. Parsons
P.S. would it not be just for Congress to make a Difference, in the Treatment of the Hessians &c., mere Mercenaries, if they Should fall into our Hands and the British Troops? The One have an Interest in the Controversy, the other None, but are hird Assassins to murther Us for Money. If A Declaration should now be made that none of their Prisoners should be exchanged if the Fortune of War { 367 } cast them into our Hands; and also an Encouragement to Settle in the Country by granting Land &c. if it did not so Operate as to prevent their Fighting it might probably infuse a Spirit of Jealousy among their Troops of which we might make great Advantage. Yr [ . . . ]
[signed] SP
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Parsons. July 7. 1776.”
1. Terminal punctuation supplied.
2. A committee from the congress sent to confer with Gen. Schuyler recommended among other things in its report of 23 Dec. 1775 that regimental paymasters be appointed, but apparently nothing was done (JCC, 3:450). On 5 June 1776 a committee of the whole considered along with other matters the appointment of such paymasters, but rejected the idea (same, 5:418). Yet on 25 June regimental paymasters were urged upon colonies supplying militia for Continental service (same, p. 479). Not until 16 July, on recommendation of the Board of War, did the congress authorize paymasters for every regiment (same, p. 564).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0152

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-07

From William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

I am to acknowlege your Favour of the 24th. of June and to apologize for not having wrote you more than twice since I have been at York. Indeed I expected before this to have had the Pleasure of seeing You at Philadelphia. Where I have been long sollicitous to get in order to prevail on Congress to establish a new Set of Articles for the Government of their Forces, the present Regulations being very deficient and in many Instances incompetent to the Purpose. I have carefully read the military Code which regulates the British Army, and heartily wish it could be adopted by the Continental Government, with a very few Alterations, such as making fewer Crimes punishable capitally and limiting the Number of Lashes to 1 or 200. The General joins with me in this Opinion.1 If You would ever have an Army to depend upon it must be by a Severity of Discipline. But I have not been able to leave York, as a Court Martial has set continually for these two Months. The large Army we have here, quartered in or near a City debauch'd enough to corrupt the best Forces in the World, furnishes so many Subjects for Punishment that I am uninterruptedly employ'd at a Court Martial.
I am glad to find, Sir, You have strongly recommended Mr. Rice to General Gates's Notice. He really has much military Merit. I wish he was not in a Country which affords Nothing but Defeat and Disgrace to all who act in it.
You ask “if York is still asleep in Politicks and War?” It is worse. Hundreds in this Colony are active against Us and such is the Weak• { 368 } ness of the Government, (if it can deserve the Name) that the Tories openly profess their Sentiments in Favour of the Enemy, and live unpunished. In King's, Queen's and Dutchess Counties the Tories are 3 to 1 against the Whiggs. Indeed the great Part of the Colony are fitted for Slavery, and would without Difficulty, if not prevented, put on any political Shackles which the Despot of Britain would forge for them. There is no other Colony but this who would have suffer'd such a Notorious Traitor as the Mayor2 to have continued unhanged till this Time. This Man after being detected in corresponding with one of the greatest Enemies America knows, and after being convicted of furnishing Money for the Purpose of inlisting Traitors, and corrupting some of the General's own Guard to destroy him and ruin the Army, is only kept confined, because there is no Law to punish him. If political Institutions are insufficient, those of Nature are not. The Laws of Self Preservation point out the Criminality of Mr. Mathews's Conduct and prescribe the Punishment of his Villainy. Strange Hesitation, not to recurr immediately to them, in a Time critical as the present.
You talk of soon retreating to your Plough and your Garden. I wish your Country could as easily spare You, As Rome could Cincinnatus. But the rising States of America will long want Men of your Abilities to permanently fix that Independance which is only yet declared. Thanks to You and a few other bold, consistent Patriots the Gordian Knot is at Length cut and America is emancipated from British Despotism.
General How has landed his Army on Staten Island where they are incamp'd and are intrenching, but have made no Movements yet of any Consequence. Should they attack the City I think they must be repuls'd. Our Men are in exceeding good Spirits and well prepared to give an Enemy a warm Reception. Surely there can be but few Americans (the Inhabitants of this Colony excepted) who would not rather hazard Death in a noble Struggle, than enjoy Life upon the infamous Terms which we must if British Arms prevail. Unconditional Submission is now the Cry of British Government. Freedom or Death seems to be the Choice of our Countrymen; and I hope in God that the Intrepidity of their Conduct will confirm their Claim to the Motto.
I am grown tir'd of my Situation in the Army. Without Command or even Rank. In Case of an Action I am only a Cypher. And though I have the pompous Title of Judge Advocate, my Business is little more than the dull, laborious Employment of a Clerk. There is little Room at a Court Martial to exhibit either Ingenuity or Learning (if { 369 } I possess'd them) and as little Credit in directing the Judgement of Men who have neither. Besides while I am here I am forgot at home and while I continue in the Army am precluded from any Notice in my own particular Colony. I much want your Advice. If You should not soon leave Philadelphia pray write me on this Subject. If you should, I must beg You would let me see You at York in your Way to the Eastward. As I have been more indebted to your advice and good Offices than to any other Man I know, I shall be happy, and I hope not ungratefully so, to deserve a Continuance of the one, and to follow the other. I am with the purest Esteem, Dear Sir, Your most obliged & very hble. Servt.
[signed] Wm. Tudor
The Provincial Congress meet at West Chester tomorrow. Whether they will act with more Vigour than the last, Time will discover. I hear there are some good Members return'd which [were] not in the last.
Your Army are very healthy. The Spade and Pick Are incessantly going. Every advantageous Spot for several Miles back of the City has some Work upon it. And I believe by the Time General How although aided by the Hessian Auxiliaries, has forced all our Batteries, Forts, Redoubts, Entrenchments and Breast Works, he will have but few Men left to prosecute his Conquest.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams, Esq Philadelphia”; stamped: “FREE New-York, July 8”; docketed: “Tudor. July 7. 1776 Ansd. July 10.”
1. The congress undertook revision of the Articles of War at the end of the summer. JA was on the committee to report proposed changes (JA's Service in the Congress, 9 Feb.–27 Aug., No. XI, under 5 June, above).
2. David Matthews, mayor of New York and alleged conspirator with Gov. Tryon in the plot to enlist men to side with Gen. Howe when he arrived at the city. Matthews' examination before a committee of the Provincial Congress is in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1158, 1164–1166. At the request of the Provincial Congress, Washington had had Matthews arrested, and he was later imprisoned in Connecticut (Sabine, Loyalists, 2:51–52). See also Samuel Cooper to JA, 1 July, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0153

Author: Chase, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-08

From Samuel Chase

[salute] My Dear Sir

Mr. Paca can show You the Declaration of our Convention, different from the one in December.1 We have declared the Throne vacant, and by the Omnipotence of our Power, in the Stile of the Papal Chair, We have absolved the people from their Allegiance—this too before You have done it. I hope the Congress will not be offended with our advancing before we received their Orders.
{ 370 }
Our Colony will exert every Nerve to force the Cause. The Utmost Diligence will be used to raise our Militia.2 Our Battalion of Regulars leave this on Tomorrow.3 Think them worthy of being seen by You, and your Brethren.
We are in the greatest Distress for Arms. Our Convention has advanced a Months pay to the Militia and have ordered £5,000 to buy Arms. Would it not be prudent immediately to send one of our Men of War to Martinico to purchase 20,000 Stands of Arms, 20 brass field pieces and 50 Ton of powder on the Credit of the United Colonies—to be paid in Money or produce at a stated price? Think of this.
I have some Hopes of Seeing You in about ten Days. Mr. Carroll leaves his Home next Sunday.

[salute] I must be remembered to Mrs. Adams and our Independent Souls. Adieu. Your Friend and Servant

[signed] S Chase
1. The Maryland declaration, entered in the journal of the Convention on 6 July, is in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1506–1507. Apparently Chase had not yet heard of the action of the congress or of the Declaration of Independence.
2. The congress had requested Maryland to furnish 3,400 militiamen for the Flying Camp (JCC, 4:412–413).
3. Probably a reference to the four companies of Germans, which, together with four such companies from Pennsylvania, were to serve three years as the German battalion (same, 5:487–488).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0154

Author: Ward, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-08

From Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

The Small pox having of late spread much in the Town, it was judged impracticable to prevent its going through the Town, and on Friday last the General was inoculated, and gave permission to the Regiments in Town to inoculate. We have taken every precaution to prevent the Troops at the Posts out of Town from taking the distemper, and disposed matters in the best manner we can for defence in case of an attack.
It seems that the Devil and the Tories have over shot their mark at New York; having found we were not so easily conquered by the Sword as they imagined we should have been, they have been trying their luck at secret powder plots and conspiricies. I think this will produce good to America. As the Enemy's fleet is at New York we expect some important event will soon take place. May Heaven give us a decisive victory which shall make the impious Tyrant of Britain tremble as did an antient Tyrant, when he read the hand writing upon the wall.
{ 371 }
When will America appear in character, and take rank as a Nation?1 If we wish to prolong the war, to waste our blood and treasure, to form an inconsistent character, and to be condemned by the wise, and by posterity—let us still talk of treating with British Commissioners and after they have exerted all their power to divide, to bribe, to poison, to kill burn and destroy, then form a reunion and reconciliation. We do not question that there are some weighty reasons for delaying a Declaration of Independence, but we are puzzled to find what those reasons are. I rejoice to see the Declaration of the Philadelphians,2 and hope this will be a leading step. In my humble apprehension, an early Declaration, might have saved the United Colonies three millions sterling, and ten thousand lives. However, I hope all is for the best; none of these delays discourage me in the least, but I want to shorten the work.
I have just received intelligence from Cape Ann, that a Privateer which belongs to this Town has taken and sent into that Harbour two Ships from the West Indias, one of them has four hundred and fifty Hogsheads of Rum on board, which was designed for General Howe, the other was bound to England with four hundred hogsheads of Sugar, two hundred hogsheads of Rum, Cotton Wool &c. &c.3
Genl. Ward has no encouragement of being relieved, notwithstanding his repeated and pressing solicitations, Genl. Washington informs him that there are not so many Genl. Officers at New York as are wanted at that Post, therefore I expect still to have the burthen without any reward. I had the honour of being the first Aid de Camp, and Secretary at War, in the service of the United Colonies, and to do the double duty for the first months of the War, and the most difficult and dangerous part that we have yet seen. After the Scene brightened, others came into the same office, and agreeable to the Text, the last are first. Mr. Mifflin, is now a Brigadier Genl. Mr. Reed, Adjutant Genl. Mr. Moylan, Quartermaster Genl. Mr. Palfrey, Paymaster Genl.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble: John Adams Esqr Member of Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Jo Ward. July 8. 1776 ansd. July 17.”
1. The earliest account in the Massachusetts press of a vote for independence was a brief notice in the Massachusetts Spy of 10 July which stated that it was reported that the congress had “declared the American Colonies independent . . . Which we hope is true.” On 11 July the New-England Chronicle announced, “We are assured, that on July the Second, the Congress voted for INDEPENDENCY, not one Colony dissenting; but the Delegates of New-York remained neuter, for want of being instructed on the Head.” On 15 July the Boston Gazette carried under a Philadelphia dateline of 3 July the notice about as it appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette: “Yesterday the CONGRESS unanimously Resolved to declare the United Colonies, FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES.”
{ 372 }
2. On 27 June the New-England Chronicle carried the vote of the Pennsylvania General Assembly which freed its congressional delegates to vote for measures that would promote the “liberty, safety, and interest of America.” With it appeared the vote in favor of independence of several battalions of associators.
3. On 3 July, Henry Johnson, commander of the sloop Yankee, in the Continental service, captured the Creighton, 200 tons and commanded by George Ross, and the Zechariah Baily, 300 tons and commanded by James Hodge (Allen, Mass. Privateers, p. 328; New-England Chronicle, 11 July).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Chase, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-09

To Samuel Chase

[salute] Dear sir

Yours of the 5th came to me the 8th. You will see by this Post, that the River is past and the Bridge cutt away. The Declaration was yesterday published and proclaimed from that awfull Stage, in the State house Yard, by whom do you think? By the Committee of Safety,! the Committee of Inspection, and a great Crowd of People. Three cheers rended the Welkin. The Battallions paraded on the common, and gave Us the Feu de Joy, notwithstanding the Scarcity of Powder. The Bells rung all Day, and almost all night. Even the Chimers, Chimed away. The Election for the City was carried on amidst all this Lurry,1 with the Utmost Decency, and order. Who are chosen I cant Say; but the List was Franklin, Writtenhouse, Owen Biddle, Cannon, Schlosser, Mattlack and Khull.2 Thus you See the Effect of Men of Fortune acting against the Sense of the People.
As soon as an American Seal is prepared,3 I conjecture the Declaration will be Subscribed by all the Members;4 which will give you the Opportunity you wish for, of transmitting your Name, among the Votaries of Independence.
I agree with you, that We never can again be happy, under a single Particle of British Power. Indeed this sentiment is very universal. The Arms,5 are taken down from every public place.
The army is at Crown point. We have sent up a great number of Shipwrights, to make a respectable Fleet upon the Lakes.
We have taken every Measure to defend New York. The Militia are marching this day, in a great Body from Pensilvania. That of Jersey has behaved well, turned out universally. That of Connecticutt, I was told, last night by Mr. Huntingdon,6 were coming in the full Number demanded of them, and must be there before now. We shall make it do, this year, and if We can Stop the Torrent, for this Campaign, it is as much as We deserve for our Weakness and sloth, in Politicks, the last. Next year We shall do better. New Governments will bring new Men into the Play, I perceive: Men of more Mettle.
{ 373 }
Your Motion, last Fall for sending Embassadors to France, with conditional Instructions, was murdered, terminating in a Committee of secret Correspondence, which came to nothing.
Thank you for the Paper and Resolves.7 You are attoning for all past Imperfections, by your Vigour, Spirit, and Unanimity.
Send along your Militia for the flying Camp. Dont let them hesitate about their Harvest. They must defend the Field, before they can eat the Fruit. I shall inclose to you, Dr. Price. He is an independent, I think. My Compliments to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Carroll, and all your Friends whom I have the Honour to know, and believe me to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.” Tr (MB), in an unknown hand, differs in punctuation and capitalization and even omits a word or two. The signature “John Adams” is too carefully formed to be genuine; moreover, at this period JA did not usually sign his letters for security reasons. Compare descriptive note for JA to Chase, 1 July (above).
1. Babel or hubbub (OED).
2. Benjamin Franklin, David Rittenhouse, Owen Biddle, James Cannon, George Schlosser, Timothy Matlack, and Frederick Kuhl were all elected to the Constitutional Convention of 1776 (William H. Egle, “The Constitutional Convention of 1776: Biographical Sketches of Its Members,” PMHB, 3: 96–101, 194–201, 319–330, 438–446 [Nos. 1–4, 1879]; 4:89–98, 225–233, 361–372, [Nos. 1–3, 1880]).
3. On 4 July JA with Franklin and Jefferson was named to a committee to devise a seal for the United States, but no seal was adopted until 1782. See Julian Boyd's discussion of the project and its outcome in Jefferson, Papers, 1: 494–497. See also JA to AA, 14 Aug., Adams Family Correspondence, 2:96–98 and notes there. For the definitive study of the evolution of the seal, see Richard S. Patterson and Richardson Dougall, The Eagle and the Shield: A History of the Great Seal of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1976 [1978].
4. This passage has been cited by some as evidence that the Declaration was not signed until the engrossed copy was ready in August, but see Julian Boyd's discussion of the possibility that it may have been signed on 4 July (Jefferson, Papers, 1:305–308).
5. That is, the royal arms.
6. Samuel Huntington, member from Connecticut.
7. Enclosures not found, but see Chase to JA, 5 July (above).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0156

Author: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-09

From Jonathan Mason Jr.

[salute] Respected Sir

Whether to act in a civil or military department, many are the disadvantages attendant upon those who are just entering upon the stage of Life—The universal confusion throughout all America—This I doubt not, being intended as the Era of a glorious independancy, tho' of happy consequences, yet they have cast a temporary veil upon the prospects of the rising Generation. The mature have a task unexpectedly prepared for them, by the barefaced, impolitic, unrighteous claims of Briton, and the Youth are taught by the actions of their Fathers to { 374 } admire at the Process of the American cause, and wait with eager expectation for the event. This General action hath called for many from their usual course, hath directed many to quite different paths, and many have been obliged to change the retired Scenes of peacefull Science for the more martial ones of War. This hath not yet been my Lot. How soon it will be, is uncertain. My desire from my very youth to obtain a knowlege in the Law, proportioned to my Abilities, will prompt me to pursue the tract, till fortune removes even a possibility of succeeding. At that period, neither my heart nor my hand will hesitate, for a time to dispense with the character of a citizen and to assume that of a Soldier.
Since my commencement of the Study, I have laboured under many disadvantages. Tho' driven from Boston, tho' at times totally destitute of a patron, I have constantly endeavoured to lay a theoretical foundation, but even the minutest forms of practise it has hithertoo been impossible for me to acquire. The usual period of three years is now almost two thirds elapsed. Fifteen months only I have to continue in the Study, and as the time passes my anxiety naturally increases. I should wish not to be backward—neither should I wish to enter unprepared. I feel an ambition to be in the field, a neutral character I ever disliked and it would be productive of not a little concern, had I the least suspicion, that I should be obliged to continue inactive in the Study after the expiration of my term. The law we hope is now flowing into its original channel. The practise now in execution, tho' not exceedingly important, yet, Sir, I conclude, you will say absolutely necessary to be thoroughly understood by the Student. Offices in Boston begin now to be opened, and both my Father and myself feel a concern, whether or not, it would not be necessary for me to remove and obtain the knowlege. A request of your advice in my peculiar circumstances is the occasion of my troubling you, and should esteem your sentiments upon the present topic as laying me under a great obligation. Almost every Author I have yet read, puts me in mind of that, which he calls the science of well pleading, and as often as this hath been the case, just so often I have felt an inward blush, to think that of that Branch I am totally ignorant. I must confess I feel a strong desire, and there seems an apparent necessity of my removal into some office of practise, but your advice I would with pleasure pursue. I cannot but be confident, that you would direct me to that path, you in your wisdom should think most proper, and should consider myself highly favoured, if you would condescend to mark the line of my conduct. My confused conceptions of law, have { 375 } already convinced me, that it is an extensive Science, that universal knowlege is absolutely necessary to compleat the character, and tho' I totally despair of ever climbing such a precipice of difficulty, yet the present prospects, the scarcity of young Students in the Stage, encourage me to continue in the Science. Should the pupil ever arrive to half the eminence of his Patron, he should think that fortune had nursed him with a partial hand. I doubt much my attaining to that step upon the stage, but my utmost wishes are and I sincerely hope ever will be, that the Plough may be an honour to its Master, that the instructor may never have occasion to be ashamed of his Student.
Your advice as soon as convenient would much oblige me, your favour and notice will ever highly honour me and my most ardent endeavours shall be exerted that I may always be an object deserving them. From Sir. Yr. Most hum: Servt.
[signed] J Mason Jr.1
The small Pox hath been accidentally, or rather designedly suffered to spread amongst us. Mrs. Adams hath determined immediately to remove and trust to the danger of the Process. Mr. Isaac Smith's House is designed as a reception for them.2 The situations of some of the Provinces middle and southern excites a disagreeable feeling in the Breasts of New England Patriots, we all wait, timid to hear the event.
Capt. Harry Johnston hath sent into Cape Ann two fine Ships containing a thousand and odd Hogsheads of Sugar and Rum besides a quantity of Cotton.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. In Philadelphia Pr favour <post paid>.”
1. Jonathan Mason (1756–1831), law student of Josiah Quincy Jr. and later of JA and Perez Morton, was admitted to the bar in 1779 (JA, Legal Papers, 1:civ).
2. See AA to John Thaxter, 7 July and AA to JA, 13–14 July, Adams Family Correspondence, 2:37, 45–48.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cooper, Samuel
Date: 1776-07-10

To Samuel Cooper

[salute] Dear Sir

Your last Letter relates to a Subject of the last Importance, to America. The Continental Currency, is the great Pillar, which Supports our Cause, and if that Suffers in its Credit, the Cause must Suffer: if that fails the Cause must fail.
The Subjects of Coin and Commerce, are the most nice, and intricate of any within the compass of political Knowledge, and I am very apprehensive We Shall Suffer Some Inconveniences, from our Inexperience, in this Business. However, in Circumstances like ours, We { 376 } should expect and be prepared in our Minds to suffer Inconveniences in every Particular Department of our Affairs: We must try Experiments—and if one fails, try another, untill We get right.
Whether We can with Propriety, order in all the Colonial Currencies is an important Question. Will it not be interfering too much with the internal Polity of particular States? Can any one of them be a free State if they have not the Management of their own Coin, and Currency, which is but a Representation of Coin, as that is a sign of Wealth?1
That it will be dangerous to proceed much farther in Emissions, is to me probable, that it will be ruinous to go so far, as our occassions will call for in the Prosecution of this War, I am certain, and therefore I am convinced that the Sooner, We begin to borrow Money, upon an Interest and to establish Funds and levy Taxes, to pay that Interest, the better, because I would not venture to try the Continental Credit so far, as to endanger a general Depreciation of the Bills. It would be better Policy to emit a less Quantity than the Credit of the States would bear, than to emit So much as to depreciate it.
We Shall very soon begin to borrow, and we shall continue to emit, untill We get enough, upon Loans to answer the demands of the Public service. We shall not go beyond four Per cent, and Surely any Man who has the Bills, had better lend them at that low Interest than keep them at none at all. The Married Men, will see their Interest in lending, because, the least Excess in an Emission of Paper Currency, becomes a Tax upon them. It is an Ease, and a Profit to Debtors, and a Loss to Creditors.
Is our Province, about framing a new Constitution, or not? I Should advise them to proceed cautiously, for the Eyes of the whole Continent are fixed upon them, and Some Colonies are waiting to copy their Model. I am
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “sent.”
1. JA's opinion here reveals his thinking at this time about the nature of the United States. It appeared unthinkable then that the individual states would not retain control over their money supply.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1776-07-10

To William Tudor

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 7th. instant I received yesterday. I wish to see you here for Several Reasons. But particularly, to hear your Observations upon the Articles of War. I am perfectly of your Opinion, that they { 377 } must be amended, for the Value of an Army depends upon its Discipline. The Discipline of Rome and Britain, occasioned the Tryumphs of their Arms.
I am Sorry you are tired of your situation in the Army. Without Command or even Rank, you have in your Office of Judge Advocate as good an Opportunity to make yourself acquainted, with the whole Army, the World, and the Art of War, as you could in any other. Rank, without Command, is, in my Eyes, rather ostentatious, vain and despicable, than any Advantage to a Gentleman. You are pleased to ask my Advice, and I am very willing to give it. I would not by any Means advise you to continue in your present situation, longer, than this Year. But I hope you will not leave the Army this Campaign. This is the most critical, and hazardous summer, We ever Saw, or I think shall see. Serve it out, and then resign. You will be wanted in your own Country, and you cannot be desired to serve longer, without Promotion.
With your Education, and Fortune you will be able to serve your Country at home with great Advantage. But if Promotion in the military Line is your Wish, I should think the General would readily recommend you to be a Field Officer in some of the vacant Regiments. I wish our Massachusetts Officers, had better Educations, and more Capacity and Spirit, than I fear some of them have, and I wish to introduce you and other Gentlemen of the younger Sort, who have Foundations laid on which any Superstructure may be built, into the Army. But I cannot wish you to forego, better Prospects of serving yourself and your Country too at home.
Some how or other, Massachusetts Gentlemen, have been neglected. Tudor, Austin, Osgood, Ward, Smith, Rice,1 and many others might be mentioned who need not give Place to others of their Age in the Army. But others not their Superiours, have found better Fortune. There is a base Jealousy of the Massachusetts in more Places than one. I Said a Jealousy. I meant an Envy. I dont blame the Massachusetts Generals, for resigning,2 one after another. They have had Reason.
RC (MHi: Tudor Papers); docketed: “July 10th. 1776.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Tudor, Austin, and Rice had studied law with JA. On the last two named, see Tudor to JA, 4 May and JA to Horatio Gates, 18 June (both above). Samuel Osgood Jr., like Joseph Ward, was an aide to Gen. Artemas Ward. William Smith Jr., AA's brother, wanted to be a field officer, and she sought from members of the Massachusetts House a recommendation of him to the congress for a commission (AA to JA, 3 June, Adams Family Correspondence, 2:4).
2. At this point in the LbC, “in disgust” was canceled.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-10

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yours of 1 July, came duly to Hand.1 The Establishment of the War Office as you observe has given me Work enough—more than I have a Relish for, and of a Kind not very suitable to my Taste. But must acquiesce. Should be greatly obliged to any officer of the Army for a Hint of any Improvement in the Plan, and for any assistance in the Execution of it.
The continual Reports of our Disasters in Canada, have not intimidated the Congress. On the Contrary in the midst of them, more decisive steps have been taken than ever—as you must have seen, or will see before this reaches you. The Romans never, would send or receive an Ambassador to treat of Peace when their Affairs were in an Adverse situation. This generous Temper is imitated by the Americans.
You hear there is not Candor and Harmony between Some of the Members of this Body. I wish you would mention the Names and Particulars of the Report—the Names I mean of the Members, between it is reported there is not Candor and Harmony. The Report is groundless. There is as much Candor and Harmony between the Members, as generally takes Place in assemblies, and much more than could naturally be expected in such an assembly as this. But there is a Prospect now of greater Harmony than ever. The principal object of dispute is now annihilated, and several Members are left out.
In making a Return of your Division of the Army, pray give us the Name and Rank of every Officer. We want to make an Army List for Publication.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. In Adams Papers, but not printed.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0160

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-10

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

I have for some time past been at Home in daily Expectation of the Courts riseing. It has however Continued setting till this time. What they have lately been Employed about I am not able to say. I believe nothing very Important. A very large Committee are out to raise the Men. I mean the 5000 requested by Congress for Canada and York.1 I hope they will by the large Encouragement of £7–for Canada and £3–for York with some Additional Bounty from Individuals in the { 379 } several Towns, be soon raised, and sent forward. The Court have spent much more time about this Business, than was Consistent with the Exigency of the Service. There was no Objection to A Compliance with the Requisition, but the manner of doing it, or rather the places from whence they should be taken have occasioned the delay. Indeed the Levies on perticular Towns fall very heavy.2 A much greater proportion of our Men are in Service than Congress seems to be Aware off. How we are to get the 1500 now Called for3 I cant tell nor do I know how Congress will like the Bounties given Already, but it was thought Impossible to raise them without A large Encouragement especially at this Season of the year.
I had a few days ago the pleasure of your favour of the 9th June. I presume the Papers before this have Informed you that I am in the same station you left me in, and I can Inform you that I am in that only,4 and if it be my ne plus ultra, perhaps it cant be said of me as it may of some others that I have not my deserts. Calls for men and Other matters of the same kind have hitherto prevented our doing any thing about the matter of Government. Our Recess will be short, and if we are not pressed with such Matters when we meet next I presume we shall go upon it. I Congratulate you on the discovery of the Plot at New York. I hope it will do great service. I Expect soon to hear of some great Events from that quarter. If they should be favourable to us, what will they do next.
We have but little News here. Now and then A prize from the West Indies is sent in. Last Saturday got into Cape Ann two prizes taken by A small Sloop belonging to four or five persons in and about Boston. One from Jamaica A 3 decker with 400 hhds. sugar 200 hhds. rum 30 Bales Cotton &c. &c. the Other from Antigua with 400 hhds. rum. This sloop could have taken Another Ship but had not Men to bring her off, and so let her go. When are we to hear of your proceedings on the first Instant.5 What Alliances and Confederations have you Agreed on. I want to see some French Men of War on the Coast. Our Borders seem to be in A state of peace and Tranquility. How long they will Continue so I know not. The Small Pox prevails, and is scattered about the Country. In Boston they have given up all thoughts of stopping it, and every Body is Inoculating. I wrote to Mr. Gerry A few days ago, and among Other things about some of my private Affairs in the paymaster' Office. I desired him to Communicate to you so shant trouble you with a repetition. I will thank you for your Assistance. If I cant help myself I must loose this Money, but it will be a hard Case. I did great services to the Army in and out of this Office which I Ex• { 380 } ecuted with diligence Oeconomy and Integrity, and you will see this Loss was sustained in Winthrops hands. I have no reason to question his Integrity. My regards to all Friends I am Yours &c.
PS. I see Advertised in one of the Philadelphia Papers, A peice on Husbandry.6 If it is well Executed and of any Consequence shall be Obliged to you to purchase and send me one.
1. See JA to James Warren, 16 June, note 3 (above).
2. A schedule of the levies by counties and towns within counties is in Council Records, 25 June (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 2, p. 346–348).
3. On 25 June the congress requested that Massachusetts send an additional two regiments of militia to augment the forces in Canada (JCC, 5:479).
4. Warren is probably indicating that he did not accept the appointment to the Superior Court of Judicature that JA hoped he would. The General Court did make him a second major general in the militia in June, however (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, 1st sess., p. 29; Council Records, 19 June, Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 2, p. 317). Earlier Warren had declined this military appointment; see JA to James Warren, 12 May, note 4 (above).
5. That is, the vote on declaring independence.
6. Not identified.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0161

Author: Greene, Nathanael
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-14

From Nathanael Greene

[salute] Dear Sir

I received your Letter of the 22d. of June, if it was necessary for you to Apologise for not writing sooner it is necessary also for me. But as the express conditions of my corresponding with you was to write when I had time and leave you to answer at your leisure, I think an Apology is unnecessary on either side. But I can Assure you, as you did me, that it is not for want of respect that your Letter has been unanswered so long.
I am glad to find you agree with me in the Justice and propriety of establishing some provision for the unfortunate. I have not had time to fix upon any plan for that purpose, but I will write you more fully in my next. I have never mentiond the matter to but one or two particular friends for fear the establishment should not take place. The Troops expectations being once raisd a disappointment must necessarily sour them. On the other hand if the Congress established a support for the unfortunate unsolicited, it must inspire the Army with love and gratitude towards the Congress for so generous an Act.
You query whether there is not a want of Oeconemy in the Army amongst the Officers. I can Assure you there is not, among those of my Acquaintance. The expences of the Officers runs very high unless { 381 } they dress and live below the Gentleman. Few that have ever livd in Character will be willing to decend to that. As long as they continue in service they will support their Rank and if their pay is not sufficient they will draw on their private fortunes at Home. The pay of the Soldiers will scarcely keep them decently cloathed. The Troops are kept so much upon fatigue that they wear out their cloathing as fast as the Officers can get it. The Wages given to common Soldiers is very high but every thing is so dear that the purchase of a few Articles takes their whole pay. This is a general complaint through the whole Army.
I am not against rewarding merit or encourageing Activity, neither would I have promotions confind to a regular line of succession. But every man that has spirit enough to be fit for an Officer, will have to much to continue in service after another of Inferior Rank is put over his Head. The power of rewarding Merit should be lodged with the Congress, but I should think the Generals recommendation is the best testimonial of a Persons deserving a reward that the Congress can have.
Many of the New England Colonels have let in a Jealosy that the Southern Officers of that Rank in the Continental establishment are treated with more respect and Attention by the Congress than they are. They say several of the Southern Colonels have been promoted to the Rank of Brigadier General, but not one New England Colonel.1 Some of them appear not a little disgusted. I wish the Officers in general were as studious to deserve promotion as they are Anxious to obtain it.
You cannot more sincerely lament the want of knowledge to execute the business that falls in your department, than I do that which falls in mine, and was I not kept in countenance by some of my superior Officers I should be sincerely disposd to quit the command I hold in the Army. But I will indeavor to supply the want of Knowledge as much as possible by Watchfulness and Industry. In these respects I flatter my Self I never have been faulty. I have never been one moment out of the service since I engagd in it. My Interest has and will suffer greatly by my Absence, but I shall think that a small sacrifice if I can save my Country from Slavery.
You have heard long before this will reach you, of the Arrival of General and Admiral How, the Generals Troops are encamped on Statten Island. The Admiral Arrivd on Fryday last, a few hours before his Arrival two Ships went up the North River2 amidst a most terrible fire from the different Batteries. The Admiral sent up a flag today, but { 382 } as the Letter was not properly Addressed it was not receivd.3 The Admiral laments his not Arriveing a few days sooner, I suppose he alludes to the declaration of Independance. It is said he has great powers to treat as well as a strong Army to execute.
I wrote you sometime past I thought you was playing a desperate game, I still think so. Here is Howes Army arrivd, and the Reenforcement hourly expected. The whole force we have to oppose them, dont amount to much above 9,000 if any. I could wish the Troops had been drawn together a little earlier, that we might have had some opportunity of deciplineing them. However what falls to my lot I shall endeavor to execute to the best of my Ability. I am with the greatest respect your most obedient humble servant
[signed] Nath Greene
RC (Adams Papers;) docketed: “Green. July 14. 1776 ans. Aug. 4.”
1. In 1776 through June, eight men were promoted from colonel to brigadier general, only two being from New England. In order of appointment these were Benedict Arnold (Conn.), William Thompson (Penna.), James Moore (N.C.), William Alexander (N.J.), Robert Howe (N.C.), Thomas Mifflin (Penna.), Hugh Mercer (Va.), John Whitcomb (Mass.). Whitcomb declined his promotion. Andrew Lewis (Va.), without holding lower rank in the Continental Army previously, was appointed brigadier general on 1 March (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 9–10 and passim; JCC, 5:420).
2. The old name for the Hudson River. The two British ships were the Phoenix and the Rose, whose journals for 12 July are printed in Naval Docs. Amer. Rev., 5:1037–1038. The ships went as far up as the Tappan Zee.
3. Freeman describes the meeting between the British officer and Joseph Reed. The letter was simply addressed to George Washington; Americans insisted that it be addressed to General George Washington. The British officer trying to deliver it claimed that it had been so addressed because it concerned only “civil,” not military, matters (Washington, 4:138–139).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0162

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1776-07-15

To James Warren

[salute] Dear sir

I have Time only to tell you that I am yet alive, and in better Spirits than Health.
The News, you will learn from my very worthy Friend Gerry. He is obliged to take a Ride for his Health, as I shall be very soon or have none. God grant he may recover it for he is a Man of immense Worth. If every Man here was a Gerry, the Liberties of America would be safe against the Gates of Earth and Hell.
We are in hourly Expectation of sober Work at New York. May Heaven grant Us Victory, if We deserve it; if not,1 Patience, Humility and Persistence under Defeat. However, I feel pretty confident and Sanguine that We shall give as good an Account of them this Year as we did last. Adieu
{ 383 }
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J A Lettr July 15. 1776.”
1. Punctuation supplied.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0163

Author: Barber, Nathaniel Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-15

From Nathaniel Barber Jr.

[salute] sir

You being President of the board of War, I make bold to ask a favour of you.
I have the care of all Military Stores under The Honble. General Ward, as you will se by my return of the 2d. Instant.1 My pay is not fixt,2 and I know of no better method to get it done than by making application to The Honble. board. I have not the Pleasure to be personaly acquainted with you, yet hope you'l excuse the freedom I have taken. While I continue in the service of my Country, I desire no more than will enable me to support a decent appearance and keep good Company. It will be needless to acquaint you that I am in a Place of trust, please to examine my return and judge for yourself. My duty is such, that I must give constant attendance every day, and think I am justly intitled to Captains pay. If you will be kind enough to afford me your Interest in this matter, I will thankfully acknowlege the favour, and Shall always endeavour to merit your esteem. I have the honour to be with deference sir, your most obedient and very huml. Servant
[signed] Nathl: Barber Junr.
P.S. I have two Conductors in the Store with me, and their pay is not fixt, Genl. Gates promised his influence to get them 15 Dollars per Month
[signed] N. B Jr.
1. Not found.
2. As commissary of military stores, Barber began receiving continental pay on 1 Jan. 1777 (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0164

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-15

From Samuel Cooper

[salute] My dear Sir

It gives me high Pleasure, if my Narration of Nantasket was acceptable to you.1 I did not lay the least Imputation upon your Neighbors. They did all that Circumstances would allow.
Canada, you know, lay much upon my Mind. I was long ago apprehensive. There was too much Neglect on all Sides of that important Quarter, and, without doubt, great Misconduct there. Pray let it be strictly examin'd, and exemplary Punishment dispens'd where it is deserv'd. Our all depends upon strict Discipline in the American { 384 } Army. It must be brac'd up as much as Circumstances will possibly admit. Upon this Reverse, I am cast down but not in Dispair. Perhaps we can do more in the End by making a good Stand at or near our own Borders. Distance of Place renders ev'ry kind of Recruit and Supply slow and heavy. The Enemy may find it so, as they advance towards us. I hope Gates will make a good Choice of Situation to receive Burgoine. I have thought of Crown Point and Ticonderoga. We are doing ev'ry Thing here to compleat our requir'd Levies—and more than was thought at first could have been done, considering the Men we have already furnish'd, and the Price of Labor. Great Difficulties do not discourage us. Ardor and Perseverance will surmount all. In all Views we need not be asham'd of our own Colony.
I wrote particularly not long since, either to you or to Mr. S. A. on the Subject of a military Commander here.2 Our Colony is not destitute of proper men but we have them not here in that Rank in the Army, which would allow such an Appointment without Difficulty. Lincoln whose Merit stands high, is not in the Continental Service, and seems at present not dispos'd to engage in it. We want him too as a dernier Resort in the Militia. Glover is the best Man I know, but he is the Second Colonel here. Whitcomb is the first.
I am entirely in your Sentiments respecting the small Pox—and have labor'd with all my Might for innoculating Hospitals. The Whole Town is one now, and thousands from the Country are now here innoculated. Among whom are your dear Wife and Children, at Deacon Smiths House. I have seen, and shall continue to visit them, and contribute all in my Powers to amuse, and make their Stay here agreable. Some have already the Eruption in the most favorable Manner. The Prospect hitherto is the most pleasing you can imagine. The Court has taken Measures at last for establishing Hospitals thro the Colony.
I congratulate you on the Declaration of Independence with so much Unanimity.3 The Declaration is admir'd, diffuses Joy, and will have great Effect. It will be follow'd I trust with Alliances &c. France must make a Deversion in our Favor. It is her Interest, and upon that Ground we may expect it if we take proper Measures. My dear Sir Adieu &c.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Cooper. July 15. 1776.”
1. A reference to JA's letter to Cooper of 2 July (above).
2. He wrote to Samuel Adams but mentioned the problem also to JA (Cooper to JA, 1 July, above).
3. Since the earliest printing of the Declaration of Independence in Massachusetts newspapers appeared after the date of Cooper's letter, he probably saw a copy of the Dunlap printing.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0165

Author: Cushing, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-15

From Thomas Cushing

[salute] Sir

The last Will and Testament of Mr Josiah Quincey junr has lately been left at the Probate Office. I find he appointed Francis Dana Esqr his Executor and in Case of his Death and refusal he appoints Mr. Jonathan Jackson of Newbury Port1 and in Case of his Death or refusal he nominates and appoints John Adams Esqr. his Executor. As Mr. Dana and Mr. Jackson have both refused to Accept the Trust, it falls to you. Should be glad therefore you would Inform me whether you will Accept this Trust as soon as you Conveniently Can, as the Heirs are Sollicitous to have the Will proved.2 I am remain with respect Your most humble Sert.
[signed] Thomas Cushing
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; docketed: “T. Cushing Esqr July 15. 1776” and “T. Cushing Esq. J. of Probate.”
1. Jonathan Jackson (1743–1810), a prominent merchant, who had formed a shipping firm with Nathaniel and John Tracy, and who was a cousin of Josiah Quincy, 1744–1775 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:56–67).
2. For JA's refusal, see JA to Cushing, 24 July (below).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0166

Author: Sewall, David
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1776-07-15 - 1776-07-19

From David Sewall

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of the 15th. ultimo reached me at Watertown some few days since. Gladly would I have remained unnoticed in these Times of difficulty. But I am unexpectedly and unprepared drawn forth (litterally from the Plow) and I fear by some evil Genius in order to stop some greater ability, from lending Aid to Guide the State. Unacquainted With the Arts of Warr, Raw and unexperienced in the Grand Vortex of Politicks, I feel my self quite unequal to the Sphere I am dragged unto. For my Conduct in this department I can promise Nothing. I therefore hope my Friends Expectations will be neither raised or depressed from my Supposed ability, natural or Acquired. As I am Scribling give me leave to Suggest my Ancxiety (Timid creature you will Say or think) from the Immence quantity of Paper Money that is daily Issuing. Money is said to be the Sinues of Warr, But if they are Stretched beyond bearing will they not be in danger of Breaking. Every Government I suppose on the Continent has more or less extant. Will not Some be in danger of Issuing beyond their proportions. Would it not be a matter Worthy the Attentions of Congress to enquire into the Sums extant from each Government and upon What footing? That after any Government shall have extant of their { 386 } own to a Certain amount, it be recommended to them to Issue no more but to Borrow at a Certain Interest, if they shall be unable in their own Government, to Borrow of the Continent. That While the money is Circulating Suitable assesments be made and in as large Proportions as each Colonys Circumstances will admit. These are Ways that will have a tendency to keep the money Valuable, at the same Time to have a bright look out against Altering or Counterfeiting and perhaps, if No moneys were a Tender in any Government except its own, and Continental it would have a good Tendency and be a Sufficient Check to small Colonys Issuing on their own Credit, beyond their bearings. The manufacturing of Salt Peter in such quantitys in our Colony is really marvellous, and I have an Enthusiastick believe at Times that opportunity will be, to America as 1688 was to England.

[salute] I shall be glad of your Correspondence and believe me to be Your most Huml Sert.

[signed] David Sewall
The New modelling our Government is I concieve as yet a little premature. The Representative Body is now too large, and from necessity before the year comes about will be curtailed. Innovations in a Constitution where there has been a general Acquiescence should be made with Caution. There is an Inconvenience at the Board in having the Signature of 15 to every Act of State, and We have in Contemplation a Remedy Whether it will be by any 7 or the Signature of the President only is uncertain.
P.S. Watertown Augt.1 19. 1776
Since Writing the foregoing the Year 1777 is comming in 76.2 The expected Independency is arrivd. I have now only Time to say that the Superior Court has Sat at Essex and in the Province of Mayne.3 My attendance here at those Periods prevents my attending them but, all things I learn were Conducted in Decency and good order.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Honble. John Adams Esqr of the Continental Congress Philadelphia”; docketed: “Sewall, July 15. 1776.”
1. Almost certainly an inadvertence. Sewall would hardly go on to exclaim about the arrival of independence as late as August. The Declaration was printed in the Massachusetts Spy on 17 July and in the New-England Chronicle on the 18th.
2. Presumably a new year is beginning with 4 July. It became common to date documents not only with the year but with the year since independence— “in the year of Independence the first” (or the second, and so on).
3. Although the spring sessions of the Superior Court for Middlesex, Worcester, Hampshire, and Plymouth cos. were postponed to their regularly scheduled fall meetings, the court did meet in June at the appointed times in Essex and York cos. (Mass., Province Laws, 5:44; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 2, p. 85, 136, 137, 181, and 255).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Ward, Joseph
Date: 1776-07-17

To Joseph Ward

[salute] Sir

Yesterdays Post brought me your Letter of the 8th. instant with Several others containing Intelligence of a Nature very interesting to me. The Prevalence of the Small Pox in Boston, is an incident, which I cannot but esteem fortunate for the public, atho the Stake I have in it, having all my nearest Connections among the earliest Adventurers makes me feel an Anxiety too private and particular, for the situation I am in.
The Small Pox is really the most formidable Enemy We have to contend with, in the whole Train. And I cannot but rejoice at the Resolution of my Countrymen to Subdue this Enemy first. It is a great Satisfaction to see that no Dangers dismay, no Difficulties discourage, the good People of America.
You ask when will America take Rank as a Nation? This Question, was answered before it was put, but it Seems the answer had not reached Boston. Before now you are Satisfied I hope. What would you have next?
Your Troops are all ordered to N. York and Crown Point. The small Pox will Stop all who have taken it, at least for some time. We have not a sufficient Number of Men at New York. I hope our Militia will go. It is a great Grief to me to find by the Returns, that no Massachusetts Militia are yet arrived at New York. I almost wish the Council would order the Regiments from Worcester Hampshire and Berkshire to march thither.
Rank is not always proportional to Merit, and Promotion seldom keeps Pace with services. The Promotions you mention, are I hope worthy Men: but their Merit and services might perhaps have been Sufficiently rewarded with fewer Steps of Advancement. Or there may be others, who have equally deserved. All that I can Say is that Time and Chance happens to all Men and therefore I hope yours will come Sometime or other. Mine I am pretty sure never will. If you come to New York, which I hope you will, you may perhaps have a better Chance.
Our Privateers, have the most Skill or the most Bravery, or the best Fortune, of any in America. I hope Captain Johnson was in a private Ship. I dont like to hear that the continental Cruisers, have taken so many and the Provincial Cruisers and privateers so few Prizes. Our People, may as well fight for themselves as the Continent.1
{ 388 }
LbC (Adams Papers). This letter was probably not sent; see JA to Joseph Ward, 5 July, descriptive note (above).
1. Johnson's ship was in Continental service (Ward to JA, 8 July, note 3, above). JA's indiscreet remarks in the final paragraph may help explain why he probably did not send this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0168

Author: Gates, Horatio
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-17

From Horatio Gates

[salute] Dear Sir

The Bearer, and my Letter to Mr. Hancock will acquaint you that I am no Dictator here, and consequently have it not in my power to serve Mr. Rice.1 I desire if Chase is return'd to Congress, he may know, how much I have been Deceived, and Disappointed in being removed from a place where I might have done the Publick Service, and Fix'd in a Scituation where it is exceeding Doubtfull, if it will be in my Power to be more than the wretched Spectator of a ruin'd Army. The Publick Affairs here have been destroy'd by Pestilence, Peceulation, Rapine, and every Evil, those produce. Mr. Chase passed too Speedily through this Country, he saw Superficially, and like a Sanguine Man, drew conclusions from the Consequence, and not the Cause. Tell him, if he, and I meet, He must expect to be called to a serious Account upon this matter. I know he is my Sincere Friend, but I also know he has Deceived himself, and his Friend. I am not Angry. I am only Vex'd with Him. I cannot write to you upon Publick matters, it is too disagreeable a Tale to dwell upon, my Letter to the President is enough for a Man of Sense.2
I am happy to have lived to know that Independence is Establish'd by the Convention of the United States of America, go on and prosper in the Glorious Work. My respectfull Compliments to Mr. Gerry, my hands are too full to write Instructions for Paymasters of Regiments, if so many Lawyers cannot contrive to Frame Orders that will make the Paymaster, be a Cheque upon the Avarice of the Commanding Officer, what is become of Human Wit. Mr. Gerrys letter3 to me is as good an Instruction, as any Paymaster need to have. At your War Office be very exactly, and minutely acquainted, with the State of every Regiment, let the General, the Colonel, the Muster, and Paymasters, do this, and then let them Compare these together; if you have four Men to Watch One, you may make that one less a knave than he likes to be.
Poor Boston is again Vissited by Calamity, it is the last I hope she will know for a Century at least, surely this Warning will make your Countrymen Wise in regard to the Small Pox. When I have reason to { 389 } be in better Temper you shall here again from Your affectionate Humble Servant
[signed] Horatio Gates
1. See JA to Gates, 18 June (above).
2. Gates wrote to the president of the congress on 16 July, explaining that smallpox required the removing of troops from Crown Point and that a council of officers agreed to establish a strong point opposite Ticonderoga as part of a scheme to ensure naval superiority on Lake Champlain (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:375–376). Gates began his letter by noting that Gen. Schuyler insisted that the resolutions of the congress and the orders of Washington applied only while the army was in Canada, that once it had left that country it fell under Schuyler's command. For an interpretation of the conflict between the two generals on this point, see Bernhard Knollenberg, “The Correspondence of John Adams and Horatio Gates,” MHS, Procs., 67 [1941–1944]: 146–147, and also Samuel Adams to JA, 16 Aug., note 4 (below).
3. Elbridge Gerry had written to Gates on 25 June, telling him that he was “very fond of the measure” for creating regimental paymasters and that the congress wished for Gates' views on the subject. Gerry went on to outline his ideas for supplying and disciplining the army (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:21–22).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0169

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-17

From James Warren

[salute] My Dear Sir

When you are Informed, that on the variety of Changes that have taken place in this Town, it is now become A Great Hospital for Inoculation, you will wonder to see A Letter from me dated here, but so it is that the rage for Inoculation prevailing here has whirled me into its vortex, and brought me with my other self into the Croud of Patients with which this Town is now filled. Here is A Collection of Good, Bad, and Indifferent of all Orders, Sexes, Ages and Conditions. Your good Lady and Family among the first. She will give you (I presume) such an account of her self &c. as makes it unnecessary for me to say more on that head.
She will perhaps tell you that this is the reigning subject of Conversation, and that even Politics might have been suspended for A Time, if your Decleration of Independence, and some other political Movements of yours had not reached us. The Decleration came on Saturday,1 and diffused A general Joy. Every one of us feels more Important than ever. We now Congratulate each other as freemen. It has really raised our Spirits to A Tone Beneficial to mitigate the Malignancy of the small Pox, and what is of more Consequence seems to Animate, and Inspire every one to support, and defend the Independency he feels. I shall Congratulate you on the Occasion and so leave this subject, and go to one not quite so Agreable. Congress have Acted A part with regard to this Colony, shall I say Cunning, or Politic, or only { 390 } Curious, or is it the Effect of Agitation. Has the Approach of Lord Howe had such An Effect on the southern Colonies, that they have forgot, the very Exntensive Sea Coast we have to defend, the Armed Vessels we have to Man from South Carolina to the Northern Limits of the United Colonies, that A large part of the Continental Army is made up from this Colony, that the General has not only got our Men but our Arms, and that they within two months ordered A reinforcement of three Battalions to the five Already here. Lucky for us you did not give time to raise these before your Other requisitions reached us, or we should have been striped indeed. Dont the Southern Colonies think this worth defending or do they think with half our Men gone the remainder can defend it, with Spears and darts, or with Slings (as David Slew Goliah). I was surprised to find the whole five Battalions called away. No determination is yet taken how their places shall be supplyed. The General Court are not setting, they were prorouged on Saturday. The Council have this matter under Consideration. What can they do but Call in the Militia or perhaps stop the last 1500 Men Called for to go to Canada if in their power. The works for the defence of this Town must not be Abandoned. They must be defended with or without Continental Assistance. Don't suppose that I am a Preacher of Sedition, or intend to be factious, or that the Eruptive fever is now upon me. Neither of these is true. I shall suppress all Sentiments of Uneasiness but to you and some few who I have reason to Suppose think of these Matters in the same way, and determine to do and suffer any and every thing for the good of the whole. But I think, tho' the Grand Object will be York, and Canada and their principal Force there, we are not so safe as we ought to be.
I can give you little or no News. Two of our Vessels have been brought too by A Man of War at sea, and the Masters taken as they were told before Lord Howe, who told them he was Bound directly to Philadelphia to settle with the Congress the unhappy dispute. He dismissed both the Vessels and gave them passes to protect them against any or all Cruisers, haveing first reprimanded one of them for the violation of Acts of Parliament in the Illicit trade at St. Petres2 from which place he then came with French Commodities. Our Coast is Clear. I hear of no Cruisers at present to Interrupt the passage of Vessels. Last saturday was the first time, I have been in this Town since the flight of the Invincible British Troops. I can't describe the Alteration and the Gloomy Appearance of this Town. No Business, no Busy Faces but those of the Physicians. Ruins of Buildings, Wharfs { 391 } &c. &c. wherever you go, and the streets covered with Grass. I have just heard that an honest Man from St. Petres, in 25 days says they had there Intelligence of A decleration of War between Spain and Portugal. This is neither Impossible or Improbable, and may Account for Lord Howe's being in A Single Ship, as we are told he had Arrived at the Hook. I wish you all Happiness and am with regards to Mr. Adams and Gerry Yours &c.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Warren July 17. 1776.”
1. That is, on 13 July. Warren had received the Dunlap broadside from Elbridge Gerry (James T. Austin, The Life of Elbridge Gerry, 2 vols., Boston, 1828–1829, 1:202–203; Adams Family Correspondence, 2:48, note 8).
2. Probably St. Pierre in Martinique.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Date: 1776-07-18

To Jonathan Mason Jr.

[salute] My dear Sir

Your agreable Letter from Boston the 9th. July, was handed me, on Tuesday last by the Post.
The Confusions in America, inseparable from So great a Revolution in affairs, are Sufficient to excite Anxieties in the Minds of young Gentlemen just stepping into Life. Your Concern for the Event of those Commotions, is not to your dishonour. But let it not affect your Mind too much. These Clouds will be disperssed, and the Sky will become more Serene.
I cannot advise you, to quit the retired scene, of which you have hitherto appeared to be so fond, and engage in the noisy Business of War. I doubt not you have Honour and Spirit, and Abilities sufficient, to make a Figure in the Field: and if the future Circumstances of your Country should make it necessary, I hope you would not hesitate to buckle on your Armour. But at present I See no Necessity for it. Accomplishments of the civil and political Kind are no less necessary, for the Happiness of Mankind than martial ones. We cannot be all Soldiers, and there will probably be in a very few Years a greater Scarcity of Lawyers, and Statesmen than of Warriours.
The Circumstances of this Country, from the Years 1755 to 1758, during which Period I was a student in Mr. Putnams Office, were almost as confused as they are now. And the Prospect before me, my young Friend was much more gloomy than yours. I felt an Inclination, exactly Similar to yours, for engaging in active martial Life, but I was advised, and upon a Consideration of all Circumstances concluded, to mind my Books. Whether my determination was prudent or not, it is not possible to say, but I never repented it. To attain { 392 } the real Knowledge, which is necessary for a Lawyer, requires the whole Time and Thoughts of a Man in his youth, and it will do him no good to dissipate his Mind among the confused objects of a Camp. Nocturnâ versate manu, versate diurnâ1—must be your Motto.
I wish you had told me, particularly, what Lawyers have opened Offices in Boston, and what Progress is made in the Practice, and in the Courts of Justice. I cannot undertake to Advise you, whether you had better go into an office in Boston or not. I rather think that the Practice at present is too inconsiderable to be of much service to you. You will be likely to be obliged to waste much of your Time in running of Errands, and doing trifling drudgery without learning much.—Depend upon it, it is of more Importance that you read much, than that you draw many Writts. The common Writts upon Notes, Bonds and Accounts, are mastered in half an Hour. Common Declarations for Rent, and Ejectment and Trespass, both of Assault and Battery and Quare Clausum fregit,2 are learn'd in very near as short a Time. The more difficult Special Declarations, and especially the Refinements of Special Pleadings are never learnd in an office. They are the Result of Experience, and long Habits of Thinking.
If you read Ploudens Commentaries,3 you will see the Nature of Special Pleadings. In Addition to these read Instructor Clericalis, Mallory, Lilly, and look into Rastall and Cooke.4 Your Time will be better Spent upon these Authors, than in dancing Attendance upon a Lawyers Office and his Clients. Many of our most respectable Lawyers never did this att all. Gridly, Pratt, Thatcher, Sewall, Paine.5 Never served regularly in any office.
Upon the whole, my young Friend, I wish that the State of public Affairs, would have admitted of my Spending more Time with you. I had no greater Pleasure in this Life, than in assisting young Minds possessed of ambition to excell, which I very well know to be your Case. Let me intreat you not to be too anxious about Futurity. Mind your Books. Set down patiently to Ploudens Commentaries, read them through coolly, deliberately, and Attentively. Read them in Course. Endeavour, to make yourself Master of the Point on which the Case turns. Remark the Reasoning, and the Decision. And tell me a year hence, whether your Time has not been more agreably, and profitably Spent than in drawing Writs and running of Errands. I hope to see you eer long. I am obliged to you for this Letter, and wish a Continuance of your Correspondence. I am anxious, very anxious, for my dear Mrs. Adams, and my Babes. God preserve them. I can do them no kind office, whatever.
{ 393 }
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Give your days and nights to the study of these authors.
2. Trespass because he has broken the close.
3. The Commentaries or Reports of Edmund Plowden . . . , London, 1761, which is listed in the Catalogue of JA's Library.
4. Robert Gardiner, Instructor Clericalis or Precedents in the Court of King's Bench and Common Pleas, for Young Clerks, appeared in six parts over a period of years and in various editions. The Catalogue of JA's Library shows he owned Parts 1 and 3–5 [London,] 1713–1727. John Mallory, Modern Entries in English, Being a Select Collection of Pleadings . . . , 2 vols. [London,] 1734–1735, is not in the Catalogue. John Lilly, Modern Entries, Being a Collection of Select Pleadings . . . , transl. [London,] 1741, is found in the Catalogue only in the Latin edition of 1723. William Rastell, Collection of Entrees, of Declarations, . . . , and Divers Other Matters [London,] 1596, is in the Catalogue. The latest edition was 1670. Sir Edward Coke, A Book of Entries, London, 1671, is also in the Catalogue.
5. The legal careers of Jeremiah Gridley, Benjamin Prat, Oxenbridge Thacher, Jonathan Sewall, and Robert Treat Paine are briefly sketched in JA, Legal Papers, 1:ci, cvi, cix–cxi, cv–cvi.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0171

Author: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-19

From Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear Sir

I am told You are alarmed at Philadelphia with the last clause in our charter.1 That and another respecting Judges2 was hard fought; especially that of Reconciliation, upon a Motion to defer printing the Copy 'till it could be reconsidered.
However we have formally ratified Independency and assumed the Stile of the Convention of the State of New Jersey.3 This very unanimously, and the Votes go down by this Express to the printer.
We are mending very fast here. East Jersey were always firm; West Jersey will now move with Vigour. The Tories in some parts disturbed us; but they have hurt us more by impeding the Business of the Convention and harassing with an Infinity of Hearings. But for this we have provided a Remedy by an Ordinance for trying Treasons Seditions and Counterfeitings.4 And now we shall apply our chief Attention to Military Matters, for which End we remove to Brunswick on Monday, after delaying it too long. In haste, Sir, Yours
[signed] Jona D Sergeant
P.S. Since writing the above, I find Time to add. May I beg the Favour of a Line from You once in a while. We want Wisdom here. Raw, young and unexperienced as your humble Servant is, I am really forced to bear a principal part. Would to Heaven that I could look round here, as when with You, and see a Number in whose Understanding I could confide. But we have a miserable prejudice against Men of Education in this State. Plain Men are generally { 394 } returned, of sufficient Honesty and Spirit, but most of them hardly competent to the penning of a common Vote.
I wrote to You from Bristol more than a Month ago; but received no Answer. Did You receive it? Our new Delegates You find sound and hearty.
You will pardon the Freedom I have repeatedly taken, and favour me with a Line in Answer. Your most obedt.
[signed] J. D S.
Upon Recollection it was Mr. S. Adams, I wrote to from Bristol. Will You ask him if he received it?
1. The last clause of New Jersey's charter read: “Provided always, and it is the true intent and meaning of this Congress, that if a reconciliation between Great-Britain and these Colonies should take place, and the latter be taken again under the protection and government of the crown of Britain, this Charter shall be null and void—otherwise to remain firm and inviolable.” This charter was passed 2 July (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 5:2598).
2. Art. XII set terms for Supreme Court judges at seven years and those for inferior judges at five, with reappointment possible for both. Art. XX denied a seat in the assembly to all judges and others who held places of profit in the government, with the exception of justices of the peace (same, p. 2596, 2598). JA, of course, believed in judicial tenure during good behavior, but he would have approved the intent of Art. XX.
3. The charter referred throughout to the Colony of New Jersey. The avoidance of the term “constitution” was itself significant. The designation “State of New Jersey” was enacted on 18 July (Minutes of the Provincial Congress and the Council of Safety . . . , Trenton, 1879, p. 511).
4. The ordinance, passed 18 July, provided the death penalty for those levying war against the state, giving aid or comfort to the King of Great Britain or his associates, and counterfeiting the paper currency of any of the states or the congress (Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:412–413).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0172

Author: Heath, William
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-20

From William Heath

[salute] Dear Sir

I must ask your Pardon for having repeatedly received your favors Since I have been in the Army, without returning you an Acknowledgement of them. From the opinion which I have long had of your abilities and Patriotism, I have wished for an Intimate Acquaintance with you, And Shall ever Consider it as a great Honor to Correspond with you.
In your last to me of the 15th. of April you were Urging the necessity of a Speedy Declaration of the Independence of the Colonies. I do now most Heartily Congratulate you on the Declaration of an Event So momentous to the United States, and that it has been Effected with So much Unanimity.
{ 395 }
Having Declared the Colonies Free and Independant States, the Grand Object now is to maintain and Defend that Freedom and Independence, which Cannot be Done but by Vigorous Exertions in Arms. The Prussian monarch tells us that the Entire Prosperity of every State rests upon the Discipline of its Army. It is requiste that yours be numerous, well Officer'd, Armed, Disciplined, fed, Clothed and Paid, each of which are Objects of Importance and if either is neglected the State Suffers the Ill Consequences of it. Ordnance and Ordnance Stores should be Provided in Plenty, Light Brass Field Peices and Hawtzers I think are much wanted, Particular Attention should be paid to the mens Clothing. The great and Constant fatigue of the Army in the differant works is Such as Causes an Uncommon Wear of their Clothing which added to the Exorbitant prices of Goods, exhausts almost the whole of the Soldiers Wages. Some method must be Devised for the redress of this Difficulty, and with respect to another Army. In Confidence I must tell you, that Unless a Handsome Bounty is Given the men will not be Enlisted, And why should we Stick at a Triffleing Expence when our all is at Stake. Had the army at First been Enlisted for the war what an happy Circumstance would it have been, a Six weeks Two months &c. Militia, has prevented our having a proper Disciplined Army.
I Congratulate you on our late Success in Carolina,2 I wish our Northern Affairs wore a more favorable Aspect. General Sullivan I am Informed is returning from that army,—And Here my Dear Sir permit me to Express my Self a little freely on the Subject of Promotions, (not in the least Calling in Question the Rights or Wisdom of the Honble. Congress in regard to appointments). We are told that the Officers of the army are not to Expect Promotion in Succession, but that Commissions are to be given to Persons of merit (as it is Called) regardless of any Claim by Succession &c. The merit of the Officers is Doubtless to be reccommended by some Person or Persons, But alas how much are even the Best of men Prone to be Biased in Judgement through Particular Friendship or Connections, we are apt to over Rate the merits of our friends, and perhaps Scarcly notice the greater abilities of others. I my Self Could mention Instances, where Some have had Encomiums bestowed upon them, whilst those who Deserved them have Scarcly been noticed. But even Supposing that none should be Promoted but Such as Distinguish themselves, yet Such a Rule may work wrong.
We will Suppose that A: B: C. and D. are Officers of the Same Rank in the Army and of Equal abilities. A. is the Senior and so { 396 } on.3 The Service requires that A: B. and C. should Command Certain Important Posts in Camp. D. is Sent on Command and Distinguishes himself, either of the Others had they been Sent would have Equally Done it. Now Shall D be promoted to the Prejudice of A. B, and C. Would it not be more Just to reward D by Publick Thanks, by makeing him Commander of a place of Importance, and Promoteing him on the first vacancy, without Injury to any Other, and in this way how Could merit ever Complain of being treated with neglect. In all Service particular Care is taken not to Promote a Junior Officer over the Head of his Superior in Command as its Consequences Seldom fail of being banefull.
Such Maneouvres my Dear Sir are the most delicate of any that you will ever have Occasion to make, and in all Important Maneouvers we should well Consider whether they tend to the gain or loss of Ground and govern ourselves Accordingly.
Among many men there are many minds and every man has his own Opinion, and I have mine of men and Things. I may be mistaken, I may not. Every man has his Friends and Enemies. I have been now more than Fourteen months in the Service at the Risk of my Life and Sacrifice of Ease and Domestick Enjoyments with great Chearfullness. I do not wish advancment, But I have so much Sensibility as to feel when a Junior Officer is advanced over my Head,4 my feelings are as Keen as those of others, and nothing but the Interest of my Country, which I early Steped forward to Defend, (and which I still prefer to every Consideration) has prevented my Expressing of them. Please to Give my Best regards to the Honble the President, and the Rest of your worthy Colleagues, and Beleive me my Dear Sir with the greatest Sincerity to be your Hearty Friend and Humble Servt.
[signed] W Heath
General Sullivan has arrived in Town.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Heath. July 20. 1776 ans. Aug. 3.”
1. The “o” in “20” is written over a “2,” but Health neglected to alter the “nd.”
2. The failure on 28 June of the army under Gen. Henry Clinton and the fleet under Como. Peter Parker to take Charleston, S.C. (William B. Willcox, Portrait of a General: Sir Henry Clinton in the War of Independence, N.Y., 1964, p. 88).
3. Terminal punctuation supplied.
4. A reference to Horatio Gates, who had been promoted to major general in May. Heath was not promoted to that rank until August; yet Heath had begun his service at Lexington and Concord and had been named a major general in the Massachusetts militia in June 1775. Gates had been only a major in the British Army before becoming a brigadier in the Continental Army in June 1775 (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 244, 284).

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Sergeant, Jonathan Dickinson
Date: 1776-07-21

To Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant

[salute] Dear sir

Your Favour of the 19th. from Trenton, reached me, Yesterday. It is very true that We were Somewhat alarmed at the last Clause in your Constitution. It is a pity that the Idea, of returning under the Yoke, was held up, in So good a System, because it gives Something to Say, to a very unworthy Party.
I hope you will assume the Style of the Common Wealth of New Jersey, as Soon as your new Government is compleated.1 Virginia has done it—and it is the most consistent, Style.
It is a great Pleasure to learn that you have formally ratified Independency, and that your Unanimity and Firmness increase. This will be the Case every where as the War, approaches nearer. An Enemies Army brings a great Heat, with it, and warms all before it. Nothing makes and Spreads Patriotism So fast. Your Ordinance against Treasons, will make Whiggs by the thousand. Nine tenths of the Toryism in America, has arisen from Sheer Cowardice, and Avarice. But when Persons come to see their is greater danger to their Persons and Property from Toryism than Whiggism, the same Avarice and Pusillanimity will make them Whiggs. A Treason Law is in Politicks, like the <Law> Article for Shooting upon the Spot, a Soldier who shall turn his back. It turns a Mans Cowardice and Timidity into Heroism, because it places greater danger, behind his back than before his Face.
While you are attending to military Matters, dont forget Salt Petre, Sulphur, Powder, Flints, Lead, Cannon, Mortars.
It grieves me to hear that your People have a Prejudice against liberal Education. There is a Spice of this every where. But Liberty has no Enemy more dangerous than such a Prejudice. It is your Business, my Friend, as a Statesman to Soften and eradicate this Prejudice.—The surist Mode of doing it is to persuade Gentlemen of Education to lay aside Some of their Airs, of Scorn, Vanity and Pride, which it is a certain Truth that they Sometimes indulge themselves in. Gentlemen cannot expect the Confidence of the common People if they treat them ill, or refuse hautily to comply with some