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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4

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.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.