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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4

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).
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.