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The Original Writings of Samuel Adams, Volume 4 by Samuel Adams

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I am, my Lords and Gentlemen, the friend of human nature, and one who
glories in the title of

An American.

1Also attributed to Adams in The Remembrancer, 1778, p. 306.


[MS., Emmet Collection, Lenox Library.]

YORK TOWN June 3d 1778


I very gratefully acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor of the 28th of
May by Mr Ternant, as well as another which was deliverd to me in
Boston. It affords me great Satisfaction to find that Congress,
sensible of your Merit, have put it in your Power to do eminent Service
to our Country in the Army, and that your Services are so acceptable
there. This is the Fulfillment of my earnest Wishes when I had the
Pleasure of conversing with you in Boston. May Heaven prosper you. Mr
Ternants Haste prevents my adding more than that I am with very cordial

Your affectionate

very humble servt


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy.]

YORK TOWN June 21 1778


Although we are exceedingly pressd with publick Business at this
Juncture I cannot omit the Opportunity that now offers of writing to
you. The general Scituation of Affairs, and the particular Transactions
between the British Commissioners and the Congress will be transmited
to you by this Conveyance, by the Committee for foreign Affairs. Since
I last came to this Place from Boston, several Gentlemen have arrivd
here from France viz Mr Simeon Dean, Mr Carmichael, Mr Stephenson, & Mr
Holker. Mr Carmichael comes strongly recommend[ed] by Dr Franklin & Mr
Silas Dean; but Dr Lee in his Letter gives Reasons why he cannot place
a Confidence in him. From a long Correspondence with Dr Lee, I conceive
so great an Opinion of his Candor as well as inflexible Integrity &
Attachment to our Country, that I cannot entertain a Doubt that he
would suffer partial Considerations to operate in his Mind to the
Prejudice of any Man. Such a Difference of Sentiments concerning a
Gentleman who I imagine must be of some Consequence, could not take
Place without at least apparently good Grounds; and it may produce such
Effects on this Side of the Water as may prove uncomfortable to us if
not injurious to our Cause. Would it not then be doing some Service, to
exercise your Prudence in endeavoring to investigate the real Grounds
of it, in doing which possibly some things may open to View of
Importance and at present not thought of.

Dr Lee is a Gentleman of a fair and generous Mind. I wish therefore
that you would freely converse with him upon this Subject if you think
you can do it with Propriety; and let him know that I have lately
receivd many Letters from him, which I have duly attended to and would
have acknowledgd to him by this Opportunity, if I had Leisure.

By the last Accounts I have had from Braintree your Lady & Family were
in Health, though anxiously wishing to hear of your safe Arrival.

I shall write to you as often as I can & shall esteem my self happy in
receiving your Favors.

I remain very affectionately

Your Friend,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE July 9 1778


Mr Mc Lean the Bearer of this Letter arrivd in this City yesterday, and
tells me he saw you on the Day he left Boston, and that you were then
in Health. He now returns in so great Haste as to afford me Time only
to let you know that I still enjoy that inestimable Blessing. I now
write at the Table in Congress, having just put my Hand to the
Confederation with my Colleagues & the Delegates of seven other States.
North Carolina and Georgia whose Members are absent have acceded to the
Confederation. Mr H has just obtaind the Leave of Absence and is going
home on Account of his ill State of Health & the Circumstances of his
Family. He tells me his Wife is dangerously ill.

Adieu my dear,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE July -- 1778


Capt Manley1 has obligd me with your favor of the 5th. He and McNeil
are both here with different Views. The one to obtain another Ship, and
the other to get the Sentence of the Court Martial by which he is
censurd & broke, reversd. Perhaps both may be disappointed. I have
receivd a Number of Letters by both. One from you. To this I shall pay
a very particular Regard, because I am well satisfied you never suffer
Prejudices to divert your Attention from the great object--the publick
Good. "Manly is a blunt, honest and I believe brave officer.' I observe
your Caution; and I admire it because I think it is a proof of your
Integrity. Manlys Bravery is an Article of your Beliefe. His Bluntness&
Honesty, of Certainty. I have not yet lookd into the Papers; but I
recollect, when they were read in Congress, to have heard the Want of
Experience imputed to him, and some thing that had the Appearance of
blameing him for not giving out any Signals for the Direction of the
Ships under his Command. This it must be ownd, strongly implys the Want
if not the total Absense of Discretion. Now I would ask my Friend,
whether the Character of a blunt & honest officer entitles him to the
Command of one of our Capital Ships if he is "deficient in point of
Experience & Discretion." The Characteristick of a Sailor is the blunt
honest Tar. They carry this Character to an inimitable Height. But
surely every honest blunt or even brave Tar is not fit for Command in
our Navy. I some times fear there was an Error in the beginning. Thus
much for Manly. "His Address (viz Mc Neils) is insinuating. His
Assurance great. He may tell you fine Storys" &c. How contemptible does
he appear. I should think he had taken a Lesson from Hutchinsons
political Book, if I had not Reason to believe that he used to despise
him most heartily. But I advert to a Letter from another of my Friends
to whose upright opinions I have always given Weight; there I find "He
is open & sincere'' Synonimous Terms with blunt & honest. "His Temper
is naturally warm which he has sometimes indulgd in speaking his Mind
freely of Persons in office"--This you know has always been deemd an
unpardonable Sin, and I am affraid it always will be. To be sure it
always will be so deemd by that Kind of Men in office who meet with
none to hinder them from persisting in the most expensive Blunders but
the open sincere and warm Friends of our Country. I am warrented in
supposing this Character belongs to Capt Mc Neil, because my worthy
Correspondent in whose Veracity & Judgment I have before told you I
place a Confidence, has affirmd to me, that he knows his Sufferings for
our glorious Cause. Has not Mc Neil struck upon this Rock? It is
possible he has. Says my friendly Correspondent "We all know his Zeal &
Sufferings for our glorious Cause." Such a Character commands my
Friendship; but it has no Consideration in the present Appeal. Has he
had a fair Trial? I pay a proper Regard to the Decisions of a Court
martial, & shall not give my Vote for altering them in any Instance but
when Error Fraud or partiality shall appear plainly to my own

Our Navy officers must not expect to pick & chuse for themselves. They
ought to be content with the Appointments given to them. It is true
Appointments should be made with more Discretion than I think they can
be by any Men at three or four hundred Miles Distance. For this Reason
I moved that they should be made by the Navy Board, which obtaind in a
certain Degree as you have seen or will see by a Letter from the Marine
Committee. Had this been the Case before Olney would have remaind in
the , Resistance & Bush must have waited for another. If the Queen of
France is a better Vessel it will turn out not to the Disadvantage of
Olney. While we have more officers in Commission than Ships, there must
be Disappointments, Envy, & Suspicions (oftentimes unreasonable) of
each other. This is the Make of Man, and we may as well think of
stopping the Tide as altering it. The Appointment of Landais affords an
ample Subject for the Observations of Speculatists and the Resentment
of Navy officers. I think he is, as you observe an ingenuous & well
behaved Man, and if he is an able & experiencd officer, as we are
assured he is by those whose Duty it is to give us the best
Intelligence, it is a pity that two very good Lieutenants shd have the
Ship & the Service on that account. I hope others may be found to fill
their places. "It is an opinion that I was Landais' chief Patron." On
this occasion you discover your self, as you are disposd to do on every
occasion, partial in my favor. If I was in any Degree instrumental in
promoting Capt Landais, it was because I really thought he would be of
eminent Use to our Navy. And I question whether it would not have been
thought a well judgd Appointment, if there had not been a fanciful
Predilection in favor of Another. Even the Name of the Ship may have
given Disgust to some Men. I hope when Manly is provided with such a
Ship as will please him the Difficulties or Obstructions in the Way of
getting the Alliance manned will be removd. I am very sure your
Exertions will not be wanting to promote the Service.


1 Recently of the Ship Hancock. The record of his court martial was
laid before the Continental Congress on August 5, and ordered to be
referred to the Marine Committee for filing among its papers.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADA July 1778


It is but seldom I can find Leisure to write a long Letter. You must
excuse me if I give you my Thoughts as I am able to recollect and
adjust them into any Order. I find -------- to be an excellent Member of Congress.
He is a thorough and zealous Republican, and an able Supporter of the
publick Liberty. I am satisfied it would be for the great Benefit of
our Country, if you and he were to form an intimate Connection with
each other. This I am very desirous of, because I have no Idea of your
being long secluded from the publick Councils. He will go home shortly.

I have not yet answerd your Letters of the 26th and 28th of June. I am
in Pain about the Ship in your Harbour. Her Owners neglect to put her
into Repair, and I fear a great Number of her Officers and Crew for
Want of Skill or Experience will be at a LOSS what to do with her if
she meets with a Storm. What a Pity is it, that an honest old Pilot has
lately been dischargd, who used to steer successfully through Rocks &
Quick sands! And that he should suffer this hard Usage, only because,
unknown to him one who was a hearty Well wisher to the Voyage, and was
anxious that Capacity & Merit might always govern Promotions, had
venturd to declare him the fittest Man to take the Command. Ambition,
or rather Vanity, and Avarice--an insatiable Thirst for Places and
Preferment, without Ability or Intention to fulfil the Duties of them,
tends to the Ruin of any Country, and if not eradicated, will soon
effect it. It would be the Glory of this Age, to find Men having no
ruling Passion but the Love of their Country, and ready to render her
the most arduous and important Services with the Hope of no other
Reward in this Life than the Esteem of their virtuous Fellow Citizens.
But this, some tell us, is expecting more than it is in the Power of
human Nature to give. Be it as it may. There are some Men to whom the
publick Confidence most certainly ought to be refused. I mean those who
in perilous Times have never dared to avow the publick Sentiments.

Last Saturday1 Congress recd another Letter from the British
Commissioners. You have it inclosd with a short Resolution2 in
Consequence of it. This shuts the Door until they will be pleased to
open it. Governor Johnstone has acted so base a part as to hint the
offer of Bribes not only to the President but every other Member of
Congress, as you will see by the Inclosd Letter to Mr R. Morris. By
this he has in my opinion forfeited the Character of an honest Man &
justly exposd himself to Contempt. I hope some Strictures will be made
in the Newspapers on this as well as the disrespectful & even insolent
Language in the Commissioners Letter, not so proper to be noticed by
Congress. I am assured that a Bribe of 10,000 Guineas has been offerd
to a Gentleman of Station & Character here. He refusd it as you might
suppose with suitable Resentment, telling the Lady who negociated this
dirty Business, that the British King was not rich enough to purchase

Mr D3 of whom I may perhaps hereafter have much to say to you is arrivd
with the Sieur Gerard. I have long ago formed my opinion of the
American Commissioner & have not yet alterd it. That of the french
Minister is, a sensible prudent Man, not wanting in political Finesse &
therefore not to be listned to too implicitly. The french Squadron lies
off Sandy Hook. I have inclosd the Names & Rates of the ships together
with the Spanish Ships in N York as deliverd to us by a Prisoner lately
escaped from thence. Their Force bears no proportion to each other. The
Question in my Mind is whether the french Admiral will risque his large
Ships to be workd, as they must be in an Engagement, in the Narrows --the
Width of the Channel is and its Depth at low Water. I am told that this
is a favorite Expedition of Count d'Estaing himself, proposd by him &
not Mr D, to the french Court, and that his Reputation as a Politician
as well as an Admiral is at Stake. From the Character I have recd of
him, I make no Doubt he will answer the highest reasonable Expectations
of the King his Master and of America. Mr Ds political Friends, some of
whom I suppose are in Boston, are disposd to give him great Eclat on
Account of the Aid afforded us in sending this Squadron. His interest
with the french Ministry is represented as very forceable in procuring
it and the Newspapers mention the favors conferd on him even by the
King himself. The Truth as I conceive it is, the total overthrow of
Burgoyns Army was an Event which it was thought would produce Overtures
from Britain, and France was apprehensive of our listening to Terms &
compromising Matters. Hence it was, more than from any other Cause or
the Interest of any Individual that a Treaty was facilitated & agreed
to and to secure us in their Alliance & support us in sending this
Squadron, and the Purpose of M Gerards Mission. We are informd that
Eleven Sail of Merchantmen & a Frigate have fallen into his Hands.

I have declind answering your Letter of the 26 of June till I could
assure you that the Sum you wishd for was granted for the Use of your
Department. I now have the Pleasure of informing you that it will be
orderd as soon as it arrives from York Town. It is every hour expected.
The Marine Committee have agreed that the Navy Board shall appoint
Commanders for Vessels of War under Twenty Guns.

1 July 18; the letter was dated July 11.

2 "That no answer be given to the letter of the nth instant from the
British commissioners."

3 Silas Deane; Congress on July 11 was notified by him of his arrival
on the Languedoc.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Augt 11 -78


I yesterday had the pleasure of receiving your favor by the post,
covering the News papers and a Letter, as you emphatically express it,
"from one of my closest Friends"; for all which I thank you most

You ask me what occasiond the very sudden return of Mr H.----1. I answer in
his own Word to me, His own Want of Health & the dangerous Illness of
his Lady. You say he arrivd quite unexpected--you must surely be mistaken;
for he publickly said he had Leave of Absence from his Constituents.
You add, various are the Conjectures for the true Cause. It is the Lot
of a great Man to have every Movement he makes critically scanned, and
the strangest Constructions are oftentimes put upon those parts of his
Conduct which may be most easily explaind. You have so many Twistings
in your Typography and my Eyes are grown so dim with Age that I cannot
well discover whether you inform me that his Friends say the Air or
Airs of Philadelphia doth not suit him; though I must conclude the
former from your usual Correctness in Grammar, for there is an evident
false Concord in admitting the latter. Pray let me know whether the
News Papers have not done him Injustice in announcing that he made his
Entrance into Boston on Sunday. I should think they had; for a well
bred Man will carefully avoid counteracting the vulgar Prejudices or
injuring the Feelings of the People where he may happen to be.

I congratulate you on the present happy Appearance of our publick
Affairs, & joyn with you in Praying that Heaven may still prosper them.

I shall take it as a favor if you will deliver the inclosd Manuscript,
without suffering a Copy to be taken, to Mrs A. I told her, I would
send it to her as being not an unfit Subject for female Inspection &

I am very affectionately,


1 Hancock; cf. page 41.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Augt 11 -78


I am quite ashamd that I have not yet acknowledgd the two Letters which
I have had the Pleasure of receiving from you since I left Boston; you
will excuse me when I tell you, I have many Letters, which are daily
accumulating, unanswerd, and very little Leisure. This by the Way, must
convince you how unfit a Person I am even if I were otherwise
qualified, to undertake the important Task you require of me in your
last. While I am giving you the true Reason of my Silence, I hope it
will not prevent your writing to me by every opportunity. Herein you
will lay me under great obligations.

By the late Publications, you have seen, and doubtless have made your
own Comments on the epistolary Correspondence between the British
Commissioners & Congress. The short Resolution on their last Letter,
has put an End to it. Last Week the Minister from France had an
Audience in Congress. The Manner of conducting this Ceremony, together
with a Letter from his most Christian Majesty and the Speeches of the
Minister and the President are publishd in the inclosd News Paper. I
have had several opportunitys of seeing him at his own House, and a few
days ago he made a Visit to the Delegates of the Massachusetts who live
together. He is easy and polite in his Manners and converses freely
without much Ceremony.

Nothing can equal the barefaced Falshood of the Quakers & Tories in
this City, unless perhaps their Folly, in giving out that M. Gerard
does not come in the Character of a publick Minister, but only to
obtain Pay for the Stores we have receivd from that Country. These
Quakers are in general a sly artful People, not altogether destitute,
as I conceive, of worldly Views in their religious Profession. They
carefully educate their Children in their own contracted Opinions and
Manners, and I dare say they have in their Hearts as perfect a System
of Uniformity of Worship in their Way, and are busily employd about
spiritual Domination as ever Laud himself was, but having upon
professed Principles renouncd the Use of the carnal Weapon, they cannot
consistently practice the too common Method made use of in former
times, of dragooning Men into sound Beliefe. One might submit to their
own inward Feelings, whether they do not now & then secretly wish for
fire from Heaven in support of their Cause, in order to bring them upon
a footing with. those whose Consciences dictate the kindling fires on
Earth for the pious Purpose of convincing Gainsayers, and who keep the
Sword in their Hands to enforce it. He who in the Spirit of the Apostle
professes to wish Peace to all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in
Sincerity, must discover an unmortified Pride & a Want of Christian
Charity to destroy the peace of others who profess to have that sincere
Affection to the Common Master, because they differ from him in Matters
of mere opinion. But the Post is just going. I must therefore conclude
with assuring you that I am affectionately,


1 A clergyman, of Maiden, Mass.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Sept 1 -78


After having been disappointed several Weeks I am at length favord with
your very acceptable Letter of the 18 of August. You have formerly
hinted to me your Apprehension that I mt think your Letters came to me
too frequently. I could not then suppose you to be in Earnest; but your
Silence from the 17 July to the Date of your last, which you own to be
many Days, is a very serious Comment, & obliges me in a formal Manner
to assure you, that you cannot gratify me more than by writing to me

My Enemies in Boston are exceedingly mistaken if they think I have
condescended to become a Party Man in their unimportant Disputes about
Manly & Mc Neil,1 Neither of whom, in my opinion have derived any Honor
from the Decisions of the late Courts martial. I wonder how Manly can
attribute his Disappointment to me. At my Request he called to see me.
I found him to be one of those Men who stand in Need of Advice & gave
him the best I could. I told him what Questions would probably be asked
him that he might prepare to answer them. In short I said every thing
to him as a Friend which was proper for me to say. Perhaps I was too
candid to be thought a Friend. I intended to have been present at the
Committee, but was unavoidably hinderd. He did not call on me a second
time. Mc Neil is still here. He has called on me twice or thrice. I
know not in what part of the City he lives. His Friends & his Enemies
may be assured that I will give my Voice on the Subject Matter of his
Petition according to my best Skill & Judgment. In this I expect to be
justified by those to whose good opinion alone I pay the least Regard--the
candid & impartial.

I heartily despise those small Dealers in Politicks who are propagating
idle Stories to injure me. Little Insects will be for ever playing
about the glimmering Light of a farthing Candle. It is out of their
Power to disturb the peace of my Mind. You took too much Pains, my dear
Friend, to stop their Clamor, when you read a Paragraph in my Letter
which was designd for your Perusal & not theirs. I am however obligd to
you for your kind Intention.

Your Letter informs me that Mr H is gone on the Expedition to Rhode
Island.2 This is also announcd in the Boston News papers, which, to do
them Justice I must observe, never fail to notice all the Movements of
a Great Man. I am anxious to know the Event of this Expedition. But I
am called off & must leave you abruptly. Adieu. I must write you again
very soon.

Be so good as to let Mrs know that I am well.

1 Cf. pages, 41, 57, 59, 63.

2 See page 60.


[Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 6th ser., vol. ix.,
pp. 423-425.]

[PHILADELPHIA, Septr 3, 1778.]

DEAR SIR,--A few days ago I received a letter from your son in law Mr
Temple dated New York, August 23d, requesting me by the first
opportunity to inform you of his & Mrs Temple's arrival there, & that,
for particular reasons he should be exceedingly happy if your affairs
would permit you to meet them at Philadelphia, or as near it as might
be convenient to you. He requested this of me, because excepting that
letter & another to Mr President Laurens, he had not written a line
since his arrival at N. Y., & he had still weighty reasons for
declining it. He also desired me to cause it to be made as convenient
as might be (at his expence) for Mrs Temple & her little boy, who had
not been well since their arrival, to get to Philadelphia. His baggage
which is both heavy & bulkey, he intended to get transported in a Flag,
if any should be suffered to pass, to Boston, or some port as near it
as might be, & hoped to see me soon in this city. His letter to the
President was read in Congress. It was short and contained little more
than to sollicit leave to come to Philada to pay his respects to
Congress. This was refus'd upon the idea that he might be a secret
emissary from the British Court. I think it is best for him that his
request is not granted; for the jealousy of the people at large would,
I believe, render his residence here very uncomfortable. A certain
Doctor Burkenhout, who came from London in the same packett with Mr T----, is
now in prison in this city, committed by the authority of this State,
under the same suspicion. I took occasion to inform Congress from my
own knowledge of Mr Temple, that although he had been formerly an
officer of the Crown of Great Britain, and in the Customs,1 yet he had
constantly given great offence to his brother Commissioners & other
friends of that government, particularly Bernard & Hutchinson, by his
attachment to those who espoused the liberties of America; that he went
to England seven years ago, where, I understood, he had since lived the
greater part of the time, entirely out of favor at Court & in private
life. and that I had reason to think his connexions in Boston had long
expected his return to spend his days there. Congress afterwards
ordered the Secretary to inform Mr Temple, that if it was his intention
to reside in any one of the United States, the same should be signified
by him to the State in which he intends to reside, & the approbation of
that State

obtaind before a passport could be granted to him. Thus the matter
stands in all its particulars, a view of which I thought it proper you
should be acquainted with. I wish Mr Temple had turned his attention
first to Boston. It is probable he will now do it, and that you will
receive a letter from him.

I am with the greatest sincerity,

Your affectionate friend, and humble servant,

1 Cf. Vol. i., page 316.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; the text is in W. V. Wells,
Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., p. 53.]

PHILADELPHIA Sept 8th 1778


Your very dutiful and obliging Letter of the 28th of August came to my
Hand yesterday and brought me the afflicting News of your Mothers
Illness. When you tell me "the Doctor thinks she is on the mending
Hand," and "he hopes she will be cleverly in a Day or two," I am apt to
conclude her Disorder had not much abated when you wrote. I know "she
is exceedingly 10th to give me the least Pain," and therefore I suspect
she has dictated to you to make the best of it to me. "She begs of me
not to make myself very anxious for her." This is a Request which it is
impossible for me to comply with. I shall be very uneasy till I hear
again from you. I pray God she may recover her Health and long continue
a rich Blessing to you and me. I am satisfied "you do all that lies in
your Power for so excellent a Mother." You are under great Obligations
to her, and I am sure you are of a grateful Disposition. I hope her
Life will be spared and that you will have the Opportunity of
presenting to her my warmest Respects. I rejoyce to hear that your late
Disorder was so gentle and that you have got over it. I commend you my
dear, to the Care and Protection of the Almighty. That He may reward
your filial Piety is the ardent Prayer of

Your very affectionate Father,

1 Later the wife of Thomas Wells.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE Sept 8th 1778


I have lately had the pleasure of receiving two Letters from you, one
by Capt Manly and the other by yesterdays Post. The latter makes
mention of some Notice you had receivd "from a warm Friend to you & me"
that "Cap Mc Niel was making Misrepresentations at Philade to your
Disadvantage." I have a particular Reason for my Curiosity in wishing
to know who this Friend is. If I had that Knowledge I might perhaps see
Grounds of Suspicion that the Design was far different from that of
giving you a friendly Hint. I assure you I have heard Nothing here to
your Disadvantage. If Capt McNiel is the Person I am to understand to
be your Enemy, I will tell you that he has called on me not more than
twice or thrice, since he arrivd here, and that he has not mentiond
your Name to me nor any thing relating to your Department, nor indeed
any thing that would tend to bring you to my Thoughts. I know not in
what Part of the City he lives. I suppose he is preparing to meet the
Marine Committee to whom his Petition is referrd. When it may be proper
for me to give my Opinion, I intend to do it, with Freedom &
Impartiality, not feeling my self interrested in the Party Disputes
which I perceive there are in Boston between two Men, neither of whom
in my opinion has derivd much Honor from the Decisions of the Courts
Martial respecting them. If I shall hear any thing said to your
Prejudice here you may depend on my letting you know it; being
determind if possible to prevent your suffering an Injury which one of
your Friends at least thinks he has in being stabbd in the dark. I
intend to write you more fully of these Matters at another Time. At
present I can only add a Request that you wd be so kind as to deliver
the inclosd Letter to my Daughter and forward the other which is from
my Servant to his Friends in Milton. My dear Mrs A, I am informd is
very unwell.

I am with the most friendly Regard to your Family,

very affectionately,



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.}

PHILAD Sept 12 1778


Your obliging Letter of the 25 of Augt by the Post came duly to my
hand. As you again mention Cap Manly, I will speak of him to you with
Candor. I never saw him but once, viz last Spring in Boston, till he
came to this City. I had preconceivd an opinion of his Bravery, in
speaking of which you tell me "no Caution ought to be used," though I
have never yet been pointed to a single Instance of it. I confess his
Appearance in Boston did not strike me most agreably. He was in the
Midst of a Crowd, who were shouting his Entrance into the Town; and
like some of his Superiors, he seemd to be intoxicated with popular
Applause. I had other Apprehensions, but I give you my most charitable
Thoughts. I retaind however an opinion of him; for I concluded, that
Huzza for the brave M, would be a sufficient Inducement to him to lay a
Pop Gun Schooner alongside the Eagle, if good Fortune should throw her
in his Way. You think "his Judgment and Abilities would not be equal to
others in the Direction of more Ships than one." Here lies the
Difficulty. Consider his Rank in our little Navy & judge how soon the
Time may perhaps must come when he may have the Command of more Ships,
if you give him the Command of one. Having said this to you & to no one
else, though I have heard the same thing mentiond by others, you will
not conclude that I am here deeply engagd in a Party against him. Some
I know will, or will pretend to form this Conclusion, not from real
Regard to the Merit of M., the Honor of our Navy or the great Cause we
are engagd in, but from a different Motive and very inferior to either.

I am glad that Landais "rises in your Esteem"-- that "other Captains are
convincd he is Master of his Business which with his agreable Manners &
Disposition forcd Conviction of the Judiciousness of his Appointment."
I fancy now that I shall soon be dischargd the shameful Imputation of
having been "his chiefe Patron here." I have a particular Reason now to
urge that every possible Exertion may be made to get his and all the
other Ships manned. Last Evening a Letter from Governor Trumbull was
read in the Committee, strongly recommending a Captain for the Ships at
Norwich, who, added to great Qualifications, can readily get Men for
her. I mentioned Manly as having the Character of a brave and very
popular officer, and read those Parts of your last Letter to me which
related to him. I am convincd that he need not impute his being
overlookd to any other Cause than the Decree of the Court Martial which
acquitted him with Honor.

The Rhode Island Expedition is at Length finishd. Our Cause is not
dishonord though we did not succeed to our Wishes. Congress has approvd
the Retreat--thankd Gen1 Sullivan & his brave Troops and applauded the
patriotick Exertions of New England. Major Gen1 Hancock was unluckily
at Boston & missed the Laurel! In my opinion it is in a great Degree
impolitick at this Juncture to suffer an Odium to be cast on the Count
D'Estaing. If there should be a Disposition to do it I am perswaded Men
of Discretion & Influence will check it. The Tories will try their
utmost to discredit our new Alliance. And he who not long ago expressd
his Opinion that "a Connection with France will ruin America" will not
fail to promote a Jealousy if he can thereby establish his Popularity.
Such a Man should be critically watchd on this Occasion. Adieu my


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a portion of the text is
printed in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., p. 40.]

PHILE Sept 14--78


I recd your favor of the 3d with the News papers inclosd. I note well
the Contents. Our Boston Papers never fail to mark all the Movements of
Great Men & to give Honor where Honor is due. The spirited Exertions of
our Major Generals to be sure ought properly to be noticed. Some of
them have had the good Fortune never to be out of the Way of making a
Figure, while others are wisely following the unpopular Steps of Fabius
or Count Daun. The Marquis La Fayette every one acknowledges, made
surprizing Dispatch in going to Boston and returning to R I; but he was
sadly mortified in not being present in the Action on that Island. He
did all that Man cd do Impossibilities are not to be expected. But he
arrivd in Season to take a distinguishd Share in the well timed & well
conducted Retreat. In Him we indeed see an Instance of a young Nobleman
"of Rank & fortune foregoing the pleasures of Enjoyment of domestick
Life and exposing himself to the Hardships and Dangers of a Camp," not
in his own but a foreign Country, "in the glorious Cause of freedom."

Congress requested the President to write to him & in their Name
acknowledge his Zeal & spirited Services on this Occasion by which he
has given a fresh proof of his Attachment to our Common Cause. I am
sorry to hear there is a Disposition in some persons in Boston to cast
an odium on the french Admiral for his leaving Rhode Island. In my
Opinion it is at this Juncture impolitick in the Extreme. Even if his
Conduct was thought to be blameworthy Prudence I think would dictate
Silence to us. Men of Discretion and Influence will surely by all means
check such a Disposition.

The Tories will try their utmost to discredit our new Alliance. You
know how much depends upon our cultivating mutual Confidence. It is not
in the Power of undisguisd Tories to hurt our Cause. Injudicious tho
honest Whigs may & too often do injure it. Those whose chief aim is to
establish a Popularity in order to obtain the Emoluments of places or
the Breath of Applause will think they may serve themselves by
declaiming on this Subject, or prompting others to do it; and they will
not fail doing it though they essentially wound their Country.

If there be any of my virtuous & publick spirited fellow Citizens who
pay the least Regard to my opinions I wish they would particularly
regard what I say on this Occasion.

I have written in haste and must break off abruptly.

TO ----------.

[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE Sept 21, 1778


I beg you not to impute my omitting hitherto to acknowledge your Favor
of the 4th of July to Negligence. I have frequently thought of its
Contents; and although I was not able to obtain what you wishd for, I
think you will not doubt my Sincerity when I assure you that whenever
it shall be in my Power to render you substantial Service I shall do it
with the utmost Cheerfulness. It is the Opinion of Gentlemen here that
the Appointments of Auctioneers to make Sale of such Prize goods as
fall to the Share of the Continent should be made by the Authority of
the particular States where such Goods may be forfeited.

Your Letter was deliverd to me by Capt Manly. I am informd by some of
my Boston Friends that he speaks of me with a Degree of Bitterness,
supposing that I prevented his having another Ship. This gives me not
the least Disquietude. He may have been taught to believe it, by
Persons who care but little for him and less for the Honor of our Navy
or the great Cause we are contending for. Neither he nor his Friends
could be at a loss for the true Cause of his Disappointment, if they
would advert to the Judgment of the Court Martial which acquitted him
with Honor. What a strange Inconsistency was there in that Court, in
recommending Cap Manly for another Ship, and at the same Time holding
up so great a Deficiency in his Conduct as the neglecting to prepare
Signals for a Fleet under his Direction, and in general his Want of
Experience. This was said by many; and it ought to be satisfactory to
Cap Manly, that though I clearly saw the Justice of the Remark, I was
silent. In this, it is possible, I was not altogether blameless. I have
never felt my self disposd to take a Side in the Disputes which I
understand have run high between Partizans of Manly & McNiel. I think
Neither of them can derive much Honor from the Decisions of their
respective Courts Martial. I wish for the Credit of our Country that
both had behavd more to the Satisfaction of the Publick. One of them is
still here. I suppose he is preparing to meet the Committee to whom his
Petition is referrd. When it may be proper for me to speak my Mind his
Friends & his Enemies may be assured I shall do it with Candor &
Freedom. In doing this I expect to be justified, by sensible & honest
Men. If I stand fair with them, you well know, how unsolicitous I am
whether others are pleasd or not.

There is another Matter of greater Consequence which I wish to mention
to you. I am informd there are Persons in Boston disposd to make a
popular Clamor against the french Admiral for leaving Rhode Island. I
cannot help remonstrating to my Friends against it as in a great Degree
impolitick. Even if it should be thought he had taken a wrong step, it
is our Wisdom at this Juncture to forbear criminating him. The Tories
will try their utmost to discredit our new Alliance. They cannot
succeed but by making injudicious Whigs their Instruments. There are
two things from which I am more apprehensive than I am from the joynt
Efforts of all our Enemies, viz the intemperate and misplacd Zeal of
our honest Friends, and an insatiable Desire in others who are called
Friends to establish a Popularity in order to obtain the Splendor or
Emoluments of Places, or that vanity of vanities the Breath of Applause.

Adieu my Friend,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE Sept 28 1778


Your Letter of the 16th which I just now receivd, is like cool Water to
a thirsty Soul. It gives me inexpressible Pleasure to have it under
your own Hand, that you are in the Way of Recovery from a dangerous
Disorder. I earnestly pray God to restore you to perfect Health; and
let me intreat you, my Dear, to be very careful of your self.

I exceedingly regret the LOSS which the Town has sustaind by the Death
of Dr Eliot & Dr Greenleafe. In Times so degenerate as these are, it is
much to be lamented that Men of such Exemplary Piety and Virtue are
taken away. I hope the Depravity of Manners is not so great as to
exclude all Hopes of Childrens rising up and serving God and their
Country in the Room of their Fathers. May Heaven grant us a Time of

I think you have done well in putting your Servant Boy Job an
Apprentice to a Sail Maker. I hope you will injoyn it on him to let you
see him often, that you may give him your Advice, and tell him it is my
Desire that he would attend to it. I love the Boy, and am still of
opinion, that if he is properly mannagd he will make a good Citizen.

Remember me to my Daughter, Sister Polly and the rest of my Family &
Friends, and accept of the best Wishes of

your most affectionate,

Write to me by every opportunity.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE Sept 30 1778


I have the pleasure of committing this Letter to the Care of your
youngest Son who having been unfortunately taken in the Brig
Resistance, was sufferd to come to this City to be exchangd for the
Purser of the British Ship Mermaid who is now in N York on his Parole.
This Exchange I effected without Delay; and procured from the Navy
Board here an Advance of fifty Dollars, for which he is to account with
the Eastern Navy Board in the settlement of his Wages. I apprehended
this Sum would not be sufficient to discharge the Expence of his Board
in this very expensive place & carry him through his Journey &
therefore I advancd him forty Dollars more, taking his Draft upon you
which you will please to repay to Mrs Adams in Boston.

I introducd your Son to your old Friend the President who receivd him
with great Courtesy. Upon my hinting to the President that if he had
publick Letters to send to Boston, this young Gentleman would take good
Care of them, and it would be the Means of providing him with an Horse
for his Journey, he very politely told me he should be glad [to] serve
him in that Way, He as well as Monsr Girard having Letters which mt be
as well sent by him as by any other Person. I assure you it is not
Flattery to tell you that I am exceedingly pleasd with your Son. His
modest Assurance is very engaging. If his Life is spared and his Morals
well fixed, I think he will make an excellent Citizen. That the
Children of N England may rise and serve God & their Country in the
Room of their Fathers is the most ardent Prayer of

your cordial Friend,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE Oct 6-78.


I receivd your favor of the 23d of Septr by yesterdays Post. You tell
me that Boston is become a new City, and explain your self by
mentioning the exceeding Gayety of Appearance there. I would fain hope
this is confind to Strangers. Luxury & Extravagance are in my opinion
totally destructive of those Virtues which are necessary for the
Preservation of the Liberty and Happiness of the People. Is it true
that the Review of the Boston Militia was closd with an expensive
Entertainment? If it was, and the Example is followed by the Country, I
hope I shall be excusd when I venture to pledge myself, that the
Militia of that State will never be put on such a Footing as to become
formidable to its Enemies. I am told that such a Practice is contrary
to the Letter of the Militia Act. I trust then I was misinformd when I
was told that it was countenanced by those who of all Men ought to pay
the most sacred Regard to the Law. Are we arrivd to such a Pitch of
Levity & Dissipation as that the Idea of feasting shall extinguish
every Spark of publick Virtue, and frustrate the Design of the most
noble and useful Institution. I hope not. Shall we not again see that
Sobriety of Manners, that Temperance, Frugality, Fortitude and other
manly Virtues wch were once the Glory and Strength of my much lov'd
native Town. Heaven grant it speedily!



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD 11 Octobr 1778


In the inclosd Newspaper you will see certain Queries calculated to
impress on the Minds of the people the Idea of Dr Lee's having held a
criminal Correspondence with a Person known to be at the same time in
the Service & under the Direction of the British Ministry. I hope it
will not be in the Power of this Querist to do essential Injury to so
eminent a Patriot; who took the earliest & most decisive Part in
opposition to the Measures of the British Court, and whose invariable
Attachment to the Liberties of our Country never was, and I think
cannot be justly suspected. Yet it may be necessary to guard against
it; for I plainly though silently saw when I was last in Boston a
Malevolent Disposition towards Dr Lee, in a certain Gentleman, who,
till he is better known, will have a great Influence in the
Massachusetts State. The Instance you may recollect, as you was knowing
to it in the Time of it. I then supposd it to proceed from his having
strongly attachd himself, and for a Length of Time to a Circle of Men,
and imbibd their Prejudices, who are far remote from the Connections of
Dr Lee, and who differ widely from them in the Adoption of publick
Measures regarding either Politicks or Morals.

You may remember that some time ago, in a Letter1 I informd you that I
had much to say to you about Mr D; of whom I had long formd my Opinion
& had not seen Reason to alter it. I have hitherto said Nothing to you
about him; because I knew it would lead me to Subjects of great
Delicacy, which, if exposd to the Enemy, as they would be if my Letter
should fall into their Hands, might disgrace, or otherwise be
prejudicial to our publick Affairs. This Caution prevents my
communicating to you many things of which I wish to unburthen my Mind.

Mr D was originally taken up by a secret Committee of Congress
appointed to procure from France the necessary Supplys for carrying on
the War. By them he was sent to that Country in the Character of a mere
Merchant. About that Time another Committee was; appointed, whose
Business it was to form a Correspondence abroad, and particularly to
feel the political Pulse of France in Hopes of forming a Connection
with that powerful Nation. This Committee also took up Mr D; and he
carried Letters from Dr F to some Men of Eminence, which might enable
him in some Measure to penetrate into the Disposition of the Court of
France towards America. With these Views Mr D was sent to France. He
was to be Agent to the secret Come of Commerce. To the secret Come of
Correspondence he was to be the Inquisitive Man or Intelligencer. He
had no political Powers whatever; and yet he sent us over, Majors,
Colonels, Brigadiers & Majors General in Abundance & more than we knew
what to do with, of his own creating, till at length Mr Du Coudray
arrivd with the Commission (or an Agreement signd by Mr D in behalf of
the United States, that he should have one) of a Major General, with
the Command of our Artillery; together with his Suite of about 70
Gentlemen of different Ranks. All this was done, as I said before
without any Authority. Congress was exceedingly embarrassd; being 10th
to discredit their Commissioner (for before the Arrival of M Du Coudray
he was commissiond joyntly with Mess Franklin & Lee) I say being 10th
to discredit him by disannulling the Convention, and at the same Time
judging it dishonorable as well as unsafe for America to ratify it.
This however was agreed to in a Come of the whole House. Not having the
records before me, I do not recollect whether it was confirmd in the
House; but Du Coudray soon after died, his Suite or most of them
returnd with Gratifications & Mr D was recalled. After which he was
directed to return speedily and give an Accot of the State of our
Affairs in Europe.

This has given an Occasion to his Friends to hide the true Reason of
his being recalled, & to hold up in the News Papers an ostensible one,
supposing it to be more for his Reputation.

Our Affairs even in France wore a gloomy Aspect during the last year
until the News of our Army at the Northward being completely
victorious. This was the decisive Language which commanded our Success
in the Cabinet of France. To this we are indebted for the Acknowledgmt
of our Independence, the Treaty and the french Fleet. Mr D is
complimented with having procurd this Fleet, and his "spirited
Exertions" like those of other Great Men have been puffd off in the
News Papers. Unthinking Men may be amusd with a Golden Snuff Box &c.
After all they are mere Things of Course, especially in the Honey Moon
of National Matrimony.

Since Mr Ds Return as well as before, there have been Suggestions of
his Misconduct in France; and among other things, of his Misapplication
of publick Money. I cannot say whether these Suggestions are well
grounded or not. Congress is devoting every Hour to an Enquiry into the
Grounds of them which can be spared from an Attention to other great
Affairs, particularly the Finances. The Conduct of an honest Man will
bear the strictest Scrutiny. If the Friends of Mr D have any Suspicions
of his being tardy, I am inclind to think they will be more
apprehensive of a Detection from the Vigilance & Integrity of Dr Lee
than any thing else. On such occasions it is not unusual for the most
unblemished of Characters & sometimes the Lives of the best of them to
be sacrificd in order to prevent "Transactions dark & mysterious" from
being brot into open Light.

I have written this Letter in Confidence & shall continue the Subject
when I can find Leisure. Adieu.

1 Cf. page 47.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE Oct 14 -- 78


In my last I inclosd a News paper containing certain Queries
calculated, as I conceive, to blast the Reputation of a truly virtuous

I must inform you that Dr Lee & Dr Berkenhout, mentiond by the Querist,
were formerly fellow Students at Edinburgh; and as both were esteemed
learned in their Profession, it is not improbable that on that Account
they kept up their Acquaintance while both continued in Great Britain.
Dr Lee you know was requested by Congress to go over to France, where
he was made a joynt Commissioner with Messrs Franklin & Dean. It is
possible that a Correspondence might afterwards have been carried on
between them; but from the Knowledge I have of Dr Lee, I will venture
to pledge my self it was not a criminal one, as the Querist would seem
to insinuate, and if Dr Berkenhout was in the Service & under the
Direction of the British Ministry, which by the Way is but base
Suspicion here, it was utterly unknown to Dr Lee. It is doubtful
whether any Correspondence was held between these two Gentlemen. I am
rather inclind to think it is a Creature of the Querists own Fancy, or
an artful Suggestion thrown out to the Publick to serve the Cause of
our Enemies. America shod beware how she suffers the Character of one
of the most able & vigilant Supporters of her Rights to be injurd by
Questions designd to impute Slander, without any Reasons offerd why
such Questions should be made. It is the old Game of mischievous Men to
strike at the Characters of the good and the great, in order to lessen
the Weight of their Example & Influence. Such Patriots as Lord Russell
& Algernon Sydney of the last Age, have of late been falsly &
audaciously chargd by a Scotch Tool of the most nefarious Court, with
having receivd Bribes from the National Enemy; and it is not strange
that a Gentleman whom the leading Whigs of America have always placd so
high in their List of Patriots, who has renderd the most laborious &
important Services to our Country in England France & other Parts of
Europe, who so often & so seasonably developd the secret Intrigues &
Practices of wicked Men & who at this time stands high in the Esteem &
Confidence of the Congress, & in addition to this, when it is considerd
that there are too many disaffected & insidious Men still lurking among
us, it is by no Means a strange Thing that Dr Lee is also chargd with a
criminal Correspondence with the Enemy, without even the Shadow of

The Post who has been retarded by violent Rains is just arrivd & brings
me your obliging favr of 30 Sept. It contains very interesting Matters
which shall have my Attention at a more leisure Hour than the present.



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Oct 16 -- 78


I had the Honor of receiving your Excys Letter of the 5th Instant,1 and
sincerely condole with you on the heavy LOSS your Family and the
publick sustain by the Death of your eldest Son. His Services in my
opinion merited great Consideration, and it now behoves the Publick to
render the Settlement of his Affairs as easy to his surviving Friends
as possible. I have communicated the Contents of your Letter to my
Colleagues & the other Members of Congress, & you may be assured Sir
that we shall interrest ourselves in obtaining with all possible Speed
the Attention & Decision of Congress on the Matters set forth in your

Mr Sherman was so obliging as to give me the perusal of your Letter to
him, and I am happy that Congress as a Body concurs with you in the
Sentiment therein containd; having passd a Resolution by a great
Majority expressing their Sense that true Religion & good Morals are
the only solid Foundations of publick Liberty and Happiness.

I am Sir with the most cordial Esteem & Respect Yr Excys most obedt hbl

1 Printed in Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, 7th ser.,
vol. ii., p. 276.


[Pennsylvania Archives, 1st ser., vol. vii., p. 14.]

PHILADA, Octobr 16, 1778.


I am informd that General Clinton designs to send to the Governor or
Assembly of each of the United States, Copies of an insulting Paper,
called a Manifesto or Proclamation, calculated to promote a Rebellion,
and that the one intended for this State is to be sent by Water up the
Delaware. And as it appears to be the Design of the Enemy, as far as it
may be in their power, further to pursue their barbarous practice of
laying waste our Sea Ports, and that they would be particularly
gratified by an opportunity of destroying this City; would it not be
proper that one or two of your Gallies should be ordered to watch for
them in the River, that they may seize their Vessel & bring the Men up,
blindfold, to be confined & dealt with according to the Laws of Nature
and Nations. You will excuse this Hint, and be assured that I am,

Your very humble Servt,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Oct 17 1778


If I was to tell you that I wonder much at the Conduct of some of our
Politicians it might discover my own Folly; for it is said a wise Man
wonders at Nothing. Be it so. I am curious to know who made the Motion
for the Admission of Gray, Gardiner & Jemmy Anderson? Which of the
B[oston] Members supported the Motion? Are the Galleries of the House
open? Do the People know that such a Motion was made? A Motion so
alarming to an old Whig? Or are they so incessantly eager in the
Pursuit of Pleasure or of Gain as to be totally thoughtless of their
Country? I hope not. Gracious Heaven! Defend us from Vanity Folly & the
inordinate Love of Money. Your News Papers are silent upon every
Subject of Importance but the Description of a Feast, or the Eclat of
some Great Man. Your able Patriot is wholly employd in spirited
Exertions of the Military Kind, or surely he wd have pourd forth all
his Eloquence against so detestable a Motion.--" The Motion did not
obtain." I rejoyce in this; But Do you do Justice [to] the House by so
faint an Expression? I hope they rejected it with every Mark of
Contempt & Indignation. Do the Gentlemen who made & supported this
Motion know, that even in this Quaker Country, they are trying &
condemning & I suppose will hang some of their considerable Men for
Crimes not inferior to those of Gray & Gardiner. Jemmy Anderson I have
forgot. I suppose he is a little Man & a Scotchman. It is the opinion
of the People in this Country, that a Galloway could not atone for his
publick Crimes with the Sacrifice of an hundred Lives. A Galloway, a
Gray, a Gardiner! Examine them & say which is the greatest Criminal.
Confiscation you tell me labors--"it labors very hard"! I have heard
objections made to it, not in this Country, but in my own. But I
thought those objections were made by interested Men. Shall those
Traiters who first conspired the Ruin of our Liberties; Those who
basely forsook their Country in her Distress & sought Protection from
the Enemy when they thought them in the Plenitude of Power--who have been
ever since stimulating & doing all in their Power to aid and comfort
them while they have been exerting their utmost to enslave & ruin us.
Shall these Wretches have their Estates reservd for them & restored at
the Conclusion of this glorious Struggle in which some of the richest
Blood of America has been spilled, for the sake of a few who may have
Money in England & for this Reason have maintaind a dastardly and
criminal Neutrality? It cannot be. I venturd to speak my Mind in a
Place where I could claim no Right to speak. I spoke with Leave which I
should have disdaind to have done, had I not felt the Importance of the
Subject to our Country. I will tell you my Opinion. If you do not act a
decisive Part--If you suffer those Traiters to return & enjoy their
Estates, the World will say, you have no Sense of publick Injury & have
lost your understanding.

Adieu my dear Friend,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADELPHIA Octob 20th -78


A few days ago Mr Brown, a publick Messenger carried a Letter from me
to you, which I hope you will receive before this reaches you. I feel a
Pleasure when I sit down to write to you and omit no opportunity. My
Boston Friends tell me with great Solicitude that I have Enemies there.
I thank them for their Concern for me, and tell them I knew it before.
The Man who acts an honest Part in publick Life, must often counteract
the Passions Inclinations or Humours of weak and wicked Men and this
must create him Enemies. I am therefore not disappointed or mortified.
I flatter my self that no virtuous Man who knows me will or can be my
Enemy; because I think he can have no Suspicion of my Integrity. But
they say my Enemies "are plotting against me." Neither does this
discompose me, for what else can I expect from such kind of Men. If
they mean to make me uneasy they miss their Aim; for I am happy and it
is not in their Power to disturb my Peace. They add, The Design is to
get me recalled from this Service. I am in no Pain about such an Event;
for I know there are many who can serve our Country here with greater
Capacity (though none more honestly). The sooner therefore another is
elected in my Room the better. I shall the sooner retire to the sweet
Enjoyment of domestick Life. This, you can witness, I have often wishd
for; and I trust that all gracious Providence has spared your precious
Life through a dangerous Illness, to heighten the Pleasures of my
Retirement. If my Enemies are governd by Malice or Envy, I could not
wish them a severer Punishment than their own Feelings. But, my Dear, I
thank God, I have many Friends. You know them. Remember me to them all
as you have opportunity. I could say many more things to you, but I am
called off. My Love to my Daughter & Sister Polly and the rest of our
Family and Connections. Adieu. Your most affectionate,


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy.]

PHILADA Octob 25, 1778


Your Favor of the 24th of May did not reach my hand till yesterday. The
Gentleman who brought it, Mr Archer, tells me he had a Passage of
Eleven Weeks. I will show him the Respect due to the Character you give
him, & properly regard such future Recommendations as may come from you.

I suppose you have been fully & officially informd of the State of our
military Affairs since the Enemy evacuated this City and met with a
Drubbing at Monmouth. And as publick Letters will doubtless be
forwarded by this Conveyance, it is needless for me to give you a
particular Detail of what has happend since. By those Letters you will
be informd that Dr Franklin is appointed Minister Plenipotentiary at
Versailes. It is not yet determind how you will be disposd of; but as
Congress entertain great Expectations from your Services, you may
depend upon Employment being allotted for you somewhere. The critical
Situation of the Powers of Europe in general, renders it somewhat
difficult for us to determine, to which of them to make our Addresses
at present. Every Cabinet I suppose is busily engagd in making the
necessary Arrangements and preparing for the opening of a Campaign, if
War should take Place. In this Case, I should think France must be our
Pole Star, while it continues, and our Connections must be formd with
hers. In the mean time however, Holland, whose Policy is always to be
at Peace, may be open for a Negociation; and in my opinion, we ought to
take the earliest opportunity to tempt her.

The two main Armies at & near New York have been quiet since the Enemy
retreated to that City. We have made another Expedition against Rhode
Island. Our Arms were not disgracd, though we did not succeed to our
Wishes. Gen1 S behavd as usual with Bravery; but some will have it that
there is a Mixture of Imprudence in every thing he does. He promisd
himself to share with Gates in the Glory of Victory, and as an officer
of Spirit, no doubt he felt vexed with the Disappointment; but he was
too sanguine in my Opinion when he expected that the Count D Estaing
would remain there, in the Circumstances which he was thrown into by a
violent Storm he met with when in Pursuit of Lord Howe. This unforeseen
& unavoidable Accident left him too much inferior to the British
Squadron to run the Risque with any Degree of Prudence. It was a
Misfortune which we all regret, but must bear. Knowing the high Temper
of the People of my native Town, I immediately upon hearing it, wrote
to some of the principal Men to prevent Blame being cast on the Count
for leaving Rhode Island; a Disposition which I apprehended the artful
Tories (for such there are even there) would encourage with a View of
discrediting our new and happy Alliance, in the Minds of injudicious
Whigs. I am happy to be informd that the Count and his Officers, and
indeed every french Gentleman is treated there with the highest Marks
of Respect and Friendship.

For some Weeks past there have been Reports here that the Enemies
Troops at N York were about to embark, as they gave out on a grand
Expedition, and we are now assured that Sixteen Sail of the Line and
about one hundred and fifty Transports put to Sea on Tuesday the 20th
Inst. Various are the Conjectures of their Destination. Whether to
Boston, South Carolina or the West Indies, a few Days will decide. The
Count D Estaing has sufficiently securd his Ships in Case of an Attack
on them; and if they land their Troops with Intent to march them to
Boston, it is my opinion they will repent of their Expedition. It
appears to me most probable that the Troops are bound to the West
Indies, and that the Ships of War, after having convoyd them to a
certain Latitude will return for the Protection of the Garrisons which
I suppose are to be left at Newport and New York. The Enemy will be
10th to quit the small Portion of Land they possess within the United
States, for though they must despair of subduing us by Arms, it will be
necessary for them to oblige us to continue the Expence of large Armies
in order to nonplus us in the Art of financiering. This may be a Method
of carrying on the Contest, the most puzzling to us; but I trust we
shall disappoint them.

The Marquiss De la Fayette whose extraordinary Merit is fully known to
you, does me the Honor of taking the Care of this Letter, and will
deliver it to you.

I am, my dear Sir, with the greatest Sincerity

your affectionate,


[MS., Lenox Library; a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox



Your several Letters dated as in the Margin,1 with the Inclosures came
to my Hand. And although I have not hitherto acknowledgd to you the
Receipt of them, I assure you I have been and am still improving the
Intelligence you have given me, to the best of my Power, for the
Advantage of this Country. From our former Correspondence you have
known my Sentiments. I have not alterd them in a single Point, either
with Regard to the great Cause we are engagd in or to you who have been
an early, vigilant & active Supporter of it. While you honor me with
your confidential Letters, I feel and will freely express to you my
Obligation. To have answerd them severally would have led me to
Subjects of great Delicacy, and the Miscarriage of my Letters might
have provd detrimental to our important Affairs. It was needless for me
to run this Risque for the sake of writing; for I presume you have been
made fully acquainted with the State of our publick Affairs by the
Committee, and as I have constantly communicated to your Brother R. H.
the Contents of your Letters to me, it was sufficient on that Score,
for him only to write, for he thinks as I do.

The Marquiss De la Fayette, who does me the Honor to take this Letter,
is this Moment going, which leaves me Time only to add that I am and
will be your Friend, because I know you love our Country and Mankind.

I beg you to write to me by every Opportunity.

Adieu my dear Sir,

1 1777: July 31. October 4, November 11, December 18, December 19;
1778: January 2, January 9, February 8, February 16, March 1, April 1,
April 16.

TO ----------.

[MS., Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Oct 26 -78

Mr Duncan yesterday brought me your very affectionate Letter of the
Instant. I rejoyce that you have recoverd your usual State of Health
and that my Family enjoy that invalueable Blessing.

Is it possible that M could make & propagate so barefaced a Story as
you mention? Are you not misinformd? I lose every Sentiment of Regard
for him as a Man of Truth. I have heard that my Enmity to G. W. was
objected agt me on a late Occasion. I did not wonder that those who
believd it were displeasd with me. My very worthy Friend & colleague Mr
D satisfied the Minds of those who meant well and explaind some things
relating to Mr ---- which were new & surprising to them. I console myself
that those who try to injure me (I must not call them Enemies) are
obligd to fabricate malicious Falshoods for their purpose.

Tell my Friend M S. that I will answer his Letter the next post. In the
mean time ask him whether a Christian is bound to confide in the Man
who has attempted seven times (though in vain) to ruin him.



October 30, 1778.

[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams,1 vol. iii., pp. 46, 47.]

The United States having been driven to hostilities by the oppressive
and tyrannous measures of Great Britain, having been compelled to
commit the essential rights of men to the decision of arms, and having
been at length forced to shake off a yoke which had grown too
burdensome to bear, they declared themselves free and independent.

Confiding in the justice of their cause; confiding in Him who disposes
of human events; although weak and unprovided, they set the power of
their enemies at defiance.

In this confidence they have continued through the various fortunes of
three bloody campaigns, unawed by the power, unsubdued by the barbarity
of their foes. Their virtuous citizens have borne without repining the
loss of many things which make life desirable. Their brave troops have
patiently endured the hardships and dangers of a situation fruitful in
both beyond former example.

The Congress, considering themselves bound to love their enemies as
children of that Being who is equally the Father of all, and desirous,
since they could not prevent, at least to alleviate the calamities of
war, have studied to spare those who were in arms against them, and to
lighten the chains of captivity.

The conduct of those serving under the King of Great Britain hath, with
some few exceptions, been diametrically opposite. They have laid waste
the open country, burned the defenceless villages, and butchered the
citizens of America.

Their prisons have been the slaughter-houses of her soldiers, their
ships of her seamen, and the severest injuries have been aggravated by
the grossest insults.

Foiled in their vain attempts to subjugate the unconquerable spirit of
freedom, they have meanly assailed the representatives of America with
bribes, with deceit, and the servility of adulation. They have made a
mock of religion by impious appeals to God, whilst in the violation of
His sacred command. They have made a mock even of reason itself, by
endeavoring to prove that the liberty and happiness of America could
safely be intrusted to those who have sold their own, unawed by the
sense of virtue or of shame.

Treated with the contempt which such conduct deserved, they have
applied to individuals. They have solicited them to break the bonds of
allegiance and imbue their souls with the blackest crimes. But fearing
that none could be found through these United States equal to the
wickedness of their purpose, to influence weak minds they have
threatened more wide devastation.

While the shadow of hope remained that our enemies could be taught by
our example to respect those laws which are held sacred among civilized
nations, and to comply with the dictates of a religion which they
pretend, in common with us, to believe and revere, they have been left
to the influence of that religion and that example. But since their
incorrigible dispositions cannot be touched by kindness and compassion,
it becomes our duty by other means to vindicate the rights of humanity.

We, therefore, the Congress of the United States of America, do
solemnly declare and proclaim that if our enemies presume to execute
their threats, or persist in their present career of barbarity, we will
take such exemplary vengeance as shall deter others from a like
conduct. We appeal to the God who searcheth the hearts of men for the
rectitude of our intentions; and in his holy presence declare that, as
we are not moved by any light or hasty suggestions of anger or revenge,
so through every possible change of fortune we will adhere to this our

Done in Congress by unanimous consent, the thirtieth day of October,
one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight.

1 Also attributed to Adams by Niles, Principles and Acts, pp. 476, 477.


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 56, 57; a draft is
in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 1, 1778.


I duly received your favor of October--by the last post, and should have
immediately answered it, had I not been that day exceedingly engaged. I
do not keep copies of all my letters,--they are trifles. You were mistaken
in supposing that I ascribed the independence of America to New England
only. I never was so assuming as to think so. My words are, that
America is obliged to New England, and this is an acknowledged truth.
It is the opinion of others, as well as myself, that the principles and
manners of New England, from time to time, led to that great event. I
pray God she may ever maintain those principles which, in my opinion,
are essentially necessary to support and perpetuate her liberty. You
may see my sentiments of the patriotism of other States in a letter I
lately wrote to Mrs. Adams (if it is in being), in which I relate a
conversation which passed between Monsieur -------- and myself. But enough of this.
I love my country. My fears concerning her are that she will ruin
herself by idolatry.

A part of your letter, you tell me, is confidential. I always keep the
secrets of my friends when I can do it honestly, though I confess I do
not like to be encumbered with them. In this instance I will be your
confidant. But let me ask you, can a difference between Mr. -------- and me, either
real or imaginary, be of any consequence to the world? I think not.
Tories, you say, triumph. They may make sport of it; but indeed, my
friend, it is too unimportant a matter for a sensible Whig to weep and
break his heart about. I am desirous of making you easy; and I do
assure you that, so far from brooding in my heart an unfriendly
disposition towards that man, I seldom think of him, unless I happen to
take up a Boston newspaper or hear his name mentioned in chit-chat
conversation. You call upon me by all that is sacred to forgive him. Do
you think he has injured me? If he has, should he not ask for
forgiveness? No man ever found me inexorable. I do not wish him to ask
me to forgive him; this would be too humiliating. If he is conscious of
having done or designed me an injury, let him do so no more, and I will
promise to forgive and forget him too; or, I would add, to do him all
the service in my power. But this is needless; it is not in my power to
serve him. He is above it.

If you wish to know the foundation of this wonderful collision, ask my
friend J. W., or another, whom you properly call my closest friend. To
them I have related the trifling tale, and they can repeat it to you.

The precepts and examples you refer me to I shall always reverence most

I am, with unfeigned sincerity,

Your obliged and affectionate friend,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADA Novr 3 1778


In your last you ask me what we are doing? Many Things indeed. And if
you will suppose some things to be done well, I will frankly confess to
you that in my opinion others might have been done better. I think we
do as well as we can considering the Pile of Business every Morning
laid on our table. In order that the Affairs of the Treasury may be
better attended than they possibly can be by Members of Congress who
are obliged to give their Attendance in the House we have establishd a
new Board to consist of a Treasurer Comptroller Auditor & two Chambers
of Accots of three each. These officers are all chosen from without
Doors. We are taking Measures for the Appretiation of the Currency.
Every Adept in financiering is busily employd and I hope we shall
before long agree in an effectual Plan. We have appointed Dr F.
Minister Plenipo. at Versailes & written a Letter of Credence to our
good & great Ally. The Situation of the general Affairs of Europe
render it somewhat difficult to determine to which of the other Powers
at present to make our Court. Every Cabinet will, I suppose, this
winter be deeply engagd in making Arrangements and preparing for the
opening a Campaign in Case of a general War which it is more than
probable will happen. Our Friend A L is in Spain. Our other Friend J A
will be employd somewhere. France must be our Pole Star & our
Connection must be formd with hers. Holland whose Policy is always to
be at Peace may be open to Negociation & the sooner we tempt her the
better. Spain must joyn with France. But she is dilatory. I wish she
would recollect how much she was injured by it the last War, when she
sufferd the common Enemy to beat France & her self in Detail. The
Spirit of Chatham is indeed extinguishd in Britain. His decisive Mind
might have dictated the Seizure of their Float at Sea. Perhaps it is
well the Great Man is no more. The Millions are safely arrivd & the
Tone of Neutrality at Madrid is become languid. A formidable Fleet lies
equip'd in Cadiz which operating with that of France at this Juncture
might give a fatal Blow to the boasted Sovereignty of Britain on the
Ocean. The Count D' Estaings Squadron I suppose will go to the West
Indies. If so, must not the British follow with a great Part of their
Troops, if they mean to keep Possession of their own Islands. They may
leave Garrisons at N York & Newport, with a View of obliging us still
to maintain a great Army, in hopes we shall be undone by Expences while
they despair of subduing us by the Power of their Army. We must have a
respectable Army in the Spring to put a good face on our Negociations
or to fight. I hope we shall secure to the United States, Canada Nova
Scotia & the Fishery by our Arms or by Treaty. Florida too is a
tempting object in the South. Perhaps if you should show this Letter to
some Folks, it may be thought to confirm an opinion from whence an
objection was drawn against me on a late occasion "that I was averse to
Reconciliation." We shall never be on a solid Footing till G B cedes to
us what Nature designs we sh[ould] have or we wrest it from her.

The Marine Committee have obtaind a Warrant for 150,000 Dollars for
your Department which will be forwarded speedily. Congress has increasd
your Salaries to 3000 Dollars p Annum. I had this in View when I
intreated you in my last, not to resign your Seat. Nothing would
reconcile me to this but your having one here. I am determind to make
Room for you by a Resignation next Spring. I flatter my self I can yet
be in some Degree useful to my Country in a narrow Sphere. I wish for
Retirement & covet Leisure as a Miser does money.



November 3, 1778.

[MS., Papers of The Continental Congress.]

It having pleased Almighty God through the Course of the present year,
to bestow great & manifold Mercies on the People of these United
States; And it being the indispensible Duty of all Men gratefully to
acknowledge their obligations to Him for Benefits receivd.

Resolvd, That it be and hereby is recommended to the legislative or
executive Authority of each of the said States, to appoint Wednesday
the 30th day of December next to be observd as a Day of publick
Thanksgiving and Praise. That all the People may with united Hearts on
that Day express a just Sense of His unmerited Favors:--Particularly in
that it hath pleased Him, by His over ruling Providence to support us
in a just and necessary War for the Defence of our Rights and
Liberties;--By affording us seasonable Supplys for our Armies--by disposing
the Heart of a powerful Monarch to enter into Alliance with us and aid
our Cause--by defeating the Councils and evil Designs of our Enemies, and
giving us Victory over their Troops--and by the Continuance of that Union
among these States, which by his Blessing, will be their future
Strength & Glory.

And it is further recommended, that together with devout Thanksgivings
may be joined a penitent Confession of our Sins, and humble
Supplication for Pardon through the Merits of our Savior. So that under
the Smiles of Heaven, our publick Councils may be directed--our Arms by
Land and Sea prosperd--our Liberty and Independence secur'd--our Schools &
Seminaries of Learning flourish--our Trade be revivd--our Husbandry and
Manufactures increasd, and the Hearts of all impressd with undissembled
Piety, with Benevolence, and Zeal for the publick Good.

And it is also recommended that Recreations unsuitable to the Purpose
of such a Solemnity may be on that Day--


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Novr 10th 1778


I am at present in great Haste; but as a Supplement to my last I will
ask you, Who among the Sons of America ought to enforce the Example of
the illustrious young Foreigner? Who is substituting other Means of
Dissipation in my native Town in Lieu of Theatrical Entertainments &c
&c? Who has mixed the Grave and the Vain, the Whigs and the Tories in
Scenes of Amusement totally incompatible with the present serious
Times? Who among the Grave and Who among the Whigs, I mean such Whigs
as have a feeling for their distressd Country and the Multitudes of
distressd Individuals in it, are present at such Entertainmts? Is there
a Man among them to whom our Country has entrusted her Independence,
her Virtue, her Liberty? What can be the Views and Designs of such a
Man, but to establish a Popularity by forming a Coalition of Parties
and confounding the Distinction between Whigs and Tories, Virtue &
Vice? When I was last in Boston, I seizd an Opportunity to advise my
Fellow Citizens to beware of their popular Men--to penetrate their Views
and Designs. There was comparatively no great Danger from a great Man
set over them by the British Tyrant. When the People set up a Great Man
of their own, their Jealousy is asleep, & they are in Danger of a
Master. I have no personal Prejudices or Attachments. Many things I
have to say to you if I had Leisure.

My due Regards to your Lady, to Mr S and his Family.


P. S.--I am not inattentive to what you said in my last relating to my
Friend Mrs M. I will endeavor to serve her in the Instance she
mentions, but she must not depend upon Success.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text is in Historical
Magasine, 1st ser., vol ii., pp. 196, 197.]



I did myself the Honor a few Days ago, of Joyning with my Colleagues in
an Answer to your Letter to us of the fifth of November last, so far as
it related to the Distribution of a Quantity of Flour purchasd on
Account of the State of Massachusetts Bay. I beg Leave to refer you to
our Letter, which will be forwarded by this opportunity. The five
hundred Dollars therein mentiond as receivd by me, were carried to the
Credit of the State in my Account settled the last Winter. Since my
Arrival here in July, I have availd my self of the Practice of the
Delegates of every State, by applying to Congress for a Warrant on
their Treasury for a Sum of Money to pay the extravagant, though
necessary Expence of living. I purpose to repeat this Application, as
there may be occasion for it, until I shall be directed differently or
to the Contrary; and shall credit the Sums so receivd in my next

I am informd that the General Assembly have been pleased to appoint me
one of their Delegates in Congress for the year 1779. This repeated
Mark of Confidence in me is indeed flattering. The Duties of the
Department are arduous and pressing. I will never decline the Service
of our Country; but my Health requires Relaxation, and at this Period
of my Life my Inclination would lead me to wish to be employd in a more
limitted Sphere. I will nevertheless continue to act in Congress to the
utmost of my Ability in Pursuance of the Powers and Instructions with
which I am honord, in hopes, that as the Month of April will complete
another full Year of my Residence here, I shall then be relievd by one
of my absent Colleagues or some other Gentleman, and permitted to
return to my Family.

I am with every Sentiment of Duty & Regard to the General Assembly,


Your Honors

most obedient

& very humble servant,

1 President of the Council of Massachusetts.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a portion of the text is in
W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 57, 58.]



Captn. Johnson will deliver you this Letter, which incloses a
Publication in the last Tuesdays Paper. You will easily guess which of
the Massachusetts Delegates it is intended for. The Design of it is to
represent Mr Temple as a British Emissary and that Delegate as
listening to his Proposals of Accommodation with Great Britain, and
thus to beget a Suspicion of him in the Mind of the Minister of France,
with whom he has the Honor of being on friendly Terms. That Delegate
has been so used to the low Arts of Tories in his own Country, as to
have learnd long ago to treat them, wherever he sees them, with
ineffable Contempt. He does not think it worth his while to satisfy the
Curiosity of the Writer, but he can assure his Friends, that he had
never called on Mr T but once and that was to show him the way to Mr
President Laurens' House, to whom he had Letters to deliver, one of
which was from the Council of Massachusets Bay. As a Delegate from that
State, he could do no less than show such a Piece of Civility to Mr T,
and he is determind, notwithstanding the apparently friendly Hint, to
treat him as he thinks proper. Indeed he has been told by a real
Friend, that there are Persons in Pay to watch his Words and Actions.
He thankd his Friend, and told him that such kind of Intimations were
not new to him. It might be well or ill grounded, & he was perfectly
indifferent about it. He had a private Conversation a few Days ago with
Monsieur --------, in which the Subject of the Hint beforementiond was brought up.
That Personage was pleasd to say, that he well knew the Character of
the Delegate before his Arrival in America, and that there was no
Reason to doubt of his Attachment to the joynt Interest of France &
America-- that he had sufficient Proofs of it to prevent any ill
Impressions being made on his own Mind; with other Expressions of
Friendship & Confidence. ---- ---- Between our selves, I can not say I am not
embarrassd with Mr Ts Arrival here; He is highly recommended, and I
believe him to be an honest American. But the Time & Manner of his
leaving England fix a Suspicion in the Minds of well disposd Men, which
cannot easily be removd; and his Residence at the Court of America, if
I might so express it, gives bad Men a Sort of Occasion, to say that
Congress, notwithstanding all they have publickly given out, are
secretly treating with the Ministers of Great Britain through their
Emissaries in America, than which Nothing can be more contrary to
Truth. I do not care therefore how soon Mr T thinks of returning to New

It is diverting enough to hear the different Language held forth
concerning me, by a kind of Men whom I despise beyond Expression. In
New England they say I am averse to an Accommodation with Great
Britain, and make that an Exception against me. In Philadelphia I am
chargd, indirectly at least, with a frequent Exchange of Visits with
the Companion of Berkenhout, Lord Lindsay, Governor Johnston & the Son
of Lord Bute, with a View of secretly bringing about an Accommodation
with that King and Nation which I have solemnly abjurd. What is there
which Malice joynd with a small Share of Wit will not suggest! I am not
apt to conceal my Sentiments. They are far from being problematical.
They are well known here & at Boston; and I can trust my Consistency in
the Judgment of every honest and sensible Man that is acquainted with
me. The Censure of Fools or Knaves is Applause.

Mr Silas Dean has lately publishd a Paper here filled with Insinuations
and Assertions without any Evidence to support them, against Dr Lee. I
have long ago formd my Opinion of both those Gentlemen, and have never
yet seen Reason to alter it. I have sent the Paper to my Friend General
Warren. I wish you would invite him to a Dish of Tea, and desire him to
let you see it and my Letter which inclosd it. You may read this Letter
to him and other Confidential Friends, but dont let it go out of your
own Hands.

I never was in better Spirits than at present.--My Love to my Daughter,
Sister Polly & the Rest of our Family & Friends. Adieu my dear Betsy,

Your very affectionate,

I forgot to tell you that last Friday Mr President Laurens having
dischargd the Duties of his Station for more than one year with
Fidelity & to the Acceptance of the Members, resignd the Chair, and
John Jay Esqr a Delegate from New York was chosen in his Room. To this
Gentleman I chearfully gave my Vote.

Mrs Clark and her Sister Miss Daily in whose house the Massachusetts
Delegates are agreably scituated present their respectful Compliments
to you.


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., p. 59; a draft is in the
Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]



Pursuant to the direction of Congress and the request of the Minister
Plenipotentiary of France, I have the honor of transmitting to the
Council of Massachusetts Bay a declaration under the hand and seal of
that Minister, promising a reward to every vessel that shall take or
destroy a vessel of the enemy loaded with masts or spars, and destined
to the ports of Halifax, Newport, or New York. It is the particular
desire of the Minister that this declaration may be addressed to that
Honorable Board, to the end that the same may be made known in such a
manner as their wisdom shall direct.

I am, sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,1

1 Signed by Adams as chairman of the Marine Committee of the
Continental Congress.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE Decr 19th 1778


Mr Temple1 was so obliging as to deliver me your Letter of the ---- of
November. The Day after his Arrival in this City, I offerd him my
Service and introduc'd him to Mr President Laurens, to whom he had
Letters of high Recommendation, and among others from the Council of
Massachusetts Bay. The President read these Letters publickly in
Congress. I did not fail to communicate the Contents of those which I
was honord with to individual Members. But the Time of his leaving
England, his coming in a Packet, the Company which came with him, and
the greater Indulgencies granted to him in New York than had been
allowd to others fixed a suspicion of him in the Minds of well disposd
Persons which could not be removd. Those of a different Character took
Occasion to insinuate that whatever Congress might give out publickly
to the Contrary, they were secretly listening to Terms of Accommodation
offerd by the British Ministers through their Emissaries in America.
The Minister Plenipotentiary of France could not but be attentive to
these Suggestions. In a private Conversation with him at his House the
other Day, when no one was present with us, Mr Temples Name was
mentiond. He said he knew not his personal Character--he understood that
he was well recommended, but as he was under the violent Suspicions of
the People here, his Residence so near the Congress might make improper
Impressions on the Minds of Persons abroad. It may reasonably be
supposd that he is determind to merit the Character at his own Court,
of a vigilant & faithful Minister. Mr Dean who appears to be inimical
to my truly patriotick Friend A Lee Esqr has endeavord to raise the
like Suspicions of him that he has a predilection for the Court of
London because he showed Civilities to his Friend Ld Shelburne in
France. Such is the force of prejudice in the Minds of some Men or
their total Want of political Understanding. I was my self, pointedly,
though not by Name, called upon in a publick Newspaper, to be cautious
of making too frequent Exchanges of Visits with J T Esqr. You know much
I have been used to despise Publications of this Kind & I despise them
still. But in the present Instance I confess I was embarrassd, being
under the Necessity of violating my own Inclination to pay all due
Respect to a Gentleman, whose personal Merit I had formerly been
acquainted with, and who was so honorably mentiond by some of my most
virtuous & dignified fellow Citizens, or on the other hand of
prejudicing the Character which as a publick Man I ought to maintain in
the Minds of Congress, of the Minister of France and of the People. I
have done Mr Temple the most substantial Acts of Friendship in my
Power, though I could not have the Pleasure of so much Conversation
with him as I wishd & intended to have. He leaves this City suddenly. I
am inclind to believe that the President of this State as well as the
Chief Justice, with both of whom I have this day had the pleasure of
dining, are satisfied in the Uprightness of Mr Temples Intentions.
Having given you a candid State of things, I conclude with assuring you
that I am with every Sentiment of Regard,

Your affectionate Friend

& very humble Servant,

1 Cf. page 54.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Decr 21 1778


Your obliging Letter of the [9th] of November was deliverd to me by Mr
Temple immediately after his Arrival here. I must candidly confess that
when the Gentleman informd me by his Letter dated in New York, of his
Intention then to pay a Visit to this City, I was disagreably impressd
with it, and interrested my self, as far as I could do it with Decency,
to prevent it. A certain Dr Berkenhout was here at that Time. He had
formerly been a fellow Student with Dr Lee in Edinburgh; and although
he brought no Letters from him, he made an Advantage of the old
Connection, and addressd himself to Richard Henry Lee Esqr, the Doctors
Brother & a Member of Congress, who from the Beginning of our Contest
has been exceedingly obnoxious to our Enemies from his firm &
invariable Attachment to our Cause. Dr Berkenhout was put into Prison
by the Authority of this State on Suspicion, and afterwards dischargd
for Want of Evidence against him. Perhaps he sufferd the more, from a
certain Set of Men for valueing himself on Colo Lee; and the Colo
himself has since sufferd the Reproach of an angry Writer and
disappointed Man, for shewing Civility to a Person who was once
acquainted with his Brother. So true is the Observation I have
somewhere met with, that a Man hardly ever speaks with another, but
sooner or later he finds that he has receivd Good or Harm from it.

Had Mr Temple arrivd at that Juncture, I do verily believe he would
have shared the Fate of Berkenhout. And the Testimonials he has since
brought with him, added to the warm Recommendations of some of my most
virtuous and honorable Fellow Citizens have not been sufficient to
obtain for him a welcome Reception. The Time & Manner of his leaving
England, the Company he came with and the favorable Treatment he met
with in New York, were judgd to be Grounds of Suspicion which more than
balanced the Recommendations of his Friends & Countrymen, who, though
acknowledgd to be very respectable, it was supposd, might possibly be
partial in their Judgments of him. His Connections in Boston, & the
Character he had sustaind there before he left that Place, it was said,
made him the fittest Instrument to carry into Effect the Purposes of
the British Ministers. The honest and zealous Whigs clamord against him
because they imagind him to be a British Emissary; and the artful
Tories, who would cordially receive such a Character into the Bosom of
their Councils, if they could be sure of keeping him among themselves,
joynd in the Clamor, either because they believd him to be a true
American, or, if they judged him to be a Spy, as they pretended, they
did not chuse to trust him in the Hands of those who might possibly
draw from him the Secrets of his Employers and detect him. The Tories
appeard to be the most acute Politicians, as in my Opinion, I am sorry
to say it, they too often are. Thus Mr T has had the Misfortune to be
spoken ill of both by the Friends and Enemies of the Publick. A very
grievous Misfortune, when the People scrutinize and decide upon
Characters with Candor & Moderation, which perhaps does not take Place
at all Times in any Country.

I have shown Mr Temple the most substantial Acts of Friendship in my
Power; yet I must own to you I have been somewhat embarassd. A Delegate
of the Massachusetts Bay who has been heard to say that "Jealousy is
the best Security of publick Liberty," has been called upon in a
publick News Paper "to be cautious of too frequently exchanging Visits
with J T Esqr who is suspected to be a Spy" &c. I have no Reason to
think it was a friendly Caution; but rather that it was designd to
bring an odious Suspicion on the Delegate himself. But though he feels
a Contempt of such Kind of Publications, he has learnd that it is
Wisdom to receive Instruction even from an Enemy. I have said that
Jealousy is the best Security of publick Liberty. I have expressd my
Fears that America is too unsuspecting long to preserve Republican
Liberty. I do not suspect Mr Temple; but I have been under the
Necessity of violating my own Inclination to pay every kind of Respect
due to that Gentleman, or risque the consistent Character which a
Delegate of that State ought to support in the Opinion of Congress, of
the Minister of France and the People of America. I have converst with
that Minister on this Occasion; and I have Reason to think we concur in
opinion, that however pure the Views & Intentions of any Gentleman may
be, yet if a Suspicion generally prevails that he is secretly employd
by the British Court his continuing to reside near the Congress may
make improper Impressions on the Minds of our Friends abroad. Mr Temple
left this City yesterday.

I congratulate you my dear Sir on our Countrys having thus far sustaind
the glorious Conflict. Our Independence, I think, is secured. Whether
America shall long preserve her Freedom or not, will depend on her

I cannot conclude this tedious Epistle without expressing an ardent
Wish for the full Recovery of your Health and bespeaking another &
another of your Favors.

I am with most respectful Compliments to your Lady & Family,

Your very affectionate Friend

& humble Servt,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]



I have receivd your Favors of the 7th & 20th of November, the former of
which was deliverd to me by the Honble Mr Temple. That Gentleman is
intitled to my Esteem from the opinion I entertain of his personal
Merit, and from your Recommendations and those of some others of my
virtuous Fellow Citizens. I have done him every Act of Friendship in my
Power; but Circumstances, of which he is not unapprized, have prevented
my having so much Conversation with him as I could have wishd for. The
Time and Manner of his leaving England, the Company he came with, the
favor granted him at New York of writing a Letter to Mr President
Laurens requesting Permission to pay his Respects to Congress, and
another to myself, neither of which, it was presumd, could have passd
without the Inspection of General Clinton, nor sufferd by him to pass
unless they had been adapted to his Views--These were made the Grounds of
Suspicion of him then; and they were afterwards judgd sufficient to
overbalance the Letters he brought from his Friends & Countrymen,
respectable as they were acknowledgd to be by all, who might be supposd
possibly to have judgd partially in his Favor. I am sorry our Friend
has been thus unfortunate because I believe his Motives in coming here
were pure; and yet we must allow those, who never were acquainted with
him to give all that Weight to Circumstances which in other Instances
we mt our selves be inclind to think reasonable. I am satisfied there
is a Design among them to leave no Method untried to raise a popular
Clamor against those who took an early active Part & have continued
consistent in Support of the Liberties of America. They are at this
time endeavoring to stimulate a Persecution against my patriotick
Friend Dr Lee, who from the Knowledge I have of his publick Conduct
since he has been employd by Congress and a constant political
Correspondence with him for near ten years past, I am well assured,
deserves the highest Esteem and Gratitude of these United States and
Massachusetts Bay in particular. It concerns those who are determin'd
to persevere in this glorious Contest till the Liberty and Independence

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