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

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of America shall be firmly establishd to be exceedingly circumspect
lest their Conduct should be misrepresented by designing Men and
misunderstood by others. An angry Writer has lately insinuated in a
publick Newspaper among other injurious things, that Arthur Lee Esqr
communicated the secret Negociations of France & America to the British
Ministers, because he showd Civility to Lord Shelburne in Paris. Had Mr
Temples Friends appeard to be very intimate with him here, the like
Insinuation might have been thrown out, & with a similar View, to draw
an odious Suspicion on them. Indeed such an Attempt was made as you
will observe in the inclosd Paragraph taken from Dunlaps Paper.1 You
who know much of my Heart will easily guess which of your Delegates the
Hint was intended for. I leave it to your Conjecture. I have openly
declared my Opinion that Jealousy is a good Security of Publick
Liberty. I have expressd my Fears that America is too unsuspecting long
to continue free. These I know are the sentiments of Dr Lee. When Men
hold these Sentiments & honestly act up to the Spirit of them they must
necessarily become exceedingly obnoxious to those who are watching
every Opportunity to turn the good or ill Fortune of their Country, and
they care not which to their own private Advantage. Such Men there are
in this Country, in France & indeed in all Countries & at all times.
Some of them you & I have known. Such Men there always have been &
always will be, till human Nature itself shall be substantially
meliorated. Whether such a Change will ever happen and when, is more
within your Province than mine to predict or ascertain. A Politician
must take men as he finds them and while he carefully endeavors to make
their Humours & Prejudices, their Passions & Feelings, as well as their
Reason & Understandings subservient to his Views of publick Liberty &
Happiness, he must frequently observe among the many if he has any
Sagacity, some who having gaind the Confidence of their Country, are
sacrilegiously employing their Talents to the Ruin of its Affairs, for
their own private Emolument. Upon such Men he stamps the Stigma Hic
niger est, and if he thinks them capable of doing great Mischief to
prevent it, he ventures to hold them up to the publick Eye. This he
does at the Risque of his own Reputation; for it is a thousand to one
but those whose Craft he puts at Hazard, will give him the odious
Epithets of suspicious dissatisfiable peevish quarrelsome &c, and
honest, undiscerning Men may be indued for a time to believe them
pertinent; but he solaces himself in a conscious Rectitude of Heart,
trusting that it will sooner or later be made manifest; perhaps in this
World, but most assuredly in that Day when the secret Thoughts of all
Men shall be unfolded. I have many things to say to you particularly of
Arthur Lee & Silas Dean Esqrs. Of both these Gentlemen I long ago made
up my opinion, and I have never seen Reason to alter it. But I will
relieve you by putting an End to this tedious Epistle. I intend to get
myself excusd from further publick Service here, and hope before long
to think aloud with you & my other Confidential Friends in Boston. I do
not mean however to quit the Service of our Country altogether while I
am capable of rendering myself in the least Degree serviceable. I
earnestly wish for more Retirement & Leisure. Esto perpetua! is my most
ardent Prayer for this rising Republick. That will depend upon the
Principles and Manners of the People. Publick Liberty will not long
survive the LOSS of publick Virtue. Favor me, my dear Sir, with your
Letters frequently while I remain here, and be assured of the warmest
Sentiments of Friendship & Esteem in the Breast of

your very affectionate,

1 The Pennsylvania Packet.


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

PHILAD Decr 25 1778


I am greatly indebted to you for your very acceptable Letter of the 7th
of Novr by Mr Temple. That Gentleman, in my Opinion took an unguarded
Step on his late Arrival in New York. I mean his writing a Letter to
the late President Mr Laurens requesting Permission to pay his Respects
to Congress, and another Letter to myself. This excited a Suspicion in
the Minds of the true Friends of our Cause, that what they had before
seen in the English News papers, viz that he & Dr Berkenhout were sent
to America by the British Ministry might not be without Grounds. This
Desire of paying a respectful Visit to Congress was judgd to be a
Reason merely ostensible; and the Time & Manner of his leaving England,
the Company he came with and the Readiness with which the British
General granted him the Liberty of sending his Letters, the Contents of
which must most undoubtedly have been under his Inspection, it was
said, afforded Reason to believe his real Design was to gain an
honorable Admission into this City, & the Confidence of Members of
Congress & others thereby the more easily to cooperate with the British
Commissioners, and carry their Designs into Effect. The Jealousy of the
People when it is properly directed or as some chuse to call it, a
prudent Caution, is in my Opinion one of the best Securities of publick
Liberty. And we must allow them to give all that Weight to a Train of
Circumstances respecting our Friend, which in other Instances we shd
ourselves judge to be reasonable. His Friends have given him high
Recommendations. But say others, his Friends may be partial to him. His
Connections are among the warmest Patriots. His Testimonials come from
the most virtuous Citizens. They have a good Opinion of him. True, and
this might be a strong Inducement to a politick Minister to make Choice
of him, & may make him the fittest Instrument to answer his Purpose.
For my own Part I know Mr Temples former Character Conduct & Sufferings
& have also a good opinion of him. I have done him the most substantial
Acts of Friendship in my Power. But so deep rooted were the Suspicions
of him and so general, that I have been under a Necessity of forbearing
to visit him so often as I otherwise should have done, lest I might
lose that consistent Character and that Confidence which it is my Duty
as far as I am able, to support, in the Minds of Congress, the Minister
of our Ally & the People of America. I have Reason to believe that I am
on Terms of Friendship with the Sieur Gerard. In private Conversation
with him, I purposely mentiond Mr Temples Name, & I conclude we concur
in Sentiment that however upright the Heart of any Gentleman may be yet
if an Opinion prevails among the People that he is a secret Emissary
from the Enemy, his Residence near the Congress, might, at this
Juncture especially, make improper Impressions on the Minds of our
Friends abroad. Mr Temple has lately taken his Leave of this City & I
believe some Gentlemen of Character have since conceivd a more
favorable Opinion of him than they did before.

You have my hearty Thanks for your Sermon lately publishd which I have
read with pleasure. The Evil you therein mention is indeed alarming.
Amidst the great Variety of pressing Affairs, Congress is devoting
certain Hours of every Day to investigate a radical Cure; and I am in
strong Hopes that an effectual Plan will shortly be laid before the
General Assemblies of the several States.

When General Gates was orderd to Boston a considerable Embarkation of
the Enemies Troops had been made at N York & it was apprehended they
would attempt a Landing somewhere near that Place. His military
Abilities and Experience, his political Principles & Attachments and
the Confidence which the Troops and People of the Eastern States had in
him, were the Considerations which indued his being sent thither. Had
the Enemy turnd their whole Force that way of Course the Commander in
Chief would have followd. General Heath has given entire Satisfaction
to Congress during his Command there. The Change took Place on the Spur
of the Occasion, and probably in the Spring a different Arrangemt may
be made.

I am my dear Sir with the most cordial Esteem & Affectionate,

your Friend

& very humble Servt,



[MS , Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

Jany 3 -79


I embrace the opportunity which now offers of writing a few Lines to
you. In my last I told you I had many things to say particularly
concerning A L & S D Esqrs 1. If I could have the Pleasure of sitting
with you by a fire Side, I would more freely open my Mind to you than I
chuse to do upon Paper, considering the Risque of its falling into
wrong hands. One of these gentlemen, as I was informd in the year 74 by
some who were well acquainted with him, was of a dubious political
Character, and was appointed a Delegate in Congress by a Majority of
only one of the Electors; it being thought that his own Vote turnd it
in his favor. In 75 he was again elected; and he very early attachd him
self to Men of different Sentiments from those which most if not all
your Delegates brought with them from your Country & strenuously
maintained. This Difference of Sentiment was said to arise from local
Attachments, but in Reality they arose from different Principles &
Views. What Mr Ds political Principles were if he had any I never could
learn. His Views always appeard to me commercial & interrested. Whether
I was mistaken or not Time perhaps will soon discover. He was very
little known in America till the year 75, if at all in Europe.

The other took an early, decided and active Part in Support of the
great Cause. In London he had a great Share in the open Opposition made
to the Tyranny of the British Court & their Measures respecting
America. There he turnd his Attention from the Practice of Physick to
which he had been regularly educated in Edinburgh, to the Study of the
Law. This he did by the Advice of some of the most able Advocates for
the Liberties of America, from an Opinion they had conceivd of his
promising Usefulness to that Cause in that Way. He answerd their
Prospects. He constantly aided your Agent the late Mr De Berdt2 to whom
his Knowledge of Affairs renderd his Services essential. That his Pen
was employd for America in General, his Junius Americanus abundantly
testifies; and that, and his other Publications witness his Attachments
to Massachusetts Bay & South Carolina in particular. His private
Letters to his Friends are written with that Freedom as well as Zeal
which would have exposd him to the Risque even of his Life from the
Resentment of an unprincipled & nefarious Court, if any of them by
Accident or Design had fallen into their Hands. This I know to be true.
I must conclude at present with giving it to you as my fix'd Opinion,
founded on particular observations, that there is a joynt Combination
of political & commercial Men to exclude all vigilant Patriots from
publick Councils & Employments knowing that Vigilance & unimpeachd,
unsuspected Fidelity will be an effectual Bar to the carrying such
politico commercial Plans into Execution. I will write to you again by
the first good Opportunity. In the mean time I am with perfect Esteem,

Yr affectionate Friend,

1Arthur Lee and Silas Deane.

2 Cf. Vol. I., page 89 et seq.


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

PHILADE Jan 6 -79


In your last you desire to know how Matters have operated since the
Recall. I will answer this Question at another Time when I have more
Leisure; and at present only say, that Mr Dean arrivd here, I think in
July, and in August he was admitted into the House, or to use his own
Phrase had an Audience, in which, with as much Vanity as I ever saw in
a Man of Sense, he assumd to himself almost the whole Merit of all the
Services which had been renderd at least by Americans in France; as if
he would have it to be believd that one of his Colleagues had done but
little if any thing, the other worse than Nothing, himself every thing.
And with as much Spleen & ill Nature he would even go out of the
regular Path of Decency & Propriety to draw in Invective and diminish
the Characters of the two Mr Lees & Mr Izard.1 In short the publication
which you have seen is a Specimen of his Narrative. I have before given
you my opinion of that Performance, and shall not trouble you further
upon that, than just to remark that his insinuating that Mr W L2 still
remains an Alderman of the City of London, because his Name is inserted
in that List in the Court Kallendar of 78 discovers something more than
Childishness and Folly. His design seems to be at once to prejudice the
Reputation of that Gentleman in the Minds of his Countrymen and to hold
up the Appearance of glaring Impropriety of Conduct in Congress, in
appointing the Alderman of London an American Commissioner; and that
this was done through the undue Influence of family Connections; for he
takes particular Care to inform his Readers, that the two Brothers in
Europe have two Brothers in Congress which cannot be denied. Neither
can it be denied, that they are a Family, who have been as early, as
uniform, as persevering and as able Patriots as perhaps any in the
United States. Mr A L, you are fully sensible was most indefatigable in
supporting our Cause in England. By penetrating into the Designs of a
most unprincipled Court, he was able to give us the most timely and
important Intelligence, which he did at the Risque of his Life; while
Mr D was, in the Opinion of some of his own Countrymen as well as
others, of a doubtful political Character. Mr Lee continued to transmit
to our Friends in France as well as to Congress before he left England,
the most accurate Accounts of things there. Such was the opinion
entertaind by Congress of his Abilities his Integrity, his Zeal and
Attachment to his Country which indeed had been long experiencd, that
he was employd as a most useful & necessary Man. The vigilant Eye of so
consistent a Patriot, may be formidable to a Combination of political &
Commercial Men, who may be aiming to get the Trade, the Wealth, the
Power and the Government of America into their own Hands. He must
therefore be hunted down; and the young as well as the old Hounds are
all ready for the Game.


1 Ralph Izard. Cf. Wharton, Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence,
Vol. I , p. 589.

2 William Lee. Cf.., Ibid., p. 586.


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

Jany 6 -79


I wrote to you on the 3d Inst by Express and then promisd to write
again by the first good Opportunity. The Bearer of this Letter is a
young Gentleman of your Country who is passing thro this place in his
way home. He appears sensible, tells me he was educated at H. College,
has since studied Physick, was taken at Sea & carried into England, was
liberated or made his Escape & went over to France, from Paris he went
to Dunkirk on the Encouragement of Mr Dean & enterd Surgeon on board
the Revenge Sloop, built by order of a Come of Congress authorizd
thereto & at the Continental Expense, and till lately supposd to have
ever since remaind Continental Property, but now so invelopd in
political Commercial Mystery as that it cannot be ascertaind whether
she is ownd by the United States or private Persons, or whether she is
the property partly publick & private. I will tell you more of this
Matter when the Mystery shall be unraveld if it ever is; in the mean
time remember my dear Sir what I said in my last of commercial

In the latter End of 75 one of the Characters in my last was left out
of the Delegation of the Colony he had represented, and a Number of his
Friends gave him a sort of Certificate or Letter of Recommendation as
they had before done to one of your Delegates,1 which led me to think
it was their Opinion he needed a Prop in his own Country. Soon after,
the Congress appointed a secret Committee of Commerce, with a View of
procuring from abroad the necessary Articles for carrying on the War.
They also appointed a secret Committee of Correspondence. Their
Business was to form political Connections abroad & to feel the
pulsations of foreign Powers & particularly France. The first of these
Committees engagd Mr ------ to go to that Kingdom for the purpose of their
Commission & the Corresponding Come took the Advantage of his intended
Residence there to facilitate the salutary Purpose of their
Appointment. At the same Time they wrote a Letter to Mr ---- then in England
from whom the Congress had before receivd the most accurate
Intelligence, requesting a Correspondence with him & pledging Secrecy &
Confidence. Mr ---- arrivd in France in June 76. Thus you see we had an
Intelligencer to let us know what was doing or meditating against us in
England; and a political Commercial Agent who was to inform us what was
doing or could be done for us in France. The one had before settled a
Correspondence & formd Connections in several parts of the Continent of
Europe & particularly France; the other was a perfect Stranger in every
Nation in Europe, but bearing Letters to considerable Men there. The
one was altogether the political Man, the other had to do with Commerce
as well as politicks. The one by his Address obtaind in England such
Assurances as satisfied him that France would afford such Aid to
America as she could consistently, the other was better skilld in the
commercial Part of his Agency than the political. The one in London in
the Months of March and April discoverd that he might successfully &
actually did treat with a Merchant in France of no Capital but a
favorite at Court for a Supply to the Value of L200,000 sterling--the other
arrivd in the Month of June following, found him out & was somehow
concernd in forwarding the Supplys thus contracted for. I dare say you
are apt to draw this Conclusion that the one was the political
Negotiator in this Instance & the other the Commercial Agent only--yet,
will you believe it, it is positively affirmd that the one did every
thing & the other Nothing. I will explain it to you in my next.

1 Cf. Vol. III., p. 269.


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

Jany 19-79


Inclosd is the Newspaper of this Day. Philalethes in attempting to show
that the Supplys from France were not a Present from that Court, which
nobody that I know of has asserted, has abundantly proved one thing
which Common Sense has insisted on viz that A Lee had been negociating
with Mr Beaumarchais for those Supplys, before Mr Dean arrivd there. No
one I suppose would have thought of weighing Mr Deans Merit so
critically, had he appeard content with his full Share of it. But when
he takes so much Pains to represent his Colleagues as having done
Nothing, it becomes a Piece of Justice to enquire whether they have in
Reality been such unconcernd or impotent Spectators of their Countrys
Misery and Want. Dr Franklin has the Honor of being Mr Deans venerable
Friend; Mr Lee, an insignificant or troublesome Colleague. And yet Mary
Johnsons assiduous Applications procurd the sending a Ship loaded with
Merchandise & Stores to the Value of twenty five Thousand Pounds
Sterling; and this Negociation was settled before Mr Deans Arrival in
France. Mr Lee acted as the political Minister. He pressd on Mr
Beaumarchais "the maintaining the War in America as the great Object."
And indeed it was so. Mr Lee and every Man of Discernment knew, that it
was the Policy of France to consider it in this View. On this
Consideration he succeeded, and yet, says Mr Beaumarchais, "the
Gratitude of Congress is due to the indefatigable Pains Mr Dean has
taken thro' the whole of the Commercial Transaction." The Truth is, as
I suppose, that Mr Dean did not care to return without some such Letter
of Recommendation; and it was probably as easily obtaind as the other
which I mentiond in my last. Mr Beaumarchais is a Man of Ingenuity &
Wit. Horace was the Delight of the Court of Augustus. A Royal Letter &
a Snuff Box, as I once told one of my Friends, are Things of Course,
especially in the Honey Moon of National Matrimony. A Monarch politely
compliments thro' the Minister the Ministers Sovereign. When the
Merchant and the Courtier unite in one Man, the Courtier is safe in
imitating his Master, and pays his Compliment in the Stile & Manner of
the Merchant.

Mr Deans Friends are in hopes he will be sent to Holland as a Reward
for his good Services, from whence he may probably send or bring
another mercantile Letter of Recommendation. Doubtless deep Commercial
Connections may be formd there. They are willing Mr J A should go to
Spain. The Design of this is to get Mr A L removd from thence. Others
are for sending Mr A to Holland leaving Mr L in Spain, to whose
Influence in that Country our Armies are indebted for Supplys of
Blanketts Shoes and Stockins. I am sorry to be obligd to think, that a
Monopoly of Trade, and not the Liberty of their Country, is the sole
Object of some Mens Views. This is the Cake which they hope shortly to
slice and share among themselves.



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

PHILAD Feb 6 -79


The Marine Come have done themselves the Honor of writing to you by
this Post. The great Dammage which has been done to the Trade at the
Southward & particularly Chessapeak Bay by the Enemies Privateers has
causd such pressing Demands for the Aid of our Ships of War as laid us
under the Necessity of ordering the Queen of france immediately on a
Cruize that Way. This I mention as a Reason why she could not be
employd with the Confederacy & the other Ships but her Destination will
remain a Secret.

I hope the Expedition proposd by your Excy & agreed to by the Come will
be performd in 2 or 3 Days, for I fear if it should be known to the
Enemy, not only the desired Event wd be prevented but there would be
danger of our losing our Ships.

I have only time to beg the favor of your Excy to forward the inclosd
by the first Oppty by the post or otherwise.


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

PHILADE Feb 6 1779


I have receivd your favor of the 21st of January. Every Body sees that
the Depreciation of the Paper Currency is owing to the Floods of it
which have been necessarily issued. In Addition to which a great
Quantity more especially of the Emissions of 20 May 1777 & 11 April
1778 has been counterfeited. This last Consideration was sufficient
Inducement to the calling out of Circulation all the Bills of those
Emissions as speedily as possible. The lessening the Quantity in
Circulation is the only Means of restoring the Value & Credit of the
Remainder. It would therefore be a happy Event if every possessor of
them would receive Loan Office Certificates for them instead of new
Bills in June next but this cannot be expected. In proportion as this
may be done the only effectual Means, besides that of taxing which I
hope will be chearfully submitted to by the People, of remedying the
great Evil will have its effect. Congress have not cried down those
Emissions, as the Expression is or resolvd that the Bills should sink
in the Hands of those who would not exchange them for Loan Office
Certificates, as has been done in the Eastern States. This might have
been too harsh a Remedy. They have left it in the Option of the
Possessors to receive either such Certificates or new Bills. This is
the obvious Intention of their Resolutions on the Subject. The Wish of
every discerning honest Man must be as obvious, viz that as many of the
Bills may sink in the Loan Offices as the People can possibly spare,
and as soon as possible. I think therefore you have judgd right of
their Views. It would be an Act of Charity and a great Service to the
publick if those who can afford to put their Money to Interest would
ease their poorer fellow Citizens who are possessd of those Bills, by
exchanging them for other Bills without a Discount.

I am &c,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library]

PHILADE Feby 10 1779


The late Mr Andrews before his sudden & unexpected Death had written to
a young Kinsman of mine in this place, Mr Richard Checkley, proposing
to him to go to Boston with a View of employing him in his Warehouse. I
know not whether Mr A intended to employ him in his own separate
Affairs or in those in which he was joyntly concernd with you for the
publick. Mr C had not heard of his Death till he was just about setting
off on his Journey to Boston when I informd him of it. He is a young
Man who, I am told, bears a good Character and is used to Business. If
you can employ him it will be doing him a singular Benefit and I shall
acknowledge it as a great favor. I ask it only on this Condition, that
it may be perfectly consistent with your Views. I am with Cordial
Esteem, Sir

yr hble Servt


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

PHILADE Feb 12 -79


Will you be so kind as to present my due Regards to Mrs Warren and let
her know that immediately on my receiving her Letter for Miss Wray I
deliverd it to the Care of my worthy Friend Colo Laurens who has since
informd me that he has forwarded it in his own Packet to South Carolina.

I have lately written several Letters to my Friend Dr C & have informd
him that you & he & Mr S are my only confidential Correspondents in
Boston. I have other trusty Friends there, but I have not Leisure to
write to them all. I have expressd my wish that the honest & virtuous
Friends of our Country would cultivate a cordial Esteem for each other.
I am affraid there are little Jealousies among them which prevent their
uniting their Councils and Efforts against that Inundation of Levity
Vanity Luxury Dissipation & indeed Vice of every kind which I am
informd threatens that Country which has heretofore stood with
unexampled Firmness in the Cause of Liberty and Virtue. This Torrent
must be stemmed, and in order to do it effectually, there must be
Associations of Men of unshaken Fortitude. A general Dissolution of
Principles & Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of
America than the whole Force of the Common Enemy. While the People are
virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their Virtue
they will be ready to surrender their Liberties to the first external
or internal Invader. How necessary then is it for those who are
determind to transmit the Blessings of Liberty as a fair Inheritance to
Posterity, to associate on publick Principles in Support of publick
Virtue. I do verily believe, and I may say it inter Nos, that the
Principles & Manners of N Engd, producd that Spirit which finally has
establishd the Independence of America; and Nothing but opposite
Principles and Manners can overthrow it. If you are of my Mind, and I
think you are, the Necessity of supporting the Education of our Country
must be strongly impressd on your Mind. It gives me the greatest
Concern to hear that some of our Gentlemen in the Country begin to
think the Maintenance of Schools too great a Burden. I wish they could
hear the Encomiums that are given to N Engd by some of the most
sensible & publick spirited Gentlemen in the southern States, for the
Care & Expence which have been freely borne by our Ancestors & continued
to this time for the Instruction of youth. Virginia is duly sensible
of the great Importance of Education, and, as a friend in that Country
informs me, has lately adopted an effectual Plan for that necessary
Purpose. If Virtue & Knowledge are diffusd among the People, they will
never be enslavd. This will be their great Security. Virtue & Knowledge
will forever be an even Balance for Powers & Riches. I hope our
Countrymen will never depart from the Principles & Maxims which have
been handed down to us from our wise forefathers. This greatly depends
upon the Example of Men of Character & Influence of the present Day.
This is a Subject my Heart is much set upon. But I fear I have wearied
your Patience. I will conclude with my most ardent Prayer that our last
Days may be our best Days and our last Works our best Works.

Adieu my dear Friend,

Pay my due Regards to your Circle in Plymouth. Are you intimate with Mr
D. I mentiond him to you in a former Letter as an excellent Republican.


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

PHILAD Feb 16 1779


I recd your Letr of 27 Jan and immediately communicated such of the
Contents as relate to your Application to the Govr of N Y, to the
Delegates of that State. They assured me that the Govrs refusing to
grant a Permit to Mr Shepperd for the Transportation of Flour from
thence must have been owing to the real & very great Scarcity of that
Article there; and they desired me to satisfy you in that point,
fearing that it mt be supposd to arise from other Motives. I will
consult with my Colleagues and if any Means can be used by us to ensure
Success to your Application from that Quarter you may depend upon our

I am inclined to think that Govr C, who in my Opinion is a truly good
Man, is apprehensive of being imposd upon by Speculators, unless he
uses great Caution; and he may perhaps not be fully apprisd of your
asking under the express Authority & Commission of Massachusetts State.
And yet I shd suppose your Letter to him would have been sufficient
without authenticated Documents manifesting your Appointment. South
Carolina is at so great a Distance that no Interposition of ours could
avail, if it were necessary in the present Instance; but I am of
Opinion there will be no Difficulty there in Case your Vessel arrives,
the Embargo being over. I will write to Mess P in B & endeavor, shd
there be any obstructions there to get them removd. A Come of Con have
under Consideration a Letter from the Council of M B1 on the Subject of
provisions, & I am informd they are ready to make Report.

If any thing shd occur which will make it expedient for me to write you
further I shall not omit the first Oppty. In the mean time I am &c,


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

PHILAD Feb 21-79


By the last Post I sent to Mr W C2 some Extracts from an extraordinary
Letter which I hope he has receivd. I think our Apprehensions are
thereby strengthned, of an intended Monopoly of all the Trade and I may
add of the richest Lands in America. The private & publick Letters of
my Friend on the other side of the Atlantick having honestly stated
Facts and led to important Discoveries, have renderd him an object of
the hottest Resentment of interrested Men. I protest to you solemnly
that the warm Affection I feel for a Man whom I never saw, is founded
in a thorough Conviction of his long and unremitted Attachment to the
Interests of America & of Mankind. But I will leave this Subject for
the present.

The Spring advances, and very probably some new Overtures may soon be
made, if it is only to feel the Pulse of America. Perhaps there may be
a real Design in the British Cabinet to propose Terms of Accommodation.
We ought then to be previously thoughtful of so serious and momentous a
Subject. I have Reason to think that Britain finds herself perplexd in
the forming of Alliances and procuring Resources to her Satisfaction.
She has repeatedly and in vain applied to Russia first for Ships of War
& then for Troops. Her disappointment may be owing to the superior
Policy of France, who by interesting Russia as well as her self in the
Affairs of Prussia & the Empress of Germany may have made it improper
for Russia to take any Measure which might tend to involve Europe in
War. I am affraid if we should be seriously engagd in negociating a
Peace, there would be an intemperate pressing from without Doors for a
speedy Conclusion, which would precipitate the Affair to our
Disadvantage. It is probable that Peace may be the desireable Object in
all the Courts in Europe while they are making the necessary
Arrangements and preparing for War if that shd be the Event. If Britain
should refuse to acknowledge the Independence of America a War with
France & Spain wd probably ensue and the flame would spread. In that
Case, Britain might be obligd so far to withdraw her Troops from
America as to leave it in our power with the Spirit of Enterprize to
make such Acquisitions as wd ensure a safe & lasting Peace. But if
Europe shall remain quiet & Britain with the Acknowledgmt of our
Independence shd pro pose Terms of Accommodation, would it be safe for
America to leave Canada, Nova Scotia & Florida in her hands. I do not
feel my self at a LOSS to answer this Question; but I wish to be
fortified with the Sentiments of my judicious Friends. You may easily
discern that I write this Letter in the utmost Hurry. Adieu.

1 Massachusetts Bay.

2 William Cooper.


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

PHILADE March 7-1779--


Yesterday your obliging Letter of the 3d of February was deliverd to me
by Mr Hoskins. I thank you for the Concern you express for my Health,
which through the Divine Favor I again enjoy as usual. The Advice you
give me on this Head shall be duly regarded.

Your Wish that I would resign the Office of Secretary perfectly
coincides with my own Inclination. I never sought for that or any other
Place. Indeed I never was pleasd with it, for Reasons which you are not
unacquainted with. I am very sorry for Mr ---- that he should treat me with
Unkindness. I never gave any just occasion for it; but if he was bid to
do it, how could he disobey? I heartily forgive him, for I do verily
believe it did not proceed from the Malevolence of his Heart. To do him
Justice I must say he is a good naturd Man, and would do the Duties of
that office better than I should. But if he depends upon the Interest
of a certain popular Gentleman he may be disappointed; for he proposd
last Summer to Mr L, who mentiond it to me with a generous Disdain. But
a Change of Place oftentimes induces a Change of Opinion, and even a
Promise made in York Town or Philadelphia, may be forgot in the Hurry
of Affairs in Boston. I do not think Mr A. is my Enemy; or if he is, I
am under no great Apprehensions from it. There are others who are of
much more Consideration, at least in their own Estimation than he; and
even these might upon certain Conditions be made my Friends. I mean as
much my Friends as they are or can be to one another. A few flattering
Speeches to this Man, and a Promise to that, of a Vote & Interest to
keep him snug in the Possession of Places & Emoluments would
effectually secure their gracious Smiles. But who would condescend to
such Baseness for the Friendship of any Man? Let those who can do this,
enjoy the Fruits of it. I do not covet them upon such Terms. I should
become contemptible in my own Eyes; and you know that I had rather be
despisd by all the World, hard as my Fate would be, than to be
conscious to my self that I deservd Contempt.

I receivd a Letter a few Days ago from France dated the 7th of
December, in which my patriotick Friend Arthur Lee is mentiond in Terms
of the highest Confidence and Respect. I will give you the following
Extracts.--" Your old Friend is a Man of Honor and Integrity "--" He has been
of Opinion that the publick Money has been too freely issued here, and
has often opposd it."--"Insinuations, I have been told, have been made at
Court against him, that he was too friendly to the English, too much
attachd to Lord Shelburne, and even that he corresponded with his
Lordship and communicated Intelligence to him. This, whoever suggested
it, I am perfectly confident was a cruel Calumny, and could not have
made Impression, if his Colleagues had contradicted it in the Manner
you and I should have done. You and I have had Opportunity to know his
invariable Attachment to our Cause long before Hostilities commencd;
and I have not a Colour of Ground for Suspicion that from that time to
this he has deviated an Iota from the Cause of his Country, in Thought
Word or Deed. When he left England, or soon after, he wrote a Letter of
mere Compliment to his Lordship, a mere Card to bid him farewell, and
receivd such another in Return; which he assures me are all the Letters
that ever passd between them, and I have not a Doubt of the Truth of
it"--"Some of the Gentlemen of Character who are now in America from this
Country, particularly the ---- and ----, it is to be feard, have had Prejudices
insinuated into them against your old Correspondent. I am extremely
sorry for this, because I think it is against a worthy Character, and
because I think it will be likely to have unhappy Effects both with you
and abroad."

You may show the foregoing Extracts to such of my Confidential Friends
as you think proper. They are the Sentiments of one in whom they have
great Confidence, and may serve to convince them that the Insinuations
of Mr Dean though artfully made and designed to prejudice the
Reputation of an honest Man, are groundless, and that Dr Lee, who took
an early decided and active Part in this glorious Contest, continues
the consistent Patriot.

Your Letters my dear, cannot come to me too frequently. Remember me to
my Daughter, Sister Polly, Brother Tommy and other Friends, and be
assured that I am

most affectionately


March 9th


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

Mar 9 [1779]

Mr L will write you fully by this Oppty. I take up my pen chiefly to
let you know that I am in the Land of the Living and bear you
affectionately on my Mind. While I am in this World I am resolvd that
no Vexation shall put me out of Temper if I can possibly command
myself. Even old Age which is making Strides towards me shall not
prevail to make me peevish. I find that an older Man than I am, can in
the apparent Coolness of Mind, stabb a dreaded Rival to the Vitals. His
Words are like Honey, but there is a large Mixture of Poison. You who
are in the Midst of Life & Usefulness, do not expect to escape the
envenomd Shaft, but you have always the Cure at hand, Moderation,
Fortitude & Prudence. It matters little what becomes of an old worn out
Servt in this World. He has his foot on the Grave & with Pleasure views
it. But the virtuous Patriot, who is in the full Exercise of the Powers
of Body & Mind, shall have my remaining feeble Voice in his Support agt
the insidious Enemy of him & Mankind. I have said eno on this Head, &
have not time to begin a new Subject. Adieu.


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

PHILADE Mar 9--79


Mr Hoskins who arrivd here a few days ago, was kind enough to deliver
to me your favor of the 7th of Feb. It gave me a particular pleasure,
because I was convincd that you had not totally forgot your old Friend.
You see, I rank myself among your friends. HOW often have we chatted
together by the fire side, and settled essential Points to mutual
Satisfaction. Yet we have not always thought alike of Men who have
conducted the noble Contest for the Rights of our Country, which we
have been & are still engagd in. I congratulate my Countrymen on our
having thus far got through the Conflict, but we are still engagd in
it. And I repeat it, because while too many of our Countrymen are
flattering themselves with the airy Prospect of Peace, Britain, if we
may credit our latest & best Accounts from Europe, is preparing for a
vigorous Campaign. It is prudent for us to enquire of the Watchman What
of the Night? The Caution given us on another occasion may with
propriety be adapted to this. Be ye ready; lest when the Time of Danger
approaches, ye be found distracted with the eager Pursuit of Riches, or
sleeping in the delusive Lap of pleasure & Dissipation. But this is a
Digression from the intended Subject of my Letter. You ask my opinion
of two Men who have lately appeard on the publick Stage; and with your
usual Frankness, express your own opinion without a Doubt, that
Congress will soon convince the one of his Folly & the other of his
Weakness. But have you not misunderstood the Characters of these Men?
Has not the first by his artful Address conceald his Weakness from the
pub-lick Eye, while the other, by an improper Use of the Weapons in his
hands, has given Advantage to his Adversary, and thereby discoverd his
Folly. Mr Dean had in his first Publication said so much as to make it
necessary that some other Person should say more. Common Sense
undertook the Task and producd stubborn & undeniable facts, but not
contenting himself with relating such facts only as were pertinent to
his Argument he gave occasion to the Swarms of Writers against him to
avail themselves, by diverting the Attention of his Readers from the
proper Point. I will mention an Instance. After he had provd to the
Satisfaction of every one, that the Cannon & Stores forwarded to
America by Mr Deane, had been negociated by Mary Johnson & Beaumarchais
before his Arrival in France, and consequently that the Merit of the
Negociation did not belong to Mr Dean, what Necessity was there for
Common Sense to mention them as a Present? It was nothing to his
purpose; and it was too delicate a Subject for him to touch upon, or to
attempt to prove if it had been true. His prudence therefore and even
his Veracity was called in Question by his Adversaries, and his
Authority & Influence as a Writer of facts lessend. The faithful
Historian however, will hereafter unfold the secret Politicks of the
present Day. The Newspaper Writings of these two Men, have drawn not
only the Conduct but the Characters of others into Dispute. Had Mr Dean
been only called upon explicitly to state his Charges, if he had any,
against Dr Lee, I believe he would not have attempted it, and a
Scrutiny of any Mans Character but his own would have been unnecessary.
Although he has insinuated many things against the Doctor, & steppd
aside from the Line of Propriety & Decency to bring in Invective, yet I
do not recollect that he has explicitly criminated him in either, nor
do I believe it is in his Power. If no one steps forward to accuse him,
why should his Integrity be doubted? Why should you, my Friend, express
yourself in so languid a Tone, "I cant yet but have a great opinion of
Dr Lee," and "rather than the Cause of America should be betrayd I
would give up the dearest Connections I have on Earth." Has Dr Lee
forfeited the good opinion you "always had" of him? Do you doubt his
Integrity & Attachment to the Cause of America? Has any one chargd him
with Mal Conduct? Shall the mere Insinuations & angry Reflections of a
disappointed Man lessen your good opinion of one whom you know to have
been, early, decided, active, persevering and inflexible in the Cause
of America? If this should be the prevailing Disposition, what honest
Man will be safe? The consistent Patriot, after having endurd Fatigue &
Danger for the Establishment of publick Liberty, would find himself
still in the greatest Perils among his own Countrymen. I will say
nothing decisively of Mr Dean at present; but I would assure you of one
thing, that were I connected with Dr Lee as a publick Man, and
conscious of my own Tardiness, I should think I had every thing to
apprehend, not from a peevish, fretful Temper with which interrested
Men have attempted to stigmatize him, but from his stern Virtue and
Republican Jealousy. I may be partial to Dr Lee. I confess I feel the
strongest Obligation to him, for the eminent Services he renderd to
America when he was in England, and to the Massachusetts Bay in
particular. I hope my Countrymen are not all ungrateful. Some of them,
I have been taught to believe are so; otherwise the publick Character
of an old Servant would not have been aspersd, nor wd it have been
said, as I am informd it has, that he had been bribd to desert his
Country. It is his honorable Lot to have Enemies. Honorable, because he
flatters himself his Enemies are among the weak & the wicked. I leave
my own Character, under God, in the Care of my virtuous fellow
Citizens. I will contend for Dr Lees, because I am his Friend; and I am
his friend, because I have long had abundant Reason to be convincd that
he is a Friend to our Country. I have said I may be thought partial to
him. Be pleasd then to take the Testimony of another, and show it to
his Friends and his Enemies. "Your old friend, says one, is a Man of
Honor and Integrity." "He has been of opinion that the publick Monies
have been too freely issued here, & has often opposd it." Let me remark
here that it is no Wonder he has exposd himself to the Resentment of a
Man thro whose hands the Chief of the money passed. "Insinuations, I
have been told, have been made at Court against your old friend that he
was too friendly to the English, too much attachd to Ld Shelburne &
even that he corresponded with his Lordship & communicated Intelligence
to him. This, whoever suggested it, I am perfectly confident was a
cruel Calumny. You and I have had opportunity to know his invariable
Attachment to our Cause long before Hostilities commencd & I have not a
Color of Ground for Suspicion that from that time to this he has
deviated from the Cause of his Country in Thought Word or Deed."

You may tell the Friends of Virtue and Liberty, that the Letter from
which the foregoing Extracts are taken was written to me by one in whom
they have always very justly placed great Confidence. I could
transcribe more Passages which mention Dr Lee as "a worthy Character,"
the unwarrantable Lengths to which the Animosities of interrested Men
have been carried against him, & the Inveteracy of many Subaltern &
collateral Characters but I think I have given enough to satisfy every
reasonable Man.



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

PHILADA Mar 23 1779


In Answer to a part of yours of the 20th of Feb. which I overlookd, I
will transcribe an Extract of a Letter which I wrote last December to
the Council of Massachusetts State. You may show it to my Friends &
inform that I am still determind to return to Boston in April or
May--there to resign the place I hold as Secretary and to get my self
excusd from any further Service here. No "Bribe" shall prevail on me to
desert my Country. I will still exert my poor Abilities in her Service.
But as I am satisfied that there are others who are much more capable
of serving her in this Department than I am, I may be allowd to say,
that after near five years absense from my Family, and in a Climate
unfriendly to my Health. I have Reason to expect I may be permitted to
spend the Remainder of my Days in my native Place and enjoy the
Pleasures of domestick Life. There, I shall on all occasions contribute
my Mite in promoting the Peace and Prosperity of my fellow Citizens. In
their Service, I began my political Race. I have ever kept their
Interest in View. It will never be in my Power to render them much more
Service; but my best Wishes for them will be coequal with my Life.

I do not think my Countrymen are ungrateful; but I am affraid there is
a Faction among them, consisting of a few Men, who are under the
Dominion of those Passions which have been the Bane of Society in all
Ages--Ambition and Avarice. I wish their Number may not increase. They are
congenial Spirits with Hutchinson and those who aimd at grasping Wealth
and Power. America, when she was wise, was jealous of such Designs. She
opposd them though they were backd with the Wealth and Power of Great
Britain. Such Kind of Men do me great Honor as they ever have done in
being my Enemies. While such Men exist, and I believe they ever will in
this World of Vanity, an honest Man would feel mortified indeed, to
have it said that all Men spoke well of him. These Men hate, but I
would not believe them if they were to say, they despisd the Man whose
Integrity they cannot shake. They dread, but they cannot despise him of
whom they entertain an opinion, that he is a virtuous Citizen.--I do not
covet their Esteem. They are not among the Multitude of my Brethren, of
whom I should count it an Honor to be accepted. The Eclat of the World
is Vanity. There is a solid Satisfaction in ones having, and being
conscious that he merits the good opinion of Men of true Discernment
and real Worth. But to have a Name among the weak and the wicked is
Shame and Reproach. Adieu my Dear. I hope to see you shortly, and then
I will explain to you why I have written in this Strain.


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

PHILADE March 23 1779


I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor of the 12th & 28th of
Feby. The Letter you mention in the former came to hand, but I am apt
to think it will have no Effect at all. There was an omission in the
Navy Boards not having Notice officially of the inclosd Resolution of
Congress, but I hope the Delay has not been attended with any material

I do sincerely hope the General Assembly will appoint another Person to
take my place here. I wrote a Letter to them last December, requesting
that I might be relievd by one of my absent Colleagues or some other
Gentleman, & permitted to return to my Family in the Spring. I find my
Health declining, and the Air of this Country is unfriendly to it. I am
therefore steadfastly determind to get my self excusd in April or May
at farthest. In doing this, I shall immediately make Room for an abler
Man. Such may easily be found, and, I hope, prevaild upon to come. I
shall also gratify those whose Hearts are bent upon my Removal, and
shall save them Abundance of Pains in making their Interest to effect
it. These Men agree with me, if in Nothing else, in wishing most
cordially for my Retirement from publick Business. Perhaps they would
chuse to have me recalled with Disgrace. I hope this is not in their
Power; though I think I could bear even that with becoming Fortitude,
for I am conscious that I do not deserve to be disgracd by my Country,
and can be happy in the Reflections of my own Mind. The Arts they make
use of are contemptible. Last year, as you observe, I was an Enemy to
General Washington. This was said, to render me odious to the People.
The Man who fabricated the Charge did not believe it himself. When he
endeavord to make others believe it, he attempted to injure me by
imposing upon them. His own Heart must therefore reproach him with
complicated Acts of Injustice, and if he has any Feeling he must
despise himself. If I indulgd the Spirit of Revenge, could I wish for
more? NOW, you tell me, their Art is, to prejudice the People against
the Lees, and propagate that I am a Friend to them. HOW trifling is
this? Am I accountable to the People for my opinions of Men? If I have
found from long & intimate Acquaintance with those Gentlemen, that they
are, and have been from the Beginning of this Contest, among the most
able & zealous Defenders of the Rights of America and Mankind, shall I
not be their Friend? I will avow my Friendship to them in the Face of
the World. As an Inhabitant of Massachusetts Bay, I should think my
self ungrateful, not to esteem Arthur Lee most highly, for his
voluntary Services to that State, in Times of her greatest Necessity,
to the Injury of his private Interest, and at the Risque of his Life.

Adieu my Friend.

March 24--79

The Bearer of this Letter being prevented setting off by a Storm, I
have had Time to transcribe the inclosd Extracts. They were written to
me, as you will observe, in Confidence. I think I am warranted in
communicating them to you, because I know the Writer has as much
Confidence in your Prudence & Discretion as in mine, if not more. And I
do not see how I can better use them for the purpose he intended in
sending them to me, than by sending them to you. The Parts which are
descriptive of the Weakness, or if you think more proper, the reserved
Caution of Age, you will judge prudent to keep secret for the present.
There are some of our Friends, who, having so long habituated
themselves to admire the Wisdom of the Philosopher cannot easily be
perswaded to believe, that in the different Character of a Politician,
he may be liable to human Frailties at the Age of more than three score
and ten. Those Parts which may serve to set Dr Lee in his true
Character of an honest & diligent Servant of the publick, you will make
Use of for that Purpose. For it is of equal Importance that the
Fidelity of one or the Treachery of another, in the service of the
publick, should be made known. A Man of inflexible Republican Virtue
cannot but incur both the Dread & the Hatred of those who
are--ambitious--desirous of making Fortunes--artful and enterprizing--especially if
much of the publick Money has passd, unaccounted for, through their
Hands. Mr Dean would have the World believe that Dr Lee is a dishonest
Man & a Traitor. The Writer of these Extracts, who has had full
Opportunity of enquiring, says, he is "a Man of Integrity and Honor,"--"a
worthy Character"--"invariably attachd to the Cause of America." I am
inclind to think, that no honest & sensible Man who is acquainted with
both will hesitate to determine, which of their Opinions to rely upon,
or which of them in the present Case ought to be supposd the impartial



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

March 26

Mess Otis and Henley are under a Difficulty which I wish mt have your
Attention, and that you wd consult our Brother Mr Gerry to whom they
have written on the Subject. In Consequence of the most pressing
Letters from the Board of War, they have lately purchasd a Quantity of
Woolen Goods at 5 Months Credit, to be paid for in Currency at 75 for
one provided Bills on Europe continue at 25, otherwise is that
Proportion. They consulted the most judicious and publick spirited
Merchants upon Change who thought it an advantageous Bargain. But the
Board of War in a Letter to them say they hope & expect they have got
rid of the Bargain. To insist upon this would seem hard and unjust, and
to leave the Matter to be settled at a distant Time would be precarious
and unsafe for them. I hope Gentlemen with you do not look upon them as
that Kind of Men who seek publick Employment without any View of
serving the Publick. They are Men of Honor and Reputation; and as such
they expect to fullfil the Contracts they make, and they ought to be
supported by their Employers.

A Prize is arrivd in Salem taken by one of our Privateers, said to have
on board 1500 bls of Flour, 1400 bls of Beef and Pork, besides dry

Mrs A made a Visit to Mrs L a day or two ago & informd me that your
Family were in Health. They are shortly to move into the House of S
Waterhouse an Absentee.


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

Mar 27

The Gentn of the Medical Departmt have diverse Times applied to
Congress for Consideration on Accot of the depreciating Currency. It
appears to me that they are as much intitled to it, as the officers of
the Line; for altho they may not run Risques in the fighting Way, they
very probably do, equally, in the Midst of putrid Fevers &c. Those of
them who are the Subjects of this State, have applied to the General
Assembly; and tho ample Provision is made for officers & Soldiers, no
Provision is made for them, because they are not considerd as Part of
the Quota of this State. I wish you would take this Matter under your
Consideration. This is the first Time I have ever interposd in behalf
of that Department. I have hitherto refraind on Account of my Sons
being one, whom I early cautiond not to expect any Advantage, as a
Servant of the Publick from his Connection with me.


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

March 30

Capt Paul Jones, it is supposd may be now in Philadelphia in Command of
the Alliance. If Congress will recollect the Mannagemt of the Cutter
Revenge commanded by Cunningham, which I imagine has not been cleard up
to this Day & probably never will be, they will think it just to the
Publick and necessary that Enquiry shd be made, while Jones is on the
Spot, concerning the Squadron lately under his Command. Whether it was
fitted out at the Expence of the Publick either french or american or
joyntly by both. Or whether it was a Project of private Men so artfully
contrivd & conducted as that they can declare the property to be either
publick or private as may best suit their Interest. Landais is esteemd
here a good Commander & an honest Man. But he is left in France &
cannot inform you any thing about it. And whether the Character which
Jones has given to all his officers (Landais only excepted) may operate
as a Bribe, may be worth your particular Vigilance. The Reputation of
our Navy, to say Nothing of the Honor of Congress which ought never to
be suspected, will suffer, if our Seamen, after having venturd their
Lives in cruizing upon the Enemy in Europe should return to America
without receiving their Prize Money, & be told [here] that no one
knows, whether the Vessels into which they inlisted were publick or
private Property, tho they were taught to believe in Europe they were
ownd & commissiond by the United States. If [our] Ministers or Agents
abroad either with or without special Direction of Congress shall think
it proper to employ our Ships of War (which has been the Case of the
Alliance at least) in Expeditions or Services in Europe, ought they not
to be directed, when the Service is performd, if it cannot be done
conveniently before, to make known the Circumstances & Events to
Congress? I am told that a Commodore Gillon has written a Letter to the
late Mr President Jay concerning the attaching the American Ship of War
Alliance to "an amphibious Squadron of french Cruizers, subjecting them
to the Orders of Capt Paul Jones and giving Continental Commissions to
a Number of french men, who were put upon Court Martials on American
Citizens." And it is apprehended this Information will be withheld from
Congress, because, tho intended to be laid before them, it was not
expressly so desired. It is allowd that Jones has behavd with Bravery;
but I think the Expedition with all its Circumstances should be the
Subject of thorough & immediate Enquiry. Landais, I am informd is in
Prison. He is an officer of Congress, and Congress should know, whether
he is justly a....


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers Lenox Library.]

PHILAD Apr 1 1779


We had the Honor of receiving by the Hands of N1 Gorham Esqr & others a
Come of the General Court, your Letter of the 1st of March. Congress
had before considerd the Subject of it and come in to Resolutions which
we forwarded to you in Season. If any thing further can be done for the
Reliefe of the Inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay from the Distress they
are under for Want of Bread, the Honble Assembly may rely upon our
utmost Exertions. We have also recd another Letter by Express,
inclosing a Resolution of the Assembly relating to the Necessity of
ascertaining the Powers of foreign Consuls in the American Ports. This
we immediately laid before Congress & the Matter is under the
Consideration of a Committee.

A Resolution yesterday passd, which directs that the proceedings of
Congress from the first of Jany last, excepting such as require Secrecy
for the present, be publishd with all Dispatch and transmitted weekly
to the Assemblys of the respective States. This will enable us to
comply with a former Instruction with Ease. The printing of the
Journals preceding the Time just mentiond, will not be interrupted by
the execution of this Resolution.

We are with Sentiments of Duty & Regard to the Gen1 Assembly


your most hbl Servts 2

1 Nathaniel Gorham, of Lunenburgh, Mass. On February 27 the House of
Representatives appropriated L500 each to Gorham and Ebenezer Wells for
their expenses while visiting the southern states as a committee of the

2 Signed by Adams, Gerry, Lovell and Holten, delegates of Massachusetts
in the Continental Congress.


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

PHILAD April 27-79


I have recd several of your favors which I have not yet answerd. You
will not I am sure, impute it to Inattention or Neglect. I have been
often sick. I have been fatigud with Business, whereby I am become
greatly indebted to all my Friends in the Epistolary Way. Shortly I
hope to see them when I shall make a satisfactory Apology. Upon what
Foundation do they build their Hopes of Peace? Congress, they say, have
receivd great News. No such thing. There is Nothing I know of worth
your hearing which you have not already heard. Be not amusd by the
Tales of interrested Politicians, Speculators & Tories. A false Hope of
peace in the Time of War does a World of Mischiefe. The latest & best
Advices I have seen mention Britain as breathing Nothing but Revenge.
Besides, were we to expect serious Overtures, did a wise Nation ever
remit; their Exertions at such a Juncture? I hope America will
persevere in this glorious Struggle till she obtains what in Reason she
ought to insist upon This you will tell me is saying just Nothing at
all Very true; and why should one speak when it is the Time to be
silent? At a proper time when I shall have the pleasure of seeing you,
I will chat with you upon the Subject. Let me only ask you at present,
Is not the Fishery as valueable to America & more so to old
Massachusetts than the Tobacco Fields of the middle States or the Rice
Swamps of the South?

Ask my old Fd the Hon T C1 what he thinks of the pious Lord Dartmouth
now. Adieu.


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

PHILADE April 29, 1779


I have not yet acknowledgd your Favors of the 14th & 15th of March. The
Subject of the former is of the last Importance. I have always been of
Opinion that America would be in more Danger in the Point of coming to
an Accommodation with Great Britain than in any Stage of the War.
Unpracticd as we are in the Business of Treaties and perhaps too
unsuspecting of the Intrigues of Courts, we may be led into Conventions
which may put us into a State of Insecurity while we are nominally
independent. The Advice which some Persons would affect to give us not
to insist upon too much, should be receivd with the greatest Caution.
What do they mean by it, and how far wd they have us extend it? If we
had hearkned to such Advice in the Infancy of this Contest, we should
have submitted [to] Britain the Right of taxing us, & humbly
supplicated her to suspend the Exercise of it. In doing this we might
have prevented the Horrors of War, & have been her quiet Slaves. No
Terms have yet been proposd by Britain. She possibly may offer them
soon, and her proposals possibly may be insidious & inadmissible. I do
believe she is at this Moment employing her secret Emissaries to find
out the Disposition of America & what would be her Ultimatum. Should
not the People then speak the Language which becomes them & assure her
that after so virtuous & successful a Struggle they are determind to
demand enough for the Purpose of securing their own internal & external
Happiness. This is the Aim of the Revolution and the Extent of the
Wishes of our good & great Ally, who I dare affirm, is invariably
determind not to seperate his Interest from that of America, & to
support the Cause of the United States as his own. Our Happiness
depends upon Independence. To be prosperous we must have an extensive
Trade. This will require a respectable Navy. Our Ships must be mannd,
and the Source of Seamen is the Fishery. Among those who ought to see
the Importance of the Fishery, I am affraid there are some who think
that in insisting upon that we should insist upon too much. Nova Scotia
& Canada would be a great & permanent Protection to the Fishery. But
these, say some, are not Parts of the United States, and what Right
should we have to claim them? The Cession of those Territories would
prevent any Views of Britain to disturb our Peace in future & cut off a
Source of corrupt British Influence which issuing from them, might
diffuse Mischiefe and Poison thro the States. Will not then the
Possession of Nova Scotia & Canada be necessary, if we mean to make
Peace upon pacifick Principles? If we are to have no overtures this
year, and Providence blesses us with the Spirit of Enterprize would it
not be better for us, provided it be practicable, to wrest those Places
from the Hands of the Enemy than trust to the Uncertainty of Treaty? I
confess we have a Choice of Difficulties. I pray God we may surmount
them all! None however reach the Pinnacle of Eminence & Glory but the
virtuous & brave. Adieu my dear Sir. I hope to see & live with you
shortly; but I shall expect another Letter from you before I leave this

1 Thomas Cushing.


[MS., Letter Book of the Marine Committee, Library of Congress; a draft
is in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]

May 26th 1779


Your Excellencys Letter to this committee of the 25th instant together
with an Extract from another of the 17th instant to the President of
Congress has been duely considered by the Committee.

Unfortunately the situation of our frigates is such as to afford no
reason to expect that they can possibly be collected in season to
execute the plan proposed. The Providence of 32 Guns and the Ranger of
18 are already ordered on a Cruize and it is supposed must be at Sea
before different orders can reach them at Boston.

The Warren of 36 Guns and the Queen of France of 20 have lately
returned from a Cruize and are unmanned. Although the Naval force of
the enemy at New York is at present trifleing, yet as their situation
in this respect is very fluctuateing they may probably be so reinforced
as to render it too hazardous to risque only the Two frigates in this
River viz: the Confederacy of 36 Guns & the Deane of 28 Guns the latter
of which wants a great number of hands to make up her complement.

Add to this that though the force of the enemy on the water would be
inferior to ours, yet might they not retire under cover of the
Batteries on shore and receive effectual protection from any annoyance
that could be attempted from the Guns of our small Ships. I am desired
by the Committee to assure you Sir that they shall always be ready with
the greatest alacrity to employ our little fleet in the execution of
such plans as may be suggested to them by your Excellency when our
circumstances shall be such as to render it practicable.

I am yr Excellencys

Obet Servt 1

1 Signed, "S. Adams, Chn."


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]


COUNCIL CHAMBER. July 10th 1779


The Council being informd that a Detachment of Troops destind for the
Defence of the State of Rhode Island are waiting at or near the Town of
Wrentham ready to march you are directed to forward them and all others
in the like Circumstances within the Limits of your regt to the Place
of their Destination with all possible Dispatch.


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]


July 12 1779

To the Honble the Commissioners of the Continental Navy Board


The Council Board having given orders that the Ships in the Service of
this State and employed in the present Expedition to Penobscott proceed
to Sea upon the Signal given from the Continental Frigate Warren, you
are requested to give order to the Commander of the Frigate & other
Ships under your Direction to proceed to place of Rendevous already
agreed on.

In the Name & Behalf of the Council.1

1 Wholly in the autograph of Adams; the original was signed by Jeremiah
Powell, President of the Council, as in the case of letters printed on
pages 153-155, 158, 160, 161, 162.


[MS., Massachusetts Archives; a portion of the text is in W. V. Wells,
Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., p. 70.]



Your Excellencies Letter of the 11th Current was duly receivd & read in
Council; in Consequence of which, orders are issued to the Brigadiers
of the Counties of Hampshire & Berkshire to detach and forward on under
proper officers with all possible Dispatch a Number consisting of one
sixth part of their Militia to such place in Connecticutt as your Excy
shall appoint & to continue in Service for the Defence of the State of
Connecticutt during the space of one Month after their Arrival at the
place appointed unless they shall be sooner dischargd. It is presumd
that the Aid of one thousand Men at least will be afforded by means of
this order. The Council very sensibly feel the Distress which the State
of Connecticutt have already sufferd by the Incursions & Depredations
of a desperate & malicious Enemy, and trust in God that the People of
New England will be always spirited to exert themselves upon every
pressing occasion for the Common Safety & that their Exertions will be
attended with the divine Blessing.


[MS., Massachusetts Archives; a portion of the text is in W. V. Wells,
Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp, 70, 71.]



Your Letter of the 12th Instant with its Inclosure has been receivd by
the Council. The Progress of the Enemy into the State of Connecticutt,
and the Devastations they have already made in some of the Towns there,
require our vigorous Exertions. Orders have been given to forward the
Troops destind for the Defence of Rhode Island with all possible
Dispatch. And the Commanding officers of the Counties of Hampshire and
Berkshire are also directed to detach a Number from their Militia &
march them forthwith for the Reliefe of Connecticut!, to such place as
Govr Trumbull shall appoint, of which due Notice is forwarded to the
Governor. Should the Enemy, direct their force to Connecticutt or any
part of New Engd & attempt to make that the Seat of the War, this
Summer, Nothing shall be wanting on the part of this Board, to defeat
their Designs.

In the Name & behalf of the Council I am----

Sir your most obedient

humble Servt


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]


To the Hon the Commissioners of the Continental Navy Board


This Board being duly informd by the Board of War that the Ships &
Vessels in Service of this State on the Expedition to Penobscot are
ready to proceed to Sea upon the proper Signals being given from the
Frigate Warren, you are requested to give the necessary order to
Captain Salstonstal as soon as may be.

In the Name & Behalf of the Council

I am &c


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]



It having been suggested to this Board that a Vessel belonging to the
subjects of his Catholick Majesty has been plunderd on the high Seas by
the Captain of a Vessel from Liverpole, suspected to be Capt George
Hewet of the Prize Brig Adventure lately brot into this Port--And the
Board being informd that Cap Evans of Portsmouth & his Mate who arrivd
here a few days ago & are since gone to that town can give Information
touching the same-- It is the Request of this Board that the Honorable the
Council of New Hampshire will be pleasd to cause a strict Examination
to be made into a Report which is of great Importance to the United
States, as the aforesaid Act of Pyracy is said to have been committed
under American Colours.

I am

in the name &c


[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 226-228, under date of
August 1, 1777.]

BOSTON, Aug. 1st, 1779.

It was not till the last week that I received your favour from Nantes
of the 6th of March. Our friend Mr. Lovett sent it to me from
Philadelphia. I resent the treatment you have met with in America with
all the feelings of friendship. Among your enemies you may depend upon
it there are some of the worst kind of men. I cannot help entertaining
a violent suspicion that they are the enemies of their country. I am
sure that they cannot at present do a more vital injury to the great
cause of America than by raising the popular jealousy and clamour
against its earliest, most able, and persevering friends. This they are
endeavouring to do not only with regard to you but others; and they are
masters of so much sophistry as to deceive some who, as I think, are
not so wary and suspicious of them as they ought to be. Mr. -------- in the opinion
of some of his own party, was injudicious in his publication of the 5th
Dec. last. They are at least constrained to say it, whether they think
so or not. It is the opinion of the best men, I know, that he has done
more mischief than it will ever be in his power to atone for. I never
had but one opinion of this man since the year 1774, when I first knew
him, and that is, that he is commercial and interested. I believe he
has for a twelvemonth past, thought it his interest to throw us into
divisions and parties, and that he has been as influential in effecting
it as any man in America. Interested men, men who are united in
politics and commercial combinations are and must be his advocates.
Perhaps the persons whose names you mention in the last part of your
letter, may be his secret but powerful supporters; I do not pretend to
affirm it. These men most certainly, should preserve their minds free
from prejudice in disputes of this kind. They should stand totally
unconnected with any party, as they would avoid doing injury to the
joint cause of France and America, and lessening that strong attachment
and mutual confidence between the two nations, which every true friend
and subject of both wishes may long subsist.

Your letter to the editor of the Leyden Gazette, written upon your
seeing Mr.....'s first publication, fell into my hands a fortnight ago.
I published it with a few loose observations in one of our newspapers.
I have since had the pleasure of being informed, that you have sent to
congress a reply to Deane's accusations, which has given great
satisfaction to impartial men. I foresaw soon after his arrival, that
your lot would be to suffer persecution for a while. This is frequently
the portion of good men, but they are never substantially injured by
it. Our friend and your late colleague, in his letter to me, has
mentioned you in the most honourable as well as the most friendly
terms. I should have written to him by this opportunity, but I am led
by yours to believe that my letter would not reach him. But if he
should be in France when you receive this letter, pray mention my
friendly regards to him, and let him know that his lady and family are
in health.

The young gentleman who carries this letter is Mr. William Knox,
brother to the general, and has the character of an honest friend to
the liberties of his country; your kind notice of him as such will
oblige me.

I have many things to say to you; but the short notice I have had of
the sailing of this packet, leaves me no time to add more than to
assure you that I am, with perfect sentiments of friendship, yours, &c.

1 President of the Council of New Hampshire.


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]

August 6th 1779


The Council not having receivd any Intelligence of the State of the
Army under your Command since your Departure from Boston, are
apprehensive that it must have been unluckily intercepted. They have
therefore orderd the Dispatch of an Express to you for the Purpose of
being informd from you with the utmost precision of your Scituation &
Circumstances, the Information to be forwarded to this Board without

There is no News of the Movements of the Enemy that may be depended
upon. You are fully sensible of the Necessity of compleating the Design
of this Expedition with all that Speed as well as prudence & Discretion
which characterizes you as an officer vested with so important a

1 Brigadier General of the Suffolk County militia.


[MS., Massachusetts Archives; a text, with modifications, is in W. V.
Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., p. 73.]

PROVIDENCE Augt 10th 1779


I have the Pleasure to acquaint the Honble the Council Board, that I
arrivd here last Evening, and, upon communicating their Request to
Major General Gates, I found him ready, as usual, to afford every
Assistance in his Power, for the Service of the great Cause. He has
orderd Colo Jackson with a Detachment from his Regiment consisting of
four hundred Men, to joyn General Level at Penobscot. This Core, I have
Reason to believe, both Officers and Privates, will do honor to
themselves & their Country, when an Opportunity shall present. I had
the Satisfaction of seeing them on their March this Morning at Sun
rise, and the Council may expect them in the Neighborhood of Boston
tomorrow Evening. In the mean time, I hope that Transports and every
Accommodation will be prepared for them that their Passage to the Place
of their Destination may not be delayd. I shall immediately forward to
Brigadier General Godfrey the order of the Honble Board, for the
detaching four hundred Militia to serve in Providence in the Room of
these Troops, and remain with all Regard,

Sir your most obedient

hble Servant,


[MS., Massachusetts Archives; a text, with modifications, is in W. V.
Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., p. 73.]

PROVIDENCE 11 Aug. 1779


General Gates writes to the Council by this Express. Colo Jackson's
Regiment will have arrivd at Boston before this Letter reaches you. I
presume they will sail under the strongest Convoy that can be made up.
Should they meet with a superior force of the Enemy at Sea, I conceive
it ought to be a point settled & indispensible that the Commanders of
the Armed Vessells run the utmost Risque to give the Troops an
Opportunity of making their Escape. I wrote yesterday to Gen1 Godfrey &
this morng receivd his Answer with Assurance of punctual Obedience to
the orders of Council.

With Sentiments of Esteem & Respect I am

your most hbl Servt


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]

Augt 14th 1779


The Council have now to acquaint you that Colo Jackson's Regiment will
at all events embark this Day & the Transports will sail without Delay.
This Regiment we trust, under God, will be a sufficient Reinforcement
to you; and from the Ardor of your Troops, as well as from your own
Bravery, Activity, Prudence & Zeal for the great Cause, we have Reason
to expect speedily to hear that the Designs of the Enemy at Penobscot
are defeated & their Army captivated.

In the Name of the Council

I am &c

P.S. Upon the Reception of this Letter you will immediately send your
orders to Townsend where the Transports are to stop unless Colo Jackson
shall meet your Directions at Sea.

1 Endorsed as "forwarded by Majr Braddish to Messrs Saml or Enoch
Freeman at Falmo. Duplicate by Spy Boat."


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]



The Council have receivd your Letter dated the 16th. It is the opinion
of the Board that it would have been prudent in you to have acquainted
Brigr General Lovel with the Circumstances of the remaining Part of the
Men detachd from your Brigade for the Expedition to Penobscot; and it
is the Direction of the Board that you immediately on the Receipt of
this Letter dispatch an Express to the General informing him of the
Number of Men now ready, agreable to the Representation you have made
in your Letter, and requesting him, if he shall think it necessary and
proper, to forward a Vessel from Penobscot with a suitable Convoy to
transport them.

1 Brigadier General of the York County militia.

TO _______ _______.

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

BOSTON Aug. 17, 1779


I did not write by the last Post, because I was at Providence upon
Business with General Gates. He, with his usual Readiness to serve the
Common Cause, has spared Colo Jacksons Regt to joyn our Forces at
Penobscot. They were marchd to this place with the greatest Dispatch &
have sailed with a fair Wind, under Convoy of two Vessels of Force. It
needs not to be mentiond to you, how necessary it is to remove the
Enemy from their Lodgment there. I cannot but hope the Business is by
this Time effected; but should any untoward Accident happen, a Regiment
of regular Troops will support our Militia, and animate that Part of
the Country. Our last Accounts from General Lovel were of the 6th
Instant. There was then no unpromising Circumstance, but the Want of a
few disciplind Soldiers. We had a Letter from Mr Freeman of Falmouth,
dated I think the 12th, by which we were informd that one Pote, a
fisherman... While I am writing, an Express arrives from Penobscot with
Letters of the 13th--a Reinforcement to the Enemy consisting of 1 Ship of
64 Guns 3 Frigates...


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]



This Board have recd your Letter dated the 19th at Portsmouth and are
happy in your safe Arrival there with the whole Fleet under your
Command. They approve of your Resolution to march to Falmouth, and make
no doubt but upon your Application to the People of Portsmouth, or as
it appears to the Council most effectual, to the Selectmen of the Towns
Eastward of Portsmouth, you will be amply provided with Waggons &c for
the Transportation of your Baggage Provisions & military Stores. By the
time of your Arrival at Falmouth, you will probably receive Directions
for your further Conduct from Brigr Gen1 Lovel who is authorizd, if he
shall judge it necessary, to call in the Militia of the Counties of
York Cumberland & Lincoln. It is expected that so spirited, experiencd
and well Disciplind a Regiment as yours is, will add Vigor to the
Inhabitants of that Part of the State, upon whose Attachment to the
Cause of their Country great Dependence is to be had. A single
Disappointment though attended with LOSS should by no means be a
Discouragement to us. It is hoped that a respectable Body of the
Militia will be again collected, at such place as Gen1 Lovel if
necessary shall think most convenient, and that by the Smiles of Heaven
our Enemies in that Quarter will yet be subdued. We pray God to protect
& prosper you.

1 Colonel of militia. This letter was addressed to Jackson at


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

BOSTON Augt 22d 1779


Yesterday I recd your favor of Fryday last by Express. By the Councils
Letter which you must have receivd, you will see that Events untoward
have taken place at Penobscot. Our Troops were dispersd, and I fear our
Ships are burnt. Better so, however, than to fall into the Enemies
Hands. We could not command Success, but we have endeavord to deserve
it. Disappointments are to be expected in so arduous a Conflict, and
when they come fairly one can bear them with Patience & Fortitude; but
when they happen through Misconduct, they are vexatious. I suspect
there has been bad Mannagement, but I will not make up my Judgment till
I am fully informd. The Moment an authentick & explicit Account
arrives, you shall have it from me. I will not yet despair of Success.
Witness Tyconderoga & Saratoga. An Instance which you and our Country
will never forget. We have directed & authorizd Gen1 Lovel to call in
the Militia & have sent him a Proclamation to disperse thro the Eastern
Counties. Who knows but Laurels are yet ordaind for Level & Jackson. He
arrivd on fryday last with the whole Fleet under his Command at
Portsmouth, and is to march through a good Road to Falmouth where he
will probably receive Lovels orders. The Selectmen & Committees of the
Towns are directed to provide him with Waggons to transport his Baggage
Provisions & military Stores. I flatter myself we shall yet subdue the
Enemy at Penobscot. To alleviate our Misfortunes, some Ships taken from
the Jamaica Fleet by the Providence Queen of France & Ranger are arrivd
at this Harbor which added to one arrivd here a few Days ago & another
at Cape Ann makes six out of ten which we know are taken. The Contents
of all are fifteen or sixteen hundred hhds of Sugar, twelve hundred
hhds of Rum, Piemento, Ginger, Fish &c. The richest of the Cargos are
arrivd. We are told of a Vessel at Salem in thirty Days from Cadiz &
Bilboa, which brings an Account of the Declaration of War in Spain
against Britain. This corresponds with Accounts just recd from Havanna.
I believe they are true.

The Chevalier de la Luzerne has honord me with several private
confidential Conversations, in which I have communicated to him my
Sentiments with Freedom and Candor. I have conceivd an high opinion of
him and of M. Marbois, who is a Member of the Parliament of Meitz. I
want him to see you & Governor Trumbull. The Chevalier has not yet
determind what Route to take. Should he go thro Springfield I wish to
know whether you could furnish him with an Escort to General
Washingtons Head Quarters. Your Answer to this speedily will oblige
me.--God bless you my dear Friend. Believe me to be sincerely yours----


[MS., Massachusetts Archives; the text, dated November 12, 1779, is in
W.V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 71, 72.]



Your Excellencys Letter of the 4th of October to the Council of this
State was duly receivd, and immediately laid before the General
Assembly which fortunately happend to be then sitting. The Assembly
have chearfully complid with your Requisition and accordingly orderd
two thousand Men to be raisd with all possible Dispatch for the Purpose
mentiond. The Council have appointed Brigr General Fellows to take the
Command. Inclosd is Copy of the Resolution of the General Assembly.
Wishing that Success may ever attend the Arms of the United States &
their Ally, I am in the Name & Behalf of the Council

yr Excellencys

most obedient

& humble Servant


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

BOSTON Oct 19, 1779


Such are my Apprehensions of great Numbers of the Inhabitants of this
Town perishing in the ensuing Winter for Want of Fuel unless Measures
are taken to guard the Wood Coasters from the Eastward, that I cannot
satisfy myself without once more applying to you and most earnestly
requesting that the Queen of France may be employd a short time in that
Service. I have venturd to promise the People the Service of that Ship
upon the Assurance given to me by your Honbl Board. I beg you would not
think my Design is to be troublesome to you, but you will excuse me in
pressing a Matter in which I think I am justified, by the Rules of
Justice, & Mercy to a Community whose Constancy & Firmness as well as
Sufferings in the great Cause entitle them to the Protection of the
Continental Navy.

I am with every Sentiment of Regard

Gentn yr very hbl Servt


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

Decr -- 1779


Mr Woodbury Langdon1 did me the Honor of a Visit this Morning and
deliverd to me your Letter of the 19th of November directed to Mr
Hancock and myself.

I cannot but feel the Sentiments of Gratitude to the Gentleman who has
originated a Subscription for the Support of the Children of our very
worthy deceasd Friend. I had been informd of it before; having lately
seen a Letter on the Subject, in which the Name of Congress is mentiond
in Terms more than "inadvertent." I am much displeasd, when I find the
tender Feelings of Humanity & Benevolence towards these helpless
Orphans accompanied with the Passion of Anger, and Resentment (probably
misplacd) towards that Body, which their "brave Father," if living,
would not fail to honor & revere. I should be very sorry, that the
"various Causes" in one Paper, should be explaind by the harsh
Expressions of "Ingratitude that is unparralled [sic]," in another. I
have never heard that Application has been made to the Assembly of
Massachusetts Bay in Behalf of these Children; and if there had been, I
am at a LOSS to conceive, from what good or generous Motives it was
introducd into a Paper when the very Use of it must tend to expose &
exclude them from the Character of "patriotick humane & generous." Nor
can I readily think of a Reason, why the Monies to be collected, should
not be paid into the Hands of one of the Massachusetts Delegates, since
it would not then have conveyd the Idea in a strong Light, that those
who had been formerly among the most intimate Acquaintance and
affectionate Friends of their "illustrious Ancestors," were totally
regardless of "what they owe to his deserted youth."

I will communicate your Letter to Mr Hancock and consult him thereon.
In the mean Time be assured that I am sincerely

Your Friend,

1 Member of Congress from New Hampshire.


[J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 310, 311.]

BOSTON, Dec. 20, 1779.


Last Saturday the two houses of assembly of this state made choice of
yourself and Mr. Osgood to represent them in the convention recommended
by the joint committees of the five eastern states to be held at
Philadelphia. As it was a doubt in the minds of some of the members,
whether so many of the other states would send their agents as to make
a convention, it was thought prudent to leave it to the gentlemen who
represent this state in congress, to agree upon any two of their number
for that service. But it was overruled for several reasons; one was,
that it was necessary to send one gentleman at least, immediately from
hence, because it was supposed such an one must be better acquainted
with particular circumstances in this state, necessary to be made known
to that assembly, and which are perpetually varying, than any gentleman
could be who has been absent for any length of time. Some gentlemen
were 10th you should be taken off a moment from your important services
in congress, but all were desirous of your assistance in the
convention, in case it shall meet. Mr. Osgood will set off with all
possible speed.

I am with truth and sincerity,

Your affectionate friend,


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

BOSTON Decr 20th 1779


Since my last Letter to you, I have had an Opportunity of conversing
with Doctor John Warren,1 Brother of our deceasd Friend, concerning the
Scituation of his Children. He tells me that the eldest Son was, as
early as it could be done, put under the Care and Tuition of the Revd
Mr Payson of Chelsea; a Gentleman whose Qualifications for the
instructing of Youth, I need not mention to you. The Lad still remains
with him. The eldest Daughter, a Miss of about thirteen, is with the
Doctor; and he assures me, that no Gentlemans Dauter in this Town has
more of the Advantage of Schools than she has at his Expence. She
learns Musick, Dancing, writing & Arithmetick, and the best Needle Work
that is taught here. The Doctor, I dare say, takes good Care of her
Morals. The two younger Children, a Boy of about seven years, and a
Girl somewhat older, are in the Family of John Scollay Esqr, under the
particular Care of his Daughter at her most earnest Request; otherwise,
I suppose, they would have been taken Care of by their Relations at
Roxbury, and educated as reputable Farmers Children usually are. Miss
Scollay deserves the greatest Praise for her Attention to them. She is
exceedingly well qualified for her Charge; and her Affection for their
deceas'd Father prompts her to exert her utmost to inculcate in the
Minds of these Children, those Principles which may conduce, "to render
them worthy of the Relation they stood in" to him. General Arnold has
assisted, by generously ordering five hundred Dollars towards their
Support. This I was informd of when I was last in Philadelphia. I
called on him & thank'd him for his Kindness to them. Whether he has
done more for them since, I cannot say. Probably he originated the
Subscription2 you have mentiond to me. I have omitted to tell you, that
two years ago I was in this Town and made a visit to the present
General Warren at Plymouth. His Lady was very sollicitous that the
eldest Daughter should spend that Winter with her, and desired me to
propose it to Miss. I did so; but I could not prevail upon her. She
said, that Mrs Miller (Mr Charles Millers Lady) at whose House she then
was, did not incline to part with her, and that it would be a Breach of
good Manners, and ungrateful for her to leave Mrs Miller against her
Inclination. She very prettily expressd her Obligations to both those
Ladies, and thus prevented my saying any more. I am very certain it was
Mrs Warrens Intention to give her Board and Education. You know the
distinguishd Accomplishments of that Lady. I think it does not appear
that Betsy has been altogether friendless and "deserted"; or that the
others are in danger of "suffering irreparably on Account of their
Education." Yet as I am very desirous that they should have the
greatest Advantage in their Growth into Life, I shall, among other
Friends, think my self much obligd to any Gentleman who, from pure and
unmixd Motives, shall add to those which they now enjoy.

I have not yet had the Honor of an Interview with Mr Hancock, since I
sent him the Letter which you wrote to us joyntly, and requested his
Sentiments thereon. Adieu, my dear Friends, and believe me to be


1 Numerous bills of John Warren against the United States, for the
expenses of the education of Joseph Warren, are in the Massachusetts

2 The text of this subscription, from an autograph copy by Adams in the
Lenox Library, is printed below, pages 171-173.


The Honble Major General Warren who after de voting his Time & Talents
for many years to his Country, gloriously fell in defending her Rights
& Liberties, in the well fought Battle of Bunkers Hill, left four
Orphan Children--Minors, two Sons and two Daughters--who from his Attention
to the great & common Cause of these States, were left unprovided for
and who on his Death found themselves without Parents, or the Means of

The Honble Congress has resolvd to be at the Expence of the Education
of the Elder Son; the other Son and two Daughters remain to this Time
without other Assistance than what some generous & charitable Persons
have afforded them. Application has been made to the Assembly of the
Massachusetts Bay & in September last to Congress on the Subject; but
the Multiplicity of Business or other Causes have hitherto prevented
their obtaining any Grant in their Favor--in the mean time the Children of
this patriotick Hero are suffering greatly on Account of their
Education, and unless speedily relievd must suffer irreparably. Nothing
more need be said on a Subject which every patriotick as well as humane
and generous American must feel sensibly, on recollecting the Character
and Death of their brave Father, to induce them to their Reliefe, &
thereby to discharge some Part of what they owe the brave Father of
these deserted youth.

Whatever Sums may be subscribd, will be receivd by the Honble the
President of the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay in Boston, &
under their Direction will be applied to the Support and Education of
these Children, in such a Manner as is becoming their Birth, and as
will tend to render them great and good Citizens, & worthy of the
Relation they stand in, to their illustrious Ancestor.

PHILADELPHIA Novr 1st 1779

We the Subscribers engage to pay the Sums affixd to our Names to the
Honble William Paca Esqr l, to be transmitted to the President &
Council aforesaid. Witness our Hands.

1 Member of Congress from Maryland.


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