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

Part 4 out of 7

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[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]


[Ordered that Genl Ward

Mr Thos Cushing

Mr Adams

Mr Fisher Esqr

Mr Pitts be

a Comtee to wait upon the Hone House of Representatives with the
following message]1

The Council Board have taken your Message of this Day in due
Consideration. It is important; nor out of Season. It is most certainly
incumbent on those who have accepted of Places of the highest Trust, to
attend constantly to the Duties of their Stations. This is the just
Expectation of the Publick & ought never to be dispensed with. The
Board have been so sensible of the obligations they owe to their
Country in this Regard, that they have frequently orderd a Call of
their Members when it became necessary and previous to your Message
they directed the Attendance of those who are now absent. If the
Publick suffers Injury from a Want of Application to its pressing
Affairs, in any others;--Members of the General Assembly, it is hoped the
joynt authority of both Houses will be employd effectually to prevent

1 The portion here bracketed is not in the autograph of Adams.



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a text is in Massachusetts
Archives, and also in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp.
98, 99]



The General Assembly of this State, conceiving that great Evil may
arise to the United States, from permitting Persons inimical to our
Common Cause, to reside within them; And having Reason to apprehend,
that certain Persons who by an Act of Government have been excluded
from this State, are meditating a Design to obtain a Residence in the
State of Rhode Island, have thought it necessary to address you on the
Subject, and to request that you would be pleasd to communicate their
Sentiments to your General Assembly.

It is, in the Opinion of this Assembly, highly criminal for a Citizen
to be an indifferent Spectator of the Miseries of his Country -- much more
so, to desert her while struggling for her Liberty -- and still more, to
seek Refuge in the very Time of her Conflict in the Arms of her cruel &
inveterate Enemies. It cannot then be thought strange, that those who
love and reverence their Country, feel an Indignation against the Men,
who have held her Safety, her Liberty & her Honor at so cheap a Rate.

The Injury which this State unavoidably sustaind from the Arts of too
many internal Enemies, hath been a sufficient Caution against receiving
into her own Bosom, those who have withdrawn their Persons and their
Aid in the Time of Danger & Distress; & there is less Reason for others
to expect Favor and Forgiveness, who having basely betrayed such a
Diffidence in the Wisdom and Fortitude of their Country and the
righteous Cause she is contending for, have imagind themselves more
secure, under the Power of its Invaders, and fled to them for

It is indeed much to be regretted, that the greatest Vigilance is
insufficient to detect the most virulent Enemies of the publick Liberty
in every Instance, and bring them to condign Punishment. This
Government, however, hath taken every Measure which Prudence dictated,
to effect so necessary a Purpose. Notorious offenders have been
proscribed by the Laws, and forbidden to return from their voluntary
and shameful Exile. Mutual Interest as well as mutual Friendship most
strongly remonstrate against such Persons being permitted to reside
within any of the Sister States. While we are embarkd in the same
Cause; While we are actuated by the same Principles and Views; While we
partake of the same publick Feeling, and are confederated for the same
great Purpose of mutual Safety and Defence; Honor and Justice forbid us
to entertain a Suspicion, that the State of Rhode Island would afford
Shelter & Protection to those, who have forfeited the Rights of
Citizens in the United States.

In the Name & Behalf of the General Assembly

I am &c,


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

BOSTON Jany 13, 1780.


I gladly embrace the first opportunity I have had of writing to you
since you left this Country. Mr Jonn Loring Austin is the Bearer of
this Letter. He is appointed by the General Assembly to negociate an
Affair in Europe which will be communicated to you by a Letter written
to you by the President of the Council & signd in their Name. The
Measure is the favorite offspring of the House of Representatives, &
was adopted by many Members of the Council. I wish it may succeed to
their Expectation.

The Assembly has been sitting five or six Weeks, and it is probable
will rise tomorrow. Among other things, they have passed an Act for
securing to their own officers & Soldiers in the Army of the United
States, a Compensation for the Depreciation of their pay. It is done in
a Mode agreeable to a Committee of officers from the Army, so that
there is no Doubt but the Rest of the officers & the Soldiers will be
satisfied with it. Money has been sent to the Army to inlist those
whose three years are expired, & who may be inclind to continue in the
Service, & we are well assured that great Numbers have engagd, so that
there is a good Prospect of our States Batallions being well filled.
Indeed there is all imaginable Reason to expect that the General will
be furnishd in the Spring with an Army better disciplined than even
those which have provd their Superiority to the Enemy in several
Campaigns. The more they are inured to actual Service, the more perfect
they will be in Discipline; and the Courage of a Soldier in the Time of
Action, in a great Measure... from a confidence in his military
Knowledge. What Events may take place in the Spring we cannot certainly
predict. An Army we know will be necessary, either to fight the Enemy,
or to give Assurance & Stability to the skillful Negociator of Peace.
The Plan you mentiond to me as having been proposd by you to Monsr -------- the
last October was a twelvemonth, if it could be fully accomplishd, might
in one of the ways above mentiond or the other, secure to us the
Objects which I know your heart is much set upon as well as mine.
Independence is a mere Charm, [and] unless by Arts or by Arms we secure
to ourselves those Advantages we may not have the Fortitude to assert
it as we ought, but by which alone we shall be enabled, under God, to
maintain it. You have the... , and for my self I confide both in your
Wisdom & Integrity.

You will see by the inclosd Paper that our Convention is adjournd. The
Roads thro the Country are so blockd up by incessant & heavy Snows,
that it has been impracticable for the Members to attend. It is proposd
to keep it alive by short Adjournments till a sufficient Number shall
arrive to proceed to the Business. Those among us who can remember the
year 1717 say there has not been so much Snow on the Ground since that

Mr L informs me that Colo Laurens the younger has declind going to
Europe. "The little Gentleman" (he will pardon me the Joke) will, if he
recollects, help us to guess who will probably obtain the next Choice.

The Delegates in Congress for the last year are again chosen excepting
General Ward in the Room of Mr Dana. I own it is not becoming an old
Man to be mutable--and yet I am intimately acquainted with one who took
his Leave of his good Friends in Philadelphia with almost as much
Formality as if he was on his dying Bed soon after resolving to visit
them once more. In [your] horrid Catalogue of evil Dispositions with
which Age is infested we do not find Vanity. This perhaps may be common
to the old & the young, tho I confess it is the more pardonable in the
latter. It is difficult for a Man in years to perswade himself to
believe a mortifying Truth that the Powers of his mind whether they
have been greater or less, are diminishd.

Pray assure Mr Dana of my affectionate Regards, and Colo Laurens if you
meet with him. I am informd he is gone or going to Europe. My old
patriotick Friend Mr A L, I am perswaded is before this time on his
Passage to America. But if not, let him know that the Hopes of seeing
him at Philadelphia is a strong Inducement to me, otherwise against my
Inclination, to visit Philadelphia once more.

A Letter from Gen1 Heath dated at Head Quarters Decr 21 says "the
health & Spirits of the Troops are not to be parralled. The Enemy at N
Y are undoubtedly embarking a large Body of Troops from 8 to 10,000--they
would have saild before this Time but have been under Apprehension that
the Coast was not clear. Their Destination is said to be to the
Southward but some say to the W. I. most probably both."


[MS., Massachusetts Archives; a text is in W. V. Wells' Life of Samuel
Adams, vol. iii., pp. 146, 147.]

BOSTON Feb 17 1780


Your Letter of the 19th of Jany did not reach my Hand till yesterday.--I
am sorry to acquaint you that the Affairs of this Government
immediately previous to the Enemies taking Possession of this Town in
the year 1775, being under the Direction of Persons inimical to us, the
Papers in the files of the Secretary of the Province were derangd &
thrown into such disorder, as to render it impracticable for me
immediately to comply with your Request to send you authenticated
Copies of the papers you have mentiond. I can conceive of no Reason why
you should not be servd with Copies as you desire. The Council have
orderd the papers to be lookd up for the Use of a Committee appointed
to state our Claim. This will be done with the greatest Despatch, and
will enable me to convince you of the Readiness with which I am disposd
to gratify you in all Cases consistent with the Duties of my office.

In the mean time I am with great Esteem &c

1 Secretary of State of New York.


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

BOSTON Mar 5 1780


I have receivd since I last wrote, your 21st, 25th & 28th of Jany and
8th & 16th of Feby, with the inclosd which I have distributed according
to your Request. My Time has been spent for two Months past, partly in
my sick Chamber and partly in our Convention for forming a Constitution
which we finishd yesterday for the Inspection of the People. You shall
have a Copy of it when it can be got thro the Press. Considering the
Winter we have had and the utmost Impossibility of travelling, I am not
so much surprizd at your Presidents not having receivd the Letters
which have been sent from the General Assembly relating to Vermont. Mr
Avery assures me that Duplicates were sent, so that I hope they have
before this time got to hand. A Committee was appointed by the General
Assembly to state our Right to the Land in Question, with an Intention
that our Agent mt be ready at Congress by the Time appointed, but on
their representing that they should not be able to report at the last
Session they were directed to do it at the next which will begin next
Wednesday. I will then endeavor to get the Number of our Delegates
necessary to be present in Congress reducd.

I wish you would send your Account of Time & Expences to the Assembly.
Twenty five Dollars pr Day and Expences were allowd to me for the year
79. I inform you of this that you may judge whether the Allowance for
Time & Service is raisd in Proportion to other things.

In your Letter of the 16 of Feb you mention your having inclosd to me
the Day before two Letters from Gen1 Lincoln, and your having had four
sent to your Care. I have receivd only two, and them by Mr Torrey, one
of them for the Generals Lady which I have forwarded by a safe hand,
and the other for his Son.

"Our Newspapers are remarkeable lately for more groundless Paragraphs
than most others." It is true. And there are some Men who with all
other political Qualities, cannot keep a political Secret. I thought it
not prudent to mention it, and did not to any one; but to my great
Surprize saw it in one of the Papers. It was however a great Wonder, as
I was told a paragraph of one of your own Letters was either read or
explaind in a large table Circle, and so it got into the Press. The
Intelligence was far from being displeasing to any of your virtuous
fellow Citizens, unless to those who think your Presence in Congress

In the Hint I gave you in one of my Letters I was far from intending
you should think I meant Capt Mc Neil. I am sure he is a Man of too
much Honor to write the anonimous Letter the Committee receivd.

I hope the General Assembly when they come together will turn their
Attention principally to the fitting up & supplying their Quota of the
Army. The Council have given Colo Blaney their best Advice and he
appears to be well pleasd with the Candor & Respect they have shown him.


[W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., p. 136.]

To the Honorable Council and House of Representatives, in General Court

March 9, 1780.

The petition of Samuel Adams of Boston humbly shows:--

That when the British troops were in possession of the town of Boston,
in 1775, he suffered the loss of the greatest and most valuable part of
his household furniture, and has since been indulged with the use of
sundry articles belonging to certain absentees until the General
Assembly should be pleased to otherwise order them to be disposed of.

Your petitioner prays the Honorable Court that he may be permitted to
avail himself of the purchase of the said furniture at the prices that
may be set upon them by good and discreet men.

And as in duty bound, he shall pray, &c.


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy.]

BOSTON March 15 1780


The immediate Departure of Mr Appleton who takes the Charge of this
Letter, prevents my saying to you more than a very few Words. Colo
Niles informd me yesterday that your Lady & Family were well when he
saw them on Saturday last. Our General Assembly began a Session the
last Week. They are intent on filling up their Quota of the Army. The
Convention is adjournd till the first Wednesday in June next.1 The
Fabrick is not materially injurd. It is proposd that the People should
state their Objections if they have any, and that the Convention shd
adapt it to the General Sentiments & give it the Sanction--a New
Convention to be called, if two thirds of the people shall think it
expedient in the year 95 to make Alterations as Experience may dictate.
Mr Appleton is the Son of our Friend the Loan Officer. I think he will
not dishonor his Country abroad.

My Regards to Dr F-- Mr D-- Colo L if you see him & all Friends--Adieu my dear

1 Its address to the public is printed in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel
Adams, vol. iii., pp. 90--96


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

BOSTON Mar 25 1780


Your Favor of the 9th was deliverd to me by Mr Brailes.... one day this
Week & the Day following that of the 28 of Feb by the Post.--" New York
presses Congress hard upon the Resolution, in Regard to Vermont." &c.
Our Assembly in their first Letter to Congress on the Subject, expressd
a Doubt whether they should be ready by the Time appointed. They
immediately appointed a Come to state their Claim, consisting of three
Gentle-men, two of whom viz Mr Bowdoin & Mr Lowell are not Members. The
great Business of the Convention of which all the Come were Members
intervened. Their Report however is expected in a very few Days. I wish
this Matter could be settled to the Satisfaction of all. If there was
Reason to expect that all would be satisfied with a Decision of
Congress, I should think the sooner it is done the better. But the
Grant People, you say, now refuse. It may be a Question then whether it
wd be best to attempt a Settlement in the Time of War, and especially
at a Juncture of it, when the only Object of all should be to prosecute
it with their utmost united Force and Vigor. Nothing however but the
Multiplicity of most pressing Affairs, has prevented this State being
ready hitherto. They are in Earnest to support their Claim. They were
discontented with the Decision in 1739, and I think afterwards directed
their Agent Mr Bollan to manifest it to the King in Council. I will
examine the Letters of that Day & make this certain to you. Ethan Allen
was in this Towne last Winter, and returnd disgusted on his being
informd that we were determined to support our Claim.

The Resolutions of Congress, a Sketch of which you sent to me, came to
the Council by the same Conveyance. The Assembly being sitting, they
were laid before them. Every practicable Measure is taking to promote
the great Business of recruiting the Army & every other Essential to a
vigorous Campaign. I have noticed the honest Intention of ---- without
feeling any Jealousy on the Occasion. It is always my Endeavor to
render the recommendations of Congress most respectable; tho I
perceive, that the artful Writers in some of the Philadelphia Papers
affect to hold up a Contrast between the present & the "illustrious
Congress of '74"--I may be supposd

[to] be impartial, having had the Honor of being a Member from the
Beginning; and I do verily believe that in point of Understanding,
Wisdom, Integrity, and Diligence in Affairs they are as respectable now
as they were then. It is the Wish of Tories and Britons to make them
appear little in the Eye of the World. Under God they have done
Wonders. By an affectionate Union of the Members with each other, by
their joynt & unwearied application to the publick Business, by
Vigilance Zeal and an inflexible Independence of Spirit they will
continue reverd by the Friends and dreaded by the Enemies of our

I thank you for the Intelligence you inclosd, and have made a prudent
Use of it, by communicating it to some of the leading members of the
Assembly who are my confidential Friends. To others I have given it in
my own way as Articles of my political Creed, and I think to good
Effect. What do you think of Penobscott? The late Expedition,1 tho it
turnd out very unfortunate, was perhaps as great an Exertion as has
been made by any State since the War began. Our State must demand a
reimbursement. It is more than probable that if we had succeeded we shd
have had the Charge paid with thanks. And we shd have richly deserved
it. Britain I doubt not considers that an important Post and so
will.... if she regards her Navy.

You know that by our Charter the Crown reservd the Masts. Another
Circumstance I will.... remind you of, that part of our Eastern Country
was held by the Crown & the People of the Province as it were in joynt
Tenancy. He could not originate the Sale of any Part of it, nor could
they complete the sale without his Confirmation. Will it not be her
Policy to keep Possession of that part of our Territory till Terms of
Peace are proposd, that she may take occasion to say she is in
Possession of her own. And will it not then be somewhat difficult for
Mediator to find Arguments against her holding it? Should not Congress
assist us in endeavoring to recover possession? We want Ships. If a
french Squadron should again visit these Seas it is natural for a
Massachusetts Man to wish, that they should make Hallifax their capital
object. Probably America wd think it for her Interest if she.... that
the Masts & the Fishing Ground must be the great Security of their
Independence & Prosperity? We must have the reach of our arms or we
shall never be able even to defend ourselves....

I declare to you I shall not feel perfectly easy till those two
provinces are annexed to the United States as Nature seems to have
designd, and the unmolested Right to the Fishery is secured to us. I
believe my letter is become tedious to you. I will conclude with
mentioning that several Persons have hinted to me the Necessity of
establishing an American Consul in France. If it should be thought
expedient to propose it to Congress & they should judge it proper, Mr
Perez Moulton2 (whom you know) desires me to inform the Mass Delegates
that he intends residing in that Country a few years & would gladly
accept of that appointment.

1 Cf. Pages 154, 158 et seq.

2 Cf. Vol. iii., p. 293.


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

[May, 1780.]


The Son of our worthy Friend General Warren takes the Care of this
Letter. I need to say Nothing to recommend him to your Patronage and
Advice. The Marquis La Fayette who tarried here a few Days ago did me
the Honor to deliver me your Favor of--------. The other to which you refer me is
not come to Hand. I enclose you several Acts of the General Assembly
passed the last Session, besides which another passed granting to the
Subjects of France within this State equal Privileges with those
granted to the Subjects of the United States in France agreable to the
Treaty and another for instituting a Society for promoting Arts &
Sciences. The Suddeness of Mr Warrens Departure prevents my sending the
two last by him. I also inclose the Form of the Constitution as revisd
& alterd by the Convention and recommended to the People. The Town of
Boston have been in Meeting three Days, upon this important Affair. It
is this moment finishd. The Town have unanimously agreed to the
Constitution with a few Alterations (I think for the better) except the
third Article. They have proposd that in the 16th Article of the
Declaration of Rights provision be made for the Liberty of Speech as
well as the Press, in both Cases to respect publick Men in their
publick Conduct. In the Proviso under the 7 Article Chap. 2 they have
added to the Exception, so far as may be necessary for the Defence of a
neighboring State invaded or threatned with immediate Invasion. In the
7 Art. Chap. 6. the Words "upon the most urgent & pressing Occasions"
are proposd to be expungd and the Words "of War, Invasion or rebellion
declard by the Legislature to exist" to be inserted in their Stead. And
the Time is limitted to Six instead of 12 Months. The Religious Article
was considerd by itself, and occasiond much but candid Debate. The Town
have proposd a new Draft of the Article which I have not by me. If Mr
Warren does not call on me too early tomorrow I will transcribe it. The
Convention is adjournd to the 7th of June to receive & act upon the
Returns of the People agreably to the Resolution of Convention inserted
in the last pages of the inclosd, to which this Town has agreed. The
short Notice I have had of this opportunity & my being obligd to attend
the Town Meeting has prevented my writing so largely as I could have
wishd. Please to present my affectionate Regards to Mr Dana & let him
know that I receivd his Letter by the Marquis, & that Attention will be
given to his request for certain papers of Importance. I shall set off
for Philade in a few Days. Adieu my dear Sir.

I wrote you by Mr J. L. Austin who I hope is arrivd.


[Boston Gazette, June 12, 1780.]

Messieurs Edes,

An old Correspondent begs room for a few Words in your next.

Formerly this great contest was carried on upon paper. The conspirators
against the rights and liberties of our country left no art untried, to
induce the people to submit to their unrighteous claims. But they were
circumvented by our watchful patriots. They were, if I may use the
expression, out-reasoned by some, and laughed off the stage by others;
and we will never forget those steadfast and persevering friends, who
forever prov'd themselves incapable of being brib'd by the soft
whispers of flattery, or awed by foul-mouthed calumny and the threats
of power. Afterwards the contest became more serious and important. The
people of this country were not driven to take up arms, they did it
voluntarily in defence of their liberty. They properly considered
themselves as called by GOD, and warranted by HIM, to encounter every
hazard in the common cause of Man. We have had for several years past a
well-appointed Army.--An Army of which both Officers and Privates are
daily increasing in discipline--An Army inferior perhaps to none at this
time on the face of the earth and headed by a COMMANDER, who feels the
Rights of the Citizens in his own breast, and experience has taught us,
he knows full well how to defend them.--May Heaven inspire that Army yet
more and more with Military Virtues, and teach their hands to war and
their fingers to fight! May every citizen in the army and in the
country, have a proper sense of the DEITY upon his mind, and an
impression of that declaration recorded in the Bible, "Him that
honoreth me I will honor, but he that despiseth me shall be lightly
esteemed."--"God helpeth those who help themselves," says an eminent
writer. Perhaps the sentiment is better expressed in holy writ, where,
when we are bid to work out our own salvation, we are told that "It is
GOD who worketh in us." It seems to be the Divine Constitution, that
success shall generally crown virtuous exertions. We have seen this
verified throughout this glorious Struggle. The Military skill and
prowess of our Army have kept us from being overwhelmed by our powerful
enemies; and the political exertions of the CONGRESS have, by the
smiles of Heaven, obtained for us an Alliance with the most illustrious
Nation in Europe; and the warmest wishes of other Powers. Our affairs
appear to be approaching to a great crisis. As momentary visits did not
entirely fulfill the purpose of our generous ALLY, we may daily expect
from him a naval and land force, designed to co-operate with our own
troops; and by a longer stay on the coasts of this continent, to give
the United States the opportunity of employing all their resources to
the greatest advantage. CONGRESS has called upon the several States to
make ready for this great crisis, and the several States have seconded
the call of Congress. The PEOPLE, the PEOPLE must, under GOD, give
energy to this all important call, and enable the combined Forces at
once to put an end to the War. If the PEOPLE NOW exert themselves, one
struggle more, by the blessing of Heaven, will rid us of all our
Enemies. The Expectations at VERSAILLES from this joint effort are even
sanguine-- CONGRESS is impatient to answer their just expectation--The eyes
of EUROPE are upon us anxiously waiting for the great event. Our
GENERAL, with his officers and army, are filled with ardor and generous
ambition to signalize their valour in the SALVATION of our
country--SUPERIOR BEINGS would look down with the utmost astonishment, if
we should let this GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY slip--It cannot be. Our young men,
ambitious of laurels, will, at such a time, fly to their arms with the
speed of the wind, and ALL will be engaged in furnishing them with
necessary supplies, so shall this very campaign be DECISIVE and
GLORIOUS. This State began the noble contest; we will honor ourselves
by our utmost exertions to put a glorious end to it: we will contend
with our sister States in nothing, but who shall have the greatest
share of honor in this last and crowning effort-- Be assured, my dear
countrymen, the liberty, the happiness of America, and its consequence
in the eyes of the world, depend upon our PRESENT activity and spirit--We
will not be wanting to ourselves, and the LORD do that which seemeth to
him right.



[MS., Massachusetts Archives; a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers,
Lenox Library, and the text is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams,
vol. iii., p. 102.]

HARTFORD June 20 1780


We have the Honor of transmitting to you the Copy of a Letter from
General Washington to Governor Trumbull. The Contents are of so
pressing Importance, that we thought it our indispensible Duty, without
Delay, to forward an Express to Brigadier General Fellows, of the
County of Berkshire, with a Letter the Copy of which we also inclose;
and to inform Major General Howe who commanded West Point, of the
Measures we have taken.

Although we have acted on this urgent Occasion, without Authority, yet
we flatter our selves, that in Consideration of the very critical
Situation of the Army, our Proceeding thus far will meet with the
Approbation of the General Assembly.

We are with the greatest Respect & Esteem Sir your most obedt & very
humble Servts 1

1 Signed also by Elbridge Gerry, as were the succeeding four letters.


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

HARTFORD June 20 1780


The inclosd Copy of a Letter from his Excy Gen1 Washington to His Excy
Governor Trumbull will show the Danger we are in of losing the Defence
of the North River & of having the Communication cut off between the
Eastern & Southern States, unless an immediate Supply of Men &
Provisions is sent to Major General Howe who commands the
Fortifications at the Highlands. Measures will be adopted without Delay
by the State of Connecticutt for this Purpose; and as we have
accidentally met at this place (one of us on his Journey to & the other
from Congress) we think it our Duty, in behalf of the Executive
Authority of the State of Massachusetts Bay, who cannot be notified of
this Affair in Season, to urge you as you regard the Interest &
Wellfare of your Country, immediately to put your Brigade under
marching orders to repair to West Point, on the Application of Major
General Howe, with Provisions sufficient to subsist them. As the
Garrison is in great Want of Supplies, we think it advisable on this
urgent occasion, and indeed indispensibly necessary that you should
forthwith take all the Provisions in your County, that will not be
wanting for the Consumption of its Inhabitants, & give Receipts for the
same payable at an early Period & at the Current Prices, & that you
should impress as many Waggons (if they cannot otherwise be procured)
as will be requisite for the Transportation of the Provisions to the

We submit it to your Consideration, whether it will not be expedient to
notify the State of Vermont, & the Commanding Officer in the County of
Hampshire to hold their Militia in Readiness to march at the shortest
Notice, & to collect a sufficient Quantity of Provisions for their
Subsistence. Your own Experience, & knowledge of the Importance of that
Post, render it needless for us to press you to procure the most
expeditious & vigorous Exertions for its Support; nor need we describe
the deplorable Situation in which his Excellency Gen1 Washington & the
brave Army under his Command would be involvd, should a successfull
Attack be made on the Post mentiond.

We shall immediately transmit to the Government of the State of
Massachusetts a Copy of this Intelligence & of our Application to you,
& remain with Esteem

Sir your most obedt & very hbl Servts,

1 Brigadier General in the continental army.


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

HARTFORD June 20 1780


Being accidentally present in this Town, when his Excy Gen1 Washingtons
Letter of the 18th was receivd by Governor Trumbull, the Contents of
which he was pleasd to communicate to us, we judgd it necessary to
write a Letter to Brigr General Fellows of the County of Berkshire in
the State of Massachusetts Bay, a Copy of which is inclosd. We indeed
have no Authority, from the State we have the Honor to represent in
Congress, to take this Measure, but we considerd the Circumstances of
Affairs too pressing to admit of Delay. We shall dispatch an Express to
the Government of Massachusetts with the Intelligence receivd, and wish
you to acquaint the Commander in Chiefe of the Measure we have taken.

We are &c

1 Major general in the continental army.


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

HARTFORD June 21 1780


We wrote to you yesterday, & inclosd Copy of a Letter of the 18th
Instant from his Excy General Washington to his Excy Govr Trumbull,
mentioning the Arrival of a Fleet at the Hook & the Probability of its
containing Sir H. Clinton with his Army, and of his immediately
attacking our Post at the Highlands; since which we have certain
Intelligence that the Fleet was on the 19th at -------- Point, within twenty Miles
of our Fortifications, and we have no Doubt that by this Time the Army
have debarkd & commencd their Operations. We therefore think it
necessary that you should forthwith march your Men to the Reliefe of
the Garrison, & take with you a sufficient Quantity of Provisions to
subsist your Brigade on the March to the Highlands & fourteen Days
after they shall have arrivd, with as much more as can be obtaind for
the Use of the Garrison. It will answer but little Purpose to march
your Men without Supplys. We have great Reliance on that Zeal &
Patriotism which has so often distinguishd the County of Berkshire in
this great Contest; but should it so happen that Waggons cannot
otherwise be procured, we hope you will not hesitate a Moment to take
them wherever they may be found, on Certificates payable at an early
Period, agreable to our former Recommendation. The Militia of the
Western Counties, will upon this Plan be put into immediate Motion, &
we think it advisable for you to send Expresses to the State of Vermont
& the County of Hampshire, urging the Necessity of their marching their
Militia with Provisions for the Reliefe of the Garrison in the Manner

We remain &c,


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

HARTFORD 21 June 1780


We wrote to you yesterday. Having this Morning receivd intelligence of
the Movement of the Enemy up the River, we have sent another Express to
Brigr Gen1 Fellows, urging him immediately to march to your Reliefe
with his Brigade of Militia with Provisions to subsist them on their
Way to & 14 Days after they shall arrive at West Point. We have also
advisd him to throw into the Garrison all the Provisions that can be
procured, & to send Expresses to Vermont & the County of Hampshire in
the State of Mass. Bay, urging the Necessity of their marching their
Militia with Provisions for the Reliefe of the Garrison in the Manner
mentiond. But it may be nevertheless necessary, if you think it a
proper Measure, to send an Express to General Fellows for expediting
this Business. The most vigorous Measures are making by this State & we
have no Doubt but they will be effectual.

We are &c,


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

BOSTON June 1780


Yesterday your very obliging Letter of the 30 of May was brought to me
by Mons Guinard. The Succour coming from France will be so seasonable
and important, that if America is not wanting to her self, she will
have it in her Power, by the Blessing of Heaven, to gratify the utmost
of her Wishes. His most Christian Majestys Expectation from us must
needs be great, and Gratitude to so generous an Ally, as well as a due
Attention to our own Safety, Interest & Honor, lay us under the
strongest Obligations to be in Readiness to cooperate with the greatest
Advantage. I have long been fully sensible of your most cordial &
zealous Attachment to our great Cause; and to your personal
Representations to his Majesty, in Addition to the Benevolence of his
Royal Heart, I will take the Liberty to attribute his Design to afford
us such Aid and for so long a Time as may put it in our Power to employ
all our Resources against the Enemy. It fortunately happend that the
General Assembly of this State was sitting when the Letter & Inclosures
from the Committee of Congress came to the President of the Council.
They were immediately laid before the Assembly, & I have the Pleasure
to assure you that the filling our Battalions by an immediate Draft
furnishing the Army with Provisions and every other Measure for the
fulfilling the just Expectations of your Sovereign & of Congress on
this most important Occasion are the Objects of their closest
Attention. I had for several Months past been flattering my self with
the Prospect of this Aid. It strongly impressd my Mind from some
Circumstances which took place when you was at Philadelphia the last
year. But far from Certainty I could only express to some confidential
Friends here, a distant Hope, tho, as I conceivd, not without some good
Effect. At least it servd to enliven our Spirits and animate us for so
great a Crisis. If it were possible for one to be forgetful of our all
important Cause for a Moment, my particular Friendship for you would be
a prevailing Inducement with me, to make my utmost feeble Exertions to
prevent your Disappointment after the great Pains you have taken to
serve us. I have Endeavord, & shall continue those Endeavors while I
stay here, to brighten the dark Side of the Picture which your
Imagination has painted in one part of your Letter before me. God
forbid that we should be obligd to tell our friends when they arrive,
that we have not a sufficient Army to cooperate with them nor
provisions to feed the few Soldiers that are left. I think I may
venture to predict that this State will comply with the Requisitions
from her, to give the utmost Respectability to our Army on so promising
an Occasion. I was in the Council Chamber when I receivd your Letter &
took the Liberty of reading some parts of it to the Members present. I
will communicate other parts of it to some leading Members of the House
of Representatives as Prudence may dictate, particularly what you
mention of the officers Want of Cloathing.

I thank you my dear Sir for the friendly remembrance you had of the
Hint I gave you when you was here. Be pleasd to pay my most respectful
Compliments to the Commander in Chiefe, his Family &c. and be assured
of the warm affection of your obliged friend & very hbl Servt


[MS., Adams Papers, Quincy.]



I wrote to you several Times when I was at Boston, and receivd your
Favor by the Marquis de la Fayette. Another, to which you referrd me,
has not yet come to hand. This Letter will be deliverd to you by Mr
Searle, a Member of Congress for the State of Pennsylvania. He will be
better able to inform you of the State of things here, than I can, who
after twelve Months Absence from this City, returnd but a few days ago.
The People of Massachusetts have at length agreed to the Form of a
civil Constitution, in Nothing varying from a Copy which I sent to you
by a Son of our Friend General Warren. This great Business was carried
through with much good Humour among the People, and even in Berkshire,
where some Persons led us to expect it would meet with many
Obstructions. Never was a good Constitution more wanted than at this
Juncture. Among other more lasting Advantages, I hope that in
Consequence of it, the Part which that State must take in the War, will
be conducted with greater Attention and better Effect. Who is to be the
first Man, will be determind in September, when if our News papers
rightly inform us, the new Government is to take Place. The Burden will
fall on the Shoulders of one of two Gentlemen whom you know. May Heaven
lead the People to the wisest Choice. The first chosen Governor may
probably have it in his Power to do more good or more Hurt than any of
his successors. The french Fleet is not yet arrivd. Perhaps their long
Passage may turn out for the best. An earlier Arrival might have found
us not altogether prepared to cooperate with them to the best
Advantage. I now think we shall be ready to joyn them. One would think
the Exertion which America might make with such Aid, would rid us of
British Barbarians. I hope this will be a vigorous and an effective
Campaign. I left Massachusetts exceedingly active in filling up their
Battalions by Drafts, besides raising 4000 Militia for the Service.

Mr Laurens arrivd here from the Southward a few Days past. He will
speedily embark for Holland to prosecute a Business which you are not
unacquainted with. Adieu my dear Sir.

Yr affectionate Friend


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; the text is in W. V. Wells,
Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 53, 54.]

PHILADE Augt 17 1780


Nothing I assure you, but Want of Leisure has prevented my
acknowledging the Receipt of your very obliging Letter of the 12th of
July. You cannot imagine with how much Pleasure I receivd it. I have no
Reason to doubt your Sincerity when you express the warmest Affection
for your Mother and me, because I have had the most convincing Proof of
it in the whole Course of your Life. Be equally attentive to every
Relation into which all-wise Providence may lead you, and I will
venture to predict for my dear Daughter, an unfailing Source of
Happiness in the Reflections of her own Mind. If you carefully fulfill
the various Duties of Life, from a Principle of Obedience to your
heavenly Father, you shall enjoy that Peace which the World cannot give
nor take away. In steadily pursuing the Path of Wisdom & Virtue I am
sometimes inclind to think you have been influenced with a View of
pleasing me. This is indeed endearing, and I owe you the Debt of
Gratitude. But the pleasing an Earthly Parent, I am perswaded, has not
been your principal Motive to be religious. If this has any Influence
on your Mind, you know you cannot gratify me so much, as by seeking
most earnestly, the Favor of Him who made & supports you--who will supply
you with whatever his infinite Wisdom sees best for you in this World,
and above all, who has given us his Son to purchase for us the Reward
of Eternal Life--Adieu, and believe that I have...


[Proceedings of Massachusetts Historical Society, 1st ser., vol. xii.,
pp. 229, 230.]

PHIL. Aug. 22, 1780.

MY DEAR SIR,--I have received your favor of the 31st of July & forwarded
the letter inclosed to Mrs. Reed who resides in the country.

The Count de Rochambeau, in a letter to Congress, speaks very highly of
the attention of the Government of Massachusetts, & of the appearance
of the numerous Militia so seasonably forwarded when an attack was
expected in Rhode Island. And the Minister of France, who on every
occasion expresses his great regards for that state, mentioned the same
thing to its Delegates in the most flattering terms. It is a pity that
a Militia, always ready to turn out with a view of doing essential
service, should be disappointed. They were so full of ardor that the
Count was under a necessity of urging their return to their necessary
affairs at home, with the promise of their being again called for, when
Gen! Washington should judge that the circumstances of affairs should
require it. We are impatient for the arrival of the 2d division of the
French Squadron, which we are informed by letters from Boston was spoke
with near a month ago by a vessel bound to Salem. The season is
advancing fast, & our troops must daily consume provision the bare
transportation of which is an immense cost. I perceive that the General
Assembly stands further prorogued to the 31st of this month. I am sorry
that a state of our claim of territory in the New Hampshire Grant has
not yet been forwarded to Congress; for although it is my wish as an
individual that this uncomfortable dispute may subside till a more
convenient season, yet I would not willingly be under the necessity of
saying, when called upon after so long notice, that our state is not
ready. It might have the appearance of a consciousness in ourselves,
that our claim is not well founded.

Our new Constitution is much approved of by many gentlemen here. I
understand it is soon to be in force. I do most earnestly pray that
Heaven may direct the people to the choice of a wise man for their
Governor, & incline him to accept of the trust.

The post is just going, which obliges me to conclude.

I am with very great respect,

Your assured friend & Very hble Servt.


[Historical Magazine, 1st ser., vol. i., p. 260; a portion of the text
is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 106, 107; a
draft, dated September 17, 1780, is in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 15, 1780.

On Tuesday last, Congress took up the disputes relating to the New
Hampshire grants, agreeably to an order, which passed the 9th of June,
and for want of nine states, exclusive of the three interested ones,
the matter was put off till yesterday. The delegates of New Hampshire
and New York, were prepared with instructions from their respective
states. A letter from Mr. Chittenden and others styling themselves "The
Executive Council of Vermont," was sent in by their agents now in this
city, claiming the rights of sovereignty of an independent state, and
refusing to submit the question of their independence to Congress, as
being incompetent to judge and determine thereon. As there was no
question proposed, a conversation, rather than a debate, ensued, which
ended with a call for adjournment at the usual hour. This day, a letter
was sent in to the president from agents in Vermont, praying that in
case any question should be agitated concerning the rights and
independence of their state, they might be admitted to be present and
hear the debates. Another conversation was begun, which was very soon
interrupted by a call of the attention of the house to the present
state and circumstances of the army. I am of opinion that Congress will
not easily agree in the question proper to be first put, however
obvious it may seem to be. This is among a thousand other affairs with
which it is the fate of Congress to be plagued to the exclusion of
considerations of infinitely greater consequence, and which require
immediate attention. As an individual, I wish most heartily that it
could subside, as things of much greater moment generally do, till "a
more convenient season." But New York presses hard for a decision, and
I submit to your judgment whether it would not be prudent that the
claims of Massachusetts to the lands in question should be here in
readiness, lest a construction should be put on a further delay that a
consciousness in the Assembly, of the state having no right in them is
the real occasion of it. I mention this to you in particular, because I
recollect how far you had gone in investigating the title. If you can
be spared from the Assembly, I hope you will be appointed to vindicate
the claim.

I just now told you that the attention of Congress was called to the
army. General Washington has written several letters acquainting
Congress of the distressed circumstances of the army for want of
provisions and particularly meat. They have several times lately, been
without provisions for three or four days. They have even plundered the
neighboring villages, and what will be the consequence of such a spirit
in our army if it should prevail, may be easily conceived. You are
sensible that the dependence is chiefly on the Eastern States for that
kind of supply. Massachusetts has indeed been more punctural than the
rest. The Commissary General has told me that the very existence of the
army has been in a great measure owing to the industry and care of our
Committee at Springfield. Yet even our supplies have not been equal to
expectation. 597 head of cattle have been sent from Massachusetts to
the army from the first of July to the seventh of September. About 200
to the posts at the Northward and about 200 to the French army, which
last are not included in the supply required as our quota. Congress
have pressingly called upon New Hampshire, Massachusetts and
Connecticut for 1000 head weekly, less than which will not be more than
sufficient for the immediate demands of the army. Our quota is 285 as
you will see by a resolution forwarded by this express. Besides which,
magazines must be laid up this winter for the army the next year.
Indeed, my friend, we must make the utmost exertion in the great cause.
It is now 12 o'clock, and the express will set off very early in the
morning. I suppose our countrymen have by this time made choice of
their Senators and Magistrates. I hope heaven has directed them to a
choice that will do them honor. I cannot help feeling anxious to know
whether they have united in a man for the governor, endowed with those
virtues which should be characteristic of the first magistrate. Be
pleased to let my much esteemed friend, Dr. Cooper, know that if he has
written, I have not received a line from him since I left Boston. We
suffer for want of such favors. In hope of receiving one from you,

I remain very affectionately yours,


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



In a Letter to Mr Appleton of the 17th, I desired him to inform you
that I was well. I thank God I continue so, tho I am very sollicitous
to know how it fares with you and my dear Connections in Boston. Our
Friends at that Distance may be in their Graves before one may even
hear of their previous Sickness. You cannot wonder then that I am in
Anxiety every Moment. Upon this Consideration alone, the pub-lick
Service so far from one's Family, must be conceivd to be a Sacrifice of
no small Value. The Man who has devoted himself to the Service of God
and his Country will chearfully make every Sacrifice. I will not fail
daily to commend you to the Care and Protection of Heaven, in Hopes of
seeing you the next Spring.

By a Letter of good Authority from Hillsborough in North Carolina dated
the 9th of Septr, we are informd that Col1 Marian of South Carolina who
commanded a Body of Militia had surprisd a Party of the Enemy near
Santee River escorting 150 Prisoners of the Maryland Division. He took
the Party & relievd the Prisoners, & was on the March to Cross Creek,
where General Gates had sent Lt Col1 Ford with proper Officers to
conduct them to Hillsbro'. When they joyn, our LOSS in Continentals
will be small in Comparison of what was expected. Pray send the Inclosd
to Captain James Shepherd. Remember me to my Family & Friends. Adieu my

My worthy Friend Arthur Lee is not yet arrivd.


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

PHILADA. Octob [6] 1780


I have not yet acknowledgd your Favor of the 17th of Septr.

It is no Novelty to me to hear you expressing your well directed Zeal
for the Safety & Welfare of our Country; and I cannot but applaud your
Jealousy of Injury to the Publick from a Misapplication of the
Resolutions of Congress respecting the Admission of British Effects. A
Resolution is now on the Table to guard it from the Dangers which you

I have now before me your Letter of the 17th of Septr, & I am obligd to
you for the favorable Allowance you make for my having omitted to write
to you lately. Without Partiality I may say, you have done me but
Justice. And yet I would have written a Letter by the last post, if I
could have given you any tollerable Assurance respecting your Affair
with Mr B. I will continue to press the Matter till it is finishd.

Why will you upbraid me, my Friend, with the Votes of "my beloved
Town," in favor of a Man, whom neither you nor I would set up for a
Governor? It is true, I love the People of Boston most fervently. I
have spent much of my Time in their Service, & have labord to promote
their Reputation and true Interest. I confess that I feel chagrind and
am disappointed at the Preference they have given. But is an honest &
virtuous People incapable of Error? They acted, you will say, with
their Eyes open. They knew the different Characters, Abilities & Merit
of the Candidates. But, they were deceivd with false Appearances for
the Moment. A due Attention to the Administration of Government will
enable them to measure the Capacity of him whom they have made the
object of their present Choice. That Watchfulness, & Jealousy, which I
still hold to be the best Security of the publick Liberty, will guard
them against future Mistakes.

I have not Time at present to write you so long a Letter as I intended.
But before I conclude I must inform you, that it is hinted to us by a
Friend, that Colo Sears, who has lately been at Camp, has reported in
Boston that Mr M declared there repeatedly, that Congress consisted of
a Set of Ro------s, & that he should turn his Back upon them. I wish, if Mr S
heard that Declaration, he wd certify it, that proper Notice may be
taken of it. No Member of any Body of Men will answer for the Character
of every Individual; but if Mr M expressd himself in that Manner, it
was false and injurious. I have heard of such Language before, coming
from Persons of contemptible Characters, influencd by Men who rightly
judge, that to destroy the Confidence of the People in Congress, is to
wound our Cause in the most tender Part. It is the Language of Tories,
which in times passd would not have been sufferd to pass unpunishd.



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

PHILAD Oct 10 1780


I had the Pleasure last Week of receiving your very affectionate Letter
of the 14th of Septr by the Post. You did not expressly tell me that
you was well. A material Circumstance, which you must never omit to
mention. It is a great Satisfaction to me to be informd, that Mr Arthur
Lee was respectfully treated by my Friends in Boston. My Friends are
his, & I believe, on the same Principle. But Mr ---- has not seen him. Is not
Mr ---- my Friend? He professes to be such; and I do verily believe he is as
much so as he can be. Could I always adjust my Ideas of Politicks to
his Views, I might perhaps insure the most flattering Expressions of
his Friendship.

I expect soon to see it announcd in the Papers, that Mr Hancock is
elected Governor of the Common Wealth of Massachusetts. I confess I did
not foresee that Boston would have been so united as I find they were,
when two such Competitors as he & Mr Bowdoin were set up. Their
respective Characters, Abilities & Merit were well known to the
Electors, who have therefore acted with their Eyes open. It is to be
presumd, that they have been influencd to this Choice by the pure
Motives of publick Affection. A due Attention to the Administration of
Government, I fancy, will soon determine whether they have acted with
Wisdom or not.

By the inclosd Paper you will observe, that the late Genl Arnold, after
having committed the blackest Treason against his Country has thrown
himself into the Arms of its Enemies. You know, that I have long had my
Suspicions of this Traitor, & therefore you will not wonder that I am
not so much astonishd as if any other officer had been detected. He has
been gibbeted in the Streets by the Populace, anathematizd by the
Clergy in the Pulpit, & his Name has with Indignation been struck out
of the List of Officers by Order of Congress.1 Remember me to my Family
& Friends.


1 A draft dated October 3, 1780, has at this point the words: "This
City has for some time past been a complete Hospital, and many are
still sick."


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

PHIL. Oct 17-1780


Yesterday I had the pleasure of receiving your Letter of the 2 7 of
Septr by the hand of my valueable Friend Mr Arthur Lee. As it was three
weeks old I had a Right to expect another by the Post, but am
disappointed. I have ever esteemd Mr Lee one of the most virtuous,
active & able American Patriots. This opinion, you know, I have long
entertaind of him, and therefore you justly conclude, that he meets
with the most cordial Reception from me.

You was mistaken when you supposd that I had heard who were chosen into
the highest Places under our new Constitution. We are not so well
informd. I had Reason to believe that Mr Hancock would be the Governor.
I am disposd to think, that my Fellow Citizens had upright Views in
giving him their Suffrages. Many Circumstances have combind to make his
Election appear to be politically necessary; and if the People, who are
now blessd with so great a Privilege, will exercise that Watchfulness
over Men whom they exalt to Places of Power, which their Duty &
Interest should lead them to do, I flatter myself that his will prove a
happy Choice. You may wonder at my saying so; but I think I am not
misguided in my Judgment in this Instance. If they have now chosen a
wise & virtuous Governor, a few only will be disappointed; if
otherwise, Many will see their Error, and will be indued to greater
Vigilance for the future. I am far from being an Enemy to that
Gentleman, tho' he has been prevaild upon to mark me as such. I have so
much Friendship for him, as to wish with all my Heart, that in the most
critical Circumstances, he may distinguish between his real Friends &
his flattering Enemies. Or rather between the real Friends of the
Country & those who will be ready to offer the Incense of Flattery to
him who is the first Man in it. This will require an accurate Knowledge
of Men. I therefore again wish that he may have the most able &
faithful Councellors to assist him in the Administration of Affairs.
Can I say more? If, with the best Advice he is able to hold the Reins
of Government with Dignity, I wish him a Continuance of the Honor. If
he renders our Country secure in a flourishing Condition, I will never
be so partial & unjust as to withhold my Tribute of Applause.

Adieu my dear


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



I have not yet laid aside your Letter of the 17th of Septr which is the
last I have been favord with from you. It ill becomes you, my Friend,
to think of retiring into private Life, who can lay your hand on your
heart, and say that in your publick Conduct your have in no Instance
deviated from virtuous Principles. If ever the Time should come, when
vain & aspiring Men shall possess the highest Seats in Government, our
Country will stand in Need of its experiencd Patriots to prevent its
Ruin. There may be more Danger of this, than some, even of our well
disposd Citizens may imagine. If the People should grant their
Suffrages to Men, only because they conceive them to have been Friends
to the Country, without Regard to the necessary Qualifications for the
Places they are to fill, the Administration of Government will become a
mere Farce, and our pub-lick Affairs will never be put on the Footing
of solid Security. We should inquire into the Tempers of Men, in order
to form a Judgment in what Manner the publick Trusts to be reposed in
them will be executed. You remember the Character of Pisistratus. He
was a Citizen of Athens, supposd to have many excellent Qualities, but
he had an insatiable Lust of Pre-eminence. Solon could discover his
Vanity, but the People were blinded by a false Glare of Virtues and he
was their Idol. Under Pretence of his having escaped imminent Danger
from a violent Faction, and the further Insecurity of his Person he
artfully obtaind a Guard of Soldiers, by which Means he possessd
himself of the Citadel & usurpd the Government. But though he made
himself Sovereign, & thus far overthrew the popular Election, the
Historian tells us, "that he made no Change in the Magistracy or the
Laws.--He was content that others should hold their Places according to
the establishd Rules of the Constitution, so that he might continue
Archon, independent of the Suffrages of the People. This he effected;
for though several Attempts were made, to deprive him of the
Sovereignty which he had so violently obtaind, he held it till his
Death & left it to his Children." Such was the Ambition of this Man,
who indeed assumd the Government, and such were the Effects of it.
Power is intoxicating; and Men legally vested with it, too often
discover a Disposition to make an ill Use of it & an Unwillingness to
part with it. HOW different was Pisistratus from that Roman Hero and
Patriot Lucius Quinctius Cincinatus who, tho vested with the Authority
of Dictator, was so moderate in his Desires of a Continuance of Power,
that, having in six Weeks fulfilld the Purposes of his Appointment, he
resignd the dangerous office, which he might have held till the
Expiration of six Months.--When we formerly had weak and wicked Governors
& Magistrates, it was our Misfortune; but for the future, while we
enjoy and exercise the inestimable Right of chusing them ourselves, it
will be our Disgrace. I hope our Countrymen will always keep a watchful
Eye over the publick Conduct of those whom they exalt to Power, making
at the same time every just Allowance for the Imperfections of human
Nature; and I pray God we may never see Men filling the sacred Seats of
Government, who are either wanting in adequate Abilities, or influencd
by any Views Motives or Feelings seperate from the publick Welfare.



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

PHILADE Octob 31 1780


I cannot begin this Letter but by intreating you to impute my past
Omission to any Cause you please excepting a Forgetfulness or willful
Neglect. The making of Apologys is among Friends so formal a Business
that I hardly know how to set myself about it. I am sure you will not
be prevaild upon to suspect the Cordiality of my Affection for you.
That I assure you would be punishing me more than I am conscious I
deserve. I will frankly own to you that I am astonishd at the
Reflection of four Months having elapsd since I last came to this City,
without my having written to you one Letter, even to acknowledge the
favor I have receivd from you. But will you my friend bury what may
seem to you a Fault in oblivion upon my Promise to amend for the future.

I have more to say to you than my Leisure will at present allow. And
indeed the Situation of your Country, I fear is likely to be such as to
render the Conveyance of Letters precarious and a free Communication of
Sentiments unsafe. Should they fall into the Enemies hands we know not
what Use they will make of them--to be sure an ill use & very probably
injurious to our great Cause.

I hope the People of Virginia are able to prevent the Troops that may
have arrivd from taking a Post there. It will give our Enemies occasion
to boast of their having subdued that populous State, in order to give
an unfavorable Aspect to our Affairs, in Europe. This, with other
important Considerations, should induce you to make every possible
Exertion to defeat their Design. I have always thought that the
Intelligence contained in a Letter of Colo Campbell intercepted last
Spring was genuine. If so, the making a Lodgment at Portsmouth is a
material Part of their Plan.

Upon conversing with your Brother Mr Arthur Lee, I am confirmd in my
own opinion that his Character is very different from that which his
Enemies gave him two years ago. You know I have long corresponded with
him, and a Mans confidential Letters are so sure a Criterion by which
to judge of his real Disposition, that I before thought I could not be
mistaken. He has shared the Fate of honest Patriots in all Times of
Corruption in being persecuted. But I am satisfied the People in the
Eastern States entertain an high opinion of his Integrity & Abilities.
I hope he will meet with Justice in Congress. I think he merits

Please to pay my Respects to Mrs Lee--your Brother Colo Frank & others to
whom they are due. I will write as often as I can. Adieu & be assured
that I am affectionately

Your Friend


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

PHILADA Novr 7 1780


Your favor of the 21st of Septr was deliverd to me by my very worthy
Friend Mr Arthur Lee who came to this City about a Fortnight ago. The
Respect which you say was paid to him by the principal Gentlemen in
Boston is exceedingly pleasing to me, because, from an intimate &
confidential Correspondence with him for ten years, I am convincd that
he was among the most early and consistent American Patriots. His
inflexible Virtue in the first Stages of our Contest renderd him
obnoxious to the great & powerful in England, and equally of late to
interrested Persons in France & their Connexions in America. My
Friendship for him is not private; it is grounded altogether on publick
Principles. You tell me, his short Residence in the State of
Massachusetts, has been very far from diminishing that Estimation in
which the People held him there. I should have been indeed sorry if it
had been otherwise; for his great Services to them in particular, had
justly merited their Esteem. I rejoyce that my own Countrymen are not
ungrateful. I hope they will always be too knowing and too just, either
to pay servile Hommage to the weak and wicked, or to withhold the Marks
of their Approbation due to the wise and good.

You have doubtless before this time been informd that Congress have
called on the States to take immediate and effectual Measures to fill
up the Army with their respective Quotas during the War. They have
since orderd a Tax to the Value of Six Millions of Dollars in Specie;
to be paid partly in specifick Articles for the Supply of the Army, and
the Remainder in Gold & Silver or Bills of the new Emission. Their
Design is to have a permanent Army, and to provide adequate Magazines
for its subsistence without Delay. We have often a Choice of
Difficulties presented to us. I think, upon the whole, we have in this
Instance fixed upon the best Method. At least it appears to me to be
the surest, considering all our Circumstances. And I am the more
satisfied, because I understand that our Legislature have anticipated
the Measure and already begun to assess the Towns for their respective
Proportions of the specifick Articles. Had our Money been stable we
might have contracted for the Supply of our Army; but the Paper, as all
the World knows, is depreciated, for which we are in part obligd to our
Enemies, who are dexterous in counterfeiting.

Our Affairs in N Carolina wear a more agreable Aspect than they did a
few Weeks ago. The Enemy, you have heard, are got into Chessapeak Bay.
It is said they are landed at Portsmouth & Hampton & that they burn all
before them. It is also said that the Militia turned out with great
Spirit, but we have had no official Letters by the last post. Although
we are pressd with Difficulties, we are in chearful Spirits and by the
Blessing of Heaven Expect to overcome them. Adieu my dear Sir, and
believe me to be affectionately,

Your Friend,

Be pleasd to acquaint Mrs A that I am in good Health.


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library]

PHILADE Novr 11th 1780


I have receivd no Letter from you since the 9th of October. Some
Accident prevented the Arrival of the Eastern Post last Monday and he
is now not expected till the next. I hope I shall then receive a Line
from you, to let me know at least that you are well. If you do not
acknowledge the Receipt of my Letter of the 10th of October, I shall
conclude that it fell into wrong hands: for the Post that took Charge
of the Letters from hence of that Date, was robbd of his Mail in
Connecticut and it was carried to New York. I am uncertain whether I
sent that Letter to the Post Office, or deliverd it to Mr Torry who
left this City about the same time. If the Enemy have filchd it, their
publishing it would do no good to them nor Injury to me or any one
else. Indeed it was an harmless thing, and worth no ones Notice but
yours, and yours, only as it was intended to inform you that I was
then, as I am at this Time, in good health. I flatter myself you are
always gratified when I can give you this Intelligence.

Novr 13th

The Post is just arrivd & has not brought me a Letter from you--his latest
Letters and Papers are dated the 26th of Octobr. By the next we expect
to receive Accounts of the Organization of our Government under the new
Constitution, in all its Splendor-- to see the Speech from the Chair--the
Answers from the several Branches of the Legislature--congratulatory
Addresses &c, &c. I have been anxious, lest our Countrymen should
misjudge in the Choice of their first Governor. They are grateful; and
I was affraid that from the Goodness of their Hearts they might be
indued to give their Suffrages for a Man, who, they might conceive had
done them eminent Services in other Stations, without a due
Consideration whether he possesses those excellent Qualities which
should characterize and dignify their chiefe Magistrate. Our present
Governors may probably stamp the moral as well as political Character
of the People. I shall most heartily rejoyce, if the "Abilities and
disinterested Zeal" of the Gentleman called to fill the Chair prove
adequate to the strong Expectations of my fellow Citizens in Boston,
expressd in their late Vote of Thanks. But why do I trouble you with a
Subject of this Nature? Let me ask you before I finish this Letter--Are
you in Health? Have you a Sufficiency of Fire wood & other Necessaries
for the approaching cold Season? Are your Family Cares alleviated with
the Visits & chearful Conversation of your Friends and mine? You must
answer me these Questions, for I am greatly interrested in them. My
Love to my Family and Friends. Adieu my Dear. Believe me to be most
sincerely and affectionately



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



In your Letter of the 17th of Septr which is still before me, you say
"the Tongue of Malice has always been employd against me"; and in
mentioning it you discover the Feelings of a Friend. It may perhaps in
some Measure relieve those Feelings if I tell you, that it serves to
make me more watchful over my self, lest by any Misconduct I might
afford Occasion to the malicious Man to say things of me which would
give me just Cause to be ashamd. It is said to be a Misfortune to a
Man, when all speak well of him. Is it then an Advantage to a Man to
have Enemies? It may be so if he has wisdom to make a good Use of them.
We are apt to be partial in our own Judgment of our selves. Our Friends
are either blind to our Faults or not faithful enough to tell us of
them. The Malicious Man will speak all Manner of Evil against us, and
contrive Means to send it Post haste to our Ears; and if among much
Slander they say some Truths, what have we to do, but correct past
Errors & guard against future ones. The Report which you mention as
propagated of me is groundless. Would any Man in his Senses who wishes
the War may be carried on with Vigor, prefer the temporary and
expensive Drafts of Militia, to a permanent and well appointed Army!
But Envy has no other Business than to calumniate.--

Mr Penny has deliverd me your favor of the 2d Instant. He has also
brought us a Paper which exhibits a Picture of the Times. You express
too much Resentment at the Ingratitude which you imagine has been shown
to your Friend--that his Name is not to be found in any of the Lists--and
especially, that he could not be supported in Competition with Mr
Avery--Your Friend has no Claims on his Country, nor does he set himself
in Competition with Mr A, who in some Respects is thought to be a
necessary Man. He is one, whom, I confess, I regard for his Honesty and
easy good Humour. We have been entertaind with the Speeches both before
and after the putting on the Regalia; and we expect to see
congratulatory Addresses from various Orders civil & ecclesiastical. I
should pity the Governor if I thought him apt to be discomposd with the
high Complimentary Stile. It is usual in all Honey Moons. I could wish
to see, if we must have abundant Addresses, the manly Simplicity of
Barcklay the Quaker in his Dedication to Charles the 2d of England.
Excepting that Instance, I do not recollect to have seen an Address to
a great Man, that was not more or less, & very often deeply, tincturd
with Flattery.--If the Town Clerk of Ephesus has treated me "with very
great Disrespect," I am sorry for him. It gives me no Uneasiness on my
own Account. If he "treats every one in that way who will not worship
the Great Image," he leaves me in the best of Company--Company, which he
may at another Time, find it his own Interest, if that governs him, to
court & respect. We are even reduced to the Hutchinsonian Times, if a
Citizen shall think himself constraind to malign his old Friend, merely
because the Great Man has been prevaild upon to mark him as his
Enemy.--But the History of all Ages & all Countrys shows, that there is no
Absurdity into which Idolatry will not lead Men. Remember me to My
Friend Mr Gerry, & let him know that I have not forgot his Letters, &
that I will write to him soon. Adieu my dear Sir.

Your affectionate,

Will you call on Mrs A & let her know that I am well.


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



Although I have not yet acknowledgd the obliging Letter you wrote to me
some time ago, I would not have you entertain a Doubt of my sincere
Respect and the Confidence I place in you. I think I gave you the
strongest Proof of this when I was last in Boston. From that Moment I
have considerd myself particularly interested in your Wellfare. It
cannot indeed be otherwise, since I then consented that you should form
the most intimate Connection with the dear Girl whom I pride myself in
calling my Daughter. I did this with Caution and Deliberation; and
having done it, I am now led to contemplate the Relation in which I am
myself to stand with you, and I can [hardly] forbear the same Stile in
this Letter, which I should take the Liberty to use if I was writing to
her. The Marriage State was designd to complete the Sum of human
Happiness in this Life. It some times proves otherwise; but this is
owing to the Parties themselves, who either rush into it without due
Consideration, or fail in point of Discretion in their Conduct towards
each other afterwards. It requires Judgment on both Sides, to conduct
with exact Propriety; for though it is acknowledgd, that the
Superiority is & ought to be in the Man, yet as the Mannagement of a
Family in many Instances necessarily devolves on the Woman, it is
difficult always to determine the Line between the Authority of the one
& the Subordination of the other. Perhaps the Advice of the good Bishop
of St Asaph on another Occasion, might be adopted on this, and that is,
not to govern too much. When the married Couple strictly observe the
great Rules of Honor & Justice towards each other, Differences, if any
happen, between them, must proceed from small & trifling Circumstances.
Of what Consequence is it, whether a Turkey is brought on the Table
boild or roasted? And yet, how often are the Passions sufferd to
interfere in such mighty Disputes, till the Tempers of both become so
sowerd, that they can scarcely look upon each other with any tolerable
Degree of good Humor. I am not led to this particular Mode of treating
the Subject from an Apprehension of more than common Danger, that such
Kind of Fricas will frequently take Place in that Connection, upon
which, much of my future Comfort in Life will depend. I am too well
acquainted with the Liberality of your Way of thinking, to harbour such
a Jealousy; and I think I can trust to my Daughters Discretion if she
will only promise to exercise it. I feel myself at this Moment so
domestically disposd that I could say a thousand things to you, if I
had Leisure. I could dwell on the Importance of Piety & Religion, of
Industry & Frugality, of Prudence, AEconomy, Regularity & an even
Government, all which are essential to the Well being of a Family. But
I have not Time. I cannot however help repeating Piety, because I think
it indispensible. Religion in a Family is at once its brightest
Ornament & its best Security. The first Point of Justice, says a Writer
I have met with, consists in Piety; Nothing certainly being so great a
Debt upon us, as to render to the Creator & Preserver those
Acknowledgments which are due to Him for our Being, and the hourly
Protection he affords us.

Remember me to all Friends, and be assured that I am


1 A younger brother of Elizabeth Wells; he married the daughter of
Adams. Cf. Vol. Iii., p. 214.


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

PHILADA Novr 24 1780


Yesterday I wrote to Mr Wells, and in haste because I was informd that
Dr Craigie was then instantly setting off for Boston. As he has waited
another Day, I have the Opportunity of acknowledging the Receipt of
your Letters of the 25th of October & the 8th of Novr which were
brought to me by the Post. You seem, my Dear, to express more Concern
than I think you ought, at certain Events that have of late taken Place
in the Common Wealth of Massachusetts. Do you not consider that in a
free Republick, the People have an uncontroulable right of chusing whom
they please, to take their Parts in the Administration of publick
Affairs? No Man has a Claim on his Country, upon the Score of his
having renderd pub-lick Service. It is the Duty of every one to use his
utmost Exertions in promoting the Cause of Liberty & Virtue; and having
so done, if his Country thinks proper to call others to the arduous
Task, he ought chearfully to acquiesce, and to console himself with the
Contemplations of an honest Man in private Life. You know, how ardently
I have wishd for the Sweets of Retirement. I am like to have my Wish.--You
are Witness that I have not raisd a Fortune in the Service of my
Country. I glory in being what the World calls, a poor Man. If my Mind
has ever been tinctured with Envy, the Rich and the Great have not been
its objects. If I have been vain, Popularity, tho' I had as much of it
as any Man ought to have, is not the Phantome I have pursued. He who
gains the Approbation of the Virtuous Citizens. I will own, may feel
himself happy; but he is in Reality much more so, who knows he deserves
it, Such a Man, if he cannot retreat with Splendor, he may with
dignity. I will trust in that all gracious Being, who, in his own good
Way, has provided us with Food and Raiment; and having spent the
greatest Part of my Life in Publick Cares, like the weary Traveller,
fatigud with the Journey of the Day, I can rest with you in a Cottage.
If I live till the Spring, I will take my final Leave of Congress and
return to Boston. I have Reasons to be fixed in this Determination
which I will then explain to you. I grow more domestick as I increase
in years.

My worthy Friend Mr Arthur Lee, who just now favord me with a Visit,
sends Respects to you and the Family.

I have forgot in my late Letters to tell you, that six Weeks ago,
General Ward & my self changd our Lodgings, and are at the House of Mrs
Miller. She is a well bred Woman, and my Situation is agreable. Colo
Palfrey who is with us is appointed Consul, and will soon go to France,
when Mr Lovel will take the vacant Chamber. ---- Adieu my dear.

Your affectionate,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; the text, with variations, is
in J. T. Austin, Life of Elbridge Gerry, vol. i., pp. 359-363.]

PHILADE Novr 27 1780

Let me intreat you, my dear Sir, not to think me unmindful of the
several Favors I have receivd from you since I arrivd in this City. I
hate Protestations among Friends, and the making Apologies is so formal
a Business, that I know not in what Manner to begin it. Yet it seems
necessary that I should say something in Excuse for my not having
written to you. Shall I tell you of my trembling Hand, & how unfit an
Instrument it is to guide a Pen? I do assure you that writing is on
that Account become painful to me. I am perswaded you never doubted the
Reality of my Friendship for you, and I solemnly affirm it has not
abated a single Iota. Let this suffice on the Score of Apology, and
permit me to hope that I shall receive your Letters frequently, while I
remain here, which however will be only until next Spring. I shall then
take my final Leave of Congress, & seek that Retirement from publick
Cares, which my Country seems to point out for me, & to which my own
Inclination leads me.

I perceive it has been in your Option to take a Seat in either House of
the General Assembly, or return to Congress. I cannot say in which of
these Departments you will have it in your Power to render the most
substantial Service to the Publick. We feel the Want of you here; and
yet I think you have wisely chosen a Seat for the present in the House
of Representatives. Many Virtuous Men there may want that Information
which you are able to give them. Possibly you may have much of the old
Ground to go over again. More in my Opinion, is necessary to be done,
than conquering our British Enemies in order to establish the Liberties
of our Country on a solid Basis. Human Nature, I am affraid, is too
much debas'd to relish those Republican Principles, in which the new
Government of the Common Wealth of Massachusetts appears to be founded.
And may it not be added, that the former Government, I mean the last
Charter, being calculated rather to make servile Men than free
Citizens, the Minds of many of our Countrymen have been inurd to a
cringing Obsequiousness, too deeply wrought into Habit to be easily
eradicated? Mankind is prone enough to political Idolatry. Such a
temper is widely different from that reverence which every virtuous
Citizen will show to the upright Magistrate. If my Fears on this Head
are ill grounded, I hope I shall be excusd. They proceed from a cordial
Affection for that Country to the Service of which I have devoted the
greatest Part of my Life--May Heaven inspire the present Rulers with
Wisdom & sound Understanding. In all Probability they will stamp the
Character of the People. It is natural for sensible Observers to form
an Estimate of the People from the Opinion they have of those whom they
set up for their Legislators & Magistrates. And besides, if we look
into the History of Governors, we shall find that their Principles &
Manners have always had a mighty Influence on the People. Should Levity
& Foppery ever be the ruling Taste of the Great, the Body of the People
would be in Danger of catching the Distemper, and the ridiculous Maxims
of the one would become fashionable among the other. I pray God we may
never be addicted to Vanity & the Folly of Parade! Pomp & Show serve
very well to promote the Purposes of European & Asiatick grandeur, in
Countries where the Mystery of Iniquity is carried to the highest
Pitch, & Millions are tame enough to believe that they are born for no
other Purpose than to be subservient to the capricious Will of a single
Great Man or a few! It requires Council & sound Judgment to render our
Country secure in a flourishing Condition.--If Men of Wisdom & Knowledge,
of Moderation & Temperance, of Patience Fortitude & Perseverance, of
Sobriety & true Republican Simplicity of Manners, of Zeal for the Honor
of the Supreme Being & the Welfare of the Common Wealth--If Men possessd
of these & other excellent Qualities are chosen to fill the Seats of
Government we may expect that our Affairs will rest on a solid &
permanent Foundation.

I thank you my dear Sir, for mentioning my Family so affectionately in
one of your Letters. Oblige them with your Visits as often as you can.
Remember me to Colo Orne, who, I have Reason to think is among my
Friends. Adieu and believe me to be most sincerely



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

PHILADA Decr 17. 1780


I have written several Letters to you & Mr D1 since the 28th of June
when I last arrivd in this City. I think I committed one to the Care of
our Friend Mr Laurens, who is unfortunately carried to England. Mr
Palfrey, who is the Bearer of this, is appointed Consul in France; and
besides his Consular Functions, he has it in charge to forward such
Cloathing Arms &c as are or may be procured there for the Use of our
Troops. Great Exertions have been made the year past, in which old
Massachusetts has borne her full Share, to be in Readiness to cooperate
with our Ally, in an Attempt to give our Invaders a decisive Blow. But
the second Division of the french Squadron being blockd up in Brest, &
a Reinforcement to the Enemy arriving from the West Indies, they have
had the Superiority at Sea. This was not our only Misfortune; for had
the whole naval Force arrivd which we expected, I am inclind to believe
we should have faild for Want of a Sufficiency of Powder. By an
unpardonable Neglect in somebody, that essential Article was not sent,
as it ought to have been, in Season. I have called it an unpardonable
Neglect. It appears so to me. My Judgment, however, may be too severe.
I confess, I feel much chagrind, while I think that any thing has been
omitted which might have been done, to have finishd the War with a
glorious Campaign. But Disappointments, tho vexatious, ought not to
disconcert us. They do not. No Difficulties should discourage us in the
Support of a Cause, so righteous in the Sight of Heaven as I believe
ours to be, and so interresting to Mankind. Our Creator has given us
Understanding, - Strength of Body and a Country full of Provisions. We
must make a good Use of them, hoping that His blessing will crown our
virtuous Struggle. He helps those who make proper Exertions to help
themselves. Such Exertions are now making. The States are called upon
for an Army of 35,000 Men; and from past Experience of the great
Expence, as well as Inutility of temporary Drafts, they are resolvd to
have a well appointed Army early in the Field & inlisted for the War.
And effectual Measures are taken for the Purpose of providing Magazines
in Season for its Subsistence. The People at large, as far as I can
learn, are as determind as ever to support their Independence, & for
that End to carry on the War with Vigor. If our Ally can furnish us
with a decided naval Superiority, I think there will be the fairest
Prospect of bringing this great Contest to a happy Conclusion the next
year.--Altho' the Enemy have gaind the Possession of Charleston, they have
not succeeded to their Wishes in that Quarter. They do not find the
People so pliable as they flatterd themselves they should.
Notwithstanding Cornwallis' boasting Letter to Lord George, of "a
compleat Victory obtaind the 16th Instant by His Majesties Troops under
my Command, over the rebel southern Army," that brave Army checkd the
Progress of the Troops under his Command on the 16th of August; and the
Militia have since, in several Instances, given him ample Proofs of a
firm Attachment to the pub-lick Cause, as well as Bravery and Alertness
which he did not expect, and which I believe have disconcerted their
general Plan.--The Hands of those People, if not already, will very soon
be taught to war & their Fingers to fight.

Arnolds Conspiracy was to have wrought Wonders, but gracious Heaven
defeated it. We have so often seen in the Course of this Conflict, the
remarkeable Interposition of divine Providence in our favor, as to
convince me, that the Attempts of our Enemies to subdue us, will be but
gnawing a File.

Your publick Letters have been well receivd. I have been favord with
only two from you since you left Boston. One was deliverd to me by my
worthy patriotick Friend Mr A Lee, & the other by the Count de
Noailles, who lately spent a few Days in this City. He appears to be a
most amiable young Nobleman, & I believe you have not said too much in
the great Character you have given him. The very short time he stayed
here & the Business I have been engagd in, prevented me the Honor,
which I very much covetted, of conversing with him frequently.

Congress have appointed Colo John Laurens Envoy extraordinary at the
Court of Versailes, & Mr Dana will be regularly informd that he is to
go to Russia.

Before I conclude I must let you know, that the Ship which was set up
in Massachusetts while you was there, and which, it was proposd, should
be named, the Oceana,1 has since been compleatly finishd and is now
afloat. Her Materials are acknowledgd to be of the best kind, & well
put together. It is said she will make a prime Sailer if not too taunt
masted. Others say, that the Construction of her Hull is such as to
require a lofty Sail. There are many Speculations about her. As I am
not a Judge in the Matter, I am prudently silent & hear the Opinions of
those who are Connoisseurs. All agree that her Owners have much at
Stake, & that it will be a very great Oversight in them if they should
ever risque her with unskilfull or unprincipled Officers or Pilots.

My due Regards to Mr Dana, & be assured that I am very cordially his &
your Friend.

1 The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.


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



Mr Palfrey is just embarking, so I have only a few Moments to inform
you, that I have this Morning been conversing with an old Man and an
old Whig, who has all his Days been an Inhabitant of South Carolina &
Georgia. He was taken Prisoner last Summer & carried to New York, from
whence he lately came to this Place. And though his Fortune would
enable him to live here at Ease, he thinks he can be useful to America
by returning to that Part of it, and at the Age of 73 has undertaken
the long Journey. He has always mixed with the People of those States,
& is well acquainted with their Temper & Sentiments. He also has been
much among the Indians & is greatly beloved by them. This Account I
have had of him often from the Delegates of Georgia & others whom I can
confide in. The old Gentleman tells me that the People of those States
are in general firmly attachd to the American Cause, & most fervently
deprecate their being finally seperated from the United States. His
Soul was refreshd to hear me say that I did not apprehend any Danger of
it--that the Idea would, in my Opinion, be abominated by the Eastern
States, and, as far as I could judge, by all the rest. He says, that
the Creeks & the Chictaws, which are the most numerous tribes of
Indians, consisting of at least 8 perhaps 10 thousand Gun men, are our
staunch Friends. The Heads of them have lately spoken to him in this
Language, "We stand on the same Ground with you, we drink the same
Water, breathe the same Air.. you are the Buds, & can there be Fruit if
the Buds are nipped off?" These are forceable Words, which express
their own Sense of the Necessity of their Union with us for their very
Existence. They are a sagacious as well as a powerfull People, & an
Alliance & Friendship with them is of Importance to all the United
States. The People, of whatever Nation, who shall possess Georgia &
South Carolina, will be, the Leaves of their Trees. It is my Opinion,
that even a Thought of leaving the Inhabitants of those States to be
subject to any foreign Power, who so gallantly defended themselves in
the Beginning of this Contest, & have lately sufferd so much for the
Sake of American Liberty, would not only be unjust to them, but in a
high Degree impolitick.

In every view we see the Necessity of a sufficient Naval Force. A few
Ships of War at the Bar of Charlestown, & a Frigate or two in Stone
River, might at this time effect the Recovery of that City. I need not
inform you, what an Effect the Sight of a Sixty Gun Ship would probably
have at Penobscott.-- Do not our Enemies conceive the Idea of Uti
possidetis? And can there be Peace in America while Britain holds a
Foot of Ground in any Part of it?



[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a portion of the text, with
modifications, is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp.
114, 115.]

PHILADE Decr 30 1780


I receivd your favor of the 6th Instant, but not till the 25th. The
Post has been very irregular of late, & our Letters grow old before we
receive them. It is a Shame that the Mail has been catchd a second time
in the same trap. I inclosd to you a Warrant on Mr Appleton for the
Amount of your Demand for boarding the Orphans of our late Friend Genl
Warren. I think I did not send the Letter by that Post. But being
uncertain I informd you in a subsequent Letter of my having sent the
Warrant, and desired you to inform me whether it had come safely to
hand. I expect to hear from you in Answer to my last at least, & shall
then conduct the Matter if necessary, as you have proposd.

Our Government, I perceive, is organizd on the Basis of the new
Constitution. I am affraid there is more Pomp & Parade than is
consistent with those sober Republican Principles, upon which the
Framers of it thought they had founded it. Why should this new AEra be
introducd with Entertainments expensive & tending to dissipate the
Minds of the People? Does it become us to lead the People to such
publick Diversions as promote Superfluity of Dress & Ornament, when it
is as much as they can bear to support the Expense of cloathing a naked
Army? Will Vanity & Levity ever be the Stability of Government, either
in States, in Cities, or what, let me hint to you is of the last
Importance, in Families? Of what Kind are those Manners, by which, as
we are truly informd in a late Speech, "not only the freedom but the
very Existence of Republicks is greatly affected?" HOW fruitless is it,
to recommend "the adapting the Laws in the most perfect Manner
possible, to the Suppression of Idleness Dissipation & Extravagancy,"
if such Recommendations are counteracted by the Example of Men of
Religion, Influence & publick Station? I meant to consider this Subject
in the View of the mere Citizen. But I have mentiond the sacred Word
Religion. I confess, I am surprizd to hear, that some particular
Persons have been so unguarded as to give their Countenance to such
kind of Amusements. I wish Mr ---- would recollect his former Ideas when his
Friend Whitfield thunderd in the Pulpit against Assemblies & Balls. I
think he has disclaimd Diversions, in some Instances, which to me have
always appeard innocent. Has he changd his Opinions, or has the
Tendency of things alterd? Do certain Manners tend to quench the Spirit
of Religion at one time & are they harmless at another? Are Morals so
vague as to be sanctified or dispens'd with by the Authority of
different Men? He does not believe this. But I will not be severe, for
I love my Friend. Religion out of the Question for the present. It was
asked in the Reign of Charles the 2d of England, HOW shall we turn the
Minds of the People from an Attention to their Liberties? The Answer
was, by making them extravagant, luxurious, effeminate. Hutchinson
advisd the Abridgment of what our People called English Liberties, by
the same Means. We shall never subdue them, said Bernard, but by
eradicating their Manners & the Principles of their Education. Will the
judicious Citizens of Boston be now caught in the Snare, which their
artful, insidious Enemies, a few years ago laid for them in vain? Shall
we ruin ourselves by the very means, which they pointed out in their
Confidential Letters, tho even they did not dare openly to avow them?
Pownal, who was indeed a mere Fribble, venturd to have his Riots &
Routs at his own house, to please a few Boys & Girls. Sober People were
disgusted at it, & his privy Councellors never thought it prudent to
venture so far as expensive Balls. Our Bradfords, Winslows & Winthrops
would have revolted at the Idea of opening Scenes of Dissipation &
Folly; knowing them to be inconsistent with their great Design, in
transplanting themselves into what they called this "Outside of the
World." But I fear I shall say too much. I love the People of Boston. I
once thought, that City would be the Christian Sparta. But Alas! Will
men never be free! They will be free no longer than while they remain
virtuous. Sidney tells us, there are times when People are not worth
saving. Meaning, when they have lost their Virtue. I pray God, this may
never be truly said of my beloved Town. Adieu. My Respects to Mrs
Scollay & Family & believe me to be sincerely

Your Friend

If Mr B A 1 thinks a Question from me worth his answering, ask him
whether he has lost some value-able Books which I have seen in his
Library, the Works of our illustrious Forefathers.

1 Benjamin Austin.



[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society.]

PHILADE Jany 15th 1781


Your second Letter came to hand in due Season. My much Esteemed Friend
Mr Arthur Lee will take the Charge of this. I will say to you as I have
said to my Boston Friends, who are sollicitous to know what Treatment
he meets with here. The more I have conversd with him, the more I have
been confirmd in a good opinion of him, and lamented the Mistakes and
Prejudices of some Men & the Wickedness of others. His Enemies, I
think, dare not openly attack his Reputation or Conduct. But the
Whispers of Envy & Malice, have sometimes Influence enough to prevent
the Justice due to the virtuous Citizen. When this is the Case, it
affords a Symptom of the Decay of publick Spirit, more threatning to
the Liberties of a Common Wealth than Hosts of foreign Enemies.
Monarchs have their Favorites who serve as Pimps on their honest
Subjects. But Republicks should examine the Conduct of their Servants
with an impartial Eye; and it discovers the Want of pub-lick Virtue, as
much, to withhold their Smiles from the wise and good as to bestow them
on the wicked & unfaithful. Mr Lee has as yet had neither Smiles nor
Frowns. I am still in hopes, he will meet with the Rewards which I am
sure he would have receivd if he had returnd a few years ago. He will
have them, when the Trustees of the Publick shall have Fortitude
enough, to be uninfluencd by great Names & Characters given to Men of
base & depraved Minds. You will ask, when that will be. Perhaps not in
this Age. But the Historian will in some future time draw forth the
Proofs of his Patriotism, & unprejudicd Posterity will acknowledge that
Arthur Lee has borne a great Share in defending & establishing the
Liberties of America. I say Posterity; for I believe that a wiser
Generation will enjoy the Fruits of the Toil of Patriots & Heroes in
the present Day.

My Friend, we must not suffer any thing to discourage us in this great
Conflict. Let us recur to first Principles without Delay. It is our
Duty, to make every proper Exertion in our respective States to revive
the old patriotick Feelings among the People at large, and to get the
publick Departments, especially the most important of them, filled with
Men of Understanding & inflexible Virtue. It would be indeed alarming,
if the United States should ever entrust the Ship in which our all is
at Stake, with inexperiencd or unprincipled Pilots. Our Cause is surely
too interesting to Mankind, to be put under the Direction of Men, vain,
avaricious or conceald under the Hypocritical Guise of Patriotism,
without a Spark of publick or private Virtue. We may possibly be more
in Danger of this, than many of our honest Citizens may imagine. Is
there not Reason to apprehend, that even those who are inimical to our
Cause may steal into Places of the highest Trust? I need not remind you
that Men of this Character have had Seats in Congress from the
begining. Where is Galloway, LOW, Allen & Alexander?--If it was so in
those Times of Vigilance & Zeal, how much more is it to be expected,
when the Love of many is waxen cold, & their Minds are distracted with
the Pursuit of Pleasure & exorbitant Riches. We cannot be perswaded to
believe that bad Men have been sent by their States with a View of
giving a fatal Stab to our Cause in its Infancy; but is it unreasonable
to suppose that their Elections were secretly influencd by artful Men,
with that Design. Our most dangerous Enemies may be in our Bosoms.

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