The Writings of Samuel Adams, vol. III.

Part 7 out of 7


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

PHILADE March 19 1777


I wrote to you by the last Post, and am resolvd to write by every
Post as well as other opportunities. If I have Nothing more to
say to you, I flatter my self you will be pleasd when I have it
in my Power to tell you, as I now do, that I am in good Health
and Spirits. I must remind you that the last Letter I receivd
from you is dated the 26th of January. I am in daily Expectation
of receiving another. You do not conceive with how much
Satisfaction I read your Letters. I wish therefore that you would
not omit writing to me by the Post if other safe Opportunities do
not present.

Yesterday we receivd a very agreeable Letter from Doctor Franklin
dated at Nantes (in France) the 8th of December. By this Letter,
things appear in a very favorable Light to America in that
Kingdom. A general War was thought to be unavoidable. The
Differences between Spain & Portugal were not settled, although
the British Monarch (as he tells his Parliament) had been using
his Endeavors for that Purpose. The Passengers tell us it is the
Determination of the Court of France to prevent the Russian
Troops from coming to America, and that General Howe can expect
no Reinforcement of foreign Mercenaries this year. It is however
the Wisdom of America to prepare for the most formidable Attacks.
I am sorry to tell you that the Vessel which brought us this
Intelligence was taken near the Capes of Delaware, having Goods
on board belonging to the Continent, to what Value is not yet
ascertaind. We must expect Misfortunes and bear them. I make no
Doubt but this Contest will end in the Establishment of American
Freedom & Independence.

I lately received two Letters from my Son. He writes me that he
is in good Health. The Affairs of the Department he is in, will
soon be settled on a new Plan, when his Friends here say he shall
be provided for. I have told him he must expect to derive no
Advantage in point of Promotion from his Connection with me, for
it is well known I have ever been averse to recommending Sons or
Cousins. Yet I am far from being indifferent towards him. I feel
the affection of a Father. It gives me inexpressible Pleasure to
hear him so well spoken of. I hope I am not, indeed I have no
Reason to think that I am flatterd and deceivd.

In a former Letter you informd that our valueable Brother Mr
Checkley was dangerously ill and his Life despared of. I have
heard Nothing of him since, although I have enquired of Persons
who came from Providence. My worthy Friend Coll Henshaw you tell
me, still lives, beyond the Expectation of his Physician and
Friends. I did not promise my self the Pleasure of ever seeing
him again in this World when I left Boston. But Mr Checkley was
by many years younger, and in high Health when I visited him at

I have been told that the Law lately made in our State has been
attended with ill Consequences, and that the Inhabitants of
Boston were in Danger of being starvd for Want of the necessary
Articles of living from the Country; but a Letter I have just
receivd from a Friend upon whom I greatly rely, assures me that
it is likely to answer the good Purposes intended. Pray, my Dear,
let me know whether you live according to your own Wishes. I am
very sollicitous concerning you.--Tell my Daughter and Sister
Polly that I daily think of them. Remember me to each of my
Family and other Friends. I am

Your affectionate

After perusing the inclosd, you will seal and send it to Miss


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

PHILADE March 20th 1777


I am to acknowledge your Favor of the 22d of Feb. which I receivd
a few days ago. The Act for regulating Prices, you tell me has
made a great Convulsion especially in Boston. I am exceedingly
sorry to hear that Dissentions should arise in a Community,
remarkeable for its publick Spirit, and which has heretofore by
the united Exertions of Individuals repeatedly done essential
Services in Support of the Liberties of America. Is it indeed
true, my Friend, that "Self Denial is a Virtue rarely to be seen
among you"? How great a Change in a few years! The Self Denial of
the Citizens of Boston, their Patience and long Suffering under
the cruel Oppression of the Port bill was astonishing both to
their Friends and their Enemies. Their Firmness and Resolution in
that severe Conflict, and the Chearfulness with which they endurd
the Loss of all things, rather than the publick Liberty should
suffer by their Submission, will be handed down to their Honour
in the impartial History. God forbid that they should so soon
forget their own generous Feelings for the Publick and for each
other, as to set private Interest in Competition with that of the
great Community. The Country and the Town, you tell me, mutually
complain of each other. I well remember it was the Artifice of
our common Enemies to foment such Divisions but by the social
Interviews of Committees of Correspondence and other Means the
Affections of the Town & Country were conciliated. Indeed there
is no Time for angry Disputes. While the publick Liberty is in
Danger, and every thing that is sacred is threatned, the People
should, if ever, be in perfect good humour. At such a Time
Citizens should not be over sollicitous concerning their seperate
Interests. There should rather be an Emulation to excell each
other in their Exertions for the Safety of our Country. I confess
I am not sufficiently informd to make up a Judgment for myself of
the Utility of the Act in every Particular. Perhaps it would have
been better if those necessary Articles of Life for the Supply of
which you depend upon the Southern Colonies had been put upon a
Footing with other imported Articles. As the Price of Flour for
Instance is not limitted in these States, I cannot see how it can
be fixed at a certain Rate in New England without Danger of
injuring the Importer, or altogether preventing the necessary
Supply of Bread. The Committees of the middle States I am told
are now met, and if they should agree to regulate the Prices of
their produce it may put it in the power of our Gen Assembly to
fix them at such Rates as to enable the Merchants to supply the
Town without Loss to themselves.

I observe what you have written concerning the Supply of the Army
with your Mannufacture. Such Matters are out of my Line, but you
may assure your self I shall endeavor to promote your Interest as
far as it may be in my Power, for I am,

Your unfeigned Friend,


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

PHILADA April 1st 1777


I wrote to you the Week before last by the Post and since by a Mr
Vose of Boston. I wish to hear of your having receivd both those
Letters, especially the last for a Reason which must be obvious
to you if you have seen its Contents.

We have receivd the important Intelligence from New Hampshire of
the Arrival of a Vessel from France with near twelve thousand
Stands of Arms and a great Quantity of Powder &c. I congratulate
my Country on the occasion. By this Vessel I have a Letter from
my much esteemed Friend A. L. I will recite to you some Passages
in his Letter because I recollect with how much Pleasure you used
to read those which I formerly receivd from him, and because I
think the Spirit with which he writes and the intelligence
containd in his Letter, will afford Satisfaction to you and the
Circle of our Friends. "It is certain, says he, that the Peace of
Europe hangs upon a Cobweb. It is certain that, Portugal & Russia
excepted, all Europe wishes us Success. The Ports of France,
Spain and the Mediterranean are open to us on the Terms of
Neutrality. We have already receivd a Benevolence in this
Country, which Will enable us to Expedite and augment the Stores
necessary for your Defence." The Benevolence he refers to, is a
voluntary Loan of a Sum of Money in France, without Interest, and
to be paid as soon as it can conveniently be done after a Peace
shall be establishd. You may now remember what I wrote you from
Baltimore in December last. I think we shall soon reap the happy
Fruits of the Determinations of Congress at that time. My Friend
tells me "It is with Pleasure he revives a Correspondence which
the particular Situation of Affairs has so long interrupted." His
Letter is dated in Paris the 21st of January. I had before
written to him on the 2d of the same Month, being then fully
satisfied that mine, if no ill Accident happend, would find him
in that Place. I then observd to him that our Country had called
him to act in a more enlarged Sphere. He soon after informs me
that he had "obeyed the Call of Congress into THE IMMEDIATE
SERVICE of our Country." What this Service is our Friends will
conjecture. You may assure them that Matters merely commercial
are not in the Line of HIS Genius. In my Letter, I remark to him
that our Country is now enduring the sharp Conflict, confiding
that righteous Heaven will never look with an indifferent Eye
upon a Cause so manifestly just, and so interresting to Mankind.
In his Letter, he tells me with the Spirit of Prediction "When
with Roman Fortitude & Magnanimity we refuse to treat with
Hannibal at our Gates, he looks forward to Roman Greatness." I am
perswaded that these united States will never treat with any
Power which will not acknowledge their Independence. The
Inhabitants of Boston, who have heretofore acted so
disinterrested and patriotick a Part will Surely persevere in
supporting this all important Cause. America has already the
Applause of the virtuous and the brave. If we are not wanting to
ourselves, we may be assured of the Smiles of Heaven. However
ready some of the Powers of Europe may be to aid us in this
glorious Struggle, it will certainly in the End be best for us,
if we can save ourselves by our own Exertions. Our Sufferings
will indeed be greater if we are left to ourselves, but the more
dearly we purchase our Liberties, the more we shall prize them
and the longer we shall preserve them.

Yesterday an unhappy Man was executed here for attempting to
entice some of the Pilots to enter into the Service of Lord Howe.
He was first examined by the Board of War, and afterwards tried
by a Court Martial and condemned. The Pilots pretended to him
that they were in earnest till the Bargain was made and he had
given them the Bribe. They then seizd him and had him committed
to Goal. Before his Execution the whole Proceedings of the Court
were laid before Congress and the judgment was approvd of. The
Evidence against him was full and clear, but not more so than his
own Confession. He said that he had been at New York about a
Month before he was detected, and that Mr Galloway, a Man of
Fortune & a noted Tory in this State, who last Winter went over
to the Enemy, was his Adviser there. No Doubt there were others
here who secretly abetted & supported him. Some ordinary Persons,
I am told have disappeard since this Mans Detection.

It has been reported here these few days past that Lord Howe is
gone to England, and it is thought by some to be probable upon
this Circumstance that a new Proclamation has made its Appearance
signd William Howe only.

I am informd that General Carleton and his Brother have been very
ill used and are greatly disgusted with the British Court. That
Lord George Sackvill and all the Scotch hate them, and they him.
You remember the old Proverb.

I am afraid, my dear, I have tired your Patience with a Letter
altogether upon political Matters. I have only time to tell you
that I remain in good Health & Spirits--Believe me

Your affectionate

April 2d

Your Kind Letter of the 19th of March is just come to my hand-


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

PHILADE May 12 1777


Amidst your Hurry of Business and my own, I cannot help
withdrawing myself for a Moment to throw on paper a single
Sentiment for your Consideration. Europe and America seem to be
applauding our Imitation of the Fabian Method of carrying on this
War without considering as I conceive the widely different
Circumstances of the Carthaginian & the British Generals. It will
recur to your Memory that the Faction of Hanno in Carthage
prevented Hannibals receiving the Supplys from them which he had
a Right to expect and his Necessities requird. This left him to
the Resources of his own Mind, and obligd him to depend upon such
Supplys as he could procure from the Italians. Under such a
Circumstance, it was the Wisdom of Fabius to put himself in the
State of Defence but by no means of Inactivity--by keeping a
watchful Eye upon Hannibal and cutting off his foraging & other
Parties by frequent Skirmishes he had the strongest Reason to
promise himself the Ruin of his Army without any Necessity of
risqueing his own by a general Engagement. But General Howe (who
by the way I am not about to compare to Hannibal as a Soldier)
has at all times the best Assurances of Supplies from Britain.
There is no Faction there to disappoint him and the British Navy
is powerful enough to protect Transports & provision Vessels
coming to him. Hannibal despaird of Reinforcements from Carthage,
but Howe has the fullest Assurances of early reinforcements from
Britain & cannot fail of receiving them, unless a general War has
taken place which I think is at least problematical. They are
expected every Day. Would Fabius, if he were his Enemy, pursue
the Method he took with the Carthaginian General? Would he not
rather attend to the present Circumstances, and by destroying the
Army in Brunswick prevent as much as possible the Enemy
increasing in Strength even if reinforcements should arrive or
puting a total End to the Campaign if they should not. I am
sensible our own Circumstances have been such, thro' the Winter
past, as to make it impracticable to attempt any thing, but I
hope we are or shall be very soon in a Condition to take a
decisive part, and I do not entertain any Doubt but we shall see
such an enterprizing Spirit as will confound our Enemies and give
Assurances to the Friends of Liberty & Mankind that we still
retain a just Sense of our own Dignity and the Dignity of our
Cause and are resolvd by God's Assistance to support it at all

I am, &c

1Adressed to General Greene at Morristown, New Jersey.


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

PHILADE June 17, 1777


I am disappointed in not receiving a Letter from you by
yesterdays Post. The Fears you expressd in your last of the
Arrival of Burgoin gave me Uneasiness. We receivd Advice from our
Friends in France which gave us some Reason to apprehend the
Intention of the Enemy was to attack Boston, and we thought it
necessary to give timely Notice of it. I hope the People there
will always be so much on their Guard as to prepare for the
worst, but I think you will not be in Danger this Summer. This
City has been given out as their Object. Last Saturday General
Howe with the main Body of his Army marchd from Brunswick to
Somerset Court House about 8 Miles on the Road to Cariel's Ferry
with an Intention as it was thought to cross the Delaware there,
but Genl Sullivan with about three thousand Regulars and Militia
got Possession of the post there. The Jersey Militia are coming
out with great Spirit and I think the progress of the Enemy in
that way is effectually stopped--Coll Whipple will set off
tomorrow for Boston & Portsmouth. If I can possibly get time I
will write by him. I am now in great Haste. I hope you duly
receivd my last enclosing one to Henry Gardner Esq.,1 and that
the Matter therein mentioned is settled to your Advantage. Give
my Love to my Daughter Sister Polly &c. Write to me by every
Post. Adieu my dear & believe me to be most affectionately,


1Treasurer of Massachusetts.


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

PHILADA June 18 1777


This Letter will be deliverd to you by my worthy Friend Colo
Whipple a Delegate of the State of New Hampshire. He is a
Gentleman of Candor, and wishes he could have the opportunity of
conversing freely with some one of Influence in the Massachusetts
Bay upon Matters concerning that State particularly. To whom
could I recommend him on this Occasion with more Propriety than
to your self. He will be able to give you such Information of
Persons and Things as one would not chuse to throw on Paper in
this precarious Time when an Accident might turn the Intelligence
into a wrong Channel.

I observe by the Boston Papers last brought to us, that you are
again placed in the Chair of the House of Representatives, with
which I am well pleasd. Mr Paine Speaker pro Temp. Mr Hancock
first Member of the Boston Seat and Mr T. Cushing a Councellor AT
LARGE--I have the Honor of knowing but few of the Members of the
House. I hope my Countrymen have been wise in their Elections and
I pray God to bless their Endeavors for the establishment of
publick Liberty Virtue & Happiness.

You will hear before this will reach you of the Motions of the
Enemy. It has been the general Opinion for many Months past that
this City is the Object. Should they gain this Point what will it
avail them unless they beat our Army. This I am fully perswaded
they will not do. My Wish is that our Army may beat them, because
it would put a glorious End to the present Campaign & very
probably the War. I confess I have always been so very wrong
headed as not to be over well pleasd with what is called the
Fabian War in America. I conceive a great Difference between the
Situation of the Carthaginian & the British Generals. But I have
no Judgment in military Affairs, and therefore will leave the
Subject to be discussd, as it certainly will be, by those who are
Masters of it. I can not conclude this Epistle without thanking
you for your Care in carrying a Matter in which I was interrested
through the General Assemby of which I have been informd by our
Friend Mr______.

I wish to hear from you. Adieu my Friend,


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

PHILADA June 23 1777


I wrote to you a few days ago by Colo Whipple with whom I hope
you will have free Conversation. As he must have been not far
from the Spot, he can give you a more particular Accot than has
yet been handed to us, of the late Scituation & Movements of the
two Armies. The main Body of our Army was encampd at Middle
Brook, and a considerable Force consisting of Continental Troops
and Militia lay at a place called Sourland Hills within 6 Miles
of the Enemy who were posted at Somersett Court House 9 miles on
this Side of Brunswick. The Right of the Enemy was at Brunswick &
their Left at Somersett. They were well fortified on the Right
and had the Raritan River in front and Millstone on the left. In
this Situation General W. tho't an Attack upon them would be
attended with bad Consequences. His Design was to collect all the
forces that cd possibly be drawn from other Quarters so as to
reduce the Security of his Army to the greatest Certainty & to be
in a Condition to embrace any fair oppty that mt offer to make an
Attack on advantageous terms. In the mean time by light bodies of
Militia seconded & encouragd by a few Continental Troops to
harrass & diminish their Numbers by continual Skirmishes. But the
Enemy made a sudden Retreat to Brunswick and from thence with
great Precipitation towds Amboy. All the Continental Troops at
Peeks Kill except the number necessary for the Security of the
Post were orderd to hasten on to the Army in Jersey & a part of
them had joynd. I am not disposd to ascribe great military Skill
to Genl Howe, but if he designd to draw the whole of our Forces
from the East to the West Side of Hudsons River, in order to gain
advantage by suddenly crossing the River with his own Army I
cannot but hope they will be cut off & his Design frustrated.
Great Credit is due to the Jersey Militia who have turnd out with
spirit & alacrity. I congratulate you on the Success of our State
Vessels of War.

Will you be so kind as to call on Mrs A & let her know that you
have recd this Letter, for she charges me with not writing to my
Friends so often as she thinks I ought.

The Watchman tells me 'tis past 12 o'Clock.

Adieu my dear friend


[MS., Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society; portions are
printed in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp. 470,
471, 475.]

PHILADA June 26 1777


I intended to have written to you by the last Post, but being
under a Necessity of dispatching some Letters to Boston by the
Eastern Post which went off the same day I was prevented. When
you left this City you may remember the Enemy was at Brunswick
and our Army at a place called Middlebrook about 9 Miles North of
Brunswick Since which General Howe who had joyned his Army marchd
suddenly from thence with Design as it was generally believd to
make a rapid Push for Philadelphia, but he disappointed the Hopes
of some and the fears of others by halting at Somerset Court
House about 9 Miles on the Road leading to Caryels Ferry. General
Sullivan who you know had been at Princeton made a quick March to
cover our Boats at the Ferry and by retarding Howe's March to
give an opportunity to our Army to come up & attack them. But the
Enemy continuing at Somerset Sullivan advancd with a considerable
Force--consisting of Continental Troops and Militia & posted
himself at a place called Sourland hills within six Miles of
Somerset Court house. The Enemy were very strongly posted, their
Right at Brunswick & their Left at Somerset well fortified on the
Right and having the Raritan in front and Millstone on the Left.
In this Scituation Genl W. did not think it prudent to attack
them as it did not appear to him to be warranted by a sufficient
prospect of Success and he thought it might be attended with
ruinous Consequences. The Design then was to reduce the Security
of his Army to the greatest Certainty by collecting all the
Forces that could be drawn from other Quarters, so as to be in a
Condition of embracing any fair opportunity that mt offer to make
an Attack on Advantageous Terms, and in the mean time by light
Bodies of Militia seconded & encouragd by a few continental
Troops to harrass & diminish their Numbers by continual
Skirmishes--But the Enemy made an unexpected Retreat to
Brunswick, and afterwards with great Precipitation to Amboy.

June 29 ---- On Wednesday last the Enemy reinforcd, as it is
said, with Marines, marchd from Amboy, through a Road between
Brunswick and Elizabeth Town to a place called Westfield about 10
Miles, with Design as it is supposd to cut off our Light Troops
and bring on a General Battle, or to take Possession of the High
Land back of Middlebrook, for which last purpose Westfield was
the most convenient Route and it was also a well chosen Spot from
whence to make a safe Retreat in Case he should fail of gaining
his Point. On this march they fell in with General Maxwell who
thought it prudent to retreat to our main Army then at
Quibbletown from whence Genl W. made a hasty march to his former
Station and frustrated the supposd Design of the Enemy. I have
given you a very general Narrative of the different Situation &
Movements of the two Armies, without descending to the
particulars, because we have not as yet an Authentick Account,
and one cannot depend upon the many stories that are told. I
think I may assure you that our Army is in high Spirits and is
daily growing more respectable in point of Numbers.

We are going on within Doors with Tardiness enough. A Thousand
and [one] little Matters too often throw out greater ones. A kind
of Fatality still prevents our proceeding a Step in the important
affair of Confederation--Yesterday and the day before was wholly
spent in passing Resolutions to gratify N. Y. or as they say to
prevent a civil War between that State and the Green Mountain
Men--A Matter which it is not worth your while to have explaind
to you. Monsr D Coudrays affair is still unsettled. The four
french Engineers are arrivd. They are said to be very clever but
disdain to be commanded by Coudray. Mr Comr D________ continuing
to send us french German & Prussian officers with authenticated
Conventions and strong recommendations. The military Science, for
your Comfort, will make rapid Progress in America. Our Sons and
Nephews will be provided for in the Army and a long and moderate
War will be their happy Portion. But who my Friend, would not
wish for peace. May I live to see the publick Liberty restored
and the Safety of our dear Country secured. I should then think I
had enjoyd enough and bid this World Adieu.



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

PHILADE June 30 1777


I have the Pleasure of receiving your friendly Letter of the 16
Instant, and have little more than time enough barely to
acknowledge the favor. There is an unaccountable Uncertainty in
the Conduct of the Post office. About a month ago I remonstrated
to the Post Master General that the time allowd the Eastern
Delegates to answer the Letters they receivd by the post (being
on the Monday between 9 & 2) was altogether spent in Congress,
and requested that we might have one Evening for the purpose. He
granted it and the Post has been since detaind till tuesday
Morning, but I am now informd that the former Regulation is
revivd, for what Reason I know not, and our Letters must be ready
at two o'Clock. I do assure you I should hardly forgive my self,
could I reflect upon my having once neglected to write to so
valueable a Friend as you.

You wish to hear "how our Confederation goes on." I do not wonder
at your Anxiety to have it completed, for it appears to me to be
a Matter of very great Importance. We every now and then take it
into Consideration, but such a Variety of Affairs have
continually demanded the Attention of Congress that it has been
impracticable hitherto to get thro it. There are but two or three
things which in my opinion will be the Subjects of much further
Debate, and upon these I believe most if not all the Members have
already made up their Minds. One is what Share of Votes each of
the States, which differ so much in Wealth & Numbers, shall have
in determining all Questions. Much has been said upon this
weighty Question upon the decision of which depends the Union of
the States and the Security of the Liberty of the whole. Perhaps
it would be more easy for a disinterrested Foreigner to see, than
for the united States to fix upon, the Principles upon which this
Question ought in Equity to be decided. The Sentiments in
Congress are not various, but as you will easily conceive
opposite. The Question was very largely debated a few days ago,
and I am apt to think it will tomorrow be determind that each
State shall have one Vote, but that certain great & very
interresting Questions, shall have the concurrent Votes of nine
States for a Decision. Whether this Composition will go near
towards the Preservation of a due Ballance I wish you would
consider, for if your Life & Health is spared to your Country,
you will have a great Share in the Determination of it hereafter.
You have later Advices from abroad than we. Our last Intelligence
I gave you pretty minutely in a Letter which I sent & suppose was
deliverd to you by Capt Collins.

I find by the News papers that the Genl Assembly under the
Denomination of a Convention are forming a new Constitution.1
This is a momentous Business, I pray God to direct you. Shall I
be favord with your own & others Sentiments upon it. I am greatly
afflicted to hear that angry Disputes have arisen among my dear
Countrymen, at a time especially when perfect good Humour should
subsist and every Heart and Tongue & Hand should be united in
promoting the Establishment of publick Liberty & securing the
future Safety & Happiness of our Country. I am sure you will
cultivate Harmony among those who Love the Country in Sincerity.
With regard to OTHERS I will say in the apostolick Language "I
would they were all cut off" (banishd at least) "that trouble

Will it too much infringe upon your precious time to acquaint Mrs
A that I am in good health & Spirits, and have not opportunity to
write to her by this post. I am with the most friendly regards to
your Lady & Family very affectionately your Friend,

1Columbia University Studies in History, Economics, and Public
Law, vol. vii., pp. 194-226.


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

PHILADE July 4 1777


I did myself the Honor to write to you on the 2d of Jany last
since which your favor of the 21st of the same month from Paris
came to my Hand. You have supposd that this Campaign would put
General Howe, after the Junction with Burgoyne in Possession of
the States of New York, New Jersey Pennsylvania & the Delaware
with Rhode Island as his Center of Attack upon the States of New
England; you have even considerd such a situation of things as
almost certain. But I have now the Satisfaction of informing you
that General Howe has found it neces- sary to withdraw all his
Troops from New Jersey, and I am of Opinion that it is
impracticable for him to distribute his Troops among the States
you have mentiond in sufficient Numbers to keep possession of
them and afford enough to attack the New England States with the
least Prospect of subduing them. I have thought that the
Impression which the Enemy made the last Winter on the State of
New Jersey was owing to favorable Circumstances which then took
place, and was not in pursuance of the original Plan. The Time
for which our Troops were inlisted had expired--our Army was
reducd to a mere handful and General Howe had flatterd himself
that the middle States were so generally disaffected to our Cause
as to render their total Submission practicable & easy. He
therefore made a vigorous push in the Depth of Winter as far as
Trenton upon Delaware, and there cantond his Troops with a Design
probably of availing himself of this City early in the Spring
before we should be able to collect a force sufficient to prevent
it. But General Washington, having gaind a signal Advantage by an
Attack as you have heard obligd him to retreat and make his
remaining Winter Quarters in Brunswick, since which the Vigilance
& Activity of the people of Jersey who by frequent Skirmishes
have lessend his Army, has given him reason to alter his opinion
of their Disposition & his removing from thence has I think
afforded sufficient Proof that he has not been able by Arts or
Arms to conquer even one of our smallest States. What his next
Step will be is uncertain, perhaps he may embark his Troops for
Philadelphia, or more probably he may attempt a Junction with
Burgoyne. If the first, has he to expect more Laurels or better
Success than he gaind in Jersey? Or, if the latter should be his
Choice judge what must be his Prospect. Burgoyne who it is said
cannot muster more than 7 or 8 thousand will be opposd by our
Northern Army & I hope overwhelmd before they can reach Albany.
Howe will be followd close by the Army under the immediate
Command of G W, at present more than equal it in number, in high
Spirits, full of the Idea of Victory and daily increasing. Under
these unpromising Circumstances should he even complete a
Junction, he will then have to begin an attempt of the most
arduous Business of conquering the whole Army of the united
States together with the numerous, hardy & stubborn Militia of
New England. These are my Views of the present State of our
military affairs, and I am perswaded, when I reflect on the
Spirit & Valor discoverd in my Countrymen of Georgia So & No
Carolina Virginia & Jersey to say nothing of Lexington & Bunker
Hill in my own dear native State, Great Britain will ever show
her self feeble in her Efforts to conquer America. I beg you to
write to me full as often as you may find Leisure, and for my own
part I feel a Disposition almost to persecute you with my Letters
but I must conclude with congratulating you on this first
Anniversary of American Independence, and assuring you that I am
unfeignedly and very affectionately,

Your Friend,


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

PHILADA July 7 1777


I intreat you to ascribe my not having yet acknowledgd the
Receipt of your favor1 to the true Cause, a perpetual Hurry of
affairs. I have not been unmindful of its Contents. Major Ward,
as you have heard, is appointed Commissary General of Musters
with the Rank and Pay of a Colonel. I have long known him a Man
of Sense and a zealous and steady Patriot, in Times less
promising than the present; and the Part he took on the ever
memorable 19th of April 75, together with the Experience he has
gaind by constant Application ever since in the military Line,
intitles him to particular Notice. I will bear in my Memory the
Hint given in the Close of your Letter. If at any Time I may have
it in my power to render benefit to a Friend by puting him in the
Way of serving our Country it will afford me double Satisfaction.
You will have heard before this reaches you that General Howe has
at length drawn all his Forces from the State of Jersey to New
York. It is the Business of General Washington to penetrate his
future Design. This City has been threatned for some Months past;
if he ever had such an Intention, it is probable he has now laid
it aside, and that he will attempt to force a Junction with
Burgoyne, and subdue the Eastern States. [But] why should I
hazzard a Conjecture of this kind who profess no Skill in
military affairs. I hope my Countrymen are prepared to give the
Enemy a proper Reception whenever they may be attackd!

I have written you a friendly Letter though a short one--short
for want of time to write more. I have twenty things to say to
you but at present must conclude with most respectful Complts to
your Lady Family & Connections very cordially your friend,

1Of March 25, 1777.


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

PHILADE July 8 1777


I do not recollect to have receivd a Letter from [you] of a later
Date than the 25 of Decr last, although I have been since writing
to you as often as I cod find Leisure. I do not know that I have
by any thing I have written given you just Cause of offence. If
you think otherwise pray let me know it, and I will make as full
Atonement as I am able, for I do assure you I wish to continue a
friendly epistolary Correspondence with you. Be so kind as to
write me by the very next Post and assure yourself that I am
unfeignedly and most cordially,

Yr Friend,


[MS., Emmet Collection, Lenox Library.]

PHILADE July 15 1777


I wrote to you a Fortnight ago in so great Haste that I had not
time to transcribe or correct it and relied on your Candor to
overlook the slovenly Dress in which it was sent to you. You have
since heard that our Friends in Jersey have at length got rid of
as vindictive and cruel an Enemy as ever invaded any Country. It
was the opinion of General Gates that Howes advancing to Somerset
Court House was a Feint to cover the Retreat of his Battering
Train, ordinary Stores and heavy Baggage to Amboy. I confess I
can not help yet feeling myself chagrind, that in more . . . .
diminish his paltry Army in that State. If their Militia, among
whom so great an Animation prevaild, had been let loose upon the
Enemy, who knows but that they wd have destroyd their Army, or at
least, so far have weakend it as to have put a glorious End to
this Campaign, and perhaps the War? I will acknowledge that my
Temper is rather sanguine. I am apt to be displeasd when I think
our Progress in War and in Politicks is Slow. I wish to see more
of an enterprising Spirit in the Senate and the Field, without
which, I fear our Country will not speedily enjoy the Fruits of
the present Conflict--an establishd Independence and Peace. I
cannot applaud the Prudence of the Step, when the People of
Jersey were collected, and inspired with Confidence in themselves
& each other, to dismiss them as not being immediately wanted,
that they might go home in good Humour and be willing to turn out
again in any OTHER Emergency. I possess not the least Degree of
Knowledge in military Matters, & therefore hazzard no opinion. I
recollect however that Shakespear tells us, there is a Tide in
human Affairs, an Opportunity which wise Men carefully watch for
and improve, and I will never forget because it exactly coincides
with my religious opinion and I think is warranted by holy writ,
that "God helps those who help themselves."

We have letters from General Schuyler in the Northern Department
giving us an Account of the untoward Situation of our Affairs in
that Quarter & I confess it is no more than I expected, when he
was again intrusted with the Command there. You remember it was
urged by some that as he had a large Interest and powerful
Connections in that Part of the Country, no one could so readily
avail himself of Supplys for an Army there, than he. A most
substantial Reason, I think, why he should have been appointed a
Quartermaster or a Commissary. But it seems to have been the
prevailing Motive to appoint him to the Chief Command! You have
his Account in the inclosed Newspaper, which leaves us to GUESS
what is become of the GARRISON. It is indeed droll enough to see
a General not knowing where to find the main Body of his Army.
Gates is the Man of my Choice. He is HONEST and TRUE, & has the
Art of GAINING THE LOVE OF HIS SOLDIERS principally because he is
ALWAYS PRESENT with them in FATIGUE & DANGER. But Gates has been
disgusted! We are however waiting to be relievd from this
disagreeable State of uncertainty, by a particular Account of
Facts from some Person who WAS NEAR the Army who trusts not to
MEMORY altogether, lest some Circumstances may be OMITTED while

I rejoyce in the Honors your Country has done you. Pray hasten
your Journey hither.

Your very affectionate,


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

PHILADE July 15 1777


Before this reaches you, it is probable you will have heard of
the untoward Turn our Affairs have taken at the Northward. I
confess it is not more than I expected when Genl Schur was again
intrusted with the Command there. But it was thought by some
Gentlemen that as he had a great Interest & large Connections in
that Part of the Country, he could more readily avail himself of
Supplys for an Army there as well as Reinforcements if wanted
upon an Emergency, than any other Man. You have the Account in
the inclosed Paper, which leaves us to guess what is become of
the Garrison. There is something droll enough in a Generals not
knowing where to find the main Body of his Army. Gates is the Man
I should have chosen. He is honest and true, & has the Art of
gaining the Love of his Soldiers, principally because he is
always present and shares with them in Fatigue & Danger. We are
hourly expecting to be relievd from a disagreable State of
Uncertainty by a particular Relation of Facts. This Account, as
you are told, is related upon MEMORY, & therefore some
Circumstances may be OMITTED, others MISAPPREHENDED. But the Post
is just going, & I have time only to acknowledge the Receipt of
your favor of the 12 of June & beg you would write to me often.

I am affectionately,
Your friend,


[MS., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; the text, dated July
12, 1777, is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., pp.

PHILADA July 22 1777


Your very acceptable Letter of the 12th came to my hand
yesterday. The Confederation, is most certainly an important
Object, and ought to be attended to & finishd speedily. I moved
the other Day and urgd that it might then be brought on; but your
Colleague Colo H opposed and prevented it, Virginia not being
represented. It is put off till you shall arrive; you see
therefore the Necessity of your hastening to Congress.

We have still further & still confused Accounts from the
Northward. Schuylers Letters are rueful indeed! even to a great
Degree, and with such an awkward Mixture as would excite one to
laugh in the Midst of Calamity. He seems to contemplate his own
Happiness in not having had much or indeed any Hand in the
unhappy Disaster. He throws Blame on St Clare in his Letter of
July 9th. "What adds to my Distress is, that a Report prevails
that I had given orders for the Evacuation of Tyconderoga,
whereas not the most distant Hint of any such Intention can be
drawn from any of my Letters to General Sinclare or any other
Person whatever." He adds "What could induce the General Officers
to a Step that has ruind our Affairs in that Quarter, God only
knows." And indeed Sinclares own Letter of the 30th of June dated
at Ty. would induce one to be of the same Opinion, for he there
says "My People are in the best Disposition possible and I have
no Doubt about giving a good Account of the Enemy should they
think proper to attack us." Other Parts of his Letter are written
in the same spirited Stile. The General Officers blame N E for
not furnishing their Quota of Troops. It is natural for Parties
to shift the Fault from one to the other; and your Friend General
Steven, who seems desirous of clearing his Countryman from all
Blame, in a Letter to your Brother says "Eight thousand Men were
thought adequate to the Purpose. They (N E) furnishd about three
thousand--for Want of the Quota the Place is lost & they stand
answerable for the Consequences." The General forgets that five
of the ten Regiments orderd from Mass. Bay were countermanded and
are now at Peeks Kill. I will give you an Abstract of the Forces
at Ty & Mount Independence the 25th of June taken from the
Muster-master General Colo Varicks Return.

Fit for Duty of the 9 Continental Regiments Commissiond & Non
commissiond & Staff Officers included 2738

Colo Wells' & Leonard's Regiments of Militia [their time
expired the 6th of July] 637

Colo Long's Regimt of Militia [engagd to 1st of Augt] 199

Major Stephens' Corps of Artillery 151

5 Companies of Artificers 178

Whitcombs Aldrichs & Lees Rangers 70

Men at Out Posts not included in the Above 218

Sick in Camp and Barracks 342

Besides a Number of Recruits belonging to the Continental
Regiments arrivd at Ty. between the 18th & 29th of June, that are
not included in the above Abstract. General Schuyler in his
Letter of the 9th of July says, "I am informd FROM UNDOUBTED
AUTHORITY that the Garrison was reinforced with twelve Hundred
Men AT LEAST, two days before the Evacuation." When the Commander
in chiefe writes in so positive Terms, one would presume upon his
certain knowledge of Facts; BUT AS HE WAS NOT PRESENT WITH HIS
ARMY, let us suppose (though it does not seem probable by the
general gloomy Cast of his Letters) that he has overrated the
Numbers, and set down 967 and it would complete the Number Of
5500. Deduct the sick 342, and I am willing also to deduct the
two "licentious and disorderly" Regiments from Massachusetts who
left Sinclare, though he acknowledges they kept with him two days
upon the March, and there remaind near five thousand. Mentioning
this yesterday in a publick Assembly, I was referrd to the
Generals Information to his Council of War, who says "the whole
of our Force consisted of two thousand & Eighty nine effective
Rank & file." But allowing this to be the Case, Is an Army the
worse for having more than one half of its Combatants Officers?

Notwithstanding Nothing is said of it in the publick Letters Genl
Sinclair writes to his private Friend that the Enemy came up with
the Rear of the retreating Army, & a hot Engagement ensued. Other
Accounts say that many were killed on both sides, that our Troops
beat off the Enemy & that Colo Francis of the Massachusetts &
some of his officers were among the slain.

I shall not write you any more Letters for I hope to see you

Adieu my Friend,


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

PHILADE July 28 1777


I receivd your favor of the 26th of June and also one from Colo
Crafts of the same Date. I wrote to him by the Return of the Post
& desired him to communicate the Contents to you. I conversd with
Mr J A upon the Subject of your Letter, and we venturd, both of
us, to step out of the Line of strict order in a Debate in
Congress the other day, to bring your Regiment of Artillery into
View. It occasiond a Conversation in the House in which we had a
Opportunity of acquainting the Members of the long Standing of
that Regiment & the Seniority of its Officers. But still it was
considerd as a Regiment raisd by a State & not by the Continent.
And though we caused the Merit of it to be well understood & it
was acknowledgd in the House, the Difficulty of altering the
Regulation you refer to appeard so evidently in the Minds of the
Gentlemen, that we waved making any Motion at that time, because
we apprehended that the Issue would be unfavorable. Indeed I am
of Opinion that Congress will not be induced to make the
Alteration you wish for, until it shall become a Continental
Regiment. In that Case, I am apt to think there would be no
Difficulty with Regard to the Seniority of other Regiments which
have been raisd since, over yours. But till that is done, it is
feared that an Alteration in this Instance would cause Discontent
in other States, where it is said there are Instances similar. A
Regiment of Artillery raisd in this State under Command of Colo
Procter was lately taken into Continental Service and the
Commissions were dated at the time they were raisd. It was upon
this Occasion that Colo Crafts Regiment was mentiond; and I
suppose that Regiment wd be admitted on the same terms. But I
think I foresee an insuperable Obstacle in that Case. If any
thing can be done consistently with the general Service, to show
Honor, but especially to do Justice to the Regiment of Artillery
in Boston, I shall not fail to push it as far as I may have
Influence. My fellow Citizens well know that I have never been
indifferent TO THEM. I am thought here in a great Degree partial
in their Favour. I have in particular a Predilection for that
Regiment. But my Friend, let me intreat you and the Gentlemen of
your Core, above all other feelings to cherish those of the
virtuous Citizen. I will allow that the Ambition of the Soldier
is laudable. At such a Crisis as this it is necessary. But may it
not be indulgd to Excess? This War we hope will be of short
Duration. We are contending, not for Glory, but for Liberty
Safety & Happiness of our Country. The Soldier should not lose
the Sentiments of the Patriot; and the Pride of Military Rank as
well as civil Promotion should forever give Way to the publick
Good. Be assured that I am very cordially,

Your Friend,


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

PHILADE July 31 1777


It is a long time since I had the pleasure of a Letter from you.
I have not heard your opinion of the Evacuation of Tyconderoga.
You are doubtless chagrind as much as I am. It is ascribd to
different Causes. Congress is determined that the true Reasons
shall be enquird into, and the Conduct of the General Officers.
Sch--rs friends are endeavoring to clear him from all Blame,
because, say they, HE WAS NOT THERE. This is true, and as it was
well known, that he had never been used to keep himself near his
Army, perhaps it may be pertinently asked, Why HE was pitchd upon
to take the Command. YOUR Delegates, I can assure you, were
utterly against it. And Notwithstanding it was publishd in some
of the Boston News papers, said to be warranted by a Letter from
this City, that Schr had the entire Confidence of Congress, there
were five only of 11 States present, in favor of it. The paper I
think was of the 5 of June. I wish I could know who gave the
Letter to the Printer. In order, I suppose, to give Credit to
that Letter, there was another publication in the papers here,
informing the World, that when he set off for the Northern
Department he was accompanied by ----- and several other Members
of C-----, which I take for granted is true. These are trifling
political Manuevres similar to those which we have seen practicd
in the Mass Bay when a prop was wanted for a sinking Character.
You may think them not worth your Notice. Excuse my troubling you
with them. Cunning Politicians often make use of the Names of
Persons, & sometimes of the Persons themselves who have not the
least Suspicion of it, to serve their own Purposes. When I
mentiond 5 out of 11 I shd have explaind my self. There were 5
for the measure 4 against it & 2 divided. Had not the state of
Rhode Island been at an equal Division, which wd have prevented
the Measure. The most important Events sometimes depend upon
small Circumstances. Some Gentn of the State of N Y are
exceedingly attachd to Genl Schr. They represent him as Instar
Omnium in the Northern Departmt. But after all that has been
said, I conceive of him, as I have for a long time, excellently
well qualified for [a] Commissary or Quartermaster. The N E
Delegates were (perhaps one excepted) to a Man against his having
the Command of that Army. But [of] this I will write particularly
in another Letter.

I am not willing to prejudge; but I must say, it is difficult to
reconcile the sudden Evacuation of the Fortress with the previous
flattering Letters of General St Clair. In one of his Letters
written but a few days before, he says, "My People are in the
best Disposition possible, and I have no Doubt about giving a
good Account of the Enemy if they shall think proper to attack
us." He has been esteemd here a good Officer, & in his Letter he
bespeaks the Candor of the publick till he can be heard. Pains
will be taken to lay the Blame upon the N E States, for not
furnishing a sufficient Quota of Men. I wish therefore you wd
procure for me an authentick Accot of the Number of Men, both
regular & Militia, sent to the Northward from our State, and how
they were cloathd and armd. You may remember that Congress
recommended it to the Eastern States, some time, I think in Decr
last, to send a Reinforcemt, of 4500 Militia to Ty. to remain
there till they cod be replaced by Continental Troops then
raising. I have never been informd of the Effect of that
Recommendation; or if I have been informd I do not recollect it.
Pray put it in our Power to state Facts precisely so far as they
regard our State. It is agreed on all sides that a Fault lies
somewhere. I hope the Truth will be thoroughly investigated, and,
to use the homely Proverb, the Saddle laid on the right Horse.

We are looking every hour for the Arrival of the Enemy in this
River. 255 sail were seen on Wednesday last steering from the
Hook S. E. Seventy sail were seen from the shore near Egg Harbour
& about 15 or 20 Leagues from these Capes on Saturday steering
the same Course--the Wind agt them. They cod not come here at a
better time. G Washington is drawing his Troops into this
Neighborhood. Some of them are arrivd. But as the Enemy has the
Advantage of us by Sea, it s too easy for them to oblige us to
harrass our Men by long & fruitless Marches, and I shd not wonder
to hear that they have tackd about & gone Eastward. I hope my
Countrymen are prepared. LET BROTHERLY LOVE CONTINUE.



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

PHILAD Augt 1--77


I wrote to you on the 30th Ulto by Mr Bruce who did not leave the
City on that Day as I expected. His Stay gives me an Oppty of
acquainting you that an Express who left the Capes yesterday
informs us that the enemies ships all went out to Sea in the
morning steering E N E supposd to be going to Hudsons River Rh
lsland or Boston. Mr B will give you as particular an Acct as I
can. I therefore refer you to him. This is what I expected. I
trust you are upon your Guard. Con. has orderd an Enquiry be made
into the reasons . . . . that Schr St Clair . . . . . . . . .
repair to Head Qrs & that G W order such Genl officer as he shall
think proper immediately to repair to the Nn Departmt to relieve
Schr in his Command there. A Come is appointed to digest & rept
the Mode of conducting the Enquiry.

It appears to me difficult to account for the Evacuation of these
posts even upon the principle of Cowardice. The whole Conduct
seems to carry the evident Marks of Deliberation & Design.

If we are vigilant active spirited & decisive, I yet flatter my
self, notwithstanding the present vexatious Situation of our
Affrs at the northwd we shall humble our Enemies this Campaign. I
am truly mortified at their leaving this place because I think we
were fully prepared for it, & I believe the Cowardly Rascals knew
it. May Heaven prosper our Righteous Cause. Adieu,


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

PHILAD. 2d Augt 17771


Mr Bruces tarrying in this City longer than I expected, affords
me an Opportunity of giving you a second short Letter by him. The
Enemies Fleet have left these Capes & it is supposd they are gone
either to N York or N England. Secure a Place in the Country to
which you may Retreat in case there shd be a Necessity for it.
Preserve your usual Steadiness of Mind. Take the Advice of those
who are your and my Friends with Regard to removing. I hope there
will be no Necessity for it. I am truly sorry the . . . . have
not made this City their Object, as they . . . . long threatend.
I think we were fully prepared to receive them. Perhaps
Providence designs that N England shall have the Honor of giving
them the decisive Blow. May Heaven prosper our righteous Cause,
in such Way and by such Instruments as to his infinite Wisdom
shall seem meet.

I am in good Health and Spirits.
Adieu my dear,

1For a letter on this date by Adams to Washington, see W. V.
Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. ii., p. 487; cf. Sparks,
Writings of Washington, vol. v., p. 14; Ford, Writings of
Washington, vol. vi., p. 4.


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

[August 5, 1777]


I have had the pleasure of receiving several Letters from you,
and I thank you for the Intelligence therein communicated to me.
I beg you will continue your favors although it may not be in my
Power to ballance the Account.

Our Affairs are now in a critical Situation. There is strong
Reason however to Promise ourselves by the Assistance of Heaven a
favorable Issue. Men of Virtue throughout Europe heartily wish
well to our Cause. They look upon it, as indeed it is, the Cause
of Mankind. Liberty seems to be expelled from every other part of
the Globe & the Prospect of our affording an Asylum for its
Friends in this new World, gives them universal Joy. France &
Spain are in reality though not yet openly yielding us Aid.
Nevertheless, it is my Opinion, that it would be more for the
future Safety as well as the Honor of the united States of
America, if they would establish their Liberty & Independence,
with as little foreign Aid as possible. If we can struggle
through our Difficulties & establish our selves alone we shall
value our Liberties so dearly bought, the more, and be the less
obligd & consequently the more independent on others. Much
depends upon the Efforts of this year. Let us therefore lay aside
the Consideration of every Subject, which may tend to a Disunion.
The Reasons of the Scrutiny. Congress have orderd an Enquiry &
for this purpose Generals Schuyler & St. Clair are orderd to Head
Quarters. Gates immediately takes the Command of the Northern
Army. He gains the Esteem of the Soldiers and his Success in
restoring the Army there the last year from a State of Confusion
& Sickness to Health & good order, affords a flattering Prospect.
In my opinion he is an honest & able Officer. Bad as our Affairs
in that Quarter appear to be, they are not ruinous. Reinforcemts
of regular Troops are already gone from Peeks Kill, and I hope
the brave N E Militia will joyn in sufficient Numbers, to damp
the Spirits of Burgoin. One grand Effort now may put an End to
this Conflict.

I am &c


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

PHILADE August 7, 1777


Major Bass will be kind enough to deliver to you this Letter. He
brought me a very friendly Message from you, for which I return
you my hearty Thanks. If I had Inclination or Leisure to write a
Letter of Compliment, I am sure you would not be pleasd with it.
The Times are very serious; our Affairs are in a critical
Situation. The Enemy, after long promising a Visit to this City,
made an Appearance last Week near the Capes of Delaware. But they
have not been seen these six days past. The Hounds are in fault
and have lost Scent of them. We shall hear where they engage, I
dare say, before long. It belongs to the military Gentlemen to
frustrate their Design. I think they could not have come here in
a better time, because we were well prepared for them. General
Washington had drawn his Forces into the Neighborhood of this
Place, and I verily believe, the people here, divided and
distracted as they are about their internal Government, would
have joynd in sufficient Numbers to have given a good Account of

The shameful Defeat of our Forces at Ticonderoga is not more
distressing to us than it is vexatious. A thorough Scrutiny into
the Causes of it must and will be made. For this Purpose Schuyler
and St Clair are orderd to Head Quarters. I confess I cannot at
present account for it even upon the Principle of Cowardice.
There seems to me to be the evident Marks of Design. Bad as our
Affairs are in that Quarter they are not desperate. Gates is gone
to take the Command. He is an honest and able officer; always
belovd by his Soldiers because he always shares with them in
Fatigue and Danger. This has not been said of his immediate
Predecessor. I hope the N England States will once more make a
generous Exertion, and if they do I am deceivd if Burgoyns
Prosperity does not soon prove his Ruin.

Our Intelligence from Europe is very flattering to us. The
virtuous and sensible there universally wish well to our Cause.
They say we are fighting for the Liberty and Happiness of
Mankind. We are at least, contending for the Liberty & Happiness
of our own Country and Posterity. It is a glorious Contest. We
shall succeed if we are virtuous. I am infinitely more
apprehensive of the Contagion of Vice than the Power of all other
Enemies. It is the Disgrace of human Nature that in most
Countries the People are so debauchd, as to be utterly unable to
defend or enjoy their Liberty.

Pay my respects to Coo Whipple. He promisd to write to me. I hope
he will soon have Leisure to fulfill his promise. A Letter from
you would oblige me much. Adieu.

1Of Portsmouth, New Hampshire; member of the Continental


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

PHILADA Augt 8 1777


I have lately written to you by every Opportunity and am
determined to omit none for the future, till I shall have the
Pleasure of seeing you, which I intend some time in the Fall. We
have heard Nothing of the Enemies Fleet since this Day Week.
General Gates is gone to take the Command of the Northern Army in
the Room of Schuyler . . . Gates has always been belovd by his
Soldiers & I hope will restore our Affairs there; for although
they are in a Situation bad enough I do not think them desperate.
He is empowerd to call on the N England Militia, who I hope will
once more make a generous Effort. If they do, I am mistaken if
Burgoyns present Success does not [prove his ruin.] A Change of
Officers, I dare say, will give new Spirits [to] the Men. But I
forget that I am writing [to] a female upon the Subject of War. I
know your whole Soul is engagd in the great Cause. May Heaven
prosper it! Adieu my dear,

My Respects to my
Family & Friends.


[MS., Library of Massachusetts Historical Society; a draft is in
the Lenox Library.]

PHILADA Augt 11. 1777


I duly receivd your obliging Letter of the 11th of July. I thank
you for the favor, and beg you to continue to write to me as
often as your Leisure will admit of it. The Rumour you mention'd
has since appeard to be a serious Fact. We have lost
Ti[c]onderoga, and as far as I can yet judge, shamefully: I was
going to add, vilainously; for indeed I cannot account for it,
but upon the worst of Principles. The whole appears to me to
carry the evident Marks of Design. But I hope & believe it will
undergo the strictest Scrutiny. The People at large ought not,
they will not be satisfied, until a thorough Inquiry is made into
the Causes of an Event in which their Honor and Safety is so
deeply interested. The only Letter receivd by Congress from St
Clair, you have seen publishd under their Sanction. Schuyler has
written a Series of weak & contemptible THINGS in a Stile of
Despondence which alone, I think, is sufficient for the Removal
of him from that Command; for if his Pen expresses the true
Feelings of his Heart, it cannot be expected that the bravest
Veterans would fight under such a General, admitting they had no
Suspicion of Treachery. In a Letter dated the 4th Instant at
Still Water, he writes in a Tone of perfect Despair. He seems to
have no Confidence in his Troops, nor the States from whence
Reinforcements are to be drawn. A third Part of his Continental
Troops, he tells us, consists "of Boys Negroes & aged Men not fit
for the Field or any other Service." "A very great Part of the
Army naked--without Blanketts--ill armed and very deficient in
Accoutrements: without a Prospect of Reliefe." "Many, too Many of
the Officers wod be a Disgrace to the most contemptible Troops
that ever was collected." The Exertions of others of them of a
different Character "counteracted by the worthless." "Genl
Burgoyne is bending his Course this Way. He will probably be here
in Eight Days, and unless we are well reinforced" (which he does
not expect) "as much farther as he pleases to go."---Was ever any
poor general more mortified! But he has by this Time receivd his
Quietus. Gates takes the Command there, agreeably to what you
tell me is the Wish of the People; and I trust our Affairs in
that Quarter will soon wear a more promising Aspect.

The Enemies Ships, upwards Of 200 sail, after having been out of
Sight six Days, were discoverd on Thursday last, off Sinapuxint
15 Leagues from the Capes of Delaware Steering towards Chesapeake

Your Friends here are well, except Colo Williams, who has been
confined a few days, but is growing better. I have a thousand
things to say to you, but must defer it to other Opportunities, &
conclude in Haste, with friendly Regards to your Family, very
affectionately yours,


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

PHILADA Augt 12 1777


The inclosd is an attested Copy of Genl Schuylers Letter to the
President of the Congress. It needs no Comment. How far the
Massachusetts state deserves the Strictures therein made, you can
tell. I send it to you for the Perusal of the Members of your
Honbl House. If they have sent into the Army, Boys Negroes & Men
too aged to be fit for any Service they will lay their Hands upon
their Mouths. If not, I hope some decent but keen Pen will
vindicate them from that & other Aspersions. This, like all his
other Letters, is written in such a desponding Stile, that it is
no Wonder if Soldiers decline fighting under him, though they may
be under no Apprehension of Treachery. But he has by this time
receivd his Quietus, at least till he can give a good Account of
his Conduct. Gates has gone to take the Command, and our Affairs
in that Ouarter, I dare say will soon wear another Face.

The Enemies Fleet have been again seen 200 sail off Sinipunxint
15 Leagues South of the Capes of Delaware. I think I have now a
just Demand upon you for a Letter. I shall be disappointed if I
do not receive one by the next Post. Adieu my Friend.


[MS., Library of Massachusetts Historical Society; the text has
recently been printed in Collections of Massachusetts Historical
Society, 7th ser., vol. iv., p. 140.]

PHILADE Augt 13th 1777


The Surrender of Tyconderoga has deeply wounded our Cause. The
Grounds of it must be thoroughly inquired into. The People at
large have a Right to demand it. They do demand it and Congress
have orderd an Inquiry to be made. This Matter must be conducted
with Impartiality. The Troops orderd for the Defence of that Post
were chiefly from New England. It is said there was a great
Deficiency in Numbers--and General Schuyler tells us that a third
Part of the Army there were Boys Negroes and aged Men not fit for
the Field or indeed any other Service, that a great Part of them
were naked, without Blanketts, ill armed & very deficient in
Accoutrements. Such is the Picture he draws. I wish to know as
soon as possible, how many Men actually marchd for that place
from N E, & particularly from Massachusetts Bay. What Quantity of
Cloathing was sent for them & under whose Care; and how they were
furnishd with Arms & Accoutrements. In short I am desirous of
being informd by you as minutely as possible, of the part taken
by Muster Masters Quartermasters Cloathiers & their Agents and
all other Persons employed in making and providing for the Army
in the Northern Department, as far as it has properly fallen
under your Notice & Direction. Excuse me for giving you this
Trouble & be assured that I am very cordially,

your Friend,

1Major General in the continental army.


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

PHILADA Augt 8 1777


I was favord with yours of the 2d of this Month by yesterdays
Post. I am much obligd to you for writing to me so often, and
hope you will not omit any future opportunity. [One] or another
of my Boston Friends write to me by every Post, [so] that I think
I should be informd if any extraordinary Accident should happen
to my Family, but I am never so well satisfied as when I receive
one from you. I am in continual Anxiety for your Safety, but am
happy in committing you to the Protection of all gracious Heaven.
May He be your Refuge in every Time of Distress! I had before
heard that the Enemies Fleet was seen off Cape Ann. We had an
Account of it [by] an Express from General Heath, who
contradicted it the [same] Day by another Express. Indeed I did
not give Credit to . . . . News for the British Ships were seen
off the Maryland Shore on the first of August, the very day on
which they were reported to have been seen off Cape Ann. Having
the Command of the Sea, they have it in their Power to give
frequent Alarms to our Seaport Towns. We have not heard of them
since, and it is the opinion of some that they are gone to South
Carolina, but as it is altogether uncertain where they will go,
it is prudent to be ready to receive them in every Place. It is a
Question with me whether they have any Plan upon which they can
depend themselves. I pray God that [their] Councils may be

I earnestly hope with you, my Dear, that our . . . . Life is not
always to live at this Distance from each [other] but that we
shall see the happy Day when Tyranny [shall] be subdued and the
Liberty of our Country shall be settled upon a permanent
Foundation. If this is not to be accomplishd in our Day, May we
hereafter meet our virtuous Friends in that blessd Region, where
the wicked shall cease from troubling.

My Love to my dear Daughter, Sister Polly & the rest of my Family
& Friends. Tell my Servants I thank them for their kind
Remembrance of me. I am, my dear,

ever yours,

I have sent the Letter to
Capt M. inclosd in one
to Dr F.


[Publications of Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. vi., pp.
78, 79.]

PHILADA Sept 2, 1777.


I am requested by a Member of Congress from South Carolina for
whom I have a particular Regard, to introduce his Friend Mr Henry
Crouch to some of my Boston Friends. He is a Merchant of
Charlestown and will set off on a Visit your Way tomorrow. I take
the Liberty of addressing a Letter to you by him. Your friendly
Notice of him will greatly oblige me.

I heartily congratulate you on the happy Change of our Affairs at
the Northward. The Feelings of a Man of Burgoyne's Vanity must be
sorely touched by this Disappointment.

Howe's Army remains near where they first landed and is supposed
to be ten thousand fit for Duty. Washington's Army exceeds that
Number, is in health & high Spirits, and the Militia have joynd
in great Numbers, well equip'd and ambitious to emulate the Valor
of their Eastern Brethren. Our light Troops are continually
harrassing the Enemy. The Day before yesterday they attack'd
their out Posts & drove them in, killing & wounding a small
Number. By the last Account we had taken about seventy Prisoners
without any Loss on our side. Our Affairs are at this Moment very
serious and critical. We are contending for the Rights of our
Country and Mankind--May the Confidence of America be placed in
the God of Armies! Please to pay my due Respects to my old Friend
Mr Phillips & his Family and be assured that I am very cordially



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

PHILADA Sept 17, 1777


Your kind Letter of the 29th of August is now before me. You
therein take a very proper Notice of the signal Success of our
Affairs at the Northward. I hope my Countrymen are duly sensible
of the obligation they are under to Him from whose Hand, as you
justly observe, our Victory came. We had a Letter from General
Gates yesterday, from which we every hour expect another great
Event from that Quarter. The two Armies this way had an obstinate
Engagement last Thursday. The Enemy have gaind a Patch of Ground
but from all Accounts they have purchasd it as dearly as Bunkers
Hill. Two or three more such Victories would totally ruin their
Army. Matters seem to be drawing to a Crisis. The Enemy have had
enough to do to dress their wounded and bury their dead. Howe
still remains near the Field of Battle. Genl Washington retreated
with his Army over the River Schuilkill through this city as far
as . . . . and we are every day expecting another battle. May
Heaven favor our righteous Cause and grant us compleat Victory.
Both the Armies are about 26 miles from this City.

I am pleasd to hear that Colo Crafts invited Mr Thacher to preach
a Sermon to his Regiment. He discoverd the true Spirit of a New
England officer. I dare say it was an animating Discourse.
Religion has been & I hope will continue to be the ornament of N.
England. While they place their Confidence in God they will not
fail to be an happy People.

I am exceedingly rejoycd to hear that Miss Hatch is in hopes of
recovering her Health.

Remember me, my dear, to my Family and Friends. I am in good
Health & Spirits and remain with the warmest Affection



[R. H. Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, vol. ii., pp. 228, 229.]

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 26th, 1777.

MY DEAR SIR,---Your several letters, with their enclosures, came
to my hand. And although I have not hitherto acknowledged to you
the receipt of them, I assure you I have been and am still
improving the intelligence you have given me to the best of my
powers, for the advantage of this country. From our former
correspondence you have known my sentiments. I have not altered
them in a single point, either with regard to the great cause we
are engaged in, or to you, who have been an early, vigilant, and
active supporter of it. While you Honour me with your
confidential letters, I feel and will freely express to you my
obligation. To have answered them severally, would have led me to
subjects of great delicacy; and the miscarriage of my letters
might have proved detrimental to our important affairs. It was
needless for me to run the risk for the sake of writing; for I
presume you have been made fully acquainted with the state of our
public affairs by the committee. And as I have constantly
communicated to your brother R. H. the contents of your letters
to me, it was sufficient on that score for him only to write, FOR

The Marquis de la Fayette, who does me the honour to take this
letter, is this moment going; which leaves me time only to add,
that I am and will be your friend, because I know you love our
country and mankind.

I beg you to write to me by every opportunity. Adieu, my dear


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

[ 1777]


I have had the Honor of laying before the Council Board of this
State your Letter of the 19th of October, inclosing Copy of a
Convention by which the British Lt Genl Burgoyne surrendered
himself & his whole Army on the 17 of the same Month into your
Hands. The repeated Instances of the Success of the American Army
in the Northern Department reflect the highest Honor on yourself
& the gallant officers & Soldiers under YOUR Command. The Board
congratulate you on this great Occasion; and while the Merit of
your signal Services remains recorded in the faithful Breasts of
your Countrymen, the warmest Gratitude is due to the God of
Armies, who has vouchsafed in so distinguished a Manner to favor
the Cause of America & of Mankind.

I have the Honor to be
in the Name of the Council Board,
Sir &c


[NOVEMBER 1, 1777.]

[MS., Papers of the Continental Congress. Reports of Committees.
No. 24, p. 431.]

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men, to adore
the superintending Providence of Almighty God:--To acknowledge
with Gratitude their Obligation to Him for Benefits receivd, and
to implore such further Blessings as they stand in Need of:--And,
it having pleased Him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue
to us the innumerable Bounties of His common Providence; but also
to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War
for the Defence and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and
Liberties. Particularly in that He hath been pleased, in so great
a Measure to prosper the Means used for the Support of our
Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal Success.

It is therefore recommended to the Legislative or Executive
Powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday the
Eighteenth Day of December, next, for solemn Thanksgiving and
Praise. That at one Time, and with one Voice, the good People
may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate
themselves to the Service of their divine Benefactor. And, that
together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they
may joyn the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby
they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble & earnest
Supplication that it may please God through the Merits of Jesus
Christ mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance.
That it may please Him, graciously to afford His Blessing on the
Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the publick
Council of the whole. To inspire our Commanders both by Land and
Sea, & all under them with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may
render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty
God, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all human
Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE. That it may please Him, to
prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the People, and the Labor
of the Husbandman, that our Land may yet yield its Increase. To
take Schools and Seminaries of Education, so necessary for
cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue, & Piety,
under His nurturing Hand; and to prosper the Means of Religion
for the Promotion and Enlargement of that Kingdom which

And it is further recommended, that servile Labor, and such
Recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming
the Purpose of this Appointment, may be omitted on so solemn an


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

BOSTON Decr 8 1777


I heartily thank you for your two favors of the 12th & 18th of
Novemr, the former of which gave me a piece of Intelligence which
I thought proper to give the Publick through the News paper.

Unluckily for me, on my Arrival here, I found the General
Assembly sitting, and consequently I am plungd in publick
Business sooner than I could wish to have been. Among other
things I have the Satisfaction of informing you of your
Reelection as a Member of Congress. Your old Colleagues are all
again chosen. I honestly told some of our Countrymen that I
thought it incumbent on them thorowly to acquaint themselves with
the Character and Conduct of those who represent them at the
Distance of four hundred Miles; but I fear they are too
unsuspecting. What do frequent Elections avail, without that
Spirit of Jealousy & Strict Inquiry which alone can render such
Elections any Security to the People? But surely the more
implicit the Confidence of the Publick is, the more circumspect
ought those to be, who are entrusted with publick Affairs.

Mr------ came to this Town with great Pomp, and was receivd by
the military and naval Gentlemen, as I am informd, with equal
Ceremony. His Colleagues arrivd in the Dusk of the Evening and
without Observation. He is the most happy who has the greatest
Share of the Affections of his Fellow Citizens, without which,
the Ears of a sincere Patriot are ever deaf to the ROARING OF
CANNON AND THE CHARMS OF MUSICK. I have not seen nor heard of any
Dangers on the Road that should require Guards to protect one. It
is pretty enough in the Eyes of some Men, to see the honest
Country Folks gapeing & staring at a Troop of Light Horse. But it
is well if it is not some times attended with such Effects as one
would not so much wish for, to excite the Contempt of the
Multitude, when the Fit of gazing is over, instead of the much
longd for Hosannas.

I have not been long enough in Town to be able to give you a full
Account of the Affairs of this State. The Assembly are
interresting themselves as much as possible for the Supply of our
Army--a small parcel of Cloathing is ready to be sent, which is
intended for the Troops of this State. It is proposd that they
shall purchase them at the first Cost and Charges, but not yet
determined. The late Commissary General Colo Trumbull came to
Town a few days ago. I have not yet seen him. Your Affairs in
that Department suffer for want of a Commissary of Issues in the
Eastern District to receive the provisions in Colo Trumbull's
Hands. The two Houses have requested him to deliver to Mr Colt
who is also here, 12000 bushells of Salt belonging to the
Continent in this State, and have authorizd a good Man to furnish
him with Waggons, & to impress them if they cannot be otherwise
procured. I fear if the Commissaries Department is not soon
alterd, a dangerous Convulsion will take place. Pray attend to

I had the pleasure of waiting on your Lady yesterday. She & her
little Flock, or as I might better express it, her great Flock of
little Folks are in good Health, as I suppose she will inform you
in a Letter which I hope to inclose in this.

Be so kind as to pay my warm Respects to Mr Gerry and Dana
General Roberdeau the two Colo Lees and many others, not
forgetting the Connecticutt Gentlemen and all who may enquire
after me. Among these I flatter myself I shall not be forgotten
by the worthy Ladies in the Generals Family. Pray make my very
respectful Compliments together with those of my Spouse to them,
and assure them that I have a most grateful Remembrance of the
many Civilities I receivd from them. May Heaven bless them and
the little Folks under their Charge.


[MS., Massachusetts Archives.]



I have the Honor to acquaint you that your Letter of the 28th of
Novr inclosing Articles of Confederation and diverse Resolutions
of Congress have been laid before the General Assembly of this
State. But the Assembly having previously requested the Council
to order an Adjournment, and many of the Members having returnd
to their respective Homes, the Council have adjournd the Assembly
to a short Day when it is expected there will be a full Meeting;
and the important matters above mentiond will be taken under due

I am in the Name of the Council--
your most hbl servt


1President of the Continental Congress.


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