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JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS 1
WATERTOWN, Sepr. 28, 1775
MY DEAR SIR, I had the pleasure Yesterday of hearing for the first Time of your safe Arrival at Philadelphia, and of your performing the Journey in a manner that Contributed much to your Health, to the Sociability on the way, and to the Character of the Statesman. as it is said that Horsemanship and dexterity in rideing on the Saddle are necessary to Compleat that Character, I really give you Joy on this Occasion and that this Important Acquisition was made by the help of flannel without Injury. I am obliged to my Friend, Mr. Adams, for this Intelligence, whose Letter 2 I received yesterday by Mr. Cabot wholly on that Subject, which shews the Importance of it in his mind and his fondness for Fame and Glory. for he assumes the whole merit of first Adviseing and then giveing the Necessary Instructions. I never feel disposed to lessen his Glory and Fame and shall readily in this Instance allow him the Honour of Compleating the Character of a Great Statesman and prolonging the Life of a distinguished Patriot. In my last to Mr. Adams I promised to write you soon. as I always choose to keep my promises, I sit down this morning for that purpose, tho' I am unable to give you any Important Intelligence. All things remain pretty much in the same state as when I last wrote Mr. Adams. we make Advances upon them daily with our works. they have for a week past been very still, scarce a shott has been fired. Arnold went off with his detachment, Embarked at Newberry Port, and without Interruption arrived safe at Kennebeck. it is said they supposed we gave out as a Blind that this Expedition was designed for Quebec, and that the real Intention was to attack Hallifax, get their Stores and destroy their Guard there. Accordingly a Fleet and Force is sent to defend it, unless they practise this kind of policy and have gone to Quebec. but what but their Cowardice or want of Common Sense should have prevented our small Fleet in their passage from Newberry to Kennebeck. they are indeed poor Dogs. Wallace at Newport makes great Havock among the Trade and sends whole Fleets to Boston. our Machias Admiral has been and Burnt the Fort on St. John's River, took away all the Cannon, six or seven, and has taken a Vessel Bound to Boston with thirty head Cattle, seventy Sheep, some Swine, 2000 lbs. Butter and Cheese, seventy Dollars, six watches, some English Goods. Our Assembly are setting, but no one Event of any Consequences has taken place. do let me know how we are to account for the strange delay of the Money that was ordered from Philadelphia. our Conjectures are
I From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
various and my Curiosity is much raised. it is certainly very Extraordinary to have an Army of 20,000 men, appointed and stationed without one single Dollar to support or provide for them. The Character and Credit of many of the Officers at Stake and suffering. The provisions in a manner stopd. Our Friends astonished and our Enemies diverted. I shall write you as soon as possible again. in the meantime am with wishes for your Happiness your Friend
Present with the Inclosed Letter my regards to my Friend Adams, my Compliments to Mr. Cushing, Pain, Hancock, Ward, and all Enquiring Friends, if there be any, particularly to Mr. Collins to whom shall write
(?) WATERTOWN, Oct. 2d, 1775
SIR, You will see by this Instance what difficulties you may Involve yourself in, by what at first you perhaps meant only as a Compliment. As was no more than the Natural Effusions of a friendly disposition I have had it in Contemplation to write to you, ever since you thought it worth while to request it, and have waited only for some Events of Importance to take place, that I might with the greater probability succeed in my Wishes by gratifying you with some Intelligence. Things in our Camp and about Boston remain pretty much as they were when you left us. We have made some small Advances upon them since; every thing of that Kind as soon as they discover it, has Irritated and made them very waspish for a little while. A smart Cannonade at first has been the Certain Consequence, which has done us very little Injury, and we have generally Treated with Neglect, and suffered them to Tire themselves like other Children with their own ill humour, till after a little while when the peevish fit has gone off they can see us without any seeming Emotion finish at our Ease, what at first so highly provoked them. I do not recollect any Skirmishes that have happened between our Troops and theirs, or any Important Military Movements, I mean since you was here. it has been a rare thing for ten days past to hear a Cannon. we keep them Confined and watch them with Care. I am inclined to think we shall have occasion to do little else. The Duty and fatigue of the army in Boston is so great and Intollerable, that Joined with their manner of Living must sweep them off by Thousands. Desertions from them are frequent,
I From the Emmet Collection in the New York Public Library. ·
JAMES WARREN TO
very commonly four or five in a week. they say the soldiers are very Uneasy, Almost ready to Mutiny, that they have had fresh provisions served them but once since the Battle of Lexington and no Vegetables. that they are in their Beds but one Night in four and that great Numbers wait only for an Opportunity to desert. A Party of our Men last week went upon Governor's Island and brought off all the Stock except a few Horses which they could not catch and did not think prudent to fire att. The People at Marblehead have taken a Vessel from New Providence with Turtle and other delacacies the produce of that Island and designed for the delicate palates of the Rebels in Boston, but by a S: West Wind forced into Marblehead. The People of Cape Ann have taken a Brigantine from Quebec for Boston with Cattle, Sheep, Oatmeal, and some Forrage for the Rebel army and Carried her into that place. The armed Vessel at Machias have destroyed the remains of the fort at St. John's River, brought off some Cannon and taken a Brigantine from Nova Scotia for Boston with Stock, etc. Coll. Arnold was eight days ago sixty miles up Kennebeck with his detachment for Quebec, all in high Spirits and well provided, so that we have the most pleasing prospects of Success in Canada. Two letters were found on Board the Brigantine from Quebec wrote by one Gamble, who chartered her. he is an Officer in the Army and Intimately acquainted with Gage. one Letter is to Gage, the other to Maj. Sherriff, telling them that no Aid is to be Expected to Government from that Quarter, that Carlton dare not Issue his Orders to the Militia, supposeing they would not be obeyed, and that the Canadians, poisoned from N. England, had got the use of that damned Abused word Liberty. We have no Communication with Boston but by a Boat to Chelsea once or twice a week, in which are suffered to come out only one or two persons of little or no Consequence. We cant learn with any Certainty if any reinforcements are Expected from England. the Soldiers are Indeed told that large ones will soon arrive. this we consider as Calculated to quiet them and reconcile them to the severity of their Duty and hard fare. I have now only to apologise for this Letter which is wrote in a hurry and with a Carelessness only to be used with the most Intimate Acquaintance, among which I should be proud to rank you as one. I am your sincere Friend
My regards to all Friends.
There is a Report that Gage is Superceded and that the Command of the Army and Government here is given to Howe.1
I In substance this letter is not unlike that printed in 1. 122, so it could hardly have been written to John Adams, to whom Warren did write on the same day.
JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS 1
WATERTOWN, Octr. 23d, 1775
MY DEAR SIR, I have waited to the last Hour in hopes of haveing the Advantage of some delightful subject to write on, as you gave me reason to hope for in one of your last favours; but all things hereabouts remain in pretty much the same Situation. we look at their Lines and they view ours, and Consider them in the same formidable Light. Nothing in the Military way has taken place here nor do I know that any plan is on foot, or under Consideration they want Courage to attack us and " we want powder to attack them and so there is no Attack on either side. No Reinforcements are yet arrived. we may however Expect them every day. I believe they look for them every hour. if they come they will be a great relief to them. their duty is now Excessive severe. they are upon Guard at least two nights in three, which with the provisions they have makes them very sickly and uneasy. it is Conjectured by some that are out of Town that a great part of them would make no resistance if attacked, but that is a Circumstance too precarious to depend on. however I could wish for a Resolution in our Councils to make an Attempt, tho' I know it to be hazardous. they are, Indeed, very strong, and if we should fail the Attempt would both cost us many a Brave fellow and perhaps damp and discourage those that remained, as well as occasion Murmurings, finding faults with the Conduct of Officers, and many other Effects of disappointment. but if we should succeed the Consequences would be Important and Grand. I can hardly think they would look us in the face again even with Amherst at the Head of 20,000 Hanoverians, Hessians, Scotch Rebels, Irish Papists, etc. What then is the probability? Upon this Question my Mind has often Ballanced and does now, and nothing but Faith, strong Faith, and Confidence to a degree of Enthusiasm, preponderates and determines my wishes. I have such reliance on the Righteousness of our Cause as Inclines me to think any thing will succeed. I wrote yesterday every Article of Intelligence I could collect to my good Friend, Mr. J. Adams,2 every thing of that kind I write to one of you I Consider as wrote to both. I shant therefore trouble you with Repetition. Nothing has turned up this day but a Confirmation of the Arrival of one of our Vessels (tho' not the one I mentioned to him) with 71 Tons powder, 500 Stands of Arms, and 8 Cannon mounted on Deck. she is in at Townsend, near Kennebeck. The Grand Conference Ended last Evening. what is Concluded upon I know not. You great Folks keep things so Impenetrably secret that we small ones must be Content with our own Con
I From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
jectures. Mr. Lynch and Coll. Harrison have spent this day at Roxbury and go of in the Morning. I am just returned from head quarters where I have been to take my Leave of them, but missed of the pleasure of seeing them. I have left my Compliments and an Invitation to Breakfast with me in the Morning: I may or may not see them. I am however Inclined to think they will leave us well satisfied and I believe their Visit here will be serviceable. I Imagine they are so with regard to the Establishment for our Army and Convinced it was made on principles of Oeconomy. I shall Inclose you to be made use of at discretion an Abstract from the Journal of the Year 1759, by which you will see how much the Expense then Exceeds the Expense now. Our General Court are drudging on in the old way, with this difference only, that questions are more numerous, more difficult and complicated, and less Abilities to determine them. I never flatter any Man, but really want you here. I have taken some pleasure when I have been in the house with you. I take none now. I last Evening received a Letter from Church,1 Conceived in a stile truly poetical and in Terms of the greatest Assurance and Confidence, desireing from his high Opinion of the Immaculate House of Representatives, and great regard and Affection for his Constituents, to resign his Seat. he undoubtedly Intended to steal a march upon and outgeneral us. I dont know but he will succeed, and prevent an Expulsion. I wish this was Cushing's House. we have in hand a Militia Bill,2 a Bill to Encourage Individuals fixing out Privateers and to Establish Courts of Admiralty to determine on Captures by the Verdict of a Jury, to prevent Persons holding places Incompatible, by which your Honour is not to be allowed to hold the place of a Justice of the Superior Court and I am as a Sheriff Excluded from a Seat at the Board and as an Officer of the Army from a Seat in either House, so that I may in time, how soon I know not, have more leisure to write to you. several others are in Contemplation. I thank you for your Letters and wish for more. I have forwarded to Mrs. Adams and your Son those you Inclosed by safe hands. they were well not long since and hope are so now. My regards to my Friends Mr. Hancock, Cushing and Pain; also to my Friend Collins, for whom I have a great Respect. I am with great Sincerity your Friend
I have a Thousand things yet to say that Time and Circumstances wont permit. I hope the Unexampled Barbarity of our Enemies will remove all hesitations and dubitations and stimulate to revenge as well as Justice. Mrs. Warren, my good wife, sends her regard to my good Friend.
I Dr. Benjamin Church.
2 Province Laws, v. 445.
3 Ib., 436.