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have stated the whole truth which was, that I objected to their coming in the Alliance, lest it shoud be an infringment of the rules of the Navy, nor woud agree to it, but on his assuring me, that he had leave from the Navy-board to bring a certain quantity of Goods on his own account and in his own berth, and that these shoud be a part of that quantity. This I always understood they were, and therefore that they infringd no rule nor occupied any space that woud otherwise have been employd for the public. If these things were not so, he mislead me; for the freight of them in any of the Ships that came with us woud have been but £50, an object too inconsiderable to induce any one to do what he thought
With my best respects to Mrs. Warren, I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, your most sincere friend and Servant,
MERCY WARREN TO JOHN Adams
SIR, Mr. Warren directed to you only one week since, by Capt. Cazneau bound to Amsterdam, therefore has now left it to me to write one line asking your Care of the inclosed, to a son for whose Welfare (a Heart so Replete as yours with all the parental affections) will not wonder I am exceedingly solicitous.
We have not heard from him since he embarked at N'foundland on Board the Vestal Frigate, in which we learn your Friend, the Hon'ble Mr. Laurens, was sent to England, and it is Reported here, was immediately Confined to the tower. I hope this Worthy Man will receive no personal injury, nor the Bussiness on which he went be Materially affected by his Detention.
Will not the Minstry be at a Loss how to dispose of one in the Character he bears. it will be Humiliating to acknowledge him in the Rank of an Ambassador, it will be trifling, and ridiculous to deny it, it will be mean, ungenerous and base, to treat him in any manner beneath the distinction due to a public Envoy.
How much beyond the Line Marked out in a Letter to you, have
this Good Gentlemans Perigrinations Extended, before he “Retires to Learn to die."
But some need not, nor do others wait for such Favourable Circumstances to preceed the Grand Exit. The late sudden Death of a certain Great Officer at N'port is Matter of speculation here.1 Time must develope the Characters of Men, and unravel the Intrigues of princes, while the Innocent may Weep for the unfortunate and the Vulgar gaze at the fall of Greatness, as suddenly brought low as the Meanest of his own Class. But often a Coincidence of Circumstance may occasion the Vague suspition, and an imputation of Guilt may for a time light on the Head of those who least deserve it.
Happy is the Man who has Equanimity and Virtue enough to Govern the Reins of Ambition, and preventing the Furious Courser from Rushing into forbidden tracks, has true Greatness of soul to bear him above the Disappointments of Life, whither occasioned by the Common acidents of Time, or the Villany of others.
The political situation, the state of Commerce, and the Military opperations of your Country is a Field I dare not enter. they are subjects, too much above the Delineation of my pen. the state of parties, the Rapid Growth of Idolatry, the Worship of the pageant, the Mimic Greatness of Monarchy in Embrio, are too much below its Exertions to describe, nor will I for your sake even make the Attempt.
Mrs. Adams will not write by this Conveyance as it is an unexpected one by way of N'port, but she was well a few days since.
if a youth I have named before is in the same City with you, the highest mark of your Friendship will be that advice I know you sir to be capable of giving to the young and inexperienced stranger. Nor am I less confident of your Readiness to assist the Laudable Wishes of the son of your Friend, (if he deserves it,) by that influence which Flows from a polite and Generous Heart, and that he will not fail to make himself Worthy of your Warmest Recommendations, is the most Flattering hope of his Mother, who sub
scribes with the usual Respect and Esteem. But, sir, before she adds her Name, pray remind my young Friends, that all Health and Happiness is sincerely wished them by
Mr. Warren intends writing by the first opportunity from Boston, desires best Regards to yourself and Mr. Dana, nor is Mr. Thaxter forgoten by his American Friends.
Samuel AdamS TO JAMES WARREN
PHILADELPHIA, Novr. 18, 1780
Permit me, my dear Sir, with the most unfeigned Sincerity, to congratulate your Excellency on your Advancement to the Chair of Government in the State of Massachusetts Bay. It affords me inexpressible Pleasure to find that the Freemen of your State have been guided by their Judgment, their Gratitude and Regard for publick Virtue, to give their Suffrages for a Gentleman, who not only possesses sufficient Skill to regulate the political Wheels of Government, but has the Abilities and Disposition to draw forth all the Resources of that important State in Time of publick Danger and lead its Forces against the Common Enemy, with that Judgment and Bravery which must ensure Success.
As I ever supposd your Excellency would have no Rival for the Chair after your Constitution of Government was formed, my Surprize was beyond Description when I found that you had a Competitor for the Chief Magistracy; 1 who in times of publick Danger feard to venture upon the Stage, and whose after Conduct seems rather to have proceeded from fortunate Successes on our Side, than from the Result of Choice and Deliberation.
There are already in America, too many Persons possessing the most important Offices, who at the Commencement of the present Contest, when the Event was doubtful, used every Artifice to destroy that Theater upon which they now appear with so much Safety and Satisfaction. Though this may easily be accounted for, from the Principles which govern the human Heart, yet I confess, I am not able to decide upon the Conduct of those, who have from the earliest Period been high in their Professions, have condemnd the doubting, the timid and the I James Bowdoin.
neutral American, and yet use all their Influence to promote those very Persons, in opposition to others who have every Claim, that Principles of Gratitude and Patriotism can inspire to draw their Esteem and Influence. When I discover Conduct like this, I cannot help observing, that it is possible for some Men to possess the best of Principles for the most pernicious Purposes.
That your Excellency may long experience the Gratitude of a brave and generous People, equal to the Merit you have discoverd, both in publick and private Life, is the most fervent Wish of, dear Sir, Your Excellencys most obedient and most humble Servant.
His Excellency Gov. HANCOCK,
The foregoing is copied from a Letter signd JOHN SULLIVAN, publishd at New York in the Royal Gazzette extraordinary, printed by James Rivington Monday Decr. 18, 1780, and said to be a Copy from the original. The Design of the Writer seems to be merely to please a Great Man: That of the Publisher, partly to expose the Writer, but principally to sow the Seeds of Disgust in the Minds of some very respectable Citizens in this Common Wealth. I think Mr. Rivington could not have wishd for a fairer Opportunity, but I am satisfied, they have more Wisdom than to be caught in the Snare.
The Letter is written in the true Stile of modern Address; and it is a Pity it did not make its Appearance in public before; because as it is a perfect Model, it might have been of Use to others, from whom some Inaccuracies have escaped, by Means of their not having been Adepts in that Kind of writing. I have been told that he has frequently been addressed himself, and I am inclind to beleive it. The Effects are such as one might expect from a Man of his Cast. He who is easily susceptible of Flattery, will soon perswade himself that he is in Reality that Great Man which his Flatterers only meant to perswade him to think they believe him to be. He will be apt to suppose, that others will have the same exquisite Feelings by being flatterd, as he has had, and that they will conceive themselves as highly honord by it, as he conceives himself to be when others flatter him. Persons who relish Flattery, will for ever be deceivd by those who design to deceive them. He will therefore employ himself in the daubing Business as often as he can find suitable Subjects, and will colour in so fantastick a Manner, as to excite a Blush on the Cheek of any Man who has a Spark of Modesty. He will go on suffering himself to be deceivd, and deceiving others like himself, till he meets with him who only can be called the truly great Man, I mean the
Man of stern Virtue. Such a Man will never fail to frown when he is flatterd, and his Frowns are Death to the Sychophant.
This Writer pays no great Compliment to the People (indeed I imagine he did not intend it) in supposing that among them all, there could be but one esteemd qualified "to regulate the political Wheels of Government," as he expresses it, [illegible] however that he was mistaken. Two were actually in Nomination, and more were thought of by Men of great Judgment, Authority and Experience in publick Affairs. He is totally unacquainted with the Character of the People, as they are with his; nor does he know any thing of the Honourable Gentleman, whom he calls his Excellencys "Competitor," who, he says, "in time of publick Danger feard to venture upon the Stage, and whose after Conduct seems rather to have proceeded from fortunate Successes on our side, than from the Result of Choice and deliberation." I am also ready to presume, that he is not fully acquainted with the Person whom he takes upon himself so freely to address. He ought to have supposd that his Excellency would not have been well pleasd with a fulsome Compliment paid to himself, at the Expence of one of the best Characters in the State. But when men will flatter, they run a tilt with Honor, Justice and Truth, and if their Flattery takes, they feel no Remorse. The Gentleman whom he has attackd, was long before he paddled out of obscurity one of the Helmsmen of the Ship of the State; was markd by Bernard and Hutchinson as a Champion for American Liberty, was negatived by them repeatedly, by express Order of the British Ministry, when he had the full Voice of his Country for a Councillor; continued in the high Esteem of his fellow Citizens, till the Royal Government was dissolvd by Common Consent, when the opportunity offerd, for him to take a Seat which had so long been prevented by the Governor. This he did, at Watertown, while the Enemy were in Boston. A Time, which Men, perhaps less brave, but perhaps however, of more solid Judgment than the Letter writer, thought to be a "Time of publick Danger." He remaind a "He Member of that Board, till every Body saw his Health was in so bad a State as no longer to allow of it. He therefore resignd his Seat; a Circumstance, which, though all judgd necessary, was regretted by all. He has since however, sustaind the honorable Places of President of that much revered Body who formd the Constitution, and President of the Council of the State and he is at this time President of the American Society of Arts and Sciences in Massachusetts. How little are the Great Characters in this Revolution known, to those who were not the earliest in the virtuous Conflict!