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JAMES WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
MILTON, October 27th, 1783
DEAR SIR, Your Favours of the 20th and 21st of March, and the 9th, 12th, 13th and 16th of April, have come safe to Hand, but did not reach me till this Month, and found me on this Hill, at Work among my Potatoes, instead of being in Congress "at the great Wheel." Nor do I regret this on my own Account. I am quite contented with a private life, and my Ambition is quite satisfied by excelling in the perfection of my Composts, the Culture of my Lands, and in the Quality and Abundance of my Crops; but I own I sometimes wish to be at the Wheel to serve my Country, and to support her Friends, and my Own, who I am happy to say are always the same, and never more than since I receiv'd your Letters, for though my Ideas with regard to the Politicks and Conduct of the French Court, were in general right before, you have certainly given me some new Ones with regard to the Folly of our Own. from this Folly (by which I mean not only Weakness but Corruption) has proceeded all the Difficulties, Embarrassments, Neglects, and even Insults that you, and other honest Men have suffer'd, and the Dangers this Country has been expos'd to, and from which it has by the Vigilance, Industry, and Ability of a Few been rescued with Difficulty. The Foreign Influence (or the French and Frankleian Politicks) which produces all this is very extensive, and very strong, the Traits of it are to be seen every where, in Boston as well as Philadelphia, but to be sure the last is the Place where the Focus is collected, and where it operates with its greatest Force. An honest Young Gentleman sent there to represent his Country, and who feels and resents with Spirit its Injuries, in a Fortnight will be soften'd, and in another Week become quite Tame and Compliant. Louisdores must have a Share in such wonderful Conversions, and I think I can observe the Effects of them at Boston. I am told that Congress since they left Philadelphia have acted with more Freedom than before, it is to be wish'd they may never return. This Influence is greatly strengthened by an Union with those who wish to Establish an Oligarchy, and who have nearly effected it. these play into each
others Hands, and by their joint Efforts bear down all Opposition. Morris is a King, and more than a King. He has the Keys of the Treasury at his Command, Appropriates Money as he pleases, and every Body must look up to him for Justice and for Favour. When Wilson1 succeeds as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fitzwilliams 2 is at the Head of the Marine, and a Suitable Person succeeds Gen'l Lincoln, who has resign'd the War Department,3 when he shall say what Number of Troops shall be kept up, and have an Host of New Placemen to collect an Impost Mortgaged for Twenty-five Years, he will have us all in his Pocket; It is this Alliance that makes me tremble, the Foreign Influence might be destroy'd, or be discourag'd by the Expence, or ballanc'd by Ministers from other Courts, especially from Britain, but if this Oligarchal System is not Annihilated, I think our Liberties must be. You will be able to Judge from all this what an Influence Money and Fortune give a Man in this Country, especially when you recollect the Character you have heard given of this Man, and his Abilities; and you will no longer wonder at the want of Intelligence, because much is to be done to accommodate Matters to their System before it is given. This will account for the Revocation of the Commission for a Treaty of Commerce, however fatal it may probably prove to the Interests of our Country, for the wrong Sentiments prevailing with regard to Commerce, and for the Plan of a Monopoly now subsisting in Favour of France our disinterested and generous Ally; for the Obstructions to your Negotiations in Holland: for your Instructions at different Times, and why no Appointment has been made to the Court of Great Britain, and for the ill Conduct of our Foreign Affairs in All respects. No Appointment is yet made to the Court of Britain, because your Character and Conduct is so unexceptionable and good in the Eyes of all honest Men, and the People in General, that they dare not yet treat you with that Neglect that is consistent with their Views, and yet they can't wish to have you the Man. thus they Jockey, and Play into each others Hands, and
I James Wilson (1742-1798).
2 Probably Thomas Fitzsimons (1741-1811) is intended.
3 Lincoln's resignation was accepted by Congress October 29.
gratify the Court and the Doctor. I sincerely with all the Ardour of Friendship and Patriotism lament your want of Health, and Support. I have pray'd for your Health, and done all in my Power in my small Circle to give you Support, and have very good Reasons why I have not given it in a Place where it might have been more Efficacious. I could not go to Congress immediately on my Election which was out of Season, and Unexpected, and before I had an Opportunity I was prevented by Sickness.
What shall I say about your coming Home? You know that as a Friend I wish to see you. Your Country wants you here. Your Family would be happy to have you return. But where and in what Situation should we have been if you and Mr. Jay had not been in Europe? When I form an Idea of it I feel like a Man that has had a Hair-Breadth Escape from a Precipice. Your Delineation of the Character and Views of a Young Nobleman is exceedingly Just, and shews in a convincing Light the wrong policy of our Country in their Instructions, even if it could possibly be good Policy to let down and humble their Ministers; After all I don't know that I detest any Character more than that of the Old Man, who is, as you might expect your determin'd Enemy. You will before this reaches you get a paragraph of one of his Letters, which if you should by an Interval be in possession of your right Mind will put the Matter out of Doubt; How long will he live? and if he lives how long can he be able to preserve the good Opinion and Confidence of his Country? The Bubble must burst soon, or Mankind are more lost to Sentiment and Virtue, than I can suppose. I wish instead of being a Door-Keeper for three or four Days you could be on a Seat in Congress, and have a full Swing in developing the Character and Conduct of this Man, and descanting on the false Politicks of your Country. I should like to be your Colleague.
With regard to the State of our particular Affairs, Government here is in the same Hands. Our Delegates are Gerry, Partridge, Osgood, Sullivan and Danielson - the Wisdom of our Legislature have left out Holton and Higginson two very good and uncorrupt Men for the sake of the two last. The great Political Object that now engages the Contemplation of the Continent is the Support of Publick Credit, and it is indeed an Object worthy their serious
Deliberations, and should be done. The Financier proposes an Impost as Part of the Plan. Congress have recommended it by their Act. Our Assembly in the present Session have again pass'd it, but by a small Majority of only three in the House of Representatives, this is favorable to the System I have describ'd. I don't like it because I think it injurious to Commerce, and dangerous to Publick Liberty, and because I think a more safe, sure, and easy Way may be devis'd for doing it. I am, sincerely Your Friend and most Humble Servant, J. WARREN
New-York is still possess'd by the Enemy. the Want of Transports and the Safety of the Loyalists have been the pretences for delaying the Evacuation, but I think they are now seriously providing for it, and I believe it will be done soon. Great Quantities of European Goods have since the Peace pour'd in upon us from every Quarter, and most of them in Foreign Bottoms; but the miserable Market they have come to, must discourage them in future, and perhaps work a Cure for the Evil, and leave us to import for ourselves, and on our own Bottoms. The Abundance of fine Things have however destroyed the Ideas of Frugality which Necessity had before given, and drain'd us of our Money - how a sufficiency has been found to purchase what has been brought us, is beyond my Comprehension. Our Fisheries the last Season have for want of Vessels been very inconsiderable, but growing fast into Importance; I suppose the Manufactory of Pot, and Pearl Ashes will soon recover their former Perfection, and that the Quantities of Flax Seed will this Year be considerable. Some Emigrations from the Old Countries, chiefly from Ireland have been made to the Southern States, but none have arriv'd here, which I wonder at; a Moderate Proportion would be serviceable, we want Labourers, and we want Occupiers for some of our Vacant Lands. I don't like the predilection they shew in favour of the Southern States. The immense Territory acquir'd by the Treaty of Peace, and the ample Provision for the Extent and Security of our Fishery gratify the most sanguine Wishes of your Friends, while your Enemies dare not deny that we are under Providence indebted to you for these great Acquisitions.
JAMES WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
MILTON, November 15th, 1783
MY DEAR SIR, Since my last which went in a French Brigantine by way of Nantes, Copy of which you have above, Nothing Material has taken place, except a Resolution of Congress to erect Buildings and to reside alternately on the Delaware and Potowmack, and in the mean Time, they have adjourn'd to Annapolis on the 12th Instant. this is consider'd by the Patriots as a Triumph. Our Friend Gerry thinks the Measure will have Beneficial, and Extensive, Consequences, and particularly that it will strengthen the Union, and Confidence of the Southern and Northern States; It will at least embarrass those Measures which had been so successful while Congress sat at Philadelphia, and which would have been fully executed had it return'd there again. The last Ships from London bring us Advices that the definitive Treaty was sign'd the beginning of September but no Official Account is yet arriv'd, nor do we hear any Thing of the Commercial Treaty. I can suppose that many Difficulties attend that Business. Mr. Temple who goes for England and designs to go also to France takes this, and will hand or forward it to you. I think he has been used here very hardly. Our Gr and his Tools have been the Immediate Actors. whether their Conduct Originated from their Own little, narrow Policy, or is deriv'd from a higher Source I don't know for my Part I have not a Single Reason to suppose he ever did, or ever wished to injure this Country, and he certainly has done it Service in some Instances, and for some Cause or other has suffer'd greatly. You will probably see him, and hear his Account of the whole Matter; 1 His principal Views in going to Europe are to endeavour to get from the present Ministry some compensation for the Losses he sustain'd by a former Administration, and to see and bring Dr. Franklin to an explicit Declaration with respect to the Letters; I wish him Success in both. If it be convenient for you to give him any Assistance, you will in my Opinion do Service to an honest Man, and oblige those who think
I Temple's case was set forth by himself in two papers described in Collections, LXXV. 2344, 2353.