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JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS 1
BOSTON, June 16th, 1777
MY DEAR SIR, It is now a long time since I have had a Line from you, so long that I cant recollect the Time when I received the last. if I was given to Jealousy I might perhaps suppose you Inclined to drop the Correspondence. I have wrote three or four to you since I received one from you. I saw Mrs. Adams a few days ago and Complained to her. she Excuses you and finds many reasons - Multiplicity of Business, etc. I believe it true and wonder you can write so much as you do. I want, however, to hear how your Confederation goes on and what the state of your foreign Intelligence. as to us the Regulateing Act (which by the way your dear Town had no small hand in at first) has bro't us into a sad Hobble. we seem not to know how to go forward or backward. at the same time a favourer of it acknowledges the difficulty, if not Impossibility, of Executeing it. he cant think of repealing it. the principle Objection made is the Influence it will have on our Army, but, I believe, as true a reason is an Increasing Animosity between Town and Country. they are both to blame, which most I shant determine. the Conduct of the Town has certainly been very versatile and Impolitic. they could not have Injured their own Interest more than they did by their last Instructions.2 we all see the want of their old pilots. but I wont forsake them, or give you any further pain on that subject. I am inclined to think we shall in a little time get right again. the Repealing the Act, the Source of Ill will and every evil work, Encourageing a free Trade and the Arrival of a Number of prizes will regulate better than any Act we can make. last Saturday we had four Brigantines comeing up at once, two of them from Bilboa and two of them prizes, all with valuable Cargoes. and yesterday we had an Account of the Arrival of a prize at the Eastward with salt, Linnens and twenty Tons of Cordage, and also of the Arrival of a Brigantine (sent out by the Board of War) from France with 108 Chests Arms, 100 bbl. powder, a quantity of Lead, flints, steel, files, etc., etc. this is an Important Arrival for us. I am obliged to write in a great hurry this morning, or should perhaps have been a little more Correct, and much longer, as I have much to say and many Enquiries to make. I wish you every Happiness and am, as usual, your sincere Friend. [No signature.]
I From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
JAMES WARREN to Samuel Adams 1
BOSTON, Augt. 7th, 1777
MY DEAR SIR, - I had the pleasure of yours of the 22d July last Night by the Post. I have before received several of your favours which I have not yet acknowledged, perticularly by Coll. Whipple, but had the misfortune not to see him being absent from this Town when he went through it. so have lost the Advantages I might have derived from a Conversation with him. the Letters you mention per. Capt. Collins I have not received. you will please to let me know who he is and when he came this way. the return you furnished me with of the Northward Army is nearly Conformable in Numbers to the Ideas I had of them. I have been from the beginning persuaded that there were at that post not less than 5000 Men, and it is to me a Mystery why there were not more there. I think I can reckon up 3500 men in the seven Battalions from this State who must have been there, or there must have been great Negligence in the officers, and it is said that the Hampshire Battalions Contained more than 2000 — A Number sufficient I should suppose to have defended a place an Army has been so long fortifying and reputed so strong against 20,000 Men. Nothing can Justify the Evacuation but a deficiency and weakness in all respects equal to the Representation Genl. St. Clair makes. This Movement has raised a general Clamour in the Country and has every where Excited Indignation and distrust, and in many fearful Apprehensions that do our Cause no good. we Continue to have Alarming Accounts of the progress of the Enemy in that quarter and have pressing requisitions from Genl. Schuyler for reinforcements of the Militia. one-sixth of the County of Worcester and numbers from Berkshire, etc., are gone. we have voted 2000 more and made an Establishment for them to remain to the last of November, but the Militia has been so harrassed by frequent drafts and there is such a want of Confidence in your Commanders that way, that I fear we shall get them with difficulty. we have been in Expectation of a Visit this way and this Town was one day in great Confusion; but they have not yet Arrived. we are last Night Informed that they are landed below you. they seem to have a great Affection for visiting the Congress. I hope they will be properly received there. I am obliged to write in Extreem haste this morning, being now Called to go down the harbour as one of a Committee to view the fortifications. the Company and Boat wait while I scribble this to you. I must therefore omit many things I have to say about the Form of
I From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
our Government here, or your Confederation at Congress, etc., and Conclude with Assurances of regard and Friendship and am yours, etc.
My regards to our Friends. Manly, you will hear, is taken. you have lost a fine frigate.
HANNAH WINTHROP TO MERCY WARREN
It is not a great while since I wrote my dear Friend on my disappointment in not paying her a Visit. Now methinks I hear her wondring how it is with her Cambridge Friends, who are at this time delugd with British and Hessian, what shall I call them? who are Prancing and Patrolling every Corner of the Town, ornamented with their glittering side arms, Weapons of distruction. A short detail of our Situation may perhaps amuse you. You will be able to form a judgment of our unhappy Circumstances.
Last thursday, which was a very stormy day, a large number of British Troops came softly thro the Town via Watertown to Prospect hill. on Friday we heard the Hessians were to make a Procession in the same rout, we thot we should have nothing to do with them, but View them as they Passt. To be sure the sight was truly astonishing. I never had the least Idea that the Creation producd such a sordid set of creatures in human Figure- poor, dirty, emaciated men, great numbers of women, who seemd to be the beasts of burthen, having a bushel basket on their back, by which they were bent double, the contents seemd to be Pots and Kettles, various sorts of Furniture, children peeping thro' gridirons and other utensils, some very young Infants who were born on the road, the women bare feet, cloathd in dirty raggs, such effluvia filld the air while they were passing, had they not been smoaking all the time, I should have been apprehensive of being contaminated by them. After a noble looking advancd Guard Gen. Jy B[urgoy]n headed this terrible group on horseback. The other G[enera]l also, cloathd in Blue Cloaks. Hessians, Anspachers, Brunswickers, etc., etc., etc., followed on. The Hessian G[enera]l gave us a Polite Bow as they Passd. Not so the British. their Baggage Waggons drawn by poor half starvd horses. But to bring up the rear, another fine Noble looking Guard of American Brawny Victorious Yeomanry, who assisted in bringing these sons of slavery to terms, some of our Waggons drawn by fat oxen, driven by joyous looking Yankees closd the cavalcade. The Generals and other Officers went to Bradishs, where they Quarter at present. The Privates trudgd thro
thick and thin to the hills, where we thot they were to be confind, but what was our Surprise when in the morning we beheld an inundation of those disagreable objects filling our streets! How mortifying is it? they in a manner demanding our Houses and Colleges for their genteel accommodation. Did the brave G Gates ever mean this? Did our Legislature ever intend the military should prevail above the Civil? is there not a degree of unkindness in loading poor Cambridge, almost ruined before this great army seem[d] to be let loose upon us, and what will be the Consequence time will discover.
Some Polite ones say, we ought not to look on them as Prisoners. they are persons of distinguished rank. perhaps too we must not view them in the light of enemys. I fear this distinction will be soon lost. Surpriseing that our G[enera]l or any of our C[olone]ls should insist on the first University in America being disbanded for their more genteel accomodation, and we poor oppressed people seek an Asylum in the woods against a piercing Winter.
where is the stern Virtue of an A[dam]s who opposd such an infraction in former days? Who is there to plead our Cause? Pity, Pity, it is our Assembly had not settled these matters before their adjournment. It will be vastly more difficult to abridg them after such an unbounded Licence. perhaps you may see some of them at Plimouth. for my part I think, insult Famine and a Train of evils present to View. G[enera]l B[urgoy]n dind a Saterday in Boston with G[enera]l H[eat]h. He rode thro the Town properly attended down Court Street and thro the Main Street, and on his return walkt on foot to Charlestown Ferry Followd by a great Number of Spectators as ever attended a pope and generously observd to an officer with him the Decent and modest behavior of the inhabitants as he passd, saying if he had been conducting Prisoners through the City of London, not all the Guards of Majesty could have prevented Insults. He likewise acknowledges Lincoln and Arnold to be great Generals. It is said we shall have not less than seven thousand persons to feed in Cambridge and its environs, more than its inhabitants. Two hundred and fifty cord of wood will not serve them a week. think then how we must be distrest. wood is risen to £5.10 pr.Cord and but little to be purchasd. I never thought I could lie down to sleep surrounded by these enemies. but we strangely become enured to those things which appear difficult when distant.
While I am writing a Neighbor comes in with an enlivened Countenance to tell us G[enera]l How has Surrenderd to G[enera]l Washington, but can we suffer ourselves to believe Providence will so marvelously appear for us? Ah the Events of Battles are so Precarious we dare not indulge the thought till it is confirmd by the best authority. my Partner
joyns me in the sincerest regards to General Warren and Lady, and as you must be tird by this time of my chit chat, allow me to subscribe Ever yours
Cambridge, Novr. 11th, 1777.
P.S. G[enera]l B[urgoy]n has repeated said he was convincd it was impossible Great Britain should ever subdue America. he therefore wishd a Union might take place that would never be broken and that he might get home soon to prevent any more attempts that way.
If you like anecdotes I will give you one more. When G[enera]l Phillips was travelling thro the back of Albany, where it is very rocky and barren, he expressd his Astonishment that they should ever cross the Atlantic and go thro such difficulty to conquer so unfavorable a Country which would not be worth a keeping when conquered. when they came upon the fertile banks of Connecticut river G[enera]] Whipple said to him, This is the Country which we are fighting for. Ah, replyd the G[enera]l. This is a country worth a Ten Years war.
We hear no Parole signd yet.