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unanimously chosen for such a Work, then I would wish him to have an Election as Delegate if he only tarries a Month upon it; the Election to be made after he is here.
As to Peace, I am persuaded the eastern Delegates have always been justly dubious of the reality of any honest Intentions in Britain, tho' we were sure France and Spain were willing to know our Sentiments about Newfoundland and the Floridas. I am pretty sure that what the Gazettes say of the Mediation of Spain being rejected is true. Mr. Adams has sent Word that he is coming with good News, and I am told that a Vessel is now in this River after a short Passage from Nantes. I will go to Congress and will not seal till I know whether I can tell you any Thing more explicitly.
I find no Letters or Intelligence. But shall probably give you a Confirmation by next post of what we are told authentically from Martinique. With much Esteem I am, Sir, Your humble Servant, JAMES LOVELL
[Endorsed:] I broke the Seal to tell that on the 28th of July at 15 Leagues from Boston in Latt 42 Mr. Adams was left in the Sensible 36 Guns with a Vessel of 24 and several of 14 and 16.
JOHN ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
MADAM, - A few days ago, I was favoured with your obliging Letter of 29 July, and am much obliged to the Gentleman who perswaded you to write, as well as to you, for complying with his Desire.
I shall never have so many Correspondents as to make me neglect the Letters of a Lady, whose Character I revere so much and whose Correspondence I prize so highly. I have had the Pleasure of two Letters, at Passy, both of which I very punctually answered, and should have answered all if they had been one hundred.
In Truth, Madam, I had very little Intelligence from America
during my Absence. Your Friend, was as usual my best Correspondent, among the Gent. From Congress I could obtain no Intelligence at all.
If I comprehend the Resolves you mention, I am not at a Loss for the Influence, that obtained them. A factious Demagogue, disappointed in his Views of Ambition and Avarice, assisted by, a numerous Band of mercantile Speculators in Contract with him, on both side[s] the Water, with a factious, foreign Minister, Consel, and Vice Consull, have forced up into Vegetation these Hotbed Plants, by the best opinion I can form.
I fear, Madam, we shall be much longer, distressed by Gamblers and Stockjobbers. I can see no End to it. Yet sometimes Things are ordered better than we can foresee.
The Follies and Frivolities of our Countrymen, are too Serious to be ridiculous. Time however, and the Perseverance of the few who now, disapprove them, may produce a Cure. We shall find, by and by, that those who corrupt our Symplicity, will be restrained. The Government, influenced chiefly by the Yeomanry will, after a little while, take Care of the Coxcombs and Coquettes. Our Calamities, I think, will not be greatly increased, altho they may be prolonged.
I join with you, most sincerely, Madam, in deploring the Loss of our great and excellent Friend Dr. Winthrop, for whose Name and Character I shall ever entertain the highest Veneration. The University, the State and the Republick of Letters, have all Cause to lament the Death of this able and amiable Man. I am with great Respect, and Esteem,
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARREN
BRAINTREE, Sept. 11, 1779
MY DEAR FRIEND, I was told in Boston that Mr. Avery1 and Mr. Wendell 2 had been proposed for Judges of the Inf[erio]r C[our]t for the County of Suffolk, in the Room of my Friend Pemberton.3
2 Oliver Wendell (1733-1818). 3 Samuel Pemberton had died August 21, 1779.
1 John Avery, died 1796.
I said not a Word, but since I have been at home, I have reflected upon this and altho these Gentlemen have amiable Characters I cannot think them so well qualified for this Place as Mr. Cranch,1 whose great Natural Abilities, and whose late Application to the Study of the Law and to public affairs, made him occur to my Mind. It is the first Time of my whole Life, that I recollect that I ever proposed a Relation of mine, for a Place, and I certainly should not have done it in this Case, if he had not, entirely without my knowledge untill my arrival, been brought into public View. If you think as I do, that the public will be as faithfully and ably served by such an Appointment, as by any other, and will mention it to Mr. Sever,2 who is acquainted with him, perhaps it may be proposed in Council. There is but one objection that I know of, and that is, he is my Brother. This may be enough. in haste yours,
JAMES WARREN TO JAMES LOVell
BOSTON, [December, 1779]
MY DEAR SIR, — Two Days ago recieved your kind favour of the 29th Novr. I am much obliged to you for your attention to my Reputation. I am not at all surpriz'd at the Arts of base men. I have seen so many of them during the Course of my Pilgrimage that they are become familiar, but in no way can they attack me with so little effect as by Imputations or Suggestions of Fraud or Negligence in my public Conduct. I entred into the Service of the Public from the purest Principles. I have serv'd them a great while; I have spent in that way the best Part of my Life, and sacrific'd my Interest. and now my Conscience bids me brave every attack upon my Integrity and assiduity, were my abilities equal to either, I would extend the Challenge. No Instance perhaps was ever mark'd with more malevolence, than that you have
I Richard Cranch (1726-1811), who had married a daughter of Rev. William Smith. 2 William Sever (1729-1809).
3 A letter from James Warren to Arthur Lee, September 17, 1779, is printed in Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, 11. 271.
given me a Copy of, and the Falsehood and Misrepresentation are equal to the malice. all these are so gross and the Improbability so glaring, that nothing but the manner of conveying the Information can entitle it to the attention of the marine Comtee or induce them to lay it before Congress on that Subject I need make no observations. I shall only say to you that whatever Notice is taken of it, the N[avy] B[oard] are ready for the severest Scrutiny. the N. B. have great merit, they have done nearly all the Business of your Navy, which is a full Evidence of their Diligence. their Integrity will appear on examination, and if I mistake not will shine in Proportion to the Strictness of the Scrutiny. We have done Business enough to earn a fortune and are now so far from making one that all the emoluments we have ever deriv'd from this Office have not paid our simple board, at the most moderate rate, without a Glass of Wine for ourselves or any Indulgence whatever. The Commissions mention'd in the anonymous Letter are groundless and ridiculous, and so indeed is the whole, unless what relates to Mr. Deshon's agency for the french at N. London which may be true or false, I know nothing about it. with Regard to the authors I have no difficulty about them, or the motives to this Business, the authors are, I think, displac'd officers and their Connections, and their motives are resentment and Revenge and the whole Process is in Character. but I forbear to take up your time or give you further Trouble on this Subject and only say, that if Congress at any time choose to appoint a better man in my room, I shall be glad to resign. I should have done it before for other reasons, if I had not attended to the requests of my Friends, for I really cannot afford to stay here unless Congress have increased our Salarys.
A great Dearth of foreign News has prevail'd here for a long time and our Impatience is severely tried on this Occasion, much was expected from the great military and naval operations in Europe, and we get nothing certain about them, a rumor prevails this morning that a vessel at Cape Ann from Martinico brings advice that the English and combin'd Fleets in Europe are call'd in, and that a treaty of Peace under the mediation of Russia was on foot. this is far from being certain, if it proves true it will have
a sudden and curious operation upon our Currency and commercial matters. our internal matters remain pretty much in their usual Situation. I suppose you are before now informed of the Election of all the members of Congress for this State, and of Genl. Ward in the room of Mr. Dana. I hear Genl. Hancock intends soon to set out for Congress that he may be able to return home early in the Spring.
The French Frigate that carried Mr. Adams has been spoke with seven Days after sailing, 200 Leagues to the Eastward, all well I hope she is now in France.
I beg my Compliments may be made to your Brethren, and particularly to my good Friend Mr. Gerry. I am your Friend and humble Servt.
ELBRIDGE GERRY TO JAMES WARREN
MY DEAR SIR, — It is a long Time since We have heard from our Friends eastward, and We impute it to the Severity of the Winter, but yesterday I received by the Post your agreable Favour of the 27th Decr., the Desire of which was increased by the Detention.
I should have been glad to have seen your Remarks on the anonymous Letter, but Mr Lovell informs me, he has not yet received them.
The Policy of America will succeed or fail in my Opinion, in proportion to her Exertions for establishing a Navy. I well remember that You was the first to promote it, and altho it was disapproved by some in Point of Time, the Benefit derived from the Measure has clearly manifested the Wisdom of it. the State of our Finances will check it's present Growth, but I doubt not that it will soon flourish, and that Time will suggest Improvements in the Arrangements and Regulations of the Boards that are appointed to cherish and conduct it. I am very sensible that the officers of these Departments have been poorly rewarded, and was lately of a Committee who reported that their present Salaries. should have a Retrospect to Novr. 1778, but the Subject is not yet