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Time Expected. The Regiments for Canada are raising fast. Coll. [John] Fellows raised a Regiment in Berkshire by Gen. Schuyler's Orders, and these are gone. I hope that wont Interfere with [Elisha] Porters getting his Regiment. I hear he goes on well. We yesterday proceeded to the Choice of Officers of Militia. Coll. Hancock was Unanimously Chose by the House the first Major General. I am glad to hear of the Arrival of so fine a parcel of Saltpetre at Philadelphia. I wish to hear more News of that kind. what the Movements of the Troops in Boston will be next I cant say. some things look as if they Intended to decamp from Boston, and I suppose move South if they do. I am glad General Lee is gone to York. I am glad you have done Lovel so much honour and justice.1 the General sent in the proposal Yesterday. I will read the Pamphlet you recommend as soon as I can get it and will then give you my Opinion of it. I am Obliged to Conclude and have only time to wish you all Happiness and am with respects to our Friends yours etc.
JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS 2
WATERTOWN, Feby. 14th, 1776
MY DEAR SIR, — I have neglected writeing to you by several Opportunities, prevented by various reasons, among others by the hurry attending the Close of a Sessions. we have been about riseing for a Week past, but new matters Continually pressing upon us has delayed it to this day. the design is to be up this Evening, but I suspect the same Cause will delay us one day longer. I have just left the House, being very unwell. I Intend to set out for Home in the Morning, if I feel any ways fit for a journey. I have Endeavoured to get the Pamphlet you mentioned, but have not succeeded. I have not had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Adams and cant learn what the Title is. however, I Conjecture it may be Common Sense, which I have seen, and am (I dare say you will believe) among the many Admirers of it and therefore shant blame you on Account of its differing from my Sentiments. the Sentiments, the principles, and the whole Book are prodigiously admired here by the best Judges. Doctor Winthrop and Major Hawley are charmed with it. we three should certainly vote for a declaration of Independence without delay, being fully Convinced of the Advantage and necessity of it. what can prevail with the Congress to hesitate, when will the Time and Circumstances more proper arrive; can they ever; I dread the postponeing
I Journals of the Continental Congress, IV. 32.
2 From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
this step and I dread [it] the more because I find the House of Lords have got before them your Petition. if they accept your offers and close with you on your own Terms, how are you to get clear of it. and if you cant where shall we be and what shall we do next; then certainly we shall not be in so good a Situation for such a Measure as now. besides Spring is almost arrived, when we shall want every aid and every Advantage. therefore Guard against the Embarrassments that may be the Consequence of Treating and proposals of reconciliation by takeing a Step in its nature, and I hope in your Intention, as unalterable as the Laws of the Meeds, etc. I wish I could give you any thing pleasing, or even new, but there is a perfect dearth of News here. no military Operations on our side have yet taken place. the General is yet in want of powder sufficient to Enable him to Undertake any thing of Consequence. last Night a detachment of the Enemy got on Dorchester Hill, Burnt several Buildings, and took four or five prisoners, and then retreated without any loss. I cant Ascertain the perticulars of this Affair, which tho' not great is somewhat Mortifying. no prizes lately taken. we have ordered a Committee to furnish you with our Journals and Acts as fast as they are printed, by which you will be able to form some Judgment how we spend our Time. the Reinforcement of the Army by our Militia is more than equal to my Expectations and I believe equal to the call for them. I hope to hear from you soon. where is your fleet. my regards to Mr. J. Adams and Gerry, and Coll. Hancock. I shall write to Mr. Adams by first Opportunity. I cant add more this Evening but that I am your Friend.
I am directed by the House to desire our delegates to furnish us with three or four sets of the printed Journals of your August Body. I have lost the Vote or would Inclose it.
We have not surmounted all our difficulties in forming the Militia by Compleating the Bill. the House chose Coll. Hancock the first, your Humble Servant the Second and Coll. [Azor] Orne the third Major Generals. the Board nonconcurred the second, because they think, as they say, the Choice militates with a Clause in the Act, forgetting it did as much so with the Choice of several of their Honours, as military Officers, Brigadiers, etc. the Vote by means of the nonconcurrence is again before us. I am unable to say what the House will do with it. Orne refuses. Coll. Hancock is objected to as being unable to attend, etc. it lays for the present and will till next Session. Thompson for Cumberland is among the Brigadiers and concurred, and gives much uneasiness in that County, and I suppose some others will in others. I am glad to be out of the List, but the Council have done it in a manner as ungracious and Indelicate as
Bernard or Hutchinson would have done; for which reason I have serious thoughts of quiting my civil commission and [illegible] an Independent [illegible] Saltpetre comes in finely and we have given Encouragement to Build two more powder mills.
JAMES WARREN to Samuel Adams 1
PLYMO., Feby. 28th, 1776
MY DEAR SIR, — I have been at Home near a fortnight and dureing the whole time have been very Ill and am so yet. I can only Inclose you a Letter from London which came this Evening to my hands in the Shattered Condition you will find it, having narrowly Escaped the flames to which it was Committed with a large Number of others to Escape the Inspection of the Pirates in the Channel and was saved with one other for the General and one for Doctor Franklin by the Assiduity of Mr. Furnace who was a Passenger on Board and who Informs me that thirtynine Commissioners are comeing out to treat with the several Colonies, three to each. they are to disown your Authority. this policy is as flimsy as the rest of their Conduct. do take Care that they all give the same Answer that is, refer them to you. Adeu.
JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS 2
WATERTOWN, May 2, 1776
MY DEAR SIR, -No Abatement of Affection or Inclination to Correspond with my much Esteemed Friend, but want of Health, and Consequently Spirits, Joined to the few Occurrences that take place here of late, are the true reasons that I have wrote so seldom to you. I am much obliged to you for your agreable favour of April 16.3 I perfectly agree with you in the sentiments there Expressed. it is really surpriseing to me that a matter of so great Consequence should be delayed so long. G. Britain is Engageing Hessians, Hanoverians and all the powers of Earth and Hell they can against us, and we delay the only measure that would determine any one Power to Act a part favourable to us. it may be said that your late Resolves with regard to armed Vessels and Trade may be considered as such. it is true they seem to be connected with a declaration of Independence, [but] seem rather a consequence than a prior Step.
I From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
that declaration should therefore be Explicitly made first and these following would have Evinced our determination to act such a part as would Intitle us to the Confidence of other Nations. I hope, however, the wisdom of Congress will steer things in such a Channel as at least to make a diversion in our favour in Europe. surely the favourable Opportunity the Enemies of Britain have while their strength is thus Employed abroad in the ridiculous manner it is will not fail to be Embraced. Our Eyes are upon Heaven and you. what shall I say to you about your dear Colony. Things look rather dull and gloomy here. The Troops left here are too few in my Opinion and want that Animation necessary to make them serviceable. in Consequence of it little has been done, I mean Comparatively, to fortify the Town of Boston. six weeks are elapsed and not so much done as you would have Expected in two. however, they are now in a way to do something. Fort Hill in a tolerable state of defence; some very good works at Charlestown, Dorchester, and others going on at Castle Island. to aid this Business we have been obliged to call in some six Coast men, to Hire others by the month, and to order a Regiment of 728 men to be raised. this last goes on heavily. what the reasons are I am not able to say, but it alarms me much to find this Colony already Involved in any difficulty to raise one Regiment, when I think the Encouragement is good. our Politicians in General Court have been Engaged too much in small Innovations of our Internal Police, such as Confession Bills, Fee Bills, etc., which do not relate to the grand Question, which is Extensive enough to Employ the most Enlarged Genius and Employ all our Time. is not this like picking up pins while the Ship is sinking. thus far have I wrote, but was Interrupted by Company. shall be able to add only.
May 3d. This Morning 3 o Clock I was called up by an Express who brought the Inclosed. the hurry this occasions will save you a longer letter. I always Apprehended they would not leave Boston. you will be able to make your own Judgment on this matter, and I dare say the Congress will Conduct on this Occasion with their usual Wisdom. I presume as soon as the Court can be Collected this morning they will send Expresses to General Washington, etc., perhaps not to Congress, supposeing you will have it from him.1 I am Dear Sir with proper regards to all Friends yours sincerely.
I believe you will want a Paymaster in your Eastern department. I am sure you want money here. Your Service is much Injured by the Soldiers not haveing their pay according to Engagements. I am Concerned for the 1 Writings of Washington (Ford), iv. 67n.
publick Credit and I am sure it is good policy to have your Bills in as many hands as they are due to.
JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS 1
BOSTON, August 15, 1776
MY DEAR SIR, I have not wrote to you since you have been a Member of a free and Independent State. I must, therefore, first Congratulate you on an Event which, I presume, is as agreeable to you as any that could take place. I wish you may live and Enjoy it in full health many Years. I want to know what you are about now. how goes on the Confederation, foreign Alliances and some other great matters. I seem to think that they will (now your declaration is made) go on more smoothly than before. I wish I could give you anything of Consequence from here, but what you are already informed of. Our Attention is turned to the Motions of the Armies at New York and we are with anxious Solicitude every day Expecting great Events. I hope when they come they will be favourable to us.
The Spirit of Privateering prevails here greatly. the Success of those that have before Engaged in that Business has been sufficient to make a whole Country privateering mad. many kinds of West india Goods that we used to be told we should suffer for want of, are now plentier and cheaper than I have known them for many Years.
An Opinion prevails here, and I think now without foundation, that the Hessians will not fight till a Carteel for the Exchange of Prisoners is settled. would it not therefore be Excellent policy to refuse to settle one that should Include them. You will have heard of the Reception and polite Treatment Lord Howe gave Mr. Tracey when he went on Board his Ship to get an Exchange of Prisoners, for the purpose of geting his Brother and Crew from Hallifax.2 he must have had some views more than politeness or Benevolence dictated, or he never would have Conversed with him as he did. it was really a piece of finesse. I am not in a Condition to write this Morning nor should I have done it, but after so long a silence to tell you that my Esteem and regard for my Friend Mr. Adams is as great as ever and to Express my Concern for your Health. I am sorry to hear it is declineing, tho I cant wonder at it. such long and Intense Application in a place so unhealthy must be too much for a firmer
I From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
2 The privateer Yankee Hero, of Newburyport, James Tracy, commander, was taken in June, 1776, by the British ship Milford. The prisoners were brought to Marblehead in December, 1776. The brother's name was Robert Tracy.