Thursday, June 15, 2006

Letters.....

"My dear sir Phil,
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Sept. 25th 1774
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I wrote you yesterday by the Post. A frequent Communication at this critical Conjuncture is necessary. As the all important American Cause so much depends upon each Colony acting agreably to the Sentiments of the whole it must be useful to you to know the Senti- ments which are entertaind here of the Temper and Conduct of our Province. Heretofore we have been accounted by many, intemperate and rash; but now we are universally applauded as cool and judicious as well as Spirited and brave. This is the Character we sustain in Congress. There is however a certain Degree of Jealousy in the Minds of some that we aim at total Independency not only of the Mother Country but of the Colonies too: and that as we are a hardy and brave People we shall in time over run them all. However groundless this Jealousy may be, it ought to be attended to, and is of Weight in your Deliberations on the Subject of your last Letter. I spent yesterday Afternoon and Evening with Mr. Dickinson. He is a true Bostonian. It is his opinion that if Boston can safely remain on the defensive the Liberties of America which that Town have so nobly contended for will be secured. The Congress have in their resolve of the 17 Instant given their Sanction to the Resolutions of the County of Suffolk (1).--One of which is to act merely upon the defensive so long as such Conduct may be justified by Reason & the principles of Self preservation, but no longer. They have great Dependence upon your tryed Patience and fortitude. They suppose you mean to defend your civil Constitution. They strongly recommend Perseverance in a firm & temperate Conduct and give you a full pledge of their united Efforts in your Behalf. They have not yet come to final resolutions. It becomes them to be deliberate, I have been assured in private Conversation with Individuals that if you should be driven to the Necessity of acting in Defence of your Lives or Liberty, you would be justified by their Constituents and openly supported by all Means in their power but whether they will ever be prevaild upon to think it necessary for you to set up another form of Government, I very much question for the Reason I have before suggested. It is of the greatest Importance that the American opposition should be united, and that it should be conducted so as to concur with the opposition of our friends in England. Adieu."
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FC (NN). Unsigned draft in the hand of Samuel Adams; recipient designated in Adams, Writings (Cushing), 3:157.1 JCC, 1:39-40.
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Samuel Adams to Thomas Young

My dear Sir
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Philadelphia Octob [17?] 1774
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I have receivd your (1) favors of 29th Sept and 11th Instant, the latter of which is just come to hand. The affidavit inclosed confirms the report in Boston about the begining of July, of a Mans being seizd by the Soldiery, put under Guard & finally sent to England. But what Remedy can the poor injurd Fellow obtain in his own Country where inter Arma silent Leges! I have written to our Friends to provide themselves without Delay with arms & Ammunition, get well instructed in the military Art, embody themselves & prepare a complete Set of Rules that they may be ready in Case they are called to defend themselves against the violent Attacks of Despotism. Surely the Laws of Self Preservation will warrant it in this Time of Danger & doubtful Expectation. One cannot be certain that a distracted Minister will yield to the Measures taken by the Congress, though they should operate the Ruin of the National Trade, until he shall have made further Efforts to lay America, as he impiously expressd it "prostrate at his Feet."I believe you will have seen before this reaches you, some further Resolves of the Congress relative to my native Town & Province together with a Letter to Gage.(2) They were sent to the Committee of Correspondence in Boston by Mr Revere who left us a Week ago, and I Suppose are or will be publishd in the papers. You will therein see the sense of the Gentlemen here of the Conduct of the General and the "dignified Scoundrels," and of the opposition made to the tyrannical Acts. I think our Countrymen discover the Spirit of Rome or Sparta. I admire in them that Patience which you have often heard me say is characteristick of the Patriot. I regretted your Removal from Boston when you first informd me of it, but I trust it will be for the publick Advantage. Wherever you may be I am very sure you will improve your ten Talents for the publick Good. I pray God to direct and reward you.I am with due regard to Mrs Young,
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affectionately yours
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Saml Adams
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FC (NN). Day blank in the MS, but dated the 17th in Adams, Writings (Cushing), 3: 162-63. Paul Revere, who according to Adams "left us a Week ago," departed Philadelphia October 11.
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Samuel Ward to Henry Ward

Dear Bror.

Philadela. 31st Decr. 1775

You Favor of l9th I could not acknowledge by the Return of the Post. I think with You that our Declaration of Retaliation was very proper but that we may go further & believe We shall. Genl. Washington has sent a very spirited Message to Genl. Howe relative to Colo. Allen taken at Montreal; as I recollect his Words are "Whatever may be his Treatment, whatever his Fate, such exactly shall be that of Brigadier General Preston whom We now have in our Power."
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The Virginians have at length done bravely. They have defeated Lord Dunmore, killed & taken 62 Grenadiers, their Capn. one of them, and several other privates & forced him to fly on board his Ships. The Congress has taken proper measures for the Defence of the Colony which will soon be carried into Execution.
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I am clear with you that our Salvation depends upon effectually supporting the Dignity, Importance & decisive Authority of Congress. How far increasing their Number would answer that Salutary Purpose I have not time to consider at present, our Number is now sixty five, seldom fifty are present, often less than forty. May not the additional Number you propose support by their Infiuence in their several Colonies the Autho[rit]y of Congress more effectually in Person upon the Spot than when abroad by Letters, surely they may as Difficulties & Disorders arise apply proper Remedies and crush those things perhaps in embrio which in time would become very troublesome and dangerous.
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The Plan of Union I agree ought to be setled this Winter but the Terms you propose I dont like. You say Representation ought to be as equal as possible. Agreed, but what is to be represented-not the Individuals of a particular Community but several States, Colonies or Bodies corporate. All Writers agree that a Nation is to be considered as one Person, one moral accountable Person having a Will of its own &c. Your Proposition allows to the larger Colonies several Wills & to the smaller not one, that is not one entire or compleat Will, & thereby makes the smaller wholly dependent on the larger; but You say Justice requires that the larger Colonies having a great number of Inhabitants & a greater Share of Property should have a proportionably greater Share of Representation. Let us see how the Doctrine will apply to individuals. One Man hath a numerous Family & is possessed of a large Estate, another has only a small Family & a little Estate. Is not the Life, the Family, Liberty & Property of the poor man being his all of as much Importance to and as dear to him as the larger all of the rich Man. Most clearly they are, surely then he may be equally intrusted with the Care of that all, and Justice cannot require that he should be deprived of any Part of the Means of self Preservation that they may be transfered to another and yet if you allow to one of them a single Voice, to the other two or three Voices, You certainly (selfish as people in general are) deprive one of the Means of Self Preservation or defence and put him wholly in the Power of the other. Do not the numerous Family & Fortune of the one give him suflicient Weight 8c Influence, surely they do, he can have no Right to more, the Laws have therefore wisely given to the Man of a fixed moderate Estate an equal Voice with him who is worth a hundred Times as much. Again Towns & Counties are of different Dimensions, contain different Numbers of Inhabitants & various Degrees of Wealth & yet you allow them nearly an equal Degree of Representation. I observed this to the Virginians & asked why they would risque the Introduction of a System of Equality in the States of America which they found impracticable even in a single Colony. Besides the present Sentiments, Prejudices and Jealousies would make it very unsafe. The N. E. Colonies are happily united. Others see it and knowing them to be brave and enterprizing are very jealous especially of the two larger Colonies and it is the Policy of some as far [as] the Dread of British Tyranny will admit to lessen the Influence of those Colonies, hence whole Weeks which ought to have been spent in pushing a War vigorously have been employed in ascertaining the Object and Extent of the War, hence the newmodelling the Army the Source of all its Dangers & Difficulties. If the N. E. Colonies had been applied to for their respective Quotas of Men, had appointed their Officers & been permitted to have given a Bounty as usual We might have had a fine Army long since. The ostensible Reasons for the contrary Conduct are Oeconomy & continental Views but the real one is this unhappy & ill grounded Jealousy. Again the Colonies of Pennsylvania N. York, Maryland & N. Carolina would acquire much Weight by the new Mode of Representation and besides the Jerseys, the Lower Counties & Georgia, Rhode Island & New Hampshire would proportionably loose. Can it be for the Interest of America to reduce the Power of those who have risqued all in her Cause & augment that of others who have not & never can or will proportionably serve her. It is impossible; if what I have now said is not satisfactory I will make another Attempt.
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Mr. Hewes was surprized at the Hint I gave him but very politely thanked me for it and determined to be upon his Guard for the future. The Army I wish may be formed soon, but the draughting of Men is vastly disagreable to Me; it distresses Families greatly, & the Men must be paid so that nothing will be saved. On the other hand I cant bear that Quota should be wanting; I had much rather have given a Bounty than be perplex'd in this Manner. I hope the Assembly may be directed to such Measures as may promote the true Interest Honor & Happiness of the Colo [n] y. The French Gentn. arrived on Friday Evening;(2)Congress has referred them to the Secret Comee. We had a Conference with them last Evening; this Afternoon they paid Mr. Dean & me a Visit and were going to wait on the other Members. I am grieved for the poor People of Newport; when will there be an End of their Misfortunes. I wish they would nobly resolve to quit it unless it can be fortifyed. I am told Genl Lee was coming up with such a View. We have very interesting Intelligence in a Number of intercepted Letters from the southward, some Acct. of which I may perhaps be at Liberty to communicate in my next.
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I will send you the Pamphlets you write for when I have Opportunity. At present every thing is shut up, our Fleet is just ready to sail but cannot stir without warmer Weather opens the River. My best Regards to all Friends. I am Your very affece Brother
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Sam Ward
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EXCERPT from letter by Oliver Wolcott, Delegate to Congress, to Laura Wolcott dated MARCH 22, 1777:
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"The Law of Self Preservation certainly will justify Violating a Law not founded on Moral Principles but of supposed Conveniency only, but no Laws ought to Exist which are merely political when it is clearly known that they will not be observed as Laws of that Nature are supposed to be the Symtoms of the Want either of Power or Wisdom or perhaps both. I was fully Satisfied in my own mind that the same would be the Effect of limiting the Prices of the Articles of Living. In my Judgment the most despotic Government that ever existed since the Days of Nimrod could never carry such a Law into Execution, but I have done nothing to Prejudice the Scheme this Way as it was adopted by our State. Tho' I tho't it was founded upon every Principle of Impolicy. But why am I eternally dabbling in Politicks. Would to God that the Knaves and Oppressors of this World would cease their Villany, so that each one might Return to domestick Injoyment, and possess unenvied that Peace, which cannot be had in any Other Circumstances of Life. I want much to See my Family. There are some Circumstance of a publick Nature which render my Return less desirable just Now than I wish it was-besides a certain Management or (I do not know what to call it) which I have Experienced and which I well know that I am to expect, there is a certain Volatility or publick Inflamation arising from Various Causes which I believe will not be in my Power either to Moderate or give a benificial Direction to."
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George Washington to George William Fairfax:
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Philadelphia May 31st. 1775. Discusses matters pertaining to Fairfax's business affairs. Mentions Lexington and Concord and encloses affidavits taken after the engagement.(1) "General Gage acknowledges that the detachment under Lieutenant Colonel Smith was sent out to destroy private property; or, in other Words, to destroy a Magazine which self preservation obliged the Inhabitants to establish. And he also confesses, in effect at least, that his Men made a very precipitate retreat from Concord, notwithstanding the reinforcement under Lord Piercy; the last of which may serve to convince Lord Sandwich (and others of the same sentiment) that the Americans will fight for their Liberties and property however pusilanimous, in his Lordship's Eye, they may appear in other respects."From the best Accounts I have been able to collect of that affair; indeed from every one, I believe the fact, stripped of all colouring, to be plainly this, that if the retreat had not been as precipitate as it was (and God knows it could not well have been more so) the Ministerial Troops must have surrendered, or been totally cut off, For they had not arrived in Charlestown (under cover of their Ships) half an hour, before a powerful body of Men from Marblehead and Salem were at their heels, and must, if they had happened to have been up one hour sooner, inevitably intercepted their retreat to Charlestown. Unhappy it is though to reflect, that a Brother's Sword has been sheathed in a Brother's breast, and that, the once happy and peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched with Blood, or Inhabited by Slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous Man hesitate in his choice?"
Tr (DLC) . Washington, Writings (Fitzpatrick), 3:290 92.1 Affidavits concerning the engagement at Lexington and Concord are printed in JCC, 2:28 44
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John Hancock to Certain Colonies
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Gentlemen,
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Philadelphia April 12th. 1776
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While the British Ministry are taking every Step, that Cruelty and Revenge can dictate, for the Destruction of American Liberty, it is incumbent on these United Colonies, to exert their utmost Efforts to defeat them. Happily for our Country, their military operations have not been attended with that Success which they so sanguinely expected. This Circumstance however, far from abating their Rage against us, has had the Effect, constantly produced by disappointed Passions. It has roused them to make new Exertions of Power against Us; and we now behold American Property, by a late Act of Parliament, made legal Plunder.(1) Such a Strain of Rapine and Violence can be equalled only by the Spirit, with which it is likely to be executed. Having authorized the Seizure of Vessels belonging to these Colonies, where-ever found upon the High Seas, there is too much Reason to apprehend, the Execution of the Edict (which we may expect in its greatest Extent) will, for a Time, prove a severe Clog to the Trade of America. Under these Circumstances The Congress, in Hopes of checking, in some Degree, an Evil, which they cannot at present remove, and acting on the same Principles of Self Preservation, and Retaliation which they have hitherto adopted, have been induced to come into sundry Resolutions relative to the fitting out Letters of Marque & Reprizal. The Trade of America is an object of so much Consequence, and the Protection of it so necessary, that I make no Doubt of your giving all the Encouragement in your Power to any Measures that may be deemed expedient for its Security & Existence. I herewith transmit Bonds, Commissions, and Instructions, which the Congress has thought proper to request the several Assemblies, Conventions, & Committees of Safety, to make Use. of on the Occasion.(2) I have the Honour to be, Gent., Your most obedt. & very hbl ser.
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J. H. Presidt. LB (DNA: PCC, item 12A). Addressed: "To Hon. Assembly of New Hamsphire. To the Honble the Assembly of Massachusetts Bay. Assembly of Rhode Island. Assembly of Connecticut. Convention of Virginia."
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Hmmmm.....

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