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which puts us off of Guard against the Arts of designing Men. By hearsay or conjecture you are become so much Master of my Situation, that I shall have no great Fears of your Reproof, if, feeling half as unwell from Watching as I do at present, I shall, now and then, omit a direct Return to your kind Correspondence. I slight my Feelings, at this Time, to prove my ready acceptance of the Intercourse to which you so pleasingly have provoked Your most humble Servant,
JAMES LOVELL TO JAMES Warren
July 13th, 1779
Confidential. DEAR SIR, -Three days ago I wrote to Mr. Adams inclosing Papers that show the Spirit of the Parties in a certain little-great Assembly. I must ingeniously acknowledge to you that if I had been properly convinced that Gr: Britain was seriously disposed for Peace, I should have rested on an Instruction to our Plenipotentiary" in no case to give up a common right of Fishery." But I have seen Reason to wish for a Stipulation that Britain shall not disturb us in the Exercise of that Right. If France can harbour no too-interested Views in regard to that grand Branch of Commerce, Britain surely would make every advantage of our Inattention to it at the Hour of Peacemaking. And it has seemed to me as if some Persons here were much more bent upon coaxing than upon forcing a Peace from our Enemy; We are told that Passengers and Letters are put on shore in Nth. Carolina from a Vessel arrived in Cheseapeak which left Rochelle the 10th of May. We have not had a Line from our Appointments in France for a long Season. Mr. Gerard recd. Letters via Boston, as mentioned in yr. Gazettes but they were not of very modern date.
We had a Communication from him in a private Audience 1 Yesterday but under the Injunctions of the House for Secrecy, so that A and B will be stigmatized if they communicate the Substance in a private confidential Letter, should they be dis1 Journals of the Continental Congress, XIV. 821.
covered, while C and D, under the Signature of Americanus or O Tempora O Mores, may publish the whole to the World in a News Paper.
I find that Gentlemen in your Neighborhood are rather backward to accept a Delegation to Congress. The Reasons lay fair to Conjecture. Some cannot in Conscience and Honor hold several Appointments incompatible with each other; and Some cannot bring themselves to consent to sacrifice Time, Health and Estate for a Station of abundant Anxiety and an equal Portion of Obloquy. I presume that all new elected Members ought to come forward before an old one though he has had a whole years Respite. One of your State would have had a terrible time here for several months back if he had been an acting Delegate. He must have gone against the Interests of his Constituents or the Designs of his favorite old Associates.
Mrs. Lovell writes that you had a Confirmation of the Sth. Carolina good news by a Vessel in at the Hyannas. I am sorry for that preparatory Contrast to what I now must tell you. The Print of last Tuesday is Full on the Head of Disappointment; and Genl. Lincoln writes me June 5th: "Matters are not going on right here and if this Department is not immediately attended to by Congress and an army sent more respectable than the one already here, this State must be lost. You will see by my Letter to Congress that by the 10th of Augst. there will be but few troops on the Ground unless reinforcements arrive, which I have little reason to expect." I will not venture to write to you concerning the State of our grand army. I will leave that for Major Rice1 to tell with the Minute Anecdotes of the Southern Department. With Esteem and Affection your humb Servt.
1 Nathan Rice, aid to General Lincoln.
JAMES WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
PLYMOUTH, N. E., July 29th, 1779 MY DEAR SIR, — I am told that in the few Letters which have been received from you here you complain greatly that your Friends dont write to you oftener, and that you seldom hear from America. I easily conceive such a Situation painful, and have contributed my mite to prevent it by writing by every good opportunity and long Letters too, for I know that People in high Stations have their Curiosity as well as others, and if they assume Brevity themselves in their Letters, they love to have matters in detail from others. upon this Principle I filled a large sheet which went six weeks ago per Capt. Thompson in a little flying Schooner, which I dare say will run clear and deliver you the Letter in safety, and make it unnecessary to be lengthy in this. Our Spirits have been alternately raised and depressed by the accounts we have had at different times from South Carolina, sometimes the British Army has been wholly routed, and destroyed, and at others were advancing with a prospect of carrying Charlestown, in short the accounts both here and at Philadelphia have been interrupted, confused and uncertain. I dont learn that Congress ever get any regular Official Accounts. I had a Letter from Mr. Lovel of the 18th Instant, in which he gives such accounts as they had received from Transient Persons, from which compared with each other he dared only to infer that we might expect good Tidings from thence. I now hear a Vessel arrived at New London in a short passage, says the Britons had reached their Shipping and Embarked. I dont understand how it is that these fellows can prowl about a Country for six months, with an Army of Continentals and Militia all round them, and then get off without much loss.
Gen'l Sullivan is gone into the Woods with about 5000 Men. (an Expedition I have no great Opinion of) while the Enemy have been ravaging the Coasts of Connecticut and burning their Towns, etc., etc., according to the true Spirit of Magnanimity and Humanity of the Plan expressed by their Commissioners. if there be no Check to their proceedings, it seems to me this is their Plan of
Operation, for the present Campaigne. if it be Infamous for its Barbarism, or Contemptible for its Malicious Littleness, British Historians and Poets may reconcile it if they can to their boasted national Politeness and Magnanimity, or which is more probable deny the facts. the last we hear of them is at Rhode Island. what Town is the object of the next Expedition is uncertain. I suppose they will soon work themselves out of Stock on that side and must come round the Cape to find new objects to glut their Cruelty and revenge.
You will find by the Papers that a Detachment from Gen'l Washington's Army under Gen'l Wayne has shewn what the Spirit of Enterprize may do if exerted. we just hear that Count D'Estaing has gained a great Naval Victory in the West Indies. I wish it may prove true. if it does probably some of their Ships will be sent this way, to avoid Hurricanes, and assist us. Our Continental Ships as well as Privateers have been very successfull, many Prizes are sent in. We are now engaged in an Expedition against the Enemy, who have made a Lodgment at Penobscot. about 20 Sail of Armed Vessels of different forces sailed about 10 days ago to join 1600 Troops assembled at the Eastward. if the Enemy do not draw of their Force, or reinforce them they are stupid indeed. if they do the last, our Fleet may be in danger, and a Capital Loss may ensue. I gave you an account in my last of the deplorable State of our Currency, since which an alarm of danger from that quarter has become so general, as to form Associations of Merchants and a pretty general Convention of delegates from the several Towns at Concord. I have some Expectations from these measures, whether they sprung from Fear, or a resolute Fortitude, from self Interest, or genuine Patriotism. you will see their several proceedings in the Papers.
In September we are to have a Convention at Cambridge to form a Constitution of Government. this is to go by the Mercury Packet Capt. Samson, who carries dispatches of Congress. what they contain I dont know, I hope some honourable appointment for you. I have felt some resentment lately for your detention in Europe without being in a public active Character and Station. I am however assured by Mr. Adams that a great Majority of
Congress have very favourable Sentiments and designs with regard to you.
There goes Passenger in this Packet Mr. Elkanah Watson,1 a young Gentleman I am told of very good Character. he is Son of Capt. Watson of this Town, and a remote relation of mine. he has lived and served his Time with John Browne of Providence, and I suppose is now in pursuit of Commercial plans. he intends to go to Paris, and seems to be possessed of a Laudable Ambition to be taken Notice of by Gentlemen of distinction. you will therefore by some Attention to him cherish a good Principle in the Mind of a youth and oblige Your Friend and Humble Servant,
MERCY WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
SIR,- This Morning your Vigalent and invariable Friend wrote you a Long Letter which makes it unnecessary for me to take up my pen, nor should I have done it by this opportunity, but in Compliance with the Wishes of Him who is so partial as to think it in my power to Contribute to the Entertainment of a Gentleman who (from Interest, from Vanity, and from more Noble principles) has such a Multitude of Correspondents. There is such Variety of Genius occasionally exerted in this way that were it not for the adverse Circumstances which prevents a safe passage you would have Little Cause to Complain that you was Forgotten on this side the Atlantic. Your Iliad would be Replete with Inteligence and your Cabinet Crouded with Epistolary Lumber, among which if you had Leasure to Retrospect you would find several unanswered from a Lady who makes no Claim to a Reply but from your politeness and Friendship. Neither of which will I suspect or Censure till assured in some Future paragraph that you have not time to answer Letters but when the Interest of the public or the Indispensable Duties of private Life Require it.
Certain I am, did all the political, Military, and Gubenatorial 1 (1758–1842), author of Men and Times of the Revolution.