Adams Papers

To John Adams from Samuel Cooper, 3 April 1777

From Samuel Cooper

Boston 3. Ap. 77

My dear Sir

I scratch a Line in utmost Hast—Your kind Letter I receiv’d by Mr Jackson the Day after sending one to you.1 Your Tickets sell rapidly. Your Loan Office will fill apace. I wrote to you, or Mr Adams on the American Navy. Manly’s Character rises here. He has sail’d to Cape Ann for some Men there and has press’d thro great Difficulties to get out—something must be done to expedit Matters in that Department. Manly and McNeal do not agree.2 It is not I believe, the Fault of the first. They ought to sail together with all the Force they can obtain here to join them—a large Privateer would have readily done it. McNeal is inclin’d, and has obtain’d Liberty from Congress it is said, to sail alone. All may be lost in this Way. Jointly they might take single Frigates of the Enemy, or oblige them to sail in Fleets, which would greatly open the Ports for the Supplies from France and evry Quarter. Pray let some Orders be taken in this Matter as early as may be. Dr. Williamson I find is arriv’d. I have had for a long Time some Knowledg of him. He has been a good While in England. He ought to be well tried before he is confided much in. The Post waits I must subscribe ever your’s.

Manly and McNeal are now, like Matthews and Lestac.3 If they are not better united, infinite Damage may acrue. The latter hardly brooks the Superiority of the former—tho no Man has merited more, in the marine than Manly, or promises better.

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Dr. Cooper. ans. Ap. 26.”; in another hand, probably CFA’s: “April 3d 1777.”

1JA’s letter to Cooper has not been found; the last extant letter known to the editors is that of 4 Sept. 1776 (above). Cooper’s most recent letter to JA was that of 24 March (Adams Papers).

2John Manley outranked Hector McNeill, who doubted Manley’s competence and resented his failure to take McNeill’s advice on occasion. In any case, McNeill was not an easy man to get along with (MHS, Procs. description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , 55 [1921–1922]:51).

3Vice Admiral Thomas Mathews and Rear Admiral Richard Lestock, the former made commander in chief in the Mediterranean in the 1740s during the war with Spain, a command that Lestock, already in the Mediterranean, had hoped for himself. The two men had not been on good terms before Mathews’ appointment; in fact, Mathews had wanted Lestock recalled. Thus, when Mathews closed with a Spanish fleet, Lestock, claiming his superior’s orders were confused, hung back, and the Spanish fleet, supported by the French, managed to escape without decisive losses. On Parliament’s demand, a series of courts martial followed in 1745 and 1746, Lestock being exonerated despite public feeling that he was censurable. Mathews was tried on a series of charges brought by Lestock and was dismissed from the service (both men in DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1900; 63 vols. plus supplements. description ends ).

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