Adams Papers

To John Adams from Hector McNeill, 9 October 1777

From Hector McNeill

Boston 9th Octor: 1777


This will be handed you by Doctor John L Linn1 the Surgeon of our Ship, he goes to Congress with design to represent the hardships himself and others in that Capacity suffer at present from the inadequate appointments of Surgeons on board the Navy.

I think that instead of crouding our Ships with Marine Officers, who are only a burthen, and of no Service in life on board a Ship—’twoud be well to give the Surgeons more encouragement, and reduce their number to one Subaltern on board the frigates; then let the Surgeon Share with the Lieutenants and Master, in place of the Capt: of Marines who is as useless a peice of furniture on board a Ship as a broken pair of Bellows at a Fire Side.

How long shall we Languish here for want of Support. Here am Struggling with difficultys inumerable, and want of Cash has ever been our Lot since I have been in the Service.

I was at one time last Spring four thousand pounds in advance for the Ship. I am now more than three thousand Dollars in advance and all this without fee or reward.

I must confess that I am weary of such work. May I ask the favour of you—to think of me a Little now and then, if matters of greater importance will permit your thoughts to range so far from your daily Toils.

May God Strengthen your hearts in this day of Trial, and save our Country by his almighty power. Your most Obedient Servant,

Hector McNeill

RC (Adams Papers). Some mutilation where the seal was removed.

1Linn was briefly a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society when it was organized in 1781, but he went to Philadelphia within a few years and died there in an epidemic (Walter L. Burrage, A History of the Massachusetts Medical Society, privately printed, 1923, p. 31–32).

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