Adams Papers
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From John Adams to James Warren, 20 October 1775

To James Warren

Octr. 20. 1775

Dr sir

The Bearer of this is John McPherson Esq.1 He is a Genius—an old Sea Warriour, Nine or ten Times wounded in Sea Fights.

He has a son in the Service—Aid de Camp to Schuyler—a very sensible Man.

Of Mr. McPhersons Errand to the Camp ask no Questions and I will tell you no false News. It will make a Noise, in Time—but for the present for Gods sake let not a Word be said.

I hope all our Friends who have Opportunity will show him Respect.

RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “Hon James Warren Esq Watertown favoured by John McPherson Esq.”; docketed: “Mr J: A Lettr Octr. 20. 1775.”

1On 20 Oct. the congress sent McPherson to Cambridge to consult with Gen. Washington. He was the originator, according to a JA Diary entry, of a plan to “take or burn every Man of War, in America.” At the camp, Washington and others who heard the plan found it to be based on unsound principles and prevailed upon McPherson to return to Philadelphia to use his energies on row galleys. The exact nature of the plan remained a secret, for those who were given its details took an oath not to divulge it (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:176; JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 3:296, 300, 301; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , 4:71–72; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, Washington, 1921–1936; 8 vols. description ends , 1:238, notes; Clark, Washington’s Navy description begins William Bell Clark, George Washington’s Navy, Baton Rouge, La., 1960. description ends , p. 65–66).

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