Adams Papers

To John Adams from James Warren, 20 February 1775

From James Warren

Plymo. Feby. 20th 1775

My Dr. Sir

I need not tell you that I was greatly disappointed and Chagrin’d at not seeing you at Cambridge A Member of our Congress. If it was the Choice of your Town, I Know not how they can Excuse, or even Extenuate the fault, surely A small degree of Patriotism would have dictated a very different Conduct. My disappointment was Encreased by not haveing the pleasure of seeing you on my way there, or return here. As matters are I am to Content myself for the present with my share in those valuable publications I have the pleasure of read­ing every week in the Papers and no small pleasure it is to me to Consider my perticular Friend Advanceing (passibus Aequis)1 his Country’s Interest and his own honour by Exposeing to publick view (with A nervous Eloquence) the Arts and wickedness of our Enemies and Asserting by derisive Arguments the rights of his Country. May the Applauses of the present and the Blessings of future Generations (A much better reward to A vertuous mind than pensions, and Salaries) United with the Goodness of his own heart; still Animate into Exertion those great Abilities which God in his Mercy has bestowed for the Advantage of this Country.

I supposed our Congress would have Adjourned the day I left them, but it seems they found means to prolong the Sessions, A few days without haveing in view any Apparent Advantage that I could Conceive off. However I hope some good will come of it. I was concerned before I came away that we had then spent 10 days about what might have been Effected in four and perhaps as well. They Appeared to me to be dwindling into A School for debate, and Criticism rather than to Appear As A great Assembly to resolve and Act. A Certain Lady of your Acquaintance is much Concerned at hearing it is reported that She wrote the Group.2 Parson Howe3 told A large Company at Table that She was the Author of it. If this was true how came he by his Information, would A Certain friend of our have so little descretion as to Communicate such A matter to his Parson if he knew and much less if he only Conjectured it. Do speak to him About it, if he has set his parson A prateing, he ought to stop him. We have no Arrivals, no News. Our Military Gentry remain in statu quo at the Councellors Mansion House at Marshfield.4 No Body but the Tories there and here take any Notice of them. Mrs. Warren Joins in Compliments to your Good Lady &c.

I Am Your Sincere Friend and Humbl. Servt.,

Jas. Warren

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honbl. John Adams Esqr. att Braintree.”

1By equal steps.

2Mercy Warren was very reluctant to have her authorship of The Group become widely known. See her letter to AA, 25 Feb. 1775, Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963– . description ends , 1:187–188.

3Rev. Joseph Howe (1747–1775), a Yale graduate and, at the time of this letter, pastor of the New South Church in Boston (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit description begins William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations, New York, 1857–1869; 9 vols. description ends , 1:707–709).

4Loyalists in the towns of Marshfield and Scituate joined an association proposed by Timothy Ruggles in Dec. 1774 to oppose the actions of “illegal Assemblies” such as the Continental Congress and the Provincial Congress (Boston Evening-Post, 26 Dec. 1774; 30 Jan., 6 March 1775). On 17 and 18 Jan. the loyalists petitioned Gen. Gage for assistance and protection against local whigs and were sent one hundred troops and an armed cutter for that purpose (same, 30 Jan.; Gage, Corr. description begins The Correspondence of General Thomas Gage with the Secretaries of State, 1763–1775, ed. Clarence E. Carter, New Haven, 1931–1933; 2 vols. description ends , 1:391). The whigs ignored these moves, asserting that the loyalists’ fears were groundless.

The “Councellors Mansion House” was the home of N. Ray Thomas, a mandamus councilor, the Evening-Post reporting that the troops were billeted at “Mandamus Thomas’s” and at or near “Tory White’s” (probably Abijah or Daniel White of Marshfield) inn and tavern (30 Jan. 1775; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends , 13:136–142; Sabine, American Loyalists description begins Lorenzo Sabine, Biographical Sketches of Loyalists of the American Revolution, with an Historical Essay, Boston, 1864; 2 vols. description ends , 2:419–420). On 15 Feb. 1775 the Second Provincial Congress condemned the action of Gage and the loyalists and commended the local committees for their defense of liberty (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours. description begins William Lincoln, ed., The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775, and of the Committee of Safety, Boston, 1838. description ends , p. 103–104).

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