From William Tudor
Cambridge 29th. Feby. 1776
We have Nothing here sufficiently important to communicate, As it is hardly worthwhile to tell you that a Vessel was last Sunday taken by one of our Privateers loaded with coals and Potatoes; or that a Night or two ago we had one or more Deserters, from the Enemy. Preparations have been for some Time silently making for an important Manoevre, and from the Contents of General Orders for several Days back the Army are in hourly Expectations of being call’d to Action. The Season is certainly precious and I hope in God will be improved and that I shall be enabled within 10 Days to acquaint You with News as satisfactory as Interesting. I cannot think of the Destruction of my native Town without Pain, yet if it might serve for the General funeral Pile of the Paricides who infest it I could view the Conflagration without much Regret.
The Pamphlet called Common Sense is read with great Avidity. The Doctrine it holds up is calculated for the Climate of N. England and though some timid pidling Souls shrink at the Idea 99 in 100 wish for a Declaration of Independence from the Congress. This Peice has been attributed to You,1 some make Dr. Franklin the Author and others suppose it the Product of a Triumverate; be this as it may, the bold Conceptions of the Author who has convey’d them in the most energetic Language, at once astonish, convince and please Us.
I must beg Sir as a particular Favour that You would send me (as I suppose it will be printed) Dr. Smith’s funeral Oration on Genl. Montgomery.2 I am with great Respect Yrs. &c.,
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr at Congress Philadelphia Free”; docketed: “Mr Tudor. 29 Feby. 1776.”
1. On the initial attribution of Common Sense to JA, see his letter to AA of 19 March (Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963– . description ends , 1:363). For JA’s even more candid response, see his letter to William Tudor, 12 April (below).
2. An Oration in Memory of General Montgomery, and of the Officers and Soldiers, Who Fell with Him, December 31, 1775, before Quebec; Drawn Up (And Delivered February 19th, 1776) at the Desire of the Honorable Continental Congress. By William Smith, D.D. Provost of the College and Academy of Philadelphia, Phila., 1776 (Evans description begins Charles Evans and others, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends , No. 15084). The author had this speech printed after the congress refused either to have it printed or to give thanks for the effort. JA, who later called it “an insolent performance,” was a speaker against the motion made by William Livingston on 21 Feb. to give thanks, JA’s chief reason being that Smith had “declared the Sentiments of the Congress to continue in a Dependency on G Britain which Doctrine this Congress cannot now approve” (JA to AA, 28 April, Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963– . description ends , 1:400–401; Richard Smith’s Diary, 21 Feb., in 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 , 1:359).