To James Warren
June 9. 1776
I shall address this to you as Speaker, but you may be Councillor, or Governor, or Judge, or any other Thing, or nothing but a good Man, for what I know. Such is the Mutability of this World.
Upon my Word I think you Use the World very ill, to publish and send abroad a Newspaper, since the 29 May without telling Us one Word about the Election,1 where it was held, who preached the sermon, or &c. &c.
I write this in haste only to inclose to you a little Treatise upon Fire ships2—it may be sending Coals to New Castle. But it appears to me of such Importance that I thought myself bound to procure and send it least this Art should not be understood among you. This Art carries Terror and Dismay along with it, and the very Rumour of Preparations in this Kind may do you more service than many Battallions.
I am not easy about Boston, and have taken all the Pains in my Power with G. Washington, to engage him to send G. and M.3 there, but he is so sanguine and confident that no Attempt will be made there that I am afraid his security will occasion one.
The News Papers inclosed, when you have read them, please to send them to the Foot of Penns Hill.4
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mr J. A Lettr June 1776.”
1. The first newspaper to appear after the election was the New-England Chronicle of 30 May, too soon to carry the results; obviously JA was being facetious. The Boston Gazette printed the list of representatives and councilors on 3 June. The election was held in Watertown, and Rev. Samuel West preached the sermon. On West, see 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 , 13:501–510.
2. Enclosure not found, but the “treatise” is copied in JA’s Letterbook. Apparently JA secured the information from experts, as he had promised he would do. No record of a published work has been found. JA’s treatise is printed in Naval Docs. Amer. Rev. description begins William Bell Clark, William James Morgan (from vol. 5), and others, eds., Naval Documents of the American Revolution, Washington, 1964- description ends , 5:437–441, but JA’s table of quantities of materials needed has been inaccurately copied. The columns headed “Tar” and “Oil” with their amounts have been inadvertently omitted, and the final figure is given as “2 Ct. 1.13” instead of “28 Ct. 1.13.”
3. Gens. Gates and Mifflin.
4. That is, to JA’s home and AA.