Adams Papers

From John Adams to James Warren, 17 February 1777

To James Warren

Baltimore Feb. 17. 1777

My dear Sir

I have the melancholly Prospect before me, of a Congress continually changing, untill very few Faces remain, that I saw in the first Congress. Not one from South Carolina—not one from North Carolina only one from Virginia. Only two from Maryland, not one from Pensylvania. Not one from New Jersey. Not one from New York—only one from Connecticutt not one from Rhode Island—not one from New Hampshire. Only one, at present from the Massachusetts. Mr. S. Adams, Mr. Sherman, and Coll Richard Henry Lee Mr. Chase and Mr. Paca are all that remain. The rest are dead, resigned, deserted, or cutt up into Governors &c. at home.

I have the Pleasure however to See every day, that the Governments of the States are acquiring fresh Vigour, and that every Department is working itself clear of Toryism, Timidity, Duplicity and Moderation. New Jersey was never so well represented as it is now.1 Pensilvania, whose Assembly, will maintain its Ground have the last Week appointed a New Delegation, every Man of whom is as firm as a Rock.2 Maryland, also, the last Week, compleated their new Government chose Mr. Johnson Governor, chose a new privy Council to the Governor, every Man of whom is an honest Whigg and also chose a new Delegation in Congress, every Man of whom is equally Stanch,3 leaving out all who have been Suspected of Trimming, or of hankering after the Leeks of Egypt.4

This Evening too, We have an ex[press][. . .] with an Account of the new Deleg[ation][. . .] who are Said to be Sound.

Thus We see that our new Govern[ment][. . .] root, and Spreading their Branches [. . .]ing Changes have We Seen? [. . .] dare?

I write you no News from the Army [. . .] as to hear from it, oftener than [. . .] however that gains Credit of [. . .] Sennight, the Enemy leaving 327 dead on the Field.

Congress, have this day voted to return to Philadelphia, to­morrow Week. The new Army, my dear sir, the new Army. I feel as much Pain at loosing the fine Opportunity We now have of destroying the Brunswickers, as I should if a surgeon was Sawing off my Limbs.

RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To The Hon. James Warren Esqr Speaker of the House Boston”; docketed: “Mr J. A Lettr Feby. 1777” (twice). MS mutilated.

1Four New Jersey members recently elected and in attendance in early 1777 were Abraham Clark, Jonathan Elmer, Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, and John Witherspoon (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 , 2:liv–lvii).

2These members from Pennsylvania were Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin, William Moore, Daniel Roberdeau, and Jonathan Bayard Smith. When Moore declined, the Assembly voted on 22 Feb. to add two more—James Wilson and George Clymer (same, 2:lxiii).

3Charles Carroll (barrister), Samuel Chase, William Paca, and Benjamin Rumsey, who all attended in early 1777, were elected on 10 Nov. 1776 and the last three re-elected on 15 Feb. 1777. Additional delegates, Charles Carroll of Carrollton and William Smith, were elected on 15 Feb. but perhaps not soon enough to figure in JA’s estimate (same, 2:xlv–li).

4Numbers, 11:5.

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