From Joseph Nourse
War Office 3d. September 1777
The Resolves of Congress, directing every board to deliver into the secretary’s Office, all original Letters referr’d to them address’d to Congress,1 I have with the advice and direction of Mr. Peters deliver’d in all Papers up to the 1st. Instant. Mr. Houston2 is arranging them, and preparing to have copies made out for the Committee, and desires me to inform you, he will be happy to see you, and receive the Order, which as yet has been only indirectly conveyed, and besides, he wants to mention a few particulars that may be necessary, previous to the beginning of the business. I am going on with the Returns and other papers that come properly from this Office, and shall compleat them as expeditiously as possible. With all due Respect, I am sir, Your hum. servt.
Joseph Nourse. DS
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hona. John Adams. Chairman of the Committee appointed by Congress to collect Intelligence relative to the Northern Department”; from “War Office”; docketed: “Mr. Nourse 3d Sept 1777.” That Nourse, who was deputy secretary of the Board of War under Richard Peters, should have so addressed a letter to Adams, who was president of the Board of War, remains inexplicable to the editors. Although Adams was a member of three committees that dealt with the Northern Department, he was chairman of none (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 8:596, 648, 688). It may be that Nourse was confused. Adams was appointed chairman of a committee to consider intelligence received from Gen. Sullivan regarding possible treasonable activities of Quakers in New Jersey (same, 8:688–689; Sullivan, Papers description begins Letters and Papers of Major-General John Sullivan, Continental Army, 1771–1795, ed. Otis G. Hammond (New Hampshire Historical Society, Collections, vols. 13–15), Concord, 1930–1939; 3 vols. description ends , 1:443–444).
1. The resolution of 22 March formally organizing the office of the secretary of the congress included a stipulation that the papers of the congress committed to boards or committees be returned to the secretary (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 7:194).
2. William Churchill Houston was deputy secretary of the congress (same, 7:202).