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I DO not feel easy more than two days together without writing to you. If you abound, you must lay some of the fault upon yourself, who have made such sad complaints for letters ; but I really believe I have written more than all -my sister delegates. There is nothing new transpired since I wrote you last, but the sailing of some transports, and five deserters having come into our camp. One of them is gone, I hear, to Philadelphia. I think I should be cautious of him. No one can tell the secret designs of such fellows, whom no oath binds. He may be sent with assassinating designs. I can credit any villany, that a Caesar Borgia would have been guilty of, or Satan himself would rejoice in. Those who do not scruple to bring poverty, misery, slavery, and death upon thousands, will not hesitate at the most diabolical crimes ; and this is Britain. Blush, O Americans, that ever you derived your origin from such a race.
We learn from one of these deserters, that our ever valued friend, Warren, dear to us even in death, was not treated with any more respect than a common soldier ; but the savage wretches, called officers, consulted together, and agreed to sever his head from his body and carry it in triumph to Gage, who no doubt would have " grinned horribly a ghastly smile," instead of imitating Caesar, who far from being gratified with so horrid a spectacle as the head even of his enemy, turned away from Pompey's with disgust, and gave vent to his pity in a flood of tears. How much does Pagan tenderness put Christian benevolence to shame ! What humanity could not obtain, the rites and ceremonies of a mason demand ed. An officer, who, it seems, was one of the brother hood, requested, that as a mason, he might have the body unmangled, and find a decent interment for it. He obtained his request, but, upon returning to secure it, he found it already thrown into the earth, only with the ceremony of being first placed there with many bodies over him ;
" Nor writ his name, whose tomb should pierce the skies."
" Glows my resentment into guilt? What guilt Can equal violations of the dead? The dead how sacred ! Sacred is the dust Of this heaven-labored form, erect, divine ! This heaven-assumed, majestic robe of earth."
Thus far I wrote and broke off; hearing there was a probability of your return, I thought not to send it ; but the reception of yours this morning, of July 23d, makes me think the day further off than I hoped. I therefore will add a few lines, though very unfit. I went out yesterday to attend the funeral of the poor fellow who, the night before, fell in battle, as they were returning from the lighthouse ; I caught some cold. Sabbath evening there was a warm fire from Prospect Hill and Bunker's Hill, begun first by the riflemen taking off their guard. Two men upon our side were killed ; five of their guards were killed, two taken. I believe my account will be very con fused, but I will relate it as well as I am able. Sabbath evening a number of men, in whaleboats, went off from Squantum and Dorchester, to the lighthouse, where the general, Gage, had again fixed up a lamp, and sent twelve carpenters to repair it. Our people went on amidst a hot fire from thirty marines, who were placed there as a guard to the Tory carpenters, burnt the dwellinghouse, took the Tories and twenty- eight marines, killed the lieutenant and one man, brought off all the oil and stores which were sent, without the loss of a man, until they were upon their return ; when they were so closely pursued, that they were obliged to run one whaleboat ashore, and leave her to them ; the rest arrived safe, except the unhappy youth, whose funeral I yesterday attended, who received a ball through the temple, as he was rowing the boat. He belonged to Rhode Island. His name was Griffin. He, with four wounded marines, was brought by Captain Turner to Germantown, and buried from there with the honors of war. Mr. Wibird, upon the occasion, made the best oration (he never prays, you know,) I ever heard from him. The poor wounded fellows (who were all wounded in their arms) desired they might attend. They did, and he very pathetically addressed them, with which they appeared affected. I spoke with them, I told them, it was very unhappy that they should be obliged to fight their best friends. They said they were sorry ; they hoped in God an end would be speedily put to the unhappy contest ; when they came, they came in the way of their duty, to relieve Admiral Montague, with no thought of fighting, but their situation was such as obliged them to obey orders ; but they wished with all their souls, that they that sent them here had been in the heat of the battle ; expressed gratitude at the kindness they received ; and said in that they had been deceived, for they were told, if they were taken alive, they would be sacrificed by us. Dr. Tufts dressed their wounds.
I had a design to write something about a talked of appointment of a friend of mine to a judicial department, but hope soon to see that friend, before his acceptance may be necessary. I enclose a compliment, copied by a gentleman from a piece in the Worcester paper, signed " Lycurgus."
I can add no more, as the good Colonel Palmer waits. Only my compliments to Mrs. Mifflin, and tell her I do not know whether her husband is safe here. Bellona and Cupid have a contest about him. You hear nothing from the ladies but about Major Mifflin's easy address, politeness, complaisance, &c. T'is well he has so agreeable a lady at Philadelphia. They know nothing about forts, intrenchments, &c., when they return ; or, if they do, they are all forgotten and swallowed up in his accomplishments.
Adieu, my dearest friend, and always believe me
- Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. Volume I. 1840, Boston, Charles C. Little and James Brown, digitized by the Internet Archive