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This letter will go by the hand of the Honorable Joseph Hewes, Esquire, one of the delegates in Congress from North Carolina from the month of September 1774, until 1777. I had the honor to serve with him upon the naval committee who laid the first foundations, the corner stone of an American navy, by fitting to sea the Alfred, Columbus, Cabot, Andrew Doria, Providence, and several others. An honor that I make it a rule to boast of upon all occasions and I hope my posterity will have reason to boast. Hewes has a sharp eye and keen penetrating sense, but, what is of much more value, is a man of honor and integrity. If he should call upon you, and you should be about, I hope you will treat him with all the complaisance that is due to his character. I almost envy him his journey, although he travels for his health, which at present is infirm.
I am, yours, yours, yours,
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
We have had no news from camp for three or four days. Mr. Howe, by the last advices, was manoeuvring his fleet arid army in such a manner as give us expectations of an expedition, somewhere ; but whether to Rhode Island, Halifax, up the North River, or the Del aware, is left to conjecture. I am much in doubt whether he knows his own intentions. A faculty of penetrating into the designs of an enemy is said to be the first quality of a general, but it is impossible to discover the designs of an enemy who has no design at all An intention that has no existence, a plan that is not laid, cannot be divined. Be his intentions what they may, you have nothing to fear from him. He has not force to penetrate the country any where.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841