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MY BEST FRIEND,
THE weather still continues cloudy and cool, and the wind easterly. Howe's fleet and army is still incognito. The gentlemen from South Carolina begin to tremble for Charleston. If Howe is under a judicial blindness, he may be gone there. But what will be the fate of a scorbutic army, cooped up in a fleet for six, seven, or eight weeks, in such intemperate weather as we have had ? What, will be their condition, landing on a burning shore abounding with agues and musquetoes, in the most unwholesome season of the whole year ? If he should get Charleston, or indeed the whole State, what progress will this make towards the conquest of America ? lie will stop the trade of rice and indigo, but what then ? Besides, he will get some ugly knocks. They are honest, sincere, and brave, and will make his life uncomfortable.
I feel a strong affection for South Carolina for several reasons. 1. I think them as stanch patriots as any in America. 2. I think them as brave. 3. They are the only people in America, who have maintained a post and defended a fort. 4. They have sent us a new delegate whom I greatly admire, Mr. Laurens, their Lieutenant Governor, a gentleman of great for tune, great abilities, modesty and integrity, and great experience too. If all the States would send us such men, it would be a pleasure to be here.
In the northern department they begin to fight. The family of Johnson, the black part of it as well as the white are pretty well thinned. Rascals ! They deserve extermination. I presume Gates will be so supported that Burgoyne will be obliged to retreat. He will stop at Ticonderoga, I suppose, for they can maintain posts although we cannot. I think we shall never defend a post until we shoot a general. After that we shall defend posts, and this event in my opinion is not far off. No other fort will ever be evacuated without an inquiry, nor any officer come off with out a court martial. We must trifle no more. We have suffered too many disgraces to pass unexpiated. Every disgrace must be wiped off.
We have been several days hammering upon money. We are contriving every way we can to re dress the evils we feel and fear from loo great a quantity of paper. Taxation as deep as possible is the only radical cure. I hope you will pay every tax that is brought you, if you sell my books, or clothes, or oxen, or your cows to pay it
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841