John Adams Letters document,


Philadelphia., Wednesday, 20 August, 1777.


THIS day completes three years since I stepped into the coach at Mr. Cushing's door, in Boston, to go to Philadelphia in quest of adventures. And adventures I have found. I feel an inclination sometimes to write the history of the last three years, in imitation of Thucydides. There is a striking resemblance in several particulars between the Peloponnesian and the American war. The real motive to the former was a jealousy of the growing power of Athens by sea and land. The genuine motive to the latter was a similar jealousy of the growing power of America. The true causes which incite to war are seldom professed or acknowledged.

We are now upon a full sea : when we shall arrive ) at a safe harbor, no mariner has skill and experience enough to foretell. But by the favor of Heaven, we shall make a prosperous voyage, after all the storms I and shoals are passed.

5 o clock. Afternoon.

It is now fair sunshine again and very warm. Not a word yet from Howe's fleet. The most general suspicion now is, that it is gone to Charleston, South Carolina. But it is a wild supposition. It may be right however, for he is a wild General.

We have been hammering to-day upon a mode of trial for the general officers at Ti. Whether an inquiry will precede the court martial, and whether the inquiry shall be made by a committee of Congress, or by a council of general officers, is not determined, but inquiry and trial both, I conjecture there will be.

If Howe is gone to Charleston, you will have a little quiet, and enjoy your corn, and rye, and flax, and hay, and other good things, until another summer. But what shall we do for sugar and wine and rum ? Why truly, I believe we must leave them ofT. Loaf sugar is only four dollars a pound here, and brown only a dollar for the meanest sort, and ten shillings for that a little belter. Every body here is leaving off loaf sugar, and most are laying aside brown. As to rum and wine, give me cider and I would compound. New England rum is but forty shillings a gallon. But if wine was ten dollars a bottle I would have one glass a day in water while the hot weather continues, unless I could get cider.

John Adams