Lot 2: John Adams
10th August 2016
Revolutionary War–dated ALS, one page, 7 x 9.5, October 24, 1777. Letter to General James Warren, written from Yorktown. In full: “We have got to a Part of the World, where We are scarcely able to procure any Intelligence. We have as yet no certain Information, concerning the events at the Northward, on the 14. and 15th. of this Month, the whole of which I dare say before this Time are familiar to you.—We have had Rumours, which lifted us up to the Stars.—We are now upon Confederation, and have nearly compleated it.—I really expect it will be finished by the Middle of next Week. We dispatched some Affairs, last Evening for your Board which Dr. Linn I suppose will convey to you. We shall consider immediately a Plan of Taxes for all the States.—This is our Resource.—I rejoice with Joy unspeakable that your Assembly, have adopted a Plan of such consummate Wisdom.” In fine condition. This letter is published in the Warren-Adams Letters, a collection of correspondence between John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Warren. In this remarkable letter Adams refers to the important American victory at Battle of Saratoga, where British General John Burgoyne had surrendered his troops—nearly six thousand strong—on October 17th after patriot forces had stormed the British lines on the 14th. The Continental Army’s success proved to be a major turning point in he war and played a key role in securing the American alliance with France; this French support later became crucial in winning the Battle of Yorktown four years later. Adams also mentions that he has been working on the “Confederation, and have nearly compleated it,” surely referring to the Articles of Confederation, the first major step toward American self-governance. Though not a signatory of the influential document, Adams was one of the Massachusetts delegates to the Second Continental Congress that developed the Articles and finalized them on November 15, about two weeks later than Adams suggests here. Boasting ideal content from the Revolutionary War, this is undoubtedly one of the best Adams letters we have encountered.
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