John Adams writes to his wife Abigail.
He wrote her on several occasions and is happy she is avoiding naming people and places in her correspondence. He writes about Common Sense (the pamphlet) and that everyone who reads it thinks it contains a great deal of good sense, delivered in a clear simple style. However it falls short in an actual plan for a new Continental Government.
John Adams writes to John Penn
John Adams writes what is later published as “Thoughts on Government Applicable to the Present State of the American Colonies”. He argues that form of government which produces the most happiness, is the best. Happiness is derived from Virtue, so that government which is Virtuous, is more likely to promote happiness than any other. Fear is not a principle and will hardly be thought in America as a proper basis for government. Adams states that a study of past writers shows that good Government is Republican: The true idea for a Republic is “An Empire of Laws and not of Men”. There are many varieties of Republics, and Adams goes on to discuss how laws are made, how representatives are elected. But that’s not all - a single body of representatives can be corrupted:
1) they are liable to vices, follies, and frailties of an individual;
2) they will burden the people with laws that they don’t follow themselves;
3) they will vote themselves a system guaranteeing their own perpetual power;
Adams discusses two Houses of representative body, and that judicial power should be separated from legislative power. Judges should be men of experience in laws, of exemplary morals, patience, calmness. Adams mentions a rotation of offices and term limits:
A law may be made that no Man shall be Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary, Treasurer, Counciller, or Representative more than 3 years at a time, nor be eligible until after an interval of 3 years
A well planned Constitution gives pride to the people and empowers them to become brave and enterprising. But the two things that are indispensable are a system of fairly choosing representatives, and educating the youth in both Literature and Morals.
John Hancock to Baron de Woedtke: You have been appointed Brigadier General in the Army of the United Colonies. Make haste to New York and wait for the Commissioners going to Canada, and join up with them.
Samuel Huntington to Jabez Huntington: We have $30,000 from the Continental treasury for Connecticut’s defense. Also, congress has appointed May 17th for a General Fast. Also, privateers and armed vessels can move against Great Britain now.
Francis Lightfoot Lee to Landon Carter: I trust you got that copy of Common Sense I sent you. The King and Parliament have declared Americans rebels and enemies, and we should be independent and free. We are better off if we can have a free trade with the whole world, instead of confined to one place, and we are better off with local representation instead of controlled by powers thousands of miles distant. She continues that Americans with no government still behave well, and that indicates that we are very capable of good Government.
Maryland Delegates Maryland Council of Safety: Capt Tibbit arrived last week with supplies bound for Maryland. A list is enclosed with everything but the sailcloth, which is in great demand and can be sold for a big profit. Mr. Temple made a big splash here but many are questioning his story. General Washington took possession of Dorchester Heights in South Boston.
Maryland Delegates to Pennsylvania Committee of Safety: Folks, Baltimore needs to be defended, we’re about to be attacked. We have exhausted every means to obtain cannons. If Pennsylvania can spare them, can Maryland borrow some, to be returned as soon as others can be procured?
New York Delegates to New York Provincial Convention: Folks, our Sister Colony Maryland is hurting, and the Maryland Delegates have consistently supported New York and her delegates. As you may remember, Maryland supported New York Colonists and even sent a ton of gunpowder from their scanty stock when New York needed it. Please help them however you can.
Secret Committee Minutes recount activity on appointments, bills for building frigates, and other bills and expenses paid.
Richard Smiths Diary. $250,000 advanced to General Washington, and $50,000 to Gen. Schuyler. Articles on Privateers went through discussions and forwarded to a couple of people to prepare a Preamble. A ton of gunpowder was ordered for the vessel ready to go guard Delaware Bay. Johnson proposed various Boards (of Treasury, of War, of Public Accounts) not consisting of members of congress. In the evening, Sam Adams, Wilson and Smith kicked back at the new Tavern with General Prescott and had some good lively discussions.
Oliver Wolcott to his wife Laura. He has not heard from her, hopes a letter or two is on the road to him. He is well, he is avoiding supper since he doesn’t get much exercise. He hopes his wife’s Rheumatism is better. He is not happy being away from family, but hopes he is doing the right thing. He knows his wife’s own cares must be many, but he hopes she enjoys health and a strong mind. He will write in a week or 10 days but the post is unreliable and he may find a different way to carry letters. He bought some books from Shakespeare, and thought Dr. Smith’s disrespecting Col. Enos in an oration to Congress was out of line.
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