Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO ELBRIDGE GERRY. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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TO ELBRIDGE GERRY. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO ELBRIDGE GERRY.
Quincy, 28 January, 1813.
Vive la bagatelle!
How shall we cure that distemper of the mind, State vanity? You know to what a degree the ancient dominion was infected with it, and how many sacrifices we have been obliged to make to it. You remember how Pennsylvania had it. Pennsylvania was “first in arts and arms!” Philadelphia was “the heart of the Union!” so said George Ross. Dr. Lyman Hall, of Georgia, readily acknowledged that she was the heart, because we know that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Now, New York is to be placed at the head. Our poor old tame, good-natured pussy Massachusetts, who has the distemper in her heart deeper than any of them, has been obliged to turn and to flatter, to dissimulate and to simulate, in plain English, as Governor Hopkins once said, or rather was accused of saying, to coax, lie, and flatter in order to carry her points, and save herself from perdition. Her distemper, however, seems to be now rising, and approaching to the delirium of a fever. These are objects too great for my genius. I dare not rise to greater things than ensigns, midshipmen, pursers, or deputy-quartermasters. My present topic is smaller than either.
Philadelphia is now boasting that Paul Jones has asserted in his journal that “his hand hoisted the first American flag!” And Captain Barry has asserted that “the first British flag was struck to him!”
Now, I assert that the first American flag was hoisted by John Manly, and the first British flag was struck to him. You were not in Congress in 1775, but you were in the State Congress, and must have known the history of Manly’s capture of the transport which contained the mortar, which afterwards, on Dorchester heights, drove the English army from Boston, and navy from the harbor. I pray you, give me your recollections upon this subject. I wish to know the number of transports and merchant ships, and their names, captured by Manly or any of his associates, in 1775-6.
As your time and thoughts must be employed upon subjects of much greater moment, I hope you will not give yourself any trouble about this little thing. Your first recollections will be sufficient.