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, 11 February, 1813.
I am much obliged by your favor of the 9th, just received. Though I called the subject of my former letter a bagatelle, it is perhaps of some importance; for, as a navy is now an object, I think a circumstantial history of naval operations in this country ought to be written, even as far back as the province ship under Captain Hallowell, &c., and perhaps earlier still.
Looking into the journal of Congress for 1775, I find on Friday, September 22, 1775, Congress resolved that a committee be appointed to take into consideration the state of the trade of America.
Monday, September 25, 1775. Congress took into consideration the letters from General Washington, Nos. 5 and 6, and two others not numbered. Resolved, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare an answer. Mr. Lynch, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Adams were chosen. But our accurate secretary has not stated whether it was Samuel or John Adams.
Thursday, October 5, 1775. Resolved, that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a plan for intercepting two vessels, which are on their way to Canada, laden with arms and powder; and that the committee proceed on this business immediately.
Our correct secretary has omitted the names of this committee; but if my memory has not created something out of nothing, this committee were Silas Deane, John Langdon, and John Adams. On the same day, the committee appointed to prepare a plan for intercepting the two vessels bound to Canada, brought in a report, which was taken into consideration.1
December 13th. Congress resolved, on the report of the committee, to build thirteen ships; five of thirty-two guns, five of twenty-eight, and three of twenty-four; and, December 12th, appointed a committee of thirteen, one from each State, to do the business. I was gone home, by leave of Congress; but I presume Barry and Jones were appointed by this committee.
General Heath, in his Memoirs, page 30, says, November 4th, (1775,) “the privateers fitted out by the Americans about this time, began to send in a few prizes.” Page 31, November 30th, he says, “intelligence was received from Cape Ann, that a vessel from England, laden with warlike stores, had been taken and brought into that place. There were on board one thirteen-inch brass mortar, two thousand stand of arms, one hundred thousand flints, thirty-two tons of leaden ball, &c., &c. A fortunate capture for the Americans! December 2d, the brass thirteen-inch mortar, and sundry military stores taken in the ordnance prize, were brought to camp.”
Pray, write to Captain John Selman, of Marblehead, and pray him to commit his recollections to writing. Broughton and Selman are important characters, and their ten prizes important events, as well as Governor Wright. Pray let me have the act and the preamble; curiosities they are. Who was Captain Burke and the other, Campbell and military stores, &c.? These facts ought all to be ascertained. Heath was mistaken; privateering was not yet authorized by Congress or the State.
P. S. What might not Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island do, at this day, had they the patriotism of 1775?
[1 ] The list of Acts and proceedings of Congress is omitted, as the same is found in the autobiography. Vol. iii. p. 8-10.