Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO MRS. MERCY WARREN. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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TO MRS. MERCY WARREN. - 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 MRS. MERCY WARREN.
Quincy, 15 July, 1814.
. . . . . . . . . . .
What brain could ever have conceived or suspected Samuel Barrett, Esquire, to have been the author of the “Group”?1 The bishop had neither the natural genius nor the acquired talents, the knowledge of characters, nor the political principles, sentiments, or feelings that could have dictated that pungent drama. His worthy brother, the major, might have been as rationally suspected.
I could take my Bible oath to two proposition,—1st, that Bishop Barrett, in my opinion, was one of the last literary characters in the world who ought to have been suspected to have written the “Group.” 2d. That there was but one person in the world, male or female, who could at that time, in my opinion, have written it; and that person was Madam Mercy Warren, the historical, philosophical, poetical, and satirical consort of the then Colonel, since General, James Warren of Plymouth, sister of the great, but forgotten, James Otis.
This Group has mortified and confounded me. Since the receipt of your letter, I went to Boston and demanded of my nephew and quondam secretary,1 the volume. He says he obtained it, with other pamphlets, from Governor Adams’s collection, with the strange certificate in manuscript, in the handwriting, as he thinks, of Jo Dennie, the editor of the Port Folio.2 Jo Dennie in Sam. Adams’s library is as great an oddity as Sam. Barrett, author of the Group. But this is not the worst. The Group has convinced me of the decay of my memory more than any thing that has yet occurred. Hazelrod, Judge Meagre, Hateall, Beau Trumps, François, Dupe, and Spendall, I can comprehend; but Mushroom, Dick, Sapling, Crowbar, Fribble, Batteau, and Collateralis have escaped my recollection. The Group was printed in 1775. The “cawing cormorants” in the 16th page, and Novanglus and Massachusettensis in the 20th page, prove that it was written during the flickering between those two scribblers; but as no allusion is found in it to the skirmishes of Concord or Lexington, it must have been written and printed before the 19th of April, 1775. Now, I cannot recollect to have been in Plymouth since the spring of 1774. Help! O help my memory.
France is humbled and Napoleon is banished; but the tyrant, the tyrant of tyrants is not fallen. John Bull still paws, and bellows terrible menaces and defiances.
Sincerely your friend.
[1 ] “My next question, Sir, you may deem impertinent. Do you remember who was the author of a little pamphlet entitled The Group? To your hand it was committed by the writer. You brought it forward to the public eye. I will therefore give you my reason for naming it now. A friend of mine, who lately visited the Athenæum, saw it among a bundle of pamphlets, with a high encomium of the author, who, he asserted, was Mr. Samuel Barrett. You can, if you please, give a written testimony contradictory of the false assertion.” Extract from Mrs. Warren’s letter.
[1 ] W. S. Shaw, the librarian of the Boston Athenæum.
[2 ] This certificate yet remains attached to the volume at the Athenæum, but another has been added, correcting the mistake. The Group has little merit as a literary work, but it will always be a curiosity on other accounts. Mr. Adams afterwards wrote with his own hand in the same copy, the names of the persons designed to be represented. And another copy in the same library has the names written in the hand of Norton Quincy, to whom it belonged. They are as follows:
Harrison Gray was unquestionably intended, although the association of ideas prompted the accidental addition in the book, of the name of his grandson, then a child.