Adams, John (1735-1826) to Henry Knox
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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02437.00424 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 25 August 1776 Pagination: 2 p. ; 20.2 x 15.8 cm.
Responds to Knox's letter (see GLC02437.00423). Discusses the difficulty of obtaining copper in order to cast canons. Also discusses importance of officers to an army and the issue of appointing more officers from Massachusetts. Asks Knox for a list of the best prospects and comments on their characters. Explains his advocacy of a permanent regular army but also his doubts about one being created. Writes, "I am a constant Advocate for a regular Army, and the most masterly Discipline, because, I know that without these We cannot reasonably hope to be a powerfull, a prosperous, or a free People...Men of Genius and spirit, must be promoted, wherever they areâ€¦"
Philadelphia, August 25. 1776
Your Favor of the 21. is before me. - I agree that We ought to have an hundred more of Mortars, Howitzers and Field Pieces, And if I knew where to procure the Brass, I should be glad to promote the Manufacture of that Number. - You say that Copper can be purchased at a little advanced Price. I wish I knew, where, and at what Price. We have contracted with a Gentleman in Maryland, for a large Quantity of Iron Cannon.
Able officers, are the Soul of an army. ~ ~ ~ Gentlemen of Success, and Knowledge, as well as Valour, must be advanced. ~ ~ I wish you would give me in Confidence a List of the best officers from the Massachusetts, with their Characters - this may be delicate, but it will be Safe. - pray write me the Characters of Coll Shepherd, Coll Henshaw, and Major Brooks. ~ ~ Does Austin merit Promotion, or not? - I am much distressed for want of a List of all the Massachusetts officers, in their Ranks, as they now stand. ~ ~ I have Sought it, a long time but never could obtain it. Will you favour me with one. I am determined to find out the Characters of our officers, by Some means or other. if a Second Battallion of Artillery is formed, who are the officers, of it? Would not Austin make a good Lt. Coll of Artillery? pray give me, your Sentiments frankly, and candidly. We have been delicate too long. Our Country, is too much interested, in this subject. - Men of Genius and Spirit, must be promoted, wherever they are. if you have no Lt Coll, who shall We put in that Place? I wish Austin was in the Artillery, because I know him to have a Capacity equal to any Thing, and I conjecture he would turn his Thoughts to those Sciences, which an officer of Artillery ought to be Master of. -  I am a constant Advocate for a regular Army, and the most masterly Discipline, because, I know that without these We cannot reasonably hope to be a powerfull, a prosperous, or a free People, and therefore, I have been constantly labouring to obtain an handsome Encouragement for inlisting a permanent Body of Troops. But have not as yet prevailed, and indeed, I despair of ever Succeeding, unless the General, and the officers from the South ward, Should convince Gentlemen here; or unless two or three horrid Defeats, Should bring a more melancholy Conviction, which I expect and believe will one day, or other be the Case. I am, your
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