<br /> Lee Letter: n356

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Samuel Adams
Recipient: Arthur Lee

My dear Friend

I did myself the Honor to write to you on the 2d of Jany past since which
your favor of the 21st of the same Month from Paris came to my
Hand.1 You have supposd that this Campaign
would put General Howe, after the Junction with Burgoyne in Possession
of the States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania & the Delaware
with Rhode Island as his Center of Attack upon the States of New
England; you have even considerd such a situation of things as almost
certain. But I have now the satisfaction of informing you that General
Howe has found it necessary to withdraw all his Troops from New Jersey,
and I am of opinion that it is impracticable for him to distribute his
Troops among the States you have mentioned in sufficient Numbers to
keep possession of them and afford enough to attack the New England
States with the least Prospect of subduing them. I have thought that
the Impression which the Enemy made the last Winter in the State of New
Jersey was owing to favorable Circumstances which then took place, and
was not in pursuance of the original Plan. The Time for which our
Troops were inlisted had expired, our Army was reduced to a mere
handful and General Howe had flatterd himself that the middle States
were so generally disaffected to our Cause as to render their total
Submission practicable & easy. He therefore made a vigorous push in
the Depth of Winter as far as Trenton upon Delaware, and there cantond
his Troops with a Design probably of availing himself of this City
early in the Spring before we should be able to collect a force
sufficient to prevent it. But General Washington, having gaind a signal
Advantage by an attack as you have heard obligd him to retreat and make
his remaining Winter Quarters in Brunswick; since which the Vigilance
& Activity of the people of Jersey who by frequent Skirmishes have
lessend his Army, has given him Reason to alter his opinion of their
disposition & his removing from thence has I think afforded
sufficient Proof that he has not been able by Arts or Arms to conquer
even one of our smaller States. What his next step will be is
uncertain, perhaps he may embark his troops for Philadelphia, or more
probably he may attempt a Junction with Burgoyne. If the first, has he
to expect more Laurels or better Success than he gaind in Jersey? or,
if the latter should be his Choice judge what must be his Prospect.
Burgoyne who it is said can not muster more than 7 or 8 thousand will
be opposd by our Northern Army & I hope overwhelmd before they
approach Albany. How will be followd close by the Army under the
immediate Command of GW, at present more than equal in number, in high
Spirits, full of the Idea of Victory and daily increasing Under these
unpromising circumstances should he ever complete a Junction, he will
then have to begin an attempt of the most arduous Business of
conquering the whole Army of the united States together with the
numerous, hardy & stubborn Militia of New England. These are my
Views of the present State of our military affairs and I am perswaded,
when I reflect on the Spirit & Valor discoverd in my Countrymen of
Georgia, So & No Carolina, Virginia & Jersey to say nothing of
Lexington & Bunker Hill in my own dear native State, Great Britain
will ever show herself feeble in her Efforts to conquer America. I beg
you to write to me full as often as you can find Leisure, and for my
own part I feel a disposition almost to persecute you with my letters
but I must conclude with congratulating you on the first Anniversary of
American Independence and assuring you that I am unfeignedly and very
affectionately, your Friend,

SA

Notes:

File copy, New York Public Library.

1 See Samuel Adams to Elizabeth Adams, April 1, 1777.