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.