Mr L informs me that Colo Laurens the younger has declind going to Europe. “The little Gentleman” (he will pardon me the Joke) will, if he recollects, help us to guess who will probably obtain the next Choice.
The Delegates in Congress for the last year are again chosen excepting General Ward in the Room of Mr Dana. I own it is not becoming an old Man to be mutable—and yet I am intimately acquainted with one who took his Leave of his good Friends in Philadelphia with almost as much Formality as if he was on his dying Bed soon after resolving to visit them once more. In [your] horrid Catalogue of evil Dispositions with which Age is infested we do not find Vanity. This perhaps may be common to the old & the young, tho I confess it is the more pardonable in the latter. It is difficult for a Man in years to perswade himself to believe a mortifying Truth that the Powers of his mind whether they have been greater or less, are diminishd.
Pray assure Mr Dana of my affectionate Regards, and Colo Laurens if you meet with him. I am informd he is gone or going to Europe. My old patriotick Friend Mr A L, I am perswaded is before this time on his Passage to America. But if not, let him know that the Hopes of seeing him at Philadelphia is a strong Inducement to me, otherwise against my Inclination, to visit Philadelphia once more.
A Letter from Gen1 Heath dated at Head Quarters Decr 21 says “the health & Spirits of the Troops are not to be parralled. The Enemy at N Y are undoubtedly embarking a large Body of Troops from 8 to 10,000—they would have saild before this Time but have been under Apprehension that the Coast was not clear. Their Destination is said to be to the Southward but some say to the W. I. most probably both.”
[Ms., Massachusetts Archives; a text is in W. V. Wells’ Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 146, 147.]
Boston Feb 17 1780
Your Letter of the 19th of Jany did not reach my Hand till yesterday.—I am sorry to acquaint you that the Affairs of this Government immediately previous to the Enemies taking Possession of this Town in the year 1775, being under the Direction of Persons inimical to us, the Papers in the files of the Secretary of the Province were derangd & thrown into such disorder, as to render it impracticable for me immediately to comply with your Request to send you authenticated Copies of the papers you have mentiond. I can conceive of no Reason why you should not be servd with Copies as you desire. The Council have orderd the papers to be lookd up for the Use of a Committee appointed to state our Claim. This will be done with the greatest Despatch, and will enable me to convince you of the Readiness with which I am disposd to gratify you in all Cases consistent with the Duties of my office.