By the inclosd Paper you will observe, that the late Genl Arnold, after having committed the blackest Treason against his Country has thrown himself into the Arms of its Enemies. You know, that I have long had my Suspicions of this Traitor, & therefore you will not wonder that I am not so much astonishd as if any other officer had been detected. He has been gibbeted in the Streets by the Populace, anathematizd by the Clergy in the Pulpit, & his Name has with Indignation been struck out of the List of Officers by Order of Congress.1 Remember me to my Family & Friends.
1 A draft dated October 3, 1780, has at this point the words: “This City has for some time past been a complete Hospital, and many are still sick.”
[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
Phil. Oct 17-1780
Yesterday I had the pleasure of receiving your Letter of the 2 7 of Septr by the hand of my valueable Friend Mr Arthur Lee. As it was three weeks old I had a Right to expect another by the Post, but am disappointed. I have ever esteemd Mr Lee one of the most virtuous, active & able American Patriots. This opinion, you know, I have long entertaind of him, and therefore you justly conclude, that he meets with the most cordial Reception from me.
You was mistaken when you supposd that I had heard who were chosen into the highest Places under our new Constitution. We are not so well informd. I had Reason to believe that Mr Hancock would be the Governor. I am disposd to think, that my Fellow Citizens had upright Views in giving him their Suffrages. Many Circumstances have combind to make his Election appear to be politically necessary; and if the People, who are now blessd with so great a Privilege, will exercise that Watchfulness over Men whom they exalt to Places of Power, which their Duty & Interest should lead them to do, I flatter myself that his will prove a happy Choice. You may wonder at my saying so; but I think I am not misguided in my Judgment in this Instance. If they have now chosen a wise & virtuous Governor, a few only will be disappointed; if otherwise, Many will see their Error, and will be indued to greater Vigilance for the future. I am far from being an Enemy to that Gentleman, tho’ he has been prevaild upon to mark me as such. I have so much Friendship for him, as to wish with all my Heart, that in the most critical Circumstances, he may distinguish between his real Friends & his flattering Enemies. Or rather between the real Friends of the Country & those who will be ready to offer the Incense of Flattery to him who is the first Man in it. This will require an accurate Knowledge of Men. I therefore again wish that he may have the most able & faithful Councellors to assist him in the Administration of Affairs. Can I say more? If, with the best Advice he is able to hold the Reins of Government with Dignity, I wish him a Continuance of the Honor. If he renders our Country secure in a flourishing Condition, I will never be so partial & unjust as to withhold my Tribute of Applause.