Mr Palfrey is just embarking, so I have only a few Moments to inform you, that I have this Morning been conversing with an old Man and an old Whig, who has all his Days been an Inhabitant of South Carolina & Georgia. He was taken Prisoner last Summer & carried to New York, from whence he lately came to this Place. And though his Fortune would enable him to live here at Ease, he thinks he can be useful to America by returning to that Part of it, and at the Age of 73 has undertaken the long Journey. He has always mixed with the People of those States, & is well acquainted with their Temper & Sentiments. He also has been much among the Indians & is greatly beloved by them. This Account I have had of him often from the Delegates of Georgia & others whom I can confide in. The old Gentleman tells me that the People of those States are in general firmly attachd to the American Cause, & most fervently deprecate their being finally seperated from the United States. His Soul was refreshd to hear me say that I did not apprehend any Danger of it—that the Idea would, in my Opinion, be abominated by the Eastern States, and, as far as I could judge, by all the rest. He says, that the Creeks & the Chictaws, which are the most numerous tribes of Indians, consisting of at least 8 perhaps 10 thousand Gun men, are our staunch Friends. The Heads of them have lately spoken to him in this Language, “We stand on the same Ground with you, we drink the same Water, breathe the same Air.. you are the Buds, & can there be Fruit if the Buds are nipped off?” These are forceable Words, which express their own Sense of the Necessity of their Union with us for their very Existence. They are a sagacious as well as a powerfull People, & an Alliance & Friendship with them is of Importance to all the United States. The People, of whatever Nation, who shall possess Georgia & South Carolina, will be, the Leaves of their Trees. It is my Opinion, that even a Thought of leaving the Inhabitants of those States to be subject to any foreign Power, who so gallantly defended themselves in the Beginning of this Contest, & have lately sufferd so much for the Sake of American Liberty, would not only be unjust to them, but in a high Degree impolitick.
In every view we see the Necessity of a sufficient Naval Force. A few Ships of War at the Bar of Charlestown, & a Frigate or two in Stone River, might at this time effect the Recovery of that City. I need not inform you, what an Effect the Sight of a Sixty Gun Ship would probably have at Penobscott.— Do not our Enemies conceive the Idea of Uti possidetis? And can there be Peace in America while Britain holds a Foot of Ground in any Part of it?
TO JOHN SCOLLAY.
[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; a portion of the text, with modifications, is in W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 114, 115.]
Philade Decr 30 1780