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Letter from John Adams to General Gates



Philadelphia, June 18, 1776.

MY DEAR GENERAL: We have ordered you to the post of honour, and made you Dictator in Canada for six months, or at least until the 1st of October. We do not choose to trust you Generals with too much power for too long time.

I took my pen at this time to mention to you the name of a young gentleman, and to recommend him to your notice and favour. His name is Rice. This gentleman is the son of a worthy clergyman. He was educated at Harvard College, where he was an officer of the military company, and distinguished himself as a soldier in the manual exercises and manoeuvres. After he came out of college he put himself under my care as a student of law. While he was in my office he was very useful in the neighbourhood in training the companies and Militia there. He is a modest, sensible, and well-read young man, and a very virtuous and worthy one. In my absence from home after the battle of Lexington, he applied for a commission in the Army, and obtained a place, in my opinion, vastly below his real merit — I mean that of Adjutant in General Heath' s, now Colonel Greaton' s Regiment. In this capacity he has continued from his first engagement, which was immediately after the battle of Lexington, until this time, and is now in Canada with his regiment, and I have been informed by a variety of officers that he has behaved remarkably well.

As you are going to Canada with full powers, I must beg the favour of you to think of this young gentleman, inquire into his character and conduct, and if you can, consistently with the publick service, advance him to some place more adequate to his abilities and merits and services, I should take it as a favour.

I pray God to prosper you in Canada, and grant you a plentiful crop of laurels; and am your affectionate, humble servant,

To General Gates.