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John Adams to James Warren



Philadelphia, February 14, 1776.

DEAR SIR: I shall enclose to a lady of my acquaintance all the newspapers which have been printed in this city since my arrival, by which you will see to what point the tide of political sentiment sets. Scarcely a paper comes out without a speculation or two in open vindication of opinions, which, five months ago, were said to be unpopular. A vast majority of the people, indeed, I very well knew, secretly entertained the same persuasions then, but injudiciously avoided speaking out. The restraint, however, is now taken off. I expect to see the New-England papers very soon chiming in with the concert.

I have written to Mr˙ Sever the Congress have ordered ten tons of saltpetre to the Council, to be made into powder, and requested him to communicate it to the Court. I hope every nerve will be exerted, with the utmost vigor, to set up powder-mills, complete them, and procure persons skilled in the manufacture of powder. I am not without apprehensions that such persons will be wanted. I apprehend, however, that there are persons who are possessed of the necessary knowledge of the composition and proportions of ingredients. Even Mr˙ Reed, of Weymouth, I conjecture, would be able to instruct others. The same rule which has made a small quantity in a family mortar, applied to a large mill, will make a larger quantity. No expense, no industry, ought to be spared. Don' t fail, my


dear friend, to inform me of every step in the progress of the manufacture of saltpetre and gunpowder.

Measures are taking to make cannon, both of brass and iron. Some experiments have been made in Maryland, Philadelphia and New-York, with success. I will acquaint you with particulars, as fast as I can.

Shall we be able to get seamen to man our navy when our trade shall be opened? Will they not be all belter employed?

I am, your friend.

To the Honourable James Warren, Esq˙, Speaker of the House, Watertown.