A Capital Day
I sit in judgment of no man's religion, Mr. Dickinson, but your Quaker sensibilities do us a gross disservice, sir.
- John Adams to John Dickinson (according to HBO)
So Washington got his ass handed to him at Brandywine on 9/11/1777, and Congress started to get gloomy intelligence in the aftermath, so they hightailed it to Lancaster on 9/27, and York (where they accomplished zilch) the following day. John Adams wrote of it thus:
York Town Pensylvania,
My best Friend Septr. 30. 1777 Tuesday
It is now a long Time, since I had an Opportunity of writing to you, and I fear you have suffered unnecessary Anxiety on my Account. In the Morning of the 19th Inst., the Congress were allarmed, in their Beds, by a Letter from Mr. Hamilton one of General Washingtons Family, that the Enemy were in Possession of the Ford over the Schuylkill, and the Boats, so that they had it in their Power to be in Philadelphia, before Morning. The Papers of Congress, belonging to the Secretary's Office, the War Office, the Treasury Office, &c. were before sent to Bristol. The President, and all the other Gentlemen were gone that Road, so I followed, with my Friend Mr. Merchant of Rhode Island, to Trenton in the Jersies. We stayed at Trenton, untill the 21 when We set off, to Easton upon the Forks of Delaware. From Easton We went to Bethlehem, from thence to Reading, from thence to Lancaster, and from thence to this Town, which is about a dozen Miles over the Susquehannah River. Here Congress is to sit.
In order to convey the Papers, with safety, which are of more Importance than all the Members, We were induced to take this Circuit, which is near 180 Miles, whereas this Town by the directest Road is not more than 88 Miles from Philadelphia. This Tour has given me an Opportunity of seeing many Parts of this Country, which I never saw before.
This Morning Major Throop arrived here with a large Packett from General Gates, containing very agreable Intelligence,(1) which I need not repeat, as you have much earlier Intelligence from that Part than We have.
I wish Affairs here wore as pleasing an Aspect. But alass they do not.
I shall avoid every Thing like History, and make no Reflections.
However, General Washington is in a Condition tolerably respectable, and the Militia are now turning out, from Virginia, Maryland and Pensilvania, in small Numbers. All the Apology that can be made, for this Part of the World is that Mr. Howes march from Elke to Philadelphia, was thro the very Regions of Passive obedience. The whole Country thro which he passed, is inhabited by Quakers. There is not such another Body of Quakers in all America, perhaps not in all the World.
I am still of Opinion that Philadelphia will be no Loss to Us.
Sometimes I get the sense that Adams did not appreciate people of my Perswasion, particularly a certain great Fortune and piddling Genius. Certainly Quakers gave him cause for some frustration at times, and he wasn't the only one who found them to be difficult. But c'mon, man, give up the grudge.
Fallen leaves in the night
This is the dead land
Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom
Secretary Clinton's Predecessor
Jefferson was nominated by Washington to be our First SecState and affirmed by the Senate on September 25, 1789, and thus appointed on this date ('course he was in France at the time and didn't accept the honor until Valentine's Day). He went on to become President, you might recall.
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