The Papers of Henry Laurens


[Page 357]

John Wells, Jr. to Henry Laurens

Sir

The Account of the Bunker's Hill Engagement does not depend entirely upon Lieut. Logie's oral testimony. A printed Handbill, dated Boston June 27 th gives the same account as the inclosed which I received from New York, with this difference, instead of Provincials they are stiled Rebels[2] I chose[3] rather to mention it as being received in that Channel, for were I to give it out that I had seen a Printed Account I might be asked "Why did not you give it!" The Answer Reason is obvious_ A piece of bad news ought to be given in the manner least disagreeable_ I would wish therefore to avoid any thing personal on Leut. Logie, who is universally esteemed by his acquaintance, & it might subject me to personal resentment_
It is with pain, Sir, that I inform you I cannot see the propriety of publishing the Remarks, as well for the above Reasons as[Page 358] the following_ Whatever assistance the Printer of a Paper may receive from any of his freinds, the publick have no business to know any thing of it. Were the Remarks to be published this Week, it would readily occur to the most cursory reader, that how e it was very unlikely I should be so fond of critising upon my own Story_ for notwithstanding Leut. Logie's name is mentioned it is not positively said that he was the Authour_ No the Publick is informed that Leut. Logie was an Eye Witness of the Engagement, of which we are informed that he gives an Account much to the following Purport. It would I say readily occur to the most cursory reader that the Press was under influence _ an imputation I would ever wish to avoid_
I hope, Sir, my candour & frankness will not offend you_ I am highly sensible of the many favours both my father & myself are under to you & I assure You there is not a man on earth whom I would with greater reluctance do offend or disoblige in any matter_ Should you think proper to make any observations in a letter to the Printer next week, as I am sure you will avoid every thing personal, you may be assured it shall be enserted
You will pardon this_ I have all the World to please_ & I would willingly adhere to my own Notions of Right & wrong_ & I am sure, while influenced by these motives, I never will offend you_

I am Sir
Your most humble Servant

John Wells junr

ALS, Kendall Collection; addressed on cover "To / Col. Henry Laurens / Charlestown."; dated "Thursday Afternoon_"; docketed by HL "John Wells".
[1.] Although this letter bore only a dateline of "Thursday afternoon," it has been dated as Aug. 31, 1775, through internal evidence. Wells mentions as an enclosure an account of the Battle of Bunker Hill which Wells printed in the S.C. General Gazette on Friday, Sept. 1, 1775. That account probably came via the sloop New York Packet, Ferdinand Little, which arrived at Georgetown during the preceding week.
[2.] Enclosed with Wells's letter was "An Extract from the Massachusetts Gazette", dated "Boston June 26th 1775", which was printed in the S.C. General Gazette, Sept. 1, 1775.
[3.] Possibly "chuse".