Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

John Adams to Richard Cranch, 29 June 1766 JA Cranch, Richard John Adams to Richard Cranch, 29 June 1766 Adams, John Cranch, Richard
John Adams to Richard Cranch
Dr. Brother Braintree June 29th. 1766

I have been determined, a long Time, to write you by the first Opportunity that should present, of sending a Letter. Two or Three Opportunities have presented; but so suddenly, that I could not obtain Time to write one Line. I now write intending to have my Letter in Readiness, against another Bearer appears.

I rejoiced very heartily last Night, at Hearing of your Welfare by Mr. Grosvenor. I wanted a Line from you however to inform, how you like the Place, the People, and the Business.1 I want to know how the Clock and Watch Work go on, and how the Card Trade comes forward, and how the Cash, that virtuous Commodity, which answers all Things, comes in? I want to know likewise, whether that Court Atmosphere has not almost contaminated your Patriotic Heart—and how many Blessings and Lamentations you have heard over the Lt. Governor, and how many Curses, and Imprecations upon Jemmy, since you have been there?2—Upon second Thought I dont care whether I hear any Thing of the last Matters or not; for to tell you a secret, I am amazingly changed. Since the Stamp Act is repealed and the Judges of the Superiour Court, taken out of that Sink of Partiality and Hypocrisy and Chicanery the Political Whirlpool, in which, to the Discouragement of Learning, the Elevation of Ignorance and Nonsense, the Disgrace of the Province, the Debasement of the Law, and the general scandal of impartial Men, they have been ingulphed; I am at perfect Ease about Politicks. I care not a shilling, who is in and who is out. I have no Point, that I wish carried.

I purpose, before I finish to cutt out materials enough for you to write up in your Letter to me. I want to know whereabout you live? in what street? whether near the Court House or not?—for I am meditating Journeys to Salem Court.—But by the Way, Sister writes that you rise by four in the Morning. I dont like that Advice very well. Before I venture to Salem you must write me express Leave to lye abed till Eight o Clock, in the morning absolutely, and till 9 upon Condition I shall find it necessary—for that lazy Town of Boston, and my Squeamish Wife keeping the shutters too, have brought me into a vile Habit of dozing in the Morning.—But prithee Brother how sits this four o Clock Practice upon thy stomach? Thou usedst to love thy 53Pillow with Verse and Prose and History and Mathematicks and Mechanicks, in thine Head, till pretty late since I knew thee.

To be serious. I recollect the Hours at Friendship Hall,3 the still pleasanter Times of Courtship at Weymouth, and the happy Visits at Germantown; and I regret your Removal more than I even expected I should. It seems to me if you was at Germantown I should visit you twice as often as I used. But it is certainly true when We have a Friend at Hand whom4 we know we can visit at any Hour in the day, we are apt to put it off from one Hour and Day to another, but when that Friend is removed to a Distance We then think about him seriously and in Earnest. Just so I have borrowed a Book, and after reading it laid it on my shelf, where it has laid Year after Year unopened by me. But as soon as I return that Book to the owner, it seems to me that scarce a Day passes but I find Occasion and Inclination to read it again; or at least to review some Passages in it.

My Love to sister and Miss Betcy. Write to me soon and come and see me soon, and believe me your real Friend and affectionate Brother,

J. Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr Richard Cranch Salem”; endorsed: “Bror. Adams June 29th. 1766.”


Cranch's several business ventures in Germantown and Weymouth having failed to prosper, the family had recently moved to Salem. On a visit there later this year JA described the Cranches' house; see his Diary and Autobiography , 1:320. But they remained in Salem relatively briefly, for by Nov. 1767 Cranch advertised his watchmaking business as established on Hanover Street in Boston (Essex Inst., Hist. Colls. , 31[1894]:106).


Salem was regarded as a tory stronghold. The lieutenant governor was Thomas Hutchinson; “Jemmy” was his opponent James Otis Jr.


The Joseph Palmer house in the Germantown section of Braintree. It was built about 1757, was “three stories in height, and had two 'boudoirs' built out from it on two sides, [and] a portico” (Quincy Patriot, 29 June 1872). The Palmers left it in 1786. During the 19th century it was moved from its original site to the grounds of Sailors' Snug Harbor, where it stood until early in the present century. See Nathaniel Cranch Peabody's Genealogical Scrapbook (MHi: Palmer Papers), which has a floor plan of the house; and Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy , p. 489.


MS torn.

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 15 July 1766 AA Cranch, Mary Smith Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 15 July 1766 Adams, Abigail Cranch, Mary Smith
Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch
My Dear Sister Braintree july 15. 1766

Tomorrow being Commencment, suppose this will not fail thro want of a conveyance. I therefore set, to tell you that I was much obliged by your kind Letter.1 When ever I receive a Letter from you it seems to give new Springs to my nerves, and a brisker circulation to 54my Blood, tis a kind of pleasing pain that I feel, and I some how, or other catch the infection which you speak of, and I feel so glad that I can scarcly help feeling sorry. These seem to be odd, tho I believe they are very natural Sensations.

You ask me if I will not come and tarry a Week with you. I have been Scheeming of it this forghtnight, and this was the week we pitch'd upon but some difficulties arose, then we talked of keeping Thanksgiving with you, but farming and the Courts come so thick upon us, that we cannot bring that to bear, for next week the Superior Court sets, the inferiour is adjournd to the week after. So that there is no opportunity till the week after that, and then I hope there will not any more Mountains arise to hinder me. Mole hills I always Expect to find, but them I can easily surmount.2

As to Sister Betsy, poor Girl her heart is with you, but when her Body will be, is uncertain, for one while her cough is too bad, then it is too hot weather. O you know how it always was. Dont you remember the time when I wanted to go to Commencment.—These matters you know we always wish'd were otherways. I desire to be very thankful that I can do as I please now!!! I have had upon a visit here, from Saturday till tuesday Mr. Samll. Adams and wife, and indeed Sister they are a charming pair. In them is to be seen the tenderest affection towards each other, without any fulsome fondness, and the greatest Complasance, delicacy and good breeding that you can immagine, yet seperate from any affectation—in them you might see those Lines of Thomson verified

“There, friendship full exerts her softest power, Perfect Esteem, enliven'd by desire, Ineffable, and Sympathy of Soul Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will, With boundless confidence.”

Had you been at Germantown, you should have been an Eye Witness of what I have told you. How often do I think, now if She was but there, I would run away and see her. “How Blessings brighten as they take their flight.” Dont you begin to think of comeing this way. And my Dear Betsy, I am affraid she will forget me. The weather will be so hot that I cannot think of bringing Nabby with me. Poor Rogue She has been very poorly these 3 or 4 Days, cutting teeth I believe. Her cough too is bad again.—Well tis time for me to think of drawing to a close, for tis pretty 55late, but I assure you I shall not follow your practise of rising by 4 oclock. It does not agree with my inclination to Laziness.

Your Stockings will send the first good opportunity, Love to Mr. Cranch. I have a little business for him, haveing broke the Spring of our timepiece. Mr. Adams sends Love to you and yours. So does your Truly affectionate Sister,

Abigail Adams

RC (NAlI); address leaf largely torn away but contains endorsement: “Mrs. Adams June 16 1766.”


Not found.


The Adamses paid their first visit to the Cranches in Salem in August and another in November of this year (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 1:318–320).