Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

186 John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 23 March 1777 JQA JA John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 23 March 1777 Adams, John Quincy Adams, John
John Quincy Adams to John Adams
Dear Sir Braintree March ye 23 1777

I received yours of the 19 of Feb1 and thank you for your perpetual almanack for with the assistance of my Mamma I soon found it out and find it is a very useful thing I have been a reading the history of Bamfylde moore carew2 he went through the biggest greatest3 part of america twice, and he gives a very pretty Desscription of maryland and philadelphia and new york but though he got a great deal of money yet I do not think he got his living either credibly or honestly for surely it is better to work than to beg and better to beg than to lie, for he addicted himself to so many falsehoods that his charecter is odious to all and a disgrace to human nature my Brothers and Sister all send their duty to you please to accept the same from your dutiful son,

John Quincy Adams

In AA's hand: P S This is a Letter of Mr. Johns own composition.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams esq Philidelphia”; endorsed: “ansd. Ap. 8.”; docketed in one or more unidentified hands. The text of this letter is here given with literal fidelity.


Not found.


Bampfylde Moore Carew (1693–1770?), “king of the beggars,” son of a Devonshire clergyman, ran away from home as a boy and led a career devoted to “swindling and imposture, very ingeniously carried out” ( DNB ). At one point he was transported to America, escaped, and made his way from Maryland to Connecticut. The veracity of contemporary accounts of his life is, to say the least, subject to question, and their bibliography is complex; see The King of the Beggars: Bampfylde-Moore Carew, ed. C. H. Wilkinson, Oxford, 1931. Since no Adams copy of either Carew's Life and Adventures, first published in 1745, or his Apology, first published in 1749, has been found, one cannot say what version JQA was reading. Very likely it was one of the later and very popular amalgamated editions of the two books.


This correction is in AA's hand.

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 26 March 1777 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 26 March 1777 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
March 26 1777

I this morning Received yours of March 7 favourd by Dr. Jackson.1 I rejoice to hear you are so comfortable. Col. Palmer informd me a Sunday that he is going to morrow as far as the Jersies being one of a Committe sent by our assembly to know of the General what proportion of Continental Troops will be allowed to this State; and does not know but he shall be obligd to proceed as far as Philadelphia. I venture to write by Him as he will take good care of a Letter tho he should not 187go farther than the Jersies.2—I fear you will think me neglegent in not writing oftner, but till lately I dare not trust the post office, have sent wholy by private Hands. This Letter is but the sixth that I have wrote since you left me, tho I have to acknowledg the Receipt of 20 from you.

We have no news this way except that Manly saild this Morning.—I believe you will not find it difficult to procure Money since you have offerd 6 per cent. I was mentioning the other day to a certain Gentleman in this Town that Congress had agreed to give that, an unusual pleasure lighted up his Countanance immediately, and he instantly replied, they shall have all mine immediately, I only waited for that. You know the Character so perfectly well, that the Speach needs no comment.3

You mention my purchaseing a Ticket. I am determined to do it if I find my self able, after having paid the Rate bill, which tis said will amount to near 30 pounds, so that I must be very parsimonious. I met with the Misfortune of loosing a Cow upon the Ice this winter, Ruggles by name, and having 4 to make her place good purchased an other which cost me 5 pound's.—You know I have ever made it a Rule not to involve an absent Friend in debt.

I have at last Let the House in Queen Street to a Good Tenant at £22 per annum, when he gets in, but a very odd affair happend after it was engaged to him. I advertised the House in Gill's paper,5 and supposing any person would chuse to see it, before they engaged it, desired him to Let them know where the key was to be found. Accordingly Mr. Willis the printer6 applied to me for the House and I Let it to him. Upon his return to Boston and applying to Mr. G—ll for the key he found the famous Dr. W—ship7 had taken it and would not deliver it to him, tho He let him know that he had hired the House of me, and this same Genious had the Confidence to remove his family into the House without either writing to me or applying to me in any shape whatever, and then upon the other insisting upon having the House, he wrote to Let me know that he had moved in and would pay his Rent Quarterly, and that he supposed Mr. G—ll had the Letting of the House, which was absolutely falce for Mr. G—ll never gave him any leave, and had no right to. In Reply to him I let him know that I had Let the House to Mr. W——s, that I could do nothing about it, that I had nothing more to do with it than with any other House in Town. He and Mr. W——s must settle the matter between themselves. In this Time Mr. W——s had taken advice upon it and was determind to prosecute him; tis near a Month since they have been disputing the 188Matter, and the Dr. finding Mr. W——s determind has promised if he will not put him to farther Trouble to remove in about a week.

If you should have an opportunity pray purchase me a Box of Dr. Ryans Wafers for worms, and send them.8 Tommy is much troubled with them, has lost most all his flesh, you would scarcly know him.

Tis now 26 of March and exceeding cold tho the snow is all gone.

Pray what is become of the Farmer—has he sunk into forgetfullness. We can not learn any thing about him. Poor General Lee how does he fare?


RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at Mr. Gills printing Office Queen Street Boston Pr. favor of Genl. Palmer”; franked: “Free”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in CFA's hand.


JA's first letter of that date, above.


Palmer's trip fell through, and the present letter was sent by post; see JA's reply, 8 April, below.


Possibly (but by no means certainly) this was Col. Josiah Quincy, who a little later on was in difficulties with the General Court because he refused to accept Massachusetts paper money in payment of debts due him; see Mass., House Jour. , 1777–1778, p. 25.


MS: “have.”


AA's advertisement appeared in John Gill's Boston Continental Journal, 6 and 13 Feb., and read: “To be Let, a House in Queen-Street, Boston, next Door to Powers and Willis's printing-office.—For further Particulars enquire of the printer.”


Nathaniel Willis Sr., at this time publisher, with Edward E. Powars, of the Boston Independent Chronicle.


Presumably a Dr. Winship, and perhaps the Dr. Amos Winship (or, more correctly, Windship), Harvard 1771, whom JA was to see something of in France and who was later a well-known physician in Boston (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:353 and passim; Thwing Catalogue, MHi). But why so young a man was “famous” (even ironically) does not appear. The letters that AA mentions below have not been found.


JA did so. See the entry for 11 April in his Account with Massachusetts for 1777 ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:253).