Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

Cotton Tufts to John Adams, 6 August 1776 Tufts, Cotton JA Cotton Tufts to John Adams, 6 August 1776 Tufts, Cotton Adams, John
Cotton Tufts to John Adams
Dear Sr. Weymouth Augt. 6th. 1776

Last Week I received Yours of July the 20th. also Dr. Rushs Letter on Inoculation for which You and the learned and benevolent Dr. have my sincere Thanks.1 He has thrown much Light upon the Subject and the Simplicity of his Method I admire. The whole Art seems to me to lay in reducing the Body to such a State as to prevent any great Degree of Inflammation or Febrile Motions. An Attention to the Subject must I think convince any Person, that an entire Alteration of the Blood and Juices and the removal of inveterate obstructions is not absolutely necessary to a Persons going thro' the Disorder safely: Indeed where any of the noble organs are unsound, I think it unsafe. It can never be supposd that Six or Seven Days Dieting, 30 or 40 Grains of Mercury and 2 or 3 Purges or even Purges administred every Day for that Time, will be sufficient for removing old obstructions that in Common Practice would require Months and perhaps Years—from all which it may be inferd (as People of this Class have it safely) That nothing more is necessary than to discharge from the Body all superfluous Juices and Fluids and especially to free the more open Passages from Impurities.

The Small Pox has this Time (I mean received by Inoculation) provd very untoward in its Operations—not that many have died of it, but the Infection has been extremely slow in its Progress, from Inoculation to Eruption. Many have run from 14 to 16 Days, others as the Physicians aver to 21 Days. Of the last am in doubt, but as it is new to me am seeking for evidence thinking it may be of Importance to have it determined. In 1764 scarce any one exceeded 14 Days and upon a Medium broke out the 10 or 11th. Day. The first Incisions 82now faild in vast Numbers. Many have been inoculated a first, second and even to the Sixth Time and many after all took it in the natural Way. My Son was inoculated for a 5th. Time after the 20th. Day. Afterwards it was found that his fourth Incision had taken effect. He is now in the Eruptive State.

In my last, wrote about 10 or 15 Days past, I gave You an Accountt of the State of your Family. That wrote the 5th. July You mention the receipt of. Mrs. Adams I suppose did not then write to you as I expected being unwell but forwarded mine as deliverd. In my last I believe I mentiond the Recovery of your Family. Mrs. Adams, John and Thomas have indisputably gone thro the Distemper and are very well, Nabby and Charles there is some doubt off, and have been reinoculated. Complaints of the variolous Kind they had, and may possibly be sufficiently securd.

Dr. Bulfinch who inoculated in our Families, out of 13 the first Inoculation faild in 4 or 5 and this has been the Case with other Inoculators in the Town. To what Cause to ascribe it am at a Loss—whether to reducing the Patient too low, to the Season of the Year, to the Age of the Matter or Hurry and Carelessness of the Inoculators—perhaps they may all have their Influence. Indeed should we find the last to be the sole Cause We need not wonder. Messrs. Bulfinch and Jos. Gardner according to the best Information I can obtain have inoculated each 1000 Persons. Think You what Attendance must their Patients have. I have been in Pain for my Friends, and have been with them as much as I could. Multitudes Seven or Eight Days after Inoculation have had their Incisions inflamd—a feverish Turn—some Eruptions—these indeed have died away without filling up—seven or Eight Days or ten after, have had the true Eruptions. Others who supposed that they had gone through with it in this Manner had it afterwards in the natural Way. In short there never was in any Place or among any Physicians such Doubts and Uncertainties with respect to the Eruptions or the Operations of Inoculation. Many are now uncertain whether they have had it after 4 or 5 Weeks stay in Town. It is now 11 at Night, must brake off for the present, propose to Visit our Friends at Boston in the Morning and shall then close my Letter with an Accountt of their State.


Am now at Boston, find Mrs. Adams, John and Thos. safely through the Disorder. Eruptive Symptoms on Nabby. Charles is free from any Complaints. Mrs. Cranch gone through it very Lightly. Mr. Cranch 83comfortable with Eruptions, also his Daughter Lucy. Betsy Cranch gone through it. Billy Cranch is in the Doubtful State. My Son well with Eruptions on Him. Jona. Sweetser your Fathers Smiths Boy, has attended upon them ever since they have been in Town (suppos'd to have had it in his Infancy) this Day broke out with it.—Am informd that a Jamaica Vessell with 300 Hhds. Sugar yesterday morning got into Providence taken by our Capt. Chase.—Pray what is Hopkins Fleet about.—Would not our Privateers do service at Newfoundland among the Liverpool Men.

Am Sorry to hear You are out of Health. Wishing You perfect Health & Happiness Am Yr. Friend & H. Servt.

RC (Adams Papers).


Rush's letter, addressed to JA and forwarded by the latter to AA, 23 July, has not been found.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 10 August 1776 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 10 August 1776 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Aug. 10. 76

Yours of 30. and 31 July was brought me, to day, by Captain Cazneau. I am happy to think that you, and my oldest son, are well through the distemper, and have sufficient Receipts. Nabby, I believe is also through. The Inflammation in her Arm, and the single Eruption, are nearly as much Evidence, as I had to shew—and I have seen1 Small Pox enough since I had it, to have infected 1002 Armies. Tommy, I shall hear by next Post, is happily recoverd of it, I think. Charley, my dear Charley! I am sorry, that it is still pretty clear, that you have not taken it. But never fear, you will have it.

This Suspence and Uncertainty must be very irksome to you. But Patience and Perseverance, will overcome this, as well as all other Difficulties. Dont think of Time, nor Expence. 1000 Guineas is not worth so much as security to a Wife, a good one I mean, and four Children, good ones I mean, against the small Pox. It is an important Event in a Mans Life, to go thro that distemper. It is a very great Thing, for a whole Family, to get well over it.

At the same Time that I am in a State of suspence, Uncertainty and Anxiety about my best, dearest, worthyest, wisest Friend, in this World, and all my Children, I am in a State of equal Suspence, Uncertainty, and Anxiety about our Army at N. York and Ticonderoga, and consequently about our Country and Posterity. The Lives of Thousands, and the Liberties of Millions are as much in Suspence, as 84the Health of my family. But I submit to the Governance of infinite Wisdom.

Had my Advice been followed, in Season, We should now have been in Safety, Liberty and Peace, or at least We should have had a clear and indisputable Superiority of Power. But my Advice was not regarded. It never was, and never will be, in this World. Had N.Y., N.J. and Pensilvania, only been in compleat Possession of the Powers of Government only 3 Months sooner, We should have had an Army, at N.Y. and Amboy, able to cope with double the Number of our Enemies. But now We trust to Chance: to the Chapter of Accidents: a long Chapter it is, as long as the 119 Psalm: and well it is for us that it is so. If We trusted to Providence, I should be easy, but We do not.

I have now come to a Resolution, upon another Subject, which has kept me in suspence for some Time.—I must request of you, to interceed with your Father to procure for me, two Horses, and send them to Philadelphia, with a servant, as soon as possible. I shall wait for their Arrival, let it be sooner or later. The sooner they come, the more agreable to my Wishes, and the better for my Health. I can live no longer, without Riding. If Bass is in the land of the living, and3 is willing to take one more Ride with his old Friend, let him come, if he declines, send somebody else. I shall wait for Horses. If the Congress should adjourn, I shall attend the Board of War, untill they come. The General Court, I think might do something. Whether they have ever thought of granting me, a farthing, for my Time, I know not. Mr. A. had an Horse and a fine Chaise, furnished him, by the Committee of Supplies. Perhaps they might furnish me with a Pair of Horses too.4—Pray mention this to Coll. Warren or Coll. Palmer.—If nothing can be done by them, if I have Credit enough left, to hire two Horses and a servant, let it be employed. The Loss of my fine Mare, has disconcerted me. The General Court will send some Gentleman here to take my Place. But if my Horses come I shall not wait for that.

RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Mr. S.A.” Written in considerable agitation, the two versions of this letter differ in many details of phrasing, but only a few of these are noted here.


LbC adds: “and smelled.”


LbC: “500.”


Preceding eight words supplied from LbC.


LbC adds here and then deletes: “But I will say nothing.”