Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 22 October 1786 Cranch, Mary Smith AA Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 22 October 1786 Cranch, Mary Smith Adams, Abigail
Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams
My dear Sister Braintree 22d of october 1786

Cousin Charles and I have stay'd at home from meeting to day, he to write to his Papa1 and I because I was fatigue'd with runing about Boston Street for two days to pick up a number of things for our Sons. Mr JQA wanted a winter wastcoat and mr charles a Gown and a Pair of Breeches and little Tom a surtout. He had his Brother charless last winter and uses it, this to Answer the purpose of a Gown, the Freshman are not allow'd any. I have taken a coat of his Papas which you sent in the trunk to make him one of, but it is Scarcly so long as we wear surtouts here but I tell him it will do. The vacancy is half out already2 and I have not been able to get my Tailor to work till yesterday. We must all set to work and help her. I beleive they play as hard as they Study by the appearence of their cloaths and I do not know but it is necessary. They make such a noise in the morning as would make you laugh. They all sleep in one chamber and poor Cousin JQA wants a morning nap, but they will not let him take it. If he will it must be without Bed cloaths. I 381tell them Sometimes to be quiet, you will hear them. I can call them to order at any time when I think they have done enough. I often think how you would rejoice to see them all. It is a goodly sight—Four likelier Lads are seldom seen.

I wish you would send a piece of Cambrick proper to ruffle their Linnen which you sent them. We shall make it this winter, they will not want to wear them till the spring. I cannot get any cambrick proper for that Linnen here under three dollars a yard and I dare not ask the Doctor for money to purchase it at this price. It will not comport with his Ideas of Frugality. I can buy a little to ruffle their old shirts, and I think it is no matter if some of them are wore without especially in the Freshman year.

My dear Sister I have been oblig'd to do what gives me great pain. The troublesome times into which we are fallen has depriv'd mr cranch of the possibility of geting one shilling from the publick of what is due to him for his services in past years or the present, by which means I find it impossible to provide Food for our Family during the vacancys without taking Something for the Board of my dear Nephews. It has given me more dissagreable feelings than I can express. I hop'd it would have been in my Power to have in this way return'd some of the obligations I feel my self under to you. The dissapointment Sinks my spirits—and has caus'd me not a few tears.

I have charg'd Ten shillings a week for each of them, as provision is I believe it will take that to feed them. I believe I have told you that I have a washing and an Ironing woman to whom I give one and four pence a day. We generaly wash once in a fortnight Sometimes once a week, just as the Quanty of Linnen chanceth to be, this I thought the cheapest way to get their washing done. If I have your approbation I shall be happier.

I wish you to keep the affair of a certain Gentleman a secret, as it is yet uncertain Whether Law or Philosophy is to be charg'd with it.3 The Split Peas are excellent, and I thank you for them. I did not know you had sent any till a few weeks since.4

Betsy will write this week. It has not been in her Power to write since she reciev'd yours and mrs Smiths kind Letters. Lucys being absent, her needle has been fully imploy'd. She sends her Duty and Love. Leanard White and her Freind Peggy are here. She is soon to be married to mr Bailey Bartlet. She says give my respect to mrs Adams and Mrs Smith—yours affectionaly

M. Cranch

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs Cranch ocbr 22 1786.”

382 1.

Not found.


Harvard's fall vacation extended from 17–31 Oct.; the three Adams boys and William Cranch spent most of it at the Cranches' in Braintree (JQA, Diary , 2:116–120; see entry for 17 Oct. and following).


That is, Royall Tyler's fathering Elizabeth Hunt Palmer's daughter Sophia (see Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 24 Sept., note 4, above).


AA never mentioned the split peas in her correspondence with Cranch, but they were probably sent around the time of AA's 4 July letter, above, which Cranch received on 9 October.

Thomas Brand Hollis to Abigail Adams, 22 October 1786 Hollis, Thomas Brand AA Thomas Brand Hollis to Abigail Adams, 22 October 1786 Hollis, Thomas Brand Adams, Abigail
Thomas Brand Hollis to Abigail Adams
Madam Chesterfeild Street octo 22. 1786

I was most sensibly pleased, with the Sight of the Dutch Liberty medal which you was so obliging as to send me. I know not how to deprive you of it but in compliance with your commands and from the manner in which you express yourself.

Assuredly it shall have an interesting, place in my cabinet sacred to Freedom amidst the american medals.

If you and Mr Adams will come down to the Hide, you will increase my obligations, and see the Series of Heroes and of Patriots which as America promises to equal it may be of use to observe the manner of preserving their fame and portraits.

The Dutch can no longer be reproached—“with whom Dominion lurks from hand to hand undignified by publick choice,”1 and I hope this is the begining of better times. They are indebted to the Americans who are become the preceptors of mankind as once the English were!

My intention was to have waited on you and Mr Adams before this but have been much engaged and detained at home. Shall be in town again soon and, renew my application. I am madam with the greatest regard your obliged, Friend

T Brand Hollis

RC (Adams Papers.)


Mark Akenside, Ode VIII: “On Leaving Holland,” Odes on Several Subjects, London, 1745, lines 24–25.

Thomas Welsh to Abigail Adams, 27 October 1786 Welsh, Thomas AA Thomas Welsh to Abigail Adams, 27 October 1786 Welsh, Thomas Adams, Abigail
Thomas Welsh to Abigail Adams
Dear Madam Boston Octobr 27th 1786

Your esteemed Favor of July 22d did not come to hand untill Capt Callahan had arrived 12 Days, for which and its Contents accept our 383Thanks. I shall see Dr Tufts and attend to the Directions of the Note.1

I am sorry to reflect that the Conclusions drawn in my last to you were so erroneous they were founded upon an opinion of Virtue which I am now convinced is insuficiently possessed by the main Body of the People to govern their political Conduct. The Causes however of the Tumult have been laid in former Administrations.

For several Years the Militia of this Commonwealth had been intirely neglected and with out Officers. The People of the back Counties Suffered to neglect the payment of their Taxes these consequently had accumulated, and the Aversion to discharge increased in Proportion. The County Traders had obtained large Credits of the sea port Merchants and they in their Turns had obtaind Credits in Europe; prior Debts accumulated during and previous to the Warr; and add to this the Bounties promised to the Soldiers2 being all demanded at the same Time was too much for the Virtue of these People to and afforded a Compleat Oppertunity for a Number of bold and designing Men to inflame and mislead others less informed than themselves. The Requisitions of Congress I ought to have mentioned as it is one of the principle Bones of Contention. In short every thing that has the Appearance of Government is matter of Complaint with them.

The present Governor has been exerting himself since his Appointment to get the Militia organized but the former Appointments were such as discouraged the Attempt in part and for the want of this it is generally thought the Insurgents were able to make any Way.

The Continent feels its Infirmity for the Want of committing that Degree of Power to Congress which she wants to regulate the Concerns of the whole and I am fully convinced we shall be a Contemptable People untill it is granted but whether it will ever be I know not.

The Genl Court are sitting and examining into the Causes of the Complaints of the People but I think They will have their Hands full and after they have done they will not be satisfied I am sure.3 They ought not to be gratified but I suppose as they cry for nothing like froward Children they will be visited with a Rod. Blessed with a Constitution faulty only as it is too good they must expect no other than a more rigorous Government in exchange for that which they now dont know the Value of. I hope you will not in fu-384ture be mislead by my Accounts from this Quarter. I am Sensible the Politics of the Country have got beyond my Reach. It is more easy for me to inform you of the little Events which occur in the domistic Circle. Mr Sullivan of Boston you have undoubtdly heard lost his Wife last Winter. He is now about to be married to Mrs Simpson of Portsmouth who made herself famous when the Wife of Mr Barrell of that Place in sueing for a Divorce which she obtained appearing herself in open Court for that Purpose. She has 4 Children and Mr Sullivan seven a patriarchal number. Courage on both Sides, but She has a Fortune and it is said is accomplished.4 Mrs Hayleys marriage is an old affair and Mr Jeffries keeps the Keys now of Course being head of the Family.5 Mr Thos Russell is like soon to have his Family increased,6 but as I think I must have exhausted your Patience I will now tire it no longer but do myself the Honor to subscribe with Sentiments of great Respect to Mr Adams and yourself your most Humle Ser

Thomas Welsh

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr: Grovesnor Square London”; notation: “Ship letter”; stamped: “12 New Rumney”; endorsed: “dr Welch ocbr 27. 1786.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed and at a torn margin.


The 22 July letter is printed above from an incomplete Dft. It does not contain the directives to which Welsh refers.


At this point Welsh struck out an entire line so thoroughly that it is illegible.


The General Court sat from 27 Sept. to 18 Nov. (Mass., Acts and Laws , Resolves of 1786, Sept. sess., p. 347, 422).


James Sullivan's first wife, Mehitable Odiorne, died 26 January. On 31 Dec., Sullivan married Martha Langdon of Portsmouth, N.H., a sister of New Hampshire's recent governor, John Langdon. Her first marriage, to William Barrell in 1765, had ended after just three months when she petitioned the New Hampshire legislature for divorce on the grounds that Barrell was “utterly incapable to satisfy the most virtuous and modest Feminine Inclination and is Impotent to render that due Benevolence which every married woman is warranted.” She later married Thomas Simpson, who died at sea in 1784 ( DAB [Sullivan and Langdon]; Lawrence Shaw Mayo, John Langdon of New Hampshire, Concord, N.H., 1937, p. 23–24; Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New-Hampshire, from 1765 to 1776, ed. Nathaniel Bouton, 7 vols., Nashua, N.H., 1875, 7:93, 97–98; Joseph Foster, The Soldiers' Memorial. Portsmouth, N.H. 1893–1923, Portsmouth, N.H., 1923, p. 46).


Mary Hayley married Patrick Jeffery Esq. in Boston on 13 Feb. (Boston, 30th Report, p. 413).


Sarah Sever and Thomas Russell had a daughter, Sarah, on 1 Dec. (“An Account of the Russell Family of Charlestown,” 1905, p. 26–27, MHi: Sullivan-Russell Papers).