Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 5 January 1786 Tufts, Cotton AA Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 5 January 1786 Tufts, Cotton Adams, Abigail
Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams
Dear Cousin Weymouth Boston Jany 5. 1786

I have to thank you for your Communications of Sept and Octob. which came to Hand.1 And I have many Things which I wish to write but must confine myself to some few matters that have relation to your Affairs. Your Bro Adams informs me that he has your Note for £30. I wish to know whether you would have me discharge it. I this day paid your Mohr. Hall 5 Dolrs. for the ft. Quarter having deferered it to this Time in order to begin the Payments with the Year. Your Tenant Mr Pratt has been so unfortunate in the Year past as to lose with the Horn Distemper one of the largest Oxen—2 Cows, and one Hog with a Distemper of which a Number have died. I have thoughts of making him a Consideration in the Settlement of Acctts. as the loss will be heavy to him and I presume it will not be disagreable to you. I have received the 17 Guineas by Mr Charles Storer (5 delivered him and 12 by the Way of Dr. Crosby). I 6informed you that I had laid out for Mr Adams Upwards of £100 in Consoledated Notes2—and have followed your Directions by your Son John, a more particular Acctt. of the whole, I shall give you in my Next. I wish you to attend to the matter relative to Doanes Acctt.3 and send me an Answer—and from Time to Time give me a dish of Politices for I assure you that your Intelligence is very acceptable. What shall I do should it be found necessary to call for a Surrender of Account Books Papers &c in the Hands of a certain Attorney.4 I have found it necessary for a long while to call for the Completion of this and that Business &c which is not very pleasing to one who wishes to have Business dispatched with Care and punctuality and Speed. However I hope I have got Matters into a tolerable good Train. There is not a little rejoicing here at the Breaking off a Correspondence between the young Folks. As soon as I get Leisure I shall write you a long Letter which the Necessity of my returning home this Forenoon and a Snow Storm coming on prevents.

Be so kind as to forward the Letter to Mr Elwerthy.5 Remember me to Mr Adams and Cousin. Charles is well—now at Braintree being the Winter Vacation, your other Children were well last Week. Adieu. Yr Friend &c

C Tufts

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr Tufts Janry 5 1786.”


16 Sept. and 5 Oct. 1785 (vol. 6:363, 407).


See vol. 5:292, 293.


For Tufts' previous attempt to collect money owed JA by the heirs of Elisha Doane (d. 1783), JA's client in the 1777 admiralty case of Penhallow v. The Lusanna, see vol. 6:426, 427. For the details of the case, see JA, Legal Papers , 2:352–395.


AA gave JA's account books to Royall Tyler in 1783, hoping he could collect some of the old debts. Tufts' concern about the return of JA's books and papers stems from AA2's ending her engagement to Tyler in Aug. 1785 (AA to JA, 3 Jan. 1784, vol. 5:292; AA2 to Royall Tyler, ca. 11 Aug. 1785 , vol. 6:262).


James Elworthy, a London merchant, was married to Elizabeth Cranch, a niece of AA's brother-in-law Richard Cranch (AA to Elizabeth Smith Shaw, 28 July 1784, vol. 5:406).

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts, 10 January 1786 AA Tufts, Cotton Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts, 10 January 1786 Adams, Abigail Tufts, Cotton
Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts
Dear Sir London Janry 10th. 1786

A Boston paper which reachd us by way of Newyork informd me of the Death of my dear Aunt 3 weeks before I received the melancholy account from your own Hand.1

From your last Letters and those, of my other Friends, I was led to fear, that I should never see her more; I feel my Dear Sir all that Sympathy for your loss, which a tender affection and the recollec-7tion of her amiable Life, and benevolent conduct inspires. Altho her tender state of Health confined her wholy to her own domestick abode, the benevolence of her Heart extended to all the sons and daughters of affliction of whatever kindred or Country, her liberal hand was streached out to the needy and upon her tongue was the Law of kindness. Notwithstanding her bodily infirmities prevented her personal labour, yet she looked well to the Ways of her Household.2—Blessed be her Memory, and let this falling Tear the tribute of my affection towards her be dried away by the firm belief of her happy destination; and her releasment from all those infirmities which was her School of trial whilst she inhabitted Mortality, and through which, (by the accounts of my Friends) she rose refined to a World of Spirits.

Thanks to our Benificient Creator who tho he has constituted us subject to mortality has given us the broad Basis of a future happy existance to build our hopes upon, and the best grounded assureance, that we shall obtain it; by persueing the dictates of our consciences, in the excercise of Love to God; and good will to man.

“No Man too largely from Heav'n's love can hope If what is hop'd he labours to secure”3

Mr Adams will write to you soon, and will I suppose give You some state of political affairs.

With regard to Domestick, I have some things to mention in confidence and Friendship. I am happy to find that the return of my son has met the approbation of his Friends. His kind reception from them, he speaks of; with gratefull pleasure and heartfelt satisfaction. I hope he will continue to merit their Esteem. You add Sir to my satisfaction by the account you give, of my son Charles.4 Heaven Gaurd him from the snares and temptations of vice. The kind care and good advice of my Friends will not I hope be lost upon any of my children. Tommy is not yet launchd into the wide world; the good example and principles which he constantly hears and sees, will make such lasting and abideing impression upon his mind, as to secure him I hope from the practise of vice whenever he is call'd out into the World. Can Life afford a higher satisfaction to a Parent than that of seeing their Children persueing the paths of virtue and rectitude? It is a pleasure which the Almighty himself enjoied, when he lookd upon the Works which his hands had formed and pronounced that all was Good.

My daughter sir has not been less solicitious to conduct herself with propriety, and to secure the approbation of her own mind, and 8that of her Friends in the step she took last fall, I hope no unkind censure with will fall upon her in concequence of it. I think proper to acquaint you Sir in very explicit terms, that she is now addrest by a Gentleman of unexceptionable Character, both in publick and private Life.5 In the Army which he enterd at the commencment of the War, he distinguishd himself by his Bravery his intrepidity and his Humanity, of which he has the amplest testimony from General Sullivan and Washington.6 By the latter and by congress he was appointed to inspect the evacuation of Newyork, and afterwards received a comission of Secretary of Legation to this Court. He possess as high a sense of honour, and as independant a Spirit as any man I ever knew; and these Ideas appear to be founded upon principals of Religion and Morality. We have every reason to beleive that his Character will bear the strickest Scrutiny. Against this Gentleman we could have no objection, excepting a wish that a longer time might have elapsed before any thing of the kind had been tenderd from any quarter. But as the parties were agree'd, Col Smith conceived that he should be guilty both of a breach of his own honour; and the laws of hospitality, without an immediate parental sanction, which he has solicited and obtaind.

I own I cannot but feel for the situation of a Gentleman who has by his own folly and indiscretion lost all hopes of a connextion where he once lookd for it. It is not permitted us to look into futurity, nor can we say with certainty what will be the Lot of any one, but I own both before I came to this Country and not less so since, I was trembling for the fate of a dear and only daughter. I thought time would fully develope and try Characters, and upon that I relied; keeping my anxiety as much as possible in my own bosom. I however wish all happiness to the Gentleman, he has virtues and amiable qualities, and may be much happier connected with many other families than he could have been in ours because he had certain habits which would never accord with mr A's sentiments and principals. Capt Young yet lies at Portsmouth, and we have only a part of our Letters. I shall write more, by the first direct conveyance. In the mean time I am with tender affection Yours


RC (Adams Papers); addressed by WSS: “Doctor Tufts Boston”; endorsed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams Jany. 10. 1786 Recd Via New York & Favd of Rufus King Esq May. 19.”


Lucy Quincy Tufts died 30 Oct. 1785 (Tufts to AA, 16 Nov. 1785, vol. 6:457).


Proverbs, 31:27.


Young, Night Thoughts , Night IX, lines 443–444.


To JA, 6 Oct. 1785 (vol. 6:412).


Col. William Stephens Smith (WSS) of New York, secretary of the U.S. legation in 9Great Britain, formally expressed the seriousness of his intentions regarding AA2 in a letter to AA of 29 Dec. 1785 (vol. 6:508–509).


Probably the certificates of honorable service given to WSS by Gens. John Sullivan and George Washington (13 Oct. 1779 and 24 June 1782, respectively, MHi: DeWindt Coll.).