Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

John Adams to Cotton Tufts, 11 March 1786 JA Tufts, Cotton John Adams to Cotton Tufts, 11 March 1786 Adams, John Tufts, Cotton
John Adams to Cotton Tufts
Dear Sir Grosvenor Square March 11. 1786

Your kind Favours of Nov 12.1 and 24. and Decr 21 are before me. I Sympathize with you, under the Loss of your amiable Mrs Tufts, who was Innocence and Charity itself and Innocence and Charity can never put off the Flesh but for an happier state.

It gives me great Satisfaction to be informed that my Sons Behaviour is approved, by you. As they must labour for their Lives, I hope they will acquire early habits of Application to study, which is an excellent Preservative against the Dissipation which is so fatal to Youth, as well as a foundation for Usefulness in more advanced Years.

I hope to Send the Books you desire by this Vessell. I have employed a Book seller to look for them, upon the best Terms, and hope he will find them in Season.2

I received from Dr Holyoke, the President of the Medical Society, a polite and obliging Letter, inclosing a Vote of Thanks from the society, very honourable to me: but as the subject did not seem to require any further Attention on my Part, I never answered it. I know nothing of the Answer to the Royal society at Paris. The original Vote of the society, copy of which I transmitted is somewhere among my Papers: but I have so often removed that my Papers are packed up in Trunks, and I know not how to come at it, at present.3

The Sentiments in yours of Decr 21.4 have great Weight, and from all that appears, in this Country, your Maxims will have full opportunity to come into Fashion: for there is no Disposition to a Treaty, and certainly never will be as long as our states will Suffer this Kingdom to monopolize the Navigation of both Countries. They now think us simple enough to let them be carriers for us as well as themselves, and they love us so well as to take Pleasure in obliging us in this Way.

My Correspondent Mathew Robinson Esqr, Author of a Pamphlet in 1774 intituled Considerations on the Measures carrying on &c has published lately the inclosed Address which contains the first honest View of the State of this Nation that has appeared since the Peace. This is an honest and Sensible Old Man of Fortune, and 88formerly Member of Parliament.5 The Minister upon reading the Pamphlet said “if John Adams had given the author five hundred Pounds for writing it, he could not have laid out his Money to more Advantage.” But that “if the state were true, it was a d——d wicked thing to publish it.”

Alass poor John Adams has no Money to lay out, in hiring Englishmen to save themselves from Destruction, and if he had any it would be his Duty to give it to the Algerines, first. My Love to Mr Quincy, Your son and all Friends

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Adams Letter of March. 11. 1786 Recd May. 22. 1786.”


Not found.


Tufts' request has not been found.


Edward Augustus Holyoke wrote to JA on 6 Nov. 1783 (Adams Papers) to thank him for arranging a correspondence between the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Société Royale de Médecine at Paris (see JA to AA, 9 June 1783 , vol. 5:168–170). In his letter of 24 Nov. 1785 (Adams Papers), Tufts desired to know whether Holyoke's letters to JA and to the Société Royale had arrived.

JA acknowledged Holyoke's letter in April and enclosed the original letters from the officers of the Société Royale and its vote acknowledging its Massachusetts counterpart (JA to Holyoke, 3 April 1786, MSaE: Holyoke Family Coll.).


Tufts argues in his letter that Great Britain's continuing refusal to establish a commercial treaty with the United States might actually benefit American trade and commerce. Earlier widespread availability of British credit “has ever discouraged every Attempt to Independance in Trade and the Establishment of our Manufacturies. The Restrictions of Great Britain and the Refusal of further Credit are however happily calculated to remove these Difficulties: And can We but continue a few years in a State of Exclusion from her Commerce, Our Debts will be paid and our Independance of Mind established” (Cotton Tufts to JA, 21 Dec. 1785, Adams Papers).


JA opened a correspondence with Matthew Robinson-Morris, later 2d baron Rokeby, in February, through the offices of Dr. Price. Robinson-Morris authored several pamphlets sympathetic to America in the 1770s, including Considerations on the Measures Carrying on with Respect to the British Colonies in North America, London, 1774, for which see 1:xvi, 202–203. His recent publication was An Address to the Landed, Trading and Funded Interest of England on the Present State of Public Affairs, London, 1786 (published as The Dangerous Situation of England in the 2d edn.). See JA to Robinson-Morris, 21 Feb. (LbC, Adams Papers).

Robinson-Morris represented Canterbury in the House of Commons from 1747 to 1761 (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons , 3:367).

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 15 March 1786 AA Cranch, Mary Smith Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 15 March 1786 Adams, Abigail Cranch, Mary Smith
Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch
My dear Sister London March 15 1786

Mrs Hay1 call'd upon me a sunday whilst I was gone to meeting to let me know that She expected to Sail in a few days for Newyork. When I saw her before she determined to go out in captain Lyde who will not go till the middle of April, but Captain Cooper is a British Bottom, and on board of him they will not have algerines to fear.2 I cannot but think She is right. I freely own I should be loth to risk myself, as American vessels are unsecured. I shall call upon her 89in a day or two, and get her to take in her trunk a peice of silk which I have procured for you, and Mrs Shaw, and which I had determined to send by Cushing. You requested that it might be dark, the coulour is new and fashionable, I think dark enough. I never had any great affection for dark coulours but the observation of Pope Gangenella, that the Lady who talkd Scandle was in an ill humour, or Pevish against mankind, was commonly drest in a brown habit,3 has put me quite out of conceit of Dark Cloaths. Besides I am of opinion that they do not suit Dark complexions. I have sent my Mother silk for a Gown which you will present her with my duty, and some waistcoat patterns for our sons upon commencment day whom I have directed to drink my Health upon the occasion. These things my dear Friends will do me the favour to accept of, as a small token of my regard for them. I have made a peice of linen up for my older Son having his measure here, and I have bought an other peice both of which I shall send by cushing or Lyde and Mrs Quincys silk too, but I dare not encumber mrs Hay with any thing more. Since I began writing have received a card from mrs Hay informing me that she expects to sail on saturday.

I have written to you by way of Newyork and requested mr King to forward the Letters to you. I shall write again by Lyde, what Letters I have by me I shall commit to Mrs Hay. I will write to my neices and other Friends soon. I have received the chocolate by Lyde and give you a thousand thanks for it.4

I have nothing of importance to inform you of at present, I have written largely to you so lately. My best regards Love &c attend you all from your affectionate Sister


There is a peice of calico for Louissa sent to your care. I have not written to her but shall soon.

RC (MWA: Abigail Adams Corr.); addressed by AA2: “Mrs. Mary Cranch Braintree Massachusetts.”


Katherine Farnham of Newburyport, Mass., married Capt. John Hay in 1774. The Adamses frequently saw her in London and Paris (John J. Currier, History of Newburyport, Mass., 1764–1909, 2 vols., Newburyport, 1909, 2:258).


On 26 May, the Edward, Capt. Cooper (or Coupar), arrived in New York after a 35-day voyage from London (New York Packet, 29 May).


AA is closely paraphrasing a letter from Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, Pope Clement XIV (1705–1774, served 1769–1774), who writes, “True devotion, Madam, neither consistes in a careless air, nor in a brown habit. . . . Observe, moreover, that the lady who talks scandal in an assembly, or appears peevish, or in an ill humour against mankind, is most frequently dressed in brown” (“To Madam ***,” Interesting Letters of Pope Clement XIV. (Ganganelli.), London, 1777, Letter X).


At AA's request, the Cranches sent her a dozen pounds of chocolate (vol. 6:279, 502, 507).