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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0104

Author: Macaulay, Catharine
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1773-08

From Catharine Macaulay

[salute] Sr

I was very sorry to find by your favor of the 19 of Aprill1 that you had so many good reasons to allege for the Depriveing me thus long of the pleasure of your correspondence.
We simpathise so much in mind and Body that you cannot think me guilty of compliment when I say that I was much concerned at the account you gave me of the state of your health and the situation of your public affaires. There are some matters of importance which have come to light since the reception of your letter which will be I hope leading steps to the amendment if not the thorough reformation of that unjust system of policy which has too long prevailed in your Government and filled the hearts of your Patriots with melencholly apprehenssions for the future state of America.
I have just received intelligence that Governor Hutchinson has desired leave to resign.2 The wicked have fallen into the pit they have { 353 } digged for others. May Hutchinsons example be a warning to the rest of your Countrymen, for if American liberty is destroyed the Destruction will be effected by the Vipers which she nourishes in her own Bosom. Your controversy with General Bratle afforded me a good deal of amusement. I am fond of the subject when treated with any degree of perspicuity.3
Plausible argument has a great influence on the judgement of the vulgar and on that consideration had you not received a challenge the pains you took in the controversy was undoubtedly well bestowed.
In the next Letter which I have the honor of receiveing from you I hope to hear that the appearance of a renovation of the union betwixt the Colonies is become a reality. It is the Jealousies and Devissions which has always subsisted among you that has encouraged Ministers to attempt those innovations which if submitted to naturally lead to the subverssion of your Liberties.

[salute] I am Sr with Great esteem Your Very Obed Humble Servt,

[signed] Catharine Macaulay
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To <Saml.> John Adams Esqr Boston pr favour of Mr Clarke”; endorsed: “recd by the Hand of Mr Clark, 20 Novr. 1773”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Mrs. MaCauley 1773.”
1. Not found.
2. Hutchinson's request for leave from his duties as governor was dated 26 June; Dartmouth acknowledged receipt of this letter on 17 Aug. ( Docs. of Amer. Rev. , calendar entries 1300 and 1407, 4:338, 363); for the background of Hutchinson's decision, see Bailyn, Thomas Hutchinson , chs. VI and VII.
3. The editors have supplied all punctuation within this paragraph. For JA 's exchanges with Brattle, see 11 Jan. – 22 Feb., above.

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0105

Author: Wilson, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1773-09-21

Adams Elected to Membership in Supporters of the Bill of Rights

[salute] Sir

Supporters of the Bill of Rights.1
In pursuance of a Resolution of this Society, I am to signify to you that you have this Day been duly elected a Member thereof.

[salute] I am, Sir! Your most humble Servant,

[signed] Thomas Wilson Chairman.
[signed] Signed by his order, John Wilkes
N.B. Subscriptions are received by frederick bull, Esq; Treasurer to this society, at his House in Leadenhall-Street, No. 96.2
{ 354 }
Printed form on folded sheet approx. 13 by 8 inches (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Adams Esqr. Boston”; endorsed on address leaf: “Jan'y 25. 74 Society of bill of rights.” For letter of transmittal on the verso, see note 2, below.
1. Presumably at the suggestion of John Horne Tooke, the Society of Supporters of the Bill of Rights had been started in 1769 while John Wilkes was in prison to raise money for his debts and election expenses (Tooke in DNB ). By 1771, the society, split over the issue of raising money for Wilkes, had announced a reform program that included reducing the length of life of Parliaments, more nearly equal representation, and decreasing the number of placemen in the Commons (J. R. Pole, Political Representation in England and the Origins of the American Republic, N.Y., 1966, p. 428–429). No record has been found to show whether JA contributed money to the cause.
2. On the verso appears the following letter, endorsed at the foot, “rec'd. Jan. 25 1774”:

[salute] Sir

I have the honor of transmitting you the inclosed Resolution of the Society of the Bill of Rights which was unanimous.
It affords me great pleasure to find so very respectable a Gentleman of America, disposed to unite with the Friends of Liberty in England for our mutual safety and Defence.
I am most respectfully your very Obedient Humble Servant,
[signed] Stephen Sayre
Sayre, whom JA may have met during his visits to New England in 1766 and 1772, credited himself with being the “chief founder” of the Supporters, but he tended greatly to exaggerate his accomplishments and importance (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 14:207). For a brief sketch of Sayre and bibliographic references for his career, see Adams Family Correspondence , 4:264–265, note.