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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0136

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-22

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Yours of the 25th Ulto.1 I received sometime since by my Schooner and have sent your B[arre]l flour—As likewise a packet of yours by a schooner a few days since. A schooner that came Out with mine charged by Our Commite of Warr (Arnold Master) is suppos'd to be taken. As to my Affairs att Baltemore they fell into the hands of those people not by choice and wish I had known sooner what sort of people they were.
As to all kinds of provissions, and more especially bread kind I know not how the Town will be supplyed, As there will scarce any body Venture Again, and when itt comes there is no satisfaction to the Owner in doing the business. I Offered itt to the Town or any body att 5 PC. profit which in fact is nothing because a factor has that for doing business without any resque, and have sold itt, att that rate and itt comes Out so high that I am sick of itt.
A great many of the present House as well as [ . . . ]2 thinks a person concernd in trade, what he has comes is all gains, or att least One would think so by some conduct. As to trade in this province or rather in this Town I dont know of six Merchants that carries on any and indeed, we have nothing to send to Europe or the West Indies but must be subject to a great loss. In short we have nothing that I can find to send to France or Spain to the Amount of a thousand pounds ster[ling] in the province.—We cant even buy lumber without provission or West India goods which is almost gone in the Country and Armey. Indeed of all the prises [prizes] taken there has not One quarter eenterd in this Town.
I dont know of any more Methods to be taken but what you have done to keep up the Credit of the Currency.—I have heard you are About building some ships of 60. or 70. Guns, which will come to a very large some of money and when built must lay by the Walls. Whether such a sum that must be made for that purpose wont be a further means of lessening the Value of the money. Such a ship can never be got to see from hence, iff we are to judge by the dispatch lesser Ones make. However I wish itt may prove the reverse.—With regard to Our regulation of prises [prices], that Ought to have Originated with the Congress and setled the prises of each states produce, for were there is no controleing power Over the whole itts imposible to put things on an equal footing, and Consequently the Thirteen { 183 } states cant regulate foreign or the West India Markets, a thing never Accomplisht by any Nation. So that to put prises on Articles when itts imposible to know what they may cost the Owners, is a means of preventing those Articles which are Absolutely Nessesary. Indeed there is nothing got by trade excepting the Owner runs his Own resques, for there can be no Insurance to be Obtaind, under 50 PC. the Voyage3 round which is 100. on the Capital, besides the hire of the Vessell, Victualing and Manning—all which are very high more especially the Wages. So that itt is Imposible [to estima]te4 the Value of any commodity before itt Arrives. I have been surprisd my self, att what some Articles have turned Out att, till a Voyage is finisht. I had lately two parcels of Malasses and the Vessells on much easier terms than I can now send them Out att, and the Cargo sent from 10 to 15 PC. under what itt can now be purchast att and the Vessells did as well and much better than Nine tenths of the Vessells that goes to the West Indies, and upon setling the Voyage's itt turnd Out on an Average att 4/4. and as I let Our state have some on consideration of there makeing an Allowance. Otherwise I shall sink from the real cost five pounds L.M. a hhd., and the present regulation as to West India goods the Consequence there will [be] none or but little to be had. N. England Rum would Answer every end for the Armey att 5/ or even 6/ as they must give double for West India.—We have arrived here a french Gen[eral?]5 which you have heard of [nearer?] by this.

[salute] I should be glad of a line when att leisure—& are Yr. hum servt.,

[signed] Isaac Smith
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia.”
1. Not found.
2. Two interlined words illegible.
3. MS: “VG.”–one of the many devices of Smith's mercantile shorthand, most of which have been silently expanded by the editors.
4. MS torn by seal.
5. Probably Philippe Hubert, Chevalier de Preudhomme de Borre, who held the provisional rank of brigadier in the French army and had recently arrived at Portsmouth (Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777; Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0137

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-22

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

You mention, Sir, in the beginning of your Letter,1 that you are indebted to me for several Letters. I shall never presume to consider you indebted in that Respect, or myself entitled whilst the public at large, { 184 } or any Individual of it, has a Title to your Attention in preference to mine.
It was not a Consideration of your being indebted Sir, that has prevented my frequent writing to You, but it was a Restraint which I ever have felt and shall feel in writing to Persons of so distinguished Abilities as Yours.
Your kind Assurances in your Letter deserve my warmest Thanks. The Advice contained in it I shall immediately follow.
Since your Absence, the Sup[erio]r Court has sat in the Counties of Middlesex and Suffolk. In the County of Middlesex there was one Capital Trial, viz. The Trial of a Young woman for the Murder of her Bastard. She was acquitted. Mr. Dana and Mr. Lowell (her Consel) insisted much on two points in their pleadings: 1st That She was insane, and 2dly That the Crime was committed previous to the Declaration of Independence, and during her Allegiance to the King of Great Britain. I did not hear their pleadings; but was informed by a Gentleman who was present that the two points abovementioned were chiefly insisted on.—They admitted She killed the Child; but th[ought?]2 the fact was done during her Insanity.3—The Week the Court sat in that County was mostly taken up in deciding Appeals from the maritime Court.
In Suffolk County there was two Civil Causes bro't up by Demurrer, and several Appeals from the Maritime Court. There was a Man tried at this Court for altering a Bill from the Denomination of one Dollar to that of Ten, and knowingly uttering the same. The Jury found him guilty of knowingly uttering the Bill so altered, but not of the altering of it.
We have very agreeable News indeed from France—The particulars of which I would mention, did not I apprehend they would come to hand before this reaches you.

[salute] I am, Sir, yr. very humble Servant,

[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mr. Thaxter. ansd. April 8. 1777.”
1. Not found.
2. MS torn by seal.
3. The case was that of the Government v. Mary Christopher in the Oct. 1776 term of Middlesex Superior Court. According to witnesses whose testimony survives, the mother, who was from Concord, slit her child's throat. But she was not convicted. See Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 96; Records, 1775–1778, fol. 56; Suffolk County Court House, Early Court Files, &c., No. 148226.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.