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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0032

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1776-07-20

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of July 5th. never reached me, till this Morning. I greatly regret its delay. But that it might answer its End, without further Loss of Time, I waited on my Friend Dr. Rush, an eminent Phisician of this City, and a worthy Friend of mine, who with a Politeness and Benevolence, becoming his Character, promised to furnish me with his Sentiments, concerning Inocculation, so that I may forward them to you by the next Post, and I have obtained his Leave for you to publish them, in Print, if you please. He practices with great Success. Several of our Members, have been under his Hands and come out, almost without an Alteration of Countenance.1
You say you got leave to lodge yours in Mrs. Adams's Letter. But no Letter from her accompanied it, which has distressed me much, both because I was very impatient for a Letter from her, and because it creates a Jealousy of some unfair Practice in the Post Office. . . .2 I observe however upon the back of your Letter the Words “to be left at the Post office” in her Hand Writing, which makes it not improbable that she might send it without a Line from herself.
It is a long Time, since I heard from her or indeed any Thing concerning her only that she was determined to have the Distemper, with { 55 } all my Children. How do you think I feel? supposing that my Wife and Children are all sick of the small Pox, myself unable to see them, or hear from them. And all this in Addition to several other Cares, public and private, which alone would be rather troublesome?
However, I will not be dejected. Hope springs eternal in my Breast, and keeps me up, above all Difficulties, hitherto.

[salute] I am, sincerely Yours.

1. JA had first met Benjamin Rush (1746–1813), College of New Jersey 1760, M.D., Edinburgh 1768, in Aug. 1774, Rush being one of the party of Philadelphia gentlemen who rode out to Frankford to welcome the Massachusetts delegation to the first Continental Congress. JA characterized Rush in his Diary in 1775 as “an elegant, ingenious Body, [a] Sprightly, pretty fellow” and at first had some doubts about his substance. But they were soon warm friends. Rush served the Adamses as family physician in the 1790's, and despite their marked political differences the liking and respect of the two men for each other never diminished. During JA's years of political retirement they conducted an active and distinguished correspondence, their letters to each other being among the longest and best that either one of them ever wrote. It was Rush who, after long and pertinacious effort, brought about the reconciliation between ex-Presidents Adams and Jefferson in 1812, with remarkable results. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:115, 182; Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:153–154 and passim; L. H. Butterfield, “The Dream of Benjamin Rush,” Yale Review, 40:297–319 (Winter 1951).
Rush had learned the new or “Suttonian” method of inoculation in England during the 1760's and later published a tract on the subject that went through several editions (Letters, 1:66–67). See, further, AA to JA, 21–22 July, 1 Aug.; JA to AA, 23 July; Tufts to JA, 6 Aug.; all below.
2. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0033

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have no doubt but that my dearest Friend is anxious to know how his Portia does, and his little flock of children under the opperation of a disease once so formidable.
I have the pleasure to tell him that they are all comfortable tho some of them complaining. Nabby has been very ill, but the Eruption begins to make its appearence upon her, and upon Johnny. Tommy is so well that the Dr. innoculated him again to day fearing it had not taken. Charlly has no complaints yet, tho his arm has been very soar.
I have been out to meeting this forenoon, but have so many dissagreable Sensations this afternoon that I thought it prudent to tarry at home. The Dr. says they are very good feelings. Mr. Cranch has passed thro the preparation and the Eruption is comeing out cleverly { 56 } upon him without any Sickness at all. Mrs. Cranch is cleverly and so are all her children. Those who are broke out are pretty full for the new method as tis call'd, the Suttonian they profess to practice upon.1 I hope to give you a good account when I write next, but our Eyes are very weak and the Dr. is not fond of either writing or reading for his patients. But I must transgress a little.
I received a Letter from you by wedensday Post 7 of July and tho I think it a choise one in the Litterary Way, containing many usefull hints and judicious observations which will greatly assist me in the future instruction of our Little ones, yet it Lacked some essential engrediants to make it compleat. Not one word respecting yourself, your Health or your present Situation. My anxiety for your welfare will never leave me but with my parting Breath, tis of more importance to me than all this World contains besides. The cruel Seperation to which I am necessatated cuts of half the enjoyments of life, the other half are comprised in the hope I have that what I do and what I suffer may be serviceable to you, to our Little ones and our Country; I must beseach you therefore for the future never to omit what is so essential to my happiness.
Last Thursday2 after hearing a very Good Sermon I went with the Multitude into Kings Street to hear the proclamation for independance read and proclamed. Some Field peices with the Train were brought there, the troops appeard under Arms and all the inhabitants assembled there (the small pox prevented many thousand from the Country). When Col. Crafts read from the Belcona3 of the State House the Proclamation, great attention was given to every word. As soon as he ended, the cry from the Belcona, was God Save our American States and then 3 cheers which rended the air, the Bells rang, the privateers fired, the forts and Batteries, the cannon were discharged, the platoons followed and every face appeard joyfull. Mr. Bowdoin then gave a Sentiment, Stability and perpetuity to American independance. After dinner the kings arms were taken down from the State House and every vestage of him from every place in which it appeard and burnt in King Street. Thus ends royall Authority in this State, and all the people shall say Amen.
I have been a little surprized that we collect no better accounts with regard to the horrid conspiricy at New York, and that so little mention has been made of it here. It made a talk for a few days but now seems all hushed in Silence. The Tories say that it was not a conspiricy but an association, and pretend that there was no plot to assasinate the General. Even their hardned Hearts <Blush> feel —— the dis• { 57 } covery. We have in Gorge a match for a Borgia and a Catiline, a Wretch Callous to every Humane feeling. Our worthy preacher told us that he believed one of our Great Sins for which a righteous God has come out in judgment against us, was our Biggoted attachment to so wicked a Man. May our repentance be sincere.
I omitted many things yesterday in order to be better informed. I have got Mr. Cranch to inquire and write you, concerning a French Schooner from Martineco which came in yesterday and a prize from Ireland. My own infirmities prevents my writing. A most Excruciating pain in my head and every Limb and joint I hope portends a speedy Eruption and prevents my saying more than that I am forever Yours.
The children are not yet broke out. Tis the Eleventh Day with us.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia,” to which was later added “July 21. 1776” in the hand of William Gordon(?). Evidently enclosed in Richard Cranch's letter to JA, 22 July, following.
1. After Daniel Sutton (1735–1819), an irregular but highly successful practitioner of Ingatestone, Essex, and later of London (James Johnston Abraham, Lettsom: His Life, Times, Friends and Descendants, London, 1933, p. 189–194). His method required only a small puncture, rather than a gash, to infect the subject and made use of less virulent matter.
2. The 18th.
3. Balcony. A number of similar early spellings are recorded in OED.
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.