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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0041

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-18

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] My dear Friend and Bror.

As there is a Vessell now here bound for Holland by which (if not sooner) you will doubtless hear various accounts of the Affair that has lately happen'd in the Pensilvania Line of the Army, I embrace the Oportunity to let you know the true state of that affair as far as the Genl. Court has been inform'd of it, to prevent your being misled by false Reports.1 Genl. Knox who left Head Quarters the 5th. Instant arriv'd here Express last Sunday with Dispatches from Genl. Washington respecting the affairs of the Army, to be laid before the Genl. Court which is now sitting. He was heard before the two Houses.—His account of the Matter, as near as I can collect it, was as follows.—The Soldiers of the Pensilvania Line complained that they were unjustly held to serve during the War, when they inlisted, as they say, conditionally for three Years or during the War; supposing it left at their Option to leave the Service at the end of three Years if they pleas'd. They complain'd also that their Wages was near twelve Months behind-hand. That they were unprovided with sufficient Clothing, and short of Provision. All these Grievances seem'd to be agravated in their Minds, on seeing the new Recruits, for filling up the Army, come to Camp with good Clothes and Money in their Pockets (having received a Bounty of twenty four hard Dollars each) while they themselves, who had born the Burden and heat of the Day, were neglected. These Discontents were carried to such a Hight that on the Evening of the first of Jany. Instt. and the Day following, the greatest part of the non-Commission Officers and Soldiers of the Pensilvania Line, amounting to about two Thousand, refused to serve any longer in the Army unless their Grievances were redress'd; and { 66 } seizing six Field Pieces, stood on the Defensive. The Commission Officers and some of the Men who endeavour'd to quell them, were fir'd upon; one Officer (a Capt.) was kill'd, and several wounded. Some also of the Insurgents were kill'd. After this they march'd to Prince-Town where they determined to make a Stand; for the Purpose, as I conceive, of treating with the Government of Pensilvania about the Redress of their Grievances.—I cannot find from the best Enquiery that I can make, that the Insurgents were moved by any Disaffection to the American Cause, or from any formal design of helping the Enemy, but merely for the Purpose of getting their Grievances removed.
The Genl. Court of this Commonwealth is taking Measures for retrieving the sunk Credit of this Government; for which purpose we are repealing all Laws making Paper-Money a Tender at any other Rate than the current Exchange. We are making a Law that all Debts due from Government shall be liquidated to their just Value, and then to have Interest allow'd annually in hard Money or Paper equivalent. This, it is expected, will induce the loaning of Money freely to Government. Besides this we have in contemplation Imposts and Excises. Without Loans we fear the Taxes will be too heavy to be born, (without murmuring), by the People at large.
We have received Letters from Mr. Austin informing the Court of the large Advances made for this Government by Messrs. Deneufville & Sons, and the Court has given Direction for the immediate purchasing of Bills of Exchange equall to three Thousand Pounds, to be remitted with a Letter of Thanks to that worthy House for their generous Exertions in our favour.
I am so hurried with publick Business that I cannot be so particular on our publick Affairs as I could wish. I must therefore leave some room to tell you that your Hond. Mother and your Brother are well; Your Dear Lady and Children were well last Sunday when I pass'd the Evening at your House. Father Smith, Uncles Quincy, Thaxter, Tufts and Smith are well with their Families.
Please to give my kindest regards to your dear little Boys and to Mr. Thaxter. Mrs. Cranch and our Children join me in wishing you all the success and Happiness that the warmest affection can dictate. A Line from you would greatly oblige your Bror.,
[signed] R: Cranch
P.S. Should Messrs: Deneufville & Sons think of making a tryal here in the Commission way I should be glad to serve them. I find the general advance on European Goods is three Pounds Sterling here, for what cost one Pound sterling there. Such Articles as suit the Ladies would be very saleable, also Linnens.
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RC (Adams Papers); endorsed in John Thaxter's hand: “Mr. Cranch 18. Jany. 1781.” Dft (MHi:Cranch Family Collection).
1. On this incident, which occurred in the first days of January, see Carl Van Doren, Mutiny in January, N.Y., 1943.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0042

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The vessel is not yet gone, and I find I have a towns man going in her. He came this evening to let me know it, and to take Letters from me. What has taken place in the last week Mr. C[ranc]h has informd you of, so that I shall not write politicks. I inclose a paper or two, and a journal or two of congress. In one of the papers you will see an Excellent Letter from a Friend of yours, and a comment by an other who sent it to a Gentleman requesting his care of the publication and with his usual complasance, he has published all, together.1—Many of your Friends will write you by this vessel. I hope it will not be long before some one will arrive with Letters from you. I feel impatient.
The Bandano hankerchiefs you was so kind as to send me, are as good an article as has ever come. I can scarcly keep one of them. Tho they are double the price of a Barcelona, they sell much better. Holland is a good place for crockery ware, I should be glad of some for family use from thence.—I wish you to write by every vessel bound to America. Updike arrived at Providence, but we fear the Fame is lost or taken. Friends all well. Adieu yours ever yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Honbll. John Adams Esqr Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America at Paris or Amsterdam”; endorsed in John Thaxter's hand: “Portia 21st Jany. 1781.” For the single identifiable enclosure see note 1.
1. AA was sending JA a copy of Willis' (Boston) Independent Chronicle for 18 Jan., containing Mercy Warren's letter to her son on Chesterfield's letters; see note 3 on AA to Nathaniel Willis?, ante 4 Jan., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0043

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1781-01-21

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

Tis a long time since I had the pleasure of a Letter from you. If you wrote to me by Capt. Davis as I suppose you did, your Letters were all thrown over Board.
If you have since written by a Brig call'd the Fame, I fear it will { 68 } never reach me. She is still missing and must be taken or lost. The Mars from France we daily expect. The last Letters which I received from you came by the Alliance, and were dated in April so that tis Nine Months since a single line from your own hand reachd me.
I expect your observations upon your New Situation, an account of Holland, and what you find there, worthy of remark, what improvements you have made in the languages, in the Sciences, and the fine Arts.
You are now become resident in a Country famous for its industery and frugality, and which has given Birth to many Learned and great Men. Erasmus, Grotius and Boerhaave, so well known in the Literary world, stand foremost in the List of Fame.
You must not be a superficial observer, but study Men and Manners that you may be Skilfull in both. Tis said of Socrates, that the oracle pronounced him the wisest of all Men living because he judiciously made choice of Humane Nature for the object of his Thoughts. Youth is the proper season for observation and attention—a mind unincumberd with cares may seek instruction and draw improvement from all the objects which surround it. The earlier in life you accustome yourself to consider objects with attention, the easier will your progress be, and more sure and successfull your enterprizes. What a Harvest of true knowledge and learning may you gather from the numberless varied Scenes through which you pass if you are not wanting in your own assiduity and endeavours. Let your ambition be engaged to become eminent, but above all things support a virtuous character, and remember that “an Honest Man is the Noblest work of God.”
I hope you will not let any opportunity slip or any vessel sail, which is bound for America without Letters from you. Your Friends here all desire to be rememberd to you. Your cousin Billy has written to you several times, and is quite impatient to hear from you. Your sister—not a word in excuse will I say for her. She ought to write to you and I call upon her too, but she is very neglegent.

[salute] I am my dear Son with sincere wishes for your Health and happiness affectionately yours,

[signed] A A
RC (Adams Papers). Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “Draught of the preceding.”
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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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/