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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 7


Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0182

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-02-06

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams

Col. Jacob Davis not long since called upon me for the Payment of one of the Lots of Land in Vermont State which you recd. a Deed of and was not paid for, by his Brother Ebenr Davis whom he empowered for that Purpose. I accordingly paid it, he requested Interest from the Time the Deed was given, I did not conceive myself authorized to allow it as You did not give me any directions relative to it. He said it was customary and supposed You would allow it if present. As he desired me to mention it to You I wish You to write to me in your Next on the Subject. I also paid him £6. 8. 0 for Taxes on the Four Rights. The Tenure on which you hold these Rights, does not appear to me sufficiently secure. Mr. Davis could not give me any particular Information relative to them. I believe I must take Mastr. Charles or Thos in some Vacation and make a Tour there and see to the Safe recording &c of them. A very good Plan, but when shall I get Leisure.1
The Legislature have at length found it necessary to declare Rebellion existing in the Commonwealth. An Army under Genl Lincoln is employed to crush it.2 A few Days will in great Measure determine whether We shall have the Constitution remain or not. { 458 } Whether we shall have Law and Justice administerd or not. A strange Infatuation has seized a great part of the People, Should I say two Thirds of the whole Body. It would not be far from the Truth. I flatter myself notwithstanding that their Eyes will be opened very soon and their Minds Yield to Conviction. <this Evil I have As> Sufficient Addresses have made to their Interests these have been in Vain. An Address to their Fears, is now tried, and I trust will be the only succesful Advocate.
The Insurgents under Shays and the other <officers> Heads of the Army have not been much short of 3000. They have however crumbled away from Day to Day, since Genl Lincolns appearance in the Western Counties. After their Dispersion at Petersham (of which you have an Account in the News Papers new sent3 and which News came to hand (this Moment)) their Number appeared to be about 940, and they were shaping their Course to the County of Berkshire. The March of Genl Lincoln last Saturday Evening from Hadley and reaching Petersham the next Morning by 9 oc was perhaps as great an Enterprize as as ever been undertaken. A Snow Storm when they set out, followed about One or Two Clock the same Night with a Shift of Wind and excessive cold the Wind blowing like a Hurricane, till they reachd Petersham, suffering more with the blowing of the Snow and the severe cold, than can possibly be conceived off but by those who have been in similar Circumstances; no proper Place to halt for Refreshment. Yet they persevered with out murmuring, till they reached Petersham, a March of 30 Miles. Many were frost bitten.
Shays with about 100 Men is said to be at Chesterfield in Newhampshire State—the riot dispersed. Gen. Lincoln is gone into the County of Berkshire, with his Army. The Insurgents there will probably submit, without much Difficulty. We have ordered two or three Regiments to be kept up for 3 or 4 months. And I hope we shall by and by get into a more orderly State. Should this Insurrection or rather Rebellion have prevailed here, it would undoubtedly have run through all the States. As the Papers will give You a particular Acctt. of the doings of the Genl Court and of Genl Lincolns' Movements, I refer you to them for further Information.
{ 459 }
Mr. John dind with me yesterday,4 he is solicitous of knowing with whom he is to purrsue his Studies in the Law after Commencement. If Mr. Adams has any particular Instructor in view, that he would prefer before any other and will give timely Notice, We shall pursue his orders, otherwise we shall act according to our best Discretion. At present We think that at least Part of the Three Years Study, may be under some Gentleman in the Country (or rather out of Boston): the Expence Less, and Advantages equal. I have consulted with several Gentleman and shall make every Enquiry that I think necessary to form a Result beneficial to your Son and to your Interest.
The aforegoing has been wrote by Piece Meals, as I could catch an opportunity, and you must excuse the Errors of Your affectionate Friend and H sert
[signed] C Tufts
Pray remember me to Mr Adams Mr and Mrs Smith.
Your Children here and all Friends well.
RC (Adams Papers). Tufts also produced “Minutes of a Letter wrote to Mrs. Adams” in which he summarized the details of this letter and added the note, “Sent this Lettr. by Capt Folger”; filmed at 8 Feb. 1787, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 369.
1. In early 1782, AA arranged to purchase five 330-acre lots in Salem Township (now Derby and Newport, Orleans County), Vt., from Col. Jacob Davis of Worcester, who headed a group settling the area. She paid for four of the lots then, and obligated herself to pay for the fifth “in a few months,” holding off on making full payment until the title to the land could be made more secure (vol. 4:315, 316–317, 345 ; AA to Tufts, 29 April, Adams Papers).
2. On 4 Feb., the same day that it formally acknowledged the existence of a rebellion in western Massachusetts, the General Court belatedly recommended to Gov. James Bowdoin that he authorize Gen. Benjamin Lincoln to either enlist new members or extend the enlistments of current members of the Massachusetts militia, so that it could continue its work of suppressing the rebellion (Mass., Acts and Laws, Resolves of 1786, Jan. sess., ch. 5, 6).
3. Probably the Massachusetts Centinel, 7 Feb., which printed a 4 Feb. letter from General Lincoln at Petersham that had arrived in Boston on 6 February. The letter describes Lincoln's progress in dispersing the insurgents, who had begun to retreat after Lincoln took nearly 150 of them as prisoners.
4. JQA dined with Tufts and Richard Cranch at James Foster's (Diary, 2:157, where he is misidentified as Joseph Foster).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0183

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-02-08

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Ever Dear Sister

My Uncle Smith has been so kind as to send me word this Morning, that a Nephew of Mr Gill's was to sail for London, in a Vessel { 460 } from Boston next Saturday. Though I fear I shall not get a Letter into Town soon enough, yet I will write, a few Lines (though I have nothing very particular to communicate,) hoping I may meet with some favourable Conveyance.
The State of our publick Affairs engrosses attention of all Ranks, and Classes of Men. In every private Circle of Gentlemen, and Ladies I hear their several Opinions, dictated by Fear, Ignorance, Malice, Envy, and self-Interest the most powerful of all.
We all feel a Weight, which we could not but reasonably expect, and which the wise and Judicious say, may soon be lightened by Prudence, Industry, and good Oeconemy in our Families. But such is the Pride—the Idleness—the vanity, and extravagance which pervades every Order, that I am perswaded nothing but distress, and necessity will induce them to comply with this method, though I presume it is the only one, by which there is the least probability of obtaining Releif.
No One is willing to believe themselves the Cause of any Evil they feel, but attribute it, to the weakness, or the perfidy of Government—to the great Sallaries given to those in Office, or to the injustice of those vile Wretches the Lawyers.
Our excellent Govenor need not be envied, I am sure. He has enough upon his head, and his Heart to distract him. He will now try the Strength of Government, and I hope it will be found to have such a Basis, as the Collected Force of Capt Shays cannot overthrow.
Though I am situated far distant (at present) from the Seat of War, Yet I tenderly feel for those who are enduring the hardships of a winters Campaign, in this very cold Season. The ground has bean cheifly covered with three, or four foot of Snow ever since the beginning of November—So that it has rendered General Lincoln's March extremely difficult—and we hear that 5 hundred of his Men were touched with the frost.
Yesterday Orders came here for more men to be draughted—to day there are counter Orders.1 The news is, Shays is fled, and that a general Pardon is all they sue for. He is gone to the State of new Hampshire.
But I will quit Politicks, and leave them to the Gentlemen, who I presume, give you a much more particular account.
I fancy sometimes to myself how these matters, will operate upon the Mind of your Friend. We think sometimes, he may do us more { 461 } service here, than he can in his present Situation. We want his Wise Counsels, to direct our puclick Weal.
But He who has the Hearts of all in his hands, will I hope inspire our Counsellors with that Wisdom which is from above, may Vigor, Courage, Unanimity, and Discision mark their Steps.
I received Your Letter of the 15th of October. Mr Shaw, and my little Ones thank you, for all your Tokens of Affection both Ideal, and material. Mr Shaw wishes, to draw upon your Friend for the like expression of Regard. He presumes, his Bill will not be protested.
Your two Children Charles, and Thomas spent a part of the long Vacation here. Mr Shaw would have bean quite displeased if they had not have come, we were very sorry Mr JQA did not accompany them.
Cousin Thomas could not help thinking it was home here yet, and no wonder—for it was almost three years, and half that he lived with us. He says he has a good Chamber at Cambridge, and the People of the House are very kind, and he can go to their Closet, with as much freedom as he used to here. I told him my Pyes were almost dried up, a waiting for him, for I expected they would have been here a fortnight sooner. Mr Shaw, and I have the pleasure of assuring you they behave well. We have taken particular Care to enquire of their Preceptors—for your Children do indeed, possess a very great share of our tenderest Love. Mr and Mrs Allen, and Cousin Sally Austin spent monday Evening here. I assure you we live in the most perfect amity, and good Neighbourhood. She has lately spent a fortnight in Boston, thinking she could not so conveniently again leave home. Mr Allen has now, I believe a prospect of additional Happiness in the domestic way,2 and I can see, that he is not a little gratified. Our good Cousin William Smith will be married to Miss Hannah Carter the 1st of June. It is imposible for any thing to be more agreeable to all Parties. And it appears very strange, that what now gives so much satisfaction, could not have been thought of before. But this is the Year for happy Matches. I verrily believe some unusual lucky Star presides over the Hymeneal Torch. For I never knew half so many agreeable Connections formed as has been, within these twelve Months. I have written to my two Neices, telling them, I wish its benign Influences may be protracted, and the ensuing Months sweetly roll on, and smile as propitious upon them, as it has upon my other Friends.
Miss Carter is a Lady of real merit, and well deserving of the good { 462 } Husband (I presume) our Cousin will make. She is a Daughter in whom my Aunt Smith would have greatly delighted, had she still been living. This Lady is distinguished from the gay Trifflers of the age, not by Beauty, but by the more lasting Qualities of the Mind, for Virtue good Sense, Prudence Oeconimy, and an affable, modest Deportment mark her Character.
It gives me the greatest pleasure, that you appear to be so satisfied with your own Daughters Connection. It must be the Solace, and the Joy of your Mind. Long may they live, and be a Blessing to you.
Mr Thaxter may be married in the Course of the year,3 but at present all Courts are stoped, and little or no buisiness can be done.
Mrs Marsh is still alive, and enjoys the Fruits of a good old age. The Fruit of good Government in her own Family, for her Children rise, and bless her.

[salute] Adieu! thou ever dear, & Much loved Sister—Accept this written in haste, from your

[signed] E Shaw
1. On 29 Jan., Gov. James Bowdoin issued orders that members of the militia should prepare themselves to serve if the need arose. On 5–6 Feb., the General Court reiterated its support for a call-up of 2,600 men to reinforce the troops under General Lincoln working to put down Shays' Rebellion. Despite that, Bowdoin announced on 7 Feb., after positive reports from Lincoln of the success of his troops in dispersing the rebels, that he was countermanding the draft order (Boston Independent Chronicle, 1, 8 Feb.).
2. Rev. Jonathan Allen and Elizabeth Kent Allen had a daughter, Betsey, who was baptized on 12 Aug. in Bradford (Vital Records of Bradford Massachusetts, Topsfield, 1907, p. 10).
3. John Thaxter Jr. would marry Elizabeth Duncan on 13 November.
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/