A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-06-02-02-0026

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1774-07-24

To William Tudor

[salute] Dr. Sir

In this Retreat I promise myself, much Pleasure from the Letters of my Friends in Boston,: and from none more than from yours. I rely upon it, you will not miss any convenient opportunity, of communicating any Thing of Importance that turns up,—even the Tittle Tattle of the Town, and the Anecdotes of private Social Life, will be acceptable.
Your Interest and Advancement in Life, is an Object which I have much at Heart. The Times are very discouraging at present, but never fear. They will be better. They cant be much worse.
I have Several Pieces of Advice to give you, and Proposals to make to you which I Shall communicate, as opportunity serves. One is that you procure yourself another office. The Situation you are now in, is not a good one. I should advise you by all Means, to look out and enquire, and provide yourself, as soon as you can with an Office in King Street,1—in some of the most public Places round the Exchange. You may depend upon it These are the best Places in the Town. The best Spot in Queen Street is not to be compared to them. I have Experience enough of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Situation. And you may depend upon it, that no Gentleman old or { 114 } young can be constant to an office, in any of those Places without Business if he is qualified to do it, as you unquestionably are. A Lawyer is Seen in one of these situations, every Hour in the Day by Multitudes who come from all Parts of the Province, the Continent the World, as well as the Town, and he grows to be considered as a capital Man insensibly. It is my clear opinion, you had better give double Rent there than in any other Place in Town.
Another Thing let me Advise you, to omit no Opportunity of Speaking. Dont concern yourself a farthing whether your Cause is to be obtained or lost. Take care that you do Justice to it—and then let Justice be done it by the Court and Jury in their Departments also. The Loss of your Cause will not hurt your Reputation. Speaking in Public will certainly Serve it. It is necessary that you prepare yourself beforehand, for arguing your Causes, at your first Beginnings. Make a Brief of Minutes in every Case—and if you Set down and commit to writing every Word of an Argument you design to Use it will not be amiss. The Faculty of arguing Causes extempore is not natural to any Body. It is acquired by Use, and Time and Habit.
I intended before I came out of Town to have given you an Invitation to take a Seat in my Pew at Dr. Coopers Meeting House.2 You had better go there than to hear Pemberton.3 You will be seen by more People, and those of more Weight and Consequence, and this will be of no Disservice to you. Besides you will certainly be entertained more according to your Taste, and your Soul will be edifyed full as well. My Pew is ever at your service, and I Should really be obliged to you, if you would fill my Place in it.
It is of Some Importance in Boston to belong to a Fine Clubb and to choose and get admitted to a good one. I will talk with you further upon this Head when I see you.
It is also of Consequence in Town to belong to some other Clubb. Clubbs in Boston are the Nurseries, of Statesmen Lawyers, Physicians, &c &c &c—and the Influence of them is not attended to by many, but it is very great.4
I want to take You into the Political Inquisition and examine your Principles in Government and your System of Politicks. You are like to enjoy a fair Inheritance in your Country, and are qualified to serve it—if your sentiments are like mine you cannot be an inactive Spectator of the Indignities she Suffers, without feeling and Resentment, but of this more hereafter. Keep this secret to yourself.
[signed] John Adams
{ 115 }
{ 116 }
RC (MHi:Tudor Papers); addressed: “To William Tudor Boston”; endorsed: “July 24th 1774.”
1. Now State Street.
2. Rev. Samuel Cooper, pastor of the Brattle Street Church.
3. Rev. Ebenezer Pemberton (1704–1777), pastor of the New Brick Church (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 1:336–337).
4. For all JA's emphasis on club membership, there is remarkably little in his writings about his own activity in clubs. We know he belonged for a time to Sodalitas, a study club for lawyers, and he was a member of the Sons of Liberty. An entry in his diary for 23 Dec. 1765 mentions his going to the Monday Night Club, a political club in which Samuel Adams and Otis were active, but he was not a member (Diary and Autobiography, 1:270; John C. Miller, Sam Adams, Boston, 1936, p. 37).

Docno: ADMS-06-02-02-0027

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1774-07-25

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

There never was I believe, a greater Contrast, than I perceive, between the Noise and Hurry of Queen street, and the Serene Retreat, which I enjoy here. No Clients disturb me, no Politicians interrupt me, no Tories vex me, no Tyrants govern me, I had almost Said No Devils tempt or torment me.
The chaste Pleasures of Agriculture, engage me, as much [as] Cards, or Assemblies ever did a fair Lady. You can Sympathize with me, in all this. You, live in a Land of Rain this Year, as well as I, and it is an infinite Consolation to us both, to see the Wisdom and Benevolence of Heaven, counteracting the Folly, the Malice and Madness of our Tyrants.
It would do your Heart good to see me, mowing, raking carting, and frolicking with my Workmen, as unconcernd as if No Port Bill, or regulating Bill, or Murder Bill,1 had ever existed.
I catch myself however, now and then, among the Hay Cockes bestowing most hearty Execrations, on a few Villains, who have dignified themselves by Superlative Mischief to their native Country the British Empire and the World.
The Demise of the French Crown, is a great Event in the Political System of Europe, and of Consequence, must be a mighty Link in the Chain of Causes in American Politicks. I am not enough acquainted with the State of the French, Spanish and German Courts to predict with any Confidence, what Revolutions will succeed the Death of Lewis 15th.2 But if two young Fellows at the Head of [the] German Empire, and the French Monarchy, both warm and active dont make Mischief, in Europe it will be a Wonder.
I remember when I was young, and Sometimes amused myself with { 117 } Poetry and Criticism, I used to see it frequently prescribed as a Rule to consider how Homer or Virgill, or Horace or Ovid would have imagined or expressed a Thing. But I believe it requires almost as much Genius and skill to Say how they would imagine or express a Thing, as they had themselves.
I cant help, applying this Rule sometimes, to Politicks, and enquiring what Plans would be adopted at the Congress, if a Sully, a Cecil, a Pitt, or a Ximenes,3 a Demosthenes or a Cicero were there—or all of them together.
I am at no Loss, at all, to guess. [ . . . ] pretend to Skill and Capacity like [ . . . ] G –– d knoweth—I dont compare [ . . . ] an Atom to the Globe. But is it easy to believe they would propose Non Importation? Non Exportation? Non Consumption? If I mistake not, Somewhat a little more Sublime, and mettlesome, would come from Such Kind of Spirits.
However, Patience, Prudence, Resignation [ . . . ] Candour and all that, must [ . . . ][Ame]rican Plans. We must fast a[nd pray, learn to] bear and forbear. We must [have that charity which] suffereth long and is kind, which be[areth all things and] hopeth all Things.4
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Honourable James Warren Esq Plymouth”; endorsed: “Mr J. Adams lettr July 1774.” The last page of the manuscript and address page are mutilated with the loss of at least five lines.
1. The Administration of Justice Act, which allowed officials of the Crown indicted for a capital offense occasioned by the performance of their duties to be tried outside the colonies and thus away from juries likely to be hostile.
2. Louis XV died on 10 May 1774.
3. Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436–1517), Cardinal, and virtually prime minister of Spain, conqueror of the Moors, dedicated statesman (William H. Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, Boston, 1839, 3:404–417).
4. Missing material in the last sentence is supplied from 1 Corinthians, 13:4–7 (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:32, note 1).
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.