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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0166

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Lowell, John
Date: 1779-11-04

To John Lowell

[salute] Dear sir

I thank you for your Favour of the 12 Oct. and for the Trouble you took in conveying my Accounts and Vouchers to the Treasury.
I am too fond of the Approbation of my Country men, to refuse, or to hesitate about accepting an appointment made with So much Unanimity, after all the Contests about foreign affairs and I am too nearly of your Opinion in some other Points too.
No Man knows better than you, how much my private Interest has suffered by my Inattention to my Business: how this new Appointment will operate, I know not. I shall be in a better Situation, than before because I know, what to depend upon. I hope I shall be able to support my Family. It is too late for me to think1 of great Things, in Point of Fortune.
{ 279 }
The friendly sentiments you express, are reciprocal. They were conceived early in life, and will not easily wear out.
I must commit my family, in Some measure to your Care. My dear Mrs. Adams will have occasion, perhaps for your Advice, which I know you would readily offer her.2 I am with much Esteem, yours
[signed] John Adams
1. The Letterbook concludes the sentence with “of making an Estate.”
2. For Lowell's response to this request, and to AA's letter to him of 29 Nov. (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:240), see his letter to AA of 15 Dec. (same, 3:250). In that letter, Lowell noted that JA's letter had reached Philadelphia after he had set out on his return to Boston and thus he had not received the letter until shortly before 15 Dec.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: President of Congress
Recipient: Huntington, Samuel
Date: 1779-11-04

To the President of the Congress

Replying to the president's letter of 20 Oct. (above), John Adams acknowledged receiving his commissions and instructions and expressed his appreciation of the high honor done him. In regard to his mission, Adams declared that he was determined to “make no hesitation to accept it, and devote myself, without Reserve, or loss of Time to discharge the Duties of it,” but warned that its success depended upon receiving timely intelligence from the congress and avoiding premature disclosure of his instructions. Finally, he reported that he would be sailing in eight to ten days.

Docno: ADMS-06-08-02-0168

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Rush, Benjamin
Date: 1779-11-04

To Benjamin Rush

[salute] My dear Sir

Your favours of Octr. 12 and 19 are before me. I should not have left the first Seven days unanswered, if had not been for my new Trade of a Constitution monger. I inclose a Pamphlet as my Apology. It is only a Report of a Committee, and will be greatly altered no doubt. If the Committee had boldly made the Legislature consist of three Branches, I should have been better pleased.1 But I cannot enlarge upon this subject.
I am pained in my inmost soul, at the unhappy Affair, at Coll Wilsons.2 I think there ought to be an Article in the Declaration of Rights of every State, Securing Freedom of Speech, Impartiality, and Independance at the Bar. There is nothing on which the Rights of every Member of Society more depend. There is no Man so bad, but he ought to have a fair Tryal, and an equal Chance to obtain the ablest { 280 } Council, or the Advocate of his Choice, to see that he has fair Play, and the Benefit of Truth and Law.
Dont be dismayed, you will yet find Liberty a charming Substance. I wish I had Leonidas,3 cant you send it, after me?
Thank you, for your Congratulations, on my new and most honourable Appointment.4 If it is possible, for Mortals to honour Mortals, I am honoured,—with an Honour, however, that makes me, tremble. Pray, help me, by corresponding constantly with me, and sending me, all the Pamphlets, Journals, News &c. to a little success, as well as honour.
Your Congratulations on the Count D'Estaings operations, are conceived in Terms flattering enough. I will please myself, with the Thought,5 untill the contrary appears, that I had Some Share in bringing him here. If he only liberates Georgia and Rhode Island, which Seems to be6 already done, it is a great success. Altho I go to make Peace, yet if the old Lady, Britania will not suffer me to do that, I will do all I can in Character, to Sustain the War, and direct it in a sure Course. I must be prudent, in this, however, which, I fear is not enough my Characteristick, but I flatter myself, I am rather growing in this Grace. In this Spirit, I think, that altho, We have had Provocations enough to excite the warmest Passions against Great Britain, yet it is our duty to silence all Resentments in our deliberations about Peace, and attend only to our Interests, and our Engagements with our allies.
Nothing ever gives me So much Pleasure, as to hear of Harmony in Congress. Upon this depends our Union, Strength, Prosperity and Glory. If the late Appointments give Satisfaction I am happy, and if the Liberties and Independance of our Country, are not safe in my Hands, you may Sware it is for Want of Brains, not of Heart. The Appointment of Mr. Dana, could not be mended.7 He will go, and I shall be happy. You have given me Pain by your Account of the Complaints against the Director.8 I am sorry, very sorry!
What will you say, if I should turn your Thoughts, from Politicks to Philosophy? What do you think of Dr. Franklins Theory of Colds. He is fixed in the opinion that We never take Cold, from the cold Air. And wants the Experiments of Sanctorius tried over again.9 Suppose you should make a Statical Chair, and try, whether Perspiration is most copious in a warm bed, or stark naked, in the open Air. I assure you, these Branches of Physicks, come within the Circle of the Sciences of the statesman, for an unlucky Cold (which I have been much subject to all my days) may stop him, in his Career, and dash all { 281 } his schemes; and it is a poor Excuse to say, he foresaw and provided against every Event, but his own sickness.
My Partner, whose tender Health and numerous Family, will not permit her, to make me, as happy, as Mr. Jay, joins with me, in the kindest Compliments to you and Mrs. Rush. Adieu
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC); docketed: “Novr. 4 1779.”LbC (Adams Papers).
1. See Report of a Constitution, [ca. 28–31 Oct.]; and JA to Elbridge Gerry, 4 Nov. (both above).
2. See xBenjamin Rush to JA, 12 Oct., and note 4 (above).
3. See Benjamin Rush to JA, 12 Oct., and note 6 (above).
4. In the Letterbook, “honourable indeed!” follows “Appointment.”
5. The following four words do not appear in the Letterbook.
6. The Letterbook has “is” for “seems to be.”
7. JA uses the now rare definition of mend, “to improve in quality,” to mean that the appointment was just right (OED).
8. Dr. John Morgan. See Benjamin Rush to JA, 19 Oct., note 3 (above).
9. Franklin first explained his theory of colds to JA in Sept. 1776 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:418–419), but he first advanced these ideas in the 1740s, basing them in part on the work of Santorio Santorio (d. 1636), called Sanctorius, a professor of medicine at Padua and author of De Medicina Statica (London, 1712). Sanctorius, who developed various “statical” devices in his experiments, was a pioneer in the physiology of metabolism (Franklin, Papers, 3:33, note 2; 3:417; 20:103, note 2).
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/