Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

Guide to Editorial Apparatus

John Adams to Abigail Smith

Richard Cranch and John Adams to Mary Smith, 30 December 1761 Cranch, Richard JA Cranch, Mary Smith Richard Cranch and John Adams to Mary Smith, 30 December 1761 Cranch, Richard Adams, John Cranch, Mary Smith
Richard Cranch and John Adams to Mary Smith
Dear Miss Polly1 Germantown Decr. 30th. 1761

I was at Boston yesterday and saw your Brother who was well. I have but a moments notice of an oportunity of sending to you the enclos'd which I took at your Unkle Edwards's.2

I am, with compliments to your Family, your affectionate humble Servt., R: Cranch
Dr. Ditto

Here we are Dick and Jack as happy as the Wickedness and folly of this World will allow Phylosophers to be: our good Wishes are pour'd forth for the felicity of you, your family and Neighbours.—My—I dont know what—to Mrs. Nabby.3 Tell her I hear she's about commencing a most loyal subject to young George—and altho my Allegiance has been hitherto inviolate I shall endeavour, all in my Power to foment Rebellion.4

J. Adams5

RC (Adams Papers); each note is in the hand of its signer; addressed in Cranch's hand: “To Miss Polly Smith in Weymouth.” Enclosure not identified.


Mary Smith (1741–1811), elder sister of AA, was to marry Richard Cranch (1726–1811) on 25 Nov. 1762. Cranch had emigrated from Devon in 1746 and settled in business in Boston. The smallpox drove him to Braintree in 1750, where he conducted a glass manufactory with his brother-in-law Joseph Palmer at Germantown (a district of old Braintree that retains its name in modern Quincy). In 1760 he sold out his Germantown interests to Palmer and moved to Weymouth, where he was at this time in the business of repairing watches. See Adams Genealogy; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 11:370–376; and JA, Diary and Autobiography , 1:231–232, and passim.


Mary's only brother was William Smith (1746–1787); her uncle here referred to was Samuel Edwards, a goldsmith in Boston, who in 1733 had married Sarah Smith. See Adams Genealogy.


The earliest known meeting between JA and AA had occurred in the summer of 1759, when JA was still under the fascination of Hannah Quincy, and his first impressions of the Smith girls were not unqualifiedly favorable. See JA, Diary and Autobiography , 1:108–109.

2 4.

George III had acceded to the throne in Oct. 1760.


On the provenance of this letter see JQA's MS Diary, entry of 21 Sept. 1829: “William Greenleaf brought me in the Evening several old Letters, sent me by his Mother, from among the papers of her father.... One of them is a joint Letter from R. Cranch and J. Adams to Miss Polly Smith dated at Germantown 30 December 1761.” William Cranch Greenleaf (1801–1868), who at this time was helping JQA put the family papers in order, was a grandson of Richard and Mary (Smith) Cranch; see Adams Genealogy.