Adams Family Correspondence, volume 6

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 19 April 1785 Tufts, Cotton AA Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 19 April 1785 Tufts, Cotton Adams, Abigail
Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams
Dear Cousin Weymouth April 19. 1785

It is now a violent Snow Storm (PM) and I hope it will be the last for this Spring, for the Snow has been on the Earth through the Winter and from January to the first Instant the Sledding has continued; on the 26th. of March I rode to Abington, from Mr. Williams's Meeting House,1 in one of the Roads for near two Miles the Snow was level with the Walls and the Crust so hard as to bear my Horse, the Snow supposed to be 2 ½ Feet upon a Level at that Time. On the 10th. of this Month Your Sister Shaw writes, Ice continues in our River over which People pass and repass &c.2 The Weather however has not been so cold through the Winter as in some former Seasons.

Last Week Mr. Smith handed me a Letter from a Mrs. Fitch of Jamaica directed to You and informed me what he supposed it related to. I took the Liberty to open it, write a few Lines in it sealed it and as Col. Norton was just then going to Europe committed it to him. I found Mrs. Fitch as an Expression of Gratitude for the Kindness and Civilities shewn by Mr. Adams to Mr. Fitch and herself when in Europe had sent you some Sweet Meats and Cuhen.3 I advised Mr. Smith to distribute them among Your Friends, but afterwards finding that they consisted of several Parcels, packed up in great order and 86no Danger of spoiling, Your Sister Cranch thought it best to let them laiy untill We had Your Directions and She will accordingly write to You therefor.

I have wrote both to Mr. Adams and to You 3 or 4 Letters since You left America. Cap. Young arrived last Wednesday and brot sundry Letters for Haverhill and Braintree4 also One for me from Mr. Adams of Dec. 15. 1784 in which he makes no Mention of his or Your having received any from me. Should some Things be repeatedly mentioned Youll excuse it, as I am in doubt whether my Letters reach my Friends and for want of some sure Conveyance I think it prudent to withhold many Things which I wish to communicate.


I just received Yours of January 3d. which affords me much entertainment and Pleasure. Your Scituation methinks is Curious, to be obliged to appear in high Life in Europe (and indeed almost any where else) and submit to all its Follies is I suspect laying Nature upon the Wreck but as You justly observe when Necessity calls it is best to obey with Patience.

I received a Letter from your Brother Shaw the other Day. Your two Sons are in Health. They have besides their Studies attended a Singing and Dancing School through the Winter. I took Occasion upon Mr. Shaws consulting me with respect to their attending the dancing School, to express some sentiments relative to Master Charles's Attention being engaged to his Studies, the Expectation of his entring at our University next Commencement and my Wish that He might be so fitted as to enter with Honor to his Instructor and to himself. I received an agreable Answer Viz. “If Master Charles has his Health and pursues his Studies as Well as he has done I doubt not but he will enter College with Reputation to himself and his Instructor.” I am pleased with the Intention of Mr. Adams's sending Master John to our University, I am of Opinion, the sooner he sends him the greater will be the Advantage. If there is any particular Branch of Learning that he may be unacquainted with and necessary for his Admission to an advanced Station, he may be placed under some of the Professors or some eminent Instructor for a short Time previous thereto if thought best. I cannot but urge the Expediency of his residing a Year and an half or two Years at the University, he may be of great Service to his Brother Charles and he will have the Company of his Cousin Cranch, a sober amiable and studious Youth.—It is reported here that Miss Nabby is to return with Your 87Son.5 Would it not be best for her to defer it untill You return which I presume will not exceed another Year for I am pretty Certain You will by that Time be well tired of Europe. And by that Time I hope Mr. Adams will have compleated the necessary Treaties in Europe and that We shall once more have the Pleasure of seeing You all at Braintree.

I last Week went to Medford, leased the Farm at £40 Per Annum to Benj. Teal a Nephew of the Old Tenant. The Farm Buildings and Fences are all in bad Order. Repairs must soon be made. The House at Boston I have contracted with a Carpenter to take down the Roof (which is rotten) and raise it one Story higher. Belcher is going out of the House at Braintree. Turner the Stocking Weaver is coming in. I know not what to do with this House, the South End of it is going to Wreck and Ruin. Real Estates in the Country are Sunk greatly in Value, they afford but little Profit. This is a Subject if Time permits I shall enlarge upon in some future Letter.

Pheobe and Abdy is still in your House, she takes good Care of it. Notwithstanding her Attention, somethings will suffer. I call'd in this Week and took a general View. Some of the Woollen Articles, and especially some of Mr. Adams Cloaths, that will not answer for the Children, had they not better be disposed of? However Your Sister will write You more fully upon this. I have now and then a little Trouble to keep down the Spirit of the African and reduce it to a proper bearing, but upon the whole I generally succeed.

The Farm under the Care of Mr. Pratt is conducted as heretofore. I have made an Addition to it of 20 Acres bott of James Thayer and between 2 & 3 Acres of Salt Marsh bott of Davd. Bass of which I suppose You have received Information by this Time as I drew a Bill on the 5th. January on Mr. Adams for £50, in favour of Mr. Elworthy on Account of the Purchases. On Settling with Mr. Pratt he claimed a Remission of such Part of the Town Taxes as exceeded the ordinary Taxes of the Town, this he said You agreed to, and as I had hitherto found him honest, I allowed it, But wish You to write in Your next what lies in Your Mind with respect to it.

I have not had an Opportunity to negociate any thing relative to Allens Farm, but shall attend to it as Opportunity presents.


You kindly enquire after the State of our Parish. I wish I could give You a pleasing Account, but we are still unsettled. We have made several unsuccesful Attempts. Two have been called and have re-88fused, Viz. Mr. Shuttleworth, and a Mr. Packard.6 Their Refusal perhaps, may prove in the Issue advantageous. But Time must settle the Minds of contending Parties and I hope Time and Patience will bring us a good Man.

May 1. Sunday Evening 12°

I need not tell You my Letters are wrote in haste, they sufficiently shew it, besides my Eye sight is so weak that I suffer much by writing. I can only add that Mrs. Tufts presents her Love to You Mr. Adams and the Children, a Turn of the Cholic kept her Low through the fore part of the Winter but she is now in her former State, begins to think of getting into her Chaise and take an Airing. Lyde I am informed will sail to Morrow and hope to forward this seasonably in the Morning, and trust it will reach You in London. With Love and Affection to Mr. Adams, Yourself and Children I am Yr Affectionate Kinsman

C. Tufts

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by AA2: “Dr Tufts April 19.”


Probably the South Congregational Church of Weymouth, of which Simeon Williams was minister from 1766 to 1818 ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 16:272–273).


On 20 March, Elizabeth Shaw wrote Mary Cranch: “The Ice has longer held in Our River the Merrimack than for many years past, it is said there is 3 feet of Snow now upon the Ground, caked into a sort of ice. I do not know but it will be June before it is all melted” (DLC: Shaw Family Papers).


Preserves and cayenne pepper; see Tufts to AA, 11 April, descriptive note, above.


The letters written in Dec. 1784, and probably several of AA's letters of early January, all above (see AA to Elizabeth Cranch, 3 Jan., above; Mary Cranch to AA, 25 April, below).


The source of this rumor is not known to the editors. In her letter of 30 April to Mary Cranch, below, Elizabeth Shaw assumed that neither AA nor AA2 would be returning to America in the near future.


Probably Samuel Shuttlesworth, Harvard 1777, and Asa Packard, Harvard 1783 ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. , p. 197, 199).

John Adams to Cotton Tufts, 24 April 1785 JA Tufts, Cotton John Adams to Cotton Tufts, 24 April 1785 Adams, John Tufts, Cotton
John Adams to Cotton Tufts
Dear Sir Auteuil April 24. 17845

It was yesterday only that I received your Favour of Nov. 26, which contains many Things which you mentioned in a posteriour Letter which I have answered.1

I am glad you purchased the Pasture and Marsh.2 I accepted your Bill at sight and it was paid to Mr. Elworthy at sight fifty Pounds. I wish you to repair the House in Boston, and to go on purchasing Bits of Marsh and Wood, if you can find them at moderate Prices, but I am not zealous about this. You may draw upon me, to the amount of Three hundred Pounds when you please, and also to pay for Veseys Place if he will sell it reasonably, and provided you can obtain a good 89Profit upon Exchange. With this purchase I Stop my Land Projects, but poor as it is, it lies so situated that I wish it added to my little territory.

My Son John Quincy will embark in the Packet at L'Orient, for New York, and will be with you before Commencement I hope, perhaps he will deliver this.3

Charles as well as John I hope will enter Colledge this summer and I hereby place them both under your Superintendence. I pray you to pay all their Bills and draw upon me for the Moneys necessary. It is my Intention that both of them shall be accountable to you for their Expences of every kind, and receive nothing but by your Order. They must be as frugal as possible, otherwise I shall find the Utmost difficulty to get along with them.

Dr. Franklin has been soliciting for Years, to get his Grandson appointed a Minister abroad,4 Supposing no doubt that his own Services, would prevail: I know too well the Character of my Countrymen, to believe that they will thus impute the Merit of the Parent to the Offspring, and therefore instead of proposing my son for publick Employments, I am Sending him to qualify himself for private ones. I might retain him as my private Secretary, But I will not educate him in such a state of Dependence upon Congress nor my self. He shall Stand on his own Legs, place himself on a Level with the Youth his Contemporary Countrymen, and become a Town Meeting Man first, if he ever wishes for public Employment.

You ask my Opinion concerning the 4th Article of the Treaty of Peace. I wish to avoid being quoted upon these Points. I cannot See the Propriety of the Legislatures interfering. If a Jury determine the Interest to be a bona fide debt, there is no Remedy. An Explanation will never be obtained unless a Minister should be sent to London, if then. We have written and demanded long since, but have no Answer from the British Ministry. In short they are determined not to treat in France. These Interferences of the Legislatures will be construed Violations of the Treaty and the great Posts upon the Frontier will be pretended to be held against Treaty for this Reason. But the little Interests of Individuals in such Governments as ours, will if We are not cautious, disturb publick Interests of infinitely greater Magnitude, and involve our Reputation and even our public Faith.

Whether England and France can import Timber and Lumber from Denmark cheaper than from America I know not. I dont believe they can. But if they could they should consider how they are to pay. There 90is a great difference between paying Cash and paying in Produce and Manufactures.

Shewing what I had written to Madam she has made me sick of purchasing Veseys Place. Instead of that therefore you may draw upon me, for two hundred Pounds at as good an Exchange as you can obtain and lay it out in such Notes as you judge most for my Interest, so that the Interest may be a little Fund for assisting you in paying the Expences of the Education of my Children. Indeed if you See a Prospect of making any considerable Advantage in this Way, for me, you may draw upon me for more.

My regards to you Lady & son, and believe me with great Affection your Friend

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Esq Letter April 24th 1785. recd. Aug. 29”; docketed, also by Tufts: “recd. Aug. 29, 1785.”


On 5 March, above, JA answered Tufts' “posteriour” letter of 1 Jan. (not found).


See Tufts to JA, 26 Nov. 1784, and note 2, above.


JQA did deliver this letter (see JQA, Diary , 1:312–315, 318; the docketing in the descriptive note; and Tufts to JA, 6 Oct., below).


JA had first objected to Franklin's efforts to promote William Temple Franklin when the Doctor arranged, in Oct. 1782, to have his grandson named secretary to the peace commission without JA's prior approval (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:38–39, and note 3, 102–103). On 22 July 1783, Franklin wrote R. R. Livingston, secretary for foreign affairs, that young William was qualified to head a mission, and informed Livingston that both Swedish and Danish officials had asked him whether his grandson might not be named an envoy to their courts (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 6:586). And on 27 June 1784, JA wrote to Elbridge Gerry that he suspected Franklin of trying to secure his grandson's succession to his mission at Versailles when he returned to America. Franklin's suggestion of Sweden as an appropriate post for William, JA wrote, “is only a stalking Horse” (LbC, Adams Papers). William Temple Franklin never did receive another diplomatic appointment.