Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

141 Charles Storer to Abigail Adams, 13 April 1786 Storer, Charles AA


Charles Storer to Abigail Adams, 13 April 1786 Storer, Charles Adams, Abigail
Charles Storer to Abigail Adams
Dear Madam Boston. 13th. April. 1786

What in the name of wonder can you be doing on your side the Atlantic? We hear no more of you than if you were in the regions above the Moon. It is not to be long so I hope, for we are become very impatient now for news. Here, we seem to be almost at a stand, as it were; waiting for good tidings from afar. I fancy the case is much the same with you.

With this I send you some newspapers,1 which will give you some little insight into matters and things here: But Dr: Gordon is going in the same vessell, and should you see him, he will be able to tell you more than I can write. Is it probable you will see him? I mentioned sending a pacquet for you. He told me if I would give it to him, he would take care that it should be forwarded to you by the Penny-Post. This looks as if he did not mean to see you. He has been writing the history of the Revolution and has had many squibs against him in our papers, which have vexed him not a little. 'Tis supposed he will state his grievances in England, publicly, in order to promote his subscriptions and the sale of his history.

Have you yet heard of Mr: Gerry's being married? I spent yesterday with him, his wife and her Sister at Mr: Tracey's at Cambridge. Mrs: G. was a Miss Thompson of New York, originally from Ireland, a delicate, pretty woman.2 She has been at Mr: T. Russells since they arrived here, (about 3. weeks,) where she has been very ill. They are now at Mr: Tracey's, where I fancy her ill-health will detain her another week: from thence they are going to Marblehead. They talk of purchasing a seat at Cambridge.3

Mr: G. is neither the first nor the last Delegate in Congress that has been married in N York. Mr: King is lately married to a large fortune4 and several others have done the same. Congress have not much business on hand at present, as they are waiting to know if the States will all comply with their requisitions: this interim of business they improve in getting married. From this circumstance perhaps they will sooner settle the federal town, which is an object to be wished. However, this will not altogether compensate for the expence of their support.

I saw John and Charles a day or two ago at Cambridge, where there was an exhibition before a Committee of the Overseers of the College, after which they went off to Braintree for the vacation, 142which will be for a fortnight. John is very well settled, has a good room and every apparent convenience he can wish. He needs no stimulus or encouragement to attend to his studies, he pursues the method which will be effectually beneficial to him, he is exact in his attendance on the lectures, and particular in taking minutes of them afterwards. The only thing he complains of is that so much time should be wasted in prayers and recitations as there is. Were he to go on by himself he would proceed much faster. But you will hear from him by this opportunity and he will tell you more of himself and our friends at Braintree than I can, as I have not been there this long while.

We have been alarmed almost every day for the month past by fire; which has several times done mischief, but to the activity of our Firemen we are much indebted that it has done so little. A Barn full of hay, in our street has been lately burnt down, and tho' it was surrounded by old wooden houses, nay, joined to one or two, no further damage was done. Great part of board-Alley, near Trinity Church, was burnt down this last week.5

When you write me I hope you will mention a certain subject, which I wrote so largely of in my last. The story seems to have died away here. The Gentleman says all is now well.

I am, with much esteem, Madam, Yrs. C. S.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A. Adams, Grosvenor-Square, London”; endorsed: “Charles Storer April 13 1786.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.


Not identified.


Ann Thompson (1763–1849), daughter of James Thompson, a New York merchant, was considered “as distinguished by her beauty and personal worth as by her family and social connections” (Rufus Wilmot Griswold, The Republican Court; or, American Society in the Days of Washington, 2d edn., New York, 1856, p. 100; Billias, Elbridge Gerry , p. 377, note 29). The sister with her was either Catherine or Helen (JQA, Diary , 2:105).


Gerry purchased Elmwood, the elegant mansion once owned by royal lieutenant governor Thomas Oliver, and moved permanently to Cambridge later in 1786 (Billias, Elbridge Gerry , p. 147–148).


Rufus King married Mary, daughter of New York merchant John Alsop, on 30 March ( DAB ).


A fire in a stable on Cambridge Street on 31 March was contained without damaging adjoining buildings. Eleven days later, a fire in a stable on Board Alley destroyed one home, a wheelwright's shop, a carpenter's shop, and two stables, and severely damaged another residence (Massachusetts Centinel, 1, 12 April).

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 13 April 1786 Tufts, Cotton AA


Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 13 April 1786 Tufts, Cotton Adams, Abigail
Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams
My dear Cous. Boston April 13. 1786

In some of my former Letters I mentioned the Probability, that Belchers Place would shortly be on Sale. Mr. Morton Atty. to C. W. 143Apthorp Esq has offered it to me but has not as yet set his Price.1 As I conceive it to be Your Wish to purchase it—If it can be obtained at a reasonable Price, I shall secure it. I have frequent offers of Salt Marsh and other Lands, in Braintree, some of them adjoining to yours, that of the late Widow Veazies adjoyning to Belchers, will shortly be sold.2 But as Lands bring in but very little Profit, It can not be adviseable to engage very far in the Purchase of them. The Scarcity of Specie and the Danger of being forced into a Paper Medium to supply the Want, together with the Weight of Taxes, Conduce greatly to lessen the Profits of real Estate. Payment of Rents dayly become more difficult and I find them to be slow. This will oblige me to depend on Draughts on Mr. Adams for defraying the Expences of Your Childrens Education. We propose to offer your Son Thomas for Admission in to our University at the next Commencment, unless you should direct otherwise. Mr John was admitted in March last into the Junior Class and is well seated in a Chamber with a Graduate. The Expences of your Three Sons cannot be estimated I apprehend at less than £50 sterlg each Pr. Ann.–supposing them to conduct with Oeconomy. And I have the Satisfaction to inform You, that there does not appear in them any Disposition to Extravagance. The parental Attention of Mr and Mrs Cranch to them, would do much to prevent it, were they inclined to excess; and their Attachment to their Cousin Wm. Cranch, who is an amiable Youth, of great Steadiness and Prudence makes their Station agreable to them and I flatter my self that they will form a little Circle distinguished for their good order and attention to their Studies.

Mr. T—— I fear will give me much Trouble; for Twelve months past or more I have found it difficult to see him. His frequent Absence from his office, for a long Time, I imputed to necessary Calls and Business. And though I have of late made repeated Journeys to Braintree as well as wrote to him, in order to get an Account of Your Affairs and what Money he may have collected, yet nothing ensues but Messages that he will at such a Time or such a Time wait on me. Whether his Conduct has proceeded from a natural Versatility of Mind, his Fondness for Intrigue or more latterly from Resentment or a Wish to avoid a strict Compliance with the Demands of a former Correspondent or to a moveable Spirit caught from his Windmill lately erected—I do not pretend to determine—but I shall not long be content to feed on Uncertainties.

In my former Letter I requested you to let me know to what 144Amount in the Course of the Year I might draw for, You will express your Mind on this and also let me know what may be said on Doane's Account. I mean with respect to its having been paid or not.

It is expected, that Cap. Callihan will sail this Day or to morrow. I shall write further by him if Time will permit, but I must refer You to Bro Cranch for Politicks and Domestic Intelligence,3 and I hope You will not refrain from giving me the Politics of the Country where You reside although I should in my Letters confine myself merely to Matters that relate to Your private Interest. The various Trusts with which I am charged, engross almost the whole of my Time during the Recesses of the General Court, that but very little is left for my own particular Concerns and does almost entirely prevent me from expatiating on Subjects other than those that have immediate Reference to Matters of Trust. My Compliments and Love &c to my Cous. Nabby. I shall shortly write her a Line—at present I can only tell her, that I have made no further Progress in my Embassy, than what she has already had information of. When will My Friend Mr. Adams his Lady and Daughter return to Braintree! Should the Answer be, Shortly it would give Pleasure to Your Affectionate Friend

Cotton Tufts

P.S. Since I wrote the above, I have drawn a Bill on Mr Adams for £50. sterlg in favour of Ebenr Storer Esq @ 7 Pr Ct. above par, which I found necessary, the produce of the last Bill having laid out (the greater part of it) in public Securities and expended a considerable Sum beyond what your Rents and other Means have produced, and no present Prospect of an adequate Supply for future Demands other by a Draught.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Madam Abigail Adams Grovesner Square London”; endorsed: “Dr Tufts April 13th 1786.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.


On JA's behalf, Tufts purchased the approximately 5 1/2 acre lot on Penn's Hill formerly owned by Moses Belcher Jr., and more recently occupied by his son Elijah Belcher, from James and Sarah Apthorp for £70 on 4 April 1787. The property included half a dwelling house, barn, and well; JA previously had purchased the other half of said structures and adjoining land from Joseph and Mary Palmer (James Apthorp et ux., Deed to JA, 4 April 1787; Joseph and Mary Palmer to JA, 6 May 1771, both Adams Papers, Adams Office Files, folder 13). See also Cotton Tufts to AA, 14 Oct. 1785, vol. 6:425–426.


Martha Vesey's land lay to the northeast of the lot in question; JA acquired it from William and Sarah Vesey in Feb. 1788 (James Apthorp et ux., Deed to JA, 4 April 1787; William Vesey and Sarah Vesey, Deed to JA, 12 Feb. 1788; both Adams Papers, Adams Office Files, folder 13).


To AA, 13 April, above.