Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

Abigail Adams to John Cranch, 21 October 1786 AA Cranch, John


Abigail Adams to John Cranch, 21 October 1786 Adams, Abigail Cranch, John
Abigail Adams to John Cranch
Dear sir London october 21 1786

A fine Salmon by the Exeter Stage; a week ago informd me that the Gentleman from whom I had before received a similar favour; was still mindfull of his Friends by his deeds, tho he seldom favourd them with his personal presence.

Accept sir my thanks, not only for the Salmon, but for the Partridges and woodcocks, which I presume came from the same quarter Last Spring,1 tho you have not sufferd your right hand, to disclose what your Left hand has perform'd.

It pains me to receive these repeated instances of your politeness, and attention, having nothing to offer you by way of acknowledgment; unless a Literary American production, may prove agreeable to you.2

As I know you to possess a Liberality of sentiment, beyond many of your countrymen, I have taken the Liberty to offer to your acceptance, what a dread of Truth, and a just representation of facts, prevents the printer to whom they were sent for Sale, to offer to the publick.3

The conduct of Britain towards America in the late Revolution, though recorded by the pen of Truth, and the Spirit of candour, is considerd as a Libel upon the actors; who are too wealthy and powerfull, to suffer a just Representation of those very deeds, which they blushed not to perpetrate.

Adulation, and the Wealth of the East Indies may silence a venal age; but a Cornwallis and a Rawdon, will Still be recorded in the Historic page of America with all the dark Shades of their Characters.4

Mr Ramsey the writer of the Revolution of Carolina, is a Gentleman of fortune and respectable Character and was lately President of congress.

By my last Letters from America dated in August, I had the pleasure of hearing that our friends were well; I had promised myself the pleasure of visiting Devonshire during the Summer, but an unexpected call obliged mr Adams to go to Holland, whither I accompanied him, and returnd too late; to think of an other excursion this Season.

Whenever you come to London, be assured, Sir, that I Should be very happy to see you, mr Adams presents his compliments to you.

379 I am sir, with Sentiments of Esteem, your Friend & Humble Servant A Adams

RC (NhHi: Presidential Autographs Collection [Dorothy Whitney]); addressed by WSS: “Mr. John Cranch attorney at Law at Axmister”; endorsed: “21. Oct. 1786. Her Excellency the Amer. embassadress.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed. Dft (Adams Papers), filmed at 1787, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 370.


John Cranch of Axminster, Richard Cranch's nephew, had also sent gifts of game to the Adamses by the Exeter stage in Sept. 1785 (vol. 5:325, 326; 6:382–383) .


AA concludes this sentence in her Dft with “of the Poetick kind.”


AA was sending Cranch a copy of David Ramsay's The History of the Revolution of South Carolina. Ramsay had considerable difficulties getting the book published in London, where his agent, Charles Dilly, was reluctant to sell the book for fear that its anti-British content would provoke the public or the Crown. It was finally published there in 1787, but even then, it was not sold openly (Arthur H. Shaffer, To Be an American: David Ramsay and the Making of the American Consciousness, Columbia, S.C., 1991, p. 102, 303).


Lord Cornwallis, commander of British forces in South Carolina in 1780–1781 as well as at Yorktown, had been named governor-general of India in early 1786. Francis Lord Rawdon (1754–1826) had served in various capacities in the British Army during the Anglo-American war. He was notorious for his harsh treatment toward American forces in the Carolinas and was particularly reviled for his decision to execute Col. Isaac Haynes in Aug. 1781 ( DNB ; Greene, Papers , 9:251–252).