Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 31 December 1786 Cranch, Mary Smith AA Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 31 December 1786 Cranch, Mary Smith Adams, Abigail
Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams
My dear Sister Braintree December 31d 1786

I reciev'd a few days since your Letter of Sepr. 12th and yesterday that of october the 12th and thank you most sincerly for them both. 421Your account of Holland entertaind me much. You must have improv'd your time well to have visited so many places and notic'd so much. The fatigue was too great for you. It was this that made you sick. I was rejoic'd to find your dissorder whatever it was for you did not tell me what had left before I heard of it. I feel a sad pertubation of spirit whenever a vessel arrives till I can see your hand writing and read that all are living and well. Your Family have been preserv'd thro many dangers, and for valuable purposes I dare say, but I most sincerly wish you all Safe at home. I shall comply with your wishes relaiting to a particular subject. The Person would not have been So often mention'd if some circumstances had not taken place which had no reference to your Family.

Our dear uncle Smith has recover'd his Spirits much better than I expected he would, but a heavey Sigh often escapes him yet. He is So much alter'd in his Family and in his attention to his Friends that you would scarcly suppose him the same man he once was. He left those little matters to our Aunt which now he attend too himself. Cousin Betsy behaves with the utmost prudence and discretion. She has a most exellent disposition. I am Sure you would Love her more than ever was you here.

We have had another Snow Storm Since I wrote last. Such an one has not been Seen for seventy years. Many People were oblig'd to get out of their chamber window, upon the Banks. The roads have been impassable in many places for a fortnight, and yet the Fields and some of the Streets in this town are bare. The college was oblig'd to be deserted Several weeks before the vacancy usually begins, wood could not be got.1 Your eldest Son chose to Stay and ran his chance for wood as he thought he could Study there better than at home, and he will take this time to collect his part of the theses for commencment. The class have petition'd for a private one and have Set forth their reasons in a long preamble to their Petition. The Scarcity of money and the difficulty many of them find to pay even thier quarter Bills, are among the number.2

January 5th

Letters have been falling in to one and another ever since Folger ariv'd but not one for mr Cranch is come to hand yet: “he wonders at it as he has written so largly both to Brother and Sister.” Did you receive one from him? you have not mention'd it. He hopes it was not lost.3 The Trunk you Sent is Salve in uncle Smiths Store it was got out without any difficulty or paying any Duty that I can hear off. 422The Shirts for JQA came Safe last Fall as did the Linnin for your other Sons. The Shirts went immediately to Cambridge. I Supposed Cousin would have mention'd them or I Should. It was a long time before I could find Who had the Peice of Linning, which was the reason I did not say any thing about it at that time. When we Shall be able to get the Trunk which is just arriv'd I know not. There has been a great thaw within a few days which has render'd it almost impossible for a carriage to pass. A thousand thanks my dear Sister is all I can offer you for these renewed Instances of your kindness to me and my dear Girls, but I cannot bear you should let them be So expencive to you. Half worn Gowns Such as might not be proper for you to wear in your Situation, would have been receiv'd with the utmost gratitude by them and Would have been priz'd more for having been wore by an Aunt they So dearly Love. The Silk you have Sent I heard them say they should lay up till they were married, but you must come home and find them Husbands! there are but few with whom they could be happy. They have had an education which calls for Tast Learning and virtue and they could not be happy in partners destitute of these qualifications. They go but little into the World, and into the Gay part of it not at all. There are Some Ladies of whom one may know every thing that is to be known in one afternoon. The diffidence of others renders it not so easey to discover their characters.

Our cousin William Smith has at last found a Lady Sensible enough of his merit to accept him for a Partner for Life. Miss Hannah Carter is the Lucky girl. The matter is Settled I hear. They will soon be married.4 I think you know her she is very Sensible, and has a much more improv'd mind than is commonly to be found among the gay world. Doctor Simon Tufts dy'd last Sunday. The calmness with which he left the world does honour to the Religion he profess'd and practic'd. He call'd all his Family round him and pray'd with them and in that Prayer expir'd. His Daughters Grief is excessive, you know the Strength of her Passions.5

I heard from Sister Shaw last week She and the Family were well. Whether she will be able to get a Letter to town Soon enough to Send is uncertain as the roads are so bad.

Your two younger Sons have been writing to you and will do so to their Sister if the vessell does not Sail So Soon as we hear it is too.6 Betsy and Lucy will write also if they can. It is a busy season with us. Our young Gentlemen always come home tatter'd and torn. We 423have met with a great Loss in mrs Betsy Nash. She is married and is to leave the Town soon.7

RC (Adams Papers); the text appears to be incomplete.


Officials at Harvard decided on 12 Dec. that they would close the school if more than half of the students lacked sufficient firewood. On 13 Dec., following morning prayer, they formally adjourned the school for an eight-week vacation (JQA, Diary , 2:139).


See JQA to AA2, 14 Jan., note 12, below.


Richard Cranch had written to JA on 20 May and 3 Oct. (both Adams Papers). JA replied to Cranch's May letter on 4 July (MWA; LbC, Adams Papers), which Cranch acknowledged receiving at the end of his 3 Oct. letter. Cranch had also written to AA on 13 April and 5 July, both above, but no letters from AA to Richard Cranch have been found for 1786.


AA's cousin William Smith, son of Isaac Smith Sr. and Elizabeth Storer Smith, would marry his cousin Hannah Carter of Newburyport on 13 June 1787 (Vital Records of Newburyport, Massachusetts, 2 vols., Salem, 1911, 2:78).


Either Lucy Tufts (1752–1811), who married Benjamin Hall in 1777, or Catharine Tufts (b. 1754), who married Nathan Wyman of Woburn in 1772 (Vital Records of Medford, Massachusetts, Boston, 1907, p. 147, 150, 308, 310, 385).


No letter from either CA or TBA to JA, AA, or AA2 has been found for 1786 or 1787.


Elizabeth Nash of Braintree married Ralph Pope of Dorchester on 25 Dec. ( Braintree Town Records , p. 869).

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 2 January 1787 Tufts, Cotton AA Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, 2 January 1787 Tufts, Cotton Adams, Abigail
Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams
My Dear Cousn Weymouth Jany. 2d. 1787

By Capt. Folger who arrived here last Saturday, I recd. Your obliging Letter of the 10th. of Octobr. last, a Bill of the Books sent for Revd. mr Cutler, and your kind Present for which I return You my Thanks. The Bill for Papers procured by Mr. Adams at the Request Lt Govr. Cushing, which you refer to, has not been paid to me; not a Syllable has been said by him upon the Subject, nor have I mentioned it to him, supposing that an order on the Treasury, would be all the Pay (except in Discharge of that, an Order on some Collector of back Taxes). However it may be best (at least) to Hint the Matter to him, especially if there should be any opening for getting the Money—and you will also on your part furnish me with the Date of the Time when the Money was advanced &C. En passant—Ill give you a Hint which may not be unprofitable. Moneys advanced in Europe are not suddenly repaid here.

In a late Settlement with Mrs. Cranch, for purchases for your Children, Allowance was made for their Board during the Vacations and for washing. This I conceived would be agreable to you and am happy to find that I was not mistaken. The embarrassed state of Our Affairs, Mr Cranch has severely felt. The greater part of his Time for several Years past has been spent in Attendance in the Genl 424Court and Committees, for which he has not been able to obtain but a very small part of his Pay, I suppose not much more than sufficient to defray his Expences at Boston (this has been the Case with the Members of Court in general for 15 or 18 Months past and for several Sessions they have not recd. any Money), that I feel not a little anxious for him. £300 or £400 is now due to him and he cannot realize above one third of it in money if necessitated to raise it.

My Acctt. to the 14th. of Augt. last was forwarded by Capt 1 but conclude you had not recd. it as You make no mention of it in your Letter. At that Time the Ballance in your Favour was £28.11.7. My Expenditures since have exceeded that Ballance between £80 and 90£. Belchers Place is bargained for @ £70. Verchilds also will probably in a few Days be agreed for. I have drawn on mr. Adams in favr. of mr Elworthy for £130.7.1 and must shortly draw for a further Sum, if these Bargains should be compleated. Although Belchers Place is not in my Opinion worth that Sum, yet I think mr Adams had better give Ten or even Twenty Pounds extraordinary, than to have the Place continue in its present State. Verchilds Place has a very considerable Quantity of Wood on it and in that respect must be valuable although the Pasture is of an indifferent Quality. It has been a Doubt with me whether your Interest would be promoted by making purchases of Land. It is very certain it would be much more so by vesting the same money in public securities, could we be assured of any Stability in our public Funds. They are so fluctuating and the public Faith so much sported with, that I have been tempted several Times to vest those of Mr. Adams in Eastern Lands.2 For the Interest on his Loan Office Certificates, Indents have been paid, Part of these I have negociated for Pierces final Settlements,3 and with these I propose to buy a Ticket in the Land Lottery which youll see an Acctt. of in Adams & Nourses Paper. The Committee for selling Eastern Lands dispose of the Land also at private Sale in Town Ships or smaller Lots from 3/ to 9/ payable in public Securities.4 If the Securities should depreciate much more, perhaps it may be best, to vest them in these Lands. At present consolidated notes are sold from 4/ to 5/ pr. £ in Specie. Loan office (Appletons) notes5 from 3 to 4/ Pierces final Settlements from 2/4 to 2/6.

Newhall has quitted your House, given his Note for almost 1 Quarters Rent; no money is the Cry. It is now let to Adams & Nourse, Printer, at the yearly Rent of £44. being the most that could be obtained.6


Mr. T——r has not yet closed his Acctt. such assurances were given as supported my Patience and made me hope soon to see a Period to repeated and fruitless Journies. I have been disappointed, but will suppress my Feelings and having already had as much Success as any that have had Business to do with Him, will persevere till the whole is accomplished.

The unguarded Conversation of S. T. which gave Ld. Gordon an opportunity to display his meddling Genius, gave much Uneasiness to the Friends of S. T more especially to his Father who was then in a languishing State, brought on by an Hemorrhage from his Lungs. As all the Letters which passed between Ld. Gn. and the Minister, between Ld Gn. and S. T. as well as the Denial of the Matter alledged, were published in several of our Papers, perhaps it will be unnecessary to insert any Thing further in the Papers on the Subject.

Billy Cranch this moment came in and handed me a Letter from Medford which informs me that my Dear Friend and Brother Simon Tufts Esq. departed this Life on last Lords Day. Oh how many of my dear Connections, within a few Years past have entered the gloomy Mansions of the Dead, whose Society and Friendship smoothed the rugged Paths of Life and afforded a constant Source of Comfort and Delight! And where is the Loss of tried Friends to be repaired? and is not the forming of new Connections, like forming a new Existence? But I forbear. All is well. Tis mine to fill up the remaining Span of Life with Propriety, the Scene will soon close. Eer long we shall mix with our kindred Spirits and partake of their Felicity. Oh happy Day, for this may We watch, pray look and long, till we recieve their Welcome.

Be pleased to remember me to Mr and Mrs Smith and accept of my sincerest Wishes for your present and future Felicity. And Am Your Affectionate Friend & Kinsman Cotton Tufts

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Madam Abigail Adams London”; endorsed: “Dr Tufts Janry 2 1787.”


Blank in MS. The account has not been found.


That is, Passamaquoddy, the easternmost section of the district of Maine.


Certificates issued to Continental Army troops by Paymaster General John Pierce in 1783 (see vol. 6:424).


The Boston Independent Chronicle, 30 Nov. 1786, advertised a lottery for Maine, selling tickets at $200 or £60 each. The committee overseeing both the lottery and the sale of additional lands included Samuel Phillips Jr., Nathaniel Wells, John Brooks, Rufus Putnam, and Leonard Jarvis.


Nathaniel Appleton (1731–1798), Harvard 1749, was a Boston merchant and chandler. He had been appointed Massachusetts' commissioner for the Continental loan office in 1777, a position he held until his death ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 12:355, 358–359).


Thomas Adams (1757?–1799) and John Nourse (1762?–1790), publishers of the Bos-426ton Independent Chronicle, replaced Andrew Newell as tenants in the Adamses' Court (formerly Queen) Street house in Boston. The house was located close to the Chronicle's offices (vol. 2:187–188, 6:259, 260 ; JA, D&A , 2:63–64; James C. Y. Shen, Early Boston Newspapers, Boston, [1978], p. 133).