Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

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).

Elizabeth Cranch to Abigail Adams, 7 January 1787 Cranch, Elizabeth Norton, Elizabeth Cranch AA


Elizabeth Cranch to Abigail Adams, 7 January 1787 Cranch, Elizabeth Norton, Elizabeth Cranch Adams, Abigail
Elizabeth Cranch to Abigail Adams
Braintree Jany. 7th. 1787

I have not wrote you my dear Aunt for a long time, much too long I confess; and even now those motives which have prevented, continue in force: A barreness of Subject is of all preventives the most dissagreable and I find it is like to prevail and increase in me daily; motives however more powerful have overcome this; and I am induced to write—tho—I triffle.

Love, gratitude and esteem, I feel; You cannot doubt it; elaborate expressions of each of these affections of my mind, might prove a copious subject, and the goodness amiableness and many excellent virtues, which excite them, might if represented in their full perfection, adorn the purest Page, and give a fair example of female excellence. But there is a certain delicate sensibility which recoils at the direct commendations of its virtues, tho conscious of meriting them. And perhaps an endeavour, to immitate, and implant them; is a more flattering, and at the same time more delicate, and a worthier acknowledgement of them.

I have now to thank you for your last Letter of July 18th. and for the Book accompanying of it. I had not by any means, an adequate idea of the perfection to which they had brought the art of ornamenting their farms and grounds in England; I think they must be enchantingly beautiful; I felt when I had finished it, as if I almost regretted having read it: for having never before had Ideas of such perfection, in my mind, wherewith to compare what I saw, I could think these beautiful and they satisfied me; but now my standard is altered, and all appear uncouth and imperfect; I am wishing to alter this, pull down that, build up another, cut down this tree, and have an immediate spontaneous growth on that hill, turn the course of a rivulet, widen a brook, and a thousand other whims and impossibilities are coming into my mind, every time I look abroad; but alas all in vain! However perhaps possessing them, I might not be happier than now. I cannot help wishing to see those delightful places; even this must be denyed me. This however teaches me, what many, many, of the events of Life are constantly instructing me in, that my happiness depends more upon bounding my desires and wishes 427than in seeking earnestly to gratify them. Dissapointment is written upon many a Page of my Life; and strange as it may seem, experience had not made me wise èno', to prevent its appearing a conspicuous character in some of the latest.

Perhaps in this state of existance, our human faculties cannot attain to strength sufficient to enable us to repel the force of dissapointment; but in aid of their weakness, Religion offers powerful assistance, and Resignation her lenient balm. These can calm the tumult of the mind when dissapointment has broken in upon its fondest hopes and destroy'd its long concerted schemes of happiness; these can make us look beyond the present and give a firm assurance to the wounded heart, that almighty Goodness, “Scourges in mercy, and corrects in Love.” Firmly perswaded of this, we may yet rejoice; contentment may preside at the heart and Gratitude for many present blessings, overcome all too anxious regret for past misfortunes.1

It is with real pleasure that I hear of my Cousins present happiness; long may she injoy it uninterruptedly; long may she live unhurt by numerous sarrounding evils; may each revolving year add to her blessings and her virtues; She does not, cannot know how much I love her, distance and absence prevent, and will I fear prevent my giving her any personal assurances of it; I hope she feels most perfectly assured of my regard, esteem and friendship; I could not be happy should there rest upon her mind any bias that had induced her ever to distrust either.

Your Sons are at present most amiable Youths; each display their growing virtues by a pleasing variety of effects. They all enjoy fine health and appear happy. Cousin John deprives us of the pleasure of his company this Vacancy, and devotes himself intirely to the Muses; he courts their patronage most assiduously, and I presume will be their favourite, and their Glory. Charles is also pursuing the same path with all the Loves and Graces in his train. Thomas is very good; his temper and disposition excellent; his faculties and capacitys are just expanding, before the invigorating rays of Science, and I doubt not the future fruit will amply repay the present culture.

I must beg you to present my most respectful regards to my Uncle—to Mr and Mrs Smith my Love, I intend writing her by the next Vessel. I am sure you will do me the justice to believe me with every sentiment of affection & the warmest gratitude your Neice

E Cranch

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams. Grosvenor-Square Westminster.”; endorsed: “E Cranch's Letter Janry 7th.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.


Cranch had recently learned of the death of Thomas Perkins, whom she had hoped to marry. See Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA, 1 Nov. 1786, above.