Papers of John Adams, volume 2

From James Warren

From Samuel Swift

From John Waite, 18 March 1775 Waite, John JA From John Waite, 18 March 1775 Waite, John Adams, John
From John Waite
Sir Falmouth1 March 18th 1775

A sacred regard to the american association on the one hand and an earnest desire not to injure my fellow subjects in Great Britain on the other is the reason of my writing you at this time to request your 409advice for my future conduct and also to confirm or set me right in my judgment in a Late affair that has happened in this Port. The case is as follows a Vessell arived here from Bristol the 2d inst with rigging and sails for a new Ship owned by a Merchant in Bristol in order to carry his Ship home.2 The question was whether the puting said rigging and sails on board said Ship which had been ready to receive them ever since Last fall and go immediately back with them to England would be a breach of the association. I was of opinion that it would not being one of the Committee of Inspection. Your answer will very much Oblige Sir your most huml Servt.

John Waite

P:S: The merchant that owned said rigging and sails did not know of the american association when he shipped them.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr Boston”; docketed by JA: “Waite March 18th 1775.”


Falmouth was the old name for what is now Portland, Maine.


This incident was reported in the Boston Gazette, 13 March 1775. The evening of 2 March the local Committee of Inspection put a watch on board, and the next day it was resolved that the sloop, “very old and want[ing] repairing,” would nonetheless be sent back without being permitted to unload. A fuller account of this episode may be found in William Goold, Portland in the Past with Historical Notes of Old Falmouth, Portland, 1886, p. 335–337. Apparently Waite looked upon JA as a last resort; no evidence has been found to show that JA responded in any way.