Papers of John Adams, volume 14

The American Peace Commissioners to Robert R. Livingston

To James Warren

To Isaac Smith Sr., 15 December 1782 Adams, John Smith, Isaac Sr.
To Isaac Smith Sr.
Sr: Paris Decr 15th. 1782. (Copy)

I have the Pleasure to congratulate you, upon the provisional Arrangement of our Affairs with England. The Terms are as good as we could obtain, and much better, considering all the Difficulties and Dangers we were in, than could have been expected.

The Fishery I think is so well secured, that we have no cause to complain, and as soon as Peace is concluded you may revive your long neglected Acquaintance at Cape-Ann, and take a ride there as often as your Health or Inclination shall require.

For the rest of my Days I shall consider my self as a Marblehead or Cape-Ann Man, and I think they ought to vote me the Freedom of their Cities in a Box of Heart of Oak, or at least to send my Wife a Quintal of Dumb Fish once a Year; for their Fisheries have cost me all my Happiness for these three Years, and very nearly cost me my Life, and her her Husband.1

My best Respects &c

FC in Richard Cranch's hand (MHi:Cranch Family Papers); internal address: “(To Isaac Smith Esqr., Boston.)”; docketed: “Copy of a Lettr. / from his Exy. J: A / to I: Smith Esqr / Decr. 15th. 1782.”


JA also wrote to Richard Cranch on 15 Dec. ( AFC , 5:47–48). In his reply of 26 June 1783, Cranch wrote that he had seen several of JA's letters, noting particularly that to Isaac Smith Sr. “about the Fishery.” It also had been seen by members of the General Court from the “Fishing Towns,” and Cranch believed “that something higher than the ‘Freedom of their Cities in a Box of Heart of Oak, or a Quintal of dumb Fish’ . . . is very seriously tho’t of by them; and, as I think, by the People at large. I think it is the general Wish that He whose great Talents in Negotiation (under God) have given us Peace, and whose unshaken Firmness has caused our ‘Independance to be Independant,’ should be our first Magistrate” ( AFC , 5:185–188). On 16 March 1789 after JA returned to America, the town of Marblehead voted, in return for JA's support of the fisheries, “to 132furnish your Table with a Small Share of the fruits of your good Services.” On 25 Oct. 1789 AA told JA that “I have received the fish in four Boxes & tried some of it, which proves very fine” ( AFC , 8:340, 429–430).