Papers of John Adams, volume 17

From Samuel Adams, 2 July 1785 Adams, Samuel Adams, John
From Samuel Adams
Dear sir, Boston July 2 1785

I cannot omit the Opportunity of writing by Monsr de le Etombe who is going to France & will take the Care of this Letter. You must not expect it will be a long one. There are many Things which I wish to say to you, but the Tremor of my Hand is so increasd that I am put to Difficulty to guide my Pen.

Our Merchants are complaing bitterly that Great Britain is ruining their Trade, and there is great Reason to complain; but I think much greater, to complain of too many of the Citizens thro’ the Common wealth who are imitating the Britons in every idle Amusement & expensive Foppery which it is in their Power to invent for the Destruction of a young Country. Can our People expect to indulge themselves in the unbounded Use of every unmeaning & fantastick Extravagance because they would follow the Lead of Europeans, & not spend all their Money? You would be surprizd to see 217the Equipage, the Furniture & expensive Living of too many, the Pride & Vanity of Dress which pervades thro’ every Class, confounding every Distinction between the Poor & the Rich and evincing the Want both of Example & Oconomy

Before this reaches you, you will have heard of the Change in our cheife Magistrate. I confess it is what I have long wishd for. Our new Governor has issued his Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety Virtue Education & Manners and for the Suppressing of Vice.1 This with the good Example of a first Magistrate & others may perhaps restore our Virtue.

Monsieur le Etomb’s true Decency of Manners has done honor to your Letter of Recommendation.2

Mrs A joins in sincere Respects to your Lady & Family. / Adieu my dear sir

S A—

RC (Adams Papers).


In his proclamation of 8 June, Massachusetts governor James Bowdoin urged a return to Christianity’s “excellent System of Morals,” warning citizens to expect punishment for “Blasphemy, profane Cursing and Swearing, Profanation of the LORD’s-Day, Gaming, Idleness, Drunkenness, and every other Species of Vice, when such Offences shall be committed” (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, A Proclamation, for the Encouragement of Piety, Virtue, Education and Manners, and for the Suppression of Vice, Boston, [1785], Evans, No. 19085).


On 11 March 1781, JA wrote letters of introduction for Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, then the new French consul at Boston, to AA and Isaac Smith Sr. ( AFC , 4:89–91) and to Samuel Adams (NN:Bancroft Coll.) and to the Rev. Samuel Cooper (LbC, APM Reel 102). In his letter to Samuel Adams, JA wrote that “I think, America will find in this Gentleman, a worthy, able Friend of his own Country and of ours.”