Papers of John Adams, volume 17

To John Jay

To John Hancock

From William Wenman Seward, 1 September 1785 Seward, William Wenman Adams, John
From William Wenman Seward
Sr. No: 6. Warwick street Charingcross. 1. Septr: 1785

Having perused the ordinance of the United states dated 20th. May last, concerning the disposal of lands in the Western Territory; and finding that the money arising from the sale thereof is to be applied to the discharge of the Debt incurr’d by that Country during the late War: I feel the strongest desire of contributing my mite, toward the benefit of a People, who deserve so much from every friend to the common rights of mankind.

Unconnected however with any person there, thro’ whom I could receive the necessary intelligence, I hope you will excuse the freedom of this application, by which I would request being informed, if a purchase of part of the Lands might be compleated, & how— without the immediate presence of the Purchaser.

I think I might relie on the integrity of any Agent or Agents appointed by the States, or thro’ your recommendation, with respect to that busieness: and wish only to know the most proper & easy mode of conducting it.

Tho’ any service which thro’ this means I could render to America might possibly be small, when compared to that of others; yet certain I am, she can never receive from an individual more warmly attach’d to her Interests.— Nor do I doubt there will be found many of my fellow Countrymen (of Ireland)—who tir’d with oppressions 384wch. dayly accumulate, will at last seek an Assylum amongst the sons of Freedom; and be no longer deluded with that species of Liberty, whose existence is only in Name.1

Accept of every Apology wch. can be made for the freedom I have taken:— I trust my public charracter (if known to you) will satisfie you as to the sincerity of my intentions:—and beleive me to be wth. the greatest respect— / Sr. / Yr. most Obedt. / very humb. Servt.

Wm: Wenman Seward.2

RC (Adams Papers).


This word was written larger than the rest of the text.


William Wenman Seward (d. ca. 1805) was an Irish writer on the politics and topography of Ireland. At Dublin, in 1783, he published The rights of the people asserted, and the necessity of a more equal representation in Parliament stated and proved, which he dedicated to the Irish Volunteers ( DNB ). See also his letter of 4 Sept. 1785, below.