Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Stephen Higginson

To John Jay

To John Adams from Patience Lovell Wright, [ante 25 February 1786]
From Patience Lovell Wright
[ante 19 Feb. 1786 ]1

Lady Countes Dowege Tankerfield Desires Mrs Wright to Wait on Jno. Adams Esqr and Enquire of him if the Actt of the American Congress is Repeeld which was made in the time of the War against Sqir Bennetts Estate and Lands up Rapananat Jems Rever and other Parts in Verginia and Ld fari-fax County

Note Mr Loyd is a Relation &c2

if mr Adams has Seen the News paper wherin the American Shippin is Stopt per Allgree pirots allys to England if Mr adams had herd no Concills nor trad is to be Setteld in or with America untill those acts are Repeald that now hold the land of toris now in England

the King has good ground to Keep off any treety with Mr adams untill the French oblige America as being Garenttee or bound for the performanc of that article of peace— anoth Year is to pass to try if america will not oblige the Congress to Make good all the Estates of the Loyalists—and ask England for a protection and traid on the Navegation Act

the Canada government is to swalow up all the other States in a few years

a Stedy perseverence in the King is to Carry all Mesuris— those 173 tumults are only temperory it is Expectd at Court that the Kings Son will be Sent for as Vicroy first then King of america the—3

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs Wright.” Filmed at June 1787.


This is Wright’s last letter to JA; the wax modeler and American spy died on 19 February. A 16 May obituary in the New York Daily Advertiser stated that Wright died from injuries sustained in a fall after one of her many visits to the Adamses’ London home, but no such record has been found. AA2 speculated that “her zeal I beleive for America, has ended her days” ( AFC , 7:27, 42; Charles Coleman Sellers, Patience Wright, Middletown, Conn., 1976, p. 220–221).


After her husband, Charles Bennett, 3d Earl of Tankerville, died in 1767, Lady Alicia Astley Tankerville (1716–1791) sought the aid of George Washington in recovering vast estates in Maryland and Virginia, which included a copper mine, from the Colvill family of Fairfax County. On 30 Oct. 1783, Washington formally declined the Tankervilles’ power of attorney, and he informed the countess of the “impracticability of my taking an active & responsible part” in the disposal of the estate. The “Mr Loyd” mentioned here was probably Edward Lloyd, who served as the Tankerville family’s mortgage broker. There is no evidence that JA followed up on Wright’s request, and a final settlement on the Tankerville land was not reached until 1811 ( DNB , entry on White Conduit cricket club; Washington, Papers, Confederation Series , 1:64–66, 109–110, 120, 134; Francis Vesey, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the High Court of Chancery, ed. Edward D. Ingraham, 19 vols., Phila., 1821–1823, 19:169–179; The English Reports, 178 vols., London, 1900–1932, 29:692, 1074–1076).


The Dec. 1785 secret marriage of George, Prince of Wales and later George IV, to the widow Maria Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic, antagonized his father, endangered his accession to the throne, and generated much newspaper comment; thus the rumors of his banishment from court ( AFC , 7:xi–xii).