Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Matthew Robinson-Morris

To Matthew Robinson-Morris

To John Adams from Richard Price, 2 March 1786 Price, Richard Adams, John
From Richard Price
Dear Sir Newington-Green March 2d 1786

I have been wishing to call upon you all this week, but the weather has been so discouraging as not to Suffer me to go much from home. I have communicated your request to the Gentlemen who manage the affairs of the meeting at Hackney.1 They agree with me in thinking the Society much honoured by your attendance; and they have directed me to inform you that, as the pew lately made is a permanent improvemt: of the meeting-house, they do not chuse to let you bear any part of the expence.

Their usual expences are a quarterly collection at the door towards paying Clerk, pew-openers, repairs &c. to which all Sums are given from Shillings to five Shillings, and, I believe, Sometimes half guineas; and a half-yearly Subscription for the ministers payable at Lady-day and Michaelmas to which all Sums are given from half-guineas to three guineas half-yearly; and two heads of families give one of them five guineas and the other Six guineas half-yearly, but the last of these is the master of a School that takes up the lower part of the meeting.

I am ashamed to mention these particulars to you; but I do it in compliance with your desire. Deliver my kind respects to Mrs Adams and Miss Adams. Wishing them and you all possible happiness I am, Dear Sir, with particular respect and affection, / Your very obedt: and humble Servt:

Richd: Price

I received a letter last night from Mr Robinson in wch: he tells me that he has writ to you—2 Deliver my respectful remembrances to Colo Smith when you See him.

RC (Adams Papers).


Until their departure in spring 1788, the Adamses regularly traveled six miles to attend Sunday meeting at Price’s nonconformist church, Gravel-Pit Meeting Place in Hackney. JA’s choice of church did not go unnoticed in the London press; at least one newspaper accused the American minister of adopting Price, a dissenting theologian, as his “political father-confessor.” Throughout Jan. and Feb. 1786, the Adamses enjoyed Price’s series of sermons systematizing a “chain of Universal being” (vol. 17:533; AFC , 6:196, 209, 286; 7:20, 265, 266). They also attended Unitarian services at Essex Street Chapel, where they heard both Dr. Joseph Priestley and Theophilus Lindsey preach (JA, D&A , 3:190).


Matthew Robinson-Morris’ letter to JA was of 27 Feb., above.