Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

Enclosure: John Hancock to John Adams, 16 July 1776 Hancock, John JA


Enclosure: John Hancock to John Adams, 16 July 1776 Hancock, John Adams, John
Enclosure: John Hancock to John Adams
Sir Philada. Tuesday Eveng. 16 July 1776

On a Visit to Mrs. Yard this Evening I was inform'd by her that your Lady and Children propos'd to go into Boston, with an intention of Taking the Small Pox by Inoculation, and as the Season is warm, and the present process of Treating that Disorder, requires all the Air that can possibly be had, and as my Scituation in Boston is as much Bless'd with a free Air as most others, I make a Tender of my house and Garden for their use if you Choose to improve it, and by a Signification of your Consent I will write by this Express to that purport. The fruit in the Garden shall be at their Controul, and a maid Servant and the others in the House shall afford them every Convenience that appertains to the House.—It will give me pleasure to be any way instrumental, however small, in adding to their Convenience.1

I am Sir Your very hum sert., John Hancock

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honl. John Adams Esqr. At Mrs. Yard's.” Enclosed in JA to AA of this date, preceding.


The mansion of John Hancock, built by his uncle Thomas Hancock in 1737, stood on the southern slope of Beacon Hill, overlooking the Common, on the grounds of the present west wing of the Massachusetts State House. Its gardens and orchards were extensive, and the house became a Boston landmark not only because of its conspicuous site and opulence but because it was visited by so many eminent persons (including JA and AA upon their return from Europe in June 1788) and was described by everyone who wrote about the city. Its grounds were greatly reduced by the building of Bulfinch's State House not long after Hancock's death, and in the 1850's the house itself was threatened with destruction to make way for more modern dwellings. Attempts by the State to acquire it as a governor's residence, and by the City to remove and preserve it as “an historical cabinet” or museum of antiquities, failed. Though many relics were preserved, the house was demolished in 1863. The dwellings which replaced it were razed when the west wing of the State House was added in the present century. See City of Boston, Report of Committee on the Preservation of the Hancock House, 1863; Chamberlain, Beacon Hill , ch. 11, with 52illustrations; and Walter Kendall Watkins, “The Hancock House and Its Builder,” Old-Time New England, 17:3–19 (July 1926), which is admirably illustrated.