Adams Papers

August 2. 1796 Tuesday.

August 2. 1796 Tuesday.

Wrote to Mr. Sullivan by Dr. Tufts an Answer to his Inquiries concerning Mitchels Map and St. Croix River.1

My own Hands with Nathaniel Hayden only and my own oxen only, finished the great Wall upon Penn’s Hill. Mr. Benjamin Shaw and his Wife, (Charity Smith,) drank Tea with Us. He is a Clerk in the Branch Bank at 600 dollars a Year, and She is opening an Accademy of young Ladies for Painting and Music. They live in his Mothers House, and she boards with them. I took a ride with him in his Chaise to the Top of Penns Hill. If innate Levity is curable, they may be happy. If a soft, sweet Voice, a musical Ear, and melodious Modulations, could feed the hungry and cloath the naked, how happy might some People be. She rattles about Independence and boasts of having earned fifty dollars last Month. But the Foible of the Race is rattle.

1Article V of the Anglo-American Treaty of 1794 (“Jay’s Treaty”) provided for a joint commission to determine “what River was truly intended under the name of the River St. Croix,” which had been designated in the Preliminary and Definitive Treaties of 1782 and 1783 as part of the boundary between Canada and the United States (Miller, ed., Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, Washington, 1931–1948; 8 vols. description ends , 2:249). James Sullivan, attorney general of Massachusetts and president of the Massachusetts Historical Society, was the agent appointed to represent the United States before the Commissioners, and being about to sail to Halifax for a meeting of the tribunal, he wrote to JA, 30 July, to inquire whether the river called the St. Croix on John Mitchell’s Map of ... North America was the river that the Peace Commissioners had meant (Adams Papers; JA, Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 8:518–519). A draft or retained fair copy of JA’s answer of 2 Aug. is also in Adams Papers; same, description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends p. 519–520. Concerning Mitchell’s Map, the most important map in American diplomatic history, see the discussion in Miller, ed., Treaties description begins Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, Washington, 1931–1948; 8 vols. description ends , 3:328–351. The proceedings of the St. Croix Commission are printed in Moore, ed., International Arbitrations, vol. 1: ch. 1. See also the entries of 1011 Aug., below.

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