John Adams to Abigail Adams
Newbury Port Decr. 13. 1777
Yesterday was as fine for Travell as ever occurred at this season of the Year.—I reached Ipswich, and lodged, at the House where I used to put up, old Mrs. Treadwells.1
This Morning I satt off, in a horrid cold Rain, and after getting wett through all my Coverings, I putt up at our Friend Mr. Tufts’s, having no Courage to proceed farther.
Tomorrow Morning, I must proceed. Coll. Doane who was in a stage Coach and his son who was in a close sulky proceeded on, today.2
The fashionable Conversation all along the Journey is that Goods are fallen and falling in Consequence of calling in the Money.3—I am—&c.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams At Mr. John Adams’s Braintree To be left at Mr. Isaac Smiths in Queen Street Boston”; postal marking: “NP——2.”
1. For a lively sketch of her and her husband, Capt. Nathaniel Treadwell, see JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:38.
2. JA had been engaged by Col. Elisha Doane, a wealthy Cape Cod shipowner, and his son-in-law, Shearjashub Bourne, to defend them in a case about to come before a maritime court sitting in Portsmouth. The case was that of Penhallow and Treadwell v. Brig Lusanna and Cargo. Doane was the owner and Bourne had been supercargo of Lusanna, which had been captured by a New Hampshire privateer under circumstances strongly indicating that she had been trading with the enemy. The case was in the courts for many years because the question of the authority of the Continental Congress, as opposed to that of individual states, was at issue; it was not in fact settled until the United States Supreme Court rendered a final decision in 1795, which was in favor of JA’s clients. But JA’s connection with it was brief, his argument for the Doanes in Portsmouth in Dec. 1777 being probably his last appearance as a practicing lawyer. See his recollections of the trial as given in his Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 4:2–3, and the editorial note there. His MSminutes of the case are in M/JA/6, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185, and will presumably be printed in JA, Legal Papers description begins Legal Papers of John Adams, ed. L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel (in preparation as a part of The Belknap Press edition of The Adams Papers under a grant from The William Nelson Cromwell Foundation to the Harvard Law School). description ends .
3. On 13 Oct. the General Court repealed the “regulatory” (or price-fixing) acts that had proved so objectionable and unworkable, and passed an act to draw in the state’s badly depreciated bills of credit (Mass., Province Laws description begins The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols. description ends , 5:733–737).