Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts
october 5 1789
Your favour of 15 sepbr I have not yet replied to. with regard to the House, I wish it was as moveable an article as a Carriage I would then get you to send it by Barnard to Newyork where I should meet with no difficulty in getting four hundred Dollors rent. now I should be glad to get as much for the 5 Houses we own in Braintree together with the Farms belonging to them.1 the expence of living here is Double I believe in all most every article, in wood & Hay including the carting three times as much; for Instance, the carts here are very small drawn buy two Horses. they carry only 100 foot of wood at a time so that it costs four shillings to convey a Cord of wood about the distance from your House to mr Nortens. to this you must add four shillings more for sawing it, and your wood costs 5 dollors pr cord, and this is the lowest rate trust the Dutch to make their penny worths out of you.—
the House being in Boston we must take what we can get, say 36 or 34, but let them go out rather than let it for less than 30. the cart you may use when you please. the Scow mr Adams thinks had better lye by than be sold so low provided any shelter can be found. the tools that remain you will let them lye for the present. we have been very near determining to come home & spend the winter, & nothing prevents us but the foolish adjournment of congress to a period when they know the Southern members will not come, so that a part of the Body only will be here a useless expence to the states. had they set one month more & then adjournd to April, it would have been much more convenient. by the way I see the Boston Newspapers report that congress agreed to Borrow 50 thousand dollors of the Banks of Newyork & Phyladelphia as the Bill past the Senate the united states were to be at no expence at all. Pensilvania was to erect the Buildings & make every accommodation at their own expence, but the whole is happily posponed.2 it was unwise to bring on a subject which must necessaryly involve them in dispute, before any means was devised for the payment of publick creditors, or any way markd out for discharging the publick debt—
my good sir when do you give me an Aunt? or am I now to congratulate you upon that event.3 be it when it will, I most sincerly rejoice in any circumstance which may tend to augment your happiness. my best Respects to the Lady of your choice. I doubt not that she has great personal merit, and is certainly entitled to my esteem & Regard on that account, but the Relation in which you are about to place her shall be followd by all that respect & Reverence which my Heart pays to worth like that to which she is to be united, and may God Bless you together is the very sincere wish of dear / Sir your affectionate / Neice
PS Remember me kindly to mr & mrs Tufts to mr & mrs Norten & cousin Lucy Jones
mr Adams wishes you to send by dr Craigy or any private Hand a Box of such pills as I brought for him when I came
RC (NHi:Misc. Mss. Adams, Abigail); addressed by AA2: “Honble: Cotton Tufts / Boston”; endorsed: “Mrs. Abigl. Adams’s / Lett—Octo. 5. 1789.”
1. Besides the Old House, the Adamses owned four additional homes in Braintree, along with considerable additional acreage: JA’s childhood home (the John Adams Birthplace), which JA purchased from his brother, Peter Boylston Adams; the home where JA and AA lived prior to their time in Europe (the John Quincy Adams Birthplace), which JA inherited from his father; a house purchased from Joseph Palmer in 1771; and another house purchased from William and Sarah Veasey in 1788 (vol. 1:23, 2:252; “An Account of the Real Estate of Honr. Jno. Adams Esq. lying in Braintree & Milton,” [post Sept. 1787], Adams Papers, Wills and Deeds; Adams Papers, Adams Office Manuscripts, Box 2, folder 13).
2. The “Act to Establish the Seat of Government”—to determine a permanent home for the new federal government in Pennsylvania—was first introduced in the House of Representatives on 14 Sept., where it was eventually approved. But the Senate, after considerable debate, decided on 28 Sept. to postpone action on it until the next session. Prior to the formal introduction of the bill, early discussion of the residence issue included the suggestion of borrowing money for the purpose, with the figure of $100,000 the most frequently cited in the Boston newspapers (First Fed. Cong. description begins Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791, ed. Linda Grant De Pauw, Charlene Bangs Bickford, Helen E. Veit, William C. diGiacomantonio, and Kenneth R. Bowling, Baltimore, 1972–. description ends , 1:203; 3:206, 222; 11:1457–1459; Massachusetts Centinel, 12 Sept.).
3. Cotton Tufts married his second wife, Susanna Warner (1754–1832) of Gloucester, on 22 Oct. (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873–. description ends , 12:499).