Adams Papers

To John Adams from William Judd, 24 January 1776

From William Judd

Philadelphia Goal Jany: 24th. 1776


The Debtors Confined in this Goal have Prepared a Petition1 to the Honourable Continental Congress, praying that they woud devise or Recommend some Measure to prevent Mens persons from being Arrested or Confined in Goal for debt, during the present unhappy Conflict—which by the desire of the Petitioners I have inclosed to the President desireing him to present the same to that Venerable Body, Also requesting he woud shew the same, to each of you Gentlemen and ask your kind Assistance to Effect the end therein Propos’d.

The small Acquaintance I have had the Honor to have with you has given me Assurance sufficient to ask your Influence upon the Subject Matter of that Petition hoping I Shall be happy enough to meet with your Approbation and Patronage in the Matter aforesaid.

Shoud think myself happy you woud make all the Interest in your power for the Releiff of the Distressed which will lay an Obligation upon your Devoted Friend and Hume: Servt:,

William Judd2

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honourable John and Samuel Adams Esqs Philadelphia”; docketed: “Mr. Judd Jany 24. 1776.”

1Not found. On 30 Jan. the congress recommended to all creditors that they not have arrested any debtor who owed less than $35, and who had enlisted or would enlist in the Continental Army (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 4:103). No evidence has been found to indicate that this petition moved the congress to act; and since JA did not arrive in Philadelphia until 8 Feb., he could have had no role in its action (JA to AA, 11 Feb., Adams Family Correspondence description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963– . description ends , 1:345–346).

2William Judd, who had been one of the leaders of an expedition of Connecticut settlers to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, had been seized along with others by Pennsylvania forces and jailed in Philadelphia because he could not furnish bail with sureties who were Pennsylvania freeholders. Judd’s expedition was a great source of embarrassment to Connecticut delegates Eliphalet Dyer and Silas Deane (Julian P. Boyd and Robert J. Taylor, eds., The Susquehannah Company Papers, 11 vols., Ithaca, N.Y., 1962–1971, 6:362–363, 373, 395).

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