Adams Papers

To John Adams from John Wheelwright, 8 July 1788

Boston 8th July 1788


After my sincere & hearty congratulations on your Excellency & family’s return to America in good health, I take the liberty to address you on a Subject which your long absence from home, & your having been employ’d on matters of more importance, may at first appear entirely new.—

But you will doubtless upon recollection remember the dispute between Dr. Joseph Warren, as administrator on the Estate of my late father, Nathl. Wheelwright, Esq:, & Mr. Cha: Ward Apthorp: that concern is at last adjusted—The papers falling into my hands, encouraged me to take administration on my father’s estate, and in that capacity, some years ago, I brought an action against Mr. Apthorp; & finally, by rule of Court the matter was referr’d to three Gentlemen, who entred on the business, & after a tedious & almost a constant attention for sixteen months, did finally give in their award on Decr. last.—By this award, some outstanding debts were assigned to me, as Administrator. Among them are some which appear by memo. to have been put under your care by Doct: Warren; and among those was a debt of Thomas Cobb’s of Taunton, in two notes of hand to Wheelwright—one dated July 1—1761—for 280.£ on Interest, and the other dated June 3, 1762—for 340.£—on Int:—I have examined every probable place for the original notes, but they are not to be found: And all I can find respecting them, is an original writ in the Clerks Office made out, & endorsed by you, of Warren against Cobb for his two notes Augst. 1769; and that by the records this action was carried up to Supr. Court, & there continued from time to time till 1776: when it was dismissed—the appellant being dead.—

The heirs of Cobb have been in possession of what he left during the war, & nothing was done, till abt. 7. or 8 months ago, when the Administrator thought proper to render the estate insolvent; & six months was allow’d for the Coms. to receive, & examine claims. I made out mine, & deliver’d it to the Coms:; but they refused admitting it, because I cou’d not produce the notes.—I applied to the Judge of Probate for a longer time, on supposition, that upon your arrival (which was then daily expected) we shou’d be able to inform ourselves more particularly respecting them. This the Judge has granted for 3 months from 28 May last.—I have to request the favor of you, sir, to oblige me so far as to recurr to yr. papers & minutes of that time, to ascertain if you have the original notes, which I almost think probable, as Mr. Tufts inform’d me you had the copies.

You’l be so obliging, also as to recollect what you can respecting the notes, whether you ever saw them; perhaps the copies are in your own handwriting, or in that of some young Gentleman at that time studying with you.—I suppose I could make it appear that there were such notes, & that they never were paid, but lost, that by Petition, I could establish a Claim,wch. (as the principal & interest will exceed £.1600) is an object.—

I am sorry to trouble you with an affair of this kind, & hope, as I have no other way of coming at it. you’l excuse the trouble I give you. I shall do myself the Honor of waiting on you in a few days to know the results of your kind enquiry, and am with the greatest respect / Your Excellency’s / most obedient & Humble Servant

John Wheelwright

MHi: Adams Papers.

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