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Cotton Tufts to John Adams, 2 March 1798

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

Weymouth March. 2d. 1798.

Dear Sr.

I have enclosed a Letter to Mr. Webster in Answer to his which you forwarded to me, I have left it open, when you have read it, please to seal & forward it. If I have faild in any of the striking Features of the Epidemic of 1761, as you was with Your Father who died with that Distemper, your Memory will perhaps enable you to supply the Defects.1

Mr. Cranch has several Cows, which He wishes you to purchase in April; the Addition of his Farm to yours will call for more Stock— unless you should think best to improve the Pasture for fatting Cattle— There are Three yoke of oxen on the several Farms that must be fatted or sold— they are too old to keep any longer— Soule who liv’d with you for some Time and was well approv’d of, will as I am inform’d apply to me to be hir’d, at least one Man more than Porter & Billings will be wanted for the coming Season—and should I not receive your Instructions seasonably, I shall feel myself rather at a Loss how to conduct, more especially as I have not received your Plan of operations for the Home Farm— I do not apprehend that you will hire Billings any longer than the Farm He is engaged for—2 the Spring Work may be done with Three Hands, in the Summer you will probably want more.

We have had some very good Sledding in February, & considerable Snow still remains on the Ground— Hay is become an Article of considerable Importance it fetches from 8s/ to 9d/ in Boston—

What must be the Fate of a Nation, what its Character? when the Seat of its Legislature becomes a Theatre on which Envy, Malice, Rage & Passion are let loose and vulgar Arts of Revenge are practised. Oh Wretched. Adieu—

I am with great Respect & Affection / Your H Servt.

Cotton Tufts

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The [. . . .]”; internal address: “The President of the United States.” Dft (Adams Papers). Some loss of text due to a cut manuscript.

1On 13 Jan. Noah Webster wrote to JA asking about the presence of influenza in Boston at the time of Deacon John Adams’ death (Adams Papers). In his 16 Jan. reply, JA confirmed that in 1761 his father and several others in Braintree “died of a Fever occasioned by an endemial Cold, so much like the Influenza that I Suppose it to have been the same” (NN:John Adams Letters and Documents). He suggested that Tufts might be able to supply additional information and then forwarded Webster’s letter to Tufts. The letter Tufts enclosed here was sent by JA to Webster on 13 March 1798 and is the source of information printed in Webster’s A Brief History of the Epidemic and Pestilential Diseases, 2 vols., Hartford, Conn., 1799, 1:250, Evans, description begins Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends No. 36687 (Tufts to JA, 20 Feb., Adams Papers; JA to Webster, 13 March, NN: John Adams Letters and Documents). A Dft of Tufts’ letter to Webster, dated [ante 2 March], is in the Adams Papers.

2In the Dft of the letter printed here, Tufts wrote in more detail about the Adams farmhand: “I have not much Expectation from Billings, he has made several Excursions since you left Quincy—Every one of which has evidently wrecked his Constitution—”

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