Adams Papers
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From John Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 9 December 1777

To Elbridge Gerry

Braintree Decr. 9. 1777

Dear Sir

Some day next Week Mr. John Thaxter, will Sett off, on his Journey for York Town. You may remember, the Want of Secretaries and Clerks, which We suffered before I came away, and that I agreed to send you one or more. Mr. Thaxter is of a good Family, was educated at H. Colledge, and has Spent three Years in the study of the Law in my office, and was last Summer Admitted to the Bar. You may depend upon his Sobriety, Modesty Industry and Fidelity. He has an Inclination to Spend a Year, in some Place near Congress, which may afford him a decent Support, and where he may have an opportunity of Seeing the World, and learning the Nature of Men and Things. If the President has no secretary, Mr. Thaxter would make a very good one. I shall be much obliged to you, for your Patronage and Friendship to him, and am very confident he will deserve it.1 I am,

Have the Trumpetts yet Sounded at York Town. 300 Cord of Wood to the Poor of the Town of Boston2 and the magnificent Provision making for the poor at Thanksgiving? Did Brutus, in the Infancy of the Commonwealth and before the Army of Tarquin was Subdued, acquire Fame and Popularity by Largesses? No! these Arts were reserved for Caesar in the Dotage, and the last expiring Moments of the Republic.3

LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”

1Thaxter became a secretary to Charles Thomson (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 10:223).

2At a Boston town meeting of 8 Dec. moderated by John Hancock, the town voted its thanks to Hancock for his donation of 150 cords of wood to the poor at a time when public subscriptions were being sought to help the poor through the winter. Hancock’s gift was reported in the press (Boston Record Commissioners, 18th Report, p. 294; Boston Gazette, 15 Dec.). JA believed that Hancock had ambitions to be governor after adoption of the state’s constitution (JA to James Warren, 7 July, above). This whole postscript is marked “sent” and is crowded in at the foot of the main body of the letter.

3In support of Thaxter, JA wrote also on this same day to Francis Dana, Henry Laurens, and James Lovell (all LbC’s, Adams Papers). See also his letter to Daniel Roberdeau of this date (below).

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