Adams Papers
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John Adams to Abigail Adams, 17 September 1771

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Septr. 17. 1771.

My Dear

There is no Business here1—And I presume as little at Braintree. The Pause in the English Trade, has made Husbandmen and Manufacturers, and increased Industry and Frugality, and thereby diminished the Number of Debts and Debtors, and Suits and Suiters.

But the hourly Arrival of Ships from England deeply loaden with dry Goods, and the extravagant Credit that is dayly given to Country Traders, opens a Prospect very melancholly to the public, tho profitable to Us, of a speedy revival of the suing Spirit. At present I feel very easy and comfortable, at Leisure to read, and think. I hope all are well, shall come up tomorrow after noon, if Mr. Austin2 comes down in the Morning.3 Yr.

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.”

1Probably Boston is meant, though the Superior Court of Judicature began its October term at Worcester this day.

2Jonathan Williams Austin (1751–1779), Harvard 1769, JA’s first law clerk, 1769–1772; major in the Massachusetts forces and in the Continental infantry, 1775–1776; admitted attorney, 1778 (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 1:338–339; Heitman, Register Continental Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, new edn., Washington, 1914. description ends ; Thwing Catalogue, MHi).

3To “come up” from Boston to Braintree, and to “come down” from Braintree to Boston were standard expressions in the 18th century; see, for example, JA to AA, 29 Sept. 1774, and AA to JA, 16 Oct. 1774, both printed below.

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