Adams Papers

To John Adams from Samuel Holden Parsons, April 1789

[ca. April 1789]


the early Friendship of our Youth, (which I am convinced will in your Mind apologize for the freedom I now presume to take), has induced me to address you on a Subject very interesting to the Prosperity & future Weal of the Country in which I reside—the Death of Judge Varnum, renders another Appointment necessary, many Candidates will doubtless present themselves, and it would be deemed improper, for me in my Situation, to say much on the Subject; but to you Sir I hope I can freely Suggest such Considerations as I believe ought to have weight, without incurring your Censure—the Territory North West of the Ohio, has few Inhabitants at present, and those few scattered at great Distances, there being not more than Six or Eight Villages in Twelve Hundred Miles, in the present communicating passage—and I may say with Assurance there is not a Settlement in that Country, from which Benefits derived from regular Habits, Industry and Information are to be expected, except from the People of New England settled near the Confluence of the Ohio & Musking can they feel the Attachment to their native Country & pursue the practices & manners of it, so fully, that a Reliance may be fully had on them for a long Time to come—

I therefore presume that it will be thought proper to cherish this Settlement & through that, advance the Civilization & interest of the other Inhabitants—in the Appointment of a Judge; in the present State of the Country, the general Knowledge, and Particular Character of the person, will have as much weight as his Law Understanding. Very few Questions of Law will arise in that Territory for a long Time—the Influence of the Man over the People & his Ability and Disposition to promote Order and regularity and to advance Science are Considerations in my Mind of great Importance in this Appointment. General Putnam is a Gentleman of a Strong Mind: judicious in his Arrangements, and indefatigable in his pursuits; Mr. Cutler of Ipswich is a Gentleman of good Judgment, of liberal Education, and in some Branches of Science, particularly in botanical Knowledge, is exceeded by few, if any, in this Country—either of those Gentlemen will be very acceptable to the People of that Country, and I presume no Person, better answers the Expectations of the public under the present Circumstances, of that Country—Massachusets are large proprietors in & have sent many Settlers to that Country—the Governor and One Judge are from the middle States; I was of Connecticutt, and the settlers from Massachusets will desire a Judge from their native Land—Should a person be appointed whose Manners are dissimiliar to the Manners of the Settlers, or who has not a facility in accomodating his own to theirs, it will probably render him unhappy, or create divisions among the People which will become prejudicial to the Weal of the Settlement, and end in the issue weaken the Affection they have for the old Country. I beg you will, Sir, have respect to our Wishes in forming your opinion on the Subject, so far as those wishes may not oppose the public Interest

I am with perfect Respect & Esteem / your Excellency’s / Obedt Servt.

Sam H. Parsons

MHi: Adams Papers.

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