Adams Papers

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Smith, 19 April 1764

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Smith

[Boston, 19? April 17641]

My Dear

It was not forgetfulness, that prevented my writing. You must not ascribe to forgetfulness my not writing to You for some time past, it was A Fear had a Letter from me at the Time of Eruption and for some days after would have been disagreable. You must think, that Distance of Place or Even Pain and Distress is not able to erase the tender Affection which I have for my Friends and You my Dear have a right to my Affection in particular having in the State of Childhood assisted You as a Physician for the same Reasons mentiond in Yours that I have a Claim to Yours. I never design’d that You should have open’d Pandora’s Box, as such it seem’d to be to You. All I can say upon the Affair is that if Your delicate Stomach receiv’d a gentle Heave, You must comfort yourself with the trite saying “Pay for Peeping” (I do [not] know whether I spell the word right).

I think You are grown very good at Weymouth and extremely peaceable, and quiet. But by this Time I believe You are full [of] News, and it will be a Wonder if a little Scandall dont drop—for I can assure You there has been enough of it here in Town. Poor Wm. Greenleaf has been burnt, hang’d, Gibbited and I dont now what—and I am apt to think but with very little Reason. Time will perhaps discover something curious in this Affair.2

I saw Your Friend Yesterday and the day before. He will have the Disorder lightly, for You must Note I am become Connoisseur in this Business.

Dft (Adams Papers), written on third page of AA’s letter to Tufts, 9 April, above.

1Tufts’ Diary (MS in MHi) states that after being inoculated on 28 March he had first felt the contagion on 7 April and that he first “went abroad” on the 15th. JA’s letter to AA of 17 April reports a (presumably first) visit from Tufts on that day (the 17th). In the present letter Tufts speaks of this visit as having occurred two days before he wrote AA.

2The “Affair” of the adulterated calomel used in the smallpox hospital on Castle Island; see JA to AA, 17 April, above.

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