Joseph Hawley to Abigail Adams
Watertown 23d. Septr. 1775
The Publick have great Need of two Vols. of Mr. Adams English Statutes at large. The edition which Mr. Adams owns is (if I don’t mistake) Ruffhead’s. The one Vol. which is wanted is that which contains the Statutes of 27th. of Edward the third and the other which is Needed contains the Statutes of the 23d. of Henry the 8th.1
I would not ask such a favour Madam, if the publick was not much interested. I shall desire Col. Thayer to be particularly careful in bringing them—after their Arrival, I will undertake that they be Most carefully used and will be responsible for a speedy return of them. I don’t know where else they can be Obtained.
I am Madm. Your Most respectful and Obedient Sert.,
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams at Braintree.”
1. JA’s set of the British Statutes at Large was that compiled by Owen Ruffhead, 8 vols. in 9, London, 1763–1765; it survives among his books in the Boston Public Library. The volumes Hawley wanted were the first two. A comparison of the statutes enacted during the regnal years mentioned by Hawley with the entries in the Massachusetts House Journal at this period does not suggest the precise use to which Hawley intended to put the Statutes.