Adams Papers

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, with Adams’ Letter of Transmittal, 19 January 1776

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, with Adams’ Letter of Transmittal

Salem, January 19, 1776

Mr. Adams

I had wrote you several posts before my hearing you was returned. I should be very glad if you and Mrs. Adams could take a turn this way before you return to Philadelphia again.

I had lately a schooner arrived, with some powder, at Barnstable, rather better than three hundred pounds, which was disposed of there, as the people wanted it much. I understand that any person importing powder shall be entitled to ship the value of it in fish, and to bring the produce thereof in powder.1 As such, I should be glad to have a certificate from the proper persons authorized to give one. I want to ship the fish in a different bottom, which cannot make any odds, as both belong to me. I should be glad to have liberty for one hundred and eighty quintals of fish, being about the amount of the powder. The powder was imported in the schooner Sally, Ebenezer Nickerson, master, from St. Eustatius, and now want to ship the fish by the schooner Endeavour, Jesse Harding, for the West-Indies.

Your assisting the bearer in procuring the above, will oblige your humble servant,

Isaac Smith

Mr. Adams presents his compliments to Mr. Cushing, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Gerry, and the other gentlemen at Mr. Hunt’s, and begs the favour of them to assist the bearer in the business mentioned in the within letter.2

MSS not found. Printed from (Peter Force, American Archives, Washington, 1837–1853, 4th series, 4:1271). At foot of text of Smith’s letter: “To the Honourable John Adams, Esq., Watertown.” Force’s texts presumably were taken from originals in M-Ar: Council Records, but they are not now to be found.

1See the Continental Congress’ resolution of 15 July 1775 (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 2:184–185).

2The prompt and favorable action of the Council on Smith’s request is shown in a minute and a signed order of that body dated 20 Jan., printed by Force following the text of JA’s note. JA did not sign the order (though he was a member of the Council and had been in more or less regular attendance since just after Christmas). He was probably at Braintree preparing for his return to Philadelphia, having decided that he would, after all, resume his seat there rather than take up his duties as chief justice at this time.

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