Adams Papers

John Adams to Cotton Tufts, 23 January 1788

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

Grosvenor Square Jan. 23. 1788

Dear Sir

So many Things appear to be done, when one is making Preparations for a Voyage, especially with a Family, that you must put up with a short Letter in answer to yours.1

We shall embark in March on board of the ship Lucretia Captn Calahan, and arrive in Boston as soon as We can: till which time I must suspend all Requests respecting, my little affairs. Your Bills shall be honoured as they appear.

You are pleased to ask my poor opinion of the new Constitution, and I have no hesitation to give it. I am much Mortified at the Mixture of Legislative and Executive Powers in the Senate, and wish for Some other Amendments.— But I am clear for accepting the present Plan as it is and trying the Experiment. at a future Time Amendments may be made, but a new Convention at present, would not be likely to amend it.

You will receive, perhaps with this, a third Volume of my Defence, in which I have Spoken of the new Constitution, in a few Words.2 This closes the Work, and I believe you will think I have been very busy. I have rescued from everlasting Oblivion, a number of Constitutions and Histories, which, if I had not Submitted to the Drudgery, would never have appeared in the English Language. They are the best Models for Americans to study, in order to Show them the horrid Precipice that lies before them in order to enable and Stimulate them to avoid it.

I am afraid, from what I See in the Papers that Mr Adams is against the new Plan. if he is, he will draw many good Men after him, and I Suppose place himself at the head of an Opposition. This may do no harm in the End: but I should be Sorry to see him, worried in his old Age.

Of Mr Gerrys Abilities, Integrity and Firmness I have ever entertained A very good opinion and on very solid Grounds.— I have seen him and Served with him, in dangerous times and intricate Conjunctures. But on this Occasion, tho his Integrity must be respected by all Men, I think him out in his Judgment.— Be so kind as to send him in my name a Set of my three Volumes.

My Duty, Love and Compliments / where due. Yours most respectfully / and affectionately

John Adams

RC (NN:Manuscripts and Archives Division, John Adams Papers); addressed by AA2: “Honble: Cotton Tufts Esqr. / Member of the Senate / Boston / Massachusetts.”; internal address: “The Hon. Cotton Tufts.”; endorsed: “J. Adams Esq / Jany 22. 1788.”

1Cotton Tufts to JA, 28 Nov. 1787, in which Tufts provided JA with a lengthy report on the activities of the Mass. General Court. Tufts also wrote, “It would give me great Pleasure to have your Sentiments (for my own private Use if not otherways permitted) upon this proposed Constitution—and I flatter myself that you will not withhold from Your Friend that Light, wch. your extensive Knowledge of Governments & long Experience enables You to afford me” (Doc. Hist. Ratif. Const. description begins The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, ed. Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, Madison, Wis., 1976–. description ends , 4:326–327).

2See JA, Defence of the Const. description begins John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols. description ends , 3:505–506.

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