Adams Papers

Cotton Tufts to John Adams, 6 January 1791

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

Weymouth Jany. 6. 1791

Dear Sr.

We begin to feel the good Effects of our national Government— By the Presidents Speech at the opening of the present Session of Congress, our public Affairs wear a promising Appearance.1 His Speech gave a new Spring to public Credit; in the Course of Three or Four Days after it reachd us public Securities rose 10 or 15 Pr Ct— The several Departments of Government being well filld, from the firm prudent & upright Conduct of officers, Content will follow, Murmurs cease and a general Confidence in the national Goverment be established—

Agreable to your Request, I have loand your continental Securities—have taken two sets of Certificates as per Mem. enclosed—2 Your State Notes, I have yet on Hand, thinking it best to let them lay, till our Genl Court shall have discussed the Subject of their public Debt, which, I presume, will be taken under Consideration in their appraching Session, which commences on the Third Wednesday of the present Month—3

I have settled with the Printers, stopd Adams & Freeman’s Paper, directed Edes & Sons to send no more after the Expiration of the present Quarter, wch. will end in February, and have continued the Centinel—4

I am extremely sorry to hear of the Indisposition of your Family— I hope to hear in Your next of their Restoration to Health, for Yours & their Happiness You have the ardent wishes of / Your Friend & H Ser

Cotton Tufts

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Hon. Jno. Adams—”; docketed: “Dr Tufts to Mr Adams / January 6 1791.”

1George Washington spoke at the opening of the third session of Congress in Philadelphia on 8 Dec. 1790. “The abundant fruits of another year have blessed our Country with plenty, and with the means of a flourishing Commerce,” he said. “The progress of public Credit is witnessed by a considerable rise of American stock abroad as well as at home.” The president also mentioned the opening of a new Dutch loan, a petition for Kentucky statehood, Native American hostilities on the western frontier, and the need to protect American commerce from political upheaval in Europe (First Fed. Cong. description begins Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791, ed. Linda Grant De Pauw, Charlene Bangs Bickford, Helen E. Veit, William C. diGiacomantonio, and Kenneth R. Bowling, Baltimore, 1972–. description ends , 1:497–501).

2Not found.

3The Mass. General Court convened on 26 Jan. 1791 and adjourned on 12 March. In a speech opening the session, Gov. John Hancock praised Congress’ Aug. 1790 assumption of state debt but expressed concern that the amount to be paid to Massachusetts lenders was capped at $4 million. Hancock proposed that the legislature fund the residue from state revenues, and on 9 Feb. 1791 the legislature agreed to do so “whenever it is assertained what Sum remains to be provided for by this State.” A 24 Feb. motion to consider Hancock’s proposal further was defeated in the expectation that Congress might remove the limit. The federal limit remained in place and the legislature eventually funded the shortfall (Mass., Acts and Laws description begins Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1780–1805], Boston, 1890–1898; 13 vols. description ends , 1790–1791, p. 155, 168–170, 214, 559–561; Boston Columbian Centinel, 26 Feb.; Boston Independent Chronicle, 17 March; Woody Holton, “Abigail Adams, Bond Speculator,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 3d series, 64:837–838 [Oct. 2007]).

4Edmund Freeman (1764–1807) was printer of the Boston Herald of Freedom, a newspaper that, although ostensibly nonpartisan, leaned Antifederalist. Tufts also canceled the more overtly Antifederalist Boston Gazette and Boston Independent Chronicle; see AA to Tufts, 17 Jan. 1790, and note 1, above. Tufts continued the Massachusetts Centinel, the only Federalist Boston newspaper (Frederick Freeman, The History of Cape Cod: The Annals of Barnstable County, 2 vols., Boston, 1862, 2:148; Stewart, Opposition Press description begins Donald H. Stewart, The Opposition Press of the Federalist Period, Albany, 1969. description ends , p. 875).

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