Adams Papers

To John Adams from the Trustees of Dartmouth College, 24 September 1782

From the Trustees of Dartmouth College

University of Dartmouth September 24th. 1782


Though we have not the honor to be personally acquainted with you, yet, from your extensive character, we have the happiness to know your Excellency to be a friend to knowledge, as well as freedom.

Your abelities being so adequate to the gratefication of your benevolence, is a consideration attended with a very sensable pleasure, while we address you on a subject, that comprehends much of the happiness of the human species.

We beg leave, Sir, to recommend to your friendly notice, attention, and patronage, the honorable John Wheelock Esquire, the worthy President of this Institution; (accompanied by Mr. James Wheelock) and the very liberal design, which is, by our particular request, the object of his attention.1 You will perceive, Sir, the measure is favored by all the influence of the first characters now in America. And permit us to refer you for the further particulars of it to our agent, and to the articles, contained in the recommendation.

We have the honor to be with highest sentements of respect, Sir, Your Excellencys most obliged, obedient, and humble Servants, Signed by order of the board of Trustees,

Beza Woodward Secretary

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Trustees of Dartmouth Colledge Septr. 24. 1783. ansd. Feb. 25.”; in another hand: “1783.”

1John Wheelock (1754–1817) succeeded his father, Eleazar, Dartmouth’s founder, as president in 1779. He and his brother James were embarking on a trip to raise funds, a venture that achieved only limited success (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1964; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ). In his reply of 25 Feb. 1783, JA informed the trustees he had met Wheelock at Paris and had provided him with letters of introduction to individuals at The Hague and Amsterdam (LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 8:44). The trustees sent a similar letter to Benjamin Franklin (Franklin, Papers description begins The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, William B. Willcox, Claude A. Lopez, Barbara B. Oberg, Ellen R. Cohn, and others, New Haven, Conn., 1959–?. description ends , vol. 38).

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