Adams Papers

To John Adams from Thomas Boylston, 20 April 1783

From Thomas Boylston

London Apl. 20th: 1783


This will be handed you by Mr Fitch a Gentleman, tho’ not well known to you, is by the Mother side a Relation; & being unacquainted in France wishes to be introduced to some respectable Characters1

As a Treaty of commerce, is I presume in Agitation, & knowledge derived from experience is the greatest help to mature & systemize a benefical One— I catch’d the opportunity, to make him the bearer of this Letter; & introduce him to you, from a full persuasion an acquaintance once commenced, will be continued to your mutual satisfaction: and afford me the agreeable reflection of being the hapy instrument of it—

His residence of 20 Years in Jamaica, as a Merchant has taught him the Nature of the West India trade, thro’ all the Islands, and gained him the knowledge of the Spanish commerce on the Main; as also that of the American Provinces, now the independent States. from all which may be collected some usefull hints—

He posseses an ample Fortune, is judicious and sensible— I add nothing more, his abilities on one hand, and Your discernment on the other, supersede & preclude any thing that I can further say respecting him

I am Dear Sr with much / esteem / Your hum Sert

Tho Boylston

ps Mr Boylston accompanys M Fitch in this Tour to France. he’s seen much of Europe, perticularly the Once famous & Ancient residence of the Classic Authors as Naples, Rome, Venice, Verona & Mantua said to be the place of Virgil nativity,2 hes improved himself much by his Travels, & is a very entertaing Young Gentlemen, he needs no recommendation, haveing seen France heretofore, & there much respected. however your Notic of him will merit my acknowlegements

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “John Adams Esqr.

1Eliphalet Fitch, receiver general of Jamaica and JA’s second cousin through the Boylston family, was a native of Boston and a wealthy West Indies merchant. As the postscript indicates, he was traveling with another of JA’s second cousins, Ward Nicholas Boylston. Born Ward Hallowell (son of Mary Boylston Hallowell, first cousin of JA’s mother), he changed his name upon the promise of an inheritance from his uncle Nicholas Boylston. The two men reached Paris by 22 May, and JA dined with Fitch on the 23d (AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 5:173; JA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 1:295; 3:128, 134). The two men also carried a letter from another first cousin of JA’s mother, John Boylston, dated 3 May (not found). JA replied to the letters from the two Boylstons on 12 June (both LbC, APM Reel 108).

2Virgil was born near Mantua (now Mantova, Italy) in Cisalpine Gaul (Oxford Classical Dicy. description begins Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3d edn., New York, 1996. description ends ).

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