From Samuel Adams
Boston July 2 1785
I cannot omit the Opportunity of writing by Monsr de le Etombe who is going to France & will take the Care of this Letter. You must not expect it will be a long one. There are many Things which I wish to say to you, but the Tremor of my Hand is so increasd that I am put to Difficulty to guide my Pen.
Our Merchants are complaing bitterly that Great Britain is ruining their Trade, and there is great Reason to complain; but I think much greater, to complain of too many of the Citizens thro’ the Common wealth who are imitating the Britons in every idle Amusement & expensive Foppery which it is in their Power to invent for the Destruction of a young Country. Can our People expect to indulge themselves in the unbounded Use of every unmeaning & fantastick Extravagance because they would follow the Lead of Europeans, & not spend all their Money? You would be surprizd to see the Equipage, the Furniture & expensive Living of too many, the Pride & Vanity of Dress which pervades thro’ every Class, confounding every Distinction between the Poor & the Rich and evincing the Want both of Example & Oconomy
Before this reaches you, you will have heard of the Change in our cheife Magistrate. I confess it is what I have long wishd for. Our new Governor has issued his Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety Virtue Education & Manners and for the Suppressing of Vice.1 This with the good Example of a first Magistrate & others may perhaps restore our Virtue.
Monsieur le Etomb’s true Decency of Manners has done honor to your Letter of Recommendation.2
Mrs A joins in sincere Respects to your Lady & Family. / Adieu my dear sir
RC (Adams Papers).
1. In his proclamation of 8 June, Massachusetts governor James Bowdoin urged a return to Christianity’s “excellent System of Morals,” warning citizens to expect punishment for “Blasphemy, profane Cursing and Swearing, Profanation of the LORD ’s-Day, Gaming, Idleness, Drunkenness, and every other Species of Vice, when such Offences shall be committed” (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, A Proclamation, for the Encouragement of Piety, Virtue, Education and Manners, and for the Suppression of Vice, Boston, , Evans, description begins Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends No. 19085).
2. On 11 March 1781, JA wrote letters of introduction for Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, then the new French consul at Boston, to AA and Isaac Smith Sr. (AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 4:89–91) and to Samuel Adams (NN:Bancroft Coll.) and to the Rev. Samuel Cooper (LbC, APM Reel 102). In his letter to Samuel Adams, JA wrote that “I think, America will find in this Gentleman, a worthy, able Friend of his own Country and of ours.”