Adams Papers

Henry Mitford to John Adams, 10 Dec. 1785

Fleet-prison 10th. Decr. 1785

Honorable Sir,

Conscious of the liberty of introducing myself in this manner, I have nothing but the goodness of your heart to appeal to for pardon—for it and the still greater freedom in presenting you the triffling efforts which accompany this—They are an invention totally of my own, urged by necesity to preserve an Existance in this House where I have been confined (chiefly from errors of a Father) now Three years & half—enduring visisitudes painful to recollect & with which I will not wound your feelings—

Permit me to inform you Sir, I am the Son of a Gentleman, Robt. Mitford who possesed an Estate at Mitford Castle— Northumberland of £5000 Pr Ann. which he enthral’d so much by a blind attachment to Sir Robt Walpole during his administration—chiefly in Elections—as to leave it at his death much worse than naught— —I was bred in the Sea Service—but from sentiment and attachment to America, refused preferment in so unatural a cause—This conduct highly disobliged my friends who had little Idea of poverty & honor existing together, that altho many of those are in the most ample prosperity & high in Office I am left here to perish—if it were not for some triffling talents such as I now present.—

I shall not at this moment give your Exellency further trouble than to beg you to be assured the motto I have placed on the racks came from a heart panting for the welfare of America— —and beg leave to subscribe myself your Excellencies—Most Devoted / & Obedient Humble servant

Henry Mitford

From the nature of my situation, May I flatter myself you will condescend to enclose your Answer seal’d—up—

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).

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