New York 3d May 1824
When I had the honour to be at your residence in 1817 (while accompanying President Monroe) I was gratified by some account which you were pleased to give me, of my Grand Father Samuel Swift, formerly a Lawyer of Boston, whom you designated as a friend of yours & as the “Widows friend”—& whose name you had before mentioned, in some Printed Letters, as a distinguished Whig:—It is natural &, with just views, it is commendable in man to reflect with interest upon the conduct & character of his progenitor.—I have heard that my G. Father was a zealous & a effective Whig—that he died in 1775 a Prisoner & Martyr under the Tyrrany of Gage,—that he was foremost & useful in Public Meetings in urging his fellow Citizens to resist oppression & especially to resist Gages call to the Bostonians to deliver up their Arms:—The premature death of their G Father led to the dilapidation & final loss of his Property while Boston was a Garrison,—This then Young family driven to various parts of this Country & made Poor, were dispersed, & thus we know little of this G. Father except from tradition.—If you will at a leisure moment cause an amanuensis to note to me any information of the Character & Conduct of Saml. Swift & especially as touching the great struggle for Independence, it will be received as a distinguished favour,—One of my objects in taking this liberty is to be Enabled to tell my Six Sons what share their progenitor may have had in contributing to bring about that War which made a nation Free & Happy!—
When a Youth I had the honour to receive from you (when President U.S.) the appt. of Cadet & was the first graduate of the West Point Mily. Academy—from thence I was grade by grade promoted to the Rank of Brigr: Genl: in the Corps of Engineers—which Post, since the late War, I resigned* & am now the Surveyor of this Port—Pardon this trouble,
With veneration & grateful Respect / Your fellow Citizen
Jn: G: Swift
MHi: Adams Papers.