Adams Papers

To John Adams from William Cranch, 14 June 1798

Georgetown June 14. 1798.—

Dear Sir

I am much obliged to you for your kind attention to my request in sending me the letter of Introduction to Mr. Carroll; But unfortunately for me, before I received it Mr. Carroll was gone to spend the summer at his Country seat at Elkridge, so that I had no opportunity of presenting it.—

I have been informed that Mr. Greenleaf is at length to be discharged from Prison—and that from the Examination which took place before the Supreme Court of Pensylvania it appear’d that the utmost Efforts of Malevolence could not produce Evidence of a single stain upon his Character as a merchant—or as a man of honour & Integrity; But on the Contrary that the more closely his Affairs were investigated, the more proofs were found of the accuracy of his merchantile Character, and of a goodness & benevolence of heart rare to be found among men of business. If these facts are true, (and I have had my information from a number of sources) then Mr. Greenleafs moral Rectitude has stood the test of the two severest trials which could be given—I mean the height of Prosperity, added to all the demoralizing qualities of Speculation;—And a rapid Precipitation to the lowest stage of Adversity, attended with every struggle and exertion which Ingenuity could invent to support a sinking Credit.—The Integrity of that man must be sound indeed, who can run the Career of Speculation, without a blemish. And strong must be that mind which can bear the rapid Elevation of fortune without giddyness, and sustain the shock of a sudden fall without Dismay.—Upon Mr. Greenleaf’s coming out of the Prison, he will be turn’d into the World without any thing to support him, but his good name and his Abilities.—If among the Offices in the nomination or appointment of the President there should be any vacant, to which Mr. G’s abilities may be applicable, and to which, according to the rules you have laid down to yourself in the distribution of Offices, he may be appointed, I beg you to consider him as a Candidate.—He has long been in the habit of the most assiduous attention to Business. For weeks together I have known him not to allow himself more than 2 or 3 hours of rest in the 24.—and I am certain that no man ever went through more fatigue of body and mind than Mr. Greenleaf, in the same time. His abilities and accomplishments are equal to any station which does not require professional learning; but I consider him as best qualified for a situation which requires accuracy of Accounts, regularity and clearness of System, a cool head, clear ideas, firmness of decision, promptness of Execution, and unremiting attention.—

It is said the office of Collector for the port of Philada. is vacant.—Mr. Greenleaf has, I believe, all the necessary qualifications, for performing the duties of such an office. The question will then be whether any other of the Candidates, has, according to the rules which you have prescribed to your self in the distribution of Offices, a better Claim to the appointment.—Mr. Greenleaf is anxious to have it in his power again to assist in supporting his aged Parents and his widow’d Sisters with their orphan Children, all of whom formerly derived their whole support from him; and to render some assistance to those of his Connexions who have been involved in his Misfortunes. A Certain Connexion which he form’d in his Prosperity may perhaps be consider’d as the means of enabling him to do this, but Mr. Greenleaf is too proud now to accept of the hand which in his better Circumstances he had sought with Ardor—Nor will he accept it untill he is in some degree independant.—

If these Considerations should have weight with you, Sir, I shall feel happy in having attempted to do Justice to the abilities and integrity of my friend, and in returning some of the good offices I have received from him.—

With the greatest and most affectionate Respect / I am, Sir, / your obliged Nephew,

W. Cranch

MHi: Adams Papers.

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