Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 27 May 1819

From John Adams

Quincy May 27th 1819.

Dear Sir

I have transmitted your1 letter to Samuel Adams Welles Esqr in Boston as you desire

This gentleman is a singular character he is I beleive the only surviving male of his Grandfather the late govenor of Massachusetts Samuel Adams who never had but two children a son and a daughter; his son who bore his name died early a surgeon in the army of the Revolution without issue; his daughter married a Mr Welles and her only son as I beleive is your correspondent Samuel Adams Welles; he is now virtuously amiably and Laudably employed in collecting memorials of his grandfather, in which I heartily wish him success; his grandfathers character however will never be accurately known to posterity as it never was sufficiently known to its own age: his merit in the Revolution if there was any merit in it was and is beyond all calculation. I know but one superior to it and that was James Otis, As your correspondent is the only representitive of him I feel a strong interest in his favour; he was bred a merchant has talents industry2 a taste for letters and a fair unspotted3 and irreproachable character I wish you would speak a good word for him to Mr Munroe I beleive him well qualified to be a commissioner under the Spanish treaty to Adjust the American claims for spoliations on our commerce and I beleive the appointment would be more popular in Massachusetts than any other that could be named except among the old tory refugees and their rancorous disciples

I am dear Sir Your friend and humble Servant

John Adams

RC (DLC); in an unidentified hand, signed by Adams; endorsed by TJ as received 6 June 1819 and so recorded in SJL. RC (MHi); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Wayles Eppes, 22 Oct. 1820, on verso; addressed in same unidentified hand: “President Jefferson Monticello”; franked; postmarked Quincy, 28 May.

Samuel Adams Wells had a brother, Thomas Wells, and was thus not the only surviving male descendant of Samuel Adams (William V. Wells, The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams [1865], 3:399).

1Manuscript: “you a.”

2Word interlined.

3Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; and proposed biography of S. Adams search
  • Adams, John; letters from search
  • Adams, John; on S. A. Wells search
  • Adams, Samuel (1722–1803); family of search
  • Adams, Samuel (1722–1803); proposed biography of search
  • Adams, Samuel (1751–88); family of search
  • Adams-Onís Treaty (1819); and claims commission search
  • Federalist party; in Mass. search
  • Massachusetts; Federalists in search
  • Monroe, James; and appointments search
  • Otis, James; and origin of American Revolution search
  • Spain; and Adams-Onís Treaty (1819) search
  • Wells, Hannah Adams (daughter of Samuel Adams [1722–1803]; Samuel Adams Wells’s mother) search
  • Wells, Samuel Adams; and proposed biography of S. Adams search
  • Wells, Samuel Adams; family of search
  • Wells, Samuel Adams; J. Adams on search
  • Wells, Thomas ([ca.1754–99]; Samuel Adams Wells’s father) search
  • Wells, Thomas (1790–1861) search