President Adams playfully scolds Cotton Tuft about his "oration in honour of the Memory of General Washington"

    John Adams Autograph Letter Signed as the second president. One page, 7.75" x 10", Philadelphia, March 15, 1800. As his term entered its final year, Adams writes his cousin, Dr. Cotton Tufts of Wymouth, Massachusetts, mentioning the death of George Washington and discussing preparations for his farm, Peacefield, near Braintree. The body of the letter reads in full (as written):

    "I have not yet seen advertised Dr. Tuft's oration in honour of the Memory of General Washington. From the knowledge of [sic] have of the Talents and Virtues Taste Sense and spirit of this orator, I should expect more Entertainment and Instruction and Edification from this Composition than I have received from any that I have read. But his innate and insuperable Modesty I fear will withold a copy from the press. The transition to be sure from Such a Subject to my uncultivated farmss[?] is very abrupt. But I must say a few words you will please to agree according to your own Judgment of Justic and good nature with . . . [illegible] & Burnell for another year and no more. I hope Porter has carted or sledded all the manure on the Hill. I will plant no Corn this year. I wish you would contract with . . . [illegible] to bring me up an hundred loads of Seaweed. Love to all. [Signed] John Adams."

    As the campaign for Adams' second term began heating up (he would lose a bitter campaign to Thomas Jefferson in the election later in 1800), President John Adams, judging from his letters to others, realized there would likely be no second term for him. His emphases in this letter are the past and home, even as changes swirled around him. For example when he wrote this, the president was spending his final weeks in the presidential mansion on Market Street in Philadelphia with plans to move to the new City of Washington in June. Also, the death of George Washington in December 1799 left a grieving nation and a stunned John Adams. In this letter, he playfully scolds Tufts in the third person about not turning his own "oration in honour of the Memory of General Washington" over to the press for publication because of Tufts' "innate and insuperable Modesty." Shifting his attention then to home, he writes of the locals, such as Thomas Burnell, a wealthy cobbler, and plans for his farm-fertilizer being foremost on his mind as he hoped for manure "on the Hill" and "loads of Seaweed." Mounting tape and docketing on verso. Age toned with usual folds.

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    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
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