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Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 May 1789

My dearest Friend

I received Your kind favours of the 19 [John to Abigail, 19 April 1789] and 22 of April [John to Abigail, 22 April 1789] . The printers were very obliging in taking particular care to supply me daily with the paper, by which I learnt the arriwal and Reception of the President, and vice President, If I thought I could compliment in so courtly and masterly a stile, I would say that the address to the Senate was exactly what it ought to be, neither giving too little, or too much. It has been much admired, yet every one do not see the force of the first part of it; when I read the debates of the House, I could not but be surprized at their permitting them to be open, and thought it would have been a happy circumstance if they could have found a Dr. Johnson for the Editor of them, I think there is much of the old leaven in the New Loaf. "I dare not lay a duty upon Salt, the people will not bear it, I dread the concequences to the peoples" is a language to teach the people to rise up in opposition to Government. The people would bear a 5 pr ct duty upon every article imported, and expect as much, but will grumble perhaps at the duty upon Molasses, Be sure it is a little hard for us Yankees who Love it so well and make such liberal use of it. It has already raised the price of it here, I hope the Senate will never consent to draw backs. It will be a constant source of knavary, will not sell duties operate boat, by boat productive and least atrocious? Johnson, whom you know I have lately been reading with great attantion, and have become his great admirer, more fully convinc'd than ever, has he was a very accurate obserwer of Home Life and manners.Johnson in one of his papars proves

that there is no such thing as domestick Greatness. Such is the constitution of the World that much of Life must be spent in the same mannar by the wise and the Ignorant the exalted and the low. Men however distinguished by external accidents or intrinsick qualities, have all the same wants, the same pains, and as far as the Senate are consulted the same pleasures, the petty cares and petty duties are the same in every Station to every understanding, and every hour brings us some occasion on which we all sink to the Common level, We are all naked till we are dressed, and hungry till we are fed. The Generals Triumph and Sages dissertation, end like the Humble Labours of the Smith or plowman in a dinner or a sleep, Let this plead my excuse when I frequently call of your attention from weighty orational objects to the petty concernsof of domestick Life, I hawe been trying to dispose of the Stock on Hand, but no purchaser appears, Immediate profit is what all Seek, or credit, where little is to be given. The weather is cold the Spring backward, and the stock expansive. You will not wonder that I am puzzled what to do, because I am in a Situation which I never was before, Yours I presume cannot be much better. The Bill is settled with 48 18d damages. Vacancy is up and the children have returnd to Cambridge.

My best Respects attend Mr. Jay and his Lady whose health I hope is mended. You do not mention Mrs. Smith or the little Boys, Nor have I heard from them since Mr. Bowen came. By the way I heard a Report yesterday that Marble Head and Salem had voted you an annual present of ten Quintals of fish. -- How well

founded the Report if I cannot presume to say, Time must determine it, I want to hear how you do and how You can bear the application and confinement of your office, I say nothing about comeing, You will know when it will be proper and give me timely notice. The children desird me to present their duty, I am my dearest Friend with the tenderest affection ever yours.

Abigail Adams

Esther is very impatient to hear from her Husband, The child is better and She comfortable. Put your Frank Upon your Letters, if you please.

[Endorsement -- see page image]

Cite web page as: Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 May 1789 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, Abigail. Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 May 1789. 4 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Adams Papers Editorial Project. Unverified transcriptions.
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