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Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 18 March 1797


My Dearest Friend

I received by the post Yours of March 3d. [John to Abigail, 03 March 1797] and 5th [John to Abigail, 05 March 1797] . I had previously received the Speach which I think well calculated to do great Good. I am much out of the way of hearing the observations which will be made upon it. As it is a publication to the people, of your real Sentiments and opinions I hope it will be considerd and believed as such, and have a tendency to remove prejudices. I do not wonder at your Sleepless Night. The bare reading the Speach interested my feelings so much as to have a similar effect upon me. The Idea of a so sacred and solemn a transaction could not fail to impress your mind with anxious Solisitude. I think Genll. Washington judged right in giving weight to the Solemnity by his presence. It will not fail to add Luster to the transaction in the Eyes of all Foreign Nations and be honorable to his successor. The vice Presidents Speach will have a favourable Effect and confirm the opinion which I have ever had of him. In Spight of the virulence of party, which is at present dorment, all parties said Mr. Black who had been sometime in Boston, appear to be pleasd and happy with the Election. Not a single person have I heard express a sentiment to the contrary. I was pleasd with a Toast drunk by some scholars at Cambridge. Adams and Jefferson


or Checks and balances. I do not recollect that I expresst my gratification satisfaction before at the appointment of Mr. Murray. I was pleasd with it. Will the present Minister be allowd to leave the Hague before his successor arrives?

As to domestick arrangments I am not fearfull to trust them to Brisler. He must do as well as he can with respect to Female help. When the Time approaches for my going I will advertize for such as I want. I should chuse not to send any from home, untill I go, unless it may be thought best that Mrs. Brisler should go on soon. As we cannot entertain Company half so often as the late President, I should hope not to want so numerous a Household, and be relieved in some measure from a weight of care and torment. I will however never relinquish my Right of direction and controul over the Household to no Steward or Housekeeper. I believe half the torment experienced, was oweing to that cause. In Brisler we know we have the Man of Honour and integrity. There was due to Brisler on the 15 of Febry. 30 pound which You will pay him, as I presume his Family will want it, and I wish you to give him a decent Suit of Cloaths as a token of his Faithfull Services.

Brisler had better make out a List of the furniture in the House such as he thinks will do to remain. I suppose Family Linnen must be purchased immediatly. I would advise not to procure more than for


immediate necessity. You know by your former experience how handy those articles are for transportation. Mrs. Otis was kind enough to offer her assistance. She is a good judge and Brisler had better consult her. I can give better advise as soon as I have knowledge of what is left. I hope you will not remain in Philadelphia any longer than absolute necessity requires. I shall fear much for your Health. Your Farm will suffer in your absence, but that you expect. I find I want more help. Billings persues his Wall, but there is an immensity of Stones to cast off of this Hill. They have been at it, for a Week. I made James assist, but he met with an accident and scald both his feet, and poor Becky had her share by the fall of a boiling teakettle of water, so that they are both useless now, and will be for a long time. I shall persue buisness with spirit and courage as soon as I have the means. At present I live upon credit. Thayer has purchased of Fogg and is building a wall with fence of two rails in order to keep sheep. Barrel says we shall be devourd if we do not do the same. This will be another peice of Buisness for Billings and we have not posts. Shall red ceadars be cut for the purpose?

I shall be anxious to hear again from you, and let me know how you are. March has been a trying month to me. I have combatted hard not to be laid up. Poor Mary Smith Louissa sister is far gone in a consumption. We have very little hopes of her recovery. Mrs. Brisler and Family are well.


So constant and frequent are the Captures, that there is little hope of the safe conveyance of Letters abroad. Plunder seems the only rule of conduct which our Allies practise.

I shall be happy not to be obliged to come on untill you find it necessary to return to Philadelphia. It would be an expence and I would avoid every unnecessary expence for I could not use the horses which I have nor travel without four if I used the Coach. Mr. Smith was advising me the other Day to get the bright marks, colour &c. of your Horses and Wood of Charlstown who buys many horses. Would be like to procure a pr. at a much more reasonable rate than can be bought at the Southard. I should wish in that case to part with three of ours but this must be as you think best.

I am my dearest Friend most affectionatly and tenderly Yours,

A Adams


Cite web page as: Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 18 March 1797 [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, 18 March 1797. 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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