Adams Family Correspondence, volume 10

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 30 November 1794 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
my dearest Friend Quincy Novbr 30th 1789 [1794]

I have to acknowledg the receipt of Several Letters from you, together with Demourier Memoirs; for which accept my thanks;1 I wish to hear from you, & to learn something of the Buisy world as often as your Time will permit, but in return I have only to relate to you the Small occurrencies which my Family and Farm afford. Not a son to visit me now, and enliven by his presence once a week or fortnight, a long Winter Evening, and to detail to me what is passing in the more active scenes of Life. Mary is gone home,2 & Julias sportive gambols are the enliveners of some solitary moments when unoccupied with the cares of my Family; and feeling anxious to hear from my Children, I have just finishd a Letter to each of them to go by captain Scott.3 I hope you will write to them as I see several vessels up to go from Philadelphia;.

The buisness of the week past, has been plowing carting sea weed and stones. two of my Hands will leave me in the course of the present week as their time expires— they have been very usefull in going with the scow for sea weed. the weather now grows too Boisterous 279 to make further use of it, this season. I am in hopes if the season permitts to compleat filling the yards from the shore, but I have made no provision for my fireside yet, but from day to day, I have been so desirious to improve all the open weather for the other buisness.—

Mr Pratt has informd mr Cranch that he means to sell his pew.4 he bid it of at 42 pounds. he laid out in finishing it between 4 & 5 pounds he would sell it for 46— mr Cranch desired me to let you know it. he will not part with it till he hears from you

Dr Tufts desires me to get mr Brisler to inquire the price of clover seed.

The President Speach I hear is come I have not seen it. the weather was bad yesterday, and my Neighbours did not get their paper

adieu most / affectionatly Yours—

Abigail Adams

just as I was folding my letter, to close it, yours of the 19 Novbr was brought me. I know our feelings are often in unison, and I fear you would think me in low spirits. my spirits tho sometimes low, from particular causes, are generally on a uniform key. I am sorry you are deprived of mrs otis & Familys Society— I know it amused you. three Months will soon slide away when I hope we shall meet again. I shall inclose the Presidents speach to our son thanks for the Book—

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the United States / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Mrs Adams Nov. 30 / ansd. Decr 8. 1794”; notation: “N.B. This date should be 1794.”


On 15 Nov. JA wrote to AA complaining of the slow start to the congressional session; he also enclosed Charles François Du Périer Dumouriez’s Memoirs of General Dumourier, 2 vols. in 1, Phila., 1794, Evans, No. 26918. The book is in JA’s library at MB (Adams Papers; Catalogue of JA’s Library ).


That is, Mary Smith, the daughter of Catharine Louisa and William Smith Jr. She had lived with the Cranches for a number of years and was presumably returning to her mother’s home in Lincoln ( AA to JQA, 15 June 1797, Adams Papers).


AA to JQA, 26 Nov., above, and AA to TBA, 30 Nov., below.


Thomas Pratt (ca. 1747–1811), a Revolutionary War soldier and Quincy housewright, sold his pew in the Quincy Meeting House to JA on 3 Jan. 1795 for £46 (Adams Papers, Wills and Deeds; Sprague, Braintree Families ).

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, 30 November 1794 Adams, Abigail Adams, Thomas Boylston
Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams
my dear Thomas. Quincy Novbr 30th 1794

Well my Dear Son, how did the watery world agree with you? I hope it was propitious to your passage, and that thirty or 40 days, at 280 furthest Landed you safe in a Country, for which I have ever Since my residence in it, entertaind a fondness and partiality.

As you are a New Traveller I expect from your pen; many judicious observations, but what will be most valuable to me, will be the News of your safe arrival, your Health and happiness.

There have been some Changes in the political World since you left us. Insurgency and Jacobinism droop their Heads. the Democratick Clubs sink into insignificance, or to keep themselves from total contempt come forward and approve the measures persued by Government, especially in the suppression of the late Rebellion, that under that cloak they may not be considerd as the Authors of it. The destruction of Robertspears whom they considerd as the great Champion for Liberty and equality, and the odium cast upon his Memory; has had no small share in depressing the Enemies of Government; There is at present a prospect of more quiet amongst ourselves than the last year afforded

Congress have been in session ever Since the 1 Monday of this Month, but have not been able to make a senate till the 19th I will inclose to you the Presidents Speach if I can obtain it. Genett has really, and truly married Cornelia Clinton, tis reported for political purposes—against the Govenours consent. he thinks I presume that it would injure his Election. I wish him joy with a connection which is held in ——— by every honest mind.

Charity Smith married to mr shaw Brother to the late Consul. Your Friend and Cousin William Cranch gone to the City of washington there to reside, and transact buisness for mr Greenleaf—

I would not damp the begining of my Letter, by informing you of the suden death of your uncle Shaw— on the Night of the 9th of Sep’br having preachd through the whole day and not having made any complaint, he went well to bed. when your Aunt wakd in the morning, she spoke to him. he did not answer she tried to rouse him, but tho he Breathd, he was past recovery, nor would he Blead when a vein was opend. the shock was dreadfull to us all, to her feeble constitution more than I thought she could Sustain, but her fortitude, her truly Christian Deportment exhibited itself in its full lusture, and she conducted herself with that firmness and dignity which did honour to herself to her Family, and to that Being who saw fit to call her to such a trial.

The people Buried him and put the Family into mourning—and she is to remain in the House untill an other Minister Setles. Her 281 circumstances are difficult, tho mr shaw was not in Debt, yet the poor sallery of a Minister can barely give him a living. Her Friends will enable her to carry her Son through Colledge. I know both you and your Brother will sincerly sympathize with her.

I begin to hope soon to hear from you. Louissa desires to be kindly Rememberd so do all your Quincy Friends—and Polly requests me to give information for her that Ten long weeks she has been constant, and as a proof asks me to inclose a Letter.1

adieu Heaven preserve the Lives and Health of both my dear sons and grant me the happiness of seeing them again in their Native Land Your ever affectionate Mother

A Adams

RC (Adams Papers).


The letter has not been found but was presumably from Polly Doble Howard to Tilly Whitcomb, TBA and JQA’s servant, with whom Howard had an informal engagement. The couple eventually broke off the engagement, and Howard married Jonathan Baxter Jr. in June 1797 (Sprague, Braintree Families ; AA to TBA, 21 Feb. 1797, Adams Papers).