Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Mary Smith Cranch, 26 November 1788 Shaw, Elizabeth Smith Cranch, Mary Smith
Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Mary Smith Cranch
Haverhill Nov. 26th. 1788 My Dear Sister—

I do not know whether you have heard a word from me since I left you, if you have not, I presume it will afford you some pleasure to be assured that I got home well, though we had an uncommon cold time— We found our own Family in good Health— But Miss Lydia Marsh was very sick with the scarlet fever, & good Mrs Marsh was taken the day we got home with a very voilent fever, which threatened speedy dissolution— But to the great comfort of her Friends, & Relations she is again recovered, & her useful Life is a little longer lengthened out to us—1

I heard by Judge Seargant that Sister Adam's was going to New-york, but I doubted whether it were true— But I have since heard that she is gone— Seems to me it was very sudden indeed, for she did not intimate anything of it to me I fear she will always be moving from us— She is so connected in publick Life, & must have so large a Sphere to act in, that it is not likely we shall ever have that sweet enjoyment, in still domestic Life, which we used to experience in the private Circle of dear Friends—

I am glad to hear Mr Adams is better, I should not have thought his Mother would have left him— A journey mig[ht] perhaps, been of eminent service to him—

I am grieved to tell you that our dear Mr Thaxter has had another dreadful fit— It did not last but a few minutes—& he was not so sick afterwards— I really think Mrs. Thaxter suffers more from apprehension than he does in reality— How often does unforeseen Calamity cast a shade over the brightest prospects— The tender affection which subsists between this worthy pair, serves only to sharpen the edge of their affliction— I really fear the distress, & agitation of her Mind, will occasion Mr Thaxter a third dissappointment2

Next week Mr Adrews is to be ordained at Newbury—3 This I presume will afford me the pleasure of seeing many of my Friends this way— among them may I not hope to see Mr Norton, & my dear Cousin— I look earnestly in the news paper, but have not as yet seen his nutials announced to the publick— Whenever that may be, may my young Friends be blessed, & happy— I have got some fine Turkeys I wish you were here to eat them— Mr White, Mr Osgood, & 310 Mr Bartlet presented us with one—so we have seven for you my friends if you will make haste & come to your ever affectionate

Elizabeth Shaw

PS Love in abundance

RC (DLC:Shaw Family Papers); addressed: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; docketed: “Mrs.Shaw / Nov. 26. 1788.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.


Mary Moody Marsh, the wife of Deacon David Marsh, lived until 1794. Lydia (1745–1828) was their daughter (JQA, Diary , 1:397; Vital Records of Haverhill Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, 2 vols., Topsfield, Mass., 1910–1911, 1:213; 2:213, 441).


Elizabeth Thaxter gave birth to a son, John Adams Thaxter, on 7 July 1789, after two miscarriages (John Thaxter Jr. to Celia Thaxter, 14 Feb. 1789, MHi:Thaxter Family Papers; JQA, Diary , 2:388).


John Andrews of Hingham, Harvard 1786, was ordained associate pastor of the First Church of Newburyport (formerly the Third Parish of Newbury) on 10 December. Andrews was a friend of JQA's at Harvard (Minnie Atkinson, A History of the First Religious Society in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Newburyport, 1933, p. 7, 37; JQA, Diary , 1 and 2:passim).

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 30 November – 2 December 1788 Cranch, Mary Smith Adams, Abigail
Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams
Braintree November 30th 1788 My dear sister

I have been waiting above a week hopeing to have a Letter from my dear sister informing me of her safe arrival at newyork Before I can write said I—I think I must have a Letter— you left us so unwell that I have been anxious about you ever since— I have a thousand times wish'd you back again your Letter to Mr Adams dated at Hartford has in some measure reliev'd me— I hope before this that you are rejoicing with your children in the safety of my dear Niece & that you are fondling over this new addition to your Family my sincere congratulations attend you all whenever it shall happen— As soon as mrs smith can be left I am sure you will return— mr Adams looks quite a solatary Being has not been from home excepting when he is upon his Farms since you left him. He calls upon us once or twice a day—but these are only flying visits— I have not yet been able to get him to dine with me altho I have ask'd him repeatedly— I thought surely to have had him & my Nephews at thanksgiving—but his reasons were so amiable that I could not but approve of his refusal— “He wish'd once more to meet his Mother & Brother at his own house upon such an anniversary. He felt assur'd it would be the last that his kind Parent would ever keep with him.” she has had a bad fall sin[ce] you left us— she caught her foot in a wheelband as she was crossing the Room & fell— It has givin her a sad shock. She 311is so feeble that she can scarcly walk your son charles din'd with me to day & says that things go on very peacably at home. I have heard no complaints— As to cousin John—when we turn to Books he will visit us. He has not been in the house since you went away— He says he is well—

I ask'd Mr Adams the other day if he had written to you He said “no—” it was to tender a subject as Dr—— said “it always made him melancholy—” very well said I— then I know what I have to do or somebody else will be melancholy for want of inteligence— & so my sister you see my scribling Pen is once more set to work—

cousin Tom went last week to Haverhill— mr Andrews is to be ordain'd at Newbury Port the week after next—which will give your eldest son & mine a little Journey which will I hope be for the health of both of them The Brother & sisterly affection subsisting between our children gives me the highest pleasure— may nothing ever happen to lessen it—

you will see by the Papers what a contest there has been between the House & senate—The stuborn senate—but such ploting & cabaling in doors & out is a scandle to our state1I foresee that some of our late popular characters will sink into disgrace. The man who dares to pluck the mask from the Face of the dissembling vilain will be feard but must not expect to be belov'd but by the virtuous few—He who acts honestly will not be so much hurt by the ingratitude of those whos interests he has greatly serv'd as one whos motive was mearly the applause of the multitude—because he acted from a better principle He will like the Being he has imitated rejoice in the good he has accation'd to others altho they may not see the hand from which it came—

December 2'd

I am this day to be favour'd with Mr Adams & your sons company to dine— I should feel an additional happiness if you could all join us I long to clasp the little strangers to my Bosom. Mrs Hall is much better Mr Cranch & I spent the last sunday evening with our solatary Brother & had a choise dish of Politicks for our entertainment

william is at home— I had like to have said but I should have said is at your office. His cousin was so desirous of having him for his companion both in his office & in his excurtions on horse back that he has left his master for a little time— our weymouth Freinds are well Mr Tufts is gone to housekeeping—


I inquir'd of mrs Brisler how she did with her kitchen Family— she told me pritty well— If there is any thing you wish me or the children to take the care of you know we are bound by every tye of gratitude & affection to afford you every assistance in our power—

we all wish ardently for your return but none with more / sinceritty than your affectionate sister

Mary Cranch

Accept the Duty & Love of your Nephew & Neices's

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams / Jamaica. / Long Island”; docketed by JA: “M C to A A”; notations: “Free / John Adams.”; “Not”; and “2.16 / ¼.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.


The Massachusetts Centinel, 22 and 26 Nov., printed the debates in the Mass. General Court over the election of senators to Congress from 21 to 24 November. The House initially favored the election of Caleb Strong and Charles Jarvis, but the Senate refused to concur. After several rounds of debate, the two houses ultimately agreed on Caleb Strong and Tristram Dalton ( First Fed. Elections , 1:514–521).