Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 December 1788 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Braintree Decr.2. 1788 My dearest Friend

Before this time I hope you have the Happiness to See your Daughter out of all Danger and your Son in Law and your two grand children in perfect health. I have no Letter from you, Since that you wrote at Hartford, and I cannot find fault because this is the first I have written to you. We are all very well, and go on very well. Charles came home and Thomas went to Haverhill, last Week.—

We are all in a Lurry with Politicks. MrDalton and Mr Strong are Senators1 and Mr Lowell will be Rep. for the District of Suffolk, as is generally Supposed.— Mr Varnum, Mr Partridge Coll Leonard, Mr Grout Mr Sedgwick or Mr Lyman Mr Jackson or Mr Dane or Mr Goodhue, Mr Thatcher or Col Sewell, are named for other Districts.2

My Love to our Children and Respects and Regards wherever you please.

Dont be uneasy, on Account of your Family here, nor in haste to come home before a good opportunity presents.

I dont enter into any political Details. My Mind has ballanced all Circumstances. and all are reducible to two Articles Vanity and comfort.— I have the Whip Row Alternative in my own Power. if they mortify my Vanity they give me Comfort.— They cannot deprive me of Comfort without gratifying my Vanity. I am my dearest / Friend your forever

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “Mrs: A. Adams. / Jamaica. / Long Island.”; internal address: “Mrs Adams.”; notations: “Free / John Adams.”; “Not”; and “2.16 / ¼.”


Caleb Strong (1745–1819), Harvard 1764, a Northampton lawyer, served in the Senate until 1796 ( First Fed. Elections , 1:759–760).


For a full discussion of the elections of U.S. representatives in Massachusetts, including the multiple balloting in some districts, see same, 1:543–742.

Suffolk County elected Fisher Ames over John Lowell (same, 1:743).

Gen. Joseph Bradley Varnum (1750/51–1821), from Dracut, was not elected at this time but would serve in Congress as a representative from 1795 to 1811 and as a senator from 1811 to 1817; Middlesex County elected Elbridge Gerry in his place (same, 1:749, 760–761).

Plymouth and Barnstable Counties elected George Partridge (1740–1828), a Duxbury native, who served from 1789 to 1790 (same, 1:756).

George Leonard (1729–1819), Harvard 1748, from Norton, represented Bristol, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties from 1789 to 1791 and again from 1795 to 1797 (same, 1:753–754).

Jonathan Grout (1737–1807) was elected from Worcester County and served until 1791 (same, 1:751).

Berkshire and Hampshire Counties elected Theodore Sedgwick over Samuel Lyman, among others. Sedgwick (1746–1813), Yale 1765, practiced law and served in the Mass. General Court nearly continuously from 1780 to 1788. He had been a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1785 to 1786 and in 1788, and would serve in the U.S. Congress from 1789 to 1801. Lyman (1749–1802), Yale 1770, was also a lawyer and a member of the General Court from 1786 to 1793. He was later elected to Congress and served as a representative from 1795 to 1801 (same, 1:603, 754, 757).

Benjamin Goodhue was elected to represent Essex County over Nathan Dane and Jonathan Jackson. Goodhue (1748–1814), Harvard 1766, served as a Massachusetts congressman from 1789 to 1796, and then as a senator from 1796 to 1800. Jackson (1743–1810), Harvard 1761, was a Newburyport merchant (same, 1:586, 750, 752).

The three Maine counties—York, Cumberland, and Lincoln—selected George Thatcher over Colonel Sewall, probably Dummer Sewall (1737–1832), a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts militia who represented Bath in the state ratifying convention. Thatcher (1754–1824), Harvard 1776, was a lawyer from Biddeford; he served in Congress from 1789 to 1801 (same, 1:611–613, 760; Doc. Hist. Ratif. Const. , 7:1517).

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 3 December 1788 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Jamaica December 3d 1788— my dearest Friend

This day three weeks I left Home, since which I have not heard a word from thence. I wrote you from Hartford and once from this place since my arrival.1 I cannot give you any account eitheir of Newyork or Jamaica as I got into the first at seven in the Evening & left it at Nine the next morning, and in this place my only excursion has been in the garden. the weather has been bad cloudy & rainy ever since I came untill within these two days, and now it is very cold & Blustering. when I think of the distance I am from Home, the Idea of winter & Snow has double terrors for me. I think every Seperation more painfull as I increase in Years. I hope you have found in the Learned & venerable Company you proposed keeping, an ample compensation for my absence. I imagine however if these 314cold Nights last a little vital Heat must be wanting. I would recommend to you the Green Baize Gown, and if that will not answer, you recollect the Bear skin. I hope you will gaurd with all possible precaution against the Riggors of winter. I wish to hear how mr John Q A stands this cold. I hope he rest well, and duly excercises. I learn nothing further in politicks for except when col Smith goes to Town which is but seldom, we hear no News & see nobody but the Family. Mrs Smith remains very well for the Time and young master grows, but he and William should change Names, as William bears not the least likness to His Father or Family & the Young one is very like. for myself I am tolerably a little Homeish, however, the more so perhaps through the fear of not being able to reach it, just when I wish. if our out of Door Family should increase in my absence, I hope proper attention will be paid to the preservation of the Young family. if it should be numerous it will be rather expensive, and I would offer to your consideration whether two of the young Females had not better be put in a condition for disposal, viz fatted. The Beaf I Suppose is by this time in the cellar. I wish you would mention to Brisler & to Esther, a constant attention to every thing about House to Gaurd against the incroachment of Rats & mice. the cider should be drawn off, and my pears and Apples picked over & repack'd. if I should not reach Home by christmass—would it not be best to purchase a pork for winter, & to secure a few legs of pork to Bacon? I wish amongst other things you would frequently caution them about the fires a Nights. I should be loth to trust any one in this Matter but Brisler.—

pray write me by the next post and tell me how you all do.

mr & mrs Smith present their duty pray do not forget to present mine to our venerable parent little William says Grandpa ha ha. I should certainly bring him home if it was not winter and such a distance

Love to mrs Cranch & my Neices:—

Yours most tenderly

A Adams

my Trunk has not yet arrived so that I could not go abroad if I would— Barnard was to sail the Sunday after I left Town

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by WSS: “To / The Honble: John Adams / Member of Congress from / Massachusetts at / Braintree near / Boston.”; docketed by JQA: “A. A. / Decr 3d 1788.”; notation: “2.16” and “A. A.”


The Hartford letter is dated 16 Nov., above; the second letter has not been found.