Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 12 January 1789 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
New york Janry 12th 1788 [1789] my dearest Friend

I last wednesday received yours of Decbr 28 and should have answerd by the post of thursday but that the mail for thursday closes on wednesday Evening and does not give time for any replie to Letters which come by that post. I wrote you from this place on sunday last.1 at that time I was in hopes I should have been on my journey home before this, as we have every thing in readiness to set out the day that we can get a sufficient quantity of snow. Col Smith will bring me home at all events, even tho I should finally be obliged to come in a carriage which we should be glad to avoid at this Season as the Roads are bad, and the Ferries worse for crossing the stages change at the Ferries, & do not cross at this season

Mrs Smith would even now venture to providance by water rather than be dissapointed of her visit but with a young Baby and at this dangerous Season of the year Her Friends all disswade her. tho I am sometimes more than half a mind to try it, the expence of taking a coach & sending for me at this uncertain period when it might be detain'd by Snow before it reach'd half way, would be really too great and I had rather suffer many inconveniencies than you should attempt it. half a foot of snow or less would answer very well, & we have daily reason to look for it. we have however concluded not to bring william with us, as we imagine he will be much more troublesome than the Baby. this is the Time that I hoped to have been at Home. I know you 325must be Lonesome—and my Boys want looking after or rather their things.

I am glad to find that Massachusetts behave so well. in this state the Legislature & senate are at such varience that it is not expected that there will be any choice at all, and should that be the case, they have little hopes of keeping Congress here.2 you judged right with respect to the sitting of Congress. there is not the least probability of there meeting, nor is there any occasion for it, on account of ushering in the New one. for when the New Senate & House come together they chuse a pressident to receive and count the votes from the different States, & declare the choice this is said to be the mode pointed out by the constitution. the next post will bring us the choice of conneticut.3

Since my arrival in Town I have received every mark of politeness and attention from this people which I could have desired. Sir John & Lady Temple were among the first to visit me. I have been to Count montier to a Ball given by him;4 and to the Assembly. I have dinned at one place & supped at an. or nether Sat at table (for suppers I discard), untill I am fully satisfied with dissipating. we have however kept very good Hours, as mrs Jay is like to have an addition to her Family she is obliged to be circumspect.5 my own Heaeth is much better this winter than it has been for several years. I attribute it much to my Journey. I want to know how you bear the cold. last Evening we had a light fall of snow just sufficient to cover the Grund but it will all run to day. the clouds are however gathering for more. I hope I shall not have occasion to write again before I see you. my Love to the children & to Brother & Sister Cranch with whom I sympathize under their late affliction. I would write to sister—but hope soon to see her. be so good as to tell Brisler that he must keep some of the pears untill we come mr & mrs Jay desire their affectionate Regards to you. he is a plain as a Quaker, and as mild as New milk, but under all this, an abundance of Rogury in his Eye's. I need to say to you who so well know him, that he possesse' an excellent Heart. mrs Jay has all the vivacity of a French woman blended with the modesty & Softness of an American Lady.

adieu visiters call upon me. I have received & returnd more than forty visits already—

Yours affectionatly

Abigail Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by John Jay: “The Hon'ble / John Adams Esqr / Boston”; docketed by JQA: “A. A. / Jany 12th 1789.”; notation: “John Jay.”

326 1.

Not found.


The New York legislature was sharply divided between an Antifederalist-controlled assembly and a Federalist-controlled Senate; consequently, the state failed to choose any presidential electors and had no vote in the first presidential election under the new Constitution. The legislature likewise did not select any representatives until April nor any senators until July ( First Fed. Elections , 3:197).


On 7 Jan., the Connecticut legislature chose seven men to serve as presidential electors: Thaddeus Burr, Matthew Griswold, Jedidiah Huntington, Samuel Huntington, Richard Law, Erastus Wolcott, and Oliver Wolcott Sr. The day before, the legislature had elected five Federalists to represent the state in Congress ( First Fed. Elections , 2:5, 7).


For the Comte de Moustier, see Thomas Jefferson to AA, 30 Aug. 1787, note 2, above.


Sarah Jay gave birth to a son, William Jay, on 16 June 1789 ( DAB ).

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 3 February 1789 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, Abigail
Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams
Plimouth feb 3d1789

How dos my dear Mrs Adams like the City of New york: its manners & amusements as it may probably be her future residence I hope she found every thing prefectly agreable— shall I hope before you fix in that distant abode that you will make us an Visit at Plimouth: to such a traveler the journey can be nothing. and since that Mrs Adams, friendship is unimpaired: I should think (judging from my own feelings) that no stimulous would be necessary but the recollection of former mutual Confidence & affection. such a Visit would give particular pleasure to me not apt to change her attachments either from time place absence or other accidents—

I hope you left Mrs smith & her little ones well & happy I should be pleased to see the Attention of the young Mother at the head of her Family where I dare say she acquits herself to the approbation of her Friends. her maternal tenderness she has from instinct. her domestic avocations she has been taught by early Example, & her own Good sense will ever make her respectable. you know my partiallity towards her. I loved her from a Child nor has absence made any abatement. therefore you will mention me with affection when you Write again.—

Is my Friend Mrs Montgomery yet sailed for Ireland.—1 I will not ask any more questions least the number of your replys should preclude some sentiment of your own when I am again Gratifiied with a letter.

My pen has lain Comparitively still this winter, I have been sick: very sick and very long, nor have yet been out since the middle of october. but hope as the spring approaches to revive with the summer insect: & if able to take wing shall probably alight among those whose converse both improves & enlivens the social hour.


If the Coll & Mrs smith should Visit the Massachusets in the spring: before you leave it: I hope they will extend their Journey to Plimouth. & I am sure they have no friends who will recieve them with more sincere Cordiallity than this & your affectionate Friend

M Warren

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “MrsAdams / Braintree.”


Janet Livingston Montgomery (1743–1828) was the widow of Gen. Richard Montgomery and the eldest child of Margaret Beekman and Robert Livingston. The general had been born in Ireland, and in the summer of 1789, Janet Montgomery went there to visit his family (Katherine M. Babbitt, Janet Montgomery: Hudson River Squire, Monroe, N.Y., 1975, p. 3, 14, 20–22; DAB ).