Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 19 June 1789 Adams, Abigail Cranch, Mary Smith
Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch
providence june 19. 1789 my Dear sister

This day is the Aniversary of my Landing in Boston and Tomorrow that of my departure from it. many are the mercies I have to be thankfull for through all my Perigranations, all the painfull scenes I have past through, has been the temporary seperation from my Friends, fatigue either of Body or Mind I scarcly name amongst them for I have my pleasures and gratifications which I set down as a balance to them. cousin Lucy has told you that I left Home about 8 oclock we proceeded to Man's Inn in Wrentham before we stop'd 27 miles where we dinned upon Roast veal roast chickings sallad &c, west India sweet meats I ought not to forget in the desert, it is really a very good Inn.1 we sat off at three oclock and reachd Attlebouroug about five where we Bated & Met with mr & mrs Mason & miss Powel going to Newport.2 we past an agreeable Hour to gether at Six we renewed, our journey and reach'd Providence at half after Seven. we put up at daggets Inn just at the entrance of the Town Situated upon a Hill opposite the State House commanding a fine view of the River & the whole Town. we are tolerably well accommodated, but should have been much better if the Governour had not taken the best Chamber before I came, (the court being now in 374Session) and he has not had the politeness either to offer to give it up or to make me a visit, tho he has had much conversation with Polly and now & then takes a Peap at me from entry.3 my first inquiry was after a packet. I found only Browns here, he came & I like him he has a very good packet & Bears a good character himself, but Says he cannot be ready to Sail till saturday morning, the wind to day is directly against us.

In about an hour after my arrival I received the visits of the following persons— mr & mrs Arnold,4 the Gentleman was one of the Committe who came to mr Adams—from the Towns of Newport & Providence mr & mrs Francis. this Lady is the daughter of mr John Brown of this Town, so celebrated for his Wealth5—miss Bowen the sister to the late Governour,6 Col Peck, mr Robins Tuter to the Colledge & mr Shrimpton Hutchinson and Mrs Nightingale,7 all of whom in the Name of many other gentlemen & Ladies regreeted that I had dissapointed them in not letting it be known when I should be here as they had agreed to meet me several miles out of Town. mr & mrs Francis invited me to take up my abode with them. I excused myself, but have promised to take Tea & spend the Evening if I do not go out of Town. this morning I am to take a ride with them to see the Town & to return my visits, if I am not prevented by company but my wish is not to be detained a moment. pray write me & let me know by the next post whether my furniture is all on Board Barnard & when he will Sail— I should be glad to hear how mrs Brisler is. I left her in great affliction.

I feel the want of mrs Brisler as a Hair dresser, on other accounts Polly does very well Matilda is well, & her finger much better. let mrs Storer know if you please— my best Regards to all my dear Friends. it grieved me to see you so dull, you used to keep up your Spirits better do not let them flagg. a merry Heart does good like a medicine we shall hear often from one an other, and the Seperation be renderd less painfull by that means—

This moment a Card is brought me from mr Brown & Lady with an invitation to dine with them to day & that they will visit me at ten—I accept it, as Brown cannot go till tomorrow. adieu my dear sister most / affectionatly Yours.

Abigail Adams—

RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed: “To / Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs A / Adams, Providence, / June 19th. 1789.”


This Wrentham, Mass., inn was originally run by Pelatiah Man (b. 1689) and then by his son David (b. 1724) (George S. Mann, Genealogy of the Descendants of 375Richard Man of Scituate, Mass., Boston, 1884, p. 22; Boston Evening Post, 19 May 1755).


Jonathan Mason Jr. (1756–1831), Princeton 1774, was a former law clerk of JA's who married Susan Powell (1760–1841) in 1779. From 1786 to 1796, he represented Boston in the Mass. General Court, and he later served as a U.S. senator. Miss Powell was probably Susan's sister, Anna Dummer Powell (1770–1848), who married Thomas Perkins in 1800 (vol. 4:337; DAB ; Boston, 24th Report, p. 299; NEHGR , 26:143 [April 1872]).


John Collins (1717–1795) served as the third governor of the state of Rhode Island from 1786 to 1790; he had previously represented Rhode Island in the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1781 ( DAB ).

Daggett's Inn, which had been recommended to AA by Capt. James Brown, was probably run by the same Daggett family who operated the ferry across the Seekonk River along the main route between Boston and New York ( JA to AA, 19 May, note 1, above; Edward Field, State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the Century: A History, 3 vols., Boston, 1902, 2:535–537).


Probably Providence merchant Welcome Arnold (1745–1798) and his wife, Patience Greene Arnold (1754–1809). Arnold was a business associate of John Brown and Joseph Nightingale (Franklin Stuart Coyle, Welcome Arnold (1745–1798), Providence Merchant: The Founding of an Enterprise, Brown Univ., Ph.D. diss., 1972, p. 6–7, 12).


Abby Brown (1766–1821), the daughter of Sarah Smith (1738–1825) and John Brown (1736–1803), of the wealthy Providence merchant family, was married to John Francis (1763–1796) of Philadelphia. Together, John Brown and John Francis formed the company of Brown & Francis, which was the first Providence house to engage in the China trade (James B. Hedges, The Browns of Providence Plantations: The Colonial Years, Providence, 1968, p. xx, 19; DAB ).


Jabez Bowen (1739–1815), Yale 1757, served as deputy governor of Rhode Island for most of William Greene's administration from 1778 to 1786, at which time he was appointed a delegate to the Annapolis Convention. He married Sarah Brown (1742–1800) in 1762. Bowen had several sisters, at least three of whom—Nancy (1762–1801), Betsey (b. 1765), and Frances (b. 1768)—were still unmarried ( Dexter, Yale Graduates , 2:452–454; Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island, 3 vols., Chicago, 1908, 1:1009–1011; James N. Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636–1850, 21 vols., Providence, 1891–1912, 14:112, 527).


Probably Col. William Peck of Providence who had served as the adjutant-general of the Rhode Island militia during the Revolution ( JCC , 8:561; Rhode Island, Acts and Resolves of the General Assembly, 1783, Providence, 1785, Evans, No. 18150, p. 11).

Asher Robbins (1757–1845) was appointed tutor at Rhode Island College (later Brown University) in 1782 and remained in the position until 1790. He subsequently studied law and became a U.S. district attorney, state assemblyman, and later U.S. senator serving from 1825 to 1839 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ).

Shrimpton Hutchinson (ca. 1718–1811) had previously been a Boston merchant, running a store called the Three Sugar Loaves and Cannister on King Street (Boston Evening Post, 18 Dec. 1749; Arnold, Vital Record of Rhode Island, 13:516).

Probably Abigail Belcher Nightingale (1720–1794), widow of Samuel Nightingale (1715–1786) and mother of Providence merchants Samuel (1741–1814) and Joseph Nightingale (1748–1797) (William Richard Cutter, New England Families Genealogical and Memorial, 3d ser., 4 vols., N.Y., 1915, 2:928–929; NEHGR , 109:4 [Jan. 1955]).

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 21 June 1789 Cranch, Mary Smith Adams, Abigail
Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams
Braintree June 21d 1789 My dear Sister

I last evening receiv'd your kind Letter from Providence but shall not be able to get one to you by tomorrows Post—but shall write by the next I have not seen mr Brisler since you went away but heard that your Goods were puting on Board the vessel yesterday


This day Twelves months I accompany'd my dear Brother & Sister to the House of God to offer with grateful hearts I hope our acknowledgments ffor the favours we had receiv'd during our long Separation from each other Providence has again call'd you from me & tho it is what I ought to have wish'd as a Lover of my country, I must mourn as an affectionate Sister, I do not know why I have found it so much harder parting now than before, but it really is so. I have more difficultis to incounter now than then. & my prospects are gloomy. this is one reason I believe— I feel as if I should want the kind Soothings of my Sisters I wish & try to be chearful I know it is my duty to be so. but I cannot always succeed— Patience & resignation are the great dutys I have to exerccesse Hope & Trust must be their attendants or the Heart would faint my wishes are not large. there is therefore the greater probability that they may be gratified— Honour without profit we have had enough of— To pay our debts, to live decently & to see our Friends in the way we have been use'd to is not an unreasonable wish? is it my Sister?— but however providence may See fit to dispose of us I hope to be resign'd— I will rejoice in the prosperity of my Friends & endeavour to find my Happinss in doing what I can to make others so—

Before this reaches you I hope you will have arriv'd safe & made your Friends happy by your presence, I will rejoice in their joy. I will think of you as a happy circle, & place myself among you. I will repair to the nursery & play with the sweet little Boys, William do not break your little Horse & go tell mama who sent it to you—

Pray tell me what kind of a Being they have fore a Governor in Rhode Island— I hope Polly told him whose Grandaughter she was—I was once in company with the Browns at major Fullers. There were a number of the Family din'd there Louisia must be much gratified by the new Scene which has open'd upon her— Her modest mild manners will gain her many admires. She will be flutter'd round. your watchful eye will ever be upon her I know— my dear charles will I hope guard against every temptation to evil— tell him that I love him with an affection little short of what I feel for my own son— tell him also if you please that as he has his companions now to chuse anew that I conjure him by all that is sacred as he values his reputation among the virtuous & worthy of mankind— as he would not imbitter the declining years of his Parents & wound the hearts of his Friends to be careful who he admits to call him thier Friend & associate He will write to his cousins I hope I wanted to say a great deal to him before he went away but I could not—


I thank you my dear Sister for every expression of your affection in whatever way discover'd— The suit of velvet will be very useful the contents of the Bottles will be keept to ristore the languid spirit—

I shall expect to hear as much Politick from you as you can with safety convey. I shall feel importan then among your Friends— I am so pleas'd with Judge Dana & Lady that if I should go to cambridge I shall make them another visit, & must have a little politicks to talk of you know if I should—

remember me affectionately to mr Adams to mr & mrs Smith & all my Friends & accept / the warmest affection of your / grateful Sister

Mary Cranch

you cannot think how I am worried with my Girl She is not worth a copper I am in chase of another [. . .] could not come

RC (Adams Papers).