Adams Family Correspondence, volume 8

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 4 October 1789 Adams, Abigail Cranch, Mary Smith
Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch
Richmond Hill october 4th 1789 my dear sister

I wrote you a Letter last week, but as it did not get to the Post office, I have detaind it with an intention of sending you one of a later date. I believe I have received all your Letters. your last was dated Sepbr 8th I have not written to any of my Friends so often as I ought to. you know very well that when a person is fixed to any particular spot, that very few subjects worth communicating can occur. as I have not been to any publick amusement, I cannot say any thing upon that score, but I can tell you something which may well excite your surprize. it is that I have cause every Sunday to regreet the loss of Parson Wibird, and that I should realy think it an entertainment to hear a discourse from him. do not however tell him so, but except three sermons which three NewEngland Clergymen have preachd to us, I have been most misirably off. Dr Rogers where we usually attend, has been unable to preach ever since I have been here1 and the pulpit has been supplied as they could procure Labourers—by 414Gentlemen who preach without Notes, all of whom are predestinarians and whose Noise & vehemence is to compensate for every other difficency to go to meeting & set an hours & half to hear a discourse the principals of which are so totally different from my own sentiments, that I cannot possibly believe them, is really doing penance. I have sometimes gone to St Pauls.2 there I find much more liberal discourses, but bred a desenter and approveing that mode of worship, I feel a reluctance at changing tho I would always go to church, if I resided where there was no other mode of worship. the Clergymen here I am told are so Rigid that their company is very little sought after. they never mix with their people as they do with us, and there is in there Air and countanances that solemn Phiz and gate which looks so like mummery that instead of Reverence they create disgust, and they address theirfoll Audience with so much self importance, and Priestly despotisim, that I am really surprizd at their having any men of sense and abilities for their hearers; I have seen but one exception to this character & that in a dr Lynd who is really the best & most liberal of the whole sett.3 we have in Massachusetts a sett of clergy that are an honour to Religion, to Learning, & to our country, and for whom I feel an increased esteem & veneration since my Residence in Newyork. I do not however mean by my remarks that they are not Religious moral men here. I never heard a Syllable to their injury, but they certainly are men of very mean capacities when compared to those of our state. there is no man of esteemed eminence amongst them even as a divine

The adjournment of Congress leaves me a leisure which I most sincrely wish I could improve in visiting Braintree. if they had honestly adjournd to April, I say honestly for many of the southern members will not get here till then, I should not have hesitated in comeing on immediatly & spending the winter with my dear Friends in B. but it has been my Lot to be fetterd one way or an other. the liberality of Congress obliged me to remove most of my furniture so as to make it quite inconvenient for us to pass a part of our Time at our own Home, without being at a Considerable expence, and the prospect of a return in december very much discourages me in my progect. mr Adams's close & unremitting attention to Buisness during Six months, has made a journey quite necessary for him, yet he will not go unless it is to his own Home. my son J Q A proposes returning this week to Boston & Brisler leaves me tomorrow.4 How the machine will get on without him I know not. I have offerd him what I esteem very liberal wages, & double what I can get others for, 415

416 who would perform the mechanical part of Buisness as well perhaps as he but I know not where to find Honour Honesty integrity & attachment. he pleads the state of his family which I know it would be difficult to remove, but 200 dollars pr year are not so easily earned in massachusetts, and are really more than we can afford. he has it at his option to return if he cannot succeed at home. I do not wish my offer to be known, and I think he will find it difficult to support his Family when he once comes to stand upon his own legs for them; which he has never yet done. From six years trial of him I can give him the best of characters, and I never expect to find an other so particularly calculated for me and my Family his Errors are those of Judgment or rather the want of judgment and upon that Rock I am fearfull he will Split, when he comes to act for himself.—the Letter you mention for mr Bond was Sent directly to his Lodgings upon our receiving it.

I hope the appointments in the judicial Line will give Satisfaction, notwithstanding some dissapointments. if I may judge by the News papers, there is no state in the union where there are so many grumblers as in our own. it has been my Lot in Life to spend a large portion of it in publick Life, but I can truly say the pleasentest part of it was spent at the foot of pens Hill in that Humble cottage when my good Gentleman was a practitioner at the Bar, earnt his money, during the week, & at the end of it poured it all into my Lap to use or what could be Spaired to lay by. nobody then grudgd us our living, & 25 years such practise would have given us a very different Property from what we now possess. it might not have given us the 2d Rank in the united states, nor the satisfaction of reflecting by what means & whose exertions these states have arrived at that degree of Liberty Safety & independance which they now enjoy. if the united states had chosen to the vice P.s Chair a man wavering in his opinions, or one who sought the popular applause of the multitude, this very constitution would have had its death wound during this first six months of its existance. on several of the most trying occasions it has fallen to this dangerous vice, to give the casting vote for its Life—there are several members of the House & some of the S——e who are to say no worse wild as—Bedlammites but hush—I am speaking treason. do not you betray me

Remember me kindly to all inquiring Friends—and believe me my dear sister / Yours most / affectionatly

A Adams

RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters).


Rev. John Rodgers (1727–1811) was the pastor of the Presbyterian church of New York, which was divided between two churches, one at Wall Street near Broadway and the other at the corner of Beekman and Nassau streets. Rodgers, who had trained for the ministry under Gilbert Tennent, served the New York parish from 1765 until his death, though he was forced to vacate his post during the British occupation of the city (Jonathan Greenleaf, A History of the Churches, of All Denominations, in the City of New York, N.Y., 1846, p. 126–133; Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit , 3:154–165).


St. Paul's Chapel, an extension of Trinity Episcopal Church, opened in 1766 between Fulton and Vesey streets. George Washington attended services there, and it is today the oldest public building in continuous use in New York City (Greenleaf, History of the Churches, p. 61–62;, 26 Jan. 2006). See also Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 13, above.


Rev. William Linn (1752–1808), Princeton 1772, was a Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed minister and schoolteacher originally from Pennsylvania. In 1786 he was called to become associate pastor of the Collegiate Dutch Reformed Church in New York. During his tenure there, his reputation was such that he was also invited to become the first chaplain to the House of Representatives, beating out John Rodgers for the position ( Princetonians , 2:231–235).


JQA recorded in his Diary that he left New York on 5 Oct. aboard the Rambler, arriving in Newport on 6 October. He continued by stage, arriving at Boston on 8 Oct. and Braintree on 9 Oct. (D/JQA/14, APM Reel 17).

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts, 5 October 1789 Adams, Abigail Tufts, Cotton
Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts
october 5 1789 Dear sir

Your favour of 15 sepbr I have not yet replied to. with regard to the House, I wish it was as moveable an article as a Carriage I would then get you to send it by Barnard to Newyork where I should meet with no difficulty in getting four hundred Dollors rent. now I should be glad to get as much for the 5 Houses we own in Braintree together with the Farms belonging to them.1 the expence of living here is Double I believe in all most every article, in wood & Hay including the carting three times as much; for Instance, the carts here are very small drawn buy two Horses. they carry only 100 foot of wood at a time so that it costs four shillings to convey a Cord of wood about the distance from your House to mr Nortens. to this you must add four shillings more for sawing it, and your wood costs 5 dollors pr cord, and this is the lowest rate trust the Dutch to make their penny worths out of you.—

the House being in Boston we must take what we can get, say 36 or 34, but let them go out rather than let it for less than 30. the cart you may use when you please. the Scow mr Adams thinks had better lye by than be sold so low provided any shelter can be found. the tools that remain you will let them lye for the present. we have been very near determining to come home & spend the winter, & nothing prevents us but the foolish adjournment of congress to a period 418when they know the Southern members will not come, so that a part of the Body only will be here a useless expence to the states. had they set one month more & then adjournd to April, it would have been much more convenient. by the way I see the Boston Newspapers report that congress agreed to Borrow 50 thousand dollors of the Banks of Newyork & Phyladelphia as the Bill past the Senate the united states were to be at no expence at all. Pensilvania was to erect the Buildings & make every accommodation at their own expence, but the whole is happily posponed.2 it was unwise to bring on a subject which must necessaryly involve them in dispute, before any means was devised for the payment of publick creditors, or any way markd out for discharging the publick debt—

my good sir when do you give me an Aunt? or am I now to congratulate you upon that event.3 be it when it will, I most sincerly rejoice in any circumstance which may tend to augment your happiness. my best Respects to the Lady of your choice. I doubt not that she has great personal merit, and is certainly entitled to my esteem & Regard on that account, but the Relation in which you are about to place her shall be followd by all that respect & Reverence which my Heart pays to worth like that to which she is to be united, and may God Bless you together is the very sincere wish of dear / Sir your affectionate / Neice

A Adams

PS Remember me kindly to mr & mrs Tufts to mr & mrs Norten & cousin Lucy Jones

mr Adams wishes you to send by dr Craigy or any private Hand a Box of such pills as I brought for him when I came

RC (NHi:Misc. Mss. Adams, Abigail); addressed by AA2: “Honble: Cotton Tufts / Boston”; endorsed: “Mrs. Abigl. Adams's / Lett—Octo. 5. 1789.”


Besides the Old House, the Adamses owned four additional homes in Braintree, along with considerable additional acreage: JA's childhood home (the John Adams Birthplace), which JA purchased from his brother, Peter Boylston Adams; the home where JA and AA lived prior to their time in Europe (the John Quincy Adams Birthplace), which JA inherited from his father; a house purchased from Joseph Palmer in 1771; and another house purchased from William and Sarah Veasey in 1788 (vol. 1:23, 2:252; “An Account of the Real Estate of Honr. Jno. Adams Esq. lying in Braintree & Milton,” [post Sept. 1787], Adams Papers, Wills and Deeds; Adams Papers, Adams Office Manuscripts, Box 2, folder 13).


The “Act to Establish the Seat of Government”—to determine a permanent home for the new federal government in Pennsylvania—was first introduced in the House of Representatives on 14 Sept., where it was eventually approved. But the Senate, after considerable debate, decided on 28 Sept. to postpone action on it until the next session. Prior to the formal introduction of the bill, early discussion of the residence issue included the suggestion of borrowing money for the purpose, with the figure of $100,000 the most frequently cited in the Boston newspapers ( First Fed. Cong. , 1:203; 3:206, 222; 11:1457–1459; Massachusetts Centinel, 12 Sept.).

419 3.

Cotton Tufts married his second wife, Susanna Warner (1754–1832) of Gloucester, on 22 Oct. ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 12:499).