Adams Family Correspondence, volume 9

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, 9 October 1791 Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy
Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams
my dear son Brookfield Sunday 9 ocbr 1791

I had not time to write to you before I left Braintree I was in so much trouble for your Aunt and Family, that I left home with a Heavy Heart indeed, nor can I look to Philadelphia with a much lighter one, for there mrs Brisler lies at the point of death with a fever, if living. I promised Lucy if any Letters should come from Genll Knox or mr Brisler after I left home that you should open 229them and give them every information they might contain respecting her.1 this I now request you to do.

I am extreemly anxious to hear from your uncle cranch. I wish you could forward a Letter to me to be left a Smiths or the stage House at N Haven, should this reach you soon enough. I did not say enough to you a[bout] your Eye's. I would have you take a portion or two of Sal[ts] and then an oz of Bark, in 6 or 7 portions.2 do not neglect it, if lost Health may be restored, lost Eyes cannot, and I am certain from my observation respecting your Health the summer past, that you stand in need of the Bark

your Father has stood his journey as well as could be expected. he is some what fatigued to day, but I hope his Heaviness arrises only from the exertions of the two last days, & from a South wind. if I had not past through the disorder myself and experienced the debility occasiond by it I should feel more anxious. convey the inclosed Letter as soon as you can to Braintree from your affectionate / Mother

A Adams

p s I received your Letter and approve of what you have done3

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by TBA: “John Quincy Adams Esqr: / Boston”; endorsed: “My Mother. 9. Octr: 1791.” and “My Mother. Octr: 9. 1791.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.


JQA, when he wrote to AA on 5 Oct., forwarded a letter from Henry Knox, presumably that to JA of 28 Sept., in which Knox reported that John Briesler “has recovered and also his children, but his wife is dangerously ill” (both Adams Papers).


JQA first noted “weak eyes” in his Diary on 3 August. He continued to complain of weak or sore eyes from time to time until 10 Oct. (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).


In his letter of 5 Oct., JQA informed AA that he had purchased “a pair of hand-irons” less costly and more handsome than she had directed (Adams Papers).

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 16 October 1791 Cranch, Mary Smith Adams, Abigail
Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams
My dear Sister Braintree [16] october [1791]

I wrote you last Sunday by Doctor Welsh & your son who were here & sent it to new-york where you now are I suppose.1 I hope you found the Letter when you arriv'd as your Sympathytick heart would be in some measure reliev'd by the favourable account I gave you of mr Cranchs Leg— since that time it has continu'd to descharge well the mortified parts have been seperateing from the sound flesh & are now almost all come of but it has become such an offencive sore to dress as you scarcly can conceive of tis very painful too at times: I have dress'd it alone to day for the first time since it 230began to discharge in such a manner— tis still Bath'd once a day— Tis a slow & I fear will be a long peice of work before tis well we feed him yet with Bark & wine but not in such quantitys as at first— some parts of the Leg are heal'd but there is now a sore from the knee to the ancle. there are but two places which appear deep every part where the Blisters were not cut is sound— The swelling has in a manner left the Limb— he cannot walk a step nor bear his weight upon it yet his appetite is good

What charming Weather you have had for your journey I hope you all feel the better for your ride & that you will find all your Freinds in health & mrs Brisler recover'd—

Polly Tailor is with us waiting for Madam Jeffery to send for her.2 She sent her wood She was ready to wait upon her & wonders that she is not sent for

cousin Betsy Smith is with mrs Norton who was well yesterday

Deacon Adams is dangerously sick with a slow Lung fever3

Mr Shaw is gone to Barnstable & to the ordination of mr Simkins4 Sister Shaw was well but poor Billy grows worse I design to perswaid Mr Shaw to let mr Hughs see him— that man certainly has a faculty of seting Bones beyond many who are better theorests than himself5

William return'd last monday to haverhill & you must think my dear sister that I feel very lonely—but I hope the danger from mr Cranchs Leg is not so great as it was— tis a terrible sore now but it has been so much worse that I cannot help being incourag'd about it—but I hope I shall be resign'd be the event what it may— The support & kindness of my dear sister while she was here was a cordial to my spirits. & tho absent that she bears us upon her mind is a constant feast to my Soul— good grant that your health may be restor'd & that your Life so precious to us as well as to your own Family may be prolong'd many years yet to come & that we may have another happy meeting when the spring opens upon us—

Mr Cranch send his Love to mr Adams & you & begs me to renew his thanks for all your kindnesses & attentions

Lucy send her Duty & Love mr Adams I hope has not had a return of his dissorder I hop'd to have heard of you from some of your stages but I have not

Polly found half a dozen Tea spoons in the closet after you went away which she thought she had put up they are here with your other plate. She has put a hook upon the Kitchen chamber door or rather upon the door at the foot of the Stairs which effectually 231secures all the garrets— upon the wash house we shall put a Lock I have sent to mr Pratt for sea-weed to stop the cellar doors & bank the house. Polly has nail'd up all the Gates but the cow yard gate

I have your Pigs & hope to make fine ones of them— If there is any thing else I can do for you pray let me know it, nothing can give me more pleasure than to be able to discharge some of the obligations confer'd upon your / grateful & affectionate Sister

Mary Cranch

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs M Cranch / to Mrs A Adams / October 1791.” and “1791.” Filmed at Oct. [1791].


Mary Smith Cranch's letter of 9 Oct. has not been found.


Mary Wilkes Storke Hayley Jeffery, for whom see vol. 7:273, note 4; 384, note 5. After a stay in Boston of over eight years, Mary Jeffery would return to Britain in Nov. 1792 alone; her husband, Patrick Jeffery, remained in Massachusetts (Boston Independent Chronicle, 10 Nov. 1792; Amanda Bowie Moniz, “A Radical Shrew in America: Mary Wilkes Hayley and Celebrity in the Early United States,” Common-Place, vol. 8 [April 2008],


JA's cousin Ebenezer Adams died on 22 Oct. 1791 (Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 23 Oct., Adams Papers). JQA traveled to Braintree for the funeral on the 25th (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).


John Simpkins (1768–1843), Harvard 1786, was ordained as minister of the Congregational Church in the north precinct of Harwich (now the town of Brewster) on 19 Oct. (Josiah Paine, A History of Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1620–1800, Rutland, Vt., 1937, p. 158–163).


Probably either Robert Hewes (1751–1830) or his cousin Shubael Hewes (1732–1813), both of whom worked as bonesetters in Boston (Eben Putnam, Lieutenant Joshua Hewes, A New England Pioneer, and Some of His Descendants, N.Y., 1913, p. 323–326, 330–332; Boston Directory , 1803, Shaw-Shoemaker, No. 3862).