Adams Family Correspondence, volume 10

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1 April 1794 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Philadelphia April 1. 1794.

Cheesman has at length arrived and I have recd my Trunk in much better order than I expected.

The People here are much cooler than they were last Week. The Embargo begins to be felt by many who have been the most noisy and turbulent. Speculation mingles itself in every political Operation and many Merchants have already made a noble Spec. of the Embargo by raising their Prices: but the foolish Tradesmen and Labourers who were so ready to follow the heels of their Scheeming Leaders are now out of Employment, and will loose 30 dollars at head by this Embargo. If they had been taxed half the sum to the most necessary and important Measure they would have bitterly complained. I can See little benefit in the Embargo except that it may cool down the Courage of such kind of People. It may be expected that We shall soon have a Clamour against the renewal of it, if not to have it repealed.


The Assembly of Pensylvania have this day chosen a senator Mr James Ross of Washington County in the Place of Mr Gallatin.1

A violent Measure has been proposed in the House to Sequester all Debts due from American Citizens to British subjects. Such a Motion will do no honour to our Country.— Such Laws are injurious to the Debtor as well as the Creditor, for they cannot annul or dissolve the Contracts. It will not pass the House, and if it did, it would stop in the Senate.

We are rejoiced that the civic Feast in Boston Succeeded no better. It is astonishing that Mr Adams should ever have thought of implicating the Government in so indecent and hostile a frolick.

We have had an incessant Struggle, all Winter to restrain the intemperate Ardour of the People out of Doors and their too accurate Representatives in both Houses. Too many of our good Federalists are carried away at times by their Passions and the popular Torrent, to concur in motions and countenance sentiments, inconsistent with our Neutrality and tending directly to War. But I hope We shall be able to make a stand against all fatal Attempts.

I long to be at home, but I dare not ask leave to go. The Times are too critical for any Man to quit his Post without the most urgent necessity. Ways and Means must be provided to defrey the Expences incurred and I expect this will be put off till May. I Shall be very uneasy through this whole month, but I must take Patience.

I hope Mr Adams of Boston, the Lawyer is full of Business and making his Fortune— I hear so Seldom from him that I must Suppose him busy.

Tel my dear Mother that I hope to have the Pleasure of seeing her in the Month of May. Love to my Brothers & sister & Cousins &c

I am, most tenderly yours

J. A

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “April 1st 1794.”


James Ross (1762–1847), a lawyer in Washington County, Penn., served as a Federalist senator from 1794 to 1803 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 April 1794 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Philadelphia April 3. 1794

The Post of the day brought me, your kind Letter of 26. Ult. The more I am charmed with your Bravery and Activity in farming the more I am mortified that my Letters in Answer to yours are so 133 insignificant and insipid. I must leave all your Agriculture to your Judgment and the Advice of your Assitants. I sent you more Grass seeds with the Furniture, which I hope has arrived before now. Mr Adams has sent you the 500 before now. I will sent you a little more if I can possibly Spare it.

The Times are so critical and Parties so nearly ballanced that I cannot in honour, nor consistently with my Duty abandon my Post. There are so many wild Projects and Motions and so many to support them, that I am become of more importance than Usual, in the opinion of the Soundest Part of the Community.

We have very disagreable Business to do in finding Ways and means for the Expences We have already incurred. It grieves me to the heart to see an increase of our Debts and Taxes, and it vexes me to see Men opposing even these Augmentations who are every day pushing for Measures that must involve Us in War, and ten times greater Expences.

But the Inconsistencies and Absurdities of Men are no Novelties to me.

I have pleased myself with a hope that I should get home in April: but the general opinion is We shall be obliged to remain here till the middle of May. I have little Expectation of seeing you before Election.1 You are so valourous and noble a farmer that I feel little anxious about Agriculture. Manure in Hills, if you think best: but manure your Barley ground well and harrow it well.

I have now the pleasing hope of Seeing my honoured Mother again in comfortable health. I have Suffered many melancholly hours both on her Account and yours, and I think myself, indebted under Providence to your tender Care and indefatigable Assiduity, for the Prolongation of her Life.

If the Yellow fever should mak its Appearance here We shall soon fly: but there is no symptom of it as yet.

I am sometimes obliged to give critical Votes which expose me to the Passions of Parties: but I have been wonder fully Spared this session. They find it best to let me alone; for I get credit by their Abuse. I am most sincerely / and most kindly your


RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “April 3d 1794.”


Massachusetts citizens cast their votes on 7 April, but JA presumably refers to 29 May, the date of the first meeting of the year of the Mass. General Court, at which the votes were formally counted for the election of governor and lieutenant governor, and the house of representatives elected two members for the senate (Boston American Apollo, 10 April, 29 May).