Adams Family Correspondence, volume 11

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 27 November 1796 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
my Dearest Friend Quincy Novbr 27 1796 Sunday Eve

Winter has caught you on the Road I presume, for a colder Day than this we seldom have in Jan’ry 1 You will want to hear how the Farming goes on. the Letters inclosed which I received last evening have put it all out of my Head, and almost put out My Eyes to read. no other than the printed Duplicate has come to Hand. I send you both yours and mine, both of which are important at this time when the plots are unfolding.2 they are a clue to all the whole System of Electionering under foreign influence which in a greater or less degree pervades every state in the union. they will afford but Sorry comfort to You whether destined to publick or Private Life. if to Private, “O! Save my Country Heaven”3 if we are to receive a President from the French Nation, what is to be our Fate?. to accept the Presidency with Such an opposition, & to know that one is rushing upon the thick bosses of the Bucklar4 requires the firmest mind and the greatest intripidity. Heaven direct all for the best

you will See by the Centinal that poor samuel has no opinion of his own. the House and Senate have however been firm.5 inclosed is a curious extract from the Washington Gazzett taken from a paper calld the new world.6

I presume the Fate of America will be decided by the time I get a Letter from You. we are told here that under the Jeffersonian ticket the voters distinguishd themselves by wearing the National cockade. can they have become so openly Dairing and bold?7 I saw Burks paper calld the Star. it ought to be termd the Chronical Rival, a Hireling wretch, in French pay I Doubt not, a whineing & canting because the French Minister has suspended his functions 8 Our sons Letter is a key to the whole buisness. I have worn out my Eyes to Day in coppying it;9

The Wall progresses, and the Barn yard has not been neglected. 418 the rails are all brought home and I am reflecting that there is no small probability that you may spend the next Summer at Home. I hope Peace Feild will not suffer a French invasion. I am not however terified. I say Gods will be Done, and hope we are not yet given up to destruction.

adieu let Me hear often from you. you know how anxious I am at the events passing before me. poor Johns pride was a little touchd that you should name cooper as a rival in Fame. where will you find a Man of his Age of his Prudence judgment discernment and abilities?10

My best my Sincerely affectionate Regards to the President and Mrs Washington if any people on earth are to be envyd they are the ones: not for what they have been in power and Authority, but for their transit.

once more adieu / ever ever yours

A Adams.

RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Nov. 27 / 1796.” For the enclosure, see note 6, below.


JA departed Quincy to return to Philadelphia on 23 Nov., arriving there on 2 Dec. after having spent a day each with AA2 in Eastchester, N.Y., and CA in New York City.


AA received JQA’s letter to her of 16 Aug., above, and the duplicate FC-Pr of JQA’s letter to JA of 13 Aug., for which see TBA to JA, 6 Aug., and note 7, above.


Alexander Pope, Moral Essays, Epistle I, line 265.


The protrusion at a shield’s center ( OED ).


In his brief address to the Mass. General Court on 17 Nov., Samuel Adams stated little besides the purpose of the session, which was to choose electors for the forthcoming presidential and vice presidential elections. Both houses of the General Court responded by affirming this central duty but further acknowledged George Washington’s retirement and commended the president for his years of service. The house, in perhaps a mild rebuke of the governor, offered, “We should be deficient in that gratitude which is the surest incentive and best reward of patriotic services, to withhold a public tribute of veneration and respect for the character and conduct of this distinguished friend to his Country” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 19 Nov.; Mass, Acts and Laws , 1796–1797, p. 254–255).


The enclosed newspaper extract, which appeared in the 5–9 Nov. issue of the Washington Gazette, offered to clarify “the minds of some persons” who “do not distinguish between John Adams, and Samuel Adams” and stated, among other things, that “John Adams was once a Republican; but it was while he was under the protection and influence of Samuel Adams.” The article’s original source was the Philadelphia New World, a shortlived Democratic-Republican newspaper published by Samuel Harrison Smith (Clarence S. Brigham, “Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820. Part XIII: Pennsylvania [Philadelphia],” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs., new ser., 32:150 [April 1922]).


AA may be referring to discussions related to a widely reprinted letter from Pierre Auguste Adet “to the French citizens who reside or travel in the United States” ordering them to put on the cockade, “the sacred symbol of liberty.” Furthermore, his letter continued, “The use of the French chanceries, the national protection will not be granted to any Frenchmen but those who, perfectly sensible of the dignity attached to the title of citizen, shall take a pride in wearing constantly the tri-colored cockade. The Executive Directory of the French Republic have pronounced thus” (Boston Polar Star, 17 Nov.).


John Daly Burk (ca. 1775–1808) was a recent emigrant from Ireland who initially settled in Boston, where in October he started the newspaper the Polar Star. On 23 Nov. the paper carried the news that the duties of the 419 French minister to the United States had been suspended as a result of deteriorating relations between the two countries ( DAB ). See also CA to JA, 4 June, and note 3, above.


The copy in AA’s hand of JQA to JA, 13 Aug., has not been found but appears to have been enclosed with her letter to Elbridge Gerry of 28 Nov., also not found. Gerry’s reply of 28 Dec., for which see AA to JA, 31 Dec., and note 3, below, acknowledges the receipt of both letters (Adams Papers).


See JQA to AA, 16 Aug., and note 3, above.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 27 November 1796 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Lovejoys in Stratford Nov. 27. 1796

We lodged at Monroe’s in Marlborough on Wednesday night, at Hithcocks in Brookfield Thursday night, at David Bulls in Hartford Fryday night and at Lovejoys in Stratford last night. I have been to hear Sound orthodox Calvinism from Mr Stebbins this morning.1

At Hartford I Saw Mr Adets Note in Folio to our Secretary of State, and I find it an Instrument well calculated to reconcile me to private Life.2 It will purify me from all Envy of Mr Jefferson or Mr Pinckney or Mr Burr or Mr Any Body who may be chosen P. or V. P.

Although, however, I think the moment a dangerous one, I am not Scared. Fear takes no hold of me, and makes no Approaches to me, that I perceive, and if my Country makes just Claims upon me, I will be as I ever have been prompt to shares Fates & Fortunes with her.

I dread not a War, with France or England, if either forces it upon Us, but will make no Aggression upon either, with my free Will, without just & necessary Cause and Provocation.

In all Events of Peace or War, I think Prices must fall considerably before Spring. Lands Labour Provisions and all.

We have had so cold a Journey that I fear our Stone Wall Stands still. If it does however I suppose Manure, or Ploughing or cutting and carting Wood will furnish Employment enough.

Nothing mortifies me more, than to think how the English will be gratified at this French Flight. John Bull will exult and Shrugg his shoulders like a Frenchman, and I fear show Us some cunning insidious, kind of Kindness upon the Occasion. I should dread his Kindness as much as French Severity. But will be the Dupe of neither.

If I have looked with any Accuracy into the Hearts of my Fellow Citizens, The French will find as the English have found, that Feelings may be Stirred which they never expected to find there, and that Perhaps the American People themselves are not Sensible are within them.

I shall write you from N. York. This cold Weather makes me 420 regret the Loss of my Bed, and Fireside, and especially the Companion and Delight of both.

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”


Possibly Abraham Munroe (ca. 1736–1828), who from the 1770s had operated an inn at Northborough, Mass., a town that had split off from Marlborough, Mass. David Hitchcock (ca. 1741–1814) kept an inn at Brookfield, Mass., for more than fifty years. David Bull (1723–1812) operated the Bunch of Grapes tavern at Hartford, Conn., and Ezekiel Lovejoy operated a stage coach service between New Haven, Conn., and New York City and in 1798 would build a new tavern in Stratford, Conn. Stephen Williams Stebbins (1758–1843), Yale 1781, was pastor of Stratford’s Congregational Church from 1784 until 1813 (Newburyport Herald, 3 June 1828; Charles Hudson, History of the Town of Marlborough … with a Brief Sketch of the Town of Northborough, Boston, 1862, p. 116; Mrs. Edward Hitchcock Sr., Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family Who Are Descended from Matthias Hitchcock of East Haven, Conn., and Luke Hitchcock of Wethersfield, Conn., Amherst, Mass., 1894, p. 422; Lucius Barnes Barbour, Families of Early Hartford, Connecticut, 1977, repr. Baltimore, 2001, p. 102; Samuel Orcutt, A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 2 vols., New Haven, 1886, 1:409, 413; 2:1241; William Howard Wilcoxson, History of Stratford, Connecticut, 1639–1939, Stratford, 1939, p. 553).


Several editions of the correspondence between Pierre Auguste Adet and Timothy Pickering were published in 1796, including one in November, The Gros Mousqueton Diplomatique; or, Diplomatic Blunderbus, Phila., Evans, No. 30208; a bilingual version, Notes adressées par le Citoyen Adet, ministre plénipotentiaire de la République Française près les États-Unis d’Amérique, au secrétaire d’etat des Etats-Unis, Phila., Evans, No. 30440; Official Notes, from the Minister of the French Republic, to the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Phila., Evans, No. 30442; and Translation of a Note from the Minister of the French Republic, to the Secretary of State of the United States, N.Y., Evans, No. 30441.