Adams Family Correspondence, volume 11

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 6 December 1795 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dearest Friend New York Decr 6. 1795

We have been favoured with fine Weather and tolerable Roads in such a manner that We reached Kingsbridge on Fryday night and came into N. York by Nine o Clock on Yesterday morning. If it had not been for the Desire of seeing my Children I should have gone immediately on with the other Passengers. The stage House was so near C. Smiths and I knew not where my Son lived: so that I put up 82 at Cortland Street:1 but for the future I will drive to my Sons. My Grandsons and Grand Daughter are all very well and very gay. The Girl is a fine Child and will have La peau d’un Ange as the Baron De Stael Said her Mother had, and I hope will be fort Spirituelle as the Same Ambassador said her Grand Mother was.2 Mr Paine the Senator from Vermont and Mr Freeman of Barnstable, were our only Companions in the Stage till We reached New Haven As soon as I had dressed myself I walked out to find Mr Adams The Lawyer— I was told he lived in Front Street No. 91— I went throught Broad Way and Wall Street to Mr McCormicks who was complaisant enough to take his hat & Cloak and conduct me to the House in Front street No. 91.— The House is new near the River among the Navigation. The Windows on the back side have a fine View of a forest of Masts The sound and long Island. It must be a very good stand for Business.— accordingly They say he has twice or thrice the Employment he ever had before. I found him in his office, which is large & commodious and well stored with Book Learning at least, with three Clients about him in very deep and earnest Consultation. He lets part of the House for half the Rent.

Charles acquired the Character of a Wit, at the Time of the Epidemic Matrimony here— some Gentleman asked him in the Country “How is the Fever Sir in Town?” Which Fever do you enquire after sir? The Yellow Fever or the Smith Fever? said Charles. The Gentleman told the story in the City and it flew through the streets quicker than either of the Fevers.

The Lady of the Baron De stael has lately published a Work under the Title of Reflexions on Peace, which Mr D’Ivernois has answered by another under the Title of Reflections on the War which he has sent me in French and another for the President in English. The Author has given some Account of “The Defence &c[] and gives it the Preference, to all other Writers upon Govt.— But all his Recommendations will have little Effect.3

I wish, if it is possible, that our Men, after carting out the Manure upon the old Clover at home, would cart out that whole heap of limed manure in Mr Joys Cowyard, upon Quincys Meadow, as well as the heap already in the Meadow. these two heaps will give the Meadow a good dressing. They should be careful to mix the Lime with the other Ingredients as thoughroughly as possible. The other heap upon Penshill should be mixed in the Same manner when that is carted out, and the whole very carefully Spread.


Tomorrow Morning at Seven I cross the North River for Philadelphia— I am as I ever have been / and ever shall be your affectionate

John Adams4

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. A.”; endorsed: “Decbr 6 1795.”


AA2 and WSS were living at 18 Courtlandt Street while building their new home, for which see CA to AA, 27 Sept., and note 2, above ( New-York Directory, 1795, p. 200, Evans, No. 28598).


The Adamses had known Erik Magnus, Baron Staël von Holstein, in Paris in 1784–1785, where he was serving as the Swedish ambassador to France (vol. 6:5, 9).


Anne Louise Germaine, Baronne Staël von Holstein (Madame de Staël), Réflexions sur la paix, Paris, 1794. Francis d’Ivernois’ Réflexions sur la guerre: En réponse aux Réflexions sur la paix was first published in English and French in London, 1795. Ivernois writes that “it would be doing a real service to the French” to have JA’s Defence of the Const. translated, as it is “another work still more complete, and if possible better calculated for the present situation of France” (p. 80, 83). The presentation copy to JA is in the Stone Library, MQA, and JA wrote to Ivernois on 11 Dec. 1795 to confirm that he had sent the pamphlets on to George Washington as well (Catalog of the Stone Library; Bibliothèque Publique et Universitaire, Geneva, Switzerland).


JA wrote again to AA on 9 Dec. to inform her that he had arrived safely in Philadelphia, although “a storm the night before last Spoiled the Roads and made the Journey disagreable from N. York.” He also reported that Henry Tazewell of Virginia had again been named president pro tempore of the Senate (Adams Papers).

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 10 December 1795 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
My Dearest Friend Quincy Decbr. 10th 1795

I have rejoiced in the fine weather which has attended you through your journey, and the good Roads if you have had them as good as we have. Some cold Days but not enough so, to freeze or prevent our People from accomplishing the plowing at the corn Feilds. the Shelter for the young cattle is compleated & coverd with Sea weed. one Day more will cover the clover with manure, and to Day they plow the great Garden. one Day they have been in the woods and one Day upon high ways. this compleats the Tour of Duty.

I contemplated your keeping Sabbeth with our Children at N york & hope You found them well and happy. I received the Miniatures three Days after you left me, and feasted myself upon them for they are most admirable Likenessess. I wish You would inquire of the Secretary of state, if he has had any later Dispatches, than our Letters, and whether there is a probability of the children being in England

I shall not ask you how the pullse beat, but wait the Presidents Speah.1


Nancy Adams, & Betsy crosby have the scarlet fever I hope not very bad.

present me respectfully to the President and Mrs Washington. Love to mrs Otis & Family—

most affectionatly yours

Abigail Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the / United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 10. Ansd 17 / 1795.”


The 1st session of the 4th Congress met from 7 Dec. 1795 to 1 June 1796. On 8 Dec. 1795 George Washington addressed a joint meeting of Congress. He opened his speech: “I trust I do not deceive myself while I indulge the persuasion that I have never met you at any period, when, more than at the present, the situation of our public affairs has afforded just cause for mutual congratulation, and for inviting you to join with me in profound gratitude to the Author of all Good for the numerous and extraordinary blessings we enjoy.” Specific items mentioned included the successful negotiation of a treaty with Native Americans in the Northwest, concluding that war; confirmation of existing treaties with the Creek and Cherokee; positive negotiations with Morocco, Algiers, and Spain; the senatorial consent to Washington’s ratification of the Jay Treaty; continuing prosperity in agriculture, manufacturing, and commerce; and “the blessings of quiet and order” in western Pennsylvania, “lately the scene of disorder and insurrection.” Washington concluded his summary of foreign affairs by observing, “If, by prudence and moderation on every side, the extinguishment of all the causes of external discord which have heretofore menaced our tranquility, on terms compatible with our national rights and honor, shall be the happy result, how firm and how precious a foundation will have been laid for accelerating, maturing, and establishing the prosperity of our country” ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 10–14). For the Senate’s and House’s responses to the speech, see JA to CA, 13 Dec., and notes 2 and 3, below.