Adams Family Correspondence, volume 9

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams, 5 May 1793 Adams, Thomas Boylston Adams, Abigail
Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams
My dear Mother, Philadelphia 5th: May 1793—

Your last letter to me is dated the 18th: of March, since which time I have not heared a single word of the family, either verbally, or in writing.1 We have news from France as late as the 15 of March, and one would think a letter from Quincy might have traveled the distance of 350 miles in the course of seven weeks. ’Tis my happiness, (some may think it a misfortune) not to distress my mind with unpleasant surmises upon such occasions; but I had rather be accused of a little Stoical apathy, than upon every intermission of more than usual duration in the correspondence of my friends, to attribute it to unfavorable causes. Mrs. Smith & her family have all been sick since their return, but I heared nothing of it till they had recovered their health— This may be the case with the Family at 425Quincy, but I hope they have not yet to wait to inform me of their reestablishment— On Friday last the French Frigate which brought the French Minister from Paris came up the Delaware—she had been expected for some days, and when she got up, she saluted the City with fifteen Guns—which were answered from the Shore— There was a vast collection of people on the Wharves who saluted the Vessel with repeated huzza's, which were warmly returned by the Crew— Great numbers went off to the Ship as she lay in the River, and met a most cordial reception from the French Officers— the next day I went on board, but without making my self known I wished merely to gratify my curiosity, and I could do it as well Incog—as if I had been introduced— the officers were civil, and shewed all that was to be seen—which cheifly consisted in 300 dirty Sailors in a dirty vessel, all á la mode de Francàise the Sailors Sing Ci, Ira—and dance the Marselais call each other Citoyen and in short exhibit the true spirit of the Revolution— There are the Crews of seven prizes which she has made since she left France on board, the Captains & mates of which are permited to walk the Deck— So much for L’Ambuscade The Minister has not yet arrived—he comes by land from Carolina—2

Your Friends here desire to be particularly remembered to you, I shall do it however only in this general way, which for civilities like these, is quite sufficient— Indeed I am at a loss to think what the generality of these mighty civil folks would find to say to me, were it not for my absent relations, whose health & wellfare seems to be a never failing source of enquiry & congratulation. I have a method of discovering whether the compliment in such cases is intended for me, or the person enquired for— “Your Father and Mother were well I hope when you heared from them last?” “Sir—or Madam (as the case may be) you do me honor by your friendly enquiries.” If any thing further seems to be expected—I descend into particulars—but for the most part, the conversation seldom goes beyond a proposition & reply—very rarely to a rejoinder— You see I must be in the fashion—I cant avoid a little Scandal

With presenting my best love to all Friends / I subscribe

Thos B Adams

PS, Mrs. Lynch has heared of the arrival of the Vessel in which her husband went last to Sea, at Boston, and has desired me to make enquiry of Mr Briesler, whether Lynch has returned and 426whether he intends coming to Philada:— The poor woman thinks herself deserted, and I believe nothing gives her more comfort than the prospect of Col & Mrs. Smith's residing here.

Monday 6th:

After I had sealed this Letter I received my Fathers of the 27th: of April—which I will answer in a short time—3

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A Adams / Quincy / near Boston.”


Not found.


Edmond Genet arrived in Charleston, S.C., on the frigate Embuscade on 8 April. Although the ship continued on to Philadelphia, Genet decided to remain in the South and travel overland by carriage, finally reaching the capital on 16 May. During the course of its trip up the eastern coast of the United States, the Embuscade took seven prizes, two of which—the brig Little Sarah and the ship Grange—the crew brought with them to Philadelphia when they arrived on 2 May (Harry Ammon, The Genet Mission, N.Y., 1973, p. 44, 55; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 27 April; Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, 4 May).


Not found.

Charles Adams to John Adams, 10 May 1793 Adams, Charles Adams, John
Charles Adams to John Adams
My dear Sir New York May 10th 1793

It is sometime since I have written to you but still longer since I have had a line from my dear father. I do not repine for while you are happy in your feilds I will willingly give up that share of pleasure and instruction which I constantly received from your kind communications. It appears as if this City was fated to be the scene of constant disquietude and jarring cabal no sooner have the inhabitants cooled a little upon one subject than another source of contention arises and they begin with redoubled animosity. This cannot excite our astonishment if we consider the motley complection of the Citizens. A collection from all parts of the Globe The English Irish Scotch Dutch and Germans compose a very numerous body whose peculiar pride consists in fostering their national prejudices. The English Irish and Scotch swarmed to this City where they found a protection which in some States was denyed them.1 By their close connection and mutual assistance many of them are among the richest people. But far from a grateful sense of what they owe and without considering that were they again in their own Countries they would fall from their self opinianative importance they constantly strive to depreciate the American character. Most Americans are friends to the Revolution of France however they may view with horror the enormities which have been committed during the unfortunate course of five years they still separate the people desirous of 427liberty from the cabal of a National Assembly or the murderous demagogues of a National Convention. They hoped and still hope that under a good form of Goverment The French Nation may be restored to order, but when they hear themselves damned for their impudent ideas by a small cluster of Englishmen who lurk within the bosom of their Country when they hear repeated threats that the thunder of the British nation may be hurled upon them they are fired with indignation at the insult. Conduct like this from a club of Englishmen in this city has roused the spirits of the people and unless they learn more prudence fatal consequences may ensue. The low state of our funds is in some measure owing to an apprehension that America may be drawn into The war. For myself I see not much danger conscious that every endeavor will be used to maintain a neutrality and that measures the most strenuous will be put in operation to preserve this Country in a state of peace. These apprehensions however ill founded fail not to make some considerable impression upon the public mind. Another cause is the caution with which The Banks discount and the difficulty of procuring large quantities of specie. This it has been found is necessary as the multiplicity of banks has created distrust. That they cannot long hold out I think is certain they have had a pernicious influe[nce] upon the price of every article of consumption and I know of nothing except Salaries and la[wyers] fees that has not doubled within these two years. The Baron setts out tomorrow for Steuben I am sorry to loose his company for so long a period but he is almost as fond of his farm as you are and delights in the society of his Yankee's as he calls them. My Sister talks of beginning her journey sometime next week, she wished me to accompany her but I must deny myself that pleasure

Adieu my dear Sir Beleive me your / affectionate son

Charles Adams.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Quincy / near / Boston—”; endorsed: “C. Adams / May 10. 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.


The 1790 census for New York State found an ethnic breakdown of approximately 52 percent English, 17.5 percent Dutch, 8 percent German, 8 percent Irish, and 7 percent Scottish. In New York City in the following decade, new immigrants continued to arrive from Great Britain, Ireland, and France, and a political split emerged as English immigrants tended toward the Federalist Party while the Scottish, Irish, and French favored the Democratic Republicans (Young, Democratic Republicans , p. 98, 401–402, 569).