Adams Family Correspondence, volume 10

Charles Adams to John Adams, 13 December 1794 Adams, Charles Adams, John
Charles Adams to John Adams
My dear Sir New York Decr 13th 1794

I yesterday received your favor of the 11th inst enclosing the Post note for 100 Dols: for which receive my thanks.1 Our election for members of the house of Representatives was finished yesterday and thus an end put for sometime to the iniquities which upon such occasions are always practised. The friends of the Democratic Mr Livingston and of the Aristocratic Mr Watts flatter themselves that their respective Candidate will obtain the seat.2 Among the many odd circumstances in this world that the Livingston family should obtain the reputation of Democrats is not the least curious but not surprising.

“Observe their courtship to the common people: How they do seem to dive into their hearts, With humble and familiar courtesy; What reverence do they throw away on slaves; Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles, 301 And patient underbearing of their fortunes, As ’t’were to banish their affects with them. Off goes each bonnet to an oyster wench: A brace of draymen bid God speed them well! And had the tribute of their humble knees; With—Thanks our Countrymen our loving friends.” Ricd 2d A 1. Sc 43

I suppose in case Mr Jay does not soon return Col Hamilton will be proposed for the office of Governor of this State. Mr Burr expects to obtain it. Mr Clinton is to resign as is said. Chancellor Livingston has pretensions. Not one among these candidates can supply the place of Mr Jay whether this State is to be ruled by the Schuyler or Livingston family is of no great importance and by one or the other it must be if the Chief Justice does not return. These are my sincere sentiments, sentiments which if made public would damn me in the eyes of both parties. I beleive them just and I cannot and will not go every length with any party whatsoever.

I am my dear Sir your affectionate son

Chas Adams

RC (Adams Papers).


Not found.


Edward Livingston (1764–1836), Princeton 1781, a lawyer and member of the extensive Livingston family of New York, defeated John Watts, the incumbent, by a vote of 1,843 to 1,638 in the election for the congressional district representing New York City. Livingston would continue to serve in Congress until 1801 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ; Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 420).


Shakespeare, King Richard the Second, Act I, scene iv, lines 24–34.

John Adams to Charles Adams, 13 December 1794 Adams, John Adams, Charles
John Adams to Charles Adams
Dear Charles Philadelphia Decr. 13. 1794

The Nature, Designs, rise, Progress, present State future Operations and successes of “Selfcreated Societies,[”] are likely to become Objects of interesting Enquiry and should be critically Studied by a Lawyer. We know something of the History of them in France. The fruits of them in Geneva you will see in the Pamphlet inclosed which was written by D’Ivernois. The fruits of them in Scotland, you may see in another Pamphlet inclosed, the Tryal of Wat and Downie.—1 I may send you another Pamphlet shewing them in Lauzanne and Le Pays de vaud in Switzerland—as also in some other Tryals in England and Scotland.2

It behoves you as a Lawyer to Settle in your Mind accurate Ideas of the Limits prescribed to the Legality of Such Societies, 302 Assemblies Conventions or Clubbs. I will assist you in furnishing you with Information on these Subjects.

I am &c

John Adams

RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.).


Francis d’Ivernois, Authentic History of the Origin and Progress of the Late Revolution in Geneva, Phila., 1794, Evans, No. 27159; and The Trials at Large of Robert Watt and David Downie for High Treason, London, 1794. The d’Ivernois pamphlet has not been found but for the Watt and Downie work, see JA to CA, 31 Jan. 1795, note 3, below.


Jean Jacques Cart, Lettres de Jean-Jaques Cart à Bernard Demuralt, trésorier du pays de Vaud, sur le droit public de ce pays, et sur les événemens actuels, Paris, 1793. In April 1794 JA forwarded a copy of this pamphlet from the author to Thomas Jefferson. Cart inscribed a second copy to JA that is in JA’s library at MB (Jefferson, Papers, 28:50–51, 57; Catalogue of JA’s Library ).