Adams Family Correspondence, volume 10

442 Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, 25 May 1795 Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy
Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams
my Dear Son Quincy May 25th 1795

Your Letter of Febry 12th reachd me on the last of April, and gave me Sincere pleasure and satisfaction to learn that both you and your Brother were in good Health and spirits, and that in the midst of such a mighty Revolution as you have been witness too, You have beheld the still greater Phœnomenon of order Peace and tranquility, that they may be durable to our good Batavian Friends, and a free Government Erected upon their base; is the Sincere wish of every benevolent American whilst we implore this rich Blessing for them, we as Sincerely desire it, for our Allies the French, whose late adopted System of Moderation, has interested those Hearts in their favour, which sunk with horror, and recoild agast! whilst Terror was the order of the day, and as Milton expresses it,

[“]Where all life died, death live’d and Nature Bread Perverse, all monstrous, all Prodigious things Abominable, inutterable, and worse Than fables yet have feign’d, or fear conceive’d”1

ah where is the shade dark enough to draw over the dreadfull Scenes, to hide them from future generations, where the Leathean fount oblivious enough to wash them out?2

May that conquering Nation be restored to peace to order and happiness, by what form of Government, or by what means So desirable an event can be accomplishd; is in the Dark Bosom of futurity, and bafels the short sighted ken of Mortals, even in this enlightened Boastd Age of Reason.

We enjoy so great a share of tranquility throughout united America, that even the Subterraneous wind of Jacobinism has retired to its cavern and scarcly ruffels the Serenity of its Surface. The discussion of the Treaty between the united States, and great Britain, which is to commence on the 8th of June may possibly rouse Some lurking venom, but I would fain hope that our dangerous crisis has past, and that we are to enjoy Halcion Days;

In this state the only thing which threatned to agitate it, the revision of the constitution, has by a large Majority been considered as too delicate a matter to agitate in this age of renovation and they will not risk a substance, least they grasp a shadow—3


The Election for Representitives in Boston was not altogether what was wish’d by one Party or the other. Morten is out & Winthorp, Mason Tudor Eustice Jarvis Edwards Little & Goram are chosen, the first three by 19 hundred votes, the rest just came in, having better than 9 hundred votes—4

I hope You have received some of my Letters at least. I have written to you as often as I thought there was a probability of conveyance— The Secretary of state expresses his full satisfaction in Your Dispatches, and Says in a Letter to your Father “That he feels a sincere pleasure in announcing on all proper occasions, your attention penetration and fitness for your present functions.[”]5 he was also kind enough to assure us at an early period, that your instructions did not require You to incur the smallest personal danger—

our Friends here are well. tomorrow morning your Father and I sit out for Philadelphia. I shall remain at N york with your Sister. Mr Jay we are informd is undoubtedly Elected Govenour of N York— he is daily expected to arrive—

if I do not always write to Thomas, it is because you are both together, and will consider it as to each and share it, in common, as you do the Love and affection of / Your Mother

Abigail Adams

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by TBA: “Mrs: A Adams / 25 May 1795 / 29 July Recd / 30 Answd.”


John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II, lines 624–627.


In Greek mythology, the waters of the Lethe River were reputed to cause forgetfulness in those who drank from them ( OED ).


The Mass. Constitution of 1780 provided for a constitutional convention in 1795 should two thirds of eligible voters approve such a measure. The question was put to the people on 6 May, and while a simple majority of the electorate voted for a convention, the necessary total was not reached (Samuel Eliot Morison, “The Vote of Massachusetts on Summoning a Constitutional Convention, 1776–1916,” MHS, Procs., 3d ser., 50:246–247 [April 1917]).


AA was mistaken in naming John Winthrop Jr., who was not returned as a state representative. William Little was a Boston merchant, selectman, and fire warden ( Boston Directory, 1796, p. 69, 113; Mass., Acts and Laws, 1794–1795, p. 142, 460; Thwing Catalogue, MHi).


Edmund Randolph to JA, 2 April (Adams Papers).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 8 June 1795 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Philadelphia June 8. 1795

Through the finest Fields of Wheat Rye, Barley Oats and Clover, but very indifferent Roads We arrived on Saturday all well


The Senators to the Number of five or six and twenty are in Town and will meet in this Chamber at Eleven O Clock.

I can form no Judgment how long We shall sitt.

I congratulate you and all good People on the favourable decision of the Elections in New York which indicates a Change of sentiment very desirable in that state, and of great Importance to the Union.

We are told that Adet is arrived and De Letombe and that Dudley Rider is to take the Place of Hammond1

The State of Things in Paris arising from Scarcity and from Party is gloomy—but the Particulars you will see in the Papers.

Mr Swan was in my old Lodings but has very politely offered me the saloon as usual—2 He is thought here to have made a great Fortune and to be a very important Man— it is said he has been the most Successfull of any Man in getting his Vessells to Port.

The Want of Bread in France & England will raise flour to 20 Dollars a Barrell—it is now 15.

My Love to all the Family


RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “June 8th 1795.”


Pierre Auguste Adet (1763–1834), a French scientist, government official, and diplomat, served as minister to the United States from 1795 to 1796. Philippe André Joseph de Létombe had been recalled as French consul general in 1792 but was reappointed in 1795 (Jefferson, Papers, 28:459; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 1:34–35).

JA appears to have confused the brothers Dudley Ryder (1762–1847) and Richard Ryder (1766–1832), both British MPs. In early June 1795, newspapers in New York and then Philadelphia reported that Richard Ryder had been appointed minister plenipotentiary to the United States in place of the recalled George Hammond. Hammond, who departed the United States in August, was succeeded by Robert Liston in Feb. 1796 ( DNB ; New York Argus, 6 June 1795; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 9 June; New York Daily Advertiser, 18 Aug.).


Boston merchant James Swan, for whom see JA, Papers , 3:354, had gone to France in 1787 but returned to the United States in Feb. 1795 to negotiate a payment for the remaining U.S. debt to France ( DAB; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 24 Feb.; Madison, Papers, Congressional Series, 15:358).