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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


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Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0046

Author: Adams, Abigail
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1767-01-12

Abigail and John Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] Dear Sister

Mr. Etter was so good as to come this morning and inform me that his Sons would go to Salem tomorrow.1 By them I gladly embrace this Opportunity of inquiring after the welfare of you and your family. It has been a very long time since I heard any thing from you; the roads have been so block'd up with Snow here; that I assure you I have not been to Weymouth since mother came from Salem. They were all well to Day, father dined here, Sister Betsy had an ague in her face which has been very troublesome to her.—I immagine the Winter will seem very long to you, not being able to see your Friends from this way and scarcly to hear from them. They have all round made you a visit and retierd to their abideing places waiting, hopeing and Expecting that when the Spring returns, you will return their visits. Thus I reckon Febry., March, April, May, and then I hope to see you again in this Cottage of our own, where we have heretofore sat, and had sweet communion to get her. With what a painful pleasure do I recollect those hours of social chat? and how earnestly do I wish for the continuance of them? But alass where are they—fled “in the Dark backward, and abyss of time.”
How does our Dear Brother, how would the Sight of his Grave, Yet chearful countenance Gladen my Heart? And my Little Betsy, how does She. How every word and action of these little creatures, twines round ones heart? All their little pranks which would seem ridiculous to relate, are pleasing to a parent. How vex'd have I felt before now upon hearing parents to relate the chitt chat of little Miss, and Master { 58 } said or did such and such a queer thing—and this I have heard done by persons whose good Sense in other instances has not been doubted. This tho really a weakness I can now more easily forgive, but hope in company I shall not fall into the same error.
As for New's we have not any but what tis like you see in the publick papers, where A B and C are drawn up in Battle array against P &c. As for Domestick News, I mean such as family News, we have none, unless it would be so to tell you that we have 2 horses, 3 cows, 2 Yearlings, 20 Sheep, 1 cock and no hens. Mem' one peice and a material one I had like to have omitted, viz. that the camblet has been done these 3 weeks but how to get it to you now I know not. I shall send it to unkle Smiths as the likelyest way to find a conveyance. Dawson has damaged it something [ . . . ],2 for which I am very sorry, but if you want any thing for Strength I believe I may warrant this. Pray be so good as to write by Mr. Etters Sons how you and Brother, Betsy and all do? My good Man would send his Love to you all only he sets by reading news paper politicks, and is so taken up with them (being just come in) that he cannot think of better matters. He would take it as a favour if Mr. Cranch would write to him, for at all times it delights him to hear of your Health and happiness as much as it does Your Truly affectionate Sister,
[signed] Abigail Adams
P.S. I will send my Love. What care I for News Paper Politicks?—Since last May, my Heart has been at Ease. At Ease I say, and the Governor and all his Friends and Enemies together cant trouble it.3—What would I give to have Brother Cranch's long Visage along Side of my short one, with a Pipe in each, talking about this and that and 'tother?
da da yrs,
[signed] J.A.
RC (Goodspeed's Book Shop, Boston, 1956); addressed: “To Mrs. Mary Cranch Salem.” Postscript in JA 's hand. Cover has docketing notes in two hands, one of them perhaps that of Richard Cranch, the other later and unidentified.
1. Peter Etter Sr., a Swiss by birth, had settled in Pennsylvania but came to Braintree about 1750 as one of the entrepreneurs of the industrial establishment in the district still called Germantown. His own trade was stocking weaving. A staunch Anglican, he became a loyalist and left America with the British troops in 1776. See Jones, Loyalists of Mass. , p. 133–134; numerous references in JA's Diary and Autobiography ; and, for Etter's connection with Benjamin Franklin and Franklin's connection with the enterprises at Germantown, Franklin, Papers, ed. Labaree and Bell, 4:64–65.
2. MS apparently reads “rowe”; perhaps for “rowed,” meaning that a nap was raised on the cloth (see row, verb 7, in OED ).
3. On the contrary, JA was at this time intensely busy writing answers, under { 59 } various pseudonyms, for publication in the Boston Gazette, to Jonathan Sewall's “Philanthrop” articles defending Governor Bernard in the Boston Evening Post. His present denial is a deliberate blind. See JA, Diary and Autobiography , 1:326–332; also Works , 3:484–500.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0047

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1767-01-15

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Sister

Your kind letter I receiv'd to day and am greatly rejoiced to [hear] 1 you are all so well. I was very uneasy at not hearing from you, indeed my dear Sister the Winter never seem'd so tedious to me in the World. I daily count the days between this and the time I may probably see you. I could never feel so comfortable as I at present do, if I thought I should spend another Winter here. Indeed my Sister I cannot bear the thought of staying here so far from all my Friends if Mr. Cranch can do as well nigher. I would give a great deal only to know I was within Ten Miles of you if I could not see you. Our children will never seem so natural to each other as if they liv'd where they could see one another oftener.
Mr. Cranch has been very well for him all this Winter he has not had but one ill turn since mother return'd home. Betsy Dear creature longs to see her cousen, Gran-Papa and Mama, aunts and all the folks as She says. As for news as you say tis all in the papers but Ive not been able to see any but Fleets and Russels, and the latter you know is a neutarel; till the other day after a labourious inquiery, I obtain'd one of Edes and Gills a Sight here rare enough to cure sore Eyes as they say.2 I durst not hardly smile assent to any thing against P——p least I should be cudgel'd. They think it consistant with good manners to affront a person even at their own tables if they offer to say one Word against his E——y. I was not born to live among Slaves. Some think here that the Person Who pleads the cause of injured innocence is S–w–l, but We think it sounds more like a canting uncle of his in your neighbourhood.3
As to your domestick news, I believe I know a little more of it than you do, or else you have forgot. You say you have two horses, but you are mistaken my dear. One of them is a Mare, a poor lame hip'd spavell'd, one eye'd mare as I understand. You should have sent me word how the poor Jade did. Whither you were like to loose her or not.
Miss Sally Barnard and Higginson were married last Satterday night was a week.4 Mr. Barnard and Family, Mr. Jackson and Lady din'd here last Satturday and went to Newbury a monday.
{ 60 }
How does your new married Mother do.5 Does she begin to thrive upon it. My Love to her tell her I wish her a great deal of contentment. Im sorry to hear Sister has been so poorly I long to have keep her all Winter but I knew it was in vain to desire it and indeed I could not when I consider'd mother. Im glad to hear the camblet is done. Send it to Uncle Smiths and Ill send for it. O Sister that I could but have one hours chat with you before I go to bed how glad I should be. Mr. Cranch send[s] Love so does my little Betsy, but wonders how I can put it into the paper. Do let me see you put it in mama She says. I cant see it. What strang Ideas they have ours is the task to fix them right, that they may surpass thire mothers in every- [remainder missing]
RC (Adams Papers). Text incomplete; a second sheet is missing.
1. Word missing in MS .
2. Fleet's Boston Evening Post, a relatively conservative paper; Green & Russell's Boston Post Boy, politically neutral as Mrs. Cranch says; and Edes & Gill's Boston Gazette, organ of the Boston political radicals.
3. These allusions are to the current “Philanthrop” articles in the Evening Post by Jonathan Sewall laudatory of Governor Sir Francis Bernard. It is not easy to identify Sewall's “canting uncle” unless Col. Josiah Quincy of Braintree, uncle of Esther (Quincy) Sewall, is meant.
4. Sarah, daughter of Rev. Thomas Barnard of Salem, married Jonathan Jackson (1743–1810), and another Sarah, daughter of Stephen Higginson of Salem also, married John Lowell (1743–1802), both on 3 Jan., possibly in a double ceremony. Jackson and Lowell from youth had been very close friends and “for several years the two young men lived together as bachelors, Lowell engaged in the practice of law, and Jackson in commercial pursuits.” Both served in the Continental Congress and later became prominent Federalist politicians and JA 's close friends and correspondents. (Vital Records of Salem, Salem, 1916–1925, 3:80, 496; Currier, “Ould, Newbury, p. 564–565, 577–578; Biog. Dir. Cong. ; DAB , under Lowell.)
5. Susanna (Boylston) Adams married a second time, 3 Dec. 1766; her new husband was Lt. John Hall of Braintree. See Adams Genealogy.