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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9

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The Adams Papers

Series IISeries II
Adams Family Correspondence

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Adams Family Correspondence

Margaret A. Hogan, C. James Taylor,
Karen N. Barzilay, Hobson Woodward,
Mary T. Claffey, Robert F. Karachuk,
Sara B. Sikes, Gregg L. Lint
graphic here

Volume 9 • January 1790 – December 1793

The Belknap Press
of Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts
and London, England
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Out of the highest admiration
this volume
of the Adams Family Correspondence
is dedicated to
Hiller B. Zobel
in recognition of his fifty years as
an editor, advisor, and friend
of the Adams Papers.
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This edition of The Adams Papers
is sponsored by the
Massachusetts Historical Society
to which the Adams Manuscript Trust
by a deed of gift dated 4 April 1956
gave ultimate custody of the personal and public papers
written, accumulated, and preserved over a span of three centuries
by the Adams family of Massachusetts
graphic here
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The Adams Papers

Administrative Committee
Margery Adams
Charles Ames
Bernard Bailyn
Levin H. Campbell
W. Dean Eastman
Edward C. Johnson 3d
Caroline Keinath
Pauline Maier
Elizabeth Prindle
Alan Rogers
Hiller B. Zobel
Editorial Advisory Committee
Joyce O. Appleby
David Herbert Donald
Joseph J. Ellis
Linda K. Kerber
Thomas K. McCraw
Gordon S. Wood
The acorn and oakleaf device on the preceding page is redrawn from a seal cut for John Quincy Adams after 1830. The motto is from Cæcilius Statius as quoted by Cicero in the First Tusculan Disputation: Serit arbores quæ alteri seculo prosint (“He plants trees for the benefit of later generations”).
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[Note: for permissions reasons, not all illustrations from the letterpress volumes are available in this digital edition.]

Descriptive List of Illustrations

1, 2. George Washington and Martha Washington, by Edward Savage, 1790   5657  
On 6 April 1790, George Washington “Sat for Mr. Savage, at the request of the Vice-President, to have my Portrait drawn for him.” The artist, Edward Savage (1761–1817), executed a companion portrait of Martha Washington around the same time. He depicted the president in a navy and buff military uniform with gold epaulets and ruffled jabot, and the first lady in an elaborate fluted hat and intricately laced shawl.  
Although the circumstances of Savage's formal training are unknown, the technical detail of his compositions reflects the influence of John Singleton Copley. A similar portrait of George Washington painted by Savage and donated to Harvard University in 1790 is considered one of the best likenesses of the president. Savage later combined the portrait sketches for his well-received painting and engraving “The Washington Family.”  
Eleven days after the president sat for Savage, both images were completed and delivered to the Adamses. A receipt signed by Savage and endorsed by Abigail records the date: “Received New York the 17th of April 1790 of the Vice President of the U.S. forty six Dollars and 2/3ds for a portrait of the President of the U.S. & His Lady— Signed Edward Savage.” On display in the Adams family home in Quincy ever since, the paintings hang in the dining room of the Old House as part of the Adams National Historical Park's collection (Washington, Diaries, 6:57; Edmund Quincy, Life of Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts, Boston, 1867, p. 51; vol. 8:xvi–xvii, 381; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 4:286–289; Grove Dicy. of Art; Wilhelmina S. Harris, Furnishings Report of the Old House, The Adams National Historic Site, Quincy, Massachusetts, 10 vols., Quincy, 1966–1974, 2:242–244).  
Courtesy of the Adams National Historical Park.  
3. “View of Con—ss on the Road to Philadelphia,” 1790   79  
Writing to John Quincy Adams on 11 July 1790 (below), Abigail noted, “you will see by the publick papers that we are destined to Philadelphia, a Grievious affair to me I assure you, but so it is ordained—” The Residence Act, which established the permanent seat of government on the Potomac with a temporary residence in Philadelphia for ten years, was signed by George Washington five days later. After a seven-year debate, two lingering problems of the Revolution—the location of the capital and the financing of the war debt—were resolved.  
{ xii } Disagreement on these issues, which fell largely along sectional lines, reached a peak in the spring of 1790. Northerners and southerners alike wanted the permanent capital located close to home. In Congress, representatives and senators lobbied on behalf of their own cities and districts, many acting with blatant economic self-interest. With respect to the war debt, most northerners supported Alexander Hamilton's long-term funding plan—in particular, federal assumption of state obligations—as a means not only to strengthen the federal union but also to free their own states from crushing financial burdens. Southerners, however, widely feared assumption as an unconstitutional violation of states’ rights. Leaders in Congress and the Washington administration worked out a compromise whereby northerners gave sufficient support to pass the Residence Act on 16 July, and southerners did the same for the Funding Act, which the president signed into law on 9 August.  
Not surprisingly, the New York press criticized the decision to move the capital. The stinging “View of Con—ss on the Road to Philadelphia” was one of many opposition political cartoons sold on the streets of New York in early July. Captioned “What think ye of Con—ss now,” the print, by an anonymous engraver, shows Robert Morris leading Congress by the nose to the temporary seat in Philadelphia. Morris, who had extensive property interests on the Delaware River, had attempted to steer the permanent seat to Philadelphia but settled for a temporary placement there—no doubt assuming that, once situated, Congress would be difficult to move. As George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and others sought a compromise on the location of the capital, the temporary move to Philadelphia successfully secured the votes of Morris and his supporters (Kenneth R. Bowling, Creating the Federal City, 1774–1800: Potomac Fever, Washington, D.C., 1988, p. 61–78; Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan, A History of the National Capital, 2 vols., N.Y., 1914–1916, 1:30–31, 34–35, 42–43; Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, “The Financier as Senator: Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, 1789–1795,” in Kenneth R. Bowling and Donald R. Kennon, eds., Neither Separate nor Equal: Congress in the 1790s, Athens, Ohio, 2000, p. 104–108; First Fed. Cong., 5:713–937, 6:1767–1791).  
Courtesy of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  
4. “Bush Hill. the Seat of WM. Hamilton Esqr. Near Philadelphia,” by James Peller Malcom, 1787   111  
Arriving at the property of William Hamilton in November 1790, Abigail found that “Bush Hill is a very beautiful place. But the grand and sublime I left at Richmond Hill” (to AA2, 21 Nov., below). Located two miles outside of Philadelphia, the mansion was constructed about 1740 by William's grandfather Andrew Hamilton, a lawyer and architect. The house, which had stood unoccupied for many years, was still undergoing repairs and renovations when the family leased it. Abigail wrote later to her sister, “When I got to this place, I found this house just calculated to make the whole family sick; cold, damp, and wet with new paint.” Despite its { xiii } inconveniences, Abigail came to appreciate the home and reflected fondly on it as the family prepared to depart in the spring of 1791: “I shall have some regrets at leaving this place, just as the season begins to open all its beauties upon me” (to Elizabeth Smith Shaw, 20 March 1791, below; vol. 8:xv–xvi, 352).  
Bush Hill remained empty until the 1793 yellow fever outbreak when it was turned into a hospital. The once noble mansion became known as “a great human slaughter house, where numerous victims were immolated at the altar of riot and intemperance.” In an effort to improve the situation, citizens formed a committee to oversee the facility and the care of the infirm. In subsequent years, the Hamilton family converted the building to a tavern and resort. The mansion was demolished in 1875 to make way for new residences (J. H. Powell, Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793, Phila., 1949, p. 61, 143–144, 275; JA, D&A, 3:184; Thompson Westcott, The Historic Mansions and Buildings of Philadelphia, Phila., 1877, p. 417, 421–423; Mathew Carey, A Short Account of the Malignant Fever Lately Prevalent in Philadelphia, 4th rev. edn., Phila., 1794, p. 32, Evans, No. 35586).  
James Peller Malcom (1767–1815) produced this illustration for the December 1787 issue of the London Universal Magazine. Born in Philadelphia, Malcom (or Malcolm) trained at the Royal Academy in London and worked in England as a writer and engraver of noted technical skill (Universal Magazine, 81:361 [Dec. 1787]; DAB).  
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
5. Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams, Receipt of Appleton's Loan Certificate, 21 August 1792   197  
On 17 January 1790, Abigail Adams wrote to her uncle Cotton Tufts: “The little matter you have belonging to me I wish you to dispose of as you would of your own property to the best advantage by changing or selling according to your judgment” (below). The “little matter” was government bonds, in which Abigail had quietly invested since 1777. That year, she purchased her first federal bond, which paid her a 24 percent annual return for almost five years. Over the next fifteen years, Abigail continued to invest small portions of the family savings in the risky but profitable bond market. Abigail was keenly aware of the legal limits on female property ownership and enlisted her uncle and sons to complete transactions. In an effort to keep her activities private, she repeatedly requested that Cotton Tufts invest “in your own Name, giving me some memorandum that you hold in your Hands such an interest belonging to me” (2 Aug. 1790, below).  
Abigail and John, while complementary in many respects, were sharply divided over how to invest their modest income. John, who disdained “stock-jobbing” and speculation, preferred land. Abigail, who rarely criticized her husband to others, lamented to her sister Mary Cranch that she “never desired so much Land unless we could have lived upon it. the Money paid for useless land I would { xiv } have purchased publick Securities . . . but in these Ideas I have always been so unfortunate as to differ from my partner who thinks he never saved any thing but what he vested in Land” (10 Oct. 1790, below). After more than a decade of managing the farm and accounts on her own while John was in Philadelphia and Europe, Abigail was extremely reluctant to forfeit her control, particularly since she found greater success in the market than in managing tenants and their meager crops.  
On 4 August 1790, Congress passed the Funding Act providing for the assumption of state debt by the federal government. Under this legislation, the government converted 90 percent of each Massachusetts bond holder's securities into federal bonds, with the balance covered by the state. By the time Abigail converted her Massachusetts bonds into federal securities on 21 August 1792, their market value had appreciated considerably. Cotton Tufts signed the receipt as “Trustee to Mrs. Abigl. Adams” (Woody Holton, “Abigail Adams, Bond Speculator,” WMQ, 3d series, 64:821–838 [Oct. 2007]).  
Courtesy of the Adams Papers.  
6. “Tom Paine's Nightly Pest,” by James Gillray, 1792   285  
Thomas Paine responded to criticism of his Rights of Man with a second volume in 1792. Using the American government as a model, Rights of Man, Part II, employed economic reasoning to argue for the financial efficacy of a democratic republic over a monarchy. Experiencing the reaction in England firsthand, Abigail Adams Smith wrote to her father that Part II “has been stiled in the House of Commons an Infamous Libell upon the Constitution” (7 May 1792, below). Paine was indeed charged with sedition and answered a court summons on 8 June 1792, but his trial was postponed to 18 December.  
In “Tom Paine's Nightly Pest,” noted satirist James Gillray (1757–1815) alludes to Paine's upcoming trial. Three faceless judges haunt Paine as he sleeps and proclaim the charges against him: “Libels / Scurrilities / Falshoods / Perjuries / Rebellions / Treasons.” The scales of justice hang in the balance. Despite the “Guardian Angels” of Charles James Fox and Joseph Priestley gracing Paine's headboard, the verdict is pronounced that those who “mix in treason” are “sure to die like dogs!” An imp hurriedly escaping out a window draped with fleur-de-lis patterned curtains symbolizes Paine's flight from Britain to France just prior to his trial.  
Tried in absentia, Paine was defended by Thomas Erskine, attorney general to the Prince of Wales, who offered a four-hour argument for the freedom of the press. But the prosecution, as John informed Abigail, “was pleased to quote large Passages from Publicola, with Some handsome Compliments: so that Publicola is become a Law Authority” (27 Feb. 1793, below). A reputedly stacked jury promptly ruled in favor of the prosecution, and Paine was ordered to be hanged if captured. He spent the rest of his life in France and the United States (Craig Nelson, Thomas Paine: { xv } Enlightenment,Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations, N.Y., 2006, p. 216, 219, 245–246; DNB; Richard Godfrey, James Gillray: The Art of Caricature, London, 2001, p. 101–102).  
Courtesy of the British Museum.  
7. “Journée du 10 Aoûst 1792 au Château Des Thuillerie,” by Madame Jourdan, CA. 1792   307  
Abigail Adams Smith sailed with her husband and two sons to London in the spring of 1792 and for the next ten months kept the Adams family apprised of the revolution in France. Declaring that “the accounts from Paris are shocking to every humane mind, and too dreadful to relate,” Nabby enclosed newspapers to tell the story and warned her mother not to assume that the English press “exaggerate in their accounts;. . . I fear they do not, for I saw, on Sunday last, a lady who was in Paris on the 10th of August, and she heard and saw scenes as shocking as are related by any of them; they seem to have refined upon the cruelties of the savages” (13 Sept. 1792, below).  
After two years of intermittent violence and plodding progress toward building a republic, the revolutionary spirit in France reached a boiling point in the summer of 1792, culminating in the siege of the Tuileries Palace and the launch of the Terror. On 10 August, spurred by leaders from the Jacobin Club, National Guard soldiers, joined by fédérés—armed volunteers from the provinces—and Parisian citizens, marched over the bridges crossing the Seine to attack the palace. Within hours, “the justice of the people displayed itself in all its horror.” Upon the capitulation of the guard, the mob murdered several hundred people, including the palace domestic service and groups of men loyal to the crown. Soldiers attempting to escape were hunted down in the streets of Paris and killed. Following the arrest of the royal family, “the mob in their fury seemed determined to destroy every vestige of Royalty.” Just a week later, a guillotine was set up in front of the palace, foreshadowing the larger massacres to come with the Reign of Terror (Philadelphia National Gazette, 10 Nov.; New York Daily Advertiser, 1 Oct.).  
The siege was quickly immortalized in artwork as a symbol of the defeat of the monarchy. Madame Jourdan's engraving, after G. Texier's painting, shows the victorious National Guard executing some Swiss soldiers while driving others to fling themselves from the second-story windows. Commoners carrying pikes, at right, include two women ready for battle.  
The Adamses shared their horror at the reports of riots and mob violence. Thomas Boylston lamented to his father that “the dreadful scenes . . . has excited terrors even in the breasts of the warmest enthousiasts for Revolution” (30 Oct. 1792, below). Abigail, who counted friends among some of the early leaders of the Revolution, remarked to John, “when I read citizen President, & citizens Equality, I cannot help feeling a mixture of Pitty and contempt for the Hypocrisy I know they are practising and for the Tyranny they { xvi } are Executing” (2 Jan. 1793, below; Bosher, French Rev., p. xix, 168–179; Schama, Citizens, p. 611–619).  
Courtesy of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.  
8. “High Street, From Ninth Street. Philadelphia,” by William Russell Birch and Thomas Birch, 1799   327  
When John Adams returned to Philadelphia by himself in 1792, rather than live in a boardinghouse he decided to stay at the home of Abigail's cousins Samuel Alleyne and Mary Smith Gray Otis. While John was well accommodated at their residence, he missed Abigail and told her that he was “So little pleased with living alone at any Lodgings, that this shall be the last time” (to AA, 7 Dec., below). Nevertheless, he stayed with the Otises again the following winter. Abigail would not join him in Philadelphia until 1797 when they moved into the president's mansion (JA, D&A, 3:229; JA to AA, 1 Dec. 1793, below).  
The Otises’ home was located at 198 High Street, across the street from the president's house and just a few blocks from Congress. High Street was commonly known as Market Street because of the prevalence of open-air markets, and in this engraving, the cupola of the market shed between Third and Fourth Streets is just visible in the distance. Artist William Russell Birch (1755–1834) captures the Otises’ neighborhood with “the street-scenes all accurate as they now stand,” including a detachment of the First City Troop, a mounted military unit organized to defend the city.  
“High Street” is part of a series of 27 views that represent Philadelphia at the turn of the nineteenth century—an ode to urban life and a celebration of city commerce. Already an established miniature artist, William, with his son Thomas (1779–1851), also a painter, arrived in America from England in 1794 and began a series of sketches reflecting “the eminence of an opulent city.” Funded via a subscription campaign, the prints were a substantial investment at $28 for an unbound set and $44.50 for a bound and hand-colored edition (Philadelphia Directory, 1793, Evans, No. 25585; Agnes Addison Gilchrist, “Market Houses in High Street,” Amer. Philos. Soc., Trans., 43:304, 310 [1953]; DAB; William R. Birch and Thomas Birch, The City of Philadelphia, in the state of Pennsylvania North America, Phila., 1800, repr. edn., Phila., 1982).  
Courtesy of the Print and Picture Collection, The Free Library of Philadelphia.  
9, 10. Louis XVI, by Joseph ducreux, 1793, and “La Reine Marie-Antoinette en Habit de Veuve à La Prison de la Conciergerie,” by Alexandre Kucharski, 1793   392393  
In April 1793, when early reports in the American press indicated that Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had been executed, Thomas Boylston Adams wrote to his father, “Since the Execution of the King & Queen nothing can be thought too mad or extravagant for the National Convention to commit, and the conjecture is not { xvii } unfair that the Royal Family is e're this extinct” (7 April 1793, below). Although the king was dead, it would still be several months until Marie Antoinette's execution. Like many Americans, the Adamses opposed the fate of the French royal family. Charles Adams wrote to John in May that “most Americans are friends to the Revolution of France however they may view with horror the enormities which have been committed” (10 May 1793, below). Abigail's sister Elizabeth Smith Shaw mourned the king in a letter to Mary Smith Cranch: “I am sure you could not read the fate of his unhappy Family without tender regret— It was his misfortune, & seems to be his only crime that he was born, & a King at this particular period of time” (21 April 1793, below).  
After their arrest on 10 August 1792, the royal family was removed to the medieval Temple Prison for several months. At first, the family was housed on two floors and allowed a staff of fourteen. The king and queen were provided with books, the children with toys, and they even enjoyed walks in the gardens. But on 3 December, the National Convention brought charges against Louis XVI for “conspiracy against the liberty of the nation.” In mid-January 1793, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. The portraitist Joseph Ducreux (1735–1802) visited the king in prison several days before his execution by guillotine on 21 January. Avoiding the flattering angles and smooth lines favored by court painters, Ducreux captured him in a charcoal drawing as “Citizen Capet,” wearing a simple coat.  
Marie Antoinette remained in the Temple until 2 August when she was taken to the notorious Conciergerie. In early summer, the Committee of Public Safety had undergone a turnover in leadership, and the new regime was determined to see the “Widow Capet” to the guillotine. Labelled by her accusers the “scourge and blood sucker of the French,” Marie Antoinette was tried in October in the midst of the Terror. She faced charges ranging from causing a famine in Paris and destroying the “energy” of the constitution to being the “authoress of all those reverses of fortune” of the republic's armies. During this time one of the queen's favorite painters, Alexandre Kucharski (1741–1819), stole into the Conciergerie to visit her. Kucharski later painted her from memory, showing a woman with a sunken face wearing a widow's black headdress. Like the portrait of Louis XVI, this painting captures the stark resignation of its subject as Marie Antoinette awaited her execution on 16 October (Bosher, French Rev., p. xix–xxi, 168–183; Charles Downer Hazen, Modern European History, N.Y., 1917, p. 122–124; David P. Jordan, The King's Trial: Louis XVI vs. The French Revolution, Berkeley, Calif., 1979, p. 83; Schama, Citizens, p. 653–663, 795–796; The Trial of Louis XVI Late King of France, and Marie Antoinette, His Queen, Lansingburgh, N.Y., 1794, Evans, No. 47100; Caroline Weber, Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, N.Y., 2006, p. 271–272).  
Courtesy of Musée Carnavalet / Roger-Viollet, and Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, New York.  
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Volume 9 of the Adams Family Correspondence covers an eventful four years in the life of the Adams family and in the history of the United States. Spanning the period from 1790 through 1793, these letters chronicle the early years of the federal government under the Constitution, including such milestones as the funding of the national debt and the assumption of state debts, the choice of a permanent site for the government, the creation of a national bank, the reestablishment of an army, and the election of 1792. In the background, the French Revolution influenced ongoing debates about the nature of democracy and inflamed tensions among political factions, which would soon develop into full-fledged political parties.
For the family itself, these years concluded the transition of the second generation of Adamses from children to adults. The youngest, Thomas Boylston, completed his schooling at Harvard, and all three brothers finished their legal training and embarked on careers as lawyers. The eldest son, John Quincy, began his political career, appropriately enough in Boston and Braintree, where he lobbied successfully for the incorporation of the town of Quincy, and began to publish his writings under a variety of pseudonyms. Daughter Abigail Adams Smith continued to raise her first two sons and gave birth to another, Thomas Hollis Smith, who lived less than a year. John and Abigail meanwhile settled uncomfortably into their roles as vice president and second lady of the nation. John found his work onerous and unsatisfying, while Abigail, troubled with ill health, eventually retreated to Braintree to escape the social whirlwind in successive capital cities.
Unlike previous volumes in the Family Correspondence series, which predominantly feature either letters between Abigail and John or those among Abigail and her sisters, this volume moves the younger generation front and center, with a particular emphasis on the correspondence of the three Adams sons, John Quincy, Charles, { xx } and Thomas Boylston, among themselves and with their parents and sister, Abigail (Nabby) Adams Smith. In general, this is a period of relative scarcity of letters for the Adams family—from over four years, a mere 360 are extant, of which 289 are published here. As usual, Abigail Adams remains the most prominent author, having written 87 letters (30 percent) in the book. John Adams accounts for another 64 (22 percent), and the three sons for 78 (27 percent) more. The latter half of the volume is a virtual round-robin among the three sons and their parents, with occasional additions by Nabby, Elizabeth Smith Shaw, and a handful of others. With fewer letters among Abigail and her sisters, the focus of the correspondence is less on domestic matters and more on national and international events, though Abigail's efforts to manage her various homes remain a topic of concern.

1. Affairs of State

The year 1789 marked John Adams’ return to the American political scene. For the previous decade, he and his family had been on the periphery of the U.S. government—deeply involved in its diplomatic affairs, no doubt, but physically removed from its actual operations. At a distance, they worried about what Congress was doing (or, equally often, not doing) and considered how best to reform the government to better serve the nation's needs. They missed the debates over the Constitution while in Europe, though that did not stop them from commenting on the results or speculating on revisions. John, in particular, had reservations but indicated that he was “clear for accepting the present Plan as it is and trying the Experiment.”1
Now, in the early 1790s, John and Abigail found themselves at the center again, discovering all that had changed in America in the years following the Revolution and realizing that it was not always to their liking. John's role as vice president—what he called “the most insignificant Office that ever the Invention of Man contrived or his Imagination conceived”—limited him to presiding over the Senate and casting the occasional tie-breaking vote. Nonetheless, he filled the position faithfully. Abigail reported to her sister Mary Cranch that John “has not mist one hour from attendance at Congress. he goes from Home at ten and seldom gets back till four, and { xxi } 5 hours constant sitting in a day for six months together, (for He can not leave his Chair) is pretty tight service.” Worse yet, he had to read bills and listen to debates without interjecting or offering his own views on the matters at hand—frustrating service indeed for an opinionated man like John.2
Meanwhile, Abigail shared hostessing duties with the other leading ladies of the government: Martha Washington, of course, but also Sarah Jay, Lucy Flucker Knox, and even Lady Elizabeth Temple, wife of British consul general Sir John Temple. Hosting dinners and entertaining visitors were integral parts of Abigail's role in the capital, and they took up much of her time and energy. At one point, she reported to her son John Quincy, “we have regularly dined from 16 to 18 and sometimes 20 person every wednesday in the week Since I removed into Town, and on Mondays I see company. the rest of the week is or might be altogether taken up in Par[ties] abroad.” Only her poor health gave her an excuse to step back from the endless series of social obligations.3
The Adamses had a warm relationship with George and Martha Washington, which made the intense social and political environment more palatable. Abigail “lived in habits of intimacy and Friendship” with Martha, taking excursions with her outside New York City and enjoying their mutual interest in grandchildren. They dined at one another's homes when in the same town and corresponded when apart. Martha invited Abigail's niece Louisa Smith to join her grandchildren for dancing lessons. George made certain that Abigail had the place of honor at Martha's levees, “always at the right hand of Mrs W.” And Abigail as usual extolled George Washington, finding him “polite with dignity, affable without familiarity, distant without Haughtyness, Grave without Austerity, Modest, Wise, & Good.”4
Abigail was shrewd enough, however, to recognize that if Washington “was not really one of the best intentiond Men in the world he might be a very dangerous one.” His stature was critical to the stability of the new government, but this situation gave him a worrisome amount of power. When he became gravely ill in the late spring of 1790, Abigail agonized that “the union of the states, and concequently the permanancy of the Government depend under { xxii } Providence upon his Life. at this early day when neither our Finances are arranged nor our Government Sufficiently cemeted to promise duration, His death would I fear have had most disasterous Consequences.” Her fears were not only for the nation. If Washington died, John would succeed him—a situation Abigail dreaded. “Most assuredly,” she wrote to her sister, “I do not wish for the highest Post. I never before realizd what I might be calld to, and the apprehension of it only for a few days greatly distresst me.”5
All of the Adamses were engrossed by the political affairs of the United States and closely followed state and national events. Abigail attended sessions of Congress herself and learned much about behind-the-scenes maneuvers through socializing with legislators and administration officials. Family members batted back and forth their opinions on such issues as the representation debate, Alexander Hamilton's funding plan, the war with Native Americans in the Ohio Country, and the impact of financial speculation, though they generally found themselves on common ground. They kept abreast of news of their home state as well, watching with interest local elections and the doings of the Massachusetts General Court. With Charles in New York and John Quincy in Boston, the family had eyes and ears in three of the country's major cities, and Thomas Boylston was expected to report events from Philadelphia whenever John and Abigail were not in residence.6
The Adamses also read the newspapers avidly. Ever more important in shaping the political debates of the period, the press of the early republic made no claims to objectivity but rather gave voice to different political factions. Like others, the Adams family deplored the vitriolic (sometimes even libelous) tone of many newspapers but had no difficulty endorsing papers that supported their own views. The Adamses were equally happy to take aim at any newspapers that did not adhere to their political agenda. Abigail condemned Benjamin Edes’ Boston Gazette as a “fountain of Sedition”; John Quincy, decrying the inaccurate representations of popular opinion generated by “the paltry malevolence of a few contemptible scribblers in our News papers,” singled out Philip Freneau's National Gazette as “virulent and abusive.” The Adamses canceled their subscriptions to Boston papers that they considered too Antifederalist, such as the { xxiii } Independent Chronicle and the Herald of Freedom. Nonetheless, they kept tabs on what was being written and routinely recommended to one another items of interest.7
The increasing factionalism that both fed on and nourished newspaper polemics transformed the political landscape. Differences in ideology came to be identified with organized parties, which in turn promoted an us-versus-them mentality that hardened those differences. The Adamses were not immune to these divisions and held their own views as strongly as any partisan. But they did lament how such fights cheapened the political process. Abigail agonized that “the more I see of Mankind, and of their views and designs, (the more Sick I am of publick Life) and the less worthy do they appear to me, and the less deserving of the Sacrifices which Honest men make to serve them.” Regional differences only magnified these disagreements. Following the congressional debates over Hamilton's funding system, Abigail noted to her sister Mary, “I firmly believe if I live Ten years longer, I shall see a devision of the Southern & Northern states, unless more candour & less intrigue, of which I have no hopes, should prevail.” Charles, likewise, found “too much local partiality in the administration of our Government.”8
One of the earliest manifestations of political parties was in the presidential and congressional elections of 1792. John, of course, did not “run” for reelection; he allowed his name to be put forward. Even in this evolving political landscape, candidates did not actively campaign but rather allowed surrogates to promote their interests through the press and through personal connections. John professed indifference to the outcome, telling Nabby that he was “more anxious to get out of public life than to continue in,” but fooled no one in his desire to continue as vice president. Members of the Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties lobbied for their candidates—John Adams and George Clinton, respectively—but managed to maintain a certain level of civility. John reported, “We, indeed, have our parties and our sophistry, and our rivalries, but they proceed not to violence. The elections are going on in New-England with a spirit of sobriety and moderation, which will do us honour; { xxiv } and, I have not heard of any thing more intemperate than might be expected, in the southward or middle states.”9
John's sanguine attitude, however, proved premature and understated the divisiveness of the election. Thomas Boylston in the fall of 1792 begged John to come to Philadelphia as soon as possible. “’Tis said to be your happy fate,” he wrote, “to be the most obnoxious character in the United States, to a certain party, (whose hatred & opposition is the glory of every honest man) who for a long time have considered you as the first barrier to be removed in order to the success of their designs.” John too found “Stories of Marches and Countermarches Intrigues and Manœuvres” when he arrived in New York City en route to Philadelphia. Because the Democratic-Republicans knew that they had no chance of unseating Washington, they had instead made John Adams their primary target.10
The results of the election remained uncertain throughout the fall. John counted votes, warning Abigail that “I am told that an unanimous Vote will be for me in Vermont New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island. This is generally expected, but I know full well the Uncertainty of Such Things, and am prepared to meet an Unanimous Vote against me.” He had low expectations for taking any of the southern states. In the end he won decisively, receiving 77 electoral votes to Clinton's 50. On 5 December, the day the votes were cast, John wrote to Abigail, “This Day decides whether I shall be a Farmer or a Statesman after next March.” The country had decided that he should remain a statesman a few years longer.11

2. The Home Front

Abigail's ultimate response to the political bickering and the social bustle surrounding the federal government was to remove herself from the scene. She had dutifully followed John first to New York, then to Philadelphia when it became the capital in the fall of 1790. In the spring of 1792, she and John went home for the summer to Quincy—now split off from Braintree as a separate town—as they had done the previous year. That fall, when John returned to Philadelphia, Abigail remained in Massachusetts. Poor health spurred the initial decision: Abigail, suffering from rheumatism and the { xxv } residual effects of malaria, was too ill to travel. Philadelphia's unhealthy climate—including a major yellow fever epidemic in 1793—also encouraged her to stay away. Abigail ultimately decided to make the arrangement permanent for the remainder of John's vice presidency. She and John contented themselves with summers together, which afforded them more time in the same place than they had had for much of their marriage. Abigail's choice to remain in Quincy stemmed from various factors. It moved her closer to her sisters and extended family. It spared her the limelight of Philadelphia society, where she had to be on her guard socially and politically. It allowed her to enjoy the quieter pleasures of life in Quincy. And it freed her to run her own household and manage the family's properties directly rather than through agents and surrogates (most notably, Cotton Tufts, Mary Cranch, and John Quincy Adams).
In all the places she lived, Abigail faced the usual difficulties in managing her household, including high prices, obstreperous servants, and continual maintenance problems. When Abigail and John arrived at Bush Hill, the house they initially rented on the outskirts of Philadelphia, they found “the workmen there with their brushes in hand. This was cold comfort in a house, where I suppose no fire had been kindled for several years. . . . What confusion! Boxes, barrels, chairs, tables, trunks, &c.; every thing to be arranged, and few hands to accomplish it.” Another house, rented the second year in Philadelphia, had “Rooms so small and not able to lay two together, [which] renders it very troublesome to see so much company as we must be obliged to.” Even worse, Abigail struggled to find adequate servants: “I brought all my servants from N york, cook excepted and, thought I could not be worse of than I had been. I have had in the course of 18 months Seven, and I firmly believe in the whole Number, not a virtuous woman amongst them all; the most of them drunkards.” One was “so indecent, that footman Coachman & all were driven out of the House.” She sent a stream of pleas to Mary Cranch in Braintree to find her better help, preferring good, reliable people from Massachusetts to what she considered the lazy and immoral servants in New York, “all Foreigners & chiefly vagabonds.”12
Running the household included making financial decisions, both day-to-day and long-term. Abigail as always was deeply engaged in { xxvi } investing the Adamses’ money. Unlike John, she had no interest in land and preferred securities, which she believed would be “less troublesome to take charge of then Land and much more productive, but in these Ideas I have always been so unfortunate as to differ from my partner who thinks he never saved any thing but what he vested in Land.” John's love of land obliged Abigail and her main agent in Braintree, Cotton Tufts, to spend much of their time searching out adequate tenants to farm these properties and care for the houses. Few tenants lived up to their exacting standards, and Abigail and John had difficulty profiting from their landholdings. Abigail was more successful with her own investments in bonds and loan certificates, making handsome profits for the family through shrewd purchases and timely sales, with the assistance of a federal economic policy (supported by her husband) that funded war bonds at par, regardless of the price at which a speculator had acquired them. Tufts handled most of the transactions for Abigail because she, as a woman, could not make them directly. Conscious of her image in the political world, Abigail also attempted to keep these dealings anonymous.13
Despite Abigail's success with investing, the Adamses’ day-to-day finances remained precarious. John's salary for the vice presidency, $5,000 per year, was not sufficient to maintain two residences, one in the capital and one at home in Massachusetts, and the situation only grew worse, first with the government's move to Philadelphia and later with rapid inflation striking the American economy and undercutting his salary's value. In 1790 and 1791, Abigail missed Braintree and wished to return there more frequently, but “reasons, not of state, but of purse” prevented it. She complained that Congress refused to increase John's salary and forced him “to remove twice at his own expence in the course of two years—and to a city where the expence of living is a third dearer than at N york.” The need to support their children further taxed John and Abigail's resources. Nonetheless, they never reached the point of true want and, despite their complaints, found means enough to live in style and to give to those less fortunate.14
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Abigail, when absent from Quincy, remained deeply concerned with the goings-on and well-being of her neighbors and friends in the area. She welcomed news of marriages, births, and deaths in town as well as word of who had moved in and who had moved out. She made a point of ensuring that the indigent Mary Palmer, who stayed at the Old House during the winter of 1790, received “a couple of loads of wood” to help with the heating. After Palmer's death, Abigail insisted that Palmer's two daughters, Polly and Elizabeth, remain in the house rent free until they made alternative arrangements. She gave small gifts to various poor widows and tried to quietly assist her sister Mary Cranch when she struggled owing to her husband Richard's ill health. These acts of generosity helped Abigail to keep close to the Braintree community, even when she was away, and allowed her to fulfill her sense of obligation to give back for the many blessings that she had received in her life.15

3. Young Lawyers and Growing Families

During these initial years of the early republic, the three Adams sons all attempted to establish themselves in the legal profession. John Quincy was the first to complete his apprenticeship, with Theophilus Parsons in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and receive admission to the bar. He moved in the summer of 1790 to Boston where he set up office in the Adams family's Court Street house while boarding with his mother's cousins Dr. Thomas and Abigail Welsh. There John Quincy continued to study and slowly began to take cases. Arguing his first lawsuit in October 1790, he felt that he “was too much agitated to be possessed of proper presence of mind” and lost to the respected Harrison Gray Otis. Nevertheless, his practice grew, as did his political standing. On his father's advice, he began to attend the Boston town meeting, where he was eventually invited to sit on a committee advocating reform of the police. He also played an active role in support of the incorporation of a new town—Quincy—out of certain districts in Braintree. His writings under various pseudonyms put him at the center of debates regarding Thomas Paine's Rights of Man and the French Revolution.16
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Charles too had a budding legal career, apprenticing with John Laurance in New York City and later working with Robert Troup. Having previously caused the family some concern due to questionable acquaintances and occasional inappropriate behavior while at Harvard, he was now settling down well. Even John, who was rarely generous with his praise, noted that “Charles is uncommonly assiduous in his office, and very attentive to his studies. He is acquiring [a] Reputation for the Ease and Elegance of his manners as well as for the solidity of his Pursuits.” Charles passed his examinations in the summer 1792 and set up his own office in Hanover Square, right in the heart of the city. By December he had argued and won his first case and seemed well on the way to a successful career.17
Thomas Boylston, who graduated from Harvard in the summer of 1790, quickly joined his parents in New York and in the fall of the same year moved with them to Philadelphia. It was not always clear that he would pursue the law like his father and older brothers (his mother and John Quincy thought he might be better suited to business), but he decided in the end to go that route, though Abigail speculated it was “rather from necessity than inclination.” He went to work in the office of Jared Ingersoll and, after initial delays due to ill health, made good progress. He also became John and Abigail's agent in Philadelphia during the periods when they were staying in Braintree, making arrangements for their housing and organizing the paperwork necessary for John to receive his salary. By late 1793, Thomas Boylston too had passed the bar, in Pennsylvania, and declared himself ready “to undertake the cause of the oppressed, & attempt to render justice to him that is wronged.”18
John was proud of his sons but could not restrain himself from offering advice—in large quantities, usually unsolicited—on appropriate readings, study techniques, managing a law office, and other “tricks of the trade” for his young lawyers. He counseled them “to make yourself Master of the Roman Learning” and to make “Love of study an increasing Passion.” Still, he was sympathetic to the difficulty of building a practice and recommended patience. To John Quincy he noted, “You must expect an Interval of Leisure, and Ennui.” He later reiterated, “Some odd incident, altogether unforeseen and unexpected, will very probably bring you into some popular { xxix } Cause, and Spread your Character with a thousand Trumpetts at a time. Such a Thing may not happen however in several years. meantime Patience Courage.” John knew from personal experience that a young lawyer starting out in Boston would struggle to compete against more experienced attorneys and that John Quincy would need to allow his business to build slowly.19
The brothers likewise provided encouragement to one another, particularly to John Quincy, who found the transition especially stressful. Prone to worry and depression, he agonized over his prospects and his failure to find immediate success, even as he acknowledged that he could “have but little expectations at present from business.” When Charles received John Quincy's report on his first case, Charles noted that “the person who is unintimidated upon such occasions has not the common feelings of human nature.” He found it no surprise that John Quincy should be bested by a more experienced lawyer or that he might need to practice his public-speaking skills. But Charles believed John Quincy's greatest obstacle was his own attitude: “I cannot conclude,” Charles wrote, “without wishing you could persuade yourself to take the world a little more fair and easy I am confident you raise hills in your imagination more difficult to ascend than you will in reality find them. May you have great fortitude and a more peaceful mind is the wish of your brother.” Charles knew that he would have to walk the same “anxious path. . . . A prospect is before me not less clouded than yours.” But he seemed better able to face the stress of the situation—or, if he suffered from such anxiety, was unwilling to commit those thoughts to paper.20
Of course, life was not only work for the three sons. All had active social lives, attending assemblies and dances, weddings, ordinations, and even a balloon launch. Thomas Boylston developed a rapport with a circle of Quakers in Philadelphia, while Charles, in New York, came to know Nabby's in-laws, the Smiths, and the company of young men surrounding Baron von Steuben. The brothers made visits, as time allowed, to one another as well as to their parents in Braintree and Philadelphia.
Naturally, some of this socializing led to romance. During his time in Newburyport, John Quincy had become involved with Mary Frazier, a young woman from the area. Unprepared to make a { xxx } commitment to her, John Quincy nonetheless felt “a total impossibility to help myself” from the strength of his feelings for her. Consequently, he determined, “I am more than ever convinced of the absolute necessity for me, to leave this town very soon” to escape the situation. Charles met his future wife, Sarah Smith, while socializing with his sister Nabby's in-laws in New York. Sarah, one of William Stephens Smith's younger sisters, had evidently caught his eye by early 1792. The relationship progressed sufficiently to excite the concern of Nabby, who tried to remove Sarah from the scene by bringing her with the Smiths to England. Sarah's mother objected “because she would not go free and unbiassed in her mind,” and little more was said on the subject for the time being.21
Not surprisingly, the Adams parents had thoughts on such relationships. Abigail especially counseled her sons to avoid early marriage.22 Nabby too suggested that John Quincy ought to wait: “I could wish to see you a few years further advanced in Life before you engage in a Connection which if you form at present must impede your progress and advancement.” John Quincy tried to reassure both mother and sister that he had no intention of moving hastily toward gaining a wife he felt unable to support without his parents’ assistance: “You may rest assured, my dear Madam, that I am as resolutely determined never to connect a woman to desperate Fortunes, as I am never to be indebted to a woman for wealth.” While his interest in Mary Frazier continued for several years—he did not absolutely break off the relationship until he was on the verge of leaving for Europe in 1794—John Quincy held to his resolve not to act upon his feelings and remained unattached. Likewise, Charles and Sarah Smith waited until 1795 before they finally married.23
Meanwhile, daughter Nabby was attending to her growing family and her husband's career, which faced its own challenges. William Stephens Smith had hoped to receive a diplomatic appointment { xxxi } before he and Nabby left Great Britain in the spring of 1788. When that opportunity failed to materialize, they returned to his home in New York to build their family and pursue other options. In the fall of 1789, Smith was made marshal for the district of New York, not an especially remunerative job. The Adams family as a whole took this situation amiss, believing that Smith was being penalized for his connection to the Adamses. Abigail considered him “poorly provided for in the distribution of offices,” and Smith himself described his situation as “Mortifying.”24
In an effort to improve his financial circumstances, Smith embarked on a “sudden and unexpected” trip to England in December 1790, in part to collect some debts owed to his father's estate and also to assist in a speculative venture organized by Richard Platt. This left Nabby alone in New York with her children, including young Thomas Hollis Smith, born the previous August. She felt the separation keenly, especially with her parents now removed to Philadelphia. She lamented to a cousin, “the absence of my Husband—leaves a blank in my mind which may be alleviated in some degree by the Kind attentions of my friends; but which nothing can fill up.” She also worried about her children's development, fearing that she lacked the “firmness and authority” necessary to train them properly and declaring their education “a task which I feel myself incompetant to the proper performance of.” Smith returned in June 1791, having been offered a more lucrative public position, supervisor of revenue for the New York district.25
In March 1792, however, the whole Smith family traveled to England to allow Smith to try to make a greater fortune through “advantageous private contracts.” He had resigned his position as supervisor of revenue, believing he could do better outside the public sphere and frustrated by what he considered inadequate regard for his earlier sacrifices for the country. He proved successful in this latest venture and was able to bring his family home again by early 1793 with ready means. Smith relished the freedom this newfound wealth provided him: “I feel myself in a great measure independent { xxxii } of the smiles or frowns of Courtiers, which I am grevied to find our Capital abounds, with.” He was pleased to no longer be reliant on public offices to maintain his status or provide for his family.26
Despite this success, the Adamses had reservations about Smith. John complained that he had returned from England “almost a Revolutionist” and that Nabby's “Adventurer of an Husband is so proud of his Wealth that he would not let her go I suppose without a Coach and four.” He felt compelled to warn Smith against boastfulness. But John also found Smith “clever and agreable:. . . I wish . . . that my Boys had a little more of his Activity.” Despite the Adamses’ initial pleasure at their daughter's match, they had begun to exhibit a pattern of concern that in time would only increase.27
The Smiths, however, provided one unmistakable joy for the family: grandchildren. Abigail and John reveled in their roles as grandparents. For the Adamses, one of the most difficult aspects of the government's relocation from New York to Philadelphia was that it separated Abigail from Nabby and her children. Abigail, while still in New York, could barely tolerate their short absences to visit Nabby's in-laws on Long Island: “the House really felt so lonely after [ma]ster william went, that I sent for him back yesterday.” Moving a hundred miles away was infinitely more difficult. For a time, the Smith's middle child, John Adams Smith, stayed with the Adamses in Philadelphia, and both grandparents had a wonderful time doting on him. Abigail informed Nabby that “Every day, after dinner, he sets his grandpapa to draw him about in a chair, which is generally done for half an hour, to the derangement of my carpet and the amusement of his grandpapa.” Abigail revealed her feelings for her grandchildren when she wrote to her sister Mary Cranch, who had recently become a grandmother for the first time. Abigail asked, “Can you really believe that you are a Grandmamma? does not the little fellow feel as if he was really your own. if he does not now, by that time you have lived a year with him, or near you, I question if you will be able to feel a difference.” As her own children grew up, grew more independent, and moved on, Abigail looked to her grandchildren to fill her desire to nurture a new generation.28
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4. Another Revolution

The most important international event of this period was the French Revolution, beginning with the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and growing in intensity throughout these years. More than a backdrop to American politics, it served as yet another divide between Federalists and Democrats. The Adamses raised objections to the French Revolution far earlier than most American observers, who tended to view events in France sympathetically, as a counterpart to or even continuation of the American Revolution. Prior to the Terror, the French seemed to stand for the same ideals of republicanism and opposition to tyrannical monarchy as the American colonists had. But John Quincy argued that “the national Assembly in tearing the lace from the garb of government, will tear the coat itself into a thousand rags.— That nation may for ought I know finally be free; but I am firmly persuaded it will not be untill they have undergone another revolution. . . . rights like these, blown to the winds, by the single breath of a triumphant democracy are inauspicious omens for the erection of an equitable government of Laws.—”29
Daughter Nabby, living in England with her husband and children in the summer and fall of 1792, had the closest vantage point on events in France. In London, the Smiths were privy to extensive newspaper coverage and also met refugees on a regular basis, including some people whom the Adamses had known when they lived in Auteuil in the mid-1780s. Nabby reported to her mother that “The accounts from Paris are shocking to every humane mind, and too dreadful to relate. . . . I think the King and Queen will fall a sacrifice to the fury of the mobites, and is it not even better they should, than that the people should be annihilated by a general massacre?” Coyly she continued, “I wonder what Mr. Jefferson says to all these things?” William Stephens Smith himself visited Paris and was even offered a commission in the French Army, which desperately sought experienced officers to help the French in their war with the other European powers. Nabby refused to allow her husband to go off on this adventure, however, declaring, “it is too uncertain a cause to volunteer in.”30
As the violence escalated in France, opposition grew in America. When news of the overthrow of the monarchy and the attack on the { xxxiv } Tuileries reached Philadelphia in the fall of 1792, Thomas Boylston found that “The dreadful scenes now acting in France, and the universal anarchy which appears to prevail, has excited terrors even in the breasts of the warmest enthousiasts for Revolution.” Similarly, Abigail's sister Elizabeth Shaw inquired whether people had “put on any external marks of mourning for the unfortunate Lewis to whom America is so much indebted.” But some Americans remained committed to the French cause. Charles reported that “The success of The French against the combined armies has excited a blind joy” in New York. In Boston, attendees at a “Civic Feast,” held in January 1793, ate a large ox and drank toasts to liberty and fraternity to celebrate the success of the French Revolution. Abigail wrote to Nabby, “you will see by our Newspapers how citizen Mad our people are, and what a jubelee they have exhibited for the success of the French Arms over the Prussians & Austerians. when they establish a good Government upon a solid Basis then will I join them in rejoicing.”31
The appearance in the United States of “Citizen” Edmond Genet to represent France as its minister plenipotentiary highlighted the importance—and challenges—of Franco-American relations. The United States wanted to honor its long-standing friendship with France but also feared being drawn into a raging European war. The unstable nature of France's government created additional complications. Charles reported that many in New York debated how to respond to Genet's arrival: “Some say that we cannot but receive him out of a principle of gratitude to France who was so early in acknowledging our Independence! but should we carry this so far as to draw all the Nations of Europe into a war with us? Can we receive a minister who comes from we know not who?” The difficulty was exacerbated by Genet's own behavior, in particular his strident promotion of French interests in violation of the United States’ neutrality. Washington eventually felt compelled to issue a proclamation of neutrality and, when that failed to quell Genet's mischievous activities, to demand his recall.32
Genet's removal did little to settle debate over how the United States should respond to the volatile circumstances in France. John believed that Washington needed to take stronger measures lest { xxxv } French-inspired Democratic-Republicans topple the American government: “If the President has made any Mistake at all, it is by too much Partiality for the French Republicans and in not preserving a Neutrality between the Parties in France as well as among the Belligerent Powers. . . . A Party Spirit will convert White into black and Right into Wrong.” But with the French Revolution, as with so many other aspects of American affairs, events were largely out of John's control. The Adamses could do little but observe as the situation unfolded, discuss it among themselves, and hope that others with more power would steer the right course.33

5. Notes on Editorial Method

In 2007, the Adams Papers editorial project undertook a full review of its editorial practices and developed a new policy consistent with current standards for documentary editing. For a full statement of that policy, see Adams Family Correspondence, 8:xxxv–xliii. Readers may still wish to consult the descriptions of editorial policy established at the beginning of the project, as contained in the Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 1:lii–lxii, and the Adams Family Correspondence, 1:xli–xlviii. These statements document the original conception of the Adams Papers project, though parts of them have now been superseded.

6. Related Digital Resources

The Massachusetts Historical Society continues to support the work of making Adams family materials available to scholars and the public online. Three digital resources in particular complement the Adams Family Correspondence volumes: The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive, The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection, and Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses. All of these are available through the Historical Society's website at www.masshist.org.
The Adams Family Papers Electronic Archive contains images and text files of all of the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as John Adams’ diaries and autobiography. The files are fully searchable and can also be browsed by date.
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The Diaries of John Quincy Adams Digital Collection provides images of John Quincy Adams’ entire 51-volume diary, which he composed over nearly 70 years. The images can be searched by date or browsed by diary volume.
The Founding Families Digital Editions, a project cosponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University Press, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, provides searchable text files of the 38 Adams Papers volumes published prior to 2007 (excluding the Portraits volumes) as well as the 7 volumes of the Winthrop Family Papers. The Adams Papers volumes are supplemented by a cumulative index prepared by the Adams Papers editors. This digital edition is designed not to replace the letterpress edition but rather to complement it by providing greater access to a wealth of Adams material.
Readers may wish to supplement the letters included in volume 9 of the Adams Family Correspondence with material from the same time period included in John Adams’ Diary and Autobiography, 3:223–225; in John Quincy Adams’ Diary available online (as described above); and in the letters of John Adams and John Quincy Adams published, respectively, in The Works of John Adams, edited by Charles Francis Adams, 8:496–515, 9:563–574, and Writings of John Quincy Adams, edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford, 1:44–176. Future volumes of the Papers of John Adams will expand on John's public life during these important years of the early republic.
The value of the Family Correspondence series lies only in part with the insight that the letters of the Adamses provide into the public affairs of their times. This volume, like the others that have preceded it, does indeed discuss the growth of the American nation, but it also reveals an intimate portrait of one of the country's first families. The Adamses may have been at the forefront of major events, but the challenges that they faced—rearing children, building careers, managing households, sustaining relationships across long distances—were in many ways quite ordinary. And it is their eloquently written record, balancing the mundane and the extraordinary, that makes the Family Correspondence such compelling reading.
Margaret A. Hogan
November 2008
1. JA to Cotton Tufts, 23 Jan. 1788, vol. 8:220.
2. JA to AA, 19 Dec. 1793, and AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 4 July 1790, both below.
3. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 24 Jan. [1790], and to JQA, 5 Feb. 1792, both below.
4. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 29 Aug. 1790; to AA2, 8 Jan. 1791; Martha Washington to AA, 25 Jan.; and AA to Cranch, 5 Jan. 1790, all below.
5. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 5 Jan. and 30 May 1790, both below. See also Martha Washington to AA, 12 May, below.
6. See, for instance, AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 20 Feb. 1790; to Cotton Tufts, 6 Sept.; JQA to TBA, 3 Dec. 1791; TBA to William Cranch, 23 Jan. 1792; and CA to AA, 22 April, all below.
7. AA to Cotton Tufts, 17 Jan. 1790; JQA to AA, 17 Oct.; JQA to TBA, 2 Sept. 1792; and Cotton Tufts to JA, 6 Jan. 1791, all below. For a thorough discussion of newspaper culture during this period, see Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic, Charlottesville, Va., 2001.
8. AA to Cotton Tufts, 7 March 1790; to Mary Smith Cranch, 20 April 1792; and CA to AA, 22 April, all below.
9. JA to AA2, 29 Oct. 1792, but see also TBA to AA, 17 Oct., both below.
10. TBA to JA, 30 Oct. 1792, and JA to AA, 2 Dec., both below.
11. JA to AA, 24 Nov. and 5 Dec. 1792, both below. For the final electoral vote tally, see JQA to JA, 8 Dec., and note 1, below.
12. AA to AA2, 21 Nov. 1790; to Mary Smith Cranch, 30 Oct. 1791; to Cranch, 9 Jan.; and to Cranch, 28 April 1790, all below. See also AA's letters to Mary Cranch of 5 Jan. and 21 April 1790, both below.
13. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 10 Oct. 1790, and to Cotton Tufts, 18 April, both below. For most of the discussion on the Adamses’ finances, see AA's correspondence with Cotton Tufts throughout the volume. For AA's investing, see Woody Holton, “Abigail Adams, Bond Speculator,” WMQ, 3d series, 64:821–838 (Oct. 2007).
14. AA to JQA, 20 Aug. 1790, and to Cotton Tufts, 11 March 1791, both below.
15. AA to Cotton Tufts, 17 Jan. 1790; to Mary Smith Cranch, 20 Feb.; to Cranch, 15 March; and to Cotton Tufts, 18 Dec. 1791, all below.
16. JA to JQA, 9 Feb. 1790; JQA to JA, 19 March; JQA to AA, 17 Oct.; and JQA to TBA, 1 Feb. 1792, all below. For JQA's writings as Publicola, see TBA to AA, 27 May, note 5, below.
17. JA to JQA, [ante 8] Sept. 1790; CA to AA, 15 Aug. 1792; to JA, 20 Aug.; and JA to AA, 2 Dec., all below.
18. AA to JQA, 12 Sept. 1790, and TBA to AA, 9 Dec. 1793, both below.
19. JA to JQA, 4 Oct. 1790; to CA, 5 June 1793; to JQA, 19 Feb. 1790; and to JQA, 13 Dec., all below.
20. JQA to AA, 14 Aug. 1790; CA to JQA, 21 Oct., and 7 Nov., all below.
21. JQA to William Cranch, 7 April 1790, and note 5; and AA2 to AA, 27 March 1792, both below.
22. Interestingly, AA believed that she herself had married too young. She wrote to TBA some years later, in response to his thoughts on his growing relationship with Ann Harrod, “I once heard you say, you would not give a copper to be married after 30. but I must add, few gentlemen are fit to be married untill that age; nor do I think a Lady less qualified to make a good wife with the judgement and experience of even that age. sure I am too many enter that state prematurely, with experience upon my side. I say of myself that I did, much too young for the proper fulfillment of duties which soon devolved upon me” (20 March 1803, private owner).
23. AA2 to JQA, 18 April 1790, and JQA to AA, 29 Aug., both below.
24. Vol. 8:228, 274–275; JQA to AA2, 20 Nov. 1790; AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 12 Dec.; and AA2 to AA, 30 Dec., all below.
25. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 12 Dec. 1790; AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch Norton, 7 Feb. 1791; AA2 to Cranch, 8 Feb.; and JA to WSS, 14 March, all below. TBA seconded AA2's concerns about her ability to properly raise her children. Writing to William Cranch, TBA commented that if the Smith sons “could be under the government of your good mother for one week before you come, you would be pleased with their vivacity; but under present management I fear you will perceive very soon where the defect lies” (4 Sept., below).
26. AA to JQA, 5 Feb. 1792, and WSS to JA, 5 Oct., both below.
27. JA to AA, 27 Feb. and 2 March 1793, both below.
28. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 3 April 1790, and to AA2, 21 Feb. 1791, both below. See also AA to Abigail Bromfield Rogers, [5 Sept. 1790], below.
29. JQA to JA, 19 Oct. 1790, below.
30. AA2 to AA, 13 Sept. 1792, below.
31. TBA to JA, 30 Oct. 1792; Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Mary Smith Cranch, 21 April 1793; CA to JA, 5 Jan.; and AA to AA2, 10 Feb., all below.
32. CA to JA, 19 Feb. 1793, below. See also CA to JA, 25 Aug.; TBA to AA, 3 Nov.; and JA to AA, 5 Dec., all below.
33. JA to AA, 19 Dec. 1793, below.
{ xxxvii }


Every volume of the Adams Papers benefits greatly from the assistance of many people beyond the editors.
We particularly appreciate the efforts of several members of the Adams Papers staff past and present, including former transcriber Nathaniel Adams; James Connolly and Amanda Mathews, our current transcribers; Judith S. Graham, former editorial assistant and current editor of the Louisa Catherine Adams diaries; and Sara Martin, assistant editor. All of them provided invaluable help with the preparation of materials for this and future volumes of the Adams Family Correspondence and assisted with the production of this book. They pitched in with grace and good humor on a wide array of tasks large and small, always with care and great skill.
Our copyeditor Ann-Marie Imbornoni reviewed the entire manuscript with her usual precision and consideration, saving us from any number of embarrassing errors.
Many people contributed to the research behind this book. We particularly wish to thank Edward B. Doctoroff, Head of the Library Privileges and Billing Division at Harvard's Widener Library; and the reference staffs at Harvard University's Houghton, Lamont, and Widener libraries, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department at the Boston Public Library, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
As with previous volumes, Kevin and Kenneth Krugh of Technologies ‘N Typography in Merrimac, Massachusetts, ably typeset the volume. At Harvard University Press, we thank John F. Walsh, Associate Director for Design and Production; Abigail Mumford, Production Supervisor; and Kathleen McDermott, Senior Editor in History and the Social Sciences, for their continuing assistance with the publication, marketing, and sales of this book and all Adams Papers titles.
{ xxxviii }
The Massachusetts Historical Society continues to provide this project with the use of its unrivaled collections and the support of its knowledgeable staff. In particular, we thank Dennis A. Fiori, President; Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian; Conrad E. Wright, Worthington C. Ford Editor; Brenda M. Lawson, Director of Collections Services; Mary E. Fabiszewski, Senior Cataloger; Nancy Heywood, Digital Projects Coordinator; and all of the members of the Library—Reader Services department. Finally, we also greatly appreciate the ongoing contributions made by the Adams Papers Administrative Committee to the success of this project.
{ xxxix }

Guide to Editorial Apparatus

The first three sections (1–3) of this guide list, respectively, the arbitrary devices used for clarifying the text, the code names for prominent members of the Adams family, and the symbols that are employed throughout The Adams Papers, in all its series and parts, for various kinds of manuscript sources. The final three sections (4–6) list, respectively, the symbols for institutions holding original materials, the various abbreviations and conventional terms, and the short titles of books and other works that occur in volume 9 of the Adams Family Correspondence.

1. Textual Devices

The following devices will be used throughout The Adams Papers to clarify the presentation of the text.
[. . .]   One word missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]   Two words missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]1   More than two words missing or illegible; subjoined footnote estimates amount of missing matter.  
[ ]   Number or part of a number missing or illegible. Amount of blank space inside brackets approximates the number of missing or illegible digits.  
[roman]   Conjectural reading for missing or illegible matter. A question mark is inserted before the closing bracket if the conjectural reading is seriously doubtful.  
roman   Canceled matter.  
[italic]   Editorial insertion.  
{roman}   Text editorially decoded or deciphered.  

2. Adams Family Code Names

First Generation
JA   John Adams (1735–1826)  
AA   Abigail Adams (1744–1818), m.JA 1764  
Second Generation
AA2   Abigail Adams (1765–1813), daughter of JA and AA, m.WSS 1786  
WSS   William Stephens Smith (1755–1816), brother of SSA  
JQA   John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), son of JA and AA  
LCA   Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775–1852), m.JQA 1797  
CA   Charles Adams (1770–1800), son of JA and AA  
SSA   Sarah Smith (1769–1828), sister of WSS, m.CA 1795  
TBA   Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832), son of JA and AA  
AHA   Ann Harrod (1774?–1845), m.TBA 1805  
{ xl }
Third Generation
GWA   George Washington Adams (1801–1829), son of JQA and LCA  
JA2   John Adams (1803–1834), son of JQA and LCA  
MCHA   Mary Catherine Hellen (1806–1870), m.JA2 1828  
CFA   Charles Francis Adams (1807–1886), son of JQA and LCA  
ABA   Abigail Brown Brooks (1808–1889), m.CFA 1829  
ECA   Elizabeth Coombs Adams (1808–1903), daughter of TBA and AHA  
Fourth Generation
LCA2   Louisa Catherine Adams (1831–1870), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Charles Kuhn 1854  
JQA2   John Quincy Adams (1833–1894), son of CFA and ABA  
CFA2   Charles Francis Adams (1835–1915), son of CFA and ABA  
HA   Henry Adams (1838–1918), son of CFA and ABA  
MHA   Marian Hooper (1842–1885), m.HA 1872  
MA   Mary Adams (1845–1928), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Henry Parker Quincy 1877  
BA   Brooks Adams (1848–1927), son of CFA and ABA  
Fifth Generation
CFA3   Charles Francis Adams (1866–1954), son of JQA2  
HA2   Henry Adams (1875–1951), son of CFA2  
JA3   John Adams (1875–1964), son of CFA2  

3. Descriptive Symbols

The following symbols are employed throughout The Adams Papers to describe or identify the various kinds of manuscript originals.
D   Diary (Used only to designate a diary written by a member of the Adams family and always in combination with the short form of the writer's name and a serial number, as follows: D/JA/23, i.e., the twenty-third fascicle or volume of John Adams’ manuscript Diary.)  
Dft   draft  
Dupl   duplicate  
FC   file copy (A copy of a letter retained by a correspondent other than an Adams, no matter the form of the retained copy; a copy of a letter retained by an Adams other than a Letterbook copy.)  
IRC   intended recipient's copy (Generally the original version but received after a duplicate, triplicate, or other copy of a letter.)  
Lb   Letterbook (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook and always in combination with the short form of the writer's name and a serial number, as follows: Lb/JQA/29, i.e., the twenty-ninth volume of John Quincy Adams’ Letterbooks.)  
LbC   letterbook copy (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook copy. Letterbook copies are normally unsigned, but any such copy is assumed to be in the hand of the person responsible for the text unless it is otherwise described.)  
{ xli } M   Miscellany (Used only to designate materials in the section of the Adams Papers known as the “Miscellanies” and always in combination with the short form of the writer's name and a serial number, as follows: M/CFA/32, i.e., the thirty-second volume of the Charles Francis Adams Miscellanies—a ledger volume mainly containing transcripts made by CFA in 1833 of selections from the family papers.)  
MS, MSS   manuscript, manuscripts  
RC   recipient's copy (A recipient's copy is assumed to be in the hand of the signer unless it is otherwise described.)  
Tr   transcript (A copy, handwritten or typewritten, made substantially later than the original or later than other copies—such as duplicates, file copies, or Letterbook copies—that were made contemporaneously.)  
Tripl   triplicate  

4. Location Symbols

DLC   Library of Congress  
Ia-HA   Iowa State Department of History and Archives  
MeHi   Maine Historical Society  
MB   Boston Public Library  
MBBS   Bostonian Society  
MBNEH   New England Historic Genealogical Society  
MH-Ar   Harvard University Archives  
MH-H   Houghton Library, Harvard University  
MHi   Massachusetts Historical Society  
MQA   Adams National Historical Park  
MQHi   Quincy Historical Society  
MWA   American Antiquarian Society  
NhHi   New Hampshire Historical Society  
NHi   New-York Historical Society  
NNC   Columbia University  
OCHP   Cincinnati Historical Society  
PHC   Haverford College  
PHi   Historical Society of Pennsylvania  
PPAmP   American Philosophical Society  
PPPrHi   Presbyterian Historical Society  
PWacD   David Library of the American Revolution  
ViMtvL   Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association  

5. Other Abbreviations and Conventional Terms

  • Adams Papers
  • Manuscripts and other materials, 1639–1889, in the Adams Manuscript Trust collection given to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1956 and enlarged by a few additions of family papers since then. Citations in the present edition are simply by date of the original document if the original is in the main chronological series of the Papers and therefore readily found in the microfilm edition of the Adams Papers (see below).

  • { xlii } The Adams Papers
  • The present edition in letterpress, published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. References to earlier volumes of any given unit take this form: vol. 2:146. Since there is no overall volume numbering for the edition, references from one series, or unit of a series, to another are by writer, title, volume, and page, for example, JA, D&A, 4:205.

  • Adams Papers, Adams Office Manuscripts
  • The portion of the Adams manuscripts given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by Thomas Boylston Adams in 1973.

  • APM
  • Formerly, Adams Papers, Microfilms. The corpus of the Adams Papers, 1639–1889, as published on microfilm by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1954–1959, in 608 reels. Cited in the present work, when necessary, by reel number. Available in research libraries throughout the United States and in a few libraries in Canada, Europe, and New Zealand.

  • PCC
  • Papers of the Continental Congress. Originals in the National Archives: Record Group 360. Microfilm edition in 204 reels. Usually cited in the present work from the microfilms but according to the original series and volume numbering devised in the State Department in the early nineteenth century; for example, PCC, No. 93, III, i.e., the third volume of series 93.

  • Thwing Catalogue, MHi
  • Annie Haven Thwing, comp., Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630–1800. Typed card catalogue, with supplementary bound typescripts, in the Massachusetts Historical Society. Published on CD-ROM with Annie Haven Thwing, The Crooked and Narrow Streets of the Town of Boston, 1630–1822, Massachusetts Historical Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001.

6. Short Titles of Works Frequently Cited

  • AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848
  • Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. With an Introductory Memoir by Her Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, 4th edn., rev. and enl., Boston, 1848.

  • AA, New Letters
  • New Letters of Abigail Adams, 1788–1801, ed. Stewart Mitchell, Boston, 1947.

  • AA2, Jour. and Corr.

  • Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams,. . . Edited by Her Daughter [Caroline Amelia (Smith) de Windt], New York and London, 1841–[1849]; 3 vols.

  • Note: Vol. [1], unnumbered, has title and date: Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, 1841; vol. 2 has title, volume number, and date: Correspondence of Miss Adams . . . Vol. II, 1842; vol. [3] has title, volume number, and date: Correspondence of Miss Adams . . . Vol. II, 1842, i.e., same as vol. 2, but preface is signed “April 3d, 1849,” and the volume contains as “Part II” a complete { xliii } reprinting, from same type and with same pagination, of vol. 2, above, originally issued in 1842.

  • AFC
  • Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963–   .

  • Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs.
  • American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings.

  • Amer. Philos. Soc., Memoirs, Procs., Trans.
  • American Philosophical Society, Memoirs, Proceedings, and Transactions.

  • Amer. State Papers
  • American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, 1832–1861; 38 vols.

  • Annals of Congress
  • The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789–1824], Washington, 1834–1856; 42 vols.

  • Ann. Register
  • The Annual Register; or, A View of the History, Politics, and Literature for the Year, ed. Edmund Burke and others, London, 1758–   .

  • Biog. Dir. Cong.
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, 1989.

  • Bosher, French Rev.
  • J. F. Bosher, The French Revolution, New York, 1988.

  • Boston Directory, [year]
  • Boston Directory, issued annually with varying imprints.

  • Boston, [vol. no.] Report
  • City of Boston, Record Commissioners, Reports, Boston, 1876–1909; 39 vols.

  • Braintree Town Records
  • Records of the Town of Braintree, 1640 to 1793, ed. Samuel A. Bates, Randolph, Mass., 1886.

  • Brewer, Reader's Handbook
  • E. Cobham Brewer, The Reader's Handbook of Famous Names in Fiction, Allusions, References, Proverbs, Plots, Stories, and Poems, rev. edn., London, 1902.

  • Cambridge Modern Hist.
  • The Cambridge Modern History, Cambridge, Eng., 1902–1911; repr. New York, 1969; 13 vols.

  • Catalogue of JA's Library
  • Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917.

  • Catalogue of JQA's Books
  • Henry Adams and Worthington Chauncey Ford, A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenæum with Notes on Books, Adams Seals and Book-Plates, Boston, 1938.

  • CFA, Diary
  • Diary of Charles Francis Adams, ed. Aïda DiPace Donald, David Donald, Marc Friedlaender, L. H. Butterfield, and others, Cambridge, 1964–   .

  • { xliv } Colonial Collegians
  • Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War of Independence, CD-ROM, ed. Conrad Edick Wright, Robert J. Dunkle, and others, Boston, 2005.

  • Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns.
  • Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Publications.

  • DAB
  • Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements.

  • Dexter, Yale Graduates
  • Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History, New York and New Haven, 1885–1912; 6 vols.

  • DNB
  • Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1901; repr. Oxford, 1959–1960; 21 vols. plus supplements.

  • Doc. Hist. Ratif. Const.
  • The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, ed. Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, Madison, Wis., 1976–   .

  • Doc. Hist. Supreme Court
  • The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800, ed. Maeva Marcus, James R. Perry, and others, New York, 1985–2007; 8 vols.

  • Evans
  • Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols.

  • Ferguson, Power of the Purse
  • E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse: A History of American Public Finance, 1776–1790, Chapel Hill, 1961.

  • First Fed. Cong.
  • Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791, ed. Linda Grant De Pauw, Charlene Bangs Bickford, Helen E. Veit, William C. diGiacomantonio, and Kenneth R. Bowling, Baltimore, 1972–   .

  • First Fed. Elections
  • The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788–1790, ed. Merrill Jensen, Robert A. Becker, Gordon DenBoer, and others, Madison, Wis., 1976–1989; 4 vols.

  • Grandmother Tyler's Book
  • Grandmother Tyler's Book: The Recollections of Mary Palmer Tyler (Mrs. Royall Tyler), 1775–1866, ed. Frederick Tupper and Helen Tyler Brown, New York and London, 1925.

  • Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family
  • James Edward Greenleaf, comp., Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896.

  • Grove Dicy. of Art
  • Jane Turner, ed., The Dictionary of Art, New York, 1996; 34 vols.

  • { xlv } Hamilton, Papers
  • The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett, Jacob E. Cooke, and others, New York, 1961–1987; 27 vols.

  • Haraszti, Prophets
  • Zoltán Haraszti, John Adams and the Prophets of Progress, Cambridge, 1952.

  • Harvard Quinquennial Cat.
  • Harvard University, Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1930, Cambridge, 1930.

  • History of Hingham
  • History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts, Hingham, 1893; 3 vols. in 4.

  • History of Weymouth
  • History of Weymouth Massachusetts, Weymouth, 1923; 4 vols.

  • Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale
  • Jean Chrétien Ferdinand Hoefer, ed., Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à nos jours, Paris, 1852–1866; 46 vols.

  • JA, D&A
  • Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols.

  • JA, Defence of the Const.
  • John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols.

  • JA, Earliest Diary
  • The Earliest Diary of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1966.

  • JA, Legal Papers
  • Legal Papers of John Adams, ed. L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel, Cambridge, 1965; 3 vols.

  • JA, Letters, ed. CFA
  • Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1841; 2 vols.

  • JA, Papers
  • Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–   .

  • JA, Works
  • The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols.

  • JCC
  • Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols.

  • Jefferson, Papers
  • The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950–   .

  • JQA, Diary
  • Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981–   .

  • { xlvi } JQA, Writings
  • Writings of John Quincy Adams, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, New York, 1913–1917; 7 vols.

  • Laurens, Papers
  • The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., David R. Chesnutt, C. James Taylor, and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols.

  • Malone, Jefferson
  • Dumas Malone, Jefferson and His Time, Boston, 1948–1981; 6 vols.

  • Mass., Acts and Laws
  • Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1780–1805], Boston, 1890–1898; 13 vols.

  • MHS, Colls., Procs.
  • Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings.

  • Monaghan, John Jay
  • Frank Monaghan, John Jay, Defender of Liberty, New York and Indianapolis, 1935.

  • Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard
  • Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636–1936, Cambridge, 1936.

  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

  • NEHGS, Memorial Biographies
  • Memorial Biographies of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1880–1908; 9 vols.

  • New-York Directory, [year]
  • New-York Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints.

  • Notable Amer. Women
  • Edward T. James and others, eds., Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Cambridge, 1971; 3 vols.

  • OED
  • The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d edn., Oxford, 1989; 20 vols.

  • Oxford Classical Dicy.
  • Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3d edn., New York, 1996.

  • Parliamentary Hist.
  • The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, London, 1806–1820; 36 vols.

  • Pattee, Old Braintree
  • William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, with a Sketch of Randolph and Holbrook, Quincy, 1878.

  • Philadelphia Directory, [year]
  • Philadelphia Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints.

  • PMHB
  • Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.

  • Repertorium
  • Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, &c., 1936–1965; 3 vols.

  • { xlvii } Rowen, Princes of Orange
  • Herbert H. Rowen, The Princes of Orange: The Stadholders in the Dutch Republic, Cambridge, Eng., 1988.

  • Rush, Letters
  • Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Princeton, 1951; 2 vols.

  • Schama, Citizens
  • Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, New York, 1989.

  • Shaw-Shoemaker
  • Ralph R. Shaw and Richard H. Shoemaker, American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801–1819, New York, 1958–1966; 22 vols.

  • Sibley's Harvard Graduates
  • John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873–   .

  • Smith, Letters of Delegates
  • Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Paul H. Smith and others, Washington, 1976–2000; 26 vols.

  • Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit
  • William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit; or, Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations, New York, 1857–1869; 9 vols.

  • Sprague, Braintree Families
  • Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, comp., Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Mass., 1640–1850, Boston, 1983; repr. CD-ROM, Boston, 2001.

  • Stewart, Opposition Press
  • Donald H. Stewart, The Opposition Press of the Federalist Period, Albany, 1969.

  • U.S. Census, 1790
  • Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790, Washington, 1907–1908; 12 vols.

  • U.S. House, Jour.
  • Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, 1789–   .

  • U.S. Senate, Jour.
  • Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, 1789–   .

  • U.S. Statutes at Large
  • The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, 1789–   , Boston and Washington, 1845–   .

  • Washington, Diaries
  • The Diaries of George Washington, ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, Charlottesville, 1976–1979; 6 vols.

  • Washington, Papers, Presidential Series
  • The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, ed. Dorothy Twohig, Mark A. Mastromarino, Jack D. Warren, Robert F. Haggard, Christine S. Patrick, John C. Pinheiro, and others, Charlottesville, 1987–   .

  • Winsor, Memorial History of Boston
  • Justin Winsor, ed., The Memorial History of Boston, Including Suffolk County, 1630–1880, Boston, 1880–1881; 4 vols.

  • { xlviii } Winter, Amer. Finance and Dutch Investment
  • Pieter J. van Winter and James C. Riley, American Finance and Dutch Investment, 1780–1805, New York, 1977; 2 vols.

  • WMQ
  • William and Mary Quarterly.

  • Wyman, Charlestown Genealogies
  • Thomas Bellows Wyman, The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown: In the County of Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1629–1818, Boston, 1879; 2 vols.

  • Young, Democratic Republicans
  • Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.