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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10


Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0116

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1794-05-24

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my dearest Friend

Yours of the 17th came this day to me I do not know to what to ascribe the failure of my letters unless our son forgot to put them into the post office. I wrote you twice upon the very week of which you complain; & tho I have not faild writing to you once a week ever since you left me, I have not very often written twice, but some Buisness that week occurd which I wanted your opinion of. That { 189 } Morton is chosen a Rept is not more disgracefull to Boston, than that some others hold a seat there, or than Austin is to the senate but in concequence of their having such Men, they have as a Town, much less weight in the Legislature than they used to have, and the Fœderalists may blame themselves for their careless Supineness. I never approved of the measures adopted by them with respect to the choice of Govenour—but they must have been much misrepresented to you. the contest if it may be calld one was only between two candidates, & that maintaind with more Decency & decorum than any Election in any state out of N England. not a tenth part of the opposition to either which upon several Elections I have known take place with respect to Hancock and as to the report of free Negroes voting, I take it upon me to say tis Idle and false, as I never heard a syllable of it.1 if you had been here you would have been surprizd to find how little bustle there was about the matter. the people were generally disposed to support mr Adams, (as the full vote he obtaind will prove) either as Govenour or Leiut Govenour—and tho’ there was some News paper strictures and Bilingsgate, yet there was very little of it. I suppose some of the stories, have been fabricated to keep our virtuous Southern Brethren in countanance. Boston has behaved very well in many respects, during the whole of these troublesome times, and their democrats have not gone such lengths as in New York or Philadelphia. Jarvis frets & Austin clamours, scolds & writes in the Chronical abuse upon the Government and its Friends: yet in Boston all know who & what he is, and tis very little regarded. it appears to be the General wish that the Embargo may be continued. if you should stay into June & be in a situation to do it I should like whilst flower is low to have a couple Barrels of more flower, that Brisler Sent me is very fine—
I received a Book and letter for you to day the Book is dedicated to you & is the History of the County of worcester by Revd peter Whitney of Northborough the Letter is short and handsome the dedication, may rather be calld an inscription, after the Name and tittles of office, is added, “this History intended to promote the knowledge of a part of his Native commonwealth is inscribed with all respect By his most obedient Humble Servant &c”2
I have been much gratified in reading it. as you return home I wish you would get one of Thomas’s Bibles. he has printed three Editions and is prepareing to print two others—3
the weather is cooler to day, a small shower yesterday in Boston & { 190 } Cambridge of which we got not a drop, has however coold the air. God Grant it may be our turn soon, or Man & Beast will suffer Hay is very generally expended, and the drought raises the price prodigiously—
I am my dearest Friend with the fond hope of giving you more than the Fraternal embrace, even that of an affectionate wife ever / yours
[signed] A Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “AA to JA / 1794.”
1. Free black men technically had been allowed to vote in Massachusetts since 1783, when the Mass. Supreme Court ruled that if they paid taxes, they had the right to suffrage. It is not clear that any actually did (Junius P. Rodriguez, ed., Slavery in the United States: A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia, 2 vols., Santa Barbara, Calif., 2007, 1:24).
2. Rev. Peter Whitney wrote to JA on 20 May 1794 to present him with Whitney’s book The History of the County of Worcester, Worcester, Mass., 1793. A copy is in JA’s library at MB. Whitney (1744–1816), Harvard 1762, was the minister of the First Congregational Church of Northborough, Mass., and an avid local historian. His book contained the first map of Worcester County made from survey (Adams Papers; Catalogue of JA’s Library; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 15:334–338).
3. Isaiah Thomas (1749–1831) of Worcester, one of the leading printers of the time, had published in 1791 the first original U.S.-printed English-language version of the Bible in an impressive folio version. He simultaneously made available a quarto edition and continued to produce additional editions into the nineteenth century (DAB; Paul C. Gutjahr, An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777–1880, Stanford, Calif., 1999, p. 47–48).

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0117

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1794-05-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I shall inclose with this, some Letters between Randolph and Hammond which will shew you how quarelsome they are.1 Poor Fellows! They both desire Peace, but think themselves obliged to wrangle for their Countries.
It is fashionable to charge Wars upon Kings: but I think Le Peuple souvereign is as inflamable, and as proud and at the Same time less systematick, uniform & united: so that it is not so easy for them to avoid Wars. We have laboured very hard to preserve our Tranquility: but the Peuple souvereign is continually committing some Intemperance or Indiscretion or other tending to defeat all our Precautions. if We are involved in a War, my head heart and hands shall be guiltless of the Crime of provoking it. But it will be my Duty to Submit to the Legal Voice & Decree of my Country.
We have fine Rains here, for three days past, and I hope you enjoy a similar Blessing
{ 191 }
I shall take Leave on saturday 31. of May: but cannot hope to get home before the 10 or 12th of June. The Journey lies before me, like a Mountain— I am too old and too feeble for these long Journeys, dry sessions and uncomfortable Scænes— I am at an Age when I ought to be at home with my Family.
I Sent 600 dollars to John last Week, which is our whole Allowance till september.2
I wish you an agreable Election. Who will be Lieutenant Governor Gill or Gerry?
I wrote to Dr Willard, sometime ago a Resignation of the Chair of the Academy of Arts and sciences.— It would be a farce for me to hold it any longer.3
My Duty to my Mother— Tell my Brother that I Suppose he was for War to make himself popular: but I am very sorry to find that warlike sentiments are popular in Quincy. I am glad he is chosen however and hope he will get our Town back to the County of Suffolk.
Adieu— My dearest Friend Adieu
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “May 26.th / 1794.”
1. The enclosures have not been found but were likely copies of correspondence between Edmund Randolph and George Hammond published initially in the Philadelphia Gazette, 24 May. Randolph wrote to Hammond on 20 May to protest what Randolph believed was encouragement of Native Americans in “hostile dispositions towards the United States” and reports that British troops were encroaching on U.S. territory. Hammond replied on the 22d, disputing Randolph’s interpretation of events and reminding him of the United States’ failure to cede land in Vermont that the British considered rightfully theirs. Both letters were read in the House of Representatives on 21 and 23 May, immediately after which Congress continued its discussion of a bill to establish a nonintercourse policy with Britain (Annals of Congress, 3d Cong., 1st sess., p. 713, 715).
2. On 24 May JA wrote a brief note to JQA enclosing $600 and asking JQA to deliver it to AA (John Jay Smith, ed., American Historical and Literary Curiosities, 2d ser., N.Y., 1860, plate 62). On that same day, JA also wrote to AA informing her, “Yesterday I asked and obtained leave of the Senate to be absent after next Fryday. I shall therefore leave this City on Saturday the Thirty first day of May: but the heat and Dust & Fleas and Bedbugs &c will render it difficult, if not impossible to get home to you, in less than ten days. By the Tenth of June I hope to embrace you” (Adams Papers).
3. JA wrote to Rev. Joseph Willard, president of Harvard and vice president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, on 6 May to communicate his decision not to accept future elections as president of the Academy. JA noted, “If I have ever entertained a hope that I might at some time or other have been of some Use to that respectable Society, the State of Publick Affairs has hitherto wholly prevented me; and the present and future Prospects render it wholly impossible for me to give the Smallest Attention to the Interest or Honour of that Institution which has such just and so important Claims upon its President” (MBAt:American Academy, Letters). No reply from Willard has been found, but JA remained president of the Academy until 1813; see vol. 9:390–391, note 1.
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, 2017.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/