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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 7

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0176

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-17

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I wrote you so largly by the Newyork December packet, that a few lines must now suffice. I cannot let a vessel sail without some token from me, and tho I do not insist upon Letter for Letter, you should recollect how dissapointed you used to be when your Friends omitted writing.
Your Aunt Cranch wrote me in the fall, that you had been unwell with a swiming in your Head. I know by experience how dissagreeable that complaint is for I was Seaizd with it on my return from Holland, to an allarming degree untill I was Bled which relieved me. As you and I both are inclined to corpulence we should be attentive to excercise. Without this a Sedantary Life will infallibly destroy your Health, and then it will be of little avail that you have trim'd the midnight Lamp. In the cultivation of the mind care should be taken, not to neglect or injure the body upon which the vigor of the mind greatly depends. Youth are seldom wise, but by experience, and unhappily few are so attentive in the first portion of Life as to remark with accuracy the causes of indisposition occasiond by excesses, either of food animal or Mental. A great Student ought to be particularly carefull in the regulation of his diet, and avoid that bane of Health late suppers.
I would advise you upon the approach of Spring to lose some Blood, the Headacks and flushing in your face with which you used to be troubled was occasiond by too great a Quantity of Blood in your Head. I know you will smile at these precautions, but if you do not heed them; repentance may come too late. Your Brothers Charles and Tommy will I hope be equally attentive, particularly the latter of Night damps and dews. Your sister I have had with me for these ten days suffering under a severe cold taken at Bath. I have not known her so sick since we left America. She is however getting better. With the Beau mond, we have made a Tour to Bath for a fortnight. We made up a party of ten or a Dozen Americans, Mr and Mrs Rucker and Miss Ramsey whom you know, were a part of the company. Your Pappa insisted upon my going, tho he could not, as the printers would have waited for him, not then having compleated { 443 } his Book. I returnd to London quite surfeited with Balls concerts &c.
The seditions in Massachusetts induced your Pappa to give to the World a Book which at first he designed only for a few Friends. He thought it was a critical moment and that it might prove usefull to his Countryman and tend to convince them that salutary restraint is the vital principal of Liberty, and that those who from a turbulent restless disposition endeavour to throw of every species of coercion, are the real Enemies of freedom, and forge chains for themselves and posterity.
I send you by Captain Cushing half a dozen shirts. I shall have another half dozen ready for you by Barnard. Let me know if they fit.
To day we have a Clerical party to dine with us, amongst whom are the two American Bishops1 dr Price dr Kippis dr disney2 Dr Rees and several other Clergymen. Adieu my dear son, and accept my best wishes this and every succeeding year of your Life, for Health of body and peace of mind, “for peace o virtue!, peace is all thy own.”3 Affectionatly yours,
[signed] A A
Inclosed is a little poetick peice written at the Hyde4 and the particular description I gave You of the owner and the place, will explain the peice to you.
Accept the little coin inclosed if this and an other which I sent some time ago comes safe to your Hand, make a mark in your next letter thus[].
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs: Adams. Jany: 17. 1787.”; docketed at a later time: “My Mother. 17. Jany: 1787.”
1. Rev. William White of Philadelphia and Rev. Samuel Provoost of New York, both of whom were in London to be consecrated as bishops of the American Episcopal church on 4 Feb. (Clara O. Loveland, The Critical Years: The Reconstitution of the Anglican Church in the United States of America: 1780–1789, Greenwich, Conn., 1956, p. 213–217).
2. Rev. John Disney (1746–1816) was a Unitarian minister, secretary of the Society for Promoting the Knowledge of the Scriptures, and eventual heir to Thomas Brand Hollis (DNB).
3. Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle IV, line 82.
4. Neither the poem nor the coin mentioned in the next paragraph has been found. AA and JA visited Thomas Brand Hollis' home, The Hyde, in July 1786, and the coin may have been one that Hollis sent to AA on 4 Nov., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0177

Author: Welsh, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-01-17

Thomas Welsh to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

Being without any of your Favors unanswered I take the Liberty to write this in Advance.
The State of some Counties having been tumultuous to this Time notwithstanding the lenient Measures of Government has induced the supreme Executive to order a Military Force into the County of Worcester under Genl Lincoln;1 I should blush for my Country was I not sensible that it is not uncommon under more established Governments than ours to have Ebullitions; but it is more natural to expect in proportion to the Degrees of Liberty in the Governments. I have not the least Doubt but the Force intended and which is indespensable will prove sufficient for the purpose. I have this Morning seen a Gentleman from Rutland who says that their prime Leader Shays was to hold a Counsell of his Leader at Barre yesterday to determine whether they should still persist in their Oposition to Government? This Deliberation is produced by the Dread of Lincoln's march to Worcester which will commence on Friday the 19th. The Court will sit on the 23d. I wish success to the Enterprize.
Another Match in the Family, Mr William Smith is paying his Addresses to Miss Hannah Carter of Newbuyry Port, a Young Lady of about 21 Years of age, tall light Complextioned, of amiable temper very sensible, of good Education eloquent and sociable to a most engaging Degree a Compleat Oeconomist not Wastefull; but appears so upon Acquaintance; I believe she is known to Mrs Smith as She has tarried repeatedly in our Family, where Mr Smith had the good Fortune to see her often. Mr Carter will furnish her with one thousand Pounds to procure Furniture &c. This Match is highly pleasing to both Familys in short She is the most suitable Person for Mr Smith and he appears to be already transformed to a Lover and will be still improve mouldered by the hand of his intended Companion. The Marriage will probably take Place in June every Preparation being now making for that Purpose.

[salute] To Mr Adams Mr and Mrs Smith and to yourself may our Compts and Respects be acceptable and permit me to subscribe your obedt St

[signed] Thomas Welsh
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Janry 17. dr welch.”
1. On 4 Jan., Gov. James Bowdoin proposed the creation of a special army of 4,400 troops to be led by Benjamin Lincoln to put down the rebellion. Since Bowdoin acted { 445 } without legislative approval, funds for the troops had to be raised privately, largely from Boston merchants. On 19 Jan., the soldiers left Boston for Worcester (David P. Szatmary, Shays' Rebellion: The Making of an Agrarian Insurrection, Amherst, Mass., 1980, p. 84–90).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0178

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1787-01-20

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] Mr dear sister

Since the Sailing of captain Folger by whom I wrote you, I have received Letters from you of the following dates, Sepbr 24 and 28th 8th 9 and 22 of october and November 18th.1 I cannot sufficiently thank you for the entertainment afforded me in them. Some accounts you give me respecting a certain family Shocked me. I should suppose that the peace and happiness of the family was totally destroy'd in a Country like ours, where conjugal infidelity is held in the utmost abhorrence, and brands with eternal infamy the wretch who destroys it. Had the Parties lived in France or Viena where the perplexing word reputation has quite an other meaning than what we have been accustomed to, the Husband might have lookd upon the Gallant as Men do upon their deputies, who take the troublesome part of the buisness off their Hands. But in a Country where the absolution of the Priest is not considerd a compensation for crimes, and Marriage is esteemed holy and honorable, the seducer should be considerd as the worst of assassins. But in this case it may be difficult to determine which was the Seducer, and I feel more inclined to fix it upon the female than the paramour. At any rate she is more Guilty, in proportion as her obligations to her Husband her children her family and the Religion of which she is a professer are all scandilized by her and she has sacrificed her Honour her tranquility and her virtue. Well might Mrs Guile say that she had not ink black enough to describe the vile story, and my Gentle Friend Mrs Rogers writes me, “I think my young Friend will ever have reason to bless the period when prior prospects terminated as they did.”2 The Letter you mention is proof that the confident was the Author of the distresses complaind of. But I quit a subject so painfull to reflect upon to give you some account of my late Tour to Bath, that Seat of fashionable Resort, where like the rest of the World I spent a fortnight in Amusement and dissipation, but returnd I assure you, with double pleasure to my own fire side, where only thank heaven, my substantial happiness subsists. Here I find these satisfaction which neither Satiate by enjoyment nor pall upon reflection, for tho I like Some times to mix in the Gay { 446 } World, and view the manners as they rise, I have much reason to be gratefull to my Parents that my early Education gave me not an habitual taste for what is termd fashionable Life. The Eastern Monarch after having partaken of every gratification and Sensual pleasure which power Wealth and dignity could bestow, pronounced it all Vanity and vexation of spirit,3 and I have too great a respect for his wisdom to doubt his Authority. I however past through the Routine, and attended 3 Balls 2 concerts, one Play and two private parties besides dinning and Breakfasting abroad. We made up a Party of Americans, Mr and Mrs Smith mr and Mrs Rucker and Miss Ramsey, mr Shippen mr Harrison mr Murry mr Paridice mr Bridgen and a Count Zenobia a venition Nobleman.4 These with our domesticks made a considerable train, and when we went to the Rooms we at least had a party to speak to. As I had but one acquaintance at Bath, and did not seek for Letters of introduction. I had no reason to expect half the civility I experienced. I was however very politely treated by mr Fairfax and Lady who had been in America and own an estate in Virginia, and by a sister of mr Hartleys, who tho herself a criple, was every way attentive and polite to us. Mr John Boylstone whom I dare say you recollect, was the acquaintance I mentiond. He visited us immediatly upon our arrival, and during our stay made it his whole study to shew us every civility in his power. We Breakfasted with him, and he dinned with us. He has very handsome apartments tho he lives at Lodgings. We drank tea and spent an Evening with him in a stile of great elegance, for he is one of the nicest Batchelors in the World, and bears his age wonderfully retaining the vivacity and sprightliness of Youth. He has a peculiarity in his Manners which is natural to him but is a Man of great reading and knowledge. He is a firm friend and well wisher to America, as he amply testified during the War by his kindness to the American Prisoners. And now you will naturally expect that I Should give you some account of Bath, the antiquity of it, and the fame of its waters having been So greatly celebrated. The story which is related of its first discovery is not the least curious part of it. A Certain King Bladud said to be a descendent from Hercules, was banishd his Fathers court on account of his having the Leporissa. Thus disgraced he wanderd in disguise into this part of the Country, and let himself to a swineherd, to whom he communicated the Disease as well as to the Hogs. In driving his Hogs one day at some distance from his home, they wanderd away to these Streams, of which they were so fond that he could not get them out: untill he inticed them with { 447 } Acorns. After their wallowing in them for several Successive days he observed that their Scales fell of, and that his herd were perfectly cured, upon which he determined to try the experiment upon himself, and after a few Bathings he was made whole. And Bladuds figure in stone is placed in the Baths known by the Name of the kings Bath with an incription relating his discovery of these Baths 863 years before Christ.5
Bath lies in a great vally surrounded with Hills. It is handsomely built, chiefly with free Stone, which is its own growth and is dug from the Sides of its Hills. The streets are as narrow and inconvenient for Carriages as those of Paris, so that Chairs are chiefly used particularly in the old Town. Bath was formerly walld in and was a very small place, but of late years it is much extended, and the New buildings are erected upon Hills. Since it has become a place of such fashionable resort it has been embellished with a circus and a Cressent. The parades are magnificient piles of buildings. The square is a noble one and the Circus is said to be a beautifull peice of architecture, but what I think the beauty of Bath; is the Cressent.6 The front consists of a range of Ionic Colums on a rustick basement. The Ground falls gradually before it, down to the River Avon about half a miles distance, and the rising Country on the other side of the River holds up to it a most delightfull prospect. The Cressent takes its name from the form in which the houses Stand; all of which join. There is a parade and street before them a hundred foot wide and nothing in front to obstruct this Beautifull prospect. In this situation are the New assembly Rooms which are said to exceed any thing of the kind in the Kingdom both as to size, and decoration, but large as they were they were compleatly crouded the Evenings that I attended. There is a constant emulation subsisting between the New and old Rooms,7 similar to the North and South end of Boston. It was said whilst I was there that there were fourteen thousand persons more than the inhabitants of Bath. By this you may judge what a place of resort it is, not only for the infirm, but for the Gay the indolent the curious the Gambler the fortune hunter and even for those who go as the thoughtless Girl from the Country told Beau Nash (as he was stiled,)8 that She came out of wanteness. It is one constant scene of dissipation and Gambling from Monday morning till saturday Night, and the Ladies set down to cards in the publick rooms at they would at a private party. And not to spend a fortnight or Month at Bath at this season, of the year, is as unfashionable as it would be to reside in London { 448 } during the summer Season. Yet Bath is a place I should never visit a second time for pleasure. To derive a proper improvement from company it ought to be select, and to consist of persons respectable both for their Morals, and their understandings. But such is the prevailing taste, that provided you can be in a crowd, with here and there a Glittering Star, it is considerd of little importance what the Character of the person is, who wears it. Few consider that the foundation stone and the pillar on which they Nest the fabrick of their felicity must be in their own Hearts, otherways the winds of dissipation will shake it and the floods of pleasure overwhelm it in ruins. What is the Chief end of Man? is a Subject well Worth the investigation of every rational Being. What indeed is Life or its enjoyments without settled principal, laudable purposes, Mental exertions and internal comfort, that sun shine of the soul, and how are these to be acquired in the hurry and tumult of the World; my visit to Bath and the scenes which I mixed in, instead of exciting a gayety of disposition, led me to a train of moral reflections which I could not refrain detailing to you in my account of it.
Upon my return I had a new scene of folly to go through which was prepairing for the Birth day, but as the fashionable Magizine will detail this matter I shall omit any account of Birth day dresses and decorations only that I most sincerely wish myself rid of it. It is a prodigious expence from which I derive neither pleasure or satisfaction. Mrs Smith did not go this year, for reasons you can Guess I suppose. We have advised col Smith to give up his House and return here again, as it will be vastly inconvenient to me to have her out of the family, no sister no cousin no Aunt who could be at all with her. So that in March they will remove here again, and in April tis probable your Sister may be a Grandmama.9 New Relatives create new anxieties.
And now for a few domestick Matters. You will find that before I received your Letters I was uneasy and had written to you and Dr Tufts both upon the subject of Board; there can be no reason that you should be at any expence on their account and it would give me pain to know you were. It will be cruel indeed if our Country will not allow us enough to educate our children in the frugal manner we wish for, when for 12 years mr Adams has devoted himself and all his talants to their service, and if they have not reaped all the benifit they might from him, it is there own fault. He has not been laying up a fortune nor has he been squandering one away—nor is there an other Minister either in France England or Holland whose { 449 } { 450 } allowence is not splendid to his. But I will not reflect upon our Situation. I will only say that my children Shall not whilst we remain here, live upon my friends or be chargeable to them. Whilst he resided in Holland and his allowence was better he was able to save a little but the publick have no right to expect that she [he] should expend that, any more then that he should run out the little estate he has in America.
I hope captain Folger arrived safe as well as my Trunk. I have sent you by captain Cushing a Hamper of 4 doz porter a double gloucester cheese for commencment, and a cask of Split peas. Be so kind as to Send Sister Shaw half a dozen quarts. I got mr Elworthy to procure them for me, and I dare say he has done his best. If the porter is agreeable it May save you some wine and make a variety. It mortifies me that I cannot do all I wish but take the will for the deed.
The Roits and dissentions in our state have been matter of very serious concern to me. No one will suppose that our situation here is renderd more Eligible in concequence of it, but I hope it will lead the wise and sensible part of the community in our state as well as the whole union to reflect seriously upon their Situation, and having wise Laws execute them with vigor justice and punctuality. I have been gratified with perusing many late publications in our Boston papers, particularly the Speach of the Chief justice which does him great honour.10 Mr Adams you will see by the Books which captain cushing has carried out, has been employed in strengthning and supporting our Governments, and has spaired no pains to collect examples for them and shew them in one short comprehensive statement the dangerous concequences of unbalanced power.11 We have the means of being the freest and the happiest people upon the Globe.
Captain Scot I hear is just arrived, but it may be a week, perhaps ten days before he will get up himself, so that whatever Letters he may have I shall not be able to get them before captain Cushing Sails. This is rather unfortunate as there may be something I might wish to replie to. As to India handkerchief I give 2 Guineys a peice here for them so that they are lower with you as well as all other India goods. I give more for an oz of spice than I used to for a quarter of a pound in America. Only think too of 5 shillings Sterling for every pound of coffe we use. O pray by the next oppertunity Send me a peck of Tuscorora Rice. Let it be sifted, I want it only to Scour my hands with. Tuscorora rice say you, why I suppose She means Indian meal. Very true my dear sister, but I will tell you a good story { 451 } about this said rice. An Ancestor of a family who now hold their Heads very high is said to have made a fortune by it. The old granddame went out to America when its productions were not much known here and returnd rather in Indigent circumstances.12 After some time knowing the taste in all ages for cosmeticks, made out a pompus advertizement of a costly secreet which she possesst for purifying and beautifying the complexion, nothing less than Tuscorora Rice at a Guiney an oz. The project took like the olympian dew at this Day, and Barrel after Barrel was disposd of at the moderate price before mentiond, till one fatal day, a sailor whose wife had procured one Quarter of an oz was caught in the very act of useing it. The sailor very roughly threw away this darling powder upon which his wife exclamed that he had ruined her, as She could procure no more there being an unusual Scarcity at that time. The fellow examined the paper and swore it was nothing but Indian meal and that he would bring her two Barrels for a Guiney the next voyage he went. Upon this the imposture was discoverd and the good woman obliged to decamp. Now tho I do not esteem it so highly as the sailors wife I pronounce it the best antidote to sea coal cracks that can be found. One Friend and an other has supplied me ever since I have been here, but now I am quite destitute. It is an article in so small quantity that will not be an object for the custom house, so that it may come safely. Remember me most affectionately to all my Friends. I cannot write to half of them. My Neices shall hear from me by Bairnard—in the mean time be assured my dear Sister of the warmest affection of your Sister
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA: Abigail Adams Corr.).
1. Probably a mistake for Cranch's letter on 26 Nov. 1786, above; lettres of 24, 28 Sept. and 8, 9, and 22 Oct.all of the other letters are also above.
2. Neither the letter from Abigail Bromfield Rogers to AA nor the source of Elizabeth Quincy Guild's comment has been found.
3. The preacher in Ecclesiastes, traditionally identified as Solomon. See especially 1:14, 2:11.
4. Alvise Zenobio was a Venetian nobleman living in England. In 1792 he published two English-language tracts, The French Constitution Impartially Considered in Its Principles and Effects and An Address to the People of England, on the Part Their Government Ought to Act, in the Present War, addressing constitutional issues raised by the French Revolution, and in 1794 he was deported from England for his radical associations (John Eglin, Venice Transfigured: The Myth of Venice in British Culture, 1660–1797, N.Y., 2001, p. 186–187, 233).
5. AA's recounting of the history of the founding of Bath is similar to versions found in various editions of TheNew Bath Guide; or, Useful Pocket Companion for All Persons Residing at or Resorting to This Ancient City, a popular guidebook to the city that first appeared ca. 1762.
6. The building of Queen Square, designed by John Wood Sr. and named for George II's Queen Caroline, began in 1729 and continued for seven years. Wood sought to create a palace front on the north side of the square, facing a garden, with symmetrical wings to the east and west. Builders had discretion to { 452 } design the interiors however they chose but had to conform to Wood's specifications for the outside, creating a unified appearance. The Circus façade was also designed by Wood Sr. but built by his son John Wood Jr. in 1754. While modeled after the Roman Coliseum, the Circus actually reverses the amphitheater design by facing inward although it retains a Roman decorative style (David Gadd, Georgian Summer: Bath in the Eighteenth Century, Bath, 1971, p. 39–42, 46–50). For the Royal Crescent, designed by Wood Jr., see the The Royal Crescent, Bath, by Thomas Malton Jr., 1777 449Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 10, above.
7. The Old Assembly House—also known as Harrison's Rooms, for their builder Thomas Harrison, and then later as Simpson's Rooms or the Lower Rooms—were the original social center of Bath, hosting balls and concerts, as well as offering a card room and tearoom. The New (or Upper) Rooms, built between 1769 and 1771, were designed by John Wood Jr. to accommodate the growing Bath population. The New Rooms first competed with, then slowly supplanted, the Lower Rooms, until the latter finally closed following a fire in 1820 (same, p. 28–29, 105–106).
8. Richard “Beau” Nash (1674–1761) arrived in Bath in 1705, attracted by the gambling, but soon became active in developing the city into a true resort town. He served as master of ceremonies at Bath for 55 years. He brought order to the social life of the rapidly growing spa, instituting codes of conduct for dancing, bathing, gambling, and other social activities, and oversaw the building of some of Bath's most famous attractions, including the Pump Room (DNB; Gadd, Georgian Summer, p. 24–29).
9. This is AA's first reference to AA2's pregnancy. After the birth of their son William Steuben Smith on 2 April, AA2 and WSS moved from Wimpole Street, where they had lived since July 1786, to Grosvenor Square, where they remained until their departure for America in 1788.
10. The Boston Independent Chronicle, 16 Nov., reprinted in full the charge of the chief justice, William Cushing, to the grand jury of Middlesex County at the opening of the Supreme Judicial Court at Cambridge on 31 October. In the speech, Cushing strongly denounced the rebels and argued for the importance of the rule of law.
11. The entirety of JA's Defence of the Const. deals with this topic, but AA may be referring to JA's summary in the final letter of the first volume, which concludes with the statement,
“All nations, under all governments, must have parties; the great secret is to controul them: there are but two ways, either by a monarchy and standing army, or by a balance in the constitution. Where the people have a voice, and there is no balance, there will be everlasting fluctuations, revolutions, and horrors, until a standing army, with a general at its head, commands the peace, or the necessity of an equilibrium is made appear to all, and is adopted by all”
Letter LV, p. 382).
12. Possibly Sybilla Masters, wife of Thomas Masters, a Pennsylvania merchant and former mayor of Philadelphia, who went to England in 1712 to obtain a patent for a process for milling “Tuscarora rice,” a type of cornmeal, claiming it as a cure for consumption. She received the patent in 1715, the first issued to any American, although it was made in the name of her husband. The couple subsequently set up a water mill near Philadelphia to produce the ground corn in quantity, although it is not clear whether they ever successfully sold the product. Upon Thomas' death in 1740, his estate went largely to his brother William Masters, whose daughters Mary Masters Penn and Sarah Masters spent time with the Adamses in London (Samuel H. Needles, “The Governor's Mill, and the Globe Mills, Philadelphia,” PMHB, 8:285–293 [1884]; AA2 to JQA, 22 Jan. 1786, notes 3 and 4, above).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0179

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Date: 1787-01-20

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw

[salute] My Dear sister

You will see by the inclosed that I wrote you a long Letter, and that it has lain some time without meeting any opportunity of conveyance.1 In the mean time, two kind Letters have reachd me from { 453 } you. In the last you complain that I did not write you, but sure captain Callihan had a Letter for you.
I had heard for some time that Cushing would not sail till March, and I have been absent at Bath near 3 weeks, but upon my return I found he was to go by the 20th of Janry. I have many Letters to write and the Birth day of her Majesty to prepare for, alass I shall be behind hand. Mrs Smith very unwell too, a voilent cold taken at Bath attended with a good deal of fever. She is however better, and I will hasten to scrible you off a few lines. I send the Books which my Nephew requested, and beg his acceptance of them as a New Years gift from his Aunt. There has been as you will see a valuable addition of two more volms to them, and I think them well calculated to pour the fresh instruction over the mind, and to instill the best of principals. Mr Adams has directed one of his Books, the defence of the American constitutions, to be deliverd to mr Shaw, and I hope it will prove equally Serviceable to Children of a larger growth, who seem so much disposed to quarrel with their best Friends, the Laws and Government. I should like to know how the sentiments and doctrines are received. I have been much mortified and grieved I assure you to find mr Sparhawks accounts so well founded, tho at the time he gave them, I was disposed to think much better of my Countrymen. May the triumph of the wicked be short, and the fair fabrick of Liberty still be protected by Minerva, whilst Discord and faction those vile deamons are banishd to their Native Regions of Darkness.
I have Sent to my Neice some Silk which I have had died and scowerd. You may pick a shirt perhaps from it. As to any kind of milinary which your sister has worn, the Sea coal smoke and the hair Powder so totally distroys it, that even my maid cannot wear it till it is washd. With regard to any other articles of dress, you would not find your sister better drest here, than she used to be by her Braintree fireside. A calico or a chintz a muslin or a double Gauze handkerchief and Apron is her usual dress. Tis True her Hair suffers more torture than in America and the powder covers the venerable Gray. Tis time to think of being venerable when tis probable a few Months will make her a Grandmamma and she has now got to look out a Nurse and make Baby linnen &c &c. A thousand New cares and anxieties as well as pleasures attend new Relatives.
I was really shocked at the Death of mr Anger as I had never heard of his Sickness. Alass our Worthy Friend mr Perkins, he is gone too, to the Land from whence their is no return. But he was a { 454 } virtuous well principald Man, and possessd that great ornament of society, Honesty, without which all the Graces and Embelishments of Life are but varnish and unsubstantial qualities which the artfull assume for purposes of deceit.
Adieu my dear sister. I dine abroad and must therefore quit my pen to dress. I shall write You again by captain Barnard who will sail in a few weeks. I have no time to coppy. You must therefore excuse every inaccuricy. My Regards to mr shaw to mr and Mrs Allen to my Nephew and Neice, and to every one who inquires after Your affectionate Sister
[signed] A Adams
RC (DLC: Shaw Family Papers).
1. Apparently AA enclosed her last letter to Shaw on 21 Nov. 1786, above, in this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0180

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1787-01-24

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear sir

I designd to have written you a much Longer Letter than I shall now be able to. The State of politicks in our Country is such as to give pain to every Friend and well wisher of it. I hope the pamphlet mr Adams has lately written and which captain Cushing carries out, will have a benificial influence if it comes not too Late. I inclose to you a ministerial publication which has past through four Editions in about ten days.1 What he says with respect to the Kings popularity in the English Nation is at this present time stricktly true. His Characters are drawn with freedom, his intention is however to wash Some Etheops White.
This day col Franks arrived here with the Emperor of Morocos Treaty and will sail in the next packet for New York with it.2
Mr Adams has directed me to request you upon the receit of this Letter to purchase two hundred Guineys worth of congress Paper. We are told that it is sold at 2 and 6 pence pr pound. Do not be affraid, as the little he has is in publick Securities, it is as safe in one kind as an other, and if one sinks all must Sink, which God forbid. We are told here that the Name of the person must be enterd upon the Treasury Books, or the Name of a Friend, but you doubtless know the method. Our credit is not yet so low, but what Foreigners are eagerly tho Secretly buying up this paper. You will draw upon mr Adams for the Money—it will never be at a lower ebb than at present unless actual war takes place. You will find an account forwarded in mr Adams letter.3 Scot is arrived but none of our Letters { 455 } are yet come up. Inclosed is a letter from mrs Smith. It was only two small red coverd Manuscrip Books which the Gentleman had and not pocket Books. Will that House be to be sold do you imagine which he owns?4

[salute] Regards to all inquiring Friends from Dear Sir your ever affectionate Neice

[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by WSS: “The Honorable Cotton Tufts Esquire Boston”; endorsed: “Mrs. Ab. Adams rcd April 19. 1787.”
1. Sir Nathaniel William Wraxall, A Short Review of the Political State of Great-Britain, at the Commencement of the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-seven, London, 1787. Wraxall (1751–1831), a member of Parliament, published the pamphlet anonymously. In the first few weeks of publication, it went through six editions and sold roughly 17,000 copies in England (DNB).
2. The Treaty of Peace and Friendship negotiated by Thomas Barclay for the United States and signed by the emperor of Morocco in June and July 1786. The English translations were signed and sealed by Jefferson in Paris on 1 Jan. 1787 and by JA in London on 25 Jan. (Miller, Treaties, 2:185–227).
3. Probably JA to Cotton Tufts, 15 Jan. (Adams Papers), but the account has not been found.
4. For an extended discussion of the Vassall-Borland House (Adams Old House) and Royall Tyler's aborted purchase of it, see vol. 3:264–266.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0181

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Jefferson, Thomas
Date: 1787-01-29

Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson

[salute] My dear sir

I received by Col Franks Your obliging favour1 and am very sorry to find your wrist Still continues lame. I have known very Salutary effects produced by the use of British oil upon a spraind joint. I have Sent a Servant to See if I can procure some. You may rest assured that if it does no good: it will not do any injury.
With regard to the Tumults in my Native state which you inquire about, I wish I could say that report had exagerated them. It is too true Sir that they have been carried to so allarming a Height as to stop the Courts of Justice in several Counties. Ignorant, wrestless desperadoes, without conscience or principals, have led a deluded multitude to follow their standard, under pretence of grievences which have no existance but in their immaginations. Some of them were crying out for a paper currency, some for an equal distribution of property, some were for annihilating all debts, others complaning that the Senate was a useless Branch of Government, that the Court of common Pleas was unnecessary, and that the Sitting of the General Court in Boston was a grieveince. By this list you will see, the materials which compose this Rebellion, and the necessity there is of the wisest and most vigorous measures to quell and suppress it. { 456 } Instead of that laudible Spirit which you approve, which makes a people watchfull over their Liberties and alert in the defence of them, these Mobish insurgents are for sapping the foundation, and distroying the whole fabrick at once. But as these people make only a small part of the State, when compared to the more Sensible and judicious, and altho they create a just allarm, and give much trouble and uneasiness, I cannot help flattering myself that they will prove Sallutary to the state at large, by leading to an investigation of the causes which have produced these commotions. Luxery and extravagance both in furniture and dress had pervaded all orders of our Countrymen and women, and was hastning fast to Sap their independance by involving every class of citizens in distress, and accumulating debts upon them which they were unable to discharge. Vanity was becoming a more powerfull principal than Patriotism. The lower order of the community were prest for taxes, and tho possest of landed property they were unable to answer the Demand. Whilst those who possesst Money were fearfull of lending, least the mad cry of the Mob2 should force the Legislature upon a measure very different from the touch of Midas.
By the papers I send you, you will see the benificial effects already produced, an act of the Legislature laying duties of 15 pr cent upon many articles of British manufacture and totally prohibiting others.3 A Number of Vollunteers Lawyers Physicians and Merchants from Boston made up a party of Light horse commanded by col Hitchbourn Leit col Jackson and Higgonson, and went out in persuit of the insurgents and were fortunate enough to take 3 of their Principal Leaders, Shattucks Parker and Page. Shattucks defended himself and was wounded in his knee with a broadsword. He is in Jail in Boston and will no doubt be made an example of.4
Your request my dear sir with respect to your daughter shall be punctually attended to, and you may be assured of every attention in my power towards her.
You will be so kind as to present my Love to Miss Jefferson, compliments to the Marquiss and his Lady. I am really conscience Smitten that I have never written to that amiable Lady, whose politeness and attention to me deserved my acknowledgment.
The little balance which you Stated in a former Letter in my favour,5 when an opportunity offers I should like to have in Black Lace at about 8 or 9 Livres pr Ell. Tho late in the Month, I hope it will not be thought out of season to offer my best wishes for the Health Long Life and prosperity of yourself and family, or { 457 } to assure you of the Sincere Esteem and Friendship with which I am Yours &c &c
[signed] A Adams
RC (DLC: Jefferson Papers); addressed by Col. David S. FrankFranks: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Paris”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams.” Dft (Adams Papers).
1. Probably Jefferson to AA, 21 Dec. 1786, above. Jefferson also wrote to AA on 7 Jan., but that letter has not been found (Jefferson, Papers, 11:24).
2. The Dft has “the cry of the people” in place of “the mad cry of the Mob.”
3. In the Dft, the paragraph begins, “The disturbances which have taken place have roused from their Leathargy the Supine and the Indolent animated the Brave and taught wisdom to our Rulers.” On 17 Nov. 1786, the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act to Raise a Public Revenue by Impost,” which placed impost taxes ranging from 1 to 15 percent on various goods and prohibited outright the importation of others (Mass., Acts and Laws, Acts of 1786, Sept. sess., ch. 48). The paper was probably the Boston Independent Chronicle, 30 Nov., which reported this information.
4. The Dft arranges the first three sentences found in the RC paragraph somewhat differently and identifies Lt. Col. (Jonathan) Jackson as a man Jefferson had met in France and Lt. Col. (Stephen) Higginson as a former member of Congress before closing with the sentence: “It is not unlikly that some examples must be made before the riots will be totally quelled and peace and good orderd restored.”
5. Probably Jefferson to AA, 9 Aug. 1786, above, showing a balance of £6.11.11 1/2 due to AA.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0182

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-02-06

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams

Col. Jacob Davis not long since called upon me for the Payment of one of the Lots of Land in Vermont State which you recd. a Deed of and was not paid for, by his Brother Ebenr Davis whom he empowered for that Purpose. I accordingly paid it, he requested Interest from the Time the Deed was given, I did not conceive myself authorized to allow it as You did not give me any directions relative to it. He said it was customary and supposed You would allow it if present. As he desired me to mention it to You I wish You to write to me in your Next on the Subject. I also paid him £6. 8. 0 for Taxes on the Four Rights. The Tenure on which you hold these Rights, does not appear to me sufficiently secure. Mr. Davis could not give me any particular Information relative to them. I believe I must take Mastr. Charles or Thos in some Vacation and make a Tour there and see to the Safe recording &c of them. A very good Plan, but when shall I get Leisure.1
The Legislature have at length found it necessary to declare Rebellion existing in the Commonwealth. An Army under Genl Lincoln is employed to crush it.2 A few Days will in great Measure determine whether We shall have the Constitution remain or not. { 458 } Whether we shall have Law and Justice administerd or not. A strange Infatuation has seized a great part of the People, Should I say two Thirds of the whole Body. It would not be far from the Truth. I flatter myself notwithstanding that their Eyes will be opened very soon and their Minds Yield to Conviction. <this Evil I have As> Sufficient Addresses have made to their Interests these have been in Vain. An Address to their Fears, is now tried, and I trust will be the only succesful Advocate.
The Insurgents under Shays and the other <officers> Heads of the Army have not been much short of 3000. They have however crumbled away from Day to Day, since Genl Lincolns appearance in the Western Counties. After their Dispersion at Petersham (of which you have an Account in the News Papers new sent3 and which News came to hand (this Moment)) their Number appeared to be about 940, and they were shaping their Course to the County of Berkshire. The March of Genl Lincoln last Saturday Evening from Hadley and reaching Petersham the next Morning by 9 oc was perhaps as great an Enterprize as as ever been undertaken. A Snow Storm when they set out, followed about One or Two Clock the same Night with a Shift of Wind and excessive cold the Wind blowing like a Hurricane, till they reachd Petersham, suffering more with the blowing of the Snow and the severe cold, than can possibly be conceived off but by those who have been in similar Circumstances; no proper Place to halt for Refreshment. Yet they persevered with out murmuring, till they reached Petersham, a March of 30 Miles. Many were frost bitten.
Shays with about 100 Men is said to be at Chesterfield in Newhampshire State—the riot dispersed. Gen. Lincoln is gone into the County of Berkshire, with his Army. The Insurgents there will probably submit, without much Difficulty. We have ordered two or three Regiments to be kept up for 3 or 4 months. And I hope we shall by and by get into a more orderly State. Should this Insurrection or rather Rebellion have prevailed here, it would undoubtedly have run through all the States. As the Papers will give You a particular Acctt. of the doings of the Genl Court and of Genl Lincolns' Movements, I refer you to them for further Information.
{ 459 }
Mr. John dind with me yesterday,4 he is solicitous of knowing with whom he is to purrsue his Studies in the Law after Commencement. If Mr. Adams has any particular Instructor in view, that he would prefer before any other and will give timely Notice, We shall pursue his orders, otherwise we shall act according to our best Discretion. At present We think that at least Part of the Three Years Study, may be under some Gentleman in the Country (or rather out of Boston): the Expence Less, and Advantages equal. I have consulted with several Gentleman and shall make every Enquiry that I think necessary to form a Result beneficial to your Son and to your Interest.
The aforegoing has been wrote by Piece Meals, as I could catch an opportunity, and you must excuse the Errors of Your affectionate Friend and H sert
[signed] C Tufts
Pray remember me to Mr Adams Mr and Mrs Smith.
Your Children here and all Friends well.
RC (Adams Papers). Tufts also produced “Minutes of a Letter wrote to Mrs. Adams” in which he summarized the details of this letter and added the note, “Sent this Lettr. by Capt Folger”; filmed at 8 Feb. 1787, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 369.
1. In early 1782, AA arranged to purchase five 330-acre lots in Salem Township (now Derby and Newport, Orleans County), Vt., from Col. Jacob Davis of Worcester, who headed a group settling the area. She paid for four of the lots then, and obligated herself to pay for the fifth “in a few months,” holding off on making full payment until the title to the land could be made more secure (vol. 4:315, 316–317, 345; AA to Tufts, 29 April, Adams Papers).
2. On 4 Feb., the same day that it formally acknowledged the existence of a rebellion in western Massachusetts, the General Court belatedly recommended to Gov. James Bowdoin that he authorize Gen. Benjamin Lincoln to either enlist new members or extend the enlistments of current members of the Massachusetts militia, so that it could continue its work of suppressing the rebellion (Mass., Acts and Laws, Resolves of 1786, Jan. sess., ch. 5, 6).
3. Probably the Massachusetts Centinel, 7 Feb., which printed a 4 Feb. letter from General Lincoln at Petersham that had arrived in Boston on 6 February. The letter describes Lincoln's progress in dispersing the insurgents, who had begun to retreat after Lincoln took nearly 150 of them as prisoners.
4. JQA dined with Tufts and Richard Cranch at James Foster's (Diary, 2:157, where he is misidentified as Joseph Foster).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0183

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-02-08

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Ever Dear Sister

My Uncle Smith has been so kind as to send me word this Morning, that a Nephew of Mr Gill's was to sail for London, in a Vessel { 460 } from Boston next Saturday. Though I fear I shall not get a Letter into Town soon enough, yet I will write, a few Lines (though I have nothing very particular to communicate,) hoping I may meet with some favourable Conveyance.
The State of our publick Affairs engrosses attention of all Ranks, and Classes of Men. In every private Circle of Gentlemen, and Ladies I hear their several Opinions, dictated by Fear, Ignorance, Malice, Envy, and self-Interest the most powerful of all.
We all feel a Weight, which we could not but reasonably expect, and which the wise and Judicious say, may soon be lightened by Prudence, Industry, and good Oeconemy in our Families. But such is the Pride—the Idleness—the vanity, and extravagance which pervades every Order, that I am perswaded nothing but distress, and necessity will induce them to comply with this method, though I presume it is the only one, by which there is the least probability of obtaining Releif.
No One is willing to believe themselves the Cause of any Evil they feel, but attribute it, to the weakness, or the perfidy of Government—to the great Sallaries given to those in Office, or to the injustice of those vile Wretches the Lawyers.
Our excellent Govenor need not be envied, I am sure. He has enough upon his head, and his Heart to distract him. He will now try the Strength of Government, and I hope it will be found to have such a Basis, as the Collected Force of Capt Shays cannot overthrow.
Though I am situated far distant (at present) from the Seat of War, Yet I tenderly feel for those who are enduring the hardships of a winters Campaign, in this very cold Season. The ground has bean cheifly covered with three, or four foot of Snow ever since the beginning of November—So that it has rendered General Lincoln's March extremely difficult—and we hear that 5 hundred of his Men were touched with the frost.
Yesterday Orders came here for more men to be draughted—to day there are counter Orders.1 The news is, Shays is fled, and that a general Pardon is all they sue for. He is gone to the State of new Hampshire.
But I will quit Politicks, and leave them to the Gentlemen, who I presume, give you a much more particular account.
I fancy sometimes to myself how these matters, will operate upon the Mind of your Friend. We think sometimes, he may do us more { 461 } service here, than he can in his present Situation. We want his Wise Counsels, to direct our puclick Weal.
But He who has the Hearts of all in his hands, will I hope inspire our Counsellors with that Wisdom which is from above, may Vigor, Courage, Unanimity, and Discision mark their Steps.
I received Your Letter of the 15th of October. Mr Shaw, and my little Ones thank you, for all your Tokens of Affection both Ideal, and material. Mr Shaw wishes, to draw upon your Friend for the like expression of Regard. He presumes, his Bill will not be protested.
Your two Children Charles, and Thomas spent a part of the long Vacation here. Mr Shaw would have bean quite displeased if they had not have come, we were very sorry Mr JQA did not accompany them.
Cousin Thomas could not help thinking it was home here yet, and no wonder—for it was almost three years, and half that he lived with us. He says he has a good Chamber at Cambridge, and the People of the House are very kind, and he can go to their Closet, with as much freedom as he used to here. I told him my Pyes were almost dried up, a waiting for him, for I expected they would have been here a fortnight sooner. Mr Shaw, and I have the pleasure of assuring you they behave well. We have taken particular Care to enquire of their Preceptors—for your Children do indeed, possess a very great share of our tenderest Love. Mr and Mrs Allen, and Cousin Sally Austin spent monday Evening here. I assure you we live in the most perfect amity, and good Neighbourhood. She has lately spent a fortnight in Boston, thinking she could not so conveniently again leave home. Mr Allen has now, I believe a prospect of additional Happiness in the domestic way,2 and I can see, that he is not a little gratified. Our good Cousin William Smith will be married to Miss Hannah Carter the 1st of June. It is imposible for any thing to be more agreeable to all Parties. And it appears very strange, that what now gives so much satisfaction, could not have been thought of before. But this is the Year for happy Matches. I verrily believe some unusual lucky Star presides over the Hymeneal Torch. For I never knew half so many agreeable Connections formed as has been, within these twelve Months. I have written to my two Neices, telling them, I wish its benign Influences may be protracted, and the ensuing Months sweetly roll on, and smile as propitious upon them, as it has upon my other Friends.
Miss Carter is a Lady of real merit, and well deserving of the good { 462 } Husband (I presume) our Cousin will make. She is a Daughter in whom my Aunt Smith would have greatly delighted, had she still been living. This Lady is distinguished from the gay Trifflers of the age, not by Beauty, but by the more lasting Qualities of the Mind, for Virtue good Sense, Prudence Oeconimy, and an affable, modest Deportment mark her Character.
It gives me the greatest pleasure, that you appear to be so satisfied with your own Daughters Connection. It must be the Solace, and the Joy of your Mind. Long may they live, and be a Blessing to you.
Mr Thaxter may be married in the Course of the year,3 but at present all Courts are stoped, and little or no buisiness can be done.
Mrs Marsh is still alive, and enjoys the Fruits of a good old age. The Fruit of good Government in her own Family, for her Children rise, and bless her.

[salute] Adieu! thou ever dear, & Much loved Sister—Accept this written in haste, from your

[signed] E Shaw
1. On 29 Jan., Gov. James Bowdoin issued orders that members of the militia should prepare themselves to serve if the need arose. On 5–6 Feb., the General Court reiterated its support for a call-up of 2,600 men to reinforce the troops under General Lincoln working to put down Shays' Rebellion. Despite that, Bowdoin announced on 7 Feb., after positive reports from Lincoln of the success of his troops in dispersing the rebels, that he was countermanding the draft order (Boston Independent Chronicle, 1, 8 Feb.).
2. Rev. Jonathan Allen and Elizabeth Kent Allen had a daughter, Betsey, who was baptized on 12 Aug. in Bradford (Vital Records of Bradford Massachusetts, Topsfield, 1907, p. 10).
3. John Thaxter Jr. would marry Elizabeth Duncan on 13 November.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0184

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-02-09

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Sister

If you have reciev'd our Letters by Capn Callahan you will be in Some measure prepair'd for the accounts which Capn Folger will bring you of the Rebellion which exists in this state. It had arisen to such a height that it was necessary to oppose it by force of arms. We are always in this country to do things in an extraordinary many [manner?]. The militia were call'd for, but there was not a copper in the Treasury to pay them or to support them upon their march. Town meetings were call'd in many places and promisses were made them that if the would inlist they would pay them and wait till the money could be collected from the Publick, for thier pay. And for their present Support People contributed as they were able and in { 463 } this manner in less than a week was collected an army of five thousand men Who march'd under the command of General Lincoln to worcester to protect the court. The result you will see in the papers. The season has been stormy and severe our army have suffer'd greatly in some of their marches especially last Saturday night. Many of them were badly froze, they march'd thirty mile without stoping to refresh themselves in order to take Shays and his army by surprize. They took about 150 of them. Shays and a number with him scamper'd of and are got to new hampshire.
Shays and his party are a poor deluded People. They have given much trouble and put us and themselves to much expence and have greatly added to the difficulties they complain off. I think you must have been very uneasy about us. Shays has not a small party in Braintree but not many in this parish. They want paper money to cheat with. They call'd a Town meeting about a week since to forbid colln. Thayers attending the general court but they could not get a vote.1
It is now almost four months since I have heard from you. What is become of capn. Cushing, he has been long expected. This has been the longest winter I ever knew nothing but snow storms. The slaighing is fine and while our Lads were at home we did something at it, but now they are return'd to their studys and we are very lonely. No sister Adams to run too, no Germantown Freinds to visit:2 mrs Quincy and nancy gone to spend the winter in Boston and if I turn my eyes to weymouth, there is not even the Docr. at this time to smile upon me. The Docr. is going to raise the roof of his House immediatly. What a pity that Josiah Quincy should have left his wife in such a manner, that She must quit it all if she marrys again. She is young and very agreable. Abel Willard has left a widow, not quite so young nor so comely but she is sensible amiable and benevolent to a great degree. She is also use'd to a country Life has no child and has a small fortune left her by her Father. Her Husbands went to the publick.3 What think you, will either of these do. He says I must get him a wife he has not time to look about him, and one he must have soon. I want your assistance so please to nominate, and give your reasons but I will not promise that you will not be too late. What think you of our mrs Quincy for uncle Smith. If this should take place we should again feel as if we had an Aunt. I cannot but hope it. It is talk'd of, and that is one way to make it so. I have receiv'd a Letter to day from Sister Shaw. She is well, Billy has a troublesome cough. I was at cambridge sometimes in the vacancy to see { 464 } Cousin JQA. He Was well and quite a gallant among the Ladies. He promis'd to make us a visit but has been so ingag'd that he could not: Cousin Tom is a great favorite at mr Sewalls. He is neat loves order is very careful not to give any unnessary trouble, has scarcly any company and goes but little out. We cannot be thankful enough my dear Sister that our children are such as they are. Cousin charles is a lovely creature. He is so amiable and so attentive that he will be belov'd wherever he sets his Foot. Our children are so happy together that I can scarcly forbear a sigh When I think how soon they must be scatterd and yet it must and ought to be so.
Mrs Hall is well she spent the day with me this week and desir'd me to give her Love to her Son and you and her grandchildren. She charg'd me to thank you for what you had sent her and your Nieces. They look'd much pleas'd and beg'd me to thank their Aunt.
Mrs Allen has made a vissit to her Friends in Boston, but return'd without my seeing her. She is like to increase her Family which has sister Shaws says causd a complacenc in the countenance of her “own good man.”
The newspapers will inform you that Doctor Clark dy'd very suddenly, but they will not tell you that he dy'd without a Will by which means miss Betsy Mayhew and her Brothers will have a fortune of four thousand pounds a piece. This is a great fortune for an american Lady enough certainly to bye her a Husband.4
Mr Evans is preaching where Doctor Gorden was settled, tis suppos'd they will give him a call.5 Mr Norton is still at weymouth.
I went the other day to see our milton Friends. Mrs Warren is anxious for Henry. He went General Lincolns aid.
The musical society at Braintree return their thanks for those Scotch Peices of Musick whih you so kindly Sent them. They talk'd of chusing a committee to draw up a Letter of thanks but as they were not all present they deputed me to do it for them. They luckily came in the vacancy. They have had time to learn to sing and play several of them. You need not be concern'd about their playing upon a Flute they have not time to play enough to hurt them.
Uncle Quincy is as Well as usual. The roads have been so bad that I have not been to see him but onc this winter. Our Hingham Friends are well. Nancy looks quite Stately. Quincy is gone with General Lincoln. Good Doctor Gay lives yet and preaches every Sunday. Doctor Chancy is suppos'd very near his end but he has render'd himself immortal by his writings. Have you read his late publications. If you have not do get them of Doctor Price. They { 465 } were printed under his direction. I scarcly ever read any thing with more pleasure.6
How does my new Nephew and my dear Niece. Well I hope. Does she begin to look Stately too. I wish I could look in upon them. When my Sister oh when will you return. I have had a Letter begun Six months ago for mrs Elworthy but I have not had time to finish it. Do you ever see her. If you do give my Love to her. Tell her sister Bond and Family were well a few days since. Mr Bond was in Boston. We had Letters from cousin Ebbit. Mrs Bond and her Sister are fine Women. I regret their living so far from us. I hope to visit them next Summer.7
Mrs Hay lives at Newbury. I have never seen her but once since she return'd. Why did she return without her Husband?8 It looks strange.
Parson wibird visits us every other day almost. He still lives in that vile house. I told him the other day that nobody but he could live in and retain a moral character, that I was tir'd of vindicating his Character, where he was not known. That the House had become so Scandelous that if it was in Boston the Select men would pull it down and it is true. It is a vile house my sister but all I can say he will live there.
I hope you have not had a return of the dissorder which made you so sick.
Betsy and Lucy send their Duty to you and Love to their Cousins, will write by the next vessel. We did not hear of this till a day or two ago, and they are so busy that they cannot attend to their Pen at present.
Will you present my Love to mr Adams. To mr and Mrs Smith, and accept of the warmest Love & gratitude of your ever affectionate Sister
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs Cranch Febry 9th 1787.”
1. At a 29 Jan. town meeting, some Braintree residents attempted to recall Ebenezer Thayer as their representative to the General Court or to alter his instructions, but the motion was dismissed (Braintree Town Records, p. 569–570).
2. Gen. Joseph Palmer's family, who had moved to Charlestown in the fall (Cranch to AA, 26 Nov. 1786, above).
3. Abel Willard (1731/2–1781) of Lancaster, Mass., had emigrated with his wife, Elizabeth Rogers, to England as a loyalist refugee in 1776. He was subsequently proscribed under the Act of 1778 and his Massachusetts estate was confiscated. Following his death in 1781, his widow returned to Boston (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:301–303).
4. Dr. John Clarke, AA's fellow passenger and good friend on the Active in 1784 (see vol. 5:360–383passim), was the uncle of Elizabeth Mayhew, daughter of the late Rev. Jonathan Mayhew and Elizabeth Clarke. Betsy's “brothers” were her half-brothers, John Clarke Howard and Algernon Sidney { 466 } Howard, sons of Elizabeth Clarke and the Rev. Simeon Howard, who had succeeded Mayhew as minister at Boston's West Church. Betsy Mayhew later married Peter Wainwright (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 11:444, 469; 14:288).
5. Rev. William Gordon, the patriot historian, had long been the minister of the Third Congregational Church in Jamaica Plain (Roxbury), Mass., prior to his return to England in March 1786. The church did not call another minister until 1793, when it chose Rev. Thomas Gray to be its pastor. “Mr Evans” was probably Israel Evans, for whom see Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 9 Feb. 1786, note 8, above (MHS, Procs., 63 [1929–1930]: 303; Ellen Lunt Frothingham Ernst, The First Congregational Society of Jamaica Plain 1769–1909, n.p., 1909, p. 33–34).
6. Rev. Charles Chauncy, the venerable Arminian pastor of Boston's First Church since 1727, died on 10 Feb. at age 82. His last important works, published in England, were The Mystery Hid from Ages and Generations, London, 1784, and Five Dissertations on the Scripture Account of the Fall and Its Consequences, London, 1785 (DAB).
7. William and Hannah Cranch Bond lived in Falmouth (now Portland, Maine), as did Hannah's sisterbrotherEbbett (1750–1789) (“Extract from a Register of the Bond and Cranch Families, drawn up in the year 1852,” MHi: Cranch-Bond Papers). Elizabeth Cranch Elworthy of London, wife of James Elworthy, was Hannah's sister and Richard Cranch's niece.
8. Katherine Hay decided to return to the United States alone, rather than go with her husband, a ship captain, on a lengthy voyage or remain in England without him (AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 28 April, MWA: Abigail Adams Corr.).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0185

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1787-02-21

John Adams to Richard Cranch

[salute] My dear Brother

I believe there is not another Man in the World whose Life has been such a series of Remorses as mine. It seems as if there was a Destiny that I should never be paid. The time is drawing near, for eleven or twelve months will soon be round, when we embark for Home. This is an irksome undertaking—to break up a settled habitation and remove a family across the Seas, at any time of life is no small matter, but when people grow into years and are weary of changes it is more disagreeable. It is in vain to murmur, and we must submit.
In every Point of view, it would be impertinent for me to think of remaining longer in Europe. It would be some expence to the public, without any benefit, and a great torment to me, without any profit. I shall leave to future Conversations at your Fireside, all further revelations upon these subjects. It is idle to complain. If there is not some other Plan persued at home, no good can be done abroad.
I am extremely anxious about the wild Projects of Government both for the Confederations and for particular States that I am informed are in circulation.1 Yet I can not but hope and trust that the Massachusetts will get better very soon of her own difficulties. The people I think cannot be so weak and misled as to continue their outrages against all Government.
{ 467 }
I shall hardly find my homely house a Scene of tranquility or of Pleasure: but it can't be worse for myself or others, than to stay here. My tender affections to my Sister and all our Friends. Tho I have not had a Youth of Pleasures, I must reckon on an old age of Cares. These however will be softened by the Neighborhood and Society of my old Friends—in the cheering hopes of which permit me to subscribe myself, your affectionate and obliged Brother,
[signed] John Adams
RC not found. Printed from (Paul C. Richards Cat., #47 [1970]), Brookline, Mass.
1. JA first received a report of a potential constitutional convention in Philadelphia from Rufus King, 2 Oct. 1786, who wrote, “The convention proposed to have been held at Annapolis in the last month on the subject of commerce has terminated without credit, or prospect of having done much good. . . . Whether the states will acceed to the proposition of a convention at Philadelphia, in May is yet uncertain” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1787-02-21

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir

Having determined to return to Pens hill, I begin to think in what a pitiful Condition I shall find my Meadow and Hill &c &c. Poor as a heath I Suppose, as I found them, but am determined they shall not remain long in such a contemptible plight. This is therefore to beg the favour of you to purchase for me Josh. Bracketts Heap at his stable1 for a year, and desire my Brother or my Tenant to hire Boats and Teams to transport it to Braintree, and to bring a proportional Quantity of Marsh Mud and street Dust to be laid in heaps for manure. Belcher remembers the whole Proscess. Draw upon me, as soon as possible for the Cash to defray all Expences. I am determined not to remain an Hour in Europe after the Expiration of my Commission to this Court. So I shall embark in January or February 1788 for Boston, if possible, if not, for New York in the Packett.

[salute] I am, my dear sir, with much Affection your Friend

[signed] John Adams
RC (CtY: Franklin Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Esq. Feby. 21. 1787—respecting his Return.”
1. For Joshua Brackett's stable, see vol. 4:259–261; JA, D&A, 3:194.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0187

Author: Jefferson, Thomas
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1787-02-22

Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I am to acknolege the honor of your letter of Jan. 29. and of the papers you were so good as to send me they were the latest I had seen or have yet seen. They left off too in a critical moment; just at the point where the Malcontents make their submission on condition of pardon, and before the answer of government was known. I hope they pardoned them. The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the Atmosphere. It is wonderful that no letter or paper tells us who is president of Congress,1 tho' there are letters in Paris to the beginning of January. I suppose I shall hear when I come back from my journey,2 which will be eight months after he will have been chosen. And yet they complain of us for not giving them intelligence. Our Notables assembled to-day, and I hope before the departure of mr Cairnes3 I shall have heard something of their proceedings worth communicating to mr Adams. The most remarkable effect of this convention as yet is the number of puns and bon mots it has generated.4 I think were they all collected it would make a more voluminous work than the Encyclopedie. This occasion, more than any thing I have seen, convinces me that this nation is incapable of any serious effort but under the word of command. The people at large view every object only as it may furnish puns and bons mots; and I pronounce that a good punster would disarm the whole nation were they ever so seriously disposed to revolt. Indeed, Madam, they are gone. When a measure so capable of doing good as the calling the Notables is treated with so much ridicule, we may conclude the nation desperete, and in charity pray that heaven may send them good kings.
The bridge at the place Louis XV. is begun. The hotel dieu is to be abandoned and new ones to be built. The old houses on the old bridges are in a course of demolition.5 This is all I know of Paris. We are about to lose the Count d'Aranda, who has desired and obtained his recall. Fernand Nunnez, before destined for London is to come here.6 The Abbe's Arnoux and Chalut are well. The Dutchess Danville somewhat recovered from the loss of her daughter.7 Mrs Barrett very homesick, and fancying herself otherwise sick. They will { 469 } probably remove to Honfleur.8 This is all our news. I have only to add then that mr Cairnes has taken charge of 15. aunes of black lace for you at 9 livres the aune, purchased by Petit and therefore I hope better purchased than some things have been for you; and that I am with sincere esteem Dear Madam your affectionete humble sert
[signed] Th: Jefferson
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr Jefferson Febry 22 1787.”
1. The new Congress, scheduled to convene in Nov. 1786, did not obtain a quorum until 17 January. It elected Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania as its president on 2 Feb., and John Jay informed Jefferson of this on 9 Feb. (JCC, 32:1, 11; Jefferson, Papers, 11:129).
2. Jefferson left Paris on 28 Feb. for a tour of southern France and northern Italy, returning on 10 June, for which see his “Notes of a Tour into the Southern Parts of France, &c” (same, 11:415–464).
3. Burrill Carnes, an American merchant at Lorient, carried letters to London for Jefferson in Feb. (same, 11:143, 188; vol. 6:200).
4. The Assembly of Notables, proposed by Louis XVI's controller-general, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, opened on 22 Feb. after two postponements. Called to consult on France's financial crisis, and widely lampooned at its opening, it proved far more independent than expected and suggested various reforms. The assembly met until 25 May when Louis XVI dismissed them in the wake of their demand for a meeting of the full Estates-General to approve new taxes. Jefferson described the assembly to JA in a letter of 23 Feb. (Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, N.Y., 1989, p. 227, 238–241, 259–260; Jefferson, Papers, 11:176–177). For an example of the satirical prints mocking the assembly that were prevalent in Paris in February, see Schama, Citizens, p. 241.
5. Construction of the Pont de la Concorde, the bridge crossing the Seine from the Place Louis XV (later Place de la Concorde) and built in part with stones from the Bastille, began in 1787 and was completed in 1791. The plan to close the Hôtel Dieu, the oldest hospital in Paris, and build a new one on the outskirts of the city, never came to fruition under Louis XVI and was abandoned at the start of the Revolution. It was finally remodeled in the 1860s (Karl Baedeker, Paris and Its Environs, 19th edn., N.Y., 1924, p. 59, 62, 264; Howard C. Rice Jr., Thomas Jefferson's Paris, Princeton, N.J., 1976, p. 5–6, 25–26; Edward Planta, A New Picture of Paris; or, the Stranger's Guide to the French Metropolis, 10th edn., London, 1818, p. 264–265).
6. Pedro Pablo de Abarca y Bolea, Conde de Aranda, was Spain's ambassador to France from 1773 to Sept. 1787. Carlos José Gutiérrez de los Rios y Rohan-Chabot, Conde de Fernán-Núñez, Spain's former ambassador to Portugal, replaced him in Dec. 1787 (Repertorium, p. 430–431, 438).
7. Elisabeth Louise (1740–1786), daughter of Marie Louise Nicole de La Rochefoucauld, widow of Jean Baptiste Frédéric de La Rochefoucauld de Roye, Duc d'Anville (JA, D&A, 4:42, 66–67; Dict. de la noblesse, 17:366).
8. The former Boston resident Nathaniel Barrett and his wife Margaret Hunt Barrett did not move to the port city of Honfleur, France, nor was she merely “fancying” her illness. She died on 6 June in Paris, probably of consumption (Jefferson, Papers, 11:276, 476; Boston Independent Chronicle, 13 Sept.).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0188

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1787-02-25

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My Dear Sister

Captain Davis called yesterday to let me know that he should sail in the course of the week. Captain Barnard will not be long after him, and I almost wish I was going to embark with him. I think I { 470 } should not feel more anxious if I was in the midst of all the disturbances, than I do at this Distance, where Imagination is left at full Liberty. When Law and justice is laid prostrait who or what is Secure? I received your Letters which came by captain Scot just as I was going to step into the carriage to go into the City upon some Buisness. As I was alone I took them with me to read, and when I came to that part of your Letter, where in you say, that you had hoped to have seen only Peace in future, after surmounting the Horrors of one war the Idea was too powerfull for me, and the Tears involluntary flowed. I was obliged to quit the Letter till I had finishd my Buisness. The thoughts which naturally occured to me, were for what have we been contending against the tyrranny of Britain, to become the Sacrifice of a lawless Banditti? Must our glory be thus shorn and our Laurels thus blasted? Is it a trifling matter to destroy a Government, will my countrymen justify the Maxim of tyrants, that Mankind are not made for freedom. I will however still hope that the Majority of our fellow citizens are too wise virtuous and enlightned to permit these outrages to gain ground and triumph. Solon the wise lawgiver of Athens, published a Manifesto for rendering infamous all persons, who in civil Seditions should remain Spectators of their Countrys danger by a criminal Neutrality.1 The Spirit shewn by the Gentleman vollunteers and the capture of Shattucks does honour to our State. More energy in Government would have prevented the evil from spreading so far as it has done.

“Mercy but gives Sedition time to rally

every soft pliant talking busie Rogue

Gathering a flock of hot braind Fools together

can preach up new Rebellion

Spread false reports of the Senate working up

their Madness to a Fury quick and desp'rate

till they run headlong in to civil discords

And do our buisness with their own destruction.”2

This is a picture of the civil dissentions in Rome, and to our mortification we find that humane nature is the same in all ages. Neither the dread of Tyrants the fall of Empires, the Havock and dessolation of the Humane Species, nor the more gloomy picture of civil Discord, are sufficient to deter Mankind from persueing the Same Steps which have led others to ruin. Selfishness and spight avarice and ambition, pride and a levelling principal are qualities very unfavourable to the existance of civil Liberty. But whatever is to { 471 } be the fate of our Country, we have determined to come home and share it with you. Congress have never given mr Adams a recall from Holland and he is vested (with mr Jefferson) with powers to form treaties with Several other Countrys. His commission to this Court will terminate this time twelve Months, and he has written to Congress his fixd and full determination to resign his commissions and return at that period, if not before.3 So that my dear sister I most joyfully accept your invitation and will come home God willing e'er an other Year expires. Dissagreeable as the Situation of my Native State appears, I shall quit Europe with more pleasure than I came to it, uncontaminated I hope with its Manners and vices. I have learnt to know the World, and its value. I have seen high Life, I have Witnessd the Luxery and pomp of State, the Power of riches and the influence of titles, and have beheld all Ranks bow before them, as the only shrine worthy of worship. Notwithstanding this, I feel that I can return to my little cottage and be happier than here, and if we have not wealth, we have what is better, Integrity.
I had written you thus far with an intention of sending by Davis, but received a card to day from captain Barnard that he will sail at the same time which is a fortnight sooner than I expected. I have concluded to send by him. Captain Callihan arrived at Cows in a very short passage of less than 30 days, and your Letter of Janry 10 and 12 came up by the post, one from uncle Smith and one from my eldest son.4 The rest are still on Board, nor do I know when we shall get them, as captain Callihan Stays I suppose to repair, having lost his Mast in a gale of wind. I was very happy to find that Folger had arrived safe as we were anxious for him, on account of the severe weather. I wrote you by captain Cushing, on Board of whom I got mr Elworthy to put a small present for you, but was much mortified a day or two after to find by a Boston paper that they were prohibited articles. I hope you will not meet with trouble on account of them. I cannot but approve the Spirit which dictated the measure.5 The causes which gave rise to it, must be deplored, for it is evidently a work of necessity rather than choice. The Luxery which had made Such rapid Strides amongst our countrymen was more criminal than that which is founded upon real wealth, for they have Roited upon the property which belonged to others. It is a very just observation, that those who have raised an Empire, have always been grave and Severe; they who have ruined it, have been uni• { 472 } formly distinguished for their dissapation. We shall wait with impatience for the result of General Lincolns expedition. Much depends upon his Success. Government seem affraid to use the power they have, and recommend and intreat where they ought to Command, which makes one apprehend that the evil lies deeper than the Heads or Hands of Shaise or Shattucks. From letter received here both from Boston and Newyork it is to be feared that Visionary Schemes, and ambitious projects are taking possession of Men of Property and Science. But before so important an Edifice as an Established Government is alterd or changed, its foundation should be examined by skilfull artists, and the Materials of which it is composed duly investigated.6
The defence of the American constitutions is a work which may perhaps contribute to this end and I most Sincerly wish it may do the good intended.
I lament with you the loss of a Worthy Man, for such indeed was the Friend of my dear Eliza. Our own duration is but a Span, then shall we meet those dear Friends and relatives who have gone before us and be engaged together in more elevated views, and purer pleasures and enjoyments than Mortality is capable of. Let this Idea Sooth the aflicted mind, and administer Balm to the wounded Heart; all things are under the Government of a supreeme all wise director, to him commit, the hour the day the year. I will write my dear Neice as soon as I get her Letter.
I fear if Barnard sails so soon I shall find myself tardy. I have been much engaged in assisting Mrs Smith. I wish for a sister as the time draws near. I shall find myself of little use. She seems to have good Spirits and knowing nothing fears nothing. Dr Jeffries is our family Physician, and is really an amiable benevolent Man tho formerly he took a different side in politicks.7
You inquire the price of Mode. It is of various prices the widest and best five shillings sterling. As to the fashion sattin cloaks of all coulours except Black are worn in winter in Spring black mode, in Summer Muslin and Gauzes linned with blew pink or white Sasnit [sarcenet] like one which was made by my Millinar and sent to Mrs Russel by Cushing, but I will endeavour to get a Pattern for you. What new fashions may be introduced by the admission of French Millinary during the summer, is past even the art of devination, but as that is a matter which my Country women will concern themselves very little with I hope, a Monthly magizine may serve their purpose instead of a daily volm which we may soon expect to See. { 473 } Pray what has become of Mrs Hay I have never received a line from her since she left this Country? You did perfectly right in adding the two yds more for Gowns for the Miss Palmers. The moths I hope will not plunder what little Wollens I have particularly my Scarlet cloth and my carpet. As to what other things I have, I consider them as a usefull deposit for family service should I live to return. Amongst them I think I have a large parcel of threads which my Neices will repair to when they have occasion to make linen for their cousins. As to any thing else, I had rather have it purchased for the children than taken from thence. I wish you would be so good as to look into my draws and you will find a green Lutestring Gown and a brown ducape a pattern of each I wish you to send me, as they will never be of Service to me unless I can match them. I have sent by captain Barnard a peice of Linen for the children, it is addrest to mr Cranch. I did not know whether they wanted yet but thought it would do no harm as Moths will not eat that. Within the Linnen you will find the trimming for it, Smuglled a little but that you will be mush about. Dont even tell that wise and good Senator your Husband. Take enough of it for cousin William half a dozen pr of. I have also sent the other half dozen shirts for JQA, so that he will not want for these twelve Months. Mrs Payne shall not be forgotten.
My dear sister say not one word about being ungratefull in charging the Board of your Nephews. I am sure it is your Duty to do it and it would pain both mr Adams and me exceedingly if you did not. Dr Tufts will pay you quarterly and for their washing and Ironing. I know that there are a thousand cares for which you cannot be paid only by the gratefull acknowledment of your sister.
You have hinted to me Several times as tho our good uncle Tufts was looking him a wife. Pray is there any particular person you think of. Our Friend Mrs Quincy has been in my mind for one or the other of our uncles. So cousin William has at last found one sensible Girl. Tis a Shame that a solid young fellow, should be so little to the taste of the young Ladies. I am always glad to hear every thing pleasing of my Friends, and I begin now to feel as if I should See them again.
Mrs Smith sits by the table working as fast as her needle can fly and is so buisy that I do not think She will write a line by this opportunity.
Let mrs Feild know that Esther is well as usual, a weakly creature at best, requires as much care as a Young Turkey. John is not much better, never well, but an excellent Servint, honest and trust worthy.
{ 474 }
Thus have I told you a domestick tale and my scond sheet warns me to close, but not untill I present my Love to Brother Cranch to my Nephew and Neices, to all my kin however wide, to my Neighbours and Friends, from their and your affectionate
[signed] A A
RC (MWA: Abigail Adams Corr.).
1. Solon (ca. 7th–6th century b.c.), the “Lawgiver,” was a statesman, poet, and archon of Greece ca. 594–590 b.c. Plutarch's Lives cites a law of Solon that a person refusing to take sides during times of division would be disenfranchised (Ivan M. Linforth, Solon the Athenian, Berkeley, Calif., 1919, p. 3–4, 27; Plutarch, Life of Solon, XX, para. 1).
2. Thomas Otway, The History and Fall of Caius Marius, London, 1680, Act III, lines 7–10, 70–73.
3. JA made his intentions known to Congress in a letter to John Jay of 24 Jan. (PCC, No. 84, VI, f. 392–395).
4. The letter from Isaac Smith Sr. to AA has not been found; the letter from JQA is that of 30 Dec. 1786, above.
5. AA was sending porter and cheese, both of which had been prohibited under the new Massachusetts impost (AA to Thomas Jefferson, 29 Jan., above; Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 22 April, Adams Papers).
6. By this time, the Adamses had received a number of letters from Boston and New York not only discussing the troubles in Massachusetts but also outlining the activities of the Annapolis Convention and consideration of a new federal convention in Philadelphia. See, for example, letters to JA from Rufus King, 2 Oct.; Benjamin Hichborn, 24 Oct.; and Samuel Osgood, 14 Nov. (2d letter) (all Adams Papers).
7. Dr. John Jeffries (1744/5–1819), Harvard 1763, had studied medicine at Aberdeen but then returned to Boston to practice. He sided with the loyalists, however, and became a doctor in the British Army, first in Nova Scotia and later in Savannah and then New York. In 1780, he migrated to London, where he continued to practice medicine and also became interested in aeronautics, particularly balloons. He served as the Adamses' family physician throughout their time in England (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 15:419–427).

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0189

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-28

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear son

Your Letter to me by captain Callihan came safe to hand, that to your Sister and others from my Friends are yet with him at Cowes where he put in having lost his Mast. I think single Letters are better put into the Bag, Newspapers given to the captains.
Blairs lectures were purchased for you last fall and left at the New England coffe house for captain Barnard to take with him, and we thought that you had received them. If they have mist, an other set will be procured for you. Enfields institutes will also be Sent, but captain Barnard going a fortnight sooner than we expected, am not ready for him. I have requested him to take the remaining half dozen of your shirts which are done up in a bundle like those I sent by cushing and addrest to you; the volms you mention receiving of French History, were written by a very needy Man, a mere Chevalier d'Industry, who has since been in Newgate and as they were much { 475 } too impartial to Sell in this country I Suppose he could not pay the printing.1 He Swindled us out of ten Guineys and has dissapeard. There is nothing that is American, is or can be in vogue here. They cautiously avoid bringing our country into view. Indeed she does not at present exhibit the most pleasing picture, but to make us believe that she is of no kind of concequence to them they do not even retail our disturbances, or comment upon them. If they had Money I should suppose they were willing to keep up our quarrels and would lend a hand to sow dissentions, but they are as much distresst for ways and means as we are, and those who form conjectures of this kind know little of the finnances of this Country. The day is fast approaching when we have determined to quit it. God willing I once Set my foot on American ground not all the embassies to Europe consolidated into one shall tempt me again to quit it. I do not wonder at your longing to return, and I have many induceme[nts] which you had not, not one single one to remain here. My dear lads you know that we shall return poor, but at the same time you know what have been the Services of your Father. You know his honour and his integrity that shall be your inheritance. If we can get you all through colledge, the World is all before you, and providence your guide.2 You will do better I doubt not than if you had been led to expect wealth.
You will apply my son to mr Parsons and get fixed with him I hope. If we live to return to you we shall be able to look after your Brothers.
I am rejoiced to find there conduct so good. This is a balm amidst all the publick calamities. Pray attend to your own Health, I have written you before upon this Subject. Mine is better than in the fall, tho as the Spring approaches I find a return of my Rhumatick complaints. I am obliged to write you in great haste as Barnard is to Sail tomorrow, and my Letters must go to him this Evening. Col Smith says he has the same feeling which you express, that he wrote you long ago but has never Sent it. Your sister is well and will write you as soon as she gets her Letter.

[salute] Adieu and believe me most tenderly you[rs]

[signed] A A
Love to your Brothers.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by WSS: “To Mr. John Quincy Adams Student at Cambridge near Boston”; endorsed: “Mrs: Adams Feby: 28 1787.”; docketed: “My Mother. 28. Feby: 1787.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. François Soulés.
2. Milton, Paradise Lost, 12:646–647.



{ 482 } { 483 }


The Adams Family, 1786–1787

1786   4 Jan. – 8 Feb.   CA, a Harvard freshman, spends his winter vacation in Braintree and Haverhill, where JQA and TBA are being tutored by their uncle, Rev. John Shaw.  
1786   10 Jan.   JQA visits New Hampshire for the first time on an evening sleigh ride to Hampstead.  
1786   9 Feb.   AA and AA2 attend the queen's birthday celebration, accompanied by Col. David Humphreys, and the birthday ball, with WSS, at St. James' Palace.  
1786   16–20 Feb.   JA meets with Ambassador Sidi Haggi 'Abd-ur-rahman Aga of Tripoli to negotiate a commercial treaty.  
1786   21 Feb.   WSS departs London for Paris, dispatched by JA to confer with Thomas Jefferson on the treaty negotiations with Tripoli.  
1786   28 Feb.   Lord Carmarthen responds to JA's Nov. 1785 demand that British troops be withdrawn from U.S. territory, stating that Britain will fulfill its treaty obligations when America does the same.  
1786   11 March   WSS and Thomas Jefferson arrive in London, the latter coming to help negotiate commercial treaties with Tripoli, Portugal, and Great Britain.  
1786   14 March   JQA leaves Haverhill for Cambridge. On the 15th he is examined and admitted to Harvard as a junior sophister.  
1786   15 March   JA presents Jefferson to King George III.  
1786   18–22 March   JQA visits the Cranches in Braintree.  
1786   22 March   JQA takes up residence at Harvard College.  
1786   4–10 April   JA and Jefferson tour English gardens, countryseats, and historic sites, including Stratford-on-Avon where they carve a souvenir sliver from what is said to be Shakespeare's chair.  
{ 484 }
1786   11–26 April   JQA and CA spend the Harvard spring vacation at Braintree.  
1786   17 April   JA acquires eleven acres in Braintree's New South Precinct, now Randolph, in settlement of a loan to David Sloan.  
1786   19 April   JA meets Joseph Priestley.  
1786   20 April   The Adamses and Jefferson visit the countryseats of Sion House and Osterley Park in Brentford.  
1786   24 April   The Adamses, WSS, and Jefferson visit the British Museum.  
1786   25 April   JA and Jefferson conclude negotiations for a commercial treaty with Portugal, a treaty that neither country ever ratified.  
1786   29 April   In a diplomatic slight, JA is excluded from the annual Royal Academy dinner for foreign ministers.  
1786   9 May   JA publishes an anonymous letter in a London newspaper denying a report that his salary is paid by the French government.  
1786   12 May   Commissions held by JA and Jefferson to negotiate commercial treaties expire.  
1786   11 June   AA2 and WSS are married at the U.S. legation in Grosvenor Square.  
1786   17 June   CA and his cousins William, Elizabeth, and Lucy Cranch attend the dedication of the bridge connecting Boston and Charlestown. JQA remains at Harvard.  
1786   20–24 June   The Adamses visit Portsmouth, stopping at the countryseat of Painshill in Surrey and Windsor Castle.  
1786   30 June   AA2 and WSS depart Grosvenor Square for a residence on Wimpole Street.  
1786   13 July   Harvard's summer vacation begins, and JQA and CA go to Braintree.  
1786   20–26 July   TBA visits Braintree.  
1786   24–28 July   JA, AA, AA2, and WSS visit the Essex estate of Thomas Brand-Hollis.  
1786   26 July – 5 Aug.   JQA and CA visit Haverhill, participating in a sea-turtle banquet on a Merrimack River island on 28 July.  
1786   27 July   JA and AA visit Braintree, England, for “the Gratification of Curiosity.”  
1786   2 Aug.   JA attends a levee with the king to announce his departure for The Hague. On the same day, the king escapes an assassination attempt by a knife-wielding Margaret Nicholson.  
{ 485 }
1786   3 Aug. – 6 Sept.   JA and AA travel to The Hague to exchange ratified copies of the Prussian-American treaty with Baron von Thulemeier. While in Holland, the Adamses visit Rotterdam, Leyden, Haarlem, Amsterdam, Delft, and Utrecht.  
1786   16 Aug.   JQA returns to Harvard for the fall quarter, following CA, who arrived in Cambridge five days earlier to prepare their rooms.  
1786   17 Aug.   Frederick the Great of Prussia dies and is succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William II.  
1786   22 Aug.   TBA is examined and admitted to Harvard's freshman class; he boards with Prof. Stephen Sewall in Cambridge.  
1786   25–28 Aug.   AA2 and WSS visit Salt Hill in Buckinghamshire and Staines in Middlesex.  
1786   29 Aug.   Shays' Rebellion begins when 1,500 farmers protest rising taxes and foreclosures by occupying the Northampton courthouse.  
1786   Sept.   JA begins writing what would become his three-volume A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America.  
1786   11 Sept.   The Annapolis Convention convenes in Maryland to consider federal regulation of commerce but fails to reach a quorum.  
1786   26 Sept.   JQA and William Cranch debate “Whether inequality among the citizens be necessary to the preservation of the liberty of the whole” at a Harvard College exhibition.  
1786   Oct.   JA publishes a series of letters he wrote in 1780 to Hendrik Calkoen, an Amsterdam lawyer, as Letters. The book is later retitled Twenty-Six Letters, upon Interesting Subjects, Respecting the Revolution of America.  
1786   17 Oct.   The Adams sons spend the Harvard vacation in Braintree. CA returns to Cambridge on the 30th; JQA and TBA on 1 November.  
1786   17 Nov.   The Massachusetts legislature approves bills encouraging domestic manufacture and taxing imported goods.  
1786   13 Dec. – 7 Feb.   Harvard vacation begins early due to a massive snowstorm and shortages of wood. JQA elects to stay at the college.  
1786   22 Dec. – 6 Jan.   AA, AA2, and WSS visit Bath while JA remains in London.  
{ 486 }
1787   20 Jan.   AA announces to family in the United States that AA2 and WSS are expecting their first child, William Steuben Smith, born 2 April.  
1787   24 Jan.   JA informs Congress that within a year he will resign his commissions and return to the United States.  
1787   25 Jan.   JA signs a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Morocco.  
1787   21 Feb.   Congress approves a proposal to hold a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in May.  
1787   27 Feb.   Shays' Rebellion ends with a final skirmish in Sheffield, Mass.  
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.