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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0063

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
DateRange: 1790-09-22 - 1790-09-30

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Sister

I beleive cousin Thomas has wanted his Trunk. I hear that Barnard did not sail till last week I hope your son has arriv'd safe but wonder that we have not heard from him. He promiss'd to write. The parting on our side was hard I cannot think of it without a Tear He had so indear'd himself to us all by his affectionate behaviour & amiable manners that he was to us a Son & Brother may a good providince attend him wherever he goes—
{ 120 }
You my dear Sister I find will soon leave new-york & altho I should not be more likely to see you when there than at Philadelphia yet I cannot bear you should move a Step farther from us—but I will please myself that you will make us a visit next Summer—
The People who apply'd to us about your House had taken a house at Cambridge but think it too far from publick amusements & are going into Boston for the winter— Mr Turner who married Mr Adams Daughter apply'd to me the other day to know if the House was to Let & wish'd to take a part of it— I told him you wish'd to let the whole but could not tell whether you would let only a part. Doctor Tufts says you had better let it be empty unless you can let it to some purpose, & to some person who will not abuse it. We will make Fires in it & preserve it from harm as well as we can
I have receiv'd your Letter of August 29th & hop'd to have had another before this time— mr Cranch says he din'd with you a few week since & that you were well I allmost begrudg'd him the pleasure—2 mr Hunt from St Croix Lodg'd in the House with mr Adams upon his Journey to Philadelphia so that I feel as if I had been constantly knowing something about you— When you go to your new Lodgings I beg you would ask Doctor Rush about that marvellous Funeral of mrs Browns who was kill'd by falling upon a spit— miss Chartt is still in deep mourning for the Family all of whome are dead except old mr Price. I very believe her Parents are convinc'd there never were such People in Boston—but why they try to keep up the Idea I know not— We do not visit nor have for these Seven months—but are very neighbourly other ways Charles is married & is now here with his wife3
This week mrs Quncy & mrs Packard leave Braintree do you not pity me my sister? It was the only house I could visit at with freedom except mr Alleynes in this town What a dispersion of Friends— mr Palmers Family all going & miss otis too4 mr otis & his wife Lodg'd here as they came from Plymouth—
Tell mrs Brisler that her Brother is to be married soon to miss Leafy Baxter so she may lay asside her mourning if she has finish'd making it— She will make him an exellent wife the Family are all pleass'd with it.5
Poor mr Thaxter has lost his Baby & it has been almost too much for him I hear his fits have been more frequent Since— he was very fond of his child & it was a very fine one— I do not think he will live long—6 mrs Thaxter has a Severe trial poor woman, The Baby lay { 121 } sick above two months with a dissorder in its Bowels which ended in a distress'd consumtion— I hope mrs Smith & her little ones are well my Love to her. will She go with you?
If you will not let me, I will say no more & only thank you— I hope we shall not always feel so many calls as we have done for these several years nobody but I know half the Difficultes I have had to incounter I have thoughts sometimes it would be to hard for me you & I have been better wives than the world will ever know of or give us cridit for
Mr Cranch is almost sick with one of his dreadfull colds & coughs I am much concern'd about him it has staid so long by him the rest of us are well William has some business already. He is very attentive— mrs norton & her little one are better they have been poorly with colds & the Baby with Teeth
when your carpet which is like that you gave me is wore out, I will thank you for it to mend mine—
cousin John attends to his Business too closely he ought to come to Braintree often— he will be sick if he does not ride out of Town
pray write often tis the only consolation I have for your absence & a Letter is always a cordial to the spirits of / your affectionate Sister
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by William Cranch: “Mrs Abigail Adams / New York.”; endorsed: “Mrs. Cranch / 1790.” Filmed at Sept. [1790].
1. The letter is dated based on Capt. Barnard's departure from Boston on 22 or 23 Sept. (New York Gazette of the United States, 2 Oct.).
2. In a letter of 27 Aug., Cranch asked AA, “Should you not be surpriz'd to see Doctor Tufts & Mr Cranch. they have really had some talks of making you a visit—but I had rather you would come here. they cannot see you for me—it will not satisfy me” (Adams Papers).
3. Lieut. Charles Ward Apthorp (1761–1804), son of Sarah Wentworth and James Apthorp of Braintree, had married Mary Prince at St. John, New Brunswick (Boston Columbian Centinel, 21 Aug.; John Wentworth, The Wentworth Genealogy: English and American, 3 vols., Boston, 1878, 1:519, 524).
4. Probably Hannah Otis (b. 1732), sister of Samuel Alleyne Otis and Mercy Otis Warren. Previously of Braintree, she now worked in Boston as a shopkeeper (NEHGR, 2:292 [July 1848]; vol. 6:232; Boston Directory, 1789, Evans, No. 22033).
5. Joseph Field married his second wife, Relief Baxter (1763–1849), daughter of Daniel and Prudence Baxter of Braintree, on 3 May 1791 (Sprague, Braintree Families).
6. One-year-old John Adams Thaxter died on 4 Sept. 1790 (Vital Records of Haverhill Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, 2 vols., Topsfield, Mass., 1910–1911, 2:480). For the death of John Thaxter Jr., see Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA, 24 June 1791, and note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0064

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
DateRange: 1790-09-28 - 1790-10-16

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

I know your tender sympathetick Heart will join with me, & drop a Tear over a lovely Child—the once beautiful John Adams Thaxter—sick—faded—withered—dead— Just as his dawning reason made us wish his stay— Just as his beauteous smile & sparkling Eye promised future Joy—

“Tis God that lifts our Comforts high,

Or sinks them in the Grave

He gives—(& blessed be his name)

He takes but what He gave”—1

It is this consideration alone that can calm the tumult of the Soul, & give peace, & serenity to the weepings Eyes, & bleeding-hearts of the fond doating Parents—

“Religion noble comfort brings,

Disarms our Griefs, or Blunts there Stings”—2

You (my Sister) know how grievous such a bereavment is, & we that are Mothers know how tenderly we love those little Sucklings— they draw love from our hearts, & are closely twisted with its fibres—
I fully intended writing to you by Cousin Thomas but Mr Thaxters Child grew so sick, that my Mind did not feel calm enough for anything, & besides that, I wished to devote all my leisure hours, to the distressed Parents— The Doctor advised Mrs Thaxter to wean her Son, but unfortunately it happened to be while he was cutting his Eye Teeth— She weaned him, & Mr Shaw carried her to Cousin Thomas's Commencement— But the dear Child was seized with a lax State, while she was gone, & was never well afterwards. They had to watch over a sick cradle for a great while, long enough to exhaust better Spirits, than poor Mr Thaxter was possessed of— It was at times in great distress—& for a whole fortnight, they did not expect its life from hour to hour— Mr Thaxter is supported much better than I feared— He behaves like a Christian— his health suffers, & it is true, that “He thinks like a Sage, but he feels like a Man”—3
The Death of this Child (my Sister) affects me more (perhaps) than if I had not an Infant of my own— Bearing the same name, & People talking so much about them, makes me look upon my little { 123 } Aba Adams, & consider her, as widdowed even in her Cradle— As her Brother & Sister were so much older, I did indeed promise myself much comfort in seeing them pleasant companions for each other, at lest in the more early part of Life, & that Protection, & attention which she could not have from her Brother, she might with propriety claim from her Cousin— But heaven allwise—has determined otherways, & Submission—however hard, must be our part—
Your youngest Son has now compleated his Studies at the University, & distinguished himself by his amiable Conduct, & gained the approbation, & esteem of all— So we find that merit, even in these degenerate days, does not pass unnoticed, & is not without its sincere admirers—
Mr Thomas had lived with us so long, & was now going to enter into business, on the wide world, & so far distant from me, that it affected me exceedingly— A fond Mothers heart, could not have felt more peculiar emotions— Though I wished him every Blessing, I could not bid him farewell—
October 16th.
This Letter has laid by me for sometime, not knowing of any direct Conveyance— But Mr & Mrs Dalton has been so kind as to call upon me, & informed me of their intended Journey to the Southward the last of this month, & politely offered to convey Letters to you— So good an Opportunity I embrace with pleasure— Mrs Dalton is indeed a fine woman, & an excellent Mother—& I am glad they are going to return for yours, & my Cousins sake— The Miss Daltons4 I suppose will inform you, that your eldest Son has been vastly attentive to the Ladies of late—& that one happy fair, was distinguished— aye my Sister—what will you say, should your Hercules be conquered? Shall we believe Report?— And it says, that a certain Lady is highly favoured— You my Sister can easily conceive of what advantage it is, for a young Lady to have a faithful Friend—One who can kindly check the temerity of Youth, & accurately describe the Lines by which a celebrated Beauty may pass through the dangerous age of Sixteen—One who can sweetly point out the path of Duty, & make the fair Field of Science, & Literature still more pleasing, by pointing out where the sweetest flowers may be culled to adorn the female Breast,—& where the richest Fruit, to refine, & please the mental Taste—
I have given up all thoughts of visiting Braintree this Fall— Though I long to see Sister Cranch, I content myself at home, as I { 124 } cannot have the pleasure of seeing you there— My little one grows finely— I was mortified that she was asleep with her night-gown on when Mrs Dalton saw her— I wish you could see her now, I fear she will not be so handsom in a year or two— I question whether Mrs Smith or Cousin Charles will ever have a Child look more like them than this sweet creature does—
It looks very dismal to think you are going so far from me, & Cousin Thomas too to settle in Pensylvania— I cannot feel willing—
I congratulate you upon the birth of a third Grandson— There will be statesmen in plenty, if Mrs Smith goes on from year to year in this way— My Love to her & the dear little Ones— I know Mrs Smith, & Cousin Charles will mourn at your leaving new york—for there is nothing better than a Fathers house—
I think I bear nursing very well, my health is certainly better than it has been for several years, or I could not tend Miss so much as I do, for she is almost as fleshy as my William was, though every body says she is much prettier— My Letter has run to a most unreasonable length— Adieu— most affectionately
[signed] E Shaw
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / New-York”; docketed: “E Peabody to / A Adams. 1790.”
1. Isaac Watts, “Hymn 5,” lines 9–12. Shaw initially quoted only the second two lines; she later interlined the first two lines.
2. Nathaniel Cotton, “Life, Vision the Last,” Visions in Verse, London, 1751, p. 104, lines 123–124.
3. “He thought as a sage, but he felt as a man” (James Beattie, “The Hermit,” A Collection of Poems in Four Volumes, London, 1770, 3:47, line 8).
4. Tristram and Ruth Dalton had three unmarried daughters at the time: Mary (b. 1771), Sarah (b. 1775), and Catherine (b. 1777). Their eldest, Ruth (b. 1767), had married Lewis Deblois of Boston the previous summer (Vital Records of Newburyport Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, 2 vols., Salem, Mass., 1911, 1:109; 2:125).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0065

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
DateRange: 1790-09-28 - 1790-10-06

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams Weymouth

[salute] Dear Madm.

Yours of the 5th. I recd. the 15t. Inst.11 By Mr. Thomas who has reached You before this Time I wrote & enclosed Mr. Adams Accts. and an Answer to a former Letter of Yours.2 Had I known that it had been necessary for Your Son to have come forward at an earlier Period and his Stay here had rested on his not being furnished with the needful. I should certainly have procured it by some means or other— His modesty joind with his Desire to Visit his Friends before He left the State prevented him I suppose from pressing the Matter—
{ 125 }
With Respect to Your House at Braintree, No Person has presented to hire it— An Applicant would probably expect the Garden, Stables &c. with the Dwelling House—not unlikely the Land on the Back of the House, Part of these are already under the Improvement of Capt. Adams— However should any Body present to hire, I will pay ready Attention to the Business.
In the Close of last Month I paid Mr Codman for the Two Casks of Wine at which Time He engaged to forward them by Barnard— about Ten Days past I call'd on Him found they were not sent— he promised to put them on board of Barnard who was then at the Wharf or in Case He was full, by an other Vessell which would sail in a Day or two from that Time— I hope you have recd. them before this—
You have not mentioned in any Letter, the Receipt of the Barrell of Sugar & 1 bb. Spirits from Jamaica sent by Barnad in June last— Would you have your Cheese & Butter from Pratts sent to you— What is to be done with your farming Tools Cart & mud Boat—
Gen. Lincoln mentioned to me the 16th. Inst. Dr. Williamsons wish to exchange some Bank Notes for the Value to be received in New York; to oblige the Dr: I consented to Gen. Lincolns endorsing my order on Mr. Adams, it was accordingly delivered to the Dr. of which I gave information by Letter, which I hope reached Mr. Adams timely enough to prevent his sending forward the order proposed—3
I have enclosed a List of the public Securities, you requested, if it is not descriptive enough, Youll let me know.4
The Assumption of but part of our State Debt, will render it I conceive exceedingly embarrassing how to provide for the Remainder so as to facilitate the Loan of the Sum agreed to be assumed, as well as to establish a Uniformity between the measure of Congress and the State—a more full Provision than what Congress has made for Payment of Principal & Interest will be contended for, and if not allowed, I am doubtful whether any effectual Measures will be adopted— indeed at present I am entirely in the Dark, How this Business is to be settled so as to make any tolerable Consistency in the adjustment of it—
Pray what will the Commissioners employed to purchase Continental Securities, allow, or how will they conduct their Business? State Securities are sold at 8s/Pr. £ Continental @ 12s/2d. Indents from 6/8 to 7s/— Will it best to sell or best to buy—
Next Week the Choice for national Representatives will come { 126 } on— much Pains hath been taken to prejudice the Minds of People against Mr. Ames— The Votes in Suffolk Distt. will be divided between Mr. Ames, Judge Dawes & Mr Benjm. Austin Junr. I think it is a Doubt whether Mr. Ames will be chosen— great Interest is making in middlesex to introduce Mr. Gorham— it is thought by some, that it will prevail—5
The general Dislike of the Pay, Salaries & Compen[sation] granted by Congress will lead to a Change of Men in hopes of a Change of Measures— Had Congress even with the Grants complaind off made a reasonable Dispatch in their Business Complaints would probably have subsided, more especially if they had early established a funding System upon Principles clear easy & in the Apprehensions of the Majority of the People just—upon the whole but very few People in the Massachusetts appear to be pleased with the Doings of Congress in their late Session— I do not however conceive that they have any just Reason to find fault with their own Members or indeed to treat Congress with that Rudeness which some of our Scriblers have taken the Liberty to do—6
Mrs. Tufts begs to be remembered to You & Yours.
Accept of the best Wishes of / Your Affect. Friend & H Sert
[signed] Cotton Tufts
Octob. 6th:
On Monday last, the Towns in this Commonwealth met for the Choice of Federal Representatives— By the Returns from a Number of Towns in this District, there is no doubt of Mr. Ames's being chosen— It is not improbable the Choice in Middlesex will fall upon Mr Gerry, notwithstanding the Pains taken to introduce Mr. Gorham—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams”; internal address: “Mrs. Abigail Adams”; docketed: “Dr Tufts to / Mrs Adams / September 27th 1790.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. AA to Tufts, 6 Sept., above.
2. Not found, but AA confirmed in her response, “I received by my son your kind favour together with your statement of my papers” (3 Oct., NHi:Misc. Mss. Adams, Abigail).
3. AA reported to Tufts that “Dr Williamson calld last week and received his money delivering your order” (same). For Dr. Hugh Williamson, see JA, D&A, 3:224–225.
4. Not found.
5. The Boston Columbian Centinel, 29 Sept., contained a piece signed “A Mechanick” lamenting, “The shifts to which the partizans for turning out the Federal Representatives are reduced, are contemptible. Mr. AMES is now called in the papers an Aristocrat, an anti-amendmentile, and other equally heinous appellations.” In spite of this opposition, Fisher Ames easily defeated Benjamin Austin Jr. and Thomas Dawes, serving as congressional representative for Suffolk County until 1797. In Middlesex County, Elbridge Gerry defeated Nathaniel Gorham by a smaller margin (Columbian Centinel, 9 Oct. 1790).
{ 127 }
6. A piece by Rusticus in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 2 Sept., excoriated the U.S. Congress, criticizing the “extravagant compensations” of its members as well as the measures the body adopted to address the national debt. The writer noted, “The world would have supposed that fifty-six men, chosen from among three millions of people, enlightned as the Americans are acknowledged to be, would not have stood in need of having been so copiously indoctrinated in the first rudiments of government, and the first principles of national economy. We all expected that this assembly would have, without pomp, or parade, set themselves down to the business before them, expressed their sentiments to gain, or give necessary information, and stood constantly open to conviction. But instead of this, we find some of them composing long speeches to amuse an idle gallery, or fill a pompous page in Fenno's paper.” Soon afterwards, “An American” complained in the Boston Columbian Centinel of “typographical unfairness” in the Chronicle, comparing the prominence and “magnitude of type” of opposition pieces to the “little, paltry type” of a lone essay supporting the government (4 Sept.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0066

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1790-10-03

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

do you not pitty me my dear sister to be so soon all in a Bustle? and wary of Removing again, as much Boxing and casing, as if we were removing to Europe. our furniture may well be stiled movables. the expence attending the various removals would very handsomely furnish one House. I feel low spirited and Heartless. I am going amongst an other new set of company, to form new acquaintances to make and receive a hundred ceremonious visits, not one of ten from which I shall derive any pleasure or satisfaction, obliged to leave mrs smith behind, and the Children to whom I am much attached, and many other things I have upon my mind and spirits which I cannot communicate by Letter. I live however upon the Hope that I shall come and see you next summer. I hope congress will not set out the Month of April.
I have wrote to the dr respecting the Widow Owen and Rebecca Field.1 I had rather they should be in the House than have it left empty through the winter. they must always remember that they must remove when ever we come to want the House, and that without giving us any trouble.
you wrote me about Rose water.2 if you have an opportunity to send me a dozen Bottles I should like to have it. I forgot to write to you Sooner, but you may have it put up and addrest to col smith Newyork when Barnard comes again we expect to get our furniture on Board by the 20th of the Month. Charles is going to Board with his sister, and Thomas will go into an office in Philadelphia. I wish he could have gone into merchandize as I am sure he has more of a Turn for active Life.
{ 128 }
How is mrs Norten & her Boy? we have got one with a Red Head I do not know what part of the family he lays claim to. I forget whether I wrote you that they had Named him Thomas Hollis.
Let mrs Field know that Lucy and mr Brislers children have the small pox.3 it has turnd and they have it very lightly, Lucy not more than 20 pock Nabby not a dozen, Betsy is pretty full but has a good sort and is very cleverly. I had Prince inoculated at the same time. he has about a Dozen, but has not been confined at all, nor sick a little headack excepted. be so good as to send his Father word if you have an opportunity
Mrs Smith is here to day and desires to be rememberd to all her Friends. when did you hear from sister shaw. I think I used to get Letters and write oftner when I was abroad than I do now—
Let me hear from you Soon, and believe me most affectionatly yours
[signed] A Adams
Love to mr cranch & duty to mother, I hope I shall see her again good old Lady
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by CA: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A. Adams (NY) / Octr. 3d 1790.”
1. In her letter to Tufts, AA asked, “If there is no probality of letting our House & furniture together, would it not be best to let the widow owen & Rebecca Field go in to the kitchen part for the winter, to have a care of it?” (3 Oct., NHi:Misc. Mss. Adams, Abigail). AA possibly refers to Elizabeth Newcomb Owen (1720–1809), widow of Joseph Owen and sister of Abigail Newcomb Field (Sprague, Braintree Families).
2. Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 9 Aug., above.
3. Lucy Field, Esther Field Briesler's sister and the youngest child of Joseph and Abigail Newcomb Field of Braintree (Frederick Clifton Pierce, Field Genealogy, 2 vols., Chicago, 1901, 2:962).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0067

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-10-04

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I have received and read with great Pleasure, your modest Sensible, judicious and discreet Letter of the 31. of Septr.1
The Town of Boston is at present unhappily divided into political Parties, and neither Party I presume has tried Experiments enough upon you to discover to which Side you belong. You might very easily induce either Side to make much of you, by becoming a zealot for it: but my Advice to you is Nil Admirari Nil contemni. Admire neither Party—despize neither Party.2 Treat both Sides with Civility and respect but be the Devotee of neither. Be always on the side of { 129 } Truth Justice Honour Virtue and public Spirit. Even S. may be of service to you if you keep him at a distance, and never put yourself in his Power.
The Youth you mention has considerable Advantages, but his Contempt will hurt him, not you. Let me tell you however, once for all, that however painful, the mortifications of Emulation may be, you must learn to bear them and be Superiour to them. You will see one, preferred to you for his Party, another for his Church, a third for his family connections a fourth for an unmeaning fluencey, a fifth for his figure Air, Gate. and some for their Profligacy and Debauchery—others for their Want of Principle. Let not those Things move you out of your Course.
In your Studies, you have yet to begin a system. from all I have Seen and read, I have formed an opinion of my own, and I now give it you as my Solemn Advice, to make yourself Master of the Roman Learning. Begin with Livy.— take your Book your Dictionary, your Grammar, your Sheet of Paper and Pen and Ink. begin at the Beginning and read the Work through— put down in Writing every Word with its meaning as you find it in Ainsworth. You will find it the most delightful Employment you ever engaged in. When you have finished the 35th. Book you will say, that you have learned more Wisdom from it than from five hundred Volumes of the trash that is commonly read.— The Writings of Cicero too, you should read in turn. When I Speak of reading I dont mean holding a book in hand and dreaming over it— take your Pen.—and make yourself Master of every Sentence.— By all means make yourself Master of the latin Tongue and that immediately. Polybius and Plutarch and Sallust as sources of Wisdom as well as Roman History, must not be forgotten, nor Dyonissius Hallicarnassensis.3 Read them all in Latin.— Nor would I by any means consent that you forget your Greek. keep it alive at least, and improve in it by degrees.
My Brother might Supply you with Wood from my Lots as well as Hay. I wish you to ask your Uncle, respectfully as becomes you, how the account Stands between him and me and what Articles he can supply you with on my Account. I will give you the whole Management of my Estate, if you will take it— Yet I will not urge it upon you— perhaps it may interrupt your Studies too much.
Above all Things keep up your Spirits and take Care of your Health.
I long to see you in your office: but the Care of a troublesome Removal to Philadelphia, will prevent me till next year.
{ 130 }
Your Letters give me so much pleasure as well as Information that I wish you to write as often as you can to / your Affectionate
[signed] John Adams.
Your Brother Thomas is as studious as I wish him to be.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q Adams.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. JQA to JA, 21 Sept., above.
2. A loose appropriation of Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle vi, line 1.
3. The libraries of JA and JQA, at MB and the Stone Library at MQA, respectively, contain copies of The History of Polybius, The Megalopolitan, London, 1698. JA's library also includes editions of Plutarch's Lives in French and Latin; JQA later purchased an English translation of that work. Both libraries also include works by the Roman historian Sallust, author of Catiline's War and Jugurthine War. The libraries have different editions of Dionysiou Halikarnaseos, a history of early Rome by the Greek historian Dionysius. JA's library holds a Frankfurt edition of 1586, while JQA's includes that of Leipzig, 1774 (Catalogue of JA's Library; Catalogue of JQA's Books).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0068

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1790-10-10

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I wrote to you last Sunday, and on Wednesday received your kind Letter.1 we have begun to pack up our furniture, and expect to get it on Board by the 20th perhaps we may make it later, but I hope not as the weather will every day become more & more uncomfortable. the Idea of going so much further from you is painfull to me, and would be more so if I did not hope to Spend the next summer with you. at present you have your Family with and near you, but it is my destiny to have mine Scatered, and scarcly to keep one with us. my seperation from mrs smith is painfull to me on many accounts. there is at present no prospect of their going with us, and if their prospects here were as fair as they ought to be, I should be less solicitious for them. with Regard to our House, I should have no objection to a carefull person living in the kitchin to take care of it, but as to letting it I cannot consent unless any person offers to take House and furniture all together. there is the other part of the House in which Bass lives that might be let, but then I should be loth that a shoe makers shop should be made of either of the Rooms— in short I do not know of any persons property so unproductive as ours is. I do not believe that it yealds us one pr cent pr Annum I have the vanity however to think that if dr Tufts and my Ladyship had been left to the sole management of our affairs, they would have been upon a more profitable footing in the first place I never desired so much Land unless we could have lived upon it. the { 131 } Money paid for useless land I would have purchased publick Securities with the interest of which poorly as it is funded would have been less troublesome to take charge of then Land and much more productive, but in these Ideas I have always been so unfortunate as to differ from my partner who thinks he never saved any thing but what he vested in Land. I am really however very uneasy with Pratt as a Famer. he has got a great swarm of helpless children round him, labours hard but has no skill and the place with the addition of veseys very little more than pays the taxes; I wish mr Beals could be induced to go upon it. the other place I know no more about than if it lay in the Moon. I have written to request that the saint Germain pears and the best Russet Apples may be sent to me. the communication between Boston and Philadelphia is so frequent that I should suppose their could be no difficulty in it.
I had the pleasure of assembling yesterday mr & mrs Storer mr & mrs Atkinson mr Charles George & mary storer col & mrs smith and miss Pegy Smith who all dined with me and I felt more like Home than I have ever done since I left Braintree. mr Adams mourns that he could not make a visit Northward this fall. we are well. Brislers family all got through the small pox with only a day or twos illness— present me affectionatly to all Friends I fear mr Cranch does not put on his flannel soon enough. I grow more and more in favour of the use of it and advise you to wear it next your skin make little waistcoats & put them on with the first comeing of cold weather. I[f] I had as much Spair Room in my stays as you have I would not be without them
poor mr Thaxter I am grieved for him—but who is without their troubles? thank God that a larger portion has not fallen to the Lot of your ever / affectionate Sister
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by CA: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A Adams (N York) / Octr: 10th. 1790.”
1. Mary Smith Cranch to AA, [post 22] Sept., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0069

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1790-10-17

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Madam.

I am I believe more than one Letter in your debt; but I feel if possible less inclination than ever to write to my friends as I have no good news to tell them about myself, and very little about any one { 132 } else. I have now the advantage of being three hundred miles distant from every member of the family; alone in the world, without a soul to share the few joys I have, or to participate in my anxieties and suspense, which are neither few nor small. Why should I sit down to write, when I can assume no other language than that of complaint, which must be as disagreeable, to my friends who read, as it is to me who write— You may readily believe that when I have any thing favourable to say, I shall be sufficiently impatient to give you the information. My taste for politics has even become disgusting to me; I can scarcely take any pleasure in the increasing prosperity of my Country: what is the public welfare to me, if the very efforts upon which it has so much depended, have deprived me of my fundamental support, and have left me exposed to the most humiliating neglect from all the world around me; and turned me over to the delusions of Hope for my Comfort.— I am exhibiting all my weakness I am exposing myself to the Contempt as well as to the Pity of my friends, by assuming thus a style of Lamentation, unbecoming a man of Spirit. Evils I shall be told must me remedied; not deplored: but my peculiar Situation is such that there is no room for my Exertion— The day will come however, I still perswade myself that the day will come, when I shall be enabled to give you more pleasing intelligence; and as I have already said I shall then write with much more satisfaction, what will give you much more pleasure to read.
You will perceive by our Papers, that four members of our present Delegation in Congress are re-elected. It is not from the paltry malevolence of a few contemptible scribblers in our News papers, that the sense of the people is to be collected. Two candidates had been opposed to Mr: Ames with the intention to divide the votes more effectually; and so much industry and influence was exerted in their favour, that the result in his favour, was beyond the most sangwine expectations of his friends, and the friends of the national honour. In Middlesex indeed the votes were more divided. Mr: Gorham is a popular man: and if the public report be not fallacious he has been indefatigable for these two years past in the pursuit of this Election. Mr: Gerry however has a respectable majority of votes.
You mention in one of your Letters that Mr: Short is commissioned to negotiate the Loan. I should wish to know, where it is expected he will obtain it: I cannot imagine that the attempt will be made in France, where the nation are so heavily labouring under the weight of their own poverty.— Holland I presume will be the seat of the negociation. And I should be glad to be informed what is the { 133 } opinion of the VP. with respect to its success.— I think the value of public paper must depend considerably upon it.1
Our Court of Common Pleas are sitting in this Town; and I have made my first Essay in addressing a Jury. I wish I could add that I had acquitted myself to my own Satisfaction. I had very little time for preparation and [did] not know the existence of the Cause three hours before I spoke to it.2 From [this] circumstance, and from the novelty of the Situation, added to the diffidence I have always felt, of my talent at extemporary speechifying I was too much agitated to be possessed of proper presence of mind. You may judge of the figure I made.
I address this Letter still to New-York, presuming that if it should arrive after your departure, care will be taken to have it forwarded to Philadelphia.
Ever your's
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A. Adams. / Richmond Hill.”; docketed: “J Q Adams to / His Mother / October 17th 1790.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. In a letter of 5 Sept., AA informed JQA: “Short is commissiond to Negotiate the Loan. Humphries tis supposed is to take his place. as yet nothing is made publick respecting it. the President You know has the power of appointments in the Recess of Congress” (Adams Papers). William Short, chargé d’affaires at Paris, was instructed by Alexander Hamilton on 1 Sept. to proceed immediately to the Netherlands to secure additional U.S. loans from Amsterdam bankers. Short negotiated a $1 million loan in Feb. 1791 through Amsterdam bankers Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, Wilhem & Jan Willink, and Nicholas Hubbard, the first of several loans he would open in Amsterdam and Antwerp over the next three years (Hamilton, Papers, 7:6–7, 9; George Green Shackelford, Jefferson's Adoptive Son: The Life of William Short 1759–1848, Lexington, Ky., 1993, p. 78–80, 89–90).
2. JQA notes in his Diary that the Court of Common Pleas met on 5 and 11 Oct. 1790 but provides no details about his first case, which he lost to Harrison Gray Otis. Thomas Welsh reported to JA, “Your son has made a Begining at the Court of Common Pleas which was the first which opend after his settling in Town. His Diffidence was remarked and the tremor which arrises from a soul alive. He has the popular Predictions in his Favor” (D/JQA/12, APM Reel 15; Welsh to JA, 20 Nov., Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0070

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1790-10-19

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir.

I have a Letter from you which has called forth the few remaining sparks of my attenion to politics—1 Were my own mind at ease, I should at the present time enter more than ever into the spirit of speculation upon public affairs. The prospect is really glorious; but it is perhaps impossible, at least for a man whose patriotism is not tinctured with more heroism than mine, to consider the general { 134 } prosperity with such peculiar pleasure, when he is not one of the individuals who derive any immediate advantage from it, as when the fabric of his patriotic ardour is supported by the firm pillars of private interest. I feel myself growing more and more selfish and contracted in my Sentiments from day to day; and I am perswaded I shall never be much of a philanthropist or even of a Patriot, untill I have more reason to be pleased with my own Situation and prospects.
However, it was politics that I professed to make the subject of my Letter when I began, and to them I will return after this digression, which I am afraid will not please you so much as the remainder of the Letter.
I have attended Town-meeting, Sir, and it was upon the occasion of the choice of Representative for the district. I was indeed not a little diverted at the scene, and derived I believe some little Instruction as well as Entertainment from it. Three fourths of the Votes in this Town were indeed for Mr: Ames, and this perhaps may enable you to form an opinion respecting the popularity of the general Government in this State. Mr: Gerry too is reelected in the district of Middlesex, notwithstanding the whole personal interest of Mr: Gorham and his friends was very strenuously exerted to operate a change. There was not even the pretence of opposing a candidate to Mr: Goodhue,2 and Mr: Sedgwick is also rechosen by a surprizing majority of votes in his district; these are premisses from which much more accurate conclusions may be drawn, than from the senseless bawlings of a miserable faction; who are reduced to the last resource of making up in unheeded clamour, their total deficiency of influence and power.— The real fact is that the new Government is very rapidly acquiring a broad and solid foundation of popularity.— It possesses in my opinion the confidence of the people in this State to a more eminent degree than any other Government upon Earth can boast of: and it appears to me to have already acquired a stability, as astonishing as the revolution it has produced in the face of our affairs.
The effects of that revolution are already felt in a very high degree in this part of the Country. Our Commerce is increasing and extending; our manufactures multiplying very rapidly, our agriculture flourishing; industry has resumed the place which it had resigned for some time to idleness and luxury; and is seldom without employ. I am informed that the mechanics of almost every description in this Town are at present more constantly busy than they have been { 135 } at any period since the Revolution. The population of the Town has increased from 14000 to 18000 inhabitants since the year 1784.3 And the property has augmented in a much greater proportion. 1200 people are employed by one manufacture which has been only three or four years established; that of wool cards. That of Sail-Cloth, equally recent gives bread to several hundreds more: Paper hangings have become even an article of exportation from hence. Near four hundred tons of hemp, I hear have been raised this Season, within the State. This is a new Article of cultivation, and even so late as the last year there were not more than 30 tons raised within the Commonwealth. It is found to be a very profitable article, and in all probability in the course of two or three years will cease to be imported altogether; and from a calculation which I have seen we might export it and easily undersell the Russians. There is a Coll: Wood in Charlestown who has raised more than three tons upon six acres of his land, and the produce of that small field will neat him 300 dollars.4 There is undoubtedly a connecting chain, the commune vinculum,5 between, all the various employments of mankind, as well as between the liberal arts & Sciences. The farmer, The tradesmen, the mechanic and the merchant, are all mutually so dependant upon one another for their prosperity, that I really know not whether most to pity the ignorance or to lament the absurdity of the partial politicians, who are constantly erecting an imaginary wall of separation between them.
The health of the Governor has been better for these two months, than for several years before. There is I think a probability that he will hold the chair of State for many years to come. It will not I presume be contested him; and indeed the bitterness of parties has been tempered very much by the favourable alteration in the public affairs. The Public Peace, and public Prosperity, appear in this instance to have possessed a mutual acting and reacting power to establish and confirm each other.
I believe no experiments have been made upon me in order to discover my political Sentiments. I have not importance enough to make it worth their while.— I have the advantage of being compleatly neglected in this line, as well as in that of my profession. But “Sweet are the uses of adversity.”6
In the stagnation of our own politics, the people who have a fondness for the subject turn their attention to those of Europe, which seems to be now as much as ever it could be un repaire d’horreurs. The war between Spain and England has been so long suspended in { 136 } the balance, that we presume one of the scales must very soon preponderate. The last information we have has a greater appearance of hostility than any we have hitherto received.— In France it appears to me the national Assembly in tearing the lace from the garb of government, will tear the coat itself into a thousand rags.— That nation may for ought I know finally be free; but I am firmly persuaded it will not be untill they have undergone another revolution. A nobility and a clergy, church and State levelled to the ground in one year's time; rights not inconsistent with those of man, established by a prescription uncontrovertable, if any prescription can be so; rights like these, blown to the winds, by the single breath of a triumphant democracy are inauspicious omens for the erection of an equitable government of Laws.— By the politeness of the french consul, I have perused several volumes of their debates and projects for constitutions.7 There are some valuable papers among them; but it appears to me that the rabble that followed the heels of Jack Cade could not have devised greater absurdities than many of their propositions: some of which have been adopted by the Assembly.
I am, dear Sir, your's affectionately.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “J Q Adams to / his Father / October 19th 1790.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. JA to JQA, 11 Oct. (Adams Papers), in which JA provides the history of the proverb “Weigh the Consequences” and asks JQA about possible candidates for Massachusetts governor, apathy among voters of rural New England, and the unpopularity of the federal government in Boston.
2. Benjamin Goodhue (1748–1814) of Salem had served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1789 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. On 8 Sept. 1790 the Newburyport Essex Journal compared the Boston count to an earlier total: “The Number of Persons in this Town, taken in Conformity to the act of the Legislature of the United States, at this Period, exceeds 18,000. Three or four Years since, the whole Number was about 14,000.” The 1790 U.S. federal census reported a Boston population of 18,038 (U.S. Census, 1790, Mass., p. 10).
4. In 1788 Giles Richards opened a wool-card factory near Windmill Bridge that produced 63,000 pairs of wool-carding tools each year. Four years later the factory was said to employ a thousand people, three-quarters of whom were children. Sailcloth was produced at the two-story Duck Manufactory in Frog Lane, where workers included African Americans and women. Paper hangings (decorative wall panels) were produced at Joseph Hovey's American Manufactory at 39 Cornhill, which advertised “elegant Pannel Papers” at prices lower than imported hangings. Col. David Wood (1742–1808) was a Charlestown baker and farmer (Allan Kulikoff, “The Progress of Inequality in Revolutionary Boston,” WMQ, 3d ser., 28:379 [July 1971]; Jacqueline Barbara Carr, After the Siege: A Social History of Boston 1775–1800, Boston, 2005, p. 182–185; Wyman, Charlestown Genealogies, 2:1047).
5. Cicero, Defence of Archias, line 21.
6. Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, scene i, line 12.
7. Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, French consul in Boston, probably provided JQA with the French National Constituent Assembly's Projet de constitution, n.p., 1789–1790, and several issues of the same body's periodical publication, Journal des débates et des décrets.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0071

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-10-21

Charles Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

Upon my return from Law Society this evening I found my father in my room with a letter in his hand from you to me.1 He asked me to see what you had written concerning your downfall. Upon opening the letter I soon found what he alluded to, but could find no marks of any downfall That you should have been somewhat confused upon your first exertion was by no means a matter of astonishment to any of us The person who is unintimidated upon such occasions has not the common feelings of human nature. There is a pride a respect required by the auditors which makes a little confusion rather pleasing than disagreeable. I think that an harangue of fifteen minutes is by no means despicable for a first essay. Your father was quite consoled when he heard my letter for that written to Mamma which he had previously read had led him to suppose you had failed and suffered A Vox faucibus hasit2 in reality. And pray how did your opponent acquit himself? I dare say well, for I think he has more command of himself than you have. Johnson in his Rambler has an excellent paper upon the nature and remedies of bashfulness a paper which will aford great consolation to those who labor under any difficulty of this kind. Number 159 Saturday September 24 1751.3 This man certainly saw more of human nature than any other. I am delighted with his sentiments upon moral subjects. Your caution concerning postage will probably not be wanted as I am determined with the advise and consent of the Counsel to spend the three winter months in Philadelphia where I shall be under my master's care and direction. Our City seems to be quite in a lethargy since the removal of Congress, I hope we shall soon awake from this torpor. Perhaps there is no place of its bigness in the world in which so few of the inhabitants care any thing about politics. They seem to be wholly swallowed up by their business and can allow no time for recreations of this kind. The party in Boston against Mr Ames appear to have blown their blast in the newspapers, and cut but a poor figure at the election even the enemies to justice are not so numerous in Boston as some supposed. I imagine your intelligence concerning so great a change in the Representation must have been premature as by the return of the votes I find most of the former members are again elected. I suppose Grouts oration upon salt secured his election as Parkers blackguard treatment of the { 138 } Senate did his in Virginia4 It is very strange that his conduct in that respect should have been made use of by him as an argument to his electors for his second admision into the legislature. I cannot conclude without wishing you could persuade yourself to take the world a little more fair and easy I am confident you raise hills in your imagination more difficult to ascend than you will in reality find them May you have great fortitude and a more peaceful mind is the wish of your brother
[signed] Charles Adams
1. Not found.
2. A voice that stuck in the throat.
3. In his essay, Samuel Johnson observes: “He that enters late into a public station, though with all the abilities requisite to the discharge of his duty, will find his powers at first impeded by a timidity which he himself knows to be vicious, and must struggle long against dejection and reluctance, before he obtains the full command of his own attention and adds the gracefulness of ease to the dignity of merit.”
4. On 6 Aug. Massachusetts congressman Jonathan Grout argued unsuccessfully in the House that a proposed duty on salt should be reduced on the grounds that fishermen and farmers would be unduly affected. Grout was not reelected. CA was probably referring to Virginia congressman Josiah Parker (1751–1810) and his active role in opposing the 1789 Senate proposal to confer titles of respect upon the president and vice president, which JA strongly supported. Parker was reelected (New York Daily Gazette, 9 Aug. 1790; Biog. Dir. Cong.; First Fed. Cong., 3:554–555; 10:595, 600; Charlene Bangs Bickford and Kenneth R. Bowling, Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789–1791, Washington, D.C., 1989, p. 26–28).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0072

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-10-23

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

The Note from Piemont, I would not have Sued by any means. Hopkins's Pretentions I have no Idea of. I Suppose an account with him may be found in my Ledger, But I can Say nothing upon memory. Piemont ought to make out his Account— He says I had a Bar Wig and a Bob Wig of him. If so he should make out his Account and if they amount to as much as the Note, there is an End of the Business. If not, he ought to pay the Ballance. But in all Events dont sue him. The other Notes and Accounts, if you write to the Persons and they come and settle it will be well.1 But dont throw away good money after bad.
I congratulate you, on your first opening at the Bar in Boston. Mr Otis's Civility, I shall not soon forget. It is not the first Time that Otis and Adams have been concerned together in that Court. I wish you may have as good a Friend as I had in one of the Name and be to him as faithful and Useful a Friend as I was. From 1758 to the day of his Death my Friendship with his Uncle was uninterrupted.2
{ 139 }
Your Anxiety is too great.— You have no right to expect and no reason to hope for more Business than you have. Remember, Your Reputation is not formed but to form.— Confidence in your Talents & Fidelity, must arise by degrees and from Experience.— The Interests of Clients are too dear and important to them to be committed by hazard to the Care of a Lawyer. Your Name can as yet be no more than that of a promising Youth— They will call you after sometime a growing young Man.
Your Sensibility at your first essay at extemporary oratory your Agitation, your Confusion, if they were as lively as you describe them, are not at all Suprizing. Had you been calm and cool, unaffected and unmoved, it would have been astonishing. Mr Pratt Said to me, “I should despair of a young Man, who could be unmoved at his first Attempt.”3 This will by no means hurt your Character or your Reputation. Such Modesty is amiable. Such Bashfulness is touching: it interests the People in ones favour. I hope however, that you will never wholly conquer this Modesty. The Audience have a right to be respected and venerated. A sense of Decency; the Awe of a Gentleman ought always to be upon your Mind when you Speak in publick. The Judges, the Lawyers the Jurors, the Parties and Witnesses, have all a right to be treated with respect from You, and no other manners or Language than those of a Gentleman should ever escape you towards any of them.
Your Mother has had a severe ill turn: but is better. We expect to remove in all next Week, to Philadelphia.
It is to me a severe mortification that I cannot have more of your society: But Providence has ordered my Course of Life in such a manner, as to deprive me for the most Part of the Company of my Family. Now I totally despair of ever living with them together.
I wish I had Served a Country possessed of more generous Sentiments that I might have been able to give my Children Some better assistance: but Complaints are Follies.
The Publick in every State is rejoiced at the reelection of Mr Gerry and Mr Ames: But there is some Anxiety for the Consequences of a very restless Party in Boston. There are some Figures there of unbounded Ambition and deep Insincerity. Ambition is a good quality, when it is guided by Honour and Virtue: but when it is Selfish only, it is much to be dreaded.
I am my dear Child your affectionate
[signed] John Adams
{ 140 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr John Quincy Adams / Court Street / Boston”; internal address: “Mr J. Q. Adams”; endorsed: “My Father. 23. Octr: 1790.”; notation: “Free / John Adams.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. JQA wrote to JA on 13 Oct. to say that Cotton Tufts had given him several of JA's old notes and accounts. One of the notes was for a debt from Boston wigmaker John Piemont (Paymount) to a Captain Hopkins, which Hopkins had endorsed to JA “For value recieved.” When contacted by JQA, Piemont claimed he had paid the note years earlier. Hopkins then told JQA that he had endorsed the note to JA so that JA could sue Piemont while Hopkins was at sea and asked JQA to make good on the note. Hopkins was probably Capt. Caleb Hopkins, a Boston mariner who offered freight service to and from Philadelphia on the brig Maria (Adams Papers; JA, Legal Papers, 3:94; JA, Papers, 4:419; Boston Herald of Freedom, 31 Aug.).
2. JA would repeat in his Autobiography that he and James Otis Jr. “lived in entire Friendship” from 1758 when Otis recommended JA's admission to the Suffolk County bar until Otis’ death in 1783. Despite Otis’ sometimes erratic behavior, his revolutionary ideas had a great influence on JA (JA, D&A, 1:56, 348–349; 3:273, 291; JA, Papers, 1:xxv–xxvi).
3. A reference to Benjamin Prat, noted Boston attorney at the time JA came to the bar; see JA, Legal Papers, 1:cvi.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0073

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1790-10-25

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

After I had closed my Letter to you this day fortnight,1 I retired to my chamber, and was taken with a shaking fit which held me 2 Hours and was succeeded by a fever which lasted till near morning, attended with severe pain in my Head Back &c the next morning I took an Emetick which operated very kindly and proved to me the necessity of it. on tuesday I felt better and went below stairs, but was again Seazd with an other skaking fit which was succeeded as the former by the most voilent fever I ever felt. it quite made me delirious, no rest for 5 Night & days. it setled into a Regular intermitting Fever. the dr after having repeatedly puked me, gave me James's powders, but with very little effect I began upon the Bark the 10th day which I have taken in large Quantities and it has appeard to have put an end to my fever, but I am very low and weak.2 I rode out yesterday and found no inconveniency from it. I shall repeat my ride to day. I have great cause to be thankfull for so speady a restoration, but I have a jouney before me which appears like a mountain & three Ferries to cross. very fortunate for me the winds have kept back the vessel from returning from Philadelphia which was to have been here the 20th to have taken our furniture Mrs smith has been with me till yesterday. her Baby is inoculated for the small pox, and she expects him to brake out this week. but here endeth not all my troubles, for the day before yesterday mrs Brisler was taken Sick of a Plurisy fever she has been 3 times Bled & is { 141 } Blisterd, and lies very ill tho I hope not dangerous. I received your Letter by mr Cranch3 he landed I believe only a few Hours. he went to mr Laurences office to Charles and deliverd the two casks sent by Brother I believe the Ladies did not come on shore as the wind was then fair for them, and they had been out ten days, & much of the weather very stormy & Boisterous. he told Charls that they had been very sick. I am sure it would have given me great pleasure to have received & entertaind them or to have supplied them with any thing in my power
I received a few days Since by mr durant your kind Letter of october 11th which I thank you for.4 Remember me affectionatly to mrs Eunice Paine. would a few Bottles of wine or Porter be acceptable to her. if they would will you take the trouble of getting it from our cellar for her. the dr has just left me and says he thinks mrs Brisler much relieved, and that she will be better in a few days. my Head I find as week as my body you will therefore excuse my writing more at present than to assure you that I am as ever / your affectionate sister
[signed] A Adams
P S mr Brisler would be glad the money may be sent by mr Ames when he comes to Philadelphia
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by AA2: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A Adams (N York) / Octr. 25th. 1790.”
1. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 10 Oct., above.
2. AA was possibly under the care of Dr. Samuel Bard, who had administered James’ powders to George Washington in May when the president contracted the influenza during the New York epidemic (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 5:395–396). See AA to Cotton Tufts, 30 May, and note 3, above. AA's intermittent fever and use of quinine suggest she may have been suffering from malaria rather than influenza.
3. Mary Smith Cranch's letter of 4 Oct., delivered by Joseph and Elizabeth Cranch on their way to West Point, included news about members of the Cranch household as well as various other Braintree residents (Adams Papers).
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0074

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-11-07

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my dear son

perhaps a few lines from my own Hand may serve to put you more at your ease than an account of my Health from any other person. I have indeed had a very severe sickness in which both Body and mind sufferd, and the care which devolved upon me in consequence of my being in the midst of Removal I found too much for me. the least buisness put me into such a Tremour as would prevent { 142 } my getting any sleep for a whole Night. tis a Month to day since I was first taken sick—as yet I have daily returns of fever tho much lessned—and I have gained strength for this week past so much that I hope to be able to begin my journey tomorrow. the vessel saild on thursday last and I have been in Town with your sister ever Since. she thinks a little hard of you that you have not written to her She has been in great trouble for her Baby which she came very near loosing with the small Pox, but which is now happily recoverd
I received a Letter from you during my Sickness which did not add to my spirits. I was unable to answer it at the Time, or I should have chid you for your impatience, and depression of Spirits tho I know it is your Sensibility which occasions it. that received by your Brother Charls last Evening has induced me to write you this Letter.1 there is some Money in the hands of mr Cranch which he received for mr Brisler this money I will request him to pay to you and I will repay it to Brisler as soon as the amount of the Sum is forwarded to me. the Rent of the House where you are tho a small sum you should receive and I will write to the dr to call upon Pratt who must have money in his Hands as we have concluded to take neither his Butter or cheese as we shall be so far distant. your Father wrote you to get your uncle to supply you with Hay and with wood from our own place and I would have you apply to him for it. if you have any difficulties on that account or any other write to me freely about them. I wish any method could be fallen upon to make Pratts place more productive to us— when I have more strengh I will write to you upon a subject that gives me some anxiety. common Fame reports that you are attachd to a young Lady. I am sorry such a report should prevail, because whether there is or is not cause for such a Roumour, the report may do an injury to the future prospects of the Lady as your own are not such as can warrent you in entering into any engagements, and an entanglement of this kind will only tend to depress your spirits should you be any time before you get into Buisness and believe me my dear son a too early marriage will involve you in troubles that may render you & yours unhappy the remainder of Your Life. you will say that you have no Idea of connecting yourself at present. I believe you, but why gain the affections of a woman, or why give her cause to think you attachd to her. do you not know that the most cruel of situations to a young Lady is to feel herself attachd to a Gentleman when he can testify it in no other way than by his actions; I mean when his Situation will not permit him to speak
{ 143 }
I did not design to have said so much at this time, but my anxiety for you has led me on; perhaps I ought not to have delayd being explicit so long— my strengh will not permit me to say more than that I am ever your Affe M.
[signed] A A
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0075

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-11-07

Charles Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Brother

I received your letter of the 29th Ulto by the last post.1 The reflections which it raises in my mind are by much too interesting to afford me great pleasure. The anxious path you are now pursuing must soon be trodden by me. A prospect is before me not less clouded than yours and the faint ray of my abilities will not be able so soon to dispel the gloom which obscures the day. I have not the smallest inclination to flatter neither do I beleive that I form my judgment with jaudiced eyes. Sound sense must make its way. Do you know a man of great knowledge who has not succeeded at the bar? You yourself will not allow that you are inferior in law knowledge to any of your standing: in point of other knowledge to Otis; a fluency and elegance of style in speaking excepted. What then! are all the young men of this age to dwindle into nothing? Have they all degenerated? Are they become the grasshoppers of a summer? I trust not. I hope and firmly beleive that that spirit will still continue to illumine the rising generation which urged their fathers to great and noble deeds, That they will support as great a character and leave examples to future ages at least as glorious. If any succeed then why should you not? You must be more patient nor grate your feelings with the idea of a dependence unavoidable. Did you— but you must know with what chearfulness our parents are ready to gratify their children. They will with the utmost satisfaction relinquish the luxuries of life that they may help us. Your father says you make yourself too unhappy and if you would make yourself more contented you need not fear contempt. You have made me very happy by intimating that I could do you any kindness. Whatever is in my power shall be performed with the greatest pleasure. I showed your letter to pappa and from his direction shall give you advice as far as he will allow himself to proceed. There is a caution about him which it would be happy for this Country if more of its rulers had. { 144 } His private concerns may wither in his hands but the public trust will never suffer through him. As he is one of the commissioners concerning the loan he can only inform you that he supposes money may be borrowed to advantage in Holland: upon this point he is extremely guarded he has had many applications for advice upon the subject and answers to none.2 He thinks it will not be proper for him to interfere in the affairs of the money due to you for Russian services. Judge Dana should write to Col Hamilton who will without doubt remit the money to him. I think there will be no difficulty in this affair. I shall go to Philadelphia the first of next month if I can then be of any service you will not fail to command me. Judge Dana can have no objection to this step: if he should your own application will be sufficient. The house of Representatives the last session were strenuous for having the indents at four per Cent. The Senate voted 3 by a majority of one only There is a rule of the house of Commons and Lords that their Presidents should always vote for the highest sums. A good rule in general from which the VP in this instance would not depart. From these hints you may enter the field of probabilities. You can as easily see what chance there will be of such a motion as any one.3 the matter is uncertain. No one can with certainty determine. I fear very much that I shall fail in my political narrations. I will endeavor to give you what information in that line which lies in my power. But in this place the inhabitants do not trouble themselves about these subjects and my sources of information will be small. From Philadelphia I may perhaps do something. I wish however that this branch might be carried on by question and answer. Your mamma has had a troublesome fever and I forebore to acquaint you with it. knowing it would not administer comfort She has recovered and tomorrow She sets out for Philaa I shall miss Tom much. Your law questions I shall postpone answering. nor shall I as yet raise any objections I have not particularly examined the cases but from what knowledge I have the first appears very clear on your side the other I am not quite so confident of but from the first blush think there is but little doubt you must recover. Your father says that Doctor Tufts must make the tenants pay their rents more punctually and that you may apply to him. the two farms at Braintree the house in Boston and half the rent of the farm at Medford must yeild something. which is at your disposal. I must now wish you good night if I have not been explicit enough pray inform me and I will try to be more so.
[signed] Chas Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr John Quincy Adams / Boston”; endorsed: “Charles. 7. Novr: 1790.”
1. Not found.
2. JQA apparently made this request for information on behalf of his Boston host, Thomas Welsh. See JA to Welsh, 13 Sept., and note 2, above.
3. On 28 July the Senate considered eleven House amendments to the Funding Act. JA broke tie votes on three of them, each time siding with the faction in favor of allowing more liberal terms. The Senate, however, rejected the House proposal that indents (i.e., certificates of debt to be assumed by the federal government) should be funded at 4 rather than 3 percent interest by a vote of sixteen to eight and thus did not require a tie-breaking vote from JA (First Fed. Cong., 1:447–457; Ferguson, Power of the Purse, p. 293, 296–297).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0076

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1790-11-20

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

I received with great pleasure, my dear Mamma, your favour of the 7th: instt: which relieved me in some measure from my anxiety on account of your health, though it is now again alarmed at having no letters this evening by the Post. I want exceedingly to hear of your arrival at Philadelphia, and of the thorough restoration of your health.— I hope nothing will induce you to spend another summer in that part of the Country.
I conjure you my dear Mamma, not to suffer your anxiety on my account to add to any other evils with which you are afflicted. I have been a child to complain of my situation. It has nothing really distressing in it— So long as it shall be convenient for my Parents to favour me with a continuance of their support, I can continue here, and expect some favourable chance, or the gradual operation of a good character and unblemished reputation, to place me upon my own feet: and if that assistance should become inconvenient, I can I am perswaded find some situation in the Country where I shall be able to live upon my own industry: my situation here except in my prospects of business is as agreeable as I could wish.— Mrs: Welsh is very kind and attentive, the Doctor is a man of science and genius, in whose conversation I take much pleasure, and were it not for a degree of anxiety which is incorporated into my constitution, and for one or two other circumstances which cannot continue long, I should enjoy myself as well as if Fortune were more favourable.
The other circumstances which I have mentioned, are derived from a source upon which I did not intend to have given you any concern. But as common Fame, has carried to your Ears the report of my attachment to a young Lady, I wish to give you full satisfaction by assuring you that there shall never more be any cause on my { 146 } part for the continuance of it. The Lady will henceforth be at the distance of 40 miles from me, and I shall have no further opportunities to indulge a weakness, which you may perhaps censure, but which if you knew the object, I am sure you would excuse.
Upon this subject as upon several others I could converse, with more freedom than I can write; and if I could meet with the perfect approbation of my Parents, I should be happy to pay them a visit of three or four weeks this winter at Philadelphia. The expence would not be much more than I should regularly incur during the same time here. The change of air, the exercice, the novelty of the place and the variety of scenes, might have a favourable effect upon my health and Spirits. The pleasure of seeing those dear friends, from whom I am almost always separated, is an inducement of great weight. And I have at present no business with which such a tour would essentially interfere.— I only mention my wish however as an idea, which has repeatedly presented itself in agreeable colours to my mind, and shall cheerfully resign it, if it should not be altogether agreeable to my father and to you: as I well know every objection you can have will arise from a consideration of my advantage. Should the proposal obtain your consent, I shall wish to go sometime in December or January, and if any business should intervene to require my presence here at that time, I can easily postpone my visit.
The money which was due to Brissler I had received before your order came, and have paid the principal part of it to Doctor Welsh for my board. I feel too grateful to attempt expressing it for the unceasing kindness and indulgence of my parents, and I faithfully assure you, that my only present real cause of complaint is that I am obliged to rely so much upon that indulgence, my only apprehension, that I shall abuse it.
I beg to be remembered affectionately to all my friends, and am your affectionate Son.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A. Adams. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “J Q. A 1790.”

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0077

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1790-11-20

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

I have indeed, my dear Sister, been guilty of a neglect, in omitting so long to write to you, which I cannot upon any principle justify to { 147 } my own heart; I am sure it has been totally inconsistent with the ardent and sincere brotherly affection which that heart invariably acknowledges for you, and which no length of time, no absence, no course of circumstances, shall ever impair: I have very frequently wished to write to you. I have many times taken my pen for the purpose, but have as often dropped it from my hand, perswaded that I could write nothing which would afford any gratification to your affection, and equally perswaded that I could not by any expressions that language affords do justice to mine.— I have been unwilling, to fatigue your patience, by a dull uniformity of peevish complaints, and I have been unable to afford pleasure to your friendship and benevolence, by any accounts of my own happiness or success.
I have indeed since I wrote you last entered upon a scene of Life different from any of those to which I have hitherto been used; I am nominally independent, though in reality very far otherwise. I have a profession without employment, and the advantage of increased present expences, with the hope of being able at some future period, (probably somewhat distant) of supporting them myself. My Causes for complaint, have been enlarging, in proportion as I have been advancing upon the Stage of Life, and when I write, I trouble my friends with a mere narrative of fears and disappointments. In this circumstance if you cannot find an excuse, I hope you will perceive at least an alleviation of my fault in having for so long a time apparently neglected you.— But, my dear Sister, better days will come: we shall all in our time, have comforts and enjoyments to boast of, and as time and chance happen to all men, the time must come when some favourable chances will occur to us.
You enquire whence arises the unpopularity of the V.P. There is no such unpopularity here. He has undoubtedly many enemies; and as most of them are equally enemies to the principles of honor and Justice, they will not be scrupulous in using the means of injuring him or his connections. But he has likewise many friends, many admirers, and many supporters who are fully sensible of the obligations for which his country is indebted to him; and of the sacrifices he has made of his own interest to the public welfare.— Excepting the President there is not a man in the United States of so respectable popularity as that which he possesses here; what it may be in the distant States I know not.— But a connection with a man in an eminent Station, who acts upon principles of Patriotism and Integrity, is a real injury, rather than an advantage. For all his enemies will naturally use every endeavour to obstruct, and depress persons { 148 } thus connected, as their success, would not only promote his personal happiness but would tend to strengthen and confirm his public influence. His friends will never be active in their favour, because they will have personal interests and private connections, which will thoroughly counteract all active benevolence from gratitude to him.— It is one of those evils to which a man must submit, when he undertakes the generous though ungrateful task, of devoting himself to the welfare of his fellow creatures. You and I, my dear Sister, shall always find, that our near affinity, to a man, who has sacrificed himself and his family to his country, will be a real impediment to our success in the world.— I should rather have been surprized had it not deprived Coll: S. of an office, to which his merits had given him an indisputable title.—1 And I believe we shall more than once have occasion to suffer by a real partiality exerted against us in order to avoid an appearance of partiality in our favour.— For my own part, I am gradually reconciling myself to my situation. Habit enables us to endure many evils, wh[ich] would appear intolerable if contemplated only at a distance— I am alone in the world; and so long as Fortune retains the aspect in which she now presents herself to me, I shall feel a soothing consolation in the idea, that my sufferings are confined to myself, and that the happiness of no other person is dependent upon mine. I am tolerably sure of a future support for myself, and I shall I am perswaded be able to regulate my expectations and even my wishes, so as to be thoroughly satisfied with that.
I have enquired for the collection of Poems, by Tomkins, but have not as yet been able to procure them. Mr: Dawes tells me he owns them, and that they are principally valuable for the preface at the head of the volume.2 I shall continue occasionally to make enquiry for them, and if I can any where purchase them, send them to you as [soon] as possible
I sincerely sympathise with you upon the removal of our Parents from New-York. Separation from all the dearest connections which give a relish to the pleasures of life, and which alleviate its evils, has been almost constantly my fate from my infancy. Habit however has not rendered me insensible to the domestic attachments, which impart almost every thing that is valuable in this world, and I readily conceive how painful your sensations must be at the departure of your friends. But Charles will remain with you. His disposition was always amiable and his manner always calculated to make him friends. He has lately imbibed a thirst for science which will { 149 } infallibly render him as respectable as he is agreeable. His literary improvement since he left College is very conspicuous even to his friends here in the style of his Letters. Let us take to ourselves joy, that in the midst of all our family misfortunes we can yet glory in unimpeached honour and integrity. Let us hope that the talents which in none of us are despicable, and the virtues which it will always be in our power to retain may yet carry us credibly through the world, and if the eminence of the Parent is not to be attained let us at least resolutely determine, to show ourselves really superior to the humbler stations which Providence has assigned to us.
I beg you to present my affectionate regards to Coll: Smith, and remind your sons that they have an uncle at a distance, who loves them, though they remember him not. I enclose a Letter for Charles from one of his friends.3 I will soon write to him myself.
Your ever affectionate brother.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (private owner, 1990); addressed: “Mrs: A. Smith / New-York.” Some loss of text due to wear at the fold.
1. In May 1789 WSS wrote to George Washington seeking a federal appointment, and a month later JA followed with a second letter in which he stated that WSS preferred a domestic assignment but would consider serving as a foreign minister in Europe. On 25 Sept. Washington named WSS marshal for the district of New York, an appointment that dissatisfied the Adams family (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 2:286–288; 4:85).
2. Thomas Tomkins, Poems on Various Subjects; Selected to Enforce the Practice of Virtue, London, 1780. The preface on p. v–vii is a brief analysis of the respective functions of epic poetry, the ode, tragedy, comedy, satire, the elegy, and the pastoral. The underlying goal of all, Tomkins writes, is to “teach mankind the most important precepts of religion and virtue.”
3. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0078

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
DateRange: 1790-11-21 - 1790-11-28

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear,

I suppose you wish to hear from me and from your little boy. He is very well, and very amusing, as usual; talks of William, and of the other papa; is as fond as ever of the “fosses,” and has a great edition to his amusement and pleasures from a flock of sheep, which are daily pastured by a shepherd and his dog upon the lawn in front of our house. Bush Hill, as it is called, though by the way there remains neither bush nor shrub upon it, and very few trees, except the pine grove behind it,—yet Bush Hill is a very beautiful place. But the grand and sublime I left at Richmond Hill. The cultivation in sight and prospect are superior, but the Schuylkill is not more like the Hudson, than I to Hercules. The house is better finished within; { 150 } but, when you come to compare the conveniences for storeroom, kitchen, closets, &c., there is nothing like it in the whole house. As chance governs many actions of my life, when we arrived in the city, we proceeded to the house. By accident, the vessel with our furniture had arrived the day before, and Briesler was taking in the first load into a house all green-painted, the workmen there with their brushes in hand. This was cold comfort in a house, where I suppose no fire had been kindled for several years, except in a back kitchen; but, as I expected many things of this kind, I was not disappointed nor discomfited. As no wood nor fodder had been provided beforehand, we could only turn about, and go to the City Tavern for the night.1
The next morning was pleasant, and I ventured to come up and take possession; but what confusion! Boxes, barrels, chairs, tables, trunks, &c.; every thing to be arranged, and few hands to accomplish it, for Briesler was obliged to be at the vessel. The first object was to get fires; the next to get up beds; but the cold, damp rooms, the new paint, &c., proved almost too much for me. On Friday we arrived here, and late on Saturday evening we got our furniture in. On Sunday, Thomas was laid up with rheumatism; on Monday, I was obliged to give Louisa an emetic; on Tuesday, Mrs. Briesler was taken with her old pain in her stomach; and, to complete the whole, on Thursday, Polly was seized with a violent pleuritic fever. She has been twice bled, a blister upon her side, and has not been out of bed since, only as she is taken up to have her bed made. And every day, the stormy ones excepted, from eleven until three, the house is filled with ladies and gentlemen. As all this is no more nor worse than I expected, I bear it without repining, and feel thankful that I have weathered it out without a relapse, though some days I have not been able to sit up.
Mrs. Bingham has been twice to see me. I think she is more amiable and beautiful than ever. I have seen many very fine women since I have been here. Our Nancy Hamilton is the same unaffected, affable girl we formerly knew her.2 She made many kind inquiries after you; so did Mrs. Bingham. I have not yet begun to return visits, as the ladies expect to find me at home, and I have not been in a state of health to do it; nor am yet in a very eligible state to receive their visits. I, however, endeavoured to have one room decent to receive them, which, with my own chamber, is as much as I can boast of at present being in tolerable order. The difficulty of getting workmen, Mr. Hamilton pleads as an excuse for the house { 151 } not being ready. Mrs. Lear was in to see me yesterday, and assures me that I am much better off than Mrs. Washington will be when she arrives, for that their house is not likely to be completed this year. And, when all is done, it will not be Broadway.3 If New York wanted any revenge for the removal, the citizens might be glutted if they would come here, where every article has become almost double in price, and where it is not possible for Congress, and the appendages, to be half so well accommodated for a long time. One would suppose that the people thought Mexico was before them, and that Congress were the possessors.
28 November. Sunday.
I wrote you thus far on Sunday last. Polly is on the recovery, but your brother Thomas is very ill, and almost helpless with the rheumatism. You recollect how he formerly had it. It seems as if sickness followed me wherever I go. The President got to town on Saturday; I have not yet seen him or Mrs. Washington. We have had two severe storms; the last was snow. Poor Mrs. Knox is in great tribulation about her furniture. The vessel sailed the day before the first storm, and had not been heard of on Friday last. I had a great misfortune happen to my best trunk of clothes. The vessel sprung a leak, and my trunk got wet a foot high, by which means I have several gowns spoiled; and the one you worked is the most damaged, and a black satin;—the blessed effects of tumbling about the world. Adieu. Write me soon. Love to all.
[signed] A. A.
MS not found. Printed from AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848, p. 348–350.
1. For the City Tavern, see JA, D&A, 2:114–115.
2. For Ann (Nancy) Hamilton, see same, 3:184.
3. In New York the Washingtons lived at 39–41 Broadway, in the Alexander Macomb mansion, which a visitor described as one of the grandest buildings in the United States. In Philadelphia the family rented a home at 190 High Street owned by Robert Morris. George Washington ordered extensive renovations in early September, but they were incomplete in late November owing in part to Morris’ delay in removing his possessions (Washington, Diaries, 6:26; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 6:399–401, 680–681).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0079

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1790-12-04

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Charles

Although I am much obliged to you for your kind Letter of the Second, and the News and Observations in it; I am dissappointed in not receiving you as I expected, instead of a Letter.1 I thought it was Sufficiently explained and understood between Us, that you were to { 152 } be at Philadelphia on the first monday in December. But as it now appears otherwise I desire you to loose no time in coming on; as I want you, for the Sake of your Mother your Brother and yourself: besides a little selfish interest I have in you.
We have had a melancholly house but are all now better. Your Brother, weak as he is, has passed the worst of his disorder, as we hope.
My Love to Col & Mrs Smith, Billy & Tommy and all Friends.— Johnny is as hearty and as gay as you can imagine. His Health has been immoveable, and his almost alone.
Judge Wilsons Lectures commence on monday fortnight: and I wish you to apply to him as early as possible. He will be pleased to have you and your Brother, as Hearers. You must take minutes of what you may hear and Send them to John.2
Your Haerlem Oil is pronounced to be an empirical medicine.—3 This Town is full of Accademies Professors, Letures and Students both of Law and Physick: and will afford you a good opportunity of improvement, in various kinds of Knowledge. No Advantages or Opportunities however will avail like Patience and Study.
The great medical Characters here, Jones Shippen Rush and Khun's were educated in Europe at Leyden, Paris, London or Edinburgh: but in Law Mr Ingersol alone has Studied at the Temple— exept Mr Shippen who is not yet in Practice.4
on a Visit to Dr Jones Yesterday I had the Pleasure to See the Portraits of Boerhaave, Muschenbroek Mead & sloane, over his mantle Piece: and remaked the Pleasure with which he related the Lectures he had heard at Leyden and Paris.5
The great Judges and Masters of the Law are to be the Objects of your Admiration and Imitation. There is no Character more venerable on this side of Heaven than a wise and upright Judge. The destroyers of Mankind however glorious are hateful in comparison.
But where do I wander? I only took my Pen to desire you to come immediately to your affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); addressed: “Mr Charles Adams / at Col Laurence's / New York”; internal address: “Mr Charles Adams.”; notation: “Free / John Adams.”
1. Not found.
2. James Wilson (1742–1798), Pennsylvania statesman and Supreme Court justice from 1789 until his death, delivered a series of lectures on the law at the College of Philadelphia starting 15 Dec. 1790. Newspapers reported that the introductory lecture was attended by leading figures in national and local politics: “The President of the United States, with his lady—also the Vice-President, and both houses of Congress, the President and both houses of the Legislature of Pennsylvania, together with a great number of ladies and gentlemen, were present; { 153 } the whole composing a most brilliant and respectable audience” (DAB; Pennsylvania Packet, 25 Dec.). This first talk was subsequently published as An Introductory Lecture to a Course of Law Lectures, Phila., 1791, Evans, No. 24007.
3. Haerlem Oil, also known as Dutch Drops, was a mixture of turpentine, balsam of sulphur, and petroleum used internally to treat rheumatic complaints (Robert Dunglison, A Dictionary of Medical Science, 4th edn., Phila., 1844, p. 503; J. Worth Estes, Dictionary of Protopharmacology: Therapeutic Practices, 1700–1850, Canton, Mass., 1990, p. 71, 93).
4. John Jones (1729–1791) studied with doctors in London, Paris, Edinburgh, and Leyden before completing his M.D. in 1751 at the University of Rheims (Martin Kaufman and others, eds., Dictionary of American Medical Biography, 2 vols., Westport, Conn., 1984). For Adam Kuhn, William Shippen Jr., and Jared Ingersoll, see vol. 2:112, 171, 287; for lawyer Thomas Lee Shippen, whom the Adamses knew in London in 1786 as he pursued plans to study at the Temple, see vol. 7:303, 304.
5. Petrus van Musschenbroek (1692–1761), a Dutch scientist who lectured at several European universities on experimental philosophy and physics, was well known for his experiments with the Leyden jar. Hans Sloane (1660–1753), the famous British physician and collector, included Queen Anne and King George II among his patients (Charles Coulston Gillispie, ed., Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 16 vols., N.Y., 1981; DNB). For Dutch botanist and physician Herman Boerhaave, see vol. 4:xiii; for Richard Mead, another British doctor, see vol. 5:171.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0080

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1790-12-06

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

Major Mc Farling has just called upon us, & informed us of his intention of going to Philadephia this Week—& has intimated a wish, that some outlines of his general Character might be given to the Vice President— Mr Shaw is called away on some business, & supposes, that if it is done in the female line, it may be as efficacious as if he had written himself— Major Mc-Farling had some Conversation with the President when he was upon his Tour this way, which has encouraged him, to attend upon Congress this session— As there are Benefits to be conffered, his Friends here, wish his Services, & his enfeebled State, may be thought of, & rewarded— Perhaps there but few more deserving— As a private Gentleman his Character is unblemished— He is a man of real worth, probity, & integrity, & by his industry, & the small pittance he has received, supported a numerous Family with decency, & reputation— As a Soldier, he was brave, & undaunted, those who fought by his side at Bunker Hill, & at white plains can witness, & his right arm can testify, that he bears about no deceitful marks of Courage, & noble resolution—for a Bullet in two different engagments, entered his arm, & is lodged there, & now, as he grows into years, he feels the pain, & inconvenience of them more, & more— He says he does not wish to spend the remainder of his life in indolence, but { 154 } hopes & wishes, still to be serviceable to his Country, in some way or other— Now this is my petition, & this is my request to the Vice President, for one of my People, that as I know he delights to make a worthy man happy, he would, in his great Wisdom use his influence, to provide something for this Genttleman that he can realize, & be an adequate support to himself & Family in the decline of Life— So that One, who has nobly fought & bled, for his Country, should have no Cause to think her ungrateful—1
And now my Dear Sister, let me ask you how you do, & how you like your new Situation?— I hope you go on progressively, from good, to better—& now having a much greater number of Friends arround you, you will lead a pleasant, & peaceful life, for their Characteristic is hospitality kindness & Benevolence—
My kindest Love & regards attend Cousin Thomas, Tell him if you please, that we go on much in the old way—few young Ladies are courted, & less are given in marriage— In Haverhill, as in many other places there are ten young Ladies, to one Gentleman—
There has lately been two very fine, agreeable Persons from the Jersies—(Mr Newbolls by name) Cousins— They had there Education in Philadelphia— They were sensible—polite, easy in their manners, plain in th[eir] dress, but really very beautiful in their persons— I dined with them at Mr Thaxter's—& they dr[ank] Tea with us the next Day— They were detained in Town by a Storm a week— They were introduced to judge Seargants Family—& were charmed with Haverhill.
Mr Thaxters health is much as it has been, Mrs Thaxter is not very well— The loss of their Son still grieves them, but I hope they will be comforted—
Mr Shaw presents his best regards, & my Children their duty to their Uncle & Aunt
Accept my Dear Sister, & Cousins, of the Love of your ever affectionate
[signed] Elizabeth Shaw—
Excuse the writing & every inaccuracy—
RC (Adams Papers). Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Moses McFarland (1738–1802), born in Londonderry, N.H., served as a captain in the Continental Army throughout the Revolutionary War. Promoted to the rank of major in the 1780s, he died in Haverhill in 1802 (C. M. Little, History of the Clan Macfarlane, Tottenville, N.Y., 1893, p. 108, 109, 114). See also Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA, 14 Feb. 1791, and note 3, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0081

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
DateRange: 1790-12-12 - 1790-12-14

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I have received your two kind Letters one dated in october the 30 day I think & the 14 of Novbr as the last came by a private Hand it did not reach me till last Evening.1 you will suppose that I might have written to you long e’er this, but as my letters would only have been a detail of grivences and troubles I was reluctant at taking my pen, and put it of from day to day. I reachd this city after 5 days journey. I was so weak as to be able to travel only 20 miles a day, but I gaind strength daily and was much better when I got here than when I set out; my Furniture arrived the day before me. I came up to the House expecting to have found every thing in readiness to put up the furniture agreable to promise but how was I dissapointed to find the painters with their Brushes and some of the most necessary matters untouch'd the House had not been inhabited for four years & being Brick you may judge of the state of it. we had fires made in every part, the furniture must come in, and we must inhabit it unfit as it was for to go with 14 or 16, for Brislers family were all with me, to Lodings was much beyond my Revenue's I expected to suffer. We got in on fryday— on the Monday following Louissa was taken sick I gave her a puke & set her up again, but on the thursday following Polly Tailor was taken sick with a voilent Plurisy fever confined to her Bed bled 3 times puked & Blisterd; and tho it is a month she has got no further down stairs than to my chamber for after the fever left her the old Ague took her in her Head and face. She is however upon the mending order, but this is not the worst of all my troubles. Thomas has been 18 days totally deprived of the use of his Limbs by the acute Rhumatism, attended with great inflamation and fever. the fever has abated after having been 3 times Bled puked and many other applications he is yet unable to help himself. he is carried from his Bed to the Settee & fed like an infant. I have not left his Chamber excepting a nights and meal times for the whole time. the disorder seazd his Breast as well as his Limbs and produced all the complaints of Gravel by affecting his kidneys. I never knew him half so sick in my Life. I will not lay either of the disorders to this place tho I believe they were hastned & renderd worse by the dampness of the House. Polly has had 2 Fevers of the same kind since she has been with me, & Thomas Rhumatism has been comeing on for some time, yet they were peculiarly unfortunate to { 156 } attack them at the time of Removal. dr Rush has attended them and I have found him a kind Friend as well as Physician. I will not detail to you that in the midst of all this, the Gentlemen and Ladies solicitious to manifest their respect were visiting us every day from 12 to 3 oclock in the midst of Rooms heepd up with Boxes trunks cases &c. thanks to a kind Providence I have got through the worst I hope of my difficulties and am in tolerable Health tho much fallen away in flesh I have a source of anxiety added to my portion on my dear daughters account, col smith having saild last week for England his going was sudden and unexpected to us, but some private family Debts which were due in England to his Fathers estate was one motive, and some prospects of assisting his Family by his voyage was a still further motive.2 I do not know what has really been the cause why he has been so poorly provided for in the distribution of offices. the P—— has always said that he was sensible to his merrit & meant to Provide for him, but has not yet seen the way open to do it; She poor Girl is calld to quite a different trial from any she has before experienced, for tho the col was once before absent, she was in her Fathers House.3 now she writes that she feels as if unprotected, as if alone in the wide world one of his Brothers & sisters remain with her during the cols absence. I have Johnny here with me, and would gladly send for her, to pass the winter with me, but a young Baby and some other obstacles prevent. pray my dear sister write to her and comfort her. no station in Life was ever designd by providence to be free from trouble and anxiety. the portion I believe is much more equally distributed than we imagine. Guilt of conscience is the work of our own Hands and not to be classed with the inevitable evils of Humane Life.—
Decbr 14
I wrote thus far on sunday. Thomas is very little better. Charles got here on saturday and is a great assistance to me. I want my dear sisters & cousins. notwithstanding I have been such a Mover. I feel in every New place more & more the want of my own near & dear connexions. I hope to see you all next spring. pray let my son J Q A know that his Brother is sick, that we should be glad to have him come here in Janry or this Month if more convenient to him, but that I cannot write to him till the Next post— adieu I have only time to say yours / as the Post is going
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs. / A Adams (Pha:) / Decr. 12th. 1790”; notation: “Send this back / when you write / M C.”
1. Not found.
2. WSS traveled to Europe on behalf of New York City speculator Richard Platt with the intention of securing a private loan using U.S. securities as collateral for the purpose of speculating in the same securities. A steep rise in their value during WSS's voyage rendered the plan impractical and WSS returned without carrying it out (Hamilton, Papers, 8:453–454).
3. For WSS's extended trip to the Continent in 1787, see vol. 8:xxxi.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0082

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1790-12-12

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Sister

I have been waiting with impatience to hear of your arrival in Philedelphia, your health was so poor that I want to know how your Journey affected you, I hope you have found an advantage from it, but the fatigues attending moving are not very pleasing to the Body or Mind. If there could be any advantage arising from it to you, there would be something to balance the trouble, but to be at such an expence for nothing, & to be the subjects of envy too is hard— It was suppos'd that General warren was chosen to represent Plymouth county—& every body seem'd to be glad as the exchange would have been so much for the better: but alass—you will hear who it is—one who from the character he sustains you will be asham'd to invite to your table. how could the People make such a choice?1
I want much to hear how you like your situation. I pity mrs Smith, I am always thinking of her. I must find a way to hear from her, I think to apply to mr Storer for a private conveyence
I was at your Brother adams's the other day. Mrs Hall look'd & was very well mrs Turner is not yet mov'd I thought by what he said he was to have gone into your house immediately, she told me she thought they should soon, she is surprizingly recover'd but looks much altered
What think you my sister of the spirit of matrimony which has appear'd in Hingham— Miss Gay the younger married to Parson Howard of Boston. Major Rice Publish'd to miss Sophia Blake. & mr Caleb Thaxter to miss Fanny Gay, a Grandaughter to the late Doctor Gay—& tis said that Parson Clark of Lexington will take Miss Nabby Gay, I have not heard that any of our good cousins are spoken for.— but these are incouraging circumstances for the good { 158 } Girls. I think that Colln. Gay ought to find a wife among them, Betsy has something very handsome left her by Madam Derby2
Mr Thaxter I hear is better. Sister Shaw I have not heard from for some time, but suppose they are well— Mr Nortons Family are well. She was with me a day or two last week with her sweet little Boy— who can almost run alone & is as playful as a Lamb, he is wean'd but did not mind it in the least, he has nine or ten Teeth which he is always useing, He is very healthy & very quiet now he grows very pretty, has as fine Black eyes as you ever say, & a good animated countinance—at least this is Grandmamas oppinion— I think you must pine after mrs Smiths Children, there is nothing that enlivens us so much as having these little creatures round us—
Lucy has been making mrs Packard a visit mrs Quincy & she look sattisfied & happy, & that is enough— He has a nice house well furnish'd but neither Lucys nor my oppinion is chang'd about him, Prudence is a gift from heaven—a duplicity of character will be discover'd sooner or later wherever it is—
I know you feel interested for Williams success as well as your own sons, he has I think as much business as he could expect for the time—but not enough to maintain himself. I tell them both not to be discourag'd. good characters & good abilities will make there way good in the world— Your son keep thanksgiving with us. & I found him wanting stockings, Drawers, caps & necks— Stockings mr Turner will make for him as soon as he can. We have got him two pair from mr Hardwick3 for the present for he could not wait he suffer'd for the want of them, the other things Lucy went to Boston & got for him, & has made them up, He appear'd very well. He shew me the Letter you wrote him from new york the day before you left it—& it was the first hint I had of his attachment—4 his cousins knew it they have told me since— I had no time to say any thing to him after I had [read the] Letter. I was sorry as I suppest'd by his shewing [it to] me he wish'd I should—but I believe you may trust to his prudence— She is young but has had a very good education I hear, He will tell you himself how the matter stand between them. Cousin Thomas is well I hope; what is he doing? Something I know, his active spirit will never be Idle My Love to him I expect much entertainment from his letters to his cousin. he has taken an exellent likeness of him. & tell him he has left as strong an imprssion upon his Heart as he has upon his imagination, I design he shall try for your Face next—5 my Love also to Louisia. h[er] mama { 159 } complains that she has not written to her or B[roth]ers & sister. Mr Adams is always included in my wishes for your Health & happiness, & no one can wish you more than does your affectionate Sister
[signed] Mary Cranch
Lucy sends Duty & Love
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by William Cranch: “Mrs A. Adams / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Mrs Cranch 12 / december 1790.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Shearjashub Bourne, a Barnstable lawyer who successfully defeated James Warren and two other candidates, replaced George Partridge as congressional representative from Plymouth County. Bourne had been involved in dubious mercantile dealings during the Revolution that climaxed in a long legal battle in which JA was a brief participant. Largely overcoming widespread suspicions of disloyalty to the American cause, Bourne went on to represent Barnstable in the General Court after the Revolution and, following his two terms in the U.S. Congress, became chief justice of the Suffolk Inferior Court (JA, Legal Papers, 1:xcvii; vol. 8:313; Boston, Herald of Freedom, 9 Nov. 1790; Boston Independent Chronicle, 9 Dec. 1790; JA, D&A, 4:2–3).
2. Jerusha Gay (1735–1812), daughter of the late Rev. Ebenezer Gay of Hingham, married Rev. Simeon Howard of Boston on 29 Nov. (History of Hingham, 2:264–265).
Col. Nathan Rice of Hingham wed Sophia Blake, daughter of Joseph Blake of Boston, on 16 Jan. 1791 (Boston Columbian Centinel, 22 Jan.; MBNEH:Mss 901, Reuben Hersey, Vital Records of Hingham, Massachusetts, ca. 1639–1844, vol. 1).
The marriage between Caleb Thaxter and Fanny Gay did not take place; Thaxter (b. 1751) died unmarried in 1828, while Frances Gay (1763–1846), daughter of Ebenezer's son Martin and his first wife Mary Pinckney, married Isaac Winslow in 1805 (History of Hingham, 2:265; 3:233).
Rev. Jonas Clarke (b. 1730) of the First Congregational Church in Lexington, who had lost his wife Lucy Bowes in April 1789, did not remarry prior to his death in 1805 (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:209, 210, 215). Abigail Gay (1729–1804), eldest daughter of Ebenezer, never married. Col. Jotham Gay (1733–1802), a son of Ebenezer who served in the Continental Army during the Revolution, likewise remained unwed (History of Hingham, 2:265).
The cousins to whom Cranch refers were Celia (1749–1829), Hannah (1751–1807), and Elizabeth Thaxter (1753–1824), none of whom ever married (same, 3:233). Elizabeth's inheritance came from Sarah Langley Hersey Derby, widow of Richard Derby, who died on 17 June 1790, leaving behind a large fortune. The Boston Columbian Centinel, 26 June, reported that in her will she donated money to Harvard University as well as to the Derby school in Hingham and noted “her more than equivalent compensation of the kind offices of her particular friends.”
3. Probably John Turner, for whom see vol. 2:304–305, 341. For the Hardwick family, see vol. 1:240–241. Both Frederick Hardwick and his son John Henry Hardwick were stocking weavers (Sprague, Braintree Families).
4. AA to JQA, 7 Nov., above.
5. William Cranch sent to AA profile portraits he had made of his parents, Norton Quincy, and JQA. In his accompanying letter, he explained, “the young man who took them is a very clumsy fellow at Drapery; however, it must be said in Excuse for him, that he is very young in the business having never attempted the power of light & shade, ’till about a Month ago” (11 Dec., Adams Papers). See also AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 9 Jan. 1791, and Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 25 Jan., both below. The portraits have not been located, with the possible exception of an unattributed and undated sketch of Richard Cranch; see vol. 1:xii–xiii, 81.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-12-13

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

Your Brother Charles arrived on Saturday night from New York and has dissipated some of the Gloom of the Family. Your Mother however Seems pretty well recovered from her Indisposition: and Your Brother Thomas, tho very weak is on the Recovery, as We hope. The rest of the Family is well.
In a Letter to your mamma, you intimate an Inclination to make Us a Visit.1 Nothing I assure you would be more agreable to me: and I wish you to come as Soon as you find it convenient.— Philadelphia is worth Seeing. It is a great City and has Science, Litterature, Wealth and Beauty, which deserve respect, if not Admiration. The Journey by the Stage will promote your health, relax your Attention, and improve your mind.
Your old Friend Mr Bingham is in the high road of Promotion. Member of the assembly and unanimously chosen Speaker.2 He lives in a Style of Pomp & Splendor which is almost novel in America.
A respectful, attentive and complaisant Behaviour will engage you the good Will of the World: and your extensive Knowledge will give you great Advantages, as soon as you shall have opportunities to act yourself.
It is accident commonly which furnishes the first Occasions to a young Lawyer, to Spread his Reputation. I remember, it was neither my Friends nor Patrons among the great and learned: it was Joseph Tirrel the Horse Jockey who first raised me to fame. At Plymouth Court he had a sister, who had a popular Cause depending. He advised her to engage me in it: and I had the good fortune to conduct it in such a manner that from that time forward I was engaged in all the Causes in the County.3 Some odd incident, altogether unforeseen and unexpected, will very probably bring you into some popular Cause, and Spread your Character with a thousand Trumpetts at a time. Such a Thing may not happen however in several years. meantime Patience Courage.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr J. Q. Adams.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. JQA to AA, 20 Nov., above.
2. William Bingham was elected to the Penn. House of Representatives in 1790 and would serve as speaker in 1791 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. Early in his law career JA tried at least two cases involving the family of Joseph Tirrell (b. 1723). In 1760 he successfully represented Luke Lambert in a case against Tirrell and in the same year won the case of Tirrell { 161 } v. Lawrence on behalf of a member of the Tirrell family (JA, D&A, 1:224; Sprague, Braintree Families; Vital Records of Abington, Massachusetts, 2 vols., Boston, 1912, 1:227).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0084

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1790-12-14

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

I have just returned from the Post-Office, where I was in hopes of finding Letters from Philadelphia, but found myself disappointed. I wrote you almost a month ago by a private hand, (Mr: Gray) and I hope you received my Letter in Season. I have since thought that some of the expressions in it, upon a subject which principally concerns myself might rather tend to increase your alarm than to give you satisfaction. I must therefore again request you, my dear Madam, to remove from your mind every anxiety on that account. I am perfectly free, and you may rest assured I will remain so; I believe I may add I was never in less danger of any entanglement, which can give you pain than at present.
I am tolerably contented with my situation. Could I have just enough business to support my expences, so as to relieve me from the mortification of being at my time of life, a burthen to my Parents, there would not be I believe, a happier being in the United States. I am every day more pleased with the family where I board; and every circumstance that occurs has an agreeable aspect, except that of finding myself still an idle man.— Idle, as respects business; for I can pursue my studies perhaps even to greater advantage, than I did before I came here, and though my Time is productive of no present profit, I do not perceive that I have any of it to spare.— You will see, that my Spirits at least are in more favourable tune than they have been, when some of my former Letters were written.
But at present I have to write upon another subject. As my father in one of his late Letters to me,1 has expressed an intention to give me the charge of the house from which I now write, I have been thinking upon the methods which might be pursued to turn it to the best account. The present Tenant for two years past has given a rent of £34. which with a deduction for necessary repairs must be reduced to something less than £30. He complains even of this rent as too high, and from several enquiries which I have made, I do not think I could get a Tenant who would give more.— I think if my father would consent to sell the house, I could undertake to be answerable to him for a principal of £500, which would be the capital of the present rent, and for an annual interest of £40 instead of 30. { 162 } Indeed I should be disappointed if I did not in both cases exceed those Sums. £500 invested in the public funds, would I think at present be as secure as in a house in Boston; and would procure in all probability a more regular and more certain interest. But there are several other modes by which I think I could secure upon such a sum, an interest of 8 or 9 per cent, without hazarding the principal, any more than the house is endangered from casualties, and from gradual decay.
I am aware of my father's predilection in favour of real Estate. But as it respects this house it seems to me, the only question must be how to make the property the most profitable. He never can live again in the house himself; in the present dispersion of his family which in all probability will continue, no one unless it be myself will ever have occasion to live in it; and this is a contingency so remote that it can have no effect upon his determination at present; it appears therefore that it will never be serviceable, only as it will produce an annual rent: from certain inconveniences attending the house itself, and from its age, which is not inconsiderable, the probability is that this rent can never be much higher than at present. Now if by changing the mode of property, an addition of a quarter part may be added to the annual income, without injuring the principal, upon all the maxims of oeconomy is it not a measure highly expedient.
I am not sure that I could sell the house, if I were authorised so to do: but if upon these considerations my father should agree with me in opinion, there can at least be no danger whatever in making the experiment; and it might possibly induce the present Tenant to raise the Rent, if he suspected the house would otherwise be sold But if it should still be concluded that the safety and permanency of landed property more than compensates for the Circumstance of its being so much less productive, at least I shall have done no harm for making these observations, which were certainly dictated by the best intentions.2
I enclose a Letter for my brother Charles,3 and remain with every sentiment of affection, and gratitude your Son.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A. Adams. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “J Q A 1790”; docketed: “JQ—A— Dec— / 1790.”
1. JA to JQA, 4 Oct., above.
2. The Court Street house was not sold and the property remained in the Adams family for another century; see JA, D&A, 2:64.
3. Not found, but in his Diary JQA recorded that he wrote to CA on 11 and 14 Dec. (D/JQA/15, APM Reel 18).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1790-12-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Child:

I have not had an opportunity to write you till now, since the departure of your Colonel Smith, for England. I presume that this voyage was undertaken on mature deliberation, and wish it may prove exactly to his satisfaction, and his interest. The state of solitude, however disagreeable, should be rendered tolerable to you, when you recollect the many years of separation which fell to the lot of your parents, in infinitely more gloomy times, and with prospects more dismal and disconsolate. Your children are a trust which will employ your mind, and occasion both business and amusement. Retirement from the world, to a great degree, of which the absence of a husband gives not only an excuse, but a peculiar grace, is not at all incompatible with the solidity, prudence, diligence, and economy, as well as thoughtfulness of your character.
This world, without constant recollection and serious reflection, is but a gay bauble.
Our family are all well, except your youngest brother, who is on the mending hand. Your little John is as healthy as he is lively and entertaining. God bless him and his brothers, is the daily prayer of
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:107–108.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0086

Author: Hollis, Thomas Brand
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1790-12-20

Thomas Brand Hollis to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Madam

A sincere desire to hear of your welfare prompted me to write that I might have the pleasure to know from yourself, that you retained the memory of a sincere friend who has an affectionate regard for your self & family & desires the welfare of your country; being above the contracted Idea of an Insulaire who is unwilling any should enjoy Liberty but the Inhabitants of his own Island.
The love of general freedom & the Universal welfare of mankind is I deem not inconsistent with the truest regard for one's own country.
I am glad to hear the hours you spent at the Hide were agreable to you as it was my wish to make them so & I am pleased to hear you have a situation beautiful & charming1 your description of it { 164 } would raise my envy if that was part of my Constitution but I enjoy other people happiness as an addition to my own. we are here obliged to be contented with natural beauties on a smaller scale.
I have made my rivulet larger & longer & uninterrupted & it has a good effect the ends being concealed with a gravel walk on the banks.
you have made me interested in the increase of your family I know not what to write in return for the uncommon & most indearing circumstance of commemorating the memory of my friend in which also you have made me an inheritor.
The walk which Mr Bridgen appropriated to his nuns & friars will receive with Jay its new visitor endeared by every circumstance imagination could invent & he will find himself surrounded with all the charities of father mother Friends & relatives.2
may the young man imbibe the principles of his nominal father & as he by example & books propagated the best of principles so may the young Thomas Hollis bring them into practice for the benefit of mankind.
This attention to small matters which generally lead to good is so much in the spirit of my Dear friend Mrs Adams that whereever she passes her good deeds follow her that she will never be forgot.
I shall write to Mrs Smith & endeavour to convey in weak language the strong sense I have of her regard to the principles of Virtue & Liberty by pointing out to her son for his imitation examples of intrepid worth & persevering virtue at the same time not insensible to the ingaging attention she has paid to me & to my friends character & name.
mr Knox had left London before my return to it. This letter should have been sent long since but waited a proper conveyance as private hands are very uncertain having but lately received an account of the receipt of 3 boxes of books sent to Boston June 1789
mrs Jebb is alive, I dare not tell her your suspicion of which she has no fear—tho I have the greatest.
France continues to go on gloriously in spite of the clergy & Aristocraticks & will become the preceptors of mankind.
our press is under difficulties & danger paper & printing taxed & very dear penalties enormous.3 take warning & preserve it sacred for from instructions & circulation of principles you are now a great nation long may you continue so & be happy is my earnest wish and I remain with the highest gratitude and affectionate regard— wishing every good / your obliged Friend
[signed] T Brand Hollis.
{ 165 }
1. See AA to Hollis, 6 Sept., above.
2. Edward Bridgen's portraits of nuns and monks, presented as a gift to Hollis along with accompanying verses Bridgen himself composed for the occasion, were on display in a small room at the Hyde when the Adamses visited there in 1786 (vol. 7:298; JA, D&A, 3:200).
3. Taxes on British newspaper sales and advertising reached unprecedented levels in the late 1780s and early 1790s. The press also faced increasingly strong libel and sedition laws that threatened publishers with fines and imprisonment (Hannah Barker, Newspapers, Politics and English Society, 1695–1855, N.Y., 1999, p. 66–74).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0087

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-12-26

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my dear son

I have received two Letters from you, since my arrival in this city. the sickness of your Brother Thomas must be my excuse for not sooner noticing the first, which I certainly should have done immediatly if your Father had not told me that he had written to you, and particularly answerd that part which proposed a visit to us.1 I certainly cannot have the least objection but should be most sincerely glad to see you here, and that whilst Charles is with us. it would greatly add to my happiness if your sister could compleat the Number and I could see you all four once more together. I am very unhappy to be seperated from her during the absence of col Smith, who you must have been informd saild in the decbr Packet for England. his own situation, I mean that of holding an office which has as yet been an expence to him instead of a profit, an increasing Family and no profession by which he could help himself, prey'd heavily upon his spirits and induced him to take a step from which I hope he will reap a lasting advantage both to himself and Family I presume he is engaged with, and gone for, a Gentleman who knows what he is doing. he was ready to sail before either your Father or I knew that he was going, and went in five days after his agreement with the Gentleman. this you will keep to yourself the ostensible reason is that there were some debts due to his Fathers estate which he is gone to settle, and which is really the case. the publick Rumour is that Humphies is dead, and that he was sent in his place, but I believe the death of Humphries to be a mere speculation2 You will see by the Report of the Trustees to the sinking fund upon what a respectable footing our credit is, the 6 pr ct funded debt having risen to par & selling in Amsterdam at a hunderd and 24 for a Hundred.3 the state debt will rise rapidly provided a peace continues. they who have cash at command may be benefited by their purchases. they can scarcly buy a miss, I mean as it now stands.
{ 166 }
you have made me very easy upon a Subject which I wrote to you upon from N york; I trust you will be convinced that all my anxiety was for your benifit and that your happiness will ultimately be the result of resolutions which you have wisely adopted, I have no doubt mean to adhere to, so that you shall hear no more from me upon that topick. amongst the many good Rules and Maxims of my worthy Grandmother with whom I chiefly lived during the early period of my life, I recollect with pleasure, that one of them was never to bring a painfull subject twice to recollection.4 if a poor culprit had transgresst, she repremanded with justice with dignity, but never lessned her Authority by reproaches. the concequence was that Love towards her and respect for her opinion prevented a repition of the offence—
Poor Thomas has had a severe turn of the Rhumatism, five long weeks has he been confined to his chamber four of them totally helpless— a sympathising Parent who had realized the same painfull disorder you may be Sure, was more than commonly attentive to all his complaints and never left him an hour, Nights excepted till he was relieved Charles was of great service when he came & cheerd his spirits he had just enterd mr Ingersels office and commenced his studies when he was arrested by this cruel disease which I fear will unfit him for the Season and incapacitate him to persue them even at home for some time yet. I cannot tell you much concerning this city. I have been so much confind that excepting the visits I have received I have had [sc]arcly any intercourse tho very politely invitated in the True European stile to Tea and Cards to Several Parties. I have a bad took ack & must close this repeating my request to you to visit as soon as you can, and to present me kindly to the dr and mrs welch mr & mrs smith and all other Friends yours most tenderly
[signed] A Adams—
P S. your Father will write you respecting the house
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by CA: “John Q Adams Esqr / Boston”; endorsed: “My Mother. 26. Decr: 1790.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. See JA to JQA, 13 Dec., above.
2. The rumor was indeed false. See AA to AA2, 21 Feb. 1791, and note 4, below.
3. The commissioners of the sinking fund issued their first report on 21 Dec. 1790 and said that $278,687 had been spent to purchase securities at an average rate of 54 cents on the dollar. The government purchases had the effect of driving up the value of the securities (Edward A. Ross, Sinking Funds, Baltimore, 1892, p. 36–40).
4. AA refers to her maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Norton Quincy.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0088

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1790-12-26

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] Dear Child,

I would tell you that I had an ague in my face, and a violent toothache, which has prevented my writing to you all day; but I am determined to brave it out this evening, and inquire how you do. Without further complaint, I have become so tender, from keeping so much in a warm chamber, that, as soon as I set my foot out, I am sure to come home with some new pain or ache.
On Friday evening last, I went with Charles to the drawing room, being the first of my appearance in public. The room became full before I left it, and the circle very brilliant. How could it be otherwise, when the dazzling Mrs. Bingham and her beautiful sisters were there; the Misses Allen, and Misses Chew; in short, a constellation of beauties?1 I am serious when I say so, for I really think them what I describe them. Mrs Bingham has certainly given laws to the ladies here, in fashion and elegance; their manners and appearance are superior to what I have seen. I have been employed, for several days last week, in returning visits. Mrs. Powell, I join the general voice in pronouncing a very interesting woman. She is aunt to Mrs. Bingham, and is one of the ladies you would be pleased with. She looks turned of fifty, is polite and fluent as you please, motherly and friendly.2
I have received many invitations to tea and cards, in the European style, but have hitherto declined them, on account of my health and the sickness of your brother. I should like to be acquainted with these people, and there is no other way of coming at many of them, but by joining in their parties; but the roads to and from Bush Hill are all clay, and in open weather, up to the horses’ knees; so you may suppose that much of my time must be spent at home; but this, you know, I do not regret, nor is it any mortification to me. If I could send for you, as usual, and my dear boys, it would add greatly to my pleasure and happiness. Mrs. Otis comes frequently, and passes the day with me, and yesterday I had the whole family to keep Christmas with me.3
The weather is winter in all respects, and such a plain of snow puts out my eyes. We have a warm side, as well as a cold one, to our house. If there is any thing we can do for you, let me know. You { 168 } cannot regret your separations more than I do, for morn, noon, and night, you rest upon the mind and heart of your ever affectionate
[signed] A. Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848, p. 350–351.
1. Anne Willing Bingham had four younger unmarried sisters: Elizabeth (1768–1858), Mary (1770–1852), Dorothy (1772–1847), and Abigail (1777–1841). Benjamin Chew had eight unmarried daughters at the time, two by his first wife, Mary Galloway, and six by his second, Elizabeth Oswald: Anna Maria (1749–1812), Sarah (1753–1826), Julianna (1765–1845), Henrietta (1767–1848), Sophia (1769–1841), Maria (1771–1840), Harriet (1775–1861), and Catherine (1779–1831). The “Misses Allen” were the daughters of the late James Allen of Philadelphia and his wife Elizabeth Lawrence: Anne Penn (1769–1851), Margaret Elizabeth (1772–1798), and Mary Masters (1776–1855) (Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania, Phila., 1883, part 1, p. 93, 98, 99, 104, 107; part 2, p. 151–152, 331, 339, 351, 355, 357; Baltimore Patriot, 31 May 1826).
2. Elizabeth Willing Powel (1742–1830), a sister of Thomas Willing, was the wife of Samuel Powel of Philadelphia (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 1:125).
3. For Mary Smith Gray Otis (1757–1839), wife of Samuel Alleyne Otis, see vol. 3:307. In addition to two grown sons from Samuel Otis’ first marriage, one of whom was Harrison Gray Otis, the couple had a three-year-old daughter, Harriet (William A. Otis, A Genealogical and Historical Memoir of the Otis Family in America, Chicago, 1924, p. 141–144).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0089

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1790-12-26

Charles Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

I fear that my receiving your letters so late may be some disadvantage to you. The information I shall now give you perhaps may reach you too late. By the last post I received your favor of the 14th instant and this morning went into town for the one dated the 11th which Harbach brought.1 The newspapers before this time must have informed you concerning some of the business you have written to me upon. The Presidents speech is public from that you may see that a loan of three millions of florins has been completed in Holland. The two Houses of Van Staphorst and Willinck in Amsterdam had of their own accord & without any order borrowed three millions of guilders for the United States some time in the winter of 89 and ninety. But I will copy a paragraph from a letter written your father by the houses dated February 1st 1790 The houses took on themselves to open a loan of three millions at a five pr cent interest in full confidance that our motives would be considered in their true light and not doubting but our loan would be highly approved in the United States2 The President upon consultation has thought proper to ratify that loan upon motives best know to himself. I think that there were eleven millions to be borrowed three only have as { 169 } yet been borrowed as we know. It is not certainly know whether more has been borrowed for Dutch merchants here but from the complection and interests of money lenders in Holland it is not probable There is therefore a large loan to be negotiated and it may be done upon favorable terms in Holland. The 6 per Cents are now selling in Amsterdam at 124 pr Cent as I am informed from those who know. They have been sold at par here but I beleive 18 shillings is now the price generally some thousands have been sold at par upon 90 days credit. No man can lose by bying in the public stocks now The three pr Cents will in my opinion be soon at 10 shillings. The resolution of the Virginia assembly will have no effect.3 The public creditors of Pensylvania have exhibited an arogant remostrance to the Congress and the resolution of the Senate thereupon you will see the tenor whereof is this that it would be hurtful to the Country to make any alteration in the funding system at present4
There is no doubt says Mr Lawrance that the house of Representatives will make ample provision for the remaining part of the public debt and this opinion seems to be general among the well informed. I fear very much that I have not been sufficiently accurate I think you may depend upon the information given here my desire to send by this post has made he hurry more than I could have wished. You will do well to come here this winter. All well—
[signed] C—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Charles— 26. Decr: 1790.”
1. Neither letter has been found. The carrier of the letter was probably John Harbach (d. 1793), a Boston securities broker (John B. Hench, “Letters of John Fenno and John Ward Fenno, 1779–1800,” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs., 90:165 [April 1980]).
2. On 8 Dec., George Washington announced to Congress that the United States had borrowed 3 million florins in Holland. CA paraphrases here lines from Wilhem and Jan Willink's letter to JA of 1 Feb. (Adams Papers). There, the Willinks said that they and Nicolaas and Jacob van Staphorst had borrowed the money without authorization “in order to maintain the Credit of the United States” when it became clear that the United States would otherwise default on payments due on foreign debt. The loan commenced on 1 Feb. and was formally accepted by Congress seven months later (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 8 Dec.; Hamilton, Papers, 6:210–218; 14:42, 257).
3. In November the Va. General Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution decrying the federal Funding Act as “repugnant to the Constitution of the United States” and “subversive of the interest of the people” (Providence United States Chronicle, 2 Dec.).
4. A committee of Pennsylvania citizens on 21 Aug. 1789 had submitted to Congress a “Memorial of the Public Creditors of Pennsylvania” that urged Congress to repay the federal debt over a long period of time on the theory that a slowly diminishing debt would establish public credit and motivate the states to remain unified. Congress referred the report to Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, whose more aggressive plan was adopted by Congress instead. On 23 Dec. 1790 Congress passed a resolution refusing to reconsider the issues raised in the memorial (First Fed. Cong., 5:738–743; 14:510, 515; Charlene Bangs Bickford and Kenneth R. Bowling, Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789–1791, Washington, D.C., 1989, p. 62–64).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0090

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1790-12-30

Abigail Adams Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] my Dear Mamma

I have this moment received your Letter of the 26th and having a Leasure moment I embrace it to reply to it— it seems to renew my spirits to get a Letter from you—and they very frequently require the aid of such incidents as arrise from Communicated friendship to keep them up—for I find it very solitary— I have no inclination to go out, and except to Mrs King I have not made any visits out of the family circle,— Bellindas Connection at this time has brought all Mr Clarksons family and Connections, which are very numerous, and respectable, to visit the two families—1 thease visits I think it my Duty to return—and to do all in my power to accommodate upon all Sides—to stand aloof—and not associate with them would not be friendly— therefore I find myself obliged to enlarge my acquaintance— they are a plain Hospitable friendly People— Mrs Charlton is Mr Clarksons aunt and having no Chrildren of her own—She has in Part addopted him as her Child and has been very friendly to the family—and much to my surprise as I did not think myself entitled to the attention as we never had visitted I received a visit from her—2 I returnd her visit and find her a very chearfull friendly disposed Woman— her first appearance is rather stiff and reserved—but this wears aways—upon a Short acquaintance— I expect that Mr and Mrs Clarkson will spend the Winter with me— Colln Smith proposed it before he went away;—and they cannot go to House keeping much before May,—and their family is so large and the House so small and inconvenient that I think they will be more comfortable here— we have ever Lived together as one family altho we are in Seperate Houses—and it is my wish to accommodate them as well as I can— for they have ever treated me with the same friendship and unreserve as they behave towards each other— and I know it is Colln Smiths intention that whatever advantage accrues from his present Voyage to participate it with his family— his Language to me was— this opportunity presents to me; and I see a probability of reaping advantage from undertakeing it,—the seperation from my family is a Sacrifise, which nothing but their benefit would induce me to make—but I have been waiting too Long in expectation of some appointment to releive me from the Mortifying Situation in which I have been left—and I will make this exertion chearfully for I cannot { 171 } Live myself; and behold My Mother and her family—depressed by the want of those Comforts which they have been accustomed to enjoy in a Superior degree with those who now look down upon them— I join you most sincerely in wishing that we may reap advantage from it—but I Confess that my expectations are never so Sanguine as to permit me to suffer from disappointment should it not prove equal to our wishes— you mention in one of your Letters that my Father wished to send some Papers—to Coln Smith— there are Vessells very frequently going from hence—and the Packett will sail the 6th of January— could you forward them here I could send them soon—3
the weather here has been for some time past extreamly Cold—& most People are not supplied with wood— indeed the Carmen say they never knew such a Scarcity of wood— I paid the Last week three pounds for a Cord of oak Wood—and Wallnut is 18 shillings a Load— if the weather should not moderate soon—and the river not open many must Suffer—
I have frequently heard of your family from Mr Deblois and Mr King—4 they tell me that my Brother is recovering which I am very happy to hear—and that you find yourselvs rather more retired than when you were here—
Charity says in answer to your inquiries whether She is going to be Married—that She is determined not to receive the addresses of any Gentleman untill next May, She has some body we cannot find out who in her Mind, Peggy and myself Lecture her so severely when She comes to see us—for her volatility and flirtation—that She sometimes looks quite grave Sally is much better She with Peggy is gone to dance out the old year—an ancient Dutch Custom, kept up from time out of mind—5
when do you expect my Brother and how does he get to Philadelphia— if he should not remember that he has a Sister in New York when he Passes I shall be very much grieved, and afflicted,—for I shall be very happy to see him here— I had a very affectionate but gloomy Letter from him— it gave me the dismals for two or three days—
I have had two invitations to be escorted to Philadelphia— Mr McCormick and the Baron Stuben have both offered to take me under their Protection but I have not the smallest idea of vissitting you this Winter I should not find Courage to undertake such a journey without my better half—unless Compelled by absolute necessity;— my own fire side has more charms for me than any other { 172 } place— if I can make myself comfortable there it is all I wish altho I Long to see you all and more especially my Dear Boy—
adieu yours affectionately
[signed] A Smith
my Love to Louisa—and little John— please to Burn this—6
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs Smith / to / her Mother.”
1. Belinda Smith, sister of WSS, married Matthew M. Clarkson (d. 1804) on 18 December. Clarkson, the eldest son of Matthew and Elizabeth De Peyster Clarkson, belonged to a large mercantile family that operated the firm of Clarkson, Stratfield, and Levinus at 15 Smith Street in New York City (New York Daily Advertiser, 21 Dec.; New York Commercial Advertiser, 12 Dec. 1804; Waldron Phoenix Belknap Jr., The De Peyster Genealogy, Boston, 1956, p. 56; New-York Directory, 1790, Evans, No. 22724).
2. Mary De Peyster Charlton (1735–1819), an elder sister of Elizabeth Clarkson, was the wife of New York physician Dr. John Charlton (Belknap, De Peyster Genealogy, p. 23–24, 56; New York Commercial Advertiser, 23 Dec. 1819).
3. AA's letter has not been found, but she accepted AA2's offer when she forwarded WSS a copy of the Revenue Bill the following March (AA to WSS, 16 March 1791, below).
4. Lewis Deblois (1760–1833), son of loyalist merchant Gilbert Deblois and Ann Coffin of Boston, operated a store in Boston before pursuing a mercantile business in New York City and then Philadelphia (NEHGR, 67:8–10, 16 [Jan. 1913]; Boston Independent Chronicle, 1 June 1786; Massachusetts Gazette, 1 Jan. 1788; New York Daily Gazette, 12 Aug. 1790; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 3 April 1792). For his recent marriage to Ruth Hooper Dalton, daughter of Massachusetts politician Tristram Dalton, see Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA, 28 Sept. 1790, and note 4, above.
5. Offering food and drink to neighbors on New Year's Day—following a night of revelry— was a holiday tradition in Dutch colonial New York City that persisted for many generations (Charles Burr Todd, The Story of the City of New York, N.Y., 1890, p. 126–128; Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, N.Y., 1999, p. 462, 475, 532).
6. This sentence was written sideways next to the salutation.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0091

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1791-01-06

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

We begin to feel the good Effects of our national Government— By the Presidents Speech at the opening of the present Session of Congress, our public Affairs wear a promising Appearance.1 His Speech gave a new Spring to public Credit; in the Course of Three or Four Days after it reachd us public Securities rose 10 or 15 Pr Ct— The several Departments of Government being well filld, from the firm prudent & upright Conduct of officers, Content will follow, Murmurs cease and a general Confidence in the national Goverment be established—
Agreable to your Request, I have loand your continental Securities—have taken two sets of Certificates as per Mem. enclosed—2 Your State Notes, I have yet on Hand, thinking it best to let them lay, till our Genl Court shall have discussed the Subject of their public Debt, which, I presume, will be taken under Consideration { 173 } in their appraching Session, which commences on the Third Wednesday of the present Month—3
I have settled with the Printers, stopd Adams & Freeman's Paper, directed Edes & Sons to send no more after the Expiration of the present Quarter, wch. will end in February, and have continued the Centinel—4
I am extremely sorry to hear of the Indisposition of your Family— I hope to hear in Your next of their Restoration to Health, for Yours & their Happiness You have the ardent wishes of / Your Friend & H Ser
[signed] Cotton Tufts
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Hon. Jno. Adams—”; docketed: “Dr Tufts to Mr Adams / January 6 1791.”
1. George Washington spoke at the opening of the third session of Congress in Philadelphia on 8 Dec. 1790. “The abundant fruits of another year have blessed our Country with plenty, and with the means of a flourishing Commerce,” he said. “The progress of public Credit is witnessed by a considerable rise of American stock abroad as well as at home.” The president also mentioned the opening of a new Dutch loan, a petition for Kentucky statehood, Native American hostilities on the western frontier, and the need to protect American commerce from political upheaval in Europe (First Fed. Cong., 1:497–501).
2. Not found.
3. The Mass. General Court convened on 26 Jan. 1791 and adjourned on 12 March. In a speech opening the session, Gov. John Hancock praised Congress’ Aug. 1790 assumption of state debt but expressed concern that the amount to be paid to Massachusetts lenders was capped at $4 million. Hancock proposed that the legislature fund the residue from state revenues, and on 9 Feb. 1791 the legislature agreed to do so “whenever it is assertained what Sum remains to be provided for by this State.” A 24 Feb. motion to consider Hancock's proposal further was defeated in the expectation that Congress might remove the limit. The federal limit remained in place and the legislature eventually funded the shortfall (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1790–1791, p. 155, 168–170, 214, 559–561; Boston Columbian Centinel, 26 Feb.; Boston Independent Chronicle, 17 March; Woody Holton, “Abigail Adams, Bond Speculator,” WMQ, 3d series, 64:837–838 [Oct. 2007]).
4. Edmund Freeman (1764–1807) was printer of the Boston Herald of Freedom, a newspaper that, although ostensibly nonpartisan, leaned Antifederalist. Tufts also canceled the more overtly Antifederalist Boston Gazette and Boston Independent Chronicle; see AA to Tufts, 17 Jan. 1790, and note 1, above. Tufts continued the Massachusetts Centinel, the only Federalist Boston newspaper (Frederick Freeman, The History of Cape Cod: The Annals of Barnstable County, 2 vols., Boston, 1862, 2:148; Stewart, Opposition Press, p. 875).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0092

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-01-07

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Sister

What a Succession of troubles have you had to incounter & not one of us to help you through them— I have been very anxious for you & was affraid by my not hearing sooner that something had happen'd— oh my poor Thomas how I pity him—his Patience & fortitude have been put to their trial— he has a great share of it I know, { 174 } & he will find tis good to be sometimes afflicted he will feel more tenderly for others & be more ready to be “Feet to the lame, & hands to the hungry, if not eyes to the Blind[”]1 than if he had never needed the like from others tell him that Miss Paine Sends her Love to him & says she feels most sympathetickly for him & for you all & wishes you that health which she never expects her self she knows she says that cousin has thought of the poor cripple at Braintree— I hope to hear he is better soon— I wonder how you have stood such fatigues—& your house too to be in such a miserable situation not fit for well People to have gone into I wonder it had not made you all sick. I wonder if it has been as cold with you as here I never saw such a December & now we have a thaw which has Set every thing a float & makes us all feel very unwell it has given me such a head ack that I can hardly see what I write—but I could not bear to have your son visit you without a line from me. I must write a little to mrs Smith too She poor woman now knows a little & but a little of the feelings of her mama in her Friends absence She is not left with such cares as you were nor is he in any danger from an Enemy I wish she was where I could see her & her dear little Boys
It seems to me your Gentleman & Ladies were wanting in judgment to visit you before you had time to put up your Furniture I hope you will find some Friends where you can visit free from the shackels of so much ceremony as your station subjects you to you have found Doctor Rush just what I always thought him; by the way—I wish you would some time or other ask him whither he ever attend'd such a Funeral as our Neighbours have reported he did: cousin Thomas can recollect the Story & the names enough to ask the question— they say mrs Brown dy'd two year ago this winter & it was her Funeral that was so splendid. The Lady here is still in mourning for her Friends
your Friends are all well & desire to be rememberd kindly to you especially those of this household. tell cousin Thomas I long to be with him cousin Charles is a good nurse I am glad he is with you— my good Louisia does every the can to assist you I know, my Love to them all— Mr Adams with my dear Sister will always have the highest esteem & the tenderest affection of their / grateful Sister
[signed] Mary Cranch
my Love to mrs otis when you see her
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs. Cranch 1790.”
1. “I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame” (Job, 29:15).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0093

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1791-01-07

Abigail Adams Smith to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Pappa—

I have received your two Kind letters of Decr 8th and 17th and am much obliged for your good wishes, and advice1 I have no desire to mix with the World or associate with any but my friends during the absence of my Husband—retirement from the World and an intercourse with, and attention, to ones family and friends are I presume Compatiable— the former it is my wish to observe the latter Contributes much to alleviate the Solitude of my situation I am as happy in the society of Colln Smiths family as I can be during his absence— they are very friendly disposed and we have ever lived in the greatest Harmony—which has ever given me pleasure—
Colln Smiths voyage was not I hope undertaken without due consideration and I wish it may succeed equal to his expectations, those friends to whom he Communicated the object; have approved of it—
But if he had been treated by those in Power as he was entitled to expect he would not have been compelled to have undertaken it a paragraph in this days paper mentions that he has been sent by the President on Public Service—which Shews the Worlds opinion that he ought to have been attended to, in past appointments I most ardently wish that the result of his present voyage may render him independant of their smiles or favours—2
my Mamma mentions that you wished to forward to Colln Smith some journals and papers— there are frequently Vessells going from Hence—but unless some Passenger would take a Pacquet the expence of Postage would be great—
I am very happy to hear that my Brother is recovering his health sincerely do I wish that it may be permanently established— the Wellfare Health and prosperity of your family my Dear Pappa—are too nearly connected with my happiness—for me not to regret any of those events which may interfere with either—in any branch of it— and to hear of their happiness—will ever Contribute largely to that of your / Dutifull and affectionate Daughter
[signed] A Smith—
RC (Adams Papers). Filmed at 17 Jan. 1791.
1. JA's letter of 8 Dec. 1790 has not been found.
2. The New York Daily Advertiser reported on 7 Jan. 1791 that “We have it from good authority, that Colonel David Humphries and William S. Smith, Esq. have lately been dispatched, by the President of the United States, to Europe, in official capacities. Mr. Smith, it is supposed to the Court of London. The object of their embassies unknown.” The next day the paper printed a letter from “A. B.” correcting the notice: { 176 } “Whatever might have been the object in sending the former, it is well known in this city, that the business of Mr. Smith in Europe was merely of a private nature.” WSS did in fact make diplomatic contacts while in London; see WSS to JA, 5 Aug., and note 1, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0094

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-01-07

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I am happy to find by Mr. Adam's's Letter of Dec. 14. that You have in a great Measure recovered Your Health.1 I sympathize with you under the Sickness of Your Son and others in Your Family. I sincerely wish for his and their Restoration to Health, & hope by this Time that they have regain'd it and that you are sit down in some Degree of Ease & Tranquillity— Your Scituation in Life must necessarily expose You to numerous Visits, Ceremonies, Entertainments, Etiquette &c &c. these must of Course subject You to great Fatigue & much Care, and I fear has & will have a material Operation on Your Health, but as they are in some Measure unavoidable, Will it not be Wisdom to simplify so far as to make them as little burdensome as possible? Why might not You & the Presidents Lady consult & agree upon a simple Mode of conducting Visits of entertaining Company &c &c? Might You not acting in Conjunction establish a Mode respecting these that would become a Law to our American Gentry? In this Way might You not get rid of much Trouble and do essential Service to our Nation?
I have not as yet loaned your public Securities waiting for your Instructions respecting the Mode of doing it, they must either be loaned in my own Name, or as Trustee to Mrs. A. Adams, if taken in my own Name they must (to make them your Property) be formally transferred, if taken as Trustee they will be secured to Your Use & need no Transfer If taken in my own Name & transferred to You, as well as in the other Way, Your Name will be known— perhaps You may think of some Method that may answer Your Wishes & conceal the Name
I wish without Delay to know what measures You would have pursued the coming Year respecting the Farm on which Pratt lives; as near as I can calculate from Acctts rendered in, your half produces about £26. annually, out of this Rates & Repairs are to be deducted—
I engaged the Tongues & 1 bb. Beef 5 or Six Weeks past & expected to have sent them immediately but unfortunately missd of getting them on Board the Philad Vessel, they will be sent by the { 177 } first oppy— the other Two Barrells of Beef You wrote for I concluded to delay sending them till Februay as the best Beef for Barrelling will then be at market—
Mrs. Tufts joins me in Affectionate Regards to you Mr. Adams & Family
I am Your Affectionate Friend & H Ser
[signed] Cotton Tufts
P.S. We have been much blocked up with Snow during the Week past, which will prevent my seeing Mr. J. Q. Adams before he sets off for Philadelphia2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. Abigail Adams—”
1. Not found.
2. JQA noted in his Diary a “Violent Snow Storm” on 1 Jan. (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0095

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1791-01-08

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Mrs. Smith,

I received, by Mr. King, your letter of December 30th. I am uneasy if I do not hear from you once a week, though you have not any thing more to tell me than that you and your little ones are well. I think you do perfectly right in refusing to go into public during the absence of Colonel Smith. The society of a few friends is that from which most pleasure and satisfaction are to be derived. Under the wing of parents, no notice would be taken of your going into public, or mixing in any amusement; but the eyes of the world are always placed upon those whose situation may possibly subject them to censure, and even the friendly attentions of one's acquaintance are liable to be misconstrued, so that a lady cannot possibly be too circumspect. I do not mention this to you through apprehension of your erring, but only as approving your determination.
I should spend a very dissipated winter, if I were to accept of one half the invitations I receive, particularly to the routes, or tea and cards. Even Saturday evening is not excepted, and I refused an invitation of that kind for this evening. I have been to one assembly. The dancing was very good; the company of the best kind. The President and Madam, the Vice-President and Madam, Ministers of State, and their Madams, &c.; but the room despicable; the etiquette,—it was difficult to say where it was to be found. Indeed, it was not New York;1 but you must not report this from me. The managers have been very polite to me and my family. I have been to one { 178 } play, and here again we have been treated with much politeness. The actors came and informed us that a box was prepared for us. The Vice-President thanked them for their civility, and told them that he would attend whenever the President did. And last Wednesday we were all there. The house is equal to most of the theatres we meet with out of France. It is very neat, and prettily fitted up; the actors did their best; “The School for Scandal” was the play. I missed the divine Farren; but upon the whole it was very well performed.2 On Tuesday next I go to a dance at Mr. Chew's, and on Friday sup at Mr. Clymer's; so you see I am likely to be amused.3
We have had very severe weather for several weeks; I think the coldest I have known since my return from abroad. The climate of Old England for me; people do not grow old half so fast there; two-thirds of the year here, we must freeze or melt. Public affairs go on so smoothly here, that we scarcely know that Congress are sitting; North Carolina a little delirious, and Virginia trying to give law.4 They make some subject for conversation; but, after all, the bluster will scarcely produce a mouse.
Present me kindly to your mamma and sisters. How I long to send for you all, as in days past; my dear little boys, too. As to John, we grow every day fonder of him. He has spent an hour this afternoon in driving his grandpapa round the room with a willow stick. I hope to see you in April. Congress will adjourn in March, and it is thought will not meet again till December.5
Good night, my dear. Heaven's blessings alight on you and yours,
[signed] A. Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848, p. 352–353.
1. The relative merits of the cultures of New York and Philadelphia had been a subject of public debate since the Residence Act was signed by George Washington on 16 July 1790. Discussion generally focused on New York as a more sophisticated city but also one subject to European influence (Margaret M. O’Dwyer, “A French Diplomat's View of Congress, 1790,” WMQ, 3d ser., 21:441 [July 1964]; Rush, Letters, 1:568; New York Weekly Museum, 30 Oct. 1790).
2. AA and AA2 had both likely seen Elizabeth Farren when she appeared as Lady Teazle in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The School for Scandal at Drury Lane in London in 1785 and 1786 (London Daily Universal Register, 14 Feb. 1785, 4 May 1786; vol. 6:185; 7:145).
3. Philadelphia merchant George Clymer (1739–1813) had served with JA in the Continental Congress (JA, D&A, 2:149; JA, Papers, 4:398; DAB).
4. On 6 Jan. 1791 Congressman John Steele of North Carolina threatened secession if the proposed Duty on Distilled Spirits Act was passed, stating that because more spirits were consumed in the South, the bill would place an undue burden on his constituents. AA's comment on Virginia likely refers to the passage of a bill in the Virginia legislature approving the separation of the District of Kentucky previous to the debate of a bill in Congress on statehood. Both federal bills became law, on 3 March and 4 Feb., { 179 } respectively (First Fed. Cong., 1:522; 3:827, 835; 14:243–246). See also TBA to JA, 30 Oct. 1792, and note 4, below.
5. Congress adjourned on 3 March 1791 and reconvened on 24 Oct. (Biog. Dir. Cong.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0096

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1791-01-09

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I received your kind Letter of December 12th with one from my Nephew inclosing 4 Portraits1 I instantly recognized my worthy Brother Cranch and my dear sister together with our venerable uncle Quincy. the other not one of us have skill enough to find out, by which I judge it is not a likness the three first are admirably executed and I have to request that the same hand would take my Mother and send it without letting mr Adams know for whom it is designd. you inquire how I like my situation. I answer you the one I removed from, was in Burks stile, the sublime. this is the Beautifull2 the House is better, that is the work within is superiour. the Architecture of the other House was Grand and the Avenue to it perfectly Romantick. the British Troops rob'd this place of its principal Glory by cutting down all the Trees in front of the House and leaving it wholly Naked. behind the House is a fine Grove; through which is a gravell walk; which must in summer add greatly to the delight of the place. I am told for 8 months this place is delicious. in winter the Roads are bad and we are 2 miles & a half from the city. I have received every attention and politeness from the Gentlemen and Ladies which I could either expect or wish. Living here is more expensive than in N york, Horse keeping in particular, which we sensibly feel, as we are obliged to keep four, for during the sitting of Congress they frequently go six times to the city in the course of the day. we cannot purchase any marketting but by going into the city. we have had very Severe cold weather from the begining of December till the week past; when the snow has chiefly left us I am thinking seriously of making arrangments to come to Braintree early in the spring as the Roads will permit, for it is generally believed that Congress will not sit after march if so I hope to be with you by the last of April or begining of May and as I must leave Brisler and his Family here, I would look out early for some person in his stead. can you inform me where Nathan Tirril is, and whether he was last summer engaged.3 he is a good Hand in a Garden and on many other accounts usefull. there are some articles which I shall want in { 180 } the kitchin way, but it will be time enough to think of these things some months hence
I feel the loss of mrs smith and Family and it pains me daily that I could not have her with me this winter it is in vain to say what we ought to have been able to do, I feel what I cannot do. the Cols Family are all very kind to mrs Smith and treat her like a child, but a Fathers House is still the most desirable place. I hear every week from her. I have John with me a fine Boy he is and the enlivener of the whole Family we are a scatterd family, and I see no prospect of our ever being otherways. mr durant was here last week and said he was going to Boston in order to sail from thence for st croix, the River here being frozen up. I thought the Letter you sent to the care of Thomas would go best & soonest by him, so we gave it to him. Thomas is much better tho he does not yet go out except to ride. I have had a succession of sickness in my Family when we have been well ourselves, our servants have been laid up. when I come to this place again I am determined to bring a decent woman who understands plain cooking with me. Such a vile low tribe, you never was tormented with & I hope never will be. I brought all my servants from N york, cook excepted and, thought I could not be worse of than I had been. I have had in the course of 18 months Seven, and I firmly believe in the whole Number, not a virtuous woman amongst them all; the most of them drunkards. I recruited with a new one last monday, who brought written recommendations with her, and who to all appearence is very capable of her buisness, but on thursday got so drunk that she was carried to Bed, and so indecent, that footman Coachman & all were driven out of the House, concequently she has turnd herself out of doors. we know little of vileness in our state when compared to those cities who have Such Numbers of Foreigners as N york and Philadelphia— I thank you my dear sister for your kind care of your Nephew. he wanted it I believe. he mourns a want of employ, but all young men must have patience, especially in his profession. [“]there is a tide in the affairs of men” our young folks must watch for it.
I would ask dr Rush about a certain affair if I had a short detail of Names circumstances and time. if cousin Lucy thinks it worth her time to give me some account of the affair, I am upon such an intimate footing with the dr since his practise in our Family that I could easily assertain all he knows about it, but the story was so complicated that I am by no means mistress of the Subject.
{ 181 }
my Love to mrs Norten & my young Nephew. I anticipate the pleasure of meeting you all. pray heaven nothing may arrise to prevent my realizing the Satisfaction. Let me hear from you as often you can and / believe me at all times most / affectionatly yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by TBA: “Mrs: Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A Adams (Pha:) / Jany. 9th. 1791.”
1. For William Cranch's letter of 11 Dec. 1790, see Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 12 Dec., and note 5, above.
2. Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, London, 1757.
3. Nathan Tirrell (ca. 1754–1814) was the second son of Joseph Tirrell of Braintree (Sprague, Braintree Families).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0097

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1791-01-25

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Child,

You must not flatter yourself with the expectation of hearing from Colonel Smith until the February packet arrives. It is as soon as you ought to think of it. You see by the papers, that a minister is in nomination from England, and Mrs. C—— writes, will come out soon.1 Mrs. P——, from whom I received a letter, writes me by the last packet, that Mr. Friere is certainly appointed from Portugal, and that he only waits for the arrival of Count ———, his successor, in England, before he sails for America. Mrs. P—— likewise communicates the agreeable intelligence of Mr. P——'s having forsaken the bottle, and that the Countess B—— had another child, and was vastly happy, beloved by her dear Count, &c.; all in the true style of Mrs. P——.2 She desires to be kindly remembered to you and the Colonel.
Present me kindly to all my New York friends. That I was attached to that place is most true, and I shall always remember with pleasure the fifteen months passed there; but, if I had you and your family, I could be very well pleased here, for there is an agreeable society and friendliness kept up with all the principal families, who appear to live in great harmony, and we meet at all the parties nearly the same company. To-morrow the President dines with us, the Governor, the Ministers of State, and some Senators.3 Of all the ladies I have seen and conversed with here, Mrs. Powell is the best informed. She is a friendly, affable, good woman, sprightly, full of conversation. There is a Mrs. Allen, who is as well bred a woman as { 182 } I have seen in any country, and has three daughters, who may be styled the three Graces.4
My best respects to your good mamma and family. Tell Mrs. C—— I hope she makes a very obedient wife.5 I am sure she will be a good one. I think I shall see you in April. Why do you say that you feel alone in the world? I used to think that I felt so too; but, when I lost my mother, and afterwards my father, that “alone” appeared to me in a much more formidable light. It was like cutting away the main pillars of a building; and, though no friend can supply the absence of a good husband, yet, whilst our parents live, we cannot feel unprotected. To them we can apply for advice and direction, sure that it will be given with affection and tenderness. We know not what we can do or bear, till called to the trial. I have passed through many painful ones, yet have enjoyed as much happiness through life as usually falls to the lot of mortals; and, when my enjoyments have been damped, curtailed, or molested, it has not been owing to vice, that great disturber of human happiness, but sometimes to folly, in myself or others, or the hand of Providence, which has seen fit to afflict me. I feel grateful for the blessings which surround me, and murmur not at those which are withheld.— But my pen runs on, and my lads, at whose table I write, wonder what mamma can find to write about.
Adieu. My love to the children. From your ever affectionate
[signed] A. Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848, p. 353–355.
1. The Pennsylvania Mercury reported on 22 Jan. that former New York lieutenant governor and loyalist Andrew Elliot would be named the first British minister to the United States. Elliot was proposed for the post by Henry Dundas but ultimately declined to serve and retired to Scotland (Eugene Devereux, “Andrew Elliot, Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of New York,” PMHB, 11:149–150 [July 1887]). The letter from Susanna Clarke Copley has not been found.
2. João Caballero de Almeida Mello e Castro succeeded Ciprião Ribeiro, Chevalier de Freire, as Portuguese minister to Great Britain (Repertorium, 3:317). The 2 Nov. 1790 letter from Lucy Ludwell Paradise to AA also mentioned that Paradise's husband, John, “has perfectly broke himself of the love of the Bottle. he leads a regular life, and of Course, enjoys a perfect health.” The letter, however, does not indicate that the Paradises’ daughter, the Countess Barziza, had had a second child (Adams Papers).
3. Thomas Mifflin served as governor of Pennsylvania from 1790 until 1799 (DAB).
4. Elizabeth Lawrence Allen (1750–1800), daughter of John and Elizabeth Lawrence of Philadelphia and widow of James Allen. She was remarried in June 1791 to John Laurance, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York (Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania, Phila., 1883, p. 450–451; New York Daily Advertiser, 3 May 1800).
5. That is, Belinda Clarkson, sister of WSS.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0098

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-01-25

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Sister

I last week receiv'd your kind Letter of the 9th of this month & rejoice to here that you are all in so much beter health than when you wrote before. I feel more pleasure at the thought of seeing you here in the Spring than I dare venture to indulge I past by your House this afternoon & the thought of seeing it again inhabited by my dear Brother & Sister gave a chearfulness to its appearence which it has not had since you left it—& beleive me my sister Joy & sorrow are so nearly alli'd in thier effects that some of the few tears which remain'd unsshed at your departure forc'd themselves from my Eyes.
every thing in your house is I believe in good order Lucy goes after every Storm & with the Boy or Girl sweeps out the Snow & whatever she finds necessary— she will send you an inventory of what things [you] have in the house that you may know what you will want & what to direct to have purchaised for you some things I can lend you—
As to help I think I can do much better for you than to get mr Tyrrel— he is not a good man & has a miserable poor Family too near for your profit There is a Negro man & his wife who have made Phebes house there home when they were not out at work for these nine months. They both were hir'd by your Brother Adams last summer the man as a Farmer & his wife as a spinner. He speaks well of them & Phebe gives them a good character She wash'd for me last summer & was with me some time as a spinner they have been hir'd servants to some of the genteelest Familys in the other states The man came from Guinea when a child & was bought by a man in connetiut who had no children & was so good to him that he gave him an education like a child— he can write & cypher &c She says she understands cooking She was born at Long Island. They appear to be very honest & good temper'd I have never heard a word amiss of them from any one they have had four children but they were dead born I have talk'd with Doctor Tufts about them—& we both think you cannot do better than to take them both if you want a servant of both sex's. They will not be above their Business nor will they have such a train after them as if you were to get servants who have connections here I have told them that I would not have them ingage themselves untill I could hear from you
{ 184 }
Cousin John will be with you I hope as soon as this Letter— then prehaps you may perceive who the profile was taken for which you could not find out it cannot be so good a likeness as the others or you would have discover'd it; we thought it a good likness The one you desire will be tried for we have one of you which I think is very much like you except the nose & [. . .] he had forgot
Betsy was here yesterday & tells me Richard can run alone, he is but ten months old, Sister Shaw says she has not set her little Girl upon her Feet yet. Tis such a rarity that they are as ch[. . .] of it as if they had never had one before
remember me kindly to mr Adams & all my Cousins I have written to mrs Smith by my nephew—1
Yours affectionately
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by William Cranch: “Mrs A. Adams / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs Cranch / 25 Janry”; docketed: “1791.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found, but see AA2's reply to Mary Smith Cranch, 8 Feb., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0099

Author: Washington, Martha
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-01-25

Martha Washington to Abigail Adams

Mrs Washington, presents her compliments to Mrs Adams,— if it is agreable to her, to Let miss smith come to dance with nelly & Washington, the master1 attends mondays wednesdays and Frydays at five oclock in the evenings— Mrs Washington will be very happy to see miss smith
RC (private owner; photocopy at ViMtvL); addressed: “Mrs Adams”; docketed: “Mrs Washington / to Mrs Adams.”
1. Martha Washington's grandchildren Eleanor Parke and George Washington Custis were receiving instruction from dancing master James Robardet. “Lately from Europe, but last from New-York,” Robardet offered classes in his studio or by appointment to “those Ladies or Gentlemen who wish to be instructed at their own houses” (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 10:321; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 20 Jan.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0100

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1791-02-06

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] my dear sir

I received your kind Letter of Janry 7th by my son. in replie to the Buisness part, I think upon reflection and to save trouble, I would wish you to Loan my Notes as Trustee to me. I as well as many { 185 } other should have liked the system of Finnance much better if the Faith pledged had been literally fullfilld; by the payment of Six pr ct interest, then let the new Loan have been fill'd at 4 or 3. the National Honour would have stood much fairer with all honest Men, and tho some individuals might have accumulated great fortunes by it, I think it would have circulated & spread abroad with more satisfaction than it will Curtaild, and part deffered as it now stands, but having been accepted & agreed to by the Government it is best to abide by it.1
you will Learn by the publick papers that mr Madison is come forward with all his powers, in opposition to the Bank it is difficult for the world in general to discover why a wise Man or rather so Learned a Man can take up such opinions as he has, and defend them so earnestly, but there are some who can see further through’ a mill stone than others to whom mr Madisons designs are not so impenetrable, but there remains not a doubt but that the Bill will pass the House by a considerable majority.2 Congress will rise in march, and have I hope a long recess. we propose visiting Braintree as soon as the Roads will permit and if you have not shipd the Beaf and Tongues I would have them reserved for my use there, but then I shall want only one Barrell. pork I suppose I can buy. Hams I would be glad to employ mr Foster to get for me, say one dozen I never eat finer than those which he procured for me last year
upon the subject of visits which you mention, for a publick Character like the Presidents & his Ladies I do not know how they could be visited in any other way than they are, consistant with the Rank they hold. on twesday from 3 to four the President has a Levee, when strangers are introduced Members of the House of commons & the other House visit him Such of the inhabitants as chuse attend. this is no more than going an hour upon the exchange an hour in Boston or Else where on thursdays he usually gives a dinner and a very handsome one too, to such company as he invites previously, and they are always properly chosen; on fryday Evenings mrs washington has a drawing Room which is usually very full of the well Born and well Bred. Some times it is as full as her Britanick majesties Room, & with quite as Handsome Ladies, and as polite courtiers. here the company are entertaind with Coffe Tea cake Ice creams Lemonade &c they chat with each other walk about, fine Ladies shew themselves, and as candle Light is a great improver of Beauty, they appear to great advantage; this shew lasts from seven, till Nine oclock comeing & going during those hours, as it is not { 186 } Etiquette for any person to stay Long. on other days any Lady who is in habits of intimacy may visit mrs washington with the same freedom & take Tea with her as unceremoniously as my good Aunt, your Lady will with me, when I return to Braintree, as I hope. with regard to my Ladyship, your Honours Neice it is most certainly true, that she would be very happy to See an entertain ten persons where She now does one, if her good Friends would have enabled her so to do, but as they have not she gives of such as she has with a hearty good will and be sure in as smart a manner as she can afford it is not very often that she has the pleasure. as to visits many must be of the ceremonious kind, but then there is this satisfaction that one can make 20 in a forenoon— I accept no invitation nor my Family for saturday Evening & make no sunday visits. Sometimes a Friend or intimate acquaintance will dine on sundays with us, but no invitations for that day— my dear sir I Look forward to the Spring with much pleasure as I have the prospect of seeing you then and the rest of my Friends. at present my Family are all well my three sons with me, and the Chief Justice of the united states makes this House his home during the sitting of the Court.3
Remember me kindly to all my connections and be assured my dear sir that I am with / Sentiments of esteem and affection / Yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by TBA: “Honble: Cotton Tufts / Weymouth”; endorsed: “Mrs. Abiga. Adams Lettr / Feby 6. 1791.” Filmed at 6 Feb. 1790.
1. For the Funding Act, see AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 29 Aug. 1790, note 1, above. AA would have preferred Congress to provide 6 percent interest on the full value of all her state bonds and to offer simultaneously a new bond series that paid a lower interest rate. Despite her complaint, AA made a large profit when she redeemed state notes that she had acquired at a fraction of their face value (Woody Holton, “Abigail Adams, Bond Speculator,” WMQ, 3d series, 64:837–838 [Oct. 2007]).
2. During House debate of the act to establish the Bank of the United States, James Madison spoke in opposition on the grounds that the Constitution did not grant Congress the power to create such an institution and that banks established by the states were sufficient. The House nevertheless approved the bill by a vote of 39 to 20 on 8 Feb. 1791, and George Washington signed it on 25 Feb. (First Fed. Cong., 4:173; 14:367, 378–381).
3. JA wrote to John Jay on 20 Dec. 1790 to offer him and Sarah Livingston Jay a “handsome and convenient Room and Chamber, and a decent Bed” during the upcoming session of the Supreme Court (NNC:John Jay Papers). Jay accepted for himself on 4 Jan. 1791 (Adams Papers) and arrived on the 30th. The court was in session on 7 and 8 Feb., and Jay departed for New York on the 14th (Doc. Hist. Supreme Court, 1:341–344; 2:126, 135).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0101

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1791-02-07

Abigail Adams Smith to Elizabeth Cranch Norton

I received your kind Letter of 16th of January by Mr Jackson1 and feel myself particularly obliged my Dear Cousin for your attention at this time the absence of my Husband—leaves a blank in my mind which may be alleviated in some degree by the Kind attentions of my friends; but which nothing can fill up— my Chrildren are yet so small as not to afford me much society;— in their smiles;—and Lively prattle I find an amusement;— in Mr Smiths family I have kind and attentive friends disposed to Contribute all in their power to my Happiness; we Live in the most perfect Harmony reciprocal attentions strengthenths the bond of friendship His Mamma—is a very fine Woman. possessed of a strong mind and an amiable Heart, attached to her Chrildren—to a very great degree—ever sollicitous for their wellfare and Happiness— it is no small degree of Concern to us that She does not enjoy her Health— She is greatly afflicted with a Severe pain in her Arm—which She apprehends to be the rheumatism—but which I fear will prove of a more serious nature— I am apprehensive of a paralytic dissorder— his Sisters are all fine and amiable Women— Bellinda has Married this Winter a young Gentleman Whose name is Clarkson—an amiable young Man— with whom I beleive she will be very happy— they spend the Winter with me—as also Miss Peggy the Eldest Sister who [is a] charming sprightly Companion— the Eldest Brother has taken Colln Smiths place in the Office—of Marshall—and he also is of the family—so that I am not alone,—2 I nevertheless frequently wish that I could enjoy the society of your family—and a few of my friends—for whom I feel an attachment that is not to be abated by distance or time—the removeall of my Mamma and her family from this place is to me an irreparable Loss, of an invaluable blessing—and an event which no Length of time can reconcile me to the dispersed State of my own family is a scource of anxiety and unhappiness—to me— to look for friendship—without the Circle of ones own family and Connections whose interest as well as pleasure it is to Contribute to each others Happiness—is to expect a very great improbability if not an impossibility— if we are not disposed to contribute to each others advancement in Life—we cannot reasonably expect to interest other People in our behalf— it is a most excellent Motto—United we stand, divided we fall,—
{ 188 }
I was I assure you my friend much gratified to hear of your prosperity and Wellfare— it would afford me much pleasure to bring our Chrildren acquainted with each other— you would be surprized to see your friend surrounded by three great Boys— I can scarce realize the idea myself I assure you— as far as one can Judge at so early a period they promise to possess amiable dispositions—and the youngest Master Thomas Hollis is not I assure you the least of a favourite altho he was considered as an usurper— I had anticipated the pleasure of having a Daughter— he has Carrot Colourd Hair—and consequently a fair Complexion—but every person who sees him observes a great resemblance to my family— I am happy to hear that our friend Anna is happily settled— I agree with you that She is the greatest female enthusiast I ever knew—and I beleive she stands a greater Chance for Happiness—provided the fervor—of friendship can always be kept alive— the object may perhaps change & the principle be still supported— I suppose she will think that her Chrildren should she have any—are of a superior order of beings—
with you my friend I join most sincerely in wishing that the absence of my best friend may not be of a Long Continueance—and I have no expectation of its being prolonged Later than May at fartherst but if it should;—you may bid adieu to your Cousin—for I am determined to follow him— the motives which have induced him to undertake this voyage—were the most Laudable;— you may have heard that he is gone upon Public Business—but it is not true should he succed equal to his expectations in his Business—I shall not regret having made this sacrifise—
I regreted much that I did not know of Mrs Cranch and Miss Palmers being in town when they went on to West Point I should most certainly have seen them— it was not untill a Month after their departure that Mr Greanleaf called and delivered their Letters—3 I fear that they must have thought me unfriendly and inattentive—
be so good as to present my regards to all my friends my Love to your Mamma and Sister and my respects to Mr Norton
beleive me my Dear Cousin sincerely / your friend
[signed] A Smith—
RC (MHi:Christopher P. Cranch Papers); docketed: “Letter from Mrs. A Smith to / Mrs. Norton Feby. 1791.” Some loss of text due to wear at the fold.
1. Not found.
2. In a letter informing George Washington of his imminent departure for England, WSS proposed to leave his office “in charge with my Brother Justus B. Smith . . . who from being constantly with me in the office is fully competent to the discharge of its duties, and for which I shall consider myself responsible” (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 7:39).
3. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0102

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1791-02-08

Abigail Adams Smith to Mary Smith Cranch

your kind attention my Dear Aunt demands an early acknowledgement, you judge very right that it would contribute greatly to my happiness could I be indulged with the society of my friends in your part of the world— I often do most ardently wish for it—but fate has ordered it otherwise—[and] I must submit— the removeall of my Mamma and her family from this place has deprived me of a very great portion of Happiness I am however blessed with very Kind friends in Colln Smiths family to whom I am much indebted for friendly attentions and agreeable society— I have neither inclination or desire to mix in society—and I have no intimate friends out of my family— I sometimes feel as if I Stood alone in the World, seperated from all my nearest Connections and Dearest friends— this Winter has been a tedious and solitary one—to me— my Chrildren afford me amusement and employment but they are yet too young to afford me much society— William is an amiable Manly Child— John is with my Mamma— I fear that he will require more firmness and authority than I wish to exercise over them to Govern him—but he is a fine Lively Animated disposition— and Hollis—bids fair from the Colour of his Hair and Complexion to be a firebrand but at present he is the mildest temper I ever observed in a Baby—1 the Government of their dispositions and a proper attention to their early education—is a task which I feel myself incompetant to the proper performance of— the schools in this place so far as I have had an opportunity of judgeing are not equal to those we have in Boston—early prejudices are not easily conquered my Dear Madam—but with respect to education its advantages and General influence upon society in my mind we yankees far surpass thease southern People but this would be treason if permitted to go beyond your own family
I expect that you will have the sattisfaction of my Mammas society the ensueing year it is Supposed that Congress will rise in March and will not meet again untill the Autumn She writes me that She shall be in New York—on her Way in April—2 it is an ill Wind that Blows nobody any good— I will not repine at the Loss I shall sustain so Long as those I respect and esteem are to reap the advantage I suppose that I shall have the pleasure of my Brother Charles Society which is some consolation to me— it would afford me great pleasure to make a visit to Braintree and its Environs—the { 190 } next Summer—but I scarce dare flatter myself with the idea— should my friend return early in the Spring and all matters concur—I shall indeavour to [fulfill?] this desire—
the Loss of Mrs Quincys and her Daughters society must be an unpleasant circumstance to your family Braintree has been by degrees robbed of some of its brightest ornaments— Parson Wibird I presume remains to grace the scene remember me to my Unkle and Cousins particularly if you please and beleive me at all times your affectionate / Neice
A Smith—
Dear Madam
I have inclosed a little parcell to my Grandmamma under cover to you & will be obliged if you will present it to her as a small token of my remembrance—and let me know how she enjoys her health this Winter—
[signed] A Smith
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed: “Mrs Mary Cranch. / Braintree—”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A: Smith Feb: 8th / 1791.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. This is the last reference in the Adams correspondence to Thomas Hollis Smith, who would die at age eleven months on 8 July (PPPrHi:RG 413, First Presbyterian Church [New York, N.Y.] Records).
2. AA to AA2, 25 Jan., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0103

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-02-14

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

By my Sister I have been informed of your Sickness, & of the distressed State of your Family, which gave me great, pain, & anxiety— more espicially for my Cousin Thomas, who when your Letter was written was still in great distress—1 I am sure I know how to pity a sick Family—For in the course of the last year, there were four months, when we were severely exercised with Sickness, & the voice of Health was not heard for a long time in our House—
I am very glad Cousin Louisa was with you— It is very comfortable, & an happy Circumstance, to have an amiable Neice to assist one, in such difficult times— Such a kind, tender good Nurse as I have found in my Betsy Smith, (I hope) & do not doubt, but you have experienced in your Louisa— She was always very attentive to you, & we all loved her the better for it— I hope by this time you are all happily recovered, & in the full enjoyment of the inestimable { 191 } Blessing of Health— Betsy Quincy is very sorry to hear Polly Taylor has suffered— They were great favorites of each others— She hopes she has got quite well by this time—
We have had the coldest Winter which has been known for these many Years— The coldest December that was ever felt here—2 You, I presume have experienced nothing of our severe season— A greater state of temperature cheers your Dwelling, & the rough winds pass softly, over your dear Face—a Face—that I hope to be favoured with a sight of in the ensuing Season—& I pray nothing may prevent—
I wrote to you not long since by Major McFarland, who was going to Phyladelphia to assist his Family, by endeavouring to procure to himself some pecuniary Office— But having reached Newyork was abrubtly told of the unhappy fate of a favourite Son, who was unfortunately disappointed in transacting some commercial buisiness for the Army at the Ohio—could not bear the dishonour, & as a fool dieth, so died he—by commiting a suicide— The News so affected his poor Father, that he was obliged to return immediately home, & has hardly been seen since—3
The Baron Stuben was so kind as to take charge of his business, & of my Letter to you, & one to Louisa from her Sister Betsy, both of which I hope you have received—4
I now write expecting to send this by a couple of worthy young Gentlemen, Dr Woodbury, & Mr Henry West— They are two very active, enterprizing Men of this Town— They have carried on business for sometime in Phyladephia, & are now going for the purpose of extablishing a more regular line of Trade—5 If it is convenient I wish my Sister would notice them— They will take pleasure in bringing Letters, & I hope you will be able to write to me by them— It is a great while since I have had a Line from you—
I believe there was never a Country more blessed than ours— The People are now enjoying there hard earnings— [There] is no murmering— no complaining in our streets—no—n[ews] of Taxs—the six Dollors a Day is almost forgot—6 Health through—the Land—Peace—& Plenty crown the Year—
I suppose you have heard that Major Rice was married to Miss Sophia Blake, & that the good Dr Howard had again entered the Hymeneal Band, with Miss Jerusha Gay— Ten thousand Blessings on his head— The sagacious Hinghamites will say, that he has now, only fullfilled what he ought to have done thirty years ago—only one revolution of Saturn since—7 I find it dificult not to contrast the { 192 } celebrated beauty—the northern Star which once shed her benign Influences on his delighted head, with the Person, whom he is now connected— It is true that she is a most amiable woman, & has an excellent Character— But it is a degree of perfection (at which I presume he has arrived) to love virtue, for its own sake—8
Mr & Mrs Thaxter, & Cousin Betsy Smith are gone upon a visit to their Friends at Hingham, Braintree &ca I think he is really better, & has not had a Fit for several months— Cousin Betsy Thaxter spent two months in the Fall, with him— All we could do, & say, we could not prevail with her, to tarry the winter— But there was such a spirit of marrying had taken place among the Vestals at Hingham, that perhaps she wished to return before Cupids Flame was extinguished, while the Torch of Hymen was burning with unusual lustre, that she might be benifited by its sweet Influences—
Mr Shaw desires his best regards may be accepted by you, & Brother Adams, & believe me to be Yours most Affectionately
[signed] Elizabeth Shaw—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams / Phyladelphia”; docketed: “ E Shaw to Abigail / Adams 1791.” Filmed at 14 Feb. 1790. Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 12 Dec. 1790, above.
2. December and January had been extremely cold. “No winter since the peace has been more rigourous, or met the city less provided against the inclemency of the weather, than the present,” the Boston Gazette reported on 17 Jan. 1791.
3. Nathan McFarland (b. 1768), son of Maj. Moses and Eunice Clark McFarland, was responsible for delivering food supplies to the army near Pittsburgh. On 27 Nov. 1790, failing to meet his business obligations, he shot himself (C. M. Little, History of the Clan Macfarlane, Tottenville, N.Y., 1893, p. 117, 133).
5. Dr. Edward Woodbury (1761–1793) and Henry West (1759–1846) of Haverhill (Vital Records of Haverhill Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, 2 vols., Topsfield, Mass., 1910–1911, 2:488, 497).
6. In the Salaries—Legislative Act of 22 Sept. 1789 Congress had famously voted to pay its members six dollars a day for attendance and an additional six dollars for every twenty miles traveled to get to the seat of government. Critics found the amount excessive and the six dollars figure was frequently cited thereafter in discussions of the faults of government (First Fed. Cong., 6:1833; Boston Herald of Freedom, 14 May 1790; Boston Columbian Centinel, 1 Sept.).
7. It takes Saturn 29 ½ years to complete one revolution around the sun.
8. Rev. Simeon Howard wed his first wife, the beautiful Elizabeth Clarke Mayhew, on 3 Dec. 1771. She died on 13 April 1777, shortly after the birth of their third child (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 14:282, 284). See also Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 12 Dec. 1790, and note 2, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0104

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1791-02-21

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Child,

I received yours of February 13th, and was happy to learn that you and your little ones were well.1 I wrote to you by the Chief Justice, and sent your silk by him.2 He promised me to visit you, and from him you will learn how we all are. We have had, ever since this month began, a succession of bad weather, and, for this week past, the coldest weather that I have experienced this winter. The ground is now covered with snow. This, if it would last, would let me out of my cage, and enable me to go to the assembly on the birth-day of the President, which will be on Tuesday next.3 On Thursday last I dined with the President, in company with the ministers and ladies of the court. He was more than usually social. I asked him after Humphreys, from whom I knew he had received despatches a few days before. He said that he was well, and at Lisbon. When I returned home, I told your father that I conjectured Mr. Humphreys would be nominated for Lisbon, and the next day the Senate received a message, with his nomination, as resident minister at the Court of Portugal; the President having received official information that a minister was appointed here, Mr. Friere, as I before informed you.4 He asked very affectionately after you and the children, and at table picked the sugar-plums from a cake, and requested me to take them for master John. Some suppose, that, if your husband was here, he would have the command of the troops which are to be raised and sent against the Indians.5 If such an idea as that is in his mind, I am happy that your friend is three thousand miles distant. I have no fancy that a man, who has already hazarded his life in defence of his country, should risk a tomahawk and scalping-knife, where, though a conqueror, no glory is to be obtained, though much may be lost. I most sincerely hope he may be successful in his private enterprise; for the way to command Fortune is to be as independent of her as possible.
The equanimity of your disposition will lead you to a patient submission to the allotments of Providence. The education of your children will occupy much of your time, and you will always keep in mind the great importance of first principles, and the necessity of instilling the precepts of morality very early into their minds. Youth is so imitative, that it catches at every thing. I have a great opinion of Dr. Watts's “Moral Songs for Children.”6 They are adapted to { 194 } their capacities, and they comprehend all the social and relative duties of life. They impress the young mind with the ideas of the Supreme Being, as their creator, benefactor, and preserver. They teach brotherly love, sisterly affection, and filial respect and reverence. I do not know any book so well calculated for the early period of life; and they may be made as pleasant to them, by the method of instructing, as a hundred little stories, which are taught them, containing neither a rule of life, nor sentiment worth retaining, such as little John will now run over, of “Jack and Jill,” and “Little Jack Horner.” As a trial of their memory, and a practice for their tongues, these may be useful, but no other way.
I am sometimes led to think that human nature is a very perverse thing, and much more given to evil than good. I never had any of my own children so much under my eye, and so little mixed with other children or with servants, as this little boy of yours. Whatever appears is self-taught, and, though a very good boy and very orderly, he frequently surprises me with a new air, a new word, or some action, that I should ascribe to others, if he mixed with them at all. He is never permitted to go into the kitchen. Every day, after dinner, he sets his grandpapa to draw him about in a chair, which is generally done for half an hour, to the derangement of my carpet and the amusement of his grandpapa.
Remember me affectionately to all inquiring friends. I hope to see you ere long.
Your ever affectionate mother,
[signed] A. Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848, p. 355–357.
1. Not found.
2. Probably 25 Jan., above.
3. The Gazette of the United States, 23 Feb., reported that the city of Philadelphia celebrated George Washington's birthday on 22 Feb. with a military parade and federal salute. According to the account, “The congratulatory Compliments of the Members of the Legislature of the Union— the Heads of the Departments of State—Foreign Ministers—Officers, civil and military of the State—the Reverend Clergy—and of Strangers and Citizens of distinction, were presented to the President on this auspicious occasion.”
4. Washington nominated David Humphreys as minister resident to Portugal on 18 Feb., and the Senate confirmed his appointment three days later (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 7:384–386).
5. On 22 Jan. Secretary of War Henry Knox had announced to Congress that a force of 3,000 soldiers was needed to put down escalating attacks by Indians against settlers along the Ohio River. In March Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair was chosen by Washington to lead the expedition (Wiley Sword, President Washington's Indian War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790–1795, Norman, Okla., 1985, p. 131–133, 145).
6. Isaac Watts’ Divine and Moral Songs for Children had been published in numerous editions since 1715, most recently in the United States in 1788.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0105

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-02-23

Cotton Tufts to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madm.

Yours of the 6th. Inst. came safe to hand and just timely enough to counter order the Shipping of your Hams & Beef—
Some time past you requested me to purchase you a Ticket, I defered it till the Time of drawing was not far distant, & giving the Preference to our semiannual Lottery have purchased for you No. 15533—
Will there be an advantage in becoming a Sharer in the national Bank, if so How is a Share to be obtaind— I suppose the Bill for establishing the Bank is passed— Whether the Bill reported by the Secretary has passed without any Alteration I do not know, but must confess I was not pleased with it as reported— I suspect that in operation it would have become a refind System of paper money & would more or less have had the same Effects as that work of Evils a paper medium has had,—1
It is expected that the Excise Bill will pass: will this not require Officers different from the Import Acts to execute it. if so I could wish that my Bro Samuel might have an honourable Appointment—2 He has been a State Collector of Excise, which office he discharged with Reputation to himself & Benefit to the Commonwealth and has been a great Sufferer in Consequence of his Advances to the public during the War, Can you give Hints so as to obtain the Interest of such is by their Influence or otherways can obtain it— Mr. Goodhue is well acquainted with his Character—
I have taken measures to secure the Hams & shall attend to some other matters mentioned in Yours as soon as I can with Convenience and am with sincere Regards / Yours affectionately
[signed] Cotton Tufts
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. Abigail Adams.”
1. A 14 Dec. 1790 report of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton recommending the establishment of a national bank was referred to a Senate committee and resulted in the 3 Jan. 1791 Bank Act. That act was amended several times in the Senate, most significantly on 14 Jan. when its charter was given an expiration date of 1811. A supplementary bill originating in the House that delayed the sale of stock in the new bank until July was signed into law on 2 March (First Fed. Cong., 4:171–173, 204, 211).
2. Samuel Tufts was not among the three men appointed in March as supervisors and inspectors of revenue for the District of Massachusetts under the new Duty on Distilled Spirits Act. See AA to Cotton Tufts, 11 March, note 5, below. AA had earlier unsuccessfully lobbied JA to help Samuel Tufts secure a federal appointment; see vol. 8:370.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0106

Author: Magaw, Samuel
Author: Hutchinson, James
Author: Williams, Jonathan
Author: Vaughan, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-02-26

Samuel Magaw, James Hutchinson, Jonathan Williams, and John Vaughan to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Having been honored with the Vice Presidents consent to attend the Eulogium in Memory of Dr Benjamin Franklin. We in the name of the Philosophical Society, presume to hope you will do them the honor of your presence on the Same important occasion1
We have the honor to be / with the greatest respect / Madam / Your obedient Servants
[signed] Sam. Magaw
[signed] James Hutchinson
[signed] Jona Williams
[signed] Jn Vaughan
[signed] Committee2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs Adams.—”
1. Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia on 17 April 1790. Nearly a year later, on 1 March 1791, JA and AA were in attendance when American Philosophical Society vice president William Smith delivered a eulogy before members of the society at Philadelphia's German Lutheran Church: “From west to east, by land and on the wide ocean, to the utmost extents of the civilized globe, the tale hath been told—That the venerable Sage of Pennsylvania, the Patriot and Patriarch of America, is no more” (DAB; William Smith, Eulogium on Benjamin Franklin, L.L.D., Phila., 1792, title page, p. 1; Philadelphia Freeman's Journal, 9 March).
2. This word is written alongside the list of names preceded by a large brace. Samuel Magaw (1739–1812) was rector of St. Paul's Church, Philadelphia, and vice provost of the University of Pennsylvania. James Hutchinson (1752–1793) was a physician and University of Pennsylvania professor of medicine (Colonial Collegians). For Jonathan Williams, see vol. 3:72; for John Vaughan, see JA, D&A, 3:226.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0107

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1791-03-11

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear sir

I received your kind Letter of the 23 Febry and was happy to learn that our Friends were all well. my son Set of on his return to Boston last week, in company with mr Gerry & Ames. he was desirious of going then that he might have the pleasure of good company. this tho a very agreeable circumstance on a long journey, will I believe scarcly compensate for the badness of the Roads at this season; provided they should be eaqually so, to the Eastward as they are here.1 March is not a favourable Month for Congress to break up. this Session sir has been marked with great dispatch of Buisness, much good humour & tho varying in sentiment upon some very important { 197 } | view { 198 } subjects those subjects have been ably discussd, and much light thrown upon them, and finally carried by large majorities. the Bank is one, which Bill as past I inclose to you and the supplement it is thought here by those who are esteemed the best judges that it will not have any of those concequences which some of its opponents have imagined. as it will be the interest of those individuals who are incorporated and subscribers, to watch carefully over its interest, and to gaurd it with Argus Eyes you will see by the Bill that you may purchase a share with four hundred dollers one fourth of which must be specie the Accession of the state of vermont during this Session to the union, and the uninimnity with which they were received is a most happy and important event in our Annals and will add weight to the Northen Scale. Kentucky is also agreed to be received but her Government is not yet organizd.2 thus sir one pillar rises after an other, and add strength I hope to the union. the people here in this state feel the Benificial effects of their own state Governments having three Branches in lieu of one assembly, and tho the old squabling spirit is not intirely extinct, it appears to be near its dissolution.3 they have placed their Governour upon a respectable sallery of 5 thousand dollors pr Annum, the Governour of the state upon the same footing with the V.P of the united states, whom they have obliged to remove twice at his own expence in the course of two years—and to a city where the expence of living is a third dearer than at N york. I hope to spend 5 Months of the present year at Braintree and to be there by the first of May. the Roads will not permit us to try them sooner. as my Family will consist of 8 persons I must request some little provision to be made previous to our comeing, such as wood, (Hay I presume we have in our Barn) 50 Bushels of oats. these articles I think mr Adams ought to write to his Brother to look to, and if he was not his Brother I would do it, but now I have said I will not, therefore I think it not unlikly that we may be Destitute of some of them. I have engaged to write to you for those things which may be imediatly necessary upon our arrival viz a Box of candles part mould & part dipt a Barrel of soap a Barrel of super fine flower a Loaf of sugar 14 Brown 1 pd suchong Tea half dozen pd coffe ditto chocolat. Grain Rye & Indian are easily procured suppose I need not be anxious about that. Beaf and Hams you have already secured cider is an other article of which we shall want half a dozen Barrels in Articles of furniture I want mr Pratt or any one Else to make me 2 kichin tables one a common seize one of 6 foot long 4 wide a Bread peal a roling pin, kitchin { 199 } Tongues & slice I have none a spit, I must request Miers to have them ready for me. some other articles may have escaped my memory but I have no design to get a superfluous article. a couple of wash Tubs I shall find necessary to have made. the Garden I should like to have manured and dug mrs Cranch wrote me respecting a Negro Man who lived with Pheby.4 if you think proper you will be so good as to employ him about it. I am sorry sir to be so troublesome to you, but your many kind offices, and long habit of doing good, has always made me consider you in the different characters, of Friend, Gaurdian & Parent, and as such the whole Family look to you for advice & assistance. if you have not any cash in your Hands belonging to us, I suppose I may get credited for a month or two.
Before your Letter arrived here sir the Supervisors were all appointed for the different states. I own I was surprized to see the Name of G——m instead of Jackson who I supposed would have had it.5 mr A after your Letter came went and talkd with the secretary of the Treasury knowing that there would be inspectors of districts, but he was told that the intention was to multiply officers as little as possible and to divide the state of Massachusetts only into two, and mr Jackson was determind upon for that part of the country the President has Appointed col smith supervisor for the state of Nyork; it will be an arduous office but one for which I believe he is very well calculated, and if he can perform the whole duty of supervisor & inspector that state will not be divided, and the compensation will be something handsome this will be much more agreeable to me & to his Family than sending him abroad.6 we have not yet heard from him, but the packet in which he saild the Prince William Henry is upon Loyds list of arrivals the 2 of Janry which gives him a passage of 28 days my best respects to your good Lady whom I hope e’er long to embrace and the rest of my Friends. be assured dear sir that I am with sincere Regard your affectionate Neice
[signed] A. Adams
RC (NHi:Misc. Mss. Adams, Abigail); endorsed: “Mrs. Ab. Adams March 11. 1791.”
1. JQA left Philadelphia on 3 March with Massachusetts congressmen Elbridge Gerry, Fisher Ames, George Thatcher, and Jonathan Grout as well as Rhode Island congressman Benjamin Bourne, arriving in New York on 5 March. As AA predicted, he reported on “Bad roads” and “Bad fare” along the way. JQA spent several days in New York City, where he visited AA2 and was delayed until 13 March because of poor wind conditions. Sailing to Newport aboard the packet Hancock, along with several members of Congress, JQA finally arrived in Boston the evening of 16 March (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).
2. The Kentucky Statehood Act of 4 Feb. stipulated that Virginia's District of Kentucky would become a state on 1 June 1792 upon the organization of a state government. The Vermont Act of 2 March 1791 granted Vermont the status of the fourteenth state two { 200 } days after passage (First Fed. Cong., 5:1215; 6:2003–2004).
3. On 3 Sept. 1790 a new Pennsylvania constitution replaced the constitution of 1776. The new system included a tricameral government of executive, senate, and house of representatives (instead of the unicameral Penn. Assembly), and the weak office of president of Pennsylvania was enhanced to become that of governor, with powers of appointment, veto, pardon, and command of the militia (Philip S. Klein and Ari Hoogenboom, A History of Pennsylvania, N.Y., 1973, p. 82–83, 100).
4. See Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 25 Jan. 1791, above.
5. On 4 March George Washington appointed Nathaniel Gorham supervisor of revenue for the District of Massachusetts to oversee the collection of duties under the new Duty on Distilled Spirits Act. Jonathan Jackson was appointed to the lesser post of inspector of revenue for the district on 15 March (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 7:511–512, 568).
6. Also on 4 March, Washington appointed WSS supervisor of revenue for the District of New York. The appointment entitled him to an annual salary of $800 and ½ of 1 percent of revenues collected. No inspectors were appointed to assist him (same, 7:511–512, 569; First Fed. Elections, 4:79).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0108

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1791-03-12

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I was just going to set down to write to you, when I received your Letter of []1 I am sensible I was much in Arrears to you, as well as to some other of my Friend's Since the Recovery of Thomas we have had Health in our dwelling, for which I have great reason to be thankfull. I have been happy with my three sons round me, but a sigh of anxiety always hung about my Heart, for mrs smith who ought to be with me during the absence of the Col. if I had remaind in N york, we should not have lived seperate this winter, but my removal here, and the expence of the removal of a Family for 5 or six months, was an obstical in the way, as the col is expected back in May. if he arrives as I hope he will, he will come immediatly into an office, which will afford to him and his Family a very handsome Support. it will be a very Arduous office in the state of N york, but he is of a very active disposition, and very well calculated for the discharge of it. a prospect of a Provision for himself and Family has releived my mind from a very heavy burden. I hope nothing will arrise to detain him abroad longer than we expect, and this provision for him at Home, is much more agreeable to us all than any employment abroad, which would have carried from me my only daughter. Charles is returnd to his office in Nyork and Boards with mrs Smith. I suppose J Q A will reach Boston by the time this Letter gets to you. he seems happy in the expectation of our passing the summer at Braintree, but he appears to have lost much of his sprightlyness and vivacity. he says that the want of Buisness in his profession and the dismal prospect for the practitioners of the Law { 201 } in Massachussets, is the weight which depresses him, & that He should still be obliged at his age, to be dependant upon his parents for a support. altho these feelings are proofs of a good mind, and a sensible Heart, I could wish that they did not oppress him so much. he wishes sometimes that he had been Bred a Farmer a merchant, or an, any thing by which he could earn his Bread but we all preach Patience to him. Thomas follows his studies in the city with as much assiduity as his Health will permit, but he does not look well, and I think I cannot consent to leave him in this Hot climate during the summer. a journey may establish his Health, and prevent a return of that soar disorder the next fall as his Blood retains yet much of the materials for making it. every damp day warns him of the future, & reminds him of the past
you wrote me in your Letter of Janry 25th of a Negro Man and woman whom you thought would answer for me this summer. if she is cleanly and only a tolerable cook I wish you would engage her for me. I had rather have black than white help, as they will be more like to agree with those I bring. I have a very clever black Boy of 15 who has lived with me a year and is bound to me till he is 21, my coachman will not allow that he is a negro, but he will pass for one with us.2 Prince I believe I shall leave with mr Brisler I shall bring Polly—and dismiss the rest of my servants. tis probable we may hire the Black man part of the time as a Gardner, but I design to make those I bring with me work if I can I will be obliged to you if you will go to the House, and look over the things and write me what you think I shall have absolutely need of towards keeping House. I have written to the dr to get mr Pratt to make me two kitchin tables and some other articles there were some old Bed Steads in the House but none perfect. will you ask mr Pratt if he can make me one that is movable like one which Polly says he made for mrs Apthorp with a sacking bottom and doubles up together. I do not know any Name for them to distinguish them by; I had one made in N York which I found exceedingly usefull when Thomas was sick. I have no coars ware neither milk-pan, or bowl or dish, Broom or Brush. I shall want Some tow cloth, ten or a dozen yds at my first arrival. I do not know if the dr has any Money in his Hands, to procure me these articls but if he has not, I will send you some for the purpose. as I cannot think of comeing there with a Family—and then haveing every thing to look out for afterwards, besides I shall not have Brisler to manage for me. I shall take some spoons & what little plate I may have occasion for with me. mrs Brisler left some { 202 } chairs which I shall take of her. I think I have as much table & bed linnen as I shall want I wish the Roads were such that we could set out immediatly, but that cannot be. I hope however to be with you by the first of May—and I look forward to it with great pleasure I assure you. I shall send by the first vessel a Trunk with some cloaths &c—as we wish to travell with as little Bagage as possible. I dinned yesterday at the Presidents it was a take leave dinner. the President sets of this week on a Tour to those parts of his dominions which he has not yet visited Georgia & North Carolina.3 our publick affairs never lookt more prosperious—the people feel the benificial effects of the New Government by an increasing credit both at Home and abroad and a confidence in their Rulers. some grumbling we must always expect, but we have as a people the greatest cause for Gratitude and thankfullness to the supreeme Ruler of the Universe for our present happy and prosperious circumstances as a Nation.
adieu my dear sister every blessing attend you and yours is the Sincere wish of your ever affectionate / Sister
[signed] A Adams
my kind regards to mr Cranch to mr & mrs Norten to cousin William & Lucy and a kiss for my young Richard
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A. Adams, Bush hill, / Mar. 12. 1791.”
1. Probably a letter of 20 Feb., in which Mary Smith Cranch observed that she had not heard from AA since her letter of 9 Jan., above, and discussed her recent correspondence with AA2. Cranch expressed concern about her niece's loneliness, remarking, “She does not know it but this feeling of hers is intirely owing to that uncommon reserve which marks her character. . . . my dear Neice wishes to retain her reserve & yet injoy all the Benfits of a more communicative disposition; this She will find She never can do I shall write to her again Soon—I feel most tenderly for her” (Adams Papers).
2. The fifteen-year-old was probably James, who would serve the Adamses as a servant for many years; see AA to JA, 4 Dec. 1792, below. The coachman was likely Robert, who would be discharged by AA in 1792; see AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 20 April 1792, below.
3. On 21 March 1791 George Washington departed Philadelphia for a 3-month, 1,816-mile tour of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, fulfilling a pledge to visit all parts of the United States during his presidency. A typical stop was one made at Georgetown, S.C., on 30 April, which featured a public dinner, tea party, and ball after a grand entrance: “He was rowed over the river by seven Captains of vessels, dressed in round hats trimmed with gold lace, blue coats, white jackets, &c. in an elegant painted boat. On his arriving opposite the market he was saluted by the artillery, with fifteen guns” (Washington, Diaries, 6:96–98; Portsmouth New Hampshire Spy, 1 June).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, William Stephens
Date: 1791-03-14

John Adams to William Stephens Smith

[salute] My Dear Sir:

I shall not entertain you with public affairs, because you will learn the state of them from the public papers more in detail. I shall { 203 } only say, that the National Government has succeeded beyond the expectations, even of the sanguine, and is more popular, and has given more general satisfaction than I expected ever to live to see. The addition of Vermont and Kentucky, the augmentation of our revenues, and the rapid rise of stocks and credit, have all raised the spirits of the people, and made them as happy as their nature and state will bear.
I took my pen, however, merely to mention your appointment to the office of Supervisor for the State of New-York, which will necessarily require your personal presence before the first of July. This place, I presume, is well worth your acceptance, as it will be a decent and comfortable provision for yourself and family, while it will be an honourable and useful employment. I am therefore anxious that you should have the earliest notice of it, and return without loss of time.
Your family and friends are all well in New-York, and your son with us is as healthy and happy, and as fine a child as you could wish him to be. We are agreeably situated here; and the Session of Congress has been the most assiduous, the most harmonious, and the most efficacious I ever knew.
Present my particular regards to Mr. B. Hollis and Dr. Price, and all others who think it worth their while to ask a question concerning him who is / Yours, affectionately,
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:111–112.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0110

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, William Stephens
Date: 1791-03-16

Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith

[salute] Dear Sir:

Although we have reason to expect, and hope for your speedy return, yet I would not let so good an opportunity as this, by the Portland packet, pass without writing you a few lines, partly to inform you, that your son is in perfect health, and has been so through the winter; that he is full of mirth and glee, and as fine a boy as you can wish him: and partly to congratulate you upon your appointment to the office of Supervisor for the State of New-York, under the new Revenue Bill, which I am so anxious to forward to you, that I have determined to put you to the expense of it by the packet. I have sent the bill to Mrs. Smith, that she may forward one to you by some private vessel. You will see by the bill the necessity there is of your returning with all possible despatch. The Secretary of the Treasury { 204 } told Mr. Adams that he would write to you, and it is probable that he will by this opportunity. He informed Mr. Adams, that it was the President's intention to unite the office of Supervisor and Inspector for the State of New-York, and not to divide the state, as he will be obliged to do, in some states where there are many ports of entry, consequently the salary will be something handsome, and well worth your acceptance, though the duties of the office will be proportionably arduous. I thought it would be of importance to you to get sight of the bill as soon as possible.
Congress closed their session on the fourth of March, and met again the fourth Monday in October. No session has been marked with so many important events, or has been conducted with so much harmony; great despatch of important business, a most surprising rise of public credit, an increasing confidence in the national government, are some of the fruits. The accession of Vermont and Kentucky are two additional pillars to the noble building; every circumstance has conspired to add dignity and glory to our rising empire; an expiring murmur from the old dominion has been lost amidst the general peace and harmony which pervades all the states: though its noxious breath reached North Carolina and contaminated a few members, the northern climate soon dispersed the southern vapour. Rhode Island is become one of the most federal states in the union, and the antis now declare, they would willingly make any submission for their past conduct. Poor France! what a state of confusion and anarchy is it rushing into? I have read Mr. Bush's letter, and though I think he paints high, yet strip it of all its ornament and colouring, it will remain an awful picture of liberty abused, authority despised, property plundered, government annihilated, religion banished, murder, rapine and desolation scourging the land. I am sorry that my worthy and venerable divine should expose himself, at this late period of his life, to so severe a censure.1 I love and venerate his character, but think his zeal a mistaken one, and that he is a much more shining character as a divine, than politician. To Mr. Hollis, and the rest of our friends, give my regards; I have a love for that same country, and an affection for many of its valuable inhabitants.
The President of the United States, is just setting out upon a tour to his southern dominions; he means to visit Georgia and Carolina; he will be absent three months.2 Mr. Lewis is gone home to Virginia to be married;3 Mr. Jackson is the only aid now remaining. We propose setting out for the eastward by the last of April, and passing { 205 } the summer at Braintree. I heard this day from Mrs. Smith; she was well, and your boys—she had just received your letter, dated Falmouth, informing her of your safe arrival.4
I am, dear sir, with sincere regard and affection, / Yours, &c.
[signed] A. Adams.
RC not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:108–111. Dft (Adams Papers), dated and filmed at 15 March.
1. A transcription error in the printed version, the Dft identifies this as “mr Burkes Letter.” Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, presented as a letter to a young Frenchman named Charles Depont, appeared in Nov. 1790. A condemnation of the recent political and social upheaval in France, Burke particularly attacked the theory of natural rights used to justify the political revolution there. He also blamed AA's “venerable divine,” Richard Price, linking Price's support of the Revolution to antimonarchical violence. Thomas Paine's Rights of Man was a direct response to Burke's essay (DNB).
2. The Dft adds the information that “mr Lear has a son.”
3. Robert Lewis, who left Philadelphia in January, married Judith Carter Browne of Virginia (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 7:217).
4. These letters have not been found. The Dft concludes the letter with the following paragraph: “Your little Boy runs into the Room and says by the direction of Polly— please Mamma to give my duty to dear Pappa and pray him to bring Johnny Some pretty things. my Eldst son is just returnd to Boston having made us a visit of near two Months Charles is returnd to Nyork & Thomas is with us but not in good Health, the severe sickness he had through the winter he has not yet recoverd—”

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0111

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Date: 1791-03-17

Thomas Boylston Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw

[salute] My dear Aunt,

A few days since I received your kind letter of Febry: 18th: and its being handed by a Townsman of yours was a circumstance that afforded me additional pleasure.1 Indeed I always receive more satisfaction when I meet with any of your Neighbors, than from the inhabitants of any other place; and can account for it upon this principle chiefly, that I lived in that town at a period when objects usually make the strongest impressions on the mind, and when local attachments and prejudices, if ever, are imbibed. I hear with pleasure from Dr Woodbury that business which for some years past has been rather at a low ebb, among you, has again revived, and that its usual concomitants harmony and good humor are so remarkably prevalent. That place is by nature calculated for happiness, and nothing is requsite but the disposition of its inhabitants to render it completely delightful, and agreeable. I am often taxed by my Father with want of attachment to my native town; but I tell him, if I have any prejudices or preference, to any particular spot, that Haverhill is the center. As I have entred upon the studdy of the Law in this { 206 } place it is probable I shall make it my future residence, and it is in a measure incumbent on me to adopt the interests, and conform to the manners and customs of this State; but I think neither distance of time or place will ever obliterate from my memory the favorable opinion I now entertain of Haverhill and its inhabitants.
I am glad to hear that a certain young Lady has an husband, but you cannot censure me if I say, she might have had a better. It was allways my opinion of the Gentleman with whom she is connected, that he thought for himself at too early a period in life; and that it was Captn: W——s before he could connect the syllables which compose those two words. However he is a good natured honest simple sort of a man, and to sum up all his perfections at once, I believe he is calculated to make a good husband; that is, he is easily managed, a very requisite qualification with the Ladies.2
Your kind and friendly condolance for my illness demands my warmest thanks; it was indeed severe, and you who have experienced its sad effects can determine how much pain that word expresses. I have in a measure recovered my health, but the remains still lurk in my joints. Virgil when describing the mixture of grief and Sorrow which Dido expresses at the departure of Aeneas, has this expressive line, “Vulnus alit venis, cæque carpitur igni;”3 I will not pretend to speak with certainty, but I should immagine that the pangs and tortures of Love, are much inferior to those of the Rheumatism. I have already extended my letter beyond the usual bounds of epistolary correspondence; but when I am once engaged in writing to you, I scarcely think of closing untill I am admonished by the deficiency of my paper. You are good enough to indulge me in writing to you,— my heart follows my hand in every line, and bids it record sincerity. You will therefore believe me when I subscribe myself / Your ever affectionate nephew
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: Elizabeth Shaw. / Haverhill / Massachusetts.”; notation: “Boston. 1 April. 1791. Recd & Ford. by Yrs. Affecly. / W Smith” and, by JA, “Free / John Adams.”
1. Not found.
2. Mary McKinstry (1770–1847) married Benjamin Willis Jr. (1768–1853) in Haverhill on 9 January. Benjamin was the son of Capt. Benjamin Willis Sr. and since the age of seventeen had called himself “the young Captain.” JQA explained in his Diary in 1786 that the younger Willis “goes by that title because, he has assumed the man somewhat young” (William Willis, “Genealogy of the McKinstry Family,” NEHGR, 12:325, 13:40 [Oct. 1858, Jan. 1859]; JQA, Diary, 1:368–369, 394).
3. She feeds the wound within her veins; she is eaten by a secret flame (Virgil, Aeneid, Book IV, line 2).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0112

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Date: 1791-03-20

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw

[salute] My Dear Sister,

I received, by Dr. W——, your kind letter of February 14th. He was very punctual to his commission. He has been three times to visit us. He came out this afternoon to let me know that he should leave Philadelphia on Tuesday. By him I have to thank my dear sister for three letters, and to confess myself much in arrears. ’Tis in vain to say that I have had a sick family; that I have had a large family; that I have been engaged in company. These are poor excuses for not writing; nor will I exculpate myself by alleging that I wanted a subject. My pride would not suffer such a plea. What, then, has been the cause? “Confess freely, and say that it was mere indolence,—real laziness,” as in truth I fear it has been. Yet conscience, that faithful monitor, has reprehended me very, very often. I was very sick; (so sick, that I have not yet recovered the shock I received from it,) for near two months before I left New York. When I got to this place, I found this house just calculated to make the whole family sick; cold, damp, and wet with new paint. A fine place for an invalid; but, through a kind Providence, I sustained it, though others suffered. Happily, after a very tedious two months, Thomas recovered so as to get abroad; but his health is now very infirm, and I fear an attendance upon two offices through the day, and studying through the evening at home, is not calculated to mend it. But it is a maxim here, that he who dies with studying dies in a good cause, and may go to another world much better calculated to improve his talents, than if he had died a blockhead. Well, knowledge is a fine thing, and mother Eve thought so; but she smarted so severely for hers, that most of her daughters have been afraid of it since.
We have had a very severe winter in this State, as you may judge when I tell you that we have consumed forty cords of wood in four months. It has been as cold as any winter we have at the northward. The 17th and 18th of this month I dined with all my windows open, put out the fires, and ate ice to cool me; the glasses at 80. This is the 20th. Yesterday it snowed nearly the whole day, and to-day it is a keen northwester; and I presume it will freeze hard to-night. Yet the verdure is beautiful; full as much as I shall find by the middle of May in Massachusetts, where I hope then to be. Yet I shall have some regrets at leaving this place, just as the season begins to open { 208 } all its beauties upon me. I am told that this spot is very delightful as a summer residence. The house is spacious. The views from it are rather beautiful than sublime; the country round has too much of the level to be in my style. The appearance of uniformity wearies the eye, and confines the imagination. We have a fine view of the whole city from our windows; a beautiful grove behind the house, through which there is a spacious gravel walk, guarded by a number of marble statues, whose genealogy I have not yet studied, as the last week is the first time I have visited them. A variety of fine fields of wheat and grass are in front of the house, and, on the right hand, a pretty view of the Schuylkill presents itself. But now for the reverse of the picture. We are only two miles from town, yet have I been more of a prisoner this winter than I ever was in my life. The road from hence to the pavement is one mile and a half, the soil a brick clay, so that, when there has been heavy rain, or a thaw, you must wallow to the city through a bed of mortar without a bottom, the horses sinking to their knees. If it becomes cold, then the holes and the roughness are intolerable. From the inhabitants of this place I have received every mark of politeness and civility. The ladies here are well-educated, well-bred, and well-dressed. There is much more society than in New York, and I am much better pleased and satisfied than I expected to be when I was destined to remove here. Adieu.
Your sister,
[signed] A. A.
MS not found. Printed from AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848, p. 357–359.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0113

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1791-04-02

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

I have just received your favour of the 22d: instt:1 thanks you know are “the exchequer of the poor.” upon that exchequer of mine you are entitled to bills to a large amount. I assure you I feel the obligation of your attention to my trunk, which has not yet arrived, but which will be very acceptable when it comes. But your Letter has excited my curiosity, and I find myself very much perplexed to determine who that same “acquaintance” of yours can be, who understands the doctrine of punctuality so well, and is yet so deficient in point of practice; upon the whole I imagine it must be some of your new acquaintance, perhaps one of the clerks in Mr: Ingersoll's office. I dare say you will have too much good sense to follow his { 209 } evil example—yet such characters are not uncommon in the world. Video meliora, proboque,—Deteriora sequor is a complaint of no small antiquity;2 and the students of Horace and Cicero, will have frequent opportunities to remark, that the most prevalent foibles are not confined to their own period of Life.
The Magazines will I believe never present you with any more Rebuses, Acrostics Elegies, or other poetical effusions of my production. I must bid a long and lasting farewell to the juvenile Muses. It is to the severer toils of the Historic Matron, that I must henceforth direct all the attention that I can allow to that lovely company. Happy if they do not exclude me altogether from their train, and command me to offer all my devotions to the, eyeless dame, who holds the balance and the sword.— If I should have leisure to pursue my inclination, which I expressed to you, of venturing upon some speculations in our Newspapers, I shall willingly make a confident of you. At present I find no time to indulge myself in that kind of amusement. “He that hath little business shall become wise.” says Mr: Burke's quotation.3 It is at least, incumbent upon him who is in that predicament, to endeavour to obtain wisdom; and in that pursuit I find that I have but little time upon my hands
You do not mention a word in your Letter upon the subject of your coming to Braintree. I hope you will come by all means. The climate of Philadelphia must be ill calculated for your northern Constitution, during the Summer months. You have been totally unused to such a climate; and after your late severe illness, I think you may very safely conclude, that by a tour hitherward, you will probably save much time, and avoid many an hour of such pains, as your experienced feelings will much better conceive than I can subscribe. Upon the fairest possible presumption, that of your preserving your health at Philadelphia, I am per[sua]ded you would not advance more in your studies, than by four or five months of peaceable application at Braintree. I assure you, I feel some anxiety [up]on the subject.— At all events I hope you will determine for the best.
Your Classmate Welles, it is greatly apprehended is lost at Sea. He sailed in December for some Island in the West Indies. There are arrivals from the port to which he was bound, which sailed from thence 88 days after his departure from this place; and the vessel in which he went has never been heard of. The only remaining hope of his friends is that he may have been taken from the wreck by some { 210 } vessel bound to Europe. The chance is small, and the dependence frail.4
I was at Braintree on Thursday. All well.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr: Thomas B. Adams. / Bush Hill.”; endorsed: “JQ Adams April 2d / 1791.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. I see the right way and approve it, but follow the wrong (Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book VII, lines 20–21).
3. Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), 38:24, quoted in Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, London, 1791, p. 39.
4. Samuel Welles (1771–1790), Harvard 1790, apparently was lost at sea (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:235; Harvard Quinquennial Cat., p. 203).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0114

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1791-04-18

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my dear son

owing to an accident your Letter of April 1t did not reach us till the 14th I have got the power compleated and inclose it to the dr.1 I hope your trunk & the Porter which accompanied it came safe to Hand. I put in an article or two upon the top of the Trunk which if any opportunity offers you may send to Braintree. the Porter was directed to the care of mr Smith but I did not as I ought advise him of it. Thomas said he had written to you about it. this day fortnight we set out on our journey and expect to be with you by the middle of May. I spoke to your Father upon the Subject of an Annual allowence and he agrees that you shall draw upon dr Tufts for 25 pounds a Quarter, your first Quarter to commence on the first of july. with that I think you may make it do it is agreed that your Brother accompany us. our Coachee came home to day. we should set out next week but your Sister removes then, and desires we would stay a little longer to give her time to get fix'd.2 we are all in tolerable Health our Trees in full Bloom, the Roads pretty good
adieu yours &c
[signed] A Adams
1. On 1 April, JQA noted in his Diary that Massachusetts had made a first payment of interest on state bonds. That same day, he wrote to AA, evidently indicating that JA needed to complete a power of attorney so that someone could receive his interest for him. JA, in a power of attorney dated 18 April, authorized Cotton Tufts to do so (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19; MBBS:Colburn Coll.). JQA's letter of 1 April has not been found.
2. AA2 and her family moved from 13 Nassau Street to Dye (now Dey) Street in New York City (New-York Directory, 1790, Evans, No. 22724; New-York Directory, 1791, Evans, No. 23337).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0115

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1791-04-18

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] Dear sister

This day fortnight the 2 of May we propose to set out on our journey to Braintree. it will be the middle of May I presume before we arrive there if we meet with no accident, So that I will thank you to attend a little to my Garden have Some sallid sewn and what ever else you think proper I wrote to you not long since requesting you to let me know what you thought I might want. you will not forget some Night Hawks.1 be so good as to get me a dozen yds of diaper for towels I have not one there, and whatever else you think I stand in immediate want of— I cannot bear to go to a place unprovided, when a little forethought and care would save me much trouble, and I shall not have Brisler with me to provide for me. I have requested the dr to furnish you with the needfull. vendues are so frequent in Boston that I may be provided with some things perhaps. I shall want a Tea kettle dish kittle Chaffing dish a set of Brushes Brooms pails flat Irons Tubs, skillits pots &c I scarcly know what myself— I have not heard from you since I wrote to you respecting the Negro woman. I should like to have the House opend cleand and aird and to have her there when I get there, but I will write to you again and will let you know on what day tis probable I shall arrive. Remember me affectionatly to all Friends. I anticipate much satisfaction & pleasure with you this summer. I am with Sincere regard & / affection yours Sincerely
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by TBA: “Mrs: Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs: / A: Adams, Brush Hill, / Apl. 18. 1791.”
1. Chamber pots (Frederic G. Cassidy and Joan Houston Hall, eds., Dictionary of American Regional English, 4 vols. to date, Cambridge, 1985–2002).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0116

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1791-04-20

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

I received by the last Post your short favour, inclosing a much longer one to Quincy which I have punctually delivered:1 I know not whether this will reach you before your departure from Philadelphia; if it does not it can do no harm: and if it does, as you have concluded upon coming this way with the family it may be of some { 212 } service to me.— You recollect doubtless that while I was in Philadelphia, I took some pains to make a complete collection of books and papers relative to the national government. I left one or two little minutes with you to which I requested your attention. A gentleman of your punctuality has certainly not suffered the circumstance to escape your recollection: however a little stimulus to your remembrance perhaps will not be amiss, and if you find any spare room in your trunks when you come on, I must request you to bring with you a set of the laws & journals of both Houses of the last Session, which I presume are published before this.—2 Perhaps you may remember that my set of the U.S. Gazette was not complete. Mr: Fenno directed me to apply to Mr: Sigourney in this town for the numbers which I wanted, and told me, that I could probably get supplied from him. I have done so accordingly but Mr: Sigourney had sent all the papers in his possession to Mr: Fenno a few days before.3 I must therefore trouble you to send to him and request him to furnish you with as many of the following numbers as he can of the first Volume. N: 33. 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 73, 80, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 98, 101, 102, 103, 104. and you will either bring them with you, or leave them to be sent by the first convenient opportunity. I shall want also of the second Volume the Numbers 88, 89, 90 which were published while I was on my passage from Philadelphia hither. I was supplied with a complete set of the second Volume to the 87th: number before I came away, and since I got home I have regularly received the numbers as they came; that little chasm, you will easily be able to assist me in filling up, and I hope you have too great a stock of patience to be wearied by my importunities.
I have little more to say. There have been great rebellions among the sons of Harvard, excited by the new regulations subjecting them to examinations. I have not at present time to give you a full account of the whole transactions; the result of the whole is that Jones, a junior is expelled, Trapier rusticated, Sullivan, Sophimore, suspended for nine months, and Ely, I know not of what class, to undergo a punishment not yet made public.4 I was at exhibition yesterday; Ellery delivered a very pretty English Oration.5 company pretty much as usual.
Adieu, in haste.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr: Thomas B. Adams / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Mr JQ Adams / April 20th: 1791.”
1. Letters not found.
2. Acts Passed at the Third Session of the Congress of the United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of Philadelphia { 213 } on Monday the Sixth of December, in the Year M,DCC,XC, Phila., [1791], Evans, No. 23845; Journal of the Third Session of the Senate of the United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of Philadelphia, December 6th, 1790, Phila., 1791, Evans, No. 23901; Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States. Anno M,DCC,XC, Phila., 1791, Evans, No. 23899.
3. John Fenno (1751–1798), an entrepreneur from Boston, established the Gazette of the United States in New York in April 1789 and continued it in Philadelphia after the federal capital was moved there in the autumn of 1790. Fenno envisioned the Gazette as a national newspaper, a publication that, circulating throughout the country, would foster American unity by promoting and defending the new government under the Constitution. Elisha Sigourney (1753–1811), a merchant in Boston, managed subscriptions to the Gazette there (DAB; Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic, Charlottesville, Va., 2001, p. 51–54; Henry H. W. Sigourney, Genealogy of the Sigourney Family, Boston, 1857, p. 11; Boston Columbian Centinel, 23 Nov. 1791).
4. The laws of Harvard College, revised in 1790, introduced an annual public examination of each class and required all students to attend. Upset by the change in the terms of their enrollment, the senior and junior classes petitioned for exemption from the new regulation, but the overseers denied their request. On 12 April 1791, the day on which the examinations were to begin, Benjamin Foissin Trapier (b. 1774), William Sullivan (1774–1839), and Justin Ely (1772–1850) tried to stop them by putting tartar emetic in the water used to make coffee, tea, and cocoa at breakfast in the commons. With almost every student, instructor, and college officer affected, the examinations had to be postponed, though only for a day or two. The three malefactors were soon caught and obliged to leave Harvard until they passed examinations for reinstatement. While Trapier apparently never returned, Sullivan and Ely did, both graduating in 1792. In a separate incident, Henry William Jones (b. 1773) hurled a stone through a window into the room where the freshman class was being examined, an offense for which he was expelled (B. H. Hall, A Collection of College Words and Customs, N.Y., 1859, p. 180–182; MH-Ar:Faculty Records, 5:324–325; 6:40–41, 50, 104–109, 125, 136, 152–154; Harvard Quinquennial Cat., p. 204).
5. Abraham Redwood Ellery (1773–1820), Harvard 1791, delivered the English oration at Harvard's public exhibition on 19 April (MH-Ar:Faculty Records, 5:308–309; 6:101–103; Harvard Quinquennial Cat., p. 203; D/JQA/16, 19 April, APM Reel 19).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0117

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1791-05-12

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my dear son

we have reachd this place this day, but whether I shall be able to travel tomorrow is uncertain, for I am so unfortunate as to be attackd with the intermitting fever last night was so very ill that I had not the least expectation of being able to proceed on my journey, but to day I am better. I was taken last fryday in N york with it, and prevented sitting out as we intended on monday I am now in use of the Bark and hope to prevent a return of it tomorrow, but should it attack me again I shall be obliged to lye by my sick day, and so infeebles me that I cannot travell far the day which is termd well. I left your sister and Family well. I wrote to you from N york, but as I thought your Brother had given you information of some trunks on Board Hopkins I mentiond only those by Cheeseman.1 I inclose you Hopkins rect2 if they have arrived send word to Braintree that they { 214 } may be got up before I get there. I wish myself at Braintree, for travelling sick is a very dissagreeable buisness. I think if I can hold out we shall be at Braintree on wednesday next. I am too feeble to write much, so must leave it to you to give this information to your Aunt. we met mr & mrs Breck & company at kings Bridge3
adieu your affectionate Mother
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by TBA: “John Quincy Adams Esqr / Boston”; endorsed: “My Mother. 12. May 1791.”; notation by JA: “Free / John Adams.”
1. Letter not found. Writing to Mary Smith Cranch from New York on 6 May (MWA: Abigail Adams Letters), AA indicated that at her departure from Bush Hill “I left to be put on Board captain Cheeseman in the Brigg Ceares one Trunk of mine and one of Pollys one Band Box and a small portmantua Trunk.” The brig Ceres, Capt. Samuel Chesman, was scheduled to sail from Philadelphia on 5 May; she entered Boston eight days later. The brig Maria, Capt. Caleb Hopkins, had cleared Philadelphia on 27 April and arrived at Boston on 5 May (Pennsylvania Mercury, 5 May; Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 May; Survey of Federal Archives, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Works Progress Administration, comps., Ship Registers and Enrollments of Boston and Charlestown, 1789–1795, Boston, 1942, p. 30; Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 27 April; Boston Herald of Freedom, 6 May).
2. Not found.
3. Boston merchant Samuel Breck Sr. (1747–1809) and his wife Hannah Andrews Breck (1747–1831) were headed to Philadelphia on a short pleasure trip. The Brecks would move there in 1792, soon after Boston introduced a system of taxation that they and other wealthy inhabitants deemed arbitrary and unjust (vol. 6:325; H. E. Scudder, ed., Recollections of Samuel Breck with Passages from His Note-Books (1771–1862), Phila., 1877, p. 176–177, 186–187; Samuel Breck, Genealogy of the Breck Family Descended from Edward of Dorchester and His Brothers in America, Omaha, 1889, p. 40).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0118

Author: Washington, Martha
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-05-30

Martha Washington to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I had the pleasure to hear of you several times while you was on your journey by persons who met you—particulary by Mr & Mrs Breck and Mr & Mrs Codman of Boston who are now in this city—1 I was truly sorry to learn from them that you were much indisposed— I sincerely hope you will obtain a re establishment of your health by breathing the air of your country which is esteemed so salubrious— you will I conceive at any rate escape the very warm weather which we are now beginning to feel hear— It is not in my power to amuse you with a detail of what is going forward in our fashonable world hear— you know I am not much in it at any time—and at this season there is less cause for moving about than in the winter— the heat has been very oppressive for several days past—more so than common at this time of the year— those familys which usually spend the summer in the country have retired there already— I do not expect to go to Virginia till the latter part of July— I can not think of going { 215 } without my dear little folks, and their vacation do not commence till that time
I had the pleasure to hear from the President the day before yesterday—from savanah and was happy to find that he has enjoyed good health— he is now on his return and will probably be at mount vernon by the middle of June and in this City by the last of the month—2 you see my dear madam that the promise which I made of writing to you is not one of those un meaning promises which are sometimes made without ever having an intention to perform them— you will be so good as present my complements to the Vice President, and the young Gentlemen—and accept of my best wishes for the health and happy ness of your self and family in which Mr & Mrs Lear begs leve to join
I am madam with very great / regard and esteem your / affectionat Friend & / Hble servant
[signed] M Washington
the Children join me in beging to be remember to miss smith—
1. Boston merchant John Codman Jr. married Catherine Amory (1769–1832) on 14 Feb., almost two years after the death of his first wife, Margaret Russell Codman (1757–1789) (vol. 7:111; Cora C. Wolcott, The Codmans of Charlestown and Boston, Brookline, Mass., 1930, p. 13, 14; Boston, 30th Report, p. 239, 303; “Memoir of the Family of Amory,” NEHGR, 10:65 [Jan. 1856]; Roger D. Joslyn, ed., Vital Records of Charlestown Massachusetts to the Year 1850, 2 vols., Boston, 1984–1995, 1:394; Massachusetts Centinel, 14 March 1789).
2. George Washington left Savannah, the most distant stop on his southern tour, on 15 May 1791 and arrived at Mount Vernon on 12 June. He set off again fifteen days later, reaching Philadelphia on 6 July. Washington did not expect to be back in the capital much earlier because he was scheduled to meet with the commissioners for the federal district in Georgetown, Md., on 27 June, and he foresaw that his business with them might take several days (Washington, Diaries, 6:96–98, 139–140, 163–164, 169; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:160, 264–265).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0119

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, William Stephens
Date: 1791-06-19

John Adams to William Stephens Smith

[salute] Dear Sir

Give me leave to congratulate you and my daughter, as well as your venerable Mother, and her and your amiable families on your arrival in America.1 The situation of that respectable office to which you have been promoted, and the unhappy sickness of the good Lady your Mother, made us all uncommonly anxious for your arrival, I hope you found your own family in health and your mother recovering. My dear Mrs Adams, and some others of the family, brought home the Ague, and have suffered severely, but are better. I have a great desire to see you, and converse of our friends in { 216 } England, and on the state of affairs there and in France; but I presume your office and public concerns will engross all your attention for some months. I depend much on the pleasure of seeing you in October, in my way to Philadelphia.
The death of our worthy Friend Dr Price has affected me very nearly; I hope the rough usage of Mr Burke did not injure his health.2 How is Mr Brand Hollis, and all our acquaintances? You see our American politicks go on the old way. All the winds & waves directed to the port of Elections as usual; ’tho’ the reputation, credit and prosperity of the country are certainly risen and rising. Never since I was born, was America so happy as at this time, and if the French delirium should not again turn our brains, we shall continue so. The people I think have suffered and smarted under the intoxication to such a degree, that they will not suddenly run into the same error; if they do, they will resemble my Coachman, and must take an Oath I think as he does, not to taste of the Cup for some time. We hope to see our Daughter, with Mr McCormick and Charles in July, and if your affairs will permit, we shall be extreemly happy to see you, with them. My love to my daughter and my dear boys, and regards to all your family.
I am my dear Sir / Yours affectionately
FC in TBA's hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Coll: Smith.”; notation: “Copy / Coll. Smith” and “1791.”
1. WSS arrived at New York aboard the British packet on 5 June (New York Daily Advertiser, 7 June).
2. Dr. Richard Price, the dissenting minister and liberal philosopher whom the Adamses had come to know and admire during their years in England, died on 19 April (vol. 6:197; DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0120

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-06-24

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

As I am exceedingly grieved when I hear of the Indisposition of any of my Friends, so am I greatly rejoiced, when I hear of their Recovery—& am much gratified at hearing of yours my Sister— When Mr Shaw went to Boston we did not know of your arrival at Braintree—& since that, the Circumstances of the Parish, & Family would not admit of our leaving Home— I hope soon to have the pleasure of seeing my Brother, & my Sisters at Haverhill, I hope our Brother & Sister Cranch will accompany you— I long to see you all—
The Bitter, with the sweet we often experience in the course of our lives,—at some periods we find the portion much greater than at { 217 } others— At present a gloom is spread over every other Enjoyment, by the severe illness of our worthy Friend Mr Thaxter— He was voilently seized with a pleurisy three weeks ago,— It never come to a proper Crisis, but we fear has thrown him into a Consumtive state, which must very speedily close the Scene—1
I suppose you have heard of Mr Shaws Fathers Death His Head was silvered o’er with age, & he was fully ripe for the Harvest—a Harvest of immortal Joys, confered on those Servants, who have been faithful in the Vineyard of their Lord—2
We have just heard that Sister Eunice is very sick with a Consumtion, if living— She was one of the best of Daughters, & of Sisters The whole care of the Family was devolved on her, which she managed with uncommon discretion, & Oeconomy— She was silently attentive to every want—& took the tenderest, & best Care of her aged Father— Her Brothers should arise, & praise her, for she has been a Mother to them. I am Glad her life was continued to smooth the Bed of Death, & close the Eyes of her venerable Parent— I trust she will soon join again his chearful Society, free from all the imperfections attendant upon humanity,—where Virtue has its full Reward—3
Sister Smith was here about three weeks ago, & carried away my Betsy Smith, my Child—my Friend—& Companion— But I feel willing to sacrifice my own wants—for the sake of her advantage,— Hers is a time of Life, when young Ladies, can with the greatest satisfaction, ease, & pleasure visit their Friends, & I would not deprive her of the Benefit which I hope she will reap from it—
Cousin Thomas I hear looks cleverly— I feel as if it would do me good to see him— This hot weather makes me feeble—as it always did—
I believe Sister Cranch has forgot that I am living, for I have not had a Line from her these three months, or she is wholly absorbed in your charming company—must I forgive her?—
I am my Sister every yours with affection
[signed] Elizabeth Shaw—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / Braintree”; docketed: “Mrs. E Shaw” and “1791”; notation: “To be left at / Mr William Smith's.”
1. John Thaxter Jr. died in Haverhill on 6 July, ten days after his wife, Elizabeth Duncan Thaxter, gave birth to their daughter Anna Quincy Thaxter. JQA visited Haverhill from 7 to 9 July to attend Thaxter's funeral on the 8th (Vital Records of Haverhill Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, 2 vols., Topsfield, Mass., 1910–1911, 1:293, 2:480; Boston Independent Chronicle, 28 July; D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).
2. Rev. John Shaw of Bridgewater died on 29 April at the age of 83 (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 8:627–629). Elizabeth Smith Shaw, in extolling her deceased father-in-law, { 218 } combines allusions to John Gay's fable “The Shepherd and the Philosopher,” line 3; Job, 5:26; Psalms, 22:26 (as rendered in the Book of Common Prayer); and Matthew, 20:1–16.
3. Eunice Shaw (1743–1791), daughter of Rev. John and Sarah Shaw of Bridgewater, died on 10 Aug. (Vital Records of Bridgewater Massachusetts to the Year 1850, 2 vols., Boston, 1916, 1:288, 2:553).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0121

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Washington, Martha
Date: 1791-06-25

Abigail Adams to Martha Washington

[salute] my dear Madam

I was honourd with your much esteemed favour on the 15 of this month.2 the state of my Health, Body and mind suffering most Severely with repeated attacks of an intermitting fever will plead my apoligy for omitting to thank you at an earlyer date for your Friendly Letter. I have been so weakned & debilitated as to be unable to walk alone, and my Nerves so affected as to oblige me to seclude myself from all company except my most intimate connextions. I hastned Home with great ardour in hopes the Northern Air and the quiet country Breize might restore me, but my disorder was of too obstinate a Nature to quit me so easily. I hope I have now got the better of it, as it is more than a week since the Ague left me we have had more very Hot weather than is usual at this season. I fear you have sufferd by it in Philadelphia. I hope Heat there is not attended with a Sharp drought, as it is here. the Feilds which a few week ago wore a most pleasing aspect, are now Robd of their verdure and our vegatables droop & dye. I was most sincerly grieved at reading in a late Philadelphia paper an account of the death of Dr Jones. the more I had the pleasure of knowing him, the greater esteem I had for him, as an amiable Sensible and Benevolent Man. You Madam must more particularly feel his loss as he was your Family Physician.3
I am happy to learn by your Letter as well as by the publick accounts that the President has enjoyd his Health during his Arduous Southern Tour. I presume er’e this Time I may congratulate you upon his return to Philadelphia I must beg you Madam to present to him my most respectfull Regards and my congratulation upon his safe return. I hope you will have as agreable a journey to mount vernon as I should have had to massachussets but for that vile Ague which Tormented me. the whole Country through which we past was in full Bloom, and every spot wore the face of Peace & contentment. the people instead of murmers & complaints, expresst themselves happy and satisfied under the administration of their Government. there are however two inhabitants envy and Jealousy { 219 } who are not perfectly content, but as they are characters for whom I have an utter aversion I can only pitty their folly and avoid them. Mr Adams desires me to present his best Respects to the President & to you Madam, and an affectionat remembrance to master Washington & miss Custos Compliments to mr and mrs Lear I hope the little Boy is finely recoverd from the small pox. shall I be an intruder if I ask again to hear from my dear mrs washington whose Health and happiness Shall ever be the Ardent & Sincere wish of her who has the Honour to subscribe herself her affectionat Friend and Humble servant
[signed] A Adams
To a Heart less benevolent I should apologize for relating my Grief, but I know that you Madam can sympathize with those who mourn as well as rejoice in their felicity
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed: “AA to Mrs. Washington / 1791.”
1. Although AA dated the Dft of her letter 25 June, she dated the RC 29 June (see Martha Washington to AA, 4 Sept., below). Internal evidence suggests that AA wrote most if not all of the letter at the latter time.
2. Martha Washington to AA, 30 May, above.
3. John Jones (1729–1791), a physician and surgeon born in Jamaica, N.Y., died in Philadelphia on 23 June. His death was first reported the following day in the Philadelphia newspapers, the Federal Gazette and The Mail. Jones had attended Benjamin Franklin during his final illness in April 1790 and George Washington during his nearly fatal bout with influenza that May (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 5:395).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0122

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1791-08-04

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch

[salute] Dear William

Either write upon larger paper, or give an outside cover to your letters, for in the act of opening yours which I have just recd: I took away with the wafer much of the connection of several sentences; and being interested in every word I felt rather out of humor; However I collected sufficient from the whole cloth to make quite a decent garment.1 The only circumstance to be regretted is, that it was too long upon the road between here and the tailors, and thus disappointed the owner, by obliging him to appear in an old suit upon a publick occasion. Hieroglyphick's! I wish you much pleasure in decyphering them. Tomorrow morning our Family sett out for Haverhill. I have twice written a few lines to Uncle Shaw informing him of their intention, and the time appointed for going. The first time, they concluded to delay their journey for a few days, and yesterday I wrote again, but had no opportunity for sending the letter { 220 } to Boston; therefore neither of the letters were sent. Prepared or not, you have them tomo: night bag & —age.2 I take it you have allready ascended many steps toward attain’g the object of your wishes. Those of your hopes and expectation will probably be more difficult, as they are more important. Every thing as yet wears a cheerful countentance towards you. May those features never assume the gloom of despondency. Your account of Judge Sargeant, allows by this time very little hope of his life You I trust among his numerous mourners will not be the least. He has appeared to interest himself in your favor so far as he was capable, and from the benevolent disposition he has discovered, you have every reason to presume that you, with the rest of his friends will lose a kind benefactor;3 the sympathetic feelings of your heart upon occasions of this kind do not require a prompter. As you have allready commented upon the kind of security you will give for a few symptoms, I shall make no additions to it; I only wish I were able to be your Banker at the lay you mention. I think a few Pounds, expended in purchasing some of the most valuable of Mr Thaxters professional Books, would not be badly applied. We go on after the goodly sort in Braintree, all except poor me, who I fear will have at the next general assembly of birds, the matter of 40 Indictments presented for murder, and many actions of tresspass vi et armis.4 Poor Charles will be (luged in for snacks) as an accessory, for he was pretty generally as the great Sportsmen say. In at the death—of the birds which I killed. Your good family are all well, but you will be able to hear verbally by the folks. I should have been happy, had it been possible for me to have attended the rest in their tour; but I can be tollerable easy at Home. My love to some, only one or two out of your family, comps to all.
Yours &ca
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (OCHP:William Cranch Papers, Mss fC891c RM); addressed: “William Cranch Esqr: / Haverhill”; endorsed: “T.B.A. / Aug. 4. 1791.”
1. Not found.
2. William Cranch had moved to Haverhill during the week of 17 July to take up the law practice and office of his recently deceased cousin John Thaxter Jr. Cranch boarded with the Shaws throughout his time in Haverhill (“Sketches of Alumni at the Different Colleges in New England,” NEHGR, 1:78 [Jan. 1847]; D/JQA/16, 17 July, APM Reel 19; Christopher Pearse Cranch, “William Cranch,” in NEHGS, Memorial Biographies, 2:451).
3. Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant died in Haverhill on 12 October. He demonstrated his confidence in William Cranch by making the young lawyer sole executor of his will (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 12:579; “Sketches of Alumni”).
4. With force and arms.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0123

Author: Smith, William Stephens
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1791-08-05

William Stephens Smith to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir.

I should have long before this answered your affectionate Letter of Congratulation on my return to my family and friends but since my arrival, I have really been so perfectly and fully engaged, that I could scarcly call an hour my own— I had hurried myself for this week past in expectation of attending Mrs: Smith to Braintree, but the situation of my public and private business tho’ agreable is such, that, I must deny myself that pleasure, my Brother and Sister however accompany her, and every other arrangement made in my power to render her voyage and Journey agreable— I will endeavour to be with you on the twenty first of September for the purpose of escorting her home— I wish'd much at this time to see you, not only to tell my long story about my European Visit, but to talk freely about domestick Politicks. The Letter I addressed to the President on my arrival, I got Charles to Copy, for you but I not only had not then time, to write you myself, but not even to read his Copy to see whether it was correct or not— Mr. Jay. Hamilton and King, were much pleased with the contents of it, But I beleive The President Mr. Jefferson & Mr. Maddison would have rather I had stayed at home— Inclosed I send you the Presidents answer to that Letter, and my reply to it, but being advised by Colo. Hamilton to take no notice of it, but leave it to its own operation on the minds of the Government, I reluctantly withheld it, and only replyed,— Thus “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Presidents Letter of the 13th. of July in answer to the Communications I thought it my duty to make on the 6th. of June after my return from Europe—[”]1 The[se letters] I have not time to Copy, and therefore must beg the favour of their being given to Mrs: Smith, who will safe keep them untill I see her— you will not I Know consider my forwarding a Copy of a letter sent to Mr. Robert Morris from one of those Gentlemen who waited on you soon after your arrival in London, as a member of a Committee of Merchants to converse on the Mercantile situation of affairs between England and America—as any mark of unjustifiable vanity—nor the Letter of the 10th. of May from London forwarded with a Copy of the Presidents Message as a superfluous accompanyment2 for Minutiae I must refer you to Mrs: Smith, you may get a great deal from her by Question & Answer, but you know { 222 } she is not so much exposed as her husband to fall into lengthy conversations except with Ladies in a half Whisper—
Or perhaps you will get more if you appoint under the small seal that able negotiator Mrs: A. she by gently speaking Sweetly smiling and calmly pursuing the subject, may find out what carried me to Europe—what I did while there—and what engages me here at present, more important than the office I hold—
With my most affectionate regards to Mrs: Adam, Mr. John—Charles, Thomas & Eliza. I am Dr. Sir. affectionately yours.
[signed] W. S. Smith
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “To The Vice President / of The United States.” Some loss of text due to wear at the fold.
1. On 6 June, the day after his arrival at New York, WSS wrote a long letter to George Washington in which he reported on a private interview that he had had in London on 9 April with British home secretary Lord Grenville. Britain, Grenville had revealed, was ready to send a minister to the United States to negotiate a settlement of all differences between the two nations. Washington, in a 13 July answer, thanked WSS for the information and at the same time dismissed it, remarking “very soon after I came to the government I took measures for enquiring into the disposition of the british cabinet on the matters in question between us: and what you now communicate corresponds very exactly with the result of those enquiries.” Neither the reply that WSS first drafted nor the acknowledgment that he instead sent has been found (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:241–255, 338–339). See also WSS to JA, 21 Oct., below.
2. The letter to Robert Morris, which has not been found, was probably from Patrick Colquhoun (1745–1820), a Glasgow merchant and civic booster with whom Morris had both private business dealings and back-channel diplomatic communications. Sent to London in 1785 to confer with merchants there about a petition to Parliament for help in the recovery of American debts, Colquhoun and fellow Glasgow merchant Alexander Brown met with JA on 4 June, only nine days after JA had arrived to assume the post of U.S. minister to Britain (DNB; Hamilton, Papers, 20:141–142; Jefferson, Papers, 18:246, 275; JA to John Jay, 6 June 1785, PCC, No. 84, V, f. 491–496; JA, D&A, 3:180).
The 10 May 1791 letter from London, also not found, probably enclosed a copy of Washington's 14 Feb. message to the Senate and House of Representatives, which the president intended would spur Congress to enact legislation on trade and navigation that might goad Britain into negotiating a commercial treaty (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 7:346–347; Jefferson, Papers, 18:229–239).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0124

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1791-08-17

John Quincy Adams to William Cranch

I received almost a fortnight since your favour of July 23d:1 and should have answered it before now, if I was in the habit of doing as I ought I sued the note immediately, but have not heard from Johonnot since2 The two actions to which you requested me to attend were both continued; I had not seen Nightengale, and thought it would be expedient to continue that:3 the other was continued at a { 223 } moment when I happened to be out of Court, and Robbins made so many fair promises that his client would do every thing to get the money by the next term, and such doleful lamentations of his poverty at present that I did not press the matter upon the Court much, and they were not very favorable to me.4 I believe there will be no harm done in the end by it.
I hope you find such encouragement at Haverhill, as will give you full satisfaction upon the subject of your removal there, and I have no doubt you find it a more eligible situation for Business than Braintree: but you have a fund of happiness within yourself that is worth more, than all the law business in the Commonwealth.
Your Master Dawes went to Portsmouth last week; he intended to have paid you a visit on his return, but his brother Pierce who went with him, had an invalid's whim of returning through Newbury-Port, with which Mr: Dawes complied so that he did not see you.5
I saw him a few days before, and we had some conversation relative to you. His opinion does you justice, and I love him the better for his having appreciated your merit so truly. He too thinks that your removal was judicious, and has the same dependence upon your success with the rest of us: after making your panegyric, he added that if you should have Miss N. G. as he supposed you would, she would render you as happy, as you deserve to be; that she was calculated to cheer and enliven the most retired & humble station as well as to adorn the most dignified.6 That you were both deserving of each other, and would enjoy together as much happiness as could result from good minds & congenial dispositions To this part of his story I did not so fully assent as to the other; and I thought I could perceive an obstacle to the completion of his prophecy, of which he was not aware. “Tis as one wedge drives out another” says Vellum in the drummer;7 There will be somebody there who will cut the thread of your passion for Miss G.— that is my prophecy, and old Time will show before long which of us is right. It is your peculiar good fortune that in either case, your choice will justify the expectations of Mr: Dawes.
As for me, I could sit down and philippize upon my situation for an hour together, but I have got above it—res mihi subjicere conor.8 indeed if I did not I should make but a pitiful whining fellow, I intend as soon as I am able to make myself a deep proficient in the stoic philosophy; it is the only consolation to a man upon whom the world frowns; and then if ever the cheating syren Fortune, should { 224 } mistake herself so far as to smile upon me I will turn epicurean— that is my system. Epicure when a man is in luck, and Zeno, when the die is against him.9
I shall endeavour to be as little thoughtful or pensive, that is to think as little, as I possibly can; if I could but contrive not to think at all I should be the happier, but I cannot follow your advice of spending two or three months at Braintree. Think how my business would suffer by it: I defy you to calculate how many hundred pounds I should lose.— My health is indeed valuable; next to my conscience, and a very few friends, the most valuable object I have on Earth but it must take its chance. The temptations which you mention, I do not very well know; what should I be afraid of here— The only temptations that can be dangerous to me are such as would lead me away, but I am proof against every thing.
You will not fail to remember me to Mr. Shaw & the family, to our friend White, & generally to all the good folks whose remembrance is worth any thing, wherewith I remain as usual your friend
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (DLC:William Cranch Papers); addressed: “William Cranch Esqr / Attorney at Law. / Haverhill.”; endorsed: “J.Q.A. / Aug. 17. 1791.”
1. Not found. JQA remarked in his Diary that he received Cranch's letter on 4 Aug. (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).
2. JQA's legal accounts record a bill of costs for the case of “Wingate vs Johonnot” under the date of 21 Feb. 1792 (M/JQA/18, APM Reel 215).
3. On 19 Oct. 1791 JQA would argue and win the case of Whitemore (or Whittemore) v. Nightengale before the Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas (D/JQA/16, 19 Oct., APM Reel 19; D/JQA/18, 14 Feb. 1792, APM Reel 21).
4. Edward Hutchinson Robbins (1758–1829), Harvard 1775, established his law practice in Milton in 1779. Elected to the Mass. house of representatives two years later, he remained a member until 1802, serving as speaker from 1793 (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 19:forthcoming).
5. Boston merchant Joseph Peirce (1745–1828) had been married to Ann Dawes, the sister of Thomas Dawes, since 1771 (Henry W. Holland, William Dawes and His Ride with Paul Revere, Boston, 1878, p. 67).
6. Cranch would marry Anna (Nancy) Greenleaf (1772–1843) in 1795 (vol. 8:148; Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 222).
7. Joseph Addison, The Drummer, 1715, Act V, scene i, line 188.
8. A paraphrase of Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle i, line 19: “et mihi res, non me rebus, subiungere conor,” that is, to make the world serve me, not me the world.
9. Epicurus was a classical Greek philosopher who defined happiness in terms of pleasure; Zeno, also a classical Greek philosopher, rooted happiness in virtue (Oxford Classical Dicy.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0125

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1791-08-23

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch

[salute] My dear William

I have somewhere heard an observation of this kind, “that a person should not be too anxious to return a kindness.”1 Had I strictly { 225 } adhered to this injunction, an Answer to your last favor would not so soon have followed;2 but as you expect shortly to be at Braintree in person, I must either remain in your Debt, or take this opportunity to discharge the obligation. I am happy to find that the novelty of your situation has not obliterated the remembrance of your now solitary companion, & when I tell you of the exertion which this poor scrap requires from me at present, you will think it of more consequence than otherwise it would deserve. Tomorrow will complete a fortnight since I was first seized with the Southern Plague, Viz. The Ague Fever;3 and regularly every other Day since, I have had a severe fit, which has reduced me at least four degrees in point of flesh; as to Spirits, hardly any thing this side an inflamitory Rheumatism, will greatly diminish them. My mother when she returnd we found had been very ill most of the time in her absence, but happily, has had no fever fit since she got home. But you have enough of this. Charles left us on Sunday for New York, but Mrs Smith still continues with us, otherwise I should lose a little of my jolity; and should be quite impatient for your company. Truly if I may judge by your letter, I shall think you something more than a sort of a Gallant. I fear the good Judge had designs upon you, when he gave you the office of Executor. The facetious young Lady whom you sett at defiance may ensnare, in a course of time. How many a charm is born to be adored, yet ne’er to be enjoyed by those who worship the possessor's. This is all I have to say concerning one whom you have mentioned. Is it not possible for our heads together to invent a name for a cetain lady? I am not pleased with that she has at present. Your expedition to Exeter has at least made you acquainted with some impudent people. Above every thing I think the Judges of a Court of Justice should be treated with common respect, even if their learning will not entitle them to it. Much of the credit of a Layyer depends upon his manner of treating the Bench. Where the opinions of Judges are treated with contempt, the justice of a cause may as well be determined by the throw of a Dye, as the verdict of a Jury. A Gentleman Lawyer has many clients in esse.4
Betsey Smith is now at your father's; she with the rest of your family are very well and will be as happy to see you next week as
[signed] Thomas B. Adams.
RC (OCHP:William Cranch Papers, Mss fC891c RM); addressed: “William Cranch Esqr: / Haverhill”; internal address: “William Cranch Esqr:”; endorsed: “T.B. Adams / Aug. 23d. 1791. / Answd. Aug. 27.—”
{ 226 }
1. “He then that hasteth to restore and requite a kindness, hath not the mind of a grateful man, but of a debtor. And to conclude in few words, he that is desirous to pay over soon, doth owe unwillingly; he that unwillingly oweth, is ungrateful” (Seneca, On Benefits, transl. Thomas Lodge, London, 1899, Book IV, ch. xl, p. 178).
2. Not found.
3. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, ague—malaria—was seen in America as a southern disease because it appeared in northern latitudes only episodically but in southern ones continuously (Margaret Humphreys, Malaria: Poverty, Race, and Public Health in the United States, Baltimore, 2001, p. 23–29).
4. In being, that is, actually existing. William Cranch apparently attended the Court of Common Pleas for Rockingham County, N.H., which convened in Exeter on 9 Aug. (The Laws of the State of New-Hampshire, Portsmouth, 1792, p. 70, Evans, No. 24585).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0126

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1791-09-04

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch

Influenced by the same principle as when I last wrote, viz. That of discharging a debt before it has accumulated much on the score of interest, I have determined to come to a settlement to the date hereof.1 You must not however expect the same degree of pure metal as that which produced the obligation; but make many grains of allowance for barrenness of Mint. Even should you be paid in Script subject to speculation, at least I shall not be subject to a Qui Tam prosecution. I am no less affected by the cause of your detainer, than the disappointment it occasioned; both cause and consequence however, I hope are temporary. The novelty of your scheme for getting yourself into business, is no less than its singularity. At any rate it discovers a fertility of invention, which in these dull times, is peculiarly serviceable to the possessor, more especially in our Profession. Money in puritanical times, was said to be “the root of all evil,”2 A modern Churl, who sometimes indulges himself somewhat extensively in substitution or rather, prostitution of terms, has altered, by no means amended, the maxim, by which it reads thus “Women the reservoirs of all Scandal.” Far be it from me to reveal the Author's name, for I have no inclination to immolate one of my fellow mortals on an Altar, the workmanship of his own temerity. I shall rather consider him as an object of commiseration, for having engaged in a most unequal contest. I am not the Jew for whose destruction the Gallows was erected.3 Having thus expressed my opinion of the deplorable situation of a person engaged in this female war; it will be superfluous to add any thing by way of caution to you. The Ancient Ballad, afforded much entertainment to all true lovers of Atticism. Every one lamented the extinguishment of the Coal, and if any sudden blast from my bellows could have revived { 227 } the spark, the gentle fannings from every passing breeze, had soon restored it to its former glow. The subject original, was majestic, but the consequent effects are sufficiently ludicrous, and as such described, by the Balladist. “Hence in old dusky time a deluge came,” &ca:4 The Ladies may make this passage of Thomson's applicable to their own case by erasing a single word. If you dare let them know that the history of their excursion has so soon passed the Merrimack, you may offer them my congratulations upon their arrival in safe moorings without being cast away.
When I mentioned my Sister to you in my last it was certainly an omission on my part not to mention her fine boys. If they could be under the government of your good mother for one week before you come, you would be pleased with their vivacity; but under present management I fear you will perceive very soon where the defect lies. I was yesterday threatned with a return of my Ague, but hope from the precautions I have taken, to escape its further attacks. It is almost a fortnight since I had a real fit. The Bark has been administered in copious effusions to your cousin
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (OCHP:William Cranch Papers, Mss fC891c RM); addressed: “William Cranch Esqr: / Haverhill”; endorsed: “T. B. A. Sep. 4. 1791.”; notation: “post pd.”
1. Not found.
2. 1 Timothy, 6:10.
3. In Esther, 5:9–14, the viceregent Haman, incensed by the failure of Mordecai the Jew to show him due respect, has a gallows erected on which to hang the offender.
4. James Thomson, The Seasons: Spring, line 309.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0127

Author: Washington, Martha
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-09-04

Martha Washington to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear madam

Your frindly letter of the 29th of June1—I should not have suffered to remain so long unacknowledge from any other cause than that of the severe illness of my dear Little Washington—who was confined to his bed with a cruel fevor for three weeks in the Months of July & August—2 I beleive it is heardly necessary my dear madam for me to tell you that, during the time of his illness I was not in a situation to attend to any thing but him.— The fatague and anxiety which I underwent, were almost too much for me; but sine it has plased god to restore my dear child again to health, I find my self recovered, and begin to look round to see what I left undone—at that time, that I may attend to it now—
I had, with concern, heard of your illness before your Letter reched my hands; I assure you I was exceedingly rejoiced when that { 228 } informed me that the ague had left you, and that you were getting much better.
If you have had reason to complain of the heat in New England— what must have been our situation in this city? whare a veriaty of circumstances combine with the climate to render the heat here at times almost insupporable: the heat of last week was more extreem than any we had experienced before—
The President returned from the southward in fine health—which was soon after interrupted for a little time—but I am now happy in saying that it is again restored;3 and he unites with me in compliments and best wishes to your self—the Vice President—and your family—
I expect next week to set off with the President for Mount Vernon. I shall take my grand children with me in hopes that change of air will give them strength, as they are much relaxed with the heat of this city— I expect to be back by the latter end of october—when I hope I shall have the pleasure to see you perfectly well—
Nelly and Washington desire to be particularly remembered to your self and miss smith, to whome you will be so good as to give my kind regards.— Mr & Mrs Lear thank you for your remembrance of them and thair Little Boy, and request to be presented to you in very respectfull terms— a due and beleive me / Dear madam / your affectionate / friend & Hble / servant
[signed] M Washington
1. AA to Martha Washington, 25 June, and note 1 above.
2. For George Washington Parke Custis’ illness, see Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:283, note 10.
3. A tumor that George Washington had had removed from his leg in June 1789 returned sometime between 6 and 24 July 1791. Washington had it drained and was well again by 3 Aug. (same, 8:327, note 3).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0128

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1791-10-09

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my dear son

I had not time to write to you before I left Braintree I was in so much trouble for your Aunt and Family, that I left home with a Heavy Heart indeed, nor can I look to Philadelphia with a much lighter one, for there mrs Brisler lies at the point of death with a fever, if living. I promised Lucy if any Letters should come from Genll Knox or mr Brisler after I left home that you should open { 229 } them and give them every information they might contain respecting her.1 this I now request you to do.
I am extreemly anxious to hear from your uncle cranch. I wish you could forward a Letter to me to be left a Smiths or the stage House at N Haven, should this reach you soon enough. I did not say enough to you a[bout] your Eye's. I would have you take a portion or two of Sal[ts] and then an oz of Bark, in 6 or 7 portions.2 do not neglect it, if lost Health may be restored, lost Eyes cannot, and I am certain from my observation respecting your Health the summer past, that you stand in need of the Bark
your Father has stood his journey as well as could be expected. he is some what fatigued to day, but I hope his Heaviness arrises only from the exertions of the two last days, & from a South wind. if I had not past through the disorder myself and experienced the debility occasiond by it I should feel more anxious. convey the inclosed Letter as soon as you can to Braintree from your affectionate / Mother
[signed] A Adams
p s I received your Letter and approve of what you have done3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by TBA: “John Quincy Adams Esqr: / Boston”; endorsed: “My Mother. 9. Octr: 1791.” and “My Mother. Octr: 9. 1791.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. JQA, when he wrote to AA on 5 Oct., forwarded a letter from Henry Knox, presumably that to JA of 28 Sept., in which Knox reported that John Briesler “has recovered and also his children, but his wife is dangerously ill” (both Adams Papers).
2. JQA first noted “weak eyes” in his Diary on 3 August. He continued to complain of weak or sore eyes from time to time until 10 Oct. (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).
3. In his letter of 5 Oct., JQA informed AA that he had purchased “a pair of hand-irons” less costly and more handsome than she had directed (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0129

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-10-16

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Sister

I wrote you last Sunday by Doctor Welsh & your son who were here & sent it to new-york where you now are I suppose.1 I hope you found the Letter when you arriv'd as your Sympathytick heart would be in some measure reliev'd by the favourable account I gave you of mr Cranchs Leg— since that time it has continu'd to descharge well the mortified parts have been seperateing from the sound flesh & are now almost all come of but it has become such an offencive sore to dress as you scarcly can conceive of tis very painful too at times: I have dress'd it alone to day for the first time since it { 230 } began to discharge in such a manner— tis still Bath'd once a day— Tis a slow & I fear will be a long peice of work before tis well we feed him yet with Bark & wine but not in such quantitys as at first— some parts of the Leg are heal'd but there is now a sore from the knee to the ancle. there are but two places which appear deep every part where the Blisters were not cut is sound— The swelling has in a manner left the Limb— he cannot walk a step nor bear his weight upon it yet his appetite is good
What charming Weather you have had for your journey I hope you all feel the better for your ride & that you will find all your Freinds in health & mrs Brisler recover'd—
Polly Tailor is with us waiting for Madam Jeffery to send for her.2 She sent her wood She was ready to wait upon her & wonders that she is not sent for
cousin Betsy Smith is with mrs Norton who was well yesterday
Deacon Adams is dangerously sick with a slow Lung fever3
Mr Shaw is gone to Barnstable & to the ordination of mr Simkins4 Sister Shaw was well but poor Billy grows worse I design to perswaid Mr Shaw to let mr Hughs see him— that man certainly has a faculty of seting Bones beyond many who are better theorests than himself5
William return'd last monday to haverhill & you must think my dear sister that I feel very lonely—but I hope the danger from mr Cranchs Leg is not so great as it was— tis a terrible sore now but it has been so much worse that I cannot help being incourag'd about it—but I hope I shall be resign'd be the event what it may— The support & kindness of my dear sister while she was here was a cordial to my spirits. & tho absent that she bears us upon her mind is a constant feast to my Soul— good grant that your health may be restor'd & that your Life so precious to us as well as to your own Family may be prolong'd many years yet to come & that we may have another happy meeting when the spring opens upon us—
Mr Cranch send his Love to mr Adams & you & begs me to renew his thanks for all your kindnesses & attentions
Lucy send her Duty & Love mr Adams I hope has not had a return of his dissorder I hop'd to have heard of you from some of your stages but I have not
Polly found half a dozen Tea spoons in the closet after you went away which she thought she had put up they are here with your other plate. She has put a hook upon the Kitchen chamber door or rather upon the door at the foot of the Stairs which effectually { 231 } secures all the garrets— upon the wash house we shall put a Lock I have sent to mr Pratt for sea-weed to stop the cellar doors & bank the house. Polly has nail'd up all the Gates but the cow yard gate
I have your Pigs & hope to make fine ones of them— If there is any thing else I can do for you pray let me know it, nothing can give me more pleasure than to be able to discharge some of the obligations confer'd upon your / grateful & affectionate Sister
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs M Cranch / to Mrs A Adams / October 1791.” and “1791.” Filmed at Oct. [1791].
1. Mary Smith Cranch's letter of 9 Oct. has not been found.
2. Mary Wilkes Storke Hayley Jeffery, for whom see vol. 7:273, note 4; 384, note 5. After a stay in Boston of over eight years, Mary Jeffery would return to Britain in Nov. 1792 alone; her husband, Patrick Jeffery, remained in Massachusetts (Boston Independent Chronicle, 10 Nov. 1792; Amanda Bowie Moniz, “A Radical Shrew in America: Mary Wilkes Hayley and Celebrity in the Early United States,” Common-Place, vol. 8 [April 2008], www.common-place.org).
3. JA's cousin Ebenezer Adams died on 22 Oct. 1791 (Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 23 Oct., Adams Papers). JQA traveled to Braintree for the funeral on the 25th (D/JQA/16, APM Reel 19).
4. John Simpkins (1768–1843), Harvard 1786, was ordained as minister of the Congregational Church in the north precinct of Harwich (now the town of Brewster) on 19 Oct. (Josiah Paine, A History of Harwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1620–1800, Rutland, Vt., 1937, p. 158–163).
5. Probably either Robert Hewes (1751–1830) or his cousin Shubael Hewes (1732–1813), both of whom worked as bonesetters in Boston (Eben Putnam, Lieutenant Joshua Hewes, A New England Pioneer, and Some of His Descendants, N.Y., 1913, p. 323–326, 330–332; Boston Directory, 1803, Shaw-Shoemaker, No. 3862).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0130

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1791-10-17

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I arrived here last Night. my first inquiry was for a Letter from you, which I was happy enough to find, and great relief did it afford to my anxious mind.2 I sent to the post office to see if I could get any further intelligence last evening but was dissapointed. I am ready however to attribute it more to your not getting an opportunity of conveyance than to any unfavourable circumstance, and I was much incouraged yesterday by seeing mrs judge cushing, who told me of a cure performed upon mrs Hyslops leg after a mortification had really taken place.3 she made great use of Bark and wine. I am sure my dear sister neither mr Adams or I can ever think our wine used to a better purpose than in aiding the recovery [of so] dear & valuable a Friend, and we request you to get more from our cellar when that is expended. can there be a greater pleasure in Life than rendering kindness to those we love and esteem and who we { 232 } know are every way worthy of our regard. how many of my anxious & painfull hours did you in the summer past alleviate by your sisterly kindness. how much too am I indebted to my dear Lucy for her goodness. I am anxious for her Health, and full of the mind that a free use of the Bark would relieve her Nervious Headacks Katy who is with me was relieved only in that way after a slow Nervious fever. I had a pleasant journey in point of weather. mr Adams found himself very weak and feeble when we came to travell. his Nerves were more affected than I was aware of before I left home. he has not had any return of his fever, but if I had not gone through all & more than he has sufferd I should be much more distrest. he gains strength by his journey, but what I fear is the buisness & company which he cannot avoid and which are very unfit for a person recovering from such a disorder. Thomas & Louissa are well— mrs smith & Family I found well—but I cannot learn a word from Philadelphia. Remember us all kindly to mr Cranch with our most sincere wishes for his perfect restoration to Health. I am my dear / Sister affectionatly yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by TBA: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A Adams (N York) / Octr 17. 1790”; docketed: “1790.” Some loss of text due to placement of the seal.
1. Sunday was the 16th.
2. Not found.
3. Either Mehetabel Stoddard Hyslop (1719–1792), wife of Boston wholesale merchant William Hyslop (1714–1796), or Betsey Williams Hyslop, wife of their son William Hyslop (1753–1792) (E. W. Stoddard, appendix to Anthony Stoddard, of Boston, Mass., and His Descendants: 1639–1873, N.Y., 1873, p. 124, 126).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0131

Author: Smith, William Stephens
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1791-10-21

William Stephens Smith to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir.

The information I gave you relative to Mr. Hammonds official Character at the moment of your departure for Philadelphia, you will probably have confirmed previous to the receipt of this—1
The various important stations I have filled and the particular agency I had in producing this conciliatory advance of the British Court to the Government of The United States, Justifies to my mind the offer I propose making, of myself as a Candidate for the appointment at the Court of St. James's, in addition to this Mr. Hammonds Communications to me from Lord Grenville are so strongly marked with respect and Confidence, that I should not think, I did Justice to my Country, my family or myself should I omit presenting { 233 } myself to The President at this period— particularly as the British Cabinet have pointedly instructed Mr. Hammond to pursue steadily the line, I marked out in my communications with Lord Grenville the last winter, as details in the Letter I addressed to the President on the 6th. of June last, viz. to enter into a full discussion & fulfillment of the unsettled points of the last Treaty, as a primary essential—to establish such Commercial regulations as the Interests of the two Country's require, and to leave all other points to their own operation, aided by the friendship & good understanding which the preceeding arrangements may produce,—
In addition to this mark of the esteem and Confidence of the Cabinet of England, Mr. Hammond is charged by his Court to take some proper opportunity and communicate to The President, not as if they were disposed to take the lead of his Judgement, in a Case like this, but that they conceived it a Compliment due from them to me, to assure the President, that on the appointment of a Gentleman to reside at the Court of London, no one would be more acceptable than myself or more likely to be agreable to the King and Cabinet of England— This Communication Mr. Hammond informed me he thought it his duty to make as early as possible
As I cannot reconcile it, to my feelings and the respect I entertain for you Sir, to attempt so important an object thro’ any other medium, and relying on your friendship and disposition to promote my interest & the Honour of our connected families, I beg the favour of your presenting the enclosed letter to the President, and of supporting it by such observations as your better Judgement may dictate I am further induced to pursue the object thro’ this Channel as the pursuit coincides with the letter, You once did me the Honor to address to The President on similar subjects, to aid you in this business, I will mention, that previous to the removal of Congress from New York, The President required of Mr. Jefferson a list of those Gentlemen whom he would recommend to his Consideration for foriegn Diplomatic appointment Mr. Jefferson told me in that case he had put my name amongst the first on the list— some time after Mr. Hamilton was called on to submit a few names to the President as persons proper to be employed to negociate the late loan— on that paper which contained 3 names, I was the second, but Mr. Jeffersons influence introduced Mr. Short tho’ not mentioned by Mr. Hamilton & carried his point.2
However notwithstanding all this, should I not prove successful { 234 } the knowledge of the failure, will be confined to my friends and for myself I shall not be at a loss to decide on the principles of it or find any difficulty in digesting the disappointment—
I am with great respect & regard / Your most Obedt. / Humble Servt.
[signed] W: S: Smith
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “To / The Vice President / of The United States—”; docketed: “Wm S Smith / Oct 21st 1791”; notation on enclosure: “Copy of the Letter / addressed to The President.” For the enclosure, see note 2, below.
1. George Hammond (1763–1853) arrived in New York aboard the packet Grantham on 18 Oct. and apparently met with WSS before proceeding to Philadelphia, where he arrived two days later. Appointed British minister plenipotentiary to the United States, Hammond had been instructed not to assume that rank until the appointment of an American counterpart to Britain. In the meantime, he was authorized to act only as consul general. Hammond presented his credentials as minister on 11 Nov., just two days after George Washington finalized his choice for the London post, Thomas Pinckney. Hammond, whom JA had known as David Hartley's secretary during the 1783 peace negotiations, served as minister to the United States until 1795 (New York Daily Gazette, 18 Oct.; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:483; Jefferson, Papers, 18:280, 22:262).
2. WSS enclosed not only the RC of his 21 Oct. 1791 letter to Washington, which JA forwarded along, but also a copy for JA, which is retained in the Adams Papers. Believing that his 9 April interview with British home secretary Lord Grenville had helped to secure the appointment of a British minister to the United States, WSS wrote to the president to claim credit and to offer himself as a candidate for U.S. minister to Britain. He did not receive the appointment. Chagrined at this second rebuff— Washington had dismissed his 6 June report on the interview—WSS on 7 Feb. 1792 resigned the office of supervisor of revenue for the district of New York in favor of “such private pursuits as may guard my own feelings from further unpleasant exercise” (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 9:104–105, 562–563).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0132

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1791-10-28

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

I received your favour of the 17th: instt: from New-York, and am happy to hear you had got well so far on your journey.1 I hope you will be equally punctual on your arrival at Philadelphia.
I must request your attention to the memorandum, which I left with you last Spring; and that you would not forget to send my segars before the navigation closes for the Season. the numbers of the Gazette of the U.S. which I want are 99 and 101. of the 2d: Vol: and 6 & 18 of the 3d:
Nothing material has occurred since you left us. I was at Braintree a few days ago. Mr: Cranch is, we hope out of danger, but will have a very tedious time with his leg. I fear he will be confined through the whole winter.
Our Court of Common Pleas sat last week. I argued one cause to { 235 } a jury; that of Nightengale, and obtained a verdict for him.2 I found my confidence in myself growing much stronger, and acquitted myself more to my satisfaction than I had ever done before.— Since that time I have had another opportunity to take a practical lesson of public speaking. The Committee of the General Court, who are to report upon the petition of the North Parish in Braintree for incorporation, sat at Milton last Wednesday to hear the parties. I was employed with W. Cranch and B. Beale by the parish Committee to support the petition. We were all of a standing; but as I was the oldest in years, it fell to my lot to close the argument, and to answer, the objections from Dorchester and from the other parishes in Braintree. Mr: Hichborn was a Committee man from Dorchester, and Mr: Robbins was employed as Counsel for the other parishes.3 The debate lasted about four hours. I was nearly one in my argument, and like Dogberry in the play “found it in my heart to bestow all my tediousness upon their honours.”4 You may well imagine I was not equal to the task, especially as I had not had even twenty four hours time for preparation, or for obtaining the necessary information relative to the facts. I was not at all satisfied with my performance, but believe I did not lose any ground, with the audience. These opportunities have both afforded me some consolation, as they have tended to convince me that I may, with the help of experience acquire at least a decent capacity for forensic contention. This has for these fifteen months past, been one of the greatest sources of my anxiety and apprehension. The present stagnation of professional business, must be temporary, but an utter disqualification for public speaking would have been perpetual, and would have cut the cable from the sheet anchor of my hopes.— You have often been witness to my fears on this head, and it is for that reason that I am thus minute in detailing the circumstances, which suspend at least their operation, and tend to give me some encouragement.— I expect to argue one cause more at the next session of our Court of Common Pleas in January, and if so, I shall again inform you, whether my diffidence continues to decline, and my hopes to assume consistency.
In the mean time business is as dull as ever. If I have very little to do, I find myself in very respectable company. Yet I cannot easily suppress the sigh when the reflection recurs that I still subsist upon paternal bounty.— If I cannot acquire my own subsistence, I will at least endeavour to deserve it, and in the long winter before us I intend to pursue, with as much ardour as if my prospect of reward { 236 } was much greater than it is, the studies connected with my profession and with science in general.
Your friends in this town are well. Quincy told me he intended soon to write you.— Callender gallant as ever.— I saw Miss Breck last evening, at the assembly; she enquired particularly after Louisa.5
Write as often as you can. Love to all the family, and believe me to be ever affectionately, your brother.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
October 29th:
I have just received your's of the 23d. instt: and am happy to hear you arrived agreeably at Philadelphia.6 I shall take care of the enclosed Letters, and have nothing further to communicate.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr: Thomas B. Adams. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “28th Oct: 1791.”
1. Not found.
2. See JQA to William Cranch, 17 Aug., and note 3, above.
3. In Jan. 1791, 129 men from Braintree's north precinct, or parish, along with 21 others from the middle precinct and adjoining parts of Dorchester and Milton, petitioned the Mass. General Court for incorporation as a new town. The senate took up the matter on the 28th, and an order was issued inviting the town of Braintree to comment at a hearing before the General Court scheduled for 16 February. Nine days before the hearing, the Braintree town meeting, dominated by men from the middle and south precincts who rejected any division of the town, voted to send six agents to oppose the petition and authorized them to hire an attorney at town expense to assist them. The town meeting at the same time directed Ebenezer Thayer Jr., Braintree's representative in the legislature, to use his influence there against the petition. What happened at the General Court hearing is not known, but the senate subsequently appointed a committee to consider the petition. In preparation for a hearing before that committee—the 26 Oct. hearing in Milton at which JQA spoke—the Braintree town meeting on 27 Sept. chose four agents to attend and oppose the petition. What occurred at the committee hearing is also not known, but the committee afterward returned a report in favor of the petition, which the senate accepted. On 21 Jan. 1792, the two houses of the legislature voted to allow the petitioners to bring in a bill to put their petition into effect. On 22 Feb., the bill passed, and a day later, Gov. John Hancock approved it, incorporating the town of Quincy (CFA, History of Braintree, Massachusetts (1639–1708), the North Precinct of Braintree (1708–1792), and the Town of Quincy (1792–1889), Cambridge, 1891, p. 269–270; Braintree Town Records, p. 601, 611; Pattee, Old Braintree, p. 58–62; Boston Argus, 27 Jan. 1792; Mass., Acts and Laws, 1790–1791, p. 319–320).
4. A paraphrase of Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Act III, scene v, lines 22–25, where Dogberry, having been accused by Leonato of being tedious, mistakes the gibe for a compliment and graciously replies, “but truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship.”
5. Josiah Quincy III and John Callender (1772–1833) were Harvard classmates of TBA studying law in Boston with William Tudor and Christopher Gore, respectively. Both young men would be admitted to practice before the Suffolk County Court of Common Pleas in 1793. Callender would go on to serve as clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court from 1815 until his death (Harvard Quinquennial Cat., p. 203; William T. Davis, Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2 vols., Boston, 1895, 1:113, 265, 285; Catalogue of Records and Files in the Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk, Boston, 1897, p. 145; Amherst, { 237 } N.H., Farmer's Cabinet, 29 Nov. 1833).
Hannah Breck (1772–1846), daughter of Samuel and Hannah Andrews Breck, would marry JQA's Harvard classmate James Lloyd Jr. in 1809 (Samuel Breck, Genealogy of the Breck Family Descended from Edward of Dorchester and His Brothers in America, Omaha, 1889, p. 40–41, 208–209; Harvard Quinquennial Cat., p. 201).
6. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0133

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1791-10-30

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear Sister

I wrote to you upon my journey whilst I was at Brookfield the sunday after I left you and was sorry to find by your Letter, that you had not received it.1 I wrote to you from N york but have been so engaged in moveing, & so embarressd with company in the midst of it, tho only a complimentary call, that I have had scarcly a moment that I could call my own. it was kind in you [to l]et mr Cranch to superscribe your Letter. I thank you for [the] precaution, because I open every Letter from you with trembling and fear. I rejoice most Sincerely with you in your prospect of a recovering Limb. if the Life of our dear Friend is Spaired, we cannot be sufficiently thankfull to a kind Providence, even tho the recovery should be long and Tedious. my Heart bled to leave you in such distress
we Have nearly got through the Bustle of Removal, but my House is no way to my mind. the Rooms so small and not able to lay two together, renders it very troublesome to see so much company as we must be obliged to.2 the weather is very pleasent and my Health better than for some months past Thomas is less threatned with Rhumaticks than he was on our journey. Louissa as well as usual. mr Adams is much recoverd to what he was, has been able to attend his duty in Senate, tho Sometimes a good deal exhausted.
you mention in your Letter getting the House blockd up. I forgot to inform you that there was cider and potatoes to be put into the cellar and that Brother had engaged to see the cellar Bank'd up, but if it should not be done I would wish to have it secured before the Frost. for the Reasons above mentiond I directed Polly to leave the keys of the House with them, the Keys of the cellar to bring to you. I wonder mrs Jeffry has not sent for Polly. she appeard so solicitious to get her. I hope no one has done her an injury. Polly had qualifications peculiarly fitted for my Family, and might still have been in it, but for a little unruly member. I like katy very well and beleive I could not have been better suited. mrs Brisler is with me, feeble & sick tho better than she was. I do not see but she must remain with me, unless Lucy returns to take care of her and her children.
{ 238 }
my things have not yet arrived from Boston, I fear I shall lose my Pears.
I am anxious for Billy Shaw least he should be a criple all his day's
Let me hear from you often for I am still anxious. Remember me kindly to all inquiring Friends.
Yours affectionatly
[signed] A Adams.
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by TBA: “Mrs: Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A Adams (Pha:) / Octr 30. 1791.” Some loss of text due to placement of the seal.
1. AA's 9 Oct. letter from Brookfield has not been found.
2. Upon their arrival in Philadelphia the Adamses moved into a house at the corner of Fourth and Arch streets. Tench Coxe had found it for them on short notice after JA wrote him for assistance on 20 Aug., declaring, “I have determined in all Events to remove my family into Philadelphia from Bush hill, on account of the many Inconveniences We experienced last Year in passing and repassing.” JA added, “As the time is short, I expect to be obliged to some disadvantage. But any house and any rent is better than what We Suffered last year” (JA to Tench Coxe, 20 Aug., PHi; Tench Coxe to JA, 3 Sept., Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0134

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1791-12-03

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Brother.

I received last week your favour of the 17th: of last month, and found in it none of that tediousness which you seem to apprehend:1 indeed I suspect your fears were in some measure dictated by your indolence, and that you make them a pretext in your own mind, to relieve you from the tediousness of writing: but this pretence must not serve you: for I can assure you, that your Letters will always be tedious to me, only in proportion to their brevity, and that you are by far the most tedious when you do not write at all.
The arguments which you mention to have been held in the house of Representatives with respect to the ratio of Representation, were very amusing, and I have not seen those contained in your Letter, in any of the newspapers. The final decision of 1 to 30,000 has given as far as my conversation extends, very general satisfaction here, though I see most of our members voted against it.2 The distinction which you say was held up, relative to the characteristic qualities of the Representative and Senatorial branches of the Legislature, was as far as I remember first suggested by Montesquieu, and afterwards adopted by Rousseau. Great as these names are and prevailing as the opinion is, I consider it as one of the idlest and most groundless distinctions that ever entered into the brain of { 239 } a statesmen. It may be true that an individual or a body of men sometimes is deficient in wisdom, though very honest and well meaning; but wisdom, ought to be the characteristic mark of every branch of a legislature; and without integrity, there never can be any wisdom. To speak in the legal phraseology, wisdom is integrity, and more. For in every situation in life, whether in a public or in a private capacity, as an individual, or as a member of the legislative body, every man who departs from the line of honesty, departs just so far from the line of wisdom. If your house of representatives is only honest, without wisdom, they can be at best but useless to the community; and if your Senate is only cunning and are not thoroughly honest, they must be much worse than useless.—3 But I have not time to expatiate any further upon this subject.
Mr: Woodward goes to Philadelphia next week, and will be the bearer of this Letter; and also of Miss Adams's book. Your father subscribed for three setts; and I have the other two in my possession. If he wishes to have them forwarded, you will let me know. I have one besides, as I was myself a subscriber.4
The numbers of the 2d: Vol: of the U.S. Gazette which I want are 98 and 101. I believe I mistook one of them in my former Letter.— You may forward them by any convenient opportunity. I hope the segars will come soon, as I begin to be upon allowance, with the old stock.
Mr: Dana is appointed chief Justice of our Supreme Court, and Mr: Dawes is nominated to fill the vacant seat upon the bench.— If there was any business done this promotion might be serviceable to the younger Counsel at the bar, in this Town; but it is almost totally at a stand.— Never at a lower ebb: however, we live in patient expectation of better times.
Adieu; love and duty to all the family.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr: Thomas B. Adams. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Decr 3d. 1791”; notation: “Hond: by Mr: Woodward.”
1. Not found.
2. Reapportionment in the wake of the 1790 census remained a matter of contention in Congress and later the executive branch for almost six months after the House of Representatives first took up the issue on 31 Oct. 1791. While debate revolved around certain technical details—the number of representatives, the ratio of representatives to constituents, and the division of representatives among the states—the substantive question at its core was the balance of power between large and small states, northern and southern interests, and Federalist and Republican sentiments.
On 15 Nov. the House of Representatives voted to set the ratio of representation at 1:30,000, and on the 23d it voted not to revise that figure to 1:34,000. Of the seven members from Massachusetts in attendance, six—Fisher Ames, Shearjashub Bourne, Benjamin Goodhue, Theodore Sedgwick, George { 240 } Thatcher, and Artemas Ward—opposed the former measure and supported the latter; only one—Elbridge Gerry—took the reverse stance. By contrast all nine members from Virginia backed the first proposal and resisted the second. On 24 Nov. the House passed an apportionment bill with a ratio of representation of 1:30,000 and a House of 112 members and sent the legislation to the Senate.
After two weeks of consideration, the Senate voted to amend the House bill by changing the ratio to 1:33,000 and the size of the House to 105 members, effectively reducing the influence of the larger states. Because the initial tally produced a tie, JA cast the deciding vote. A week later, when the Senate voted not to withdraw the amendment even though the House refused to agree to it, another deadlock ensued and JA again determined the result. Together the refusal of the House to accept the Senate amendment and the refusal of the Senate to withdraw it left the two chambers at loggerheads.
On 23 March 1792 the House and the Senate narrowly passed a compromise bill establishing a House of 120 members divided among the states without reference to a ratio of representation, an approach that southerners, particularly Virginians, believed was intended to diminish their influence. Ten days later George Washington, in the first exercise of the presidential veto power, rejected the compromise bill as unconstitutional because, first, no single ratio of representation yielded a House of the character prescribed and, second, the ratio of representation for several states exceeded 1:30,000. After failing on 9 April to override Washington's veto, Congress on the 10th passed yet another apportionment bill, which, like the original Senate version, set the ratio at 1:33,000 and the size of the House at 105 members. Washington signed the new bill into law on 14 April (Rosemarie Zagarri, The Politics of Size: Representation in the United States, 1776–1850, Ithaca, N.Y., 1987, p. 134–140; Michel L. Balinski and H. Peyton Young, Fair Representation: Meeting the Ideal of One Man, One Vote, New Haven, Conn., 1982, p. 10–22; U.S. House, Jour., 2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 444, 454–455, 459–460; U.S. Senate, Jour., 2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 351–354, 356, 422; Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. Both Montesquieu and Rousseau attributed to senates the quality of wisdom, despite having very different understandings of their composition and function (M. N. S. Sellers, Republican Legal Theory: The History, Constitution and Purposes of Law in a Free State, N.Y., 2003, p. 11–13).
4. Hannah Adams, A View of Religions, in Two Parts, 2d edn., Boston, 1791, Evans, No. 23102. Author Hannah Adams (1755–1831), a distant cousin of JA, wrote to him on 21 Feb. 1791 (Adams Papers) to ask whether she could dedicate her forthcoming book to him. JA replied in the affirmative on 10 March, “only requesting that all Titles literary or political may be omitted and that the Address may be only to John Adams Vice-President of the United States of America” (MB:Paine Trust). He subscribed for three copies of the book at that time (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0135

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-12-10

Abigail Adams Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] my Dear Mamma

I received last Evening your Letter of the 3d inst—1 I began to think you had almost forgotten me. now and then I hear from you by persons who have seen you— they tell me that you appear to enjoy your health the weather grows so severe that I am almost discourage from thinking of quiting my own fire side. Mr Smith does not find it convenient at present to Leave his official and private business— the latter however is much the most advantageous lands which he purchased of the State last summer for 3/3 pr acre he can now dispose of to people who wish to settle upon them for 10 { 241 } shillings— Collo Smith wishes me to come without him but I dont like this plan much altho I have no small share of Curiossity to see the Wonderfull City of Philadelphia—
with respect to the appointment I have no desire that Mr S—— should receive it and we have it from authority that he will not—and there is but one Person that I do not wish should have it— he has played such a double game that I hope he may be disappointed if he wishes it— I am sure that it will be much more for our interest to continue here as things are situated and I have no disposition to sacrifise substance to shadow but we hear that it has been decided at Court that no Person belonging to the senate or House of representative can be appointed for there is an express article in [the] Constitution against it—and I hope some body wi[ll] raise a dust if this is infringed upon
Browns Wife came to me day after day untill I was quite tired of hearing of her and at last I gave her twenty five shillings for which I inclose her receipt— I sent the Biscuit by Capt Bailie and I found the order and receipt of Browns Wife all which I enclose—2
Mr Rodgers takes the Charge of this Letter— he has called twice upon me— he looks very dejected—Poor Man,—3 Mrs Clarkson has a Son a week old and is very well—4 the rest of the family are well—
by Charles Storer I heard from our friends at Boston and Braintree— my Unkle Cranch was recovering—but Mrs Smith is very unwell I fear she is not long for this world pray write as frequently as you can find time— the Chrildren are very well present my Duty to my Father and Love to Louisa— is Thomas absorb[ed in] Business that we do not hear a word from him
adieu yours
[signed] A Smith—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: Abigail Adams / Philadelphia—”; docketed: “E Smith to / A Adams / 1791.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. Not found. The schooner Dolphin, Capt. Benjamin Bailey, sailed as a packet between New York and Philadelphia. The vessel cleared New York on 26 Nov. and arrived at Philadelphia on 2 Dec. (New York Daily Gazette, 21 Nov., 26 Nov.; Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 2 Dec.).
3. Abigail Bromfield Rogers, wife of Daniel Denison Rogers, died in Boston on 7 Oct. (Boston Gazette, 10 Oct.).
4. William Smith Clarkson, the first child of Matthew and Belinda Smith Clarkson, was born on 2 Dec. (Trinity Church [New York, N.Y.] Registers, www.trinitywallstreet.org/history/?registers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0136

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-12-11

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

I again take my pen to write to my dear sister tis a long time I know you think since you have heard from me. I have the same complaints to make of you, but once since you arriv'd in Philadelphia have I receiv'd a line from you— I know your time must have been much taken up in arranging your House & receiving company. this I hope & not sickness has been the reason I have not hear'd from you oftener— as for me, how long an attendance upon a sick chamber is to be my portion I know not— When I wrote you last1 I believe I told you that mr Cranchs Leg was almost heal'd but that he had taken a great cold by going down stairs at an improper time it was a very naughty trick he did we were lathing & plastering the Parlour. & he was affraid they would not do it right unless he could direct them— He thought he could cut Laths for mr Prat—& then he did not like mr Belchers manner of laying some Bricks which had fallen out of the room where it had been fill'd in so took the pail of Morter & did it himself—but being Weak it made him sweat & then the gown was pull'd of & the fire must be put out—& where was you I hear you say—reasoning intreating & at last almost scolding before I could get him back into his chamber. this was the begining of November He took such a cold as to make him very sick it fell upon his lungs & distress him much for a fortnight— he then seem'd to be almost well, rode out, went to Weymouth got to work in his Shop & except that his cough was not gone he was geting well fast—but unluckily he took another sudden cold last week which has again attack'd his Lungs & confin'd him to his chamber & he is now very ill. His stomack loaded with Phelm he begins to thro’ it of & I hope will be better soon he is rather low than feverish his strength was much diminish by his confinement with his Leg but he was not sensible of it till he went to work. If he ever gets well again I hope he will be more attentive to himself. His Leg is perfectly well & seems to be as strong as the other— You know how he always groans when his lungs are distress this is the case now, all day & night asleep, or awake, I am almost sick for want of sleep myself— Lucy stands by me a good attentive child or I could hold out— She spent last week with her sister mrs Norton as is daily expectation of geting to Bed—2 mrs Nortons Mother is with her & will stay till she gets up again I am very glad she can be with her as I cannot—3 Richard grows a fine { 243 } Boy & can say any thing he is told to & speaks very plain— I have heard from Haverhill last week mr Cranch had a Letter from Willm he does not say but they are well at his uncles he gets some business but not enough to pay his expences
Miss Eunice is to be remov'd to Dorchester this week to board at a mr Mosleys4 she regrets leaving Braintree but to stay at the Doctors this winter she cannot mrs Phipps is very crazy & take no care scarcly of her Family—5 I feel sorry to have her go I shall miss her sadly her good sense I shall pine after. & I fear she will miss me more than I shall her upon some accounts— She is in good spirits & in pretty tolarable health for her She sends her Love to you— mrs Quincy spent a few days with us not long since desires to be remember'd to you
Polly Tailor has been here & spent four or five days likes her place very well & sends her Duty to you— mr Jeffery is gone to sea for his Health6 If I had not receiv'd your Letter the Day I did your cellar would have been stop'd I had spoken to mr Pratt & was to have had the sea-weed carried the next day & it would have been a sad thing to have look'd so meddlesome— your Hogs are all kill'd & salted one & an half from mr Pratts which were good The shoulders are so large that I shall Bacon them I thought it would not do to salt them your Pigs which I had are very fine they weigh'd eighteen score & seven pounds & I have more than two packs & an half of Hogs fat for you— shall you want much more Bacon than [life?] hogs will give you your Pork will be very fine I believe
[Floryr?] has retain'd Celias child She ask'd Phebe to let her keep thanksgiving with her & then refus'd to let her take her back again Said she had abus'd her but tis not true. She is there without any cloaths but what she had on Phebe would not let her have them
The widow Howard is or has been a widow bewitch'd Jo Bass the shoe maker is the person accus'd but he will not marry her—
pray let me hear from you soon I pine for a Letter Love as due from your Brother Neice & affectionate Sister
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (Adams Papers). Filmed at 11 Dec. 1790. Some loss of text due to wear at the fold.
1. Not found.
2. William Smith Norton, second child of Jacob and Elizabeth Cranch Norton, was born in Weymouth on 29 Dec. (History of Weymouth, 4:444).
3. That is, Mary Porter Norton (1735–1810), mother-in-law of Elizabeth Cranch Norton (Vital Records of Abington, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, 2 vols., Boston, 1912, 1:173, 2:319; History of Hingham, 3:93).
4. Eunice Paine moved to Dorchester to board with Thomas Moseley (1728–1796) and { 244 } his family (Eunice Paine to Robert Treat Paine, 29 Dec., MHi:Robert Treat Paine Papers; Boston Polar-Star, 26 Dec. 1796).
5. Mary Brackett (1761–1831) of Braintree, daughter of James Brackett and his second wife, Mary Glidden Brackett, had married Dr. Thomas Phipps in 1780. The fourth of their seven children was born in April 1791 (Herbert I. Brackett, Brackett Genealogy: Descendants of Anthony Brackett of Portsmouth and Captain Richard Brackett of Braintree, Washington, D.C., 1907, p. 527, 537, 539; Amherst, N.H., Farmer's Cabinet, 22 Oct. 1831).
6. Patrick Jeffery (ca. 1748–1812), husband of Mary Wilkes Storke Hayley Jeffery and partner with Joseph Russell Jr. in a Boston mercantile firm, sailed round-trip from Boston to the Madeiras aboard the brig Mermaid, Capt. Moses Grinnell, departing during the first week of December and returning during the last week of May 1792 (George Lyman Kittredge, The Old Farmer and His Almanack, Boston, 1904, p. 12–13; Boston Columbian Centinel, 1 Jan. 1791, 7 Dec.; Boston Independent Chronicle, 31 May 1792; Survey of Federal Archives, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Works Progress Administration, comps., Ship Registers and Enrollments of Boston and Charlestown, 1789–1795, Boston, 1942, p. 130–131).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0137

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1791-12-18

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I wrote to you on the 27 of Novbr but company comeing in call'd me from my pen, and I have not since had leisure to reassume it. I have so little Time that I can call my own whilst here that I think when I return to Braintree I ought without suffering from any reflections to be able to live retired. on Monday Evenings our House is open to all who please to visit me. on twesdays my domestick affairs call for me to arrange them & to labour pretty well too, for the wednesdays dinners which we give every week to the amount of sixteen & 18 persons which are as many as we can accommodate at once in our Thousand dollors House on thursday the replacing & restoring to order occupies my attention the occasional intercourse of dinning abroad returning visits &c leaves me very few hours to myself. I feel that day a happy one, when I can say I have no engagement but to my Family I have a cleaver sober honest & Neat black woman as my daily cook. in this respect I am happier than formerly. I always hire for company. the greatest trouble I have, is that mrs Brisler is chiefly confind to her Bed wholy unable to do the least thing for herself or Family. she was better after I came here, but a return of the intermitting fever together with her old weakness & complaints not only deprives her of her usefulness, but is a great incumberance to me, and takes up much of the Time of my help. in short I know not how I get through, for I have no other help than those I brought with me except the cook. I have been very well myself till about a fortnight since. I have labourd under complaints [. . . .]1 I am still afflicted. mr Adams is recoverd from his { 245 } complaints but labours under a great cold. Thomas has escaped better than I feard from the Rhumatism. it threatned him for several weeks Louissa is very well. cealia requests me to inquire after her child & prays you would write to me & inform her if it is well. mrs otis & cousin Betsy are well. we live Socible & Friendly together. in many respects I am much better off than when I lived out of Town. expence is not to be taken into consideration that is almost beyond calculation. What a dreadfull blow this defeat of Sinclair & his Army?2 my Heart bleads for the Relatives of as worthy officers as ever fought or fell but, the justice the policy the wisdom of this cruel enterprize lies with higher powers to investigate than mine.
Your kind Letters of Novbr 6th & 11th came safe to Hand and made me truly happy3 So little hopes had I of the recovery of our dear and valuable Friend that I feard to hear from you; I could never have imagind that a Leg such as his was, & which appeard to be so far gone in a mortification, could possibly have been restored & that so soon— thanks to that all gracious Providene whose kindness has been so frequently displayd towards us— I heard last week from mrs smith and her little ones.4 they were all well. you begin I suppose to feel anxious for mrs Norten. I hope to hear in due time that she has a daughter. I feel anxious about our House at Braintree There was a place in the Roof that Leakd much. I sent for two Carpenters but they could not find out the place. I wish it might be lookd too. I spoke with Brother about it, but fear he has not thought about it. I see by the paper that mr Jeffrie is gone to the Madarics for his Health. I want to know how Polly does & how she is likd. I often think of your Neighbours saying she was as necessary to him as his daily Bread. I miss her very much in things which it will be hard for any other person ever to make up to me, in that ready offerd service which prevented my wishes, and which is always so pleasing. yet she balanced the account sometimes by the vexation which she occasiond me. I wish her well, and shall always value her good qualities, and freely credit her for them cealia is as good as I could expect, but would soon be led way if I did not strickly guard her. Katy has all the dispositions in the world [as] sterns says,5 but wants experience, in a Service which is quite New to her. She is faithfull in her duty, but poor Girl has h[er] sister & two children to look after. in short I think sometimes it cost me as dearly for honesty & fidelity as it would for knavery and I seem to have got an entailment that follows me through the world, particularly a certain degree of sickness that I must take charge of— however it is I hope a { 246 } part of the portion of good which I ought to do. if so I am in fault to complain— remember me kindly to all Friends mrs Payne I often think of. give my Love to her & tell her I hope to see her early in the spring with my other Friends pray if I did not mention the desk before give for it what you think it reasonably worth, and ask the dr for the money. let me hear from you as often as you can and be assured of the sincere affection / of your sister
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by TBA: “Mrs: Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs. / A Adams. Pha: / Decr 18. 1791.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed and due to a torn manuscript.
1. One line at the top of the page has been cut off.
2. On 4 Nov. an American army sent into the Ohio country under the command of Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair to subdue the Miami and Shawnee Indians was itself overwhelmed in a surprise attack. More than 900 of the approximately 1,400 Americans present—regulars, levies, and militia as well as women and children—were killed, wounded, or went missing, including 69 of the 124 officers (Wiley Sword, President Washington's Indian War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790–1795, Norman, Okla., 1985, p. 145–203).
3. Neither letter has been found.
4. AA2 to AA, 10 Dec., above.
5. Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, ch. 20, “Montreuil.”

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0138

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1791-12-18

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] my dear sir

Tis more than two months since I left you yet I have neither written a word to you or heard from you. Since I left Home, I have been much occupied removeing, and living in the city subjects us to company at all times, so much so that I must either be denying myself through the whole day, or appoint one evening in the week as a publick Evening. this I have found to be the most agreeable to those strangers who are daily brought to this place either by buisness or curiosity, and to those who are more imediatly connected as members of the same body with us, & who wish to keep up an intercourse, but are become too numerous to do it in any other way. we have also found it expedient to see company to dinner one day in every week, so that a good House wife as I profess myself to be must be fully occupied. I have had more Health since my return here than for many Months before, and I hope to run away from the Ague in the spring, if congress will rise soon enough, but weighty concerns occupy them, and the important one of Representation has occasiond great discussions of the subject, but no intemperate { 247 } heat. yet the great fish have a wonderfull appetite for the small fish, and the old dominion Strugles hard for an over balance in the scale. what is surprizing, is to see Some persons helping them, who mean well, but do not seem to apprehend the weight of the Negro Representitives as mr King calls them. the black cattle in the Northern states might as well claim to be represented. one of the southern rep's observed in debate that if virgina had been fully represented in senate the Question would not have gone as it has (mr Lee is absent).1 the debates of congress are most misirably given to the publick, as the Members themselves declare. the sad and dreadfull Havock of our Army at the west ward cast a Gloom over us all. some of the best officers who remaind to us after the Peace have fallen here. all our Boston youths who were officers are amongst the slain. a son of col Cobb I have heard much regreeted.2 in short tis such a stroke as we Scarcly experienced through the whole of the War. not even Bradocks defeat is said to have caused such Slaughter. a poor Gouty infirm General, always unsuckselsfull, a misirable Bandity of undisiplind Troops—an excellent Choir of officers—who I am told went out like Lambs to the Slaughter, having no prospect of conquering— I apprehend much uneasiness will ensue—what is to be done is not yet determind? for Foreign affairs, mr Madisson is to go to France, and a mr pinckny who was an officer from S carolina and lost a Limb in the service, will be Nominated for England he sustains an amiable good character—3 I presume congress will set Six months if not longer.4
with regard to our private affairs, sir mr Adams wishes you to engage mr Loud to make and have ready by spring two sashes for to make windows from my Chamber and two small ones for the chamber over that, and he thinks it would be best to paint the House again.5 at what season can that be best accomplishd?
I should be obliged to you sir if you could engage a person to procure me two beds at vendue Bolsters & pillows I was obliged to Borrow all last summer. I would chuse they should be of the best kind, and you will think of me for Beaf in the season of it and a cask of Tongues, two of them I should like to lay in as I found them more usefull than large hams—and I should think it best to secure six Barrels more cider than we have. if we live we do not mean to remain here a week after congress rises even tho it should be in Febry
in Janry you will receive some interest for me. I wish you would send mrs Cranch 5 cords of wood on my account, but do not let even her know from what quarter it comes. mr Cranchs long { 248 } sickness must have embarassed them. and there is a widow dawson very old and infirm, be so good as to direct mrs cranch to inquire into her necessities and to lay out two dollors for her in wood or other necessaries—6 ‡ a mark of that kind in your Letter will inform me that what I request will be Complied with—
I hope you enjoy better Health this winter than in the summer past, and that you will take good care of yourself when the spring approaches. my best regards attend your worthy Family and all other Friends—
yours most / affectionatly
[signed] A Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by TBA: “Honble: Cotton Tufts Esqr: / Weymouth”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Adams / Dec. 18. 1791”; notation: “No. 1.”
1. Senator Richard Henry Lee of Virginia did not take his seat in the 2d Congress until 21 Dec. (U.S. Senate, Jour., 2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 358).
2. William Gray Cobb (1773–1791), an ensign under St. Clair, was a son of Col. David and Eleanor Bradish Cobb of Taunton. At the time of his son's death, David Cobb (1748–1830), Harvard 1766, was chief justice of the Bristol County Court of Common Pleas, major general in the Massachusetts militia, and speaker of the state house of representatives (Bradford Adams Whittemore, Memorials of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, Boston, 1964, p. 106–108).
3. On 21 Dec. George Washington nominated three men as U.S. ministers plenipotentiary: Thomas Pinckney to Britain, Gouverneur Morris to France, and William Short to the Netherlands. Rumors that James Madison would receive the appointment to France had circulated for months. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson of 29 Sept., written from Paris, Short reported, “A letter from America informs me that the delay in the appointment of the minister here is supposed to proceed from your endeavouring to prevail on Madison to accept it and his hesitating and taking time to consider. As the person who writes me is a great friend of yours as well as mine I should have supposed what he said well founded if your letter did not prevent it” (Jefferson, Papers, 22:174, 262). See also WSS to JA, 21 Oct., above.
4. Congress sat from 24 Oct. to 8 May 1792 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
5. Possibly Jacob Loud (1747–1820) of Weymouth (History of Weymouth, 3:376).
6. Probably Mary Veasey Dawson, widow of George Dawson (Sprague, Braintree Families).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0139

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1792-01-23

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch

[salute] dear William

The kind of silence which we have observed toward each other since I left Massachusetts, is not at all congenial with my feelings or disposition. You had just embarked in a cause in which I feel myself particularly interested; to know the success of the enterprize thus far would give me much satisfaction; the object of this letter is in some measure to draw from the source of information a detail of events, so far as they have contributed to success in the undertaking; The last time we heard of you, was in a letter from JQA, you { 249 } had been engaged with him in supporting the petition of Braintree.1 I have never heard the result of the affair, I have no doubt however, the parent received the ablest support from her Sons. The instance was somewhat singular, and I think the wisdom of Braintree was never better exercised than in employing her own Counsel upon the occasion. This Season of the year is generally remarkably gay in your part of the Country, and for the most part favorable to business of all kinds. I hear no complaints in this place of the scarcity of Clients or any thing else. People appear to be hastening to wealth rather too easily; all classes have been engaged in speculation, except those whose hands were tied; the inclination however has been wanting to very few; this has been attended with many bad consequences, it has opperated as a discouragement to industry, because the profits of the sober trader, were too slow for the fashion; the man who had been accustomed to calculate his wealth in proportion to his exertions, saw his neighbor who was lately his inferior both in fame and fortune, in a single day, without any apparent industry of his own, out strip him in both. Banks, Tontines, Canals, Lotteries, in short every thing which ingenuity can invent to gratify this spirit, are the rage of the present day. In New York, conversation is thought very uninteresting and insipid, if a man does not talk of Millions. They have within a week or two established another Bank which is called The Million Bank of N York.2 A number of Gentlemen are about offering to lend Government two Millions of dollars at 5 pr Cent, instead of the loan which is negociating in Holland. But I hope you won't think me infected with the Scripophobia. These things will find an end shortly. These unwieldy fortunes will change Masters; for the generality of the present owners, have not sense enough to keep them. Tis the opinion of sober Citizens that the monied interest as ’tis called, is the least informed of any set of people in the Country. That is, they think nothing of the great Bank—the Government, upon the sucess and preservation of which, all their wealth in the first instance depends.
We are happy to hear that your father has recovered from the alarming state in which we left him.
Cicero, has been greatly neglected by me this winter, I believe for want of an help mate. The sort of life, one is obliged to lead in this place, is not very favorable to literature of any kind. I have kept myself tolerably free from the vortex of disipation, but I am still subjected to more than is good.
You will please to present the love of our family to our friends. { 250 } Mine particularly to some, whom amidst all the gay circles I have not forgotten.
Affectionately yours
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (OCHP:William Cranch Papers, Mss fC891c RM); addressed: “William Cranch Esqr: / Haverhill”; endorsed: “T.B. Adams. / Jany. 23d. 1792. / Answd. feb. 18th.
1. JQA to TBA, 28 Oct. 1791, above.
2. Federalist taxation policies and the creation of the Bank of the United States combined to create a significant increase in paper wealth, which in turn led to considerable speculative business activity and a real estate boom throughout the United States, especially in major cities like Philadelphia and New York.
The Million Bank—one of three new banks attempting to establish themselves in New York around this time—reputedly sold thousands of shares within just a few hours, oversubscribing its million-dollar goal by a factor of ten. A few days later, the subscribers determined to merge the three new banks into a single “State Bank” designed to compete with potential branch banks of the Bank of the United States (Curtis P. Nettels, The Emergence of a National Economy 1775–1815, N.Y., 1962, p. 121–122; Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 220; New York Gazette of the United States, 18 Jan. 1792).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0140

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1792-01-28

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch

[salute] Dear William

This day week I put a letter into the Post Office for you under cover to my Brother JQA. and this morning I have receiv'd your many dated letter, the last is the 16th:.1 I complained in my other letter of our long silence, and am happy our thoughts should so well unite in breaking the charm. I should not have undertaken so suddenly to answer your letter, but for this circumstance. The last clause in your letter contains a few observations upon the Indian War, and a request for information concerning the original causes and the present continuation of Hostilities. This has been the enquiry, in this part of the Country; our newspapers are filled with invectives against heads of departments, which tho they come in an oblique direction yet they strike very forcibly upon The ——. It is a fundamental principle you know in the Constitution of England, as well as in most other Governments, that the King can do no wrong. This principle opperates as powerfully in this Country as in any other, only perhaps with this difference, that there is more freedom of expression and thought here, than in England. But the Minister of the War department has been and still is violently censured for continuing this War; but it is well known that he is but a Servant of Government; he however is the only mark too shoot at—and if this sort of warfare will kill him, I think he has but little chance for his { 251 } life.2 The people are not satisfyed that this is either a just or beneficial war, and they have repeatedly demanded information upon this head. Until this day they were as ignorant of the business as the people in your part of the Country. The enclosed, is the only official information that has appeared, and I am very happy that your request, and the means of gratisfying it, were put into my hands almost at the same instant.3 Even this I fear will not entirely hush the clamors. The members of the house of Reps, are many of them dealing out to us, a kind of Newspaper Stuff as tis called, and they appear very unwilling to allow the demands upon the Treasury, to which this War gives rise. The first year, Congress were called upon for 100,000 dollars upon this score, the second year the sum was more than threble, and the last year the expense is calculated at a Million and a quarter.4 The People have a right to be informed of the probable advantages of these expenditures, it ought also to be known whether they are absolutely necessary. Governor St Clair is in this City; he is not looked upon with much complacency, however whether his conduct has been culpable or not is still a question.—5 He has certainly been unsucessfull, which in former ages was considered but one degree removed from a crime.
Sub— There is one part of your letter that has affected me in a very different manner from the rest. You will easily imagine what it was. I am almost afraid to write any thing upon the subject; but I will say this, that the destruction of our whole frontire army, did not affect me so nearly. In this I believe you will think me safe. How it happens that I should feel more interested in the health happiness and wellfare of that Y—— L.—— than in that of any other with whom I am equally acquainted, I am unable to conjecture; but such I acknowledge is the case. I shall not write enthousiastically upon this point, but will only say with My Uncle Toby and [. . .] She must not die, if she does, in my mind the brightest [star?] in H—— will be extinguished. —Rosa.
My last letter was an attempt at describing [. . . .]ing features of the Times. The Rage for Scrip—is perhaps the m[ost] prominent; The Indian War is second at least. These things are exactly opposite in themselves—for the expenses of the War have counteracted all the benefit derived to the Governt from Speculation. I am glad to hear that business in your line has but one alternative, I presume you're in no need of a memento from me to perseverance. The Lawyers here as well as in Massachusetts can not boast of their business at first setting out. But there is this difference, that the old Lawyers { 252 } here do have enough and to spare, so that age and experience are sure to be rewarded. But in the present state of business among you, there is no certainty upon this head. I see by the Newspapers they are making JQA a consequential committee man I hope he has something to excuse his negligence to his friends in this part of the world.6 My best regards are at your disposal to Mr White's and other families, and my best wishes for you and your's.
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (OCHP:William Cranch Papers, Mss fC891c RM); addressed: “William Cranch Esqr: / Massachusetts / Haverhill”; endorsed: “T.B. Adams / Jany. 28th: 1792. / Answd. february 18th.”; docketed: “Decr. 1. 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. William Cranch's letter to TBA has not been found.
2. An article signed “A” in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 6 Jan., opined, “That the military arrangements, and other governmental operations with respect to Indian affairs, have not been well ordered, is a truth as incontestable as the consequences have been deplorable. . . . Measures injurious to the reputation, the revenue, or the peace of the community demand immediate explanation, and if not promptly done, the minister should attone for the contempt by a loss of confidence, a loss of office, nay a forfeiture, of more consequence to him perhaps than both.”
3. The enclosure has not been found but was probably Henry Knox's “The Causes of the Existing Hostilities between the United States, and Certain Tribes of Indians North-West of the Ohio,” Philadelphia, 1792, Evans, No. 24944. On 16 Jan., George Washington had written to Knox noting that “as the circumstances which have engaged the United States in the present Indian War may some of them be out of the public recollection, and others perhaps be unknown, it may appear advisable that you prepare and publish, from authentic documents, a statement of those circumstances, as well as of the measures which have been taken, from time to time, for the re-establishment of peace and friendship.” Knox's response was published first as a broadside on 26 Jan. and then reprinted in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette and The Mail on 28 January.
4. While Knox had originally suggested in 1789 that the cost to suppress the Northwest Indians would be around $200,000, by 1791, Congress had appropriated $313,000. After Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair's defeat in November at Fort Wayne, Knox requested that Congress authorize an additional $675,000 for a total to that point of slightly over $1 million (Francis Paul Prucha, The Sword of the Republic: The United States Army on the Frontier 1783–1846, N.Y., 1969, p. 19–20, 22; Amer. State Papers: Indian Affairs, 1:199).
5. St. Clair arrived in Philadelphia on 21 Jan. 1792, presumably to defend himself against charges stemming from the Fort Wayne defeat (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 23 Jan.).
6. See JQA to TBA, 1 Feb., note 2, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0141

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1792-02-01

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Brother,—

I have been for more than three weeks indebted to you for two very agreeable Letters, which Mr. Otis brought from you.1 They would not have remained so long unanswered but for a variety of circumstances which have concurred to engross all my time during { 253 } that period. It is possible that you may have observed in the Centinel about a month since, that a Committee of 21 inhabitants at this Town was chosen in town-meeting, to report to the town what measures it might be proper to take in order to reform the present state of the police of the town; and you may have noticed that my name was among those of several of the most respectable characters in this Town upon that Committee; if you read the Centinels in course as they arrive, you must have seen that this Committee reported a certain plan, which after being debated in town meeting for three days was finally rejected by the votes of 700 men against more than 500 who were in favor of its adoption.2 If you have noticed all these circumstances, it is probable you may feel some degree of curiosity to know something further upon the subject: You will perhaps wish to be informed what it is, that has thus agitated the whole town of Boston these five or six weeks, how it happened that I was placed upon this same Committee, and why the report was rejected—I will tell you, at the risque of fatiguing you with a tedious narration, which you may throw aside if it should become intolerable.
The Government of this town, in its corporate capacity, like that of all the other Towns in this Commonwealth, is a pure democracy; all the affairs of the town are transacted by the inhabitants in town meeting assembled, or by committees appointed by them; excepting certain powers which are vested in the Select-men, and which are very immaterial. The by-laws of the corporation are supposed to be enacted by the whole body of the people, and to be put in force by trials before Justices of the Peace.— In consequence of this system, the fact is, that no by-laws are enforced at all, and the inhabitants are subjected to various inconveniences, for the want of some internal regulation. Several attempts have been heretofore made to introduce a reformation, and to induce the inhabitants to request for a City charter. Those attempts have always been ineffectual, and the inconveniences have continued. About 6 weeks since, a town meeting was called, where after a debate upon the subject, in which the objects to be reformed were fully laid open and explained, the Committee, which I have already mentioned, were chosen.— It was a subject upon which I felt altogether uninterested, having been so short a time an inhabitant of the Town, and suffering personally very little from the inconveniences which had occasioned the complaints from whence that town-meeting resulted. I happened however quite accidentally to be present at the meeting and was { 254 } nominated by Dr. Jarvis, to be a member of the Committee, and was accordingly chosen. He was indeed the last man in this town from whom I should have expected such a nomination, and I cannot very readily account for his motives.3 Dr. Welsh asked him what his object was; and he answered, “that this Country were under great obligations to my father, and he thought it very proper that some notice should be taken of his Son; that he observed I generally attended the town-meetings, and appeared to interest myself in the affairs of the town; that I was a sensible young man” (excuse the vanity of the relation) “and he wished to hear my sentiments upon this subject.”— I mention these circumstances because it will I believe, be somewhat surprising to your father, as it was to myself, that the first public notice ever shown me by the town of Boston should proceed from the nomination of Dr. Jarvis. I may now proceed to the transaction of the business itself.— The Committee met several times, and after discussing the subject amply and deliberating with great coolness and harmony agreed upon the plan which was proposed, and which you have perhaps read. The agreement was unanimous, with one exception, which was Mr. B. Austin, commonly called Honestus; he set his face against the reform from the beginning and did not agree to one article of the report. All the rest, though many of them differing widely as the poles, in most of their political sentiments, were fully agreed upon this point. When the report was debated in town-meeting Austin opposed it with the utmost degree of vehemence and absurdity. “It was to destroy the liberties of the people; it was a resignation of the sovereignty of the town; it was a link in the chain of Aristocratic influence; it was intended in its operation to throw the whole burden of taxation upon the poor.” In short his speeches were such a farrago of nonsense and folly that it was hardly possible to imagine they could have any effect at all. On the other hand, Sullivan and Jarvis and Otis with several other Gentlemen argued the whole subject over and over with more popular eloquence than I ever saw exhibited upon any other occasion; yet upon the final Question, the result was as I have stated, seven hundred men, who looked as if they had been collected from all the Jails on the continent, with Ben. Austin like another Jack Cade, at their head outvoted by their numbers all the combined weight and influence of Wealth of Abilities and of Integrity, of the whole Town.— From the whole Event I have derived some instruction, and above all a confirmation of my abhorrence and contempt of simple democracy as a Government; but I took no part in the debate.— It { 255 } was indeed a very good opportunity, that was offered me, of opening a political career, especially as I had been put upon the Committee; but for a variety of reasons I chose at least to postpone to some future period, my appearance as a speaker in town meeting; the principal of which was a want of confidence in myself, which operated most forcibly upon me. I hope, however, the time will come, when I shall not be so much oppressed by my diffidence.
But the sequel of the story is no less curious than the rest. The day after the question was decided, Russell the printer demanded of Austin, in the public street, satisfaction, for a personal insult he had received from him at the town-meeting; and upon Austin's refusing to give satisfaction, Russell treated him with every possible indignity, and gave him a severe corporeal bruising: upon which Austin spread abroad that Russell was the mere instrument of aristocratic revenge, and that he did not act from resentment for his own injury, but at the instigation of a few rich men, who were enraged at seeing the success with which he had advocated the cause of the people.— And such was the obsequious servility of his rabble, that in consequence of this suggestion, several hundreds of them assembled the same evening; threatened to pull down Russell's printing office, and the houses of the aristocrats who wished to enslave the people, and actually paraded the streets with clubs, and with violent menaces for two or three hours: however they did no real mischief, and the matter seems now to have blown over pretty generally; though the partizans on both sides are still warm and ready to quarrel.4 I have from the beginning taken the part of a spectator rather than that of an actor in the scene, and I think the whole affair has given me some additional knowledge of human nature.
The present is quite a busy time in our political world; there are several other subjects upon which I could write you other letters as long and as tedious as this; but I must reserve some of my information for your father, to whom I am ashamed not to have written this long time. I intend soon to give him some account of another occurrence, which has made not a little political agitation in our atmosphere.
I have not much more to say to you respecting myself. Our Court of Common Pleas have sat again since I wrote you; I argued one more cause, and was successful. I gain my causes, but I get no business; that is at as low an ebb as ever, but I am tolerably habituated to the lot, and say, with Ancient Pistol, “si fortuna me tormenta, il sperare me contenta.”5
{ 256 }
The Petition from the North Parish in Braintree is hitherto successful. The Committee of the General Court before whom I mentioned to you our having argued the point, reported in favour of the petitioners: the bill for incorporating the town of Quincy, has past the Senate and is now before the House of Representatives. Hichborn has been indefatigable in his opposition to the business in every stage of it, but has not yet been able to defeat us.— The Question will not be finally decided till next week.
Mr. Cranch has been in town about a fortnight upon this affair, and attending the Court of Common Pleas. He has recovered to all appearance from his sickness, though he does not look so healthy, or in such spirits, as he was wont. Our other friends are all well.
Your brother,
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
MS not found. Printed from MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 4:62–65 (1887–1889).
1. Not found.
2. The Boston Columbian Centinel, 31 Dec. 1791, noted the formation of a committee “to take into consideration the present state of the town, and adopt such measures, as may conduce to lessen, if not remove, the present embarrassment, either by an application to the Legislature to add new officers, with an increase of power, to the Corporation, or take such orders on the present police, as to give energy and respectability to the executive authority of all the Town Officers.” The paper went on to reprint the committee's report and the debates around it on 14 and 21 Jan. 1792. On 28 Jan., it gave the final vote tally as 517 in favor of the committee's report and 701 against it at a meeting that JQA described in his Diary as “very disorderly. Hall overflowing” (D/JQA/18, 26 Jan., APM Reel 21). The plan would have divided Boston into wards and created a town council with increased authority to appoint officers and enforce the by-laws.
3. For Dr. Charles Jarvis and his quarrel with JA, see vol. 8:413, note 2.
4. Benjamin Russell (1761–1845) was the owner and editor of the Boston Columbian Centinel, a Federalist newspaper. At the town meeting, Russell was selected to count votes along with Benjamin Austin Jr. Austin initially accepted the task but then refused, saying he would not serve with “such a fellow as Ben Russell.” Russell took offense and the next day, 27 Jan., called Austin out, threatening and spitting on him. That and subsequent evenings, a mob of mechanics—who supported Austin—gathered to tear down Russell's offices. They were stopped by the authorities.
Austin sued Russell for assault and battery, asking for £1,000 in damages. The Supreme Judicial Court found in Austin's favor in March 1793 but fined Russell only £1 (DAB; Philadelphia Mail, 25 Feb. 1792; Boston Columbian Centinel, 27 March 1793).
5. Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, Act V, scene v, line 102.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0142

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-02-01

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Hond. and dear Brother

I have lately received a Letter from my worthy Friend and Nephew Mr. William Bond of Portland, informing me that he wishes, thro’ my intervention, to offer his Service to Congress as an assistant in the Mint of the United States which he supposes will be soon established. I have reason to think that very few Persons can { 257 } be found at present in the United States who are so well acquainted with the Art of cutting and engraving the Dyes, or of working in Gold and Silver as he is. He was a chief Workman, while he resided in London, in making a most magnificent Service of Plate for the Empress of Russia, and has had all the advantages which that City affords for making himself a compleat Master in that Branch of Business. He particularly excells in the Art of Engraving. His moral Character is unimpeached, and his Circumstances in life are very respectable. I have enclosed a Copy of that part of his Letter to me which respects the subject of the Mint, together with some specimens of his Engraving of Dyes. If you should think him deserving the Notice of Congress in the Line in which he offers himself, you would oblige me much in using your Influence in making him known to that Department where the Business of establishing the Mint is to be conducted. A Line from you on the subject, after you have made such Enquiery as your Goodness will prompt you to make, will be very obliging to me.1 The affair of incorporating the North Precinct of Braintree together with the Farms and Squantum, into a seperate Town, is now before the Genl Court. I have been very closely engaged in the Matter for three Weeks past, as Agent for the Petitioners. We have had all the force of Mr. Hitchborn against us, but he has not yet succeeded. The Report of the joint Committee who came to view the Premisses, was in our favour, that we should be set off as a distinct Town together with the Farms and Squantum, but not to include Knights Neck. This Report was accepted in Senate, and leave given to bring in a Bill for that purpose, and was concurred by the House. A Bill was brought in accordingly (drawn by your Son) which passed the Senate, and was sent down to the House last Friday. I came home the next Day (being very unwell) and have not yet heard of its fate in the House, but I think it will pass. The Senate have named the Town Quincy.
Please to give my most affectionate Regards to Sister Adams, and let her know that my Gratitude to her is more than I can express, for her assistance to me in my late dangerous situation, when on the verge of Death; and for all the concern of a Sister and Friend that she has since had for my Recovery.— “Blessed are the Mercifull for they shall obtain Mercy”.
Your aged and dear Mother, and your Brother and Family are well. Uncle Quincy is as well as usual. Mrs. Norton is so well as to get down stairs again, and her little Boys are finely. The other Branches of our Friends are in usual Health as far as I have heard.
{ 258 }
I hope this will meet you and your Family under agreeable Circumstances; and that every Blessing may attend you is the Wish of your obliged and affectionate Brother
[signed] Richard Cranch.
My dear Mrs. Cranch and Lucy send their Love to you all.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To / the Vice President / of the / United States. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “ansd. 28. March 1792”; docketed: “A Letter from / Richard Cranch / Feb 1792.”
1. For William Bond of Falmouth (now Portland), Maine, Cranch's nephew by marriage, see vol. 7:176. He was probably one of the 400 craftsmen employed by silversmiths George Heming and William Chawner in 1775 to produce two complete dinner services and dessert sets for Catherine the Great— likely the largest single commission received in England from a foreign client in the eighteenth century (Hugh Honour, Goldsmiths & Silversmiths, N.Y., 1971, p. 206).
Bond's engravings are apparently no longer extant, but a copy of his letter of 3 Dec. 1791 to Richard Cranch in Cranch's hand is in the Adams Papers. In that letter, Bond notes that he has heard of the possible establishment of a U.S. mint and believes that his twenty years of metal-working experience, “some of the time in large Manufactorys in London,” would be of use in the new office. “I have thoughts,” he continues, “of offering my Services to the United States in the Line I have mentioned above, either to work at, or conduct the working part of the Gold and Silver; or to repair, or, if tho’t able to do it sufficiently well, to cut such Dies as may be wanted, or as many of them as I can, or in any Line of the Department in which I could be usefull.”
JA's reply to Cranch's request has not been found, but on 12 April 1792, Cranch again wrote to JA thanking him for a letter of 28 March and noting Bond's willingness to “accept of a subordinate Employment in the Mint Department, as his Business in Navigation is not so profitable now as it has been for some years past. . . . If when the Officers of the Mint are nominated you could introduce Mr. Bond as a Candidate, I think you would thereby promote the publick Good in that Department, and at the same time oblige a capeable, honest and worthy Man” (Adams Papers).
The establishment of a U.S. mint had been under discussion ever since the Constitution granted Congress exclusive authority to coin money. Congress formally established the mint in Philadelphia in April; David Rittenhouse was appointed its first director (Jesse P. Watson, The Bureau of the Mint: Its History, Activities and Organization, Baltimore, 1926, p. 3–7, 17).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0143

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1792-02-05

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my dear son

Tis a very long time since I wrote to you, or heard from you I have been more engaged in company than is my choice but living in Town has necessarily devolved more of it upon us than heretofore, and tho we have not seen more than in reality we ought to considering our publick Character, yet it is much of an Egyptian task, and fall some times much heavier upon me than my state of health will bear. we have regularly dined from 16 to 18 and sometimes 20 person every wednesday in the week Since I removed into Town, and on Mondays I see company. the rest of the week is or might be { 259 } altogether taken up in Par[ties] abroad, many of which I have been obliged to decline on account of my Health. Your sister has been with me these 5 weeks and william, the col & Charles part of the time. they will leave me in a week or 10 days, and when we are to meet again, is in the Bosom of futurity The col & Family embark for England in the March Packet, not in a Publick capacity, but under such advantageous private contracts that tho it is with the utmost regreet I can consent to the seperation yet I think I ought not to say any thing to discourage them.1 tis probable two years will be the least time they will be absent. the matter has been only a few days in agitation, and the determiniation of going in the March packet will hasten them from hence Sooner than I am willing to part with them. I am glad to see one of the Family in a prosperous situation, as from the col account I have reason to believe he is. I wish your Father would propose Thomass going with him. I think it would be advantageous to his Health and would give him a good opportunity of seeing Something more of the world he could be in the col's Family and of service to him in his transactions but I dare not venture upon the proposition, and as the cols going was communicated to him but yesterday I believe the thought has not yet occurd to him. Congress proceed so slowly in Buisness that I fear I shall be detaind here till May to my great regreet Post office Bill Representation & Indian War are great subjects of debate, the latter a melancholy one indeed— the secretary at War and of the Treasury are attackd and handled pretty Roughly in the News papers. your transactions for me in the Buisness way met my approbation. Cheeseman however did not act the Man of Honour and shall not be employd by me again. if I found Cealia, as I did, he was to have only 8 dollors which he was to call upon me for here. I never gave him any Authority to apply to you. When you receive the Rent of the House, Buy a Peice of Linnen and cambrick for them & get cousin Lucy Cranch to make your shirts and pay her for doing it out of the Rent. I know you must want a peice.
we are all in pretty good Health, the old intermitting still torments us at times tho it does not amount to the Ague yet—
inclosed is a Ticket:2 see if it is worth any thing and let me know the cider you bought should be drawd of this month or the begining of March.
Let me hear from you soon and be assured that I am / Your affectionate Mother
[signed] A Adams
{ 260 }
we send you Espinasse printed here judge Lowel is so good as to take it3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by TBA: “John Quincy Adams Esqr: / Boston”; endorsed: “My Mother. / Feby: 5 1792. Philadelphia” and “My Mother. 5. Feby: 1792.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. The exact nature of WSS's contracts is unknown, but they were probably an extension of the speculative ventures that he commenced during his 1790–1791 trip to England, for which see AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 12 Dec. 1790, note 2, above. WSS was apparently displeased with having to make this second voyage; he wrote bitterly to Henry Knox that the trip was “a money making pursuit, which was never suited to my genius nor my ambition, but you may tell the President that he & his minister of State have forced me to it.” WSS blamed George Washington and especially Thomas Jefferson for their failure to provide him with what he considered an adequate governmental appointment. WSS, AA2, and their two children sailed for England on 29 March 1792 aboard the Bristol, Capt. Pierre de Pyster, arriving in England in early May (WSS to Knox, 27 March, MHi:Knox Papers; New York Diary, 30 March).
2. Not found.
3. Isaac Espinasse, A Digest of the Law of Actions at Nisi Prius, 2 vols., London, 1789, was reprinted and sold in Philadelphia by Joseph Crukshank and William Young (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 18 Jan. 1792).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0144

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1792-02-05

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I received your kind Letter of decbr and sincerely congratulate you and my Neice upon the Birth of a son, tho I could have wishd it had been a daughter.1 I have had the pleasure of having mrs smith and William on a visit to me for 5 weeks. the col has been part of the time here & Charles spent a fortnight with me. they expect to leave me in a week or ten days. this would be but a small matter to me as I should hope to see them again when I past through N york, but of that I have no prospect. the col has made a very advantageus contract with Some Gentlemen which will carry him abroad and keep him [there?] two years and accordingly he takes his Family with him and [plans?] to sail in the March Packet. this you may be sure is a heavy stroke to me, but I cannot wish them to decline it, as he goes upon a certain sure footing, and a probable great advantage mrs smiths is in circumstances which will make me more anxious for her, but my Family are destined to be scatterd I think.2 I begin to long for the Time when I shall set out for Braintree. I fear it will not be earlier than the last year. my Health for six weeks has not been good. I still Labour under an Intermitting which I apprehend will increase with the warm weather. I am not confind, but am frequently obliged to decline going into company, of which this city is the General Resort during winter, and one continued Scene of { 261 } Parties upon Parties, Balls & entertainments equal to any European city. the Publick amusements tis True are few, no Theatre here this winter an assembly once a fortnight, to which I have not been this season but the more general method for those who have Houses calculated for it, is to give Balls at their own Houses. The Indian War has been a distressing subject. who & who have been in fault is not for me to say. where a commander is to be found fit for the Buisness I believe will puzzel more wise Heads than one. the war is an upopular one. if it is a necessary War as I presume it is, it is to be hoped that measures will be persued to render it more Successfull than it has yet been, but I believe those whose judgments are good, have little expectations that it will be so.
what is become of Betty & her Husband? Cealia is very anxious about her child & very unhappy at the part her Mother has taken. I was glad to lea[rn] that Polly was well & pleasd with her place. we have had [. . .] weather here. the judge & mrs Lowell have been a month here and by them I shall forward this to you.3 mrs Brisler is much better than she was, her disorder proved to be an intermitting fever
Let me hear from you and my Friends as often as you can it will give great pleasure to your / affectionate Sister
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by TBA: “Mrs. Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs. / Adams (Pha:) / Feb 5th. 1792.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. Not found.
2. AA2 miscarried this pregnancy, apparently sometime en route to England; see AA2 to JA, 7 May; TBA to AA, 17 July; and Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA, 26 Aug., all below.
3. Rebecca Russell Tyng Lowell (1746–1816), who had become Judge John Lowell's third wife in 1778 (Vital Records of Charlestown Massachusetts to the Year 1850, 3 vols., Boston, 1984, 1:379, 430; Ferris Greenslet, The Lowells and Their Seven Worlds, Boston, 1946, geneal. table).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1792-02-13

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Charles

Your Letter of the 9th, gave me great Pleasure as it discovers a curiosity that is laudable and contains a very handsome Relation of political Events and Movements in New York of great Importance to that State and very interesting to the United States.1
The Writings which have excited your inquisitive disposition, were of Some importance in their day as they had Some Influence on the public Opinion; but are now forgotten and will probably { 262 } never be again recollected except by you and your Brothers & sister. It is a great Consolation to me that no Party Virulence or personal Reflections ever escaped me, in all the sharp Contests in which I have been engaged.
My first Appearance as a Writer was in the Boston Gazette in 1763 or 1764 under the signature of U in opposition to a Writer in Fleets Paper whose Signature was, J.2 My next Essays were the Essay on the Cannon and Feudal Law in 1765—3 in the Same Year I wrote a few Pieces called Letters from the Earl of Clarendon to William Pym other Letters from Governor Winthrop to Governor Bradford.4 in 1772 I wrote eight Letters to General Brattle on the subject of the Independence of the Judges. This is a Work of some Importance and deserves your Reading.5 in 1774 and 1775 I wrote a long Series of Papers under the Signature of Novanglus, an extract of which was reprinted in England under the Title of History of the Rise and progress of the Dispute with the Colonies.6 in 1776 I wrote at Philadelphia Thoughts on Government in a Letter from a Gentleman to his Friend.7 in Holland in 1780 I wrote the Letters to Calkoen.8 in England in 1777 I wrote the Defence of the Constitutions.9 I had forgot, in Paris in 1780 I wrote a series of Letters which were printed in 1782 in England under the follish absurd Title given it by the Printer of Letters from a distinguished American.10 in Holland in 1782 I wrote a Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe on the Topick of American Independence11 in 1790 & 1791 I wrote Discourses on Davila.12 in Boston I always wrote in the Boston Gazette. that my Confession may be compleat I must tell you that I wrote a very foolish unmeaning thing in fleets Paper in 1762 or 1763 under the signature of Humphrey Ploughjogger. in this there was neither good nor Evil, yet it excited more merriment than all my other Writings together.13
Thus my son I have told you the whole Secret. You will find no offence against Religion Morals Decency or Delicacy and if your affection for your Father should ever induce you to look them up you will find in the most of them something to gratify your Curiosity tho there are not many of them of very great Importance. The Family are tolerably well. continue to write me the “Clashings of your Grandees.”14 I am with / much affection your Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Mr Charles Adams.”
1. On 9 Feb., CA wrote to JA requesting “a list of the various publications of which you have been the author during your political life, The years in which they appeared, and { 263 } the papers in which they were printed. Such a present could you find leisure to make it would be greatly pleasing to me.” The rest of the letter outlined some of the rivalries and in-fighting among New York State politicians (Adams Papers).
2. JA's letters signed “U” were printed in the Boston Gazette on 18 July, 1, 29 Aug., and 5 Sept. 1763, in part as a response to Jonathan Sewall's letters signed “J” in the Boston Evening Post. For the text of the letters and analysis of JA's reasons for writing them, see JA, Papers, 1:59, 61, 66–81, 84–90.
3. For JA's “Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law,” first published in the Boston Gazette on 12, 19 Aug., 30 Sept., and 21 Oct. 1765, see same, 1:103–128.
4. The “Earl of Clarendon to William Pym” letters appeared on 13, 20, and 27 Jan. 1766 in the Boston Gazette; see same, 1:155–170. JA's “Governor Winthrop to Governor Bradford” pieces were printed in the Boston Gazette on 26 Jan. and 9, 16 Feb. 1767. For the purpose and history of the pieces—intended as a response to Jonathan Sewall's defense of Gov. Francis Bernard—as well as two unpublished works of the same title, see same, 1:174–176, 191–211.
5. In Jan. and Feb. 1773, JA published under his own name seven letters to the Boston Gazette opposing the payment of judicial salaries by the Crown rather than the Mass. provincial government. He was countering the arguments of Maj. Gen. William Brattle, who, as moderator of the Cambridge town meeting, had opposed debating judicial salaries on both technical and theoretical grounds. For a thorough discussion of the controversy and the text of JA's essays as well as Brattle's response, see same, 1:252–309.
6. For JA's Novanglus essays, which argued that the American colonies were not subject to parliamentary authority and appeared in the Boston Gazette between Jan. and April 1775, see same, 2:216–387. Portions of these essays were also published in England under the title “History of the Dispute with America; from Its Origins in 1754, to the Present Time” in John Almon's Remembrancer, or Impartial Repository of Public Events, 2d edn., London, 1775, p. 24–32, 45–54.
7. JA wrote the pamphlet Thoughts on Government, Applicable to the Present State of the American Colonies. In a Letter from a Gentleman to His Friend, Philadelphia, 1776, Evans, No. 14639, while in Philadelphia attending the Continental Congress. For the text of this work, including its earlier incarnation as private letters, and analysis of its influence on American political institutions, see JA, Papers, 4:65–93.
8. For JA's 26 letters to the Dutch lawyer Hendrik Calkoen, written in Amsterdam in Oct. 1780 in response to a series of questions from Calkoen, see same, 10:196–252.
9. An inadvertence on JA's part. He published his Defence of the Const. in London in 1787 and 1788; see vol. 7:365–366, note 14.
10. Responding to Joseph Galloway's Cool Thoughts, JA drafted his “Letters from a Distinguished American” in July 1780. JA sent them to his friend Edmund Jenings for publication, but Jenings failed to have them printed until the fall of 1782 when they appeared in the London Parker's General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer. For a full discussion of the significance of the letters and for their texts in both draft and printed form, see JA, Papers, 9:531–588.
11. JA's “Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe,” originally drafted in letter format but then converted to an essay for publication on the subject of a general peace for Europe and the United States, appeared in a variety of European newspapers in Aug. 1782 as well as in the Boston Evening Post in November; see same, 13:160–164.
12. This is the first direct reference in the family correspondence to JA's Discourses on Davila: A Series of Papers on Political History. Beginning in fall 1789, JA began to study Enrico Caterino Davila's Historia delle guerre civili di Francia, Venice, 1630, using a French translation, Histoire des guerres civiles de France, Amsterdam [Paris], 1757. Davila (1576–1631), an Italian historian, spent over thirty years preparing the Historia, an account of the French civil war from 1560 to 1598. JA hoped that a close review of the earlier revolutions in France would shed light on the current one. His research once again affirmed for him—as had his previous studies of the Italian republics for the Defence of the Const.—the dangers of unicameral governments, especially as embodied in the French National Assembly. He was also offended by the French proposal to abolish all forms of rank and nobility, an attempt at leveling he found absurd. Typical for JA, the Discourses were a compilation of direct translations from the French of Davila's own work and summaries of the same { 264 } intermixed with JA's commentary. JA likewise borrowed heavily from the ideas of Adam Smith in Theory of Moral Sentiments, especially Smith's thoughts on distinction and rank.
Although published anonymously, JA was widely known as the author. These essays did little to ease growing tensions between Federalists and Republicans—who saw them as a defense of hereditary monarchy and in opposition to the popular French Revolution—or to improve JA's reputation outside of Federalist New England. Most notably, Thomas Jefferson took offense, indirectly attacking JA's “political heresies” in a letter of support contained in an American edition of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man. JA later claimed that he cut off the series abruptly because “the rage and fury of the Jacobinical journals . . . intimidated the printer, John Fenno, and convinced me that to proceed would do more hurt than good.”
The Discourses were published as a series of unsigned essays in 32 numbers of the New York (later Philadelphia) Gazette of the United States between 28 April 1790 and 27 April 1791. All but the final number were subsequently reprinted, again anonymously, in a single volume in 1805 by Russell and Cutler of Boston. The 32d essay was not reprinted again until the twentieth century, when it appeared as an appendix in Alfred Iacuzzi, John Adams: Scholar, N.Y., 1952, p. 266–267. JA himself used the 1805 edition to revisit his work in 1813–1814, producing extensive marginalia in the copy in his library at MB. CFA reproduced some of that marginalia in his reprinting of the Discourses in Works, 6:221–403; even more extensive excerpts were published by Zoltán Haraszti in John Adams & The Prophets of Progress, Cambridge, 1952, p. 165–179. Finally, a manuscript draft of 17 of the numbers, as well as an unpublished 33d essay, exist in the Adams Papers, dated and filmed at [April 1790] (Catalogue of JA's Library; Haraszti, Prophets, p. 38–39, 165–179; Iacuzzi, John Adams: Scholar, p. 135–156).
13. JA first published as Humphrey Ploughjogger—his favorite pseudonym—in Thomas and John Fleet's Boston Evening Post, 3 March 1763. Subsequent pieces appeared on 20 June and 5 Sept., as well as in the Boston Gazette in 1765 and 1767. For all of these items, see JA, Papers, 1:58–62, 63–66, 90–94, 146–148, 178–182.
For an earlier summary and evaluation by JA of his own writings in which he gives somewhat more detail, see JA to the Abbé de Mably, 17 Jan. 1783, same, 14:181–184.
14. CA concluded his 9 Feb. 1792 letter to JA by noting that New York “has as many clashing Grandees as Florence or any of the Republics whose histories you have sketched” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0146

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1792-02-15

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

Your Letter of the 4th, has given me as much Pain by opening the Sceenes of Ambition in your neighbourhood as it has pleasure by the Elegance of its composition and the Intelligence with which it devellopes the Maneuvres of Parties and the Passions of Individuals.1
Another Drama at New York has been acted with equal Spirit and of more Importance.
At Philadelphia too We have had our Curiosities but I have not so much Courage as you, to undertake to explain them. When first Places are the Objects of pursuit to clashing Grandees, and the means of obtaining them are popular Arts, you know very well from History and even from your Short Experience, what is to be expected. For my own part I wish myself out of the Scuffle at almost any rate.
{ 265 }
Your Mother is confined by rhumatick complaints complicated with others, but I hope will soon be better. The rest of the Family are well. Col Smith and your sister with their Children are to embark in the March Packet for England where they are to remain two Years upon his private affairs.
I hope to See you at Braintree before the first of May and there I shall live in tranquil retirement, Silently observing the Intrigues which may preceed and attend a great Election: and with more Indifference than you may imagine concerning their Effect.
Pray will not an Effort be made for Mr Jarvis, to take a Place in our Senate?2 Write me as often as you can.
yours with great Affection
[signed] John Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr J. Q. Adams.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. On 4 Feb., JQA wrote JA a lengthy letter on “the state of our parties in this State.” He recounted the divisions caused by the appointment of Thomas Dawes to sit on the Supreme Judicial Court and the controversy surrounding the suggested reforms of Boston's town government, concluding that “the result of all the plots and counterplots will probably appear in the course of three or four weeks” (Adams Papers).
2. Charles Jarvis was frequently mentioned in Boston newspapers as a possible candidate for the Mass. senate but was ultimately elected only to the lower house of the General Court (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1792–1793, p. 139–140); see, for instance, The Argus, 30 March; Independent Chronicle, 30 March; and Columbian Centinel, 31 March.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1792-02-19

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Charles

I wish you to take of Berry and Rogers as handsome a set of my Defence as you can find and packet them up handsomely and address them to The Reverend Joseph Priestley D. D. London, and send them by your Brother and Sister Smith. That Philosopher has made them so many Compliments in conversation as well as one in print; and as his sett was probably destroyed by the Rioters at Birmingham, I presume such a present will not be unacceptable to him.1
By a Letter from John,2 I find that Ambition and Adventure, are as active at Boston as you represent them to be at New York. The Gales I hope will be gentle and only waft the Vessell forward on her Voyage. The Storms I hope I shall either not live to see, or be on shore under my own Peartree, when they come on to blow.
Your Sisters Voyage will oblige you to look out for Lodgings. Let Us know what are your Prospects.
I am my dear Charles your / affectionate
[signed] John Adams
{ 266 }
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams.”
1. On 14 July 1791, a mob attacked the Birmingham home of Rev. Joseph Priestley, destroying all of his books and papers. The rioters mistakenly believed that Priestley had helped to organize a pro-French dinner marking the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille. The attack on Priestley was widely covered in the U.S. press; see, for instance, Boston Columbian Centinel, 21, 24 September. JA sent him a set of the three-volume Defence of the Const., which CA obtained from New York printers and booksellers Edward Berry and John Rogers. JA wrote to Priestley on 19 Feb. 1792, “I take an opportunity by part of my family bound to London, to remind you of a person who once had an opportunity of knowing you personally, and to express my sympathy with you under your sufferings in the cause of Liberty. Inquisitions and Despotisms are not alone in persecuting Philosophers. The people themselves we see, are capable of persecuting a Priestly, as an other people formerly persecuted a Socrates. . . . I am emboldened to hope that you will not be displeased to receive an other Coppy of my Defence, especially as that which was presented you formerly has probably had the honor to share the fate of your Library” (DNB; LbC, APM Reel 115).
2. JQA to JA, 4 Feb., for which see JA to JQA, 15 Feb., note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0148

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1792-03-08

Abigail Adams Smith to John Quincy Adams

it has been oweing to the multiplicity of business that I have had upon my hands for a forghtnight past that I have omitted giving my Brother earlier information of our intended departure for Europe— we expect to sail in the course of this month— at first we intended going in the March Packett—but found it impossible to get ready we have therefore postponed our departure a few days untill the equinoxial storms have blown over— the World assign different motives for this rather sudden movement some say that a Foreign appointment has been given to Mr Smith—but it is not of much consequence what the world say— you my Brother are entitled to know from me, and tis confided to you only—that it is not a public appointment which carries us a cross the Atlantick—but an engagement which Mr S has made to transact some private Business in Europe which he supposes will engage him a year or two it is his wish and my desire to accompany him as it is for so long a period and I know so well the disadvantages and ill affects of seperating families that I had rather suffer almost any inconvenience in the voyage than submit to it— we take our Chrildren with us for I cannot consent to Leave them
it would afford me much pleasure if I could see you before I go but the time is now so short that I fear it is impracticable unless your Business could permit you to sett out immeadiately upon the receipt of this I do not urge it but it would afford me great sattisfaction upon many accounts
{ 267 }
I have been upon a visit to our friends at Philadelphia this Winter which was lengthened out much beyond my intention by the severe indisposition of our excellent Mother a day or two before I had intended Leaving them she was seized with the inflamatory rhumatism which was followed by the intermitting fever and she has been very much reduced with it them I stayd with her as long as my time would possibly admit and untill I thought her better Thomas writes me that She began to take the Bark on Sunday and thought herself upon the recovery1 Heaven Grant She may for her Life is very precious to us her Chrildren and to all who know her—
I frequently wished that you could have joined us there Charles was there a forghtnigt my Father received one or two Letters from you which pleased him much2 he has recovered his health and appears very well except being subject at times to a depression of spirits Thomas is very thin but enjoys his health tolerably and is as steady in the pursuit of his studies as his friends can wish and I hope he will succeed
there were a few Dollars left in Dr Tuftss hands for the purchase of articles which we shall not want you may receive them if you please and if possible let them bring you to see us—or keep them untill I call for them3
remember me to all my friends tell them I shall think much of them all and beleive me yours affectionately
[signed] A Smith—
it is very Late—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “My Sister—8. March 1792.” and “Mrs: A. Smith. March 8. 1792.”
1. Not found.
2. JQA to JA, 4 Feb., for which see JA to JQA, 15 Feb., note 1, above.
3. On 17 March, JQA replied to AA2 that “It would give me great satisfaction to pay you a visit before your departure, but the present state of my affairs is such as renders it impracticable. . . . I think I need not assure you that my most ardent wishes and prayers for your prosperity will attend you, in whatever climate of the earth your fortune may place you; and above all that you may, in due time, return to your family and friends; and with a full and satisfactory reward for all the troubles which a voyage of this kind may occasion to you.” JQA also hoped that WSS would purchase law books for him in England and noted that Cotton Tufts would keep custody of the items he had purchased on AA2's behalf (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 3:148–149).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1792-03-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Child:

Your kind letter of the fourth of this month is before me.1 I have frequently desired your mother to consent that I should send for { 268 } other advice; but she has always forbid it, alleging that she was perfectly satisfied. The assiduity of her physician has, indeed, been very great; and his anxiety to do every thing in his power, most apparent. She is better to-day than she has ever been since her illness began, and I am much encouraged.
I rejoice that you are to wait till the equinox is over.
I do not read the New-York papers, having seldom an opportunity; but should be glad to have a hint of the various reasons which are conjectured for Mr. Jay's consenting to be a candidate.2
My love to Colonel Smith and my dear little boys.
I am, my dear daughter, with full intentions of corresponding with you frequently in your absence, and with sanguine expectations of pleasure in it, / Your affectionate father,
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:118.
1. Not found.
2. John Jay, although still chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, agreed to stand as a Federalist candidate for governor against Gov. George Clinton in 1792. Alexander Hamilton, who led the Federalists in New York State, recruited Jay as the only person who might have a chance to defeat Clinton. The contest generated considerable comment in the newspapers, including speculation on Jay's reasons for accepting the nomination. Jay's friends and foes alike believed personal interests guided his decision to run but put different interpretations on those interests. One supporter wrote, “Mr. Jay no doubt consults his ease and comfort in withdrawing himself from the fatigues to which his present appointment expose him, or is perhaps of opinion that he can serve this state and the United States more essentially as our first magistrate than as Chief Justice. In the first case gratitude for his long and important services in the most trying times impell us to support him, and in the latter the spirit of federalism will call forth our most earnest exertions.” By contrast, an opponent sarcastically noted Jay's “noble instance of condescention and disinterested generosity;—he will give up £.1600 a year, and relinquish the pleasure of travelling nine months in the twelve—for the pitiful consideration of a continual residence in the most elegant mansion on the continent, and a salary, that by the next appropriation, will probably amount to £.2000.” Jay was defeated after a highly partisan and sometimes controversial election (Monaghan, John Jay, p. 325–327, 333–337; New York Daily Advertiser, 20 Feb.; New York Diary, 22 Feb.). See also CA to JA, 20 Aug., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0150

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1791-03-11

Abigail Adams Smith to Abigail Adams

I received your Letter of March 7th my Dear Mamma and was very happy to find you so far recovered as to be able to use again your Pen1—altho I doubt not you find yourself very feeble and fear it may be long before you regain your strength; yet I hope by care and attention you will soon subdue this fever which afflicts you— I confess that I am but a novice in Phisick—yet I cannot reconcile it that so many weakening methods were necessary to subdue your { 269 } dissorder— I hope you will be able to go to the Eastward as soon as the roads will admit I think—a change of Air may benefit you—but of this you are the best judge—
of the situation of my mind at leaving you in such an ill state of health—it is best for me to be silent— I can only say that anxiety must be my attendant— I think it is my Duty to go—but the contest is I confess almost too much to Bear— I feel myself obliged to Mrs Dalton and Mrs Otis for their attention to you— they are friendly good Women— I hope that I may be so fortunate as to meet with one or two such friendly spirits upon my Pilgrimage— it is but very Seldom that I allow myself to reflect upon this subject but when I do— it depresses my spirits not a little— I am fortunate as it respects a Lady who is going a Passenger in the same Ship with us. she is a Mrs Thomson who has lived as a companion and friend to Mrs Gates for three or four years—her Husband is a Clergiman a Scotchman [who] came over to this Country in the begining of the war and he purchased a little Farm at Johns Town above albany and was settled there—for two years but did not find success equal to his expectations— he returnd four years since to Dundee from whence he came but his People had settled some other Person in his Place during his absence— they have however settled an hund Guineas a year upon him during his Life—and he has sent for Mrs Thomson to come home—2 Colln Duer has purchased her farm in this State—and she is going home in the Ship with us— She is a friendly cleaver Woman— her manners are mild and pleasing—and I think myself fortunate in her company—
with respect to the Chrildren—if you were settled in one place near a good school I should not object to Leaving Wm in your care—but you are travelling from Braintree to Philadelphia— at Braintree there is no school fit for him to go to; and if I Leave him here he will do just as he pleases with the whole family before one month is at an end: and Colln S. Mamma would think it hard that he should be from her all the time—so that I beleive it is best to avoid contests and evil consequences to take them both—with us— I suppose I shall be obliged to put Wm to a school from home—but I can see him every day—and I think he is too young not to require great attention from me—
I hope my Dear Mamma to hear that you are much better before I sail— I shall acquint you with the day before I go— in a Merchant Ship the period is never certain I wish it may be the last of the Month
{ 270 }
remember me to all the family with sincere affection / yours Daughter
[signed] A Smith—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / Philadelphia—”; docketed: “Mrs Smith to / her Mother / March 11th 1791.” Filmed at 11 March 1791. Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. Mary Vallance (ca. 1740–1810), a wealthy spinster, had become Horatio Gates’ second wife in 1786 (Paul David Nelson, General Horatio Gates: A Biography, Baton Rouge, La., 1976, p. 284, 290). Rev. James Thompson briefly ministered to the Presbyterian congregation at Johnstown, N.Y., but his pastorate “was far from exemplary, and when he left, in 1787, quite a number of charges affecting his character were brought against him” (E. H. Gillett, History of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, rev. edn., 2 vols., Phila., 1873, 1:383–384).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0151

Author: Smith, Louisa Catharine
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1792-03-18

Louisa Catharine Smith to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My Dear Aunt

Excuse my intrudeing upon you a moment with a recital of a line from your Niece, Who is authorised from the feelings of her own heart And from a desire of her Aunts to gratify a request which she anxiously solicited me to comply with, I cannot object to the request altho it is a painful one, to informe you how extreemly sick my Aunt has been, I fear you have been anxiously distressed to hear particularly of her health If you should have heard of it transiently it will make you still more uneasy as I presume you have, news of this kind generaly drops from one person to another, Five weeks she has been confined to her Chamber with an inflammatory rheumatism and intermitting fever both combined together, one alone would have been quite enugh to contend with But where there is a complication of disorders, it makes them the more difficult to throw off, Wee are in great hopes that she is much better after haveing blisters applied and going through the various opperation's which a sick person has to undergoe, Wee think her greatly mended for the better, so much so that she begins to talk of giting in readiness to set out for Braintree the last of April,—
Wee have been whondering what is the reason their is not any letters from Braintree I heard my Aunt say it was a great while since she had heard from you, I hope Mrs Norton injoys her health very well, good health is an injoyment which we do not know how to prize untill we feel the want of it, give me leave to congratulate you upon the Birth of a nother grandson, little Richard I suppose begins to be very Talkative and amuseing to you, In a very short time wee { 271 } are to loose Mrs Smith she with the family saile for England in a few days, and all of us very loth to part with her,
Please to present my Respects to my Uncle, and To rejoice in the recovery of his health Please to offer my Love to my Cousins,—
And believe me to be with the / most profound Respect and esteem / your affectionate Niece
[signed] Louisa Smith
RC (MWA:Adams Family Letters); addressed: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Miss / Louisa Smith, Pha: / Mar: 18. 1792.”

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0152

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
DateRange: 1792-03-20 - 1792-03-21

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I have obliged Louissa, much against her judgment, to give me a pen Ink and paper, that I might mak an effort however feeble to write a few lines to my dear sister Tis now the sixth week since I have been out of the door of this Chamber, or moved in a larger circle than from my Bed to the chair I was taken six weeks ago very ill with an Inflamitory Rhumatism and tho it did not totally deprive me of the use of my Limbs, it swelld and inflamed them to a high degree, and the distress I sufferd in my Head was almost intolerable. 3 Times was I let Blood, the state of which was like a person in a high Plurisy. I am now lame in my wrists from the 8th pr of Blisters which I have had. a week after the Rhumatism attackd me the intermitting fever set in, and under that I am still Laboring. it was necessary to quell the inflamitory disease first, & Bark could not be administerd for that. I am now reduced low enough to drive away the Rhumatism, but the old Enemy yet keeps possession. the dr promisses me the Bark in a few days, but my dear sister you would scarcly know me reduced as I am. I have scarcly any flesh left in comparison of what I was, but blessed be God my Life is spaired and I am really mending, tho it must be slowly whilst this fever which daily visits me remains. in the midst of my Illness my dear mrs smith was obliged to leave me distress enough poor Girl, she then expected to have saild in 8 days but they have since determind to go in a merchant ship which is to sail this week. but tho absent from you my dear sister & deprived of the Tender care of my only daughter, I have not been without my comforts. Louissa has been a watchfull and attentive Nurse. Mrs Brisler has happily recoverd her Health and has been a comfort to me, but I have found in my old { 272 } Friend mrs dalton a Friend indeed, and in my good mrs otis & kind cousin Betsy all that I could wish or desire. one or other of them have been constantly with me, watching by Night & tending me by day as you my dear sister would have done. I have experiencd from all my acquaintance the kindest solisitude for me, & tho so long a sickness have always had more watchers to offer than I have had occasion to accept. I have had a most tedious cough through my disorder which has not yet left me. my weak state call upon me to quit the pen & lay me down. if well enough tomorrow I will take it up again
Wednesday 21.
I am much to day as yesterday, had a tolerable Night, find rather more agitation upon my Nerves. received a Letter from mrs smith who was to have saild this day, but is prevented by the cols being taken sick with his old Billious complaint so as to be obliged to be Bled and Blisterd; I am not a little anxious for him.1 how soon may our fairest prospects be leveld with the dust and shew us that Man in his best estate is but vanity and dust?2
I am almost too weak to think of any arrangments for a journey, but as soon as I am able to travel I shall Set out for Braintree. if congress are not up, mr Adams will ask leave of absence. as I have not yet been out of my chamber, the middle of April is as soon as I can expect if I mend ever so fast, but that will soon be here. there is a little painting I wish I could get done to the House before I come, I mean the stairs and the Entry below & the china closset & the kitchen floor. I wish you would consult the dr & have it done if you can. mrs Black has her small Room painted as I should like the Entry and closset. I hope my wood is ready which I engaged to have got in the winter. if I had been well I should have written to the dr respecting Several things, but I am little capable of Buisness & mr Adamss whole time is taken up with the publick Buisness. I wish you to ask the dr if he does not think I had better have a Barrel of Brown sugar bought provided it can be had good. Sugars will rise. oats I suppose it will be time enough to think of, yet if they are reasonable I wish the dr to secure us a hundred Bushel. I thank you my dear sister for all the kind care you have taken for me. I still continue to be troublesome to you. my Love to my Neices & all other Friends. I find myself too feeble to continue writing. Cealia is well much concernd for her Child. adieu God Grant us a happy meeting prays your ever / affectionate sister
[signed] A Adams
{ 273 }
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A: Adams (Pha:) / Mar 20. 1793.”
1. Not found.
2. “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecclesiastes, 3:19–20).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0153

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
DateRange: 1792-03-25 - 1792-03-29

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I received your kind Letter of march eleventh yesterday.1 I wrote to you last week which was the first time I had been permitted to use my pen, or indeed was able too, for six weeks. I have not yet been out of my chamber. the weather has been very unfavourable this Month. I was to have tried the carriage to day but the weather is against me. I am so feeble & faint, if I move that I do not think I could get down stairs without being carried. yet I grow impatient of confinement, and long to be well enough to set out on my journey. I fear I shall not have strength for it so soon as I wish, I would leave here the middle of April if I could.
you was so good as to make provision for me last year by procuring me those things which you thought necessary such as Loaf & Brown sugar Tea coffe meal &c as to Brown sugar I hope the dr will procure me a Barrel. I shall not have so many articles to provide as when I went last year in the furniture way, yet I did not arrive at a frying pan, or gridIron I think. I dont know whether I wrote the dr to procure me candles, if I did not you will speak to him
March 29th
Bad weather yet no riding out for which I am impatient. I yesterday received a Letter from mrs smith 24th she writes me that the col was better & that they expected to sail the first fair wind.2 I have not learnt that they are yet gone indeed my dear sister it is very hard to part with my only daughter. it has depressd my spirits very much through my sickness, but we must all have our trials, some of one kind & some of an other as to Politicks, they begin to grow pretty warm. there are Honestus in congress as well as in Boston, there are Grumblers and antifeadelist, but very few from the North. the old dominion is in a Rage, because they could not carry the point of getting more than there share of Representation in the Government all the attacks upon the Secretary of the Treasury and upon the { 274 } Goverment come from that Quarter, but I think whilst the people prosper, and feel themselves happy they cannot be blown up. I most sincerely wish a stop could be put to the Rage of speculation, yet I think it is an Evil that will cure itself in Time. tis very curious, just before the News arrived of Sinclairs defeat, mr Gerry made a motion for an Equesterian Statue to be Erected to the President, agreeable to a former vote of congress— now the coin is not permitted to wear the stamp of the President because it would savor too much of Royalty.3 so inconsistant are Men—and the same Men— but I feel that I must close. presenting my affectionate Regards to you & yours I am most Sincerely / Your affectionate / Sister
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A Adams (Pha:) / Mar 25th. 1792.”
1. Not found.
2. AA2 to AA, 27 March, below.
3. On 6 Dec. 1791, Elbridge Gerry was named to a committee to consider the creation of an equestrian statue of George Washington, pursuant to an act of Congress of 7 Aug. 1783, but no further action was taken on it and the statue was not built at this time. The House of Representatives, in discussing the establishment of the mint, debated on 24 March 1792 striking out language from the Senate version of the bill that would have designed coins featuring an image of the president of the United States. Instead, the House voted to recommend an impression “Emblematic of Liberty” (Annals of Congress, 2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 228, 483–485).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0154

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-03-27

Abigail Adams Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] my Dear Mamma

I this day received your Letter of the 23d inst and was rejoiced once more to see your own hand writing—1 I have for some time feared that you were more indisposed than you would permit me to be informed of, I have suffered much anxiety on your account— inded my hands head and heart have been fully employed since I left you the former in preparing for my voyage and the latter by the indisposition of my best Friend— I have already written you an account of his health. we flatter ourselvs that he is recovering—but my fears at times overcomes my resolution— I am more and more convinced of the propriety of accompanying him he is I beleive more convinced than ever he was before of the necessity of attention to his diett— he has never since I knew him had so severe an attack—Mr Bailie says that the voyage will be of service to his health—and I hope it will—yet an anxious sollicitude for his wellfare must occupy my mind—and agitate my spirits—2
{ 275 }
the Ship has been waiting for us a week and we have been detained by contrary winds since sunday which has been a most fortunate circumstance to us. the Blister which I mentioned to you has almost healed and my friend has recovered his strength— I have been on board this afternoon and have had our Beds arranged the accommodations are very tolerable much like those which you had in Callihams Ship—3 the season is favourable and I will not anticipate evill consequences
I am happy to inform you that my friend has not been injured by this derangement of Mr Duers affairs—and it is almost a miracle that he was not— altho he had more confidence in Mr Duer than some other Persons yet he has been extremely cautious of committing his property to any one without receiving sufficient security—which has not consisted in any Mans name but the public paper and so long as that holds good he is secure— this I am sure will be a sattisfaction to you to be informed of but almost this whole City are some way or other connected in this Business— many Persons having endorsed his Notes from their relyance upon his stability who have received no equivalent have become responsible for many Thousands beyond their own ability— there must be knavery somewhare Charles has written to his Father his sentiments in full, how they will be received I dont know—4 he is I must say very attentive to his office and Mr Troup has full employment for him—5 I have done my duty and have made up my mind to say no more upon the Subject let what will happen— I have indeavourd to persuade Sally to go with us—and She had consented, but her Mamma would not give her consent because she would not go free and unbiassed in her mind— there is a strange jumble; in a variety of oppinions there is much perplexity— they are both equally obstinate, but he is to bear the blame;— but the radical fault is in treating him, or any other Gentleman with too much attention—without intending it should make an impression—and whare there does exist reasons to the contrary—6
I hope as the spring opens that you my Dear Mamma will recover your health— do not attempt to stay longer in Philadelphia than the roads will admit of your going Eastward— I shall be very anxious to hear of your health by every Packett— Mr Hammond will I dare say with pleasure inclose your letters— you know how painfull it is to be seperated from friends anxious to hear from them and disappointed in Letters.—
I scarce know how to close my Letter so many and various { 276 } feelings operate upon my mind may you my Dear Mamma be restored to health is the sincere Prayer of / your Daughter
[signed] A Smith—
my respects to my Pappa and Love elsewhere—
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mrs Smith to / her Mother / March 27th 1792.”
1. Not found.
2. Possibly Dr. Richard Bayley (1745–1801), a prominent New York physician who was professor of anatomy and later surgery at Columbia College (DAB).
3. For AA's Diary account of her voyage on John Callahan's ship Lucretia, sailing home from England in 1788, see JA, D&A, 3:212–217.
4. CA's letter to JA has not been found. William Duer had been involved in land and bank stock speculation on a massive scale for several years, dating back to his time as secretary to the Board of Treasury in the mid-1780s. When the federal government finally brought suit against him for two unbalanced accounts, his financial empire collapsed and he was sent on 23 March 1792 to debtors’ prison, where he remained, excepting a brief release, until his death in 1799. Duer's failure triggered a major financial panic in New York City as the speculative bubble burst and other financiers were driven into insolvency and bankruptcy. The collapse ultimately affected all levels of New York society (DAB; Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 298–299). For WSS's involvement in speculation, see AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 12 Dec. 1790, and note 2, above.
5. Robert Troup (1757–1832), King's College 1774, studied law with John Jay among others. He had previously served in the Continental Army and as secretary to the Board of War, and was a close political ally and friend of Alexander Hamilton (DAB).
6. This is apparently the first reference to a growing affection between CA and Sarah (Sally) Smith, AA2's sister-in-law (designated as SSA in The Adams Papers). The couple would eventually marry in 1795. For a 1785 description of her by JQA, see vol. 6:242.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0155

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-04-08

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Sister

I last Week receiv'd your Letter of the 20th & 21d of March with cousin Louisias giving me an account of your sickness If I had receiv'd hers first I should have been distress'd indeed. but I had not a hint of your Illness till I receiv'd those Letters When you wrote before you told me you felt an attack of your intermiting Fever I have been anxious ever since. I dare not indulge my fears I must always hope the best & endeavour to be prepair'd for the worst—& thank Heaven I am not yet call'd to this severe trial— I rejoice you have had such kind Friends about you—& that you have not wanted any alleviation that the comforts of Life could afford you— The world are much mistaken if they think you do not have your trials as well as others. but those in the lower walks of like are apt think the affluent must be happy
I hope before this your Fever has left you & that the next letter will bring me tydings of your restor'd health & that you are upon your journey to your quiet Habitation at Quincy
{ 277 }
I went yesterday to Weymouth to consult the Doctor about what you wish to have done to your House & suppose it will be began next week to be painted— mr Prat will have the windows ready this week— mr Loud is remov'd to the eastward— I hope every thing will be done before you arrive— your wood is in the yard the Pine split up & put into the woodhouse— The Doctor Says he will look out for some sugar— If there is any thing you wish us to get into the House for you prey let us know it—
Lucy is return'd but mrs Norton is not well is troubled with a bad sore mouth & several other complaints—but her Baby grows finely & is as quiet as a Lamb—
I hear Coll: Smith has Sail'd so conclude his sickness was short but I pity Mrs Smith She must have an anxious Voyage
We have an amaizing forward spring—such an one was scarcly ever known here the verdure is delightful already—
Cousin Thomas is well I hope do not leave him to sicken in Philidelphia— William is well but poor Billy Shaw is not better—
I had a Letter from Sister Shaw the same eve I had yours—1 She is full of trouble about her Son I really felt as if I had a cluster of woes presented me at once but when I consider'd I found they were greatly overballanc'd by mercies— may I never lose sight of them.
We are going wrong in our Politicks Doctor Tufts is like to be left out of the Senate there is a party who can never have their wishes granted while such men as he are in2
I am greatly oblig'd to my dear Louisia for her Letter but I have not time to answer it pray give my Love to her & my belov'd Thomas
May your health be restor'd & nothing happen to dissapoint the fondest hopes of your / affectionate Sister
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Richard Cranch: “To / Mrs. Abigail Adams / at / Philadelphia.”
1. Not found.
2. Cotton Tufts was not returned to the Mass. senate in the 1792 elections; he had served since 1781 (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1792–1793, p. 139; Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 12:497).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0156

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1792-04-20

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My dear sister

I have just received your kind Letter as I was about to write to you to inform you that we proposed Sitting out on our journey on monday or twesday next. the weather has been so rainy that I have not been able to ride So often as I wishd in order to prepare myself { 278 } for my journey, and how I shall stand it, I know not. this everlasting fever still hangs about me & prevents my intire recovery. a critical period of Life Augments my complaints I am far from Health, tho much better than when I wrote you last. I see not any company but those who visit me in my chamber nor have I once been out of my carriage, but to see my Friend mrs dalton who was sick before I got well, tho not till I was so much better as to do without her kind care. cousin Betsy smith has been with me for the greatest part of the Time the last Month, and a good child She is, tender and affectionate as her good Mother was. I thank you for your care about my things. we have sent last week to Boston by the Brigg Isabella a number of Boxes & Barrels. they are addrest to the care of J Q A. but I wish you to ask the dr to be so kind as to see that a carefull Team brings them to Braintree, & that Hay or straw is put into the cart, or the things will get Broken. the Bill of laiding was inclosed to mr Adams. I shall send by the Brig Maria my Trunk of cloaths &c she is now here.1 I am glad to hear that Spring is forward as I hope to find the Roads good in concequence of it, but I always fear for the fruit. if the things you mention could be accomplishd before we arrive, it would be a great relief to me— I am grieved for my dear sister shaw, tho I have not been able to write and tell her so, for I was seazd with an inflamation in one of my Eyes when I was first taken sick which has not yet left me. I could not bear a light in the Room, nor even the fire to Blaize. it is much better—but writing reading or sewing are all painfull to me mr Adams has not had any return of his Ague but lives in continual apprehension. Thomas is thin & pale but does not complain. we must leave him on account of his studies yet it will be with apprehensions that I shall hear of his being sick— I do not particuliarly recollect any thing I want, you know as well I & better for you provided for me before. if you go to Boston I should like to have a pr of Brass Andirons at about 8 dollors price, Tongues & shovel proper for my best Room but you need take no extra trouble for them. you will be So good as to have the Beds aird &c if Bety is in Braintree She may be engaged for to stay if you think best till Cealia gets Home I shall send her by the vessel now here. I am not so perfectly easy on account of travelling Home as I should have been with Robert when he was sober, but he really got to such a pass that I have been obliged to part with him & have taken one who has not driven me more than once or twice, but I hope we shall reach Home safe— Terrible is the distress in Nyork, from the failure of many of the richest people there, and from the { 279 } Spirit of Speculation which has prevaild & brought to Ruin many industerous Families who lent their Money in hopes of gain— I was mortified to See our worthy Friend stand so low on the list of senators who I had been accustomed to see stand foremost, but such is the Instability of the people. popular Leaders catch their ear and they are credulous to their own injury— in the House of Representives of the U. states matters are not going better. the Southern Members are determined if possible to Ruin the Secretary of the Treasury, distroy all his well built systems, if possible and give a Fatal stab to the funding system. in senate they have harmonized well, no unbecomeing heats or animosity. the Members are however weary & long for a recess one after an other are droping off, which gives weight to the opposite side. Many of the southern Members have written long speaches & had them printed, which has had more influence than our Nothern Friends are aware of who depending upon the goodness of their cause, have been inattentive to such methods to influence the populace.2 the V President, they have permitted to sleep in peace this winter, whilst the minister at war, & the Secretary of the Treasury have been their Game the Secretary of state & even the President has not escaped. I firmly believe if I live Ten years longer, I shall see a devision of the Southern & Northern states, unless more candour & less intrigue, of which I have no hopes, should prevail Should a War or any dire calamity assail us, then they would Hugg us, but politicks avaunt— my dear mrs smith has been a Month gone. it pains me to the Heart, but who of us can say, that we have not our troubles? our portion of happiness is no doubt equal to our deserts—
adieu my dear sister I hope to see you in a few weeks Remember me affectionatly to all our Friends / and believe me as ever yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed: “To / Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree / or Quincy”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs. / A Adams (Pha:) / Ap: 20th. 1792.”
1. The schooner Isabella, Capt. Abijah Luce, and the brig Maria, Capt. Isaac Pepper, had reached Boston and returned to Philadelphia by mid-May (Boston Columbian Centinel, 25 Feb., 17 March; Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 21, 31 May).
2. During the House debate over the public debt and Alexander Hamilton's funding program on 30 March, several members gave lengthy speeches opposing the plan, including John Francis Mercer of Maryland, Abraham Baldwin of Georgia, Jeremiah Smith of New Hampshire, and William Findley of Pennsylvania. All were later reprinted in the newspapers (Annals of Congress, 2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 498–527; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 31 March, 2, 5, 10 April).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0157

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-04-22

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mamma

The pamphlet you have been so kind as to send me has met with much approbation here.1 The boldness of the diction receives accumulated vigor from the too serious truths which it conveys. I think however something better might have been written upon those subjects. There is most certainly too much local partiality in the administration of our Government. People in this part of the world begin to see these things. They lament that Hamilton is so surrounded by enemies, and so greatly checked in a career which they conceive to be glorious to this Country. They view the Indian war as a measure ruinous to our Credit, as a squander of blood and treasure, which might be saved by a comparatively small tribute; Nor will they easily give way to the argument that it is degrading to give tribute to Savages. Are not say they some of the greatest Sovereigns in Europe tributary to a nest of pirates? Would it not be infinitely more to our advantage, and a saving of treasure to purchase peace? Most certainly it would. And they look forward to another defeat as a vital stab to the credit of their Country The foreign appointments, they detest, and begin to suspect that the Minister of State has rather too much influence with the executive.2 These are things talked of with us. I hope I am not guilty of treason in mentioning them.
There is at this moment a seene of distress exhibited in this City which forms a horrid contrast to its former prosperity. This City which six weeks since was considered as the most florishing and the richest in America is now oppressed with misfortunes which create a general despondency The causes which have led to this you must have had detailed to you. The eagerness with which every individual who had property engaged in speculation The anxious desire of the widow and the Orphan to increa[se] their pittance by letting out their m[oney] at two three and four per Cent per m[onth?] The credit which Duer had acquired and the vast sums of money which he had drawn from the inhabitants His inability to fulfil his engagements and the consequent ruin of thousands begins this seene. An attempt to engross the 6 pr Cent debt of the United States by a company of Whom it is supposed McComb was the principal the great fall in the market the failure in their engagements their extensive connection with all the greatest speculators has created a { 281 } universal bankruptcy There is not now a rich man in this City They were all engaged and they have all fallen The confidence between man and man is destroyed and every thing puts on the look of languor. We have for this week past been in great danger of a mob The people are exceedingly exasperated they wish to draw Duer and McComb from the goal to which they have fled for safety and to proceed with them to the last extremities They are now growing more cool and by proper management I think they will be pacified.3 The Baron requested me to offer you his house when you came to town but I dare not do it4 He is the best man in the world I sincerely beleive. I shall see Mrs Loring tomorrow and will write to you where I have procured lodgings5 As I heard Congress would not adjourn till the middle of May I supposed I should [have] time. Be so kind as to present my resp[ects] to my father I fear this letter looks too m[uch] like treason to be shown to him. You may however use your discretion
Beleive me my dear Mamma your ever affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams. / Philadelphia”; docketed: “Charles Adams / to / his Mother / April 22nd 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. In late Dec. 1791, George Washington had arranged for the appointment of Thomas Pinckney as minister to the Court of St. James, Gouverneur Morris as minister to France, and William Short as minister to the Netherlands. Contrary to CA's comments, Thomas Jefferson actually preferred Pinckney or Short for France because of Morris’ opposition to the French Revolution, but he was overruled by Washington (Jefferson, Papers, 22:262). See also WSS to JA, 21 Oct., above.
3. Alexander Macomb (1748–1831), a wealthy New York financier, was heavily involved in land speculation. He fronted a syndicate that had purchased from the New York State government—at greatly discounted rates, largely on credit—some 3.6 million acres of public land. Macomb was also a close associate of William Duer, with whom he engaged in bank stock speculation. When Duer's financial empire collapsed, Macomb's failed as well, and he too ended up in debtors’ prison, at which time his land dealings became public knowledge. On 10 April 1792, a mob of 400 or 500 people threw stones at the jail where Duer was held, breaking windows and lamps before dispersing. A week later, “a number of people collected before the gaol and seemed to be in great earnest about taking Mr. D——r, and using him in the genteelest manner circumstances would admit of. It occasioned a vast deal of clamor and commotion among the multitude, which after some time became very numerous.” This group was dispersed without major incident (Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 237, 239–242, 298–299; New York Diary, 20 April).
4. Baron von Steuben had a home at 32 Broadway in New York (New-York Directory, 1792, Evans, No. 24281).
5. Probably Mary Loring (ca. 1735–1816), who ran a boardinghouse at the foot of Broadway (New-York Directory, 1795, Evans, No. 28598; New York Commercial Advertiser, 1 Feb. 1816).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0158

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1792-04-29

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] my dear sister

I left Philadelphia on twesday Noon the 24 of April. my first stage was only twenty miles. I bore it better than I expected. the next day rode only 18. Rain came on & the Roads were Miry indeed. we did not get to this place till fryday Evening. here I find a vacancy which cannot be supplied, tho all my Friends are good & kind. the first being who welcomed me to the House, and met me at the door, was Billys little favorite dog who came skipping & hopping upon me. my feelings were awakned almost to Tears— Mrs smith I should have said moved into the Cols House when he went away N york is in great distress. many of my particulars acquaintanc whose affluence was great & well founded when I lived here, and even when I passt through last winter, are now in Ruinous circumstances, thousands worse than nothing. Such is the wheel of fortune—
we propose setting out tomorrow but shall not reach Braintree (Quincy I beg your pardon) till next week. I will endeavour to write you what day when we get into Massachuseets, not perhaps till wednesday week. my Health is better than when I set out, but the Weather is very Rainy, & I dare not travell in bad weather. my best Regards to you all
adieu yours affectionatly
[signed] A Adams
RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters); addressed by CA: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Braintree”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “Letter from Mrs / A: Adams (N:Y.) / Apl. 29. 1792.”

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0159

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-05-07

Abigail Adams Smith to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Pappa—

the Letter which I had the pleasure to receive from you before I left New York I had not time to answer,1 I have now the pleasure to inform you of our safety after a Short but boisterous passage of 29 days and only 12 days from the Banks of Newfoundland to soundings in the English Channell, we were all very sick during the voyage but are now pretty well recovered and I hope to be able to proceed to London in a few days, I shall be very anxious untill I receive Letters from you and my good Mother I hope to hear that you are both recovering your health and that the ensueing season with air and exercise will establish to you both that invalueable Blessing—
{ 283 }
you will I suppose ere this reaches you, have heard that the French have declared War against the Austrians that there has been an engagement at Tournay and that the French have been defeated with the loss of Six hundred Men—. the report is that the French army was at Breakfast in a Wood at Tournay and that the Austrians were concealed in this Wood fell upon the French and Cut them to peices. that General Dillon retreated with what Troops remained to Lyle where the People having an idea that he had intentionally sacrifised the Troops, hung him and quartered him— there are great Numbers of the French coming over daily, from Calais— many of them remain in this Country but more of them go from hence to Astend which being a free Port they perhaps feel themselvs secure—2
Mr Paine has been writing a second part of the rights of Man— and his Book has been stiled in the House of Commons an Infamous Libell upon the Constitution I will indeavour to send you the debates and the reviews of his Book the latter are rather civil to him—but perhaps the article was written by himself or his friends,3 you will see by the papers that there is a party in the House aiming at a parliamentary reform which in the sequel will I fear produce confusion if not civil War— Mr Grey has made known to the House that early in the next seshions he shall bring forward a motion for a reform he is supported by Mr Fox Mr Smith and others in the House and by Mr Hollis Dr Kippis and a Number of others out of it—who have signed an association and hold meetings for the purpose—4
Mr G—— Morris was here on his way to Paris the last week— he has been some time in London—and does not appear to be so much gratified with his appointment as his friends I beleive expected. I did not see him myself— he told Colln Smith that he was very glad they had not appointed him to this Court for he did not know a person they could have named who would have been so obnoxious as himself, he did not know how he should be received by the French Court for he had told them very candidly that they were going very fast to destruction—and now he should be obliged to hold his Tongue5
he says there is a party who are exerting themselvs to get rid of the Marquis La Fayette and he expects that they will succeed6
Colln Smiths business obliged him to go to London for a few days and as my situation would not permit me to take the journey so soon. he left me on Saturday I expect him in a few days when I hope to be able to proceed, { 284 } my Chrildren desire to be pemembered to you with affection I hope to hear frequently from you it will ever confer pleasure upon your affectionate Child
[signed] A Smith—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President / of the United States / Braintree / Massachusetts—”; endorsed: “Mrs. Smith. / Dover May. 7. 1792.”
1. JA to AA2, 10 March, above.
2. France declared war on the Austrian empire, ruled by newly installed emperor Francis II, nephew to Marie Antoinette, on 20 April. The first major engagement of the war took place near Tournai, Belgium, and was a disastrous defeat for the French. A force of 5,000 men led by Gen. Théobald Dillon came under artillery fire before even reaching the town, leading to a panicked retreat. Dillon, sheltering himself in a peasant's home, was mistaken for a spy and taken to Lille, where a mob of soldiers and townspeople bayoneted him to death. The mob then hanged his corpse and paraded a severed leg around the town before finally burning the body (Schama, Citizens, p. 589–597, 599–600).
3. Thomas Paine's Rights of Man, Part II, received reviews in the March issues of both the London Monthly Review, p. 317–324, and Critical Review, p. 297–305. On 30 April in the House of Commons, William Pitt referred obliquely to “opinions published . . . that were libels on the form of our government”; in reply, Charles James Fox disputed the characterization, mentioning Paine by name and arguing that Paine's works were not “any great danger” to the well-being of the British government (Parliamentary Hist., 29:1312, 1314–1315). See also Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 6, above.
4. Charles Grey, later 2d Earl Grey (1764–1845), member of Parliament for Northumberland, had announced on 30 April that he planned to introduce a petition to Parliament from the “Society of the Friends of the People” advocating constitutional reform. He did so in 1793 but failed to move it into committee. Grey was a close lieutenant of Charles James Fox. Other supporters of Grey's work included Rev. Andrew Kippis and William Smith, M.P. for Camelford, both of whom the Adamses had known in England (DNB; Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:476–477; vol. 7:27, 156).
5. George Washington named Gouverneur Morris as the American minister plenipotentiary to France in early 1792. Morris, who had lived as a private citizen in Paris since 1789, had previously spoken out in favor of a constitutional monarchy and in defense of Louis XVI, even helping to plot his escape attempt from Paris. In 1790–1791, he undertook an unsuccessful special mission to London to resolve lingering disputes over debts and commercial rights from the 1783 Treaty of Paris (DAB).
6. In Dec. 1791, Louis XVI, with the approval of the Legislative Assembly, had appointed the Marquis de Lafayette to command a portion of the French Army in the impending war against Austria. Lafayette, who continued to support a constitutional monarchy, became increasingly unpopular with more-radical groups in the Revolution, especially the Jacobins, who believed—without any evidence—that he was working with Louis XVI to subvert the Revolution by aiding the Austrians (Olivier Bernier, Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds, N.Y., 1983, p. 235–237).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0160

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-05-13

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

Those Letters which I was directed to Copy and deliver to Mr. Cary for insertion in his “Museum”, were prepared in season for last month; when I took them to Cary, he wished me to explain the occasion upon which they were written.1 I told him that the Gentleman to whom one of the letters is addressed, (Mr. M. Weems), had { 285 } { 286 } applied in England for Orders, as an Episcopalian Bishop, but that the law required every person before he could receive orders, to take the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown,— That as Mr. Weems was an American, the design of his application would be frustrated, by a complyance with this law, so far as regarded taking the Oath,— And that because he had little hope of obtaining his object without a Compliance—he applied to you, by letter, in Holland, desiring your intercession on his behalf, with the Ministers from different Courts, where he might possibly succeed with less difficulty, than in England. That in consequence of this, you applied to Comte Reventlaw, (The Gentleman by whom the other letter was written); and that it was an answer to your's, addressed to Comte Reventlaw upon the subject of Mr. Weems's application. I am not certain that this explanation was right, or if it was, that it is sufficient However if it should be both right & sufficient, it was not satisfactory to Cary. He said it would be necessary to “Head” them with a short explanation, of their intent; as well as the occasion upon which they were written. I could tell him no more than I had done; therefore I must request you Sir, to explain the subject to me, that I may satisfy Mr. Cary, (if such a thing is possible). Monsieur Le Comte Reventlaw mentions a resolution of Congress transmitted by you to him; whether it related to this subject, I am ignorant. I can find nothing of the kind in the Journals of Congress, of the 21 March 1785 to which he refers.2
I hope to afford you an half hou[r's] amusement, in perusing the enclosed Pamphlett. It appeared a day or two since, and by those who have seen it, is thought to be well adapted to the purpose intended; which was to ridicule the too prevalent & fashionable doctrines of “Liberality.” The 27 Article of the Confession of faith, is said to be the foundation of all the rest; these principles, if they may be called such, are openly avowed by those who profess to be deeply interested in the Politicks of France; and I believe it impossible to adopt the political, without avowing the religious opinions, of those Societies in France, which as Mr. Burke says, “are termed Philosophical.” I have heard it suggested, that the Secy. of S—— would subscribe cheerfully to all the Articles of the Creed; and that his name would not be an improper substitute, for “A liberal man.”3 It surely can't be treason in me, to relate what I have heard. The Letter is addressed to the young man, who advertized in the Newspapers a few weeks since, “that he proposed, preaching a number of discourses against, the divinity of Jesus Christ.” His name is Palmer.4
I am Sir / your dutiful Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
{ 287 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Braintree.”; endorsed: “Th. B. Adams / May. 13. 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Mathew Carey (1760–1839), an Irish printer, had emigrated to Philadelphia from Dublin in 1784. He began publishing the American Museum in 1786 (DAB).
2. Mason Weems (1759–1825) of Maryland traveled to England in the early 1780s to complete his divinity training. His ordination there was hindered, however, by the oath of allegiance to the British Crown required of all Anglican priests. In late Feb. 1784, Weems wrote to JA inquiring whether Weems might be ordained in another European country, specifically Sweden, Germany, or the Netherlands. JA consulted with the Danish minister to The Hague, Armand de Saint Saphorin (not the Comte de Reventlow, as TBA suggests), who supplied JA with a ruling that Americans could indeed be ordained in the Danish church, which JA in turn conveyed to Weems. In the end, Parliament lifted the requirement for the oath of allegiance in August, and Weems was ordained in the Anglican church the following month.
JA also submitted a copy of the Danish ruling to Congress. On 21 March 1785, Congress resolved to instruct JA to communicate to Saint Saphorin “the high sense the United States in Congress Assembled entertain of the liberal decision made by his Majesty on the question proposed to his Majesty's Minister at the Hague . . . respecting the Ordination of American Candidates for holy Orders in the episcopal Church.” (TBA would not have found record of this resolution in the then-published Journals of Congress as it was entered into the Secret Journal, Foreign Affairs.) JA did so in a letter of 30 July to Frederick, Comte de Reventlow, Danish minister to Great Britain, as Saint Saphorin had since left his position at The Hague. Comte de Reventlow's reply of 22 Aug. was presumably the second letter TBA sought to have published. Neither item appeared in the American Museum in 1792 (DAB; Weems to JA, [ca. 27 Feb. 1784], Adams Papers; JA to Weems, 22 April, LbC, APM Reel 107; JA, Works, 8:197–198; JCC, 28:187; JA to Reventlow, 30 July 1785, LbC, APM Reel 111; Reventlow to JA, 22 Aug., Adams Papers).
3. Eliphaz Liberalissimus, A Letter to the Preacher of Liberal Sentiments, Phila., 1792, Evans, No. 24365. The pamphlet was written, possibly by Rev. Ashbel Green, in response to comments made by Elihu Palmer, for whom see note 4. Its “A Liberal Man's Confession of Faith” includes such statements as “I believe there is only one thing in religion essential; and that is to believe that nothing is essential” and “I believe every man should do just as he pleases.”
4. Elihu Palmer (1764–1806), Dartmouth 1787, initially served as a Presbyterian minister before becoming a Universalist and later a deist. He advertised in mid-March 1792 a “Discourse . . . against the divinity of Jesus Christ” to be given at the Long Room in Church Alley but was shortly thereafter barred from doing so. According to Palmer, “the Gentleman from whom he engaged the house, has taken an alarm at the novelty of the sentiment, and fearing a temporal injury, has forbid his entrance into the house.” Palmer further observed that “the law of opinion, and the internal spirit of persecution, bear hard upon the rights of conscience.” Palmer was eventually forced to leave Philadelphia but continued to preach and publish on deism (DAB; Philadelphia National Gazette, 15 March; Philadelphia General Advertiser, 17 March).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0161

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-05-14

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Mama

I received your kind letter of the 6th: this Evening, and feel happy that you advanced so far on your Journey, without receiving any injury.1 I was somewhat anxious for your health, but the favorable account you give, has relieved me in a measure from the { 288 } apprehension. I hope you may enjoy it much more this Summer than the last. The directions left with me respecting Mr: Harrison, are rendered of no consequence, by his declining in a very polite manner the kind offer you made him & lady.2 He waited on me, and resquested that I would assure you how much he felt himself obliged; but that after reflecting upon the affair, he thought it most prudent to decline, as he expected very shortly to procure a “little Box” for him & Mrs. Harrison, and that the time he would be able to stay in the House, would hardly compensate for the trouble of removing. I confess to you, that I was not grieved at this answer—for tho I had rather have had them in the House than any body I know, yet I had found a Bachelors life so little irksome, that I had no inclination to change my situation. How long this will last I can't say; for my own sake, I hope during your whole absence. I find very little alteration with respect to the sociability of my meals; for you may recollect that we never were remarkably talkative An half dozen of insipid Newspapers, which the Printers still continue to send, generally fill up the intervals at Breakfast; and at dinner a Magazine, Museum, or Bolinbrook, make a substitute for companions.
I had thought of my duty to Madam Washington, and accordingly fulfill'd it on Friday Evening— She was very well, and enquired particularly if I had heared from you and how your health continued. Mrs. Dalton too, enquired—besides many others. You will pardon this small talk in me—I have nothing better at present. Miss B Smith had the civility to invite me to her wedding, through the medium of her Father; on thursday Evening; Her Bride maids were Miss A Hamilton, Miss Mead & Miss Keppele. The Bride Grooms attendants were Mr. Cutting, Mr. J Trumbull and Mr. Welsh; I don't know in what particular capacity I had the honor to Act, but as I was the only Gentleman, out of office, I thought myself highly honored.3 The Ceremony was conducted with great decency & much propriety;— the Church service performed by Bishop White, was new to me; and except that part of it, in which the Lady says “I take thee Samuel” or whatever the name is, Miss S—— performed extreemely well.4 She was dressed neat & simply—much frightened at first; but soon composed. Cutting made us very happy at a very handsome supper, and the Evening was spent in mirth and gayety. All formality and restraint seemed to be out of the question, especially as Mr. C. appeared perfectly in his element. On Saturday morning they sat out for NE—where you will probably see them in a { 289 } short time.— Mrs: Dalton & Mrs. Otis direct me to remember them particularly to you; in doing which I subscribe your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A Adams”; endorsed: “T. B. A. May 14. 1792 / Philadelphia.”
1. Not found.
2. Probably George Harrison (1762–1845), son of former Philadelphia mayor Henry Harrison and a business associate of Robert Morris, who had recently married Sophia Francis (1769–1851), daughter of Anne Willing and Tench Francis (JA, Papers, 11:388; Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania, Phila., 1883, p. 106).
3. Rebecca (Becky) Smith (1772–1837), daughter of the Episcopal priest Rev. William Smith, married Samuel Blodget Jr. (1755–1814) of Boston on 10 May. Another account of the wedding noted that the bride “was dressed in a sprig'd muslin chemise, and wore a bonnet with a curtain. The young ladies, her bridesmaids, had also on chemises, but their hats ornamented. . . . There was a monstrous company—forty-seven people—at supper. That was perfectly elegant in every respect, and not even a whisper or joke that could have raised a blush in a vestal” (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 12 May; Horace Wemyss Smith, Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith, D.D., 2 vols., Phila., 1879–1880, 2:350, 514–519, 542; DAB, entry on William Smith).
4. Bishop William White (1748–1836) of Philadelphia served as the first Episcopal bishop for the diocese of Pennsylvania. He had dined with the Adamses in London in 1787 while there to be consecrated (DAB; vol. 7:443).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0162

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-05-27

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear M——

By one of the Newspapers I had the satisfaction to hear of your arrival at Boston, & have been anxiously enquiring for Letters at the post Office every evening.1 I wish to hear how you stand the warm weather, and the effect of your Journey. The object of this letter is more immediately for the purpose of requesting a decisive answer to the proposal made by Mr. Bache of the House he has just left, for the accomodation of our family next winter. Mr. BF— Bache called on me this day in company with Mr: Randolph, and wished me, (if I had any authority or instruction upon this affair)2 to give him an answer.—3 as, if my father had not thought of accepting the terms proposed, Mr. Randolph had expressed a wish of taking a lease of the House, if they could agree upon terms. I told him I had no instructions concerning the business, nor did I know whether my Father had made up his mind upon it; I agreed to write immediately and request an answer, which I would communicate as soon as received. His Father directed him to give you the first offer, and until he gets an answer, will not feel himself at liberty to look farther.
The terms, as mentioned by Mr. Bache are these. Rent £300,— Taxes—computed at ten or twelve pounds pr Ann. Rent to { 290 } Commence with the month of October next; possession sooner if you like. Will build Stables and require only the interest of the money expended in erecting them; & lastly shall be under no necessity to engage the House for more than six months certain—and as much longer as you please;— These are the whole—if you will enable me to give him a positive answer as soon as convenient—it will oblige him, and save me the trouble of further application
Have you seen Rights of Man, Second part? I presume however Boston is quite full of them as the first Copy was landed there.— I have hardly heard a single opinion expressed about it, since the publication of it here. This I presume is not because, opinions are not given, but because I have not been in the way of hearing them. Scarcely a line of censure or panegyrick has appeared in the papers.—4 However I neither wish for printed or oral surmises concerning palpable absurdities, and if I must express my own reflections, they are shortly these: That Thomas Paine of 1792 is much fairer game for a Publicola than in 1791.5 However, since he has undertaken to become his own Biographer—the attempt to perform this office by any other person, would be madness in the extreme. If, as he asserts, his political writings have hitherto met with a success, unexampled in those of any other, since the invention of printing to complete the climax I will add, his vanity has at least kept pace with his celebrity. His Sarcasms are addressed to the immagination of the vulgar, for whom he professedly writes; and if they should produce their intended effect; he, like his brother Apostle & Saint, Wat— Tyler—will deserve a monument in some field or Road, and the same inscription should answer for both. What that inscription will be, is yet unknown; The monuments however would answer this good and, like Buoys or Beacons they would warn us of our danger—and would say or seem to say—”Stranger pass not this way—lest thou catch the infection which is here entombed.” I will close by subscribing,
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams.”
1. The Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 16 May, reprinted a 10 May piece from Worcester noting that AA and JA “passed through this town, on his way from Congress to his seat in Braintree” on 8 May.
2. The closing parenthesis has been editorially supplied.
3. Richard Bache (1737–1811), Benjamin Franklin's son-in-law and a former postmaster general, had inherited Franklin's properties at Franklin Court off of High Street in Philadelphia in 1790. Benjamin Franklin Bache, Richard's son, who had known the Adamses in France, was living in Franklin Court at the time while publishing his newspaper the General Advertiser (DAB; James Tagg, Benjamin Franklin Bache and the Philadelphia Aurora, Phila., 1991, p. 15, 60–61; { 291 } vol. 5:459). Mr. Randolph was probably Edmund Randolph (1753–1813), who was then serving as attorney general.
4. American editions of the second part of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man had been published in Boston by T. and J. Fleet and in Philadelphia by Rice & Co. by 24 May 1792 (Boston Gazette, 21 May; Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 24 May). Except for a series of extracts in the American Daily Advertiser and the General Advertiser, no other pieces of commentary on the work had appeared in the Philadelphia newspapers by this time.
5. Publicola was the pseudonym JQA used in a series of eleven newspaper pieces in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 8 June – 27 July 1791, critiquing Paine's Rights of Man. Mistakenly attributed to JA at the time, the Publicola articles attacked Paine's uncritical support of the French Revolution and the argument “that which a whole nation chuses to do, it has a right to do.” Rather, Publicola contends, “The eternal and immutal laws of justice and of morality are paramount to all human legislation. The violation of those laws is certainly within the power, but it is not among the rights of nations” (JQA, Writings, 1:65–110).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0163

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-06-24

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mamma

I have put off writing to you from post to post in hopes of hearing from some of the family that my father and yourself were well arrived and settled at Braintree, till at last I am quite tired of going to the Post office in fruitless search of letters. I have several times written to Pappa and in part informed him of the important struggle at present existing in this State.1 I have intended to have been much more particular and to have requested his opinion of several questions which are now debating with much warmth amongst us. but I dare not give myself up too much to politicks. My examination will take place next month and I am anxious to appear to advantage at that period. I never felt so strongly the want of a conversation with him. Just about to set out in life and at a period when I find it will be impossible to remain neuter upon the various subjects which are agitating I wish him to fix principles or eradicate prejudices which I find I am imbibing My journey to Albany will lead me into some expence which cannot be avoided the fees of Court upon my admission, and a few books I could wish to purchase will call for a replenishment of my funds. I shall open an office in August as soon as I return from my examination I have not as yet fixed upon a Situation.2 My dear Brother John owes me a letter or two I could wish him if he has not imbibed too many tontine notions, to make me prompt payment. I heard from Thomas last week he was very well and writes in good spirits.3 We expect the May Packet daily, If we hear of Col Smiths arrival by her I shall immediately inform you. The Baron set out last week for Steuben quite dissappointed at the unexpected decision of the Canvassers4 He says he will go up { 292 } among his Yankees for there are no other honest people left in the world. Please to present my love and respects to all friends and beleive me my dear Mamma your dutiful son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams. / Braintree.”
1. On 7 June, CA wrote to JA about the continuing uncertainty as to the results of the gubernatorial election in New York. He also noted, “We enjoy a peace of Sentiment in general respecting national affairs excepting now and then a few chills from the Southern blasts which threaten to overturn our funding system. . . . Our hopes are in the firmness of the New England states We cannot but hope that they may see their danger before it is too late that they may rouse to repel this fatal stab to justice, but if our public faith is to be the Shuttle Cock for the Southern Nabobs to play with the sooner the matter is decided the better the sooner we are convinced who are to rule, the sooner we shall be settled in peace” (Adams Papers).
2. Admission to the bar in New York required a college degree and the completion of a three-year apprenticeship under a licensed attorney (a seven-year apprenticeship without a college degree), followed by “a formal and superficial examination” (David McAdam et al., eds., History of the Bench and Bar of New York, N.Y., 1897, p. 178, 181).
3. There are no known extant letters between CA and TBA.
4. That is, of the canvassers appointed by the legislature to decide the gubernatorial election in New York. During the counting of votes, they noted irregularities in three counties and discounted those votes, leading to George Clinton's victory over John Jay (Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 301).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0164

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1792-07-03

Abigail Adams Smith to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

I had the pleasure to receive your kind Letter of the 18th of May by Barnard and was much releived by being informed that our Mother was recovering her health as rapidly as could be expected—1 I feared from not having received a Single line from her; that she was not so well as my friends represented her to me we have had Letters from all my other friends except herself since our arrivall and I wonder not a little that she has been silent—and can impute it only to her indisposition—
the day after your Letter arrived Colln Smith went into the City to get the Books which you wrote for intending to send them by the first Ship which should sail for Boston but upon inquiring for the editions which you requested he found that they were the Dublin editions and that they were not permitted to sell them here the Bookseller told him if he searched all London he would not find an octavo edition of those works—and as they would be a third Cheaper he has concluded to write to Mr Wm Knox in Dublin and request him to send them out to you—which must delay some time before they can be sent—2
of Politicks I know so little that I cannot write you with any authentisity—of them— Tom pain as he is called continues to Busy { 293 } himself very much and to Court persecution in every shape— he has undoubtedly a party here but the Sensible and judicious People do not join him and I beleive he is falling off fast in the minds of that class of Persons—
the late accounts from India are much talkd of and most People congratulate themselvs upon them it is said that Tipo has made terms of peace and gives up a Part of his Possessions and pays large sums to the British—3
the French are in greater distress than ever the Marquiss Fayettes Letter to the National Assembly it is supposed will put him into a very dangerous situation— he expresses himself very freely of the Jacobins—4 the Kings palace has been surrounded and 4 thousand Peeople went through it—but no injury was done either to the King or Queen—so that it appears they had no system to do evill but were riotous they knew not why—5
Mr Short has been in London a few days on his way to the Hague— he is extreemly mortified & disappointed—at not having been appointed Minister in France he does not consider that he has been infinitly better treated than any person who has been employed in the Service of the U S. before he is to go to spain in the Course of the Summer that is if he has activity enough to get there—6 you never saw any person less calculated to make exertions in the circle of your acquaintance I am sure— it is almost a miracle how he got from Paris to London he thinks he shall never survive a voyage across the Atlantick— he is the most enervated helpless Beeing that perhaps you ever beheld who we[ars] the Habit of a Man but this is entree Nous—
remember me to all my friends— I am Sorry to hear that my Father has left off his Wig—and hope it is only a temporary affair during the heat of the Summer—7 I think he must look not so well—that his friend should not recognize him I do not wonder for I am sure it must make a great alteration in his appearance—and from that circumstance alone I should object to it pray write frequently to yours affectionate Sister
[signed] A Smith
you will oblige me if you could collect those peices written last summer under the title of Phi in answer to Payns first Book and Send them to me8
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr John Quincy Adams / Boston / Massachusetts”; endorsed: “My Sister—3. July 1792.” and “My Sister. July 3. 1792”; notation: “pr. Packett.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
{ 294 }
1. Not found.
2. Most Irish editions at this time were simply unauthorized reprints of earlier London editions sold at a lower price. London printers and booksellers strongly disapproved of this practice—which they considered piracy although it was not technically illegal—and discouraged the selling of such editions (Richard Cargill Cole, Irish Booksellers and English Writers 1740–1800, Atlantic Highlands, N.J., 1986, p. x).
3. Reports of the surrender of Fath ‘Ali Tipu Sultan, Nawab of Mysore (1753–1799), to the British Army, led by the Earl of Cornwallis, at Seringapatam on 23 Feb. reached London in June (London Times, 25 June; Franklin and Mary Wickwire, Cornwallis: The Imperial Years, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1980, p. 163–170).
4. On 16 June, the Marquis de Lafayette sent a letter to the National Assembly accusing the Jacobins of undermining the French nation and arguing for the restoration of a true constitutional monarchy as mandated by the new French constitution. In response, leading Jacobins denounced Lafayette, and Maximilien Robespierre called for his death (Olivier Bernier, Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds, N.Y., 1983, p. 237–238). The London Times printed an English translation of the letter in full on 29 June.
5. On 20 June, some 10,000 French citizens gathered to petition the National Assembly to reinstate three radical leaders. A portion of the group broke off and went into the royal apartments in the Tuileries Palace, where they shouted protests for several hours at the king and queen but did them no physical harm (Bosher, French Rev., p. 174; Schama, Citizens, p. 605–609).
6. William Short was appointed minister to The Hague in early 1792; he had long been the American chargé d’affaires in France and had hoped to be made minister there instead. In Feb. 1793, he traveled to Madrid to negotiate, with William Carmichael, a commercial treaty with the Spanish (DAB).
7. Wigs had begun to go out of fashion in the 1780s. Initially, men dressed their natural hair to match the look of a wig, but by the 1790s, short hair had become more fashionable (Richard Corson, Fashions in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years, N.Y., 1965, p. 296–298).
8. Most likely a request for JQA's Publicola articles, for which see TBA to AA, 27 May [1792], note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0165

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
DateRange: 1792-07-17 - 1792-07-18

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother,

I have just taken your letter from the Office and, as Briesler has not according to expectation sailed to day, I will add a few lines to what I have already given him. To hear from Colo and Mrs: Smith was an agreeable circumstance, tho’ much unhappiness is occasioned by it, under their peculiar situation. I had heard about a week since of their arrival at Dover, and of their illness—but had no conception of the dangerous situation of Mrs. Smith, till I read your letter.1 I have written by most of the Vessels that have sailed from this Port, this Season, and am every day expecting letters myself.
As to Politics, I am very little acquainted with their present State— I have heard a suggestion of the same nature with that you mention— It will never succeed—but if I dared I would express a wish that it might. I wish this People to smart a little for their folly— I wish to have them taught by a little dear Bought Experience, to reward their best friends, and neglect those who despise them. They never will do this so long as they proceed upon the unwholesome { 295 } absurd and dangerous principle, of changing a good man, for the chance of getting a worse. It may be mortifying to be neglected after having for a long course of years fulfilled every duty of every station with fidelity; but in my mind it would be much more so, to serve a people who could be capable of leaving so much virtue to languish in obscurity, (or if better) in retirement; when such an instance occurs He, against whom the slight is levelled—may say with the old Roman; “I banish my Country.”2 There may be secret machinations which are yet concealed under the garb of dissimulation, and which are waiting till time shall favor their appearance, but how extensive, or how deep they really are, I shall certainly not be the first to learn. It will turn out right if I have any luck at guessing: I go into no company where such subjects are talked off—therefore I guess upon my own bottom altogether. Everything which appears in public wears the face of peace & order as yet.
I have followed the advice of Mr. Coxe with respect to the House, and if I have any applications, I shall endeavor to take advantage of them; Briesler will give a particular account of all our movements hitherto, and I will transmit those which may follow— Money matters must be aranged suddenly—or I shall be dunned for Rent. Mrs. Keppele will in my [. . .] command a thousand Dollars, if she is determined upon it in the Fall—a[nd] Rents should come down else where— It is now comparatively a cheap house—and yet I can get no body who will even enter the House for nothing—for the time we have in it.3
I am &c
[signed] Thomas B Adams
PS. I have smoothed matters where they appeared to Rub a little—and I believe healed the breach effectually.
Tell John if you please to send me Blake's Oration, If worth it.4
Poor France, We had an attempt at Celebrating the Anniversary of their Revolution, but it was quite as lame & confused as the commemorated event— Even Odes composed upon the occasion, appear to be at war with Grammer, Meter, and even good sense—and I account for it in this way— These old standards, which have often witnessed many a hard battle, and always proved victorious, are now suspected of treachery, and being over powered by numbers have fallen a sacrifice to appease the rage of dullness and ignorance. In short—Good sense & Nonsense—ignorance & wisdom—are all Generals alike—like the French Army.5
Yours &ca
{ 296 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: Abigail Adams / Quincy / near Boston.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. A paraphrase of Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act III, scene iii. After Brutus says of Coriolanus, “There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd, / As enemy to the people and his country,” Coriolanus replies, “You common cry of curs, whose breath I hate / As reek o’ th’ rotten fens, whose loves I prize / As the dead carcasses of unburied men / That do corrupt my air, I banish you!” (lines 117–118, 120–123).
3. Tench Coxe (1755–1824), a Philadelphia businessman, served as the commissioner of the revenue for the federal government. Coxe, who had previously helped the Adamses locate the home at the corner of Fourth and Arch streets in Philadelphia in the fall of 1791, recommended to JA that TBA attempt to find a new tenant for the house. The owner, Catharine Keppele (or Keppley), was unwilling to allow them to break their lease, and the rent amounted to $900 per year (DAB; Coxe to JA, 3 Sept. 1791, 20 Sept. 1791, and [ante 8 July 1792], all Adams Papers; Philadelphia Directory, 1793, Evans, No. 25585).
4. Joseph Blake Jr. (1766–1802), Harvard 1786, gave a “very pertinent and animated ORATION . . . elegantly pronounced” at Boston's Independence Day celebration. Benjamin Russell subsequently printed it as a pamphlet (Boston Independent Chronicle, 5 July; Joseph Blake, An Oration, Pronounced July 4th, 1792, at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, Boston, 1792, Evans, No. 24123).
5. The Philadelphia newspapers reported “the Anniversary of the French Revolution, was noticed in this city, by demonstrations of joy.” The celebrations included a French ship's firing its cannon in the harbor, “splendid” meals, and various toasts, after which “the evening was closed by a brilliant display of Rockets and other fire-works, which met with the greatest applause from a vast concourse of spectators.” One ode published in the newspapers exhorted, “Sound, sound the minstrel, sound it high! / Till hardy Despots quake for fear, / And turn away their jaundic'd eye, / To let fair Liberty appear!” (Federal Gazette, 16 July; American Daily Advertiser, 17 July; National Gazette, 18 July; General Advertiser, 16 July).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0166

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-08-15

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mamma

After a very fatiguing and a very anxious jaunt, I have returned from Albany with my Certificate of admittance to pratice the law I suffered much anxiety from the hesitation which the Court made at the certificate given me by Mr Lawrance who had not exactly pursued the form which is required in such cases. The great stumbling block was that he had expressed That “I entered his office” at a particular period mentioned and “studied law with him for two years” The Court said that in a certificate of that kind The words “Served a regular clerkship” were material. However trivial this objection appeared it required some efforts to remove it. Mr Lawrance was in Philadelphia and there was not time before the rising of the Court to obtain another certificate from him I suggested these things to the judges and offered to take an oath of the facts upon this and the certificates of several gentlemen who certified that they had often seen me at Lawrance's office employed at the business of a Clerk { 297 } &ca They after mature deliberation which kept me in hot water for two days gave up the point. A gentleman of the bar with whom I conversed upon the subject told me that he had privately expressed his surprise to the Judges that upon so trivial a point they should put me to so much trouble, that they had answered that they could none of them doubt but I had served regularly but that in my case it was necessary to be somewhat more severe than with any one else how far this excuse may be sufficient with men who ought to be independent I am not able to say. I was examined with seven more and have been flattered by being told I was not behind any of them in the propriety of my answers. I am now looking out for an office but the rents in the most public parts of the City are so extremely high that I cannot think it justifiable to take one in the center of business. I went today to look at a room in Hanover square not near so large as my brothers office, and I could not hire it under forty pounds. I received you kind letter of the 21st ult upon my return and also one from my brother John which I shall soon answer1 He says We ought to submit to what has happened in this State he may be right but I doubt whether all his argumentative faculties could convince the people to acquiece. The flame instead of subsiding blazes more fiercely than ever, and the several Co[urts?] are preparing their remonstrances for the next session of our Legislature. Heaven grant a happy issue! There is too much warmth to expect a very quiet one. I am glad to hear of your resolution to remain at home this winter you will be much more at your ease than in Philadelphia Remember me with affection to my dear father to whom as soon as I can write in my own office I shall thank for his last letter.2 My love to all friends and if they have any disputes to settle in New York I offer my services.
I am my dear Mother you affectionate and dutiful son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / Quincy.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0167

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-08-16

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

In my last Letter I promised to transmit the Result of the Town meetings which have been lately held in this City; the inclosed { 298 } abstract will supersede the necessity of any additional remarks from me; It will be sufficient to say that the Party, which on the last meeting in which any business was transacted, had the majority, having gained all their measures prevented any further business on the last meeting by their obstinate Perseverance in opposing every Chairman who was nominated—The whole Afternoon was taken up in taking questions merely relative to the different Candidates proposed—and after many fruitless attempts a division was called for in favor of Mr. R Morris & Alderman Barcklay— the Parties were so nearly equal that no person could decide on which side of the State House Yard the majority lay. No business was done and the People dispersed not much satisfyed with the complexion of things.1 It is said that we shall have an Antifederal Ticket—but I feel inclined to doubt the assertion. There is a Committee of Correspondence chosen to collect the sense of the People relative to this subject the Majority of whom are said to be of the old Republican Party in this State.2 I find that when any important Question is agitated here— the distinctions of party are quite as familiar as they were formerly— every man knows his side of a Question by the Countenances he discovers when divisions are called for—not by it's conformity to, or connection with any particular system to which he is partial. When men are in this situation with respect to each other, we can hardly look for unanimity.
You have seen I presume the Pieces in Fenno's Gazette, signed an “American.” I have not been able to learn upon whom the suspicion rests with respect to the Author. There has been for a long time a very free Animadversion upon the Speculations which have flowed through the National Gazette, as also upon the Editor. It has never arrived at the height to which an “American” has raised it, but I think the Sharpest key hast not been sounded yet.3
The Secretary of the Treasury has so arranged matters, that you will be at liberty to draw for a thou[san]d Dollars when you think fit— I presume the warrant may [. . .] by Attorney— The Secretary however will probably acquaint you with [th]e most practicable method.4
The House is yet upon my hands—we have as yet two months from this day—but I find no body disposed to take it even at fifty or forty dollars Pr month— Mrs. Keppele proposes going into it herself in October.
I find myself very happily situated in a very Respectable Private family, the Connections of which are somewhat numerous but all { 299 } Quakers— I consider myself peculiarly fortunate in being able to extend my acquaintance among this Society, with whom it is not an easy matter to be upon an intimate footing unless very strongly recommended,— Dr. Rush says I have made my fortune, but I can say that if I derive any benefit from the acquaintance it must in the first instance have proceeded from the Drs. friendly assistance. He tells me to say for him that he would write you according to his promise, but that there is nothing worth communicating.
With presenting my best love to the family, I remain your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams—
I have Received Mamma's letter of the 3d: am glad to hear of the arrival of Briesler & family—5
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Quincy / near / Boston”; internal address: “The Vice President of the United States”; endorsed: “T. B. A. Aug 16. 1792 / Philadelphia.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 29 July, TBA had written to JA that he had “delayed writing several days hoping to be able to transmit the result of two meetings of the Citizens of Philadelphia for the purpose of forming a Ticket for Representatives, & Electors for President & Vice President; but nothing of importance has as yet been decided; and if I have had a true specimen of the general complexion of Philada. town meetings from those examples already afforded, I seriously believe no business of real utility will ever be transacted by them” (Adams Papers). The abstract has not been found but was possibly a piece from the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 1 Aug. (or a reprint thereof), which summarized the events of a town meeting held on the afternoon of 31 July. According to the report, “At half after three, an attempt was made to proceed to business, and Mr. McKean and Mr. Powel both named for chairman. After a noisy contest of Yes and No, those two gentlemen declined serving on the present occasion. Other names were brought forward, and among them, Messrs. Morris and Barclay. Mr. Wilson endeavoured to decide which name commanded a majority, a division for this purpose was three times effected; but the meeting was so numerous that it was found impossible to determine which was the largest mass, or to decide the question by enumeration. A last endeavour was made by the friends to conferrees to place Mr. Morris in the chair, some confusion ensued, and the meeting was dissolved in a tumultous and unbecoming manner.” John Barclay was a Philadelphia merchant and alderman (Philadelphia Directory, 1793, p. 7, 180, Evans, No. 25585).
2. The Committee of Correspondence was appointed at the 30 July town meeting “to collect information of the sense of the People in different parts of the state, respecting the characters proper to be nominated as Members of Congress, and Electors of President and Vice-President.” The committee consisted of Thomas McKean, James Hutchinson, Alexander Dallas, James Wilson, John Barclay, Hilary Baker, and Jared Ingersoll (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 31 July).
3. In the 4 Aug. issue of the Gazette of the United States, John Fenno published an article signed “An American” that attacked Philip Freneau's National Gazette as a means to denounce Thomas Jefferson. Freneau (1752–1832), a poet and journalist of French descent, had launched the paper in Oct. 1791 to counter Fenno's Gazette. The “American” accurately accuses Freneau of holding a public position—clerk of foreign languages for the State Department—and Jefferson of being the political force behind the paper. The piece goes on to question Jefferson's loyalty to the federal government, asking, “If he disapproves of the leading measures which have been adopted in the course of its { 300 } administration—can he reconcile it with the principles of delicacy and propriety, to hold a place in that administration, and at the same time to be instrumental in vilifying measures which have been adopted by majorities of both branches of the legislature and sanctioned by the Chief Magistrate of the Union?” (JA, D&A, 3:225; DAB; Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic, Charlottesville, Va., 2001, p. 63–66).
4. On 16 Aug. 1792, Alexander Hamilton wrote to JA that “a warrant for 1000 dollars in your favour has issued. If any authorisation from you had been sent to your son or any one else, your signature on the warrant would have been unnecessary. But as it is, it will be indispensable. Perhaps however the Treasurer may pay in expectation of it” (Hamilton, Papers, 12:208–209). See also JQA to TBA, 2 Sept., and JQA to AA, 19 Sept., and notes 1 and 2, both below.
5. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0168

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-08-20

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear father

I have this day opened an office in Hanover square.1 The situation is as eligible as any in the City. There is but one objection, which is the high rents which are demanded for rooms in so public a situation. I have however been advised to take it, rather than go into a more retired seat. I wrote a few days since to my Mama, I then mentioned that forty pounds was the rent required for a small room; since when I have procured the one I now occupy, for twenty pounds until May. The difficulties I met with at Albany, were very fortunately removed, or I must have been obliged to have waited until October Term, as I did not receive the proper certificate from Mr Lawrance until after the Court had risen. Our politicians in this City, are more calm than those in the Country, All however seem to concur in the necessity of calling a Convention. “This Convention you say is a dangerous body.” I doubt very much whether that observation has occured with proper force to our warm partizans. They look upon this body as an assembly who will meet, without dispute alter our election law, order a new election for Governor, and dissolve. They may find their mistake. I have not a doubt but a Convention chosen at the present moment from the people, would aim at establishing a Constitutional rot[ation?] in the first officers of the State; from this [they?] may go on from one thing, to another, and hatch at last, a very bad and defective Constitution.2 I was astonished to find that one of the principal arguments used to the people, was the necessity of a change. I sometimes have conversed with Mr Troup upon that topic. I asked him if he could be serious when he advocated that doctrine; He answered It would take with the people! but are they to be deluded? are they to be persuaded to false tenets? Are the Community to be deprived of the first class of { 301 } abilities, merely because the possessors have been a certain number of years in office? Is it just, or equitable, that a man who has served the public with virtue and integrity for a certain period, should constitutionally be deprived of his office, to make room for another, perhaps vicious and degenerate? Are you doing justice to yourselves, or benefit to the people whose interests you profess to espouse by disseminating such principles? But the influence which a man in office may acquire may be destructive of liberty! Have we not then the power of impeachment, and a still greater power that of changing our magistrates when they acquire corrupt or undue influence? I could wish Sir that politicians would content themselves with enforcing truths, without resorting to falsehood to obtain their purposes. but this is not the case, and yet there is something amiable in the principle, something in a strict adherence to truth, which is dignified and noble; it is a rock, over which the surges may lash, and billows beat in vain. Why then resort to falicy and chicanery? Because it is politic?
With every sentiment of respect and tenderness / I am dear Sir your affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Braintree / near / Boston.—”; endorsed: “New York. / Charles Adams / August 20. 1792 / ansd 12. Octr.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Hanover Square—still so named today, just off of Wall Street—was a center for business in New York City. It had been paved in 1789 (Thomas E. V. Smith, The City of New York in the Year of Washington's Inauguration 1789, N.Y., 1889, p. 34).
2. In the wake of the contested 1792 New York gubernatorial election, Federalists called for a convention to revisit the decision of the vote canvassers and to review overall election procedures. The N.Y. State Assembly—with a Clintonian majority—ultimately undertook an inquiry, which found the canvassers free of “any mal or corrupt practise.” No changes to the election laws were made (Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 310–313, 318–321).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0169

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-08-26

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

I hope you will not think me criminally negligent in not particularly addressing myself to you before now— You may be assured I always think of you with the tenderest affection, & wish that I could have time, in a more correct manner to evidence the ebulitions of a Heart, filled with every sentiment of Esteem Love, & Gratitude— When I write to my Sister Cranch, I generally write in great haste, & think that if you wish to hear from me, you can easily satisfy yourself by enquiring of my Sister—
{ 302 }
I thank you my dear Sister, for your kind attention to my Son— It was very pleasing to me that he was approved of by you— But you see in what a condition his poor Leg is— It has been a source of great Care, & anxiety to me ever since I saw you— Perhaps no one ever had a greater dread of seeing Persons useless than Myself. yet the whole of last winter, I feared that if my Sons life was spared, I should have the misfortune to see him a miserable Criple— And I know that our Circumstances were such as must add a double weight to the unhappy Lot— I had fondly hoped that he might one day, have been, not only a faithful Friend to his Sisters, but a kind Benefactor— But how often do find our best Prospects fail us, & Props raised up where we least expected them—
Joseph could not have given Bread to his Brethren & supported his aged Father if he had not have been cast into the Pit, & sold to the Ishmalites—nor perhaps would Mephibosheth been kindly allotted a Portion at the Kings Table, had he not been disordered in his feet—1
These Reflections (my Sister) are the bright gleams which sometimes serve to chase away those melancholly Ideas, which are too apt hover round me—
It is a dissagreeable Situation not to dare to trust ourselves with our own Thoughts— I know it is a vain thing for me to distress myself about future Contingences—& if in my Path of Life, I find many Thorns, & Briars dark & gloomy shades, yet I ought with a thankful heart to consider the many mercies that are strewed in the way, & with a meek, & humble temper view the soverign hand that guides the Whole, & with equal Justice, & tenderness sends his merciful, & afflictive Dispensations—
I was grieved to hear Mrs Smith was so sick, & suffered so much on her Passage to London— I think it was a dreadfull situation for a Lady to be in, on board Ship— She was so kind as to write to me just before her embarkation—2
I was dissapointed in not seeing Mr Adams & Louisa here— I expected them every day— Why should he not come— It is not Calypso's Island—there are no Syrens here—
I am sorry to hear your health is still so poor— Perhaps a Journey would do you good will not Mr Adams & you, favour us with a visit before his return to Congress— I long to see you— Cousin Betsy is not well yet, but a great deal better— I think she is recovering, though it seems to be a slow peice of work Sister Cranch wrote me word that Betsy Quincy was with you— She is full of life, & spirits— { 303 } there are many excrecences which must be discreety loped off, by the careful hand of Education— I think the Stock is good, & hope you will find it worth cultivating— You must let her work for you, & make her serviceable—she loves to serve—
When did you hear from Cousin Charles & Thomas— They must be very dull without there Sister, or you—
adieu my dear Sister— may your Health be restored & you continued a Blessing to all your Connections, as well as to / your affectionate
[signed] Elizabeth Shaw
1. Mephibosheth was the lame son of Jonathan, son of Saul, whom King David took into his home after Jonathan's death, saying, “Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually” (2 Samuel, 9:1–13).
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0170

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1792-09-02

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Brother.

I believe I am in arrears with you, for two or three Letters, which is owing in some measure to my indolence, but in a greater degree to the stagnation of events worthy of communication—1 The purpose of my present Letter is to enquire of you respecting a warrant from the Treasury for some money, which it seems must be sent here to be signed by your father before it can be sent back for payment. It has been expected here this week, but as post after post arrives without bringing it, I write to you, to see that it be expedited: and indeed I believe it concerns you that the money should be speedily paid as much as any of us. If it should not be sent this way, before this Letter reaches you, I beg you would see it forwarded as soon as possible.
The National Gazette, seems to grow more and more virulent and abusive from day to day; but this is not surprizing, as Freneau must necessarily foam & fret, after his dastardly retreat from a charge, which he at first encountered, with a solemn affidavit.— One would think that circumstances so glaring would injure the credit with the public, both of the Great man & his parasite; but “It is no wonder” says David Hume, “that faction should be productive of such calamities; since no degree of innocence can protect a man from the calumnies of the other party, & no degree of guilt can injure him with his own.”2
{ 304 }
We are full of the small-pox in this Town; a general inoculation has taken place; and I suppose there are near ten thousand people now under its operation.3
All well at Quincy the last Time I heard from them which was about three days ago.
Your's affectionately
[signed] J.Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr Thomas B. Adams. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “2d Sept; 1792.”; notation: “4 Above Market 20.”
1. Not found.
2. “It is no wonder, that faction is so productive of vices of all kinds: For, besides that it inflames all the passions, it tends much to remove those great restraints, honour and shame; when men find, that no iniquity can lose them the applause of their own party, and no innocence secure them against the calumnies of the opposite” (David Hume, The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Cæsar to the Revolution in 1688, rev. edn., 6 vols., London, 1762, 7:363).
3. Because of the spread of small pox, on 29 Aug. the Boston town selectmen agreed to order a general inoculation in Boston. By 1 Sept., one newspaper had reported that more than 8,000 people were undergoing inoculation; another paper three days later put the number between 9,000 and 11,000 (Boston Independent Chronicle, 30 Aug.; Boston Columbian Centinel, 1 Sept.; Salem Gazette, 4 Sept.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0171

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
DateRange: 1792-09-13 - 1792-09-29

Abigail Adams Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mamma:

It has been a subject of no small disappointment to me, not having received but one letter from you since you have been at Braintree, and only two since I left America.1   *   *   *   *   I have written you and my brother several times,2 and have forwarded the newspapers, by which you will see the distressing situations in which the French are at present. The accounts from Paris are shocking to every humane mind, and too dreadful to relate; I shall send you the papers that you may learn from them their situation. Ship loads of poor, distressed, penniless priests and others, are daily landing upon this island; whether they will find hospitality and charity, I know not, but I fear they will not; for the lowest class of people here can never love the French, and the middling sort of persons do not relish so many Catholics and priests resident amongst them. There are persons who endeavour to find excuses for the cruelties which have been committed; they say that the friends of liberty have been deceived and betrayed in numberless instances; that supplies have been sent to their enemies; that their towns are given up without defence; that persons who have been employed in this country to purchase them arms and supplies, have sent them to the enemy; and that the aristocratic party were preparing to act the { 305 } same scenes upon the jacobins, as have been practised upon themselves. They were not quite ripe for their operations when the others commenced. There are various opinions respecting the Duke of Brunswick's success; but at present he meets with very few obstacles to impede his course to Paris. Upon his nearer approach, I think the King and Queen will fall a sacrifice to the fury of the mobites, and is it not even better they should, than that the people should be annihilated by a general massacre?3 One would suppose, that the English newspapers exaggerate in their accounts; but I fear they do not, for I saw, on Sunday last, a lady who was in Paris on the 10th of August, and she heard and saw scenes as shocking as are related by any of them; they seem to have refined upon the cruelties of the savages. These are confirmations strong, of the justice of my father's sentiments upon governments; yet the friends of liberty here, tell you the French are doing finely—surpassing us Americans; and I fear they will not be easy until they create disturbances in this country. One would suppose if any thing could check their discontents, it would be the picture they have before them. I wonder what Mr. Jefferson says to all these things?
*   *   *   *   *   *
My friend has had an invitation from one of their Major-Generals and Marechals de Camp, to go over and fight for the French, but he declines—it is too uncertain a cause to volunteer in; but I have got so engaged in the cause of the French, that I have quite forgot myself.     *   *
It is supposed, if the democrats succeed in France, that the aristocrats will, many of them, go to America. The Vicomte de Noailles talks of it; the Marquis will, I dare say, when he gets released; Monsieur la Board thinks of it; they are only waiting to see how the event will terminate to make their decisions.4
Mr. St. John, brother to Mrs. Otto, dined with us last week. He left his father in Paris, and came over with a young Madame de Noailes, who was obliged to disguise herself in a sailor's habit, to get away from that land of iniquity.5
Sept. 29.
I expected to have sent my letter by a private hand, but I believe the gentleman does not go. I shall therefore request Capt. Bunyan's care of this packet.6 It seems as if I were secluded from all my friends by an insurmountable barrier; not one single line from your pen since last May. Five months! It almost makes me homesick.
{ 306 }
The latest accounts from France are that the National Assembly is dissolved, and a new Convention are convened who have chosen Petion their President, and have decreed that royalty is abolished in France.7 Liberty and equality is the general cry. But the powers of Europe seem to have combined against them to bring them to subjection again. It is said that England dare not take a part; the Court party are very well disposed, but the people will not submit to it. The French are somewhat disposed to complain that their good friends, the Americans, do not step forward in their cause. Not one American officer has joined them, nor do they hear one word of comfort from them; and their minister is most obnoxious to the Republicans; and he refuses to pay them the debt due them, which they don't much relish. They will not permit him to quit Paris.8 One of his friends said here, the other day, that he thought it not improbable that he would be taken off in some moment of confusion, but I do not believe this.
The Marquis is kept a close prisoner by the Austrians. It is said Madame La Fayette is in Holland. It has been said that Monsieur De Tournant is recalled from your Court.9
Write to me frequently, and believe me, / Your affectionate daughter,
[signed] A. Smith.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:119–122.
1. Not found.
2. See AA2 to JQA, 3 July, above. Other letters have not been found.
3. Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick (1735–1806), was leading the Austro-Prussian Army against the French and had successfully invaded France in mid-August. Shortly before this, on 10 Aug., a coalition of revolutionaries arrested King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette (Bosher, French Rev., p. 168). See also Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 7, above.
4. Louis Marie, Vicomte de Noailles (1756–1804), had served in the American Revolution between 1780 and 1782. He emigrated to the United States in spring 1793 (JA, D&A, 4:85; Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 8 May 1793). “Monsieur la Board” was probably François Louis Joseph, Marquis de Laborde-Méréville (1761–1802), who had also served in the United States during the Revolution. Supportive of the French Revolution in its early days, he was forced to leave the country after the fall of the monarchy (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; François d’Ormesson and Jean-Pierre Thomas, Jean-Joseph de Laborde: Banquier de Louis XV, mécène des Lumières, [Paris], 2002, p. 250–251, 255–256).
5. Either Guillaume Alexandre (b. 1772) or Philippe Louis (b. 1774), both sons of Michel Guillaume (Hector) St. John de Crèvecoeur (1735–1813), the well-known author of Letters from an American Farmer. Crèvecoeur's daughter, America Francès (b. 1770), had married Louis Guillaume Otto, the private secretary to French minister to the United States Anne César, Marquis de La Luzerne, in April 1790 (Thomas Philbrick, St. John de Crèvecoeur, N.Y., 1970, p. 11–13; vol. 6:249–250).
Anne Paule Dominique de Noailles (1766–1839) was the sister of Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles, Marquise de Lafayette. Pauline, as she was called, and her husband, Joachim de Montagu-Beaune, Marquis de Bouzols, emigrated from France to England in late 1791 (Georges Martin, Histoire et Généalogie de la Maison de Noailles, La Ricamarie, France, 1993, p. 86, 88–89).
{ 307 } { 308 }
6. James Bunyan captained the ship Montgomery, which ended up taking 74 days to reach New York from London, not arriving until early Jan. 1793 (New York Daily Gazette, 5 July 1792; Philadelphia General Advertiser, 9 Jan. 1793).
7. Following the arrest of the king and queen, the revolutionaries created a National Convention, which met for the first time on 20 Sept. 1792. It quickly abolished the monarchy and established a republic. Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve (1756–1794), a lawyer, was the mayor of Paris until he resigned in October to sit in the Convention (Bosher, French Rev., p. xix, liii, 177–178).
8. In the wake of the fall of the monarchy, the first meeting of the National Convention, and the beginning of the Terror, many foreign diplomats fled Paris. Gouverneur Morris—whose support of the monarchy and nobility made him extremely unpopular in revolutionary France—chose to remain; while not technically under house arrest, he nonetheless faced mobs invading his home and would likely have had difficulties if he had tried to leave the city (William Howard Adams, Gouverneur Morris: An Independent Life, New Haven, Conn., 2003, p. 228–229, 239–242). See also WSS to JA, 5 Oct., below.
9. After the collapse of the constitutional monarchy, the Marquis de Lafayette fled from France to Belgium, ostensibly neutral territory, where he was promptly arrested by the Austrian Army for attempting to overthrow the king of France. He was eventually handed over to the Prussians, who imprisoned him in a fortress north of Berlin. At the same time, Adrienne Lafayette was briefly arrested at their estate at Chavaniac on 10 Sept. by the Committee of Public Safety. She was allowed to return to the chateau after Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville intervened on her behalf (Olivier Bernier, Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds, N.Y., 1983, p. 242–248).
Jean, Chevalier de Ternant, had served as an officer with the French Army during the American Revolution. He was appointed France's minister to the United States in 1791 and remained in the position until 1793 (Jefferson, Papers, 6:161–162; Repertorium, 3:144).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0172

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1792-09-14

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear child

As we have some skitish persons in the Family who are apprehensive of the small pox, and of every Body from your infected city, we shall not have the pleasure of your company, nor the office a visit from you this week. your cousin Lucy informd me to day that you had a letter from your sister.1 pray send it me or such extracts from it as will inform me how she does and the col and Boys. I am very anxious for Thomas and fear he is Sick as I have not any Letters from him for a fortnight mr Black will be in Town & you may send any Letters by him to night. the Boston Newspapers we want to see, do not forget to send them. you will probably receive a Letter from salem or marblehead respecting a young woman who is comeing to live with me.2 Should she fix any day for comeing to Boston, I must get you to engage the Salem stage man to take her to Boston & let me know on what day, when I will send Brisler to Town for her. She has had the small pox— I wish you would ask mrs Welch to let her come to her House, and I will not trouble her for more than one Night, perhaps not that
{ 309 }
We have not yet got the necessary article from philadelphia nor can we devine why it comes not.
adieu your affectionatly
[signed] A Adams
1. Probably AA2 to JQA, 3 July, above.
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0173

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-09-19

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam.

I wrote to my brother Thomas more than a fortnight ago, respecting the warrant, & requesting him to see it forwarded— But whether from an apprehension on his part of an additional delay, or from what other cause I know not, he has not done it, and last Evening in answer to my Letter I received from him one urging very strongly the necessity of his having an order to receive the money.—1 Two lines from my father six weeks ago, might have prevented all the perplexity.— I enclose a Letter from Thomas to him, wherein I suppose he states his necessities himself—2 In that to me dated the 10th: he says “I cannot wait more than a fortnight longer.” Will you please to request my father to write an order of only two lines, addressed to the officer at the treasury who pays the money; if I knew who it was I would send you one ready written. it will be I presume sufficient to say. Sir— Please to pay Mr: T. B. A. the sum of —— dollars on my account & his receipt, shall be your discharge.— And pray send it to town to-morrow by all means, that it may go by the next post.
I enclose also, a Letter to you from my Sister; the seal of which I took the Liberty to break.— I find with pleasure they were all well; which did not clearly appear, by her letter to me, which I sent you yesterday.3
It will be best I believe to empower Thomas to receive all the money due at the treasury, and to direct him to send forward bills to you, after deducting the sum which he must have. Or perhaps it will be better to direct him to take an order upon General Lincoln from the treasury, for so much, as is to come to you, and to receive the rest himself.— It is a science to obtain money from thence, through all the offices and formalities that are made essential; and as I am wholly ignorant, of the usual proceeding I have not been able to do the business for you.— But pray, let not the order be delayed an hour longer.
{ 310 }
Thomas wishes also for directions, with respect to engaging lodgings for my father this winter: and he wishes they may be very precise and minute— You will be so kind as to give him all proper information upon that head.
I sent your Letter to Salem,4 last week; but have not yet received an answer.
Your's affectionately.
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A. Adams. / Quincy.”
1. TBA's letter to JQA, apparently dated 10 Sept., has not been found.
2. On 10 Sept., TBA wrote to JA reminding him that he would need to expressly authorize the Treasury Department to pay TBA the money the department owed to JA in order for TBA to collect it. TBA was anxious for this authorization as “I have been for some time past upon pretty short allowance—but hope I shall not lose my credit before I hear from you.” JQA followed up on this matter in a letter to TBA of 20 September. JQA noted that the Adamses had already sent TBA the necessary warrant two weeks earlier (both Adams Papers).
3. Probably AA2 to AA, 13 Sept., and AA2 to JQA, 3 July, both above.
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0174

Author: Smith, William Stephens
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-10-05

William Stephens Smith to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir—

Mr. Bond delivered your Letter of the 20th. of april1 I should have answered it sooner, but I really have been so much occupied in my private affairs, that I have scarcely had time to attend to any of my Correspondents out of the line of real business—but I now have a pretty clear prospect of getting well thro’ the great points I embraced— I shall however, I find, make more reputation than money, but upon the whole I have done vastly well, the wide spead ruin of speculation has not in the least effected any of my negotiations, nor the property of my friends committed to my direction, they are of course very much satisfied, and make very grateful returns, both in the line of civility & further unbounded confidence— in short sir, I feel agreably the effects of my prompt decissions on the score of public employment, the last winter, I feel myself in a great measure independent of the smiles or frowns of Courtiers, which I am grevied to find our Capital abounds, with— should any change take place in the administration of the affairs of our country, so as to introduce men who do not require too great a suppleness of Character to fill the offices of Government, but will be content, with the strict integrity & unblemished honour of Candidates, not absolutely deficient in abilities— perhaps my ambition may induce me to join them, but never while I possess abilities sufficient to bouy me above { 311 } the lash of poverty or independence of soul enough—to dispise the low intregues of designing ministers, will I join the career of those who in the infancy of Government lay it down as a principle that great suppleness of Character is a primary essential & that those who do not possess it, are not fit, for public employments—
I send you the papers to the present date—& should be glad to know what our able minister of foreign affairs thinks of his french alliance now, I think if he has any modesty left or my friends have any Justice, they will acknowledge the propriety of my opinions & the Justness of my conduct on that subject—& as the affairs are connected with the appointment of a Minister to the Court of france,— you will find that Mr. Morris is more detested in Paris, than he was hated here, a Gentleman from france lately here in public employment—asked me a few day's past a plump Question—thus—my God sir, how came your Country to send such a man as mr. Morris as its minister he surely cannot be the representative of America either in opinions or manners— The people of france are so much disgusted with him & enraged at him—that if he did not bear the name of an American & a Commission from Washington, his head would have been paraded upon a pike before this day— this I put by slightly, by saying I was in pursuit of my private affairs & did not know a sufficiency of the interior of the politicks of our great men to say from what scource he sprang into that political situation, excepting that it was by the apparent independant nomination of the President— he said, that Washington friends in france were much electrified, to find such a man with such Morals & Character, possessing his Confidence &c. &c. I suppose you will hear more of this from other quarters, & on this ground, I shall also be found to have been right, which will encrease the hatred of my enemies, & give me more cause to laugh at, if not despise them— We are all well here & are about making an excursion into Devonshire & to take bath in our return to London, for tho’ we are but private people we cannot help being a little fashionable— Mrs: Smith has written to Mrs: Adams & I suppose given a greater detail of politicks than I have time to enter into She loves it; you may guess where she got it from, & her Judgement on those points are astonishingly good, we chat a little now & then on these subjects, but keep ourselves out of the Circles of the Court, & shall continue to do so— she Joins me in affectionate Love to you, Madam Loisa & T. B. Adams Esqr.—& wish you would present our most particular respects to Mrs: Washington—
I am Dr. Sir. / Your most Obedt. / Humble servt.
[signed] W: S: Smith
{ 312 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of The United States / at / Philadelphia”; internal address: “The Vice President”; endorsed: “Col. Smith.”
1. Letter not found. Mr. Bond was probably Phineas Bond (1749–18161815), an American loyalist who served as the British consul in Philadelphia. He had sailed to England in June (Joanne Loewe Neel, Phineas Bond: A Study in Anglo-American Relations, 1786–1812, Phila., 1968, p. 5, 9, 14–15, 91–94, 174–176).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0175

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-10-08

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mamma

It is a long time since I have heard from you although I have not omitted writing. I hope it is not illness which hinders you from sometimes informing me how things are going in Massachusetts. The Baron returned from Steuben last week and I had intended to procure lodgings at some private boarding house, but when I mentioned to him my intention, he took me kindly by the hand “My dear Adams said he When your sister went from New York I invited you to come to my house, at least till you could find more convenient and pleasant Lodgings; I then had not the pleasure of a long acquaintance with you, but I was pleased that in our little society we could be of mutual advantage to each other, and that our improvements in the French language and in other branches of literature would render my table the seat of improvement and pleasure. I have since you have been here formed a very great and sincere friendship for you. You must now allow me the right of friendship; Indeed you must not leave me. What is it? Is there any thing you do not like? Is any thing inconvenient? I wish I could give you a better apartment, but the house will not aford it. I told him there was not a desire I could form but what was accomplished in his house; but that I did not think it proper that I should any longer take advantage of a kindness I had not a right to expect. And will you not then allow me to be any longer your friend and patron? You must not make such objections. It is not from any favor I can ever expect from your father. I am not rich, nor am I poor: and thank God I have enough to live well and comfortably upon; your being here does not make any difference in my expences. I love you, and will never consent that our little society should be broken, untill you give me more sufficient reasons for it.[”] To this affectionate and fatherly address, I could only reply that I would do any thing he wished and would not leave him if he was opposed to my doing so. My dear Mamma there { 313 } is something in this man that is more than mortal. We have late accounts from Europe, Our friends are well. I can not here enlarge upon french affairs but my father is a prophet and ought as the Baron says to be ranked next after Isaih. I have a necessity for about fifty guineas Will you tell me how I shall procure them. I do not know unless I borrow them and I do not like that very well. But should necessity prompt me I must do it. When does Pappa mean to pass through New York, I fear he will be most terribly perplexed the next session, There is a party formed to abolish this government. It consists of Officers of the late army. Antifederalists, and Southern men who from many reasons are endeavoring to subvert the funding system and of course every obligation which a nation can be under. Our Eastern delegates are complained of It is said their eyes are not open that they rest in security while America is in the greatest danger That they sleep while every body opposed to them is on the watch. God Grant that we may not be ruined, That we may not discard our name as a nation. You may depend upon it there is great danger of it. And my dear father what will be his sensations when all his toils are forgotten and his labors sunk in oblivion. what will be the path for his Children to persue when they see such an event will any encouragement remain to follow the road of public virtue Will any wish remain to be ranked among the list of patriots: Colonel Burr is appointed a judge of our Supreme Court and will without doubt accept the office. He aims at the Gubernatorial chair of this State and it is thought he will be able to obtain more influence as a Judge than he can by his present station.1 Mr Jay has been at death's door but is now somewhat recovered.2
I should be glad to hear oftener from Braintree where is my Brother John I hear no more of him than if he was in Asia.
Adieu my dear Mamma beleive me your affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams.
PS I requested that some shoes might be sent to me, but I suppose you did not recollect it. I can not get them here they are very bad and at a very high price. If three or four pair can be sent it will much oblige me.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by JA: “C. A. Oct. 8. 1792. / New York.”
1. On 2 Oct., George Clinton and the N.Y. Council of Appointment nominated Aaron Burr, then a New York senator, to become associate justice of the N.Y. Supreme Court. He declined the position (Milton Lomask, Aaron Burr: The Years from Princeton to Vice President 1756–1805, N.Y., 1979, p. 176).
2. John Jay became dangerously ill with an eye inflammation and rheumatic fever in late September; he finally recovered in November { 314 } (Selected Letters of John Jay and Sarah Livingston Jay: Correspondence by or to the First Chief Justice of the United States and His Wife, ed. Landa M. Freeman and others, Jefferson, N.C., 2005, p. 213–214).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1792-10-12

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Charles

I congratulate you on your Admission to the Bar and your taking Possession of an Office in So good a Part of the Town, and I would not advise you to exhange it for any other, without an absolute necessity. There is a great Advantage to a Lawyer in being always to be found in the Same place. I wish you as much Success as you can desire and all the Pleasure and Profit from your Practice in a Country like ours and in times like these. Honour and Integrity in all your concerns, a constant Attendance at your Office, and an ardent Application to your Studies will soon acquire you a reputation in the World and a Crowd of Clients about you
I am much pleased with your Observations on political subjects and approve entirely that Rectitude of heart which must have dictated your Attachment to Truth in all political Transactions. Falshood is never Politick. So far am I from admiring the old Monkish Maxim Populus vult decipi: decipiatur.1 for although I must confess from Experience, that the People sometimes choose to be deceived, yet I cannot agree to the other Part of the Proverb, so far as to take any part in the deception.
The Time has been when I had less unfavourable Notions of Rotations than I have at present. That Time however has been long Since past. Reading Reflection and Observation have wholly weaned me from that delusion and I believe that nothing has contributed more to my conversion than the Observation that in all History and Experience Rotations have been the favourites only of the Aristocracy. The People in contradistinction to the Aristocracy Seldom approve of Rotations and are never fond of them, except when at times they have been deceived by the Aristocrats.
It will be found at this instant that they are the Aristocrats in France and some of the worst of them too, who, by exciting Mobs and Tumults among People who may be hired to any Thing by a few Liards2 apiece, are playing Mischief with their Constitution and the Rights of Man.
You must write me as often as you can and not wait always for regular Answers from me, as my Engagements sometimes and my health at others will not allow me to write.
{ 315 }
My Regards to the Family We are connected with and particular Compliments to the worthy Baron.
I am my dear Charles your affectionate / Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); addressed: “Charles Adams Esqr / Councillor at Law / New York”; internal address: “Mr Charles Adams”; notation: “Free / John Adams.”
1. The people wish to be deceived, let them have their wish (attributed to Cardinal Caraffa, legate of Pope Paul IV).
2. A small French coin of little value (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0177

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-10-17

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother,

I have not received any letters from you, for a considerable time, and I experience the same kind of apprehensions for the cause which you have often expressed concerning me. I fear least the cold weather which is fast approaching should affect your health, by bringing a return of your Rheumatism. I have repeatedly written concerning engaging lodgings for my Father before all the places are engaged, but I have yet recd: no instructions, and if they should even come now I fear no very eligible accomodations can be easily obtained. Mrs. House has the most commodious Rooms of any I know, but ’tis probable they may all be engaged by this time, as many of the former lodgers will return there;1 I know of no other place where there is even a tolerable prospect of obtaining suitable lodgings; however it cannot be my fault if they are not now attainable. Every body of your acquaintance seem to regret your determination to remain behind; but I differ from them in opinion, tho’ I may be presumed more interested in your return than any of them. I do not despair however of again seeing you in Philada: provided you think proper to return next Fall—2 The Reelection is I believe very safe—there can be no hindrance on that score then; but your health is the principal objection, but this I hope will be removed by that time. The Election for Representatives in Congress has been held in this State, and from the returns allready recd: it is said to be Federal; there was a very formidable interest however in opposition; they were indefatigable in their endeavors to carry their Ticket, but are obliged to knock under at last.3 The Electors for P & VP are to be chosen in a few days; we hear very little said of them; indeed there was scarcely ever know an Election however trifling, that was conducted with so much peace & order in this place.4 But the City { 316 } has disgraced itself by the countenance given to Rank Anti's while the Counties have deservedly gained a great share of applause by an opposite conduct. Messrs: Hutchinson, Dallas Fox & Co: feel themselves heartily mortifyed by their ill success, in those places where their presence could not overawe or influence the people.5 We never shall get a splendid Representation for this State while there are so many distinct interests or rather prejudices to encounter; but we may get an harmless one.
I got a Letter from Mrs: Smith dated 5 Augst: she was just going to the Review at Bagshott—6 What dismal accounts we have from France if true— A Letter has been received by a Mercht: in this City from a Correspondent in Charleston SC, informing him of the Slaughter of 5000 Parisians—and the Assassination of the Queen— The King & M. La Fayette were missing—& the Duke of Brunswick within 30 leagues of Paris. This intelligence is from Paris by the Georgia Packet wh[ich] sailed on the first of Septr:— Doubts are suggested of its authenticity but tis said to be direct[. For] my part, if the last circumstance concerning the [Duke] of Brunsw[ic]k be true I can easily credit all the rest. Otherwise it seems improbable.7
I sent the Carriage by Captn. Carver; but the price Binghurst charges for Casing, is extravagant especially in the manner it is done—8 If the Carriage gets injured I won't pay him a Farthing—he asks six Dolls. which I would have given if it had been well done; I'll thank you to let me hear how it arrives. I have payed Mrs. Keppele her third quarter, and resigned the Key of the House, she has allready removed her Family & taken possession. I have also paid my Board. The Store Rent, and my Taylor's Bill—for my Winter & Summer cloath's. I want some shoes from Hardwick if you will please to send them. My best love to all Friends
[signed] Thos: B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A Adams / Quincy / near Boston—”; internal address: “Mrs A Adams”; endorsed by JA: “T.B.A. Octr. 17 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed and due to a torn manuscript.
1. Mary House ran a boardinghouse at the corner of High (now Market) and Fifth streets (Washington, Diaries, 5:155–156).
2. In fact, AA would not return to Philadelphia until May 1797, after JA had become president.
3. TBA's assessment of the 9 Oct. 1792 election was premature. The returns as counted and reported in the newspapers by 17 Oct. indicated that eight Federalists and five Democratic-Republicans would be sent to Congress from Pennsylvania. The final results put the tally at five Federalists and eight Democratic-Republicans (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 17 Oct.; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 31 Oct.; Biog. Dir. Cong.).
4. The election of electors for president and vice president took place on 6 November.
5. Dr. James Hutchinson (1752–1793) studied medicine in Philadelphia and London prior to the Revolution, during which he served as the surgeon general of { 317 } Pennsylvania from 1778 to 1784. He was active in Philadelphia politics. Alexander James Dallas (1759–1817), of Scottish descent, was born in Jamaica. In 1783, he moved to Philadelphia. where he practiced law and became a naturalized citizen. From 1791 to 1801, he served as secretary of the Commonwealth. Both men played active roles in promoting Democratic-Republicans in the 1792 election. Fox may have been Edward Fox (1752–1822), an Irishman who held various positions in the Pennsylvania government and also served as secretary and treasurer of the University of Pennsylvania from 1791 until his death (DAB; Harry Marlin Tinkcom, The Republicans and Federalists in Pennsylvania 1790–1801, Harrisburg, Penn., 1950, p. 51–54; Edward Fox, Penn Biographies, University of Penn. Archives, www.archives.upenn.edu).
6. Not found. On 7 Aug. 1792, King George III conducted a review of the British Army at their encampment at Bagshot roughly thirty miles southwest of London. According to newspaper reports, some 200,000 people attended the event, which featured a military parade, demonstrations of precision marching, and target firing (London Times, 9 Aug.).
7. The Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 15 Oct., printed the item that TBA paraphrases here under the headline “Melancholy Intelligence, If True.” This was just one of many reports appearing in newspapers throughout the United States on the situation in France, often offering contradictory information. The report was a mixture of fact and exaggeration; see AA2 to AA, 13 Sept., and notes, above.
8. John Bringhurst (1726–1795) was a noted Germantown carriage maker. Capt. Reuben Carver sailed the schooner Friendship between Boston and Philadelphia (Laurens, Papers, 7:574; Boston Columbian Centinel, 15 Aug.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0178

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1792-10-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Daughter:

I received with great pleasure your kind letter from Dover,1 and rejoiced in your safe arrival in England; but I have not been able to write you until now. When I was at the bar, I had commonly clerks who took off from me much of the manual labour of writing. While I was abroad I had commonly Secretaries to assist me. But now, when my hand shakes and my eyes fail, I have no one even to copy a letter, so that I am obliged to lay aside all pretensions of answering letters. My inclination has been strong to write to you and Col. Smith long ago, but ability has been wanting.
You are in Europe at a critical moment, more proper perhaps to make useful observations and reflections than any other which has occurred for centuries; but the scenes about you—at a distance, are terrible; and those which are near you, must be infested with a party spirit very anxious and very unsociable. You will soon wish yourself at home. We, indeed, have our parties and our sophistry, and our rivalries, but they proceed not to violence. The elections are going on in New-England with a spirit of sobriety and moderation, which will do us honour; and, I have not heard of any thing more intemperate than might be expected, in the southward or middle states.
For myself, I have made up my mind, and am more anxious to get out of public life than to continue in. I can say, with infinitely more { 318 } sincerity than Cæsar, that I have lived enough to glory, however feeble the glimmer may be. I am not disposed to say with him, that I have lived enough to life, for I should like to live to see the end of the revolutions in Europe, and that will not be these hundred years.2 My kind regards to Col. Smith and my dear boys, and to all friends.
Your mamma, I suppose, has told you all the news among our acquaintance, and it will be no pleasure to you to hear me repeat it. One thing she has forgotten: Capt. Beale of Squantam has set up, between me and my brother, a new house, the largest and handsomest ever built in their neighbourhood.3
What says my friend Brand Hollis to the French democrats now? Does his admiration of Mr. Paine continue or diminish? If my friend really loves king-killing, he is like to be satiated. I own I do not. My faith is immovable, that after ever so many trials, the nations of Europe will find, that equal laws, and natural rights and essential liberties can never be preserved among them without such an unity of the executive power.
I am, my dear child, / With much affection, / Yours,
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:123–125.
1. AA2 to JA, 7 May, above.
2. “I have lived long enough to satisfy either nature or glory” (attributed to Julius Caesar).
3. The Beale House is now part of the Adams National Historical Park.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0179

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-10-30

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear sir,

Your kind favor of the 11th: reached me some time since.1 The reasons you assign for delaying your journey to Philada: would be sufficient to satisfy me, but I have been particularly requested by several of your warmest Friends, to mention that your determination may be viewed in a different point of light by those who seek occasions & opportunities to injure you or your cause. It has become a matter of pretty general enquiry why the VP—is not to be here at the first of the Session, and it is feared that your final resolution concerning your journey hither, is only to be decided by the event of the Election. There has been such a spirit discovered in this, & the Southern States within a few months past, that the Friends & advocates of the present state of things, feel themselves { 319 } extreemly alarmed; and one of their principal reasons for wishing your presence as soon as possible at the head of the Senate, is the weight which your influence may have, to counteract the progress of dangerous measures. A single vote taken from any of the Eastern States, at this particular juncture, is thought to be of great consequence in the Political Ballance; especially as at this Session, a Reinforcement is expected from Kentucky.2
The dreadful scenes now acting in France, and the universal anarchy which appears to prevail, has excited terrors even in the breasts of the warmest enthousiasts for Revolution; and the justice of your principles with respect to Government begin to be openly acknowledged, tho’ they have long been silently seen.
’Tis said to be your happy fate to be the most obnoxious character in the United States, to a certain party, (whose hatred & opposition is the glory of every honest man) who for a long time have considered you as the first barrier to be removed in order to the success of their designs. If this be true, the necessity of your presence at this time will appear more striking than ever, as ’tis thought every exertion will be made on their part the coming Session to embarrass the most important measures, and even to subvert some that have allready received sanction. You will recollect that all the momentous questions which were agitated in Senate last session, were finally decided by the casting vote, and altho’ upon some accounts it may not be a very pleasing reflection, that the President of the Senate must necessarily encounter the Odium of half the Assembly in the honest discharge of his duty, yet there is some consolation to be derived from the involuntary veneration which that firmness of conduct must inspire, even in the breasts of those he may disappoint.3
The open opposition to the excise Law in the back parts of this State, has occasioned much anxiety to the President of the U, S,. His Proclamation has been treated with contempt, and some publications in the Pittsburgh Gazett have gone so far as to defy any attempts to enforce the law.4
Your goodness will I hope excuse [the] liberty I have taken in suggesting these inducements [in] hastening your Journey. If they appear to you of the same consequence as to those at whose request I have communicated them, I shall feel happy in having complyed with their desires; if not, I hope you will attribute it to the interest I feel in every thing that appears particularly to relate to you or your Office.
I have not yet been able to procure accomodations for your { 320 } Reception; but hope to do it in a few days. Mr. & Mrs: Otis have made a very obliging offer of a Room in their House, but no exertion on my part shall be wanting to procure the appartments mentioned in your letter.
Presenting my best love to the Family at Quincy and all other friends
I subscribe myself your dutiful / Son
[signed] Thos B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the U,S, / Quincy / near / Boston”; internal address: “The Vice President of the U,S,”; endorsed: “T. B. Adams / Octr. 30. 1792 / ansd Nov. 14. / recd 13.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. Kentucky, which became a state on 1 June, sent two senators for the second session of the 2d Congress: John Edwards and John Brown, both of whom attended the Senate for the first time on 5 November. Edwards (1748–1837) had served in the Va. House of Delegates and helped to frame Kentucky's state constitution. Brown (1757–1837), a lawyer, had represented Kentucky in the Va. senate and had also previously served as a congressional representative from Virginia from 1789 to 1792 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. While most of the Senate's deliberations were secret, the Annals of Congress indicate that JA cast deciding votes on several procedural motions related to the bills for apportioning representatives and for conveying land to the Ohio Company (2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 47, 49–50, 51, 123–124).
4. Although Congress had passed into law a tax bill that included an excise on distilled liquor in March 1791, no one attempted to enforce it in western Pennsylvania until Aug. 1792. People in that region, as well as in many other areas of the country, had been and remained strongly opposed to the law. They argued that the excise disproportionately affected those who lived in the western parts of the United States and laborers and the poor, primary consumers of domestic spirits. Opposition to the excise took a variety of forms, including petitions, assemblies, and occasionally violence, and would grow into what became known as the Whiskey Rebellion by 1794.
By fall of 1792, Alexander Hamilton's concern at the continuing opposition to the excise—especially resolutions by a Pittsburgh assembly calling for “every other legal measure that may obstruct the operation of the law, until we are able to obtain its total repeal”—led him to push for the use of the military to enforce it. While he could not convince the rest of George Washington's administration to support military action at that time, he did convince Washington to issue a proclamation, dated 15 Sept., decrying the “violent and unwarantable proceedings” and directing “all courts, magistrates and officers” to take appropriate action to enforce the law (Thomas P. Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution, N.Y., 1986, p. 105, 109–124; Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 25 Sept.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0180

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-11-02

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother,

I have received your favor of the 21st:1 and as I want a little private conversation with you, must oblige you to pay the Postage of my answer. At the request of several of our Friends I addressed a Letter to my Father a day or two since—stating certain reasons for { 321 } hastening his Journey to Philada: and most of those were of a public nature; but I omitted to mention any inducements of a personal nature to him, because I chose rather to communicate them to you. It is feared lest his absence from the Seat of Govt: at this critical period, will give a handle to his Enemies, who will use every effort to divert the votes of the Electors in some of the States from him, and thereby prevent his having a Majority. I know there is not a man connected with the Govt: who is less disposed to trouble his friends upon an occasion of this kind, or who has less dread of the arts of his opponents, yet the question is whether his absence at this time may not be construed by them as an unfavorable symptom in public affairs. The spirit of opposition increases to the southward, and every opportunity which can be seized, will be eagerly employed to embarrass the public Counsels. The reasons assigned by my Father in his letter to me, for delaying his Journey, were perfectly satisfactory, because I considered the delacacy of his situation with respect to the coming Election, and am acquainted with his wish to have it pretty clearly decided before he undertakes the Journey. The anxiety which is expressed by his friends arises from the apprehension lest he should be absent the whole session, which they are now willing to acknowledge might have considerable influence upon public measures. It seldom happens that any business of great importance is transacted in the first weeks of a Session, so that he would not be so much missed as at a later period, but if the complexion of the Election should be unfavorable, he may determine not to come at all, which, every one knows would injure the Federal interest materially. I hope therefore both Public & private considerations will induce him to come on. I hear no doubts or surmises expressed with regard to the Election; nor do I hear of a single Candidate whose Rivalship may be dreaded. If any thing like a serious or formidable contest were meditated, I should certainly hear of it from my young Companions at least, who have never discovered a disposition to conceal any thing of this kind from me. Burr is mentioned—but so faintly that I doubt whether he secures three votes, notwithstanding he has the support of P—— Edwards2 or A J Dallas. Maryland is said to be favorable to the present State of affairs, altho’, Mercer has been reelected.3 But enough of this— Now with regard to Lodgings, I know not where to apply further than I have allready. It seems as if the whole City was full even to an overflow— I shall be constantly upon the look out, but all the Lodging Houses are full, as I find { 322 } most of the members of Congress bespoke their old places before they left this place last year; we must wait therefore till some favorable opening occurs.
There are no complete setts of the National Gazett to be procured from its Commencement, and my Patiotism is too strong to give so small an encouragement as the price of a single Paper, to such an engine of party opposition; I shall wait therefore till you tell me what effect this reason has with you, before I send orders to the Editor— Fenno will have nothing to do with him. The negociation therefore must be carried on in my name, to which I oppose the above objection.
I have taken a huge fancy to some of your Cheese, and as I still retain a share of affection for my native soil, a little of its produce would be particularly acceptable, at this time; My Quaker Friends, are the most hospitable people in the Circle of my acquaintance, and my good Lady, by her friendly offices, renders your absence infinitely less irksome than I could expect; I wish therefore to make her a small present of this kind, provided you can spare half a Dozen or so, from your stock; you may think it a singular request, but I hope not unreasonable. They may be put in a small Cask & sent by water, if convenient.
My health has mended much since the Cold weather set in; I prevent any kinks in my bones by regular exercise, and as to the Ague, the Bark proved too strong for it this season, tho I come within an ace of it several times; The Wine which was left me, was of great service, I say was because I finished the last of it yesterday—I can wait conveniently till my Father comes to have it replenished, if you think it a reasonable expence. My paper says, good by to you,—my best love to Unkles Aunts, Brothers Cousins &c
[signed] T B A.
1. Not found.
2. Pierpont Edwards (1750–1826), Princeton 1768, was an influential Connecticut lawyer who had previously been a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1787–1788. Edwards was also Aaron Burr's uncle (DAB).
3. John Francis Mercer (1759–1821), William and Mary 1775, had served as a delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia in 1783–1784 but now represented Maryland (Biog. Dir. Cong.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0181

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1792-11-03

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My dear Mrs Smith

Mrs Jeffry sails in Captain Scott and is so good as to say that she will take Letters to you. I have written to you by Captain Barnard who generally has quick passages—and by his return I hope to hear from you. I had Letters last week from Charles. he writes that our Friends in N york were all well, excepting chief Justice Jay who had been dangerously Sick, but was then on the recovery. The complextion of politicks in that state was rather against the National Goverment. the Governours Party having carried all their Projects, and Burr was rewarded for his opinion upon the Legality of the Election with a judgeship of the supreem Court. From Philadelphia Thomas writes me that the returns for Representatives were generally Federal1 in Conneticut the old Members are all rechosen with the addition of two new Members.2 Hampshire the old set, in senate Wingate is out, and judge Livermore in his Room.3 the Choise in this state will be on fryday next when from the complextion of affairs I presume we shall get a good set.4 Mr Gerry has declined serving again. I wish you to write me when you think it likely you shall return. I hope you will not go to sea again in the circumstances you went in before. you was certainly in the greatest Danger of losing your Life. I was much surprizd at the circumstance of mrs Copleys never having received her Money for the silk she purchased. I wrote to mrs Welch directly and as it hapned the dr had a Receit for the money deliverd to a mr Hubard 30 dollors which according to the Bill which accompanied the silk would have been sufficient, had it been left. mr Hubard was out of Town but has been written to about it and mrs Gray assures me that as soon as she can learn how the affair hap’ned she will inform me and that the money which she supposed she had advancd at the Time the silk was procured, shall be sent by captain Barnard.5 I certainly should never have askd such a favour for myself, much less should I have done it for an other person, and I am extreemly sorry that mrs Copleys delicacy has prevented her from informing me before I beg you to make every apology for me who was only a mere agent in the Buisness—but would sooner pay the money myself than mrs Copley should lay any longer out of it.
if you will with the china Send me a Bill of it, I will either remitt you the Money or pay it to whom ever you direct. I find that { 324 } Barnard will not sail so soon as scott. I put one Letter into the Bagg the other I shall give to mrs Jeffry. The Print you mention of the death of Chatham is come to Philadelphia, but we have not yet got it, or learnt where it is lodg'd, the Captain dye'd a few Days after his arrival.6 when your Father goes to Philadelphia Brisler will take measures to find it. my Love to the dear Boys.
present me kindly to Mr Vassel and Family to mr & mrs smith, and to all other Friends7 Let me hear often from you, and where you have been whom you have seen of our old acquaintance, my old servants I should be glad to hear of.
Your Aunt Cranch desires me to remember you to her I ought first to have mentiond your aged Grandmother who always kindly inquires after you. Send her a fan or any triffel by Barnard. the Idea that you remember her at such a distance gratifies her tenfold more than the value of the present. I mention a fan because a dog tore hers to peices which she had long had, and highly valued. The old Lady is as well this summer as the last, and is now in her 84th year. my Love to the Col Tell him to take care of his Health. I am my dear Daughter your ever affectionate / Mother
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To / Mrs Smith / Argile Street No 38 / London.”
1. TBA to AA, 17 Oct., above.
2. AA was slightly mistaken. One Connecticut representative, Jonathan Sturges, was not reelected. The three new members of Congress—all Federalists—were Joshua Coit, Zephaniah Swift, and Uriah Tracy (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. Samuel Livermore and Paine Wingate switched roles: Livermore moved from the House of Representatives to the Senate, while Wingate stepped down from the Senate to the House. Livermore (1732–1803), Princeton 1752, originally studied law in Waltham, Mass., but moved to New Hampshire in 1758. He served in the Continental Congress and as chief justice of New Hampshire's state supreme court, 1782–1789. Wingate (1739–1838), Harvard 1759, was a Congregational minister who later turned to farming and politics, serving in a variety of state and federal positions between 1781 and 1809 (same).
4. Massachusetts reelected Caleb Strong and George Cabot as its senators. For the House of Representatives, the state elected Fisher Ames, Shearjashub Bourne, David Cobb, Peleg Coffin Jr., Henry Dearborn, Samuel Dexter, Dwight Foster, Benjamin Goodhue, Samuel Holten, William Lyman, Theodore Sedgwick, George Thatcher, Peleg Wadsworth, and Artemas Ward. Ames, Bourne, Goodhue, Sedgwick, Thacher, and Ward had all previously served in the 2d Congress, and all were Federalists except Dearborn, Holten, and Lyman (same).
5. On 6 Oct. 1789, Susanna Clarke Copley wrote to AA that she had sent twenty yards of silk “according to your direction” (vol. 8:419). See also AA to Thomas Welsh, 15 Nov. 1792, and AA to Susanna Clarke Copley, [post 15 Nov.], both below.
6. On 20 April, John Singleton Copley wrote to JA (Adams Papers), indicating he was sending two copies of the recently completed engraving of Copley's 1781 painting The Death of the Earl of Chatham, one for the Adamses and one for George Washington. Because the Adamses were in Quincy at the time the engravings arrived in Philadelphia, they were unable to receive them directly. By 27 Jan. 1793, however, JA was able to write to Copley to thank him for the engraving and to assure him that JA had delivered one to Washington personally (MB). { 325 } The copy belonging to the Adamses remained in the family and hangs in the dining room at MQA.
7. William and Margaret Hubbard Vassall and William and Frances Coape Smith had been social acquaintances of the Adamses during their time in London (vol. 6:305, 311, 381, 388).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0182

Author: Otis, Mary Smith Gray
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-11-03

Mary Smith Gray Otis to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Mrs Adams

It was my intention to have written to you earlier after my return than this, but have found my time very much taken up, with puting my house in order.— You will not however think me less sincere for being late in my enquieres after your health, which I am sorry to hear is not yet confirmed. Your friends here regret very much, being deprived of your society this winter and are only reconciled to it, by the consideration of its being benificial to you.— The Vice President has been anxiously expected here, at this time by his friends, & his delay is considered as an unfortunate curcumstance, as it respects himself & his country, the former consideration I know, he is too much above, the latter I trust has still some influence upon his mind.— Haveing said thus much, give me leave to adde, that I think, there is no lodging house sutable for the Vice President to be at, to be with other boarders, will not assuredly do; & there is no place that he can come to, with so much propriety as to our house, we have rooms enough and will accomodate him the best in our power.— Mr Bryslar knows all his wants, and with his assistance, I think he will be as well of as at a Boarding House.— This is not ment as a complement, but as what would give Mr Otis & myself great pleasure.—
The ladies of Congress are all here there is no addition to the number, but only Mrs Ames,1 the city begins to be gay, but they have not yet enter'd into the spirit of Card Partys
Remember me to Mrs Cranch & family love to Louisa.— And whenever you can find time to write me, you will give pleasure to / Your Affect Cous[in]
[signed] M Otis
[ca. 7 November]
Mr Otis encloses a copy of the speech & informs that Mr Lees having declined public business &, the Vice President not arrived Mr Langdon is Pres: pro tem:— Mr O encloses the Speech2 & will send the minutes the next post.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: Adams / Quincy.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
{ 326 }
1. Fisher Ames had married Frances Worthington (b. 1764) of Springfield, Mass., in July after a lengthy courtship (Winfred E. A. Bernhard, Fisher Ames: Federalist and Statesman 1758–1808, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1965, p. 200–203).
2. Otis emphasized this word by circling it in curlicues.
3. Richard Henry Lee, the Senate's president pro tempore, had resigned on 8 Oct.; John Langdon was elected on 5 Nov. in his place (Biog. Dir. Cong.). The speech enclosed (not found) was likely George Washington's address to Congress of 6 Nov., which first appeared in print in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 7 November. On 12 Nov., Samuel Alleyne Otis wrote to JA enclosing the minutes of the proceedings of the Senate, including its response to Washington's address (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0183

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Welsh, Thomas
Date: 1792-11-15

Abigail Adams to Thomas Welsh

[salute] Dear sir

I inclose to you a memorandum which I received from Mrs Smith,1 the Receit given you for the Money I have received and will forward in a Letter to mrs Copley but at the same time I wish to know how she is to come at the money lodged in the Bank. perhaps mrs Gray has taken measures for that, but as I feel myself in some degree responsible to mrs Copley I wish when I write to her & state the facts, that she may at the same time receive her money.
My son takes Fennos paper in which is a peice dated Annopolis & signed a consistant Republican I think, for I have not now the paper by me. I would suggest to you sir whether it might not be proper for Russel to republish it.2 the people of this state appear to feel themselves safe and I believe are happy under the National Goverment, but if they mean to continue so they must be more vigilint, for never since the commencment of the Goverment has there been so formi[dable] a combination to overthrow it. there are no falsehoods too barefaced for the Antis to circulate. the zeal with which a certain Gentleman in Boston is brought forward for a Representitive shews plainly that like Moles, much work has been done in this state underground.3 mr Ames I find in one place has been Represented as having made an immence fortune by speculation, in an other place the people have been told that he was an Enemy to the Rights of the People and in an other, where such a report was known to be unpopular, that he was in favour of the Petition of the officers of the late Army, but they may be assured that Massachusetts has not a Member who has more uniformly supported the National Goverment since its commencment and with abilities which his Enemies dread.4 let our Country men look at France and ask themselves do the Rights of Men consist in the destruction & devastation of Private property do the Rights of Man consist in Murder & { 327 } { 328 } Massacre without distinction of Age or youth of sex or condition, Scenes which Humanity Sickens at, the very recital of which at this [distan]ce from the scene of carnage, the Youthfull Blood is frozen, and each particular Hair as shakspear expresses it, stands an End, like quills upon the fretted Porcupine.5
Mr Adams sets of on monday next could you ride up and dine with us on sunday we shall be very happy to see you. my kind Regards to mrs welch and family—
yours affectionatly
[signed] A A
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Dr Thomas Welch / Boston”; docketed: “Mrs. A Adams ‘92.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. Not found.
2. “To the People of Maryland,” which was signed “A Consistent Federalist” and dated Annapolis, 19 Oct., appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 31 Oct., reprinted from the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, 23 October. Benjamin Russell reprinted the article in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 17 Nov., under the signature “A Constant Federalist.” The article, responding to a suggestion that Charles Carroll of Carrollton replace JA as vice president, argues that Antifederalists had long opposed JA “because his abilities and principles were formidable to their views and ambition; and because to prevent his re-election would be a point gained over the constitution itself.” It goes on to summarize much of JA's diplomatic career in glowing terms and to suggest that “the knowledge he acquired, in these several missions, of the interests and views of the courts of Europe, fit him in a peculiar manner to fill, to the greatest advantage, the station he now occupies.”
3. Benjamin Austin Jr., who was defeated by Fisher Ames for Suffolk County representative (Boston Columbian Centinel, 3 Nov.).
4. During the weeks before the election, various newspaper items appeared questioning Ames’ disinterestedness and suggesting his collusion with speculators; see, for example, Boston Independent Chronicle, 25 Oct., and Boston Gazette, 29 October. After the election, the Boston Gazette, 5 Nov., printed a satirical piece breaking down who voted for Ames into categories such as “Branch Bank Officers, Directors and Runners”; “Persons interested deeply in the Funds, alias Paper-Men”; and, finally, “A noted, idle stroller, who has been too fat to engage in any Business but Speculation!” Two years earlier, Ames had been accused of withholding from Congress a petition signed by thousands of soldiers in opposition to the funding bill (Stewart, Opposition Press, p. 42).
5. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, scene v, line 20.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0184

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Copley, Susanna Clarke
DateRange: 1792-11-15 - 1792-11-30

Abigail Adams to Susanna Clarke Copley

[salute] my dear Madam

I was not a little Surprizd at receiving intelligence through mrs smith soon after her arrival that you had never received the Money for the Silk you was so good as to purchase at my request three years ago— I am extreemly sorry that your delicacy prevented you from giving me this information at an earlier period. most assuredly Madam I would not have askd such a favour for myself nor could I have ventured it for any other person. upon my Receiving mrs smiths Letter I immediatly informd mrs Gray of it who was not less surprizd than I { 329 } was—for 30 dollors was sent with the Letter and Mrs Gray supposd that it was paid for at the Time the silk was sent tho she now recollects that the Bill which she received was not receited. a Mr Russel Hubbard was the person who received the money and not finding mrs Copley at Home when he left the Letter he lodgd the money in the Bank of England where it now is. he thought no more of it, and mrs Adams did not see mrs Gray till two years after when she thanked her me2 for having procured her silk through mrs Copley
I inclose you the Recit which will enable you to receive at the Bank the 30 dollar with one pr cent interest from the time it was lodg'd there, as I am informd. I am unacquainted with the mercantile method of doing Buisness but suppose it is Regular. if there should still be any diffiulty remaining I hope you will be kind enough to inform me
our late dear suffering Friend mrs Rogers I shall always remember with a sisterly affection She was happily for her releazd and I believe I may add made perfect as humane Nature was capable of, through Sufferings if ever there was a sincere mourner mr Rogers may be rankd in that Class—
My dear Mrs Smith expresses herself happy in the Renewal of her acquaintane with you—and in the continuence of your Friendship. I hope she will not be in a situation to call upon you for such assistance as you have formerly renderd her, but if she should, I shall more than ever solicit your kind attention to her. I hope she will never venture to sea in circumstances similar to those in which she made her last voyage which nearly cost her her Life.
My own Health has sufferd so much by my Residence at Philadelphia that I do not propose going there this winter.
I hope mr Copley & the Ladies your daughters enjoy their Health. miss Copleys Rose Tree I still preserve & tho it has out lived several seasons & many of the productions of Nature Time has Rob'd it in some measure of its Bloom.3
I am dear Madam with my best wishes for your Health & happiness / Your Friend & Humble servant
[signed] A. A
Dft (Adams Papers). Filmed at [1792].
1. The dating of this letter is based on AA's letters of 3 Nov. to AA2 and of 15 Nov. to Thomas Welsh, both above.
2. AA initially wrote “her” then added “me” directly above it.
3. AA brought two rose bushes back from England in 1788, a red Lancaster and a white York, which she planted at the Old House. The Lancaster survived into the nineteenth century; the York is still flourishing at the Adams National Historical Park.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0185

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-11-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Weather has been so disagreable and the Roads so bad, that I have not been able to advance farther on my Journey than to Bulls Tavern in this Town where I arrived last night after an unpleasant ride in the snow from Springfield.1 It Snowed all last night and has blocked up the roads so that I cannot move onwards till monday.
I have fallen into Several curious Conversations, on the road, which however would be too trifling to commit to Paper. a Gentleman of very respectable Appearance told me last Evening without knowing or Suspecting me, all the Politicks of New York and Philadelphia for and against the V. President. “The V. P. had been as all Acknowledged a great Friend to this Country, but had given offence to his Fellow Citizens in Massachusetts, by writing something in favour of hereditary descent. That he had been long in Europe and got tainted.” I told him laughing that it was hard if a Man could not go to Europe without being tainted. that if Mr Adams had been Sent to Europe upon their Business by the People, and had done it, and in doing it had necessarily got tainted I thought the People ought to pay him for the Damage the Taint had done him, or find some Means to wash it out and cleanse him.
Govr H. has been here and made a Dinner for the Gentleman of this Town.2 one asked after the V. P. “The Governor had not Spoken to the V. P. this year; He was not one of the Well born.” A Gentleman remarked upon it afterwards what would Mr H. have been if he had not been well born the Nephew of the rich Uncle Thomas.? in short his Silly Envy of the V. P. is perceived & ridiculed by all the World out of Massachusetts. He is considerd as a mere rich Man prodigal of his Wealth to obtain an empty Bubble of Popularity.
I am told that an unanimous Vote will be for me in Vermont New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island. This is generally expected, but I know full well the Uncertainty of Such Things, and am prepared to meet an Unanimous Vote against me. Mr P. E. came off miserably. He gave such offence by mentioning his Nephew, that they would not appoint one Man who had any connection with him.3
I would not entertain you with this political Title tattle, if I had any thing of more importance to say. one Thing of more importance { 331 } to me, but no News to you is that I am / yours with unabated Esteem & / affection forever
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Portia.”; endorsed: “Novbr / 24 1792.”
1. Capt. Frederick Bull (d. 1797) ran a tavern in Hartford (Hartford Connecticut Courant, 21 Oct. 1793; Middletown, Conn., Middlesex Gazette, 24 Feb. 1797).
2. John Hancock traveled to Connecticut in October, primarily to visit family and friends in Fairfield (Herbert S. Allan, John Hancock: Patriot in Purple, N.Y., 1953, p. 352; New York Diary, 16 Oct.).
3. That is, Pierpont Edwards and his nephew Aaron Burr.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0186

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-11-26

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Such has been the weather Since you left me, that I cannot form any accurate judgment where you now are. I sometimes conjecture that you are not farther than Brookfield. at any rate you must have had an unpleasent week, tho perhaps not so severe a snow storm as we have had here. Monday afternoon & all twesday it raind then cleard up very cold and blustering. on fryday came on a snow storm wind very voilent at North East. it continued so through fryday Night and saturday even untill sunday morning, when the snow was over the tops of the Stone walls and so Bank'd that no wheel carriage can stir. we had not any meeting to day, and some person had their sheep to digg out from under the snow Banks. ours very fortunately experienced the comfort of their new habitation. the Hay was housed on fryday, & bedding provided for the Horses, but the Boat is not carried to the Island. after the storm of twesday shaw1 and Tirril went to see if she could be got of, but the very high Tide had thrown her up so high that they pronounced it impossible untill the Tides rose again, and that it would be more adviseable to turn her over where she now is, & secure her there for the winter, this Snow storm confirms them in the opinion I never remember so severe a snow storm in November. I hope to hear from you this week. I have felt much anxiety for you, more perhaps than if I had been a fellow traveller with you with Books about me I have felt dismal & Lonely. you left the only ones you intended to take; and an Inn seldom furnishes any entertainment of a literary kind. I hope Brisler minds to have a fire in your Bed Room and that your sheets are well aird and your Bed well cloathd. remind him of this injunction yet I know not whether this will reach you soon enough to put it in practise. Porter who was to cut our wood and Timber is confind to his Bed with the { 332 } Rhumatism.2 most families I find are caught without wood, so that it is to be hoped they will turn out & make roads. I think you will find it necessary to take a sleigh and if so you will travel with more ease to yourself than with wheels
I cannot tell you any news not having seen to my great mortification any News paper since you went away nor have I been out of the House since I returnd after leaving you. I did not think I should have felt so lonely. it seems so still all day long as if half the Family were gone.
Let me hear from you as soon as you get to Philadelphia, and sooner if this should reach you at Nyork as I design it shall—
I am most affectionatly / yours
[signed] A Adams
I hope poor Cheeseman is not cast away with your Trunk of cloaths, but if he was within reach of the storm I know not how he could stand it. I presume we shall hear many a melancholy ship wreck3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Portia / Nov. 26. 1792.”
1. Ezra Shaw Jr. (b. 1771) of Abington (Vital Records of Abington, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850, 2 vols., Boston, 1912, 1:204).
2. David Porter (1753–1827) of Abington (Joseph W. Porter, A Genealogy of the Descendants of Richard Porter, Bangor, Maine, 1878, p. 55–56).
3. Capt. Samuel Chesman's ship, the Trion, arrived safely in Philadelphia by early December (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 8 Dec.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0187

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-12-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

At Hartford, finding the Roads obstructed with Such Banks of Snow, as were impassable with Wheels I left my Chaise with Mr Frederick Bull of that town to be sent to Boston, and my Horses to be sent after me, and took to the Mail Stage. We happened to have agreable Passengers, and arrived here on Wednesday night. as I had little sleep for several nights, I found myself fatigued, a little fevourish with a bad Sore throat, and have been nursing here till sunday. tomorrow morning I go off for Philadelphia. Charles and our Friends are well— Some Persons have recd letters from our Children in London who expect to come home in the Spring.
Governor Clinton is to be V. P. of U. S. and Govr of N. Y. too, at least this is the Sanguine Stile both of his Friends and Enemies. { 333 } Some of both I mean. The C. J. has been very Sick but is recovered. He looks very thin and pale however.
Charles has had some Business, and has argued and gained his first Cause. It is no small Thing to make the Beginning at the Bar. He wants Books and I must help him to purchase a few of the most necessary.
I wrote you from Hartford and shall write again from Philadelphia. I hear many Stories of Marches and Countermarches Intrigues and Manœuvres of Burke1 Dallas, Edwards Clinton &c &c to form Combinations vs. the V. P. but I know not how much of it to Credit. at all Events I hope I shall not be obliged to lie alone next Winter, and with this Wish I close my Letter—
yours forever & forever
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams / Quincy / near / Boston”; internal address: “Portia”; endorsed: “Decbr 2. 1792”; notation: “Free / John Adams.”
1. Aedanus Burke (1743–1802), an Irishman who settled in Charleston, S.C., had been an Antifederalist during the ratification debate. He served a single term in Congress before returning to South Carolina where he was appointed chancellor of the equity courts (Biog. Dir. Cong.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0188

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1792-12-04

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my dearest Friend

I was very happy to receive on thanksgiving day the 29 of Novbr. your Letter dated Hartford. I feard that you had not reachd so far the weather was so dissagreable, but if the Roads have mended as much with you as they have this way, you have reachd Philadelphia by this time. I shall with impatience wait to hear of your arrival there. the snow remaind with us but one week Since which we have had pleasent weather. there has not anything occurd material that I know of since you left us— if you get Russels paper you will see a little deserved Burlisque upon the Govenours speach respecting the expressions made us of by Congress which gave him such umbrage.1 Tomorrow is a very important day to the united states, much more important to them, than it can possibly be to you or to me for think of it as they please tomorrow will determine whether their Government shall stand four years longer or Not. mr Clinton Seems to be the only competitor held up. I fancy he will receive no aid from N England. I hope you will order Fenno to continue his paper to me. We have had a Gang of Thieves infesting this Town since you left it. { 334 } the thursday after you went away Shaw & James went into the woods & in the day time the best saddle was stolen out of the Barn closset. the same Night mr Cary had his best Horse stolen2 and mr smith who lives on mrs Rows place had his taken the same night3 and last Sunday morning James came Running in to inform me that his Stables had been attempted, & his Lock broken, but being doubly secured the villan could not effect his purpose. he tried the Coach house door & split of a peice of the door, but could not get the Bar out. he went on to mr Adams's at Milton & stole his Horse4 a Traveller lodged at Marshes Tavern on saturday night, who got up in the Night Rob'd the House of various articles of wearing Apparal and made of. we Suppose that he was the person who attempted our stables and that he belongs to a Gang. they are in persuit of him5
your Mother was well this day she spent it with me. She and your Brother & family all dinned with me on thanksgiving day as well as our Son. tis the first thanksgiving day that I have been at Home to commemerate for Nine years. Scatterd and dispersed as our Family is, God only knows whether we shall ever all meet together again much of the pleasure and happiness resulting from these N England Annual feltivals is the family circles & connections which are brought together at these times, but whether seperate or together I am sensible that every year has been productive of many Blessings, and that I have great cause of thankfulness for preserving mercies both to myself & Family.
I inclose a Letter for Brisler6 I wish him to inquire the price of Rye that I may know whether it would quit cost to send me a dozen Bushel tis five & six pence pr Bushel here. Superfine flower I want to know the price of, it has taken a rise here7
my Love to Thomas tell him to write me often I hope the House of Reps will be in a little better humour after all Elections are over. I hope trust they will not follow the French example & Lop of Heads, even of departments. they appear to have a great terror of them I see a Lucius & a Marcus, I should like to know who they are.8 [. . . .]hee many compliments & respects to all my good Friends in Philadelphia. I flatter myself I have some there, and be assured of the affectionate Regard / of your
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Portia. Decr 4. / ansd. 19. 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
{ 335 }
1. On 12 Nov., John Hancock addressed the Mass. General Court. In his speech, he took exception to a directive from Congress that “the Supreme Executive of each State SHALL cause three lists of the names of the Electors of such State to be made and certified.” Hancock believed that the use of the word “shall” was inappropriate; he argued, “that Government applies itself to the People of the United States in their natural, individual capacity, and cannot exert any force upon, or by any means controul the officers of the State Governments as such: Therefore, when an Act of Congress uses compulsory words with regard to any Act to be done by the Supreme Executive of this Commonwealth, I shall not feel myself obliged to obey them” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 Nov.).
2. Alpheus Cary (1761–1816) of North Bridgewater later served as a selectman in Quincy (Sprague, Braintree Families).
3. Probably Hannah Rowe of Milton (Pattee, Old Braintree, p. 60).
4. Lemuel Adams (1748–1833) of Milton (Sprague, Braintree Families).
5. The tavern proprietor may have been Jonathan Marsh (1753–1822), who lived on Hancock Street and held various town offices (same; Pattee, Old Braintree, p. 171).
6. Not found.
7. In Dec. 1792, rye was priced at three to three and a half shill