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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9

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
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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
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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.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.