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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9


Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1793-02-17

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Charles

I have not answered your favour of 31. of Jan. nor that which announced the Arrival of your Brother and Sister.

Justum et tenacem Propositi Virum

Non Civium Ardor prava jubentium

Non Vultus instantis Tyranni

Mente quatit Solida,

was repeated by Cornelius De Wit on The Rack and in torture; as you may See in Cerisiers Tableau.1 I know not whether the Rack is to be borne or not; but I know, the most disgusting, Sickening, disheartening grieving, provoking, irritating Feeling of the soul, is excited, by the Meanness, the Baseness of political Lies and popular Injustice. There is no Country upon Earth where the People will hear and read this contemptible Ribaldry with so little Resentment, or so much malignant Pleasure against their best Men. The hornets, the Wasps the Fleas, the Lice and the Ticks are now Stinging the President and if the People bear it, they deserve to be eaten by Fleas, as you was in Spain.
We Shall See next fall, how Parties will Stand; if Congress Should not be called together Sooner. The War in Europe may compel an earlier Session.

Weigh well your part, and do your best

Leave to your maker all the rest,

I read last night in the Almanack and cannot give you a better precept.— Another very good rule from the Same respectable Authorty is
{ 408 }

He who contracts his swelling Sail

Eludes the Fury of the Gale.

another still is worth transcribing

Regard the World with cautious Eye

Nor raise your Expectation high.

Life is a Sea, where Storms must rise

’Tis folly talks of cloudless Skies.2

I had, from your Letter, entertained hopes of seeing Mr Smith here before now: but the Roads must be so bad that I now despair of it. My Love to him, your sister, and my dear little Boys. I must make but a Short Stay at New York, on my return. My affairs at Quincy require my Attention, and Presence.
I envy no Man but the Baron and General Gates. If I had a Steuben, I would remove with all my Family and live upon it.—3 I could yet cutt down Trees and clear Land, which I am convinced is the happiest Employment of human Life. If you ever was present at Stubbing Bushes and burning them you must have felt it. hunting deers is not so transporting to a Savage, as clearing Land to a Farmer. Feeding Cattle, which is very pleasant is not equal, to the Work of Creation in the Woods which converts a Forrest into a fruitful field. War, Negotiation, Legislation, Administration hide your diminished heads, in Comparison with Husbandry for a happy Life. a Proportion of Solitude is essential to happiness. Man was not made nor borne to be alone it is true: nor was he born to be always in Company. Alternate Retirement and Society is the only System of Wisdom. so thinks and so will Act your affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams.
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams.”; docketed: “Vice President.”
1. For Antoine Marie Cerisier's Tableau de l’histoire générale, see vol. 4:81. Cornelius de Witt, a seventeenth-century Dutch official and brother of grand pensionary Johan de Witt, was falsely accused of planning an assassination attempt against William III, Prince of Orange. Refusing to admit guilt even under torture, de Witt was found not guilty but was nonetheless deprived of his offices and sentenced to exile. Before that could take place, he and his brother were murdered by members of the civic guard loyal to the prince (Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 120, 127–129). See also JA, Papers, 10:354, 355, 438; 13:416, 424.
2. All of the quotations, in somewhat different order, come from Nathaniel Cotton, “Content. Vision IV,” Visions in Verse, London, 1751, lines 153–154, 147–148, 138–139, 145–146.
3. Like Baron von Steuben, Gen. Horatio Gates had retired to a large estate just north of New York City in 1790. Rose Hill Farm included a “large & handsome” house and a “garden which was filled with every variety of the best & choicest fruit” (Paul David Nelson, General Horatio Gates: A Biography, Baton Rouge, La., 1976, p. 287–288).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0234

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1793-02-19 - 1793-02-20

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I have this moment received your kind favor of the 17th. I am not ignorant that dayly abuse is poured upon not only the officers of Government, but even upon the President himself who heretofore has been exempted from public attacks of this nature. I console myself by reflecting that the authors of these libels are a few hirelings of Antifederalism in the City of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Gazetts it is true circulate through the Union, but our Printers in this City have sense enough not to reprint their scandal and I should never have heard of it but from you and several friends who have remarked it at the Seat of Government This City has shown itself in the late election for Representative to be disgusted at the men and measures of the Antifederal party The majority of votes for Mr Watts are beyond the calculation of any one a majority of eleven hundred cannot fail to do honor to the politicks of this City.1 Peculiarly unfortunate is this City in being destitute of men who are able and willing to serve them in public Mr Watts is not the man who should represent us in Congress and this is the opinion of a great many of the people He is a well meaning man but not a shining character. what can be said! We had the choice between a vilain and an honest man.
The principal subject of conversation is respecting the minister who is on his voyage from the French Republic to the United States.2 Various opinions are advanced with regard to his reception. Some say that we cannot but receive him out of a principle of gratitude to France who was so early in acknowledging our Independence! but should we carry this so far as to draw all the Nations of Europe into a war with us? Can we receive a minister who comes from we know not who? England and Holland must join against the French in the Spring if they insist upon opening the Scheld And can they resist so many formidable [. . .]? Where are the treasures which can keep up [. . .] when according to statement the last event [. . .] and the troops who were but three months in the field cost France nineteen million Sterling it is impossible! the mines of Peru would not suffice. Is there no delay which can be employed to put this reception off? I know very well that Our Government will be urged I hope not forced to commit themselves by such a measure.
{ 410 }
Feby 20
By the Bristol which arrived last evening we have accounts from Europe to the 25th of Decr It appears that great exertions are making by the Emperor Russia and the rest of the combined powers The Emperor alone sends three hundred and fifty thousand men into the field.3 That Genl Miranda was at Antwerp and the French flag was flying in that port That the Dutch were in consternation fearing an invasion every moment.4 We have also received a number of resolutions of the National convention which are somewhat extraordinary. They swear never to lay down their arms till all the Nations of Europe shall have tasted the sweets of liberty. This is one among a number equally extraordinary They have decreed that the whole family of the Bourbons shall be exiled except those who are in confinement in the Temple, and even the monkey trick of Monsr Egalité has been of no service to him he is indicded with the rest.5 The National Convention by their proceedings appear little less unreasonable than the Assembly. This I think is very certain that while their present ideas remain they can never hope for tranquillity though they should be the Conquerors of Europe.
Will the new Congress be called together on the fifth of March? I think we should look round us While so universal a war pervades Europe we ought not to be asleep?
I am my dear father with every sentiment / of respect your affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States— / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “C. Adams / ansd. 27. Feb. 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. John Watts (1749–1836), speaker of the N.Y. State Assembly, defeated William S. Livingston by a vote of 1,872 to 707 (Biog. Dir. Cong.; New York Daily Gazette, 21 Feb.). See also CA to JA, 26 Dec. 1792, and note 5, above.
2. For Edmond Charles Genet, the recently appointed French minister to the United States, see JA, D&A, 2:355.
3. Emperor Francis II (1768–1835) succeeded his father, Leopold II, as leader of the German empire on 1 March 1792 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:398; 13:table 33). Reports brought in from the ship Bristol, dated Vienna, 24 Nov., indicated that by the end of that month, the Austrian Army intended to have 360,000 soldiers participating in the campaign against France (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 23 Feb. 1793).
4. Gen. Francisco de Miranda (1750–1816) was born in Venezuela. He had served with the French in the American Revolution and now led a portion of their army alongside Dumouriez. The French had occupied Antwerp in December (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:417).
5. At a meeting of the National Convention on 15 Dec., the assembly determined that “The Generals in all those countries, which are, or may be occupied by our armies, shall immediately proclaim in the name of the { 411 } republic, the abolition of the ancient contributions, nobility, taxes, feudal rights, real and personal servitude, the exclusive right of hunting and fishing, and all privileges. They shall declare to the people, that they bring them peace, liberty and fraternity.” It also established new administrative bodies and representative assemblies and declared, “The French nation swears never to down its arms until the countries into which they have entered shall be free and their liberty secured.”
The next day, the Convention adopted another decree that “All the members of the family of the Bourbons, Capets, except these who are detained at the Temple, shall quit the Department of Paris in 24 hours, and in three days the territories of the Republic and the countries in which the French armies presently are.”
For Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc d’Orléans, who now called himself Philippe Égalité, see vol. 7:156. At this time, after considerable debate, he was exempted from the decree requiring all members of the royal family to leave France but was executed later in 1793 (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 23 Feb.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0235

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1793-02-19

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My son

I have great Satisfaction in your Letter of the 10th. The Breaking of the Bubble of Banks would be a Blessing if it could teach our People to beware of all other Bubbles. But I fear We shall have a Succession of them. I hope however at least they will teach you caution.
“The Rivalries of our most conspicuous Characters” are such as human Nature produces under the Cultivation of such a Constitution as ours, and they never will be less. If they should have the Effect to convince this nation of one of the most obvious, Simple, certain and important Truths vizt [“]The Necessity of Subordination—in Society” it will be well. if otherwise We must have Anarchy.
Your Sentiments will not always be unpopular; if they are you will have nothing to loose, if you have nothing to gain, for no Man will be able to call his Life Liberty Reputation or Property his own. I Should not advise you to indulge any uncommon Ardour or distinguished Zeal about the Town Police or Theatrical Questions. in you it must be hypocricy to pretend to any other sentiments than those you have manfully expressed.
Your refusal to appear at the delirious Dinner, I cannot but approve. It will do you no harm in the End.
I am afraid your Mother caught her Ague at Boston: but so it must be.
I shall see you in 3 or 4 Weeks at farthest I hope.
Col Smith is here but not in good health: your sister and Nephews are well. so is your Brother Thomas and / your affectionate father
[signed] J A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Adams.”

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0236

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-02-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my dearest Friend

my Last Letter was written to you in Bed I write this from my chair, my fever is leaving me and I am mending So that I can set up the chief of the day. the dr says it was the unexpected News of mrs smiths return that had so happy an effect upon me as to Break my fever. I am languid & weak but hope to be well by the Time you return. I shall forward my next Letter to you, to be left at N york as it might not reach you in Philadelphia if you set out as soon in March as you propose. I would mention to you your Coupons for the year least it should slip your mind.1 I believe I mentiond in my last all that I could think of respecting domestick concerns. our Weather is so changeable that it retards the kind of Buisness which I should be glad to have compleated. this week we have had floods of rain, which has carried of the chief of the heavy snow which fell the week before. o I forgot to mention to mr Brisler to cut me some of the weeping willows, & put on Board any of the vessels comeing this way, some of mr Morriss peach tree Grafts. we have some young plumb trees which will answer for stocks.2 your Brother told me on monday Evening that the senate had made choice of mr Strong; I presume the House will concur tis an ill wind which blows no good to any one. the late failures in Boston have thrown Some buisness into the hands of our son he is well and grows very fat.
present me affectionatly to all my Friends particularly to mrs Washington whom I both Love and respect. Remember me to mrs otis and tell her that her sister Betsy complains that she does not write to her. a kiss to miss Harriot, tell her she must find out how I sent it. your Mother desires to be rememberd to you. one day last week whilst I was the most sick, the severest N East snow storm came that we have had through the winter. we could not pass with a carriage, and I desired my People not to let her know how ill I was as she could not get to See me, but no sooner was there a foot tract than she put on stockings over her shoes, and I was astonishd to hear her voice below stairs. she has had better health than for some years past
Adieu all Friends send their Regards / ever yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the / United States. / Philadelphia.”; docketed: “AA 1793.”
1. On 1 March, JA, as a subscriber to the sixth Dutch-American loan of 2 March 1791, sent to Wilhem and Jan Willink coupons that entitled him to interest on his investment. JA { 413 } asked that the money be shipped to Cotton Tufts in the form of gold or Spanish dollars (JA to Wilhem and Jan Willink, 1 March 1793; Willinks to JA, 22 April, both Adams Papers; Winter, Amer. Finance and Dutch Investment, 2:1086–1091).
2. Probably Robert Morris, who has been credited with the development of two varieties of peaches: “Morris's White Freestone” and “Morris's Red Free Stone” (George Lindley and Michael Floy, A Guide to the Orchard and Fruit Garden, N.Y., 1852, p. 189).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0237

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-02-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I am so anxious for your health, Since you inform'd me of the return of your Intermittent, that I shall take the Stage on Monday for N. York, but whether I shall go by the Packet to Providence, or continue in the Stage to Boston, I know not. This will depend upon the Wind and other Circumstances to be learn'd at N. York.
C. Smith is here in good health. He is returned from France and England, almost a Revolutionist, if not quite. The Fermentation in Europe distresses me, least it should take a turn which may involve Us in many difficulties. Our Neutrality will be a very delicate Thing to maintain: and I am not without Apprehensions that Congress or at least the Senate may be called together in the summer if not earlier. however We must be prepared as well as We can for Events.
The Attorney General, in opening the Information to the Jury, at the Tryal of Mr Paine, was pleased to quote large Passages from Publicola, with Some handsome Compliments: so that Publicola is become a Law Authority. Mr Erskine in his Answer cryed, Well, let others do like Publicola answer the Book not prosecute the author.1
I am weary of reading Newspapers. The Times are so full of Events, the whole Drama of the World is such a Tragedy that I am weary of the Spectacle. Oh my Sweet little farm, what would I not give to enjoy thee without Interruption? But I see no end to my Servitude, however the nations of Europe and even of Africa may recover their Liberty.
Hamilton has been Sufficiently fatigued with demands for Statements and Information. I hope his health will hold out, and his Character be Supported: but We have broad hints of what may be expected by, Executive Officers, who depend upon an Elective head, from Elective Legislatures. Ambitious Members of a Legislature will too easily run down the Popularity of Ministers of State, or I am egregiously mistaken. But Ca ira.
France will Soon Shew Us Examples enough of Ministers falling { 414 } before ambitious Legislatures, if she has not exhibited enough already. Calonne Neckar, Montmorin and 20 others, where are they?2
I am, my dear, most tenderly your
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Portia”; endorsed: “Febry 27th 1793.”
1. Thomas Paine's first part of the Rights of Man, published in London in March 1791 and reprinted in the United States in May, elicited JQA's response as Publicola the following month. Paine's publication in 1792 of the second part of Rights of Man, which was more widely distributed than the first part and considered a threat to the British monarchy, resulted in Paine's being charged with seditious libel. He appeared in court in June, but the trial was postponed until December. Attorney general Archibald Macdonald led the successful prosecution. Thomas Erskine (1750–1823), an opposition leader and attorney general to the Prince of Wales, represented Paine, who did not attend (DNB).
TBA reported similar news to JQA in a letter of 26 Feb. 1793, in which TBA noted that he had obtained information about the trial from a pamphlet entitled The Whole Proceedings on the Trial of an Information Exhibited Ex Officio by the King's Attorney-General against Thomas Paine, London, 1793, which he quoted at length to JQA (Adams Papers). See also TBA to AA, 27 May [1792], note 5, above.
2. Charles Alexandre de Calonne, the former French controller general of finances, had successfully emigrated to England, and Jacques Necker, the former director general of finances, had retired to his home on Lake Geneva. Armand Marc, Comte de Montmorin de Saint-Herem, one of King Louis XVI's advisors and a former ambassador to Spain, had been arrested and killed by a mob in Aug. 1792 (Bosher, French Rev., p. xxviii, l, li).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0238

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1793-02-28

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My dear Mrs Smith.

I wrote to you by your brother making a proposal to you which you might not consider me in earnest about—1 Since then I have two additional motives to request the Cols consideration and your's of the subject. If setting aside family connexions it is with respect to business a matter of indifference which city you reside in I certainly could wish it might be Philadelphia for four years to come. The late vote respecting salary will certainly prevent our becoming Housekeepers there in public life. We have suffered too much already by being involved in debt at the close of the four years and obliged to give up our house, dispose of one pair of horses and in other respects retrench our expenses. The five thousand dollars at this period is not in the purchase of any article of life more than half equal to what it was at the time it was first granted— Knowing as I do what the expense of living there as well as here is I cannot think of seeing your father again subjected to the like inconvenience—yet to live half the year separated of the few years which I have reason to think are remaining to me is a sacrifice that I do not consider at this day my duty— I shall not make any observation upon past services or { 415 } my own estimation of things— I will conform to what is and should be glad to enjoy the Society of my family as much as I can. My furniture is stored in Philadelphia. If the Colonel and you think it inconsistent with your arrangements and prejudicial to his affairs to reside in Philadelphia I shall think it best after consulting your Father to order the furniture home, though I know not what to do with the greater part of it. I should be tempted to sell what I have not room for if I did not know that it must be at a great loss. If you think proper to go there I will endeavor to have it stored till such time as you might incline to take a house there— If we take lodgings with you, ’tis probable that our family will not exceed five persons, and we could I presume make such arrangements as would render each of us happy— I will not again take charge of a family and sacrifice my health in that city as I have done— Though a small family we are and always have been a scattered flock, my infirm state of health leads me to wish for those pleasures which domestic life affords. I love society, but ’tis the rational not the dissipated which can give true delight.
I fear the roads will be so bad as to prevent your coming to see me so soon as I wish but in April the passage by way of Rhode Island will be both pleasant and safe and as you are an old and experienced sailor you will find that way much pleasanter than by land and much less fatiguing.
Let me, my dear daughter, hear from you as often as possible remember me affectionately to all friends
Your's most tenderly
[signed] A. Adams.
Tr in CFA's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0239

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-03-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

Your Letter from your Sick Chamber if not from your Sick bed, has made me so uneasy that I must get away as soon as possible.—1 Monday Morning at Six, I am to Sett off in the Stage, but how many days it will take to get home will depend on the Roads, and or the Winds. I dont believe Nabby will go with me. Her Adventurer of an Husband is so proud of his Wealth that he would not let her go I suppose without a Coach and four, and such Monarchical Trumpery I will in future have nothing to do with. I will never travel but by the { 416 } Stage nor live at the seat of Government but at Lodgings, while they give me so despicable an Allowance.— shiver my Jibb and start my Planks if I do.
I will Stay but one night at New York. Smith says that my Books are upon the Table of every Member of the Committee for framing a Constitution of Government for France except Tom Paine, and he is so conceited as to disdain to have any Thing to do with Books.
Although I abused Smith, a little above he is very clever and agreable: but I have been obliged to caution him against his disposition to boasting. Tell not of your Prosperity because it will make two Men mad to one glad; nor of your Adversity for it will make two Men glad to one Sad.— He boasts too much of having made his fortune, and placed himself at his ease; above all favours of Government.2 This is a weakness, and betrays too little knowledge of the World: too little Penetration; too little discretion. I wish however that my Boys had a little more of his Activity— I must soon treat them as The Pidgeons treat their Squabs—push them off the Limb and make them put out their Wings or fall. Young Pidgeons will never fly till this is done.
Smith has acquired the Confidence of the French Ministry and the better sort of the Members of the national Convention: but the Executive is too changeable in that Country to be depended on, without the Utmost caution.
Adieu, Adieu, tendrement
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Portia”; endorsed: “March 2d 1793.”
1. AA to JA, 16 Feb., above.
2. WSS's ongoing land speculation had provided the Smith family with considerable wealth at this time. Also, WSS had visited Paris in late 1792 and agreed to serve as the French government's agent in the United States, tasked with negotiating full and immediate payment of America's outstanding debt to France (Colonial Collegians; Jefferson, Papers, 25:243–245).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0240

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-03-02

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

I am grieved to hear of the fresh return of your old persecuter the Ague; I had flattered myself that the Air & Climate of New England would chase away all Billious complaints. I am suspicious that the Bark of which so free use is made in this disorder will not effectually remove it, at least I have found it the case with myself. There is a weed known here by the name of Cardis, which is much used in this disorder, and I think it has proved serviceable to me; I can't { 417 } recollect ever to have heared of it in Massachusetts, but wish you could get some of it for trial.1 My own health has been better this, than the last winter, but I have periodical returns of what I think the seeds of an Ague. However I don't live in continual dread of it—if it comes I must stand the charge, & endeavor to conquer it.
The arrival of Col: & Mrs: Smith was unexpected, but not the less agreeable. The Col, has been, & still is, in this City; I rejoice to hear of his success, which (he says and I have no reason to suspect the truth of it) has placed him & his Family in eligible circumstances. You will have the satisfaction to see them & learn more fully the circumstances—
I wrote you some time since concerning our furniture, & wish you to think what arrangements will be most proper, so that I may know in season what measures to take— Nothing is determined concerning them, and (as usual) you must be applied to in the last resort.
The old business of hunting down the secy of the Treasury has employed a considerable share of the present session, of which this is the last day— He has risen superior to all the unmanly insinuations that have been promulged against him; and it must be the ardent prayer of every honest patriot that he may still maintain his superiority. My Father will inform you the tenor of Giles's Resolutions which have been canvassed the three last days; It will suffice for me to say that so far as I hear they are universally condemned; and the large majority against them, speaks the truth of my information.
Your good friend Mrs: Powell, directs me to give her love: to you, and to say, that I am a very sad young man, for not visiting her Family; this is what Mr. Hill calls a homely compliment to me; and I might say with great truth, (as I did last night to him in his own house) had it come from him, that with him it was certainly homely.2 I must relate this little anecdote for your amusement, otherwise you won't understand what I meant above. A party, of whom I had the honor to make one, were invited to sup with Mr: Hill on the 1st: of March. It consisted of Col & Mrs: Hamilton; Genl & Mrs: Knox, Mr & Mrs: Wolcott, Mr: Breck & Family, Mr. & Mrs: Peters Mr: Dalton and Family & Col. Smith; the younger class, were Mr: & Mrs. G Harrison, Miss Knox Miss Patty Meredith Miss Peggy Clymer, and one or two others, beside four or six young Gentlemen;3 after dancing a little and making merry we were called to a splendid supper which was not a little enlivened by the presence of Judge { 418 } Peters who sung one or two fine songs—the greater part of the company retired at half past eleven, and at twelve all were gone except Miss Meredith & Miss Clymer, whose carriage had not arrived; I perceived these young Ladies had come without a gallant and therefore requested permission to see them safe home. The ladies grew impatient; we were some what fatigued by dancing, and I belive, (at4 least I speak for myself) had rather more inclination for the pillow of repose, than for the company of the Graces, (including Mr. Hill) during this suspence, endeavoring to keep each other awake, we indulged in what Mr. Hill termed homely compliments, and when he made the remark he happened to address Miss Meredith. Without adverting to the particular appropocity of the pun, of which Mr Hill is remarkably fond, I observed that those compliments coming from him were most assuredly homely, meaning only, that as he was in his own house, they implied hospitality, of which nature they were, for I think he offered the ladies his embroydered bed—however as ill luck would have it, a young gentleman present took the pun in a different and less favorable sense, and sett up a titter which communicated like wild fire till it was universally understood I preserved my muscles as smooth as the nature of the case would admit, and by a few subsequent observations, strongly emphacised, turned it off tollerably well; & without giving offence. Soon after the carriage for the ladies came, and I had the pleasure to land them safely home at a little past one o Clock.
Thus I have given you a history of one Party of this season, the only one I have attended that afforded even one incident worth relating; in fact I apologise for this, which, if other matter had been so readily at hand, should have supplied its place.
I am your dutifull son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
PS I must request you not to mention this Annecdote of Mr H—— to any one coming to Philada for I should forfeit all his good offices were he to know how I understood the above—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “T B Adams March / 2d 1793—”
1. Probably carduus, Latin for thistle, which was used for treating pleurisy, inducing vomiting, and other medicinal purposes (OED; E. Smith, The Compleat Housewife; or, Accomplish'd Gentlewoman's Companion, Williamsburg, Va., 1742, p. 195–196, 198, 219, Evans, No. 5061).
2. Henry Hill (1732–1798) was a Philadelphia wine merchant (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:148).
3. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (1757–1854) of Albany, N.Y., had married Alexander Hamilton in 1780 (Notable Amer. Women).
Oliver Wolcott (1760–1833), Yale 1778, served as comptroller of the U.S. treasury and succeeded Alexander Hamilton as { 419 } secretary of the treasury in 1795. He had married Elizabeth Stoughton (1767–1805) in 1785 (Dexter, Yale Graduates, 4:82–85).
Lucy Knox (1776–1854), eldest child of Henry and Lucy Flucker Knox, married Ebenezer Thatcher in 1804 (Thomas Morgan Griffiths, Major General Henry Knox and the Last Heirs to Montpelier, Lewiston, Maine, 1965, p. 48, 73).
Martha Meredith (d. 1817), daughter of Samuel and Margaret Cadwallader Meredith, married John Read, a lawyer, in 1796 (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 28 June 1796; Boston Daily Advertiser, 3 April 1817).
Margaret Clymer (1772–1799), daughter of George and Elizabeth Meredith Clymer, married George McCall in May 1794 (Gregory B. Keen, “The Descendants of Jöran Kyn, the Founder of Upland,” PMHB, 6:213–214 [1882]).
4. Opening parenthesis editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0241

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1793-03-18

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My son

I had the Pleasure of receiving your favour of the 1st. on Saturday night:1 by your Brother, who has been admitted this Term at the Supreme Court and is rising in Practice as well as in litterary fame.
We cannot be too cautious in forming our Opinions of french affairs, and We ought to be still more Slow in discoursing on them. Our amiable and excellent Friend, the Baron is like many others, too Sanguine in his Expectations of irresistable Combinations against the French Republic, and in his Predictions of Partitions Famine, Civil War &c on the other hand our fellow Citizens in general, have too much Enthusiasm in their Applauses of the present Leaders and too sanguine hopes and assurances of Glory and Tryumph to the Jacobins. at least this is my impulse, who have however small Pretentions to better lights than others.
To me, it has ever been astonishing that The King La Fayette, Rochefaucault &c Should have had So little Penetration as to believe that the late Constitution could endure.
The Report of the late Case in the Supream national Court will soon be made public and the Arguments of the Judges weighed. If it Should be necessary for Congress to interfere by Submitting that part of the Constitution to the Revision of the State Legislatures, they have Authority to do it.2
I congratulate you on the national Complextion of the N. York Representatives, which justifies a hope that So material a part of the northern branch of the Union is not likely to become compleatly a Southern State. I regret with You that Mr Kent is not elected.3 My faith is very faint in the Story of 30 Spanish ships with English Jacks.4
{ 420 }
Although I have no personal Obligations to the King of France, being the only American, accredited to his Court, whom he formally affronted, I do not less acknowledge his Friendship to my Country, nor less regret his unhappy fate. If it were in my Power I would restore him to his Crown and Dignity, well and faithfully limited by a senate and an adequate Representation of the People: for to such a form of Government the Nation must aspire or they will never establish their Liberty. In this opinion I am as Sanguine, as the Baron is in his Predictions, or a Boston Populace, in their civic Rejoicings. possibly as erroneous. The French national Convention, in their Letter to the President have reflected, an honour on me, and a disgrace on the Memory of Franklin, which I believe they never intended. “The United States of America will hardly credit it; the Support which the ancient French Court had afforded them to recover their Independence, was only the fruit of base Speculation; their Glory offended its ambitious Views, and the Ambassadors bore the criminal orders of Stopping the Career of their Prosperity.” Mr Madison and Franklins friends will understand and feel this: but they will prevent the American People from understanding it, if they can. It is a confirmation of my Representations and a Justification of my Conduct: but it is a Refutation of all Franklins corrupt Sychophancy and a severe Condemnation of his Conduct. The N. York News Writers will Suppress this Letter if they can, because it reflects an immortal Glory on Mr Jay.5
Your Mother is better but has had a severe Confinement of five Weeks.
I am &c
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Mr Charles Adams.”; endorsed: “March 18 1793—”
1. CA wrote briefly to JA on 1 March touching on a variety of topics, including Thomas Paine's trial, the Publicola writings, New York's election of congressional representatives, and a possible Anglo-Spanish alliance against the French (Adams Papers).
2. See TBA to AA, 10 Aug., note 3, below.
3. James Kent (1763–1847), Yale 1781, a Federalist lawyer, had assisted John Jay in the contested gubernatorial election. He was defeated by his brother-in-law Theodorus Bailey in the race to represent Dutchess County, N.Y., in Congress (DAB; New York Daily Advertiser, 28 Feb.).
4. In his 1 March letter to JA, CA noted that “A vessel arrived yesterday from Cadiz which fell in with a fleet of thirty ships of the Line Spaniards. They carried the English Jack with the Flagg of Spain so that this has the appearance of an alliance” (Adams Papers). The Baring, Capt. Cooper, arrived in Philadelphia on 24 Feb., having left Cadiz on 5 January. It reported that at Cadiz “there were several Spanish ships of war sitting out there, and they had an English Jack flying at the top mast head.” Spain, however, did not join the growing European alliance against France until 7 March (New York Daily Advertiser, 28 Feb.; Bosher, French Rev., p. 183).
5. For the letter of the French National { 421 } Convention to George Washington, dated 22 Dec. 1792, see Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 11:538–540. A translation was printed in the New York Diary, 21 Feb. 1793.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0242

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-04-07

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear sir.

I am requested by Mr: Dobson to enquire of you what disposition you desire to be made of your Book's of which he has a considerable supply of Coppies.1 Whether some of them should not be sent to Boston & New York, or whether you would wish them to remain where they are. He thinks you gave him no possitive directions about them before you left the City.
Various events have taken place in France since you left us; and tho’ not unexpected are not the less important. Since the Execution of the King & Queen nothing can be thought too mad or extravagant for the National Convention to commit, and the conjecture is not unfair that the Royal Family is e're this extinct. Every arrival since the death of the King has brought some rumor of war—but no authentic information has come to hand till by the arrival of the Packet at New York, Official Dispatches were received by Mr Hammond of a declaration of war on the part of France against England & Holland. There have been some speculations in our Newspapers relative to the Reception & acknowledgment of the expected Minister from the new Republic: If indeed that can be called a Republic, where no laws exist, or if they do, where there is no power Supreme to enforce obedience to them. The term as applied to France, must signify the actual state of the Country, not the form of its Government—Res-Publica, or the Public Afairs, in confusion. Under any other construction, nothing would be easier than to create a Republic in any Country, for they have only to destroy the existing Government—and they are at once resolved into a Frenchifyed system, which if they chose they may call a Republic.
The propriety of receiving the expected Minister in a public capacity has been doubted; indeed Bache's paper some time ago asserted that the President of the U,S, had resolved not to acknowledge him; but little credit I believe is to be given to this report, considering the quarter from whence it came.2 If there would be no impropriety in commiting your opinion upon this subject to a private letter, I will make a request that it may be directed to me.
I presume the Spring begins to show itself with you by this time, for the Fruit Trees have been in full bloom for some days in this { 422 } City— I hope the warm weather will restore health to my Mother, to whom I present my best love and affection, and remain / your dutiful Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice President of the U,S.”
1. Thomas Dobson (d. 1823), a Philadelphia printer and bookseller, was selling copies of JA's Defence of the Const. (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 30 Dec. 1791; Baltimore Patriot, 11 March 1823).
2. Benjamin Franklin Bache's Philadelphia General Advertiser, 27 March 1793, announced, “A report has been prevalent for some days past, that our executive had come to a determination of not acknowledging the minister who is daily expected from France. This report from its nature is not entitled to much credit; we state it, however, as we heard it, leaving it to our readers to stamp its true character.” On the same day, the Philadelphia Federal Gazette chastised Bache for “the attempt . . . to injure the supreme executive. . . . The well-known prudence so characteristic of the president of the United States, would, with a candid mind, have been sufficient to deter the publication of the nature alluded to.”
George Washington and his advisors debated the appropriate reception for Edmond Genet: first, whether or not to receive him at all, and second, if he were received, with what qualifications. They eventually decided unanimously at a 19 April cabinet meeting to indeed receive him but left open the question of qualifications (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 12:392–393, 459).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0243

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1793-04-21

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My Dear Sister—

I have been exceedingly grieved at hearing of our dear Sister Adams's Illness— She was so well in the winter, that I hoped she would have escaped any inconvenience from the return of the fever & ague— When it gets such fast hold of a Constitution, it appears to be a very formidable Disorder, & is attended with very disagreeable Consequences— I have heard she was growing better, & hope by this time, she is enjoying a confirmed state of health— It must give her great Satisfaction to find that her Daughter, & Family have once more escaped the dangers of the Sea, & have arrived safe at New-york— The early return of the Vice President to his Family, must be to her, an additional Source of pleasure— But the Commotions which are taking place in almost every part of the world, will (I fear) make it necessary for the Congress to meet again very soon— Perhaps it will not be possible for the active Genius of America to sit still, & be a silent spectator of those great Events; filling their Coffers, & making their own advantage of the Follies, & Vices of Mankind— But whether we are involved in the War, or not, I know we must suffer, at lest Individuals must— The price of Articles have risen a quarter higher in the course of the last week— Indeed the price of the necessarys of Life, have been very high through the { 423 } whole of the last year, & those whose maintanence is fixed to a stated Sum, must severely feel it—
Have you my Sisters put on any external marks of mourning for the unfortunate Lewis to whom America is so much indebted—1 I am sure you could not read the fate of his unhappy Family without tender regret— It was his misfortune, & seems to be his only crime that he was born, & a King at this particular period of time— Had he have lived in some former age, he might have been idolized, & buried with his ancestors— His virtue, his benevolence, his condescendsion & Lenity was the Cause which effected his Death— The french Nation verified the old Proverb, “Give an Inch, & they will take an Ell—[”] They felt the advantages arising from a greater degree of Knowledge, & Liberty than their Fathers had possessed, but had not virtue enough to sustain, & make a wise use of it— They thought they could not obtain too much of so great a Good— They precipitately made vast strides, & the pendilum of Power has vibrated with such voilence, as has thrown them into such Scenes of horror, & confusion as we now see them— Lewis the 16th. like Charles the 1st. has suffered for wishing to preserve inviolate, those Laws, which there own Subjects had made— unhappily for them, the Temper & spirit of the People was changed, but the Laws were the same— Thus may the greatest Monarchs fall, & their dust mingle with the lowest of their Vassals—

This is the state of Man: to day he puts forth

The tender leaves of Hope; tomorrow blossoms,

And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;

The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,

And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely

His Greatness aripening, nips his root.”2

Every day we are taught by some Occurrence, or other on what an uncertain tenor, we hold every earthly Enjoyment, & the vanity of building, on less than an immortal basis—
My dear Brother Cranch (I presume) views these political Commotions, with the Eye of a Christian Phylosopher,—as a prelude, & introductory of much greater Events in the moral word— I often wish to hear him converse—
I never wished to read History more in my Life, than now— It was always a Source of Entertainment & Instruction to me— But my dear Sister you must pity me, for my Eyes are so weak, that I fear sometimes I shall be blind— I can read but a few moments before { 424 } my sight is gone, & it makes me sick, & dizzey—3 Thanks to my good Angel, that induced me to lay up a Stock in early life, which (though small indeed) I would not exchange for Gold— I think I should be miserable without it—
Your Son (my Sister) is indeed very dear to me— He is just such a Friend as every one wants near them— I think he is exceedingly like his Father— He made every body love, & respect him
This letter layed last week because I did not love to send it by the Post— I intended to have added more, but Col Hurd is waiting, so I must bid my dear Sister adieu—
[signed] E Shaw—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Mary Cranch / Quincy—”
1. Enthusiasm in the United States for the French Revolution diminished in the wake of Louis XVI's execution. In Boston, the head and horns of the ox used for the civic feast in January was ceremonially buried in commemoration of the “melancholy fate of the first Princely Hand which was stretched forth to relieve America, in the hour of her distress.” But not everyone was as sympathetic to the king's fate. The Philadelphia National Gazette noted sarcastically, “It is said that the American Royalists have been much embarrassed, as to the manner of evincing the sincerity of their grief for the ‘murder’ of his most Christian Majesty—Whether by muffling the bells in all the large towns and cities, for the space of twelve months at least; or by cloathing themselves in the sable garb of mourners on the occasion. The last mode has met the approbation of a majority; but a respect for men in power, which is characteristic of these mourning gentry, has deterred them from hastily putting their scheme in execution, until the court shall have time to lead the way” (Charles Downer Hazen, Contemporary American Opinion of the French Revolution, Baltimore, 1897, p. 253–259; Massachusetts Spy, 4 April; National Gazette, 23 March).
2. Shakespeare, King Henry the Eighth, Act III, scene ii, lines 352–357.
3. Shaw had suffered previously from inflammations of her eyes (vol. 6:500, 506; 8:276).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0244

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-05-05

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother,

Your last letter to me is dated the 18th: of March, since which time I have not heared a single word of the family, either verbally, or in writing.1 We have news from France as late as the 15 of March, and one would think a letter from Quincy might have traveled the distance of 350 miles in the course of seven weeks. ’Tis my happiness, (some may think it a misfortune) not to distress my mind with unpleasant surmises upon such occasions; but I had rather be accused of a little Stoical apathy, than upon every intermission of more than usual duration in the correspondence of my friends, to attribute it to unfavorable causes. Mrs. Smith & her family have all been sick since their return, but I heared nothing of it till they had recovered their health— This may be the case with the Family at { 425 } Quincy, but I hope they have not yet to wait to inform me of their reestablishment— On Friday last the French Frigate which brought the French Minister from Paris came up the Delaware—she had been expected for some days, and when she got up, she saluted the City with fifteen Guns—which were answered from the Shore— There was a vast collection of people on the Wharves who saluted the Vessel with repeated huzza's, which were warmly returned by the Crew— Great numbers went off to the Ship as she lay in the River, and met a most cordial reception from the French Officers— the next day I went on board, but without making my self known I wished merely to gratify my curiosity, and I could do it as well Incog—as if I had been introduced— the officers were civil, and shewed all that was to be seen—which cheifly consisted in 300 dirty Sailors in a dirty vessel, all á la mode de Francàise the Sailors Sing Ci, Ira—and dance the Marselais call each other Citoyen and in short exhibit the true spirit of the Revolution— There are the Crews of seven prizes which she has made since she left France on board, the Captains & mates of which are permited to walk the Deck— So much for L’Ambuscade The Minister has not yet arrived—he comes by land from Carolina—2
Your Friends here desire to be particularly remembered to you, I shall do it however only in this general way, which for civilities like these, is quite sufficient— Indeed I am at a loss to think what the generality of these mighty civil folks would find to say to me, were it not for my absent relations, whose health & wellfare seems to be a never failing source of enquiry & congratulation. I have a method of discovering whether the compliment in such cases is intended for me, or the person enquired for— “Your Father and Mother were well I hope when you heared from them last?” “Sir—or Madam (as the case may be) you do me honor by your friendly enquiries.” If any thing further seems to be expected—I descend into particulars—but for the most part, the conversation seldom goes beyond a proposition & reply—very rarely to a rejoinder— You see I must be in the fashion—I cant avoid a little Scandal
With presenting my best love to all Friends / I subscribe
[signed] Thos B Adams
PS, Mrs. Lynch has heared of the arrival of the Vessel in which her husband went last to Sea, at Boston, and has desired me to make enquiry of Mr Briesler, whether Lynch has returned and { 426 } whether he intends coming to Philada:— The poor woman thinks herself deserted, and I believe nothing gives her more comfort than the prospect of Col & Mrs. Smith's residing here.
Monday 6th:
After I had sealed this Letter I received my Fathers of the 27th: of April—which I will answer in a short time—3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A Adams / Quincy / near Boston.”
1. Not found.
2. Edmond Genet arrived in Charleston, S.C., on the frigate Embuscade on 8 April. Although the ship continued on to Philadelphia, Genet decided to remain in the South and travel overland by carriage, finally reaching the capital on 16 May. During the course of its trip up the eastern coast of the United States, the Embuscade took seven prizes, two of which—the brig Little Sarah and the ship Grange—the crew brought with them to Philadelphia when they arrived on 2 May (Harry Ammon, The Genet Mission, N.Y., 1973, p. 44, 55; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 27 April; Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, 4 May).
3. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0245

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-05-10

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

It is sometime since I have written to you but still longer since I have had a line from my dear father. I do not repine for while you are happy in your feilds I will willingly give up that share of pleasure and instruction which I constantly received from your kind communications. It appears as if this City was fated to be the scene of constant disquietude and jarring cabal no sooner have the inhabitants cooled a little upon one subject than another source of contention arises and they begin with redoubled animosity. This cannot excite our astonishment if we consider the motley complection of the Citizens. A collection from all parts of the Globe The English Irish Scotch Dutch and Germans compose a very numerous body whose peculiar pride consists in fostering their national prejudices. The English Irish and Scotch swarmed to this City where they found a protection which in some States was denyed them.1 By their close connection and mutual assistance many of them are among the richest people. But far from a grateful sense of what they owe and without considering that were they again in their own Countries they would fall from their self opinianative importance they constantly strive to depreciate the American character. Most Americans are friends to the Revolution of France however they may view with horror the enormities which have been committed during the unfortunate course of five years they still separate the people desirous of { 427 } liberty from the cabal of a National Assembly or the murderous demagogues of a National Convention. They hoped and still hope that under a good form of Goverment The French Nation may be restored to order, but when they hear themselves damned for their impudent ideas by a small cluster of Englishmen who lurk within the bosom of their Country when they hear repeated threats that the thunder of the British nation may be hurled upon them they are fired with indignation at the insult. Conduct like this from a club of Englishmen in this city has roused the spirits of the people and unless they learn more prudence fatal consequences may ensue. The low state of our funds is in some measure owing to an apprehension that America may be drawn into The war. For myself I see not much danger conscious that every endeavor will be used to maintain a neutrality and that measures the most strenuous will be put in operation to preserve this Country in a state of peace. These apprehensions however ill founded fail not to make some considerable impression upon the public mind. Another cause is the caution with which The Banks discount and the difficulty of procuring large quantities of specie. This it has been found is necessary as the multiplicity of banks has created distrust. That they cannot long hold out I think is certain they have had a pernicious influe[nce] upon the price of every article of consumption and I know of nothing except Salaries and la[wyers] fees that has not doubled within these two years. The Baron setts out tomorrow for Steuben I am sorry to loose his company for so long a period but he is almost as fond of his farm as you are and delights in the society of his Yankee's as he calls them. My Sister talks of beginning her journey sometime next week, she wished me to accompany her but I must deny myself that pleasure
Adieu my dear Sir Beleive me your / affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Quincy / near / Boston—”; endorsed: “C. Adams / May 10. 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. The 1790 census for New York State found an ethnic breakdown of approximately 52 percent English, 17.5 percent Dutch, 8 percent German, 8 percent Irish, and 7 percent Scottish. In New York City in the following decade, new immigrants continued to arrive from Great Britain, Ireland, and France, and a political split emerged as English immigrants tended toward the Federalist Party while the Scottish, Irish, and French favored the Democratic Republicans (Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 98, 401–402, 569).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0246

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-05-21

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

Your kind letter of the 12 has reached me, in complyance with Mr Brieslers request I enclose the Receipt of Mrs Lynch.1 She was in much need of the little assistance, and expressed gratitude for the receipt of it. The Porter also shall be attended to; I have been so fortunate as yet to have received no warning from the owner of our Store— The furniture still rests there and I have some hope will not yet be disturbed. The most disagreeable trouble on my hands at present is to find a suitable place for my own head. My good Quaker lady intends giving up house-keeping about the middle of next month, and of course we are all under the necessity of changing our lodgings. The reasons of her taking this step are such as might naturally be expected from one who was brought up in a very different course of life. She finds that house Rent is increasing, that every article of life is nearly double in price, and that her expences in living far exceed the trifling assistance she derives from her lodgers. Unless she took a large house and admited every comer & goer, her present course of life cannot be profitable, & for this she is by no means calculated; so that she has by the advice of her Family & Friends come to a resolution to quit house keeping & return to her Father's. I shall regret the change of lodgings because I am persuaded it cannot be for the better— However I have not much longer to reside here, and I shall do as well as I can. I have no particular place in view as yet— The terms of board will be higher I know than at present but I won't go If I can avoid it to a common lodging house—
Col Smith has been some time in town, and finds little prospect of accomodating himself with an house at present. All the best houses in the City are taken up, and I know he wont live in an ordinary one. There may be opportunities between this & next fall to suit himself, at present Rent is monstrous, & houses very scarce— I have not met with the Publications you mention; no judicious peices will be republished here you may rest assured. People will not think for themselves—nor in all cases will they be guided by the judgment of others—so that we must be content with the dictates of the ignorant Multitude. I will say nothing of French Affairs. Calculation & conjecture have so often been lost upon them that the event ought rather to be acquiesced in when it shall arrive, than { 429 } deplored by anticipation. I am out of all patience with the eternal folly of palliating every calamity & seting it down to the score of necessity— I think the excentricities of a Commet might as well be calculated, as the probable effects of such & Such particular events. Whilst France was successful in beating her first enemies, & conquering foreign states—I wished her spirit might be humbled— A Country really desirous of establishing a peaceful Government, has no business with foreign Territories— War is by no means its proper Element. Since the universal combination of powers against her, whether she has provoked it or not, I feel a powerful principle of humanity taking Root in my mind, as an advocate for the weaker party; ’tis a rule, & a very good one for individuals no less than Sovereign powers, to examine the justice of the cause about which Nations are quarreling. Considering France in her present situation, without examining the means by which it was acquired, the justice of the dispute seems to lay on their side. They have abolished an odious & oppressive Government too effectually ever to be reared again from its ruins—we will not say a word whether this was done by the general sense of the Nation— It suffices that having reduced themselves to Anarchy—the nation now see the necessity of a Government in some shape—still there is no Cry for a King, a Nobility, an established Clergy, &ca. The very sound is odious; nothing that has the smallest tendency to superiority or eminence of rank will be received as yet. Here then is the great danger, the Shivre de Freze—that may cause Shipwreck—2 The first axiom of civil Government, is authority & Subordination; But all confidence is destroyed between man & man; who then shall dare to take the helm. No man has a right to challenge the obedience of another, unless his authority is confered & derived from the original source— here is no original source, because the people are divided in their sentiments too far to unite upon any common measure of utility. What then must be the first step towards Government in France in such circumstances? It will be trod by a military force—whether they maintain their own ground against the combination, & establish their independance, or whether they become their slaves & vassals. This Combination of powers are practising injustice so far as they distract the attention of the French from Pacifick institutions, & prevent their worshiping Liberty & Equality in peace at home. I have become a wellwisher to the French so far as they are to be considered struggling with adversity, even tho’ tis merited. I justify no single event that has taken place—since they are so, make the best of them, they cannot be { 430 } recalled. They anticipated declarations of war, so far they act on the defensive. I can only further add, that seeing things are so, the event must sanctify the means— Conscientious people will exclaim, but necessity is not under the influence of dominion. These are my sentiments of French politics, so far as they go— I began by declining them altogether, & fully intended to stop at the first sentence— but you see the difference—
With all due affection / I remain your son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); notation: “May 23d.
1. Not found.
2. Possibly cheval de frise, literally “horse of Friesland,” a defensive mechanism for halting cavalry charges or other military advances (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0247

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-05-29

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

It is with great pleasure I hear that my brother is appointed to speak the town Oration, on the fourth of July next. It would give me infinite satisfaction to hear him, but as I cannot, I request a few copies if they can be procured, as soon as they appear in print.1 Confined as he must be, by the shackles which are, I think erroniously, imposed upon those who have this duty to perform; I have no doubt but he will greatly add to his already far extended reputation. Publicola, has been reprinted in Edinburg and in London; and in an European Magazine, there is a contradiction of your being the Author of those publications, as was indicated by the edition printed in Scotland.2 The reports of Dumourier's defection, come from so many different quarters, that we begin to give credit to them; nor do I think it so very extraordinary, no man in his right senses could submit to be the instrument of so mad a faction, as now seem to govern in France. We have in our papers this day, a dialogue said to have passed between the General and the Commissioners sent to carry him to Paris: In which Dumourier says “your Convention consists of three hundred fools, governed by four hundred rascals. They have formed a Government infinitely more imbecile, dangerous and destructive, than the former. They will annihilate the nation.”3 I am very much pleased with a writer with the signature of Marcellus; I have seen but one Number reprinted in Fenno's Gazette, but his sentiments are perfectly coincident with those, which I think every { 431 } well wisher to his Country, every real American ought to adopt: but alas! what will not this people swallow, if gilded over with the foil of liberty and equality. Where is the Lover of this Country who will not join in the wish? “that laurelled victory may sit upon the sword of Justice and that success may always be strewed before the feet of virtuous Freedom” but we should learn to discriminate; We should learn to distinguish virtuous freedom, from unprincipled licentiousness; then, and then only, can we be a happy or a dignified people.4 While we are continually hunting in the catalogue of improbabilities, for excuses, to palliate the enormities of an enraged clan of Jacobins, we are injuring our morals and destroying our reputations.— Dumourier seems to have expressed great surprize that Condorcet, should not have pointed out a constitution, more worthy of his abilities: but what could he do? Might he not have fallen a victim to just ideas? and I think it is quite time that martyrdom should be discarded at least from France; there is but little encouragement. Monrs Genet is received with open arms in Philadelphia, I know of no objection which can with propriety be offered to this; provided it did not convey the idea of an acquiescence in the transactions in France. I know very well that such ideas as these, are termed Aristocratic. I disclaim the faith. My sentiments are dictated by the purest philanthropy. Can those who with the stern eye of apathy behold murder carnage and every affliction which can desolate a Country, following as a consequence of the unbridled machinations of a few: men Can they love mankind? No person can be more an advocate for civil liberty and civil equality than myself, but name not the French as models; name not that barbarous, that cruel people, as examples worthy to be followed by Americans, who are happy in equal laws and a just Government. Happy! thrice happy people! if they would reflect upon their own prosperity. I have found it adviseable of late, again to peruse with attention the writers upon Natural law. Grotius, puffendorph, Vattel, Burlemaque. many questions interesting to the community, and to individuals, dayly arise. These studies, blended with that of the law, have lately occupied my attention. I think I have pitched upon a method of reading, by far the most preferable: instead of reading the Reporters in course, I take up Espinasse's Law of actions, a book of great authority and credit, and constantly refer to the cases in the Reporters: a method which fixes much more firmly in my memory the principles of every case: in this manner I intend to go through him, and have no doubt of reaping ample reward for my pains. It has been my endeavor to { 432 } select in the first instance The Reporters during the time of Lord Mansfield. I have purchased
{   Burroughs  
Durnford and East   }  
 
Richardson's pra K B  
Cowper Reports   Bacon's abridgment   Crompton's practice  
Douglass   Espinasse Nisi Prius   Powell on Mortgages  
    Do  on Contracts  
W Blackston   Lilly's Entries   Highmore on bail  
  Lovelace laws disposal   Kyd on bill of exchange  
Laws of the State of New York.—5
Our parties in this City begin to cool down of late; it was quite time, for very warm blood was raised, and it was very much feared that serious consequences might have ensued.
Perhaps you may recollect, that when I was last at Quincy you offered me a work entitled Cours D’Etudes:6 I had then no method of conveying it to New York: should you now remain of the same mind, Brizler will pack them up, and send them to me by Barnard. I had occasion while I was there to peruse several parts of that work, and was highly delighted with it, as containing a very useful and instructive epitome of the Sciences. Judge Duane in his kindness has been pleased to appoint me one of the Commissioners to examine the claims of invalid pensioners. He may think it an honor conferred, but there is no emolument to be derived, and except its being a charitable duty, would be rather tedious. I accepted it on that account; but the late law of Congress has so restricted applicants, that I doubt much whether any one will be able to take advantage of it.7 Our latest arrivals from Europe bring intellegence to the fifth of April only; it appears that communications from France have been of late so impeded that we are led to suspect much of our information has been coined in England. I fear I have long since tired your patience And I will bid you adieu
Beleive me my dear Sir your ever affectionate and dutiful son
[signed] Charles Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Quincy”; endorsed: “Charles Adams / May 29. / ansd June 5. 1793.”
1. On 4 July, JQA delivered an address at Boston's Old South Meeting House, which Benjamin Edes & Sons published some days later. “Seventeen times has the sun, in the progress of his annual revolutions, diffused his prolific radiance over the plains of Independent America,” JQA said. “Millions of hearts which then palpitated with the rapturous glow of patriotism, have already been translated to brighter worlds; to the abodes of more than mortal freedom.” The press reported an enthusiastic reaction to the address: “The elegance and spirit of the composition, and the forceful elocution of the { 433 } Speaker, excited such a burst of admiration, as would have flattered a CATO” (JQA, An Oration Pronounced July 4th, 1793, Boston, 1793, p. 12, Evans, No. 25076; Massachusetts Mercury, 5 July). An incomplete Dft and Tr of the oration are in the Adams Papers, filmed at 4 July.
2. JQA's Publicola articles were first published in Edinburgh in 1791 as Observations on Paine's “Rights of Man” without any identifying author, though they were commonly attributed to JA. John Stockdale—a friend of JA—subsequently published them in London in 1793 under the title An Answer to Pain's Rights of Man. By John Adams, Esq. but stopped the printing when he learned that JQA, not JA, was the author. The European Magazine, Feb. 1793, p. 85, included a note avowing that JA had not written the pieces (JQA, Writings, 1:66; John Stockdale to JA, 16 March, Adams Papers). See also TBA to AA, 27 May [1792], and note 5, above.
3. Reports of the French National Convention for 1 April 1793 included an extended dialogue between General Dumouriez and the commissioners from the Convention. This dialogue suggested that it was Dumouriez's “fixed intention” to go to Paris to protect the queen and her children, and he further threatened that “the convention will not exist three weeks longer” and expressed his determination to restore the monarchy (New York Journal, 29 May).
4. Marcellus appeared in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 24 April, and 4, 11 May. The third installment was also reprinted in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 25 May, and CA quotes from the final lines of that piece. Marcellus examines the role the United States and its citizens should play in the war among the European powers, arguing that “a rigid adherence to the system of Neutrality between the European nations now at war, is equally the dictate of justice and of policy, to the individual citizens of the United States, while the Nation remains neutral.” Furthermore, he suggests that “the natural state of all nations, with respect to one another, is a state of peace.”
5. Henry Cowper, Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Court of King's Bench: from . . . 1774, to . . . 1778, London, 1783; William Douglass, A Summary, Historical and Political, of the First Planting, Progressive Improvements, and Present State of the British Settlements in North-America, 2 vols., Boston, 1747–1752, Evans, No. 5936; Charles Durnford and Sir Edward Hyde East, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King's Bench, London, 1787; Matthew Bacon and others, A New Abridgement of the Law, 5 vols., London, 1736–1766; John Lilly, Modern Entries, Being a Collection of Select Pleadings in the Courts of King's Bench, London, 1723; Peter Lovelass, The Law's Disposal of a Person's Estate Who Dies without Will or Testament, 4th edn., London, 1787; Robert Richardson, The Attorney's Practice in the Court of King's Bench, London, 1739; George Crompton, Practice Common-placed; or, The Rules and Cases of Practice in the Courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas, Methodically Arranged, 2 vols., London, 1780; John Joseph Powell, A Treatise upon the Law of Mortgages, London, 1785; Powell, Essay upon the Law of Contracts and Agreements, London, 1790; Anthony Highmore, A Digest on the Doctrine of Bail in Civil and Criminal Cases, London, 1783; Stewart Kyd, A Treatise on the Law of Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes, London, 1790; Laws of the State of New York, Albany, N.Y., 1777–  .
6. Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, Abbé de Mureaux, Cours d’étude pour l’instruction du prince de Parme, 16 vols., Parma, Italy, 1775. Copies of all but vol. 13 are in JA's library at MB (Catalogue of JA's Library).
7. On 28 Feb., George Washington signed into law “An Act to Regulate the Claims to Invalid Pensions,” which modified the earlier “Act to Provide for the Settlement of the Claims of Widows and Orphans . . . and to Regulate the Claims to Invalid Pensions,” enacted the previous year. The new law created higher bars to establish legal claims of disability from military service during the Revolutionary War, including oaths from two doctors and multiple witnesses testifying to the injury and strict deadlines for applications. The act also required that all evidence be submitted either to a district court judge or to a three-person commission appointed by the judge (Annals of Congress, 2d Cong., 2d sess., p. 1346–1348, 1436–1437).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0248

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1793-06-05

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Charles

I thank you for your, agreable Letter of the 29. Ult. Your Brother is destined to be celebrated and consequently envyed and abused. He has great Talents, and equal Industry. Publicola has passed through Several Editions in Ireland and Scotland as well as England, and I am well informed that the Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr Pitt and Several other Characters high in office besides the Attorney General have pronounced it one of the ablest Things of the kind they ever read. Marcellus deserves as high an Encomium. I am of Dumouriers opinion that the last Fugitive Piece, which the French call a Constitution is worse than the first, and, as La Croix Said of the latter that it would last as long as it should please God the former will have the same fate.1
If Dumourier had known Condorcet as well as I do, he would not have been surprized at his Constitution. He has been ignorant and indiscreet enough to commit himself in Print, Several years ago, in favour of a crude and shallow Idea of his three Idols Turgot Franklin and the Duke de la Rochefaucault, and now he will never get rid of it, till he is murdered like the last of them.2
You are very right. The Spirit of Liberty is a Sober and a temperate Spirit. Rage, Violence & fury are inconsistent with it.
I am pleased to perceive that your Taste for Books is a growing Appetite and your Love of study an increasing Passion. Go on my son. You will find your Account in the study of Ethicks, and the Law of Nations. Such Writers not only enlighten the Understanding but they rectify and purify the heart. The Love of Justice, of Humanity and of Wisdom, are the never failing Effects of frequent and constant Contemplation of the Principles Maxims and Reasonings of those Writers.
Your Plan of Studying Espinasse, is judicious and I hope you will pursue it to the End.— The Catalogue of Books you have purchased is no Doubt valuable, and you do well to admire Lord Mansfield, yet you must be upon your guard and not always adopt his Ideas, nor should you forget, Hale Coke or Holt3
Brisler shall Send you, The Abbe Condelae's Course of Study as you desire.
Judge Duane has made you a very handsome Compliment, which { 435 } demands and I presume will have your gratitude. Tho there may be no Profit there is honour, and a fair Opportunity to do good and to approve your humanity, Justice, publick Spirit Patience Politeness and Address before many People, which to a good young Man is a prescious Advantage. I hope therefore you will attend this Duty as punctually as if it was lucrative. A Sincere desire to do good is the best Trait in a young Man's Character. A Selfish Indifference to the good of others, is one of the worst.
My regards to our Connections. I am &c
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams”; endorsed: “June 5. 1793.”
1. Jean François de Lacroix (1754–1794), a lawyer, was a member of the National Convention and an ally of Danton (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
2. Condorcet had argued for “the unprofitableness of the division of legislative powers into several bodies,” first in a Supplément to his Influence de la révolution d’Amérique sur les opinions et la législation de l’Europe, n.p., 1786, and later in his Lettres d’un bourgeois de New-Heaven (published in Philip Mazzei's Recherches historiques et politiques sur les États-Unis de l’Amérique septentrionale, 4 vols., Paris, 1788), written in response to JA's Defence of the Const. He believed that a single unicameral legislature better served a democracy, a notion to which JA took considerable exception (Haraszti, Prophets, p. 235–236).
3. Sir John Holt, Thomas Farresley, and Giles Jacob, A Report of All Cases Determined by Sir John Holt, Knt., from 1688 to 1710, London, 1738.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0249

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-06-09

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear sir,

I have procured the Warrant from the Treasury for the payment of D 1250. and taken two Orders on the Branch Bank at Boston in the name of my Brother. One for Dls800. & the other for Dls1,190, which will be paid him on demand, on your behalf. The surplus I have reserved for the following purposes. Viz For five months Board Dls66. 50Cts; One hundred Dls sent to my Brother Charles; For two Quarters Store Rent Dls 36. For nine Doz of Porter Dls 16. For myself Dls 41— 50Cts— Or, to state it in a more Mercantile way—
  Dlls   Cts  
To Charles at NYork   100    
For five months Board for myself   66   50  
For two quarters Store Rent for the furniture   36    
For Nine Doz of Porter   16    
For myself   41   50  
  Dls 260   "  0  
{ 436 }
I have inclosed the Orders to my Brother John;1 he will be upon the Spot, and can transmit the money to you at Quincy without delay; As they are drawn in favor of my Brother, no Indorsment will be necessary on your part. My good Quaker Landlady is upon the point of giving up house keeping, which has obliged me to seek another residence— I have found one at another Quaker house, but at a higher price than before— They demand at the rate of seventy five pounds Pr Ann. and I was under the necessity of closing with the terms, as I could hear of no place equally reasonable— The situation is much preferable to that which I left, & my accomodations are better; but I did not make the exchange from choice. The name of the Family is (Staal) they bear a very respectable character, and are to appearance civil folks—2
I must apologize for troubling you with my personal concerns— I hope my next letter may contain more interesting matter.
Presenting my best love to all friends / I subscribe / your affectionate son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice President of the U,S.”
1. Not found.
2. China merchant John Stall Sr. and his wife, Frances, operated a boardinghouse at 72 North Third Street in Philadelphia (Rush, Letters, 2:688–689, 747; Philadelphia Directory, 1793, Evans, No. 25585; U.S. Census, 1790, Penn., p. 222).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0250

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-06-11

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

I am extremely sorry to hear, that you have had another attack of your ague, since Cousin Betsy left you— I hope you are in the use of every probable means for your releif, & restoration to Health— That glow in your features, which I have contemplated with so much satisfaction, I should be grieved to see injured by Sickness, or any disaster— But you my dear Sister have a double Security—Nature & Grace have both conspired in your favour—For that Beauty which depends principally upon the Mind,—upon the Divinity that stirs within cannot easily be defaced by Time, Sickness, or any accidenttal Circumstance—
I am very glad you was so kind as to let Cousin Betsy have your Horse & Chaise to make a visit to her Mother— you was mistaken if you thought I was unwilling, to have her go,— To tarry with her, was what I thought would be prejudicial to her health— But I have { 437 } wanted all this Spring to have gone, & to have taken Betsy with me, to see my unhappy sick Sister—who has no relation, or connection but ourselves, to visit, or befriend her—
I am very sorry Cousin Polly has not receivd a Letter I sent to her by my Cousins—1 It was designed to encourage in her filial piety, approving, of her readiness to quit her business, though in a very fine way—& shewing the benifit which I supposed would be derived from her attending upon her Mother, rather than any one else— I know it is a hard, & tedious Task, for so young a Daughter— Yet I seldom knew an absolute necessity for firmness, strength of mind, & the exercise of great Virtues but that they came obedient to the call—were ready attendants upon the Summons—
Happy for us that it is so— The belief of it, has kept many a one, from sinking under the weight of Affliction—
The weekly Papers are filled with accounts of the Commotions which have taken place in almost every part of Europe France exhibits to our view a Scene too Shocking, & too full of horror for the tender Mind to dwell upon— Is anything more to be deprecated than a civil War? What bloody Scenes—what murders, & massacres—What want of publick Confidence?— The smiling Sycophant to Day,—Tomorrow the cruel Assasin—Nothing to designate the Friend, from the bitter Enemy— Can anything be more dreadful than such intestene Convulsions—such publick Factions, & all the Evils of Pandora's Box, & ten thousand more if possible, are in thy horrid Train— Let me turn from it—& with Gratitude reflect upon the Goodness of that Being, who when we had every thing to Fear, has caused us so soon to sit down in peace, enjoying the rich Blessings of a wise & good Government—& may he who holds the hearts of all in his hands, long continue Men of Wisdom, & Virtue to guide & direct the publick Weal—
I have not yet heard of Mrs Smiths being at Quincy— I hope you will all favour me with a visit—
If you please you may tell Celia that I had rather not take a Child so far off— It must be attended with inconveniences— I am obliged to hire a Spinner half the year—& we cannot afford to multiply our Family without profit— If Mr Shaw could take Scholars, the profits of which would furnish us with cloathing, I would never turn the Wheel again for I perfectly hate the work, in a place where we are obligd to see so much company, & then I would take a little Girl immediately—& keep Betsy Quincy wholly to sewing.— She might do as much again, if I had any new work for her to do— Cousin Lucy is { 438 } a lovely woman, & makes us too—too short a visit to your affectionate Sister
[signed] E Shaw—
1. Probably Mary Smith, daughter of Catharine Salmon and William Smith Jr.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0251

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1793-06-23

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Brother.

I have received your Letter containing the orders upon the branch bank, and also that with the bill of lading of 3 barrels;1 I ought to have written you this information a post or two ago, but some business, more indolence, and most of all forgetfulness was the occasion of my omission.
I suppose you will soon commence Attorney, and I understand you have some thoughts of retiring into one of the back Counties of Pensylvania, to commence practice. let me know what your intentions are, and when you expect to commence your career— I am not quite in statu quo I have a sort of Pisgah-sight2 of future milk and honey—but not yet much enjoyment of it in person.
I have an Oration to deliver on the 4th: of next month, as you know I have written and committed it to memory, and am thoroughly disgusted with it.— While I was writing I thought myself quite brilliant as I advanced; and was pleasing myself with future applauses at almost every sentence that issued from my pen— Now, it appears to me a mass of dull common-place, composed of stale facts, hacknied sentiments, veteran similies, and trite allusions, with scarce a single gleam of originality shooting through the solid darkness of the composition.— The humble merits of the average of similar performances, are now my greatest consolation— However indifferent my execution, I shall not easily place myself in a style of inferiority upon comparison.
The most extraordinary intelligence, which I have to convey, is that the wise and learned Judge & Professor Wilson, has fallen most lamentably in love with a young Lady in this town, under twenty; by the name of Gray. He came, he saw, and was overcome. The gentle Celadon, was smitten at meeting with a first sight love—unable to contain his amorous pain, he breathed his sighs about the Streets; and even when seated on the bench of Justice, he seemed as if teeming with some woful ballad to his mistress eye-brow.— He obtained an introduction to the Lady, and at the second interview { 439 } proposed his lowly person and his agreeable family to her acceptance; a circumstance very favourable to the success of his pretensions, is that he came in a very handsome chariot and four. In short his attractions were so powerful, that the Lady actually has the subject under consideration, and unless the Judge should prove as fickle as he is amorous and repent his precipitate impetuosity so far as to withdraw his proposal, You will no doubt soon behold in the persons of these well assorted lovers a new edition of January and May.— Methinks I see you stare at the perusal of this intelligence, and conclude that I am attempting to amuse you, with a bore; no such thing. it is the plain and simple truth, that I tell—and if you are in the habit of seeing the Miss Breck's as frequently, as your wishes must direct you to see them, you may inform them, that their friend and mine, Miss Hannah Gray, has made so profound an impression upon the Heart of judge Wilson, and received in return an impression so profound upon her own, that in all probability they will soon see her at Philadelphia, the happy consort of the happy judge.3
Cupid himself must laugh at his own absurdity, in producing such an Union; but he must sigh to reflect that without the soft persuasion of a deity who has supplanted him in the breast of modern beauty, he could not have succeeded to render the man ridiculous & the woman contemptible upon the subject of politics I wish not to enter; they would lead me too far; and they are at this time unpleasant beyond the common proportion.— I enclose a few lines written upon some of the insolence proceeding from your shoe-black of the Muses, who thinks himself a poet because he knows himself a lyar.—4 They are only for your perusal, and have never been seen by any other person [. . . .] Write me what you think of the point in the four concluding [verses The] sarcasm appeared severe to the parental partiality of the author; but who can be admitted as the judge of his own composition.
I remain your cordial friend & affectionate brother.
[signed] J. Q. A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr: Thomas B. Adams / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “J Q A / June 23— 93—”; notation: “Due Cook 16 cents / gon out of town.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. Not found.
2. “A faint view or glimpse of something unobtainable or distant” (OED).
3. Judge James Wilson, age fifty, married nineteen-year-old Hannah Gray of Boston on 19 Sept. (DAB). Celadon, from James Thomson's The Seasons, refers to any “lady-love” (Brewer, Reader's Handbook).
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0252

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1793-07-20

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Cranch

[salute] My dear William

I have only two or three minutes at present to devote to the purpose of answering a long & agreeable letter I received from you before my departure from Philadelphia—1 I had anticipated with pleasure an expected interview at Cambridge, & feel no small mortification in the disappointment. After passing a very happy week in the company of my friends & former associates I am upon the point of returning to Quincy—where I shall remain a few days, & then hasten to return from a place, which litterally speaking, I had no buisiness to leave at this season. I make but one observation more which is, that if we should unfortunately miss each other this time, we must supply by this pen, that antidote to separation the absence of the person. As to my visiting Haverhill, it's out of the question—my stay won't admit. Inclination attracts, but necessity repels. Give my best Compliments &ca &ca: to inquiring Friends in general you may employ farther particulars at discretion.
Believe me
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (OCHP:William Cranch Papers, Mss fC891c RM); addressed: “William Cranch Esqr: / Atty at Law / Haverhill”; internal address: “William Cranch Esqr:”; endorsed: “T.B.A. July 20 ‘93.”
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0253

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1793-07-29

Charles Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

I received the copies of your Oration by Mr Atkinson for which I give you my own and the thanks of my friends Unwilling to trust my own partial judgment upon the performance I have endeavored to collect the opinions of those of my friends here who are most remarkable for their taste and my own ideas have been justified by the universal applause which has been bestowed upon your Oration. I cannot but admire the prudence which you have observed in steering so cautiously between the Scylla and Carybdis of public opinion and surely it was your duty to offend no one in a performance of this kind. In a late letter you observe that some of my friends think me too strenuous upon the wrong side.1 I must be thought so if I deny a single democratic principle. Every man who now ventures to disapprove of a single measure of the French is according to { 441 } modern language an Aristocrat and I had rather submit to the imputation than indiscriminately to approve of every transaction of that nation God forbid that I should ever become the advocate of tyrrany whether exercised by a single or a many headed monster. How stenuous are the party in Philadelphia to engage us in a war What abuse and reviling constantly fill that mint of defamation the National Gazette How determined should be the conduct of The Executive. Surely the conduct of a foreign Minister is reprehensible who talks of appealing to the people from the decision of the first Magistrate.2 If ever there was a time when firmness was required it is now. What do you think of the decision of Judge Peters in your part of the world? I would ask one question Suppose a French Ship should come up to the wharves of New York and carry away to Philadelphia twenty or thirty British merchantmen Could our Court of admiralty have jurisdiction of it? We have had a case similar to that of the ship William before our District Court it was argued on the part of the Libellants last week and more ingenious and learned argument I never heard in a Court Messrs Troup and Harison shew themselves to the greatest advantage to be sure the concluding quotation of Mr H applied to judge Duane could not but raise a smile in the countenance of those who know his character. He is suspected of leaning towards the opinion of Judge Peters for whom he has a great veneration but I am inclined to beleive that after the argument and the application of the Verse from Horace “Justum et tenacem” & he will not have obstinacy enough to decide similarly.3 We dayly expect a French fleet in this port I dread the moment— We have many turbulent people in this City who would wish to take advantage of such an event. We have already been witnesses to the commencement of very tumultuous proceedings. A writer in the philadelphia papers Pacificus has claimed the attention of the public I am happy to find most men of character accord with the sentiments of this writer who he is I know not The Secretary of the treasury, amongst us, has the credit of being the author the peices would not disgrace his pen.4 Entre nous it seems to me rather surprising that The VP has not been called to Philadelphia surely his Counsel is necessary in the present circumstances of this Country pray explain to me you may have a better opportunity of knowing the reasons than myself or the multitudes who ask me the question. My Respects and Love to all friends
Yours affectionately
[signed] Charles Adams
{ 442 }
PS The Boston Frigate Commanded by Captain Courtnay is now off the Hook as he has thirty two guns and has sent a challenge to The Ambuscade who is now under sail to meet her hundreds of people have gone down to be witnesses to the expected encounter which will no doubt be very desperate.5
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Quincy Adams Esqr / Boston—”; endorsed: “C: Adams. July 29. 1793.”
1. Not found.
2. On 22 April, George Washington issued his Neutrality Proclamation, which states that, as regards the war between France and the rest of Europe, “duty and interest of the United States require, that they should with sincerity and good faith adopt and pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerent powers.” In practice, this policy meant that French privateers could not be outfitted in American ports nor could France enlist American citizens to serve in the French Army or Navy. Edmond Genet, frustrated by this situation, threatened to ignore Washington's ruling and appeal directly to the people through their congressional representatives (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 12:472–474; Jefferson, Papers, 26:687–688). See also CA to JA, 25 Aug., and note 3, below.
3. On 21 June, Judge Richard Peters ruled in the case of the capture of the British merchant ship William by the French Citizen Genet. The libellants argued that the William had been captured illegally in American territorial waters, while the defendants insisted that the United States did not have standing to adjudicate a case between two nations at war with one another. Peters agreed with the latter, stating that the U.S. district court had no jurisdiction “in a matter growing out of the contests between belligerent powers.” In a similar case, Richard Harison, the U.S. district attorney in New York, and Robert Troup were involved in legal proceedings regarding the capture of the British brig Catharine by the French frigate Embuscade. Harison and Troup argued that the ship had been “taken within the territory, and under the protection of the United States.” In Jan. 1794, Judge James Duane of the district court ruled that his court did not hold jurisdiction over such matters; any restitution would have to come from the executive branch. Shortly thereafter, in another case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that district courts did have jurisdiction, and in August, the Catharine was restored to its owners, who also received an award for costs and damages (Jefferson, Papers, 26:200–201, 254; Richard Peters, Admiralty Decisions in the District Court of the United States, 2 vols., Phila., 1807, 1:12–30).
For the quote from Horace, see CA to JA, 31 Jan. 1793, and note 3, above.
4. Pacificus—a lengthy defense of Washington's Proclamation of Neutrality—appeared in seven essays, five published by the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 29 June, 3, 6, 10, 13, 17 July, and two by the Federal Gazette, 24, 25 July. Alexander Hamilton was indeed the author; see Hamilton, Papers, 15:33–43, 55–63, 65–69, 82–86, 90–95, 100–106, 130–135.
5. Capt. George William Augustus Courtenay brought the British frigate Boston from Nova Scotia to stop harassment of British shipping by Citizen Jean Baptiste François Bompard of the French frigate Embuscade. At sea off New York, Courtenay sent a challenge to Bompard in the city, who responded that he would meet the British off Sandy Hook. In a two-hour battle before hundreds of spectators on 1 Aug., Courtenay was killed and the Boston fled to sea. A heavily damaged Embuscade returned to New York to the cheers of French partisans (William R. Casto, “French Cruisers, British Prizes, and American Sailors: Coordinating American Foreign Policy in the Age of Fighting Sails,” in Kenneth R. Bowling and Donald R. Kennon, eds., Neither Separate Nor Equal: Congress in the 1790s, Athens, Ohio, 2000, p. 212–217).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0254

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-08-10

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

I ought to have written you from New-York, of my safe arrival there in little more than three days, after a pleasant Journey, with only one constant companion from Boston, who was a French Gentleman now a Merchant in that place— We found the roads remarkably fine, and the Country at 20 Miles distanc from Boston presenting a more favorable appearance. Our journies were between 70 & 80 miles distance each day, & you will readily suppose I wanted no further rocking to lull me to sleep. I found our friends in N.Y—— all well—& as Col Smith was upon a small Jouney in the Country, I was persuaded to wait his return, as he was anxious to hear what account I could give of his wife, with whom he accuses me of having run away
The people of N York many of them are raving mad with French Politicks, & the sober part are asleep—or if awake dare only yawn & gape. The Sea Duel between Bompard & Courtney engrossed all conversation, and the partizans of each are equally imprudent in their behavior— The Coffee-House, proper only for the resort of Merchants, is converted into a den of thieves & Jacobins,1 and the Citizen Mechanicks have deserted their Shops & occupations for the less arduous task of settling the affairs of the Nation. In Philadelphia things have been carried to greater lengths in some respects. The Household of the Citizen Minister have been convicted of conduct, which in any other Country would deserve no other name than Treason, & would probably meet a punishment adequate to that crime. Handbills have been distributed representing the President and Judge Willson with their heads under the Guillotine, and proclaiming their death to the Citizens of Philadelphia on account of the acquittal of Henfield lately tried for entering into the service of France.2 If such things do not destroy our Government it will be because we have none to fall a sacrifice. Like the City of Paris however in the heighth of their Massacres, we are said to be in perfect tranquility; and because the consequences are not immediate, nobody appears alarmed.
The Sup Court of the U, S. having no business ready for trial sat but two days—the State of Massachusetts did not appear & the same process will be observed against her as against the State of Georgia—3
{ 444 }
Our friends in Philada are well, those who remain in the City, which is but a small proportion. The sudden death of Mrs Lear will no doubt distress you—she fell a victim to neglect of her person when in a bad habit, not as at first represented from eating too freely of unripe fruit.4 Mr Lear is inconsolable under his loss, & has suffered himself to be seen by none but the Family since the funeral.
Presenting love &ca / I remain / your son
[signed] Thos B Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams.”
1. The Tontine Coffeehouse was a center of pro-French sentiment in New York. It hosted banquets for visiting Frenchmen and auctions of prizes taken by French privateers (Edwin G. Burrows, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, N.Y., 1999, p. 318–320; New York Daily Advertiser, 13 Aug.).
2. Gideon Henfield, a Salem, Mass., sailor, was prosecuted by the Washington administration for enlisting in the French Navy, which the president considered a violation of American neutrality. Supreme Court justice James Wilson presided over a special session of the U.S. Circuit Court of Pennsylvania to try the case. The government made the argument that although Congress had not passed a law specifically forbidding such enlistments, Henfield's actions nonetheless violated U.S. treaties with Britain, the Netherlands, and Prussia. The jury acquitted Henfield on 29 July of all charges (Jefferson, Papers, 26:130–131).
3. During an abbreviated session in Philadelphia on 5 and 6 Aug., the U.S. Supreme Court considered the cases of Chisholm v. Georgia and Vassall v. Massachusetts. In the Chisholm case the state of Georgia had refused to send a representative to the February session of the court because it denied the legitimacy of a suit brought against it by a citizen of another state. At that time the justices ordered Georgia officials to appear in August or face a default ruling. A representative did attend the August session and the case was continued. The Vassall case was similar but involved an Englishman suing the state. Massachusetts also claimed sovereign immunity by denying the legitimacy of a suit brought by a citizen of another country. Massachusetts officials had been subpoenaed to appear at the August session, but they did not do so and Vassall was continued as well. Both cases remained unresolved until they were nullified by the ratification of the Eleventh Amendment, which prohibits such suits (Doc. Hist. Supreme Court, 1:217–219; 5:134–137, 364–369).
4. Mary Long Lear died of yellow fever in Philadelphia on 28 July (Ray Brighton, The Checkered Career of Tobias Lear, Portsmouth, N.H., 1985, p. 114–115). See also TBA to JA, 9 Oct., and note 2, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0255

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-08-25

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Sir

By Colonel Smith who setts out for Boston tomorrow I have the pleasure of addressing a few lines to you. If you procure the Newspapers from New York you will observe by them that events of some importance have passed lately in this City with an almost incredible rapidity. Though much has been feared, from the turbulence of some and much apprehended from the inactivity of others yet happily for us nothing very serious or alarming has as yet happened. We have had some small riots at Our Coffee house and one or two of { 445 } the Citizens have received the bastinado but the steady and nervous arm of the law has cooled the tempers of those who were disposed to riot, and at length the respectable inhabitants have come forward to discountenance such unwarrantable proceedings.1 The Great Mr William Livingston has been the ostensible head of a party composed of Drunken Porters idle Carmen and three or four men who though once they had some claim to respectability at the present moment could not fail of approaching nearer the zenith by a turn of the political ball.2 The whole consisting of perhaps three or four hundred people. yet small and despicable as they really were they tyrannized with uncontroled sway and it was sufficient for them to denounce a man for him to meet with the most ignominious treatment. These people Addressed the French Minister. This step called forth the resolutions approving The Presidents proclamation which have awed them into a Deathlike Silence.3 Mr Genet has written to The President requiring that he would exculpate him from the various charges which have been brought against him of want of respect for him and of imprudent conduct &c Mr Jefferson returns for answer That it is not proper for Diplomatic characters to communicate with the President but through his ministers.4 He is continually falling in the estimation of the people. I hope for peace and tranquility. All our friends are well The Baron does not return until the latter end of October I expect he will pass a few days with you before the Session as he tells me I must be ready [to] accompany him.
Adieu my Dear Sir Your dutiful / son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Quincy”; endorsed: “Mr Charles / August 25. 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 18 Aug., French and British sailors clashed in the streets of New York. “It is said to have arisen from several insults given by a number of British to some French sailors who were quietly enjoying themselves in this land of freedom,” the New York Journal, 21 Aug., reported. “Not willing to brook the gross treatment of having their cockades trampled under the feet of Britains, struck with axes, tongs, &c. three to one, the Frenchmen collected some of their comrades and pursued their antagonists—but they averted their vengeance by secreting themselves. Some of them, however, in the evening, were imprisoned.”
2. William S. Livingston championed the cause of the New York Society of Cartmen, which was organized in March 1792 to resist the policies of Federalist New York mayor Richard Varick. In a move the Republican opposition characterized as a “Reign of Terror,” Varick denied cartmen freemanship and announced in 1791 that any who did not support the Federalist Party would be denied city licenses (Graham Russell Hodges, Slavery, Freedom & Culture among Early American Workers, Armonk, N.Y., 1998, p. 13–15).
3. Throughout Aug. 1793, various towns, cities, and organizations met to pass resolutions supporting George Washington's Neutrality Proclamation. The citizens of New York City, on 8 Aug., stated that Washington's pronouncement was “a wise and well-timed measure of his administration, and { 446 } merits our warmest approbation.” Likewise, on 6 Aug., the New York Chamber of Commerce resolved, “That the Proclamation of the President of the United States, declaring their neutrality towards the powers at war, was in our opinion a measure wisely calculated to promote the interests and preserve the tranquility of our country; and that we conside[r] the same as a new proof of that watchful regard for the honour and prosperity of the nation, which has uniformly distinguished the administration of our first magistrate” (New York Diary, 8 Aug.; New York Daily Advertiser, 7 Aug.).
4. Edmond Genet's letter to Washington of 13 Aug. and Thomas Jefferson's reply of 16 Aug. both appeared in the New York Diary, 21 August. Genet was attempting to defend himself against attacks by Rufus King and John Jay claiming that he planned to circumvent the decisions of the president and “appeal to the people,” a statement he had allegedly made in a conversation with Alexander James Dallas. Genet demanded “an explicit declaration” from Washington that “I have never intimated to you an intention of appealing to the people; that it is not true that a difference in political sentiments has ever betrayed me to forget what was due to your character or to the exalted reputation you had acquired by humbling a tyrant against whom you fought in the cause of liberty.” Washington forwarded the letter to Jefferson, who replied to Genet that “it is not the established course for the diplomatic characters residing here to have any direct correspondence” with the president. Jefferson also noted that Washington “declines interfering in the case” (Jefferson, Papers, 26:676–678, 684).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0256

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-10-09

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

After repeated, tho’ unsuccessful attempts to procure the letters, which I was informed by my Mothers letter, must be in the Post Office at Philada: this night's Post has brought me six: four from Boston and Quincy, & two from my other friends;1 I feel no little gratitude to my friends in General, & my Parents in particular for the anxious solicitude they have expressed for my wellfare, upon the alarming occasion which now exists in Philadelphia.2 I have shuddered at the thought, when I reflect on the danger to which I now perceive I was for many days exposed before I left the City; while there, I was insensible to the innumerable instances of mortality, which daily occurred; but since my residence in this place, I have become more acquainted with the calamities of the City, & more regardful of my own safety. Had I received your's & my Mothers letters sooner; or before I left the City, I should probably have made some town in the interior Counties of Pennsylvania the place of my residence; it might have been useful to me in my future pursuits, by giving me an oportunity to form a further acquaintance with the manners of the people, & also of determining upon the place of my future residence. The short notice I had for departure, (being only one day) precluded my making those arrangements which would have been necessary for a journey of any length or distance; & even at the short distance I now am from Philadelphia, I find myself { 447 } destitute of winter cloaths, pretty short of cash, having left the greater part I possessed in the City, and wanting many conveniences, which would make my exile more comfortable. However I, in com[pany] with many of my acquaintance am amply provided with necessaries, & I can submit to any thing when I perceive others more unprovided, & willingly contibute my proportion to render their situation more tolerable. This place tho’ a small distance from the City, is by far the least crouded with inhabitants of any in the neighborhood, & from the little communication that exists with the City, I feel myself tolerably secure. My Friend Mr Freeman & myself were the two first strangers that came to this town; while every small village on the other side of the River was filled with deserters; for this reason I thought it more safe to retire to this place.3 Many have followed us, but they bear no proportion to the towns of Pennsylvania. I could write in this strain till morning, but it would afford you no satisfaction— I will therefore reserve further communications for the next Post,—
Subscribing myself / your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
PS, I have just heared of the death of your old friend J D Sergeant; he has fallen sacrifice to his public spirit & humane exertions— he was appointed a manager of the Hospital at Bush Hill, & undertook the trust—4 While we lament the cause, we cannot but admire the principles with which he was actuated.
Octr: 15. 93—
The accounts from the City are much the same;
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Quincy / near Boston.”; internal address: “The Vice President / of the U. S.”; endorsed: “T. Adams / oct. 9. 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. None of these letters has been found.
2. Yellow fever appeared in Philadelphia in August and soon spread to become a devastating epidemic that killed an estimated 5,000 in the city before dissipating with the first frost of December. The pestilence was at its height in October and on the date of this letter the daily death toll passed 100 for the first time (J. H. Powell, Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793, Phila., 1949, p. 233–234, 281–282).
3. During the yellow fever epidemic TBA fled across the Delaware River to Woodbury, N.J., ten miles south of Philadelphia. His companion was perhaps Ezekiel Freeman, a clerk in the Philadelphia Auditor's Office (Philadelphia Directory, 1793, p. 167, Evans, No. 25585).
4. Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant (1746–1793), Princeton 1762, a lawyer, met JA while attending the Continental Congress as a New Jersey representative. He moved to Philadelphia in 1776 and served as Pennsylvania's attorney general. He died of yellow fever on 7 Oct. 1793 (DAB; Philadelphia National Gazette, 9 Oct.). For the use of Bush Hill as a hospital during the epidemic, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 4, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0257

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Smith, Hannah Carter
Date: 1793-10-12

Abigail Adams Smith to Hannah Carter Smith

[salute] my Dear Madam

I have executed your commission but not exactly conformable to your request— the muslin like the pattern was all gone there was a peice which I thought would do to match it very well which I purchased and have sent by Mr Charles Storer I hope you will not disapprove of my taking it I thought you would not be likely to get any thing so near it in Boston & I wish it may meet your approbation the muslin is rather finer I think
you will I flatter myself feel sollicitous to know our situation respecting the fever now rageing in Philadelphia I am Sorry to inform you that it does not in the least abate in that Place but is said to be more fatall in its consequences— we found our friends here greatly alarmed—and we this day hear that a Number of Persons have by some means got into this City the last night from Philadelphia notwithstanding a guard is kept constantly upon the Shoars by the inhabbitants of the City—and one Person has been this day carried upon Governors Island—ill with the fever—1 the Philadelphians are much displeased att the arrangements which are made to prevent Persons from thence comeing into this City: and other intermediate Towns— I hope our friends will not think of going on to Philadelphia be so good as to present my Compliments to Mr Smith and Cousin Betsy and / beleive me very sincerely your / friend
[signed] A Smith—
RC (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers); addressed: “Mrs William Smith / Boston”; endorsed: “A. Smith / N Y’k 1793”; notation: “favour'd by / Mr Storer.”
1. On 13 Sept., New York appointed a committee to institute measures to keep yellow fever from spreading to the city from Philadelphia. Inspectors and night patrols guarded all landing places and ordered any vessels from Philadelphia into two-week quarantine. Any people showing symptoms were sent to a temporary hospital on Governor's Island. Sporadic attempts at evasion were reported, including one by a ship ordered to quarantine on 17 Sept. that landed Philadelphia travelers in the city at two o’clock the following morning. Newspapers published regular updates on yellow fever cases at the hospital, including a 19 Oct. report that a man recently sent from a quarantined ship was now ill with fever (New York Daily Advertiser, 2, 19 Oct.; New York Diary, 17 Sept.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0258

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-10-20

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

I am happy in having it in my power to give you more favorable accounts respecting the Fever in Philada: than I have yet been able— { 449 } Not more than three or four persons have died pr: Day for 4 or 5 days past, at the Hospital and there is a prospect of safety in returning to the City in the course of a Fortnight. Indeed many Families have allready returned, but those who could stay away with any convenience have declined. The disorder is found to submit to the cold weather; & the Phisicians entertain great hopes that the next month will dispel all infection. The City has suffered an immense loss of property, independent of many valuable lives, & ’tis apprehended that there will be many failures among the Merchants, who appear to have suffered most in point of interest of any Class of People. In addition to the general calamity which affects us more nearly, there has been a report that the City of Charleston SC, has partly been destroyed by an Earthquake; but we are not as yet certain as to the truth of it. I have enjoyed my own health tolerably, during the Fall, tho’ in a Country much subjected to Agues & Intermittants a circumstance I did not know when I first came here. As the Season is past for those disorders, I am not afraid of alarming you by mentioning it. I am at a loss to know where Congress will assemble this Winter; even should the Fever subside in a short time, the Country has been so generally alarmed that many will be fearful of going to Philada: & I am uncertain whether the President has the power of assembling Congress in any other place.
I have scarcely read a Newspaper since I left the City, & am therefore ignorant as to the State of Public affairs at present ether in Europe or America; I don't know that I ever experienced the value of public prints, by the want of them before now. Hereafter I shall always be opposed to the tax upon Newspapers, because it may have a tendency to prevent their general circulation. The minds of the People have been so much agitated by the disease in Philada: that no one gives the least attention to politic's or government. There has lately been an Election in Pennsylvania for Governor, & it was thought Mifflin would be out-run by Muhlenberg; but I am told he has three votes in his favor to one against him in all parts of the State.1 At last I find that your Governor is not Immortal; what a pity! That Self-opininated Omnipotence, should finally expire like common Mortals. The last Office your people can pay to his Memory, is that of ranking him among the Cannonized Saints of Antiquity; and I expect the Almanacks of the next year will run under the date of Anno Domini 1794 & “Mortis Sancti Johannes Hancock—Primus,” For the year of our Lord one Thousand seven hundred & ninety Four, & of the death of the Sanctifyed John Hancock, the { 450 } First. I suppose however he is to be succeeded by somebody, & I wish to hear who is talked of.2
Present my best love to my Father & the Family / and believe me, / your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: Abigail Adams / Quincy / near / Boston”; internal address: “Mrs: A Adams / Quincy.”
1. In the final tally, Thomas Mifflin defeated Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg for governor by a vote of 19,590 to 10,700 (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 12 Dec.).
2. John Hancock died at the age of 57 on 8 October. On 14 Oct., the city of Boston marked his passing: “At sunrise the bells in all the publick edifices in his town, opened the scene, by tolling, without cessation, an hour; and the flags in town, at the Castle, and on the masts of the shipping in the harbour, were half hoisted. At one o’clock, all the stores and shops were shut, and numerous citizens, in their individual capacities, paid various marks of unfeigned respect to the deceased.” JA rode in the procession, along with acting governor Samuel Adams and other political, judicial, military, and religious leaders; one observer estimated that 20,000 people participated all together. Samuel Adams was subsequently elected governor in his own right in 1794 (Herbert S. Allan, John Hancock: Patriot in Purple, N.Y., 1953, p. 358–360; Boston Independent Chronicle, 17 Oct.; DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0259

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-11-03

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

Since my Brother informed me of the miscarriage of some of my letters, I am determined to suffer no Post to pass without writing to some of the Family. The Fever in Philadelphia is a never failing source of subject-matter, when every other is exhausted, but it gives me real joy that I have it in my power to assure you from the best Authority, that no danger is to be apprehended from returning to the City in its present state; the only circumstance to be feared is, that people will croud in too fast, without taking those necessary precautions which are recommended after they return; airing the Houses thoroughly & white washing the Walls &ca:— In order to cause you no uneasiness on my account, I have resolved not to go into the City for 10 days to come, & even when that time is elapsed, my return will depend altogether on the fullest conviction that the disease is entirely subdued.
It will hardly be prudent for Congress to meet in Philada: this Season, tho’ I confess I know not where, or in whom the power resides of convening them in any other place. They cannot be accomodated in any of the neighboring towns, and I see no more safe method than that the President should prorogue their meeting to a later period. It may be necessary however that Congress should { 451 } meet at this Period more particularly to correct the Insolence of that French Jacobin of a Minister, who if suffered to proceed will soon dictate law to the United States. I have not seen a Newspaper for a Month past, till yesterday, when I had the perusal of one belonging to a traveler, which contained Genet's letter to Mr. Jefferson; of all barefaced insults from a public Minister, I think this newfangled Republican's the most brazen, how it will be received I know not, but how the Author of it ought to be treated is more easy to conceive.1 I am sorry our Juries are so much warped to the side of French madness, but I am well convinced they will not suffer an insult to be given to their chief Magistrate, however their conduct may have given birth to it.
I hope the next letters from me will be dated at Philada:, you will know however in season from / your affectionate & dutiful / Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams.”
1. On 27 Oct., Edmond Genet wrote to Thomas Jefferson complaining strenuously about the dismissal of Antoine Charbonnet Duplaine (d. 1800) as French vice consul at Boston. A few weeks earlier, on 3 Oct., Jefferson had written to Duplaine revoking his exequatur in response to Duplaine's decision to seize forcibly a prize originally captured by the French privateer Roland but in possession of Massachusetts’ deputy federal marshal. Genet's letter, which appeared in the New York Columbian Gazetteer, 31 Oct., among other newspapers, charged that “the constitution of the United States has not given the President the right which he now appears desirous to exercise. . . . I demand of you, sir, to ask the President of the United States to procure an examination, by the legislature representing the sovereign people of Massachusetts, of the conduct of Citizen Duplaine.” Samuel Adams, acting governor of Massachusetts, declined to take any action on the matter (Jefferson, Papers, 26:797; 27:184–185, 272–274).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0260

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-11-17

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

Your favor of the 28th: Octr: has been received, & as I omited writing by the last Post, I will defer it no longer, lest, your fears should again be excited on my account.1 If I felt the same degree of alarm that appears to have taken hold of the People at a distance from Philadelphia, the proposal you were kind enough to make me of passing the Winter with you would probably be accepted, but from a full conviction that I can reside in Pennsylvania with perfect security, I think it most prudent to decline the invitation. If it should be unsafe to remain in Philadelphia, I can take up my residence in some of the interior Towns, where I shall have an opportunity of { 452 } attending the County Courts, & forming an acquaintance which may be useful to me hereafter. But the City itself is at present perfectly free from the contagion, & I see no reason to apprehend a fresh eruption of the disease—besides the old saying of “Nothing venture, nothing have” is so deeply impressed upon my mind at present, that I would not hesitate to run some risque if there were a prospect of introducing myself into professional business by it. So far as my observations of life extend, I am convinced that there never was a Man of Eminence in the world, that was not indebted in some degree, for his fame to what is commonly termed fortune or accident. This is perhaps more frequently the case with Military than litterary characters, in one respect, viz. their continual exposure to danger & death. Their reputation is well earned no doubt, & is rather extorted from mankind as a just debt, than confered gratuitously. But I will not at this time descant upon a subject which can bear very little analogy to that which introduced it. All I wish to enforce by it is, that I could justify to my own mind, a remote hazard of my life, provided the occasion was sufficiently important to myself or others, to warrant the trial. I have been nearly Ten Weeks out of the City, and have met with some interruption in my studdies, but I shall make application for admission to the Bar soon after my return to the City. Mr Ingersoll returned last week, and expects me to attend the Office to assist him ‘till my admission, & as Dr Rush assured me I might return with perfect security, I shall not disappoint my Master. There is a certainty that much law business must be done this Winter and I dont see why I should be excluded from a share of the Loaves & Fishes, tho’ it may be a very small proportion.
Business of every kind is lively in Philadelphia, & most of the Citizens have returned. The Air which when I left it was extremely offensive in every part of the City, is now perfectly pure. We have lately had several heavy rains & some snow, & there is no doubt but we shall have a severe winter. The price of wood is high at present, but this is owing to the want of intercourse not to the scarcity, for there are thousand of Cords now lying on the Banks of the Creeks in this County, ready for transportation.
I have heared but once from my Sister since [her] return to New York—2 She wrote me by a Lady [who] lives in this town & was on a visit to NewYork but unfortunately the Trunk which contain[ed] my letter's was left on the Road & has not yet been forwarded.
Presenting my best love to all the Family / I remain / your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
{ 453 }
PS, Please to send my Boots round by Water, as I am in great want of them. The Schooner Neptune, Captn: Cheesman, is in the employ of JD Blanchard at Philada and will sa[il from] Boston in a week or two. Mr [Bris]ler may hear of her by applying at No 10. L Wharf & may send my Boots round by her3 your next letters may be directed to me at Philada:
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: Abigail Adams / Quincy / near Boston”; internal address: “Mrs: Abigail Adams”; endorsed: “Thomas Letter / Novbr 10. / 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. Not found.
3. The middle two sentences of the postscript were written sideways along the margin of the page and marked for insertion at this point.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0261

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1793-11-20

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

Your father will be the bearer of this Letter, and probably will find you at Philadelphia, which our late accounts represent as being totally free from the pestilence, which raged with so much violence for two or three months.— Remember however and be cautious— In the midst of the general calamity, for which your friends participate in the general affliction, they recollect with pleasure, proportioned to the extreme anxiety they felt for you, that you were spared, and they are therefore earnest in their recommendations, that you would not expose yourself by any particular omission of precautions, when the danger is principally past.
I apprehend from the tenor of your last Letter to me, that one Letter which I wrote you, had not yet reached you. It was dated if I mistake not the 15th: of September;1 and some part of the contents, were such as I should be very sorry to have fall into any other hands. If you have the Letter now, or should receive it hereafter, I wish you to give me notice of it, for my own satisfaction: but if you have it not yet, do not perplex yourself with conjectures upon the subject, as possibly you might without this caution, from the manner in which I now speak: if this appears mysterious to you, upon explanation, you would discover that like most other mysteries, it would turn out to be something very simple.
The approaching Session of Congress is like to be somewhat tempestuous; though I really think, the extravagance of the french fire-brand's absurdities, will operate as an antidote against them.2 { 454 } His measures appear to be as weak, as his designs are destructive: but the example which he sets to future European agents, is so pernicious, it may be so easily imitated by the representatives of any foreign power; that I am alarmed at the tameness with which it is received by this people.— In this part of the Country indeed there is scarcely any body so thoroughly depraved in his politics as not to disapprove of his madness, but if the President had treated him as he did Duplaine, he would scarcely then have been punished in a degree equal to his deserts.
I hope you will not be much longer delayed in the attainment of your legal degrees, and I dare say the time you have past in your sequestration has not been lost. I most earnestly wish that your success, in your profession may be greater, and especially more rapid than mine has hitherto been. You have not quite so many disadvantages to encounter as have fallen to my lot— Three long long years of painful suspence and tedious expectation and at the close of them suspence and expectation still, is not an encouraging prospect.— Yet it has been and still is mine. I have however long since got above or below repining at it, and in spite of all my evils can fatten upon it, like one of the genuine pigs from the sty of Epicurus.3
Whereupon I conclude myself your brother
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr Thomas B. Adams. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “J Q Adams. / Novr. 20th: 93—”
1. Neither of these letters has been found.
2. The third Congress began its first session on 2 Dec. and concluded on 9 June 1794 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. “Amid hopes and cares, amid fears and passions, believe that every day that has dawned is your last. Welcome will come to you another hour unhoped for. As for me, when you want a laugh, you will find me in fine fettle, fat and sleek, a hog from Epicurus's herd” (Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle iv, lines 12–16).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0262

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-11-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have had an agreable Journey to this Town, have been to Meeting all Day and heard two excellent Discourses from Mr Strong:1 We are to drink Tea at Col Wadsworths. Trumbul and his Lady are at New Haven.2 At four or five O Clock in the Morning We proceed. The Weather to day is Soft and fine, tho We had last night a violent Wind & Rain. Accounts from Philadelphia are unanimous in favour of the Healthiness of the City: Yet I think with Col Wadsworth that a Pause at Trenton to consider and inquire will not be much amiss.
{ 455 }
The Virginia Assembly have taken up the Presidents Proclamation and Seventy Odd against forty Odd, voted it right.3 But When the Minority found themselves cast they prevailed with the Majority to vote that they had nothing to do with it. Enough however was done to convince Us that We shall not be, wholly under the Directions of a foreign Minister.
Thatcher has taken for his Vade mecum Fontenelles History of oracles. I mentioned to him Farmer upon Devils: a Title that charmed him so much that he is determined to send for Farmers Works.4
Mr storer requests that you would let his Family know We are thus far safe. Brisler does the same. I am, my dearest / yours forever
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams / Quincy / near Boston”; internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “novbr 24. / 1793.”; notation: “Free” and “Free / John Adams.”
1. Rev. Nathan Strong (1748–1816), Yale 1769, had served as minister of the First Church of Hartford, Conn., since 1774 (Colonial Collegians).
2. Poet and attorney John Trumbull and his wife, Sarah Hubbard Trumbull, who had lived in Hartford since 1781. Trumbull had attended Yale and practiced law in New Haven early in his career (DAB).
3. By a vote of 77 to 43, the Va. House of Delegates passed a resolution on 1 Nov. 1793 declaring George Washington's Neutrality Proclamation “a politic and constitutional measure, wisely adopted at a critical juncture, and happily calculated to preserve to this country the inestimable blessings of peace” (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 12 Nov.).
4. PeterGeorge Thacher's Thatcher's “vade mecum,” or guidebook, was Bernard Le Bovier Fontenelle's History of Oracles, and the Cheats of the Pagan Priests, transl. Aphra Behn, London, 1688. Hugh Farmer (1714–1787), a noted dissenting minister and theologian, had published a number of tracts, including An Essay on the Demoniacs of the New Testament, London, 1775 (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0263

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-11-24

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

I have now been in the City since the 19th: and am happily able to give you the fullest assurance of our freedom from danger, on account of the malignant Fever. The Citizens have most of them returned, & universally in good health, business has revived, & is fast returning into its former train; from all present appearances, nobody would think that any Calamity had befallen us. It is surprising how soon a person wears off those impressions of terror, which tho’ all alive when he first enters the City, are forgotten in the course of a few hours. The idea of danger is dissipated in a moment when we perceive thousands walking in perfect security about their customary business, & no ill consequences ensuing from it. Many of the { 456 } Inhabitants are in mourning, which still reminds us of the occasion, but a short time will render it familiar. No person that has not been exiled from their usual residence upon such an occasion can realize the joy that is universally felt at meeting a former friend or acquaintance— The congratulations for each others wellfare are as mutual as they appear to be sincere. I find a small number of my former acquaintance who have participated in the Calamity, & a few who were victims to the disease, but by far the greater proportion have escaped. My present Landlord lost a Son, who was a pupil of Dr Rush, & the most promising young Physician of any that have died.1 He was seized with a delirium in the first Stage of his disorder and refused all medicine that was offered him. Indeed this was the case with many, & it allways proved fatal in such instances. Among those who have been swept away, I believe Mr Powell & Mr Sergeant are the only two with whom you were acquainted.2 The disease proved most fatal to tradesmen & Mechanics, whose circumstances would not admit of their leaving town;3 but no class of Citizens have been totally exempted. The Disease however is now dissipated, & I apprehend no danger can exist during this Season. I doubted before I came to town whether Congress would be safe in assembling here this Winter, & I still believe it will be a difficult matter to persuade them that no danger remains, but if they will come & judge for themselves only by two days residence they must be convinced that their fears are groundless.
My Examination for the Bar comes on next week; it is time I was, if I am not prepared to receive it. It is just three years since I entered Mr Ingersoll's Office, & tho’ I expect no business unless by accident, yet I choose to take my station at the Bar as an Atty. provided my Examinors will give me a passport. If you wish any thing sent round from here, there will be an opportunity before the Winter sets in. I am in great want of my Boots, & I hope you will not forget the Books also that I packed up to be sent me.
Remember me Affectionatly & believe me your son
[signed] Thos: B Adams
1. John Stall Jr., a medical student of Benjamin Rush, died on 23 September. Five months later Rush sent Stall's mother a silver cup in his memory (Rush, Letters, 2:674–677, 688–689, 747).
2. Samuel Powel (or Powell) (1739–1793) had been the mayor of Philadelphia and served as speaker of the Pennsylvania senate from 1792 to 1793. He died on 29 Sept. (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 1:125, 10:444; Philadelphia National Gazette, 9 Oct.).
3. Although ten doctors and ten ministers were included on a list of yellow fever { 457 } victims compiled by Philadelphia bookseller Mathew Carey, the majority of the dead were tradesmen, laborers, and servants. “It has been dreadfully destructive among the poor,” Carey wrote. “It is very probable, that at least seven eighths of the number of the dead, were of that class” (Mathew Carey, A Short Account of the Malignant Fever Lately Prevalent in Philadelphia, 4th rev. edn., Phila., 1794, p. 60–61, Evans, No. 26736).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0264

Author: Storer, Hannah Quincy Lincoln
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-11-27

Hannah Quincy Lincoln Storer to Abigail Adams

Had you My respected friend join'd the Small, tho’ social Circle the last Thursday, it would have been an addition to our pleasure, but by your first friend I was Soon prevented Saying Much upon the Subject—[“]as none he Said ought to be present at the parting of Hector and Andromache but the Nurse and Child”—1
I have his permission to ask your Company for a day but a Night he would not consent to, as being so long in Boston at a time always made you Sick: I added if you'd Come and Stay with Me you Should eat, drink, and Sleep, as you pleased— the weather is Now very fine, I should be exceeding glad to See you with Miss Smith any day this week that would Sute you—in that Sociable way that I flatter Myself would be grateful to you / and pleaseing to / Your / Affactionate friend
[signed] H Storer
P S My Sister Guild and My Daughter calls upon you in their way to Mrs. Cranches Mr Storer desires his Compliments—and joins Me in the above request
1. Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, lines 456–647.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0265

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-11-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my dearest Friend

My early rising still continues, and I am writing by candle light. it is a week this day since you left me. I have rejoiced in the fine weather for your Sake. it has sometimes been cold and Blustering, but the Air has been pure and bracing. on saturday Night we had a plentifull Rain Succeeded by a fine day. I presume you reachd N York yesterday. I hope you found all our Friends well tho I have not heard from mrs Smith for a long time. I could wish if you must go to Philadelphia that you could have gone immediatly to your old Lodgings Brisler could make Breakfast & coffe in the afternoon even if you was provided with dinner in some other place. all { 458 } accounts however agree that the City is clear from infection. I Sincerely hope it is, but I do not know what cause need be given to so many, as must suffer through anxiety and apprehension for their Friends, when Sitting a few weeks out of the city might remove it.
Cousin Lucy cranch came from Town last Evening and brought your Letter dated Hartford I also received one from Thomas of the 17th. I suppose you will find him in the city upon your arrival there. he writes that dr Rush assures him that he may come with safety.
our people here at home have been engaged some days in getting wood—one at the high ways one in getting sea weed. by the way savil continues every day in bringing two & sometimes 3 Load I do not know how much you agreed with him for, so I have not Stopd him, as I knew you was desirious of getting a quantity I expect he will cart till he has a pretty high Bill
last Night accounts were received of a Bloody Battle between General Wayne and the Indians tis said Wayne kept the Feild tho with the loss of 500 m[en] and that the Indians left as many dead upon the Fie[ld] tis a great point gaind to keep the Feild against them I hope they will now be convinced that we have men enough to fight them—1
Mrs Brisler was well yesterday she has been here two days, and went home last evening
Let me hear from you every week it will be the only thing to keep me in spirits.
I am glad the virginians had some sense & some cunning as both united produced a proper measure. the Tone in Boston is much changd of mr Consul. he begins to make his Feasts and to coax & whine like a Hyena, as if having made use of big threatning language he had terrified the puny Americans and now was willing to kiss & make Friends—
present me to all those Friends who have Survived the general calimity, and as ever I am / most affectionatly yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Portia / Nov. 28. 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 27 Nov., the Boston Columbian Centinel reported 500 U.S. and 600 Miami casualties in a battle in the Northwest Territory. The article attributed Gen. Anthony Wayne's victory to the assistance of Kentucky volunteers under Gen. Charles Scott who arrived in the midst of the fighting. The report was apparently a much-exaggerated account of a 17 Oct. attack by the Miami on a supply train near Fort St. Clair in which fifteen soldiers were killed and seventy horses lost. Scott and his men arrived immediately after the skirmish and were assigned to guard future convoys. In his official dispatch, Wayne { 459 } voiced concern that news of the conflict would “probably be exaggerated into something serious by the tongue of fame, before this reaches you” (Amer. State Papers: Indian Affairs, 1:361).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0266

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-11-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I arrived here Yesterday, and had the Pleasure to dine with our Children and The Baron: All are very well and send their Duty. Charles is well, fat and handsome, and persists in the Line of Conduct which We so much approved. His Business increases & he will do well.
Accounts from Philadelphia continue to be favourable. Mr Otis has written for his Family to come on, as Mrs Smith informs me. if so I shall be at no loss.
Mr Genet has made a curious Attack upon Mr Jay and Mr King which you will see in the Papers.2 My Duty to Mother, Love to Brothers Sisters Cousins, particularly Louisa. I go on towards Philadelphia to day. yours
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”
1. WSS and AA2 resided at 18 Cortlandt Street in New York (New-York Directory, 1794, Evans, No. 26919).
2. On 14 Nov., Edmond Genet wrote to both Thomas Jefferson and Attorney General Edmund Randolph claiming that John Jay and Rufus King had “published in the newspapers a libel against me” in August when they reported that Genet intended to “appeal to the People” over the decisions of the president. See CA to JA, 25 Aug., note 4, above. Genet's letters were published in various newspapers, including the New York Diary, 22 November. They first appeared in Boston in the Independent Chronicle, 2 Dec. (Jefferson, Papers, 27:367–368).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0267

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We may ever remember1 The Thirtieth of November because it was the Day on which We were absolved from Infamy; in 1782 and because it was the Day on which I entered this City in 1793.2 Finding by all accounts that the Pestilence was no more to be heard of, and that Mr Otis had returned to his House, I drove directly to Market Street and took Possn. of my old Chamber and bed. The principal Families have returned, the President is here, Several Members of Congress are arrived and Business is going on with some Spirit. The greatest Mortality appears to have been in bad Houses and among loose Women and their gallants among the { 460 } Sailors and low foreigners. Some Persons of Note have fallen. Dr Hutchinson is thought to have been the Victim of his own french Zeal, by admitting infected Persons and goods from French Vessells from the French West India Islands.3 if, however the Contagion was imported the State of the air and of the Blood, which was prepared to catch like tinder was not imported.
Mr Otis has written for his Family. Our son Thomas has been once in Town but has returned to Woodbury.
Mr Anthony came in last Evening and gave me an account of his Enquiries, the Result of all is that the Destroying Angel has put up his sword, and Said it is enough.—4 It will be enough I hope to convince Philadelphia that all has not been well. Moral and religious Reflections I shall leave to their own Thoughts: but The Cleanness of the Streets I shall preach in Season & out of Season.
My Duty and Love where due / yours forever
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams / Quincy / near / Boston”; endorsed: “Decbr 1 1793”; notation: “Free / John Adams.”
1. JA interlined the previous four words above the following line.
2. The Preliminary Peace Treaty between Britain and the United States was signed on 30 Nov. 1782; see JA, Papers, 14:103–108.
3. James Hutchinson died on 5 Sept. 1793 from yellow fever, which he contracted while nursing others during the outbreak (DAB).
4. Probably Joseph Anthony (d. 1798), a prominent Philadelphia merchant (Philadelphia Gazette, 29 Sept. 1798).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0268

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I wrote you from Hartford, New York and once from Philadelphia: but have not yet had the Pleasure of a Letter from you Since I left home.
The Night before last We had a deep Snow, which will probably extinguish all remaining apprehensions of Infection. We hear of no Sickness and all Seem at their Ease and without fear.
The Presidents Speach will Shew you an Abundance of Serious Business which We have before Us: Mr Jefferson called on me last night and informed me, that to day We should have the whole Budget of Foreign Affairs British as well as French. He Seems as little Satisfied with the Conduct of the French Minister as any one.1
Thomas Spent the last Evening with me. He has had an opportunity of Seeing the Courts, Judges Lawyers &c of New Jersey, in the Course of the last fall, and has I hope employed his time to Advantage. This Day he is to be examined and this Week Sworn in. May a { 461 } Blessing Attend him. Although I have attended and shall attend my Duty punctually in Senate, I shall not run about upon Visits without caution: yet I believe there is little or no danger.
The Viscount Noailles called on me, and I enquired after all his Connections in a Family which I knew to be once in great Power Wealth and Splendor.2 He Seems to despair of Liberty in France and has lost apparently all hopes of ever living in France. He was very critical in his Inquiries concerning the Letters which were printed as mine in England. I told him candidly that I did not write them and as frankly in confidence who did. He says they made a great Impression upon the People of England. That he heard Mr Windham & Mr Fox Speak of them as the best Thing that had been written, and as one of the best Pieces both of Reasoning and Style they had ever read.3 The Marquis he says is living, but injured in his health. Your old Friend the Marchioness still lives in France in obscurity in the Country. He thinks that a Constitution like that of England would not last three days in France, and that Monarchy will not be restored in a dozen Years if ever.—
The Partitioning and arbitrary Spirit of the combined Powers will contribute more than any Thing towards Uniting the French under their old Government. Frenchmen cannot bear the Partition of their Country: and rather than see it divided among their neighbours they will unite in something or other.
It will require all the address, all the Temper, and all the Firmness of Congress and the States, to keep this People out of the War: or rather to avoid a Declaration of War against Us, from some mischievous Power or other. It is but little that I can do, either by the Functions which the Constitution has entrusted to me, or by my personal Influence. But that little shall be industriously employed untill it is put beyond a doubt that it will be fruitless, and then I shall be as ready to meet unavoidable Calamities as any other Citizen.
[signed] Adieu
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams / Quincy / near / Boston”; endorsed: “Decbr 5 1793.”; notation: “Free / John Adams.”
1. In his annual address to Congress, delivered on 3 Dec., George Washington called for legislative action to preserve peace with the warring nations of Europe, to secure peace with the hostile Indians of the Ohio Country, and to solidify peace with the disaffected Creeks and Cherokees. Describing American relations with Europe as “extremely interesting,” Washington promised to report on them in detail “in a subsequent communication.” Within two weeks, he sent to Congress three separate messages on foreign affairs—one dedicated to France and Britain, another to Spain, and a third to { 462 } Morocco and Algiers—each conveying extensive documentation of the administration's diplomatic negotiations.
The first of these messages, delivered on 5 Dec. and dealing with France and Britain, announced that Edmond Genet's actions “have breathed nothing of the friendly spirit of the nation which sent him” and that Washington had requested Genet's recall. At the same time, Washington submitted to Congress the correspondence that led up to this decision, including Thomas Jefferson's letter to Gouverneur Morris, [23] Aug., asking Morris to make the formal request to the French government. By October, the French government—now dominated by the Jacobins—had responded, agreeing to the recall, although news of that did not reach Philadelphia until early 1794 (Annals of Congress, 3d Cong., 1st sess., p. 10–13, 14–16; Amer. State Papers: Foreign Relations, 1:141–300; Jefferson, Papers, 26:685–692).
2. Several members of the Vicomte de Noailles’ extended family would be executed by guillotine in June and July, including his father, Philippe de Noailles; his wife, Anne de Noailles; and his mother-in-law, Henriette Anne Louise de Noailles (JA, D&A, 4:84–85).
3. William Windham (1750–1810), member of Parliament for Norwich, was a political ally of Edmund Burke and a strong opponent of the French Revolution (DNB). For JQA's Publicola writings, see CA to JA, 29 May 1793, note 2, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0269

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-12-06

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Father

The very interesting situation of our Country at present cannot fail to call forth the serious reflections of those who are anxious for its wellfare What we are destined to can only with certainty be divulged by the operation of time. Individuals reason from the experience of past ages and often draw different conclusions from the same premises. We are as yet but a young Country. Yet we have gone through some ordeals to gain experience, but we must go through many more before a Government can be established in this Country sufficiently energetic to act with a proper dignity both towards foreigners and our own citizens. We boast of freedom of security to our persons property and reputation and yet we do not find that the laws are always executed in such a manner as to secure what we boast of or to punish invaders upon those rights Through the negligence timidity or design of men who ought to exert themselves to give just and good laws their proper operation we are daily exposed to gross invasions. Through the unwillingness of men of reputation to come forward to State truths to the people we are often exposed to the rash proceedings of an ignorant Mob. Many instances of these serious facts may be exhibited. This City has from time to time subjected to the lawless depredations of the mob, and The instigators have as often been overlooked and have passed without the punishments due to their crimes. The reasons assigned for this lenity are that it is better to let such conduct pass unnoticed than to irritate the minds of people by severe punishment But surely { 463 } examples ought to be made or the evil will increase with double rapidity. We have of late had an alarming instance fury of a mob in this City A young man was indicted at the last Court of Oyer and Terminer for a rape Upon the trial no evidence was given to convict him of the crime and the jury gave a verdict Not guilty. During the course of this trial The people in the Galleries to applaud or hiss as it suited their fancy The Counsel for the Prisoner were insulted in the most gross manner in open Court Yet the judges either did not dare or neglected to punish this contempt. In the evening a mob collected and very composedly pulled down a half dozen houses The Mayor to whom much praise is due as an active and determined Magistrate did what was in his power to quell the riot but he was hindered in the execution of his office and obtained nothing but bruises and kicks The next day threats were heard in the City against the Counsel for the prisoner They were told their houses would be pulled about their ears One man said he would show them how those things were done in France The Governor promised that the Militia should be called out to protect them. Evening came on and no signs of Militia were seen and they were obliged to quit their houses for safety. It is said the Governor never ordered them out If he did they disobeyed his orders This is not probable as by late appointments he has the Militia officers at his beck all the principal officers being chosen from his band. The mob contented themselves with tearing down six or seven more houses that evening and then disbanded in a very orderly manner.1 Luckily the freak of pulling down half the City did not take them or I see no impediment to the execution. Notwithstanding all this no prosecutions no indictments no commitments have been heard of. It is said These were houses of ill fame, but they were no less private property and as such should be protected. If once the principle is admitted that the mob according to their whims have a right to destroy and execute their vengeance; whose person or property is safe? But no pains are taken to oppose such conduct and when the Citizens see or hear of such fracâ's they stare and wonder what has got into the people. Where are we to look for remedies for these outrages if men who have it in their power to prevent them sit still and wink at them? We are in danger of having many evil examples set us by the number of unprincipled foreigners who are daily pouring in upon us and they will no doubt be made tools to serve party purposes If then such violence is not nipped in the bud we have but a melancholy prospect before us—
{ 464 }
By The last Federal Militia Law—the appointment of Officers is left to the different States.2 I have doubts respecting the policy of this measure. If it is true as has been suggested That the office of Governor of a State from its nature leads the persons holding such office to an opposition of the Federal Government is it not placing a very dangerous weapon in the hands of those who unless they are more disinterested than mankind in general will not act with energy in support of the Federal cause? I do not know whether these ideas are perfectly just, they are such as have occured to me and if I am wrong I wish to be corrected.
Adieu my dear Sir / Beleive me your affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “C. Adams. Dec. 6 / ansd 8. 1793.”
1. On 8 Oct., Henry Bedlow, a notorious gallant, was tried for the rape of Lanah Sawyer, a seventeen-year-old seamstress, before the Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery of the City and County of New York. New York attorney general Nathaniel Lawrence presented the case for the prosecution but left the argument of it to his more junior colleagues Josiah Ogden Hoffman and James Kent. Counsel for the defense included William A. Thompson, James M. Hughes, Brockholst Livingston, Robert Troup, John Cozine, and Richard Harison.
To save their client from conviction and execution—rape then was a capital crime in New York—Bedlow's attorneys worked hard to discredit his accuser. They savaged Sawyer's character, conduct, and motives, denigrating her testimony as self-serving invention. At the same time, they struggled to establish the credibility of the witnesses who appeared on their client's behalf, in particular Mary Cary, the brothel keeper in whose house the encounter between Bedlow and Sawyer had occurred. Whitewashing Cary's obvious moral shortcomings, the lawyers for the defense painted her testimony as disinterested truth. In the end, their strategy proved successful. After a trial lasting fifteen hours, the jury deliberated for just fifteen minutes before returning a verdict of not guilty.
Six days later, however, popular anger over the trial incited a mob to demolish Cary's house and destroy all of its furnishings. Several other brothels suffered the same treatment that night and the next. By the third night Mayor Richard Varick and the city magistrates had restored order, apparently without assistance from Gov. George Clinton (William Wyche, Report of the Trial of Henry Bedlow, N.Y., 1793, Evans, No. 26513; Franklin B. Hough, The New-York Civil List, Albany, 1858, p. 30, 36, 428; New-York Directory, 1792, Evans, No. 24281; New York Diary, 7 Nov. 1793; Paul A. Gilje, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763–1834, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1987, p. 87–88).
2. Congress intended the Uniform Militia Act, passed on 8 May 1792, to strengthen national defense through the establishment of a militia system consistent throughout the states. The act's failure to promote uniformity or improve preparedness led George Washington to call for new legislation in the annual address that he delivered to Congress on 3 Dec. 1793 (U.S. Statutes at Large, 2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 271–274; C. Edward Skeen, Citizen Soldiers in the War of 1812, Lexington, Ky., 1999, p. 6–8).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0270

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-09

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

I believe you are indebted to me for a letter or two, but as your late loss has been my gain, it is more incumbent on me to attempt { 465 } to compensate in some measure by my communications the absence of my Father.
You have doubtless provided yourself with a comfortable supply of Winters Stores for a severe campaign, as there is reason to anticipate a long one— The Winter has but just commenced with us, but we hope its continuance will not be short, for much of our security against a return of the late disorder is thought to depend on this Season. Congress have commenced their Career with the interesting transactions of the Executive department during their recess— The budget was opened last week and has already occupied three or four days in the mere reading. They are to be published shortly, when you will have an opportunity to gratify your curiosity, which I can easily immagine is excited on the occasion.1 Altho’ the making public the heretofore private negociations of the Executive may wear the appearance of novelty, & excite alarm in those who are acquainted with former usage, as establishing a dangerous precedent, yet I trust the fairness, candor and liberality of our Government will be no more liable to imputations unfavorable for its reputation, than its character for firmness and decission can be impeached by Foreigners.
There seems to be a wish in the Executive that the letters which have passed between him & Foreign Ministers should meet the public eye at this time, and I believe it a very happy circumstance that the conduct of the Minister of France has called them forth. There are many people who think we shall be under the necessity of arming our Merchantmen, so as to protect our trade & make reprisal whenever it appears that our Vessels have been unjustly captured or detained. The Merchants complain of the defenceless state of our Commerce, of the imposibility of trading to advantage, or with so much Safety as if we were actually engaged in War. Congress will probably take these things into consideration in the course of the present Session, & I hope place us in a mo[re] respectable situation as to the means of defence in case of an actual rupture, than at present we are—
My Examination for the Bar is passed, and the Oath of Office administered to me—2 I am at liberty therefore to undertake the cause of the oppressed, & attempt to render justice to him that is wronged— I anticipate very little of this kind of business this winter—if it comes it will be more acceptable.
My Father was well when I saw him last; he had recd: no letter from you since his arrival & would have been anxious if my Brother { 466 } JQA had not quieted his apprehensions by a few lines—3 Believe me your son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers). Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. A Message of the President of the United States to Congress Relative to France and Great-Britain. Delivered December 5, 1793, Phila., 1793, Evans, No. 26334. Published by order of the House of Representatives, this pamphlet was initially released in two parts. The first part, which contained George Washington's message along with the papers that he had forwarded regarding relations with France, appeared by 5 Jan. 1794; the second part, which contained the papers relative to Britain as well as the original French versions of papers presented earlier in translation, appeared on 22 Jan. (JA to CA, 5 Jan., Adams Papers; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 23 Jan.).
2. TBA was admitted to the Philadelphia bar on 7 Dec. 1793 (John Hill Martin, Martin's Bench and Bar of Philadelphia, Phila., 1883, p. 243).
3. JQA's letter to JA has not been found, but on 10 Dec., JA acknowledged a letter from JQA of 28 Nov., commenting that “considering your Mothers usual Goodness in writing to me in my too frequent Absences, I have been under some Anxiety for her health, because I have not received any News from her since I left her” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0271

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This Day having been devoted to Thanksgiving by the Governor of Pensilvania, Congress have adjourned to Fryday.1 We have had a great Snow and afterwards a great Rain but not enough to carry off all the Snow. The Weather therefore is still cool, tho fair and pleasant. All Apprehension of the Fever Seems entirely departed, a Circumstance the more comfortable to me, as, having been among a few of the Earliest who came into Town, if any Thing unfortunate had followed I might have been reproached for Setting a precipitate Example.
our Son Thomas was examined approved and Sworn the last Week; so that We have three Lawyers upon the Theatre of Action. May they be ornaments to their Country and Blessings to the World.
Congress has a great Task and a very unpleasant one before them. With Indians and Algerines for open Ennemies and so many other Nations for suspicious Friends, besides so many appearances of ill Will among our own Citizens, who ever Envies a seat in that Body I believe the Members have no great reason to be delighted with theirs.2 My own is a situation, of Such compleat Insignificance, that I have Scarcely the Power to do good or Evil: yet it is the Station the most proper for me, as my Eyes and hands and Nerves are almost worn out.
{ 467 }
The two Houses have been tolerably unanimous in giving to the Presidents system a kind of rapid approbation: but what will be the Result of the Negotiations with France and England I know not.3 Mr Jefferson has regained his Reputation by the Part he has taken, and his Compositions are much applauded by his old Friends and assented to by others. The fresh depredations of the Algerines are so well calculated to prevent Emigration to this Country from England scotland and Ireland, that People are ready enough to impute their Truce with Portugal and Holland to British Interference. our Trade is like to suffer by the Arbitrary Decrees of England Spain and France as well as by the ferocious Pyracy of Affrica.4
This Winter will Shew Us the Temper of England as well as France. Americans cannot see with Pleasure the French Islands fall into English hands, nor will even French Emigrants be gratified with the Partition of their Country.5 But Foresight is impossible in such a Chaos. I am with great Anxiety for / your health, your
[signed] J. A
1. On 14 Nov., Pennsylvania governor Thomas Mifflin declared 12 Dec. a day of thanksgiving to mark the end of the Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic. Four days later nineteen city clergymen signed an address encouraging participation in the observance (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 11 Dec.).
2. The ongoing problem of U.S. relations with Algiers came to the fore again in late 1793 when Portugal—which had customarily protected U.S. ships from Barbary pirates around the Strait of Gibraltar to ensure continuing imports of American corn and flour—signed a peace treaty with Algiers. This new situation left U.S. ships vulnerable to piracy, and the Algerines immediately took advantage, capturing eleven vessels by December and enslaving their crews. Some in the United States also blamed the British for the situation, arguing that the British were allied with the Algerines, had encouraged the peace treaty with Portugal, and had possibly incited the Algerines to make their captures. These events pushed Congress to act on the crisis in early 1794, authorizing a million dollars to purchase peace and ransom captive sailors and additional money to establish a U.S. Navy (Frank Lambert, The Barbary Wars: American Independence in the Atlantic World, N.Y., 2005, p. 73–77).
3. George Washington's Neutrality Proclamation received the endorsement of the House of Representatives on 6 Dec. 1793 and of the Senate on the 9th in their respective replies to his annual address, even though neither body had completed its review of his intervening message respecting relations with France and Britain (Annals of Congress, 3d Cong., 1st sess., p. 17–18, 138–139).
4. After the outbreak of war in Europe in the spring of 1793, Britain and France each maneuvered to starve the other of provisions from the United States by unilaterally decreeing neutral trade with the enemy illegal and then seizing American merchant vessels caught in violation (Cambridge Modern Hist., 7:318–319).
5. In the spring and summer of 1793, Britain expanded the war with France to the Caribbean. After capturing Tobago in April, British forces invaded St. Domingue, and the colony was divided between the warring armies. The French government of St. Domingue responded by freeing the colony's slaves and inviting them to join the army, a move that eventually turned the conflict in France's favor (Michael Duffy, “The French Revolution and British Attitudes to the West Indian Colonies,” in David Barry Gaspar and David Patrick Geggus, eds., A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean, Bloomington, Ind., 1997, p. 83–85).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0272

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-12-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my dearest Friend

I hope this days post will bring me a Letter from you at Philadelphia, and that I shall hear you are well and at mr otis's tho obliged as they say to keep Batchelors Hall for a short period. mrs otis I trust will be with you before this Letter. I wrote by her tho I had little to inform you of. your Farm will occupy your mind I know Sometimes and you will wish to know if the ground is broke up which you left unfinish'd. the stones have been removed and one days work after a Rain has been performd. the people were anxious to compleat it the next day tho the ground was stiff, but [in] the attempt they Broke the beam of the plough & were obliged to quit. we have sent it to be repaird & the first opportunity it will be compleated. the weather has been pleasent & the Sea weed is attended to every day when, wood is not. Arnold is very anxious to tarry with me and has offerd to stay at six dollors the winter Months. at present I thought I could do without him but gave him encouragement that I would hire him if snow came so as to get the stones across the pond.1 what can be done with the set of wretches who have begun their winter depredations upon the cedar pasture, Cut down trees lately as Arnold informs me, Some of those which the fire past over have been seen at wilsons door. Humphries informs me that the lot call'd Ruggles's a bound tree containing 5 foot has been recently cut down & others near it & carried of, by nobody knows whom.2 Boilstone Adams has had his shop broke open this week 2 sides of soul Leather Boot legs & several calfs skins carried away. they broke the Glass & then unfastned the window in shrt we seem to live amongst a people who have no sense of Right & wrong— Remember me kindly to all inquiring Friends. read columbus—and let me know the opinions of those who do.3
Yours most affectionatly
[signed] A Adams
mrs Brisler & family are all well
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Mrs Adams / Decr. 14. ansd 23d.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Possibly Joseph Neale Arnold (1764–1816), a Quincy neighbor whose wife, Mehitable Adams Arnold, was a daughter of JA's first cousin Ebenezer Adams (Sprague, Braintree Families; vol. 6:238).
2. Probably Levi Humphrey (b. 1767), “a transient man” of Braintree. “Ruggles's” lot was likely the woodlot AA purchased in 1783 { 469 } that was formerly owned by Samuel Ruggles (b. 1700) of Braintree and Boston (Sprague, Braintree Families; vol. 5:285, 288).
3. JQA published in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 30 Nov., 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, and 21 Dec. 1793, fourfive essays (over several issues) under the name Columbus in response to the activities, writings, and controversy surrounding Edmond Genet's mission. Columbus describes Genet in the first essay as “the most implacable and dangerous enemy to the peace and happiness of my country,” then uses the subsequent threefour to outline his reasons for this opinion, attacking Genet's attempts to circumvent George Washington's neutrality policy and to draw the United States into the European war.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0273

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1793-12-14

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

Congress have recd from the President all the Negotiations with France and England as well as those with the Indians. On Monday We expect those with Spain and all the Intelligence recd respecting the Algerines. The whole forming a System of Information which Shews our dear Country to be in a critical Situation. So critical that the most sanguine are constrained to pauze and consider.
The Truce between the Regency of Algiers and the Court of Portugal will be imputed by a Party to the Influence of England, and No Other Party that I know of can contradict them. The Event has been daily expected, for Years, as it has been known that Portugal has been all along Suing for Peace, without offering Money enough to Satiate the Avidity of the hungry Barbarians. The Disposition to emigration in England Scotland and Ireland will be checked, and our growing Navigation will be impeded so much by these Corsairs, that the British Government will be Suspected to be highly delighted with it.
Congress must take a cool Survey of our Situation and do nothing from Passion.
I have read two Numbers of Columbus. The Compass of Observation, maturity of Reflection and Elegance of Style Suggested to me Conjectures that the Statute of Limitations might not be the only Apology for my short Letter. It is a Mortification to reflect, that a few Ironies, a merry Satirical Story, or a little humour will make more Impression than all these grave Reasonings, polished Eloquence and refined oratory. The President however, with the Unanimous concurrence of The Four Officers of State, has formed the Same Judgment with Columbus, and I hear no Members of Congress who profess to differ from them.
How does your Democratical Society proceed in Boston? There ought to be another Society instituted according to my Principles, { 470 } under the Title of the Aristocratical Society: and a third under that of The Monarchical Society and no Resolution ought to have Validity, untill it has been considered & approved by all three.
These Democratical Proceedings have brought upon Us, the Jealousy of the Combined Powers, and of all the French who do not concur with the Jacobin Clubbs, and these will soon be, if they are not at present the Majority of the Nation. Our People would do well to consider, to what Precipice they are running. When Junius Said The opinions of the People were always right and their Sentiments never wrong, I wonder what World he lived in.1 Is not a Mahometan Religion, the opinion of a People as well as the Christian and have not the Sentiments of the People of England for Example been furious against Monarchy in one year and for it in another. Such Popular Adulation is to me most contemptible, Although it is so pernicious that it ought to excite more Indignation than Contempt.
For myself, my Race is almost run. You have a long Career before you, and I am happy to observe that you have not accommodated your opinions nor Sentiments to the momentary Fashions of the present times, but have Searched for Principles which will be more durable. I am affectionately
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Adams”; endorsed: “My Father 14. Decr: 1793.” and “My Father Decr: 14. 1793.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. Junius, “To the Printer of the Public Advertiser,” 13 Oct. 1769, The Letters of Junius, London, 1770, Letter XXVII. JA is also quoting JQA's own work back to him; JQA had just used the same quotation in the second article in his Columbus series.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0274

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1793-12-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Daughter:

I thank you for your kind letter of the tenth of this month.1
Mr. G. may well be shocked at the Message. It is a thunderbolt. I cannot but feel something like an apology for him, as he was led into some of his enterprises by the imprudence of our fellow-citizens. The extravagant court paid to him by a party, was enough to turn a weak head. The enthusiasm and delirium of that party has involved us, and will involve us, in more serious difficulties than a quarrel with a Minister. There is too much reason to fear that the intemperance of that party has brought upon us an Algerine war, and may compromise us with all the maritime powers of Europe.
{ 471 }
It is a very difficult thing for a man to go into a foreign country, and among a strange people, and there act a prompt and sudden part upon a public political theatre, as I have severely felt in France, Holland, and England; and if he does not keep his considering cap always on his head, some party or some individual will be very likely to seduce him into snares and difficulties. This has been remarkably Mr. G.'s unhappy case. Opposition to the laws, and endeavours to set the people against the government, are too gross faults to be attempted with impunity in any country.
The scandalous libel on the President, in a New-York paper, is a proof to me, that foreign politics have had too much secret influence in America; indeed, I have known enough of it for fifteen years to dread it; but this desperate effort of corrupt factions, is more than I expected to see so soon.2
Present my love to my two dear boys. You have a great charge upon you, my dear child, in the education of these promising children. As they have not had the regular advantages of public schools, your task in teaching them literature must be the more severe. A thirst for knowledge early excited, will be one of the best preservatives against that dissipation and those irregularities which produce the ruin of so many young men; at the same time that it will prompt them to acquire those accomplishments which are the only solid and useful ones, whether they are destined to any of the liberal professions, to the gallant career of soldiers, or to the useful employments of merchandise and agriculture.
Your mamma complains that she has not received a letter from you in a long time. Remember me to Colonel Smith.
Your affectionate,
[signed] J. Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:125–127.
1. Not found.
2. Thomas Greenleaf's New York Journal printed “a letter from a gentleman in Virginia” in the 7 Dec. issue that attacked George Washington without ever mentioning him by name. The piece suggested that Washington “looked up to the Mogul of England for high preferment” at the close of the Revolutionary War and accused him of being “most infamously niggardly” and “a most horrid swearer and blasphemer.” On 11 Dec., at the Tontine Coffeehouse, “a numerous and respectable meeting of Citizens” issued a series of resolves condemning the piece and Greenleaf for having published it. That same day, Greenleaf apologized in his newspaper for the publication, claiming, “The person at whom it is said to be aimed, is as highly respected and revered by me, as by any citizen of the United States, and I do most sincerely regret, that it ever was published” (New York Daily Advertiser, 11 Dec.).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0275

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Having taken a cold which makes it inconvenient to go out this morning I cannot employ myself more agreably than by writing to you. The President and Mrs Washington enquire after you very respectfully every time I see them. Mrs Washington enquires after all of Us and particularly Miss Louisa— She wishes, with an Emphasis and I dare Say very sincerely, that I had brought you along with me.— Mr Dandridge acts at present as The Presidents Secretary and I dont find that he has any other Secretary or Aid de Camp at all.1 Miss Nelly went over into Maryland in the Course of the Summer and there got the Ague and Fever. The poor Girl looks pale and thin, in Consequence of it: but will soon got the better of it.
Brisler has engaged some Rye Flour for you, but when you will receive it, I know not. Cheesman is not yet Arrived. Yesterday was brought me an Account of which I had not the least Suspicion for above an hundred dollars, from Bringhurst. Will it not be adviseable to sell the Cochee? and the Chariot,? and buy a new Chariot? Perhaps Some Coachmaker in Boston would exchange. We Shall have little Use for the Cochee, and have no Room at present to dispose of the Coach. I only mention this for Consideration. Furniture and Carriages have made Mischief enough for Us.— Rocks are much better, at least they do less harm.
I went to See Mrs Wilson, but she was gone out. The Judge was at home, and is very young notwithstanding his Spectacles and White Hair.— Mrs Hammon looks portly enough for a Lady who has been the Wife of an Ambassador half a Year and more.2
I told you in a former Letter that Thomas was examined approved and sworn.
For Want of a virtuous Magistracy or a virtuous Attorney General Pro Tempere, to prosecute convict and punish disorderly Houses at New York, the Sovereign Mobility took the Guardianship of the public morals into their own Hands and pulled down Seven or Eight houses, turning with exemplary Inhumanity many Ladies into the cold Air and open Street. The public was irritated by two or three Charges of Rapes, and the Lawyers treated the Subject with too much Levity, treated virtuous creditable Women with too much indifference and Mother Cary the old Beldam with to much respect. This is what I hear. I am sorry that Mobs should have a plausible { 473 } Excuse for Setting up for reformers. But I never could feel an intollerable Indignation against the Riots called Skimmington Ridings3 when they really were excited by gross offences against Morals.
Yours as ever
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Decbr 15 1793.”
1. Bartholomew Dandridge Jr. (ca. 1772–1802), Martha Washington's nephew, had replaced Tobias Lear as George Washington's secretary earlier in 1793 (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:234–235).
2. Margaret Allen, daughter of Andrew Allen of Philadelphia, had married British minister plenipotentiary George Hammond on 20 May (DNB; Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 21 May).
3. “A ludicrous procession . . . usually intended to bring ridicule or odium upon a woman or her husband in cases where the one was unfaithful to, or ill-treated, the other” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0276

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1793-12-16

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Charles

The Revolution in France is commonly Said to be without Example in the History of Mankind: But although there may be circumstances attending it, peculiar to itself, I cannot think it altogether unlike any Thing that has happened. The Revolution in England in the time of Charles the first has so many features in common with it, that I think the History of England from the Year 1625 to the Year 1660 deserves to be more attended to than it is in these days. It would well become all young Gentlemen to read it, not for the Sake of imbibing the Spirit of Party from it, but to observe the Course and Progress of human Passions in Such Circumstances. In this View let me recommend to you to inquire where you can borrow Lord Clarendons History of The Rebellion and Civil Wars in England and to read it through in Course. To me who read it, within the first Year after I was admitted to the Bar, in the Winter of 1758 and 1759, it has been as Useful as any Work I remember to have read. It has put me on my guard against many dangers, on on hand and on the other to which in the Course of my Life I have been exposed.1 Whitelock is another Writer on the Same Times who is well worth your reading.2 You may indeed read the Account given by Rapin, Maccauley Hume, smollet or any of the Historians, but none of them in my opinion will render the reading of Clarendon Useless or unnecessary.3 There is the Life of Oliver Cromwell written by Harris, and if my Memory Serves me, some other Lives by the Same Author, which, although they are Apologies for Oliver and his friends, will through much Light upon the Transactions of that { 474 } Period.4 Rushworths Collections you may perhaps find in some of your Public Libraries and Rimers Fadera may contain Usefull Papers.5
The Monarchy was voted down the King was beheaded, the House of Lords were decreed Useless and Prelacy or the Hierarchy were demolished as compleatly as they have been lately in France. Yet in 1660 Monarchy Aristocracy and Hierarchy were restored and became more popular than ever. The Interregnum continued twelve years from 1648 to 1660: Oliver Cromwell however and his Army held the Place of Government. How long the Commonwealth could have lasted without his Aid is uncertain. Whether the Commonwealth of France will last as long, time will determine. The national Convention Seem to be determined that none of their Generals, shall live long enough to acquire Power either to Support or counteract them. This System will probably shorten the duration of their own Influence. In reading the Events of this Period of Republicanism in England, you will naturally increase your Esteem of real Liberty and your Affection for it, while you Satisfy your Understanding that it cannot exist without Government wisely tempered & well organized. You will find much Entertainment as well as Instruction. That you may receive both from these and all other Studies is the sincere Wish of your Father
[signed] J. A
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Mr Charles Adams”; endorsed: “Decr 16 1793.”
1. Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England Begun in the Year 1641, 3 vols., Oxford, 1702–1704. Portions of two volumes of a 1720 edition are in JA's library at MB (Catalogue of JA's Library).
2. Bulstrode Whitlocke, Memorials of the English Affairs; or, An Historical Account of What Passed from the Beginning of the Reign of Charles the First, to King Charles the Second His Happy Restauration, London, 1732.
3. Paul de Rapin-Thoyras and N. Tindal, The History of England, 25 vols., London, 1725; Catherine Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James I. to [the Revolution], 8 vols., London, 1763; David Hume, The History of England, 6 vols., London, 1754–1762; Tobias George Smollett, A Complete History of England, 4 vols., London, 1757–1758.
4. William Harris, An Historical and Critical Account of the Life of Oliver Cromwell, London, 1762. Other titles by Harris include An Historical Account of Hugh Peters, London, 1751; An Historical and Critical Account of the Life and Writings of Charles I, King of Great Britain, London, 1758; An Historical and Critical Account of the Life of Charles the Second, King of Great Britain, 2 vols., London, 1746; and An Historical and Critical Account of the Life and Writings of James the First, London, 1753.
5. John Rushworth, Historical Collection of Private Passages of State, Weighty Matters in Law, Remarkable Proceedings in Five Parliaments, 8 vols., London, 1721–1722; Thomas Rymer, Foedera conventiones, liter, et cujuscunque generis acta publica, 20 vols., London, 1704–1735.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0277

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-12-19

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear father

I received your favour of the 16th yesterday. I am sorry that from what I said in my last to you it should be inferred that I wished to advocate the cause of infamy or that I had partially related circumstances. All I meant by there being no evidence was that was not such evidence as would warrant a jury to find the prisoner guilty of the charge laid against him. I most earnestly request that you would not too easily take up ideas prejudicial to me Your letter if it was intended to give pain had the desired effect but I have to observe that many things have been told respecting me which are false many things reported which I attest Heaven are not true. Lord Hale's history of the Pleas of the Crown I have read and some of the other authors you have recommended.1 My attention shall be turned to the others. I do not look upon the French Revolution as a new thing many circumstances have perhaps contributed to make it more replete with crimes than any other. The great ignorance of the mass of the people made them easy tools for the factious and unprincipled demagogues to work with Many men at such periods will arise who are continually endeavoring to promote the reign of anarchy well knowing that their only chance of keeping upon the top of the wheel is in a continued scene of tumult. In France there does not appear to be one two or three or four parties but five or six hundred and most indubitably it is better to have one Cromwell than five hundred. I have lately read a pamplet Entitled Plaidoyer pour Louis seize par Monr Lally Tollendal. It is a morsel of eloquence which I am anxious you should see Much information is to be gathered from it. The history of the author is remarkable. During the reign of Louis 15th his father was executed in a most ignominious manner for surrendering Pondicherry to the English His son found protectors and applied himself to the study of the laws with the intention to vindicate the memory of his father. At the age of 22 he proffered a Memorial to Louis the 16th requesting a revision of the decree against his father. It was granted and he appeared himself as the Solicitor before the parlement of Paris and the memory of his father was releived from disgrace his property and title restored.2 Such is the man who was anxious to defend his King but was denied the privilege of doing it before the National Convention A man as I am informed [of si]ngular eloquence and most persuasive Oratory.
{ 476 }
I have received your kind assistance of an hundred dollars for which accept my sincere thanks.
The people I think show an unusual degree of dejection at the prospect of affairs. Nor are those who have been most instrumental in exasperating the powers of Europe against this Country among the least cast down. Civic feasts. Kicking British Officers out of Coffee houses King killing toasts &ca &ca are things which some begin to think were imprudent. and perhaps not altogether justifiable I see nothing but sad experience that can bring all right.
I am my Dear Sir your dutiful son
[signed] Charles Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of the United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “C. Adams. Decr. 19. / 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Sir Matthew Hale and Emlyn Sollom, Historia placitorum coronne (The History of the Pleas of the Crown), 2 vols., London, 1736.
2. Trophime Gérard, Marquis de Lally-Tolendal, Plaidoier du Comte de Lally-Tolendal pour Louis XVI, London, 1792. Lally-Tolendal (1751–1830), an orator and scholar, had initially supported the French Revolution but grew disenchanted with its increasing violence and eventually fled to England. His father had been the commander-in-chief of the French Army in India, but in 1766 he ran afoul of court politics and was summarily tried and executed by beheading. His son eventually persuaded Louis XVI to reverse the judgment in 1783 and his estates were restored (Ann. Register, 1830, p. 255–256).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0278

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Mrs Otis arrived with her little Rosignal, in good health and Spirits the night before last, and brought me your favour of Decr 7.—1 Why am not I so fortunate as to be able to receive my best Friend, and to Spend my Days with her whose Society is the principal delight of my Life. If I could make Twelve Thousand dollars at a Bargain and Several of Such Bargains in a Year: but Silence.— So it is ordained and We must not complain.
If a Suitable Season should occur for ploughing, our Men may plough, if not they may leave it till Spring.
I like your Plan very well to Stock one Place with young Cattle, and to apply to shaw if Humphreys and Porter decline, to take care of the Dairy in the other.
I am pleased with Dr Tufts's Plan.
Citizen Genet made me a Visit yesterday while I was in Senate and left his Card: I shall leave mine at his Hotel Tomorrow: as Several of the Senators have already hastened to return their Visits: but We shall be in an Awkward Situation with this Minister.— I write { 477 } you little concerning public affairs, because you will have every Thing in Print. How a Government can go on, publishing all their Negotiations with foreign Nations I know not. To me it appears as dangerous and pernicious as it is novel: but upon this occasion it could not perhaps have been avoided. You know where I think was the Error in the first Concoction. But Such Errors are unavoidable where the People in Crowds out of Doors undertake to receive Ambassadors, and to dictate to their Supream Executive.
I know not how it is: but in proportion as dangers threaten the Public, I grow calm. I am very apprehensive that a desperate Antifœderal Party, will provoke all Europe by their Insolence. But my Country has in its Wisdom contrived for me, the most insignificant Office that ever the Invention of Man contrived or his Imagination conceived: and as I can do neither good nor Evil, I must be born away by Others and meet the common Fate.
The President has considered the Conduct of Genet, very nearly in the Same light with Columbus and has given him a Bolt of Thunder. We Shall See how this is supported by the two Houses. There are, who gnash their Teeth with Rage which they dare not own as yet. We Shall Soon See, whether We have any Government or not in this Country. If the President has made any Mistake at all, it is by too much Partiality for the French Republicans and in not preserving a Neutrality between the Parties in France as well as among the Belligerent Powers: But although he Stands at present as high in the Admiration and Confidence of the people as ever he did, I expect he will find many bitter and desperate Ennemies arise in Consequence of his just Judgment against Genet. Besides that a Party Spirit will convert White into black and Right into Wrong, We have I fear very corrupt Individuals in this Country, independent of the common Spirit of Party. The common Movements of Ambition every day disclose to me Views and Hopes and Designs that are very diverting. But these I will not commit to Paper. They make sometimes a very pretty Farce, for Amusement, after the great Tragegy or Comedy is over. What I write to you must be in Sacred Confidence and Strict discretion.
Mrs Washington prays me, every time I see her to remember her to you very affectionately. I am as ever / your
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Decbr 19. 1793.”
1. AA's letter to JA of 7 Dec. discussed difficulties she was having coming to terms with her farmhands and reported on Cotton Tufts’ plan to pay off a portion of one of the Adamses’ notes (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0279

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-12-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I have to acknowledge your two kind Letters one of the first the other of the 5th of december from philadelphia my anxiety has in some measure abated since I found you went immediatly to your old Lodgings, as no person was sick in that house if the air of it had been properly Changed by opening & airing I should hope theire might be no danger, this winter. the spring will be the most dangerous Season. I would fain hope that when publick danger threatens, all personal views & interests will vanish or be swallowd up in the more liberal and enlarged Policy of Love of Country & of Mankind. the speach of the President is that of the wise Man who foreseeth the danger & Gaurdeth against it. I never liked the translation, hideth himself, that looks too cowardly for a wise and brave Man.1 I would hope that congress may be so united in their measures as to dispatch important matters in a short period. the message relative to foreign affairs was more full and decisive than I expected. every one may see that the President is much in earnest and that tho cool, he has felt properly warm'd Genet has renderd him self contemptable indeed. Columbus has not done with him, by what I can learn he has carried conviction to those who before doubted for want of proper information. I have not seen any attempt to answer him. I should like to know what the opinion of the peices is with your members. Some persons have said they were written by Ames others ascribe them to mr Gore to mr otis & some to an other hand. Russel has been Questiond, he say they are not in his hand writing, “but sir I know the writer there is but one man capable of writing them!”
I rejoice that Thomas has got through his studies and examination. I hope he will get into buisness I know he will be attentive industerous and obliging. I sincerely pray that he may be prosperous— the season is fine with us. I have written to you every week Since your absence & was surprizd to find by your Letter of the 9th to our son that you had not heard from me.2 mrs otis is with you before this time, and will add to the comfort and happiness of the Family. when I found that no danger was apprehended I wrote to urge her to go on. I hope your Health is better for your journey. I have not been sick, but have [had] a Remembrancer of my old Ague tho I have not been in Boston Louissa at the same time had a much Severer attack so as to Shake an hour. I hope we have queld it for the { 479 } present. our Friends are all well. I propose visiting a New Nephew to day, mrs Norten has an other son.3 Girls seem to be denied our Families I hope we shall not have occasion for so many soldiers—remember me to all my old acquaintance whether in or out of Congress.— is mrs washington with the President. my particular regards attend her from your / ever affectionate
[signed] A Adams
I have seen the dr to day he tells me that he took up the Note and payd three hundred pounds, gave his own for the other three hundred which he proposes to pay of the next month, as he does not like the trouble of a monthly renewal, besides that it amounts to seven pr ct as the interest must be pay'd Monthly. I believe I mentiond to you before that he designd the interest due in Jan’ry as part of the Sum. if you can other ways provide for me I would not break in upon his plan. I have purchased 30 Bushels of oats the price 2s. 10d pence pr Bushel I must soon procure an other load of hay. savil has carted 30 load of sea weed. he has not yet call'd for his pay. our people have carted 13 load and very different ones from savils. his object was to get up three loads pr day, and load all himself, it could not be large I have as you directed, askd mr Pratt for his account. he will bring it in a few days— I have payd Arnold and he is gone for the present. thus much for Buisness—
I received Thomas Letter of december 9th and will write him soon. it already Seems a long time since you left me. I fear I shall not be able to look forward to your return at so early a period as the last year.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Portia Decr. 20 / ansd 30. 1793.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs, 27:12).
2. For JA's 10 Dec. letter to JQA, see TBA to AA, 9 Dec., note 3, above.
3. Elizabeth Cranch Norton gave birth to a third son, Jacob Porter Norton, on 16 December.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0280

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This Morning I returned Mr Genets’ Visit. The Conversation was confined to Some Inquiries I made concerning his Mother, and Sisters with whom I was acquainted at Versailles in 1778. 1779. and 1780,1 and some little discussion about the form of the new { 480 } Constitution: but not one Word or hint or Allusion concerning himself his Conduct, or the Conduct of our Government or People towards him. I perceive Some Traits of his Countenance which I knew in 1779.
He appears a Youth totally destitute of all Experience in popular Governments popular Assemblies or Conventions of any kind: very little accustomed to reflect on his own or his fellow Creatures hearts; wholly ignorant of the Law of Nature & Nations, the civil Law, and even of the Dispatches of ancient Ambassadors with which his own Nation and Language abound. A declamatory Style a flitting fluttering Imagination, an Ardour in his Temper, and a civil Deportment are all the Accomplishments or Qualifications I can find in him, for his Place.
The Printer in Boston cannot afford Room for Columbus, though’ he has Space enough for the most miserable Trash. The Writer had better print Such Things in a Pamphlet—in that Way a Printer might make Money. He cannot be too cautious to avoid all Expressions, which may be thought inconsistent with the Character of a Gentleman.
I thank him for his masterly defence of the Writers on the Law of Nations and for laying before the Public Such Passages as are extreamly to the Purpose.
Your Children must conduct the affairs of this Country, or they will be miserably managed, for I declare I know of nobody but them or some of them rising up who are qualified for it. If they Suffer as much in the service, and get as little either of honour Profit or Pleasure by it as their Father has done, they will deserve to be pitied rather than envied.
The President and Mr Jefferson have handled Genet, as freely as Columbus. How Jefferson can feel I know not. There are Passages in Genets Letters which imply that Jefferson himself contributed very much to lead him into the snare.
yours as ever
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Decbr 20th / 1793.”
1. Marie Anne Louise Cardon had married Edmé Jacques Genet, a chief clerk in the French foreign ministry, in 1752. Together they had nine children, including four daughters who lived beyond infancy: Jeanne Louise Henriette, Julie Françoise, Adelaïde Henriette, and Anne Glaphire Sophie (Meade Minnigerode, Jefferson, Friend of France, 1793: The Career of Edmond Charles Genet, N.Y., 1928, p. 5–7). For JA's acquaintance with the Genet family in 1778–1780, see JA, D&A, 2:354–355, and JA, Papers, vols. 6–10passim.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0281

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-22

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I went this morning to Dr Greens and this afternoon to St. Pauls where I heard Dr Magaw: but I am not Sure it is prudent to go to Church or to Meeting for if there is danger and can be infection any where it is as likely to be in these Assembleis as in any Place. All the World however says and believes there is no danger.
Our son Thomas opened at the Bar, on Fryday and acquitted himself to his own Satisfaction at least, and that is a great Point. His Cause was a Prosecution of a disorderly house and consequently his Audience was crouded. Two of your sons are thus engaged in the great Work of Reformation and I wish them success. Mr Ingersol thinks, that as Charles is not necessitated to push into the Country for an immediate subsistance, he had better remain in the City where there is the greatest Quantity and Variety of profitable Business. But advises me to let him ride the Circuits in the Summer, to see the Country and the People as well as practice. This Plan upon the whole I approve, among many others for this decisive one, that he will avoid the danger if there should be any in the Summer Months.
I cannot write you upon public affairs. I should write in Shackles. There will be many weak Propositions no doubt. it is even possible there may be some wicked ones: none I hope Stark mad.
The Antifœderal Party by their ox feasts and their civic feasts, their king killing Toasts, their perpetual Insolence and Billingsgate against all the Nations and Governments of Europe their everlasting brutal Cry of Tyrants, Despots, Combinations against Liberty &c &c &c have probably irritated, offended and provoked all the Crowned Heads of Europe at least: and a little more of this Indelicacy and Indecency may involve Us in a War with all the World. on the other hand It is possible the French Republicans may be angry with Us for preventing their Minister, from involving Us in War & Anarchy. The State is in critical Circumstances, and have been brought into them by the Heat and Impatience of the People. If nothing will bring them to consideration, I fear they will suffer Severely for their Rashness. The Friends of the Government have been as blind as its Ennemies in giving Way to the Torrent. Their great Error was in suffering Publicola to be overborn and Paines Yellow Fever to be { 482 } Spread and propagated and applauded, as if, instead of a Distemper, a putrid, malignant mortal fatal Epidemic, it had been a Salubrious shower of Blessings from on high. It is reported this Luminary is coming to America.1 I had rather, two more Genets should arrive.
Mrs Dalton and too many others to be named, desire their respects to you.
My office renders me so compleatly insignificant that all Parties can afford to treat me with a decent respect, which accordingly they do, as far as I observe or hear or suspect. They all know that I can do them neither much good nor much harm.
My Health has been pretty well, excepting a Cold, which I regularly have upon entering this City two or three Weeks, every Year.
I am afraid We shall have a long session. But I hope We shall rise in April. My Duty to my Mother & Love where due.
yours unceasingly
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers) endorsed: “Decbr 22 1793.”
1. Thomas Paine did not return to America until 1802; in late Dec. 1793, he was imprisoned by the French as a British national after he broke with the increasingly radical National Convention (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0282

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1793-12-23

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Charles

The Papers, furnish Us this Evening with more flowers of Jacobinical Rhetorick from New York. Crushing Monarchy Confusion to Aristocracy and Monarchy: a Brutus to Tyrants &c are Still not only panting in the Bosoms of the Guests at the new Civic Feast, but they must publish their Breathings to the World.1
It is so customary for the Members of the Corps Diplomatick, to make Ex officio representations of Such Ebullitions in Newspapers to the Administration of the Government to which they are Accredited; that it must be acknowledged to be much to the honour of the Gentlemen who are here from Spain Holland and England, that they have not hitherto persecuted the President & secretary of State with Remonstrances against our Newspapers. Their Silence is a Proof of their Moderation, their Patience and their Tenderness for the Freedom of the Press. I Suppose too that they make allowances for our Youth and Inexperience of the World. For Our Ignorance of what in Europe is known and acknowledged to be the Delicacy and Decency, due to all foreign nations and their Governments. We claim a Right, very justly to the form of Government We like best. Every Nation in { 483 } Europe has the Same Right and if they judge Monarchy to be necessary for their Happiness, What Right have We to reproach, much less to insult them? Supposing ourselves to be Judges of what kind of Government is best for them, a Supposition however which We cannot modestly make and which is certainly ill founded, We should have no right to impose upon them our Ideas of Government, any more than our principles of Religion or systems of Faith. There is an Ungenerosity in this disposition So often displayed by so many of our Countrymen, nearly bordering on meanness of Spirit, and an illiberality, Strongly marked with littleness of Soul.
Should a foreign Minister complain to the President against the grossest of these Libels, and demand that the Printers, Writers &c should be punished, what could he answer? He must answer that he would give orders to the Attorney General to prosecute them: should the Attorney General Prosecute and the Grand Jury not find a Bill or the petit Jury not convict what would be the Consequence? Resentment, Vengeance and War as likely as not. At the present Moment the Combination of Powers is so strong, that We may expect they will be irritable in Proportion to their feeling of their own Superiority of Power. And I am really apprehensive that if our People cannot be persuaded to be more decent, they will draw down Calamities upon our Country, that will weaken Us to such a degree that We shall not recover our Prosperity for half a Century.
What assistance can France give Us, or We afford her in the present Posture of affairs? We should only increase each others Miseries, if We were involved in War, with all her Ennemies.
our People Seem to think they could now go to War with England and be at Peace with all the rest of Europe: a delusion so gross that I am amazed it should have deceived the Sagacity of the meanest of our Citizens: so sure as We go to War at present with any one European Power We must go to War with all, excepting Denmark and Sweeden, and the Consequences of such a War have not I fear been maturely weighed by my dear Countrymen. I am my dear Charles your / affectionate Father
[signed] J. A.
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); endorsed: “Decr 23 1793.”
1. The Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 23 Dec., reprinted a letter from New York regarding a farewell dinner for Edmond Genet, which he was ultimately unable to attend. Nonetheless, the guests gathered and made various toasts in support of the French Revolution, including “Success to the French cause—May every Frenchman be a Hercules to crush despotism and monarchy” and “The Rights of Man universally acknowledged.”

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0283

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have enough to do to write Apologies in Answer to Invitations to dinner and to Tea Parties: but I have long Since taken the Resolution that I will not again loose myself and all my time in a wild vagary of Dissipation. As it is not in my Power to live on equal terms with the Families and Personages who exhibit so much real Hospitality in this City, I would not lay myself under Obligations to them which I could not repay. But besides this I have other Motives. I have Occasion for some time to write Letters to my friends, and for more, that I may read something, and not be wholly ignorant of what is passing in the litterary World. There is more pleasure and Advantage to me, in this than is to be found in Parties at dinner or at Tea.
Columbus is republishing in New York, in a public Paper, of whose Title I am ignorant, whose Editor is Mr Noah Webster who is lately removed from Hartford to that City, and is Said to conduct his Gazette with Judgment and Spirit upon good Principles.1 He has given a conspicuous Place and a large handsome Type, as I am told to the Speculations of the Bostonian. Here they are unknown, except to two or three, but I have heard they are to appear a Printer having heard Mr Ames Say they were a very compleat Thing and that there was but one Man in Boston that he knew of who could write them
our Friend Mr Cabot has bought a Farm in Brokelyne, adjoining to that of my Grandfathers, where he is to build an House next Summer. He delights in nothing more than in talking of it. The Searchers of Secret motives in the heart have their Conjectures that this Country Seat in the Vicinity of Boston was purchased with the Same Views which some Ascribed to Mr Gerry in purchasing his Pallace at Cambridge and to Gen. Warren in his allighting on Milton Hill.2 Whether these Shrewd Conjectures are right or not, I own I wish the State may never have worse Governors, than Gerry or Cabot, and I once thought the Same of the other.
I am told Mr Jefferson is to resign tomorrow. I have so long been in an habit of thinking well of his Abilities and general good dispositions, that I cannot but feel some regret at this Event: but his Want of Candour, his obstinate Prejudices both of Aversion and { 485 } Attachment: his real Partiality in Spite of all his Pretensions and his low notions about many Things have so nearly reconciled me to it, that I will not weep. Whether he will be chosen Governor of Virginia, or whether he is to go to France, in Place of Mr Morris I know not. But this I know that if he is neglected at Montecello he will soon see a Spectre like the disgraced Statesman in Gill Blass, and not long afterwards will die, for instead of being the ardent pursuer of science that some think him, I know he is indolent, and his soul is poisoned with Ambition.3 Perhaps the Plan is to retire, till his Reputation magnifies enough to force him into the Chair in Case. So be it, if it is thus ordained. I like the Precedent very well because I expect I shall have occasion to follow it.— I have been thirty years planning and preparing an Assylum for my self and a most admirable one it is, for it is so entirely out of order, that I might busy myself, to the End of my Life, in making Improvements. So that God willing I hope to conquer the fowl Fiend whenever I shall be obliged or inclined to retire. But of this prattle, (entre nous) enough.
Yours as ever
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Decbr 26 1793.”
1. Noah Webster's recently established New York newspaper, American Minerva, reprinted the second and third Columbus essays on 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24 December.
2. George Cabot (1752–1823), Harvard 1770, had been a Beverly, Mass., sea captain and merchant. He served as one of Massachusetts’ senators from 1791 to 1796. In 1793, he purchased a large farm and house in Brookline, Mass. If he had political designs on the Mass. governorship they never materialized though he was considered for a diplomatic mission to France (Sibley's Harvard Graduates 17:344–367). JA's grandfather Peter Boylston had been a Brookline shopkeeper.
3. In Alain René Le Sage's The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane transl. Tobias Smollet Book XII, ch. xi, the Count d’Olivares upon losing his public position, retires to his garden where he is haunted by a ghost: “I am the prey of a morbid melancholy,” he reports to Gil Blas, “which eats inwardly into my vitals: a spectre haunts me every moment, arrayed in the most terrific form of preternatural horror. In vain have I argued with myself that it is a vision of the brain, an unreal mockery: its continual presentments blast my sight, and unseat my reason. Though my understanding teaches me, that in looking on this spectre I stare at vacancy, my spirits are too weak to derive comfort from the conviction.” He dies shortly thereafter. Gaspar de Guzmán, Count d’Olivares (1587–1645), served as minister under King Philip IV of Spain from Philip's ascension to the throne until 1643 when he was forced to retire (Cambridge Modern Hist., 4:635–637 654).
Thomas Jefferson formally retired on 31 Dec. 1793. He would spend the next three years primarily at Monticello, where he improved his farms, built a grist mill and nail factory, and generally focused on agricultural and building concerns. He remained out of public office until his election to the vice presidency in 1796 (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0284

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-12-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my dearest Friend

The weather is so extreemly cold that my Ink almost freezes whilst I write, yet I would not let a week pass without writing to you tho I have few occurrences to entertain you with; I received last saturday your two Letters one of the 12 and one of the 13th december;1 I have not yet had a Philadelphia paper. when the pamphlets are out containing the correspondence between the ministers I hope you will send me one. in Edds paper of the last week appeard a low abusive peice against the British minister for the conduct of his court towards America but it was really too low for notice.2 the Chronical exults, without reason however at Dallas’es Reportt, it has become as much of a party paper as Freaneus.3 there is a great & general Allarm arising from the depredations which it is reported & feard the Algerians have made upon American vessels. All imported articles particuliarly west India produce has risen in concequence of it; congress will indeed have their Hands full of Buisness—and will have no time I hope, and very little disposition to quarrel. I am solisitious to know what Genets conduct will be at Philadelphia. I presume he does not shew his Head at the Levee nor will he venture a visit to you in his publick Character; I think he is much like Cain after he had murderd Abel. Columbus closed last Saturday. I hope you have seen all the Numbers we have had in the course of the last week a very suden Death dr Rhoads was taken sick with a nervious fever and dyed the 3 day leaving a most distrest family 5 children 2 of them quite Babies, and mrs Rhoads hourly expecting to get to Bed, and in want of every necessary of Life. I never was witness to a more distresst Scene. I attended the funeral, and found her in fits, the children and people in the Room all terifye'd not knowing what to do with, or for her. dr Phips had run home for some medicine; and every person seem'd to be thrown into the utmost distress. the dr was a kind Husband and an innofensive man dejected & disspirited tis Said by his prospect, her situation is pityable indeed. she has since got to bed and happily I may say lost her Baby which no doubt sufferd from her distress of Body and mind4
our Friends here are all well. I do not learn that any persons have been endangerd by going into the city of Philadelphia, so that my fears and apprehensions are much quieted. this very cold weather if { 487 } it reaches you will tend to preserve the Health of the inhabitants, but I fear it will pinch you severely. it gives me the Rhumatism
I am with every sentiment of affection and Regard most tenderly your
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States / Philadelphia.” endorsed: “Mrs Adams 28. Decr / 1793 / ansd. 6 Jan. 1794.”
1. JA wrote a brief letter to AA on 13 Dec., acknowledging hers of 28 Nov., above. He mentioned attending church services on the day of thanksgiving and also noted Edmond Genet's arrival in Philadelphia (Adams Papers).
2. The Boston Gazette, 23 Dec., contained a piece signed “A Merchant” attacking George Hammond, “one of the diplomatic Agents of our late detestable Tyrant,” for declaring the British intent to seize U.S. provisions being shipped to France. “The Ignorance of this person becomes as conspicuous as his Impudence is insupportable,” the article continues. “The Principles of the War against the French are well known to be precisely the same with those which instigated the late cruel and unprovoked attack upon the Liberty and Independence of this Country.” The piece also excoriates the British government for its part in the Indian wars and “their late manœuvres in ALGIERS.”
3. Alexander James Dallas published a report in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 9 Dec., outlining his version of events related to Genet's ongoing battle with John Jay and Rufus King over the French minister's alleged “appeal to the people.” Dallas’ report, while describing Genet as “intemperate” and accusing him of issuing “angry epithets,” nevertheless stated unequivocally that the expression that Genet would “appeal from the President to the People” was in Dallas’ words, not Genet's. The Boston Independent Chronicle, 19 Dec., reprinted Dallas’ statement. In the same issue, the newspaper also published an editorial celebrating Dallas’ “strict probity” and decrying, “it is evident that every unfair measure has been taken to injure Mr. Genet, in the opinion of the people—to destroy his reputation, and to throw him into a ‘dilemma’ in the execution of his office.”
4. Dr. Joseph Wanton Rhodes (or Rhoades) (b. ca. 1752) died on 19 December. He had been married to Catherine Greenleaf (b. 1760) since 1780 (Boston Independent Chronicle, 30 Dec. 1793; Boston, 30th Report, p. 447; Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 196).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0285

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-29

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

It is a long time since I have written to you, or received a Line from either of my much loved Sisters— I have done like many others, in the more important Concerns of Life, who, though convinced of their Duty, put off the performance of it, to a more convenient Season—not considering, that the present moment, is the only one we may be favoured with—
I know that my Sister looks back upon the last year, & now sees the close of it, with peculiar gratitude—that Heaven has been pleased to preserve the lives of all her Family—& to spare her Son when surrounded on every side, with that most awful pestilential Dissease which has torn so many Mothers from the arms of their clinging Infants, & with a cruel despotic sway, in quick succession { 488 } made, “wild Inroads on a Parents Heart—”1 But he who is the repairer of breaches—who hears the young Ravens when they cry, will not be deaf to the cries of those helpless Infants, but will raise up Friends to those distressed Orphans, who will be the guide of their tender Years—
When the Congress first met, I felt very anxious, & I know your mind must have been much agitated—least the City should not have been properly cleansed—& the air prove prejudicial to your best Friend— I never think of him, but with a petition to heaven, that his most useful Life might be spared, that he might see the blessings of that Government, of which he has been so instrumental,—preserved, inviolate to his Childrens, Children—
A nervous putrid fever has prevaield in the Towns round us, & carried of a number of Persons— Mr Welch, a Class-mate of your Son's, is among the number—

“Lamented Youth! in life's first bloom he fell”2

He was a young minister beloved by every one—happy in the affections of the People of his Charge—Zealous in promoting the intereste of Religion, without too great a degree of Enthusiasm—meek—& serious—with out affectation—cheerful, without Levity—complacent & affable without familiarity gentle in his manners—excellent in his Morals he enforced, & gave a double weight to his Precepts, by the purity of his Life—which was uncommonly useful, improving in knowledge & virtue— What! though short his date—if it has answered Life's great end—it is enough— Scarce one year has elapsed since he was united to an accomplished Lady—in the silken bands of Hymen—whom in the pangs of Death, he pressed to his fond faithful Heart—& beged of her Mother, to again receive, & protect both her, & hers, if heaven should be pleased to bless his widowed, pensive solotary mate, with the tender appellation of Parent—which alas! he must never know—3 It was a Scene almost too tender, for Description— I will say no more than that

“In Sorrow, may I never want a Friend

Nor, when others mourn, a Tear to lend—”4

Mr Cranch went away suddenly, & I had not time to finish this—May it find you in health—& the new born year be replete with Blessings—
I wish you would be so kind as to lend me the Rights of Women—the first opportunity—5 when you write to your Children, please to { 489 } give my Love to them all— / & accept of the unfeigned Love, & Grati- / tude of your affectionate Sister
[signed] E. Shaw—
Please to excuse the writing, as Abby is round all the time chattering like a Mag-pye—
1. Isaac Watts, “To Mitio My Friend,” line 99.
2. Homer The Iliad, Book XVII, line 348.
3. Francis Welch (1766–1793), a classmate of JQA at Harvard, served as the minister at West Amesbury, Mass., until his death on 15 December. He had married Priscilla Adams (1772–1817) in Dec. 1792; their only chil, Priscilla Perkins Welch, was born in Feb. 1794 (William Prescott, “Philip Welch of Ipswich, Ms., and His Descendants,” NEHGR, 23:421 [Oct. 1869]). For JQA's sketch of Welch see Diary, 2:236.
4. Anne Steele, “The Friend,” in Poems on Subjects Chiefly Devotional, 3 vols., Bristol, Eng., 1780, 1:237–239, lines 41–42.
5. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, London, 1792.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0286

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1793-12-30

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my dear

I inclose to you your Brothers Letter I should have Sent for you last saturday but I expected a snow storm. I suppose your Father has written to you. he is vex'd with the Printer for Publishing in three Numbers what ought all to have been in one. he says the writer of Columbus had better publish in a pamphlet by which a printer may get money, and as pamphlets are much in vogue at present. suppose you should hint it to him your Father sends his thanks to the writer, for his masterly defence of the writers upon the Law of Nature and Nations and for laying before the publick such passages as are extreemly to the purpose Genet made him a visit as he did to other Senators who all hastned to return it. he was at home when your Father returnd his. there conversation was confind to inquiries after his mother & sisters, &c and to some discussion about the form of their New constitution. Take Genets Character from one who has long been accustomed “to look quite through the deeds of Men”1 [“]He appears a youth totally destitute of all experience in popular Governments popular assemblies or conventions of any kind: very little accustomed to reflect on his own or his fellow creatures Hearts wholy ignorant of the Law of Nature & Nations, the civil Law and even of the dispatches of Ancient Ambassadors with which his own Nation and Language abounds A declamatory stile a flitting fluttering Imagination an Ardour in his Temper, and a civil deportment are all the accomplishments or qualifications to be found in him for his place” and this Character I would send to the Printer if I { 490 } dared.2 you may if you will venture. it is the most favourable one that is due to him. mr Jefferson treats him I think quite as freely as Columbus Have the Libel which was printed upon the President by Greenleaf & the Resolves which past at the Coffe house in concequence of it, reachd Boston. your Father mentions it in one of his Letters.3 the P—— finds that there is more than one Church left in America. I dont know where he could find ports enough to make them all into Consuls— I own that is a little spightfull, yet I do Revere respect honour and Love the President.—
I shall send next saturday for you. if you have an opportunity to send to Charles the remaining Numbers do. the Tigers paw will delight him. I felt the down of it when I read it.4 I do not mean however to single out this beautifull metaphor as the only object worth consideration I have read all the Numbers with attention and consider them a valuable present to the publick tending, to place in a true and just point of view the conduct of a Man who has disgraced his office, and made himself so obnoxious as scarcly to be entitled to common decency. partizans may Rail, but sound reason will enlighten and prevail. I see a scene opening before me which will call for as great exertions from the rising generation as their Fathers have already pasd through. may all those to whom talants and abilities are entrusted qualify themselves for the Guidence and protection of the common Weal. Parties are arising and forming themselves upon Principals altogether Repugnant to the good order and happiness of society. No fire, says an Author I have lately been reading assails a civil edifice so voilently as the Flame of National Passion, for it consumes the very stones of the Fabrick levels merrit to the Ground and makes reason tremble excites tumults and insults and makes way for the triumphant entry of Ambition those Hearts which ought to be cordially united by the Bonds of Brotherly Love Breathe nothing but vengance & Rancour5
adieu yours affectionatly
[signed] A Adams
1. From Julius Caesar's description of Cassius: “He reads much, / He is a great observer, and he looks / Quite through the deeds of men” (Shakespeare Julius Caesar, Act I, scene ii, lines 202–204).
2. AA is quoting from JA's letter of 20 Dec. above.
3. On 13 Dec., JA wrote to AA, “A great Indignation has been excited at New York by a Libel on the President, which I have not Seen as it is Suppressed at present as much as possible. Greanleaf has published an Apology at least as Sawcy as it is modest” (Adams Papers). See JA to AA2 14 Dec., note 2, above.
4. In the fourth part of the Columbus essays, JQA writes that the French ministers “have not been able to disguise their real contempt for the Americans. They have interspersed numerous menacing insinuations { 491 } amid their warmest pretences of friendship; and the murderous fangs of the tyger, peep through the downy velvet of her paws, at the moment when she fawns the most” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 18 Dec.).
5. AA is quoting from Benito Jerónimo Fiejóo y Montenegro, “On the Love of Our Country, and National Prejudice or Prepossession,” in Essays, or Discourses, Selected from the Works of Feyjoo, transl. John Brett, 4 vols., London, 1780, 2:99–100.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0287

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-12-30

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Father

The effusions of our Jacobin spirit had been smothered if some evil minded person in Philadelphia had not published an extract of a letter from one of the party relating the circumstances The whole conduct of the feast had been carefully concealed nor was it possible to procure any information respecting it until the extract appeared.1 The partisans of Mr Genet fall off daily. some still remain and it is said that most of them will find their purses somewhat lightened by their connection. As to our other Citizens they are very much troubled least the Gentleman should cover himself with the black mantle. Your last letter I have a desire to give it to one of our Printers, but I would not do it without your consent It abounds with such truths as I think must forcibly strike the public mind which now appears open to conviction. It is not difficult to fix upon the author of the peices signed Columbus. They are very highly esteemed and have been reprinted in all our papers except Greenleaf's in which I should be sorry to see them. He is the veriest imp of sedition that was ever suffered in a City. but he has lately received a lesson which he will not soon forget He published an infamous peice against the President which has cost him dear and excited a general detestation against him. Heavens! what a change! but four year ago and we thought the voice of calumny dared not attack this man. I recollect a conversation I had with you Sir upon this subject before they had commenced their attacks in that quarter. I remember well the apprehension you expressed least they should strike even there. We now see that those apprehensions were not groundless. The consequences are to be feared. How poor a reward for virtuous exertions in the service of our Country.
The high winds for these few days past have prevented the Mails from Philadelphia passing the river. Will it be possible to persuade the State Government to cooperate in the defense of the Country? What alterations are proposed in the Militia law? Fenno does not send me his papers so that I do not obtain regular information from { 492 } the Seat of Government. At This crisis so interesting and important the papers would be peculiarly acceptable.
My Love to my brother I am glad he has began his carreer with so much propriety.
Adieu my dear Sir beleive me your / affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams
1. See JA to CA, 23 Dec., note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0288

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-12-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This morning I received your favour of the 20th. The House I am in was aired and Smoked with Tar & Powder and the Vaults Slaked with Lime &c before I came in.
I hope with you that Congress will not remain here late in the Spring: but the Extent of Business before Us Seems to be immense. Perhaps the less We do the better. Something however must be done.
When Russell Said “there is but one Man capable of Writing Columbus” he Said what I have thought all along.— The Persons I converse with are too wise to give any Opinions or Say any Thing about Such Writings. most are too wise to read them. I wish Columbus may not be inflated with Vanity and too much emboldened. festinelente.1 He will have more Influence in his Closet, than upon the Stage.
I Sympathise with you and Louisa. My own health has been better for my Journey: but I have a great Cold every Year, before I have been a fortnight in the City and you know it lasts Six Weeks. I never find any Benefit from any thing I do for it, so I leave it to take its Course
But as Mr Izard and his Wife say “We are grown too old to live Seperate”— Mr Izard is here keeping Batchelors Hall—she at New York with Mrs Marrigold. It is very hard upon me in my old age to be obliged to live from my Family, after having been a slave for thirty Years— Oh Columbus, Columbus you know not what you are about.—
Mrs Washington is here and never fails to make the kindest Inquries and to send the most cordial Regards.
I this day received a Visit from Mr Joseph Priestley the oldest son { 493 } of Dr Priestley, with a Letter from his Father. The Letter with a Card was left when I was in the Senate: as soon as I came home and found the Letter, I returned the Visit—and found Mr Joseph Priestly with his Wife and his youngest Brother, with another Enlishman whose Name is Colman I believe. I revere the Dr and his sons are likely Men: but they will do no good in America, untill they are undeceived. They are blinded by Ignorance or Error: blinded beyond the most stupid and besotted of our American Jacobins.2 entre nous. They are young however and will be corrected by Experience.
I like the Drs Plan very well— I can send you, what you may want I hope— There cannot be too much Seaweed, provided the Loads are heavy enough. I hope The Bedding of the Animals is changed often.
We have pleasant Weather here.— We hear nothing of Cheesman— Mrs Dalton Mrs Otis hear nothing of their Adventures which were on board Phillips. There has been terrible Gales at sea and many Small Craft lost. I do not yet despair of Cheesman, but We are in Trouble on his account.3
We Shall sooon See The Lt. Governors Speech to the General Court.4 Some curious metaphisical if not Jesuitical Subtilties I warrant you: The Dotage of a Man who was never equal to the Station he now holds may demand some Excuse. But no Man in that Chair will be independent. Independence is not compatible with popular Elections I fear. These are Truths that even, I, am not independent enough to say to every Body. But although The Popular Voice will overawe every Man in some degree, I hope We shall be able to Steer the Vessell clear of the Rocks and Sands. God knows!
yours
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Decbr 30 1793.”
1. That is, “Festina lente” (Hasten slowly).
2. Dr. Joseph Priestley's letter of 20 Aug. (Adams Papers) was carried to JA by Priestley's eldest and youngest sons, Joseph (1768–1833) and Henry (d. 1795). Joseph Jr. had married Elizabeth Ryland (d. 1816) in 1792. Both sons had immigrated to the United States in Aug. 1793 with the goal of locating land on which the whole family could settle. Accompanying them was Priestley's friend Dr. Thomas Cooper (1759–1839), a British doctor and lawyer who was also interested in settling in the United States. JA disapproved of the Priestleys’ pro-French stance. Joseph Priestley Sr. had been made a citizen of France in 1792 and elected to the National Convention, though he never sat in that body. The family eventually settled in Northumberland, Penn. (DNB; DAB).
3. On 27 Nov. 1793, the schooner General Heath, Capt. Samuel Chesman, left Boston for Philadelphia carrying a trunk from AA to JA. After a week at sea the vessel encountered a severe gale off the Delaware Capes. Chesman, the first mate and a boy named Joseph Willcut were swept overboard, and although the two men made it back aboard the boy was lost. The damaged vessel arrived { 494 } in Charleston, S.C., on 11 Jan. 1794 and in Philadelphia by 1 April when JA received his trunk (AA to JA, 8 Feb.; JA to AA, 1 April, both Adams Papers; Boston Columbian Centinel, 16 Nov. 1793, 8 Feb. 1794).
4. On 17 Jan., Lt. Gov. Samuel Adams, as acting governor, gave a speech to the Mass. General Court commenting on the nature of the U.S. Constitution and the need for balance between federal and states’ rights, supporting the creation of a similar constitution in France, and advocating education for all young people (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1792–1793 p. 706–711).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0289

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1793-12-31

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my dearest Friend

Your two kind Letters of the 19 & 20th reachd me on the 28th they are my saturday evenings repast. you know my mind is much occupied with the affairs of our Country. if as a Female I may be calld an Idle I never can be an uninterested Spectator of what is transacting upon the great Theater, when the welfare and happiness of my Children & the rising generation is involved in the present counsels and conduct of the principal Actors who are now exhibiting upon the stage. That the Halcion days of America are past I fully believe, but I cannot agree with you in sentiment respecting the office you hold; altho it is so limited as to prevent your being so actively usefull as you have been accustomed to, yet those former exertions and Services give a weight of Character which like the Heavenly orbs silently diffuse a benign influence. Suppose for Instance as things are often exemplified by their contraries, a Man, in that office, of unbridled Ambition, Subtile intriguing, warpd and biased by interested views, joining at this critical crisis, his secret influence against the Measures of the President, how very soon would this country be involved in all the Horrours of a civil War. I am happy to learn that the only fault in your political Character and one which has always given me uneasiness, is wearing away, I mean a certain irritability which has some times thrown you of your Gaurd and shewn as is reported of Louis 14’th that a Man is not always a Hero— Partizans are so high, respecting English and French politicks, and argue so falsly and Reason so stupidly that one would suppose they could do no injury, but there are so many who read and hear without reflecting and judging for themselves and there is such a propensity in humane Nature to believe the worst especially when their interest is like to be affected, that if we are preserved from the Calamities of War it will be more oweing to the superintending Providence of God than the virtue and wisdom of Man. How we are to avoid it with France supposing Genet should not be recall'd I know not. must we { 495 } Submit to such insults? judging from the manner in which France has carried on the present War, I should not wonder if they feard a Partition of their Kingdom. A Frenchman reminding an English man of the Time when in the Reign of Henry the sixth, the English were almost absolute Masters of France Said sneerlingly to him “When do you think you will again become Lords of our Kingdom?” to which the Englishman replied, [“]When your iniquities shall be greater than ours.”1 how can any Nation expect to prosper who War against Heaven?
By this time you will have seen all the Numbers of Columbus. I should like to know the Presidents opinion of them, as well as some other Gentlemen who are judges. they assuredly are ably written, and do honour both to the Head and Heart of the writer, who deserves well of his fellow citizens for the information he has thrown upon a subject of so much importance at so critical a period—but their is a “barberous Noise of asses Apes and dogs” raisd by it in the Chronical.2 nevertheless sound reason and cool Argument will prevail in the end.
Having spun my thread out with respect to politicks I will think a little of our own private affairs. dr Tufts has paid two hundred pounds and become responsible himself for the remainder. I wrote to you his further intention,3 the 17 of Janry he proposes to discharge two hundreds pounds more. I have closed my account this day I have kept an exact account of my expenditures & payments since you left me, which I inclose to you.4 mr Cary offerd to bring me an other load of Hay at the same price. what he brought is agreed to be of the first quality, and it was all weighd, but I did not feel myself in a capacity to engage it absolutely. we have heitherto had so little snow that Buisness is dull mr Belcher has cleard of all the sea weed untill some high Tide brings more. he is now getting home the pine wood.
our Friends desire to be rememberd to you. mrs Brisler and family are well. you will present me affectionatly to mrs washington who I respect and Love
My Love to Thomas. I hear he is for fighting the Algerines, but I am not sure that would be the best oconomy, tho it might give us a good pretence [for] Building a Navy that we need not be twichd by the Nose by every sausy Jack a Nips— he had better find Law for his countrymen and prevail upon them to take it.
I am as ever most affectionatly / yours
[signed] A Adams
{ 496 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States / Philadelphia.” endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 31. 1793 / ans. Jan. 9. 1794.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. From “A Frenchman” on, AA is quoting from Benito Jerónimo Fiejóo y Montenegro, “The Most Refined Policy” in Essays, or Discourses, Selected from the Works of Feyjoo, transl. John Brett, 4 vols., London, 1780, 1:145.
2. “When straight a barbarous noise environs me / Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs” (Milton, Sonnet XII, lines 3–4). On 26 Dec., Americanus attacked Columbus’ analysis of the Consular Convention and interpretation of the Constitution in the Boston Independent Chronicle, disputing that Columbus’ arguments were “founded on the law of reason, and on the Constitution.”
3. AA to JA, 20 Dec., above.
4. Not found.

Chronology

The Adams Family, 1790–1793

1790
4 Jan.: The 2d session of the 1st Congress convenes in New York.
2 March: Abigail Adams Shaw, daughter of John and Elizabeth Smith Shaw, is born in Haverhill.
12 March: Richard Cranch Norton, son of Rev. Jacob and Elizabeth Cranch Norton, is born in Weymouth.
17 April: Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia at the age of 84.
28 April 1790 – 27 April 1791: JA's Discourses on Davila, a series of unsigned essays, is published in 32 installments in the New York (later Philadelphia) Gazette of the United States.
29 May: Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution, the last of the original thirteen colonies to do so.
15 July: JQA is admitted to the Massachusetts bar.
16 July: George Washington signs an act to move the temporary seat of government from New York to Philadelphia and establish a permanent seat on the Potomac River in ten years’ time.
21 July: TBA graduates from Harvard; JQA and William Cranch receive their master's degrees.
July: William Cranch is admitted to the Massachusetts bar and opens a law office attached to his father's shop in Braintree.
7 Aug.: AA2 gives birth to her third son, Thomas Hollis Smith, in New York.
9 Aug.: JQA opens a law office at the Adamses’ Court Street property in Boston.
12 Aug.: The 2d session of the 1st Congress adjourns in New York.
10 Sept.: TBA joins the Adamses in New York.
Oct.: TBA leaves New York for Philadelphia to begin a legal apprenticeship in the office of Jared Ingersoll.
12 Nov.: The Adamses take up residence at Bush Hill, an estate outside of Philadelphia, after a five-day journey from New York.
{ 508 }
Nov.–Dec.: TBA suffers an acute rheumatic attack, lying “18 days totally deprived of the use of his Limbs”; he is attended by Dr. Benjamin Rush.
6 Dec.: The 3d session of the 1st Congress convenes in Philadelphia.
Dec.: WSS leaves for England to pursue business opportunities.
1791
20 Jan. – 3 March: JQA visits Philadelphia from Boston.
3 March: The 3d session of the 1st Congress adjourns in Philadelphia.
4 March: Vermont is admitted to the Union.
4 March: While still in Europe, WSS is appointed supervisor of revenue for the district of New York, having served as marshal since 25 Sept. 1789.
21 March – 6 July: George Washington makes a tour of the southern states, visiting Richmond, Charleston, and Savannah; he is greeted with great fanfare.
April: AA2 and her family relocate within New York City, from 13 Nassau Street to Dye (now Dey) Street.
2 May: JA, AA and TBA leave Philadelphia for an extended visit to Braintree, stopping in New York and Fairfield, Conn., due to AA's illness.
May: Thomas Paine's Rights of Man is published in the United States; Thomas Jefferson pens the new introduction, indirectly attacking JA's “political heresies” in Discourses on Davila.
5 June: WSS returns to the United States from England on the British packet.
8 June – 27 July: JQA, under the pseudonym Publicola, publishes eleven letters in response to Paine's Rights of Man in the Boston Columbian Centinel;JA is widely believed to be the author.
20–25 June: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and their children are stopped at Varennes while attempting to flee the capital and brought back to Paris.
6 July: John Thaxter Jr., AA's cousin and former secretary to JA, dies in Haverhill.
8 July: Thomas Hollis Smith, AA2's third son, dies.
July: William Cranch moves to Haverhill to take up the law practice of John Thaxter Jr.
{ 509 }
Aug.: AA2 and the children, accompanied by WSS's brother and sister, visit JA and AA in Braintree; CA also visits for a time before leaving for New York on 21 August.
24 Oct.: The 1st session of the 2d Congress convenes in Philadelphia.
31 Oct.: Philip Freneau launches the Philadelphia National Gazette to counter John Fenno's Gazette of the United States.
Oct.: AA and JA depart Braintree for Philadelphia, visiting the Smiths in New York on their way.
Oct.: Richard Cranch suffers from a severe gangrenous leg injury and is weakened by sickness through the winter.
late Oct.: JA and AA take up residence in a home in Philadelphia at the corner of Fourth and Arch streets.
1 Nov.: WSS is appointed supervisor and inspector of the district of New York.
29 Dec.: William Smith Norton, son of Rev. Jacob and Elizabeth Cranch Norton, is born in Weymouth.
1792
Winter: AA suffers from an “Intermitting” fever, preventing her from attending most social events in Philadelphia.
Jan. – mid-Feb.: AA2, WSS, and William Steuben Smith make an extended visit with the Adamses in Philadelphia; CA also visits for a fortnight.
23 Feb.: Quincy is set off from Braintree and incorporated as a town.
29 March: AA2, WSS, and their two children sail for England aboard the Bristol, arriving in England in early May.
24 April: The Adamses leave Philadelphia for Quincy.
8 May: The 1st session of the 2d Congress adjourns in Philadelphia.
1 June: Kentucky is admitted to the Union.
July: CA is admitted to the New York bar.
10 Aug.: The French Revolution intensifies with the invasion of the Tuileries Palace and the arrest of the royal family. Ten days later the Marquis de Lafayette emigrates from France to Austria.
20 Aug.: CA opens a law office in Hanover Square, just off of Wall Street.
late Oct. – 9 Nov.: WSS visits Paris, where he agrees to act as an agent for the French government in collecting debts owed to France by the United States.
{ 510 }
5 Nov.: The 2d session of the 2d Congress convenes in Philadelphia.
19 Nov.: JA departs for Philadelphia, arriving on 4 Dec., and takes a room with Samuel and Mary Otis; AA remains in Quincy for the winter owing to her ill health.
19–26 Dec.: JQA publishes three letters in the Boston Columbian Centinel under the pseudonym Menander protesting the antitheatrical actions taken by Massachusetts attorney general James Sullivan.
1793
21 Jan.: Louis XVI, having been tried by the National Convention and found guilty of conspiring against the nation, is executed by guillotine in Paris.
9 Feb.: The Smith family returns from England on the Portland packet.
13 Feb.: The Electoral College votes are counted and read by JA in Congress: George Washington is unanimously reelected president and JA wins a plurality for vice president.
2 March: The 2d session of the 2d Congress adjourns in Philadelphia.
4 March: Washington takes the oath of office at a special session of Congress and delivers a brief inaugural address; JA attends along with foreign ministers, representatives, and many spectators.
mid-March: JA departs Philadelphia to join AA in Quincy.
8 April: The French ambassador to the United States, Citizen Edmond Genet, arrives in Charleston, S.C., and makes an overland journey to Philadelphia arriving on 16 May.
July–Aug.: TBA visits the Adamses in Quincy and the Smiths in New York.
July–Nov.: A yellow fever epidemic breaks out in Philadelphia, eventually taking 4,000 lives; thousands, including TBA, flee to the surrounding countryside.
5 Sept.: The Reign of Terror begins in France; over 17,000 executions occur before Robespierre is overthrown and put to death himself the following summer.
16 Oct.: Marie Antoinette is executed by guillotine.
30 Nov.: JA arrives in Philadelphia after a brief stopover in New York; AA again remains in Quincy for the winter.
30 Nov. – 14 Dec.: JQA, under the pseudonym Columbus, publishes three letters in the Boston Columbian Centinel challenging the current fervor for Citizen Genet and the French Revolution.
{ 511 }
2 Dec.: The 1st session of the 3d Congress convenes in Philadelphia.
7 Dec.: TBA is admitted to the Pennsylvania bar.
16 Dec.: Jacob Porter Norton, son of Rev. Jacob and Elizabeth Cranch Norton, is born in Weymouth.
31 Dec.: Thomas Jefferson resigns as secretary of state.
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.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/