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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9


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).
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/