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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9

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.
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.