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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0143

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1794-09-10

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

My Cousins most agreeably supprized me by a Visit— I had been informed that your Sons were to sail the week before— I thought they were upon the wide Ocean, & many a fervent wish for their saefty T had breathed forth— I am sorry I could not have the pleasure of seeing my other Nephews, especially your eldest Son, as perhaps, it will be many a year before I see him, if ever— It is an unstable world we live in— And we Sisters seem to be called, to be separated from some of our dearest Connections all at once— For I must think, I shall feel the Separation from Mr Cranch, even more than his own Father, & Mother— For I had considered him as fixed among us—as a dear Relative, & worthy Friend, as a Protector to me, & my Children, one whom I hoped to have lived, & died with—but Providence seems to be pointing out to him another Place—a Sphere of more extensive usefulness, I trust, & ought I to murmur, or to repine.—1 He that cuts of one branch, can cause another to shoot forth—& if it is best, it will be done— Reliance upon the wisdom, & goodness of the divine Being, has the most salutary effect— We derive from it, our sweetest Comforts, & it gives peace, & serenity to the mind when nothing else can—
Cousin Betsy is much better, riding she finds of service, I hope { 229 } she will be able to make you a visit at Quincy when my Cousin Lucy returns—
The bag the oatmeal was in, I should be obliged to you, if you would send it— It is a nice one for my William to pack his Cloaths in— I mean to do his washing— more cloaths is necessary, but I can do it, better than hire—2 what you was so kind as to give me I found of great service, they were much better than we could afford to buy— turning the hind part before, & making them over again, made quite useful small cloaths—
Adieu my dear Sister—may you, & Yours be protected from every kind of danger, & evil—
[signed] Elizabeth Shaw—
1. William Cranch had accepted a position as agent to James Greenleaf’s firm, Morris, Nicholson & Greenleaf, in Washington, D.C. He was retained to handle their legal and business affairs, work he continued until the firm’s failure in 1797 (NEHGS, Memorial Biographies, 2:451–454).
2. William Smith Shaw was beginning his first term at Harvard; he would graduate in 1798 (Harvard Quinquennial Cat.).

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1794-09-11

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Charles

Last night I received your kind Letter of Septr. 3d and am sorry to find that your Books were not then arrived.1 Before this day I hope they are in your Office, and I should be glad if you would inform me whether they are or not. The early Part of my Life was Spent among them, and they have never been many Days together out of my thoughts; so that I have contracted an habitual Affection for them, which would be more mortified by the Loss of them, than of their Value in any other Property.
Your Brothers are to Sail on Sunday, the 14th. of this Month, and my Heaven vouch Safe them a prosperous Passage and Successful Mission.
As it is many Years Since I have lost all my former esteem for Mr Paines Character both as a Man and a Politician, his last Publication and the consequent Declension of his Character among virtuous Men, has been no Surprize to me. It is a Pity that his ridiculous “Age of Reason”: had not appeared before his ranting “Rights of Man,[”] that the poison concealed in it, might have been Suspected from the hateful Character of the Physician who prescribed it.2
Rienzi, Massianello, Wat Tyler and other Heroes of democratical Memory, were better Men and not worse Statesmen.3 Cleon and { 230 } Clodius and all their Successors, among the popular Destroyers of Republicanism, ought to teach Mankind caution.4 But Frederick is right. The Sotteses des Peres sont perdues pour leurs Enfans: il fault que chaque generation fasse les siennes.—5 Experience is not sufficient to teach Mankind Wisdom.
I wish you an honourable Issue of your Examination and pray you to write me as often as you can. Your Mother will require a more constant Attention to her than ever. My Love to the Baron, and Col smith & your sister. thank her for her present of American Manufacture.
I am Dear Charles your affectionate / father.
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr”; notation: “Eliza Blaeggs Wharf.”
1. Letter not found.
2. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason: Being an Investigation of True and of Fabulous Theology, Part I, Paris, 1794. Paine wrote The Age of Reason as a justification of his deist beliefs, laying out proofs for the existence of a god but denying a Christian one. He wrote portions of the book while imprisoned in the Luxembourg Palace during the French Revolution (DAB).
3. Cola di Rienzo (1313–1354), though born of humble origins, succeeded in briefly overthrowing the barons who ruled Rome and reestablishing a Roman republic in 1347. Tommaso Aniello, commonly known as Masaniello (1620–1647), led a popular revolt in 1647 against the Spanish viceroy ruling Naples, the Duke of Arcos. The rebels succeeded in overthrowing Arcos, but Masaniello was murdered and the insurgency eventually collapsed (Ronald G. Musto, Apocalypse in Rome: Cola di Rienzo and the Politics of the New Age, Berkeley, Calif., 2003, p. 1–2, 27; Cambridge Modern Hist., 4:656–658).
4. Cleon (fl. 430s–420s B.C.), an Athenian politician, the son of a tanner, had a mixed record as a military leader but achieved considerable popular success through his persuasive oratory and extravagant promises. Although of aristocratic birth, Publius Clodius Pulcher (ca. 92–52 B.C.), a Roman tribune, was known for courting the support of the urban plebes and promoting their interests (Oxford Classical Dicy.).
5. See AA to JA, 26 Feb. 1794, and note 2, above.
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.