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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0147

Author: Otis, Samuel Allyne
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1794-10-16

Samuel A. Otis to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

Agreeable to intimation I have been enquiring for accommodations for you but to no purpose unless you should like rooms in Francis’s house. It is not easy to know exactly what will be agreeable to our friends tho we may sometimes please ourselves— I have gone so far however as to engage with Francis on condition you like & wish for your immediate answer—
Francis’s house is in 4th Street near Indian Queen.
He will let you have a genteel room, front, one pair of stairs for a drawing room, & A convenient & contiguous lodging room on the same floor— Breakfast & Coffee in the afternoon in your own { 233 } { 234 } appartments, dine with the Gentlemen lodgers, to number of nine or ten, to be all members of Congress— To accommodate Mr Brasler with a lodging room & board—you to find your own liquor fire and Candles and pay twenty1 dollars the week for self & Sert accommodated as above to wit: Two rooms for yourself & a lodging room for Mr Brasler. You will please to observe, If you ask company to dine transiently you pay consideration pr Man. If you make a dinner specially, for which by the way there will be no occasion, you agree specially— The price & large company will be objectionable, but I suppose the members of Congress for a single room must pay 10 dollars a week & 4 or 5 for servant— You have two rooms & Valet de Chambre a lodging room. As to the Company they will be all members of Congress. If you go to private logings you will perhaps be obliged to sit down with some tradesman & wife or both— And Iz——d who is breaking up house keeping & sending off the baggage says he’ll be d——ned if he sits down to dine with a hairdresser— However I have endeavored to state matters to your view minutely and to add, tis not black Sam but the other Francis, who with wife appear to be decent kind of people, that I am in negotiation.2
The fever and ague has prevaled at New York New Jersies & thro this State and City. Intermittents also prevail, And there have been a few cases of yallow fever. People however are now pretty easy. No cases have happened of yallow fever above 2d Street, and fever & ague abates—3
Fitzsimmons will be run hard if he dont lose his election. Tis hoped however that the army will bring him in. The Legislature having provided for their voting by special statute.—4 The accounts are favorable from the west— The President being expected prior to the Session— Mrs Otis & Miss S join me in best remembrances to yourself & the ladies—5
I am / Sir / Respectfully / yours
[signed] Sam A Otis
1. Otis emphasized this word by writing it significantly larger.
2. John Francis (d. ca. 1807), a Frenchman, ran a hotel on South Fourth Street with his American wife; members of Congress frequently resided there (Robert B. Ludy, Historic Hotels of the World, Past and Present, Phila., 1927, p. 115–117; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 27 April 1807).
The other Francis was Samuel “Black Sam” Fraunces (ca. 1722–1795), a Philadelphia tavern keeper best known as a steward for George Washington and the one-time proprietor of Fraunces Tavern in New York City (John N. Ingham and Lynne B. Feldman, African-American Business Leaders: A Biographical Dictionary, Westport, Conn., 1994).
3. That is, most of the city west of the Delaware River and the Philadelphia waterfront.
4. On 22 Sept. the Pennsylvania state { 235 } assembly approved and Gov. Thomas Mifflin signed into law a measure “to enable such of the militia of this commonwealth as may be on service, and absent from their respective countries, to vote at the next general election.” Army returns were not enough, however, to secure Thomas Fitzsimons’ reelection to Congress nor to have a significant impact in the Philadelphia area generally: “About 900 citizens of Philadelphia are with the militia; of these perhaps one third are under voting age or are otherwise disqualified to exercise the right of suffrage. Besides many disapproved of the law which authorized citizens in arms to exercise that right, and will not take the benefit of it. so that probably not more than 500 city votes may be expected from that quarter. It would require a very great proportion of that number indeed to be thrown in the scale of the unsuccessfull candidates, to change the result” (Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Passed at a Session, Which Was Begun and Held at the City of Philadelphia, on Monday, the First Day of September, in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Four, Phila., 1794, p. 633–636, Evans, No. 27477; Biog. Dir. Cong.; Philadelphia General Advertiser, 16 Oct.).
5. That is, Betsy Smith, Mary Smith Gray Otis’ sister.

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0148

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1794-10-19

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I embrace the earliest opportunity to acquaint you of our safe & happy arrival at this place after a Passage of 28 days. I scarcely conceive it possible at any Season of the year to have a more delightful Voyage; we got soundings on the 21st: day after our departure, and arrived at Deal on the 28th: in London the 29th: exactly four weeks from the day of Embarkment at Boston. With a fast sailing vessel we should probably have made a much shorter passage, for during the first 23 days, we had not six hours unfavorable wind— With such good fortune the Atlantic Ocean would become a much less formidable object; I thought myself quite an experienced Navigator compared with some on board, particularly our Servant, who was during the greater part of the time rather in need of attendance, than capable of affording any. My Brother scarcely lost his appetite, and our fellow Passenger Mr: Walker was as little indisposed as myself.1 “It is a good Bridge (says the proverb) that carries you safe over”; our Ship, tho’ old, leaky, & weak has brought us in a short time & in perfect safety, upon this principle she deserves our commendation; we might have gone further & fared worse.
Since my arrival, I have scarcely been able to do any thing of consequence; if the novelty of the scene into which I have entered does not confuse my ideas too much, I shall be able perhaps at an early period to commence the subject of Politic’s, at present I can attempt only to give the flying rumors of the day, without being able to distinguish the degree of probability due to any of them.
{ 236 }
The French have within three months past, been successful beyond calculation; they have penetrated into Holland, much farther than at any former period; they have taken Bois-le-duc, Crevecœur &ca within a fortnight past, and the general apprehension here seems to be, that they will in a short time, be in possession of Amsterdam— The Stadtholder is at present invested with absolute power, & the only question seems to be, whether he shall capitulate for his Country & surrender it under the best terms he can make to the French, or make the attempt to save it by inundation—a measure to which we are told the Dutch are less inclined at this moment, than at any former period—2
There is a rumor of a Battle having been fought by Genl Wayne, & the Canadians in conjuction with the Indians; scarce a day passess but some story of this sort is buffeted about, to keep the mind in agitation, or to answer some stock jobing purpose—and yet, if a war should take place between us—not the hundredth part of this people would know the cause or the occasion— It is certain to me, that they never make the enquiry upon any occasion—whether right or wrong, is not a matter that seems to concern them? Why should it? The Government under which they live appears to be essential to their happiness, and if in need of support or defence it must & will have it—
Yet the Administration appear to have terrors and apprehensions, which are real, or they are merely fictitious, and are to be used as the signals of destruction to some of the most obnoxious characters in this Kingdom. Under an accusation of Treason several persons are now in confinement; Bills of Indictment have been found against them & their trials are shortly to come on; among others is the celebrated Horne Tooke—3
Mr Jay’s negotiations are much the subject of conversation; what he has done, or is likely to effect is as little known here, as in America— I have heared but one sentiment expressed upon the subject by the people I have seen; it is, that the dispute may be amicably adjusted; the expectation however of the sudden accomplishment of so vast an object, is not so sanguine here, as with you— Diplomatic delay is perhaps better understood. Mr Jay is rather indisposed by a Rheumatic affection in his head; he is better at present, than we found him upon our arrival—
At present I can only add that I am in all / duty & affection / Your Son
[signed] T B Adams
{ 237 }
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice President / of the United States”; endorsed by Richard Cranch: “T B A to J A / Oct 19th 1794.”
1. Dudley Walker was a Boston merchant and shopkeeper (Thwing Catalogue, MHi).
2. The French Army had been slowly making its way into the Netherlands since late 1793. By July 1794, it had reached Brussels, then Antwerp, and by November, Maastricht and Nijmegen. In December, the French successfully crossed the Waal River, thanks to an ill-timed freeze, and in early Jan. 1795 conquered Utrecht. Over the same period, Patriot Party members in Amsterdam and elsewhere in the Netherlands prepared for revolution, though not without opposition. In mid-Oct. 1794 the stadholder, William V, demanded that the Amsterdam Council take measures to prevent the Patriots from seizing control, and proclamations were enacted banning public meetings and reading societies. But by Jan. 1795, with the continuing advance of the French Army, the States General felt compelled to sue for peace. Revolutionary activities increased in anticipation of the French takeover, and on 18 Jan. William V went into exile (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 171–191).
3. John Horne Tooke was tried for high treason, ostensibly for planning an uprising in support of the French Revolution but primarily for his participation in a constitutional reform society. Most of the evidence against him turned out to have been fabricated by Horne Tooke himself, and he was found not guilty on 22 Nov. 1794 (DNB). See also TBA to JA, 2 Nov., below, and for other similar trials, see JA to AA, 14 Dec., and to CA, 20 Dec., both below.
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.