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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10


Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0237

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-02-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

You have sometime since, I presume, received my Letters inclosing those of our son Thomas of the 19th. of October: You have also I hope and doubt not been informed by Col smith or Charles of the good Fortune of our Daughter, who on the twenty Eighth of January went to bed in good health as could be expected with an healthy Daughter. I congratulate you on all these prosperous Events, and wish I could be with you at the time I have more than once intimated: We have Reason to be thankful for many Blessings in our Family as well as in our Country.
But a Treaty concluded by Mr Jay is announced to the Public, in the News Papers: and this Report, whether true or not, will excite such Expectation, that I suppose I must Stay here till the End of the Chapter. My Presence or Absence is indeed immaterial because I can in no Case have a Vote, two thirds of the Senate being required to ratify a Treaty: nevertheless both my Friends and my Ennemies, would remark my Absence the former with regret the latter with Malignity. Indeed I have Some scruples in my own Mind, whether I ought not to be present— It may be in my Power to explain some things, and to give some hints which perhaps might not occur to others, as the subject has been so long under my immediate Consideration.
The most mortifying Thing will be, the little Probability that the Treaty will arrive before the 4th. of March. If it were certain it would { 367 } come, I should Stay without hesitation: but as it is in my Mind most improbable that it will, I shall remain here with some Uneasiness.
Col. Ward of Newtown is here, and lodges in this Hotel.1 This Gentleman I believe is one of the most stedfast friends I have in the World. Indeed few have known me so long or been so attentive to my Conduct: but how different is his Behaviour from that of some others who have known me as long and as fully as he has.— A faithful Friend upon disinterested public Principles, is a Jewell: but political friendships which shift with popular Winds, are not worth a straw.
Mrs Otis & Miss Betsy are very well— I saw them last Evening— They send their regards.—
Oh my Hobby Horse—and my little Horse! I want you both for my Health And Oh my2 I want you much more, for the delight of my heart and the cheering of my spirits—
Louisa must walk or die— it does not signify she must be compelled to write and walk too—
I am my dearest Friend, most / tenderly yours
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Febry 1 1795.”
1. Col. Joseph Ward, for whom see JA, Papers, 3:238. Ward, who had established a successful land office and then brokerage business in Boston following the Revolution, was likely in Philadelphia seeking payment on the new emission bills of credit issued by Congress after the revaluation of continental currency in 1780. Petitions Ward made in 1795, 1796, and 1798 were rejected (M. F. Sweetser, King’s Handbook of Newton, Massachusetts, Boston, 1889, p. 126; Hamilton, Papers, 22:401; JCC, 16:263–266).
2. JA left nearly a full line of blank space at this point.

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0238

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-02-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This Morning I received your favour of the 21st. of January. I am Sure your People do a great deal of Work, So dont be concern’d— I am very well Satisfied with your Agricultural Diary.
The venerable Governor made the best Speech he ever made—but the old Leaven ferments a little in it.—
I wonder you had not recd two Letters from Thomas which I inclosed to you. I now inclose you one from Mr Jay, which shews that our sons were arrived in Holland and had passed through their Ceremonies at the Hague and gone to Amsterdam, to look as I Suppose after the imprudent Van staphorst, and American Money in his Hands.1
{ 368 }
The inclosed Postscript to Dunlap will shew you, that the Expectation of a Treaty, hourly to arrive, will not allow me to leave my Chair till the fourth of March—2 I shall be charged with deserting the President, forsaking the secretary of State, betraying my friend Jay, abandoning my Post and Sacrificing my Country to a weak Attachment to a Woman and a weaker fondness for my farm, if I quit at this moment. so be thou thankful alone, that thou hast a good Husband here, that thy Children are safe and in Honour in Europe, and that thy Daughter has given thee a fine Granddaughter; besides innumerable Blessings to thy Country. I will be thankful and joyous here all alone.—
We momently expect the Treaty: but it may not arrive this month.— When it does I expect to see wry faces as well as smiling ones.— Perhaps much Debate may take Place— Let Us know what it is first however before We oppose, or criticise or applaud or approve.
Your son John says it is better than War—that is all I know about it.—
tenderly Adieu
Keep all the Letters relating to our Sons.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Febry 2. 1795.”
1. John Jay, in a letter of 24 Nov. 1794 (Adams Papers), informed JA that he had received two letters from JQA, of 14 and 21 Nov. (Windsor Castle, Royal Archives:Autographs from Correspondence of Chief Justice Jay, 1776–1794; NNC:John Jay Papers).
JA’s critical opinion of Nicolaas van Staphorst likely stemmed from the banker’s recent flight from Amsterdam to Hamburg. A member of the Dutch republican movement, Van Staphorst in Oct. 1794 publicly petitioned for revolution should either the English, retreating from Belgium, be welcomed in the city or action be taken against the encroaching French forces. He escaped prosecution by temporarily fleeing to Hamburg, thereby leaving the banking firm in the hands of remaining partner Nicolaas Hubbard. Van Staphorst would shortly return, however, to assume a prominent place in the government established after the French invasion (Winter, Amer. Finance and Dutch Investment, 1:526–527; Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 176–177, 179, 190). For TBA’s account of these events, see M/TBA/2, 16 Nov., APM Reel 282. Reports of Van Staphorst’s petition first appeared in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 7 Jan. 1795.
In his letter to JQA of 11 Feb., below, JA expressed concern about the impact of Van Staphorst’s actions on American credit. In his answering letter of 4 May, JQA assured JA that “the political sufferings of Messrs: Van Staphorst had no more effect to the detriment of our credit than their present power has in its favour. It did not indeed affect their personal credit or property. Mr: Nicholas Van Staphorst, who on my arrival here had privately withdrawn from the pursuit of the then Government, is now a member of the States-General, and employed in some of the most important executive Committees. He is one of the most respectable men, engaged in the public affairs at present” (Adams Papers).
2. On 2 Feb. the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser published a two-page supplement summarizing the London newspapers through 3 Dec. 1794, which had arrived { 369 } aboard the brig Columbia. Two of the extracts confirmed the successful conclusion to Jay’s treaty negotiations with the British, with one further noting that the messenger Jay had dispatched to deliver the news to America had sailed prior to the Columbia.
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/