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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0021

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1794-01-22

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I am weary of this Scæne of Dulness. We have done nothing and Shall do nothing this Session, which ought to be done, unless We Should appropriate a Sufficient Sum of Money, for treating with the Algerines. We are afraid to go to War, though our Inclinations and Dispositions are Strong enough to join the French Republicans. It is happy that our Fears are a Check to our Resentments: and our Understandings are better than our Hearts.
One Day Spent at home would afford me more inward Delight and Comfort than a Week or a Winter in this Place.
We have frequent Rumours and Allarms about the yellow fever: but when they come to be traced to their Sources they have hitherto proved to be false. There is one at present in Circulation which is not quite cleared up, and the Weather is extreamly warm, muggy foggy and unfavourable for the Season.
The River is open and some Say is never frozen over after this time. Others Say there have been Instances in the last Week in January.
Thomas visits me of Evenings and We converse concerning Hampden and Faulkland, Charles and Oliver Essex and Rupert of whose Characters and Conduct he reads every day in Lord Clarendon.1 I fear he makes too many Visits in Families where there are young Ladies. Time is Spent and nothing learn’d. Pardon me,! Disciple of Woolstoncroft! I never relished Conversations with Ladies accepting with one at a time and alone rather than in Company. I liked not to loose my time.
I begin now to think All time lost, that is not employed in Farming. innocent, healthy gay, elegant Amusement! enchanting Employment! how my Imagination roves over my rocky Mountains and through my brushy Meadows!
yours &c
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Janry / 22. 1794.”
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1. John Hampden (1594–1643), a lawyer, represented various constituencies in Parliament and became a supporter of Oliver Cromwell. During the Civil War, Hampden helped to organize a regiment but was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chalgrove Field and died shortly thereafter. Lucius Cary, 2d Viscount Falkland (1610?–1643), an M.P. for Newport during the Long Parliament, served as secretary of state for King Charles I. A royalist, he was killed at the Battle of Newbury. Robert Devereux, 3d Earl of Essex (1591–1646), was general of the Parliamentary Army. He had limited success militarily and resigned because of political differences with Cromwell shortly before his death in 1646. Prince Rupert, Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria (1619–1682), was the son of Elizabeth, queen of Bohemia, and the nephew of Charles I, from whom he received a military commission in 1642. He was eventually named commander-in-chief of the royalist forces. The Parliament forced him out of the country following a series of military defeats in 1646, though he served again in British government after the Restoration. All of these men are discussed in Lord Clarendon’s The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-10-02-0022

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1794-01-22

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

your favor of the 6th: Instt: has been received—1 The expressions of tendeness & Maternal affection which it contains on my behalf, deserve a grateful return. It is true I commenced my career at the Bar, as the Prosecutor of a Female— The cause was of such a nature, that there was no necessity for personal or general remarks in the manner you allude to;
I took occasion to remark to the Jury on the evil tendency of Disorderly houses—that they were a common nuisance in the Neighborhood where they existed, & a general evil, by the effects of them upon the Manners & Morals of the Citizens. That the Evil was rapidly increasing, and the frequency of complaints upon this subject was the best evidence that they called for suppression— The testimony was insufficient to convince the Jury that the person Indicted really did keep a house of the above description and therefore they found a verdict of Not Guilty. As to business—I except a long time will intervene, in which the crhristian virtue of Patience will need to be exercised— But I shall not despond so long as I can think, that I shall find employment some time or other—
I suppose my Father entertains you with a dish of Politicks every week; & I can scarce hope to afford any thing new upon the subject; Congress has been occupied eight days, upon the Discriminating Resolutions of Mr: Madison—2 There has been a display of Commercial & Political information, not often exhibited in Legislative Bodies— Mr: Dexter has done himself much honor by a very able, & Eloquent Speech; & seems to have answered the expectations formed of him— It is not possible that the Printers can do justice to { 50 } the Speech he delivered—3 I wish something would induce him to furnish the public a correct Copy. There is not much probability that these Resolutions will be carried— Much more has been said against, than for them, but there is no saying with certainty what will be the result from this circumstance. Many think them ill timed & unseasonable—rather than improper; that they should rather be the conclusion of unsuccessful negotiations, than the commencement of a System, having for its object—favorable terms of trade. They are thought to wear the appearance of coersion, rather than to speak the language of persuasion; and tho’ some proud spirits may think it derogatory to that independence, the boast & glory of the American character, to ask that as a favor which we ought to demand as a right, yet I think it will be found more beneficial to sacrifice a portion of this false delicacy, till we are in a situation to assert our true dignity & importance, not in words only, but in ability & action. Most of the Gentle men who have taken a share in the debate of these Resolutions, have taken occasion, by way of digression, to pass encomiums upon France and violent Philipic’s upon England. Regu[la]tions of Commerce have been made the in[stru]ment, by which the long harbored accrimo[ny of] National prejudice has been called i[. . . .] Since it is so fashionable to make profess[ion of] […]cal creed, I will give you mine among th[. . . .] I belive then, that the interests of our own Co[untry] should be the end and aim of all legislative regulations; that we ought to consider the relative situation of all other Nations to ours, no further than as an intimacy with them may prove advantageous or prejudicial— and let their Government be of what form it will— our intercourse should be most familiar with that Nation from whom we derive most benefit. National Gratitude is a virtue, plausible in theory, but it never can be practised but in aid of National interest.
Your affectionate son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
PS— We flattered ourselves for a day or two with a report by Mr Otis Junr that Cheesman had returned to Boston; but advices have been since received from his consignors that he has not been heared of.4 Mr Deblois thinks The Vessel has gone to the west Indies, as Cheesman intended to sell her and was the chief owner of the Ca[rgo.] His discretionary powers were therefore greater than Captains usually have Your friends desire to be remembered to you.
[signed] TBA—5
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RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: Abigail Adams / Quincy / near / Boston”; internal address: “Mrs A Adams”; endorsed: “Thomas Adams / Janry 26 1794.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. On 3 Jan. James Madison proposed seven resolutions based on Thomas Jefferson’s Dec. 1793 proposals for commercial reciprocity. The intent was to punish foreign powers—particularly Britain—for discriminatory trade rules. Madison hoped to limit American dependence on British trade and perhaps assist the French, but opponents of the resolutions believed these measures could embroil the United States in the European war. Despite extensive debate, the resolutions never came to a vote in the House (Madison, Papers, Congressional Series, 15:147–150, 167–171).
3. Samuel Dexter (1761–1816), Harvard 1781, represented Massachusetts in Congress from 1793 to 1795 and again as a senator from 1799 to 1800. He later served as secretary of war, then secretary of the treasury. On 23 Jan., Dexter spoke in the House of Representatives on Madison’s resolutions, arguing that Britain treated the United States no differently than other countries in its trade policies, and “he could not see what advantage America was to reap by restricting the navigation and manufactures of one foreign nation, merely to favor those of another.” Dexter also believed that forcing Americans to buy more expensive non-British goods amounted to a tax on the American people (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 3d Cong., 1st sess., p. 272–274).
4. Samuel Allyne Otis Jr. (1768–1814) had been a plantation owner in Haiti until forced out by the revolution there. He eventually resettled in Newburyport (John J. Waters Jr., The Otis Family in Provincial and Revolutionary Massachusetts, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1968, p. 207).
5. The postscript was written vertically in the margin between the second and third pages of the manuscript.
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.